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DateThursday, October 29, 2015   Comment

I was visiting the National Museum last week, and I'm ashamed to say that albeit my 5 years staying in Jakarta, that was my first visit. I was there because of Jalur Rempah, an exhibition that struck me hard since the first time I stepped on the museum area. There were many people there. Most of them are middle class Jakartans like me, who complaints about traffic everyday, but using the comfortable cozy air-conditioned car whenever I get the chance. Middle classes who spend more time at the malls than in a museum with dusty displays, 5000 rupiah ticket, and the chance to devour thousands of artifacts, texts, documentations and objects that show the richness of my heritage.

I'm embarrassed because I realize that during my four months stay in New York, I have visited Museum of Modern Art a dozen time, and the other museums such as The New Museum, Whitney, MoMA PS1, The Met, Guggenheim, Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Museum and The American Museum of Natural History at least twice. But never to the National Museum in Jakarta, until last week.

JalurRempah started with one question that matters. "Why not Spice Route?"
I have been familiar with the Silk Road for years. To me, that name sounds so elegant and mysterious at the same time. Smooth and slippery, also unreachable at the same time. Just like high quality, pricey silk. But not until I visited the museum that day, I understand that the most traded, sought after commodity during the time of Silk Road was spices, not silk. On that day too, I learned that there are 188 spices in Indonesia, that the most important spices --that changes the face of this world-- are clove and nutmeg, and both, for many centuries are only grown in Indonesia, in Maluku, the island of spices. Those spices that I have taken for granted, but know nothing about.

For years, I have been complaining that the Indonesian museums do not look like the ones I visited abroad. In Singapore, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Pittsburgh, Basel, Oslo, Stockholm, Chicago or Washington DC. The museums opening hours are weird and impossible if you are working in the office and not joining some sort of student field trip. That there are not enough information provided, no interesting display nor theme. That the toilets are dirty and smelly. That there must be no air conditioning and it will be hot! And above all, to be honest, I really don't know what's on.
So I complained but never came.

My visit to JalurRempah was the biggest slap in my face. It knocks down all of my snobbishness to the ground. The Museum Week and The Indonesian Museum Foundation did a great job promoting this exhibition and creating an easy to follow display with important facts and interesting information laid chronologically. Another thing that makes a difference is the public programs. Numerous programs for kids and adults are prepared and created for anyone willing to join. From what I see, this is one of the success keys for this exhibition. Those who come for the exhibition stay for a public program or two, and then curiously discover other things inside the museum. I believe many people, just like me, wandering inside the museum because of JalurRempah.

No, the toilets are not dirty nor smelly. Yes, the displays are dusty and has not been changed for years. Yes, there are no air conditioners. Yes, you have to find your own way among the dimly lit objects and limited information. Yes, mainly, there are no special exhibition with special curatorial process to follow. But come anyway! See the Indonesian museums and discover the wealth of our cultural treasure.

I learned so much from my first visit. I know you will too.

DateSunday, September 13, 2015   Comment

aku menulis ini sambil menonton Ally McBeal episode "Blowin in the Wind" karena masih belum bisa beranjak dari konser dua hari yang lalu. sebagian dariku masih berharap konsernya lebih spektakuler dan lebih mengesankan. sebagian lagi berusaha menerima kenyataan bahwa sudah dua puluh tahun berlalu dari laki-laki ganteng di dalam kepalaku yang berseru-seru
"all I got is my guitar, 
these chords and the truth. 
all I got is my guitar, 
and all I want, baby… you!"

dia masih ganteng. Jon Bon Jovi masih punya pesona saat menyanyi di panggung, membuatmu merasa mau memberikan segala-galanya. dengan senyum maut sama, yang mematikan; caranya mengerucutkan bibir yang bikin dia keliatan paling keren diantara 40,000 orang isi GBK Jumat lalu.

ada satu adegan dari Ally McBeal yang masih selalu aku ingat, waktu Victor Morrison menunduk dan Ally mendekatinya dari belakang, lalu mengendus bokongnya yang bagus, ketat-padat dan tampak menggemaskan saat diremas. aku masih ingat adegan itu seperti terjadi beberapa hari yang lalu, meskipun tiga belas tahun sudah lewat. banyak hal terjadi tahun itu, termasuk dirilisnya album Crush, yang menjembatani Bon Jovi dengan fans-nya yang lebih muda, yang mengenal mereka dengan lagu "It's My Life"

tampaknya aku yang lebih banyak berubah daripada Jon Bon Jovi. dia masih punya rumah di pinggir sungai di New Jersey, dengan keluarga yang sama, band yang sama. sementara aku sudah kehilangan sebagian besar perasaan mabuk kepayang dan terbuai itu. setiap kali mendengar lagunya, aku nggak lagi merasa dia sedang berbagi perasaan denganku. meskipun aku masih ingin memeluknya waktu dia bilang
"You know I need you like a poet needs the pain. 
And I would give anything, 
my blood my love, my life, 
if you were in these arms tonight"

dan membalas "you don't have to beg".

tapi di dalam hatiku, aku tahu setelah jejeritan di lapangan GBK sambil jingkrak-jingkrak, aku akan pulang ke pelukan Mahen sambil sibuk bercerita "baru sekali ini aku liat orang yang makin keringetan keliatan tambah ganteng, sayang. he's aging gracefully!"

memang sebagian lagunya nggak kukenal dengan baik lagi, karena aku berhenti beli album Bon Jovi setelah Lost Highway. meskipun kebetulan aku masih sepintas ngerti "Who Says You Can't Go Home" dan "Because We Can" tapi keduanya terasa lebih sebagai kenalan daripada teman akrab.
level hubungan yang jauh dengan "I'll Be There For You", "Never Say Goodbye" atau "Dry County"
bahkan wajah Jon yang mulai berkerut dan rambutnya yang kelabu juga tak kukenali. yang bikin dadaku tetap berdesir dengan cara yang sama adalah saat kamera menyorot bokongnya. saat dia membelakangi kami dan menandak-nandak, lalu bergoyang seirama gebukan drum Tico Torres, gitar Phil X, bass Hugh McDonald dan permainan keyboard David Bryan.

sepertinya aku harus menerima kenyataan bahwa sebuah era sudah berakhir, seiring perubahan musik dan jenis lagu yang terjadi. aku bukan lagi fans dengan cara dan kadar yang sama. meski posisi Bon Jovi, dan terutama posisi Jon Bon Jovi tetap tak tergantikan.
ia adalah laki-laki yang penting dalam hidupku, karena telah membantuku belajar bahasa Inggris di SMP. aku masih ingat keningku berkerut, membuka-buka kamus tebal sambil berusaha menerjemahkan frase seperti wayward son, atau memahami penggunaan ain't, kosakata yang nggak dikenal di kelas.

dan sesungguhnya, di satu sudut hatiku, aku merasa sedikit sendu, karena sepertinya, aku tak akan pernah bisa menonton konser Bon Jovi bersama Richie Sambora. pengalaman yang jika mungkin terjadi, rasanya akan luar biasa.

apa kamu masih menyukai band kesayanganmu saat remaja dengan cara yang sama?

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