Seriously, stop asking “kapan nyusul?”

So recently I’ve come to think that the question of “kapan nyusul?” is the root of all evil in our society. Okay, I’m exaggerating but I stand by my belief that that damn question does more harm than good. I hate it when someone asks me that question in any kind of context. I hate it even more than the question “kapan sembuh?” (FYI: I no longer friends with the pricks asking that dumb question)

I mean, what do you think life is? A race? Some kind of Agustusan competitions? If you do think that life is a race, you can stop reading and get the fuck out of here. I mean it. Go back to your little life/racing competition. I wish you luck. Hope you win.

Okay. Anyway, I personally think that the concept of “life is a race” is a form of ignorance. Imagine a person is born and put behind a starting stall like a horse or a dog setting out for a race. There is only a single track and you’re competing against everyone your age. Of course, there are checkpoints: go to school, graduate, get a job, travel to many places, get married, get a master’s degree, have kids, buy a house and a car – you know, the usual routine. And most importantly, like in any kind of race, there are winners and losers.

So when someone asks you “kapan nyusul?” what does it mean? It means that you’re lagging, dude! It means you’re losing, and this question does want you to feel like a loser, that your life is not going great right now and that you need to catch up. Crack the whip on your ass or you’re left behind.

Now, it’s not like I’m against marriage, grad school, properties, traveling, or babies. I’m happy for my married friends and those who have children and set out to start a family, or those who pursue higher education, hoard material possessions, or go wanderlusting (is that even a word?). I don’t really care if some people consider having all the ducks lined up in a row is an achievement or a sole indication of how a good happy life looks like. It’s just that I hope these people stop shaming others for not having what they have, ever or just yet.

Maybe we’ve been asking the wrong questions, to people and, most importantly, to ourselves. Oftentimes, we’re obsessed with a particular “am I happy?” question. And to answer that, we look up to others for reference or choose others to answer it for us. Oftentimes, we’re told that we’re not happy because we don’t have this, do that, go there, yada yada (when actually we’re just doing fine). And often, we believe that. We feel miserable. Maybe that’s the reason why the “kapan nyusul?” question can be very disheartening.

But “happy” is not a noun. It’s easier to answer if the question is “am I human?” The answer to the “am I happy?” question is more complicated and I believe each of us is free to define what happiness is. So when you ask someone if they’re happy, you need to be aware that it’s actually an open question, and you cannot argue with the answer because your definition of being happy may differ from others’.

Or maybe happiness is not what makes life good. It is not the marriage, not the job, not the kids, not the academic degrees, not the exotic places, not the money. Maybe what makes life good is to have meaning and a sense of purpose. Life is good when you know why you’re here. If we’re lucky, we don’t have to worry about being happy anymore.

So I’m saying stop asking “kapan nyusul?” To others or to yourself. You’re not doing anyone a favor and it’s annoying. Life is not a race. It’s a journey and we all have our own destination. We go at our own pace. The key is to keep going and try not to be so caught up in getting to a destination that we miss out on wonderful things along the way there.

In her beautiful (as usual) essay, Rebecca Sonit suggests that:

Like a life, a journey assumes a shape and a meaning that are only clear afterward, and like a journey, a life requires that you learn to let go of the plan when the actuality departs from it, to embrace what’s arriving, let go of what’s departing, to move forward and not get stuck. You can cover the same ground with entirely different purposes. Some people run away all their lives; some people search without finding; some people know where they’re headed and move toward goals, ideals, people; some in that subtlest of journeys move toward becoming who they are meant to be; some arrive.

On the other hand, Alan Watts argues that life could also be seen as a playful musical composition and we can be here, singing, dancing, and making meaning, as long as the music is being played.


Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Weiss via Unsplash

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Morrissey Live in Jakarta 2016

It was no fun standing for two hours, waiting on muddy wet grassy ground, with both legs asleep and pins and needle all over your feet. It was no fun indeed that the suede shoes you bought a week prior to the occasion (couldn’t afford Doc Martens) now ruined because you kept accidentally stepping on puddles of mud that most likely used to be one of the golf holes in this ex-golf course in Central Jakarta where Morrissey, the charming man of my life, would have his second live performance in Indonesia (pray to god it wont be his last).

