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.

Indonesia’s Spoiled Majority

MUI (Indonesia’s clerical council) has released a decree that prohibits employers from forcing Muslim employees to wear Christmas attires. It receives opposition from many members of the public, especially the non-Muslims.

Many of us are irritated by their complains. We think they’re disrespecting our Islamic way of life. We think they’re shoving their views down our throats. We think the decree only affects the lives of Muslims.

If you believe that, you’re ignorant about the religious life in Indonesia.

FPI (the Islamic defender front), following the recklessly-constructed decree, raided a few shopping malls in Surabaya. To hell with the Christians! There should be no Christmas celebration! That’s just one example. Without the FPI, Indonesians would still be “respected” anyway.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that the majority can suffer from discrimination, like black people under Apartheid South Africa and the Shias in Iraq whose government was controlled by the Sunnis. But, that’s not happening to Indonesian Muslims.

Events that are also attended by non-Muslims include Islamic prayers. The ministry of religious affairs is controlled by Muslims. There are lots of publicly-funded Islamic universities. TV schedules are re-arranged in every fasting month. We’re not only a respected majority, we’re also a spoiled one.

For many years, we’ve been having a higher status than the other religious groups in this country. As a result, we’ve become spoiled. Our self-indulgence makes us turn our backs against the discrimination faced by the minorities. Our self-indulgence makes us feel trampled when they ask for more sensible rights.

Our self-indulgence turns us into a shameless flock.

Mayoritas yang Manja di Indonesia

MUI membuat fatwa yang melarang tempat-tempat kerja mengharuskan karyawan-karyawan Muslim untuk mengenakan atribut-atribut Natal. Fatwa tersebut banyak mendapatkan tantangan dari masyarakat, terutama kalangan non-Muslim.

Banyak dari kita yang Muslim kesal dengan keluhan mereka. Kita menganggap mereka tidak menghormati kehidupan umat Muslim. Kita menganggap mereka memaksakan kehendak. Kita menganggap fatwa tersebut hanya memengaruhi kita sendiri.

Jika anda percaya itu, berarti anda bebal terhadap kenyataan kehidupan beragama di Indonesia.

FPI, mengikuti fatwa yang dibuat dengan ceroboh, melakukan razia hiasan natal di berbagai pusat-pusat perbelanjaan di Surabaya. Persetan dengan umat Nasrani! Tidak boleh ada perayaan natal! Itupun hanya satu contoh. Tanpa FPI pun, umat Muslim di Indonesia akan tetap “dihormati”.

Jangan salah. Saya juga percaya bahwa kalangan mayoritas dapat didiskriminasi, seperti orang-orang berkulit hitam di Afrika Selatan pada zaman Apartheid dan umat Syiah di Irak yang pemerintahnya dikuasai umat Sunni. Tetapi, hal itu tidak terjadi terhadap umat Muslim Indonesia.

Doa-doa Islami selalu dilakukan di acara-acara yang dihadiri umat non-Muslim. Kementerian agama dikuasai oleh umat Muslim. Banyak perguruan tinggi yang didanai langsung oleh pemerintah. Jadwal berbagai saluran TV dirubah setiap bulan puasa. Kita bukan hanya mayoritas yang dihormati, kita juga adalah mayoritas yang terlalu dimanja.

Selama bertahun-tahun lamanya, kita memiliki status yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan kelompok-kelompok agama lain di negeri ini. Akibatnya, kita menjadi sangat manja. Kemanjaan itu membuat kita membalikan badan terhadap diskriminasi yang dialami kalangan minoritas. Kemanjaan itu membuat kita merasa ditindas jika mereka meminta hak-hak lebih yang sewajarnya.

Kemanjaan itu membuat kita sebagai gerombolan yang tidak tahu diri.

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.

The dignified Indonesians

*puts on a mask*

Dignified how? Well, we have ancestral pride. We, the inlanders*, believe it’s appropriate to f*ck the outlanders. We can choose our ancestry. Before entering them, our souls can choose any bodies we want. Good people choose the ones of pure-blooded natives.

We also love light skin. This is why we also f*ck the Papuans. We take their resources, neglect their development and gets pissed when separatism happens. It’s their destiny to be our pet monkeys. We have to keep that stays rooted.

But, when other countries accuse us of those, we won’t admit it. Instead, we accuse other nations of it, even though they’re not. The world hates our dignity. As much it sucks, maintaining a good image is a priority. Revealing the truth’s optional.

I don’t know why Indonesia gets all the shit. If our traits are indeed bad, then explain why we are one of the best countries? We top the human rights and human development charts! We are a model country! The other best countries are similar to us! Those critics are just jealous haters. They always are.

*takes off the mask*

*A pejorative nickname for the natives during Dutch colonialism