"It is no good casting out devils. They belong to us, we must accept them and be at peace with them." ~ D. H. Lawrence

devil in flamesIn case you’re out trick-or-treating, ghostbusting, or just interested in demon repelling, keep these items in mind or on your person as precautionary measures against demons.

Repellants

  • Rice. If it works on newlyweds and Japanese demons, it might work elsewhere. If rice on its own fails, it might still work as bait for the next demon repellent. Which is..
  • Roosters. There’s a saying that a roosters are able to see beyond the ultraviolet range (which is also why they’re so punctual in the morning). Since demons are ultraviolet sensitive, rooster cockling might trick them into thinking that it’s almost morning.
  • Ultraviolet flashlights. The reason why demons don't like the sun or ultraviolet ray is because the were created from fire, hence, are closer to the infrared range. The logic says that infrared do not sit very well with ultraviolet light, you see? I’d love to know why.
  • Cleanse. Demons like “dirty” stuff, like pigs, porn, bodily oils and blood. As much as I’d like to cross this one out, cleansing your soul’s temple, helps NOT only with hygiene, but also the insides of your head. Because your head is, after all, where all forms of evil begins.
  • Garlic. Herbalists agree that garlic has purifying qualities. It reduces carcinogenic compound, eases digestion, improves vascular circulation, and does some fancy antibacterial actions. Sociologists agree with herbalists, in a way that garlic also repels social interaction. Including those with demons, I guess.
  • A prayer (that you trust). Dude, in the face of a demon, you’d barely remember your name. Saying “SEASONAL 80% DISCOUNTS AT SOGO!” is as good as any.
  • Heavy metal. Haven’t you seen it in the movies? Demon worship, when done right, don’t usually play cool music in the background. Worship of any kind, whether to a god or a demon, usually comes with operatic, repetitive chants. So, yeah, play that Elvis record to your heart’s content.

For extra safety, know that these enchant demons.

  • Fire and smoke. Demons were made of fire, it’s their natural element. Incense is burned and the smoke allures them. How often have you smelled a scent that makes you wonder if the wearer is trying to attract mates, predators or demons?
  • Group chants. Do I need to say more, after that eerie feeling and mass hysteria?
  • Twilight. The minutes when the sun sets is the peak of any demon’s day. No more ultraviolet rays! No more offensively dressed corporate drones! Yay!
  • Hallucinogens. Demons play with the head. Hallucinogens play with the head. The things illusions you see when you’re stoned? It’s quite possible that they’re real. So don’t.
  • Temptation. The 7 deadly sins. The 10 Commandments. The gorgeous sales girl/boy at the mall. Hmmm. 

PS: There are 2 ways to handle temptation.

  1. You avoid it all together. Risk being called a hermit, uptight and unsociable.
  2. You go for it. If there's anything more malicious than temptation, is the schemes that surround it. Satiety clears the head, dude. Get over it already, and stop bragging.
  • Tabloids. Just kidding, I meant gossip. With no further explanation, if you please. I’ve already gathered enough demons by writing this much about them. Haha.

Happy Halloween!

"I like funerals. All those flowers—a full life coming to a close." ~ Beryl Bainbridge

The 14th Dalai Lama meets the young reincarnation of one of his main spiritual teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991). For the photographer, this image symbolizes the ever-flowing loving kindness and compassion that characterizes the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

Never was there a society that was delusionally content with life as those who maintain an intimate relationship with the dead.

The Remains

  • Ancient Egyptians and Peruvians mummified the dead.
  • Westerners compete with Egyptian pyramids in matters of preservation of the dead’s remains: elegy recitations, epitaphs on tombstones, gardens of catacombs, tombs and crypts erected.
  • Balinese Hindus bury, unbury and then Ngaben (burn) the dead.
  • The Torajans hang up their dead on a cliff. 
  • The Parsis in the Arctic and some folks in Kintamani, Bali, expose the dead to normal weather conditions.
  • There’s a particular kind of people who EAT the dead in Papua, inheriting wisdom and strength.

