Setelah menunaikan kewajiban, saatnya menyelesaikan urusan yang tertunda. Urusan pertama, koreksi proofread. Done. Urusan kedua, makan siang. Done. Me and my friend, the littlegurl, went to KFC at Blok M Mall. Kirain salah jalan waktu turun tangga ke bawah, habis banyak banget SPG Ramayana yang lagi ngegelar bekel makan siang di sepanjang koridor. Eh, gak salah nih? Coba bawa alpha, lucu juga kayaknya kalo dipoto.
Next business, picking up my prize. Yeah, it's the writing competition prize that I won from Times Bookstore. Udah kebayang, mo beli buku apa aja pake voucher hadiah. Disambut ramah meski agak lambat. Foto dadakan permintaan dari manajemen Times. Gak sabar mo bongkar isi tentengannya. Ready? Get set... Go!!!
The major prize is the feature-story writing session from Antara, which will be held starting from April 10 to June 12. And thank God, its every Saturday, from 9.00-12.30. What a relief....
Tapi... there always a but... udah dibongkar-bongkar vouchernya gak ada... hiks... maaf ya littlegurl, can't buy you anybook today.... adanya cuma privilege member card, which give me 10% discount on every Times in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia... Oh, well... shouldn't be ungrateful girl...
With this, I hope to soar up higher than before... Wish me luck.
Btw, this is the writing that won the prize. Please enjoy...
Bali is Island of the God, living at its finest, a perfect blend of relaxing informality and memorable taste on the life. With a reputation as being one of the most beautiful and diverse spots in Asia, Bali attracts almost 2.700.000 visitors a year, from all around the world. On the contrary with its famous, Bali is a small island, stretching approximately 140 km from east to west and 80 km from north to south. Slightly off center, and running east to west, is a string of volcanic mountains. The tallest and the holiest is Gunung Agung, with the height 3,142 meters above the sea level.
The wide and gently sloping south regions play host to Bali’s famed rice terraces, among some of the most spectacular in the world. In the hilly, northern coastal regions, the main produce is coffee, copra, spices, vegetables, cattle and rice. The Balinese people have strong spiritual roots and despite the large influx of tourist over the years, their culture is still very much alive. The main religion is Agama Hindu Dharma, which arrived in Bali with the spread of Hinduism through Sumatra and Java during The 11th century. Although originally from India, the Balinese religion is a unique blend of Hindu, Buddhist, Javanese and ancient indigenous beliefs, with custom that are very different from the traditional form of Hinduism practiced in India today. With the arrival of Islam in neighboring Java during the 15th century, a large number of courtiers, artists, musicians, and craftsmen fled to Bali, creating an artistic renaissance.
The main tourist area is Kuta, situated near the airport. These small sleepy villages become a major attraction during the tourist boom of the 70’s, because of its famed white-sand beaches, the surf and stunning sunsets. Today, Kuta is a major hustling resort town, with hundreds of hotel, bars, restaurants and shops. Those in search of a little peace and quite tend to head for the more sedate resorts of Sanur and Candi Dasa, on the east coast, or Lovina in the north. Nusa Dua and other tourist enclave on the southern most peninsula of the island caters for the more up market crowd and is home to almost all of the bigger 5-star hotels. The central village of Ubud, in the hilly region of Gianyar, has also blossomed as a tourist attraction and is now considered to be the artistic and cultural center of Bali Culture.
In the year 2002, Bali was shocked by the bombing of its most crowded area, Kuta. The blast destroyed the Sari Club and the resulting fire then engulfed a neighboring bar, Paddy's Irish Club. A total of 202 people were killed in the tragedy, and further 209 people were injured. The story broadcasted in national TV showing continuous footage from Saturday night's explosions, accompanied by mournful music. It was the worst act of terrorism since the 11 September attacks in United States of America. Many people simply cannot believe that anything of such a nature could have happened there. And now the government of the world's most populous Muslim nation has armed itself with new powers to tackle terrorism. The incident also made a major impact to the lives of the people of Bali. Many countries issued travel warning to Indonesia. The amount of tourists traveling to Bali, which is the life for the people of Bali, decreased rapidly, forcing many local businesses to shut down.
