Justifying the “When will you get married” and How to Response to It

spectacular_now“Why do you go overseas to study at your age? Your parents worked so hard to bring you up. As a woman, you should just find a job and husband here and take care of them. You failed in your duty to your parents.”
source : http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/972670.shtml

Last year, just before I graduate my master degree, I stumbled upon this article, which hits home really hard.

If you are a woman, passing the age of 25, especially if you are Asian, then you must be used to people, especially the elderly ones, asking you “Sooooo…. Where is that special person in your life, and have you guys set up a date?”

Which usually I respond by giving the inquirer a big grin, pointing at the sky, and start shouting the classic “LOOK!! A FLYING COW!!”, and run away.

I don’t really feel comfortable being asked that question, but being a fair and nonjudgmental person that I am (*smug*), I try to put myself in the inquirer’s shoe and try to justify the reasons they are asking me that question. I finally come up with some possible (overthought, possible) reasons and the best way to deal with that question.

Although I do not doubt that there are detrimental people who asks you about when you are going to get married for mere personal satisfaction (i.e. to have a gossip they can share with your mutual friends). There are still some who asks because they are actually worried about your well being in the future.

Let me start explaining with a brief of history and social facts.

Women emancipation movement is nothing new, but it is not something which our parents generation (my parents are in their 60s now) could take for granted. The statistics (https://www.weforum.org/r…/the-global-gender-gap-report-2016) shows that EVEN NOW there are opportuinities gap caused by gender, this condition is getting better since, say 30 years ago, but there are still existing prejudices that women are not as capable as men in providing for themselves. Thus having a male partner is the best choice. This condition is changing. For one thing, it is not illegal (at least in most progressive cities/countries) for women to stand in the same position as men.

Leaving the gender equality argument for a different occasion, what I want to point out here is that 30-40 years ago most women are still dependent on men to provide for them. So it does make sense if someone in their 60s or 70s, thinks that if you are a woman in your 30s, if you are not married it is a handicap for you economically.

Another thing, in the past, it is not so common for people to have investments and pension security plans. So having kids to take care of you, is the way that you can insure security for your life after pension. And in most Asian countries, the norm is getting married and then have kids.

Also before the internet become the bare necessities of life, social interaction are made much often with nuclear families. In the past, there are no SNS or online forums, so the best social support community you have is your family. (I personally still think it is, but nowadays your inner circle grows largely outside of your family.)

Bottom line!(I know you just want to scroll down to my answer)

So the next time I’m asked about this my reply will be, “I don’t know yet, but I want to do it when the time is right. I appreciate that you are worrying about me, but I am sure I am taking well care of myself and am prepared for my future!

And if they aren’t satisfied with that answer, and trying to push the topic further, probably I’ll go nuts and say
“Do you know that there are the increasing needs of female participation in the workforce to support the global economy growth. Therefore, both the government and the industry are showing great efforts to increase the participation of women in the workforce………..” And I’ll continue ranting on with the available welfare and security plans, data about contribution to the economy, working female support community, etc, etc. At one point the inquirer will think I’m crazy and leave me alone. (So don’t try me people…)

That being said, I am not opposing marriage in any way. But as I said when I do it, I want to do it right!

Like how Aimee Finicky put it in Spectacular Now
“My husband and I will both live on a horse ranch.”
(I live next to an Equestrian Park, that counts!)
“I will work for NASA”
(Not NASA but still research stuff)
“And my husband will do something different so we can offset each other”
(The last thing I still need to work with!)

Two checks down the list and one more to go. I think I’m progressing quite well in having my dream realized!!

NTT Data Innovation Conference 2017

Got the chance to  attend the NTT Data Innovation Conference which was held in Tokyo, January 27, 2017. It was quite interesting to see that technologies which has been developed the past few of years be put into real projects.

