“There is no bigotry here!“

Some nationalistically zealous westerners I have encountered love to claim that their countries are bigotry-free.

Their evidences? People of religious and racial minority backgrounds not being hunted down like animals, having high-ranking jobs both in public and private sectors and even becoming celebrities. How can there be bigotry when minorities can achieve high status in their own countries?

I notice that those people often harbour anti-Muslim sentiment as well. With that in mind, I want to do the same thing with my country.

I declare that Indonesia, world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, is free from any bigotry, both religious and racial!

Indonesians Christian thrive in every field imaginable; from national government to corporate business, they can ace everything! There are also Hindus thriving in national governmental institutions; some have also become high-ranking government officials!

Our state broadcaster broadcast not just Islamic sermons, but also Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and, recently, Confucian ones. From all of those religions, only Confucianism does not have dedicated state-funded universities.

In the 50’s, while western Protestants and Catholics were too busy hating each other, Indonesia already had non-Muslims working as high-ranking government officials. Not to mention that from all historical figures who are appointed as national heroes, at least forty of them are non-Muslims.

Chinese-Indonesians are among the most well-off and educated demographics in the country. They also thrive in almost every field imaginable. In fact, one of the most beloved politicians in the country is of Chinese descent… and also a Christian.

Apart from paragraph four, those are indeed facts. I have used them to rebuke foreigners who think Indonesia is the same as Saudi Arabia and ISIS territory. But, I will never use them to sweep the dark side under the rug.

Indonesia only officially recognises those six aforementioned religions, none are indigenous. Those who identify with none of them have to choose one in official documents. Students cannot opt out of religious classes at schools, including the public ones. While there are non-Muslim high-ranking government officials, Indonesian presidents have always been Muslims.

It is also much easier for non-Muslims to be charged with blasphemy than Muslims are; that Christian Chinese-Indonesian politician was convicted while his detractors – many of whom are Muslim extremists – have yet to be. While rare, violent religious clashes have definitely occurred. Not to mention Islamic extremism is getting more and more common and the government barely do anything about it.

And race relations are even worse.

For more than thirty years, Chinese-Indonesians were banned from publicly expressing their ancestral heritage and running for office. They were disproportionately blamed for supporting communism, even though non-Chinese-Indonesians were just as active as communists. In the late 90’s riots, they were brutalised, raped and had their houses and livelihoods burned down; they have yet to get justice. While the far richer ones were safe, their socioeconomic status made them an even bigger scapegoat.

Don’t forget the Indonesian Papuans. While they don’t suffer from pogroms (that I know of), they are certainly among the most neglected demographics. The national government started building highways in the region only a few years ago. The poorest and second poorest provinces in the country are the Papuan ones and, at the same time, one of the most expensive cities in the country is also Papuan; I doubt the government can afford to pay the subsidies forever.

I should also mention Western New Guinea – now called Indonesian Papua – was annexed from the Dutch. While there were Papuan individuals involved, there are no evidences that the annexation had widespread support among the Papuans.

Their homeland was annexed, they have been neglected from the very beginning, they get called monkeys… and the flag-wavers have the gall to accuse them of acting like thin-skinned and ungrateful brats.

I believe that even if Chinese-Indonesians and Papuan-Indonesians are predominantly-Muslim, they would still get severely discriminated against. Their races and/or non-Austronesian lineage make them easy targets.

Oh and that beloved Christian Chinese-Indonesian politician? He is also one of the most hated public figures.

Now, what’s the point of my rambling?

If an Indonesian of minority backgrounds has criticisms about Indonesia, especially ones based on their personal experiences, and I respond by spewing paragraphs four to seven, you would be justifiably angry at me.

Instead of acknowledging the reality, I choose to whitewash it by claiming the good side is the only existing side. Not only I choose to be intellectually dishonest, I also give my fellow human beings the finger by dismissing their grievances. My mind fails to realise that one can praise and condemn a country at the same time.

Now, what if I am not an Indonesian Muslim of Austronesian descent? What if I am a Christian westerner of white European descent….

