Still You, Just

You’re in the dark. Who?
What? Matter? Not! It’s still you.
Just some shade and light.

I’m never perfect, will never be as long as I live with and in this matter. There won’t be any absence of uncertainty. There is always a gap to bridge, a space in between, an emptiness after fulfilment…. Always between 0 and 1 – a binary system of wholeness I call it. Swinging like a pendulum from one point to another up to one extreme point before at the end of momentum thrown back to the next direction…..

Why would you stay in the day for 24 hours if you can stay cool in the dark for 12 hours after a long working day? Or the other way around with some reason?

Why would you mind missing someone for at least an hour a day if it can make this life more vibrant? Just don’t hate….

Why would you regret your broken heart as long as you don’t hurt anyone’s pride? Just don’t forget to love yourself….

No matter what and who you are some time of and in your life, you’re still you. Be you! Be more whole you every time…. A true you

May all beings be happy.

Sharing Or Not?

At times you can share,
Others you shouldn’t. It may hurt.
Different point of view—


I haven’t shared food pics very often in Instagram since some good friends contacted and told me how hard it’s been for them to make ends meet in this pandemic.

One of them said he once had to lower down his pride by agreeing to receive a donation from Australia to feed his wife and children. Sad….

Another said to me “Oh, how nice to have time and cook whatever you wanna eat. Hope we can have that privilege.” I was shocked when she said that as what I had known she had a very good tourism business, and now I knew that she got tremendously affected by this pandemic. Tourism has been hard hit in this period of time.

Not one or two but many came to me to borrow money to survive their business. Double sad! I had to apologise and politely refused to help. Just last year I started limiting lending cash to others. Not that not trusting people but yeah I have been cheated financially by those called friends. Ya, I was stupidly generous and irresponsibly stupid 😂 It should come to an end.

So, with all those reducing showing food pictures in Instagram is the best I can do to help. It is to clear up the jealousy and also to look ordinary. People think you have much money when you eat well. They never know how hard you work for the food on the plate.

May all beings be happy.

Bengawan Solo – favourite

This song is one of those in my top rack! Nothing can beat Bengawan Solo. God bless you, Pak Gesang.

When a baby is born, s/he is “accompanied” by placenta. In Javanese culture the placenta should be either buried in the home where the baby will stay in his/her first 40 days or floated to the sacred river, both with sacred small ceremony. Mine was floated (larung in local language) in Bengawan Solo, the longest river in beloved Java island. If you Google “Bengawan Solo”, you’ll find a Singaporean bakery – hell yeah! Not making me much happy as that phrase has lost its authenticity. I’m not so upset though as at least I have a favourite place to buy “traditional Javanese cakes” (some claimed as Peranakan though – never mind anyone can claim anything with power) at the same time relating it to my favourite song and where “my brother placenta” was floated.

I miss the land where I can smile to anyone without being called weird…. My dear Java island.

I found some versions hitting the mood so damn gracefully! Enjoy.

May you all be happy.

Keep The Glass Empty

The wine bottle is still full,
The wine bottle opener is being prepared, 
Then she keeps her glass empty.

The wine bottle opener is ready,
The wine cork is severely damaged,
So she keeps her glass empty.

The night is almost down,
The guest hasn’t come,
Yet she keeps her glass empty.

She thinks something is wrong,
She doesn’t know the guest got an accident and died,
And she still keeps her glass empty.

About A Dog

He is a street dog
Got rescued, lost its nature.
Carnivore no more

My respect goes to all animals, their lovers and rescuers. Deep down in my heart I believe all animals should live by their nature, in the wild, without threat of any type from us the irresponsible human beings.

Prayer For Ancestors – ranting

I’ve been told to pray for the ancestors, overall those in the family tree who have been deceased. We will trace back from my late father to his parents to his parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not and trace back from my mother’s parents to her parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not.

In old Javanese tradition people will do the prayer for ancestors in a simple yet sacred ritual – while some people will go to the graveyard or monument to do it, many are doing it at home. No altar, put thing on your table and pray.

However, four components shall be thoughtfully prepared: the day, the prayer, the food, drink, and (sometimes) cigarettes, and the flowers. Each of those has meaning.

As a reminder, here is the meaning. Please don’t quote me as my knowledge is the result of my personal contemplation mixed with very limited knowledge that I read and hear from many sources.

