(Part 1)

Standing there in front of me, a man with deep brown eyes and dark brown hair, and oh with his smile. My beating heart betrays me; it aches me knowing you are now back. My thought wanders a few years ago, when I saw you walking away. It hurt me thou, my heart was bleeding. A hard bleeding no bandage could stop. Oh, if only you were there seeing me after heartlessly you left me.

My body is shaking. I pray a lot for my legs not to collapse in a minute like a jelly on my weekend desert. And, my mouth is sealed. I look at those lips. Remembering I used to taste it and I still long for it. Until, you say something. “Hi, there.”

What do you want? my voice inside speaks. Instead, I reply “Hi.”

I think you don’t deserve my hi. I should walk away like what you did on a summer day five years ago. I was stoned that day. Consider that I would’ve die tomorrow when sun rose. But, it is cruel. I stay alive to watch you standing in front of me in this snowy afternoon.

“How are you?” You ask this silly question. Oh please don’t show that smile, smile that I always want to forget. I buried. I am just a few days away of my victory getting over you. I hope. You just break it, my hardwork, in a second. How powerful!

“Good.” Such a lie. “And you?” I can’t believe myself asking you back. You should run! I shout to myself. Again, my legs betray me. I stand still. Tell me, I hate how my body doesn’t work the way my thought. My body and my heart, likely, belong to you. Until this time. Really?

“Not too good, but it is okay.” That smile again. “Where are you heading? Can I walk you?”

No. No. No. “I am on my way home. Still waiting that bus. 62 bus.” That long answer I shouldn’t let spill out of my mouth. Hey, my lips! Stop betraying me, please! At least stay in my side.

Five seconds silent. Thanks God! Let me think for a while, preparing some wise words to say. A wise goodbye, a proper one from me. Can I?

“Would you allow me to see you in your door step?” You pull me back into my real in time situation. Mean time.

“Sure.” Well, I’ve just cursed myself.

That time, I hate myself more than I hate you.

“You do good? Still working hard, yeah?”

I can see your artery in your neck. I like the way your low voice reaches my ears.

“It’s been a year ago. I quit. I am now teaching.”

“Wow, it’s been a long time thou.” A silent that I can’t resist. “You know, I miss you Nina.”

Suddenly, you put me on your arms and hold me tight as I will run. That smell of sandalwood and red musk pushes into my lung. I can’t breathe. I can see my bus passes me. But, I enjoy this moment. Well, it seems like I can’t hate you.

To be continued, next day perhaps (?)

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Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century by Carol Bohmer and Amy Schuman

Published in New York by Routlegde Press in 2007, 288 pp., ISBN 938 0 415 77376 8

 

Starting with the personal motivation, Carol Bohmer and Amy Schuman raise questions regarding the nations in accepting refugees. Along with the development of the policy of refugees’ countermeasure, they find that nations’ policy became more restrictive and burdensome. Therefore, in this book the question ‘how do the applicants of asylum construe their stories of persecution into an acceptable narrative to the officials?’ and ‘how do the officials determine whether to accept or not the application?’ would be answered.

They begin with the story of St. Louis that sailed from Germany in 1939 with more than 900 Jews fleeing away from Hitler’s persecution. When the passengers were not allowed to disembark in Cuba where they have the landing permission, St. Louis sailed back to Germany. No wonder why almost three-quarter of the passengers ended up in Nazi concentration camps. This refuge phenomenon as an old anomaly should be highlighted as the driven factor in creating promising laws for anyone fleeing from a persecution on the basis of conflict among races, political opinions, or social movements.

Rejecting Refugees is about the reciprocity between the asylum seekers and their upraised cases to be judged by United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) autorities. Bohmer and Schumer criticize the hypocrisy between the ideal of the nations welcoming the asylum seekers and the actual practice. By comparing US and UK, they try to come up with the wider analysis of how the idea is presented in different actual policy. They align themselves along with the government of US and UK as one part, yet in the same time, they also show the disagreement with those governments’ policy.

As they illustrate, the stories became the emerging interaction between the asylum seekers who are considered suspicious and immigration bureaucracies who are enforced to apply the conservative immigration law. The interactions, somehow create very strange questions to be answered about for whom, why, and how the asylum claims should be given. Both authors address an aim to reveal the injustices in the asylum systems of US and UK, in particular for those indigent asylum seekers.

In the very beginning of the book, Bohmer and Schuman present the distinction between two terms: refugees and asylum seekers. The term ‘refugee’ is commonly used to describe anyone who flees his country unwillingly. He gets a legal status that allows him to be brought into a host country’s expense and benefits certain public rights (p.24). Meanwhile, asylum seekers are people who travel to US and UK under their own steam and apply for asylum (p.25). This is an important thing that makes Rejecting Refugees easier for the readers, who are not so knowledgeable this terms, to be understood. They also emphasize the asylum seekers as the subject of the book, thus, the readers would not be lost on the track.

In practices, both US and UK pull out the strict policy that cut the number of asylum seekers that succeeded the applications. Whether it is because the fear that asylum seekers are potential terrorists or job stealers, the number is getting decreased by days. Rejecting Refugees presents several asylum seekers experiences that vary in many process and results. Some of them get the benefit of legal aid that government provides, some of them not. In returns, many of them ended up with a rejection of application due to the lack of sufficient information and incapability to understand how the system works.

As US provides the 589 form for a claim, the UK has this SEF form. Both of this form is multi-paged but US’ 589 is less complicated compared to UK’s SEF. After completing this form, the asylum seekers should attend the interview and a hearing. Bohmer and Schumer also criticize this form, that seems so simple for us to be completed, but for the asylum seekers -that are displaced people- the form is very complicated. For instance, to claim an asylum, these people should provide the permanent address in order to be kept updated about the asylum process. The applicant would be informed about hearing after the assessment of their documents, which they have no idea when the exact date. The fact is, mostly they failed to attend the hearing because they missed the information after changing their addresses because they have to move since they have no permanent one. Bohmer and Schumer see this as the governments’ effort to keep these asylum seekers ‘illegal’.

