The Long Gone Soul

Bintaro, 25th Dec 2017

Hi there!

Finally, I am managed to gather all my willingness (and guts!) to start writing my thoughts down on this blog again. Who’s on earth writing blog nowadays? :p

So, where have I been? You might guess that I’ve been travelling around the world. Pushing myself too hard to get into the new environment. Classes, working places, bars, parks, beaches?

In fact, nowhere. I am staying here. Not physically. but, mentally instead. Nothing has really changed in me. I’d rather have a better understanding of my self. And this world through my lens.

Everyone has its own way of learning their inner soul. I am myself so extremely grateful that I chose my own path. Via studying abroad, travelling, new encounters with new people, broken-hearts (yes, it is plurals!), failures, and successes. Those definitely aren’t something I could take for granted in my twenty-six years of living. Maturity is a process itself, not the product.

However, the best things are yet to come. I am so ready for my new journey in the next chapter. As the end of the year is approaching, I feel like I need to set some new (meaningful) goals:

  • To start with, I should begin to fill up my personal journal again as part of my developing process. I just realised that the last time I wrote on my diary was eight years ago, during the early period of my college years! Seriously, writing a personal journal has many remarkable benefits. You don’t have to show off your writing skill like “ber-dialektika” or put a certain good narration on your story. You can just sketch everything down then it somehow relieves your pain. I like the idea of just keeping your words for yourself that it can be as genuine as possible. No need to acting out and bragging things you are proud of. On the other hand, journal writing has a role of being your life reflection. As you think retrospectively, you are able to discover something that you’ve never been aware of. And that is more than often very surprising….or upsetting ūüôā
  • Journal writing wouldn’t be complete without updating your blog posts. Nope, the content of both platforms shouldn’t be the same. That I should filter everything out on the first place. Sharing what I have learned to the world has an immense reward for myself.
  • Exercise more regularly. period.
  • As I will start my PhD degree in just a few weeks, I must read more scientific journals (and endure the boredom of doing so). The problem is always on how to get rid of unimportant distractions (i.e messages notif, social media, flashbacks, etc)
  • Having a serious and stable relationship would be a great idea, wouldn’t it? NO, No. it is not necessary a marriage-until-death-do-us-apart. It can be as simple as an honest and mature long-term commitment ūüôā

I am considering to consistently updating this blog in English instead of Bahasa. For the reason that I should keep improving my English writing skill (although it isn’t always true for academic writing). But, sometimes i find it more convenient to write in Bahasa, especially when it comes to Indonesia issues. So, let’s see which one gonna work best!

To sum up, it has been an arduous yet pleasant adventure in the recent years. The long gone soul is beyond excited to grow and embrace the novel experience that life has to offer in the future!

Merry xmas and happy new year!



Hidup Sehat Yang Akan Saya Rindukan


Bela disini. Udah lama gak curhat, tapi terlalu mager untuk ngetik. So, I gave it a go with my webcam instead! lol

Semakin deket waktu untuk pulang, semakin sadar bahwa banyak hal yang harus disyukuri karena dapat kesempatan studi di salah satu kota terbaik dunia: London.


Sepertinya akan banyak curhatan-curhatan saya berikutnya. Tunggu saja sampai masa disertasi ini berakhir, huftt!

London, 16/08/2017


Indonesia Tobacco Epidemic as a Threat Towards Achieving SDGs

(This article was also published in The Jakarta Post digital version

Today the world is celebrating World No Tobacco Day with a theme on ‚ÄúTobacco: a threat to development‚ÄĚ, brought up by World Health Organisation (WHO). It triggers countries to strengthen their tobacco control strategy as an important effort to achieve the 2030 goals of Sustainable Development. It will be way too hard to reduce one-third of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (SDG target 3.4), cut a half of people living in poverty (SDG target 1.2), and combat climate change (SGD target 13) if we mistakenly perceive tobacco consumption as an opportunity rather than serious harm. Unfortunately, Indonesia still holds that belief.

According to the most recent WHO report, almost two out of three Indonesian males are current smokers who mostly started at ages of 15-19 years. The addiction has further pushed families into poverty as smoker could spend 14.5% the national median income to buy 10 of the cheapest cigarettes every day. This has led to 200,000 tobacco-related deaths annually, surpassing 150,000 tuberculosis attributable mortality in 2015. Furthermore, Indonesia suffers annual losses of Rp 500 trillion (US$ 37.5 billion) from the direct and indirect negative impacts of smoking, a number that outweighs the revenue gained from tobacco taxes which only contributes Rp 145 trillion (US$10.9 billion) every year. Thus, tobacco epidemic should not be treated as a mere health problem but also a crucial development issue.

