Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kebanjiran di LA (3 - finished)

....sambungan dari Kebanjiran di LA (1) & (2).....

Si plumber ternyata bukan cuma a handy man, tapi juga a very very nice man. Ketika aku jelasin kalau aku mau terbang pagi itu dan terlalu ribet & costly untuk cancel atau ganti, dia langsung bilang, "Oh, ok, then don't bother to clean. You better take some rest and we can fix and clean while you're away". Ohhhh, that is awfully nice of him!

Dia langsung telepon Harold the MG dan menjelaskan situasiku. Harold kemudian langsung bilang bahwa dia akan mendatangkan tukang cleaning carpet dan dishwasher akan diperbaiki. Semua akan dibereskan oleh pihak pengelola gedung!

Woooow.... asik! Sepulangnya si plumber, aku langsung beres-beres. Barang-barang berharga dan fragile dipindah ke lantai atas. Aku juga meneruskan packing, jadi asli ampir ngga tidur pagi itu.. lha udah pagi dan jam 6:30 aku harus mulai jalan ke airport.

Tapi aku tertidur juga kira2 jam 4 pagi dan jam 5:44 aku dibangunkan oleh alarm-CD. Sebuah lagu dari Maluku membangunkanku.

Begitu bangun, aku langsung turun ngecek keadaan lantai bawah. Aku surprise, ternyata dapurku hampir kering. Wah.... kemana airnya? Pas aku menginjak karpet... wow... blesek! Ternyata semua air terserap ke karpet. Jadilah karpet di ruang makan dan ruang tamu babat kuah! Mekar dan berair! Yikes. Airnya sih bersih, cuma ya tetep jijay toh? Aku harus pake sepatu berhak tinggi untuk jalan di situ.

Pas aku tinggal, apartemenku dalam keadaan basah kuyup. Oh, kali ini aku dapat Wet Christmas in LA. Anyway, it's still very nice to have everything solved finally. Now I just have to catch my flight...... Bye-bye karpet kuah babat!

Kebanjiran di LA (2)

... lanjutan dari Kebanjiran di LA (1)....

Setelah nunggu, nunggu, dan menunggu. Aku rada pasrah. Udah ngga panik. Cuma melototi air yang meninggi... Udah nguras beribu-ribu liter (aku sempet ngitung, kurang lebih 1 session itu sekitar 70-100 kali ngeruk dan buang ke sink, dan aku melakukan kurang lebih 10-12 sessions selama 5 jam), ya udah.. udah males bergerak. Cuma sesekali aku buang juga air2 itu.

Aku memutuskan untuk melakukan telepon terakhir sama si Harold, management guy itu. Kalau engga aku bakal call 911. Lagi2 aku diterima sama mesin. Aku bilang sama si mesin "Harold, this is Merlyna again. The situation is getting worse. Water is flowing everywhere. And I don't know what to do. Really hopeless. I think soon the water level will reach refrigerator, all electronic stuff, and especially electricity plugs. So, if something isn't done very soon, I don't know what would happen to this apartment".

Ngga lama, Harold telepon dan bilang kalau teknisi akan datang dalam waktu 20 menit. Selama 20 menit itu, asli aku cuma mandangin air. Ngga nguras, cuma duduk di sofa nungguin itu teknisi.

20 menit kerasa kayak berjam-jam deh. 15 menit berlalu, si teknisi belum nongol. 16, 17, 18,.... belum juga. 19, 20 menit!.. oh, belum nongol juga. Udah deg-degan nunggu.... akhirnya sekitar 7 menit kemudian, sang pahlawan datang!

Kata pertama yang dia ucapkan pas masuk ke apartemenku: "My goodness!!!"
Si plumber kemudian langsung masuk dapur, ngecek kolong sink dan dishwasher. Terus dia langsung matiin airnya. Begitu air berhenti, aku langsung ploooooong deh!

Dia bilang kemungkinan besar konektor antara dishwasher sama pipa air rusak. Tapi dia ngga bisa benerin hari ini karena semua toko kan belum buka..... dan ini air, dia bilang, harus dibersihin karena udah merasuk ke karpet gitu...

Wah, aku lega tapi rada puyeng juga mikirin soal flight..... pikir...pikir...pikir...

(bersambung)

Monday, December 26, 2005

kebanjiran di LA (1)

Duh.. tahu2 ada bencana di apartemenku malam ini. Malam ini aku sibuk packing krn mau terbang besok pagi. Terus aku juga sibuk doing last minute cleaning. Karena cape, aku nyuci pake dishwasher. Terus aku pergi mengambil sepeda. Eh, tau2 pas pulang air udah mengenang di dapur.. udah sampe ke karpet, maju ke ruang makan. Aku langsung matiin dishwasher, ternyata air ngegelontor terus. Panik, aku mulai menguras air yang membanjiri dapur dan karpet. Terus aku cari2 valve yang bisa diputer untuk nyetop. Satu valve (air panas) bisa ditutup tapi yang air dingin terus ngegelontor. Terus aku langsung telepon emergency ke management (landlord) ternyata diterima mesin.

..break... nguras dulu...

Aduh, gimana nih. Aku telpon USC emergency, mrk bilang ngga bisa nolong krn bukan di USC apartments. Aku telepon plumbers 24 jam, semuanya bilang bakal nyoba dapet teknisi dalam 2-3 jam. Sembari nunggu aku ngegoggle, cari2 cara mengatasi ini.

....nguras lagi..tapi duh, ngga bisa besaing sama air nih.. deras banget...

Ternyata plumbers susah didapat karena ini hari Natal. Aku telepon si management guy (MG) lagi, dan mesin lagi. Maunya nekad nelepon 911, tapi kayaknya ngga appropriate.

Duh, putus asa, padahal aku kan musti terbang nih... dan susah dicancel. Dan kalo ini satu dicancel, bakal ngerembet sama urusan2 lain. Duh... tulung2 euy... Udah 3 jam nguras nih...

Oh, akhirnya si MG nelepon. Katanya dia mau kirim orang. Ok, asik.

...nunggu, sambil nguras...

Duh, udah 1 jam belum ada orang datang ! Aku nelpon si MG, ternyata mesin lagi, aku titip pesan lagi. Ngga lama dia nelepon, katanya dia lagi nyoba dapatin orang...

...nunggu.... kerja..kerja....

Nguras airnya pake tempat sampah, terus itu tong musti diangkat dan dibuang ke sink. Duh, cape banget, pinggang mau patah nih. Kerja rodi kayak gini kayak di ospek aja. Ngga di Dayeuh ngga di LA, sama2 banjir... tapi koq sempet2nya gue ngeblog...

Udah 30 minutes.. ya ampun.. kumaha atuh yeuh, tulung... tuluuuuung!!!
Udah dulu ah... ini air udah kemana-mana euy... udah ke ruang tamu... walawww......
Kumaha atuh nya.... cancel jangan nih pesawat?.....

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Season's greetings

Wish you all the happiest holidays!
See you next year!
Click the thumbnail below for my seasonal card and message.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My gallery

Was working on the gallery of my website on Saturday thus now you can see some of my sketches in a relatively good layout.
I just want to let you know that I'll just post all of my art work there, including my pieces for Illustration Friday. So, guys, my sketches cannot be found here anymore.
Here again the URL of my gallery: http://www.merlyna.org/blog/gallery
Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mistakes and fate

Do you believe in fate? Are we not really responsible for the course our lives take? That it's all pre-destined, written in the stars. Maybe that's why, in the city you can't even see the stars, your love life tends to feel more random. And even if every man, every kiss, every heartache is pre-ordered from some cosmic catalogue, can we still take a wrong step and wander off our own personal milky way? I can't help but wonder, can you make a mistake and miss your fate? Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them what would shape our lives?

(free transcription from Bradshaw, SitC, 2005)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005



Glad to find this very old sketch. This is from 11 years ago.
Dy, you remember this, don't you?

Friday, November 18, 2005

My D medley

On my defense party, when I was asked to give a speech I sang instead.

The lyrics were done one day before my defense. So, instead of preparing myself for the defense, I spent all of that night and morning before the defense practicing the song...hehe..

This is the beginning of the medley... for complete lyrics, click this.

#1: Melody from Begin the Beguine
(piano gives a tune, Mer sings acapella)

When I began the Big D, I was so young and my mind was so tender
I thought of the joy my studies would render, I thought of the bliss of a Ph.D. degree
But I didn’t know the torment ahead, or how my mind would be kept swaying
And into night I would be praying, oh, why did I begin the big D?

continue....

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New house, rumah baru, nieuw huis, imah anyar

Two weeks ago, I got this domain. Merlyna.org. Wow, finally got my own home! Feels so good. One of some reasons is that these days many jobs (in my field) ask for applicants' homepage url. I thought it's not so great to provide free geocities url for a serious job. It took me one weekend to make that homepage, designing, filling with some basic content, and retouching here and there. So, I have that domain now, my blog perhaps will be a bit academic (well, not really, just more related to my academic stuff than this blog), but some other stuff (travel, sundry items) aren't academic. I'll still have my celoteh here.

Akhirnya, punya domain juga. Di sini. Asik juga maen-maen dgn rumah sendiri. Ngedesain, ngebangun, ngisi2, dan dekor sana-sini. Mudah2an temen2 suka dgn rumah baruku di situ. Kalo ngga suka ya terserah, tapi ah harus suka dong (maksa), atau pura2 suka :). Tapi janganlah dikau berpura-pura karena daku tak sudi dimadu. Walau begitu, jangan sama-samakan daku dengan yang lain. Anyway, si celoteh sih, terutama yg berbahasa Indonesia, berbahasa dewa dan berbahasa tarzan, tetap akan muncul di sini.