Perhaps the promoter wanted to bring Glastonbury feels, you know, with all that grass, mud, light rain and all. But it’s Jakarta with its terrible and possibly deadly heat and humidity. And if this is true, then the promoter has failed miserably.

But as I stood there on the muddy grass waiting and partly enjoying the 30-minute montage (among which were Maya Angelou’s voice-over reading No, No, No, No and Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen video), I kept thinking that the moment Moz came out of the wing, it was going to worth it.

And it totally, totally was. At least for the most part of it.

After a bow with the band, the charming man marched up to the mic and gave us a short acapella: “My heart, my heart, my heart, Jakarta!” The crowd roared and Suedehead came to play as the opening song for the night.

moz-suedehead
It was a good lay. Moz singing Suedehead.

It was my first time attending his gigs and it was almost surreal. I was constantly at the verge of bursting into tears, between utter joy and disbelief that I could live to see this day, that I could cross path with this man who came up with the most memorable lines in the history of song writing like to die by your side, well, the privilege, the pleasure is mine or the more you ignore me, the closer I get, you’re wasting your time.

I tried to keep my composure as I, along with the rest of the concert goers, sang along to his greatest hits including Alma Matters, Everyday is Like Sunday, Kiss Me A Lot, Speedway (where Gustavo flawlessly sang the last verse in Spanish), and Ouija Ouija Board.

And then it wasn’t long until Moz went political. After throwing his shirt to the audience during the end of Let Me Kiss You, he came back to the stage wearing a black shirt and asking the crowds whether we liked Donald Trump. I’m not sure what he made out of the noises coming from the fans, but then he went on saying “I’m surprised” followed with the exquisite World Peace is None of Your Business (substituting “ooh Egypt, Ukraine” with “ooh the USA“).

world-peace
Each time you vote, you support the process. Moz during World Peace is None of Your Business.

He didn’t stop there. After I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, You’re the One for Me Fatty, Judy is a Punk, and Jack the Ripper, he continued with Ganglord with a video montage of police brutality playing on the screen. This was too depressing I may say. Too much violence I had to look away from the stage. There were also some disturbing clips of police fatally harming dogs that I just couldn’t watch. Knowing Morrissey and his outspoken political views, it is not surprising at all.

The tension from the brutal video was eased a bit as Moz continued with First of the Gang to Die and The Bullfighter Dies. And then, the screen showed a picture of Prince William and Kate. Over this backdrop, Moz sang This World is Full of Crashing Bores.

crashing-bores
They who wish to hurt you work within the law.

I enjoyed wholeheartedly the next two songs, How Soon is Now? and You have Killed Me, until I had to look away again after Moz pleaded “please don’t kill anything” and continued with vegetarian’s anthem Meat is Murder. This time, the screen showed horrifying video of animal cruelty.

Refusing to look at the stage, I only listened to Moz sang with my head turned sideways, fixing my gaze on some tall buildings nearby. Even after over three decades since the song’s first released, you can tell by the way he emphasized the lines “Eat, kill! Eat, kill! Murder!” that Moz is still as pissed at the meat industry as ever. After the song ended, the screen turned black and the huge white letters appeared.

meat-is-murder
Do you know how animals die?

When I looked up, Moz was nowhere to be found. At first I didn’t fret. I was so sure he was just changing and would come out again to deliver the encore (I was hoping I’m Not a Man as I heard it rehearsed during soundcheck).

But soon, one by one, the band exited the stage and I grew worried. It was not until 20 minutes when the crew packed up the set, I knew it was over. To this day, I still cannot believe that that was it. I thought I was going to experience something like “25 Live” with The Boy with the Thorn in His Side as the final song and people attempting to climb up the stage to steal a hug or a kiss. Too high of an expectation if I think about it again.