The incident was the reason I was able to visited Bali once again. My first visitation to the island was when I am a sophomore in high school. It was on a study tour, because I study at a vocational school of hospitality business. We’re supposed to learn and practicing how to guide our entourage along the way. It took a while to get to there, though it’s weren’t our final destination but we were so eager to get there. By that time our head only filled with long sandy beaches, warm blue water, gentle seas, crashing surf and shopping paradise. Well, that’s the great part being a youth, always looking at the bright side.
I remembered I had to guide my classmates during the daytrip to Bedugul region. I explained a story about The Ulun Danu Temple in Lake Bratan. This temple would be surrounded by water if the lake volume increasing. My task continued till we arrived at Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is true with fascination. This tourist object integrates sunset moment that very beautiful with spiritual tourism marked by Tanah Lot Temple. The temple often related with Dyang Nirartha, a holy priest from 15th century, whom believed had build the temple on a large offshore rock before leaving for heaven. Legend said at the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders, which was created from Dyang Nirartha’s scarf when he established the island. Too bad, we didn’t stay long enough to watch the sun setting that day.
The next day, our company destinations were the countryside of Ubud, Desa Mas and Batubulan. Ubud is the art center of Bali and famous for its artists and paintings. We visited some of the art gallery in order to learn a bit of its trade nature. And it was my first time stepping onto a gallery. It felt a little awkward to look at the nudity exposed in most of the paintings for the first time but its back to normal gradually. Then we pay a visited to Desa Mas or Mas Village which is known for its famous reputation of wood carving. This village has a distinctive style of carving wood sculptures. The last place of our sightseeing for the day was Batubulan village. Batubulan is specializing its art on stone carving like the statue of Buddha, Ganesha, and also a modern motive. But that wasn’t the only thing that made this village famous. It’s Barong and Kecak dances! Unfortunately, we should be satisfied to be entertained with Kecak dance, because Barong dance only performed in morning. It was fabulous performance, though. The dancers were full of spirit when they perform it. Their also cried “cak-cak” so loud that made our heart beat faster. When I thinking about it, there is one thing I really like about the atmosphere. It was dark for 7 pm and there were only torchlight to illuminate the dance floor. It’s quite romantic somehow. That was a story I still remember today.
My second visitation is related with the 2002 incident like I said earlier. The bombing was a terrible shock for everyone. Indonesian was mourning. We condemn the act of terrorism and would fight against it. Student from all around the archipelago were united to make a cause. I was a junior in university by that time. I also quite active at the extra university group such as Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia (Indonesia Muslim Student Movement-PMII). My senior in college who is also the former chairman of the movement, Nusron Wahid, invited our subdivision to participate in a student assembly held in Bali on December 2002.
Our subdivision sent three delegates including myself. Well, actually I was a stowaway, because the invitation only applicable for two delegations from every student union. Our counselor said its okay, because the third person was significant when it come to make important decisions. I didn’t have a knack in the politic but I rather delighted to have a chance meeting others from different part of organizations.
The assembly held from 28-31 December 2002. We traveled by overland and leave the capital city two days before the convention started. All of student delegation from Jakarta and the vicinity were gathered at the Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Katolik Republik Indonesia (Indonesian Catholic Student Association-PMKRI) headquarter in Salemba Raya. There were two buses to take us all.
Eight student organizations conjugated to the assembly. They were PMII, PMKRI, Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam (Islamic Association of University Student-HMI), Gerakan Mahasiswa Nasional Indonesia (Indonesia National Student Movement-GMNI), Komite Mahasiswa Hindu Dharma Indonesia (Indonesian Hindu Dharma Student Committee-KMHDI), Ikatan Mahasiswa Muhamdiyah (Muhammadiyah College Student-IMM), Gerakan Mahasiswa Kristen Indonesia (Indonesia Christian Student Movement-GMKI) dan Himpunan Kerukunan Mahasiswa Buddha Indonesia (Indonesia Buddhist Student Communion-Hikmahbudhi).