Ik heb een nieuw huis, hier. Het voelt goed om een koel nieuw huis te hebben. Ik bouw. Ik ontwerp. Ik vul hem. Maar ik ben verward. Ik ben frustated. Omdat ik kan spreekt niet Nederlandse! I geef niet! Ik kan zeggen Hoge Veluwe en Enschede! Zo dat ik ben geweldig, hehe. Ik ben gek. Eh, ik ben toch niet gek - Media Markt :). Wat dan ook. Gedaan. Klaar.

Abdi tos gaduh bumi anyar euy, di dieu. Duh, meni sumringah bin borokokok... eh, lepat. Pokona mah hate gumbira, gaduh bumi nu ageung di dinya. Tiasa ngahariring, jujumpalitan, jejerewetan, sareng ngagorowok sangeunahna upami keur jangar binti lieur. Eh, di dieu oge tiasa ketang. Ah, pokona mah kitu lah, pun rorompok teh anyar suranyar. Asik pan asik? Yu ah..tariiik mang!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On the day of forgiveness

My dear friends and colleagues,

Forgiveness,
it's a blessing
when all bitterness departs
like a breeze of the new day
that blows all dust away

Forgiveness,
it's an opened door
through it the mercy flows
purifies the heart
and renews the soul

I wish you to forgive me
on this special day, the day of forgiveness

Happy Eidul Fitri
Selamat Hari Raya Lebaran
Minal aidzin wal faidzin
Mohon maaf lahir dan batin

mer, l.a., lebaran 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Flying sketches

It was more than 10 hours flights from Los Angeles to Schiphol and another 2 hours to reach Budapest. It's tough to fly more than 5 hours. I never enjoy it.

This time, I was in a big hurry and things were messed up that I forgot to bring books nor movies to kill my flying time. Luckily I had a van Gogh's pocket box with me. This is a gift from my friend in Enschede (thanks, Andrew!). The box consists of a set of quality water colors and postcard size papers. You just need some water then everything is set to make sketches.

So, I used a cup of water I got from KLM flight attendant to sketch. The first sketch I made (since this kit is called van Gogh's pocket box) was inspired by van Gogh, so it was entitled 'Sunflower'.

"Sunflower", mer on KL-602, 13 oct '05

The second was made while I had my meal. So, it was 'flight meal'.
flightmeal_KL602
"Flight_meal", mer on KL-602, 13 oct '05

And the third, I don't know why, was the sketch of London's parliament building with the Big Ben and the bridge.


"London", mer on KL-602, 13 oct '05

I used only one cup for mixing all colors, so the water quickly became browny. It was ok, didn't do any harm on my sketch. Meanwhile, while I was drawing, I took a cup of tea offered by a flight attendant and started drinking it. Later I was amazed to find out that the watercolor cup had much less water and the tea cup had some blue and yellow color. It took me sometime to realize that I had drunk from the watercolor cup and stirred the brush on my tea! Too late.... I got van Gogh's in my throat and tea on my sketches! Guess that makes me sounds like a real artist... hehe.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Penyanyi dangdut

Atas permintaan dan dorongan Andrew dan RSD, berikut ini saya ceritakan sekelumit kisah di siang bolong di Jakarta.

Gini, suatu hari, pas pulang dari Belanda ke Indo (Bandung), saya ngga dijemput. Jadi dari Cengkareng naek bis patas ke stasiun Gambir. Di stasiun Gambir saya mutusin untuk naek taksi, soalnya bawa 2 koper gede-gede. Lagian naek taksi juga ngga mahal-mahal amat. Karena biasa jadi sopir (angkot), saya ngga kuat kalo naek mobil jauh duduk di belakang. Jadi minta duduk di depan, sebelah sopir. Si sopir sih setuju2 aja.

Sembari nunggu taksi penuh, si sopir tau-tau nanya,"Neng, ke Bandung mau pemotretan ya?"
Saya bingung, terus bilang, "Pemotretan apa, Bang?".
Si sopir terus jawab, "Iya, kali-kali model, ya?"
"Bukan," jawab saya.

Bang sopir terus ngomong lagi, "Oh, bukan toh. Penyanyi kali ya? Mau manggung di Bandung nih?"
"Ngga tuh, Bang," jawab saya lagi.

Terus Bang sopir ngeliat saya dari kepala sampe kaki. Dia senyum-senyum terus bilang, "Eh, ngomong-ngomong situ penyanyi dangdut ya?"

Waduh! Dari model turun (atau naek nih..:P) ke penyanyi dangdut bo! Kalo mau nyangka saya penyanyi dangdut ngga usah make pura-pura nanya model apa bukan... duh. Kan dari tersanjung sampe tersungging nih....

Waduuuuh... apa saya punya tampang penyanyi dangdut?!? Padahal perasaan ngga dangdan gimana-gimana tuh. Pake kaos merah sama celana jeans. Apanya yang dangdut?

Sesudah itu, di jalan dari Jakarta ke Bandung, si sopir ngumumin ke penumpang yang lain kalo di dalam taksi ada penyanyi dangdut dari Jakarta yang mau 'sow' di Bandung! Berkali-kali saya bilang "Bukan"... tetep aja si sopir ngga percaya. Woaaaaaaa.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Flock - a new way of browsing and blogging?

I just found that a new browser called Flock is just launched. I just installed it a couple minutes ago, so I cannot say much about it. It seems to be a great "social" browser, though. Flock allows you to post to your blog directly from its browser by clicking 'add to blog' button. It also has some other cool features as described here.

I'll just give Flock a try and we'll see whether I'll make it my default browser or not.

p.s. this entry is posted using Flock's "add to blog".

Kebetulan lagi

Baru balik dari Budapest. Sampe di bandara rencana mau pulang ke rumah naik bis aja, tapi gara-gara udah malem jadi mutusin untuk naik shared ride van alias shuttle bus. Alasan utama, malem-malem kan gelap jadi ngga bisa liat tanda-tanda lalu lintas dengan jelas, jadi takut nyasar, gitu. Alasan kedua, naek bis bakalan makan waktu lebih dari 1 jam, sementara shuttle bakalan cuma sekitar 30 menit, jadi kalo naek shuttle bisa lebih cepet ketemu internet en ngecek email lagi. Alasan ketiga, emang males naek bis aja kali ye.:))

Pas dapet shuttle, eh kebetulan ternyata si supir orang Indonesia, soalnya dia nyerocos di ha-pe pake gue elu. Pas aku bilang sama dia, "Eh, mas, ini bakal ke USC duluan ya?", dia langsung kaget. Sempet ngga jawab apa-apa, kayak orang kagak ngerti. Ngga nyangka dia bakal ketemu penumpang orang Indonesia kali ya. Enaklah jadinya karena supirnya orang Indo, tambah lancarlah perjalanan.

Pas sampe di rumah, yang pertama kali di cek adalah sepedaku yang ditinggal selama seminggu di halaman belakang tanpa dikunci. Sebelumnya aku udah pasrah aja kalo sampe ilang, soalnya udah bukan rahasia lagi kalo sepeda itu bisa langsung raib kalo ditinggal beberapa menit aja tanpa dikunci. Kebetulan aku untung besar! Sepedaku masih nangkring dengan rantai yang tak terkunci! Somebody has been watching over my bike!

Oh ya, pas di pesawat juga aku kebetulan duduk di sebelah orang Nepal yang lagi PhD di Ohio Univ at Athens. Ternyata dia itu teman-nya temanku, dia kenal sama beberapa orang yang aku kenal, dan ternyata orang-orang yang kita kenal itu saling kenal.

Kebetulan, kebetulan, asik juga kalo semua kebetulan itu positif.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Peer production networks

My second day at Budapest re:Activism conference is filled with discourses on peer production network.
This morning Jochai Benkler from Yale presented a very impressive overview of the networked information economy in which he put some highlights on the economic, political, and cultural (positive) dimensions of peer-to-peer network which potentially give hope for freedom and justice to grow in the information society that now has increasingly becomes more and more capitalistic.

In the panel of political economy of peer production network (now I am sitting in), that includes Lawrence Lessig, Felix Stadler (openflows.org) and Jimmy Wales (wikipedia founder), among others, some issues arise: sustainable production vs voluntary labor, production vs consumption of information, creativity vs productivity, fear of co-optation etc.

Larry Lessig in particular is concerned about the fundamental insight of IT architecture which is inter-operability that opens explosion of tools. He believes that the interoperability encourages the growth of creative production of community. He really thinks that any legal infrastructures (such as some existing licensing systems -> copyright) that prevent inter-operability is and should be seen as a real failure.

Indeed, licensing issue indeed is a real issue in the peer-to-peer network. While among communities, people are mostly willing to share, it's difficult to determine what kind of licensing code that would accommodate what members of communities want. Simply put, I really think any license code is ok as long as it is based on the spirit of maximization of creativity and can prevent any domination of market (or other parties). Yet, in practice it is not as simple as it sounds.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Media activism conference

I'm attending a conference on re:Activism which is held at the Central European University, Budapest - Hungary.

