Thursday, January 9, 2014

Will This Illegal Logging Last Forever?

I am definetely not an environmental activist for sure. I am not a member of any environtmental organization either. For I am just an ordinary woman who raises two kids who deals with ordinary activities between house and school. So I can not speak as powerful as you who familiar with environtmental issues. But even an ordinary mother likes me will hate this picture below!

You do not have to be an environmental activitist to realize how wrong that picture could be. I took this picture about last December during our way back home to Medan after spending Christmas is my hometown. It is a big truck which carried so many logs and drives across the highway with no car plate visible. I think the driver really has guts to take all those logs across the highway where there is a big possibility that he would cross path with the highway patrol. But then I realize the ironic of my innocent thought. How could he worries about getting caught by highway patrol for carrying so many logs in his truck while he does not even care to put a car plate which actually is against the law in the first place. So I finally think that this guy must have someone to cover him up while doing this illegal logging and carry them across the highway in the mid day. So that he does not need to be afraid of any highway patrol sine he already has the 'magic letter' in his pocket, just in case they caught him on the road.

You see, the condition of our forest is getting worse and worse every year. I am not talking about the forests all over Indonesia, its way to large for me. I am talking about the nearest forest in Sumatera Utara where I can see with my own eyes. The largest forest I usually see is on the way to Danau Toba (Toba Lake) in Parapat City. Actually, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the forest along the meandering road where tall trees covering you like canopy. It is so peacefully and so beautiful. You can also see monkeys sitting on the edge of the road waiting for cars to stop and throw foods from the car's window. You will see no high building, even houses are rare to find.
But who knows that in fact its all just a covered up lie. You can see those beautiful trees along the road as the picture above, but if you try to cross the edge of the forest and go deeper, you will find that there are a large empty area behind those beautiful trees that you saw from the road. There are very few trees left behind them, where you can not see directly unless you try to find them. The empty area are getting larger every time since no one wants to stop the illegal logging back there. Huge companies pay lots of money to get illegal permitt before destroying that beautiful forest.

There's been talking about this here and there. Local medias have written about this too as well as the environtmental activists. But it's been a long time and still there is no punishment given to any one involved yet. That is why I have a feeling that this illegal logging is still going to happen for the next few years. I just hope that it won't last forever. Save our forest! So our children in the future will still able to enjoy the scenery of famous Danau Toba below with the beauty of the forest surround it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Historical Old Building on Jalan Hindu Medan

What do our cities need to have/provide in order to attract visitors to come? Nature scenery is always be the most popular destination but obviously its hard to find a lake or a beautiful mountain scenery in the middle of a big city like Medan. Places with incredible culinary experiences has been the pronounced as a main destination for tourists to come here since Medan indeed is a melting pot. Almost every visitors come here to try our local taste and never get disappinted. So many places with great culinary experiences are usually noted well and promoted by the local media or travel agents. As well as places as shopping spree destinations such as malls, hotels or plazas. All those gigantic and modern buildings stand out in almost every places in Medan and many more modern buildings are yet to come.

On the other side, ironically, we must see so many historical old buildings are forgotten. Like this one below.

This is a huge historical old building that you can find on Jalan Hindu Medan. This buildings is from the colonial era and was a supermarket built by a Germany architect and was taken by the Dutch. The actual condition of this building is still good but surely needs to be restored. Almost entire of the wall is covered with moss and the original colour has changed due to ages. But the antique windows are still look amazing and the entire building is still stand strong.

I am not sure about who owns this building now, is it the local authority or a big company in Medan. But I heard that some local communities are using this old building as their base camps where they can sit together with their fellow friends, smoking, drinking or doing nothing useful for this building. Many historians have asked the local authority to turn this historical building into historical museum. It will become a very useful places where people can learn about their past while preserving the building at the same time, but has got no good responses so far while the building is getting 'weaker and weaker' everytime.

