Vision To be a platform that exemplifies the diversity of Indonesian experiences by showcasing Indonesia ideas, talents, initiatives, and stories. Mission To create a visually appealing and intellectually engaging magazine.
perspektiF INDONESIAN FOR PERSPECTIVE (noun.) a point of view Perspektif is a biannual print and online magazine dedicated to showcasing talents and disseminating ideas. Perspektif is Indonesian for perspective, a name that signifies our aims: to promote the acceptance of varying perspectives, whilst representing Indonesian culture in a global context. Each volume contains a variety of written and visual pieces, from critical analyses to poems and personal anecdotes, each centralised on a theme. Supported by kind donations and passionate individuals, our magazine is entirely free and run by volunteers and contributors. We hope that Perspektif will inspire and familiarise you with new ideas, perhaps challenge your own, and possibly lead to the formation of new ones.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ZI YI (BILLY) KOAY
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ALBERTUS MAGNUS YUDHISTIRA
IMAGINE “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds” – Gilbert K. Chesterton The mind has a powerful way of forming creative ideas and solutions. Imagination asks the question, "What if?" - and helps us to answer it. Engaging with it allows us to explore, or even transcend, the boundaries of what is possible.
EDITOR’S WORDS Sheri Lohardjo Hello again! This latest volume of Perspektif is a special one. Not only is it our final issue of the year, but it is also our tenth volume, marking our fifth year of publication since Perspektif was first founded in 2013. Having served as Editor-in-Chief for the past two years, I am deeply proud of the progress and accomplishments we have made. Perspektif is growing better and stronger in its vision to become a platform for Indonesian ideas, initiatives, talents, and stories. We have expanded in several ways: from the size and strength of our team, to the annual events we hold, and the forms in which we deliver insightful, thought-provoking content. My time as EIC is finally coming to an end, and it is time to pass the baton on to a new set of hands and a fresh new team. As we close out the year, I would like to express my deepest gratitude towards you – our readers – for your continued support and contributions. All of us at Perspektif are immensely proud to do our part in showcasing the burgeoning talents of our community. I would also like to thank
PHOTOGRAPHED BY jansen kwong 4
our fellow student organisations, particularly PPIA Melbourne University, for all your help along the way and allowing us to collaborate with you. It is this cooperation that helped Perspektif expand and reach new heights, and it is my hope that these partnerships continue in the future. Finally, on behalf of the Perspektif Executive Team, I would like to thank all of our members from the bottom of my heart. Getting to work with you over the past year has been such an enlightening and rewarding experience. I have learned so much from all of you, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work together to achieve a common goal. None of our accomplishments over the past year would have been possible without your passion, your dedication and your talents. I wish you the best of luck in everything you strive to accomplish! Readers, I hope you enjoy this volume. Thank you once again, and farewell – for now.
ThE TEam FOUNDERS Fauziyah Annur Rama Adityadharma Mary Anugrah Rasita
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sheri Lohardjo
Janice Tjondro Jason Hendriks Sabila Pane Zidny Arbi
Agnes Wijono Clara Kosasih
Gabrielle Aquilla Kinski Shabilla Monica Caroline Sasya Natasanthi
Illustrator Jane Novella Patricia Himawan
CONTACT US Perspektif Magazine perspektifmag www.perspektif.ppia-unimelb.org firstname.lastname@example.org 5
pERSEuS j o c e ly n D e a n e
QuESTIOnIng mORalITY anD ThE afTERlIfE In the good place s h a m i r a p. n ata n a g a r a
un(DIvERS)ITY gaBriela glennDa
D É paY S E m E n T s a B i l a pa n e
a l T E R n a T E ‘ n O R m a l’ janice tjonDro
TEchnOlOgIcal mIRaclES O f I m a g I n aT I O n m a lV i n n at h a n
bRITISh KInDERgaRTEn j o c e ly n D e a n e
f l I p p I n g c R E aT I v I T Y ZiDny ilman arBi
T h E O n lY K I n D O f E X E R c I S E f O R S W OT va c c at h e r i n e j . h a r i p i n
ThE fuTuRE Of fInancE e D W a r D ta n o t o
t h e dise m b odied se l f
“ W HA T I f ? ”
s a s ya n ata s a n t h i
j oa n n e a m a r i s a pa n g k e y
I m a g i n a tio n & m oder n ro m a n c e michelle lee
p h i l oso p h i c a l a c tio n Theresa Cornelia Gunarso
t h e ro l e o f t h e i n di v id u a l B r ya n t K u r n i a s u r j a
PHOTOGRAPHED BY AGNES WIJONO
CONTRIBUTORS volume 10
s a s ya n ata s a n t h i
ALBERTUS MAGNUS YUDHISTIRA
j o c e ly n d e a n e
j o a n n e a m a r i s a pa n g k e y
s h a m i r a p r i ya n k a n ata n a g a r a
c at h e r i n e j a n e h a r i p i n
s a b i l a pa n e
GI F FARY AHMAD PANGESTU
m a lv i n n a t h a n
SAMANTHA YVETTE LIM
theresa cornelia gunarso
ZI YI ( BILLY ) KOAY
b rya n t k u r n i a s u r ja
zidny ilman arbi
D e ta l i wa n u r u
e dwa r d ta n oto
MARCELLINA TACHJADI C l a r a ta n d i
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANDARI SUHERLAN
the disembodied self WORDS sasya natasanthi ILLUSTRATION Jane novella
Imagine yourself as an iceberg, and what you bring to social media as only the tip of it. I stumbled upon an Instagram post by a British travel vlogger, Miles Mogul, that left my mind boggled. He normally documents his globe-trotting first-class flights, but what I saw wasn’t one of his regular posts. On what he deemed as a hilarious day, he exposed an Indonesian celebrity whom he discovered has been pretending to live his life. His name was Adriansyah Martin and he photoshopped himself onto Miles’ photos to deceive his 42k followers that he was living a glamorous lifestyle. Setting the troubling issue of fraud and the amazing photoshop skills aside, this incident places an emphasis on the power of disembodiment. You can truly be whoever you want to be on social media. In this day and age, perception is everything. The clothes we wear, the things we own, even the music we listen to act as cues of identity embodiment. We all have an ideal self. Take a few moments to imagine the perfect version of yourself: is there a difference between that quintessence and reality? For most of us, there is. The ideal self is one we strive to become. The ideal self is one who neither gets low grades nor has any embarrassing moments. With social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn that enable us to create customised profiles, which version of ourselves do we put on display? If we are given a blank canvas that is social media, we will naturally paint our ideal self on it. Hence, the tip of the iceberg. In the curation of online profiles, the self is separated from the body that exists in the material world. This brings our self-awareness to a whole new level, as we have more time to reflect on the implications of how our social media activities will affect people’s perception of us. I selectively share information about myself on social media and usually contemplate before posting something. I’m also guilty of removing tags from Facebook photos in which I look horrible. Simultaneously, people can be more vocal on social media because the online 10