Rejecting Refugees is an avant-garde in the sense of the interview with these asylum seekers who mostly seen as criminals or terrorists entering the border without the necessary document. The authors also raise up the possibility to suggest that the fear of persecution because having an ‘illegal entry’ could encourage a refugee to claim for an asylum. Yet, many of them ended up in a decision to stay ‘illegal’ because they were afraid of being deported. As Teinzin’s story (Chapter 3) was told, there is a possibility to succeed in claiming the asylum with expired deadline and no sufficient documents.

Rejecting Refugees also reveals the inconsistencies the states show regarding the asylum seeking process. Back to Nazi era, the asylum policies were developed to cater the humanity sense for those who suffered from Nazi and fled. Yet now, the present circumstance constructs the confusion and finally hinders the asylum process. Bohmer and Schumer also put altogether how the system fails: a gap in the production of knowledge; the reliance on narrative as a primary form of evidence; credibility, cultural differences; persecution description; law and policy implementation; and incompetence and inadequate resources.

This book is very informative and thorough to at least provide the basic information about what happens in the process of claiming asylum by analyzing cases of real life accounts. By that, I personally see that Rejecting Refugees is suitable for students of political science, international relations, sociology, anthropology, and law. It shows the sight from the refugees, the obstacle they face that mostly their stories are incoherent and undocumented in which caused them in a trouble. They are likely incapable of proving themselves as what they describe because there is no legal authentic document with them. This kind of story will be read almost in the entire cases this book presents. It also shows the stories from the lawyers’ perspective. Thus, the readers can have two sides in every case. In a nutshell, it does a great job in describing the asylum claiming process and system from both perspectives: the seekers and the lawyers with its biases.

The importance of identity is also covered very well in this book with the incapability of the several people who fled with the false document or even with none. Both in US and UK, the identity is very important in claiming asylum. In 2004, the UK passed a law that it is not possible to enter the border of UK with no passport of a false passport unless this person has a ‘reasonable excuse’ (p.96). As Bohmer and Schuman analyze, this is a violation of the 1951 UN Convention that forbids the imposition or penalty for illegal entry. This just is a prevent action for letting more refugees come.

The limitation that is faced by the asylum seekers left a question that Rejecting Refugees should answer, what is the most possible asylum system in this century? Bohmer and Schumer bring up the concern for the states providing a legal advice for asylum seekers who cannot afford to manage the laws and regulations. They appoint the double standard system that states create to protect their citizens from the arrivals of these asylum seekers in terms of economy while at the same time they have to obey their legal, moral, and treaty obligation to provide a help for those asylum seekers.

Istanbul: a Love-Hate-Daunt Relationship

Well, this is my second spring here in Istanbul. Just to realize that its more than a year I’ve been living in here. So many thing have changed into something more virtue compared to my real life that I am now in. Sum of everything has blown my mind into several words that even dictionary could never explain the exact means.

Living with a fear, fear of being a victim not for a heartbreaking thingy that I mostly avoid, but being a victim in what so called a terror. This ‘terror’ definitely hit the button. I am scared, in the sense of losing my life, my only one life. On Saturday March 16, 2015, when a bomb blasted in Istanbul, it was a nightmare.

One or two days before, there were a lot of messages reminding us not to go out if it is not so necessary. For us to avoiding crowded places, it is not a possible thing to do. I mean Istanbul itself is a crowded city, where every corners of this Istanbul is an elbow-to-elbow one. Let me see this as one thing: going everywhere by busses or subways, we are all sardined. So, would you please just let me know, cut the crap, and straight to the point to ask me to only stay home this day? Frankly, I am not the type of it, of staying home all day. That day I decided to watch a movie and have a lunch with my friend, but I canceled it after a bomb has blasted right in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul. Hard to admit, yet yes I was having a cold feet that time. “Don’t go out Dee, please!” This was what my friends exactly told me. Stay home and don’t go everywhere!

Anyway, I am raised with a wise saying: if someone or two tell you not to do something, just don’t. if you do, something bad will happen. Then, that day when my friends called only to make sure that I wouldn’t go out, I bowed to that honour advise.

Several were killed and injured, scared me as heaven. How if I walk out, waiting for my bus to come and a blast is 10 meters away or even just right to me? Or, I wait for my train and a blast is just in the seat I sit or in another car of the train? Or, I sit in the bus and a car is blown up just in front of my bus or beside or behind and I cannot definitely run away? Or let’s make it simple by saying that I will be the victim? Come on!

I never imagine this kind of thing could determine on how I will live my life from now on. I start to love Istanbul when it starts to freak me out.

Anyway, I should welcome the spring at least.

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Letter to Myself (?)

Hai D,

Gara-gara secangkir kopi caramel macchiato ukuran raksasa yang kamu pesan tadi sore, kamu berakhir dengan menatap layar laptopmu bukannya meringkuk di atas selimut. Salahkan dirimu sendiri! Untung saja asam lambungmu bisa diajak kerjasama, jika tidak ya salahkan dirimu sendiri lagi. Tidak peduli betapa kamu tidak berjodoh dengan kopi, tetap saja kamu sok menikmati. Akhirnya, flashback ke masa lalu ditambah dengan playlist lagu tahun gajah mengantarkanmu pada satu titik dimana kamu mempertanyakan esensi keberadaanmu.

Tepat 355 hari kamu telah berada di negara yang coba kamu cintai ini –dan, akhirnya iya–. Kamu menghitungnya, bukan? Kamu berencana merayakan anniversary kamu dan Istanbul esok hari, bukan? Betapa sentimentalnya dirimu. Dimana? Di salah satu sudut kota romantis ini? Dengan siapa? Dengan kesendirian yang coba kamu tanyakan apa gunanya?