Medan has zero historical museum yet (do not ask me how many mall and hotels are now here #ironic) History is not just a matter of dates and events we need to memorize during school and forgotten afterwards. This historical building should last longer so that our children can also see and understand its historical background and how Medan was built during the colonial era. I read a lot about countries which preserve their historical buildings for so many years such as England, Netherlands, etc while the opposite thing is happening here in Medan. So sad.
We should not wait until this gorgeous building becomes completely ruins before finally realize how precious it really is. Its going to be too late...

Not far from this building, you can find old coffee shop which is famous among coffee lovers in Medan. You can read my post about it here.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Favorite Zoo

Hello again my dear friends, how was your Christmas celebration there? I hope its as merry as ours :)
We went to my hometown in Siantar on December 24 along with my husband and the kids. One day, we went to the local zoo nearby after attending service at church. My kids love animals and we do not have much time to take them to the zoo in Medan. And the zoo in Siantar is way better than Medan. Below, I share some of pictures when we're at the zoo. I hope you enjoy it :)

There are hundreds of animals here, unfortunatelly I can not capture them one by one. So I choose deer, white tiger, lion, camel, and zebra.

My favorite activity at the zoo is feeding the deer :D
You can just stand close to the cage and wait for the deer to come. They seems to know that you have something tasty to share: boiled peanut. They love it. They will eat it directly from you hard, just be gentle.

The camels and llama are on the same cage. I know that Ilama is spitter and I choosed to stay away from it while trying to capture the camel on its best angle.

Next to the camel cage are African zebras with their beautiful blastered fur. The children love zebras but since the zebra always walk and never stand still, I can not capture them with my kids.

As for the carnivore section, here are white tiger. Actually I saw a lion and a leopard, but it was far away from the front cage and I can not capture them.


Ironically, yesterday, I read that one of Indonesian's zoo has beed dubbed as The Zoo of Death in Daily Mail UK. You can read the article here. It was a shameful story and contradicted with the zoo we visited in Siantar.
The zoo in Surabaya is called as world's cruellest zoo due to how they treat animals in there. Its a very sad story and the article also show you sickening pictures of them. Animal shouldn't be treated that way. And I hope that Dailymail article will make the local government see and do something about it real soon :(

Friday, December 20, 2013

Selamat Hari Natal 2013

Tinggal lima hari lagi, saudara-saudaraku, kita akan merayakan Natal :) 
Kebanyakan dari kita akan merayakan malam Natal di gereja pada tanggal 24 malam, berkumpul bersama keluarga dan saudara seiman lainnya. Mendengarkan kotbah pendeta tentang kisah kelahiran Yesus di Betlehem dan bagaimana pengaruhnya pada kehidupan kita umat Kristen sampai hari ini. 

Bagiku sendiri, selain ibadah khusus hari Natal, Natal juga berarti kesempatan yang lebih lama bisa berkumpul bersama saudara, menikmati sukacita Natal dan pernak perniknya. Bisa merasakan betapa berbeda nya bulan Desember dibandingkan dengan sebelas bulan lainnya :) dan merasakan syukur karena Tuhan masih mengizinkan kami berkumpul merayakan Natal tahun ini dalam keadaan sehat dan bersuka cita. Sambil berdoa semoga masih ada umur untuk merayakan Natal lagi di tahun depan.
Itulah sukacita. Natal yang sesungguhnya bagiku. Natal memang seharusnya dirayakan bersama keluarga dan bersama saudara-saudara seiman lainnya, berkumpul dan berdoa bersama. Ucapan "Selamat Hari Natal" hanyalah sebagai aksesoris tambahan saja bukan?

Tiap tahun kita selalu melihat masalah yang sama setiap bulan Desember. Mengenai BISA atau TIDAK nya mengucapkan SELAMAT HARI NATAL pada umat Kristen yang sedang merayakannya. Ada pro dan kontra. Baik dari Kristen dan bukan Kristen. Yang jadi pertanyaannya, apakah sebegitu pentingnya bagi kita umat Kristen untuk mendapatkan ucapan Selamat Natal dari non-Kristen? Apakah menjadi masalah kalau mereka tidak mau mengucapkan Selamat Natal kepada kita? Apakah itu mengganggu suasana khidmat ibadah Natal kita? Apakah itu merenggangkan hubungan kekeluargaan kita? 

