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On Bravado, Bravery, and Braggadocio: My Repartee with a Minister

3 Oct

One evening on December 2008, I went to sleep without knowing if I would ever wake up again.  I was hospitalized because of several opportunistic infections, -including pneumonia, that could easily kill a person with HIV/AIDS.  In a lot of pain, I knew that I was having my close encounter with the grim reaper.  And friend, let me tell you, that wasn’t a nice feeling.  Think about it.  Lying awake with your eyes open, you’re forced to confront a certain conundrum: what is it on the other side?  Not to mention the awful knowledge that you’re going to leave your loved ones behind.  On that moment, I was petrified to learn that what I wrote in my letter to my son might actually come true.  I might have been knocking on heaven’s door, but those forlorn hours at that night were a fiery hell that made me cringe in tears.

Now as you continue to read this, please keep that picture in your mind.  A terminally-challenged HIV patient contracting himself in agony, drenched in a shiny film of sweat, tortured physically and mentally in his last night to live.  For any one that could pass it and actually gets better like me, there are hundreds that did not make it to the morning.  In fact, of all the 6 persons in the room where I was hospitalized, I am the only survivor.  I watched them die one by one.

Fast forward to now.  Within the last several days, a certain minister of our country issued some statements over Twitter about HIV/AIDS that I found insulting.  Without trying to gloss over what I’ve already said in my answers to him, let me just say that his statements are typical to what stigmatization is all about.  Also, it seemed to me that there could be no possible excuses that could explain how such statements are allowed.  Personal opinion?  Sir, you forfeit your personal opinion when you take that job.  That’s just the cost of politics.  Was merely quoting another person?  Hey, how stupid do you think I am?  Unless it was specifically stated otherwise, you just don’t get around quoting people without agreeing with their points.

I am not a mind reader.  But to me, it was clear that the minister was displaying a cocksure braggadocio.  Whoever he was trying to impress, to a common sense it will always be a lame attempt of bravado.  Which is why I’m offering him a chance to turn it into a true bravery of a man.

Mr. Sembiring, let me repeat the invitation that I extended before.  I would like to have a chance to meet you over a cup of coffee.  And that’s the keyword: a cup.  For if you dare to share my cup, our country would witness a man who dares to own up that he made a mistake, and is freed from any distorted thinking of bigoted stigmatization against people with HIV/AIDS.  And don’t you worry, Sir.  I’m a man too.  While I have my differences with you, I will be the first to shake your hand and tell my friends that you’re a good man once we’re done with that coffee.

The question you have to answer is:  Do you have to do it and accept my invitation?  Of course not.  But let it be clear that our country will take note of your response to this.  If you do it, it won’t be about me winning or you losing something.  No, the winner would be Life itself, with a capital “L”.  Plus, you get the bonus of turning a previous bravado into a true act of bravery.

As I close this piece, understand that I’m not doing this for popularity or grudge.  No, I am just trying to finish what I have started.  Being a HIV patient myself, I know that there are too many punishments we have to bear.  We don’t need another insult to our dignity.  And if I get to be the one who do this, I’ll do it over and over again:  I am fighting back.  I rest my case.


Between BP and Bakrie, and Luna

9 Jun

The other night, me and my friends were talking about the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Our concern was in the fact that there’s so much media hype about it, which tends to dilute the facts without actually empowering related parties to find the solution to the problem.  We did not quite understand why that needed to happen as this was not a bigger problem than Exxon Valdez in 1989.  In hindsight, we were wrong.  The BP oil spill is by far the largest disaster of its kind ever happened in U.S. history.  By the end of May, it had poured at least 20 million gallons ( or 75 million liters ) of crude oil into the Gulf, – almost double the output of Exxon Valdez.

Of course, that translates to a problem of an unprecedented scale.  Which means that so far efforts to curb the spill have been largely unsuccessful.  While a lot of people criticize President Obama for not taking a hard enough stance towards BP, I beg to differ.  Like it or not, the government simply lacks the technical know-how or skills to mitigate the problem.  Thus, getting politically angry would not get the job done.  The first priority must lie in stemming the leakage, and by resisting to take control of the whole operation, Obama leave it to the industry (without necessarily acknowledging their innocence) that is best positioned to do the job.

One interesting parallelism is between BP and Bakrie.  We all know that Bakrie is the mothership of Lapindo Brantas, a company whose operation preceded the sad mud disaster in Sidoarjo.  Granted, Lapindo had started to pay penalties for the damage it caused to the vicinity’s inhabitants.  But the company only started that after much bullying from the public and the government.  It’s still fresh in our mind that the company’s leaders were much more interested in shifting the blame to natural causes, – engaging in a blame game with God.  The underlying fact is: Lapindo never took initiative to be responsible of what happened.