Ahh, kamu terlalu berlebihan. Terlalu takut dengan masa depan yang begitu tidak jelas. Lepaskanlah! Berhentilah dengan semua kelatahan orang yang (hampir) membuatmu mati rasa! Kita tahu, sama-sama tahu, bahwa pernikahan adalah hal yang penting. Memangnya kenapa kalau mereka menikah lebih dulu daripada kamu? Kamu mau? Ssstt, ada kalanya Tuhan akan menjawab doa kita berbeda dengan orang lain. Kamu takut kecewa? Akupun demikian. Bersyukurlah Tuhan masih memberi kita waktu belajar dan menilai.

Keyakinanmu terhadap rencana Tuhan akan mengantarkanmu pada seseorang yang dijamin Tuhan akan membahagiakanmu. Tidak cukupkah itu membuatmu kembali pada semangat juangmu? Juga bahwa jauh di sana Ibumu telah membantumu dengan doanya yang sangat ampuh untuk tetap bahagia? Bahagialah demi dia. Yakinlah demi dia. Dan, hiduplah demi dia! Bukan demi memenuhi –entah­– targetmu sendiri.

Lupakah kamu dengan kesepakatan kita, bahwa dengan membahagiakan orang di sekitarmu maka kamu pun akan bahagia? Jangan! Peganglah itu!

Tidak akan pernah kamu terluka ketika kamu mencoba membahagiakan orang lain. Dan tidak pula kamu akan bahagia dengan melukai orang lain. Aku masih percaya itu. Kamu?

Mungkin, mereka tidak akan membalasnya dengan kebaikan yang –mungkin juga– kamu harapkan. Tidak selamanya orang akan membuatmu bahagia. Kamu harus melakukannya sendiri. Tuhan melihat itu dan Tuhan kita tidak diam. Dia akan mengirimkan malaikat yang akan membuatmu bahagia dengan cara-Nya sendiri. Sebentar lagi kamu akan pasti tertawa dengan surat emosional ini. Tapi, setidaknya aku bisa mengingatkanmu untuk tetap menjadi dirimu. Syukurlah kalau kamu ternyata tidak lupa. Tunggulah, Tuhan sedang menyiapkan seseorang untukmu.

With Love,

D.

Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant’s Thoughts on Closed Borders of Gulf States for Syrian Refugees

The rise of Syrian refugees number in Turkey for instance, leads me into a very heart-breaking fact that they risk their life fleeing from their country to save their life. I see them in every corner in this city. That is such an irony. Syria’s neighbor like Turkey could provide shelter for the refugees who successfully make it to the borders. Even some other Europe states i.e. Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, and United Kingdom show a quite incredible number of refuges accepted. Yet, why the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE), in which geographically close with Syria, precisely did not do the same thing? Why these Gulf States keep their doors shut for Syrian refugees?

According to BBC, the citizens of these Gulf States have collected charity individually or collectively with total around $900M (£600M) through charitable organizations, and individual donations.[1] Yet when it comes to open their doors for refugees, these Gulf States remain silent. I set these questions to keep me on track while comparing Thomas Hobbes, J.J. Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant thought. I would come up with a conclusion about them in a simple line.

For Hobbes, war is not only a physical thing, but also something to do with insecurity. Where this insecurity comes from? Please put aside the insecurity that is caused by the ability of killing each other within the states among its citizens, this ‘now’ insecurity is referred to the refugees entering the states. He believes that outside world is chaotic and full of anarchy like what is now happening, i.e. in Syria. It is also being emphasized on that fear of instability that makes the Gulf states are reluctant to release an explicit policy related to refugees until now. It needs to mention that mostly Syrians are Shia and those Gulf States citizens are Sunni, which is in Hobbes’ lens will be a cause of insecurity inside the territory. We also have to notice the long history of a long-run conflict between these two ideologies.

When Hobbes believes that when you keep your chaotic neighbors outside, you will be protected by what he called sovereign. It will put the anarchy outside the locked door. As long as those refugees (as I consider as the citizens of other state) do not enter the territory and the state remains in their territory, then peace is achieve-able. These Gulf States will enjoy the peace when their enemies keep fighting each other outside. He underlines the function of a government to provide the security for its citizens –or peace­– and that is exactly the Gulf States are doing right away, not to emphasize on the absolute power of the state. This reminds me that there are two main features that Hobbes always emphasizes: the absolute sovereignty from the inside manifested in a central authority and a strong kind of demarcation to outside anarchy. The first point I might not elaborate any further but second point is the most important. Keeping outside world as the common enemy for the ‘maintained’ peace inside is the best reason to stay in peace.

The capability of killing each other of Hobbes’ statement is challenged by Rousseau by saying that the first thing men would like to do when facing a danger is fleeing away. According to his statement, I will rather see that Rousseau points a pro with refugees. Rousseau agrees with refugees who flee to save their life. Yet when it comes to the peace itself, Rousseau believes that a peace could be asked from the society. If the society agrees to put their private interests behind and public interests in the front, then the peace is established. However, something bothered my mind when he states that the more state grows bigger in terms of territory or citizens, the clash of interests is more intense and the peace is disturbed. Connecting it to refugees issue, when a number of refugees enter the states there will be a clash of interests not only among the natives but also between the natives and refugees. The Gulf States are quite not sure about the chance they could manage these competing interests. Thus, he would be rather in the somewhere in between of agreeing the incoming refugees or not. But for this point, I consider that he is more moderate compare to Hobbes.

