•November 8, 2017 • 4 Comments
“Man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.”
– W. S. Gilbert –



No, I seriously don’t think that quote by Gilbert is a fair one. As much as I like our funny simian cousins, especially in their natural habitat, I don’t believe that monkeys can define friendship the way we do; at least not consciously.

In my book, friendship is a relationship between two or more people who hold mutual affection among them. This mutual affection can be caused by lots of things. It can be caused by the needs to be able to trust someone, the needs to receive affection and sympathy, the needs to share ideas and experiences, and many others. However, there is one that I always think is the most important reason of all, and that’s the needs to be yourself, and thus to be able to express your feelings and make mistakes without having to fear judgement. As a matter of fact, considering its importance, I believe it should have been written this way:



You can never really feel anything totally alone, and consequently you can never really be yourself without the existence of others. And this point should be well respected within a friendship. There is no need for friends to share the same idea, or to share any similarity, for all that matters. An Arab and an Israeli can be friends regardless of their political and ideological differences, and even a cannibal and a vegetarian can be friends regardless of their culinary preferences, as long as each is less individualized and more aware of the other.


Some people tend to choose their friends among the people whom they consider similar to themselves, true. However, this shouldn’t always be the case. Such an exclusive attitude will limit one’s social, psychological, and emotional development. The true test of friendship is respect. Once you can respect other people’s different thought, attitude, look, breed, and any other, you are ready to be the best of friends.

Of course respecting doesn’t always mean agreeing. You don’t have to agree with your friend’s opinion to respect it, right? Even criticism, as long as it’s not for the sake of criticism alone, is a form of respect. Criticizing your friend’s opinion without prejudice is a sign that you respect his opinion so much that it deserves your different opinion. It is through this differences that we can learn from one another.

“What about online buddies?” one might ask. To this I will say that it’s not too different from the real world, as long as each and everyone involved is honest enough and able to leave prejudice behind. Online friendship is a friendship between thoughts, and thoughts represent the people. True, there are some phonies out there who claim to be what he is not, and thus misleading the others. After all, there is this classic internet adage which says “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” and until the online buddies actually meet, this is true. However, it is equally true in the real world. No one can truly share every thought, every emotional experience, with everybody. There are some degree of sharing, and in the end there some part of you that you want to keep for yourself. Everybody has at least four faces; one to be shown to everybody, one to be shown to personal friends, one to be shown to family members, and one to be shown only to himself. That’s what I call privacy, and that’s the one thing you’ll find really hard to share, even with your closest friend. Online or not, this privacy, this true self, will almost always remain hidden from everybody else. Of course, different people have different levels of privacy, and this should also be understood and respected.

Now, seeing that online friendship is not that different from the real world one, you only need to ask yourself this question “What should and should not I do to and with my friends?”, referring to your real-world friends, find your answer, and apply it to your online friendship. Remember, you don’t have to always share the same ideas to be friends. As I said before somewhere, if that was the case, I wouldn’t have any friend left. Quite the contrary, having a friend who is totally different from you will enrich your vision du monde.

One last thing, always remember that friendship is like peeing in your pants; everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.



Dedicated to all who have honored me by considering me a friend.


The Story of Peter Coetzee and Julius Limbani

•November 8, 2017 • 1 Comment

A long time ago somebody told me that it is human nature to fear things they don’t understand. Back then I agreed with him. Then came the day Nevan was born. In the hospital I sneaked up in the nursery as often as I was allowed to (and more) just to look at him sleeping peacefully. And when I happened to be there when he was awake, I poked his tiny hand with index finger and he automatically grabbed it; and he smiled. He didn’t know who I am, and he was too young to even care, yet he seemed to enjoy the human contact even with a perfect stranger. As he grew up, I once saw how he easily befriended a stray puppy who wandered into our yard, and later a snake in the zoo.

What’s so special about those? Well, it made me start asking questions whether it is truly human nature to fear things they don’t understand. A habit, maybe, but a nature? Babies instinctively welcome strangers, and babies are humans, too. Adults tend to act differently, or even in a total contrast. Why this difference? What turns the warmth of trust within babies into the cold suspicions of adults?

Unfortunately, the only answer I can think of is that adults think and forget too much. As they grow up, people’s ideas grow too, and somewhere between they start to establish identities, either individual or as groups. They think of these identities as something beyond any kind of adjustment, forgetting that the identities actually come from adjustments. This kind of thinking, along with some other conditioning, has the tendency to grow into something else and not a very pleasant one: an irrational suspicion or even hatred toward something different from the mindset of one’s identity.

