Would totally high-five Kartini.

I have never had a role model for a very independent woman in my real life and somehow I always use Ibu Kartini’s name for all the brave things I do.  I love my mom but she’s not my role model. She’s strong and smart and (again) I love her, but still I can’t look up to her. (This will offend the extreme Chinese-minded people about “you must bayar budi to your parents.”)

Anyhow, when I read some of RA Kartini letters, I was so overwhelmed of how a twenty years old woman on that era could think like that? How did it feel to be a feminist in the beginning of twentieth century? It must be very VERY scary! And again, she was TWENTY YEARS OLD!!!

I look back into my life, I think I’m pretty fearless like Kartini. The situation now surely is not even half scary of the situation back then, but I guess if I died and met Kartini, she would totally high-five me. I came to Singapore with nothing but a suitcase and 2K money in my pocket. I still didn’t have a job, not even an interview when I first came here. All I had was a simple gut and a very strong faith. And yes I did it.

I used to think being a feminist means I didn’t need men in my life or I didn’t need men beside me to validate my existence. I was wrong. It turned out that my life had become much MUCH better once Bandi came into the picture. Being a feminist doesn’t necessarily means we could degrade men or treating them badly. It means we’re equal with them.

I won’t mind if a man offered me to bring my grocery bag, or offered me a seat. That doesn’t mean I’m weaker than him. It’s a good manner. But I will mind when a Chinese parent said “Only a son is entitled for a house, because daughter will later be taken by her husband.” or when my Indian colleague said “You are not allowed to do that [please insert any bad behavior] because you’re a woman.” Go to hell, really. This is freaking 2013 and people still saying things out of gender?! (I’m not demoting any race, they’re just samples.”

Let me give you one very annoying sample that I always encountered:

“When a man sleeps with a lot of girls, he is THE MAN. When a woman sleeps with a lot of men, she is a SLUT.” Is that fair? NO FREAKING WAY! Women are also entitled for her sexual freedom.

Again, it’s an individual choice for women or men to do WHATEVER they want, regardless of their sexes. It’s not anybody’s freaking business and stop commenting “Because you’re a woman.” Go find a time machine and go back to 1900 and please make sure you were not born.

I am not an extreme feminist. I still accept the fact that women tends to be better for being a home maker and men are better for being a bread winner. But again they are tendencies. Women are not supposed to be judged just because they don’t do what societies did or what societies asked them to do.

My mom is not a feminist. She once scolded me for letting Bandi do the dishes. Her exact quote was “You can’t let a man do the dishes. It’s your job.” And I told her “Why can’t I?” And when she replied “because he’s a man”, I didn’t even bother to argue.

Does washing dishes make Bandi less of a man? No. That makes him a GREAT MAN. He NEVER even once use the “because I am a man” or “because you’re a woman” sentence of our argument. We are equal. And that’s feminism for me. He’s not under me and I’m not under him. (Didn’t mean as a dirty pun though. XD)

I once argued with a friend who was insisting that man gets the last say in a relationship/marriage. She brought religion/culture/social aspects to the argument. I couldn’t say her argument was wrong, because even though I said it was wrong, it wouldn’t change anything. It’s up to individual preferences how they are going to do with their marriages. I won’t ask every woman to get the last say of everything. I don’t do that too. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, people! It’s a matter of equality. That women get a say too in everything. The last say would be for the one who is right, not the one who has the penis.

Some people say I’m too straight forward, some people say I’m honest. Well guess this is just the way I talk. I don’t use gimmicks.

Kartini said some very risky things back then in 1900’s. She was being honest, not only to society but also to herself. If she could, then any women in 2013 could! Don’t be scared! You’re not imprisoned in the kitchen anymore, women! Say what you want, do what you’re capable to do. Kartini is waiting for us somewhere above to high-five all of us. =)


May, Ready to high-five!

Fear is healthy while panic is deadly

What’s your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is to drown and die in the ocean.

It is not a secret that I’m a little bit paranoid with ocean. I love beach, but well not so crazy about ocean. Actually if I wanted to go psycho-Freud myself it might have started when I was about 7 years old; when I was still carefree and dared to do anything. My mom brought me and my brother to our relative’s apartment that apparently had pool. When my mom did something with our bags, me and my brother ran like crazy and… SPLASH!!!

