Freedom to Choose

Talking a bit about culture..

Yesterday I went out of the office late because of some additional work. On my way out, the head of security guard stopped me before I reached the gate. Feeling a bit puzzled, I entered his office. It turned out that he wanted to discuss a bit about his daughter's education. He asked me where did I study my undergrad. I told him a bit about my undergrad. He said he wanted his daughter to enroll at the same kind of university. My university used to be a school for teacher-to-be, it is cheap bcos it belongs to the government... at least when I studied there. The thing is, this man wants his daughter to follow his plan which is to take certain major in order to be able to work in a certain institution. Well, I cannot say anything because I am an outsider. What I did was just giving him information that sometimes the field of study does not match the occupation. It happens to a lot of people. I hope he could just let his daughter chooses her own study, according to her own field of interest. People in Indonesia tend to think too far, they want to plan their children's future, what they study, what kind of job they will do. I am not gonna lie that even my Mom, up until this moment, still wants me to be a teacher/lecturer. This kind of thinking must be changed. As a younger generation who will be parents too one day, we need to realize that our (future) children should get their freedom in choosing their own paths. They only need guidance, to know the good from the bad, the right from the wrong, not the exact path to choose for their future.

Sometimes opportunities come not only from somewhere familiar, but also from somewhere far away. Parents' jobs are to make sure their children do the right thing for themselves, to give supports anytime the children need them the most. It is never a job of parents to decide the future for their children. That's God's job. I have a tragic story of a mother calling to the embassy in search of her daughter. She said her daughter ran away from home to pursue a degree in X country, and she did that without her mother's blessing. We talked for a good 30 minutes. She tried to track down her daughter's scholarship, she wanted to go to that university and she wanted to literally drag her daughter to go home to Indonesia simply because it is not the way she is supposed to be. That's what she said to me on the phone. I was just baffled. Well, I don't know them personally, but I feel bad for both of them. I feel bad for the mother because her daughter ran away from her; and I feel the same for the daughter for having such a tough mother who does not want to give her blessing for her to pursue (probably) her dream of studying abroad.

I am lucky that my parents are supportive, although they have their "expectations" for me, they still support the paths I chose and always give their blessing. For some people, things could be tougher, or sometimes, in rare case, easier.

Why I am writing a long-ass-essay like this in the middle of the night? I am just concerned, that's all. I hope no more parents chasing down their children only to drag them away from the paths they choose for their lives. Dear Parents, please stop acting like god/guardian angel for your children. It is not your job to decide your children's future. Dear Children, don't stop pursuing your dreams, even if it is big and looks like a huge mess of impossibility, let God decides what is best for you after you do all your best efforts.


[Cont.] New Year, New Job - Part 2

Continuing my recent post, this is the second part of the writing. I write this for the purpose of reminding myself in the future that I should not be dealing with these people, ever in my life, as a colleague, working partners, business partners or anything that has anything to do with money. Money make people do nasty things, they said, and I start to believe it.

5. Crazy About Credits and Recognitions
Living in this world, people are used to something called give and take. The practice of give thanks is something common, almost like ritual for the society. What will happen if it goes too far? Koreans really appreciate if other people recognize their works/efforts in doing something for others. They would love it if others can mention it in front of other people which means giving recognition of their efforts. The thing is, not all people do that as the way to give thanks. Different people, different set of rules, different way of living. Surely if you forget to mention the kindness of a Korean to you, you will be someone frown upon. There is someone in my office who would praise a person who express their gratitude to him, especially when that person makes sure other people will know how thankful s/he is. He even clearly stated, "Do your best and people will thank you for that. They will feel grateful to you". While the thing is, there are many people who came to my boss asking for letters to smoothen their way to deal with their "papers". Each time my boss would always ask me to do these "additional chores", I was the one who do the things that actually not my job at all. I should only deal with the office insiders, not people from the outside. Later on, when those people got what they want, they would thank my boss, praise him like there is no tomorrow and my boss would take all the credits. Talking about someone who tells others to work hard in order to gain people's gratitude. I can say, none of those outsiders even say thanks to me. I guess, it is only for Korean to Korean. Other people do not deserve any thanks or gratitude. HA!
There is a story from my Indonesian colleague who managed to get a kind of award to be a good example for his peers. He was supposed to be given a certificate and money. This is when the thing came nasty. My office only gave my colleague the certificate. At first my colleague did not know that there is money in the present too until one of the people from the "head quarter" asked what did he use the money for. He went outrageous and demanded his money. Too bad, they never gave it to him.