… And I screech about how my western homeland is the epitome of multiculturalism because non-whites and non-Christians can achieve high statuses and be free from lynching, even though stereotypes, hate speech, discriminations and history denialism are rampant?

Some of you would still be angry at me. Some.

The rest of you would actually agree with me. You see the west as literally the only beacon of civility and morality in existence, where literally every good thing in life comes from. You cannot comprehend the world outside the west has anything good to offer without western influences.

No, don’t deny it. You know damn well those people exist. In fact, you may be one of them.

If you perceive any criticisms of your beloved western homeland as slanderous and bigoted, you are one of those people.

If you perceive any acknowledgement of the positive aspects of the Muslim and/or non-western world as whitewashing, you are one of those people.

If you condemn the Muslim and/or non-western world for doing something and yet praising the west doing the exact same thing, you are one of those people.

If you believe Muslims and/or non-westerners are obligated to be grateful of westerners for every good thing in life, you are one of those people.

if you have believe minorities not getting mass murdered is enough to make the west the bastion of multiculturalism, you are one of those people.

If you feel personally attacked by this blogpost, you are definitely one of those people.

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Does shaming work?

Of course, it does. I don’t get anyone who think it does not work against bigots and conspiracists.

I mean, if shaming does not work in general, then how can you explain the self-hatred suffered by members of marginalised communities?

How can you explain women who knowingly support policies which take away their rights as human beings?

How about darker-skinned people desperately wanting to bleach their skin?

Parents refusing to pass down their stigmatised ancestral heritages because they don’t want turn their children into outcasts?

Westerners of Jewish and Asian descents who sympathise and collaborate with white supremacists?

LGBT teens who end up either committing suicide or joining anti-LGBT forces as adults?

No, those behaviours are not inborn. If they are, it does not explain why many of them are the exact opposite of what I describe above.

Well, you can claim the feeling of empowerment is a sign of mental illness and self-hatred a sign of mental soundness; I have encountered the so-called claim too many times before. But, you have to provide actual evidences if you want to be taken seriously by anyone other than your fellow inbred faeces-eaters.

You may be reluctant to support shaming because -instead of planting self-hatred- it may compel bigots to embellish their words and actions in order to not sound blatantly-hateful. Considering the ones in the west are becoming better in concealing their true selves (and there are too many idiots who cannot read between the lines), it is a concern which I cannot dismiss.

But, some of you are against shaming because of your supposed hatred of malice…. and yet, you defend the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones -who love attacking anyone they despise- under the guise of freedom of speech.

It is either you are too big of an imbecile to understand the purpose of freedom of speech… OR you just want an excuse for your abnormally pitiful inability to cope with even the most inconsequential human differences.

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Feminists and anti-feminists: a common ground

*puts on a mask*

Some people support feminism because they believe it is the most effective way to coerce women into embracing western liberal values.

They shame women who willingly embrace modest fashion, who willingly choose to become stay-at-home moms, who willingly choose to become abstinent and who willingly choose to become/stay religious.

Their reasoning? They want to liberate women from the oppressive and medieval eastern values, especially the Islamic ones.

Some people oppose feminism because they want to protect women from western values and coerce them to keep embracing eastern values, particularly the Islamic ones.

They shame women who willingly show the slightest appearances of their skin, hair and bodily curves, who willingly choose to be unmarried and childless and who willingly choose to have active sex lives.

Their reasoning? They want to liberate women from the oppressive and overtly-sexualised western liberal values.

I have to a suggestion for both feminists and anti-feminists:

Why don’t you just make peace with each other?

I mean, it is quite obvious how you actually have something in common with each other: you are advocating to take women’s right to think and act for themselves under the pretense of liberating them.

Wouldn’t your goals become easier to achieve when you find a common ground with the “others” and form a gigantic and influential alliance?

Together, you can oppress women to the fullest.

*takes off the mask*

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I support colonialism…..

*puts on mask*

… because I am insecure little bitch of a citizen who needs extreme empowerment.

There is nothing more gratifying than the country I unwillingly was born into invade foreign territories and pretend they are destined by the universe to be ours.