I just jumped in to the 2 meters pool.

Oh yeah, I couldn’t swim FYI.

I drowned. And I swear I thought I was dead. Thank god my brother saved me. Yeah I probably owed him a life.

Long story short, I never went to the pool again since then… Until I had to take my final PE grade on my high school and it included swimming. Of course I didn’t pass. And I didn’t care anyway. I just wanted the day to end as soon as possible. Being in a swimming pool brought back bad memory and it made me nauseous.

Anyway, the other four of my family member could swim. My mom was a swimming athlete, not the very professional though but she’s really REALLY good. My brother is almost as good as her. Then it was the adoption thing all over again. Swimming really depressed me.

Then long story short (again) I was very into exercising about three years ago. I was a freelancer teacher back then and I had so much free time. I went to gym every day (seriously, everyday) with my cousin. We did yoga, weight training, running, and that combat fiesta. Both of us couldn’t swim and we felt very bad that almost everyday we passed this opportunity to skip this gorgeous big swimming pool. See below photo of how gorgeous the swimming pool is.

Bringing my niece to the 'private' pool in a beautiful Saturday morning.

Bringing my niece to the ‘private’ pool in a beautiful Saturday morning.

I didn’t know what had gotten into us, we started to learn how to swim, ALONE! Yeah! It was probably because the whole swimming pool was only 1,6 meters deep so we felt secured and safe. And the weirdest thing was, WE FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO SWIM. Funny huh?

However I never dared to swim in a 2 meters deep swimming pool, because even though I could swim already, I always thought I couldn’t float. So if there was anything bad, I would totally drown.

Three months after that, I went on a snorkeling trip in Phuket and guess what, I was swimming in the ocean. For about 30 seconds only, but hell I did that! Hahaha.

I was shivering and I knew I was still afraid of drowning. 5 Months ago, I went to Boracay and I cried on my kayak, panicking of drowning. However I managed to… JUMPED OFF THE CLIFF! (Videos and complete stories here!)

I don’t know why I always start to panic everytime I’m near deep water. I freak out and I forget to breathe. In my inner circle, I have always been the coward one. That’s the reason why I didn’t kayak, I didn’t scuba dive or do any activity with possibility of drowning or being trapped inside the water.

Lately, I go to the public pool alone every Monday and Thursday. The public pool is the typical Olympic pool where it is only shallow in both end of the pool while it is 2 meters plus deep in the middle. However I always swim in the side of the pool so if anything went wrong, I would grab the edge. Yesterday I went to my regular swim and found out that the side lap was used by a group of kids who were doing some PE test. The other side of the pool is used only for advanced continuous swimmer. So the only option left is… TO SWIM IN THE MIDDLE.

The swimming pool I always go to

The swimming pool I always go to

I stretched, soaked in, took a deep breath and started to swim… until about 3 meters and then I stopped. I panicked and I forgot to breathe. I swam back to the edge and almost cried.

Why am I still afraid of deep water? Why do I have to be that coward?! Geez, May, you can swim and you can float for god’s sake just go ahead!!!

Then I remember this quote from Chasing Maverick movie:

Fear and panic are two separate feeling. Fear is healthy, panic is deadly.

I do logically know that I can swim and I have been practicing a lot. Now, what I need to do is NOT PANICKING. Face my fear and don’t panic! Very easy literally huh?

I took a couple of minutes to think and consider… then I took that push. And I swam… away to the middle of the pool. I kept telling myself  “calm down May… you can do this. Calm down… Don’t panic…” over and over again until I saw a red tile below me on the bottom of the pool that meant I had reached the deepest point.


I had overcome my fear and thrown away the panic. I was swimming, in the middle, ALONE. It was awesome.

The feeling of doing something you used to be very afraid of is very VERY awesome.

Indeed it is true that fear is healthy. Fear has given you a reason to be brave. You will not be a brave person unless you do something you’re afraid of. And being brave makes you feel powerful. Panic, on the other hand, is deadly. Period.