The Memories

  • Alhallows, or Halowmas, or Halloween, or Day of the Dead is a mixture of Pagan rituals, Roman Catholicism and native American tradition, established to honor and purify the spirits of the dead.
  • Jews offer shivah, a rite that lasts for seven days straight.
  • The Confucius and Shinto gather the ashes after cremating their dead, to conveniently pack and pray to the ancestors at home, everyday.
  • The Voduns ask the dead for cures and guidance.
  • The Buddhists and Hindus, don’t really die, they just to reincarnate to other forms and do the thing all over again. Those who are left without knowing where their parents and loved ones have reincarnated, still honor their dead with pictures adorned with flowers.
  • The Javanese and Mexicans are very romantic with their dead. There are the 3 days of mourning, 7th day, 40th day, 100th day, and finally the 1000th day since passing. Afterwards, the graves are visited every year on Eid and Day of the dead, or “nyekar” and “El Día de los Muertos”.

The Gifts

  • Sufis and mystics believe that the dead are abound to us by mention and prayer: They’ll hear you mentioning them from the other side.
  • On Samhain’s eve, marking the end of harvest year, in which the Celtic Druids offer drink and food to roaming spirits.
  • The Shinto and Confucius burn fake money for the dead to buy luxuries in the afterlife. booze on the tombstone or sea (wherever the dead rests) to drink with them.
  • Latin Americans, when they open a fresh bottle of drink, the first sip always goes to the ground, where the dead lay rest.
  • Plenty of Muslims believe that good deeds can be shifted to the dead. And money, ah that, a debt in life is a debt in death. The dead do not move on until all his debts are settled or pardoned.

The barriers between the dead and living seem to thin with rituals; and death loses it’s tragic finality. Since there has not been a lot of evidence to PROVE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE DEAD, we make do with what we have.

For grief that is addressed; makes life – again - bearable.

"Worse than any loss of limb is the failing mind," ~ Juvenal

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-91)

The Lord once threatened said “And you shall be reversed to a childlike state”, whereas His prophet called it أرذل العمر – the worst age that befalls upon man. When a beloved elder fails to recognize her children from across a cloud of degenerative ocean. It’s an especially scary thought nowadays; since it’s so easy to be mentally numb with so much reality TV and internet and not enough coffee.

How do we maintain mental health in old age? A tip from the psychology textbooks: Read. A tip from the holy books: Meditate. While reading engages the mind, the other puts it in an unnatural state of calm.

Are those tips in conflict?

If we use our bodies as allegory, a balance is required between eating, working and sleeping to prolong relative, physical health. So, if the contents of our heads controls everything that happens in our bodies, isn’t it ever the more important to balance between mind’s needs for nutrition, productivity and recuperation?

For one, I’ve never heard of an elderly monk who lost his pebbles; whether to depression, Alzheimer or stroke. I have heard, though, of plenty writers and thinkers who did. Iris Murdoch lost to Alzheimer. Hemingway and Woolf to depression. And Nietzche to what may have been cow madness.

Perhaps, while vigorous mental activity keeps the mind at an active state of growth, food and exercise sustains it, while mental rests refuels that growth.

Then again, do we have turn into monks and live to monasteries to have the dignity of awareness in old age? You tell me.

While keeping in mind (oh, pardon the irony) that there is a difference between going into a vegetative blank and resting the mind. This is the intellect we’re talking about, not an excuse for a nap.

PS: We’ll update this post with your ideas, readers. Like how we did here.



Aneyeonsaudi said...

With all this going on around us and our persistence to keep up, this is a very interesting topic. I was whispering to myself the other day that ‘If I will not sleep some more hours per day, I am going to totally lose it.’ The problem is that I, and I believe we all, never learn. I might sacrifice my sleeping time for a good read, an interesting website, or even a captivating movie!
The magic formula of being sane for an extended period of time needs two participants:
- The body by eating well, working out and sleeping.
- The mind by reading, thinking and meditating.