Not all the interruptions of peace will lead to war. Accepting refugees is considerable as long as they will not challenge the maintained peace within the states where I personally see it is quite impossible according to his proposed exception. Thus, he would say that the refugees might interrupt the peace in the Gulf States, yet it would not lead to war in those states. But when these states consider that all the refugees are enemies whom the states (or the citizens) never feel insecurity with, then states would have to decide whether to accept these enemies inside the border or keep them outside. This Rousseau’s standpoint is likely a flexible and confusing one compare to Hobbes and Kant.

Through the ideas of Kant, outlining his perspective on the need for hospitality for every refugee he considers that friendliness eventually becomes a way for a solidarity. It was born from an ancient intuition in man’s inner that according to Kant as a moral law. A deontological ethic that leads every good deed must help refugees. Kant assumes human behavior is always guided by the ancient intuition, a perspective of a very decent man, to treat the refugees not with hostility. In the term of morality compared to other two philosophers, Kant will be the top one. His idea affirms the metaphysical assumptions including the rights of cosmopolitan hospitality. Cosmopolitanism carries demand for a global federation to ensure that every person who visits or flee to another country should be treated graciously. He believes that nobody has the right for occupying any part of the earth, in this case I refer it to the states that are govern by human. However, Kant through reason and moral law also presupposes self-sufficiency in human beings, free from the confines of attitude structure and others. Man is expected to decide and build an understanding of autonomy with his rationalism.

Kant would definitely curse the policy of closing border for refugees that the Gulf States are doing right away. Even they offer the humanitarian help in some other forms, Kant still considers that Gulf States are not rational. The Gulf States possess no part on earth, they have borders but there is also a rational thinking that should be done by these states. There are questions they should answer, “What would they do if they are in the refugees’ shoes? What will they think and do if their neighbors close their door for them?”. If they follow their rationality, they will open their door. Yet, they do not open the door means they do not follow their rationality based on Kant.

So..

When I try to be in their point of views, I would say that mostly the context of the world and international relations now are different compared to their era. Yet, their thought somehow still fit for some cases, one of them is refugees issue. The common point that they have is put the human life (our life) in a very first place, yet they come up with different way to answer my questions with their different sight in seeing this issue. For me, Hobbes is very strict in this sense with his insecurity, Kant with his morality will come with a loose tight and Rousseau is in between them with his quite confused standpoint.

[1] BBC. Michael Stephen. 2015. Migrant crisis: Why the Gulf states are not letting Syrians. [Online] inhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34173139. Accessed on November 29, 2015.

Blabber

Today was my first day on college after taking a long nap (read: summer break). Well, it is not a break I guess. I was working in OIC for months in Ankara as I could remember while everyone took their holiday. I would not talk about my torturing months in the capital city of Turkey, yet I really want to let you know, oh my dearest readers, that I am now in the gate of hard hard hard 12 weeks ahead.

Yes. I just will have 12 weeks of classes, papers, presentations, reading materials, discussions, and exams. 12 weeks. In the end of December, I will be free like a bird. But before? Do not give me a call for hanging around! I will be a totally nerd with very thick books and swollen eyes for maybe, crying. LOL.

Who said studying abroad with various classmates coming from a whole Europe from eastern to western and you are the only Asian in the class is a simple thing? Raise your hand and I will give you a short smile!

I am woman, well you can consider me also as a girl, psst I am still 20’s. Yuhuu..

I wear Hijab. I take two classes today and… I am the only one who wore Hijab. Do not tell that I am now in Istanbul, city of mosques.

I am taking master degree. It is very common thing yet, taking master far away from your home is a thing. You are dealing with something you can’t. Food, friends, and family. Those are things that you are separated by the distance. Long distance relationship with girl/boyfriend may be something hard. Yet with food, friends, and family? Do not ask. It is hardest.

Too much blabbering? Sorry!

I just really want to share. Share something that maybe can at least give me a little break by writing, or perhaps blabbering.

Thank you for reading until the last word. I really appreciate it. I am about to cry. LOL.

PS. About International Relations assignments, I wont upload it anymore since I knew some people copycat mine without even ask me. Okay, not ask, at least let me know that you take mine. But I realize that this is Alice in Wonderland internet version so you can freely access and imitate and show mine as yours. So, I really wont upload my opinion in IR things..

This blog will be totally personal blog. I mean it. I mean I mean it. *faked emotionally face and keyboard typing*

Parallel Universe of Mine

What if…

Konsep jagad yang paralel atau parallel universe mungkin adalah konsep yang cukup membingungkan bagi kita. Apakah ini takdir atau hanya kebetulan? Kebetulan saya mengenal orang ini, kebetulan saya menjatuhkan gelas itu, atau beberapa kebetulan lainnya. Namun, banyak pula yang meyakini bahwa “there is no accident.” Saya masih ingat cuplikan film Kungfu Panda pertama saat Master Shifu mempertanyakan keputusan Master Oogway yang menjadikan si Po sebagai the Dragon Warrior. Dengan bijaksana dia berkata tidak ada yang kebetulan. Kebetulan bahwa Po adalah panda gendut yang akan menjadi Pendekar Naga sama sekali bukan kebetulan.

Loh?

Maaf kalo contoh film yang saya mention sama sekali bukan film drama yang kaya akan quotes menyentuh. Tapi, saya begitu percaya dengan konsep Master Oogway itu. Seberapapun orang melihat ini hanya kebetulan apalagi kalau kebetulan itu sungguh tidak masuk akal, tetap saja kita ditakdirkan menjalani hal itu. Saya ingat salah satu hadits shahih (atau kutipan ayat), well saya gak akan ceramah kok, yang menyatakan bahwa tidak akan berubah takdir suatu kaum kecuali kaum itu mengubahnya. Ya kurang lebih demikian.

See, kita punya kesempatan mengubah apa takdir yang belum kita terima menjadi sesuatu yang pantas kita terima. Saya percaya itu. Sangat percaya. Bahwa setiap inch yang saja jalani, setiap lintasan yang saya tempuh, semuanya bermuara pada sebuah takdir yang telah di atur di langit karena usaha saya di bumi. Okay, sound’s weird?