There is this unpublished novel written by Daniel Carney, a white Zimbabwean, titled The Thin White Line, about a group of 50 mercenaries hired to save a deposed president about to be executed. In 1978 it was made into a movie starring Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris, titled The Wild Geese. Some critics considered the novel only as “an intellectual mediocre”, and in some points I tend to agree with them, much as I love reading this novel over and over again. However, mediocre as it is, there is one interesting part of this novel that I never cease to see as one of the most beautiful parts of any novel ever written and that’s the interaction between Peter Coetzee and Julius Limbani.

Julius Limbani, whose character was based on the real-life Moise Tshombe, was a deposed Congolese leader. His plane was hijacked by the CIA as part of a deeal with current Congo president General Ndofa (based on Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga) and he was detained by Ndofa awaiting execution. Peter Coetzee was a white Rhodesian ex-anti-guerrilla police officer stranded in London and had to become a mercenary to earn money to return to the only home he knew, Rhodesia. Limbani had little reason to trust the whites, after what they’ve done to Africa and himself, and Coetzee generally distrusted the blacks, merely because he grew up as a part of an apartheid society. Due to the problem with the rescue operation, Coetzee (along with two other mercenaries) had to carry Limbani (whom he called ‘kafir’) through the bushes to eascape for the Simbas. It was during this flight that the two men truly started to interact with each other as two human beings, not as two identities. First they argued, then they reasoned.

At some point, Coetzee recalled to Limbani his experience when he had watch over a black prisoner. He and the prisoner started to like each other, until a question was asked by Coetzee, “If the blacks are marching against the whites and the blacks are wrong ones, which side will you take?” to which the prisoner replied, “The blacks.” The prisoner in turn asked Coetzee, “If the whites are marching against the blacks and the whites are wrong ones, which side will you take?” to which Coetzee replied “The whites.” Coetzee then told Limbani, that in the end you will always stick to your own kind. Limbani, on the other hand, replied that it was too premature to end it like that. To him, the talk between Coetzee and the black prisoner was a point where two different identities started to try to understand each other. He criticized how Rhodesia educated the blacks but kept on distrusting them and thus denying them opportunities. He also mentioned how the blacks started up by admiring the whites and ended up hating them because of this (and matters became even worse because of outside interference), and also about the 1960s African situation and how the blacks need the white; not the occasional whites who only stayed for business in Africa but people like Coetzee who had no other home and always considered Africa their home. Coetzee himself said to Limbani, “We whites are Africans, and we are staying.” As the discussion went on, both Coetzee and Limbani grew considerable respects toward each other that would have been grown into friendship if the Simbas didn’t attack them.

Screenshot-2017-11-8 WILDE GEESE EN - full movie
OK, that was a very long quote to make a point but I can only hope that it was not a waste of typing effort. There are many Limbanis and Coetzees out there. They distrust each other either because of post traumatic experience (as in Limbani’s case), or because of some classical conditioning by a society in which they live in (as in Coetzee’s case). Unlike Limbani and Coetzee, most of them choose to distrust, and even hate each other. Unlike Limbani and Coetzee, most of them don’t have the chance to understand each other. Choice and chance.


I don’t like the idea of being xenophobic, but I can understand why and how somebody can become one. I don’t condemn them. I pitied them instead. As I’ve once asked a friend, “If you were a Palestinian, living under constant fear of an Israeli attack, would you be able to think that not all Israelis are monsters? If you were an Israeli, living under constant fear of Palestinian retaliation, would you be able to believe that not all Palestinian are terrorists? If you were black living in Mississippi under the fear of being lynched by the KKK mob, would you be able to believe that not all white were racists bastard? If you were an Indonesian Chinese who had suffered the attacks of the mob in 1982 and 1998, would you be able to feel that not all Indonesian ‘natives’ (if there is any such a thing) are jealous barbarians? If you were an Indonesian student who had been gang-raped by a bunch of Skinheads, would you be able to think that not all Germans are barbaric rapists?” When the time comes for you to experience such things, will you be able to think differently? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. If you won’t, well, welcome to the xenophobic club and say goodbye to a wider horizon. By then you will totally forget that once you have condemned the xenophobic.

Coetzee was later killed trying to rescue Limbani from the Simbas. Limbani (in the movie version) later died before being able to make a difference as he promised Coetzee. Unlike Limbani and Coetzee, YOU ARE ALIVE. You still have the chance. You still have the choice.