It feels right to speak about media activism here, in this city, in this institution, because indeed the sphere of activism is so thick. The conference has 'free' spirit. While it successfully brought so many prominent thinkers (such as Saskia Sassen, Jochai Benkler, Larry Lessig, etc) and representatives of some very important media activists/practicioners (such as wikipedia, indymedia, creativecommon) and provides great conference facilities, this conference is amazingly free of charge. It also provides free wireless connection and even free food! No wonder there are many students coming to the conference.

The conference is much bigger than I previously imagined it would be. Unlike so many association conference (which can be thousands of participant and hundreds of papers), this 2-days conference actually only have 4 panels per day, with 4-5 presenters and 3-5 panelists per panel. So, in term of presenters, it's a relatively small conference. However, there are more than 100 participants. I think there are about 150-200 participants.

My panel is held on the first day. It concerns about the dynamics relationship of new media activism and urban fabric. Interestingly, I am perhaps the only academic presenter in that panel, the rest are media activists. It is enjoyable of course to be among activists. While I can only 'talk' about urban activism -- street arts, popular/cultural urban activism, locative media -- these media activists can actually inform me about the reality of doing activism.

All in all, this is a great conference. It feels good to be able to enjoy my first conference this year, after intentionally being off from conferences for nearly a year (I sadly rejected some invitations this year, duh!!)... and of course my first conference as a non-student too..:P

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My home!


After staying at hotel(s) for 33 days, I finally moved in to an apartment. This is my first 'home' in my life where I am really in charge of everything. All apartment by my own! This is great. In the last 4 years, I never stayed in one room/apartment for more than 5 months. Kept moving, changing places. This apartment is gonna be my home for at least 11 months. I feel excited about it. I love this apartment.

This is not really a big luxurious apartment. But for me, this is the best place of stay in my life where I don't have to share anything with anybody else. In my parents' house, I never had any bedroom bigger than 6 sqm. When I started to be out of my parents' home, I mostly stayed in cramped small room(s) with shared facilities. The worst was a 3.6 sqm room in Jakarta. The best place I got in Holland was an 18 sqm studio apartment with shared shower/toilet/storage.

This is a 2 floors loft apartment. Downstairs, there are (all small) living room, dining room and kitchen. Upstairs are bedroom, bathroom, and dressing room. That's all. The apartment came unfurnished, but a previous tenant was very nice to me. Previously he offered me his couch and his desk. Later on, he also gave me his microwave, blender, toaster, dressing table, drawer, bookshelve, dining table + chairs, lamps, and a great leather desk chair as well as kitchenware. I don't have to spend hundred bucks to buy furniture.

I still work so hard in cleaning my apartment. Soon, I'll also decorate it. Oooh, I am still so excited! Great feeling.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Invloed van internet op Indonesische politiek

Just found out today that I was in the UT-Nieuws.

donderdag 8 september 2005, jaargang 40, nr. 25
rubriek: Onderwijs en Onderzoek

merlyna lim promoveert bij groep van nico schulte nordholt

Invloed van internet op Indonesische politiek

Hoe beïnvloedt internet politiek activisme? De Indonesische onderzoekster Merlyna Lim onderzocht onder andere welke rol internet speelde in de Indonesische `reformasi' in 1998. Lim promoveerde op 1 september aan de faculteit BBT, binnen de technology and sustainable development group van professor Nico Schulte Nordholt.

De promovenda onderzocht de relatie tussen internet en politieke actievoering aan de hand van twee voorbeeldsituaties uit Indonesië. `Ik was erg geïntrigeerd door het onderwerp omdat ik zelf ervaren heb hoe de betrokkenheid van burgers bij de politiek veranderde door de opkomst van internet in Indonesië', aldus Lim.

Haar eerste praktijkvoorbeeld was het gebruik van internet tijdens de `reformasi' van mei 1998: de politieke vernieuwingsbeweging die oud-president Soeharto dwong de macht uit handen te geven. De onderzoekster ontdekte dat internet in deze periode op unieke wijze bijdroeg aan het politiek activisme dat uiteindelijk leidde tot zijn val. `Ik was in 1998 getuige van de revolutionaire studentenbewegingen die het internet gebruikten om politieke informatie te verspreiden.' Vervolgens ontstond er een intensieve uitwisseling van berichtgeving tussen het internet en de conventionele media en, omdat Indonesiërs vooral in cybercafés internetten, met studentenactivisten, taxichauffeurs en gewone burgers. Op die manier werd de kritiek op het bewind van Soeharto gemeengoed onder de massa.

Werkte internet in het geval van Soeharto als een bevrijdend medium, in het tweede voorbeeld dat Lim onderzocht werkte internet precies tegenovergesteld. Zij richt zich daarin op het gebruik van internet door de Jihad Troopers, een radicale militiegroep, betrokken bij het Molukse conflict tussen moslims en christenen.

In dit voorbeeld laat Lim zien hoe internet als mobilisatiestrategie werd ingezet. Door directe informatie over gewelddadige gebeurtenissen elders in de moslimwereld kon deze lokale identiteit worden uitvergroot en agressiever worden. Hierdoor nam het conflict in omvang toe en duurde het langer. Lim: `De informatie die de Jihad Troopers verspreidden lokte andere partijen uit. Bovendien waren hun boodschappen provocerend, simplistisch en radicaal. Zo bleven ze lang hangen bij de mensen.'

Lim concludeert dat internet creatieve interactie tussen mensen onderling en tussen mensen en hun omgeving mogelijk maakt. Door die openheid is de technologie minder gevoelig voor dominantie door een klein aantal elites. Terwijl internet de potentie heeft om collectieve actie te generen en te ondersteunen, zal het wereldwijde netwerk volgens Lim nooit het belang van culturele en interpersonele contacten vervangen in collectieve acties.

Alhoewel de relatie tussen internet en democratisering ambigue is, kunnen haar onderzoeksresultaten gebruikt worden om maatschappelijke organisaties in ontwikkelingslanden te informeren over het relatieve belang van internet voor het proces van democratisering.

De Indonesische ambassadeur in Nederland M. Jusuf woonde de promotie van Merlyn Lim bij. Lim: `Ik voelde me bijzonder vereerd en ook erkend.' Ze verrichtte haar onderzoek met steun van de NWO- stichting WOTRO, wetenschappelijk onderzoek van de tropen en ontwikkelingslanden. Lim promoveerde cum laude. Vanaf 11 september werkt ze als research fellow bij het Annenberg Center for Communication aan de University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Jannie Benedictus



Merlyna Lim promoveerde cum laude bij professor Nico Schulte Nordholt (rechts).


Copyright redactie UT-Nieuws. Page generated on woensdag 07 september 2005, 18:14 by UT-Nieuws

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My first day at work

It's exciting to finally start my work after kept delaying it. I was asked to start my job on 15th of August, but I couldn't so then I postponed it to the 1st of September. Yet, since I had to go to Bahrain, I only started it today, the 12th of September.

After 27++ hours trip and a few hours sleep, I turned my brain to be ready for work this morning. I walked to my office with a mixed feeling. Excited about the job, curious about my office, scared a bit about everything.

When I found the building where my office is located, I couldn't believe my eyes. The Annenberg Center for Communication of the University of Southern California is sitting in a very beautiful Kerckhoff Building. Really great! As an (ex) architect, the 'where' is always important for me.


Kerckhoff Building

I haven't really started my job. I only came to check my office, talked with some people in the Center, and had my orientation with the International Office. I am glad to get some paperwork done and so happy to get my USC ID card! Great!

Now, I will go home. It's already 5:30 pm. I am tired, sleepy and hungry. Luckily it's easy to get some great food... restaurants are all over the neighborhood.

Hmm.... I am curious, what kind of adventure I'll have in this city....?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Online from Cincinnati, OH

This is me again, connected to the Internet from the Delta Crown Lounge at the Cincinnati (Ohio) airport. After flying for about 6.5 hours from Bahrain to Amsterdam, I got a 5 hours layover, then had to spend 9 hours to get to Cincinnati. And it's not yet over, ugh. I still need to be on the airplane for about 4.5 hours to get to L.A. I think I'm circling over more than half of the globe! Yikes. I'm glad that everything will soon be over....

A conversation at the immigration desk

When you enter one country, whom do you speak for the first time? In most cases, it is the immigration officer, right? Sometimes I get some real conversations with these officers, sometimes not. Some immigration officers can have a really good sense of humor. Guess that makes them survived.

The 8th time entering United States, I passed through Cincinnati, Ohio. The airport wasn't as busy as DC, New York or LA. The queueing line wasn't not bad at all. One security guard, who stood in front of the immigration desks, shouted that we had to run as soon as there was an empty desk. He counted, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, you failed!" or "1, 2, 3, 4, 5... yeah, touch down!... you got it!". It was fun, people laughed.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, it was my turn. Desk 3, it was a lady officer. She asked, "What visa? Oh J-1! Show me your documents." Then she asked some questions: "What are you doing in US? What kind of research?". Things went ok. She treated me nicely. I got my index fingers and eyes scanned. Then she looked again carefully at my DS-2019 form, her expression was changed and suddenly I had this conversation....