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environment disinhibits them from direct social interactions. As an introvert, social media platforms make it easier for me to express myself because online interactions tend to be less intimidating than face-to-face. All in all, we are able to present and explore ourselves more freely on social media as our identities can be constructed according to our will. It should come as a no surprise that our selfembodiment is intrinsically social. Sometimes, I present myself in entirely different ways when I’m around different people. What I wear for work would not be the same as what I would wear to the beach with my friends. I appear shy in front of new people, but act crazy with my close friends. It is not that we have multiple, conflicting personalities, we are aware of the need to regulate them. I adjust how I appear in different social settings through the degree of comfort that comes with it. Hence, social media platforms have redefined spatial boundaries of the physical world and made it increasingly possible to transcend identities. On Facebook, I post a lot of photos bearing silly poses with my friends. On Instagram, I take photos of my morning coffee, places I go and the aesthetics I encounter in day-to-day life. Then we have LinkedIn, where I demonstrate my professional skills and have a stiff headshot wearing formal attire as my profile picture. Different platforms act as different imagined social spaces. Thus, the diverse uses of social media platforms have shed light on the different attributes of our ideal self. Through disembodiment, we are able to put all of them on display at the same time. The ubiquitous use of social media have made digital platforms an integral part of our lives. Online activities are not separable from our real lives. Nowadays, when you want to get to know someone – you refer to their social media pages. We all have lurked through someone’s account at least once. The fact that we consider social media profiles as markers of one’s identity shows that our ideal
self is at least partially actualised. This is because although people selectively choose how to present themselves, they show only the good, goofy, and/or aesthetic parts. This process is thus integral to how they project their model self. Being able to portray our ideal self is actually proven as being good for the soul. According to the Media Psychology Research Centre, teenagers find that social media boost their confidence with the ability to present the best versions of themselves. The illusion of controlling your own world is empowering. There is no rule that says we have to share the realities and hardships of our daily lives on our pages, so we have the right to exclude them. Our LinkedIn pages make us look like we are employable, because we only show our successes. Our Instagram pages make all of us look photogenic, because our derps are securely kept in our camera roll. They call it selfies; I call it self-empowerment. However, danger arises when we become more fixated on portraying our imagined self than actually living it. Even though the case of Adriansyah Martin may be an extreme one, it is worthwhile to ponder. "I don’t need to spend so much money on first-class flights because I can just photoshop myself on Miles Mogul’s photos," is something I’m guessing Adriansyah would have thought. Thus, becoming too reliant on curating a disembodied online persona can widen the disparity of our ideal and actual self in a negative manner. As a result, we may have the power to create a false version of self on social media that is detrimental in effect because we end up masking everyone from our personal truth. In other words, we are lying to them and ourselves. Another case in point is the story of Madison Holleran, an athletic 19-year-old college student who had a loving family and supportive friends. Like any other teenager, she was active on social media and her Instagram feed suggested a perfect college life and carefree summertime. She seemed to be healthy and living the happy all-American life. However, the pressure for people to pursue perfection on social media can be overwhelming and harmful. Self-embodiment and face-to-face interactions are unavoidable – your identity, your self, your image all become confused. So, when the question of "who am
I?" turns into "how do people see me?", we can find ourselves hiding behind a mask. None of Holleran’s friends would have guessed that she was going through depression until she committed suicide. According to a note she left for her family, she felt like social media had trapped her into becoming a person that was not her true self. So much like everything else in the world, there is good and bad behind a disembodied self – and it is only a matter of perspective. When I use social media, I try to remind myself that what I see are just representations. Other people’s posts are not complete depictions of their life, just like how my posts are not complete depictions of mine. Realising both the capacities and repercussions of social media has readjusted my perception of the online world and myself. However, this is not to say that we should express ourselves in full transparency on social media to portray a true reflection of ourselves - what good does that make? We have the right to keep certain things private. At the end of the day, we are the ones who know ourselves best. ARTS, CULTURE & EDUCATION /
PERSEUS WORDS JOCELYN DEANE ILLUSTRATION PATRICIA HIMAWAN
I I got used to seeing ‘round corners. One hand on the stick, iPhone flashing golden streams; Easy to melt, deceptively good conducing. Eventually, everyone becomes so hiss headed, Punished by the god, see, myth is the clicking Shutter, but not the lens. It becomes too easy To imagine. You took whatever your sword is And saw The snakes.
II Young man with a selfie-stick, of course. They’re Perseus - their super Power is everything they touch becomes A god, melting what that touches Into gold; the element, surprisingly good At reflection; the colour Of texts and unidentifiable blood/showers.
Flashback 2013 vOLUMe 1: a neW Beginning “the BOOze BiLL” by DiRza PRakOSO " Meanwhile, in  Indonesia, a bill to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol is being discussed. One lobby group supporting this bill, Gerakan Moral Anti Miras (Anti Alcohol Moral Movement) has been aggressively pushing for the bill to be enacted " Q: What happens to this bill? How will alcohol prohibition impact Indonesia? The bill went nowhere - smart move! Enacting a nation-wide alcohol ban would result in pervasion of black market, which essentially defeats the whole purpose of the ban. Not only that, the ban would leave a dent on the national economy since alcohol plays a significant part in tourism industry. Tourist destinations such as Bali would suffer economically, and so would alcohol manufacturers like Beer Bintang, which many tourists deem as the holiday go-to-drink of Indonesia. - Monica Caroline
“CULtURaL aPPROPRiatiOn 101” by aLLan tanOeMaRg " Cultural appropriation happens when people adopt other cultures irresponsibly without knowing the significance or history of the cultures. In other words, they are taking the cultures out of context and thus what they portray may stray far from the original meanings. " Q: Is cultural appropriation still an issue nowadays? When is it permissible to ‘borrow’ from other cultures? Nowadays, there is a thin line between what is and isn’t considered as cultural appropriation. I personally think immersing oneself in other cultures is not always wrong. If we are so defensive about our cultures and won’t let ‘outsiders’ incorporate them, that only reinforces the “us“ vs. “them“ mindset. Appreciating and showcasing another culture’s beauty is wonderful as long as you do it with respect. Context matters, but we shouldn’t label everything as cultural appropriation. - Sasya Natasanthi 14
“MaJORing in the SCienCe OF getting RiCh” by FeLiCia kWOk " Thus, if our first and foremost rule to stay alive and supplied is to earn adequate income, then why waste our early decades studying ‘irrelevant’ stuffs? Should not we as well major in The Science of Getting Rich? " Q: How do you perceive formal education system? How relevant is it? Formal education system is the root where we can acquire and maintain both hard and soft skills. Formal institutions such as schools and/or colleges introduce us to subjects that we may or may not fall in love with. They then foster our passion in certain field, such as physics or writing. Entering a formal education system is a great start to becoming productive individual citizen who can contribute positively to society. - Jovita Octaviani
PHOTOGRAPHED BY CLARA KOSASIH
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“ w h at i f ? ” WORDS Joanne Amarisa Pangkey ILLUSTRATION Jane novella PHOTO JANSEN KWONG
"What if" are a powerful pair of words; they can paralyse you with fear, or fuel you with hope. I repeat these words to myself more times than I should, letting them circle a million times around my mind on a daily basis. People say that our present lives are built upon the bricks of our past decisions, and, whether or not we like it, the paths we’ve chosen are foundational to who we are today. Because of this, in bouts of contemplation I would often ask, "Did I ever make a wrong turn?"
