Those bad apples….

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It seems everyone has an opinion about the Muslim world. Many believe that most Muslims are extremists. Some of them usually refer to stats based on a small sample of Muslims and snub other stats who show contradicting results. Either that or they use the fantabulously infallible evidences: the anecdotes; even evidences unearthed by thoroughly-executed scientific researches are nothing compared to personal experiences of individuals with filthy lenses.

Then, there’s another kind of bigots. They believe extremists are a tiny minority…which the peaceful majority are responsible for. They believe the entire Muslim world is a literal formal organisation, with subservient and well-connected members, complete with clear-cut ranks and lawful centralised authorities. What a wonderful smoking gun; now they have grounds to blame all Muslims. Conspiracies, always too good to be true, don’t they?

They refuse to admit that Muslims are, in fact, an actual religious group, consisting of distinct individual human beings that mostly aren’t affiliated with each other. We have an assortment of Islamic denominations, sub-denominations and movements which many of us refuse to join in.

We don’t acknowledge the same authorities. They can be celebrity clerics, organisations, ministers of religious affairs or even some obscure preachers who settle in some obscure mosques in obscure neighbourhoods or villages. Heck, many of us don’t even acknowledge any religious authorities at all; we are content with our private spirituality. Should I mention there are over a billion of us on earth? That would be a management catastrophe, wouldn’t it?

Those extremists are indeed venomous bad apples and ought to be taken care off. But, if you want to throw tantrums to Muslims, make sure they are actually guilty. Berate Muslims who are aware of extremism and yet do nothing about it. Berate Muslims who consciously empower its growth. There are lots of them to choose from.

But, it’s glaringly idiotic to think you can berate any random Muslims. Guilt by association is a real fallacy. If you don’t know how stupid that is, just imagine a person who blame every ingredient in the kitchen, including the sugar, for salting his food. For me, it’s less about stupidity and more about prejudice. But, that’s a topic for another time.

At this point, you probably think this article is all about Muslims. Well, to an extend, it is. But, my main concern here is more about the so-called collective guilt. For next example, I will discuss about the police. American police forces to be exact.

American right wingers are notorious for being liable of such fallacy. I do admit they are not the only culprits; even western leftists can succumb to idiocy (or prejudice). The reason why the Right infuriates me in this matter is their hypocrisy.

In the US in recent years, there is an increase in public awareness about police corruptness and brutality. Outrage is loudly expressed. Demands for accountability also increases. People don’t want legal immunity for anyone with uniforms. Then, the Right chime in to defend.

They dismiss the concern as nothing but paranoia, the dignified outrage as nothing but tantrum. They believe there’s nothing wrong with the police forces; cases of corrupt and violent officers are isolated incidents. Just a few bad apples, they say…

No, they are not just a few bad apples. Police forces are actual formal organisations with obedient members, clear-cut ranks and centralised authorities; you know, attributes that the Right unfoundedly think the entire Muslim world has. With such characteristic in place, it’s very definite that a few cases of immorality can be blamed on the entire collectives.

For every few sinful officers, there are approving colleagues, indulgent or sinful superiors, slacking internal affairs officers, inept trainers and recruiters, or a combination of any of them. They all have the legal power and duty to thwart the diseases’ growth. But then, how can function when they’re already infected? They would rather quarantine the healthy ones instead.

I know some of you (if people read my works at all) will start accusing Muslims of silence. Usually, I’d tell you lot to google first before vomiting oral excrement. But, in the end, when you do admit our lack of silence, you will always say we aren’t doing enough. How can our efforts pay off when we’re not supported?

In predominantly-Muslim countries, the authorities love to dismiss the concern of pluralist Muslims while being too lenient towards the extremist ones. Worse, they may even prosecute those pluralist Muslims instead. In the case of Central Asia, the authorities implement anti-extremism legislation so discriminatory, it would potentially affect the innocents. In the west, it is not any better.

Western Muslims are frequently ordered to report extremist individuals. When they do (and many of them will without being ordered to), their words of concern are dismissed as something of no importance. Therefore, the empowerment of extremists is also the fault of non-Muslim westerners.

I explicitly stated that Guilty by Association is a fallacy. Well, that applies to every group on earth, including the police. Unlike the entire Muslim world, it’s logically sound to condemn entire police forces. But, like individual Muslims, it’s logically unsound to berate any random police officers you encounter; their innocence and guilt cannot be assumed.

An individual is literally one person who has his/her own thoughts and feelings. A collective consists of different and contrasting individuals; in some cases, one or a few individuals may completely reign over the other members, influencing the group mentality. Individuals are not collectives and collectives are not individuals.

Frankly, I’m not surprised the American Right embrace this double standard. I mean, they are conservatives. Fearing and demonising the ‘others’ is literally one of their hobbies. They also have a fetish for people in uniforms; they commit a fallacy called Honour by Association, which is also a good topic for another time.

Yes, I just stereotyped other American conservatives. Well, fair is fair. If Muslims can be stereotyped, why can’t we stereotyped them?

Oh and before I end this article, I have to defend Roman Catholics as well.

When anti-Muslim bigots think the Muslim world is a strict formal organisation, anti-religious bigots have the same in mind about every religious group! They literally believe that every single one has deacons, bishops, priests with worshippers on the lowest rank. They seriously base their judgment on skewed understanding of Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

First of all, Roman Catholics are literally ONE religious group; them alone cannot be used to understand the entire global religious scenes.

