“You Did Well.”

I posted this as a post-birthday obligatory post:


It was a scan from the photobook of his latest album. Someone translated the Korean words and I thought, “How relatable.”

I’ve also been having this sitting on as draft since March:


A list of my favourite artists (can’t believe I really forgot to add Utada Hikaru). I remember wanting to hype these people on my blog just because I love their music so much and I want the whole world to know.

You see, I take music very seriously.

Even before I know it, I have turned into an intense listener when it comes to music. It’s always been all-or-nothing. Either I make time to listen to the whole discography or just don’t bother at all. It’s probably why I never really paid attention to my Discover Weekly playlist back when I still used Spotify. It’s also probably why I only listen to very few artists and have very poor variety on my library.

And it’s why it’s always special when I find someone I can hail as my new favourite artist. Because I don’t really try to look for them anyway.

I probably only started to listen to his works around earlier this year, or really later last year. Just not long after I first got to know SHINee, which was probably around November last year. Even so, it didn’t take long for me to listen to all of his works, and I already loved what I heard back then. His musical comfort zone is the usual genre I always welcome with open arms, and to add to that his voice fits perfectly. I’ve never been a lyric person to begin with, but sometimes when I was feeling curious I would look up the translation of his lyrics, and found myself impressed most of the time. It wasn’t so difficult, loving his works.

“Ah, after what seemed like an eternity, I finally have a new favourite artist to add to the ever-so-brief list.”

Hence the rough draft.

When Story Op.2 was released last April and I listened to Let Me Out for the first time, I thought to myself, “Really there’s no way I’m not letting the whole world know about his music.”

(I still didn’t work on that draft, though. I felt too guilty to work on it instead of finishing the one I had been working on for far too long.)

Let’s say I’m a gloomy person. Whenever I find music that speak to me, that I can connect to in a very personal level, I’ll worship the artist who allowed that music to exist in the first place. Let Me Out is that music for me, and Jonghyun is that artist. I remember the first time I listened to Let Me Out, I was really taken aback when the chorus hit. It was abrupt and somewhat disturbing on some level. There were hints of desperation all over it. It was so raw and intense, it really stood out from the rest of the tracks in the album. When I looked up the lyric, you might as well say my brain got short-circuited due to the abundance of shock.

You know you’ll most likely be in shock when something, figuratively, touches you too deep, way more than what you expect them to.

That’s just how personal his music can be.

And it’s exactly why I treasure him as an artist so much. An artist whose sensibility I really admire and look up to.

An artist who, even as a person, didn’t hide his emotions and was always so honest and open with it. An artist who has clear vision of what music he wants to pursue (which is also the kind of music I love). An artist who, like me, prefers smaller venue concerts because it yields more intimacy and interaction between the artist and the fans. An artist who’s also a poet. An artist I won’t hesitate to brag and gush about. An artist that also inspired me to wanting to create art that can touch someone too.

The only artist within K-Pop realm whose concert I want to attend.

I really look up to him so much. I think I’m so attached because I see him as the ideal figure I want to be.

So that is why, a week after his suicide, I’m still devastated.

It was hard. The news was such a big shock that left me feeling suffocated. Even when I tried to take a deep breath I still felt so suffocated. It was really hard, and still is. Never had I imagined losing your favourite artist, losing someone whose works has helped you to reconnect to yourself for numerous times, would hit you this awful.

And reading his final letter was even more heartbreaking, as if my heart hasn’t broken to pieces already. It’s not because I felt pity. Rather, it’s because there are some lines, some part, that didn’t even take a second for me to comprehend.

And it’s just what makes it so heartbreaking, to have even just the slightest idea how he endured so much for so long.


Jonghyun, you did well.

You really did.

And because I adore you so much, I’ll grieve.


Circa November 2014

Yang membuatnya terasa getir adalah betapa jari saya tidak dapat menangkap umpan-umpan terliar yang dilempar benak saya. Miss, miss, miss. Semuanya terlewat begitu saja tanpa satu bisa ditangkap. Yang membuatnya membendung, membumbung begitu tinggi adalah betapa ketika saya terbaring pikiran saya sama sekali rileks, tanpa siaga. Kenangan dipanggil, memori digali. Batin resah dipenuhi terlalu banyak hal yang tidak bisa saya kenali itu apa. Manifestasi-manifestasi abstrak yang kusut masai, meraung-raung minta diperhatikan tapi tidak mengizinkan wujudnya dibuat konkret. Kusut, kusut, kusut. Mencar sana-sini, bertabrakan, melilit satu sama lain, mencekik. Semuanya bergerak terlalu leluasa. Saya tak tahan, maka secara naluriah saya beranjak. Menuju pensil, menuju kertas, menuju keyboard. Saya ingin merasionalisasi apa yang sedang terjadi. Saya ingin menenangkan diri dan berpikir, merunut satu per satu kekacauan. Saya ingin punya kendali.