However, tobacco industry in Indonesia still prevails to yield profits from people sufferings. It is estimated that cigarette sales in Indonesia were around 248 billion sticks in 2015 with 6.5% of annual growth rate, makes Indonesia as the second-largest cigarette market in Asia after China. Although more than half of their market share has been taken over by international firms, tobacco companies continue to proclaim themselves (and by some groups) as a tobacco farmers defender as well as the country’s heritage preserver. No wonder they could conveniently interfere tobacco control policy making, taking advantage of the already weak tobacco regulation in this country.

After tried to smuggle out an important paragraph stating ‚Äúnicotine is an addictive and dangerous substance‚ÄĚ from the 2009 Health Law, the tobacco industry has not stopped. They still made a move to bring the tobacco bill which included the cigarettes production growth target into the House of Representatives. Recently, the House announced that they might drop the bill if the government issues ministerial regulation adopting substances of this proposed bill. The relentless tobacco industry‚Äôs efforts bring benefits to none of tobacco farmers, labours, and the poor. Why?

First and foremost, tobacco industry provides less and less benefit for tobacco workers. Big companies, like Sampoerna whose more than 90% share owned by Philip Morris, keep cut-down the number of their labours and shift to machine-made cigarettes. In addition to growing mechanisation for these deadly sticks manufacture, cartel-like practices in tobacco trade have turned off small and local manufacturers who relied on manual hand-rolled cigarettes. Due to the weather and monopoly of tobacco industry, farmers who still plant tobacco crops only earn one-third of those who former tobacco farmers, at Rp 775,000 per month compared to Rp 2.5 million. In nature, tobacco is unsustainable crops which worth less than other crops such as potato, corn, rice, and tomato.  The most staggering fact is Indonesian and multinational tobacco firms make money off the backs and health of many child workers who exposed to hazardous nicotine, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals.

Secondly, tobacco farming harms the environment as it requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilisers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. This business uses 4.3 million hectares of land, resulting in global deforestation between 2% and 4%. About 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts wind up as toxic trash. Additionally, tobacco manufacturing produces over 2 million tonnes of solid waste. This figure clearly demonstrates that tobacco industry perpetuates climate change.

Lastly, tobacco endangers equality as the industry markets its product aggressively to women and children. Despite the hike of cigarette retail price almost every year, cigarettes are getting more affordable even for the poorest and youngsters. This potentially creates the economic gap even larger in the future. We could also lose our invaluable demographic bonus in the next 20-30 years if the young generation keeps puffing on the cigarettes either actively or passively. The last survey suggests the government should increase the cigarette prices threefold (Rp 50,000 per pack in average) to reduce 72% consumption. However, this might not come into force until the House amends the Law No 39 of 2007 which restricts the excise tax at a maximum of 57% of the retail price.

We should admit that tobacco destroys not only our body but also our growth as a sovereign nation. Therefore, smoking addiction is not merely a personal responsibility. The narrative of tobacco should go beyond ‚Äėhealth‚Äô. Indeed, the government must take real action instead of only showcasing symbolistic celebration for Wold Tobacco Day every year. We failed to achieve most of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because we began too late and acted fragmentedly. Now, 2030 SDGs is a new opportunity to start it off again by prioritising and incorporating tobacco control in every development agenda. Likewise, as individuals, we can speak up against the myth spread by powerful tobacco industry who repeatedly sways public opinion.

Sebuah Babak Baru

London, 25 Oktober 2016

Hi, Mate! How are you doing? 

Nampaknya sapaan itu sudah mulai familiar di telingaku. Diucapkan dengan aksen British kental.