Second, ordinary worshippers are indeed members of the church. But, they are not included in the church’s official strata.

Third, even if you include the priests, bishops and deacons to the entire Roman Catholics collective, it would still be an informal group of people. Contrary to popular belief, religious people -including Roman Catholics- can be rebellious. There are ordinary Roman Catholics who openly detest the church’s views; even high-ranking church officials can be deemed heretical by fellow believers. From my personal lens as a Muslim, some contemporary Roman Catholics seem to have mutual and very lax relationships with their priests; I wish Muslims share the same thing with our clerics.

Oh and anti-religious sentiment is also a good topic for another time.

Believers as queer allies

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Believers can be ones. Yes, you read that right. In fact, you need them. As homophobia is often religious, it makes perfect sense.

Non-believers may understand the soul of religious communities. But, believers can reach out to it. They can transform it to a kinder one and hence, kinder believers. Self-accepting LGBT believers in particular can aid closeted fellow believers and encourage religious homophobes to humanise their fellow human beings.

Of course, you may think religiosity is inherently homophobic and I’m just an apologist. Of course, everyone has their own thoughts. But, I want you to admit three things:

First, you’re already lost. You fight for LGBT rights against religious bigots. Then, you find believers who share your cause! They can help encouraging change in the bigots’ hearts. But, you blow it by refusing their alliance. You cripple your own activism.

Second, you support the bigots. You’re theologically in tune with them. In fact, you also support the notion that they are the truest of all believers. The strengthening of their existence isn’t the fault of progressive believers. It’s yours.

Third, you were never a right activist in the first place. You only care about non-religious queers. More anti-religious, the better. No matter how much they are hated by the religious communities, they will always have strong supports. Lucky them.

The religious ones? After the hatred from their fellow believers, a support would be more than morally delightful. Theological agreement optional. But, being heartless you are, you regurgitate almost equally inhumane animosity to their faces. Upgrading their misery and isolation with such innate virtuosity. You must be so proud.

My advise? Stop calling yourself an LGBT right activist. Instead, call yourself a loving person for some …and a heartless enemy for the rest. Unleash your true gangrene self. Don’t be shy! Honesty and self-acceptance, they are good for your soul.

Well, I’m not sure if they are. It takes a lot more to heal yours, if you actually have one. But, at least, you’re no longer a fraudulent angel. You won’t double-cross anyone with that deceitfully sweet mask of yours.

Spirituality and religion (and morality): everlastingly sectarian

Religions

Here I go. So contentious, even the mere mention of those words trigger the delicate snowflakes out of most people. Obviously, I should boost the triggering by defining what spiritual and religion are.

Spirituality has a myriad of definitions. Some see it as the synonym for religiosity. Others see it as a process of fathoming either the universe, the self or both. Others also see it as a guide to find meanings in one’s lives, intrinsic and acquired. Some even believe it is the state of being irreligious. Predictably, they are all personal and abstract. Different case with religion.

Yes, some people do have equally personal and abstract definitions for it. In multiple occasions, Reza Aslan described religion as a language to describe the ‘indescribable’ and the divine. I used to define religion as the literal bridge between the earthly and the spiritual; some people I know still believe that. But, it’s also possible to shape more clear-cut characterisation.

Religion can be understood as a set of ideas and rituals to achieve what the worshippers deem as ‘spirituality’. It can also be seen as a tool for social control, consciously and subconsciously coaxing every reachable feature of a society. Such characterisation is observable in real life. It’s very apparent how universally-accepted definitions are unrealistic. But, instead of reducing our sectarianism, we are increasing it.

Fanaticism. One of mankind’s greatest and most harmful sins. We are extremely in love with our own convictions. Anything that negate them even in the slightest will be dealt with staggeringly-fierce hostility. Seeing the title, you know what kind of fanaticism I’m referring to here. I’ll begin with the one that I used to be guilty of as well: thinking religiosity and spirituality are literally the same thing.

I had that mindset because I was so in love with restrictions. I believed not religiously restraining ourselves in every single aspect of life was a sign of serious moral decay. Of course, I was a hypocrite as my lifestyle was very self-indulging. I also willingly ignored what the other sides had to say.

We often reject the existence of the unendurably suffocating nature of strict religiosity. Even religiosity as a whole can appear so for many people. Like it or not, religiosity has harmed countless individuals, physically and emotionally; the injuries are difficult or even impossible to heal. It’s easy to hate on the so-called ‘infidels’ when you’re not the one being harmed.

We cannot simply dismiss those traumatised people as ‘haters who don’t want believers enjoy profound spirituality’. Our positive experiences are unique to us and not to be used to ‘evaluate’ fellow human beings. Before you accuse me of atheism (as if that was a bad thing in the first place), I’m not completely siding myself with non-believers.

In fact, I still consider myself religious. I also loathe the idea that true spirituality is inherently irreligious. Some unbelieving individuals miserably fail to realise how their positive experiences with irreligiosity are unique to them. I believe them when they say religions repress them. But, I can’t listen to them when they say believers love being repressed.

Some of us genuinely feel religiosity is liberating, not suppressing. Often times, we feel empty and go astray in the world. Religion can be an emotionally-benevolent counsellor, bestowing us the liberty from the worldly abyss and sense of lost. It has nothing to do with loving oppression which, believe it or not, we also loathe as ungodly immoral.