Namun, ada kalanya saya kemudian berpikir bahwa semua yang saya dapat adalah jawaban doa orang tuaku (khususnya Ammi). Saya mempercayai ini. Ammi adalah orang yang paling ingin dan ingin sekali saya bisa menjalani keseharian dengan benar-benar baik. Berdoalah dan yakinlah, maka alam akan berkonspirasi mendukungmu. Totally forget, where in the earth I remembered hearing this saying. My acknowledgement for him.

Di samping saya saat ini, duduk seseorang yang sedang sibuk menulis thesis-nya. Dia akan menghadapi thesis defense bulan depan, Insha Allah. Well, seperti yang terjadi atas jawaban doa Ammiku. Kadang pula saya berpikir, diakah jawaban dari doaku? Cieileh.. Mampus.

Ingin sekali saya menuliskan banyak kisah yang kami lalui. Banyak hal yang kami telah hadapi. Banyak pula kata-kata yang menjadi keseharian bahkan yang tersimpan rapih di otak kami tanpa pernah terucap. Namun, sampai saat ini that click we really had is still staying there. Kebetulan kami berkenalan? Kebetulan kisah kasihnya tersandung? Kebetulan menghampiri saya?

Tidak.

I believe that every single particular action I did and he did constantly slowly and eventually brings us united. Yes. United. Thinking that I am so sentimental. Wait until you feel it yourself. As hard as I think back, how can I end up like this with him, I can’t find a satisfaction answer. It is because it has to be. Neither him nor me ignored this.

In a nutshell, I had mine.

For those who seek, for those who ask, for those who want.. Just let go off the past and move forward and move up. Keep praying and believing!

Drink coffee and smile!

Dear Scholarship Seeker, Please Try this TÜBİTAK Scholarship!

Well, how’s going? Judulnya aja bahasa Inggris, isinya tetep bahasa Indonesia dong!

Berapa hari ini saya pengen banget nyelesein satu post di blog yang udah mulai debuan ini. LOL. Tapi, karena libur lebaran yang super singkat, Kamis-Jumat ditambah Sabtu-Minggu karena weekend, maka saya sejenak meninggalkan Ankara menuju Izmir, Pamukkale, dan Ephesus. Ada banyak yang bertanya pada saya bagaimana saya bisa memulai kuliah di Turki. Sepertinya, saya harus menceritakan prosesnya sebagai bahan pertimbangan kepada kalian yang saat ini berstatus ‘fakir beasiswa’, begitulah saya dan 14 teman angkatan lainnya dulu menyebut diri kami. Alhamdulillah saat ini kami sudah berpencar di seluruh dunia (Malaysia, China, Australia, Inggris, dan Turki). *blushing

Hal yang harus kalian tanamkan dalam diri kalian adalah: saya pasti bisa mendapat beasisiwa. Syukurnya angkatan kita (yang baru lulus tahun 2012-an ke atas), beasiswa udah tumpah ruah terutama LPDP itu yang konon telah mengeluarkan 5000an mahasiswa ke seluruh dunia.

Nah, bagaimana dengan saya? Tentu bukan. Saya bukan penerima LPDP. Secara, LPDP tidak mengirim mahasiswa ke sini selain untuk belajar ilahiyat atau Ilmu Agama. Saya? Saya adalah anak HI sejati. *angkat topi

Tepatnya, saya adalah penerima beasiswa dari The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştırma Kurumu, TÜBİTAK) dengan skema 2215 TUBITAK Graduate Scholarship for International Students periode I tahun 2014. Beasiswa ini untuk seluruh calon master dan PhD dari semua negara di dunia. Jadi, kualifikasinya cukup ketat namun karena belum begitu dikenal banyak orang, ini bisa jadi salah satu jalan kalian untuk belajar di Turki. Kalian bisa search dengan keyword tersebut atau langsung ke link TÜBİTAK.

Syaratnya pun mudah, seperti yang kalian tahu (kalian sudah search kan? Kalau belum, search dulu lah sebelum membaca lanjutannya) bahwa TÜBİTAK tidak mewajibkan penerima beasiswanya untuk mahir bahasa Turki atau bahasa Inggris namun jika kalian memiliki sertifikat bahasa (TOEFL PBT, TOEFL iBT, IELTS, atau sertifikat diakui lainnya) maka jangan sungkan untuk menyertakan di online registration kalian. Eits, jangan senang dulu! Syarat bahasa Inggris tidak akan bisa kalian hindari. Walaupun di TÜBİTAK tidak diwajibkan, namun kalian wajib menyertakan sertifikat kemampuan bahasa Inggris saat kalian mendaftar universitas berbasis bahasa Inggris di Turki. Minimal kalian bisa lewat requirement-nya, kalian aman.

Sekarang, mari kita masuk ke tips yang mungkin jarang kalian ketahui. Psst, ini cuman tips dari saya dan beberapa teman yang berhasil tembus aneka beasiswa lainnya. Jadi, bisa kalian jadikan pedoman atau hanya sekedar lalu. Tak apa.