Thank you for reminding us that we might be old sometime!



Coralbead said...

I believe that taking care of one's self at a young age has something to do with not going through second childhood later on. As kids and teenagers, we live on potato chips, burgers, and coke,watch TV nonstop, stay up late regularly and it goes on till adulthood, until our bad habits catch up with us in middle age.

We don't have to be nuns or monks to live an awareness-filled life in our old age.

Incidentally I personally know a 90 year old who still plays a good game of tennis and he could easily wear out opponents 30 years younger than him. He's not a total vegetarian; he doesn't smoke or drink, and he's what I call an "intellectual treat" to be with. It's just a matter of making the right life choices and striking a balance in everything.



What MuSe Sphere said was funny...

I always envy monks, of their calm nature, reaction, attitude and everything and I think it need a lot of effort to get to where they are, so the least they deserve is that for their brains to be safe and fine. I need their everything cuz I'm about to lose my mind while I'm not at my worst age yet :)


What Diana said was, er...

Its not becoming a nun or monk that's stopping me from being the healthy well-rested ideal of a human being. Its the thought that I might just have to be like everyone else. Sleeping at the same time and the same number of hours as everyone else.

For what is the struggle of a writer except to be the one that stands out? And how else to achieve that than being awake when everyone else is not? Especially when the writing is just not enough.

“God created man in his own image,” – Genesis 1:27 young hands linked with senior hands The main difference between male and female characteristics happens due to hormonal levels. Estrogen grows boobs and softens the voice, testosterones makes macho man. Naturally, hormonal level differences are most obvious in childbearing years.

In the years where humans do not produce offspring (ages 0 – 11 years and 50 – kaput), testosterones and estrogen levels become almost equal. This is why man boobs develop and Viagra is required. Due to andropause and menopause, sexual lines blur.

Psychologically, with the cessation of fucking-hormone, the attention shifts to other parts of well-being. From the satisfaction of physical needs, to the catching up of mental awareness. This is why elders are considered wise and usually have better control of their upper heads.

Sexually speaking, the average middle-aged is not a man or a woman. He and she is either both or neither.

Like God.

Melted red ice bar

Romantic love only lasts 30 months, at best.

“…based on 5,000 interviews across 37 cultures and medical tests on couples, challenge the romantic ideal, suggesting instead that men and women are biologically and mentally predisposed to be "in love" for only 18-30 months. That is just long enough for a couple to meet, mate and produce a child.” [source]

After 2.5 years (24 + 6 months = 2.5 years), love hormones balance itself out. Bills, arguments, boredom, car pools and other issues will snuff out every surviving butterfly and afterglow. After 30 months from the first fall, people will outgrow romantic love.

This is all good news to me, you see? To know that the discomfort and inconvenience and the ups-and-downs of the penis romance are tagged with an expiration date. To see a romantic fool’s head straightened!

One might argue, that some folks love longer than hormones. And I say, YES, while we all agree that it’s not hormonal passionate love!

In fact, the most common justification to why people who do not love each other insist on staying together and endure children and boredom and mortgage is called marriage; a promise kept.

the universe in a shell

The universe, and everything within, is summarized in a single book,

The summary of that Book, is found on the first page, the first Surah

That surah, “Al-Fatiha”, is summarized in the Basmalah;

Which is summarized in the first word, Bismillah,

Which boils down into the first letter “ب”

Which is summarized in the dot that is beneath that letter: “ .

The universe, and everything within, is just a bunch of dots

,,, connected.

 * Mistranslated from Serat Centhini.

"Every one of my books have killed me a little." ~ Norman Mailer

National Geographic

He asked;

What did you get from Ubud?

If he wasn’t oh-so-slightly condescending in his tone, I might have happily answered the Timekeeper. “I got you a ceramic teapot! I got Inong a sarung. I got a tan. I got…” – and I would have insulted his intelligence and would never be allowed to travel by myself ever again.