With BP, the responses were worlds apart.  BP’s CEO Tony Hayward never exactly admitted the blame, but that’s not the point.  My point is, even before they were proven guilty by the pending federal enquiries and maybe even prosecutions, BP has started to take actions to contain, -if not repair, the damage it caused to the environment.  Just see how it hired International Bird Rescue Research Center to clean affected fowls.  Today, they are already treating as many as four pelicans a day.

That is but a small example, but the morale remains, – if you could take real, responsible actions about a problem, why engage in petty bickerings and other childish concerns?     That goes to a lot of other problems in Indonesia with stupid aftermaths like Luna Maya’s alleged video.  I mean, what’s with prosecuting her and the “actors” of the video?  That’s just outrageous and plain irresponsible, if you ask me.  Unfortunately, Dylan sums it best when he says that, “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind….”


An Ode to a Hero

29 Apr

“I tried to say goodbye and I choked,

tried to walk away and I stumble..”

-Macy Gray – “I Try”

As I tried to close my eyes and rest, I found that I couldn’t rest before I share a story.  So here it goes, a story about a wonderful heart, a courageous spirit that forever will linger on my mind.

Today, I said goodbye to my childhood nanny.  A simple, humble woman from Krian, a rural area just a little bit outside Surabaya, my hometown.  What I will share is how mischievously deceptive her looks were.  For inside that humble appearance, there lied a hero.  And I kid you not.  My babysitter was a hero in the truest sense of the word.

More than half of my years in Surabaya were marked by hardships.  My father was hit by severe financial difficulties, and he fought high and low just to bring food to the table.  Of course, over time my parents were not able to pay a babysitter to help us when, -in a somewhat cruel, irony twist of fate-, they had to work harder and leave us alone without anyone watching us at home.

This woman, however, is not your usual nanny.  She steadfastly refused to leave us.  She worked without any payment, and sometimes even bought us some meals from her own money.  That is just the beginning, make no mistake.  When we got so broke to the point that we had no roof to stay under, she offered her humble home for us to stay; while constantly treating us like a royalties during our stay.  Can you imagine that?  We stayed at her home, ate from her table, yet still she never allowed us to wash our dishes because in her words, “I remain your servant”.

At another point, when we stayed at a very simple home without any forms of entertainment like TV, she actually asked her husband to stay with us to play Chinese Checkers, -which brings a lot of amusement to our disheartened spirits.  And as if that’s not enough, she made it a point that her husband will take us for a ride in his motorcycle, just to get us to laugh more.

And boy, it didn’t end there.  When some die-hard debt collector started to play hardball with our family, she stood bravely between him and us, -practically daring him to do anything and saying “over my dead body” with her defiant stance.  That lady was not just dedicated, she simply was ready to die for us.  And remember, she did all those things (and millions others) without any pay.

When we had to move to Jakarta, she cried hard like she’s losing her own children.  Faithful spirit as she was, she accompanied us during the journey, and stayed for a couple-of-weeks in Jakarta before finally returning to her hometown.

Without failure, anytime there’s one of our family had some business in Surabaya, she cooked our favorite meals and send it to us here.  And I tell you, never had I thought that a mere dish of “sambal goreng tempe” could taste so divine!!  This dedication, -no strike that, this love continued until her last day on earth.  Even when we weren’t there, she defended us anytime there’s anyone in our hometown said something bad about us.  And did I tell you that her laughter was so full of hilarity, -ever contagious?


So to a true Kartini, I shed a tear.  To someone who taught me what it means to be courageous, I raised my glass.  Mrs. Asih, allow me to give your soul one final embrace.  You won me over long before anyone else did.

If I don’t know anything about afterlife, I would chance a warning here.  A warning to St. Peter himself, no less.  “You better unlock the gate, Sir.  For heaven is gonna be a lot more exciting!!”

iStand, iSpeak

14 Feb

No, this is not a review about the newest Apple product.  Rather, it is my attempt to verbalize my response to the newest setback in Indonesian realm of democracy:  the notorious RPM Konten, – a regulation draft by its Minister of Communication and Information regarding Multimedia Content.