These are some things they were trying to endorse during the conference.
(Details is on the pamflet I attached here, but it’s in Japanese, will update it once they released the English version)

  1. Disruptive Technology (a keynote lecture by David Robert)
  2. Open Innovation Innitiative
  3. Edge computing
    • IoT usages of edge computing
    • Automation using edge computing
    • Possibilities of AI on the edge
  4. Financial Technology (FinTech)
    • Blockchain and cryptocurrency
    • Open API for FinTech
  5. Artificial Intelligence
    • Cloud robotics
    • Dialogue Interaction System
  6. IT Infrastructure
    • Game play changes caused by IoT and AI

Personally speaking, if you want to invest on something this year, you might want to put your money on item #4 and #3.

(click on the image for the full pamflet)

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PS : They are endorsing Fair Trade and was giving out fair trade cookies!! Good for them!

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I’m ready to fight

Both images and text are not my original ideas, but they left a deep impression in myself that I just have to repost them in my own words and make this as an opening post for 2017.

Credits go to Danny Wirjadi and Roderick Sibarani.

2016 was filled with lessons. Each are valuable, and some are also harsh. Everytime I go through the harsh lessons, my wings were clipped a little, and each time it hurts.

I got by one lesson after another, and before I knew it, my wings were clipped so much that I was not able to fly anymore. It hurts, so bad.

But as flight is no more an option, I learned to stand-up and fight. Now, I know that I am ready for any battles I will face in 2017.

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10 Days of [Eat-Play-Pray-Love]

I went to the northernmost part of Japan last week.
Spent my 10 days summer holiday on an [EAT – PLAY… I mean PRAY – LOVE] trip. Minimum reservation, a bagpack, a small shoulder bag, and a limited budget.
There is particularly no special occasion (just my birthday… thank you for those who remembered!!)
I was about to head to the southern part of Japan, but made a sudden change of heart and decided to go North, where I haven’t been before and no no one.
A semi no-reservation trip. Just for the fun of it.

[EAT]
One of the most amazing thing I tried was Miso-Kare-Milk-Butter-Ramen! and it was surprisingly good!
Aside from that, I also tried hakodate’s lucky pierot burger, furano’s cheeze pizza, some Russian food and beer (it’s only 6 hours ferry to Russia from Hokkaido), and
many other good things. I even made my own butter there.

But then, while I was in Furano, I got a revelation. I stayed in a guesthouse where the owner encourages the guests to get each to know each other over each meal
(breakfast and dinner was included). And surprisingly many guests was there on a solo trip. So even you don’t know each other it was easy for you to talk with people,
as you have something in common already. You’re traveling alone.

And throughout the rest of my travel, I find that the best way to know people is over food. Food IS the key to enter people’s heart!!
It doesn’t matter whether you have a full course meal, some bread and coffee, or even a bottle of coke, but when you really want to know someone, the best way to do
it is to have a conversation on the dining table.

[PLAY]
When you’re travelling alone, there will be time when it gets reaaaaaaaaallly lonely. Especially on my trip, where at times I sit 3 hours on the train, wait 1 hour to
change trains and sit again for 4 hours. Luckily you have 1. a book 2. Pokemon Go

As a child growing up with pokemon, I always wonder how it is like to be like Ash, Misty and Brock. And this time I actually felt like having my childhood dreams come
true!! I didn’t make the gym leader in the norternmost part of Japan, but close to there! :D. Thanks for the Pokemon Go developers who made my childhood dream come
true!

I guess, I learned to not give up on your dream, even if your dream is to become a Pokemon Master. Now, let’s invent something to create the wizarding society.

[PRAY]
So having my childhood dream come true, now I need to think about the wishes and dreams that are yet to come true. During my trip there aren’t exactly a place where
you can pray, aside from the statue of Our Lady of Akita, which my parents will definitely want to visit the next time they’re here, so I’ll just go there then.

But I planned my trip so that I was able to watch the Perseid meteor shower, and make a bucketfull of wishes. So I did. I stayed up all night in the beach of Miyako,
a coastal town in Iwate prefecture which was strucked by Tsunami 5 years ago. The town is still working on the post-tsunami reconstruction and the streets were filled
with banners saying “Keep the spirit up people, let’s build our town together”. I put on a big smile as I read it. 🙂

I stayed up all night, on the coast of Jodogahama, with its beautiful rocky coastline and a sky full of stars and shooting stars now and then. The first hour I did
simply wish for me and everyone I know to be happy and healthy, but I aside from that what do I actually want to do with my life? What are my dreams?