We have been together for two and a half years. He supports my craft, believes in my dreams, and listens to my midnight ramblings. Even though we’re thousands of miles apart, technology ensures that we stay connected. We’ve been together since high school, and have gone on many adventures together since then. We sail through our lives in different cities, relying on sweet messages to keep us company. ...
But none of that happened.
The spotlight graces the stage, illuminating our scene. We stand behind the curtains, ready and dressed in our ballet shoes and leotards. Seconds after, the music starts: the Waltz of the Snowflakes, one of many scenes in our academy’s rendition of The Nutcracker. My friends and I dance in unison, finishing together in our pirouettes. We form movements with graceful harmony, the results of months of practice. We twirl and the joy of it all swallows us whole, and the nerves we had a minute earlier begin to vanish completely.
When I was eight, I walked to my mother and told her that I wanted to quit ballet. I had been taking ballet lessons since kindergarten and I’ve grown tired of coming home with sore feet. That was the age when I had my last ballet class, and I’ve never walked into another studio ever again.
... Leaves turn orange as autumn gradually settles into the air of Massachusetts. The brick walls and cobblestone paths welcome me back after the summer break. Hundreds of fellow Harvard students pass my way, carrying bags heavy with textbooks, pens, and scribbled notebooks. The courtyards remain bleak and the hallways remain unchanged, just as they had been for hundreds of years. My feet tread ambitiously towards the lecture hall, too eager for my first day. I find a seat in the third row and pull out my crimson notebook. My phone dings with a message. From the small screen, a morning encouragement from my boyfriend reads, "Good luck."
When I was in high school, my friends and I were in a World Education Expo, looking at different university booths, on the verge of making big life decisions. One of the stalls was for an institute from Singapore, which offered pre-college pathway programs for high school graduates on their way to applying at Harvard University. With a 95% success rate, the school was officially tied to Harvard itself, making it one of the main gateways towards becoming an official student at not just Harvard, but a few other elite universities as well. The representative gave us free Harvard University water bottles if we were willing to take a readiness test. A free test for a free water bottle? Of course! I took the online test (60 minutes of critical reading and writing), clutching my free bottle and expecting nothing more. Two weeks later, an email said, "Congratulations!". I had passed the test and was invited to apply to the institute.
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"What if," are, indeed, a powerful pair of words.
As the university started messaging me for a meeting with my parents about "the next steps," I knew Harvard was nowhere near what any of my future plans looked like. I wasn’t sure what program I wanted. I never did any research about the school, and it was preposterous to picture myself as a Harvard student. I knew going to an Ivy League university would’ve made my Asian family so proud, but I also knew that it wasn’t an easily affordable option (time-wise and financially.) I finally declined the offer, and the opportunity flew away.
I am now studying in Melbourne. I try not to think of life as a chain of missed opportunities, but the fact that it often feels like one is just a part of reality. For every sequence of events that has happened in my life, wonderful as they may be, there were also open doors I couldn’t bear to walk through. With every entrance I did decide to walk through, every alternate way leads to another universe - one that is now unreachable, but continues to leave me wondering. As a result, I get stuck daydreaming about the lives I could’ve, but didn’t live. I imagine myself within these alternate worlds, wondering why there couldn’t be a place where all of them come true. Some people dare to say they live a life without regrets. I am not one of those people. I don’t know if I ever will be. I think that’s okay.
High school was also where I met a boy in a city 400 miles away from home. We were reunited by how close of our families were and by the time junior year ended, we were already in a long distance relationship. During our time together, he was willing to travel great lengths to see me. We shared a love for jazz music, mountain sceneries and golden retriever puppies. He bought me a sweater for Christmas and roses for my birthday. After 10 months, the relationship became burdensome, and I ended it shortly before finishing high school. We were together, and then we weren’t. It broke my heart (and his) that I ended it, but I knew it was the wisest thing to do. The sweater became just another piece of knitwear. The bouquet of white roses eventually dried and wilted. After the breakup, he still sent me congratulation flowers for my high school graduation. It was the last item I have ever received from him.
It’s okay to not be sure. It’s okay if you still reflect upon your past decisions, imagining a life where things could’ve played out differently. It’s okay if you constantly wonder. We all do, and it’s okay. I’m not saying we can change it, because, truthfully, most of the time we can’t. Instead, think of it as a life lesson you’ve been privileged enough to learn. It’s a strength to be aware of the magnitude of your decisions, and it’s a strength to know the importance of each step you choose to take. Some people live their entire lives unaware of this lesson, and some fall into thousands of regretful mistakes just to realise this simple fact. When you’re imagining what could’ve been, remember also to embrace what you’ve been given. Most importantly, embark on your paths with conviction, wisdom, and the courage to face whatever comes next. We may encounter regrets, but we may also encounter celebrations on the side.
... Strength lies in learning to embrace both. 18
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I t ’ s a s t r e n g t h t o b e a wa r e o f t h e magnitude of your decisions, and it’s a strength to know the impor tance of eac h step you c hoose to take
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i m a g i n at i o n & modern romance WORDS michelle lee ILLUSTRATION Jane novella
Here’s the story arc of modern romance: two people find themselves intoxicated with desire for the other. For a while, commitment is bliss: they readily give and take and negotiate with admiration. Couples match their interests to each other and happily give up activities that exclude their partner. Alas, inevitably, they find themselves bored with the predictability of their union. She knows it’s her job to choose what’s for dinner and his job to decide what to listen to in the car. He stops going to his favorite restaurant because she hates the wait. She’s missed one too many girls’ nights that she’s since stopped receiving invitations. So begins a downwards spiral in age-old arguments, loss of interest in the other’s interests, until they can no longer find the promise of adventure with each other. The only thing they agree on is their grief for the loss of their fire. If you’ve consoled friends through bad breakups, experienced the disastrous end of a promising liaison, or witnessed the helplessness of miserably-coupled others, you know this story well. Substitute the gender identities, sexual orientations, relationship structures, or objective milestones: it’s all the same. Somehow, our expectations for how modern romance works on the rule that, while passionate love is transcendent, nothing lasts forever. A world-renowned couples therapist, Esther Perel sees it differently. While we may lament the inevitable dwindling of brightly-burning connection, Esther sees an opportunity to inject exploration between two who fail to maintain desire for each other. Here’s the arc of modern romance as Esther Perel sees it: Checkpoint one: You know that stomach-dropping rush you get when a wild idea, which you entertain as a recklessly optimistic joke at the start of a first date, scales the fence of your imagination and presents itself as a real possibility? The idea that maybe a stranger could be a life partner is enough 20
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to start the cascade of wishful thinking. You find yourselves glassy-gazing into each other’s eyes and into your daydreams. Your imagination works hard to synthesise your hopes and dreams with their values and fears. The more you get to know them, the more complex and compelling this synthesis becomes, and the more attached you become to the idea that it could materialise. Checkpoint two: With hope comes vulnerability. Anxious to resolve the many unknowns of the future, you both decide to establish commitment. This stage can look like anything from offering a dresser drawer, assigning pet names, to the establishment of a Sunday morning ritual. At this stage, you and your chosen other are engaging in imagination together. Sharing the prospect of a future is why falling in love feels not only fulfilling, but also transcendent. Esther notes that this stage requires two to actively negotiate familiarity and imagination, routine and novelty, security and spontaneity. Passion peaks and so does intimacy. Commitment is bliss. Checkpoint three: A common unintended consequence of working to fulfill the human need for constancy is the neglect of the challenge of mystery. Esther calls this the "neutralization of complexity". You get so confident that you know your partner and are known by your partner that your imagination finds itself jobless. Checkpoint four: "He’s always like this when things get hard!" or "She doesn’t care enough to pay attention to this." You find yourself stuck in your Sunday morning rituals with rehearsed and repeated fights, and you notice that desire has evaporated. Imagination thrives on the elusive. When your partner has been reduced to their familiar habits and your relationship has been organised into decorum, there is no space for discovery, no blanks to fill. Creative synthesis cannot happen in a space of two-dimensional certitude.