Racking my brains in every way I could, I fail to see any other appropriate response of any responsible citizen than to stand up and speak, -hence the title of this post.  It is also my hope that others may ride on the momentum to reject the Draft and begin to collectively speak out against this heinous experiment to silence the voice of reason.  In fact, if enough people raise their voice, the “i” will then absorb a new meaning: a movement where Indonesia Stand and Speak out as a nation.


Humbly, in this short post I am going to offer one simple, fundamental idea.  Granted, any kind of controversial government regulation will usually affect only its citizens.  However, it is my belief that should this Draft get ratified, it will have a possible disturbing implications to the world at large.  Not only Indonesian citizens will suffer the consequences, but very possibly, the effect will spread over the geographical boundaries of the country.  Here is my try to examine why.

First of all, let’s understand that the Draft is just limited to regulate content disseminated electronically through the means of telecommunications, broadcasting, and information technology.  It didn’t say anything about the content of print media. Nor did it try to explicitly censor the multimedia content of electronic media, -or did it?  Electronic media and Internet is rapidly becoming the main mode of information dissemination in the world, mainly because its rapidity, and precisely because its versatility in giving you different point-of-views from various angles.  I don’t know about others, but I will maintain that any regulated effort to limit what you can say is synonymous with censorship, -and thus, a direct violation of the freedom of speech.  Take for instance, the article 5 of the Draft ( taken from an excellent translation by a team of legal professionals at HAKItree ), which states that:

“Organizer may not distribute, transmit, and/or make accessible Content that contains content that degrades the physical conditions and abilities, intellectual, service, skills, and physical aspects of physical and other non physical from another party.”

It is plain to see that this is a pathetic attempt of censorship.  Censorship is never all wrong.  In fact, I think it is necessary under a very special set of circumstances, where the material to be limited are of grievous criminal nature like child pornography, as an example.  However, most of available information of any other nature should be allowed to spread without borders for a very simple reason:  because knowledge should be accessible to all.  It is when some parties try to limit this latter group of information that things could go very wrong.  To go back to the stated example, if you read carefully, it mentioned that it is forbidden to disseminate any information “that contains content that degrades……. service….”.  This is problematic, because under this jurisdiction, a person would not be able to publicly write a complaint of any service he/she may have had in Indonesia.  It is still very fresh in our mind the recent case of Prita, a mother who was sued and found guilty for voicing out her disappointment over a health service of a hospital in Indonesia.  This Draft, if ratified, will legalize such attempt to silence any complaint about any service in Indonesia, however valid its nature is.


Moving on to why the censorship embodied in this Draft is potentially disturbing for the rest of the world, followings are several hypothetical troubling scenarios. (Note the word “hypothetical”; by no means am I saying the the Indonesian government will necessarily act like this ).

First, terrorism.  Let’s face it, whether we like to admit it or not, Indonesia has its history of terrorism.  From the Bali Bombings until the Marriott Bombings, we certainly witnessed our land being the arena where the terrorists operates, -if not a direct base and hotbed of them.  If this Draft is passed, what other alternative sources will be available to the world about the local scene of terrorism, other than what’s being provided by the Indonesian government?  Terrorism, by nature, is almost always globally orchestrated, transcending the boundaries of nations.  How then will a responsible citizen offer any information of a suspicious activities of his/her neighbor when he/she is forbidden to state anything that may be classified as “untrue or not in accordance with facts relating to a tribe, religion, race, or class….?”  Will this be productive in the context of the global attempt to eradicate terrorism?  What if, -just for the sake of argument, Indonesia is governed by a regime who silently supports a fundamentalist group?  Will it not mean that the field will be wide open for disinformation by the government to protect the group, which by any other sane definition will be classified as dangerous terrorists?

Second, HIV/AIDS. Anybody who reads about HIV/AIDS issue will understand the crucial role the government plays to curb the spread of the disease.  Why do you think South Africa has such an alarming rate of the disease’s prevalence?  Indonesia, because of its sheer population, and the perpetual drug-related problems, has also seen its share of increase of HIV/AIDS infection in recent years.  Now, what will happen to a well-meaning NGO who regularly perform a life-saving effort by handing out condoms?  It’s easy to say that such institutions will feel the need to explain their motivations to do so because of the religious nature of the majority of Indonesians.  The easier way to do it is by writing out their reasons in their personal blog or websites.  The newest Draft will probably punish them for doing so because their content may be deemed and “categorized legally as Content violating decency.”  Who will determine what’s decent and what’s not?  It is not a secret that the local airs are rampant with the ignorant religious leaders and clergymen who still think that condoms means encouraging people to engage in free sex.  Also, in a country where there were plans to legalize the necessity of “HIV-free certificate” as a precondition to marriage, I find it doubtful that they really understand the management of an epidemy.  How will this help the efforts to slow down the spreading of this infectious disease?  And if Indonesians are rapidly becoming infected with HIV/AIDS, is it hard to imagine that they will have a much bigger chance to spread it to their fellow citizens of the world?