It is even more gratifying that colonialism can also destroy the cultures and economies of the colonies. That way, they can suffer from extreme cultural and economic dependence on the motherlands, giving them even greater power projection on the world stage.

And I hate how my beloved country of Indonesia is not harsh enough in its colonisation of the Papuans.

The problem is Indonesia’s official motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. Unity in diversity. It forces us to wear a pluralistic mask, hiding the real face of our country.

Why can’t we be just like the Americans, the English, the French and the Japanese in the old days? If they keep doing what they were doing, so-called “languages” like Hawaiian, Gaelic, Basque and Ainu would cease to exist and the world would be a better place.

If it were my call, I would do my best to annihilate those savage Papuan “cultures” by punishing anyone who dare to embrace them and force the embrace of Javanese culture, which is inherently noble, wonderfully anti-egalitarian and is definitely a real, proper culture.

Not only that, I would also encourage skin bleaching and plastic surgery to the Papuans who have the dignity of not wanting to be monkeys.

Seriously, if people call you monkeys, it’s your fault for looking like ones.

I also hate how the Papuan provinces are given political autonomy. Literally the only provinces that deserve it are the ones who embrace Javanese supremacy!

If anything, not only I oppose the transfer of power, I also believe the Papuans should be stripped of their power to vote!

As they are subhumans, they are unable to make any good decisions. Therefore, they should not be allowed to vote for the presidents and MPs!

Heck, I even believe they should not choose their own mayors! Everything has to be entirely up to Jakarta!

Of course, I have to be fair as well.

Despite my criticism, I also have to praise my country for making Papuans too economically dependent on western Indonesia, to the point they have to survive the high living cost with their pathetically meagre incomes.

Finally and most importantly, I also love how the government has successfully bred a morally-corrupt, violent and historically-illiterate citizenry.

When Papuans committed riots after a racist incident, it did not take much time for many Indonesians to condemned them for rioting and not spending a single second on condemning the racists.

Basically, they thought the Papuans were rioting for no good reasons. Hopefully, many probably still do.

If I think about it, the pluralistic official motto is a great tool for Indonesia’s colonialism of western Papua.

Most of us believe the official motto is the reflection of reality instead of a mere guidance. As a result, we see our country as the most tolerant and peaceful in the world despite its glaring bouts of sectarian violence.

Not only that, we also fool ourselves into believing the falsehood about how Papuans prayed to be rescued by the peaceful and tolerant Indonesians from the colonialist and racist Dutch monsters, even though annexation can be executed without the people’s consent and is a common method used by colonial and imperial powers.

We greatly mistreat the Papuans and then we gaslight them into believing that the mistreatments are societal well-being. Well-being they supposedly would have never enjoyed if they remain as Dutch subjects.

While I hate how we are too soft on them, I have to acknowledge that we have been giving them the deserving fingers for decades.

Now, it is time for us to give even more fingers.

*takes off the mask*

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How to ‘feel’ powerful?

*puts on a mask*

Yes, I said ‘feel’. Let’s face it, you know you are not powerful and will never be so! You will always be a pathetic bottom dweller that the upper dwellers will feast on! That’s a sad fact you have to accept!

But, that doesn’t mean you cannot ‘feel’ powerful. You can induce the feeling by fooling others and yourself about your make-believe power. Of course, I am talking about being a bully.

Before becoming one, you have to choose your victims. It always depend on where you are.

When at schools, you can pick on students who are poor, physically unfit or just plain different. When you see yourself as a member of society at large, you can pick on the ones who belong to marginalised groups like women, the poor, racial minorities, religious minorities, gender and sexual minorities and refugees. Basically, choose ones who most likely will not be protected by the authorities.

After you have determined your potential victims, you can start bullying them. Immediately, you will feel like a much more powerful! And trust me, you would not be the only one who senses your actually-non-existing power.

Indifferent bystanders, bullying apologists and even your victims will acknowledge its existence. In fact, the more your victims’ powerlessness intensifies, the more they will acknowledge it!