6. Exchange Rate Craze
There is the thing that I don't understand at all from these people are they always whine when exchange rate is showing lower graphic, even if it is only by the value of 10 rupiahs. It actually made no different for them. Let me give you example: Yesterday 1 USD is valued as 14000 and today it is valued as 13990. This 10 rupiahs different will make them whine. Some others are feeling relieved that they exchanged their USD before it decreased in value. Most of the time, people exchanges 500 USD - 1500 USD. With the 10 rupiahs different, what could they do? I mean, with those money in their luxurious life, what could they buy? One time meal? That's all?
The funniest is when my colleague asked them to pay for stamps, they would take out their coin purse and start to count the coin for the stamp fee. Sometimes out of annoyance, my colleague would deliberately dropped the coins to annoy them back. It is too ridiculous that people of their level are still caring so much on coins, as if their life depends on those coins as their source of fund.
Asking for help outside the office works, not giving extra for the time spent

7. Cheap is The Key
If there is one thing that I should do that embarrass me every single time I am doing it is if my boss asked me to find vendors for something. When I find it, he will push me to bargain and to ask for cheaper price. Sometimes, even for something like insurance, they ask me to bargain. I don't understand it. I think bargaining is only at traditional market or thrift market. It is just so inappropriate to bargain and I am under my office's name. I am so ashamed most of the time. If not haggling the price, sometimes they would just postpone the payment. This is something unacceptable. Once, they used a vendor for the service. While everything is done, they payment was postponed until a couple of months. The vendor was so upset that they refuse to make another cooperation with my office. How can this be true while my boss constantly saying that the office has a lot of money.
There is also a story from a higher rank officer who does not like to use his money, he intends to keep money as much as possible, maybe. One day he was arrogantly told his peer that he had scored big during his holiday to safari park with his family. He said he simply shoved his sons at the rear compartment to avoid the ticket officer to include them as people who must pay full priced ticket. Can you imagine? You put your sons at the back of the car, to be hidden from officers? There are so many things wrong within one time frame. First, car compartment is not safe for children. What if they are lack of oxygen? Also, the man has corrupted the entrace fee by hiding the sons. He does not have this realization that it could be dangerous for the children to be in a closed compartment like that. I would never understand this kind of people. Very barbaric, indeed.
I think those are the things that I can recall right now. I might go back in the future and add some more points to this piece of writing.

Indeed, it is the working environment that is nasty. I cannot stand working with Koreans and I would try my best to avoid any crossing-path with these people. I would continue to befriend my Korean friends though. It is because for me they are great people who came to me at my toughest time and they never think of me as someone who come from different country. I am glad that I don't work with them anymore, so that I don't have to go through this horrible thing over and over. I also take the experience as something very priceless. I will never learn how to appreciate people  or how to look through people's souls instead of just their outer covers, if I don't work with them.

Last but not least, the great thing to be a good person is that, it is free. You don't have to pay to be kind. Be kind. If you help people, God will help you one day. That is how this world works.