Third, corruption. Corruption remains a chronic problem in Indonesian society and culture.  It is of inherent nature in its collective consciousness.  How else would you explain the bribes you routinely give in small daily business like traffic violations or administrative matters like making your ID cards?  Again, where could you find the media’s function as a corruption watchdog, when a journalist’s article exposing corrupt government practices will prove to be a punishable offense, because it’s classified as a “content that degrades the abilities, intellectual, service…….. from another party”?  Rather easy to imagine, a corrupt Indonesian system will be troublesome to the global economic system.  It will prove to be a painful thorn on the world’s side.


Those are just some of the worst implications of the Draft, should it get passed by the current government.  And let’s not even begin to venture into the area of moral arguments, where censorship is almost always wrong.  To me, the three stated reasons alone are enough to make me lose my sleep.  I can accept that the Minister may be well-meaning in drafting this regulation.  Yet as so often happened before in Indonesia, he did not do enough forward thinking to deliberate and ponder the consequences of what he’s about to legalize.  What he also fails to understand, is that the consequences may also have impacts to other nations.  Faced with such a blatant stupidity, I chose to stand and speak.  Will you?


NOTE : Picture taken from here.

Fall on Your Knees : The Magical Story of My Kindle

8 Oct

“Fall on your knees…

O hear the angels’ voices…”

A couple of days ago while I was auctioning my Kindle for the victims of Padang earthquake, I gave a hint on my Twitter status that I will share a magical story behind it. This is my attempt to tell you that strange, but beautiful story.

Most of you will already know that I have a good share of medical problems. On December last year, I was hospitalized due to several complications related to my HIV. Sometime before that, I said something on Twitter, saying that there’s nothing more I’d prefer for that Christmas beside a couple of things : my health, and an Amazon Kindle. Now, I simply didn’t mean it as a terribly serious wish list. It was more like a playful prayer for me. Especially because back then I began to feel the repercussions of my bad health, one of them being a physical exhaustion which came far too fast when I worked / read on sitting position in my desk.

Enter Lily. Someone who I seriously suspected as having a bigger heart than your average human beings. I did not know Lily before ( I use a pseudonym here, of course ), save for a couple of e-mails we exchanged where we had short discussions about HIV. Needless to say, I also hadn’t met her physically.

Apparently, she read my tweet about those things that I wish for Christmas. A beautiful angel that she was, she then sent me a private message saying that she “might be able to grant me one of those wishes,…” which meant giving me an Amazon Kindle. Now consider this for one second. She’s a serious book lover who likes to read e-books. For that purpose, she ordered that Kindle via her sister who stays in the United States, and patiently waited for the sister to fly back to Indonesia in December to bring her that Kindle. Just imagine that. To this day, I cannot completely comprehend what she did. To give a thing that you have been desiring for so long ? Let alone giving it to a man who you barely know. And true to her words, I will not forget that day when Lily walked to my hospital bed, meeting me for the first time at my worst period of life, and handed me that Kindle. That was the Magic no. 1.


Ever since that day, Lily became a dear friend to me and my wife. She keeps on amazing us by constantly being among the first one to offer her support in whatever problems we were facing, like the time when my wife and I lost our jobs. This is precisely why that Kindle meant a lot to me, – because it was a powerful testimony and a token of love from someone who cares deeply -, aside from it being a very useful e-book reader.

Months passed, and here we are, stunned by what happened to our brothers and sisters in Padang. I was deeply grieved about it, and have been racking my brains about what can I do to help them. Being a person in my circumstances, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have anything to give or donate.

Until I remember my Kindle. Granted, it was very hard to part with it, what with it being an almost-talismanic object to remind me of a wonderful friend that I have. But if there’s one thing I learnt from Lily, it was a simple lesson she taught me when she mentioned that “…the Kindle is much more important to you than to me…”. A simple yet deeply profound thing to say. What we have may mean the world to others. It just takes guts to let go of the things you love, and release them to help other people.

So after getting her agreement, I decided to auction that Kindle for the Padang victims. That wasn’t easy, mind you. Yet I experienced the pure joy of giving, which certainly is a life-transforming experience for me. That was the Magic no. 2.