Lalu semuanya berhenti. Lenyap begitu saja.

Sesaat ketika jari saya bergerak, semuanya terblokir. Blokir, blokir, blokir. Umpan terlewat tanpa sempat saya jadikan kalimat. Miss, miss, miss. Bergeming seperti dungu, melongo seperti tolol. Menunggu umpan dilempar lagi, mencoba memancing yang telah lenyap dengan merangkai frasa-frasa yang tidak bisa saya satukan menjadi kalimat utuh. Dungu. Tolol. Seketika saya mencoba mengurai pikiran yang sebegitu kusutnya, seketika itu pula saya menghalangi saya. Tanya, apa yang membuat hidup menjadi terasa lebih rumit berat? Jawab, main anjing-kucing dengan diri sendiri.

Tak ada yang lebih membuat frustrasi ketimbang mendapati diri sendiri menghalang-halangi usaha sendiri untuk menggapai makna, mencari pengertian, pembenaran, apa pun yang bukan simbol dan abstrak. Apa pun yang dapat dimengerti. Anything that makes sense. Anything that fits the missing piece of the puzzle, if there’s a puzzle at all. Anything that doesn’t fire off jumbled nonsensical mix of words all piled up on a paragraph that is not even a paragraph to begin with because it doesn’t make sense. Hanya ketika saya tidak berusaha untuk berusaha, segalanya menari-nari di depan saya. Berkelebatan dalam rentetan citra yang ditembakkan secara serentak, sulit diproses namun masih bisa diproses, sulit dipahami namun saya mengerti dalam sesaat. Sesaat. Kemudian buyar, berhamburan jadi keping-keping tak terjamah. Meluncur kabur sebelum sempat digenggam.

Saya mencoba memetakan diri sendiri.

Saya melindungi diri saya dari usaha saya untuk memetakan diri saya sendiri.

Tak ada lagi yang lebih membuat gila ketimbang menyadari segala kecam mental yang saya lakukan pada diri sendiri agar saya bungkam. Don’t exaggerate, you’re not the only one who’s struggling. Not that big of a deal. Stop making excuses. Don’t be so big-headed. Stop making excuses. Everyone is struggling. Stop making excuses. This too will pass, no need to drag anyone, no need to write it down anywhere. Stop making excuses. Can’t bear the anxiety of being vulnerable? Stop making excuses, the world doesn’t have place for the weak. 

You’re not the only one who’s struggling. Stop making excuses.

Yang membuatnya terasa getir adalah betapa segalanya membuat saya terus-terusan, tidak berhenti mendorong orang-orang keluar ketika saya sudah merasa amat kebas dengan benak sendiri. Memutus kontak ketika itu seharusnya hal yang paling menolong saya untuk tetap merasa waras. Sengaja memicu retak, sengaja menoreh luka, sengaja mengundang berang, sakit, dendam.

What makes it lethal is that I don’t even try to stop myself from doing it, I just stand there, watching myself deliberately doing harm.

I can’t make sense of myself. I can’t make sense of why I keep doing things, of why I stop myself from doing things.

You Think You’re So Open-minded

I’m nowhere near being open-minded.

If anything, I’m fairly close-minded most of the time. I read things about topics I’m only interested in, I only listen to the music that’s been on my library for years, and I only watch films and series which premises seem like to support my pre-existing ideas. I do challenge myself from time to time, like trying to keep up with world politics from various sources, or listening to some pop albums on its entirety without skipping a single track, or even finishing a 40-episodes-long Taiwanese drama although it sucks and I hate how annoying Mandarin sounds (I really did, once). But not on daily basis. I’m not even sure if it’s weekly. A few times every month, probably. Roughly once or twice a month on average.

To complete all that, I mainly surround myself with people who, more or less, are on the same wavelength as me.

But I’m very self-aware. I’m aware of all that, I even openly embrace that part of me. Granted, it doesn’t eliminate my close-mindedness right away but, ah, it does prevent me from making an occasional dangerous slip to the Bigot Valley.