It also has nothing to do with our loathe of reason and science. Some of us still love both. We still use them to understand our earthly surroundings and to intellectually challenge ourselves. Their duties are different from the ones of our beliefs. For us, they cannot be fused together. But, they can make great allies that enrich our innermost lives.

The segments above show my attempt to articulate the contention of spirituality and religion, as objective as I possibly can. Just kidding! I’m neither a journalist nor an academic. I barely made efforts to filter my own biases. So, that being said, I should continue by recounting my personal experiences and pretend they are universally relatable. Let’s start with the ignorance and hypocrisy of my fellow believers.

‘You are not spiritually enlightened!’

‘You are an atheist!’

‘You are immoral!’

There you go. Three of the most common sentences my fellow believers have said to me. If you are open-minded enough, you would immediately notice the problematic nature.

Once again, they’re unable to acknowledge their experiences’ lack of universality. The annoyance become harmful when they start ‘evangelising’. When I said ‘evangelising’, I meant harassing and guilt tripping their victims who have no time for narrow-mindedness.

Also, they use the word ‘atheist’ as an insult. The notion that disbelieve is related to lacking enlightenment and morality is ill-founded. In fact, many atheists have proven themselves to be more enlightened and more moral than those self-righteous believers. Many great thinkers, scientists and artists of the contemporary world are atheists. I’ve never heard of atheists who kill in the name of atheism. Never.

I should be more detailed with this farcicality. I always disclose my Islamic identity and agnostic theism (yes, that’s a thing). Even then, I only do so when it’s relevant to the topic of conversations. I’m muted about my spiritual life. I did try to explain in full details. But, I ended up babbling incoherent assortment of words and feeling extremely naked for exhibiting an intimate aspect of my life. This shows how my spirituality is both inexpressible and private.

Sermons, inspirational stories, joint rituals. Inspiring to me, they are not. Why would they be so? As an individual, I’m free-spirited enough to not fall for superficiality, gooey sentimentality, cliches and guilt-tripping. Free-spirited enough to know what’s spiritually good by myself, without getting dictated by humans who have skin-deep judgment of the true me. Of course, that makes an outcast out of me.

Some people I know believe spirituality is all about bragging and getting easily awed. Don’t do either one and they will accuse you heresy or, in my case, atheism. They think they are shaming me for being a bad person. But, in reality, they are shaming me simply for being different. As always in the case of religious people, there’s hypocrisy.

Those believers are the same ones who condemn extremists for their intolerance of human differences, for their supposedly ‘heretical’ and ‘ungodly’ treatment of fellow human beings. Yet, they shame people like me for having the gut to call ourselves believers. What can I expect living in a country where religiosity is almost inborn?

I have never met openly anti-religious individuals offline. Only met them online. Because of that, my negative experiences with them are lesser in quantity. But, the annoyance and nastiness still disturb my psyche. Yes, like religious people, they can also be hypocrites and zealots.

The hypocrisy arises every time they label religiosity as irrational. Admittedly, there’s a truth in the accusation. But, it’s very hard to take them seriously when they themselves suffer from scientism. They believe science is an authority figure who has all of the absolute truths on its hands. That’s not what science is.

Science is a set of instruments and theories used to methodically study the observable and measurable universe through experimentation; if repeatable, its results may end up as new scientific theories. My definition is unabashedly schematic. But, that’s the best I can do. Besides, if you compare mine with the ones you find on google, you can tell I make out the nitty-gritty.

In principal, science does not manifest and believe in absolute truths. Science is indeed the best medium out there to grasp our material world. But, it is not perfect. The instruments and theories which shape its foundation are – and need to be – upgradeable. If the new ones are more orderly and more sound, why stick with the old ones? Perpetual self-enhancement. That what makes science beautiful.

In case you forgot, what is now pseudo-science wasn’t so long time ago. Geocentrism, astrology, numerology, phrenology, alchemy. At one point in human history, they were all regarded as scientifically valid. Science started as philosophy. But, thanks to all the refinement brought by dedicated and inquisitive scientists, they were all replaced by more solid disciplines. It’s a history rejected by those so-called ‘rational’ disbelievers.

For them, science is an entity whose essence is fixed from the very beginning and will remain so. Those individuals accuse believers of zealotry towards their own beliefs, not realising they are guilty of the same thing. They refuse to acknowledge the existence of critical-minded believers. Yes, we do exist. Believe it or not, some of us are not fanatics. Irrational and hypocritical. Add self-righteousness to the disbelievers and the set is complete!

I will dedicate the next segment on anti-religious atheists. Judging from my personal experiences (emphasise on the word ‘personal‘), they are the non-religious individuals who are guilty of this sin the most.

Again, like believers, some of them love to claim higher moral standing. As stated before, I’ve never heard of atheists killing in the name of atheism. But, if you want to claim something that loaded, make sure that it is an actual reality.

Just give me one evidence that supports such assertion. No, the atrocities committed by believers is not it. The sins of your enemies do not warrant your supposed morality. How you treat your fellow human beings does. Oh and I can prove that immoral atheists exist. Just take a look at communist countries. You know, those officially atheistic countries.

They were good in discriminating, imprisoning and killing anyone not in line with government-approved ideals. As religiosity was not one of them, religious people were among the victims. At certain periods, they were treated like atheists in Muslim countries. Surely, you cannot deny this part of human history.

