“Weapon Ban” Put Fencing Club To an End

This is a breaking news that I got from Tim Morehouse as he raised the #LetThemFence campaign through Facebook. The first thing that came across my mind as soon as I heard about the news was, ‘ignorance turned into utter misconception.’

“The current interpretation of the non-weapon policy in NDSU… understands our fencing equipment as weapons,” says the club’s coach Enrique Alvarez.

Okay, so an olympic sport is thought to be ‘lethal.’ Honestly I really don’t see how the blunt-point weapons could be considered as harmful. It’s not as if fencers are obsessed of having Victorian era duels in public.

 

The diagram below is based on an article from scientificamerican.com. Fencing as you can see there, is placed on the 27th on the percentage of injured athletes during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Yep, despite the fact that we are engaged in a battle of stabbing flexible metals with each other. Not to mention the thickness of our (somewhat) suffocating armouries, they also contribute in making fencing a safer sport.

LET THEM FENCE!

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Buat Seorang Bapak…

Yang terkadang membuatku kesal karena saking pendiamnya, apapun yang kami mau ia turuti. Kekakuannya terkadang membuatku ingin menjambak rambut sendiri. Bukan mainan, bukan uang, bukan kaset baru, bukan ini, bukan itu… urgghh…

Aku tak mau jadi generasi yang sebentar lagi akalnya akan digantikan chip komputer.

Buat seorang Bapak yang ulang tahunnya terlupakan.

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“Maaf Telat Pak.”

“Sorry It’s Late Dad.”

Bapak bertambah tua

Tapi otak tak boleh menua

 

Gagap teknologi

Harusnya bukan cirihas Bapak lagi

 

Jaga kesehatan

Jangan terus berbicara dengan ikan

 

Burung berkoar-koar

Anak-anak Bapak lapar

 

Lapar akan perhatian

Bosan akan penantian

 

Hidup panjang

Bukan berarti happy

 

Kerut Bapak makin banyak tuh

Met ultah

 

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My Spring 2014 Playlist

Yesterday was a bank holiday for the UK, this was due to celebrating the season of new beginnings; SPRING! I’m just going to talk about my spring life’s top 5 soundtracks. Songs that make me giddy and somewhat reflective at the same time.

By the way, the videos here don’t belong to me. They belong to their rightful owners.

 

1. “The Flowers” by Busker Busker

Albeit a very simple song lyrically (That flowers, the flowers, that one flower, yes yes, it has bloomed~), the melody is very catchy for my ears. The harmonica compliments the song very well. This song fits well whenever I walked to school as I passed by blossom trees and their petals being blown to my face by the wind.

 

2. “My Way” by Wheesung

I wouldn’t find this song it wasn’t for the drama “Dr. Champ.” I think Wheesung is basically saying that ‘this is my way and this is my pace’ in handling matters in life. For me, a new beginning should be taken full of easiness and love. On the other hand, this song could also mean that someone is just hopelessly falling in love (as I interpreted it from its English translation).

 

3. “Hotaru no Hikari” by Ikimonogakari

Optimism! It’s one of the most essential elements in the season of new life. As the bitter winter memories began to melt, we started to create new murals of our story in the spring. 🙂

 

4. “Baru” by Tulus

This one is an Indonesian song performed by Tulus, Pop Jazz seems to be his main field. I recently downloaded “Baru” and I think my iTunes’ replay button is going to crumble at any time soon because of this song.

Tulus here talks about surprises in a new start. The chorus of the song is pretty straightforward too.

“Enjoy my surprise,

It’s the new me,

Enjoy the nostalgia,

No longer in your power.”

 

5. “Humble” by Soluna Samay

“Life is making me humble, every step I take I stumble…”

Got it. Lessons from the past are learnt, no more falling into the same hole anymore. However, albeit gaining more and more experienced, introspection is very much essential. The answers of my unanswered questions are scattered on the path of life as they make me becoming humbler step by step.

The Eyes That See Everything

This is a pretty random story, it took place around February-March this year. It was that time where I was preparing for my very first competition here in England, which was the BYC qualifier for the South West region. I don’t know why but I just find this story pretty amusing somehow and I just couldn’t help but to smile like a cheshire cat every time I recollect the story.

It was one of those (supposedly) ordinary days where we walked to school in the morning as my Indonesian skin tried to fight the chilly winter breeze under the thick coat I wore.

