Friendship, Beloved, The sun rising so early, Pushing stars away—
(Very early) morning conversation that left me sleepy but so energized after talking with someone whose genuineness could kept me listening to whatever this person said— My day is always good especially when started with a cheap talk with my best friends. Today is going to be super good one!
BF: Still writing?
BF: Poems and ranting?
Me: Ya, you don’t read mine?
BF: Not these two weeks. Busy! You still talk to yourself in your writing?
BF: You think people like it?
BF: Why do you do it then?
Me: I do what I love doing.
BF: Even if no one cares?
Me: Even if no one cares.
BF: Are you happy?
Me: Not always
BF: Are you happy writing?
BF: What happens when you are not happy writing?
Me: I have so much in head but I don’t want to make it so obvious or it is so hard to make it concise.
BF: Do you know that people reading your cheap writings might think you are madly in love?
Me: I don’t care. But yes I’m madly in love.
BF: With whom?
Me: With many different things.
BF: Name some.
Me: Oh my…. Are you interrogating me?
BF: 😂😂😂 Yaaa! You didn’t know?
Me: I just realised it.
BF: That’s how you don’t care about what people are doing to you? Don’t be silly. Put some suspicion and negative thinking to some people, even to someone that you love.
Me: I will.
BF: You’re 50 several years to come and still have mental of a £€$@$£€L!
BF: Do you know who is among your friends genuine or not?
BF: But you look like not knowing.
Me: Because I don’t care. It’s my business to make sure I’m me but I can’t ask others to do the same thing to me the way I do to them.
BF: What about me?
Me: You are genuine especially when you have problem.
BF: You mean?!
Me: Yes, only I can listen to you for 5 hours non stop ranting about your problems! The same problems unsolved for years! That’s how genuine we are with each other.
God bless all my best friends. See you all soon! 💕
You be, Beloved, Truly. You know not, I do. One moment owns you.
A teacher said, “What’s the most important thing in your car?”
No one said anything but everyone had one’s answer popping around one’s head.
The teacher continued “How do you think about jack?”
Everyone laughed. One of them said, “Almost not functional.”
The teacher giggled and said, “Yes! Jack will work only in unexpected situation almost accidentally, might be never if there is no emergency. How do you feel if your existence in society is like a jack? And what will you do?”
No one said anything. Most of them felt denial, not wanting to be jack in a car.
The teacher smiled and said, “You know a jack is a jack because it is a jack. What a jack needs to do is being a good jack. A good jack is a jack that can function well. Function well when needed! Anytime needed! What if a jack feels desperate of being a jack just because the jack is never used? The jack will give up functioning. The jack may let itself corroded, lose its credibility and accountability. One day the car needs a new tire in the middle of nowhere, jack doesn’t function, it doesn’t do its job, it lets the car stranded nowhere until another car with a functional jack comes by….”
The teacher said, “So whatever your function now in society, function well, perform your best, as that is some part of the true you. Everyone has one’s own moment. If you think you’ve been a jack in a car, don’t stop functioning because someday you might be needed and you alone are needed and that’s when you become a super hero. Or if you ever be a jack that is never used, at least someday the owner will say ‘I never use this jack but it is a super jack, I’m sure it functions well anytime I need it’. Ok, Jack?”
Everyone laughed, feeling relieved of having been a jack in different moment.
One student said, “What about if no one knows I’m a good jack because I never meet a moment?”
The teacher smiled and said, “So what? That no one knows we are good at something doesn’t mean we are not good. Why is jack mostly painted red?”
“To be easily found!”
“Yessssss!” Shouted the teacher. “Might not be the best answer but it can be one best answer to answer your friend’s question. Where is red? You still call it red without knowing why it is called red. You still call it red although you don’t realise the existence of red except painted on a jack in this context. You said jack is red so it can be easily found. No one knows what is actually red but all of you know that red is good in jack that functions only in emergency so when needed it is easily found….. That is red— a quality in you that is taken for granted because people think a jack is mostly painted red; only when people think deeply then the quality is a good quality! Don’t cover your red jack with other thing, it won’t be easily found anymore.”
“Like him!” A student pointed his finger to a friend in a red shirt sleeping in the classroom.
The teacher said, “Don’t wake him up. He is a jack in a good ride.”
Everyone laughed. The boy in the red shirt woke up and joined the cheer with his loudest laugher.
“He is a jack functioning well!“ said the teacher.
How beautiful the life of a jack is! 😁
(based on a conversation with a jack of all trades and other jacks who are waiting for the moment to appear)
Clear sky, Beloved, Calm blue where clouds swim, birds fly Under the warm sun—
Javanese live their life with meaning and that makes them “effortlessly” survive even in the hardest time. They pin meaning to everything they experience. I believe Javanese are naturally philosophers whose communal humble life is richly loaded with wisdom; unfortunately fading away by the time.