They joined together to form Indonesia Student Assembly (ISA). The assembly was held due to reform, which is now not only distorted and stagnant, but also has co-opted by the interests of political elites. ISA held discussions and seminars in order to find what the right formula to apply in Indonesia. ISA consider it necessary to recover what this nation had owned through a seminar titled Reinventing Indonesia. The forum was the first time all the components of students gathered after they rolled past reforms in 1998. This event was also attended by 73 representatives of the Executive Board of Student (BEM).
There were at least four important things that be the main topic of discussions, namely economic, political, social, cultural, defense and security. The results of the seminar will be formulated to serve as input to the government in running the next government. The stadium generale attended with speakers such as Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (former Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security), Rokhmin Dahuri (former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries), Jacob Nuwa Wea (former Minister of Manpower and Transmigration), Bachtiar Chamsyah (former Minister of Social Affairs). There also present political observer Kusnanto Anggoro, women activits Nursjahbani Katjasungkana and Chusnul Mar'iyah, human rights observer Anak Agung Banyu Perwita, religious observer I Made Titib, and humanist Darmanto Jatman.
ISA has produced an action plan which was approved by each commission meeting. The commissions consisted of political, economic, social, cultural, defense and security, education, gender, decentralization, and the law commission. My subdivision leader told us to enter separate commission to broaden our point of view. I was delegated to join the gender commission meeting. During the meeting I was befriended with Paul. He’s a fine fellow whom I made acquaintance since our departure from Jakarta. He was a member of PMKRI. He’s from Trisakti University, 97 classes, majoring in architecture. I kind of like his open-mindedness and somehow he make me eager to talk to him.
The assembly closed with the commission leaders conveys their recommendation for the government. Then all the delegates were escorted to visit the ground zero at Kuta, to commemorate Bali bombing. We prayed that that would be the last act of terrorism ever occurs in our beloved homeland. Many people prayed together with us that night. A lot of bouquets placed in the center of the ground zero. I was surprised when a warm hand touched my shoulder and I just realized that I’ve been crying quietly throughout the prayer. It was Paul. He gave me a handkerchief to wipe my tears.
After the prayer we were given free time to celebrate the new years. All the people dissociated themselves from the ground zero and start to walk toward the beach. I’m looking for my friends but the crowd was so dense, I couldn’t find them. Paul takes me by the hand and we fled straight into the very heart of the crowd. I felt a bit relieved; at least I was with someone I known in the middle of strangers. We arrived at the shore just about midnight and lucky to catch a glimpse of fireworks that burning so bright. I shed a tear again because I remember my family across the island. I kind of miss them in the moment. We used to watch the fireworks and make wishes together. Paul teased me as a cry baby but I don’t mind though. Suddenly, out of the blue Paul kissed me gently in the forehead and said, “Happy New Year”. I wasn’t sure how to figure it out. Then I remember I replied him a happy new year. For timeless moment we remained lost in wonder. I was sure there was an awkward silence after that. I thought I was a bit too old to reacting that way. My mind was full with what ifs. I was certain I would regret if intimacy muddies the water of our relationship. I want to be his good friend for the time being. I know it’s not a romantic story you ever heard but I still experienced a strangely exhilarating thrill every time I recalled it. We stayed in our own thoughts till dawn arrived. The sun rises beautifully and pours her warmth to the soul. It’s was the most beautiful sunrise I ever saw. The silence broke when our friend caught us sitting next to each other and start to tease us both. Paul tried to respond casually like a grown man should be. I didn’t know, but I felt at loss at the moment. We get along so well until the journey ended. Unfortunately, we got separated and lost contact not long after we come back home. Now it’s a memory I would treasured every time I thought about the Island of God.