Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trip to Pangandaran Beach

On Thursday September 24, 2009 I and my family went on vacation to Pangandaran beach. We actually headed there a day before and arrived at the rented-house at 11 p.m. We rent a house for all family members (24 persons) at the price of 400.000 rupiahs per night, a fair price for 3-bedroom house as at that time being was in Eid Al Fitr holidays. We didn’t choose hotel because obviously it was much more costly and rather hard to find the unoccupied one. My father planned this journey for me his son who had never been to Pangandaran before. As I’ve graduated from university lately and the Eid Al Fitr came, we decided to go there.

The route we chose then was the new one. People who went to Pangandaran long time ago used Cisewu – Garut –Tasik – Ciamis – Pangandaran route and it took about 12 hours. But we took it shorter as the new way was established in 2006. We took the route of Cisewu – Ranca Buaya – Pameungpeuk – Cipatujah – Pangandaran and it took only 8 hours, much better wasn’t it? Besides, the scenery was pretty awesome so we were very much glad taking that road. We could see jungle and rubber tree as well as river and ocean along the way.

Since then was in Lebaran break, the beach was fully crowded by the visitors both domestic and foreigners. The coast of Pangandaran is quite popular in Java island since it has beautiful scenery. Ship transported I went to several spots there and thanks God I didn’t feel seasick although that was the first time boating. Pasir Putih beach (white sand) was the first destination and need to pay 12.500 rupiahs per person to be transported by boat. Only 5 of us went to Pasir Putih beach as the rests were quite afraid of being on a ship, and it’s needed to say that the wave then was quite high up to 1,5 meter. At Pasir Putih, we could do snorkeling and see stunning reef with its fish and sea plantation, since anything should be rented and I had no preparation to dive, I didn’t do that. Instead I and all headed to Hutan Cagar Alam (preserved forest). At the gate, forest police stood up and sold the ticket for entering the forest, we paid 2000 rupiahs per person, pretty cheap right. Along the forest we saw teak tree, rattan and another species of plant.

Aside of those, there were also shoal of apes playing from tree to tree. Oh yeah we aren’t at all allowed to disturb anything there, it means we can never cut the tree, kill the animal as this is counted as crime. Having walked around the forest we went into the cave namely Lanang cave. This cave was used as one of the locations in Misteri Gunung Merapi TV serial. That’s why Lanang cave is more popular as the cave of Mak Lampir. Again, we groped the pocket as we need to pay 1000 rupiahs for sanitary and lighting fare, no matter though. I saw also the some deers which were kind to us. We can feed them by peanut of something, but be sure not to bother them while they were resting or having sexual intercourse, I would say that will make them mad at us, perhaps. Well, if we go there with the kids, they also may try flying fox and some adventurous game around the cave, it is worth to try but I don’t know how much it costs.
Having tried and explore almost all sites, I phoned the ship driver to ship us back to the meeting point with the rest of our family. Again, I sailed on a boat and it was fascinating, really fascinating!!!
Voila! We backed at the house and some of our family had bought some cloths with Pangandaran written on those. As I did want that too, I bought short pants for about 20.000 rupiahs, hm…worth it.
It was 11 a.m we drove back home to Cisewu. On the way home, my dad offered me to pay a visit to Grand Canyon site; wow…I of course accepted that offer since I very much wanted to know the Indonesian GC. Yeah, it took 1 hour to reach GC and you know what, it was written on the welcoming board that the place’s name was Green Canyon, not Grand Canyon; haha….quite funny as I really expected to know Indonesian GC, hm…my dad seemed apparently wrong hearing the name, it was fine though as the scenery was pretty good and it probably same as GC in Arizona. It’s called Green canyon as the river’s water is green. Many people visited this place as they also had passionate like me - wanted to visit Indonesian Grand Canyon ^_^.

We arrived home in Cisewu at 7 p.m. I directly went bed and performed isya prayer beforehand. Hm…what an exhausting journey, it was full of fun though. Thanks God.

Eid Al Fitr in my town

Today (September 20, 2009) is Eid Al Fitr day and we Moslems in Indonesia are celebrating the feast of fast - breaking. Eid Al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan fasting. Fasting in Ramadan is conducted by every Moslem during this holy month according to the Islamic rule for 29 or 30 days depending on the moon’s emergence (hilal). Islamic calendar and astronomy take part in determining this precise time. On Eid Al Fitr day, Moslems in the USA and Europe usually say “Eid Mubarak” but here in Indonesia we prefer to say “Minal Aidin walfaidzin”, even so however, the meaning is pretty same which actually ask and give forgiveness to each other.

