Europe on Screen 2016

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Imej dipinjam dari Europe on Screen

Sebetulnya saya sudah lama ingin nonton film-film yang diputar di festival film seperti ini tapi selalu saja nggak bisa atau nggak sempat. Akhirnya tahun ini keinginan saya kesampaian juga! Pada akhir April 2016 saya menerima newsletter dari Institut Français yang menginformasikan acara-acara yang akan diselenggarakan di bulan Mei 2016, salah satunya adalah Europe on Screen 2016.

Europe on Screen 2016 diselenggarakan di enam kota besar di Indonesia, yaitu Jakarta, Bandung, Denpasar, Medan, Surabaya, dan Yogyakarta mulai tanggal 29 April hingga 8 Mei 2016. Festival ini gratis dan terbuka untuk umum. Menurut informasi yang saya peroleh dari laman resmi Europe on Screen 2016, film-film yang ditampilkan dibagi ke dalam tiga kategori besar dan tiga kategori kecil: XTRA Section (menampilkan 16 film yang merupakan box office di Eropa atau pemenang Piala Oscar atau pemenang Festival Film Cannes), Discovery Section (film garapan sutradara terkenal seperti Dardenne brothers, Stephen Frears, Ken Loach, dan Tony Gatlif), Documentary Section (film dokumenter dari Eropa), Retro/Focus Section (film tentang pembuat film dan pesulap Georges Méliès yang merupakan kerja sama antara Europe on Screen dengan Sjuman School of Music), Family Section (film keluarga), dan Open Air Screening (screening film yang diadakan setiap malam di Erasmus Huis dan 5 malam di Mall Bintaro Exchange).

Sejauh ini, saya sudah menonton tiga film pada tanggal 30 April dan 4 Mei 2016. Film pertama yang saya tonton adalah Holy Cow yang merupakan film dokumenter tentang perjuangan seorang peternak Azerbaijan yang ingin membawa sapi Eropa ke desanya namun ditentang oleh Para Tetua. Fim selanjutnya adalah The Search. The Search berkisah tentang perjuangan kakak beradik Raïssa dan Hadji, yang terpisah karena perang Chechen setelah orang tua mereka dibunuh oleh tentara Rusia, dibantu oleh Carole si pemimpin delegasi Uni Eropa, juga ada kisah seorang pria muda bernama Nikolai yang kewalahan menghadapi kehidupan perang setelah dirinya dipaksa untuk bergabung ke dalam militer. Film terakhir yang saya tonton adalah 45 Years. Film drama romantis ini berkisah tentang Kate dan Geoff Mercer yang akan merayakan 45 tahun usia pernikahan, namun tak disangka ada kabar mengejutkan yang sempat mengguncang keyakinan mereka.

Bagi kalian yang berminat untuk berpartisipasi dalam Europe on Screen 2016, ayo segera datang dan nikmati filmnya karena masih ada waktu hingga 8 Mei 2016. Sampai jumpa!

Berikut ini adalah beberapa tempat pemutaran film Europe on Screen 2016 di Jakarta dan sekitarnya:

Jakarta

Art Cinema | TIM – IKJ
80 seats
Jl. Cikini Raya, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10330
ERASMUS HUIS
320 seats
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav S-3 Jakarta Selatan
GOETHEHAUS
301 seats
Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9–15 Jakarta Pusat
INSTITUT FRANÇAIS INDONESIA, THAMRIN
180 seats
Jl. MH Thamrin 20 Jakarta Pusat
ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA
120 seats
Jl. HOS Cokroaminoto No. 117 Jakarta Pusat
Tangerang Selatan
BINTARO JAYA XCHANGE
500 seats
Jl. Lingkar Tol, Kelurahan Pondok Jaya, Kecamatan Pondok Aren. Tangerang Selatan, Banten 15224
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Social Media and Friendship

I heard about The New Yorker before but have never really read their articles or have taken a peek on their website until this morning. A friend of mine shared an article from TNY, which title is Can Envy be Good for You?, and I found myself reading it until the very last sentence. I am an accounting graduate but it is always be a pleasure for me to read a piece of writing in psychology. As you can guess, I ended up reading more articles by Maria Konnikova, whose work I mentioned earlier, and surprisingly I found an older writings of her that made me rethink about friendship and social media.

social-media-addict
Image courtesy of hikingartist.com

For Millennials like me and most of my friends, social medias play a significant part in our lives. It is almost certain that every of us has an account on every social media platforms that you can think of. I have some but I am only actively involved on a few of them and on the rest I just become a silent reader. One of my close friend once asked me if it is necessary to have so many accounts on social media and I personally think it is not.

To some extent it is true that social media connects people but, more than often, the connections made are only artificial. We feel close to certain people because their postings are always made our news feed but no ‘real interactions’ are actually occurred. Yes we can poke, love and put thumbs up on someone’s postings, also give and reply comments but I think that it feels different with real life interactions where physical touch is possible and facial expression is clearly seen. I still believe that physical encounter is crucial in building and maintaining a relationship, including a friendship. Moreover, face-to-face interactions give more meaning to a relationship and lead to a deeper bonding.