Yes, I know it’s history. I know we should move on instead. But, history isn’t meant to be forgotten; it’s meant to be a testimony of the true human nature, a testimony in which we can learn a lot from. If you’ve learned from it, you would not quantify a person’s morality from the identity he/she associates with. If you equate atheism with morality, you are on the same league with those religious zealots. No, I won’t stop making that comparison.

Even though I’ve interacted with many anti-religious pricks online, I’ve received only encountered one attack targeted personally to me. One person premised how people have used religions to justify their acts of inhumanity. Therefore, he concluded that every person who still observe a religion willingly tolerate or even partake in inhumanity itself. Yes, he actually said that.

That’s what we call Guilty By Association, which is an actual fallacy and that invalidates his argument. No, I’m not committing fallacy fallacy which refers to invalidating true conclusions based on false premises. In this person’s case, his true premise was followed by a false conclusion. But, this is not what agitates me the most.

He also carried out a nasty ad hominem against me. What he said seemed impersonal. But, he blurted that out while we were having a one-on-one conversation and he specifically said the word ‘you’, insinuated that I also tolerated and partook in religiously-motivated inhumanity. Well……..

People who actually know me will immediately scream ‘bullshit’. I’ve condemned so many forms of religious bigotry and violence. Often times, I’m very vulgar with my condemnation to the point of aggravating religious apologists, who declare non-existing perfection of their religions and religious communities.

Also, I’ve done many bad things in my life, motivated by nouns that end with ‘-phobia’. But, not once I harmed my fellow human beings in the name of Islam. Not even when I was a backward-minded believer! Once again, my religiosity is personal and it never dictated how I treated others. So, what he said about me was false. Yet, his words affect me to this day.

I don’t know why I’m still hurt. I am indeed insecure about myself. But, when it comes to my morality, I am the complete opposite. I also welcome the possibility of me being the immoral one; if you hate self-righteousness, it’s hypocritical to announce yourself as entirely and absolutely moral. Once I detect a hint of immorality in me, I should thrive to eliminate it. Maybe the exasperation I’m having right now is the result of the insult itself.

Well, not really. I’ve been called with many things in my life. Being a loser means abundance of verbal abuse is expected in one’s life. But, admittedly, a handful of them are extremely hurtful. I haven’t found the ‘hurt’ factor yet. But, I often assume the insulters aren’t just trolls. They are genuinely mean-spirited individuals who have deep-rooted desire to make me see myself as a subhuman they think I am.

But, in the end, my own religiosity and spirituality are and will always be my personal matters. No one, not even powerful religious organisations, have the right to intervene. My morality does affect others. But, as long as I’m willing to clean mine every time it gets dirty, I don’t think I have anything to worry about at the moment.

The seas, the seas and the seas

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There are reasons why I love the seas.

First, seafood. I love it as much as I love the meat of land critters. Love it more than fresh water ones. Tastes extremely varied: savoury, sweet, pungent. For me, the fishiness is a lot more tolerable than muddied-water taste of fresh water fish. Seafood also makes perfect seasoning. Too bad it’s relatively scarce. I can talk about this whole day long.

But, nourishment isn’t the only one. For years, I’ve been having this inexplicable desire to live near the sea. No, this has nothing to do with my love of seafood.

Living near the sea doesn’t guarantee its abundance and quality. Not every cubic of seawater is biologically vibrant. The water’s rough for fishermen. Marine aquaculture is a difficult practice. Marine pollution is constant. So, why do I have such desire?

Well, the prospect of a thoroughly landlocked living unnerves me. My entire life, I was never that faraway from the sea. Sometimes, it did take hours to reach the nearest beach. Even then, it was more about the traffics than the distances themselves. Also, Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in on earth. My upbringing is an obvious contributing factor.

It’s one reason why I’m reluctant to live in continental countries. Many of their cities are inland, way inland. Chicago and Toronto, for examples, aren’t that far from the Great Lakes. But, they are lakes. Even saltwater ones won’t do much for me. They have to be wide open seas. I can’t imagine living far from them.

Actually, I can. In my mind, such inland living would feel isolating. The bigger it is, the more intense the feeling would be. I would be literally insane! Pure paranoia, caused by my emotional dependence on the seas…

…And I just used the ‘crazy’ card. As volatile as I am, I don’t suffer from any emotional disorders. Besides, I have never actually lived right next to a sea. I barely have any mental mementos from the beaches. Emotional dependence doesn’t make sense in my case. So, why am I attracted to those foul-smelling bodies of water?

Their spirits, maybe? Why would I be enticed by those personally unfeasible and revolting entities in the first place? Metaphysics always encourages me to see beyond the unappealing and deceptive physicality.

For start, our understanding about the deep sea is minuscule compared to the outer space one. We know little about the critters living down there. The ones we’ve discovered are usually grotesque and alien. So, why is marine biology significant here? It deals with actual physicality. It’s not metaphysical. Well, the question’s already answered…twice.

We know little about deep sea critters and the ones we know are often grotesque and alien. The marine spirits still exude strong mysterious and freakish auras. Things I easily fall for.

I love mysteries. I love to be ‘tormented’ by overwhelming curiosity. The sensation encourages me to not take knowledge for granted, to be humble about my understanding of life, to always be keen about learning.