S o m e h o w, o u r e x p e c t a t i o n s f o r how moder n romance wor ks pivots on the r ule that, while passionate love is transcendent, n o t h i n g l a s t s f o r e v e r.
Usually, checkpoint five looks like the beginning of the end: failed attempts to reconnect, a hurtful affair, irreparable devotion. Esther sees the existential truth as this: there is no way to gain so much closeness with your partner that defends against the risk of unexpected criticism, rejection, separation, or ultimately, death. By striving for reliance in favor of vulnerable distance, passion is lost and security isn’t gained either. Esther proposes that instead of trying to cushion against the vulnerability inherent in sharing hope and having much to lose, you would do well to accept it. Understand that the fear of losing your partner signals importance and attachment to the creative synthesis that fueled your connection in the first place. Counterintuitively, what can help to secure a relationship is to support and tolerate separation and to welcome uncertainty. Esther encourages that each partner creates physical, emotional, and intellectual spaces that don’t belong for their chosen other, just themselves. Esther would encourage him to go to his favorite restaurant without her and her to go to girls’ night again. Esther would even encourage couples to try living separately for some time, taking a trip with friends without their partner, and pursuing individual hobbies individually. This space welcomes curiosity and subsequently, desire, creativity, hope. A healthy dose of abstraction is Esther’s solution to the bleak arc of modern romance. For Esther, passion can only happen when there are enough unknowns for imagination to do its part. The solution to neutrality is to say, "I receive your presence, your loyalty, your companionship, and I would love to continue to discover you." If the idea of preserving the thrill of checkpoint two isn’t appealing to you, I don’t know what is. ARTS, CULTURE & EDUCATION /
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, aftern all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GILDA JAHJA
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Questioning Morality and the Af t e r l i f e i n T h e G o o d P l a c e WORDS Shamira Priyanka Natanagara ILLUSTRATION agnes wijono
I question everything a little too often. And I have found myself making up images of heaven and hell in my head every now and then. As often as I’ve imagined heaven and hell, however, I’ve never pictured them in the way The Good Place does. This Netflix comedy series visualises the afterlife as an animated and vibrant yet realisticlooking world. Certain aspects are similar to what we currently have on Earth: suburban housings, parks, restaurants, but with the addition of supernatural evil creatures that use human bodies as facades. But the show is more than just the pastel-coloured settings, what really drew me into The Good Place is its storyline— its great execution and how it raises questions regarding the concept of morality and human qualities. The first season of The Good Place follows the story of Eleanor Shellstrop, a deceased woman who is mistakenly placed in the Good Place, the show’s equivalent of heaven. Eleanor had been a rude, selfish person on Earth - not exactly the type to end up in heaven. Soon after arriving at the Good Place, she is welcomed by the Good Place’s architect Michael who later assigns Eleanor to her ‘soulmate’, the ethics professor Chidi Anagonye. He also introduces her to her neighbours: the crazy rich philanthropist Tahani Al-Jamil and her soulmate Jason Mendoza, a DJ from Florida. Helping Michael and residents of the Good Place is Janet, an assistant that appears to function similarly to Apple’s Siri. Because Janet comes in a human form, it is often regarded as a robot, although it has specifically said multiple times that it is not. But they’re not actually in the Good Place. Concluding the first season, it is revealed that Michael is a demon and Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason are guinea pigs for the demons’ new hell project. They all have been living in the Bad Place disguised as a Good Place. The four humans, the ‘guinea pigs’, have been placed in the Bad Place for the demons to torture them mentally. The demons believe that
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the humans’ personalities are so incompatible that they are going to destroy each other. Honestly, it took quite a while for me to like The Good Place. I’ve always gravitated towards somewhat darker genres of television shows that feature troubled, dysfunctional characters, so at first, I found it quite a challenge to truly enjoy The Good Place — a show that (in the beginning) features mostly wholesome characters set in heaven. But the fact that it constantly feeds the audience with unexpected, perfectly-paced twists keeps the audience invested every single time. Additionally, the first season of The Good Place shed light on how vague the concept of morality is — that no human, as social beings, are inherently good nor bad. Eleanor, whose wrongdoings on Earth has clearly been exhibited since the very beginning, agrees to receive lessons on ethics from Chidi — only to become a better person and fit in the Good Place. But Eleanor subconsciously develops into a genuinely better, less selfish person towards the season finale, proving that deep down, she isn’t so bad after all. And having Chidi and Tahani as residents of the Bad Place further shows the vagueness of morality. Tahani, who had dedicated a great portion of her life on Earth to organising fundraising charity events, is placed in the Bad Place because her motivations to do good are to impress her parents and escape from her sister’s shadow. She does nice things, but she isn’t sincere. Thus her motivation is corrupt. The reason for Chidi’s placement is rather questionable. Even though he is a patient, good ethics professor when alive, he is very indecisive that his indecisiveness often hurt the people around him. Clearly, he has a serious problem. But is it hellish enough to make him suffer in the Bad Place? Well, apparently so.
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The show also blurs the concept of good and b a d by p l a c i n g p e o p l e w h o a r e s e e m i n g l y good in the show’s version of hell.