Chosen Days
All days are good, all time is precious. We are the one giving them meaning by putting some more attention and creating the moment on particular days. So choosing the day is a decision to give meaning to particular time so that it becomes a beautiful moment that boost our mood to connect with our beloved and respected members “above”. The day you are born must be your favourite day.

People will do it at night; many choose to do it at Thursday night before Friday morning breaks, others choose to do it on the day they are born (Sunday to Saturday combined with one of the Javanese 5 days. which is Paing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon and Legi — so if you combine, it can be Thursday Kliwon, Tuesday Legi, etc which are astrologically calculated in a very complicated system. Don’t ask me further about Javanese astrology – I’m zero!

By the way, people traditionally do the ritual ancestor prayer once in 35-40 days or on special dates/occasions but nowadays most people do it twice in a year: around Ramadan and in Javanese new year (lunar calendar). Me? Don’t ask…. 😂

Prayers
To me chanted prayer is a set of (poetic and romantic) line to synchronise the emotions through all senses with the inner self by focusing on what are uttered or sung. Chanted prayer improves concentration. It helps achieve the oneness within self. So, make sure you understand what you are saying in the prayer. Otherwise, you become a talking parrot.

In Javanese old tradition people recite some “tembang” the Javanese songs which reflect wishes and philosophical thought. Young Javanese used to be taught how to sing those songs in elementary school but now that lesson has gone from the formal education and replaced by popular music lesson as a result of modern culture massively affecting and marginalising the local potential.

While Dhandhanggula verses are commonly chosen to be sung softly by those who are good enough to be heard by the wind and human beings — oh please excuse my out of tune; other Javanese songs (Mocopat) can be the alternatives. People can only use the tembang’s tones or tones and verses. There is no rigid rule for that.

Some others will use Quranic verses containing universal prayers — Javanese culture has been merged and amalgamated with many different religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and strongly with Islam) and so Quranic verses are inserted or substituting some items in the culture. Many will choose QS Yaasiin allegedly the “heart of Quran” or QS Arrahman that contains a lot of heavenly joy to reflect our prayers that all ancestors’ souls are living in heaven. Many people also use QS Alfatihah allegedly the “mother of the Book” or the “mother of Quran” which is much shorter than the other two.

Why Quran is used in many aspects of Javanese? There is a lot of synchronicity between Javanese thinking tradition (Kejawen) with the Islam spirituality (Sufi) and that has developed mutual functionality between those traditions.

If you live in Java island especially central to eastern part of the island for just a while (one week maybe), ou will shift understanding about the Islam which you might have perceived as a rigid teaching originated from Arab land. Islam in Java is different at an almost extreme level of characteristics from Arabian culture. No, no I don’t hate Arab or the “Arabian Islam”, I just don’t want people to wrongly think that all muslims are rigid and narrow minded just by some wrongly-defined teaching or hatred-based perception made by some irresponsible Orientalists. Please don’t judge my language. I don’t mean anything but “Islam isn’t like what you think it is, You should travel more to know more.” Ok, I rest my case.

The other group will just say nothing at all, their prayers are uttered silently in the secret language that can only be understood by those praying.

What do we pray for? We pray for the joy of ancestors’ soul — I myself like to whisper in English “Dear beloved and respected Ancestors, may you be living peacefully in the heart of green birds in heaven. May you be blessed with good sight of seeing us remembering and praying for you. May you be greeting us too when we realise that we exist after and through you.” Then we pray for our own selves — whatever good prayer we want to chant. What is good prayer? My goodness, any prayer for your happiness and success! 😊

Semar – a character in Javanese shadow puppet whose prayer is always “thank you” for all given by Life. Many Javanese idolise him for his humble yet respected life.

Preparation of Drink and Food
If you know ancestors’ favourite drink and food, prepare them. If not, take your most favourite and remember to always prepare the best ones.

I never know what my ancestors’ favourite food but I know my father loved “kue lapis” – that with layers of coloured rice cake. So kue lapis is always there accompanied by others.

And the beverage is always kopi tubruk and teh tubruk because those two types are the favourite of all in Javanese tradition. Kopi tubruk is plain brewed ground coffee – we don’t filter it, no strainer no no, some people let the coffee powder settle at the bottom of the cup but some will drink the black black coffee with some coffee paste in it, and don’t forget sugar! Teh tubruk is the other one: you just throw dried tea leaves into a cup, pour boiled water, let the leaves drown down, then sip it up with or no sugar!