Oh, and apologists are your best friends! Not only they will defend your right to bully because they don’t see anything wrong with the bullying, they will also condemn or even punish your victims for having the dignity to fight back! Trust me, those apologists tend to be influential wherever they are. Their words are often taken for granted.

But, even if you don’t have apologists to back you up, rhetoric can be your weapon. You can defend yourself by slandering your victims.

Tell everyone that the weird kids in school will grow up as serial killers!

Tell everyone that the gender and sexual minorities are perverts who want to molest our children and/ recruit them to their perverted lifestyles!

Tell everyone that the poor are the ones who hold the economies down because they are greedy animals who oppress the rich!

Tell everyone that empowering women and members of the minorities will lead to men and members of the majority becoming second-class citizens!

Tell everyone that refugees are nothing but a bunch of cowardly rapists and ISIS, MS13 Trojan horses!

Tell everyone that your victims, NOT you, are the ones who commit atrocious acts of inhumanity against their fellow human beings!

Trust me, there will be people who take your words for granted.

And yes, it is that easy to feel powerful.

*takes off the mask*

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Once beautiful, now hideous words

Sceptic

I was in love with the word. I hated how accepting proclamations uncritically is considered acceptable or even obligatory by much of humanity. I hated how ‘he said, she said’ is our number one method of information gathering. I still do.

Even though I identified myself as a person of faith (still do), its association with fervent atheists did not deter me. As I got older, due to my scepticism, I became even less hostile towards atheism, accepting the possibility of my belief being the wrong one. Unlike my younger self, I make actual efforts to be more critical-minded.

An actual sceptic won’t instantly take sides in cases of rape allegations and won’t take the words of government officials and so-called experts for granted. He/she won’t until he/she has enough solid evidences and/or he/she has diagnosed the logic of the situations (or the lack of it). Of course, that’s not the case with many self-proclaimed sceptics nowadays.

They believe the existence of false allegations proves that every accuser is a liar and all of the accused ones are innocent! They believe every single statement made by governments are lies and choose to believe conspiracy-peddling public entities! They believe every scientist that debunks popular opinions is paid by greedy corporations, unlike the so-called ‘honest’ pseudoscientists!

You are not embracing the presumption of innocence, you are just a rape culture apologist who either sees nothing wrong with rape or believes rape is a myth!

You are not someone who refuses to bow down to the political establishment, either you are just paranoid (which means you need professional help, I am serious) or you arrogantly fancy yourself as the beholder of truths!

You are not analytical of experts’ words, either you are just scientifically illiterate and do not know what science actually is or you know what science is, but you hate how it destroys your unfounded world views!

Even though many of those individuals do not label themselves as ‘sceptics’, they love to blurt out words like ‘logic’, ‘facts’ and ‘reason’ over and over again, as if doing so instantly make them ‘sceptical’. The fact that far-right ideologues have a dominant presence among them really turn me off from the word.

I am not disgusted by the words ‘logic’, ‘facts’ and ‘reason’. Yet. But, I have become repulsed by the S-word to the point where I am wary of every person who try to represent themselves as ones.

Freedom

What I am going to say will be quite baffling: the older I get, the more I appreciate the idea of freedom while simultaneously the more I hate the word that represents it!

I love freedom because it is the reason why I am allowed to be myself. Online, I have the freedom to be outspoken about my opinions, many of which are deeply unpopular and may get me into legal problems in some countries. Offline, despite Indonesian society being repressive at times, I still have the freedom to express my discontent regarding the status quo. This is why my appreciation of the concept grows along with my age.

But, at the same time, I have also become more and more exposed to the raw, unromanticised depiction of the western ‘civilisation’ and I am frustrated by how deeply misguided many of its citizens are in their approach to freedom.

I hate how they believe in the absoluteness of freedom in which they can do anything they want without experiencing deserving consequences. Even the most level-headed constructive criticisms are too repressive for those privileged snowflakes who have never experienced a single day living under an actual authoritarian regime. In fact, I don’t think every single one of them believe in absolute freedom. They may claim they do. But, their actions say otherwise.

They accuse marginalised groups of being oppressive as their demand of humanisation rob bigots of their freedom to be bigoted. If that’s how you genuinely perceive life, you are just a bigot who exploits something you never believe in the first place.

