Aside
0

A good life is when u assume nothing, do more, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed u are.

-quoted from Paramita E., a friend whom I met in master degree entry test this year-

Wish every one a Happy ending in 2012. New year is in the air, have. a.great.one. Happy new year (:

Aside
0

In the end of May 2012, I packed my bags and traveled with my sister and her friends. Penang was our destination. I was so excited because this was my first trip abroad not with my parents. There were four of us – me, my sister Ria, and her friends – Anna and Mei. We had our meetings, to plan which destinations we’ll be going to and how to get there. So, I feel so much good about this trip. And it did turn out to be a very fun holiday. So I want to keep my memory here. And I want to say first that I will post many many pictures. Because the essence of going out with girls is taking A LOT of photos, isn’t it?

I had to wake up at 3 AM in the departure day, because we took the first flight from Jakarta to Penang – so we still had a day long to explore in the first day there. The sun had not risen yet, and I always feel that it’s magical to go travel somewhere when there’s no sunlight around. I don’t know why, I just felt that kind of way. However, maybe because we’re still a bit sleepy, we left our tripod in the car. Well, actually, it’s probably me who left it. Worse, we can’t call Anna’s dad who take us to the airport. So it’s a bit quarrelsome before finally we decide to buy a new tripod there. Haha. Tripod is a very valuable item for this gang.

So, this is the very first picture of the gang (minus Mei who took the pic) in this trip. 🙂

in airport

When we arrived in Penang, we took taxi to our hotel. Taking trip with group is very beneficial to save the cost for taxi. And after we left our bag in hotel, we directly hit the street to start this holiday. We had planned to go to Hatyai, Thailand – on the second day. So before we visited places, we need to book a travel to go there. But, then I got hungry so we had to stop to eat first because I’d had mood disorder when my stomach left empty for quite a long time. So then we stopped at place which serve traditional food often found in Malaysia. It’s roti canai. And the famous drink: teh tarik.

079 - Copy  teh tarik

MapWhen we continue to walk, we saw this street sign, and then we stop there to take pictures. But, because there’s no tripod, we had to change turn to take picture. So, there will be four combination of three of us. One street sign, 4 pictures taken for each pose. Repeat: each pose. Hahaha. It’s funny to think about that now. And this is the street sign:

street sign

street sign2

After we booked our travel, we then headed to Komtar – it’s a commerce and shopping area – to buy the new tripod. But, again – each time we see an interesting spot, we stop to take picture. stop in a spot

stop in a spot1

stop in a spot2stop in carousel

in front of malWe took so many pictures actually, that I could even make a screen play from the pictures.

I wonder where is the place for lunch...

I wonder where is the place for lunch…

Anna & Mei: it supposed to be near hereMe - OH! Camera.. Smile :)

Anna & Mei: it supposed to be near here
Me – OH! Camera.. Smile 😀

screenplay3

Anna & Mei: Hey! Focus!!
Me: Wha???

screenplay4

Okay.. back to map…

And back to story of the trip.. After we had the new tripod, off we go to places we had planned to visit before. We knew we could use the public transportation there, the Rapid Penang. It was a convenient shuttle and I could see that it was really well maintained. At the beginning, we had trouble to spot which bus number would go to the place we want to visit. But after several jumped on and off  the bus, added with several times asking the native there, we got kind of expert about which bus go to which place. Especially Anna, she’s very talented in reading map, tracking routes, and navigating. While me – I prefer the verbal way – by asking the native there. Well, thank God people in Penang spoke English too.

The central transit for Rapid Penang is in the Komtar, we could go anywhere from that place as long we know which bus number could take us there. central transit

inside rapid penang

inside the shuttle

I had just a bit idea about Penang actually. When we had our meetings, I just confirming the destinations. Okay, we’ll go here, there, there, there, check. I didn’t do the history research – which I felt sorry about that. After now I do the research, I bet myself would enjoy the holiday more that time.

St. George's Church - the oldest Anglican church in Southesst Asia

St. George’s Church – the oldest Anglican church in Southesst Asia

Small dome across the church

Small dome across the church

the church viewed from the dome

the church viewed from the dome

inside the church

inside the church

St. George

The gorgeous white painting church

Sri Mariamman Temple - the oldest Hindu temple in Penang

Sri Mariamman Temple – the oldest Hindu temple in Penang

Odd thing about Sri Mariamman temple, we tried to find out the entrace but from the direction we came, we could not find it. And because we were so tired walking, we decided to just take picture accross the street in front of the temple. Next destination, we jumped on the shuttle again to go to Swettenham Pier – one of the place filmed in the Amazing Race Asia

swetenham pier

by the sea

Fort Cornwallis

The famous Fort Cornwallis near the Swettenham Pier

Fort Cornwallis - in front

Fort Cornwallis - by the gate

Fort Cornwallis - by the statue

This fort was built in the end of year 1700 by the command of Sir Captain Francis Light. Who is he? He was the one who were sculpted into statue that we took picture with (above). He took the possesion of the island from the Sultan of Kedah – then he built this fort to protect the island. The sun, however, maybe didn’t like us to take photograph with Sir Francis Light that instead of highlighted the personage, it highlighted our extremities. But yeah, it was time for sun to prepare to set. We did came a little bit late, it was almost close – so we had no much time to see around. So after taking picture with the statue, we straight headed to the main attraction: the Canon.Fort Cornwallis - sign