That morning, I recalled that I (idiotically) shove the competition’s sign up form into my cardigan’s lace pocket since I was in a hurry. It’s this thing here.

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My roommate and I walked down as we passed the bus stop we usually encountered in our way. Coincidentally a bus was also stopping there that moment.

The next thing was that my roommate and I, we stopped on our track as soon as we heard someone said “excuse me” from behind. A lad cladded with the typical British school garb told me that I had dropped something and my breath hitched for a moment there.

It was my competition’s sign up form.

I was all, “OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod how could this happen just how stupid am I to actually count on some lace pocket to keep a very important piece of paper blablabla.”

The next thing I knew, I kept on grinning and giggling to myself. Conceit began to somewhat overwhelmed me as I kept on repeating, “God wants me to win in the competition, a medal will be in my hands hehehehe.” This incident, was my main motivator for the competition.

As days passed, I went to the competition and thankfully got into the elimination round. Event hough I only ranked in the 4th place out of five fencers (category U16), I still got a bronze medal and was qualified for the next big thing (which was the British Youth Championship in Sheffield). I told my coach about that particular incident, he smiled as he told me, “Someone is looking after you.”

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Dr. Champ and All of Its Perks

I was in the midst of wondering whether there might be any fencing-related drama so I tried to browse on anything that was related with the category of ‘sport.’ In the beginning, a Hong Kong drama by the name of “Hearts of Fencing” really caught my eyes. When I watched the first four episodes though, my excitement slowly turned into boredom. As the drama progressed, its usage of fencing somehow starting to decrease, and whenever I watched some of its fencing scenes, I could only facepalm.

So I decided to move on to another drama and found Dr. Champ. A blend of medical, romance, and sport. The first protagonist was an orthopedist who got fired from her first job because she was a ‘whistleblower’ and eventually applied for a position at the Taereung National Village (a special place for training national athletes). The second protagonist was a stubborn judoka that by fate, met the doctor and from that the story started to progress.

Athletes, are different from normal people, that’s what I learnt from this drama. Throughout the drama I saw sacrifices, the blood, and the tears from practices, a coach figure they cherished very much and whom they looked up to, then comes the teammates that were like their second family as they went through all the joy and hardship. When normal people may recover from an injury for about 3 months or so, in athlete’s case it can be different.

It saddens me for the fact that these special individuals in my country aren’t very much well-facilitated, hence how their achievements compared to any other Southeast Asian countries for example, are falling behind.

Anyhow, I really recommend this drama to anyone who is a fan of sports and perhaps, medical-related stuff. Its realistic story plot is mixed with interesting characters and several plot twists, it made my heart goes dugeun-dugeun.

Oh and I found Nam Hyun Hee made a bit of appearance in a rather amusing scene.

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When the sun generously gave out its lovely rays…

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This, is the art of tumbling.

 

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Learning is a Process, Not a Race

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This story was based on my personal experience during my first time fencing, I think it was around 2012 when I just started to fence. Every time I practise and did something ‘perfectly right,’ my coach would constantly fired me up with compliments, I got so used to it I think I managed to get to the point where I was blinded by conceit.

One day, my club was invited to an annual competition in a particular school. I was so confident that I would even get to the finals I even trained my victorious scream just the night before the competition (Aish… so embarrassed).

But then in the seeding round, I eventually lost… ouch.

Truthfully, I admitted that I was ignorant of ‘the right of way’ rule in foil that time. My short temper wasn’t making it any easy for me too, resulting the attacks that I executed were parried so many times. I froze on the piste and I couldn’t think of making any move whatsoever, I just let myself became some fencing dummy for them to stab on. I went through a major emotional breakdown after that.

I cried a lot at that time. I put my expectation too high, then when I fell, the pain that I should bear was just too much. The worst part was that I even thought about quitting fencing. I felt like I didn’t even have the confidence to hold my foil anymore (I was a foilist for a short time). I also found how precious my teammates are for me. They helped me to get through all sorts of ups and downs and the thought of moving to another club is just simply unbearable for me.

This also triggered me in believing that no one is made to be a prodigy no matter what sport he or she begins with. Every person has their very own potential and I believe anyone can fence. The difference is in how much we’re putting the effort in every parry, every riposte, every footwork, and every lunge.

 

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Currently Watching Dream High 2…

DAEBAK!

I’ve only reached episode 9 yet I’ve been falling in love with its storyline and all. Omo, I just couldn’t simply resist a drama with a love triangle in its plot. To be honest, I began to watch this drama because of JB and Jr.’s appearances in it. On top of that, some of my mates at school who also enjoyed Korean dramas seemed to be enjoying this drama’s predecessor (Dream High).