This Eid Al Fitr is really special for me since I did it at the soccer field in my village. Yeah, at 6.00 a.m on Sunday I went there with some of my family members by foot. Driving car or motorbike is not needed as the place is near to our house. For the very first time ever here in Cisewu, I did Shalat Eid Al Fitr at a wide open area (a soccer field). I also did it at park when I was in Tucson last year, but this year in Cisewu I and all Moslems conducted this big event at soccer field - not in a mosque. This is of course for several reasons; first, two weeks ago we experienced alarming earth quake therefore DKM (the committee of Mosque) announced that Lemah Luhur soccer field is a lot better and saver for us to gather. Secondly, by herding at the soccer field we can gather in the bigger quantity and this is better than in separated mosque, we used to do it at our very near mosque so the jamaah (people) was spotted in the divided places. In the other words, we’ll be more united by gathering that way and I frankly liked this idea, many thanks to the DKM of Al-Hasanah Cisewu. The atmosphere at the soccer field was totally different from somewhere else since we could feel fresh air, beautiful scenery of Gedogan mount and a more euphoric situation.

The speech person then was Pak Masrudin – a well-known figure in my Village. He delivered the speech hilariously and interestingly. Yeah, he tried to bring us the audiences into a very different state after having fasting and earth quake. He spoke in a stylish way with “Murwakanti way” I don’t know what murwakanti is in English, yet, it’s sort of literature stuff such as in making the poet with all “a” or “i” or anything at the end of row of its stanza. Do you know it in English? Share me then.

From the speech I could get the point that we were really urged to unite and help one another as we’ve had calamity recently. We need to work together in building our wretched big Mosque and help to each other in repairing the damaged houses. The Eid Al Fitr is the right time to tighten up our tie as well as to give more to the less lucky people. He also insisted on the affluent people to donate more dough for building the mosque and helping others as they are granted much more money by Allah. It’s also said that the government should be more concerned in developing the sub district after it’s been stricken by the earth quake.

The Imam was Pak Salim, he is the most recognized Islamic figure as he is pretty aged. As always, he chanted the Quran versed perfectly and sharply. After performing the prayer and hearing the speech, we shook hand to each other and then went home by choosing different way. It’s highly recommended to walk on the different path as we’ll meet more people, it means we’ll forgive and ask for forgiveness with more people and this is valued much better according to our belief – our prophet said so in a hadith exactly.

Having done those things, at my grand ma’s house we did sungkeman. This is the tradition in which the younger people (all the offspring of my grand ma) sit before my grand ma to ask for prayer and forgiveness, all were coming then. After that, we ate Ketupat (rice wrapped by coconut leaf) with Opor (chicken curry) and of course the cracker was finely served as it gave more appetite in eating.

By and large, the Eid I had then was totally impressive and remarkable. I liked the atmosphere, the speech person as well as its speech, the food and I liked everything then. Eid in Cisewu is comparable to the Eid I had in Tucson last year, both are out of the ordinary. Minal aidin walfaidzin ^_^.

Mudik – passion of home travelers

Hello there!
Mudik which simply means going home is very much familiar to all Indonesian Moslems. At least once in a year many of us do it as it has undoubtedly become our tradition at the end of beloved Ramadan. People who wander either to work or study in somewhere else can never wait to have it for celebrating The Eid Al Fitr with their families, relatives and friends – the workers usually take a furlough while the students always get the break from the school or university. If I have a chance to do it which is often the case, I pretty much go home every year, but last year I couldn’t do it since then I was in the USA to study English at the University of Arizona. What a luck that this year I went home and gathered with families at my village. My birth-place isn’t really far from the place where I wandered, yet it’s always fun to flock with families on the big day such as Eid Al Fitr therefore I decided to go home. Yeah, I went to Cisewu obviously, it is located in the southern Bandung but still the part of Garut regency, West Java.
In the view point of mine, mudik isn’t exclusively belonged to Indonesians, but people in Moslem majority countries such as Brunei, Malaysia or somewhere else in this world will have this tradition as well. For sure, here in this country is always merrier since we’re the biggest Moslem country and I assume that around 100 million people do mudik yearly. This heritable tradition has become our legacy and will definitely last forever so long Indonesia is a Moslems majority country, I hope so.

People may do mudik by driving private car, by bus, by train, by riding motorbike, by ferry or plane. Since buying the airplane ticket is rather expensive so it’s done just by some people who can afford the fare. Most prefer to drive motorbike or private car since it’s a lot cheaper, more efficient and speedier.

Mudik generally has both good and bad impact for us. There are sort of things such traffic jam, car accident, derailed train and crimes happened during mudik (it’s estimated around 1200 people passed away this year). The jam for example will be definitely more extreme during mudik as we’ve gotta wait for hours just for reaching a quite nearby destination. Nagreg, Pantura and Karawang are examples of the hot spots where jam last longer than it does in other places. Mudik and balik (commuting) usually last up to 14 days (7 days before and 7 days after the Eid). The good thing which is resulted from mudik is that for one, economy growth. Everyone usually spends more money during Mudik, all in all it boosts national expenditure and at the same time generates our economy in macro scale to be “healthier”. Secondly, mudik will make ourselves feel better since the togetherness with family will give us calmness, new spirit, new hope, new idea and new anything to face the harder life ahead. Third, mudik can be a milestone for government to always revise and improve its quality in serving the public. Government is strongly demanded to work hard in controlling land, air as well as naval transportation. The jam and accident will be no longer existed if government has good system to manage it.