All in all, despite the slightly unenthusiastic crowd, the sickly heat, the muddy venue, and ruined shoes, I was having fun. The set was really nice, jam-packed with good old stuff while the not-so-recent stuff from World Peace was kept to a minimum (only three songs in total), although I was sincerely hoping to get more from it like Kick the Bride Down the AisleIstanbul, and especially Staircase at the University ’cause I really, really wanted to see Gustavo slayed the guitar solo. I’m not complaining though, the old stuff is what introduced me to Moz after all. So, it’s a glorious nostalgia.

Yet, as I drove back to Bandung on the lonely dark highway, I couldn’t shake this tiny disappointment that, I suspect now, stemmed from the belief that I deserve a proper goodbye, at least a little thank-you bow and a see-you-later wave. My girlfriend dozed off on the passenger seat and I was feeling blue. It feels like Moz has just broken this unwritten contract between a performer and the audience. But then again, he’s just Morrissey being Morrissey, unpredictable moody old drama queen. And I can’t help smiling when I remember, on some point during the show, he repeatedly yelled at the audience: “I love you, I love you, I love you!”

For what it’s worth, the most important thing is that I got to see the Moz in person, and that it’s a privilege and pleasure in its entirety for the opportunity to be standing before such a living legend.

Now I can die happy.

cutout
Tired but overjoyed. Trying to sneak an ugly self-portrait with the cardboard cutout Moz.

 

5 Things I love about Windows 10

So I jumped on Windows 10 bandwagon recently. I had never been into technology but since I work for a tech magazine, I can’t help but following the hype.

The moment I heard that Microsoft would give away Windows 10 for free to Windows 7 and 8 users, I was thrilled. After going through the agony of updating my PC to the latest version of Windows 7 and backing up my files, I finally received the reservation notification. But I hate waiting so I manually downloaded Windows 10 from its official download site.

It’s Indonesia, you can’t expect too much of good things. The same goes with download speed. It took about five hours to download Windows 10 and it took another five to install it to my PC (warning: I may be exaggerating). But it was all worth it. My PC runs Windows 10 now, along with the other 50 million+ devices in the whole wide world.

Here are five things I love about Windows 10 (in no particular order).

1. Faster boot time

When Microsoft announced Windows 10, they said that it came equipped with faster boot time. I don’t know about anyone else, but it surely is compared to Windows 7, at least on my machine.

2. It’s familiar

desktop

They said that Windows 10 has the best of both Windows 7 and 8 worlds. You’ll get both Start menu and live tiles and Windows Store. Yes, it’s so familiar. Since I departed from Windows 7, it’s a no-brainer to adapt to Windows 10, though I have to get used to programs now being called “apps” like on mobile devices.

3. Flat, flat, flat!

Since the introduction of iOS 7 in 2013, I’ve been in love with flat UI. I also love Android Lollipop design language and enjoy Windows 8’s modern interface. It’s no surprising that I instantly fall for Microsoft’s dedication to flat design in Windows 10. I was so fed up with the look and feel of Windows 7, so Windows 10 obviously brings a breath of fresh air to my PC.

4. Groove Music

groove-music

Ever since I got my hands on computers, Winamp was my choice even after the company’s shutdown in 2013. Now I’m no longer its devotee, not since the arrival of Groove Music in Windows 10.

Groove Music is essentially a native music player built in to Microsoft’s latest desktop OS. It also lets user stream and download music using a pay subscription called Groove Music Pass. Unfortunately, it’s not available in Indonesia yet (unless you set your region to supported markets like the US. Same goes with Cortana).

What I love the most about Groove Music is its ability to neatly organize my music library. Give Groove Music location in which you save your music and it will automatically sorts them into several categories by albums, artists, and songs. Okay maybe that’s the thing every music player can do, but what really enchants me is Groove Music’s clean and simple interface. It makes you easy to navigate your music collection, create playlist, etc.

5. Task View

task-view

I used to use Alt+Tab and Windows key+Tab on the keyboard to switch between windows. Now Windows 10 offers the better and easier way to do this. It’s called Task View.

There’s million ways to access Task View. Okay, not literally a million, but it’s quite many. You can still use the good old Windows key+Tab or click the Task View icon in the taskbar. You can also swipe up on the touchpad with three fingers.