It started from Jin Yu Jin I suppose, someone who was very much passionate of the Rock and Roll spirit. In the beginning he detested those people referred to as the idols. He claimed that these idols actually rob the stage of potential talents (such as himself), making his attitude was all about “I don’t want to be famous. As long as I have my music, I’m happy.”

Whilst Sin Hae Song on the other hand, was a student who does extremely well academically but… kind of lacking in terms of musical talent? But! Hae Song here had endless determination and made her best effort in order to pursue her dream to become a singer. Although at the start she kept on running away from problems because of not having the utmost faith in herself, she began to learn that every person had their own different qualities and that, you know, everyone has their own specialty. 🙂

Then JB and his popular idol comrades suddenly entered in style, making everyone gaped, and nanannananananna. Competition happened, jealousy happened, love triangle happened, and Kirin Art School was modified into some… horrifying military camp or something. Oh and have I mentioned something about prejudice?

Just last night my fencing coach told me that practise isn’t about perfection, but in fact it’s a series range of repetitions. Repetition must be done in a relaxed manner, no need to rush it up. For a fencer, being relaxed on the piste is very much essential. If someone was tense, possibilities of injuries might be bigger and… well, you just froze on the piste, unable to move smoothly.

Also, it doesn’t matter if in some of the tries you did the moves wrongly. As long as you do the repetition on and on, step by step, you will accelerate. The speed will get quicker and quicker, you will get the hang of it soon enough! So yep, I felt that the protagonist’s struggles are actually relatable to my everyday life.

Now. I shall finish watching JB and all of his awesomeness in this drama.

 

Determined Nibras in a nutshell

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Khatulistiwa di Hati

Papa yang seorang Bugis tidak selalu jauh dari hal yang namanya ‘merantau.’ Ia selalu bercerita bagaimana orang-orangnya selalu sukses di daerah perantauan tapi tidak pernah lupa akan daerah asalnya.

Papa bilang yang namanya merantau itu sedihnya selalu terasa di saat take off. Berdasarkan pengalamannya merantau ke Jakarta hanya dengan kardus berisikan indomie dan pakaian, ia meninggalkan pelabuhan Makassar dengan banyak harapan yang ia nantikan di ibu kota. Tiba-tiba ada semacam film kecil yang kembali berputar di kepalanya. Di situ ia melihat wajah orang-orang yang ia cintai dan segala memori yang teramat berharga baginya, dengan bangga Papa mengakui di saat itu ia hampir menangis.

Kalau Papa saja sudah begitu ke Jakarta, bagaimana aku yang harus menaiki pesawat selama dua belas jam ke benua lain?

Semenjak aku menginjakkan kaki di negeri asing ini, aku tahu pekerjaan pertamaku adalah menjadi seorang diplomat kecil bagi negara. Anak-anak di sekolahku tak banyak yang tahu di mana itu Indonesia sampai aku menyebutkan bahwa kita ada di atas Australia. Kalau ditanya tentang pemerintahnya, korup adalah kata yang pertama kali muncul. Malu memang… saat menyebutkannya, tapi begitulah kenyataannya.

Di sisi lain, bagiku Indonesia bukanlah sekedar negara korup yang hanya bisa dimanfaatkan negara-negara maju. Mata teman-teman asingku terbelalak pada saat aku menyebutkan populasi Indonesia yang berjumlah sekitar dua ratus juta nyawa, kita punya tujuh belas ribu pulau, beratus-ratus bahasa tradisional, keanekaragaman hayati yang buanyak, daaaan daftarnya terus mengalir.

Di saat aku bergidik karena hawa dingin yang menyerangku di bawah mantel tebal, di saat aku merasakan kehambaran di setiap makanan yang aku santap, di saat aku mencium bau rempah-rempah di supermarket, aku mulai membuat kesimpulanku tersendiri; bahwa Indonesia itu bukanlah sekedar negara, tapi juga surga!

Sayangnya, beberapa rakyatnya tidak terlalu bersyukur tampaknya…

Hatiku mencelos saat mendengar beberapa pengakuan dari sobat-sobat Indonesiaku di sini. Beberapa memberitahuku bahwa hidupnya akan lebih baik di negara lain yang pemerintahnya tidak korup seperti di Indonesia. Tapi aku tetap keukeuh mengajak mereka untuk melihat Indonesia tidak hanya dari sisi tersebut. Justru figur-figur seperti mereka yang lulusan luar sangat dibutuhkan, tetapi… mereka malah lari.