The Officer (TO): USC?!?!? (nasty face)
Me: Yes.
TO: Don't you know it's a really bad university?
Me (shocked, 5 seconds of silenzio)
Me (quickly answered): Oh really? Too late, I should have known it earlier!
TO (looked at me with a cold face for 4-5 seconds)
TO (changed her expression, she laughed)
TO: Haha.. I'm from UCLA. You know we hate each other!
Me: Hehehe.
TO: Ugh.... USC.... downtown...
Me: Yeah, I'll be trapped there...
TO: USC, University of Sport Center! (laughed again)
Me: hehehe...
TO: Well, OK, good luck with USC and everything! (smiled)
Me: Thanks a lot!

Wheeeeeew.... what a conversation to have at the immigration desk!
Of course we all know that for Americans (mostly), cross-town universities usually treat each other as a real rival. Big competition! I know USC and UCLA are in real rivalry, but didn't expect to have such conversation at the airport! Funny... hehe.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Online again from Bahrain

It's my sixth day in Bahrain where most of time has been spent in this room, the plenary room of the Bahrain Exhibition Center. Like almost everybody who attend the plenary meeting of the World Summit Award grand jury, I put the jacket/suit on. Funny, in hot places like Bahrain, we all are freezing!

This is the last plenary meeting we, the jurors, have. Despite some disagreements and perhaps some disappointment, we are all glad that we can finish our job in selecting 40 world best products in e-content applications which is really not an easy job. It's really a great experience to be able to see hundreds of e-content products from all over the world. In addition, it's a very valuable experience to be able to know other jurors who came from different parts of the world.

Now I am witnessing the closure of this event. It feels relieved to finally have everything over.


The WSA grand jury with ICNM staffs

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rambling about Bahrain

It's my third day in Bahrain and yet I have only seen a very little part of this city. This morning I and some other jurors went to the museums, the Bahrain National Museum and the House of Quran (Bait Al Quran). Both were interesting, especially the Quran one. Bait Al Quran displays a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Holy Quran and manuscripts. It has the oldest, the biggest, the smallest, and all kind of Holy Quran. Really fascinating. The Bahrain National Museum was OK. It basically tells the story of civilization of Bahrain. One artifact that impressed me most is the ancient Dilmun (Bahrain) grave from 3000-2000 BC.

It felt so nice to finally see something else than the hotel and the workplace, even though the hotel is a nice one. Here I stay in the 4 stars hotel, Mercure Grand Hotel Seef, which is a luxurious hotel. The room is sooooo huge. It is approximately 80 m2 consists of 50 m2 kitchen/dining/living room, 20 m2 bedroom and 10m2 bathroom. It is the biggest hotel room ever for me.

Being a grand juror of the World Summit Award is always fun and interesting. This is my second time participating in this event (two years ago it was held in Dubai). While it's still as exciting as the first time, this time I didn't get interesting categories to judge. Last time it was e-Culture and e-Inclusion. Both were so interesting, especially e-Culture. This time, I got e-Science for the first round and e-Business for the second round. e-Science was much more interesting than e-Business. e-Business is kinda boring for me. That's why I am feeling so sleepy and thus try to refresh myself by blogging rather than continue working on it! (Well, I actually am finished with my work, now just pretending to work, oops...).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Flying high

KLM flight, on the way to Bahrain

Two days after my public defense, I am flying high (emotionally and in a literal way as well), still in the seventh heaven, not yet quite hitting the ground :D. I am still filled with excitement, my adrenalin level is still so high. I also am still lacking of sleep, lightheaded, and still like being in the different reality. Guess I should try to hit the ground!

The next two weeks, I think, will be still like a dream. Not quite real since I will be in super hectic mode with my Bahrain and LA trips and my involvement in the World Summit Award. After Bahrain, I'll be busy trying to settle in LA. Perhaps once I get an apartment in LA, then I'll be earthed.

For now, I'll just enjoy my Bahrain time. It will be exciting. Cannot wait to land there.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I just closed the final curtain

Yes, I just closed the final curtain of my formal education, my latest stage of higher education, Ph.D. I am relieved, I am happy, I am full of joy, I am excited. Therefore I cannot sleep just like yesterday when I was so nervous preparing myself for the defense :).

My public oral defense, how was it? Here is the story.

Early morning Sept 1st, 2005
I wrote: It's already that day, the 1st of September. In less than half day I'll have my public oral defense. I tried to sleep but I couldn't. My mind cannot stop thinking. Ah, I really need some sleep so I'll try again to get some sleep, perhaps an iPod will help. I know I shouldn't be nervous, but I am.

Morning to noon of Sept 1st, 2005
After having such a little sleep, I started my day with a visit to downtown Enschede. I bought some frames for some drawing I made for my committee members, then I took a bus to the building where I would have my defense, De Spiegel, to do a try-out of my powerpoint. Alas, at first my file couldn't be opened. Luckily, after re-copied the file, it worked well. I did a try-out to make sure that my presentation wouldn't be longer than 12 minutes. It was difficult to make such a short effective presentation, but with the 'strict control' of Joe (my 2nd paranymph) I managed to do so. After that, I went to the office and did some printing stuff. I printed some defense tips I made for myself [tips such as "speak slowly", "stay cool", "don't panic", "give emphasis on key words"]. Finished everything, after missing the bus, I finaly went home, but for only 45 minutes, then headed back to De Spiegel building. It was 2:00 pm. My presentation had to start at 2:45 pm. I quickly changed my clothes. Put a bit of make up. Made my hair. It took me only 20 minutes to finish all and everything was set. Yes, I wore kebaya Sunda and batik tulis halus.

[paranymph is the term used for an assistant or a best man/woman of a phd candidate in his/her promotie/public defense]

2.45 pm
Usually the defense is never late. This time, though, it started late because, surprisingly nice, the Indonesian Ambassador came to attend my defense and his atache who accompanied him came a bit late. Because of the Ambassador presence, the president of university came to the defense room to welcome him, thus he also came to me and wish me luck. It was such a priviledge.

2.53 pm
The beaddle/pedel entered the room, followed by me and the two paranymphs. I then started my presentation by introducing my two paranymphs, Sarah and Joe. They were chosen by me because they were living witnesses of my erratic behavior and they were suffered most by sharing their rooms with me during my writing dissertation process :P The presentation went well. I had my audience (approx 60-70 people) laughed at my jokes (I started everything with INdomie TEloR korNET stuff) and gave me a big applause at the end.

3.05 pm
The beaddle came with his stick, marking the beginning of a real event. Within 45 minutes, I got 6 questions from 6 examiners. It was full of tension. All questions were much more difficult than what I could guess. Amazingly, I had answers for each question. I didn't know how it happened. I just heard the answers in my head. I guess answers just came from the inside of me. It went better than what I expected.

3:50 pm
The beaddle came again. The defense was over. Wuuuih, a big relief. The next 15 minutes was awaiting moment. The committee went to the secret room to discuss their decision.

4:05 pm
The beaddle and the committee came back to the room. The chairman (Dean) invited me to come to hear the decision. Well, at first it was exciting but it was predictable. At that moment, I thought, of course, just like anybody else who had their PhD defense in Holland, I would pass and I would get the degree. That's all. So, I was cool when my promotor read and explain the decision. Then there was a small pause.

The Dean announced that I was awarded a Doctoral degree with Cum Laude. Wow! I stuned. The audience cheered. That was really something. Unexpected. Unpredictable. I didn't think about it at all. Indeed it was a very very nice big surprise. Wow!

The rest of the day then became extraordinary. My promotor's speech was great. The reception was enjoyable. The dinner party was superb.

I feel blessed to be surrounded by great professors, excellent committee, helpful colleagues and loving friends as well as superb family (great parents, of course).

I also want to thank you all of my friends in cyberspace who have been supportive. Thank you, really.

mer

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And now the end is near

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain (of my formal education.. not of my life!)...
Only about 29 hours from now... oh!

Here is what I found from the Univ News about that 'end':

Promotie

Op donderdag 1 september a.s., 15.00 uur, SP-2, promoveert Merlyna Lim op haar proefschrift getiteld:

‘@rchipelago online: The Internet and Political Activism in Indonesia’

Monday, August 22, 2005

Crowded city


Bandung, seen from the top floor of Pasar Baru building, august 2005

On a crowded street in a crowded city.
Many roofs. Many houses. Many cars. Many people.
Crowded is as crowded does.

Street vendors

All kind of drinks, various types of noodles, and many other varieties of food stuff are sold by Bandung street vendors.


Pecinan Lama, Bandung, August 2005

From the window (2)


my room, dayeuhkolot, august 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

My D book!



I finally got my D book printed! So exciting to see it in a form of book. Well, it's not a real book, it is just a D book and not [yet] published by a well-known publisher (I will, someday). Still, it feels good to hold it my hands.

For those who aren't familiar with Dutch PhD system, I better explain what one should do to get a PhD in Holland. A PhD candidate has to submit a proposal for scheduling a public defence about 4-6 months in advance before the defence after getting an approval from the supervisor. The final draft of D manuscript has to be ready to be circulated among examiners about 3 months (in my case, 3.5 months) before the scheduled public defence. These examiners should consist of professors in all disciplines related to the D. They should also represent not only a host university (in my case, Twente) -- and should also represent other faculties than mine --- but also other universities. In my case I have 6 examiners, 4 from Twente and 2 external ones (from Canada and USA). They shouldn't be involved in my writing process. Actually I don't personally know most of them. The examiners read them for about 1.5 month and give their appraisal whether the manuscript meets the standard of Ph.D dissertation and whether they are satisfied with the quality of writing or not. If they said yes, then the candidate would go for a public defence as planned, otherwise he/she would postpone the defence and revise accordingly until all examiners are satisfied. When these examiners say yes, the PhD candidate actually de facto has already obtained his/her PhD degree, but de jure he/she would get it later, after the public defence. As soon as getting 'YES' from the examiners, a PhD candidate should get the manuscript printed as a book, to be circulated to all Doctoral committee members (supervisors and examiners), the Doctorate Board, a dean, libraries in Holland, and others.