You’re never an adult in the eyes of your own parents and tutors, man, no siree.

The Timekeeper didn’t want simple answers. It was a TRICK QUESTION because what he actually meant was “What have you learned from a week in Bali that you couldn’t have learned in two years of living with me and our wall-to-wall book collection?” - Because that trip to Ubud was under his holy permission, you see?

What Ubud Puffy Festival was about;

I couldn’t resist the temptation to sniff atSeno Gumira’s graying locks and inhale Wole Soyinka’s breath. It’s a changing moment when you smell beer and two-days of expensive pillowcase off mythical demigod famous and Nobel Prize winning writers. (But hey, after Obama, hmm.)

I wanted to be unstarstruck. I wanted to see writers in the flesh so that I can identify with a writers’ humanity. What genes to they have that I don’t?! How could they, and I couldn’t?

After a few days of seeing writers mingling with wannabes, the stardust wore off and the half-expected disappointment took place. It's easier to be cynical when you see how normal and tired and old and bored full-fledged writers are. Ever read stories by Hari Kunzru, Angelo R. Lacuesto or Nelden Djakababa? No? That's okay.

۩๑๑๑۞๑๑๑۩

So, while I wasn't sinking into the possibility I might never make it as a writer anything, there's still the Timekeeper to answer to.

There's still the horror that the time and money and friends made and conversations exchanged in Ubud – for a WEEK, yessir - might have piled up into nothing but a scratch on my royal wannabe butt.

What I should’ve said;

Soyinka was asked; in what way that imprisonment for his work had effected him. The old man rolled his eyes and said “It didn’t.”

In return, Seno once compared writing with carpentry, that writing as layman as any other kind of job. Nothing to brag about. Nothing to feel ashamed of.

Seno and Soyinka summed up the writer’s curse. That a writer just does what he had to do. And if he had to do anything else, he probably wouldn't be any good at it.

That it doesn’t matter whether or not you get paid and published for giving birth to a half-good book or blog articles. Writers are supposed to break their glass ceilings and expectations, because writing is just another demanding, annoying, unforgiving slab of stone or unholy child. Writers are supposed to write for the sake of writing. To have the story told.

Prosecution, jail terms, ashes of failure and obscurity – well, damn those uninsurable job hazards.

۩๑๑๑۞๑๑๑۩

Unfortunately, by the time the answer took form, the Timekeeper was already busy receiving his guests and I didn’t have anyone to answer to anymore.

Which is why I had to take my seat and…write it down.

“The whole (global warming) thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability” ~ Jerry Falwell (American fundamentalist Baptist Pastor and Founder of the Moral Majority. b.1933)

Planet Earth

Global = Overwhelming

Global warming is a fad. A mass hysteria. And has nothing to do with me.

You may throw rock and stones at me, but I know that you agree.

I tend to be suspicious over things that cause so much fuss on global stages. Like poverty, or formal education or heaven and hell. It is hard to understand our relationship with an issue that has gotten so big that it reached Al Gore. What could Al Gore have in common with a poor blogger living in the middle of nowhere? How could global warming have anything to do with the average Jane and John Doe, carelessly trying to keep up with mortgages?

Besides, aren’t the major villains of global warming are the same as the villains to everything else gone vulgar in the world; the rich and industrious? Blame it on the US, China or India. Blame it on corporate and non-human business. Get over it and let us spend our Sunday/Friday/Sabbath afternoons on things that we actually do enjoy.

Okay? There. Done. We’ve cleared our conscience and ignored the elephants. Now, what’s the next item on the agenda?

Who the fuck cares?

If you’ve managed to keep reading, we will agree that it’s EASIER to swerve from compassion than to care.

Global warming is out of our control. Compromising the little privileges we have is much less convenient than staying within our comfort zones. For mother earth’s sake, why should you bother carrying your own shopping bag if they’re freely available in the supermarket? Why change nuts and bolts if the system works? Who the megalomaniac fucks are we to think that we can make a difference on global cooling?