I also love the ‘grotesque’ and the ‘alien’. They call out my judgy temperament, rebel against the mist of traditionalism that still plagues my mind, challenge what I perceive as ‘normal’. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up loving them.

How can I expand my horizon when I’m already satisfied by its narrow vastness? How can I improve my vision when I’m comfortable with my worn-out lenses? We eagerly dismiss the mysterious and the offbeat as cock-teasing and ‘abnormal’, respectively. It’s destructive to our state of mankind, more than we like to admit.

As much as I’m captivated by the marine spirits, they also taunt me. They make me feel vulnerable as a living being. I said something about how I have actually never lived right next to the sea. Well, I want to keep that way.

Visiting a beach is different from living on one. Living there means you’re at the sea’s mercy. You’ll be among the first pitiful humans to suffer its wrath. But, living further inland won’t make you safer. The sea still can torment you from faraway, albeit slightly less cruelly. Only slightly. I’m willingly submit myself to one rightful authority that is nature.

Nature. As a whole entity, it is an almighty menace that radiates mysterious and freakish charm…similar to my illustration of the seas. So, my sentiment to every territory in nature should be alike. Yet, the seas are the only ones that greatly shape my metaphysics.

Don’t get me wrong. I also appreciate the other territories. I acknowledge their innate power on mankind. But, except for the outer space, none of them evoke equally compelling (and pretentious) sentiment from me. As I have said many times, the seas, the seas and the seas.

I always thought the reasons for my marine obsession are too enigmatic to unearth. That or I let the spirits haunt my life, turning me too dainty about my dwelling. Either can be true. Can be.

Perhaps I deem myself too admiringly. Perhaps I love to perceive myself as a profound and mystifying individual who grasps what others fail to, whom others fail to hold in high esteem. The mirror I have been using all my life is possibly an illusive one.

I love seafood. I have very mild emotional dependence on the sea. They are equally valid as the probably causes. I shouldn’t be belittling just because of their supposed futility. I’m a humbug. Bear in mind how I loathe humans who belittle the ‘mysterious’ and the ‘grotesque’.

Intellectualism is a must…and so is being down-to-earth.

Overt infatuation with politeness

Ahok, one of the men who run for the next governor of Jakarta, is a controversial figure. A Christian political leader of Chinese descent in a Muslim and non-Chinese majority currently afflicted by sectarianism. His presence alone is enough to cause a stir.

As horrible as the intolerance itself, it’s not the only “criticism” againts Ahok that I find “unfounded”. Many are offended by his crassness and lack of politeness. For them, it’s more than enough to defame him.

They don’t care if a politician is corrupt, greedy or power-hungry. They only care about his/her politeness, how he/she sees fame among the masses is more important than competence and integrity. Ahok is the complete opposite.

Ahok is willing to publicly berate anyone who actually deserve it. For him, frankness, leadership competence and dignity are much more important than popularity among people who are easily duped by masks of pretence.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I hate manners. In fact, I deem them extremely valuable. We cannot treat people carelessly. Every single one of our actions must have protocols. But, the problem arises when we use them as justification for horridness.

Politness and dishonestly are considered synonymous. Being frank is rude. That’s a shallow way of thinking. If that’s what you believe, what you desire is actually pretence harmony.

“Harmony” isn’t born out of genuine respect, but out of spinelessness about being open. Honesty can expose the plague of fakeness in our life. Those of us who love the status quo see it as impoliteness and the source of “disharmony”. This degeneracy of the mind doesn’t stop there.

There is also a belief that politeness also means not saying anything negative about the powerful. Once again, if you think that way, you don’t want politeness. What you want is mass worshipping of the high rankers.

You make Gods out of them, more than you do with your actual Gods. You are unwilling to let them “hurt” by even the most constructive criticism. You will do anything to protect your objects of worship. In fact, you support sanctions against those critics. In the end, you are henchmen to oppression.

Maybe you think I am over-reaching. I admit that is hard to comprehend to anyone who are already used with worshipping their fellow human beings. Maybe you also agree with what I am saying here, not realising you maybe also guilty of it. Once again, this degeneracy doesn’t stop here.

You also think politeness is everything. It’s the only thing worth praising from an individual. You don’t bother to dig deeper about someone. You are easily fooled by the mask that hides his/her uglier side.

You don’t believe politeness and incompetence. You even don’t believe a polite individual can also be filled with immorality. Your love of politeness makes you blind.

That’s a dangerous mindset. If you have the right to vote, you would fill important positions with creatures whose only asset is manners. No skills. No morality. In order to protect your fragile feelings, you are willing to sacrifice the society who has to be governed by spitefulness.

As I have said before, I uphold politeness. I believe every single one of our interactions must be bound by rules. But, once again, you must have high standard. You must demand that politeness to be accompanied by professional competence, honesty and sincerity of the heart. Don’t be a shallow being.

Before I end my rant, some of you think this article is pro-Ahok propaganda; its topic is just a disguise. Well, you are half right.

I am not paid by his campaigning team. I am writing this article willingly, with or without getting paid. I am an actual Ahok supporter, even though I don’t reside in Jakarta.

For me, he does have a crude behaviour…and also leadership skill that is proven to be solid. All of the condemnations against him (apart from his crudeness) are proven to be bullshits. All of them are based on dishonesty.