  1. CV alias Curriculum Vitae, ada beberapa beasiswa yang tidak require format CV baku. Jadi, saatnya kalian memberi tampilan layout CV terbaik kalian. Untuk urusan akademik, sertakan juga seminar-seminar yang telah kalian hadiri baik sebagai speaker or participant. Tentunya, seminar yang berkaitan dengan keilmuan kalian. Kalau kalian anak HI trus nampilin seminar bengkel otomotif, ya board commission beasiswa kalian bakalan bingung buat assess application kalian “wah ini anak HI tapi bisa buka bengkel, kok nglamar beasiswa segala?” Gak cuma seminar, tapi kegiatan akademik dan non akademik di kampus dan luar kampus kalian skala lokal sampai global juga wajib dicantumin. Misalnya, kalian aktif di organisasi volunteering di luar kampus, itu bakalan jadi nilai lebih kalau kalian mengajukan beasiswa di bidang yang bisa dibilang rada deket ama kegiatan kalian. Apalagi, kalau IPK kalian menjulang tinggi dengan aneka kegiatan non akademik yang kalian ikuti, duhai calon penerima beasiswa yang potensial. Oh iya, pengalaman kerja (magang atau pro) bisa juga jadi poin lebih. Board commission bakalan menganggap bahwa karena kalian pernah kerja maka kalian adalah orang yang cukup berkualifikasi. Terlebih, jika tidak ada space lama antara hari graduation kalian dan hari pertama kalian kerja setelah lulus. For sure, it will be a very good CV.
  2. Statement of Purpose (SoP), nah kalau yang ini saya rada bingung. Ada yang bilang, bikin SoP seresmi mungkin. Tapi, saya sendiri percaya bahwa kalimat pertama dalam SoP mu akan berpengaruh terhadap penilaian board commission. Maka dari itu, saya membuat SoP saya dimulai dengan kata-kata yang tidak biasa. Saya tidak memulai dengan kalimat “My name is…. And I am….” Atau “Let me first introduce myself, I am…” Saya memulai SoP dengan kata-kata yang saya yakin board commission akan tertarik untuk membaca kalimat saya selanjutnya. I believe that trying different approach, despite the proven old school style one, will make you become someone unique in their eyes. Jadi, silakan kalian memikirkan kata-kata unik versi kalian. Tapi, unik bukan berarti informal loh. Stay formal! It is a must. Yet, create something unique and “sell something”. If you know what I mean.
  3. Reference, kita masuk ke sesuatu yang bukan kontrol kalian. Jadi, berbaik hatilah kepada dosen, professor, ketua jurusan, dekan, dan rektor kalian. Mereka inilah orang-orang yang berjasa meloloskan kalian kelak, sebaiknya salah satunya adalah pembimbing skripsi kalian. Tentunya, jika kalian memiliki hubungan baik setelah adegan siding skripsi. Jika tidak, kalian bisa mencoba dosen lain yang pernah terlibat dengan kalian di salah satu proyek atau kalian termasuk outstanding student di kelas mereka. Ada beberapa beasiswa yang memberikan format baku penulisan referensi. Jadi, kalian tidak punya pilihan lain selain memberi format itu kepada calon referee Adapula yang memberikan format bebas, jadi hanya bermodalkan kop surat institusi kalian, tandatangan referee, dan stempel basah maka kalian bisa memiliki surat referensi ini. Satu-satunya saran untuk yang satu ini adalah pilihlah referee yang benar-benar mengenal kalian sehingga bisa dengan baik hatinya menjelaskan bahwa kalian adalah kandidat potensial untuk program yang kalian lamar. Kalau referee kalian tidak begitu mengenal kalian, mereka tidak akan mampu menjelaskan atau meyakinkan board commission dengan referensi mereka bahwa kamu adalah on top student. So, please carefully choose the right man! *lo kira milih jodoh?

Untuk persyaratan selanjutnya seperti scan passport, translated Bachelor/Master diploma and transcript, dan online application, sepertinya tidak ada tips deh. LOL. Oh iya, ada loh beasiswa yang mensyaratkan IPK tertentu, jadi perhatikan terlebih dulu. Tapi, jarang kok. Adapun syarat IPK-nya untuk master palingan di atas 3.0 dan menurut saya IPK itu memang syarat umum mendaftar di universitas luar negeri. Jadi, wajar saja.

Oh iya, TÜBİTAK ini tidak mensyaratkan adanya Letter of Acceptance (LoA) dari universitas di Turki. Jadi, setelah kalian diumumkan sebagai penerima beasiswa barulah kalian bertualang mencari universitas di Turki. Gosip dari grup FB penerima beasiswa ini, IPK menjadi pertimbangan besar. Semakin tinggi IPK kalian, maka kalian akan dinilai sebagai outstanding one. Tapi, bukan fakta kok. Jangan terpengaruh!

Biasanya beasiswa ini dibuka Februari-Maret dan September-Oktober tiap tahunnya. Ada dua periode penerimaan pendaftaran. Hasilnya akan diumumkan 2-3 bulan setelah deadline. Kalian harus sabar sembari menebar pukat harimau aplikasi beasiswa kalian dimanapun sesuai kemauan kalian. Berbeda dengan LPDP, beasiswa ini tidak mengadakan tahap wawancara. Jadi, setelah kalian menerima surat penerimaan maka kalian memiliki waktu 12 bulan atau 356 hari tertanggal surat tersebut untuk harus TERDAFTAR di salah satu universitas di Turki. Setelah menerima surat itu, kalian harus mengirimkan dokumen asli yang diminta (kecuali paspor) ke kantor TÜBİTAK di Ankara paling lambat 60 hari. Jika tidak, kalian dianggap mengundurkan diri dari beasiswa tersebut. Saya dulunya menggunakan jasa POS Indonesia, 2-3 minggu bisa tiba dengan selamat dengan biaya yang jauh lebih murah ketimbang FedEx dan DHL.

Tahap selanjutnya adalah mendaftar di universitas. Tapi, tunggu di post selanjutnya ya.. Teruslah berusaha!

Surat Kakak Perempuan kepada Dua Adik Lelakinya

Kepada kalian, dua adik laki-lakiku yang sekarang sudah dewasa..

Hai!