Let’s hold that thought a bit, because I’m gonna ramble about a memory from first grade. Something about the Day of Judgment and the Sun being a stretch away above our heads.

Theorize

One of the scariest images the Day of Judgment was my First Grade teacher holding a ruler at her arm’s stretch, above her head. “This is how close the sun is going to be on the day of Judgment,” she said, “And only nice kids can fit under the cool shade of God’s Throne.”

Tickets to that VIP shade are only sold to those who observe worship, avert temptation, are charitable in silence, meditate in reverence and so on and so forth. Basically, everything that the average Jane and John Doe are not; from the opinion of any religious version.

But, since you’ve managed to read this far, I’ll assume that you care about global warming, skin complexions, or your chances under the shade of some majestic throne on a mystical day that doesn’t seem to come.

I’ll assume, that whether or not you want shade tickets, you still seek betterment and improvement in your cards. No matter how late. No matter how small.

But to change your lifestyle for the sake of the environment?! WHOM ARE WE KIDDING?!

Assimilate

As selfish as it sounds, we can only care about things that matters to us directly. Which is what Blog Action Day is really about: an awareness campaign. Awareness about what you eat and how you spend. Awareness on daily behavior and thoughts. Awareness on crap management. Awareness of the self.

Awareness is the by-product (or sister company?) of yoga, meditation, reverence and temperance. All of which are part of any good spiritual system.

All of which, by the way, are tickets to the Holy Shade, delicately assorted on an environmentally-friendly palette. Huzzah.

Regurgitate Simplify

I used to think that it’s my ADHD that’s making me think that what's less, simpler and minimalist is better. God bless ADHD on making it natural for me to be bland and boring. Haha.

Environmentally speaking, less is better. Less plastic, less anger, less money, less houses, less children, less clothes, less problems. Less make up and hair. Less time spent inside your head. Less talk. Less smoke. Less…

How about less traffic? Less achievements? Less goals?

Yeah, those too. We’re supposed to be biodegradable, you see? It’s complications that makes us resistant to natural cycles of life. Complications, like pride and vanity. Like choosing casket over cotton. Like the tendency to show off and demonstrate. Complications, darling, is what forces ghosts to linger in the uncomfortable state of shouldn’t-be-there.

Nobody ever said that simple is easy or gratis. Having it lighter on the heart, lighter on the forget-and-forgive process, costs hugely on social and sensual pleasures. For a couple of seconds away from (self-)judgment’s scorching sun, being kinder to the environment is tough. That sun, which is only the eye of guilt, slowly burning an unlovely tan to ignored causes and desensitized hurts.

Soothe

It’s not silly to hope and sing for a better place to live in. It’s not pointless to try. No matter how tuneless is your song, no matter how small is your heartfelt effort, may it cool your conscience from sorrow and guilt.

It’s okay if you only switch one light bulb off, restrain from eating one exported meal, or look funny in your locally made belongings. Whatever goodness you aim for, may it soothe your sores on days when you can't even look at yourself in the mirror. Amen.

After all, it doesn’t matter who the villains are. We’re all in this boat together.


Apologia Footnote:

I may have offended some family members by simplifying too much, even at emotional levels. This is me apologizing for not going to my brother’s wedding in Jeddah (Nine hours plane trip for a party? One-way? You’re kidding, right?). This is me apologizing for not wanting to have children because they can distract and enchant me away from my hut and meditation. This is me living in the middle of nowhere, boring my tastebuds to shrivels, single-mindedly unmarried, for the sake of keeping things severely stripped.

I wish I could blame ADHD for everything again.

"Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret."

~ Stephen Spender

Nudists Sunbathing

Either that we are too uptight, or that getting naked is an underrated kind of awesome.

Imagine a tight-knit community of naked people living together. Would members of such society be fucking around like bunnies; with the stiff linga prodding from one open yoni to the next?

No.