Jawaban yang pasti: TIDAK ADA PENGARUHNYA!

Ucapan Selamat Natal dari sesama umat Kristen saja sudah cukup bagi kita, tidak perlu memaksa orang yang lain yang tidak ingin untuk mengucapkannya juga. Perayaan Natal kita adalah tentang damai dan sukacita yang kita miliki diantara kita, yang berusaha kita sebarkan ke sekitar kita, agar orang lain juga ikut bersukacita dan merasakan damai nya. Tidak perlu ada pemaksaan apapun kan? :)

Natal tetap bermakna bagi mereka yang merayakannya, dengan atau tanpa ucapan "Selamat Natal" dari mereka yang tidak merayakannya. Seperti Christmas Quote di atas. Mari kita rayakan damai Natal tahun 2013 ini. 

Selamat Hari Natal untuk saudaraku sesama Kristen yang merayakannya. Tuhan Yesus memberkati kita semuanya.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kematian Dalam Adat Batak

Ada beragam cara manusia menghadapi kematian. Ada yang dirundung kesedihan, ada juga yang memilih untuk menghadapinya dengan suka cita. Saat ini, aku sedang menghadiri acara adat Batak untuk namboru dari pihak suami, yang meninggal hari Kamis pagi kemarin. Untuk yang tidak terbiasa melihat bagaimana adat Batak untuk orang meninggal, mungkin akan heran, karena keluarga yang berduka malah manortor dan bernyanyi. Sedang berduka kok malah bernyanyi.

Ada berbagai jenis acara adat tergantung usia yang meninggal. Kalau yang meninggal masih berusia muda dan belum menikah tentunya berbeda dengan yang meninggal muda tapi sudah menikah. Orang yang meninggal tua tapi masih memiliki anak yang belum menikah, tentu adatnya berbeda juga dengan yang meninggal dalam usia tua dimana semua anaknya sudah menikah dan sudah memiliki cucu bahkan cicit.

Suasana duka akan paling terasa jika yang meninggal masih berusia muda dan belum menikah (anak-anak, remaja, dewasa). Acara adat biasanya hanya sehari dan tanpa musik apapun, bahkan biasanya sepanjang acara selalu terdengar tangisan duka. Sebaliknya, jika yang meninggal sudah berusia tua, semua anaknya sudag menikah dan sudah bercucu (dalam istilah Batak disebut saurmatua), suasana dukacita biasanya tidak terlalu terasa. Acara adat dipenuhi dengan musik, gondang Batak, dan anak-anaknya akan menari atau manortor. Kenapa bisa begitu?

Dalam adat Batak, jika orang tua yang meninggal saurmatua, tidak seharusnya lagi keturunannya merasa terlalu sedih. Rasa sedih karena kehilangan orang yang dikasihi itu tetap ada, tapi perlu tetap bersyukur karena orang tua yang meninggal itu sudah berumur panjang. Sudah berhasil menikahkan semua anaknya bahkan sudah melihat langsung cucu-cucunya. Jadi, secara adat Batak, pencapaian hidupnya sudah amat baik dan mendiang sudah merasakan yang terbaik semasa hidupnya. Dan sudah waktunya dia kembali ke Penciptanya. Maka anak cucunya akan mengadakan acara adat untuk mengantarkan orangtua mereka kembali kepada Tuhan.

Jadi, tidak perlu terlalu heran lagi kalau ada acara adat meninggal dari suku Batak, yang hadir kebanyakan bernyanyi dan menari (selain berdoa tentu saja), karena kalau itu yang terlihat, berarti yang meninggal sudah berusia tua dan anak cucunya sedang mengadakan acara adat yang cocok untuk mengantarkan kepergian orang tua mereka. Bukan sedang berpesta pora karena orang tuanya meninggal loh ya :) Horas!

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