Would you be able to resist the temptation of wearing a dead man’s shoes? You tell me.



NOTE: The picture is a screenshot of the movie The Wild Geese, taken without permission.


•November 8, 2017 • 1 Comment
“And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese. As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police. They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”
– The Monsignor in “The Boondock Saints” –

Yeah, I have a habit of rerunning an old movie when I heard about something that I consider relevant to the movie’s theme. Last night I watched The Boondock Saints again, and that reminded me of the fact that I’ve been pondering for long: One thing about being robbed, I notice that at best the victims talked about reporting to the police, tracking the lost smartphone, and any other talk referring to what to do after being robbed. Rarely do they talk about preventing it, let alone about FIGHTING BACK.

The Boondock Saints

As Sean Patrick Flanery’s character Connor says, “D’you know what I think is psycho, Roc? It’s decent men with loving families. They go home every day after work and they turn on the news. You know what they see? They see rapists, and murderers and child molesters. They’re all getting out of prison.” This is just not right. That’s just sooooooo wrong. Let me ask you all this questions. Where the fuck is it written in any book of law that the good guys should be afraid of the bad guys? Where the hell is it said in any religion that the evil shall inherit the Earth and the meek shall be their prey? If there is any any book of law that says so, I’ll say “FUCK THE LAW!”

It is the bad guys who should be afraid of the good guys. However, this is true only when the good guys fight back. When the good guys decide to let the bad guys threaten them without any consequence, when the good guys let another being threatened by the bad guys and do nothing, then we have pave our way toward the end of humanity. I say it’s time for all the good guys, either those in the police force or the civilians, to fight back. It is time for all the good guys to put the fear into the bad guys tenfold.

Sure, one may ask, “You’re talking about humanity. What about the criminals’ human right? Shouldn’t that be taken into consideration? And what about the law?” And of course to such a question I will simply answer, “Once you threaten your fellow human, you have forfeited your rights not to be threatened. Once you murder your fellow human, you have forfeited your rights not to be killed in return. You act inhumanely, you’ve forfeited your rights to be called human, and thus human rights no longer apply to you. You reap what you sow. It’s that simple. That’s the law. That’s MY LAW.”

No, I am NOT a vigilante, let alone a hero; never was and never will be. I am simply an ordinary man who, if put in an extraordinary situation, will do my best to come out on top. And now I am asking all of you to do the same. We are living in a crazy world where each man – and woman – is responsible for his/her own safety, not to mention the safety of his/her loved ones. It is your choice whether to live up to this responsibility or not. No, I am not talking about giving yourself the right to become your own vigilante police force or shoot whomever you want. I am talking about the will to fight for your rights. I think that’s a will we all deserve to have. I am up to it. Are you?

Finally, let this quote from Dalai Lama give you some thoughts: “But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you … it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”


Last Day #inktober 2015: A Tribute To The Departed

•October 31, 2015 • 3 Comments

Halloween. Day Of The Dead. And this morning I received the news that an old friend (I mean old, would be 68 next December) in Berlin died last Sunday. And a few minutes later I heard the news that Drs. Suyadi, my childhood hero who created the Indonesian puppet TV series Si Unyil and who dubbed the character Pak Raden himself, has passed away last night.


It would be too much for me to draw both of them, and I’ve drawn enough friends this month, so I decided to make a quick drawing of the characters Pak Raden & Unyil, emulating the Calvin & Hobbes strips.


Pak Raden & Unyil

Pak Raden & Unyil


So there it is. The final one to end this year’s Inktober, a tribute to Drs. Suyadi, aka Pak Raden Mas Singomenggolo Jalmowono, one of the most likable misers I’ve ever known, apart from Scrooge McDuck.



See you next year?












Twenty-third to Thirtieth Day #inktober2015: Faces

•October 30, 2015 • 1 Comment

Well, I haven’t skipped a day. No day passed without at least one ink-drawing. Unfortunately, not all of them can be published here, due to the fact that some of my models are slightly reluctant to see their faces posted here.

So these are those who allowed me to publish the drawings:


Inktober Day 23: Self portrait, I suppose.

Self portrait, I suppose.


Inktober Day 25: Yanti



Inktober Day 26: Dyah Sujiati

Dyah Sujiati


Inktober Day 29: Kamto

Inktober Day 29: Kamto

So those are those allowed to be shared here. If someday in the future the others changed their minds, I will post Inktober Day 24, 27, 28 and 30 here as well.









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