Meanings easily recognised by most Javanese are those pinned to batik method and patterns. Historically batik patterns were works of art composed by either scholars from padepokan (ashram in Sanskrit) or the royals (king, queen, prince, princess or royal artists). In fact, there were few batik patterns created by commoners such as batik nitik and batik kawung. Kawung is one of the oldest original patterns of Javanese batik which has existed since 12th century. Nitik was born younger, approximately in 19th century.
Fun fact about Javanese king: aside from courses of political knowledge, leadership, palace management etc, long time before his coronation a Javanese crown prince must completely compose 3 works of art and publicly present them to the board of senior royals then announced the art pieces to people in the kingdom. Those three are batik pattern whose batik is handmade by him, tembang/kidung (sacred Javanese song) sung by him; and bedhaya dance trained to the dancers by him (a solemn Javanese dance performed by a group of dancers).
While batik nitik was initially created as secret codes by commoners to circulate among them classified information kept hidden from unjust aristocrats at that time or from the enemies (some historians said though this pattern was composed by the royals); kawung was allegedly created by a mother to dress her son who was instructed by the king to join his exclusive team due to his outstanding skill of espionage and balanced state of mind (again the historians said this pattern was composed by the royals). The said mother made a sheet of kawung pattern for him before he left as a prayer that her son could keep his current quality even after he later lived among (socially, politically, professionally) higher rank people.
Kawung is the Javanese word of sugar palm (kolang-kaling). The symmetrical four half chambers in a fruit are used to symbolise balanced state among physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual. The clear colour of the seed is borrowed to symbolise clarity: of conscious mind, of conscious decisions, of intension, of purpose and of actions.
People also relate the word kawung to suwung that can mean emptiness: in this matter suwung is more about self alignment, absence of sense-driven wanting. A person in this suwung state in positive interpretation means someone who is already free from his/her craving for worldly interests, s/he is able to calmly and consciously prioritise among physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual proportions with no doubt or confusion. S/he is in high level of awareness of a “perfect” human being.
In Java region that kind of person is not necessarily a saint or a priest or a bikhu(ni) or a nun; s/he might be a farmer, a batik maker, a herbal seller, a taxi driver, an employee, a housewife, a leader etc, just whoever is willing to self align through what they do everyday regardless their professions. Not a few of them were “bad” people hearing the inner calling, deciding to quit their wrong doings and living “new” life.
At younger age, I met more of that type around us in my hometown. Now fewer and fewer people are interested to achieve that level because life pace is now becoming faster with the “tsunami of information” and life needs are “forcing” people to be constantly in alert mode with the high competition to “survive certain life style”.
Not much I can do this time. I try to breath more slowly, pay attention on shift of emotions through body reaction (my body will never betray me) then acknowledge the emotion whatever it is. Time flies like a wind sometimes like a storm, I choose to ride it, not to get dragged by it. Not easy but doable.
How light this head is after ranting!
Fun fact about the honourable batik makers: - Once a batik maker pulls the “canting” filled with hot wax on a sheet of fabric, it will start developing lines or dots as the hot wax gets dry fast and block the fabric. That is why they work very carefully to avoid unplanned error. Correcting unplanned error is more tedious in batik making process compared to drawing the patterns with canting. Zero accident policy applies. - Batik making is a highly contemplative activity (almost) like meditation. That is what makes many of batik makers especially those senior and/or with high quality artisanal works have good self alignment. - Some batik makers don’t need to draw the planned pattern with pencil on the fabric. They are the highly skilled, the artist, the master of what they are doing. - It takes approximately 5 months to complete a piece of two sided hand-made batik of 210-250cm long. Those batik makers also do household chores in between their batik making activities as they mostly don’t earn good money. If you buy hand made batik, please give extra dollars to share some comfort. - Majority of batik makers are female. Very few of them are young.
Silk road, Beloved, A bumpy road to a heart Laughing at a joke—
In a silk shop in Hanoi a conversation happened.
Me: (silently questioning whether the silk offered was truly silk from Dalat or “silk” from somewhere in China)
Shopkeeper: How do you like it, Madam?
Me: I love it. But to help me make decision, would you mind answering my question? I hope this won’t offend you.
Shopkeeper: Certainly, Madam.
Me: Is this silk truly from Dalat?
Shopkeeper: Yes, Madam. It is from Dalat, my parents’ hometown. Why, Madam?
Me: Not from China?
Shopkeeper: (laughing) We received the same question from another customer before. I am not surprised. Trust me it is Vietnamese silk, not Chinese product…. (She made a joke about “silk” then continued her long explanation of silk industry in Vietnam and her family business history and brought some samples of old silk that had been kept since her grand grand parents started production.)
She was able to convince me relatively well and my decision was buying one pretty white piece. White silk won’t go wrong to attend my nephew’s wedding in December! 🥰
Thunders, Beloved, Not sign of rain, but lightning— Know their true message.
Some messages are exactly like how people play “karambol” (carrom board in English), the player may strike one disk to target another disk. The message is as if for A but actually for B. Or the message is like this but actually that.