Saat ditanya apa yang aku pilih untuk ke depannya, mau tetap di Indonesia atau… bagaimana? Dengan mantap aku berkata, “Aku sudah terlalu cinta negara kita, gimana aku mau pindah?” Janjiku untuk Indonesia sudah bermula di situ. Aku mau diriku dan pengetahuan yang aku sudah gali di negeri asing ini berguna bagi banyak orang dan juga bagi negara.

Bagiku, cinta bukanlah sesuatu yang harus tumbuh di antara dua insan manusia yang saling mengasihi satu sama lain. Cintaku untuk sebuah negara yang telah menjadi tempat kelahiranku dan unsur-unsur budayanya yang sudah menjadi seperti tiang hidupku, adalah cinta yang juga dapat menjadi abadi.

Orang-orang mengenal bentuk cintaku sebagai patriotisme, suatu hal yang sudah jarang ditemukan di antara generasi-generasi penerus bangsa kita. Aku tak ingin rasa ‘cinta’ itu tiba-tiba hilang dalam sekejap di saat yang tradisional bercampur dengan modernisasi. Dari tari dan lagu tradisional, lalu dapat menjadi pulau-pulau yang tak terurus dan akhirnya diklaim bangsa lain. Aku tak mau generasi penerusku kehilangan kesempatan untuk melihat langsung apa yang telah kulihat dengan mata kepalaku sendiri.

Ada sebuah slogan berkata, “tidak kenal, maka tidak cinta.” Jadi… bagaimana kalau kita mulai ‘berkenalan lagi’ dari sekarang? Agar rasa kepunyaan itu–rasa cinta itu kembali lagi.

 

Mother’s Day…Sobs Sobs

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I think this is the soundtrack of my Mother’s Day.

“Parents, you owe them a lot. You may not prayed to have them but they may have prayed to have you.”

~Mufti Menk

When you first stepped your feet for the first time in the foreign country, Dad was with us. Unfortunately though, he wasn’t able to utter a single English word other than ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ and ‘Thank you.’ You with your untidy English grammar had to step forward and be the speaker for the family.

Yet, I didn’t see a single flash of embarrassment in your facade when you spoke.

Was that how you also encouraged your daughter?

That, even a person with untidy grammar could actually survive in a foreign land.

Days passed by for us and we were still struggling finding the right foods to eat, younger sis kept on complaining of how she didn’t like anything here, but you were patient and clever enough to come up with some other options.

During the induction week, I got acquainted with a particular Korean who said that she had been living in Germany for 8 years and that her family was with her all the time. Somehow, a wave of jealousy and embarrassment passed by me. I thought, wow, her family must had been a polyglot or something.

One day, her mother came and my Korean friend introduced her to me. Lovely lady with tidy locks, she only waved her hand at me and smiled. My friend said that her mother wanted to speak with the school counsellor and she also had to tag along. After that, she was done with her whole counseling session and I approached her saying that, “Wow, your mum must’ve had good English. No wonder she wanted to talk directly to the counsellor.”

“Oh no, I translated for her.” But there was no glint of embarrassment at all on her face.

From that I learnt how a mother-daughter relationship is all about.

I think, we’re like partners in crime in a way. You know, complimenting each other just like that.

I thought a lot about this but all that could came across me was how I kept on mocking the way you pronounced things wrongly.

They said that “Paradise lies at the feet of a Mother,” I don’t know if I deserved any of that paradise at all though…

When it was your last day staying int he UK with Dad and Sis, you took me to the dorm and on the doorstep you said with a playful tone “I never kissed you right? Come here then.” You pecked me on the cheek and said your last goodbye. Dad was sort of wrong to tell that I would be in the verge of tears when I was aboard on the plane. The plane was nothing, on the doorstep, I felt like weeping already.

Living abroad gave me unexpected life lessons that I hope I could bring home and teach some bits of them to younger sis. All this time we’ve always been happy whenever you and Dad weren’t home but now, I don’t think that’s a sign of a happy parents-daughters relationship at all. Eating Indomie alone was such an enjoyment for me because you wouldn’t interfere by taking all of those instant noodles package away. Now, I could only taste home–family, in every bit of it that I swallowed.

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day Ma.

Well, in the UK at least.

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