And by the way, realistically speaking, there’s just no way you can truly be an “open-minded” person. Your brain just naturally isn’t cut out for it. I know because I didn’t waste my four years studying human’s mind and behaviour for nothing, you see.

We all favour comfort above all, and there’s no comfort in it when we’re faced with something that contradicts or different from our preconceived notions. There’s this uneasy feeling we get instead, so uneasy we’d much rather avoid it if we can. You probably wouldn’t want to sit yourself through a 90-minutes symphony if you’re only into current popular music. You probably would’ve dismissed the idea of reading articles that doesn’t hold your interest. And I know you wouldn’t want to sit through some Korean dramas for hours if you’re usually into dark, intelligent, mind-boggling Western series. Oh, I know for sure.

It’s just how your brain works. Why suffer through unfamiliar settings every single time when you can take the easy way out? Yes. Your brain actually is just as lazy as you are.

So I couldn’t help but scoff every time I spot those people on the internet who proudly describe themselves as being open-minded.

This would be the same people who refuse to watch any Asian dramas because they think Asian dramas are all sappy, stupid, and unintelligent. This would also be the same people who refuse to read any shoujo mangas, or any young adult novels, for the exact same reason. This would be the classical music snobs (or any specific-unpopular-genre snobs) who refuse to even listen to any current pop music because they think pop music are absolute garbage.

This would be the same people who act as if racism, sexism, and social justice are the only thing matters today, and that it should be. The kind of people who think that those problems are universal on all levels, that it should be everyone’s primary concern, no matter who they are or where they come from or what kind of life they’ve been living. The kind of people who accuse everyone who voted for Trump as deplorable and unfriend them on Facebook right away. The kind of people who hold a black-and-white way of thinking, like thinking that an indifference to racism is still racism.

This would be the same people who, apparently, wouldn’t get that there are some other people who are just too desperate to feed themselves or have a place to live in, to be able to pay attention to those things.

This would be the same people who surround themselves only with like-minded folks, listening to opinions that are no different from their own. This would be the same people who’ve been living their lives in an echo chamber.

This would be you.

So, open-minded?

Get off your high horse. You know damn well that you’re not.

A Joke Played Out Too Soon

“If people have essence, I would think that mine is of similar elements to hers.”


I get her.

Wait, how did I first know her again? Oh, right, someone mentioned her name just because I came out as a nonbeliever to them, since I was young and foolish and feeling too enthusiastic about my newfound identity back then.

But, yes, knowing her has once got me thinking, “Ah, we’re alike.”

“Ah, I get her.”


And so she’s become one of the few people with whom I can talk to without feeling guarded.

“If people have essence, I would think that mine is of similar elements to hers.”

But then I’m still as distant and detached. If people ask me do I know her well I can only answer, “I wonder… Probably a bit? A wee chunk here and there?”

Yes, I’ve known her for four years, give and take a few months. We’re even in the same peer group, if that of any helps. And yet, I still think we weren’t so close. Quite, but not so close.

But I still get her then. Sometimes I would think that I can sense how her train of thoughts goes. I get where she comes from. I get her reasoning.

I get why she succumbs to social standards. I get why she doesn’t even try to fight it. I get why she’s been crazily, desperately trying to lose weights. I can’t explain how, but I get her. Hence, I didn’t even attempt to stop her.

It would feel too hypocritical.

“If people have essence, I would think that mine is of similar elements to hers.”

Only she’s a lot more pretentious than I am. So proudly pretentious. That’s her game, anyway. I couldn’t possibly beat her at her own game. And she could be so gruesomely evil at people. Every so often, I might add.

You: “Was she sweet?”

Me: You’re asking the question I just answered.

“If people have essence, I would think that mine is of similar elements to hers.”

Only she got a few strange features mixed in.

I didn’t consider those strange features to take full effect.

And so it goes.

I woke up to the news that she was already in coma, with platelet count hitting an all-time low at 400. I woke up to that news, and yet still I think so conveniently like a moron, “The doctor will do something about it.”

“What, can’t they transfuse some?”

I was so caught up minding my own business that day. I had deadline to destroy, translation quota to be filled up. So when I finally had the time to check on my phone, I was dumbfounded.

[”Sasa passed away.”]

I could only think, “What the fuck.”

And for a few seconds more I still couldn’t elaborate, “What the fuck. What—Fuck, what? WTF?”

Only after then, while still trying to finish translating stuffs, could I come up with the real question. Somewhat perplexed, somewhat stunned. Nothing resembled tears or sadness.

“What has she done to herself?”

“What the hell has she brought upon herself?”