In fact, the rate of sex crimes in nudist communities is lower than the well-dressed society. [And by the way, Nudist have sex the same way the rest of us do: IN PRIVATE.]

Maybe because SEX is the last thing in a nudist’s mind, before joining a naked group of people. Maybe with sex out the way, blood is redistributed from the nether regions to other (more productive?) areas of the body.

Like your brain. Your hands. Your cheeks.

To an extent, this explains the Islamic paranoia concerning Temptation’s spell upon dating couples. Why sex-segregated communities are more hyper-sexed than the liberal. Remember when Cellphones equipped with Bluetooth and FASADBOOK got the haraam Label of Disapproval?

Maybe nudity starts with the obvious. Like body language. Or communication. Like writing too much. Or too little. Secrets of the flesh is the least of our worries, when the stink of sin reeks much deeper than what the senses can reach.

So, how about it? Shall we get naked now?


Unlike any other room I’ve ever been, my room in Ubud smelled faintly of dog shit. I arrived at dusk, when the sickly half-light blanketed everything with sober gloom, along with the day’s dying. I was awfully tired, miserably hungry and started smelling of dog-poop myself. The combination of all the above cooked up a rounded, well-feared sense of loneliness.

The odds were either to be safe and secure in a closed environment, or to don my street gear and thug mask to satiate a more basic, more savage need. I’M STARVING!! So I stuffed my pocket with Rp200’000 ($20) bills and stepped into darkness.

The sight of the foreigners on the street was strangely comforting. If they can walk, why can’t a frightened native-looking girl walk by herself, WITHOUT GETTING RIDICULOUSLY ANNOUNCED DEAD OR MUGGED ON THE NEWSPAPER TOMORROW?

I passed an overly-lit restaurant interiors, guessing overly-priced food. You can’t maintain a hefty electric bill if you don’t keep up a hefty food price, you see? Yet I was too spent to seek too far, so the second reasonably-lit restaurant was as far as my body could humor my thrift.


It was an Indian restaurant.

The waitress startled me browsing the menu at the door. A standardized procedure to trap probable guests, and partially to rest her own anxieties, a gentle way of saying: “ARE YOU GONNA EAT HERE OR NOT?”

The waitress was brusque and slightly impatient. I told her I needed rice and didn’t want meat. She snapped, “Then you’ll stop wasting my time and eat vegetable curry,” before leaving me in solitude again.

Solitude rang in my head like a persistent migraine, or toothache. When was the last time I was so solitary? It must have been years since the last time I had to brave eating alone. It has been that long since I left Sigli; the most alone I’d been on an island.

I took out my notebook and started writing. Writing makes a lovely company, a kindly sponge to absorb the echoes of loneliness and runny stupid. Writing distracts the ache; sublimated in a one-way (or imagined?) conversation.

“How are you feeling right now?” asked my notebook.

Fucking miserable and homesick. That’s what I’m fucking feeling, you fucking fake therapist.

The waiter came back throwing two metal pans on my table. *DUGH* *DUGH* sounds the rice and curry made on my table. Shaking my pen to a halt; ARE YOU GONNA EAT THIS OR NOT?

What is it with anxious waitresses anyways?


And eat I did.

I think the food was demonic. It didn’t just possess me. It immediately catapulted me from static melancholy to shameless hogging.

The first serving splashed my taste buds, my larynx, my nose, my EARS, down to my Buddha belly with life. OH EAT YOU I SHALL! *NOM.NOM.NOM* And whoosh was how quickly it disappeared from my plate.

See? Demons do disappearing acts too.

The second serving made me delirious. How could so much pleasure manifest in HALAL food? THERE’S GOTTA BE A CATCH! Nevertheless, gardens of spice flourished on every layer of consciousness. Over and over I sang, “Ammu, Ammu, oh Lord in Heaven and Mothers of YUMMY,  Thou hath resurrected and proven to me that heaven doth exist. How could I doubt Thee if you’ve manifested Your Selves in all Your might and glory on this plate I’m served with today.”