Like him, I also spend a large chunk of my life living in Sumatra. Sumatrans are infamous for our crudeness (my Java-raised mom puts an importance on politeness). But, I also learn how we should judge people based on their “insides”. Their exterior is, more of than not, deceiving.

Besides, Ahok is aware of his flaw and he makes efforts to improve himself.

Keterlenaan berlebihan akan sopan santun

Ahok adalah manusia yang penuh kontroversi. Seorang pemimpin politik beragama Nasrani keturunan Tionghoa di negara mayoritas Muslim dan non-Tionghoa yang sedang dilanda penyakit-penyakit SARA. Kehadirannya saja sudah cukup untuk menyulut masalah.

Seburuknya ketiadaan toleransi tersebut, itu bukan satu-satunya “kritikan” terhadap Ahok yang saya anggap “tidak berbobot”. Banyak orang merasa tersinggung dengan kekasaran dan ketidaksantunannya. Bagi mereka, itu sudah lebih dari cukup untuk mencoreng namanya.

Mereka tidak peduli jika seorang politikus korup, serakah atau gila kuasa. Mereka hanya peduli dengan kesopan-santunannya, betapa ia menganggap ketenaran di khayalak lebih penting dari pada kemampuan memimpin dan harga diri. Ahok adalah kebalikan dari semua itu.

Ahok lebih suka mencaci orang-orang yang memang pantas dicaci maki di muka umum. Baginya, keterbukaan akan diri yang sebenarnya, kemampuan memimpin dan harga diri jauh lebih penting dari pada ketenaran di antara orang-orang yang gampang tertipu dengan topeng-topeng kepalsuan.

Tentu saja, itu bukan berarti saya membenci tata krama. Bahkan, saya menganggap itu sebagai hal yang bernilai tinggi. Kita tidak bisa memerlakukan orang lain dengan seenaknya. Semua tindakan kita harus aturan mainnya. Tetapi, permasalahan muncul saat tata krama dijadikan sebagai pembenaran hal-hal yang buruk.

Sopan santun dan ketidakjujuran dianggap sebagai dua hal yang sama. Berterus terang dianggap kasar. Itu adalah pola pikir yang dangkal. Jika anda berpikir seperti itu, berarti yang sebenarnya anda inginkan adalah keserasian palsu.

“Keserasian” terjadi bukan karena rasa hormat yang tulus, melainkan karena ketidakberanian untuk berterus terang. Kejujuran dapat menyingkap wabah kepalsuan di kehidupan kita. Kita yang mencintai status quo menganggap kejujuran sebagai ketidaksantunan dan sumber “perpecahan”. Kehinaan pikiran tersebut tidak berhenti di situ.

Ada anggapan bahwa kesantunan juga berarti tidak mengungkapan kata-kata miring terhadap pihak yang berkuasa. Sekali lagi, jika anda berpikir seperti itu, anda tidak menginginkan kesantunan. Anda menginginkan penyembahan massal terhadap orang-orang yang berpangkat lebih tinggi.

Anda menuhankan mereka, lebih dari anda menuhankan tuhan anda sendiri. Anda tidak rela jika mereka ”tersakiti” oleh kritikan yang paling membangun sekalipun. Apapun akan anda lakukan untuk melindungi sembahan anda. Bahkan, anda mendukung pemberian sanksi kepada para kritikus. Pada akhirnya, anda adalah kaki tangan penindasan.

Mungkin anda berpikir saya terlalu mengada-ada. Saya akui hal ini sulit dipercaya bagi anda yang sudah terbiasa menyembah sesama manusia. Mungkin anda setuju dengan pernyataan saya, tanpa sadar anda mungkin juga melakukan hal yang sama. Sekali lagi, kehinaan ini belum berhenti di situ.

Anda juga berpikir kesantunan adalah segala-segalanya. Itu adalah satu-satunya yang pantas dipuji dari seseorang. Anda tidak mau bersusah payah untuk menilai seseorang lebih dalam. Anda dengan mudahnya tertipu oleh topeng yang menutupi sisi buruk seseorang.

Anda tidak percaya bahwa seseorang dapat menyandang kesantunan dan ketidakmampuan secara bersamaan. Bahkan, anda tidak percaya bahwa seorang yang santun bisa dipenuhi dengan kenistaan moral. Kecintaan terhadap kesantunan membuat anda buta.

Itu adalah pola pikir yang berbahaya. Jika anda memiliki hak untuk mencoblos, anda akan mengisi jabatan-jabatan penting dengan makhluk-makhluk yang hanya bermodal santun. Keahlian nol. Kebajikan nol. Demi melindungi perasaan-perasaan anda yang mudah tersinggung, anda rela mengorbankan masyarakat yang harus dipimpin oleh kebrobrokan.

Seperti yang saya katakan sebelumnya, saya menjunjung tinggi kesantunan. Saya beranggap bahwa interaksi kita dengan sesama manusia harus ada aturan mainnya. Tetapi, sekali lagi, anda harus memiliki patokan yang tinggi. Anda harus menuntut agar kesantunan diiringi dengan kemahiran dalam bekerja, kejujuran dan ketulusan hati. Janganlah menjadi manusia yang dangkal.

Sebelum saya mengakhiri omelan, sebagian dari anda pasti berpikir bahwa artikel ini adalah propaganda kampanye Ahok; pokok pembicaraan di sini hanyalah kedok. Anda setengah benar.