I guess the essence of making wishes is not that in that way it will come true, but that you get a chance to put your desires into words and to recognize what you
want and what you should do. That place was not exactly a holy place, but the 5 hours I was there, was like a pilgrimage for me.

[LOVE]
There’s a reason I was travelling solo. Aside from me being single, everyone just seemed to be really busy this summer. For some reasons, I kept bumping in to these
“Love Sanctuaries” during my trip. The most interesting one however, was not a seaside lodge with a sunset view or a field of red roses. It’s a cave.

Yes, a cave, called Ryusendo. With 3 underground lakes each 50, 60 and 90 meters deep. Even in the middle of summer, it’s 10 degrees celcius inside the cave. Drips of water kept trickling down to your head from the stalactites, and there are also sharp stalagmites which might cut you if you’re not careful. Very romantic.

Anyway, it is a very popular proposal location among SOME Japanese.
(And the only thing I could think of is the proposer goes like, “Say yes! Or an ‘accident’ will happen, and I could easily find 100 reasons to cover it up.” – Thoughts like these is exactly why I’m still single.)

But if you think about it again, if you are going inside a cave with someone, when there is a high chance of an “incident” might happen, then you must really trust
that person. I mean reeallly TRUST him/her, the way Jasmine trust a mysterious guy (aka Aladdin) who came to her veranda and offer her to fly her halfway across the
world on a flying carpet without seatbelt.

So yes, the next time someone’s going to ask me out on a date, I will totally do a “Cave Test” on him. And I’ll try my best to pass his Cave Test 😀

Also in Hakodate Ferry Port, I saw this heart shape arch. It reminded me of a famous quote by an Indonesian writer, “The heart knows where it has to weigh its anchor
(Hati tahu ke mana dia harus berlabuh)”

*Prologue*
This no-reservation trip turns out to be quite fun, especially since I planned it only in 3 days. And it became a reflection on how I am constructing my life. It may
not be the smartest, most comfortable, cheapest, best way to travel, but I end up with an interesting story to tell.

PS:
If Julia Robert gets to meet a Brazilian businessman in the end of her travel, I was not that lucky. Although, I did meet this dark-handsome stranger
who turns out to be a Belgian was doing Brazilian jujitsu training in Japan, and we’re still in touch, but I don’t think I’ll even try to put him on the cave test 😉

Looking back

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When I went back to Indonesia for a holiday, a friend asked, “Do you ever wonder ‘what if… you stayed in Indonesia?’
“If you had stayed, now you might have a different life. Settled down, with a good job and a happy family.”

It took me a while to answer, “I might. But then I will always wonder ‘what if I didn’t stay. What if I chose to go to Japan?'”

I’m single, childless, have no secure job, and barely have something I could call saving, and my life has been so unpredictable, I can’t make a plan where and what I will be doing even in the next 2 years. Regardless, I’m Happy!

My life has not been a smooth ride, but it has been an invaluable one, and I never regret it.

インドネシアに帰省したとき、一人の友人に聞かれた、「あなたは「もし日本に行かなかったらどうなるだろうかな?」と考えたことがないの?
もしあなたは日本に行かなかったら、たぶんあなたは今、もう身を固めるし、家族を出来たし、安定性が高い仕事も持ってるだろう。」

私は暫く沈黙になって、そらから答えた、「うん、そうなるかも。ただ、そうなったらずっと「もし日本に行っちゃったらどうなるだろうかな?」を考えちゃうでしょう?」

私は今、まだ独身だし、やっぱ子供もいないし、安定な仕事をまだ持ってないし、貯金箱は空っぽだし…しかも、今の状態で、人生の長期プランをなかなか立たれないんだ。

私は人生行路が難しいを身に付いたが、後悔のない生活を頑張って送ります!

Still learning to

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Random Act of Randomness

I have been doing the same research -job hunt routine for some time. Have for a while lost the will of doing things with enthusiasm.

Then come this random spike of will-power, when you just feel like you have to and want to do something right away.

This time, it comes in the form of a cardboard-man.

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Meet “dan-bou-ru – kun”