I slowed down to caution by the third serving. If heaven and the God’s glory was eternal, than hunger was not. The food was running out, satiety was closing in. I forced myself to slow down to make note and remember and obsess about every individual taste bud’s experience. The food was cooler, and awareness gently called. A cardamom popped in my mouth. Beads of pepper kicked. Ginger stung. Masala curled. Laces of cumin caressed while saffron danced.

Then love, LOVE, oh orgasmic love shuddered in the arrival of sublime and undeniable ecstasy.


Didn’t I tell you that writing distracts?

There was a naughty curry smudge resisting my fork, at the bottom of the bowl. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, my dignity warned. I licked it off anyway, before pushing EVERYTHING away, lit my cigarette and stuffed my face in my notebook again.

Failing to hide the obvious, unembarrassed afterglow.

I thanked God and all Mothers of Spice that satiety, as much as hunger, isn’t eternal. At least I know that I can shudder with earthly pleasures eat here again, tomorrow.

Oh, and the proud waitress was a lot warmer when I spoke to her in my sultriest voice, “Enak sekali.”

That was good.

"I do not intend to prejudge the past." ~ William Whitelaw

Women praying for the return of pilgrims to Mecca, Indonesia, Java, Cirebon

Javanese Muslims in rural Java are strange. Most of them don’t understand Arabic. Most of them don’t have physical proof of God. And yet their unquestioning piety is astounding. Being called “Hajji/Hajjah” is something they spend their entire lives and savings for. No matter how poor.

Recently, the Muslims in Aceh passed the practice of stoning as legal sanction. I barely a year spent there, so it’s hard to confirm; but regressing to modern day stoning could give you an idea why anybody would give up TRYING with the Acehnese.

Islam in Java is woven into the culture, practiced with the kind of obedience that reminds me of cattle herds. A lot Javanese Muslims belong to a tariqah; a sufistic order and collectivistic in their religious practice.

Islam in Sumatra is practiced with rigid brutality as in Saudi in the 80s. Either you believe, or fake it, or be stoned. A lot Sumatran Muslims are Muhammadiyahs, the Indonesian version of Wahhabism.

Does it explain anything to you if you knew that Islam in Java was spread through storytelling, shadow puppets and plenty of mind boggling myths and legends?

Does it explain anything to you if you knew that Islam in Sumatra was spread with bloodletting? That the Paderi Wars stabbed conviction into every animist, man, woman and child. That my great-great-grandmother fled to Java carrying horrors about women folks being forced to witness their men beheaded, after being publicly raped. For objecting Paderi-advocated reforms.

By the men in white thobes and turbans.

Do methods of teaching define practice?

"Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience." ~ Francis Bacon

Departure Lounge

You know you can survive anywhere in Bali just with a little bit of haggling skills?

There are decent, AIR CONDITIONED lodgings as cheap as $10/night in Bali. Low living-cost is one of the reasons why Bali’s becoming my favorite hideaway (this is my second trip this year), beside being gorgeous and easy-going and cultured. I would’ve lived there forever. But I WON’T because my favorite kretek cigarette is not sold in Bali. WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM?!!! THEY CAN SELL WOODEN PENISES AND NOT DJARUM COKLAT?

Anyway, yeah, I’m heading back to Bali to kiss ass strike my stars volunteer on Ubud Writers Festival.

I’ve never done this before. Beside being in a "Writer's Haven", I’m not sure what I’m signing up for. I have no idea where I’ll be sleeping or who’ll share my plate. Come to think about it, the only thing I’m sure about is this one way ticket from Jakarta to Bali.

The rest? A massive blur.

Which is the idea behind traveling, right? Enjoy elements of shock…in the company of a healthy debit card.

It’s cool. It’s not like I’m going abroad or anything. In fact, I should be back in Jatibarang by Monday, October 19th. You know, to brag.

I’ll see you ‘round.
 
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