***

Of course, these are not the only wonders of Windows 10. I didn’t get all the features, mind you. That’s a shame because I always want to try Windows Hello. Cortana also can’t optimally work on my PC because apparently there’s something wrong with the mic which is too bad because I heard she does okay.

Nevertheless, I still think it’s the best version of Windows ever and I believe many people will love it as much as I do.

So you better get it already, while it’s still free.


Note:

If you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, make sure that you know what you’re doing. Seek help if you find the whole shenanigans too tech-y for you. And if you plan to take matter into your hand, by all means do it at your own risk and don’t forget to backup your files.

Useful links:

Tim Cook didn’t speak to you

timcookLast Saturday, I woke up to some news that Tim Cook, Apple CEO, publicly declared that he was “proud to be gay.” I was psyched, stoked, ecstatic and gay (duh)! I mean, the CEO of the most valuable company in the world just joined our force to turn all the remaining human being on earth, particularly those using Apple products, into gays. Or so those homophobic pricks say.

After the news broke, a lot of people reacted in positive manner including Bill Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. They congratulated and praised him for his bravery. Seriously, by the time I finished reading his coming out statement, I wished I could hug him in person and said: “thank you so, so much, Tim.”

But there are also people who will piss on your (gay pride) parade no matter what.

Some people on Twitter urged us to just move on. Some said that what Tim was doing was some kind of “agenda.” Meanwhile some author from Business Insider kindly reminds us all that Tim’s statement won’t help Apple’s stock soar. Even the person who’s business-blind like me knows that that’s true. I also believe that it won’t make any difference to iPhone sales. Hell, I don’t think his statement will make me run to the nearest retailer to buy some random iDevice and turn me into one of those Apple fangirls.

And don’t get me started on Marketwatch’s ridiculous article listing “14 facts about Tim Cook more interesting than his sexual orientation.”

Seriously, someone has to tell these people that Tim Cook doesn’t speak to Apple/potential customers or insidious businessmen or straight Homo sapiens in general. Read the statement closely. It’s written in a plain sight.

So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

Listen to him. Tim spoke to people like me. He spoke to those who are afraid to be themselves. He spoke to the in-the-closets who are living in terror that someday someone might find out who they really are and then life as they know it ends in that instant.

Tim Cook spoke to people who haven’t been able to accept that they are gay.

The Verge’s Casey Newton couldn’t say it better.

There was a time when I struggled to come to terms with myself; when I felt alone; when I scanned the horizon looking for someone to point the way forward for me. There was a time when the only other gay men I knew were the ones I saw in TV and movies, and they seemed nothing like me. It feels embarrassing to say now that what I wanted back then was a role model — someone confident in himself, powerful, a real leader — to give me permission to be myself.

This is what I used to feel back in the days when I was still hiding in the cold, claustrophobic closet. And I believe that many people out there can relate to and benefit from this.

I could only imagine how hard it was for Tim. On one hand, he wanted to maintain his privacy, while on the other, he felt the urge to do “something more important,” that is to reach out to people who are in their hard time accepting who they really are.

Tim also admitted that he was not an activist of any kind but he realized that the sacrifice of others had benefited him in some ways. So, this is him trying to pass on that privilege to others, so that they can acknowledge the fact that sexual orientation is not something that will hold them back from opening up their potential and, thus, preventing them to live life to the fullest.

What I know is Tim has put his power to a good cause. Ever since he took over the CEO position, Apple is more charitable, more concerned with the environment and equality and they are vocal about it. Following is Apple’s recent campaign videos covering environmental issue and this year San Francisco Gay Pride Parade where 5,000 Apple employees/families marched the street celebrating equality and diversity. The former was narrated by Tim himself and he appeared as a cameo in the latter.

In an ideal world, what Tim did would be “meh,” but it’s not. We are living in a world where discrimination still exists and there are actual people ridiculed, harassed and abused for who they love. I think people who say that they just don’t care miss the whole point.

But then again, you don’t have to care about Tim Cook’s coming out statement if you don’t want to or if it makes you uncomfortable. In fact, you don’t have to care about anything at all. And if you want to move on, you might as well do it. Because you’re probably not the people whom Tim spoke to. But I am and you bet your ass I care.