Cluttered, Beloved, Storing unprocessed info Too much. Declutter!
I love jewelry and used to love purchasing them not because of its value but more because of sentiment to its historical, cultural or spiritual loads. And that was lots of money (to me, not to others who have millions and millions of dollars). My close friends and my mother repeatedly ranted and nagged to me to buy gold than those “meaningless” jewelry. Did I listen? Of course nooooooot!!!
Until one day I realised that those things are a fantasy in a hoarder’s spirit of mine. And so I decided to stop buying things if not helping me work/study better or making this journey lighter.
I should be decluttering more and more and giving more space to moving energy. My home should be filled with more expressive sweet love than with unprocessed memories. Unprocessed memories = info that is never escalated into knowledge then insight then wisdom = rubbish!
Dear Life, please let me be with you longer so that I can unlearn more and more wisely, embrace your true meaning more and more clearly and give meaning to you more and more sweetly.
*breathing for a while for the next task of today’s decluttering*
Feel good, Beloved, No matter what. Stars still shine. Moon and earth still spin.
Why are you nervous, my dear? Romance is within reach, just between breathing in and breathing out. Stars, moon and earth give you so much attention while you are ignoring them. They have done their jobs; you should do yours if you think it feels good.
Playful is the sun, Gazing, not a player though. The earth is smiling.
This worldly life is no more than play and amusement, no doubt; yet some situations are seriously needing “handle with care”. And so I believe feeling good no matter what is the best way to respond to what’s given. It is time to be playful.
This worldly life will not make this physical body live forever; yet there is part of me living forever and ever dwelling broader higher deeper dimensions. I wish to meet loved ones in a more meaningful and joyful state. It is not time to play around.
A guest, Beloved, Makes host happy yet confused. Smile sweet and thank, too.
I’ve met hosts with different types of personality or characteristics. When the host is a person, it’s just about that particular person. When the host is a company, it shows me the company culture or local culture.
I’ve got a few “cute” treatment from some hosts.
One company in Koka was informed that I’m a Muslim. My colleague told them “Rike eats halal, please find the food source from now.” They didn’t clarify to me and just followed that pranking colleague blindly. And in my 3-day visit they fed me halal food they ordered online and had to be delivered long trip to that remote area.
“Is it good, Rike-san?” The host asked me on the last day.
“Do you expect honest or polite answer?” said I laughing.
“Be honest please ha ha…”
“I tried NN-san’s food from your canteen. I love your food much much better. This online food tasted good but didn’t taste fresh.” It was impolite like hell for most Japanese host I guess. 😂
“Our canteen food is not halal. I’m sorry about the online food.” He must have wanted to commit suicide after that. 😁
Then I started preaching what halal meant to me. And they said they would not order the halal food for me anymore and give me their canteen food the following years. 😂
The second was one company knowing I’m a Muslim as informed by the branch in Malaysia. So they knew I pray although they never knew I only pray when wanting to.
So they brought me to a small room to do afternoon prayer. I asked if they have Muslim employees so they had the room, they said it was prepared for me. They moved out table, chairs and other cultural ornaments. 🙇🏻♀️
The first day I prayed, the other days they asked if I would pray. I said no. Then again I preached what type of Muslim I was and they nodded heads looking confused— they might think how would a human being can be this obedient yet disobedient to her God.
The third is also about being a Muslim. I came with 6 other people for 2 days and the company gave me fruit salad while giving nice beef/chicken/pork, egg, vegetable, rice lunch to others. They said they only had salad as halal food and no restaurant near the industrial area cooks halal and non halal food separately.
My colleagues explained that I could eat this and that but “not pork only”. So the next day they provided my favourite Vietnam spring roll with “vegetable and pork” not “pork only”. I left the lunch box untouched and went back to the yummy salad. I’ll come back next year, please give me pho. 😁
Some people are so naive not knowing what to do and deciding to do their bestest best to respect the guests. God bless them.
I enjoy being a (not so good) Muslim. Misunderstood but still well treated by those willing to respect others. God bless you! 💝
Romance, Beloved, Turns her into a dreamer Of a slow dinner.
Today’s dinner is the longest ever I have alone: sitting in the restaurant for almost one hour not only to eat but also to enjoy a sight of two old-aged lovers enjoying dinner at a table across mine. There was no obsession of showy loving, no romantically staring each other, no hand holding, only picking food from the shared menu on a plate and a bowl s-l-o-w-l-y almost meditatively — Hmmm I mean I still dream of doing the young romance but at their age all lovers will have become “private life historians” wanting to recount memories alone in the crowd. 😄
They spoke Vietnamese so I (almost) whispered to a waitress serving both of our tables to translate a chunk of the chat we both eavesdropped. A couple of hackers of very ordinary topics! 😊
When I left the table (they were having a shared plate of dessert s-l-o-w-l-y), I smiled and waved my hand to the lady. She smiled and waved to me, too. Silently I sent my prayer gift for their health and happiness.
I think my dinner was more romantic than theirs. What a beautiful evening!