So, I submitted my final manuscript on May 23rd, 2005 and got all YES from the examiners on the 2nd of July. And yesterday I got my book printed. Wow, it feels good. I keep looking at it again and again. I cannot believe that I could write such book..... I forget how I did it... Perhaps it wasn't me who wrote it.... hehehe.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Bandung, lembur kuring



Parantos sasasih abdi mulih ka Bandung. Sateuacan nepi ke Bandung, abdi nyangken pun lembur teh moal robih-robih teuing. Abdi lepat. Bandung teh tos robih pisan. Waktos abdi nyobian nyetir deui for the first time, abdi lieur bin jangar. Nepikeun ka nyasab ka leuweung sagala.. eh, maksadna mah sanes leuweung forest euy.... tapi leuweung outlet!?!?! Teungteuingeun atuh, Lady Dayeuh kasasar mah... meuni isin atuh!!!

Bandung, Bandung, Bandung nelah kota Kembang,
Dilingkung gunung, heurin ku tangtung,
Puseur kota nu mulya Parahiyangan,
Pada muru, dijarugjugan.

Tembang buhun ieu diciptakeun puluhan taun nu kalangkung. Namung, parantos ngagambarkeun kaayaan Bandung nu krowdit, nepi keun nangtung oge hararese. Ayeuna mah, tos kacida heurinna. Lain heurin ku tangtung wungkul. Bandung oge heurin ke angkot, mobil pribados, mal, kape, sareng eP-O.

Ah, Bandung.... Bandung....bade janten naon atuh anjeun teh?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hotspot and hot websites

I'm now at one of some Bandung hotspots... trying to judge which websites that are hot enough for cybersurfers! I have to finish judging some websites for Bubu Awards by 4th of August which is impossible to do if I had to browse these graphically rich websites from my home slow-painful-byarpet dial-up connection. Thanks to Bandung hotspots, now I can avoid my ears and bottom from being too hot!

For Melly, Rino, and other bloggers who are curious where the Bandung hotspots are located, here is the list (hey, you are Bandungers, you should know better than me! Jalan2 atuh...):
BSM food court (2nd floor), IP all floors, Oh La La Plaza Dago, Gambrinus Cafe, Arar Cafe, QB Bookstore Setiabudhi (ini tebakan Rino), and the Valley Dago.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bandung hotspot

I finally get a reasonably fast Internet connection. Wireless and free! Too good to be true...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

IFF 2005: Food, music and the farewell

The second of July 2005 was a memorable day. That was my last participation in the Indonesian Food Festival (IFF) in Enschede. The IFF is held every year by the Indonesian Student Association in Enschede (PPIE). I participated once before, in 2004, and it was enjoyable. While IFF is always about food, I didn’t contribute anything related to the food, but to the music. In this event, I participated as an entertainer; specifically as a singer and a musician with PPIE-MC band, which is a great band. It consists of some great people. Not only capable musicians, also people with great personalities. Araz, the coordinator, is a stunning pianist. He is a superb musician and a very nice person too. Tommy is a kind-hearted guy who plays bass and guitar extraordinarily. Wikan, a man who ‘found’ me, is a guy who can make a dazzling sound on the piano. Joe, a very fine person who is an astonishing drummer. Andrew, a sometimes ignorant yet sweet guy, is a very engaging vocalist and my duet partner, who sometimes also plays guitar. Diana who has a very fine voice (and a very cute daughter, Tara). Sometimes, we have additional vocalists: Njo, a very fun and a very nice guy who is also a "wannabe" singer …:P, and Rino, a very cool guy who can really sing. We also have Adit who is a loyal supporter and a good photographer. These people are lovable. It was always enjoyable to sing and play music with them.

In the IFF 2005, we performed some Indonesian songs, with a couple additional English and Dutch pop songs. I think it was a successful performance. People enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed them. I enjoyed every second of it. At the same time, I was feeling kinda sad, it was my last performance in the IFF and (perhaps) also my last with the PPIE-MC. It was a joyful performance .... yet kind of heartbreaking.

A day after the IFF, my band gave me a farewell jam. They played some music. We sang some songs we knew together. They also played some special songs for me. As the music flew, I tried to enjoy my last 'moments' with them. I tried to chew my last bytes of 'musical ectassy' with them. Joy, madness, laughters and tears mingled with our music and our togetherness. Each song they played spoke to my heart. Made each second of my last 'jam' with them so valuable, so precious that I didn't want it to end. But life goes on. I had to say goodbye anyway. The last song they played for me, "What a difference a day make", closed my precious moments with my beloved PPIE-MC friends.

Bye, dag, adios, my friends. You're always in my heart and our music is always alive. See you again somewhere, sometime, somehow.

luv,
mer

p.s. Thanks for Araz, Joe, and Andrew who wrote special notes about our farewell. They mean a lot to me.

Monday, July 04, 2005

.....e....n....s....c....h....e....d....e


mer, enschede centrum, 30 june 2005

It is me in Enschede, six hours and twenty four minutes before KL-809 will take me off the sky, flying from Schipol-Amsterdam to Jakarta. This is not my first time leaving the Netherlands. However, this one feels so different. Something is missing from me. Something that I leave in Enschede, my home. Something that grew in the space between me and Enschede. Something that has made my stay in this city so wonderful. Perhaps that something is the learning experience. Learning to love and to be loved.

My last days in Enschede have been so great. I enjoyed every second of it. I felt so loved, as if love had been pouring from the heaven just for me. My professor, my colleagues in my department, my friends in church, my music friends.. and even some people whom I never really knew, seemed to embrace me with love. I never realized that my last stay in Enschede has been so different if compared to my other periods of stay. I only realized it when I paused and thought about what had been happening to my life here. Enschede is always Enschede. Never really changes. People are people, they can be loving and unloving. But within the nexus of Enschede, me and people, things can change. And when you put love within this nexus, things are transformed. Perhaps that what has been happening in these last few months.

Ah, now it becomes too hard to leave this city and people who love me and whom I love. Yes, today I can say that I love this city -- something that I couldn't say three years ago, nor two years ago. Not because of it is Enschede, but because it's my Enschede, the space and place where one wonderful piece of my life was woven. Because in every corner of this city, I have memorable moments and events that are great part of the history, the history of my life.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Enschede station

come and go,
watching the number and observing the clock
still and moving, static and dynamic
m o m e n t a r i l y b l u r r e d
i n a r e a l m o f m o t i o n
o f o n e s t a t i o n.


sketched by mer, enschede, 16 june 2005

Thursday, June 23, 2005

30 days after the D-day

It's been 30 days since I submitted my dissertation. It had been approved by my promotor and co-promotors, but the dissertation still has to be assessed by examining committe members. The examiners are the ones who decide whether my dissertation meets the academic standard for Ph.D dissertation or not (then allowing me to go for public defense in September). I have 5 examiners in my committee: one from the same faculty (with my faculty) in Twente, two from different faculties in Twente, and two external ones (from Canada and United States). I personally know two of these 5 examiners, yet didn't interact with them in relation to my dissertation. Three out of the five met me only once and only in passing by. I am kinda nervous about the result.... The examiners are scheduled to give the final result before the 1st of July.

Up til now, only two examiners (from Canada and US) have given the result. Seems that 'far away' examiners are faster than the 'near by' ones. They said 'yes' -- with no correction. That's a good news. I'm a bit relief, but still nervous. The rule says that only one 'NO' is allowed to go for public defense. So since there are still three out there.... I am not yet relaxed.

Despite this 'waiting for YES' tension, my rhythm of life now is definitely 180 degrees totally different than all of those months before 23rd of May 2005. Something is missing. It feels so strange that I am no longer struggling with writing the dissertation, I am no longer having dreams about some theories, I am no longer trying to solve my D problems in my dream, I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night and automatically turning on my computer, I am no longer having some imaginary conversations with Castells, Foucault, Illich, and many other 'guys'... Ja, so many things are suddenly missing.

I miss those crazy times... but surely I don't want to go back to those times. Writing a second dissertation? No way, Jose!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Contact

"For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for some reason why we're here -- what are we doing here, who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer, I think it's worth a human life, don't you?"

Ellie Arroway

Today I watched Contact again, for the second time. I don't remember when I watched it for the first time, perhaps 5 years ago. Eventhough I knew the plot so well, I still enjoyed watching it.

Contact is a movie, made in 1997, that tells about a scientific attempt to investigate life beyond the earth. I really think it is a very good (or even great) movie, which offers an inspiring close encounter with the ineffable mystery that lies at the heart of each individual and at the core of the majestic universe.

Things in Holywood sci-fi movies that usually really bother me are some cop-outs that film makers usually put in order to lower the intelligence level of the script. However, this is not the case of Contact. I, in fact, am impressed of its technical accuracy. Time-space concepts used in this movie, for example, are accurate enough to me, at least based on what I have learned. The movie is believable partly because it does not try to replace true science with vague terms and gobbledygook. Robert Zemeckis's (the producer) persistence to really follow Carl Sagan, the writer of the novel this movie is based on, really helps this. Sagan is famous of being so accurate, details, and empirical in crafting his stories.