Saya tidak dibayar oleh tim kampanye Ahok. Saya dengan rela menulis artikel ini, dibayar ataupun tidak. Saya memang adalah pendukung Ahok, walaupun saya tidak tinggal di Jakarta.

Menurut saya, beliau memang memiliki perangai yang kasar…dan juga kemampuan memimpin yang terbukti kokoh. Kecaman-kecaman tentang Ahok (kecuali tentang ketidaksantunannya) terbukti penuh omong kosong. Mereka semua hanyalah berdasarkan keculasan.

Seperti Ahok, saya juga menghabiskan sebagian besar hidup saya di Sumatra. Orang-orang Sumatra memang terkenal akan perangai kita yang buruk (ibu saya yang besar di Jawa sangat mementingkan sopan santun). Tetapi saya juga belajar bahwa penilaian orang harus ditekankan pada “isi” mereka. Bentuk luar mereka lebih sering menipu.

Lagi pula, Ahok juga sadar akan kekasarannya dan dia berusaha untuk lebih baik.

Different types of Trump supporters

*puts on a mask*

The bigots:

They believe Trump will bring back the supposedly-existing natural superiority of the Aryans. Fuck those *insert various racial slurs here*. They don’t seem to mind that he’s an orange humanoid. They also believe he’ll strengthen the supposedly-natural hetero-normative idea that sexuality’s a moral choice.

The rights activists:

They praise him for his advocacy of equality and tolerance. They think him appointing white supremacists and homophobes isn’t a big deal. It’s a joke even. Obviously, the bigots will change their stances once in power. There are no such thing as powerful bigots.

The ones that are too desperate for changes:

They want changes no matter what. They don’t care if the new paths are leading us to a pile of diseased diarrhea belched out by an orange humanoid.

The business-minded ones:

They believe friendly business environment is the sole definition of humanity. Social justice is too worthlessly trivial. Thriving corporations is better than treating each other humanely. Therefore, it’s reasonable to vote for a four-times businessman.

The poor rural whites 1:

They are constantly neglected by those city slickers. They believe the man who was born rich, given a million dollar loan by his father, outsources jobs and has never experienced a single day in poverty is what they need. Nothing stupid about that.

The poor rural whites 2:
Again, the city slickers neglect them. That’s why they want to ruin their lives by deliberately voting for a destructive humanoid. Obviously, if you ruin the life of someone who neglects you, he/she would end up taking care of you. He/she would not have an actually good reason to neglect you.

The self-hating Muslims:

They feel they deserve nothing but mistreatment by their fellow human beings. They dream of getting all sorts of abuse, including waterboarding. It’s a BDSM kink of theirs. Don’t judge! Different strokes for different folks!

The America-hating Muslims:

They believe getting Trump elected is the best way to annihilate the power-hungry nation. No need to establish an army of exploitable Muslims who crave the sense of belonging and knows nothing about the extremist group they are joining.

*takes off the mask*

The problems with anti-Ahok demonstrations

Brainless Muslims

The alleged blasphemy never existed in the first place. It’s obvious how the incriminating video was edited by Buni Yani, a proudly irresponsible and victim card-playing human being.

The editing is so obvious, even for the untrained eyes. All you need is to use your brain. Well, if you have one, anyway.

Easily offended Muslims

Whether Ahok was being blasphemous or not, that’s irrelevant. If he was, so what?

Are we so fragile against criticism of our own religion? Do we really believe everyone must love Islam?

If Islam is really the truest and strongest of all religions, do we really need to defend it so aggressively to the point of making the complete opposite impression?

I am sure the people who got offended by Ahok’s so-called blasphemy love to offend the sentiment of other religious groups. The right of being angry is exclusively theirs.

Naming the December 2nd demonstration as a “peaceful act”

Demonstration was done in the first place because certain people possessed hatred against someone that they deem offend them.

Demonstrators were caught red-handed harassing reporters.

FPI, who is no stranger sectarianism and extremism, was involved in the demonstration.

They did their Friday prayer in the middle of the road, disturbing other road users. The prayer could have been done in mosques.

They also promise more demonstrations in the future. They won’t stop until Ahok is arrested for something he didn’t do.

Is it appropriate to call this divisiness “peaceful”?

The wrapped rice army

It’s not a secret in Indonesia. Many of us are willing to demonstrate for the sake of rice and small allowance. Whether they understand the message of the demonstration, it doesn’t matter. Just give them the rewards.

It is tempting to Indonesians who live in poverty. But, I know that many of us are willing to whore ourselves even for the smallest rewards.

Money-oriented news coverage

I am delighted about the two counter-demonstrations. They may not have any depth. They may be used as vehicles for political parties. But, that doesn’t matter. What matters is their explicit message about the beauty of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), especially in this increasingly sectarian age.

But, I am disappointed with the coverage by the media, both domestic and foreign, who focused too much on the anti-Ahok demonstrations and too little on the counter ones. Bad news thicken our pockets.

This kind of coverage unwittingly portrays those humans of hatred as the representatives of all mankind, as if their views are the only ones that matter. In the end, they are given more power the peace-loving and pluralist human beings.

Because of their great influence, the media has a responsibility for the society. But then, they think profit is more important.

Blasphemy legislation

I am one of the people who oppose it.

Even though I hate what people say about my religion, I also believe in individual freedoms. I cannot force others to love my religion like I do. I also have to learn to not get offended easily.

