i, epigram
write wide, write deep

a blog of one's own

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Infamy and Hope

If I may be as bold as to borrow an expression from FDR, this date, May 9th, 2017 ,is "a date which will live in infamy". For Indonesians. For the people of Jakarta. For a lot of my friends and colleagues. For me. 

The major event was Ahok's sentencing. The minor event was the AC breaking down in the office building. (But that is, as I mentioned, minor.) I escaped the UOB building to take refuge in the coolness of Grand Indonesia, and I had the chance to observe. I might be biased, but there was an air of despondency about. No motivation whatsoever to work or do anything remotely productive. 

Of course, when one is lacking in motivation, Facebook is a crutch of sorts. I went to the trusty social media site and was inundated with posts expressing heartbreak, anger, overall disappointment. "Injustice!" It was a cry some implied and others spat out. Anyone browsing through social media sites could taste the bitterness in the word.

Fast forward a few hours later, and a photo showed up in my memory feed.


A few years ago, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. When I visited the museum, my heart broke. When I got out of the building, I felt very raw. Humans can be very cruel. 

No, I'm not comparing today with the Holocaust. Not even close. What I wanted to share is my realization. This photo, the only one I took in the museum, reminded me of hope. Hope, something my city is in desperate need today. 

Hope is not reliant on our circumstances. Hope isn't reliant on who wields the power. Hope isn't reliant on who gets happy endings. Hope perseveres, through the harshest of situations. Through injustice, fear, and suffering. Through helplessness and agony. Through chaos and darkness. Hope can't help it. It perseveres, even when logic and reason declares defeat. It's persistent and strong and stubborn, in the best way possible. 

Let me leave you with a few lines from a requiem by my music professor, Laurey Berteig:

Living in the shadows that we cannot understand
We will join our hearts across the land in prayer
We will pray for His grace
to heal all that we can’t bear
Trusting in His sovereign hand to help us stand

We will find a hope in Him
We will find our strength to begin
We will know we’re still in His hand
And know that there’s a plan
Hold on to your faith in Him
And we will be strong again
We can know He still loves our land
Oh God, come and heal our land

May you find hope even in the midst of the darkness and, perchance, even the courage to boldly journey on. 

[Love always, T.]