Does the story end here? I expected so. Nothing prepared me for the Magic no. 3. Brace yourself for Michele, another one of my Twitter friends. Apparently, she was monitoring what I did with the Kindle auction from Day 1. I could not fathom the goodness of her heart, -but to cut a long story short-, she said she ordered a second generation of Kindle as a gift for me to replace the one I auctioned. She thinks what I did was a kind gesture, and insisted that giving me a new Kindle is only appropriate as her way of giving donations.

At this very point, my heart skipped a beat. This whole Kindle story is almost too magical to believe. Full of inspirations, and was ushered in my life by two angelic friends. It gives me chills to think about it, even as I wrote this post. Why, – at the risk of sounding cheesy -, I think it is even worthy as a story for one of those books in the Chicken Soup series..!

But the most important things are the lessons I learned throughout all of this. Allow me to humbly share them with you :

  • What you have may mean a lot to you. But it may well mean way a lot more to those people who are unfortunate. The true measure of a person is in letting go of what he has to help those in need.
  • If you want to do a good thing, do not think too much about it. Just do it without thinking about what you have to lose. Do it simply because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Never hesitate about whether people will remember you if you need help from others. If you can help others at this moment, that is your part in life. Give, and it will come back to you.

As I close this story, I can’t help but think of those lines from a wonderful Christmas song. It is my prayers that I will never forget this story to remind myself to always be humble, and doing whatever I can to forward the wonderful love I have received.

“Fall on your knees…

O hear the angels’ voices…”

Kindle Auction for Padang Quake Victims

5 Oct

I’m doing this with a very heavy heart. First of all, being a writer, my Kindle has been a very prized possession of mine. Not to mention that it was given to me by a very dear friend of mine, which left a deep imprint of my heart because it was given to me during my difficult times when I was hospitalized December last year.

However, after clearing this out with the said friend, I decided to auction my dear Kindle. I just could not stay silent after what happened in Padang. The town was hit by a bout of severe earthquakes and was devastated by it. Today, I am also particularly sickened by the news which stated that the help for the victims was biased against a particular ethnic. Granted, not all of the relief organizations and workers acted this way. Still, I lament those who did. How can anybody act so callously? How can you be so insolent to insult humanity by choosing who to help? All victims are human, period. Everybody must be helped, regardless of their ethnicity, race or religion.

So, solemnly I do this. I’m not going to lie, I still need an eBook reader; especially with my condition who gets too easily exhausted reading in sitting positions. That’s why, I’m keeping part of the auction proceeds to find a new reader. I hope that there will still be enough interest to bid on my Kindle, considering that eBook reader is a difficult thing to find here.

So here’s how it works :

The minimum bid is IDR 3,500,000.  It definitely is not cheap.  But again, an eBook reader is very difficult to get here in Indonesia, – and we’re doing this for a good cause.

I will keep the minimum bid for the reason I stated above. Any difference between the minimum bid and the winning bid will be donated to Padang earthquake victim. For example, if the winning bid is IDR 5 million, I will donate 1.5 million to the victims.

The auction begins at the time of this post.

The bids will need to be entered and raised by a minimum amount of IDR 100,000.

You bid by commenting on this post with your desired amount. I will contact the winner by e-mail. Please check this post regularly to monitor the bids.

The bidding period ends at Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 0.00 am ( GMT +7 ). This may be extended if there’s not enough interest.

The winner will need to meet me somewhere in Jakarta to pick up the Kindle. If he/she wants it to be sent somewhere outside Jakarta, I may be able to do so. Any shipping cost and risk would need to be separately paid.

As for my Kindle, above is the picture of it. I still have its complete accessories : charger, packaging, manual, and its leather cover. Please bear in mind that it’s the first generation of Kindle, the specification of which can be found here.

Needless to say, I reserve the right to cancel or amend any of the auction rules. However, as I ponder about what happened, it is my sincerest prayer that you all can join hands with me in doing whatever we can to help alleviate the effect of this grievous thing to our brothers in Padang.

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“Perahu Kertas” dan Sepasang Alas Kaki

8 Sep

Jam menunjukkan pukul 4.21 pagi sekarang. Siang nanti, ada sebuah meeting yang bisa jadi berarti strategis bagi keluarga saya. Tapi saya tidak bisa berhenti. Ada suatu hal yang harus saya tuntaskan sekarang juga. Ada sesuatu yang harus saya tangkap dari dada saya. Detik ini juga.