If you are sincerely not bigoted, but you still take sides with bigots instead of their victims, you probably think freedom was fought for by unhinged individuals who wanted humans to be more arseholes towards each other. Basically, you are an edgelord who know nothing about the thing you supposedly believe in.

Besides empowering individuals who are afflicted with hatred, this mental retardation may have an effect outside the west. While I cannot speak for other countries, I can speak for Indonesia specifically.

Many Indonesians dream of the old days when free speech was a luxury. Why? Because we are tired of Islamists who constantly regurgitate infectious diarrhea out of their dirty mouths! We literally believe taking away freedom is the only cure!

Just imagine if those dictatorship-apologist Indonesians hear about westerners making a martyr out of Alex Jones (whose punishment I believe was not harsh enough). They would have a wrong idea of what freedom actually is: an entity in which unsavoury beings are perceived as the upsides, NOT the downsides.

That’s like promoting a pharmaceutical drug by citing cancer as its benefit, NOT as its side effect!

Tolerance

This used to be one of my favourite words ever! As an individual of a multicultural upbringing, who grew up in two very multicultural cities, who still have many foreign Facebook friends, who fortunately does not end up as an Indonesian Islamist, I love what the word ‘tolerance’ represents! Well, supposedly represent. Now, I hate it, possibly more than the two previous words.

As an Indonesian who is heavily exposed to the things going on in the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK and Australia, I constantly read and watch about individuals who preach about tolerance. Naive, younger me was easily dazzled by such positivity. Then, I experienced something called ‘growing up’.

Yes, I have encountered bigots, both Indonesians and westerners, who assert how their bigotry should also be tolerated. But, surprisingly, they are not the reason why I end up hating the word. I blame it on the so-called anti-bigotry warriors.

From my perspective as an Indonesian, the support for diversity in the west seems deceitful. Tokenism, feel-goodism and exoticisation are rampant in its practice of multiculturalism. So, every time I hear a westerner says he/she embraces tolerance, I am often suspicious he/she means he/she merely tolerates the existence of the ‘others’, whom he/she still refuses to perceive as fellow human beings.

Either that or he/she tolerates their existence simply because he/she likes their foods… or he/she wants to have sex with them. Just because you love Chinese foods or you fuck people with darker skins, that does not mean you are not a racist.

In Indonesia, the support for diversity seems far more sincere. Unlike westerners, our history allows us to embrace multiculturalism more organically. Our inter-ethnic relations are very good. Even though we may openly dislike the other cultures, ethnic differences barely define whom we befriend and marry.

Yes, we do have cases of extremely violent ethnic tensions. But, if you take a close look, they occur among rural citizens who had very homogenous upbringing and suffered cultural shock when they had to interact with the ‘others’. For cosmopolitan urban dwellers, this is almost never an issue. But, this is the extent of Indonesians’ so-called tolerance.

Whether contemporary or historical, the state of religions in Indonesia is not as good as advertised. While we are indeed different from Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, we are still far from a multi-religious haven. Of course, we can go straight to talk about the rise of Islamism. But, I believe also lies in the establishment.

Indonesian government only recognises six religions; compulsory ID cards have religious columns in which we must fill with one of the officially-recognised ones. To make it even more infuriating, indigenous beliefs aren’t included! Oh, and while I praise moderate Muslims for their opposition of violence, they still can be quite hostile to relatively more liberal and more reasonable interpretations of Islamic teachings and the lack of religiosity in general. How can you say we have religious tolerance when we embrace a caste of religious beliefs and try to silence reasonable dissenting voices?

Oh, and I should also mention the racism!

Many of us are still staunchly anti-Chinese. We are still suckers to the fear-mongering (not unlike how reactionary white Americans view Hispanic immigrants) and conspiracies (not unlike how anti-Semites view the Jews). We also love to neglect the Indonesian Papuans to the point where their region is arguably the most underdeveloped in the country while simultaneously suffering from very high living cost; we only care about the ‘exotic’ Papuan cultures and the Papuan gold mines.