The best star in this movie is of course Jodie Foster (as Ellie Arroway) who, as always, plays very well. She is one of my favorite actresses. She plays brilliantly, almost convinces me that she really is a great scientist.

While it rightfully being classified as the story of humanity's first encounter with an extraterrestrial life form, at its heart, Contact is really more about a human being (Ellie Arroway) and a question for meaning in life. The questions Ellie poses (as quoted above) are really the core of this movie and, for me at least, the core of human's life. Her trajectory places Elly on a certain pathway with answers to these questions. From the nexus of this trajectory, her character development, and the resolution of this particular aspect of the story, a satisfying conclusion emerges. In the end, the science fiction elements become subordinate to the personal ones.

For those who desire both emotional and intellectual stimulations at the same time, Contact should definitely be in your menu.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

BBQ 2: The B, D, and J day of M


On 29 May 2005, I had a barbecue party with friends of mine. It was a party of my B, D, and J day.

27 people came. They ranged from 1 to (+/-) 50 years old. Originated from 11 countries!

From left to right:
Standing: Flor, Jonald, Isjel (Philippines), Rupa (Nepal), Zahabu (Tanzania), Helena (Indonesia), Arun (India), Nour (Sudan), Bhaskar (Nepal), Pamerdi, Susy, Daniel, Irawan (Indonesia)
Sitting down: Anurag (India), Yosep (Indonesia), J-zyf (Philippines), Robby (China), Andrew (Indonesia), Ajin (Holland/Nepal), Rihard (Indonesia), TJeerd (Holland), Mer (Indonesia), Coby (Holland), Thongchai (Thailand), Anne-Sofie (Sweden), Saut (Indonesia).

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cellar Door

"A famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words, that cellar door was the most beautiful."
(Ms. Pomeroy at Donnie Darko, 2001).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Dutch market


sketched by mer, enschede, june 2005

As we come to the market-square
welcomed by a busy fair
we hear music and voices
and so many choices

There're veggies, meat, and fishes
and old lady selling ceramic dishes
there are jonge and oud cheese
whose smell makes you sneeze

You can also sit and relax
with koffie and some snacks
or just make some knacks
in the Enschede's Oude Markt

BBQ 3: The 'preliminary' farewell

Yesterday evening I had my third BBQ party of the year of 2005. My group at the university, TSD, had a BBQ party at my professor's house in Reutum. Actually, my professor (advisor or promotor), Nico, held the party for me! What an honor! He called it a preliminary farewell party as well as a preliminary celebration for the end of my PhD study. It's preliminary because yet I have submitted my dissertation, I haven't actually defended it, so I'll be back to the Netherlands sometimes later this year.

Almost everybody from my group attended the party. My group is small in number (about 15 people) but very international. There are Dutch, British, Tanzanian, Nepalese, Sudanese, Indian, and of course Indonesian (we also have someone from Malawi, but he is currently not in the Netherlands). Two PhD students (from Thailand and Lybia) from the other group also joined. So, it was a truly international gathering.

In that occasion, my friends (other PhD students) took an opportunity to give me a farewell gift. I got a wonderful set of 'music related' gifts! A violin case (backpack), a folded compact music stand and a Dutch children songs book. Wow... they are superb! I love them. I also took an opportunity to say my thank you words and gave everybody who attended the party a thank you card that I made by myself (published in the Netherlands by Merlyna Lim Inc., ..hehe).

It was a wonderful evening. I really enjoyed the party. Great party. Good food, nice people, enjoyable chats, a wonderful atmosphere. I realize more that my friends and colleagues here are great. I'm going to really miss them all.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The window


sketched by mer, bed f305, medisch spectrum twente, 12 june 2004

As the wind breeze is knocking my pane
and the branch is tapping with its twain
I know that the earth is not on the wane
and my hope should not be in vain

I see my life is reclaimed
through the window frame.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Enschede

[this perhaps should be posted in my travelnotes, however, well, for now I just post it here]


sketched by mer, enschede, 24 feb 2005

sturdy houses, row by row
are speaking of stories from the past
quiet neighbourhoods, feet by feet
are whispering of songs from the future

in enschede
my home.

mer, feb 27, 2005.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Today

Dark shadows are shimmering,
reflecting the end of another day,
a hundred sunbeams splinter in an azure horizon
closing my day with infinite rays of the future

I always love evenings. I love how the day closes itself.
But I love all of today's moments. Morning, noon, afternoon, evening. All nows and thens of the day. Today. The day where I closed some dimensions of my life. The day where the new span of life began. The day where some dreams came true and some dreams remain. The day where my name appeared in the thoughts of some. The day where some prayers were spoken. The day where I feel so loved. I love today and today loves me.

Thank you for today.
Life, thank you.
My friends, thank you.
Love, thank you.
The One, thank you.

m,
feeling so light; just submitted the D on her b day.

My big D day

Yes, today is my big day. The big D day. Big in so many ways. Full of excitement.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Still on the 'no-go-blog' realm

My dearest friends,

I'm not yet out from my 'no-go-blog' realm. Still need perhaps 8 days to really work my big stuff out--to really really finish 'it'. Wish me luck. After that, many postings will be waiting for you.

About the previous posting (ASIST international paper contest), I encourage you to give it a try. (Well, not because I'm one of the judges, but because it's worth it to try). For Indonesian pals, please try if you can, so at least we will have another Indonesian winners in the contest!

Ok. That's all for now. See ya later, soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

2005 INTERNATIONAL PAPER CONTEST

2005 INTERNATIONAL PAPER CONTEST
on International Digital Libraries and Information Science & Technology Advances in Developing Countries

More information is available from the Paper Contest page at
http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGIII/papercontest.htm

The American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIST), International Information Issues Special Interest Group (SIG-III), is pleased to announce its sixth competition for papers to be submitted for the 2005 Annual Meeting, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28-November 2, 2005.

The theme of the paper is:
"Bringing Research and Practice Together - the Developing World Perspective."
The paper topic may address either the country or regional level issues. Papers could discuss issues, policies and case studies on specific aspects of this theme, such as, but not limited to, the following:
  • Social, ethical, political, legal, and economic and cultural issues: issues related to the role of information in society, such as information policy, access, security, privacy, and intellectual property, as well as the social uses and abuses of information technologies such as the Internet and World Wide Web in bridging or separating diverse communities.
  • Information organization, management, access, and retrieval.
  • Information seeking and use: the role of information in professional and daily lives, use of various types of information technology, and social contexts of information seeking.
  • Information technology, social equity and development: IT and governance, IT & and the new economy, including the future of work and implications of technological hardware and software developments; the role of ICTs in conflict management, etc.

There will be six winners. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges including Liwen Vaughan (chair), Yunfei Du, Yin Zhang, Duncan Omole, Merlyna Lim, Julian Warner, and Nathalie Leroy.

The prize for each winner is a two-year individual membership in ASIST. In the case of multiple authors, the principal author will be awarded the ASIST membership. In addition, depending on SIG III fundraising this year, the first place winner will be rewarded a minimum of $1,000 toward travel, conference registration, and accommodations while attending the ASIST Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28-November 2, 2005.

Publishing opportunities
Submitted papers will be considered for posting on the SIG III web site as pre-publications. In addition, they will also be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the International Information and Library Review, subject to the
usual peer refereeing process.

Information for authors
Only papers by a principal author who is a citizen of, and resides in a developing country are eligible. Winners in the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004 contests are not eligible. The papers should be original, unpublished, and in English. We encourage submissions from librarians, information and network specialists, and educators involved in the creation, representation, maintenance, exchange, discovery, delivery, and use of digital information.

ASIST Copyright Policy
ASIST will have the non-exclusive right to publish any of the papers submitted on its website or in print, with ownership and all other rights remaining with the author.

Deadline for submission of full papers
Authors are invited to submit manuscripts, not to exceed 5000 words, by June 30, 2005, to Duncan Omole at domole@worldbank.org.

Please check the SIG III website (http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGIII/) for more information about the SIG III International Paper Contest, including Frequently Asked Questions, past CFPs, previous winners and winning papers, and success stories from previous winners.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

no-go-blog

Hapunten, abdi teu tiasa nga-go-blog. Upami teu aya pamengan... langsung wae urang tunangan... eh leupat, maksud abdi, upami teu aya pamengan, se-seratan abdi tiasa di-aos deui di dieu (panginten) sasih Mei. Upami sasih Mei teu aya keneh, ka laut weeee...

Apology. I don't blog recently. I'll be back as soon as I am normal enough to blog. Oh, I mean I am abnormally normal. Oh, no, I mean now I am normal already but I need to be abnormal to blog anyway. Arghhhhh....

Maaf, sudah lama saya tidak bisa meng"go-blog", karena memang sedang tidak bisa. Jadi saya hanya akan meninjau blogs yang di go-blog orang lain. Suatu hari saya akan go-blog lagi.

Droevig. Ik niet blog. Bezoek ik later. Heup, verboden oven de door. Kleine-kleine minder wardeg, hoge veluwe, klop toch. Teuing, lieur, alsjtublief.