As it does give benefit to our Indonesia, doing mudik really needs extraordinary preparation. First, we have to make sure that we got the ticket in a timely manner if we plan to go by public transportation, if we plan go by our own car we must check and make sure that the car or motorbike is in a good condition. Secondly, the left - house or apartment of ours should be cleaned up and set properly (turn the TV off please), don’t miss to bring the keys along the excursion. We’d better tell someone whom we believe to take care of our home while we’re not at home - a good guard or trusted neighbor can be reliable (be picky is much better in this matter). Third, prepare the small money and gifts for the families at our village; this is quite important as they always expect us to give them, at least that what I experienced ^_^. Well, happy Eid Al Fitr to all of you then.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Trembled West Java

Few days ago at around 2 pm in the afternoon, we West Java island inhabitants were shocked by 7.3 in Richter scale earth quake. It made us all panic and somewhat perplexed since we were actually rare to have this pretty big tremor, besides we were doing fasting since that day still in the Ramadan month; we started fasting on August 20 and will last for 30 days.

The damages were emerged in some cities in this province; they were Cianjur, Tasikmalaya, Garut, Bandung etc. The worst happened in Tasikmalaya as the epicenter was quite nearby that city - about 140 km southern Tasikmalaya, it was also said that 70 people were passed away. In Bandung, my campus (Indonesia University of Education) had even more breaks in some buildings compared to other campuses – they were Islamic Center (mosque), library, social & economics faculty, while faculty of language and art had the worst one. One billion rupiah was reported as the financial loss caused by this occurrence.

Many things we can take as lesson from this, first, we need to make better building since it seems that Indonesian contractor companies don’t really pay attention to the earth quake, at least I assume that. The snatched buildings at my campus are all the example of this. Yeah, the broken buildings were all the new ones, only 1-2 years old, while on the other hand the JICA building which was constructed by Japanese developer in 2002 just fine. I don’t intentionally wanna say that all building constructors in this country are bad; at least two constructors (I won’t mention here) that built some buildings at my university are might be quite okay to be called so. Therefore it’s wiser to be stricter in allowing a company to build the building after winning the tender. The next lesson is that, we need to learn to mitigate and socialize what to do in the midst of earth quake to the public since many people just frightened, screamed and did nothing but panic, indeed we can manage that and I suppose there won’t be many victims. Government, universities NGOs and all those who care about humanity need to realize this program since such trembling can’t be predicted, it can happen everywhere, whenever it wants. The last, we (especially Moslems) must aware how small we are, we can never measure God’s might since we’re too fool and too weak to know those all. We just know miniscule thing in everything. Hence, let’s keep on striving to be closer to God, do good deeds just for the sake of Him, Wallahuallam.
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Cum Laude (thanks for everything)

According to Wikipedia, Cum Laude means with praise; an honor added to a diploma or degree for work above average. Well, actually I don’t really concern about the term as well as its explanation. But on August 26, outspokenly I heard that term and it was aimed to me and some friends. Yeah, on that day was my great day since the “Sidang” was held, in English it probably means the presentation of our final paper at college in front of the tester who are pretty much the lectures from our faculty. Therefore “Cum Laude” stole my attention quite a lot then.

Normally, Sidang lasts for about 1 hour or maybe more, but then I only had it just for about 45 minutes. Well, let me explain how it went then.
First of all we (the participants of Sidang) were all gathered in C room to kick off the sidang itself. We were all then 29 persons from squad of 2005 and 2004. The first Dean Assistant of FPEB then opened up the sidang and gave us little bit explanation about it. We all then praised and prayed God as wanted to do it well. Subsequently, we waited the calling to be questioned and tested by three lectures. What a lucky person, I got the first call and without any more thought I headed down the C room where 2 lectures were waiting for me there. The first lecture was Pak Disman (the first dean assistant of FPEB) and the second one was Pak Askolani (the lecture who taught human resource management), the third tester hadn’t come yet then, therefore I had to wait him a bit later, it was fine anyways.
Yeah, at 7.45 am exactly I started explaining before them about the paper I wrote, I only had 7 minutes to present it all but I guess I talked more than 15 minutes then, hehe…the lectures were not aware obviously. They then gave suggestion and asked me several questions and, but thanks God I could answer all those and satisfied them (maybe ^_^). The kindness of two lectures made me quite comfortable talking in front of them, there wasn’t any offensive or unpleasant saying then. It is because we were doing fasting I guess haha…
The second round of my sidang was at 1 pm and the tester was Pak Ikin, he was an accounting lecture who taught us many things about finance and accounting. I liked his subject though I pretty much got B, hoho…He just asked me several simple things and I was able to answer pleasingly (maybe again ^_^).
In simply, I would say that my sidang was really something. I didn’t face any significance hurdle as I’d prepared for it quite long – six months.
So you, who soon will have sidang, I really suggest you to master your paper and prepare anything well. Besides, give as much charity as to the poor and help your friends to ease their problems, then Allah will also ease yours.
Thank you so much
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