Sebelum membaca ini, mungkin kalian akan menganggap kakak perempuanmu ini lebay dan lagi galau abis. Iya memang. Saat ini, kakakmu ini, sedang merindukan masa-masa dimana kita masih berada bersama bersua di bawah satu atap: rumah. Jarak dan waktu yang membentang menjadi penghalangku mengulang kebersamaan itu, wahai adik-adikku. Resiko yang harus aku ambil ketika aku dengan mantapnya memilih menuntut ilmu di sini demi membuat kalian, Etta, dan Ammi kita sedikit bangga. Semoga…

Masih kuingat saat kita tumbuh bersama, pautan umur kita yang hanya berselisih 1.5-3 tahun membuat kita tumbuh sebagai teman. Di antara kita tidak ada sapaan kakak-adik, barulah depan orang tua sapaan itu kita lontarkan. Demi membuat mereka percaya bahwa kita akur. Walaupun mereka pun tahu tidak ada satu haripun terlewatkan tanpa pertengkaran antara kita bertiga. Kalian berdua laki-laki, tentunya kalian lebih memilih main bersama. Kalian menganggap aku perempuan tidak boleh ikut bergabung dengan kalian. Saat aku ingin nimbrung, kalian lantas berkata bahwa ini mainan lelaki. Maka menjauhlah aku. Tapi, entah kenapa aku tak lelah mencoba dan sadar-sadar kitapun bermain bertiga. Jika kalian cekcok, kalian akan berlomba menarik hatiku untuk beraliansi melawan satu sama lain. Untunglah itu hanya terjadi saat kalian masih kecil. Betapa bahagianya aku, dek. Sekarang kalian tak lagi bertengkar seperti masa kanak-kanak dulu.

Kita memang bukan kakak-adik yang selalu jalan bersama kemana-mana. Kita adalah kakak-adik yang selalu tahu kapan saatnya membantu satu sama lain. Kalian yang selalu bersama dari kecil sampai SMP. Sekelas, sepermainan, dan saudara. Sedangkan aku, sedari itu selalu mencari sesuatu sendiri. Mungkin karena Ammi tidak memberi kita saudara perempuan untuk menemaniku. Tapi, tak apalah. Bahagiaku memiliki kalian tidak akan terganti.

Masih lekat di ingatanku saat kamu, si bungsu yang saat itu masih SMA bilang “Putusin gak tuh orang! Kalau berani ke rumah lagi, aku gak segan-segan mukul.” Padahal badanmu masih ceking dan kurus, tapi kamu berani mengancam akan memukul lelaki yang kamu pikir telah menyakiti hati kakakmu ini. Betapa terharunya aku, dek. Permintaanmu itu aku laksanakan, dek. Sekarang aku sudah bersama lelaki yang jauh lebih baik dari dia. Entahlah. Tanpa teguran itu mungkin aku tak akan membuka mata sesegera mungkin setelahnya. Terima kasih mengingatkan aku, dek.

Kamu si tengah, yang selalu ada kala aku minta dijemput dimanapun itu, menjadi andalanku sepanjang masa. Kesiapanmu selalu membuatku selamat sampai di rumah tanpa rasa was-was selarut apapun saat itu. Dengan sepeda motor andalanmu, yang suara knalpotnya sudah kamu modifikasi, kamu selalu bisa menjadi andalanku. Walaupun setelahnya kamu selalu minta ditraktir, tapi aku suka. Kamu membuatku dibutuhkan, setelah aku membuatmu dibutuhkan. Simbiosis yang kita jalani begitu indah, dek.

Kalian tidak selalu membuatku senang, kadang dengan kemalasan kalian bangun pagi dan bergerak, aku harus marah-marah seperti ibu tiri. Aku pasti terlihat menyebalkan. Takut tetangga mendengar, aku harus membuat suaraku serendah mungkin. Tak jarang, aku menangis emosi karena kalian. Tapi setelahnya, kalian selalu tahu bagaimana caranya membuatku tertawa. Akhirnya aku menangis sambil tertawa: menyebalkan.

Lebaran lalu, aku masih ingat saat keluarga begitu mengagumi kalian yang sudah bertumbuh besar laiknya lelaki sejati. Aku yang tak segan menggamit lengan kalian berjalan dengan percaya diri atau bersandar manja pada pundak kalian: mereka adalah adik-adikku. Wajah kalian semakin tidak mirip denganku. Tapi, sifat kalian dan sifatku akhirnya bisa semakin menyatu. Kita semakin bisa berkomunikasi dengan baik. Kalian semakin dewasa, dek.

Kalian sudah dewasa, sudah saatnya bisa menentukan jalan hidup kalian sendiri. Etta dan Ammi percaya sama kita, itu adalah hadiah terbaik. Tidak semua orangtua dengan baiknya percaya sama anak-anak mereka. Tetaplah menjadi anak kesayangan Etta Ammi, dek. Biarkan mereka menikmati masa tua mereka tanpa rasa khawatir akan kita. Saat ini aku sudah bisa mandiri, beberapa saat lagi kalian akan mandiri dengan cara kalian sendiri. Jadilah apa saja yang kamu mau, tanpa beban. Karena aku, Etta, dan Ammi percaya kalian tidak akan mengecewakan kami. Karena kami tahu dan yakin bahwa kalian tidak akan lupa berbagi karena masa-masa sulit telah kita lalui bersama yang membuat kalian menjadi lelaki tangguh. Aku percaya itu, adik-adikku.

Dari kakak perempuan kalian yang sangat merindukan kalian…

Culture Shock

“Go get a room, please!”