[Cont.] New Year, New Job - Part 1

Evil People, Evil Nation

I am back with the continuation of my previous post that you can see right below this post. I think this post is going to be a long post, so spare some time or you can just skim on this... and judge me later. Haha~

First of all, I write this as a reminder for myself for not ever going to go through the same mistakes and to stay away from anything that has relation with my office in whatsoever form. I start to work at this office since May 2014. I am an administration staff at General Affairs division that mostly deal with intern affairs, taking care of the insiders' paper works, documents, etc. I am working mostly with Koreans. The amount of Koreans in my office are almost in the same amount of Indonesian workers, so you can imagine that it is a lot as comparison. Before working in this office, I studied in Korea pursuing a master degree on Korean Studies. I spent a solid two years there as a student and I managed to get my degree on time. More or less, I have many interactions with Koreans, especially the ones in Seoul and until the day I depart back to Indonesia, I always have this belief that Koreans are good people. Too bad that belief has to be shaken really hard when I actually work with Koreans in my office. I am not trying to say good or bad, but it is more of my own approach in dealing with them and my own thinking as an Indonesian with all the background that I have as someone from the Eastern part of Java.

As what I am going to write here is based on my personal experience, therefore I do not intend to pull any theories regarding the social science or whatever branch of studies in this. This is purely my own thought as something that I faced first hand. At the end, I decided to walk away from this environment for these following reasons:

1. Ridiculous Collectivism
I think as part of a bigger society like a country, people have the feeling of collectivism but each country have different degree of collectivism. Korea is one of the countries with the biggest degree of collectivism. In my office, it is simply put like this, when there is a gathering where Koreans and Indonesians are in the same room, the Koreans would automatically creating their own space where only Koreans are there in the circle. They are reluctant to mingle with the Indonesians. In daily life is more or less the same, at lunch Indonesians and Koreans would never go to the same lunch place. It is becoming something automatical that even the Korean new comer would rather joining other Koreans who are from other divisions than hanging out with Indonesians who are working in the same room with him/her.

I think because of this reason as well, snacks and drinks are specially provided only for Koreans. This is most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my life. There is this fridge in a room where only Koreans can take the snacks/drinks out of it. There is no sign that states only Korean can take the snacks/drinks but since the fridge is located inside a room with only Koreans working in it then it is automatically assumed that only Koreans can take snacks/drinks from there. Here we can see a clear differentiation of Koreans and Indonesians. They differentiate both nationalities by giving different treatments for each. This matter can easily be swifted into Racism problem which I am going to write in the next point.

2. Racism
At this era where people from different race are now considered equal, the practice of Racism is somehow very strongly practiced at my office. I studied about Korean society and history but I cannot find anything that can actually trigger the tendency of Korean people to be openly racist towards people of other race. Talking about racism, well.. all people are basically racist. The difference would be whether they decide to let it out or just let it sink in their own thoughts, unseen from the outside. It is always different case with the Koreans in my office. Beside the thing I pointed out previously, the special treatment for Koreans, I also find out that those Koreans treat each other well. They address each other formally with their own title which in English can be translated as Mr. or Ms (while in reality, the title is a lot more complicated than just Mr./Ms.). In the state of blurted out anger or dissatisfaction, a Korean can still address his/her subordinates with the title, while this is a totally different case with the Indonesians. The Indonesians will always be called only by name, most of them are the given name. Things get nasty when something goes wrong, an f-word like 씨발 can come out of their mouths. You can google that or if I can be blunt, the meaning is more or less the same as the word "fuck" in English. For this particularly uttered by my own boss a lot of time. At the earliest stage, I would be all denial thinking it must be only my imagination but as time goes by I can definitely be sure that it was the "majestic" word thrown at me and my colleague. For my colleague, that is certainly no problem, for he doesn't speak the language, but for me, it hurt really bad. That word is not clearly said, usually the first syllable is said loudly and the second syllable would be said without sound, but the mouth movement is too clear to be not seen.
It was a first time for me to feel like a slave in the colonial era, where in the past Dutch people always emphasize that Indonesian are inferior than them, that Indonesians are people of no worth, savage and need some civilization. It looks dramatic indeed, but people who are from the country with colonialism background would get what I mean. I feel that my self worth has been degraded.
The funny thing about this is that people always think it as something blurted out to let out their anger, with the purpose of no more problems in the future, yet the reality is they hurt the pride of being an Indonesian by treating me and my colleague like a trash in our own country.