More often than not, a statement is considered as blasphemous…if it contradicts with the views of many. Figures like Quraish Shihab and Ulil Abshar Abdallah have such statements.

They never intended to be that way. What they do is having their own interpretations of the scripture. The problem rises when others disagree with them.

This legislation is dangerous because it prosecutes anyone who dares to think differently.

Naming the demonstrations as “defense of Islam”

Do you want to beautify our name? Show that we actually deserve respect.

Show the world that we are peace-loving.

Show them that we are intelligent and willing to have civilised conversations.

Show them that we are willing to treat everyone humanely, not matter what their backgrounds are.

But, that’s not what have been done. Some of us are aroused to do the opposite: being divisive, refusing conversation and even encouraging violence to each other…

…and all of those done in the name of Islam and Muslims.

If that’s how you live your life, don’t call yourself defenders of Islam. In fact, it seems you make efforts to taint the imagine of our religion and our people.

You should be the ones prosecuted for blasphemy, not Ahok.

Give Trump a chance?

Why? Has he proven himself as worthy of it?

He is a politically-experienced, reality show star and four-times-bankruptcy businessman…

…who turned the presidential election into a big fat joke.

After getting elected, he seems surprised by the scope of presidential duties.

…has shown disinterest in intelligence briefings…

…and has broken his own promises.

He upholds pseudoscience.

He fueled Obama birtherism….

…and blaming Hillary Clinton for fueling it, despite the video evidences.

In fact, basic fact-checking is enough to rebuke most of his claims.

He’s in business ties with a Saudi prince, while claiming to be anti-Islamic extremism.

He demands art and entertainment venues to be political safe spaces, ignorant about their age-old purpose.

His feelings are too fragile to embrace even the most constructive criticism.

He retaliates by making personal attacks against his critics…

…and even attempts to silence them. He and his supporters.

He always responds to sexual abuse allegations against him by pointing out to the ones against Bill Clinton, as if it makes his case any better.

He is too eager to use nuclear weapons.

He thinks it’s morally acceptable to kill relatives of terrorists.

He may not be a bigot. But, he panders to actual bigots in order to get their votes.

Not all of his supporters are bigots. But, it took him so damn long to condemn the bigoted ones. Even then, his condemnation is mere words.

If you’re reasonable, you would not trust me with your pen…and my flaws are much more benign compared to his!

He has proven himself as an irresponsible, pathologically-lying, spoiled and bigotry-pandering petulant child who is used to get his ways.

Do you seriously think we should such human a global super-power country with the third largest population on earth?

Why is he given such opportunity? Why can’t we just give it to actually-competent people?

Oh wait, he’s rich and famous. Never mind.

I don’t get the Pewdiepie bros

Seriously, I don’t and I’m one of them. Some are just….I don’t know….idiotic? Childish? Naive? Blind? It’s not about them spamming comment sections, screaming how Pewds is the best. Other fandoms are also guilty of that. It’s about how they know nothing about him.

They think Pewdiepie and Felix Kjellberg are one person. They aren’t. Pay attention to his videos. You will see two different people. Entertainers have public personas to be more entertaining. Even Felix said that in his podcast. It’s a common knowledge! Disbelieving that is delusional.

They also hate the new Pewdiepie because he edits too much, stops playing games, tries too hard to be edgy and becomes money-grubbing and inconsiderate. The old Pewdiepie isn’t guilty of those, they say. Well, let’s dissect them individually. I am referring to Pewds’ negative traits, not the bros (even though I want to dissect the brains of airheads).

First of all, he still plays games, albeit less. He has said countless times about wanting variation. It is either you are absent-minded (you need the doctor) or you are a shamelessly dull creature (you need to change). Oh and he plays games because he wants to. Give him suggestions, not coercion.

Yes, it is true he edits too much. It can be overwhelming to watch, especially when one loves transquility. But, people think it proves how he stops working hard. In what dumbass universe does that make any sense? More editing literally means spending more time on your videos! All you need is a brain to get that.

The old Pewds used offensive words just because he could. The new Pewdiepie uses them much less. In fact, he has become a satirist; his commentaries smack us to reality. And yet, new Pewds is the try-hard one. It’s like thinking how pop is more cultured than Jazz. Even Pewds himself thinks his old self was a try-hard.

There’s no evidence that the new Pewds is greedy. Not one. He does have ads in his videos. But, so do other Youtubers. In fact, he always disclose his sponsors. Also, his wealth is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with his greed or the lack of it (click here to watch Let’s talk about money).

The old Pewds always smiled, never scolded his fans and granted their wishes. He seemed kinder then. But, that’s superficial. He put a sugary mask, hiding God-knows-what behind it. The new Pewds, on the other hand, is always outspoken. We know what he thinks and feels. I don’t know about you. But, I believe insincerity and honesty are obvious signs of human decency. We’re not being lied to.

I believe those horrid bros are a minority. The other bros I know are more dignified. Alas, the tiny yet raucous minority gets the attention. They’re the de facto representatives of the bro army. Of course, we can call out those primitive simpletons, forcing them to contemplate about their lack of sophistication, intelligence and integrity. But, I’m a cynic. No matter how much we try, I’m sure they’ll always be there, ruining it for everyone, like a colossal boil on a face. Call me self-righteous. But, at least, I’m decent enough to know my own flaws

*grumpily bro fisting the screen*