I am all good! –¬†Jawabku

Ya, disinilah aku sebulan lebih tidak terasa. Kota London dengan segala hiruk-pikuk dan udara dinginnya yang tak kenal pagi, siang, atau malam. Namun, untungnya kota ini menawarkan berjuta pesonanya kepada penghuni ataupun turis yang tak lelah berfoto disana-sini. Dari mulai taman-taman hijau yang indah nan rapi, hingga bangunan tua bersejarah dari zaman tempo Inggris berdigdaya di dunia. Aku sangat menikmati pelayanan publik, yang sayangnya, belum bisa aku cicipi di Indonesia: trotoar ramah pejalan kaki, udara bebas polusi (meski orang-orang sini berkata sebaliknya), sistem transportasi yang apik, dan sistem informasi yang sangat komprehensif! Tidak ada alasan semestinya untuk mengeluh.


...But I’m kinda a bit scared.. – Lanjutku

Ya, setelah aku mulai memasuki tahun akademik baru ini.

“Neoliberalism and Health: The Linkages and the Dangers” oleh Ted Schrecker

Adalah salah satu bacaan di daftar literatur untuk salah satu mata kuliahku. Sangat asing untukku yang memiliki latar belakang medis, yang selama ini hanya membaca artikel dari jurnal kesehatan medis: “Efektivitas terapi obat X untuk penyakit Y” atau mentok-mentok “Prevalensi penyakit X pada populasi Y”, atau semacamnya. Jadi bisa terbayang kan kemampuan rasionalisasi otak ini harus berdaptasi sebagaimana rupa sehingga tidak hanya menggunakan pola “eksakta” nya saja, tapi juga “sosial” nya, yang selama ini aku anggap ‘abstrak’.

Bukan hanya itu.

Kebetulan jurusanku adalah jurusan yang jadwal kuliahnya cukup padat. Empat hari seminggu, pagi hingga sore. Disaat jurusan teman-temanku yang lain (dan juga kampus lain) kebanyakan lebih jarang daripada itu. Bukan hanya dari segi jadwal, pelajarannya pun cukup sukar. Hmm, yah paling tidak untukku sendiri. Tiap kuliah harus diikuti dengan konsentrasi tinggi. Meleng sedikit, bubar. Belum lagi tantangan pengucapan aksen British yang digunakan dosen-dosen bervariasi. Jadi butuh usaha ekstra untukku yang telinganya belum mahir mendengar cuap-cuap mereka. Ah, belum lagi tugas essay-nya yang menuntutku untuk menuangkan ide panjang-lebar dan kritis. Kebebasan berpikir dan mengemukakan pendapat disini bagaikan “blessing in disguise” bagiku, karena disaat semua aktif berbicara di kelas, aku justru sibuk terpana dengan fenomena dinamisnya kelas, betapa teman-temanku punya pemikiran (dan pengalaman) sekeren dan semendalam itu. Saat itulah aku sering merasa inferior dengan budaya Indonesia yang pasif. Mengapa dulu aku tidak dididik untuk berpikir kritis untuk sebuah isu yang nampaknya sederhana?

Lalu aku terus dibayangi ketakutan akan tantangan-tantangan yang mungkin akan datang lebih banyak lagi.

Bayangkan, ini baru Term 1. Bagaimana kalau aku tidak bisa meningkatkan performaku ke depannya? Ada momen dimana belajar di perpustakaan tidak seasyik dulu, perjalanan balik ke rumah rasanya hampa, semua serba rutinitas monoton, telepon dari kampung halaman tak mampu mengubah suasana hati yang terlanjur muram, kepercayaan diriku turun.

Kota London perlahan, tapi pasti, jadi tidak secerah dulu. Musim dinginnya datang lebih cepat. Suram.

Tapi, hei.

It is what you’ve asked for, Bel!

Ya, menjejakkan kaki di tanah negeri Queen Elizabeth adalah mimpiku dari sejak masih duduk di sekolah tingkat menengah pertama! Apalagi bisa mengenyam pendidikan lanjut dengan beasiswa di salah satu kota terbaik di dunia! Tidak pernah lupa, dulu sering berkelakar dengan teman-teman tentang impian kita untuk mengarungi negeri ini dengan segala fantasi kita tentang idola kita masing-masing: David Beckham, Prince William, dan Daniel Radcliffe. Hingga sekarang impian itu terwujud. Magis!

Ya, menjejakkan kaki di salah satu kampus terbaik dunia dan belajar di bidang “Public Health” adalah juga impianku sejak masih duduk di bangku kuliah. Gemas karena tahu bahwa masalah-masalah kesehatan di Indonesia, baik kota maupun desa, tidak lepas dari determinan sosial, ekonomi, politik, dan kultural yang masih ditelantarkan. Gemas karena masih banyak orang miskin lebih memilih beli rokok daripada susu untuk anaknya. Aku ingin berbakti kepada negeri dengan caraku sendiri, bukan hanya mengobati orang yang sudah terlanjur sakit.