Fort Cornwallis - cannon

  This cannon looked like it had a lot of history, hadn’t it? Well, otherwise – they wouldn’t write it as the historic cannon. Came from the year about 1600, this cannon had been in Netherlands – then the Dutch gave it to Sultan Johor – which then siezed by the Portuguese who brought it to Java then to Aceh in Indonesia, then taken back by the British who then put it in Fort Cornwallis. And I don’t know how it was started – but they said that this cannon has been believed could make infertile women to conceive a child if they put flowers to the barrel of the cannon.

After visiting Fort Cornwallis, we went to the park which located next to the fort. This park was amazing. People could just went to this park and enjoy their time here. And every one seemed had a good time. Me too, had a good time with the girls.

park

park1park2park3alun-alunWe spent pretty much time to just hanging out in the park and enjoying the atmosphere there. And we end the first day by having dinner at Gurney Drive – which famous for its foodcourts and hawker stalls which open until late night and offering the best taste of Penang. Unfotunately, the battery of the camera was down so we had no picture there. But well, althought I can’t show it in the picture, I could say they did offer tasty food.

SECOND DAY

As I said, we went to Hatyai – Thailand in the second day. We had booked a travel with the earliest departing time, so we had sat nicely at the hotel lobby at 5 AM. It was still dark, and we are the only people in the lobby – with the clerk behind the reception table who seemed very preoccupied in writing a large book. He seemed very alert considering it was still 5 AM. There we waited the travel who would pick us up. And we are the first passenger who picked up that morning so we could choose our seat.

Again, travelling while there was no sun light around was making me felt peaceful. I really love to see the streets without the bulk of the cars, the light came from the building and  the streetlight. And when we crossed the Penang bridge – showered with bright light in the dark dawn, it was magnificent! I didn’t hold a camera but I didn’t want to ruin the moment I felt by saying something – so I just absorbed it in my mind. But I think it was something valuable to try, to cross the Penang bridge so early in the morning.

inside the travel car

inside the travel car

DSCN0506 - Copy

in the Sadao Border – heading to Thailand

shopping in Thailand!

shopping in Hatyai!

Not like in Penang, most people in Thailand couldn’t speak English – so we really had to rely on the body language to communicate what we want –  and to the map to get to shops we would like to visit. But, thank God there were Seven Elevens. The employees who work there –  they speaks English quite fluent. So, every time we need guidance from the local for direction, there we turn to buy something in Seven Eleven and ask for direction there. We shop pretty much a lot in Hatyai – and not only for clothes, but also for food and snacks.

But, the best part of going with girls was… we could try on what we have bought that day and it was hilarious. My sister, Anna, and Mei, didn’t realize they bought same clothes until they try it on together. It was a kind of aha moment – 3 persons buy same cloth just with different colors, try it on together in the same time – and realized they bought same clothes.

aftershopping1

Aha!

after shopping2

this is what I got in shopping day 🙂

End of Penang with Girls Gang part 1..

Aside
0

Image

Kalau skema rokok adalah sebuah ring tinju dimana petarungnya adalah Ekonomi di sisi merah dan Kesehatan di sisi biru, kira-kira siapa yang akan memenangkan pertandingan?

Mungkin pertandingan bisa berlangsung kusut dan kolot – seperti sekarang dimana sekian banyak promosi rokok terus disambut kampanye anti rokok. Namun, mungkin pemenang dari pertandingan ini sudah ditentukan dari awal secara gamblang – mengingat sampai saat ini masih belum ada wasit yang kompeten untuk memimpin jalan pertandingan secara adil (baca: pemerintah). Tidak adil untuk siapa? Semua sudah tahu jawabannya.

Saat ini, saya mau mencoba melihat masalah rokok dari kedua belah pihak. Tentu yang pertama dari pihak ekonomi. Jujur, saya tidak cukup mengerti masalah ekonomi. Tapi saya merasa ada yang cukup aneh dari fenomena industri rokok yang selalu mengeluarkan dalih berbau ekonomi demi keberlangsungan nyawa industri rokok.

