Eee Kyu Says

Truth is elusive because words paint realities instead of reality. ©

Idul Fitri, Mudik, dan Macet

Kejadiannya setiap tahun sama, kan? Well, mirip mungkin kalau dilihat dari angka-angkanya. Tapi bagi saya, sama: Idul Fitri, mudik, dan macet – tiga serangkai yang selalu terjadi setiap tahun. 

Tahun ini tampaknya kejadiannya lebih parah daripada tahun yang lalu. 20 – 30 jam macet di satu titik? Sungguh mengerikan! Kehabisan bensin, tak mandi, buang air di mana, makan apa saja yang ada … Masih bisakah dianggap sebagai romantika?

Ingin aku membongkar tradisi. Tak perlu mudik! Pasti tak akan ada macet!

Tapi siapa aku? Tradisi adalah kekuatan maha dahsyat yang tak mungkin dilawan. Ia mampu mengendalikan orang-orang seperti remote control mengendalikan robot atau mobil mainan. Rasio, pengalaman empiris, dan analisa sungguh tak ada daya.

Tapi, hei! Ini bukan salah tradisi juga! 

Mudik adalah air bah yang tumpah ruah dari bendungan-bendungan bernama kota. Ia seperti banjir yang datang setiap musim hujan. Apakah musim dan hujan dapat kita salahkan?

Tentu kita tak dapat menyalahkan musim yang memang seharusnya bergulir, atau hujan yang sudah waktunya datang, bukan? Tapi kita tahu apa yang perlu kita lakukan untuk menyambutnya: membuat, memperbaiki, membersihkan saluran air, bendungan, dan sungai agar air yang datang bisa menjadi rahmat dan bukan justru bencana.

Aku pikir seharusnya  mudik pun diperlakukan seperti itu, bisa dihitung. Apalagi kejadiannya berulang dan berpola setiap tahun. Berapa kapasitas bendungan? Berapa kapasitas jalan-jalan air yang bisa menampung luapannya? Berapa jumlah mobil dan motor di kota? Berapa persen yang kira-kira akan keluar dan dalam masa berapa hari? Manage that! Bikin regulasi, atur. Aku kira bisa. Paling tidak, diantisipasi lah biar tidak sampai menimbulkan bencana dan kesusahan.

Perbaiki transportasi umum, batasi penjualan mobil dan sepeda motor, perbaiki dan perbanyak jalan … Saya kira bisa dilakukan. Kadang-kadang rumit dan agak sulit memang, karena kepentingan-kepentingan yang mendapat keuntungan dari buruknya transportasi umum tentu tak mau kehilangan keuntungan itu begitu saja. Tapi kalau ada banyak negara yang sudah bisa melakukannya, kenapa kita tidak? Di mana ada kemauan, di situ pasti ada jalan, bukan?

Bukan? Aaah ….

Why Convincing Yourself Can Be More Difficult Than Convincing Others?

Sometimes convincing yourself can be a lot harder than convincing others. I did not realize this until quite recently when I had to make a difficult decision about myself, about which direction to take at a pivotal junction in my life. Part of me, the driver, wants to go this way; the other part of me, the passenger, wants to go the other way.

It would have been easier if these conflicting parts were two separate entities. Unfortunately, of course, they are not.  Both are me. The driver and the passenger are one and the same person who wants nothing but the best for himself.

But the best is often a contested ground even with ourselves. The best according to whom or what?

The obvious answer is of course the best in my own perspective. However, more often than not, our perspective is not a singular and unified entity –  it can be divergent and split.

We’d often like to think that we and what we are, that is the person and the identity, as a single and inseparable entity. Alas, we are not.

We the person is an unknown and unreachable noumenon. We can only know what it is through the identities that it has come to assume through the formative experiences that we have experienced. Our identities are phenomena both in the sense of observable symptoms or manifestations and the formative forces that shape them.

In the above sense, our identities are dynamic because they are subject to the forces that shape them. Their manifestations are reflective of those forces.

I think it is these forces that are actually in conflict when it comes to making the decision about what is the best for ‘me’. It is basically a phenomenon or symptom in which an element force of our identity does not agree with another or some other element forces within the ‘I-me-my system’. And because a system is supposed to be a whole in which its  parts are linked and work together in support of the whole,  disagreements between or among its elements become disruptive; and because they are supposed to support the same system, such a disagreement become more difficult to reconcile.

Time of Change

My father once told me that I was good at explaining things and (re) telling stories. That’s why he suggested, and later insisted, that I become a teacher. He believed that I would make a good teacher,  or perhaps even writer. I didn’t want to be a teacher then. I wanted to be a journalist. But many years later, through twists and turns of events, I indeed became a teacher. I still am and I’ve never regretted it.

I think I am a good teacher in many ways. My educational background plays an important part in it,  of course. But what I brought into it is also essential. My father was right.  I’m good at explaining things and making difficult or complicated concepts easier to understand.

Part of that skill, I think, owes to the fact that I’m very verbal: I am dexterous with words and good at telling stories. I love to illustrate an abstract  concept with real or imaginary characters and their actions. They can usually help make difficult or abstract concepts more imaginable and alive. I  love using metaphors, similes, and wits too because they help bridge the gap between what we know and what we want to know.  In general I tend to structure my thinking narratively –  putting everything in the order of a story.

Now as I am thinking of changing careers, I have to keep those strengths in mind. But I also have to consider what my weaknesses and opportunities are – the so called SWAT, they say.

Part of my weaknesses is that I  am a middle-aged man now, and I am not good at following orders or feel happy about having to fit in a bureaucratic
‘madness’.  I’m basically an independent thinker and a free soul who likes creative endeavors.

I cannot possibly apply for a traditional teaching job, certainly not one that will have me do the same things I’ve been doing in a similar kind of place. I can probably still teach in a progressive or unconventional kind of school or setting that will allow me to be creative and independent. I can probably also be a learning director,  manager, or facilitator. Unfortunately at the moment there aren’t many places that are like that here. So I may have to keep this option shelved in a safe place for a while.

Another option I have is to embrace what to this day has only been a sideline profession and become a full-time translator. The probability is better with this option.  The talent, the experiences,  and the reputation are all there and ready to tap. All I need is a better self marketing strategy to support it.

In combination with my other talents and experiences,  I may also become a writer,  editor, or even an independent journalist or content producer. I like the idea although I may still have to learn a lot of things about the trades.

The time of change is always a turbulent time,  I know. Pivotal decisions have to be made often without the comfort of knowing what we need to know. Certainties are not the order of most things in this world; therefore we need faith in things that are beyond what we can comfortably understand: we need God,  we need to believe in the power of prayers,  in how the universe works even though we don’t understand everything about it.

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