Okay, I admit that my claim about anti-Papuans racism seems baseless as it is not a public discourse (I think). But, I base it on three observable facts about the Indonesian life: 1. Papuans are culturally and biologically distinct from Austronesians who form the majority of Indonesians; 2. Our beauty standards only include light skin colours, Austronesian and/or Eurasian facial features; 3. Jokes about dark skin colours are too rampant to the point where being born with them is seen as a personal defect. Those evidences are indeed circumstantial. But, can you blame me for having such thought?

Oh, and of course, don’t forget the classic homophobia. Even back when we were a so-called moderate Muslim nation, LGBT rights were not a thing. In fact, we have become more and more homophobic as years pass by.

Of course, despite everything, we still have the gall to get outraged by Chinese-Indonesians’ (allegedly) lack of nationalistic pride, to get outraged by the Papuan separatist movement, to get hostile every time someone refuses to romanticise the Indonesian life!

We still have the gall to call ourselves a bastion of tolerance! You cannot call yourself tolerant when your tolerance is selective!

Yes, there are some things we should never tolerate (e.g. Wahhabism). But, Indonesians also harbour intolerance towards anyone that are trivially different from them, like the aforementioned Chinese-Indonesians and Papuans, social and cultural liberals, sexual minorities, socialists, Jews, atheists and adherents of indigenous or new religious beliefs.

Yes, their differences are trivial. Their existence can be hurtful, but only to retards whose undeservingly high social status is being challenged.

So, every time I hear an Indonesian says he/she embraces tolerance, it is most likely he/she is a bootlicker who is only tolerant of anything approved by their beloved establishment.

For some of you, it seems I am being misguided by attacking individuals who fight prejudice. No, I am not attacking them. I am actually attacking people who claim to fight prejudice when their words and actions clearly reveal the complete opposite.

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Pros and cons of elitism

*puts on a mask*

Pros:

1. It may ensure power will always be bestowed to individuals who are old, wealthy, blue-blooded and alumni of schools famous for being famous.

2. It may encourage societies to worship individuals simply for possessing said useless qualities.

3. It may create a caste system in where having said qualities will immediately put us on the top.

Cons:

1. It may rob idiotic and ignorant individuals the opportunities to obtain power in their respective societies.

2. It may encourage societies to scorn individuals who possess those said qualities.

3. It may encourage a caste system where having said traits will immediately put us at the bottom.

*takes off the mask*

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An artsy and inspiring dullness: my take on an event that I forgot existed

I am talking about the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Para Games. If you think I was being cold-hearted for temporarily forgetting about its existence, what do you think of the people who did know or remember about it and yet still think it is a waste of time and space?

Anyway, first thing first…

It was bloody boring! Starting from the parade of nations, which began not long after the countdown, the pacing entered a lethargic snail mode. Of course, one could easily blame it on the wheelchair-using athletes who inevitably made the marches slower. But, look closer and you would see they were not at fault here (and blaming them straight away is a bit ableist, isn’t it? You prick…)

The atmosphere of the parade of nations was… well… non-existent. The lighting was lackluster. The background music consisted mostly of foreign-language pops which, while I appreciate for their internationalism, contributed nothing but being background noises. The set for that particular segment was sparsely designed. The spectatorship itself suffered from low attendance which resulting in muted cheers. After the parade ended, the snail mode lingered till the end.

The transitions between segments were not smooth at all. Sometimes, they consisted of silent moments that lasted more than five seconds! I was already turned bored by the parades and the poor continuations surely increased the boredom!

Even how the segments were executed also felt sluggish. The one where the Indonesian president was entrusted to be an archer ended feel anti-climatic; the unhurried emotional build-up quickly turned into stalling. Waiting for the leader to prepare himself was unbearable. I am not sure if it was the lack of rehearsal or, again, the lack of immersive atmosphere.

I usually don’t mind the heavy use of pre-recorded footage just like what they did in the 2012 London Olympics, as long as they perfectly compliment the live presentation. But here, it felt like it was produced to compensate the lifelessness of the live presentation. As a result, its presence became a sign of laziness and I became annoyed as well.