Lalu aku berada pada titik itu, dimana menyadari bahwa Tuhan saat ini sedang berkehendak dalam kerahasiaan. Aku ada disini pasti adalah bagian dari rencana-Nya, kehendak-Nya! Dan apa yang Ia sudah tuliskan untuk setiap makhluk-Nya tidak akan berakhir sia-sia jika dijalankan dengan usaha terbaik serta ikhlas.

Aku pun mulai tersenyum. Sadar bahwa inilah yang dinamakan proses menjalani cita-citaku. Impian yang sudah kupupuk sejak lama dan saat ini kutuai sedikit demi sedikit. Terjal bukan hanya ada disaat menggapai mimpi, tapi juga saat menjalani mimpi itu sendiri. Sungguh Tuhan memang Maha Besar dan Maha Bijaksana, senantiasa memberikan ujian sehingga aku bisa terus bertumbuh dan berkembang menjadi manusia yang lebih baik.

I am living my dream now!

Aku pun berada pada titik itu. Siap menjalani mimpiku,

siap memasuki babak baru ūüôā

Biarkan Aku Pergi

Lampu bohlam di kamarku berkali-kali mengerling genit

Hidup segan, mati tak mau

Seolah mencemooh aku yang terlalu pengecut

Aku yang tak punya nyali

Berteriak di telingamu


“Lepaskan aku!

Bebaskan aku!

Keluarkan aku dari hidupmu!”


Lambu bohlam kamarku saat ini hampir mati

Kali ini tidak boleh gagal!

ke ruang kerjamu

Aku dapati wajah lelahmu


di balik tumpukan buku



Mata kita bertemu


Ia kembali hidup



Kau kembangkan senyum itu

Tulus, yang tak pernah ubah

Sejak pertama kau menanyakan namaku, dulu



Kau beranjak dari singgasanamu

Berjalan pelan

tapi pasti

ke arahku,

Seperti saat kau menghampiriku

Di altar pernikahan, dulu



Kau memelukku erat


Berbisik pelan

“Aku tidak akan membiarkanmu pergi,

Aku cinta kamu”

Lidahku kelu

Tubuhku beku



Hanya dalam dengung hatiku

Dapatlah ku teriak

“Aku benci kamu!”


Aku pengecut










Dear Love,

It’s been a while since I spammed your inbox with my annoying emails.

Disini dingin.

Tanpa kasur hangat kita yang jaraknya ribuan mil dari sini.

Dinginnya menusuk.

Merasuk dalam hingga ke paru dan sumsum tulangku.

Lebih perih daripada semua kata amarah,

yang pernah kau lontarkan kepadaku.


Aku menemukan jurus jitu.


dan teh !

Hangat keduanya meramu berjuta memori indah

milik kita,


Tiap malam aku bukan lagi meracik obat,

tapi Espresso, Latte, atau Earl Grey.

Tiap malam aku bukan lagi kehabisan kata,

untuk menyusun kata,

untuk membalas argumenmu,

dalam pertandingan adu mulut kita.

Tapi aku sibuk,

terlalu sibuk memilih gula atau susu,

yang pantas untuk masuk dalam cangkir kopiku.


Dear Love,

I just want to let you know that I am okay. Just like the way you shouted at me the last time we met, “I am okay without you!”

Aku cukup baik beradaptasi,

meski dinginnya makin buatku rindu

dengan kasur hangat kita yang jaraknya ribuan mil dari sini,

dan yang sudah lama kau tinggalkan.





Dalam lamunannya, si gadis terjaga

Malam sudah sangat larut

Bulan tertutup awan gulita

Tapi hatinya tidak

Tidak sekelam langit di atasnya


Bintang enggan mengintip

Si gadis tak henti menyunggingkan senyum

Terbayang rahasia Tuhan yang esok akan menghampirinya

Menyambut idaman, cita, dan cintanya


Dua jam


Ia tak mau memejamkan mata


Rona merah di pipinya

Merayu gagak hitam yang bertengger di ranting

Untuk diam memandangi  si gadis yang manis

Karena sukma berpijar di wajahnya


Semua hanya semakin indah