Cigarettes? I am sorry, dear Ancestors. Smoking isn’t healthy as cigarettes nowadays are made of those hazardous chemicals that will harm your health. So, please excuse this decision. 😁

Yummy! My mother said I am not supposed to eat it after the prayer, but I do….
Good “kopi tubruk” and “teh tubruk” for the beloved and respected ancestors

Flowers
What flowers are used? The key is always “what’s you ancestors’ favourite?” As I am not sure what my ancestors’ favourite flowers, I just refer to what flowers are commonly used in the tradition. Jasmine, rose, ylangylang and magnolia alba are the ones. As I could only find rose then rose it is! I plan to use sunflower, lily or orchid next time as they re my fave!

Why flower? Flower is always associated with fragrance. Fragrance symbolises the good deeds that were dedicated by our ancestors in their life time that will be eternally carved as a sacred key to connect with their bloodline. It also symbolises our good deeds to connect with ancestors. Only when we do our good deed and preserve ancestors’ good deeds, will we connect strongly with the powerful blessings from ancestors.

Being a modern human being should not stop me from remembering that I can only exist with “the good heart and help” of those up above the branches and trunk in a family tree. Hey, we might be a part of a giant family tree – Homo Sapiens whose ancestors are the same. So, next time I’ll probably pray for everyone’s ancestors.

May all beings be happy.

Temasek, Oct. 29, 2020 / 00:44

Remember Her

Relationship pattern changes over time and so does the way children relate with their parents. Although we are far away from each other, always remember the precious role of our parents especially mother. Oh anyway, I was closer to father. As he passed away, I become close to mother.

Dear Self, at least say hi through online chat or video call. Sending her the picture of our lunch would be a good sign that we are ok. Never let her worry about us, no matter what.

Taking A One-Day Leave

I’m taking a 1-day leave tomorrow just to do nothing but cooking my favourite food then washing the dishes!

I’m so cheap yes I am but I’m so excited! A day off on a week day means everything to me. I will wake up at the same time but I don’t have to check a timed to-do-list. I’ll do things without timer except following the boiling of the water, the colours of the cooked veggies, the aroma of garlic and herbs ready to welcome the next ingredients, the burn at the bottom of the wok and pan!

Sweet Tuesday, welcome me. I’m all for you!

Hey, human beings. Don’t disturb me!

Arid Land, His Heart

I never want to hurt myself, I just didn’t know who you are.
I got hurt by a cactus in a desert
Who pricks little fingers,
Who just want to touch this life softly,
Not hurting, not taking anything away.


Wounded, I decided to blame stupidity:
Why did I have to have to have to have to have to just touch cacti? I should have left that arid land long before I touched a prickly spirit.


A delayed regret is less important than a lesson learned but it always gives a story the most significant pivot.


Now
I’ll just admire from here
From where I stand
With millions of prayers
For a secret journey.
Yet I know you are a ghost days and nights.


Someday when I pour down the rain,
You’ll know.
Love is as sweet as water in drought—
Maybe—
If it is not late....

May all beings be happy.

May All Beings Be Happy

People who treat other people improperly will do it to animals. It’s in the blood. And so I never trust those who are not nice either to their own kind and/or to animals.

I have met people —they look like nice and respectable ones— who abuse others physically, verbally and/or emotionally from torturing to humiliating, underestimating up to ignoring. I’m sure those will do what they do to animals, too.

May all beings be happy.

Looking In To Self – haiku

Your self perception
Doesn’t represent true you.
So is self portrait.

10% of self portrait hasn’t even captured the spirit of the person being painted. It is either a failure of technique or absence of realism talent. Or both?

May all beings be happy.

Take A Break – haiku

What does Friday bring?
Laundry, canvas, wok and pan
Wrapped in a good mood.

My stubborn headache and stiff neck suddenly vanished this evening….


I naturally love my job and love it even more every day with the space between two weeks!

May all beings be happy.

Muslim Women Have Their Right Over Their Own Body

It takes courage for some women just to wear what they would love to so appreciate the freedom to do what you want to do responsibly.

Life is so generous and would it be wise for me not to be blessed just to be me?

May all beings be happy.

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