(red: jangan dibaca literal ya -- sengaja dikasih keterangan karena ada yang protes kalo bahasa saya kasar, padahal kan lagi main-main....boohooo... disangka kasar)

Friday, April 08, 2005

lieur en jangar

hayang meuli sapatu beureum
kalah manggih sandel swallow
sirah teu benjut panon teu beureum
kuring lieur teu puguh la yauw

keur dahar jengkol di parapatan
dibaledog ku sandel swallow
sirah jangar otak teu jalan
ngeblog teh jadi kararacow

ensekede, april 05

Thursday, March 31, 2005

sonatina malam

daun berdenting dalam gesekan dawai sang bayu. memetik nada sepoi basah angin timur. mendulang nada dalam hasrat berbagi diri. cinta dan air mata dan sepasang gelak canda.

malam bernyanyi dalam alun sonatina tak bernada. menabuh daun jendela terpa wajah terpejam. sandarkan melodi dalam rebak kerinduan. cinta dan tawa dan secupak air mata.

cinta. aku rindu.
rindu. aku cinta.


m, calslaan 49-52

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tsunami... again? No, but....

Early this evening I heard another scarry news about Indonesia. Yes, another tsunami in Sumatra... Indian ocean again.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4388579.stm

Oh, wrong, it's not a tsunami. It's a massive earth quake in Nias, but did not really trigger tsunami yet tsunami alerts were issued [rev].

Coincidentally, this quake happened just one day after Easter day while the December tsunami happened just one day after Christmas.

Ah.. I still don't know how to react.... what to say.
Just hoping there'll not be that many victims this time.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter....

almost, I had my Easter day passed without any meaning...
fortunately, today turned to be a sweet day, full of profound joy and hope.

May this Easter day become a moment to be grateful
just as God has given us, today, the most precious gift of love
Let's be a passage to deliver this love to all of God's children

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The erasure of memories

If I could, what memories would I erase?

Would it be something from my childhood? An unpleasant set of pictures of myself in a dark corner of my Bandung bedroom? Would it be one friend who betrayed our friendship? Would it be all about someone I met (eight) years ago, who gave me some (emotional) bruises at the end of our relationship? Or would it be someone who always give me real laughters yet also sad tears?

Our memories store some unpleasant echoes of failure and betrayal. These can make us unhappy; some people want to forget these memories and move with their lives. So, wouldn't it be great if we can have some selective unwanted memories erased?

In the movie I just finished watching, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you can have that option. Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) and his staff (Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood), with their company Lacuna, offer this service by performing a certain 'brain surgery' procedure. And the story begins when Joel (Jim Carey) is going through this procedure after he finds out that her girl-friend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), has her memories of Joel erased.

As you can guess, like all other movies with techno-science theme, this movie too dwell on the technological failure. So it goes, procedure of having Joel's memories of Clementine removed is a failure and this is really the core of the whole story.

I'm not gonna tell how the story goes and how it ends. You better watch it by yourself. While I don't think it's a 5-stars movie, I really think it is a very interesting movie. I like the way it presents technological breakthrough stuff as channel to metaphorically pose a deeper dilemma: would we be better off or not by erasing heartbreak from our lives. Charlie Kaufmann (a writer) did a great job in presenting this dilemma in a smart framework of pyschological adventures . The plot is clever. The story is poignant. And of course the actors did so well.

I love some scenes--visual collage--of erasure moments where tangible artifacts are rumbling off as the memories are gradually removed. It is not a new idea, but still, it works well in this movie.

Much I can say about this movie. On the top of it, for me this movie is a reminder that true happiness has no easy answers. It is not merely about a gigantic collection of good and beautiful memories.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

inkblot

silly test but i did it anyway.
http://web.tickle.com/tests/inkblot/



Merlyna, your subconscious mind is driven most by Curiosity

You are full of questions about life, people, and your own potential. You spend more time than others imagining the possibilities for your life — and you're open to things others are too afraid to consider.

You have an almost physical need to know and do more. It's only through new experiences that you feel a greater understanding of yourself and the world. You also have a rebellious streak that shows up when you feel unable to truly influence the world or circumstances around you. Your appetite for novel experiences also shows an openness others don't have, but wish they did.

Your psyche is very rich; the more you learn about it, the more you will understand who you really are.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A breaking news that breaks: My friend is a .....

On February 24th, 2005, Guardian Unlimited put this breaking news: "Palestinian Cabinet Dominated by Academics". My eyes went through the lines and then the breaking news really broke me as I read this line:

Sabri Saidam, 41, communications and technology: holds doctorate in electric engineering, worked for U.N. aid agencies in the Gaza Strip, Welfare Association on Palestinian development issues, technology coordinator and chairman of the Internet Society-Palestine Chapter.

Why so? Because Sabri Saidam, a new Palestinian Minister of Communications and Technology, is a good friend of mine. Just a month ago, early February, I met Sabri in New York. I met him for the first time in Geneva about a year ago as we happened to be in the same research network "Information Technology and Civil Society" funded by SSRC. Sabri is such a nice sweet guy. I will never forget a thick mustache and a warm smile on his clean face. I actually spent much of my last day in New York with him. Me and him walked together after our last conference session and had coffee together before attending the dinner. After dinner, we got along together again, taking a short midnight tour around Manhattan. He gave me four big warm hugs as we said goodbye that night.

I am just so happy that at such a young age he has achieved an extraordinary thing and he really deserves that. I wish him the best. I believe Sabri will do his best for his country, Palestine. Best of luck, Sabri, my friend.

This is actually the second time that my friend became a Minister. The first was Silvia, Silvia Adriana Ticau, one of my colleagues who was appointed a Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Romania last year. Silvia is a young lady I met at the World Summit Award where we spent about a week together in Dubai in 2003. Then later that year in Geneva for about 3 days. However, I think I have more connections to Sabri. Despite our being together at the World Summit Award, I don't really know Silvia well. Still, I was a bit proud knowing that she became a minister, though.

Funny that while I know the Palestine Minister well enough, I don't actually know any Indonesian Minister. Let alone Minister, I don't know any 'pejabat' in Indonesia... and all Ministers and pejabats in Indonesia don't know me either... hehehe. Anyway... it's ok, I don't lose anything anyway by not knowing them...;)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

snow...

snowflake of white wisps
dancing down the crest
covering each hardship
with a gentle puffiness

snowfall of white angels
coating, blanketing the earth
purifying my heart's ails
in the decorum of white

flurries of white feathers
eddies passing into time
are my unspoken prayers
awaken the sublime

(c) mer, besneeuwd enschede, 3 maart 2005

Monday, February 28, 2005

Kampung kuring banjir....

Beberapa hari lalu, tepatnya hari Kamis minggu lalu, aku dapat email dari 3 kawan yang memberitahukan bahwa Dayeuhkolot banjir besar, tergenang air sekitar 2-3 meter. Oh! Sebagai Lady Day(euh) aku tentunya langsung panik mendengar daerah kekuasaanku terserang bencana banjir! Serius, dua rius, tiga rius, aku betul-betul panik dan langsung menelepon ke Bandung. Pasalnya aku ini kan orang Dayeuhkolot asli. Tepatnya dari kampung Perbas/Cigereleng, desa Pasawahan, kecamatan Dayeuhkolot. Orang tuaku dan keluargaku masih bermukim di sana.

Setelah tersambung dengan ibuku, aku merasa sedikit lega mengetahui ternyata rumah ortu-ku tidak tergenang air. Untunglah, rumah ortu-ku baru direnovasi dan di-tinggi-kan 50 cm. Air hanya masuk sampai pekarangan saja, kata ibuku. Walaupun begitu, sedih juga mendengar daerah-daerah yg kukenal baik, tempat teman-temanku bermukim -- Kampung Bojong Citepus di Desa Cangkuang Wetan serta Kampung Citeureup, Palasari dan Babakan Sangkuriang di Desa Pasawahan -- semuanya tergenang air. Palasari itu hanya sekitar 5 menit dari rumahku dan termasuk daerah yang parah terkena banjir.

Ah, setiap musim hujan, orang-orang di Bandung Selatan inilah yang terkena bencana banjir. Sementara orang-orang kaya yang bermukim di 'daerah resapan' di Bandung Utara sana duduk-duduk dengan santai menikmati nyanyian hujan dari balik kaca jendela rumah mewah mereka.

Ini adalah alasan nomor satu mengapa aku meninggalkan pekerjaanku sebagai arsitek di salah satu developer besar di Bandung Utara (Dago tepatnya) beberapa tahun silam. Karena aku terlibat proyek besar yang membabat daerah resapan dan menyulap slop-slop curam yang tak boleh dibangun menjadi kawasan pemukiman mewah yang dijual di atas harga 500 juta per kapling. Karena aku melihat tetangga-tetanggaku di Dayeuhkolot menjadi semakin sengsara, kebanjiran paling tidak sekali setahun dengan tingkat banjir yang semakin parah, seiring dengan semakin menjamurnya kompleks hunian di Bandung Utara sana.

Semakin tak menyesal aku meninggalkan pekerjaan itu. Paling tidak aku tidak dihantui perasaan bersalah. Paling tidak aku tak merasa dilumuri dosa. Paling tidak telunjuk-ku tak menuding dadaku sendiri saat tetangga-tetangga di desaku kebanjiran. Ya... paling tidak.... Walaupun ke 'paling tidak' an ku ini, tak ada gunanya sama sekali.... mungkin. Ah...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

As long as I have music.......