Kalau masalah rokok selalu dikaitkan dengan tindakan mengatasnamakan ekonomi – seperti bagaimana dengan nasib para petani dan pekerja yang menggantungkan hidup mereka pada industri rokok yang katanya mencapai 8 juta orang di Indonesia dan lagi mereka juga memiliki keluarga untuk dinafkahi – lantas siapa yang memikirkan nasib keluarga dari mereka yang meninggal karena penyakit akibat merokok?

Pihak lembaga resmi pengawas makanan dan obat di Amerika (FDA) pernah mengeluarkan pernyataan bahwa rokok adalah satu-satunya produk konsumen yang bila dipakai sesuai dengan tujuannya, akan membunuh setengah dari total konsumen yang setia mengkonsumsinya dalam jangka panjang.

Lalu pada bulan Juni 2012, di situs menkokesra.go.id terdapat berita  bahwa menurut data WHO terakhir, jumlah perokok di Indonesia menduduki peringkat ketiga terbanyak di dunia. Dari sekitar 1,3 miliar perokok di dunia, sekitar 4,8% dari angkat tersebut berasal dari Indonesia. Dan angka 4,8 % dari 1,3 miliiar adalah 62.400.000.

Kalau pernyataan FDA dan WHO digabung dan ditelaah secara matematika, dengan diketahui jumlah perokok di Indonesia diperkirakan mencapai 62.400.000 perokok – berapakah yang akan menjadi korban?

Jawabannya cukup mudah. Setengah dari sekitar 60 juta berarti ada sekitar 30 juta perokok yang akan menjadi korban.

Kemudian, siapa yang akan mengatasnamakan anak istri atau suami dari 30 juta perokok yang menjadi korban? Bagaimana dengan nasib mereka?

Bila angka 8 juta orang dibayar dengan angka 30 juta orang, ekonomi siapa yang sebenarnya diuntungkan?

Image

Selama ini, industri rokok dibanggakan sebagai pembangun ekonomi dengan menyumbang pajak yang besar untuk negara, membangun sekolah, yayasan olahraga, bahkan pusat perbelanjaan. Dan tentu saja uang tersebut berasal dari para konsumen yang membeli rokok dengan setia. Saat mereka membeli rokok, mereka secara tidak langsung ikut membangun ekonomi negara. Sayangnya, para perokok di Indonesia kebanyakan masih berasal dari kalangan menengah ke bawah.

Dalam pelajaran ekonomi, dikenal kebutuhan primer, sekunder, dan tersier.  Rokok tidak termasuk dalam kebutuhan primer (yang selalu dikenal dengan trias sandang, pangan, papan). Pun tidak masuk dalam kebutuhan sekunder. Sayangnya, tanpa menggubris kebutuhan primer dan sekunder, penghasilan yang minim pun biasanya masih tetap dianggarkan untuk  biaya rokok – yang mungkin bagi para perokok sudah bertransformasi dari kebutuhan terakhir menjadi kebutuhan primer.

Penghasilan yang dihabiskan untuk membeli rokok daripada membayar pendidikan anak, untuk membeli susu anak, atau mainan baru bagi anak itulah yang kemudian dinikmati menjadi pajak besar bagi negara, jadi pusat perbelanjaan, jadi sekolah, jadi yayasan olahraga, juga jadi sponsor acara olahraga dan musik.

Saat anak tidak mendapat pendidikan, kemana nasibnya akan menuju? Saat itulah pemerintah dituntut untuk mengadakan sekolah gratis dan bantuan dana pendidikan. Akhirnya anggaran negara harus diperbesar untuk kepentingan pendidikan masyarakat.

Saat perokok jatuh sakit (dimana penyakit akibat merokok sangat beragam dari penyakit jantung, paru, kanker paru, kanker hati, kanker usus, kanker  kandung kemih, katarak, dan masih banyak) dan akhirnya tidak dapat mencari penghasilan, kemana nasibnya akan menuju? Saat itulah pemerintah dituntut untuk mengadakan pelayanan kesehatan gratis dan bantuan dana kesehatan. Akhirnya anggaran negara harus diperbesar untuk kepentingan kesehatan masyarakat.

Jadi, ekonomi negara sebenarnya dibangun atau dikuras? Lebih pokok lagi, industri rokok sebenarnya membangun ekonomi atau merampok generasi?

Mungkin ada pihak yang akan berkelit bahwa tidak semua perokok di Indonesia adalah perokok jangka panjang, sehingga seharusnya angka korban harusnya menjadi lebih rendah – sehingga kerugian ekonomi yang disebabkan juga menjadi lebih rendah. Dan bahkan mungkin ada yang mempertanyakan kebenaran pernyataan tersebut. Benarkah rokok akan membunuh setengah dari total konsumennya? Lebih parah lagi, ada yang mempertanyakan, benarkah rokok membunuh?

Bersambung…