So, have you faced your fear lately? Maybe you should. =)



May, not really the coward one anymore.


When people said you can’t, it means you so CAN!

I should’ve never questioned my luck.

This story started when I rode a trans-Jakarta Bus about one year ago, and got fed up by it. I hated the city so much, people kept staring and saying harassing stuffs to you. I got mad every single effing day, I acted rude to everyone, I was a bitch and i didn’t like the person I became.

I knew complaining won’t ever change anything, so I got this idea. “I should move out from Jakarta!” But there are no other cities in Indonesia that could offer you more money and more opportunities than Jakarta. And I can’t be too idealist either about the money since I support my family now.

So here comes another idea, crazier one, “I should move out from this country!”

But where? how? whom I’m gonna stay with? and so on and so on.

I visited Singapore at the beginning of this year and instantly fell in love with it, thinking it’s a perfect place to run away. The economy is rising, not too far from home, safe environment, high salary, could go to the zoo anytime :p and suits my OCD since it’s very organized. Now all I had to do is surveying my friends who work there. I got positive and negative reviews and long story short, I saved up money to move to Singapore, since living there is not cheap at all! I applied for a working visa, which unbelieveably passed!!! I looked for a room to rent, but no one wanted to rent to somebody who doesn’t have a job yet. But luckily somehow I met this Malaysian girl online and she would like to share her room with me.

So after 6 months preparing, I finally took the flight, the one way ticket to Singapore, daring my luck to surprise me one more time.

And my best friend sent me this picture through email

When Colombus had found America, the first thing he had done was burning down his ship. It means he didn’t have any chance to go back, so he would do ANYTHING to succeed.

And he typed, “Find your happiness there!”

I cried at the gates on the airport, waiting for my planes, looking back at the times I’ve spent in Jakarta. I enoyed the last 2 weeks in Jakarta. I sleptover with my girlfriends a lot, watching Dashboard Confessional concert, had a great talks with my mom and made peace with the traffic jams.

Now I risked everything, my financial stability, the freelance career that I built, my saving accounts. I risked my Mom and Dad, coz I was the one who support them, now I took this effing risk which could probably cost them a financial stability too. I was very stressed out about either I should risk everything or not, so I got a vertigo for the first time. It was beyond ugly! I was throwing up again and again, got a supermassive headache and my mom told me to relax. “Don’t think too much. Everything will be ok and there is nothing more important to me than your succeed.”

I risked it all for something that’s not even real… yet. And everyone told me I’m crazy.

So, it was the moment I commited to pray, every single day. Proudly to say, up until now. :)

I arrived on Sunday, 10 am, 10th October 2010.  Went straight to the rented room, unpack only 10 pair of clothes, couple of instant noodles, and a universe-sized of bravery. :)

On Tuesday I went to my friend’s place to borrow her laptop so I could send out my resume online. She gave me the newspaper and I screened couple of jobs that I might likely to enjoy.

I sent my resume to 3 different companies, and got me to disappointment that my friend turned out to give me the wrong newspaper. It’s a newspaper from 2 weeks ago. An hour after that, I got an email asking for an interview tomorrow. It was shocking, yet exciting!

The next day after that, I got the job. Yep! I nailed the interview and the manager applied my s-pass straightaway. She said, “you are lucky, you know that?!”

I didn’t believe myself either. I am amazingly effing lucky! 4 days here and I got this job already, out of luck. Universe really works in a strange way! I called my mom straightaway and told her how much she’s right about my luck and how grateful I am that she always always believed in me and even though she didn’t, she always showed her calmy face as if she knew it all along.

I remember people saying I was crazy back then, remember people saying “you can’t do that”. Now I get it. Crazy and brave are separated in a very thin line.  I wasn’t crazy, I was just brave. :)

And just remember this,

When people told you, YOU CAN’T DO IT, it means you’re so gonna do it! you’re gonna nail it! Never worry! Universe works in a very strange way. :)

Now I owe myself a credit for being really brave, and definitely will tell everyone that they CAN do whatever they want to do. Live your life to the fullest, everyone! Never worry… Never worry! ;)