“What the fuck, Sasa, what kind of shite have you done?”

Another moment passed, and new questions surfaced.

“Will I grieve?”

“She’s someone close, right? Will I grieve like everyone else? Or am I already grieving by being not sad at all?”

Because, me being me, I feel like I’m already somewhat seeing her all freezed up as a distant memory. One that I know will be momentarily forgotten for some time, one that I know will suddenly resurface while I was, I don’t know, grocery shopping, probably.

I hope it’ll hit me for real by then.

In memoriam: Sasa

“If people have essence, I would think that mine is of similar elements to hers.”

I get her. I never asked if she gets me as well, though. But at least she could tell you immediately what is the brand of my favorite soap, a fun-fact kind of knowledge that she seemed so pleased about.

A year ago, to be fair.



Pengakuan dosa: Saya nggak ngerti gimana cara main sudoku.


Saya memang payah.

Ngerti sih cuman naroh-naroh angka 1-9 doang, tapi saya kan nggak se-gullible itu. Saya yakin, main Sudoku pasti melibatkan sesuatu yang saya nggak tahu apa, dan pastinya saya nggak ahli. Kalo iya, pasti saya udah jago.

Sejujurnya saya nggak ngerti gimana cara main Sudoku sebab tiap kali saya mencoba, saya merasa seperti orang bego yang nebak-nebak doang tanpa pake strategi berarti. Brute force maxima. “Ah kayaknya 9 nih. Lah bukan. Apus deh, mungkin 4. Eh. Ehhh. Hih. Monyet.”

Saya nggak suka merasa bego. Pride saya ini terlalu rapuh untuk merasa bego. Ngapain saya mainin teka-teki yang membuat saya merasa bego? Saya kan inginnya divalidasi kalau saya ini memang pandai dan sangat hebat, huh. Kalau ada game yang malah bikin saya jengkel karena saya nggak ngerti-ngerti mainnya gimana, mending saya berlagak pura-pura nggak tertarik dari awal aja. No, I obviously am not looking at Sudoku.

Makanya pas saya nemu ada teka-teki angka lain bernama Kakuro, dan menemukan bahwa Kakuro jaaauh lebih mudah dimengerti, saya bersorak gembira. Wuooohh! Akhirnya!! Suatu teka-teki angka yang bisa membuat saya berlagak snob sok logical Sherlock gadungan aku-orangnya-emang-logika-banget sangat matematis dan semacamnya. Y e s.

Dan yang paling oke dari segalanya: Kakuro punya flow. Unlike those stupid Sudokus that like to keep me in the dark. Yuck.

Kayak di puzzle yang saya foto ini, yang di sebelah kiri itu. Mungkin nggak terlalu kelihatan karena saya kalo tulis tangan emang suka terlalu halus, apalagi pake pensil, But anyway, karena bentuk puzzlenya yang kayak tangga itu, ngerjainnya jadi asyik banget. Kalo satu clue udah kelar, bisa jadi start buat clue lain juga. Ini pas saya ngerjainnya kebetulan dari atas ke bawah gitu, jadi pas udah ngisi buat clue yang paling atas, ngerjain ke bawahnya udah berasa kayak main perosotan.

Sebuah perasaan yang menyenangkan dan membuat saya merasa sangat tervalidasi.

Trims, Kakuro.

Hal-hal (Penting) yang Sedang Ingin Saya Utarakan

  • Corinne Bailey Rae mau rilis album baru.

Artist yang saya ikutin karir bermusiknya itu cuma ada sejumput nama. CBR ini salah satunya.  Saya orangnya super pemilih sih. Udah gitu musik kesukaan saya biasanya yang indie-indie hipster yang ga banyak orang yang tau gitu *hidung kembang-kempis*. Taulah. Yang musiman. Yang biasanya cuma nelurin satu album trus susah banget dicari donlotannya, cuma bisa denger online lewat Spotify. Jadi pas kemarin saya scroll newsfeed Facebook dan menemukan bahwa CBR ngepost teaser album baru, saya histeris dong.

Bahagia banget saya pokoknya pas denger teasernya. Saya seneng musik-musiknya CBR ini kayak punya anuannya sendiri. Kalo udah lamaaaaa banget nggak dengerin trus dia rilis lagu baru gitu, tetep noticable zing-nya (???). Rasanya kayak menemukan kembali cinta yang sudah lama terpendam…literally.

Kan The Sea keluarnya udah 6 tahun lalu….

Intinya: *motivasi hidup nambah sebiji*Read More »