3. A boss is a god, therefore s/he is never wrong
If you ask a Korean what is the thing they fear the most after being an ugly person and being a poor person, the answer would be their boss. Boss is like god. They have the power to rule people and they are never wrong. They should not be answered with the word no, and they have all the rights to treat you the way s/he wants to. This is the exact mentality that they have. Whenever they want something, they must have it and if they don't have it, they would turn into monsters with a lot of swearing words and ugly body language. They would dreadfully stare at their subordinates and that usually comes with some ugly vocabularies and utterances full of pressure and stressing. My boss would turn into an outraged pitbull once he got scolded by his boss. As a boss himself, he would unleash his rage to his subordinates, us. He would intimidate us with the loud yelling, swearing and sometimes accompanied with office-supplies throwing which sometimes directed to the unlucky soul in front of him or just random throw anywhere. Once he tantrums, my colleague would panicly collect the thrown away stuffs, while for me, I refuse to do such thing for my own reasons, pride reasons.
Once they got orders from their top leaders, they would do it the best they can, although it means bugging their subordinates with constant whining and complaining.
The existence of Indonesian subordinates is to be treated like worthless people. A boss would never protect their subordinates when other boss tries to "chew" them alive. Instead of protecting, they would join the attacker to attack the subordinates, especially when the "attack" comes from a higher rank boss. At this point, who would not question their self worth?

4. We Buy You Food, We Buy Your Soul
If you know Koreans, you would know their "bribing" culture. That does not apply only to smoothen their way to obtain something in official stuffs, but also in daily stuffs. Well, for this one I actually never experience it but I saw this happen to my colleague from other divisions. Usually before asking their subordinates to work hard on something, they would treat them food or buy them something to eat. With that mindset, they think they would not feel bad later to ask for big favors. It is always about give and take, there is almost no sincerity.
A little bit about sincerity, a friend of mine who studies Korean Studies until he got his doctoral degree, he said that in Korean there is no word that means sincere or sincerity. There are a lot of synonyms but nothing come close to sincerity which means doing something without expectation of getting something in return. With the Koreans, there is always expectations of paying back. Always.
Back to the bribing matter, it is simply hard to give an understanding to a Korean to not giving things after I do my work which sometimes means assisting people in processing official papers, etc. After I am done with it, usually they give me something as something in return. FYI, this is rarely happen to me, but when it happens, for bosses, they would give me stuffs like souvenirs, once I even receive money. For internship students, after I help them with their official papers, they would just give me chocolate/ a few packs of Korean coffee/ candies/ something like that. In this way, these people think they can erase their own burden of "bugging" the people who help them. For me it is simple, it is my job and I am paid to do those things. I don't need extra "sweets" from these people, especially when the purpose is only to value my assistance with the thing they gave to me.

Okay those are the points that I manage to gather for now, the continuation would be posted as soon as possible.



New Year, New Job

Yep, that is my first menu for this year 2016. There will be 19 more days before my last day at my work. It was a tough decision and I decided to move on with my life. All people feel dissatifaction at my office, and they would just talk it out, bitch about it, but they miss one important step, to go away.
Isn't that a common sense for human being or for any living things to get away when things surround them is no longer giving them positive vibes? That is why I decided to move on although I don't know what the future can bring in front of me. There is always possibility that the new job would suck, yet I have to be there fo find out, right? I can't just imagine things while wishing things would get better by itself. I have to move on to survive. Yea, that is the reason why..