Chidi’s placement blurs the extent to which are considered evil — are personal issues, although rooted deeply in the mind and unintended, considered sinful? How are we, as human beings who exist in an uncertain universe with rules that can be interpreted in various ways, supposed to know what exactly is expected from us? The second season further blurs this line between good and evil. In the beginning of the second season, the project is turning into a failure that Michael needs to reboot the system multiple times. The demon is in a perilous situation! He decides to cooperate with the humans to save himself. However, Michael develops more humanly qualities throughout the season, showing that he is capable of having true emotions. He becomes more genuine in helping the humans and even goes against his boss to get them to the actual Good Place — he cares for the humans. Similarly, the second season sees the afterlife ‘robot assistant’ Janet evolving into a more human character. As Janet is much like a robot, it isn’t a sensible being and is not wired to feel emotions. But Janets are said to become more "advanced" every time they get rebooted. The countless reboots Michael conducts to restart his scheme has rendered the "Good Place’s" Janet more sensible. Hence, she gains the ability to experience more complex emotions. Janet even falls in love with Jason and is instrumental in helping Michael and the humans elude the inescapable doom of the Bad Place. Michael and Janet’s character developments touch on the subject of human emotions — the ability of the show’s supernatural beings to develop them, to be exact. Having the capability to feel emotions is one of the aspects that differentiates the show’s human beings from supernatural beings in the beginning, and it is interesting how the show blurs those lines. 26
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By giving Michael and Janet the ability to develop emotions, the show raises the possible human side of supernatural creatures. Can they eventually be sensible enough to help humans? Aren’t demons supposed to be 100% evil and Janets supposed to be emotionless? If demons can become empathetic like Michael, wouldn’t it be easier for humans to befriend them and request to transfer to a better place — The Good Place? I think it is an interesting thought and something that I hope the show will further expand in the third season. I’m excited to see how far supernatural beings, such as ‘demon’ Michael, are capable of being ‘human’ and whether they will be allowed to keep their initial roles if their good human qualities were to wreck the system. Who knows what the future of these characters would be? Michael’s leniency and Janet’s human side have made the otherwise binary system complicated. Perhaps Michael and Janet will be eliminated from the universe, or maybe they will be relocated to different neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, they have developed to care for each other — will they dare to break the rules again to find another way out? Overall, The Good Place is a refreshing take on the afterlife with an excellent plot. It contains twists that make every episode intriguing without too much complication. The show also blurs the concept of good and bad by placing people who are seemingly good in the show’s version of hell. Additionally, it makes an interesting choice of giving the supernatural creatures the ability to feel emotions — a quality that makes them more human and makes their purpose in the afterlife questionable. Both seasons of The Good Place are available on Netflix Australia. The show has been renewed for a third season and will contain 13 episodes for you to binge-watch!
Good Place Everything is ямБne.
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FILM PHOTOS by Kinski Shabilla
ETAANNRRE LLAAM M a lt e r n at e ‘ n o r m a l’
WORDS janice tjondro PHOTO SAMANTHA YVETTE LIM
Yesterday I told a friend how I’ve seen all the colours of music I can see it, I can touch it the scenes of yesterdays and seconds of today
My senses are not only bound to one but cross-wired and twisted, burnt on one side yet infinite and raw on the other
I brush my fingers across the veil of memories draped before me, soft and pillowy, silken to the touch Though blurry and filtered in my heart I can feel it as it remains untainted, and as clear as day A carnival by the pier is where it all begins my journey through the jamboree land Past the gates are waves of colours and shivers of sensation that strike me with excitation Acrobats and clowns balloons and merry-go-rounds not one person carries a frown
The sea salt clings to my skin and embraces my hair as it floats on the warm breeze like spring blossom petals akin
I welcome the tingles and white aurora that it entangles as I’m walking through an airy womb of sky and sound Children’s hymns lulls the air, sweet like vanilla, and the warmth of nostalgia brings a gentle calm to the heart
Squeals of children taste fiery in my mouth, flame-grilled, charred and seared like injections of joy sizzling my nerves, electrifying my skin
I trace the pulses, the strings of melodies, the web of symphonies that guide me to the heart of the carnival
A band of men so merry and blithe bringing a warmth you wish you could hug— the spring after a harsh winter The shows I see are red like the colour of headlights through the rain, the feeling a shout gives you, and the rims of your eyes after you cry Like medicine, the melody flows through my veins and swirls in my head
TLLAA OONN Like liquid energy, the vibrations sink in my skin and drum on my heart The singerâ€™s voice is pink-red and yellow with swirls of green like the edges of willows He is summer.
And yet he is also brown, for brown is made up of all the colours you can find, and while others may call it an ugly I know it is a burden of an overflowing mind The memories are now blue like moonlight filtering through ocean waves. It is the light in the drowning, in the swimming
It is a painting composed of final triumphs and written words Itâ€™s visible when nothing else seems to be Memories are what remain of old shows, old speeches, old texts, old faces The memories are so, so blue
And then there is the music It filters in where the other colours cannot reach where the hues cannot bleach and binds them all together What a colourful carnival.
british kindergarten Special School UK WORDS JOCELYN DEANE ILLUSTRATION jane novella
Mindful limbs, we scurry down
Blue shorts, deliberately weak knees.
To Blossom House early;
One assembly you observed a girl
Our master has banned swearing-
-checks red as impetigo, teeth bucky-
‘stupid’ or ‘idiot’ - after snatching
Laughing, naked as a cold bath, burst in the cold
An episode of South Park with his family;
Air. She spread her arms and did
Playground, big James is nowhere,
Jumping jacks; you don’t remember
Hands on non-existent
If everyone tittered or
Hips. You imagine him:
Her laughter clothed them, like a sympathetic
Lay-lines of beardy scree
And his Pokémon card connections.
Thrust out of sight by someone who lives
All the male faculty sidle this
In my head as hands and what hands can do
‘big’ like a royal horse: some natural
Brunettes, some glimmer like mirrors
Quietly we pick the same
Asparagus-looking seeds we couldn’t find
Long arms to snatch Gameboys
Common names for
out of your grasp - ending school days we
In the orchard down from the playground.
Imagine the car-pool like train
I remind you of taking a shit in the dock leaf bushes
Stops you leave books behind
In front of us all, to prove there was nothing between us,
quietly entered through school gates,
That there’s no limit. At this cue, we all begin to
Uniform white poplin t-shirts,
Trade faces. We leave without knowing ourselves.