The ceremony’s conclusion was also not satisfactory. I do love the concept of gathering all of the previous performers for one last act to sing a song together. But, after the song ended, why did they just stand there like confused ducks? Why did they have to wait for the Indonesian president to (slowly) exit the venue?

Okay, I have to admit it something: I did not watch it to the actual last seconds of the broadcast which means I don’t know how the ceremony actually ended; I had to stop watching due to the second-hand embarrassment. But, even after a brief viewing, one could tell the organisers did not think things through.

Actually, the entire event clearly showed unpreparedness on their behalf! It was either they were not given enough time to design and rehearse the performances and not given enough funding or they didn’t take their duty seriously because it was just an event for disabled people. Personally, I believe it is the former and I will get into that later. While the flaws were a bit too overwhelming, the strengths were also too exceptional to ignore.

Literally the first thing I noticed about the show was its artistry. I dare to say that, excluding the parade of nations, every segment was quite artistic. The show preferred to utilised restrained yet thematically-appropriate colour palettes for each segment instead of the rainbow-like yet unrefined and uninspiring ones. Even though I don’t find the background music that impressive, it still complimented the visual presentation, bringing a pleasing aesthetic into being. It is a contrast to the more entertaining yet tackier opening ceremony of the Asian Games.

Obviously, it is all about the creative directors. The Asian Games committee assigned Wishnutama, a corporate media executive, as the creative director. His specialty is producing entertainment for entertainment’s sake, artistry was not a concern of his. Unsurprisingly, the end result was a presentation which only strength was adoration from the masses.

The Asian Para Games committee, on the other hand, assigned Jay Subiyakto. Apart from having a degree in architecture, he also has experiences designing stages and directing music videos for pop musicians (he created the first Indonesian music video accepted by MTV Asia), organising photography exhibitions, creating concepts for commercials and being the artistic directors of three theatrical productions. While he seems to prioritise beauty over amusement, he is still concerned about the latter. The end result is an artistic yet relatively accessible presentation.

Earlier on, I blamed the show’s unbearable pacing on the inadequate rehearsals and/or funding, not on the organisers not taking their duty seriously. I am inclined to believe that because the ceremony’s message has actual thematic depth, not whitewashed sentimentality of the Asian Games one. Let me start with the officials.

I never thought the lot of them would be genuinely charming. But, that’s the case with the ones who appeared the ceremony. For one, they were not hesitant to sway their hips to the upbeat music when the Indonesian delegates entered the stadium. They refused to be stuck-up. And I haven’t talked about their speeches yet.

Raja Sapta Oktohari, the organising committee chairman, and Majid Rashed, the Asian Paralympic Committee president, made genuinely uplifting speeches. While there was pandering, it was more inhibited compared to the one at Asian Games ceremony (I still cannot forgive Erick Thohir for his whitewashing of Indonesia’s social issues). But, between the two figures, I have to give Rashed a bigger praise.

His speech pointed out one ugly fact: Asia is still far from perfect when it comes to empowerment of disabled people. The splash of reality is something that we must commend. But, I never expected that to make the entirety feels heartwarming. Maybe, just maybe, the combination of positivity and harsh realism culminates in a sense of hope; contrary to popular belief, absolute positivity would give the complete opposite effect, for the less gullible people at least. And Rashed’s speech was not even the best part of the show.

At one segment, they erected giant 3D letters that formed the word ‘DISABILITY’. My initial reaction was ‘WTF?’; that seemed like giving a giant middle finger to every disabled person by reminding them of their unwanted physical limitation. But, the subsequent so-called ‘archery’ by the president showed how I was angered too soon.

When he went down from his VIP seat, he was greeted by a wheelchair-using girl who bestowed him a wooden box which, when opened, uncovered illuminated 3D letters that formed the word ‘ABILITY’, omitting the ‘DIS’ altogether.

The thematic depth climaxed after the president (supposedly) shot his arrow to the giant screen. Immediately, the giant ‘DIS’ letters crumbled while the ‘ABILITY’ ones stood strong and turned illuminated as well, reiterating the wooden box’s message, accentuating it as the spirit of the event.