Back to where I started to work there, everything was expected to be long term. I expect things to work right, so that I don't have to have another search of job. I want to settle down and give my loyalty to this job, but later on there are too many pains in the way that I can no longer bear. I am not a crybaby, I can assure that. I deal with my hardship face to face. I have no problem with a lot of works and lack of money. For God's sake, I got paid only USD 100/month on my first job, yet I worked there for almost 4 years, and the reason for quitting was because I chose to accept a scholarship to pursue a master degree abroad. It is not because of my lack of surviving attitude, nor I was a weepy kind of girl.

There are so many good things that I found in this place that makes me feel grateful. Here are the things that hard to leave behind when I move on later:

1. Great Colleagues
If I may say, all the Indonesian people in my office are kind people. They are all supportive and fun to be with. Well, for my working comrade, Mr. S, he is one of the best colleagues ever. He taught me everything and he helped me a lot with works. I honestly think he always do 70% of the job while I do the rest, to assist him. I am very thankful to him for being a sincere colleague, for sharing his knowledge and all. For other people, they are very kind too. Secretaries are all very nice and helpful, technicians, drivers, security guards... super nice. One of my biggest worries is to move to other job and not having them as colleagues. Some people are mean, you know?! While these colleagues are collectively having good hearts. Irreplaceable!

2. Beautiful Working Environments
It has been the common policy of my employer to prettify everything on the look first before reaching out inside. It applies to office design up to looks. For office design, my office could be one of the most beautiful offices I have ever worked at. Everything is designed prettily, especially the gardens, guest rooms (yes, they have a room to accept guests), all the front parts that are usually seen first upon anyone's arrival at the building. They have gardeners who trim the plants everyday, so definitely no wild bushes or uncontrolled plant growth.
is the example of the garden corner~ Too beautiful!

3. Clean Toilet
I must say I am a number one appreciator of clean toilet because I can feel stressed out if the toilet in my office is somehow dirty and untamed. In this office, there are a lot of toilets and each of them are maintained well by special workers. There is one cleaning boy in each of floors, so yeah.. this is awesome. I can just go to any toilet I want. I usually do my business at guest toilet at the first floor because nobody there and I think it is more private. Hehe~ Yaay for clean toilet!!

4. Pretty Merchandises
I like pretty and cute stuffs. Sometimes my office provides that. For example, in the first month of my working there, my colleague gave me a mug with office sign in it. Not just some ugly mug, it is an expensive, very well made and the sign printed there is like what you get from buying expensive kitchenware. One day I will comeback and provide example~ Also, there were some presents from bosses from other divisions (my own boss never gave me anything, not a single thing), such as goodie bags, traditional fan, mirror, businesscard box... I can assure you they are all pretty and very beautifully packaged as well. Some people also gave me some snacks and crackers. Some of them are packed in beautiful see through plastic package, you can see it below~ 

The essence of it all is four pieces of crackers, that's all. But they are packaged prettily, probably with the hope that people would forget their nature and got swindled thinking they are four pieces of expensive chocolate from Switzerland. That big fat hope, tho~! This is just one of the many~ If I can actually find the stuffs, maybe I will upload more here, but I cannot promise~ 

Those are the things that I love from my office. I think it will be hard to get the same things later when I am no longer there. So yeah, apparently there will be some things that I will miss from this office. 

5. Attending Cool Events

My office is representing something very famous in Indonesia nowadays, therefore many people are coming to seek for "fortune", recognition, etc etc. That is probably the reason why we got invited into many famous social events, and we also hold many social events to promote ourselves. For this I must gather some photos from my old albums. Here are some of the events that I visited~
SCTV Awards 2015
Jakarta - Korean Film Festival
Now since I am done with the good stuffs, later on I will come back with the reasons why I decide to leave. They are painful and I need a separate post for that.

For you who are reading this, thank you for reading and coming by at my blog. I hope you like your stay. Happy New Year 2016 for all. May you all live prosperous life and be happy in 2016.


ps: If you don't know me IRL, you might be confused of what kind of office am I talking about, but I deliberately not mentioning it due to avoidance of lawsuit in the future (if there is any)