Flashback 2014 vOLUMe 2: the neW nORMaL “viCtiMiSing the innOCent” by PaULa aPRiJantO " I felt his fingers touching my bra. I shouted, ‘You are a molester!’. The guard’s response [however] was similar to saying that girls get raped because they wear provocative clothes. " Q: What about now? Are people safer against sexual harassment? We are hearing more about rape and sexual harassment issues, partly influenced by the fact that numerous prominent Hollywood figures have come out to reveal the sexist underbelly of the industry. They have triggered a sort of domino effect, thus empowering more victims to come forward. In light of this, however, it is important to note that men are also victims. Sexual harassments after all can be perpetrated by all genders. - Janice Tjondro
“SOCiaL MeDia - MaRketing’S neW nORMaL” by egaDhana RaSyiD SataR " In this Web 2.0 era... the most major paradigm shift brought by social media is the notion that -- customers, not marketers, now have the control of the message. " Q: Have social media platforms further advanced global technological system? Are customers now still in charge of messages and distributive power? Web 2.0 was all about user interaction. Now, it’s the system that makes the decisions, aka the ever-present Web 3.0. The system integrates data from your social media usages (plus other various sources), and the algorithms do the rest. Seeing bikini ads after googling summer bods? Yep, that’s Web 3.0! This systemintegration also means that devices talk with each other. Not home? Beware, your dishwasher is currently gossiping with your wi-fi router! - Grace Kang
“the ReSURgenCe OF vinyL CULtURe” by PUtU Dea k. PUtRa " ...there is a resurgence of younger people picking up vinyl for the past few years. Compared to records, CDs just seem like a cheap chunk of plastic... " Q: Was this resurgence of the vinyl a fad or fashion? Is it still here? The resurgence of vinyl-collecting in 2016 has appeared to be a mere fad! Collecting vinyl has become an even rarer habit in contemporary music practices. Moreover, there are fads like collecting popular cultural products from the 90’s, such as chunky dad sneakers and micro tinted glasses, replacing vinyl’s then-resurgent popularity. But I personally still collect vinyl because of my dad who has an extensive vinyl collection and a working turntable. - Sabila Pane
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GILDA JAHJA
t h e o n ly k i n d o f e x e r c i s e f o r s w ot vac WORDS catherine jane haripin ILLUSTRATION AGNES WIJONO PHOTO CLARA tandi
Oh boy. It’s that time of the semester again. Time to officially join the ranks of university students nearing end-ofsemester exams; a bunch of zombies, all powered by cheap 7-Eleven coffee and the fear of academic failure. It’s amazing (and a little bit appalling) how many kiasu students are still quarantining themselves in Giblin Eunson past 12AM. (Hmm, how do I know this though?) And so the stressing begins. You waste time thinking about which assignment to do first, which subject to prioritise exam prep for, and on which social media platform you’re going to post that cute study-desk picture (#studylife #preppy #husTLING). Sometimes, the pressure gets too real, too quick, and you end up tossing away the decision altogether, running from your responsibilities and back to an old friend: escapism. Now let’s be honest, y’all. Whether it’s going to the movies to catch the latest Marvel flick (time to exercise your tear-ducts! Who needs to go the gym during exam time anyway?), listening to the new Rich Brian album, or re-reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time ("I’d be so much better at school if I was learning magic instead of hypothesis testing!"). . . everything becomes way more interesting - except studying. And hey - escapism is wonderful. It engages our imagination, providing temporary solace from distressing realities. It refreshes a tired mind; getting you out of that worn library couch, and helping you unwind after days that feel too long.
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In an age of hyperboles and carelessly-strewn phrases such as "This song will save your life!" and "This fandom literally made me a better human being", this fact holds true: the human capacity to submerge ourselves into the lives of other people have saved us, time and time again. We may roll our eyes at such gross exaggerations, and yet, we know that, to some extent, they truly meant what they said. Even to this day, popping on an old disney movie (or two) after a hard week still helps me get out of my own head. More importantly, escapism is powerful - or at least it can be. There’s a reason why so many people turn to escapism during tough times. When asked why exactly he read so much, the famous 19th century french writer Proust earnestly answered, "There are perhaps no days of our childhood that we lived as fully as the days we think we left behind without living at all: the days we spent with a favourite book." Books are our portal to alternate worlds. One moment your eyes are only skimming the page but before you know it, you’ve slipped into another time and place, living someone else’s life. Fighting dragons seems a lot less scary than confronting your assignments. Your heart races, but you feel safe. . . for a moment. And when you get out of your head, out of your brief imagined escape, the big picture comes into focus again: having your exams in a week isn’t the end of the world! Resting when you actually need could actually be more effective than stubbornly keeping up your gung-ho act and insisting on doing an allnighter to finish an assignment that’ll account only for 5% of your grade.
But then, we don’t live in that dragon-slaying world! It was fun, but this is reality. Time is still ticking, and our assignments are not finishing themselves. Why do we do this procrastinatory escapism all the time? Delaying your responsibilities and pretending they’re not there will totally make them disappear (said no self-help book ever - *roll eyes*). Now you’ve lost time; you don’t feel so good anymore, regretting this and that. Anddd the wave of panic sinks in“ again. So I’d like us to consider another form of escapism. A healthier one - and something most of us don’t do often enough. The type of imagination you’d actually need an article to consider: being thankful. While escapism distracts from reality by "seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy" (Oxford Dictionary, baby!), imagination is about "forming new ideas, or images or concepts". And though these definitions may seem awfully similar, the latter is clearly described with less of a negative tone. We may use the terms interchangeably early in the article, but what becomes apparent is that one is another but the other is not one! (Confused? Me too). What I mean is: escapism (above) needs imagination, but imagination does not always entail escaping. And I think that this sliver of grey area is where it’d be better for us to be.
Say you’ve got a stack of assignments due. And SWOTVAC starting in two weeks. And too many pretutes due the same day. (Wait, you cry, I thought you said an imagination exercise; but why is this is just what I’m actually going through. . . ) And so you think of either actually grinding down to do your responsibilities or to go to the cinema and watch Infinity War. . . But is there another option? Yes, there’s at least one! Imagine that at this very moment, you’re a different person. Cut off from all the good, convenient, beautiful things you have in your life - all these opportunities you might not actually deserve - comforts that so many have to go without. Think of your parents: imperfect (then again - who isn’t?) yet always there. Your friends: crazy but you miss them anyway (and how lucky we should be to have people whom we love enough to miss). Food (seriously, if you can afford overpriced Melbourne brunches, you have way less financial problems than a huge proportion of the world population). Your university (to-be, current or past - anyway Melbourne’s pretty highly-ranked for a number of departments y’all). Your good health (someone always has it crappier than you - trust me). The fact that you don’t have to beg for food and have a roof above your head means that you are more fortunate than almost 6 billion other people in the world.
What does imagining without escaping mean? It means using our faculty of mind in a positive, productive way - helping us towards a path that would leave us a better person who is ready to work.
You could go on and on and on and on. It’s like your stack of accounting lecture notes, but this will actually make you feel better.
Let’s do a little exercise.
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Being thankful doesn’t cost a penny, it doesn’t even take that much time; all you need to do is take a 5-minute breather to think about anyone less fortunate than you. "To complain about a stomach ache requires you to have a stomach at all," a wise teacher once told me. Being thankful helps us to recalibrate our perspective, find joy in our work, and strengthens us to keep on keepin’ on. Less stress, more thanks (Could this be an ad jingle or what?). So, whatever complaints you’ve got about life, I can guarantee you that there are a dozen more good things that make it possible for you to even have that concern in the first place. The fact that we have the ability to compare ourselves to a less fortunate person only proves that we are more fortunate than many. And with privilege comes a duty to keep yourself in check: remind others who are in a similarly privileged position to be thankful AND do something for the less fortunate, be it donations in forms of cash, clothes, food or even time! So - main takeaways: save the books and movies ‘til after the exam. Save the complaining for never. Study hard, stay hydrated, and be thankful. You’ll be better (and probably happier)!