These days, I realize even more than I am so dependent on music. I listen to the music almost 24 hours (I fall asleep with music being played on my ears). I have difficulties working in the office because I cannot turn on the music directly from my computer without using earphones.. ugh. My latest gadget is a small iPod shuffle that is always hung on my neck wherever I travel. Yes, I am dependent on music.

More than just listening to music, I found myself playing music and singing more than ever in my life these days. Even more than when I was in student-choir in ITB (my university in Bandung). In ITB, I sang in the choir and was a conductor too, for some time, but I didn't play music at all, not even for fun. Perhaps I was inferior because I thought I couldn' play "technically" well (I learned music by myself) also I never had any instrument by my own to practice. I also didn't sing solo there, because I was inconfident about it. But here, in Enschede, I got so many chances to perform. I started singing solo in one occasion and then got invited to sing solo more and more and now it becomes my habit! I enjoy it a lot. I also started to play piano and guitar in some events. I also bought a used instrument and started to learn it since 4.5 months ago. A difficult instrument... violin! I mostly learn by myself, yet in the last 2 weeks I tried a teacher. I am still not great in it, but guess it's not bad...:P I played in 3 events already and I loved playing this beautiful instrument.

I think I have conquered my inferiority, not because I am now much better in singing and playing, but now I am spiritually freed to do them. For me, singing and playing music are not about showing what you can do or how good you are, but using them as channels to express myself, to show how great life is, to share the love that God has given to me. Of course, I try to do them well, means I search to be better and better, but that's not the final purpose of doing these anyway. I am doing these because music is the way to set my spirit free!

Playing music and singing are primary needs for me. I cannot survive in my stressful life without them. Music is one of the most important elements of my life. If I cannot sing and cannot play music, oh.... how empty my life would be. When I get headache and tired because of my academic work (which is piling up like crazy -- monograph (book) manuscript, book chapters, articles, and dissertation..!!), I play music and feel so content. Music helps me to grow spiritually, too.

Last night, after singing and playing music at the Praise and Worship Evening, I felt soooo good. I felt satisfied, like all of my burden was suddenly liften. It was so great to end the whole singing moments by finding out that people still wanted more... It was like love flowing over your head.....

For as long as I have music
as long as there's a song for me to sing
I can find my way, I can see a brighter day
the music in my life will set my spirit free!


mer, falling in love with music, again and again

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Am I?

After taking this test, apparently I am:

A brilliant learner with a knack for almost everything, you choose to spend your efforts in the pursuit of travels that extend your own potential.
Quote: "Maybe I am sick of following rules and regulations!"

This characteristic is depicted in Wesley Crusher, a character in the Star Trek universe. His biography can be seen at Startrek.com.

It is an interesting result and not the most popular one... yet not the least popular either. I think that representation fits me ... :)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The LIFE

I don't know why suddenly these days some friends of mine are in edgy situations. They shared me their feelings in their emails to me and unfortunately I am never able to really help except giving my words of comfort, sharing my experiences, and lending my ears to listen.

One of some friends shared me how she is feeling so empty living in one place, tiring of her work, frustated about her love-life.... lost in the dessert.. emptiness of life.. where all look too similar.. sands... sands everywhere. Her experience may sound familiar to so many people. At least once in our lives, each of us experiences such a dry moment, feel lost and empty. We feel trapped in the chaotic situation with a pile of unsolved problems. We struggle to get out from this trap but just get drowned deeper and deeper. We end up feeling deeply discontent, unhappy, and frustated.

A labyrinth named 'life' is a tangled maze. Sometimes, or most of times, we try to straighten each string of the web of life, struggle to put each string into boxes of elements of life (school, work, love, etc..etc.. you name it), sweat to sort the tangle out. Most of times, or in all times, we fail. Everything in the web of life are connected. There is never a way to sort out the tangle, because it is a web, it is a labyrinth, and yes, it's a maze, a big confusion. And that's why life is complicated and not easy. Yet precisely in its complexity, life becomes so unpredictable, mysterious, challenging.. and in itself is very interesting, precious and valuable. Still, while we know how complicated and interesting life is, we continue struggling to rationalize the life.

In times of turbulence, we rationalize it even more. We try to identify problems, causes, causality links, etc...etc... We thought we knew the answer. We thought the problem was the person, or the work, or the family....the place...... and many other or's. But in fact, our relationships to these nodes-- persons around us, our work, our family, our school, etc -- are in our big bundle, none is independent, none can be isolated from others. Our problems after all cannot be externalized as much as happiness also cannot be external to our existence. When we are discontent abour ourselves, all nodes around us seem to be collapsed.. but they fix themselves once we are content...

When we're discontent we sometimes think it perhaps because of the place, the people, the work, etc...etc... but it's not merely one of them or all of them. Life is mostly about ourselves, the self. Life is about you. Yes, life is about me.

In my life, things are begun with me. Life is about me. Meaningful contented life, full of happiness, is depending only on one self, ME. Problems, stressful moments, confusion, frustation, anger, tears, they are always there... never really stop. But the love to life and the full contentment -- about who we are and what we are doing -- can wrap and protect the life... makes life so strong, so impeccable, unbreakable.*

I see tress, red roses too
I see them bloom for me, and you
and I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
are also in the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do
They're really saying, "I love you"

Ah, life is so precious.... When I listen to this song, I smell the sound of contentment. How I love this life. I find love with places I go, people I meet, and all things in between.... I fall in love with life, everyday I wake up in the morning, again and again.....

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

There will come a day ....

For anybody who needs this poem......

There will come a day
when a cluster of dark clouds
will disappear under a sunshower
and your stormy night
will turn to a glorious morn

There will come a day
when your tangled maze of frustation
will softly turn into a hopeful cycle of life
and your tears of sorrow
will flow into tears of joy

There will come a day
when you will go on believing
and treasure each of teardrops
that make the path
of your life

mer in hnl

Monday, January 31, 2005

Ruling Sex in the City: L’Etat, Power and Surveillance

This is actually my old essay; it was written in the light of Minister of Law and Justice's proposals for a revamp of the Indonesian civil code in September 2003. It was submitted to one Indonesian newspaper. It was rated as "a very good article" but rejected with this reason: "your manuscript is considered to be inappropriate for the current situation in Indonesia".

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Power is essentially what dictates its law to sex. Which means first of all that sex is placed by power in a binary system: licit and illicit, permitted and forbidden” (Foucalt, 1978).

Recent draft of Indonesian new criminal code brought sudden cacophonic debates since there is a tendency that the state wants to step in to citizens’ bedrooms. The sections that rule about pre-marital sex, committing adultery, practicing oral sex and homosexuality obviously show the state's attempts (and desires) to rule the sexuality life of its people.

What it is about sex that makes it important for the state to rule? The relationship between sex and the state is deeply and philosophically examined by Michel Foucault, the French sociologist who is also being labelled as both postmodernist and poststructuralist. Foucault whose being a perceptive critic of the state intensely explored the subtle and insidious nature of modern state control almost in all of his writing but especially in his early works such as Discipline and Punish (1975) and in one of his last, The History of Sexuality Vol. 1 (1978).

In the latter, Foucault tried to contrast two different types of power and state control. The first is the ‘right of death’ where the ruler could kill those who endangered his position or property. Crude examples of this can be found in traditional societies: stone to death for practicing witchcraft or adultery, cutting the hand of the thief, etc. The second is the ‘power over life’, where the state ‘takes care’ its people by regulating and safeguarding their minds and bodies. The best examples of the second can be found easily in Suharto’s Orba period. The rule of ’tamu 1 x 24 jam harap lapor’ (a guest who stays more than 24 hours in the neighborhood should be reported) clearly shows how the state, in the name of neighborhood security, tries to regulate the bodies, be it the relative who visit you, a distance friend, a boyfriend, or a secret mistress. While this rule was not necessarily obeyed by Indonesians, the rule itself was so much embedded in people’s mind that it created a sense of remorse in ones who did not act upon it.

Back to Foucault, the right of death means the ‘power’ to take one’s life or property in the fashion of a robber. In this case, sex was a bodily concern. In the modern state, power over life means the power to bring and pick up entire population’s activities, including sexual activity. Here the intention behind sex becomes the major concern, not the sex itself. In the Freudian psychology, this approach is refined and sex becomes an object for categorization, control and direction. This ‘subjectification’ affects the individual to self-formatting the way he/she acts toward sex. In effect, people may feel ‘free’ to talk about sex but what they are doing is what are demanded by society, opposing their genuine willingness and freedom and exposing themselves to surveillance and supervision.

By contrasting the two, we see a link between the repressive sex laws of the traditional ancient society and the permissive ones of the modern state. Both are a mean of control, yet the latter are more refined and subtle. The state is a peculiar advance and corruption of society and the individual. The state is not liberating but using power to exert control over its population. Through categorizing (adulteress, homosexual, sinner) and normalizing individuals (in the name of ‘norms and values’), the state can produce a totalizing web of control. In effect, citizens live in the shadow of the state and forever trapped in its lattice. In both cases, ‘the idea of sex makes it possible to evade what gives power its power, it enables one to conceive power solely as law and taboo’.

In state's power over sex, as clearly inscribed in the proposed Indonesian civil code, individuals are given no more control over their own destiny. All they have done is change the nature of their imprisonment, binding them with more elaborate and subtle controls – the velvet straitjacket. Indeed, the key instrument of oppression has been the state. The individual in modern state is being eliminated ‘like a face draw in the sand at the edge of the sea’.

Merlyna Lim
Enschede, October 2003.