Saya membatin tatkala melihat sepasang muda mudi sekitar umur 25-an sedang melakukan adegan gigit-gigit dagu di dalam metro train yang saya tumpangi saat itu. Si lelaki sambil menunduk, satu tangan menggantung di pegangan tangan dan satunya dengan erat memeluk pinggang si perempuan. Sedangkan si perempuan? Jangan ditanya, tentunya dengan pose menengadah dan bergelayut erat pada si lelaki seakan-akan lelakinya adalah tumpuan terakhirnya di bumi. *eh

Bukan bermaksud sinis atau apa, hanya saja saya adalah pendatang baru dengan budaya timur yang masih cukup kental dan ditambah dengan budaya siri’­-nya orang Bugis. Disuguhkan pemandangan demikian tentu menimbulkan sensasi menggelitik yang cukup mengganggu. Walaupun sebenarnya penumpang kereta lain terlihat tidak terganggu. Iyalah, pemandangan sehari-hari mereka kok. Jangan harap kamu akan mendapati adegan serupa di negeri khatulistiwa, Indonesia. Oke, mungkin akan, namun jelas tidak dalam waktu dekat ini. LOL.

Tapi bagi saya perbedaan budaya ini memberikan sedikit rasa tidak nyaman. Jelas, karena tidak biasa. Jadi, saya memberikan sugesti kepada diri sendiri: nanti kamu akan terbiasa kok. Akhirnya saya tidak mengalami stres karena hal beginian. I can deal with it. Yah, mungkin juga karena saya dibantu oleh kebiasaan nonton film-film Hollywood dan berujung pada pemikiran-pemikiran cukup ‘liberal’. Eits, bukan berarti saya penganut ya. Cuman, sedikit terkontaminasi dengan nilai-nilai mereka, salah satunya: mind your own business, dude!

Hidup di kota dua benua ini dari awal sudah memberikan banyak kejutan. Mulai dari sekularismenya, kalau yang ini oke sampai sekarang pun masih mengalami, sampai pada fakta bahwa kota ini agak ‘terlalu’ liberal. Tapi, kalau berbicara tentang pandangan politik, negara ini masih memegang teguh yang namanya: nasionalisme tingkat dewa. Soal ini, bakalan ilmiah banget kalau di bahas di blog. Lain kali ya. Mungkin. Hmmm.

Eh, mungkinkah saya mengalami yang namanya culture shock?

Menurut Merriam Webster, culture shock is a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation. Sedangkan menurut Kamus Oxford, culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

Well, kalau merujuk dari dua makna minimalis di atas sepertinya kondisiku tidak ter­cover deh. Kata Merriam, ‘without adequate preparation’ itu gak sepenuhnya benar. Saya ke sini dengan persiapan yang cukup baik itu jiwa dan raga. Ehm. Nah kalau kata Oxford, ‘suddenly subjected to…’ sama saja dengan Merriam. I am not suddenly, boom, in here. Jadi? Apakah saya tidak mengalami culture shock? Jawabannya, belum tentu. Mari kita tengok sedikit dari kawan-kawan di The Steger Center for International Scholarship at Virginia Tech. Berikut adalah ciri-ciri yang mengalami culture shock, check them out!

Symptoms of culture shock include:

  1. Homesickness
  2. Boredom
  3. Withdrawal
  4. Excessive sleep
  5. Compulsive eating/drinking
  6. Irritability
  7. Stereotyping host nationals
  8. Hostility towards host nationals

Well, poin ke-7 adalah hal yang paling sering saya lakukan. Sedikit-sedikit bikin stereotype. LOL. Kalau homesick sih muncul karena rasa rindu sama orang-orang yang saya sayangi yang ada di Indonesia. Ciyeh, Masa karena rindu menyebabkan culture shock. Mmm, terserah sih ya. Mau dianggap culture shock atau tidak, tapi sebagai ekspatriat selaiknya saya, ataupun kalian yang menghadapi masalah yang sama, harus senantiasa bertahan. Beradaptasi. Nah, soal ini ada lagi hal yang harus kalian tahu.

Menurut buku You Cannot Go Home Again: A Phenomenological Investigation of Returning to the Sojourn Country After Studying Abroad karya Victoria Christofi dan Charles L. Thompson, ada tiga jenis outcomes yang dihasilkan ketika dihadapkan pada posisi ‘menyesuaikan’:

  1. Some people find it impossible to accept the foreign culture and to integrate. They isolate themselves from the host country’s environment, which they come to perceive as hostile, withdraw into a “ghetto” and see return to their own culture as the only way out. These “Rejectors” also have the greatest problems re-integrating back home after return.
  2. Some people integrate fully and take on all parts of the host culture while losing their original identity. This is called cultural assimilation. They normally remain in the host country forever. This group is sometimes known as “Adopters” and describes approximately 10% of expats.
  3. Some people manage to adapt to the aspects of the host culture they see as positive, while keeping some of their own and creating their unique blend. They have no major problems returning home or relocating elsewhere. This group can be thought to be somewhat cosmopolitan. Approximately 30% of expats belong to this group.

Hmmm, ini hanya sekedar berbagi ya. Bukan tulisan yang benar-benar ilmiah dengan tingkat keakuratan yang bisa dipertahankan di depan penguji. Hanya saja belakangan saya sering merasa bahwa saya sudah terbiasa dengan beberapa nilai kehidupan di sini. Bukannya sok ngeblend, tapi bukankah adaptasi adalah hal yang dilakukan makhluk hidup untuk bertahan dari seleksi alam seperti kata Charles Darwin? Oke, mungkin teori ini sudah ketinggalan atau ternyata telah dipatahkan oleh ilmuan lain. Tapi, saya percaya bahwa adaptasi adalah senjata paling ampuh untuk bertahan hidup dalam budaya yang berbeda dengan budaya yang membesarkan dan membentuk saya. Soalnya, di sini saya ada kewajiban untuk dituntaskan. Jadi, harus bisa sampai pada tujuan dengan selamat tanpa stres, depresi, atau apalah namanya yang bisa menghambat ketercapaian tujuan saya. Elah. Hmmm.

Btw, saya masih mencoba mengeksplorasi budaya lain di sini. Dikit lagi mau jadi pengamat budaya. *lupa diri jadi anak HI