Inilah dia. “Perahu Kertas” membuat saya hampir mati. Bukan, ini bukan sebuah kritik. Sebaliknya, saya hendak mengatakan bahwa ia berhasil melumpuhkan saya. Habis-habisan lunglai karena badai emosi yang, – saya pikir, telah berhasil saya lupakan bertahun-tahun yang lalu. Lantas, bagaimana mungkin sesuatu seperti ini bukanlah hal yang buruk buat saya? Biarkan saya sedikit menjelaskannya.

Saya punya sebuah luka. Hati saya pernah sobek dan berhenti memulihkan diri. Permasalahannya, saya tak pernah tahu bahwa batin saya tak pernah sembuh seperti hati seorang anak kecil yang tersenyum gembira ke orangtuanya sehari setelah kena marah habis-habisan. Saya tak pernah sadar bahwa saya belum pernah berhasil mengumpulkan cukup daya untuk kembali membuat segenap diri saya untuk menjadi putih lagi, sebersih kertas yang tak pernah ditulisi.

Baru setelah saya menyelesaikan “Perahu Kertas”, saya gemetar karena manyadari hal itu. Saya tercekat dalam gempa hati yang seutuh-utuhnya. Segenap jiwa saya terjatuh ke dasar, menggelepar bersama potongan-potongan cerita masa lalu yang entah sampai kapan akan tetap ada di sana. Saya baru tahu, bahwa bangunan yang pernah roboh tak akan pernah terbebas dari puing-puingnya sendiri.

Pertanyaannya kemudian, apakah momen seperti ini harus dijalani oleh seseorang, siapapun dia? Tak akan ada satu jawaban yang tepat untuk semua orang. Namun yang saya tahu, bagi saya pribadi jawabannya adalah ya. Karena manusia hanya mengenal dua keadaan absolut : hidup atau mati. Jika ia mati, berakhirlah segalanya. Ia tak akan mungkin bangkit lagi untuk sebuah tujuan. Paling tidak, inilah yang bisa dilihat secara pragmatis oleh kita yang hidup di bumi ini.

Kuncinya terletak di garis yang berbatasan dengan kematian. Ketika kau hampir mati, di situlah ada sebuah kesempatan untuk dapat hidup kembali. Ketika kau berbaring dekat dengan ajal, sebenarnya di situ ada sepasang alas kaki baru untuk kau pakai berjalan kembali. Inilah titik yang saya tapaki sejam yang lalu saat saya menyelesaikan buku ini. Saya teringsut begitu dekat dengan ajal emosi.

Dan seperti yang saya singgung, “Perahu Kertas” kemudian juga menyelimuti saya dengan hangat. Berbeda dengan kebanyakan pembaca lain dari buku ini, karakter favorit saya bukanlah Keenan atau Kugy. Beliau, – dan saya memberi penekanan pada kata “beliau” -, adalah Pak Wayan. Melalui cerita beliau, saya diingatkan bahwa memiliki bukanlah analogi dari mencintai. Dan ketika hari ini saya mendapati hidup saya telah berbelok dari apa yang terjadi di masa lalu, itu adalah sebuah jalan terjal, tapi sekaligus laik untuk didaki.

Sesaat kemudian, ketika mata saya bergeser ke istri dan anak saya yang sedang tertidur lelap, saya mendadak sadar bahwa saya punya sepasang alas kaki istimewa untuk melangkah ke depan. Saya memiliki segala yang diperlukan untuk merendam diri dalam cinta yang menyembuhkan. Ijinkan saya mengatakan kepada dunia : buku ini membuat saya jatuh cinta lagi kepada istri saya. “Perahu Kertas” menggemakan kenyataan bahwa istri saya adalah sayap yang diberikan Tuhan kepada anak-Nya yang harus belajar terbang kembali. Jika kamu ikut membaca ini, Leonnie, terimalah air mata saya yang meluap dari rasa syukur bahwa kamulah yang sekarang ada di sebelah saya, – dan bukan orang lain.

Untuk Dee, terima kasih atas “Perahu Kertas”. Terima kasih untuk hentakan yang saya perlukan untuk melihat bahwa ada sesuatu di depan sana. Sebuah garis akhir perjalanan yang tak hanya mungkin dicapai, namun juga tak terlalu jauh untuk digapai. Yang harus saya lakukan hanyalah berjalan kembali. Sepelan apapun. Selangkah demi selangkah.

P.S. : gambar diambil dari blog milik Dewi Lestari dan diunggah ulang ke situs pribadi saya. Maaf kalau tak meminta ijin terlebih dahulu J