*Additional Note: Catherine will eventually go see Infinity War like a responsible, non-fake-Marvel-fan. Just, like, after the exam period.
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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein
PHOTOGRAPHED BY samantha yvette lim
UN ( DIVERS ) ITY WORDS GABRIELA GLENNDA ILLUSTRATION MONICA CAROLINE
When Perspektif Magazine first published the theme "Imagine" for this volume, my subconscious immediately linked it to my all-time favourite film The Giver. This 2014 film portrays a future "utopia" where everything is uniform, literally. The community’s leaders, i.e. the Elders, ensure that everyone wears the same grey clothes, lives in identically-designed households, and communicates using simple words ("precision of language"). The Elders also assign specific lifetime jobs to the citizens and surveil them 24/7. The citizens are required to push an emotioneliminating button every morning before they leave the house. Even babies who weigh differently from the specified standards will get "sent to Elsewhere", which is an euphemism of "being killed". As such, the Elders ensure extreme uniformity to eliminate any possible conflicts that might arise from differences. Individuals should not and cannot be unique - they cannot have their own beliefs and their personal opinions are suppressed. In doing so, however, the Elders deprive the citizens of the ability to express their uniqueness, to learn from diversity, and to demonstrate their individual creativity. This cinematic reality, unfortunately, is not too farfetched from our real world. In April 2018, I attended an event called ‘4th Wall: Insight’ organised by the 13th Indonesian Film Festival. In this talk show, guest star Jay Subiakto stated, "Keberagaman itu ada supaya seimbang, bukannya dihilangkan supaya seragam." ("Diversity exists to balance, not to be vanquished for uniformity"). Here, he was talking about Indonesian film industry and excessive censorships. The government has been using censorship as a legal method to enforce uniformity in media industry. For instance, the government blurs images of cigarettes and kissing couples, believing that they can trigger addiction and/or sexual tensions. "Inconvenient" films that do not conform with Indonesian government’s interpretation of history or some stories of controversial materials such as G30S/PKI concerning the alleged assassinations of 42
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six Indonesian Army generals in late 1965 remain unclear and inaccessible because of its sensitive nature. The public remains uninformed and unable to learn from their ancestors’ past mistakes. According to Jay, the excessive media censorship has pushed the Indonesian film industry into producing more commercial flicks with minimal precepts that resemble prominent soap-operas. The public is comfortable with insubstantial film plots, thus pushing the demand for those films and diminishing the pursuit of informative films. By setting the benchmark so low, the Indonesian government limits the public’s ability to understand and appreciate Jay’s work. Jay’s latest work, a documentary titled Banda (2017), seeks to expand the Indonesian public’s awareness for Indonesia’s diversity and wealth of resources. However, most Indonesians were unaware of the history of the film’s setting, namely the island of Banda Neira. This spice island, located in Maluku province, was once a global trade centre for nutmeg and mace in the 16th to mid-19th century. At the time, colonial powers ranging from the Portuguese, the English to the Dutch contested each other’s claim for these valuable spices.
The interest in transforming these historic stories into motion pictures, however, is limited. The film industry’s concern with profits and commercial success means that Jay should accept the narrow market share. Similar to the citizens in The Giver, most of the Indonesian public cannot watch or see anything beyond what has already been filtered by the government. They watch shows and/or films that are only reinforcing the government’s agenda. Their knowledge is unchallenged, uncontested - how can one grow and innovate under such condition? In Indonesia, however, diversity is not only subdued in the media industry. The social and political discourses, for instance, revolve around embracing and urging for uniformity. As religions fight to be “the only true” one, individuals are accused of blasphemy. Indonesia’s strict 1965 blasphemy law has incarcerated many, including the former Jakarta governor Ahok in 2016, as extremist organisations accuse him of speaking sacrilegiously about the Quran. In 2012, an Indonesian civil servant was also imprisoned for two-and-a-half-years for declaring himself an atheist on a social media platform. Just like The Giver’s society, many Indonesians’ rights to freedom of speech is obstructed in favour of a single dominant opinion, one that perpetuates Indonesia’s politician’s agenda. In both societies, the citizens’ access to knowledge is limited, those diverting from normality get vanquished, and the governments filter what the people can and cannot see as they enact suppression in the name of protection. The Indonesian government should support and respect its citizens’ freedom of creativity and expression. After all, creative approaches and outof-the-box thinkings are pathways to innovative problem solving. Instead of reinforcing uniformity, individuals should have the liberty to express their own differences. Ultimately, The Giver’s society may be an extreme manifestation of uniformity, but it is important to note that our own country seems to be approaching this scenario. Perhaps once the government changes our clothes and installs an emotion-eliminating button in our houses, we will be more than halfway into The Giver’s society.
Inspired by Jay, I too believe that social media could be a means through which Indonesians express their own creativity. Although still subject to government censorship, social media platforms provide the stage for individuals to communicate and relay information. Social media channels provide artists some kind of ‘free’ platform in which they can exhibit their creativity; they provide future architects the opportunity to mingle with like-minded individuals; they are where writers can collaborate and support each other to publish their work; they are where entrepreneurs can get help to jumpstart their start-ups, gather human resources, and/or delve into the crowdfunding system. Most importantly, social media is where one can get diverse opinions or theories regarding concepts– thus one’s opinion is challenged and s/he is forced to understand the other views by thinking outside the box. This is how one learns to be critical. It is important for Indonesians to understand that our country has so much potential both in the present and in the future. However, one can only fully realise his/her potential among the identical crowd by embracing his/her own difference. As a result, diversity can be a problem solver to the otherwise dull and problem-ridden world. There are many ways to achieve this acceptance. Firstly, we should be critical in our thinking and in expressing our sensible perceptions. This includes putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and consider their positions. Secondly, we should not coerce other people to follow what we think is right, but exhibit a high level of respect while providing feedback to opinions that differ from ours. This includes active listening and calm understanding. Thirdly, the government’s censorship should serve the public and the public only, not some politician’s shortterm agenda. It is through accepting the citizens’ diversity that our country emerges powerful; it is through understanding differences that Indonesia could obtain the best answers to prevent any future avoidable issues.
