Pluralism

For me, life is about making cake, we have to blend and mix the ingredients together before we can taste the cake. Every ingredient we use has its own role that make it important to make a super delicious cake. One is not added, then your cake turn to fail. What I’m trying to say is in this learning process, there is no single thing that affects us as human-being. I have so many person’s names, places, books, songs and events that has affected me and caused me to change my outlook on life. And honestly, it is uncountable. So, this is very hard for me if I just have to pick one of them.

I will  try to say one of many person’s names that has changed my outlook on life. Later. After I told you this story..

I live  in a multi-ethnic family. My mother is Sundanese and my father is Chinese. Actually, he’s not a Chinese, he is absolutely a legal citizen of Indonesia and was born in Indonesia, he just inherited the blood of his grandfather who likely came from China. My father’s families has different religions. Some are Christians and some are Buddhist, my father himself is a ‘mualaf’, he was a Buddhist before decided to choose Islam as his religion. Living in multi-ethnics and religions, I learn to appreciate other ethnics and religions as my parents always teach me indirectly. Not with words, not with anger, or hatred, they teach me with acts. We are a family with pluralism in our head and mind. We never judge some ethnics are better than the other ones. We even never judge that our religion is better than the other ones. Only God who has right to judge. All we have to do is keep believing in our faiths and keep learning and understanding the differences around us.

When I was kid, I didn’t really know how sensitive the government  that time. I just knew that my father’s real name had to change into Java’s name, which was they said it’s more Indonesian. That made my father could have his residence identification card. My father was always treated discriminatively from society. They called my father ‘Cina’ with the harsh and anger in their voices, just because he has a pair of Chinese eyes and his white skin. Someday, my friend at school said to me that she hates Chinese people. I asked why, but she didn’t give me a clear answer. She didn’t know that my father inherits Chinese blood. What makes me feel guilt until now is I wasn’t saying anything to her to defense my father’s dignity, I just nodded and nodded because I was scared she would hate me if she knew my father was Chinese. I felt just the same like the other. This narrow-outlook kept boggling my mind.

Then someday, I read an article about  a person who suffered from HIV. She also had been treated discriminatively by people around her. She was kicked out from the society. They kept yelling at her. They looked her as she was so nasty. But what she said on before she died was that she had forgiven people due to their lack of knowledge about HIV. She had forgiven people for their minuses of understanding her illness.  After that, I started to understand why most of Indonesian treated Chinese discriminatively. It’s because our lack of knowledge to understand the differences around us. It’s because the impact of a long period Government of “Orde Baru” after G30S/PKI which was related to China as one of the communist country that time.

After those past things, I can say that I adore the former President Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gusdur. I don’t see him as a religious figure, even though he is. But, I see him as a figure who played a big role in building democracy in Indonesia. He is a key figure in advocating for religious freedom and diversity. He promoted pluralism as the answer to peace and prosperity in Indonesia. After more than 3 decades we were under the blind judgments of other ethnic and killed their rights as citizens, Gus Dur had helped us to see our own sins. He gave us another point of view. He taught us how to treat the very serious things with laugh and love, not with tears and hatred. He embraced the whole ethnics and religions in Indonesia with honest and trust. He was brave to make a change, and he didn’t have fear of that. And when he died, the whole ethnics cried for him. Indonesia has lost the Father of Diversity. But his fame will always live in our hearts.

And nah, I just mentioned one of my hero.

Ya, Gusdur  is one of my heroes who had changed my narrow-outlook.

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