I don’t know about how disabled people feel about this. But, as a person whose so-called ‘disabilities’ only extend to two speech impediments (stuttering and cluttering), I find that sincerely inspirational! It reminds us how not letting our minds to be utterly controlled by our bodily imperfection would give us accomplishment comparable to or even higher than other people’s.

Of course, some of you may perceive it as an example of idealism triumphing over realism… and I have to disagree. For me, believing that disabled people cannot be as masterly as their so-called more physically ‘abled’ counterparts is not grounded in reality.

For one, when a person has a ‘disability’, it does not afflict his/her entire corporeal being! He/she still have other functioning body parts! A defect does make life harder. But, to say that it is enough to make a person entirely incapable is surely an exaggeration on your part, isn’t it?
Either that or, despite your lack of physical handicap, you still feel insecure about yourself and, just like many insecure individuals out there, you lash out at the socially more marginalised groups like the ‘disabled’ people by propagandising ableist make-believe.

I know, I know. It sounds like I am arguing with non-existent people. But, judging by the comments I have read online and the fact that most places in the world are still not catered to disabled people, you can’t argue that ableism is not a thing. This is why I have to salute the organisers for their seemingly sincere concern of humans who are different from them. At least, such empathy can still exist in Indonesia.

I use the word ‘seemingly’ because I am making an assumption here. Realistically, I don’t know if the organisers had their hearts in the right place. But, they sure have won my heart.

Also, I may change my mind about the message. I may end up finding it flatulent or sentimental. Of course, this possibility does not change the fact it is still better than the one of Asian Games opening ceremony… with its shameless whitewashing of reality.

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The easiest way to achieve a peaceful world…

*puts on a mask*

… is to only talk about the good and act like the bad don’t exist. Pretend that the world we live in has already possessed a flawless state of humanity.

Some of you may say, while (probably) beneficial in the short-term, this practice would definitely be harmful in the long run and we would probably worse off than we were before. Well, yeah. I already knew that.

Contrary to popular belief, ‘peace’ has nothing to do with sincerity. In fact, it is simply all about maintaining sugarcoated semblance that masks the truthfulness of our shared life. ‘Peace’ literally means free from the discomfort of confronting worldly harshness. Regrettably, some people denounce those definitions.

Instead of focusing on the present by thoroughly dousing it in sickly sweet syrup, they prefer to be engrossed in retardedly future-oriented goals which shrug off others’ desire to live restfully free from any disturbances of open and honest conversations about how we treat our fellow human beings and deny others’ right to experience feel-goodism concerning their non-existent ‘goodness’.

Basically, they are selfish assholes who are willing to sacrifice others’ feelings for the sake of fulfilling their childish make-believe!

Yes, make-believe! We live in the now. Therefore, our lives inherently revolve around it! The future, on the other hand, is something that only exists in our heads. Therefore, every person who spends even a sliver of their time on thinking about the future is delusional and the more time they spend doing so means the more hopelessly detached they are from the reality and even the best psychiatrists in history won’t be able to relieve them from their pitiful mental state!

Don’t do future-thinking, kids! If you really care about a bright future, whether for yourself or everyone else, you should avoid thinking about the future at all cost!

*takes off the mask*

 

 

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I hate science…

*puts on a mask*

… because it debunks the innate superiority of humans!

I mean, seriously? We would be helpless under nature’s mercy without the help of science? We share the same ancestors with every organism on earth? Earth is not the centre of the universe? We belong to nature, not the other way around? Are you fucking kidding me?

I am religious because I want to feel I belong to the most superiorly divine species in existence! Who cares about spirituality? It is all about the bloating my fragile ego!

Yes, humans are indeed the most dominant earth species. We are the only one that have developed culture, science and technology. We are the only earthlings who have explored the world beyond our planet. But, those are not enough!

We have to believe we are God’s chosen creatures, that everything in the universe revolves around us, that life is conceived solely for our sake!

How can anyone feel dignified by the idea of actually belonging in this earthly realm? How can anyone feel dignified by the idea of being one with nature?

*takes off mask*

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