These times I use social media platforms to connect with people I really like to have conversations with in real life. I am pretty selective on deciding who are and who would be on my friend lists. For example, colleagues are hardly on my Facebook unless they are really close to me. In addition, I never accept friend requests from total strangers even though they are mutual friends of mine. Therefore, I can be sure about whom I share the stories of my life with virtually. How about you, readers?

Borneo: The First Time Ever

I have been living in Indonesia for the whole of my life but it was really the very first time I stepped my feet in Borneo. It was in November 2014 when I went there for a business trip. The city I visited was Banjarmasin and most of my time there was spent on Barito River, observing vessels owned by my client.

It was really something to climb up and down vessels several times a day. I still remember that in the evening my arms were aches and so fatigue because I was not used to use my hands to lift my body (go on diet, Sera!) But overall, it was an unforgettable experience and I would like to do it at least once more during my career as an auditor.

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Let’s go, brrrmm..
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Colourful boats on a dirty river
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At least I felt safe because of these men
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Life on a vessel. There was a washing line in the back of the vessel.
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Climbing down the barge
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Two men collecting leftover coals. Sadly, the used no safety instruments at all.
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Pieces of coals
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Stained chains
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Posing in front of a barge
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In the stern of a vessel
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Big barge
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Heading home
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A morning in a small harbour
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Morning routine: washing clothes
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A jetty in Kelanis
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I was surprised that they had chickens on board
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Well, they also had a pigeon
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Sounding, checking the level of fuel
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No drying squids in the engine room!
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On a floating crane
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Going back and forth, all day

What Could be More Beautiful than These?

Taking pictures has been one of my favorite activities since several years ago. To be exact, I started taking pictures with a DSLR camera in 2011. Nowadays, for the reason of simplicity, sometimes I use my smart phone for taking pictures, as the images produced are nearly almost the same like a DSLR.

Lately, I really like taking pictures of flowers and insects. In this post, I am showing you some of my shots. Some of the pictures were taken using Canon 500D and the others were taken using Samsung Galaxy S5.

Please, enjoy the beauty!

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A tiny lonely bug
A fly on a leaf
A fly on a leaf
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A beautiful butterfly on a white flower
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A busy bee
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A brown butterfly on a yellow flower
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Psstt! Don’t disturb!
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Do you see me?
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Ants gathering
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A black ant
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Hey green, are you a spider?
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Tiny pink flowers
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The perfect white
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Beautiful twin
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Water drops on a purple flower
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Only two

The Spirit Level

Image courtesy of Amazon
Image courtesy of Amazon

The latest book I finished reading is The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. This book is a comprehensive study about inequality and the impacts to societies as a whole. I had the idea of reading this book because I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth. When the author discuss about Gini-measured equality, he mentioned this book. Talking about Gini, Gini coefficient, seems to bring back all the good memories from learning economics few years ago. So, I decided to read The Spirit Level soon after I finish the Scandinavian utopia.

The Spirit Level was written based on extensive studies done in many developed countries. After considering some limitations on data, Wilkinson and Pickett chose 23 countries and 50 American states to be used for comparisons. This book really tries to give readers a total comprehension about what inequality can do to a whole society, not specifically only to the poor. Honestly I was surprised by what inequality can do to decrease the quality of life. The authors show readers that inequality can do harm by affecting the community life and social relations, mental health and drug use, physical health and life expectancy, obesity, educational performance, teenage births, violence, imprisonment and punishment, and social mobility. I am not going to put every result of the research here but I summarise my few favourite points that I remember.

There was an interesting story behind equality. Alexis de Tocqueville travelled throughout the United States in 1831, met many people from various backgrounds and saw the society as ‘one single mass’ (at least for whites). From his experience, he believed that equality had helped to developed and maintain trust among Americans. The slavery happened because African-Americans were viewed as ‘other’ so the empathy didn’t occur. He concluded that empathy was only felt for those we view as equals, ‘the same feeling for one another didn’t not exist between the different classes.’

Not only equality affects empathy, it also affects trust. It makes sense. With greater inequality, people care less about another and competition increases because all they care is to fending themselves to get what they want in order to be seen materially valuable in the eyes of others. It is not a good news because a number of convincing studies in the USA have linked trust to health. People with low-level of trust live shorter and vice versa.

Inequality affects everyone in the society, even the younger generation. Social inequality in early childhood development entrenched long before the start of formal education. Researches show that more unequal countries and states have worse educational attainment. Children living in low-income families are also more likely to experience and witness more family conflict, disruption, and violence. As an adult, they are prone to involved in crimes and teenage births.

What I like the most is the idea of Wilkinson and Pickett that the quality of social relations in a society is built on material foundations. In a materialistic society, people tend to value money more and social relations less. But unfortunately, the evidence shows that happiness has not increased in spite of double fold on real income.

If my writing about The Spirit Level drag your curiosity out about the severe impact of inequality to the society, I recommend you to read the whole book. It is a worth-to-read book that can expand your horizon and probably give you new idea to contribute in creating more equal society.

The Two Koreas

Yes, as you can guess, in this post I am talking about the two Koreas, the North and South Korea. I am actually talking about Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick and The New Korea: An Inside Look at South Korea’s Economic Rise by Myung Oak Kim and Sam Jaffe.

Nothing To Envy  Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Image courtesy of Amazon

I read Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea few months before I flew to South Korea for a summer school. My English teacher lent me his book and surprisingly it was a very good story about the secretive North Korea! I shouldn’t be that surprised because this book was awarded the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and was also a finalist for the National Book Award in 2010. Few pages after the author’s note, I drifted by the romance story of young Mi-ran and her boyfriend Jun-sang while these love birds were living on the outskirts of Chongjin, one of the industrial cities not far from the border with Russia. The first chapter of this book really fed my appetite to keep on reading until the very last page. Furthermore, if you stroll along the pages, perhaps you would be astonished by the ability of government to instil the idea of juche (self-reliance) with reserved red letters propaganda signs scattered ubiquitously that was translated into, “Long live Kim Il-Sung. Kim Jong-Il, sun of the 21st century. Let’s live our own way. We will do as the party tells us. We have nothing to envy in the world.” I like this book as it gives us deep understanding about the lives of North Koreans, including the violence happened on the labour camps. It seemed that Demick didn’t let the sorrow ended, the last few pages written were about the sweet-turned-sour reunion of Mi-ran and her lover years after she defected from North Korea.

Image courtesy of Amazon
Image courtesy of Amazon

Stark contrast with the lives of millions North Koreans, the fellow South Koreans live in a free yet modern world. They live really like normal people in the other parts of the world amid the continuous nuclear threats from their neighbour. I didn’t encounter horrible stories about chronic famine or awful labour camps here in The New Korea: An Inside Look at South Korea’s Economic Rise. In the first part of the book, Kim and Jaffe introduced readers to the long journey of (united then separated) Korea(s). The next pages full of miraculous economic growth of South Korea followed by the stories of worldwide well-known Korean chaebol. The most interesting part of the book is the stories of Korean society in which I eventually got much idea of Korean lifestyle. This book is simply light and handy guide to understand pretty much everything about South Korea. But if you feel the need to know more about Korea is still going strong, there are several books that can satisfy your curiosity. As examples, you can refer to Korea: The Impossible Country or The Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture to get understanding about Korean general affair. If your interest is specific to business, I think you would enjoy Samsung Electronics and the Struggle for Leadership of the Electronics Industry or more recent version of it in The Samsung Way: Transformational Management Strategies from the World Leader in Innovation and Design (different authors with the previously mentioned title).

So, have you decided on which books to read first? 🙂

The Culture Map

Have you ever been in an awkward situation caused by a culture clash when you were abroad? I got this thing back when I was in Korea for a summer school. It was when I about to have lunch with my assigned Korean buddy, she asked me, “Sera, how many cars do you have at home?” I paused for a moment, tried to comprehend her question. Oh, she is eager to know how rich I am. I replied, “I have three cars, one for each of us!” This time, she was startled. “Oh gosh, you are so rich! I don’t even have one.” Oh buddy, please, you believe what I just said?

For Indonesians (or maybe just for me), that kind of question might be considered impolite. It is equal to stop someone who is walking on the pavement and ask, “Hey dude, how much money do you earn in a month?” That surprising question given by a foreigner friend on a very first meeting triggered my curiosity about cultural difference. At first, I wonder why Koreans seem so materialistic (pardon me if it is just happened to my friend) and yes I got an insight about materialism from a survey done by Ipsos. From that survey we can see that Koreans value more of their success by the possessions they have than the global average and they feel more pressure to be successful. Ya ya ya, no wonder if my Korean friend asked me so.

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Image courtesy of Erin Meyer

One and a half-year past from that moment, I was hooked to read this book shortly after reading an article about cultural difference. I had a feeling that this book would be awesome and my gut was exactly right! Open few pages of The Culture Map, you will be welcomed by the wisdom of Mrs. Chen. Few more pages, you will understand about the high-context and low-context as an introduction to cross-cultural communications. If you are excited with what you read, go on, because there are a lot more hilarious, even disastrous real-life examples of cross-cultural communications. I personally like chapter four and six because they both talk about trust. On chapter six you will encounter the explanation of peach and coconut relationship based; trust is from the head or the heart; and brief history of egalitarian Scandinavians (that eventually leads me to another great reading). Overall, I find this book very interesting that I finished reading it pretty quick. You don’t necessarily have to be a professional or an executive to read this one because the practicality of this book is applicable to both business and personal situations.