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Flashback 2014 vOLUMe 3: COntinUUM
“a SMaLLeR WORLD: hOW teChnOLOgy iS DiSRUPting the WORLD in SOUth eaSt aSia’S FavOUR” by MiChaeL ReaRDOn " this hunger for advancement amongst the general public, combined with favourable technological trends, is likely to see South East Asia claim the economic edge of the 21st century. " Q: How has technology helped SEA nations further modernisation of their businesses? Considering how a lot of Indonesian businesses have WhatsApp numbers as official contact information, it’s pretty safe to say that SEA nations are definitely using technology to their advantage. Indonesia-based peer-to-peer transportation companies like G-Jek have maintained their local advantage in a manner that brings forth a wave of the First World into developing nations. This is evident in the way GoJek is beating Uber, the US-based company of the same industry. - Zidny Arbi
“enD the FeStivitieS, StaRt Being CRitiCaL” by egaDhana RaSyiD SataR " Many believe that Joko Widodo is an independent leader, able to control his own decision for the betterment of the country and the welfare of the Indonesian people.... However, he still has relatively weak political power. " Q: What is your opinion regarding Jokowi’s leadership in the past four years? I would like to believe that Jokowi has genuinely done his best in helping Indonesia, notably through improving healthcare system, access to education and infrastructure budget. However, his presidential term hits a few bumps when it comes to investigating past human rights abuses, which was initially part of his presidential campaign, and controversial passing of UU MD3 that gives more political power to the House of Representatives (DPR). - Clara Kosasih 44
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GILDA JAHJA
D é pays e m e n t n. French: the overwhelming sense of being a fish out of water WORDS SABILA PANE ILLUSTRATION PATRICIA HIMAWAN PHOTOS CLARA KOSASIH
My eyes were closed but I scanned the horizon with my thoughts and there was a line. Not just any line. It seemed to stretch across the white, hostile landscape; a single, thin yet unbroken line. Line that when looked at up closely, showed neatly stacked ice bricks. Has the Great Wall of China been magically transported in the middle of an Icelandic tundra? I felt the chills, down to my bones. The blood that ran through my veins was ice-cold. The wind howled, begging for help. The snow was neither benign nor friendly. It did not seem to signal the jolly festivities that usually followed the month of December involving a certain chubby, elderly man from the either ends of the Earth’s pole, his pet reindeers and penchant for gift-giving. The snow was vicious and lethal, devastating everything in its path.
I tugged at my clothing, bracing myself against the numbing temperature. Even though I was alone, I felt the company of the unseen. The wind desperately shoved me backwards. Predators howled from a distance. The forces of nature wanted to triumph over me, as though to remind me who was in power. Determined, I walked, one boot after the other, over 20 inches of snow, towards the Great Wall. ***∗ I drifted aimlessly, bumping against people as I sightsaw. A mother scooped her son into her arms to prevent him from crashing into me. A photographer cursed at me in Spanish for causing him to trip, nearly jeopardising his $10,000 priced camera. Even though I was surrounded by people, I have never felt so alone.
*** The crowd of people was overwhelming. My eyes were shut but I could see them. Strangers. Not a familiar face in sight. I have been here before but in a distant time— when people spoke in a regal manner and an elite few wore crowns and ruled, when women wore long, flowy dresses and men rode to battle in times of distress. Sunshine reflected the weathered cobblestones of Dubrovnik. The coastal town perched comfortably on a cliff. Boats anchored neatly by the port, its pristine sails waving gently against the bright cerulean Adriatic waters. History looked aged yet full of tales. Savoury aroma of local delicacy drifted through the air as my stomach growled. ***∗∗∗
Determined, I walked, one sandaled feet after the other, stepping over the smooth pavements. ***∗ I stood in front of the towering steel gates. I peered inside the snow-covered courtyard. It was deserted. A tiny, black castle loomed ahead and a structure that seemed to resemble an elevator extended vertically against the wall. I peered above. It was not the fact that the sky was grey and covered in heavy clouds at 10AM that surprised me… It was the solid, firm, 700 feet tall worth of ice. It’s the Wall where Jon Snow of Game of Thrones spent seven seasons brooding in a middle of an extreme weather condition whilst still looking like a gorgeous specimen of the human race.
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Was it possible to feel out of place in a location that actually exists the real world and not simply a figment of my imagination? *** I gripped the metal railings of the elevator as the gears groaned, maneuvering and turning. What seemed to be large masses of trees has been covered in snow. The animals were distant and unheard, wind seemed to have died down. Only silence. I felt content. There was no panic or dread. No fear. Just peace. Was this how Jon Snow must have felt like, staring at the edge of the Wall?
I stood at a courtyard, overlooking the gorgeous oceanic view. I tasted the salt, thick in the air. I heard flocks of seagulls scurrying overhead. I’ve been here before. I spent hours walking around but I did not get lost. How was it possible? The familiar clustered towering structures near the Old Town square. Mediterranean style houses. Clear, azure sky. . . King’s Landing? Central stage of the political spectacle of the Seven Kingdoms? ***“ I knew I had seen this place somewhere. There was no way a castle stood in the middle of a snowfield in Iceland against a structure that stretched as far as the eyes can see for both ways. Perhaps, a chilling side effect of reconstructing reality because of media? Imagining spaces that was never there, only to be met with disappointment? ***“ There was a reason why I knew my way around. I had been here before; through television of course. I just wasn’t expecting this place to exist in reality. None of this felt real at all.
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*** “““ I sat in the middle of Dubrovnik’s square and observed the patterns and familiarity of life here. Humans bustled around with their activities. Stall owners shouted at customers as they haggled over price of goods. It was all mundane but I was anxious. There was a need for me to escape, as though something terrible might happen to me. Why was it seemingly impossible for me to enjoy a breathtaking location? ***
The soothing silence heightened my focus. It fulfilled the contrasting emptiness I felt inside. It calmed me. With closed eyes, I was able to think clearly. I had no problem knowing I was within my daydream. It comforted me. The horrors that happened in the story never really happened. The massacres never occurred, nor the treachery towards my favorite characters. The fantasies were never translated to reality.
My imagination was chilling yet calming, like the forces of nature surrounding me. What could occur would’ve been dangerously violent, but it didn’t happen. It was calming. Constructing reality through Game of Thrones did not break me. It was overwhelming, the extent to which my thoughts took me. All in my head. Blissed. ***
***“ The mayhem only made me feel more alone. My train of thoughts were blurred. With closed eyes, I wasn’t able to think straight. Knowing that this place existed made me uneasy. Detaching imagination and reality was not easy. I visualised the blood spilled in this place. I was having a hard time distinguishing the truth. ***“ I opened my eyes. Back to reality. The middle of the snowstorm. I looked around, this time with open eyes. There was no Wall or castle. Just an expanse of white covered field.
I opened my eyes. Back to reality. It takes me back to the start. My stomach growling over the smell of food. Yet, I suppressed it. The streets and buildings in Game of Thrones existed. Panic rose to my throat; it suffocated me. My imagination betrayed me. Nothing about the show was supposed to exist in reality. I hated contemplating the slightest possibility that something like that might happen. I trod the blurred line between reality and imagination. All in my head. Terrified. “““
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/ SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLES O F IMAGINATION past, present, future
WORDS MALVIN NATHAN ILLUSTRATION PATRICIA HIMAWAN PHOTO SAMANTHA YVETTE LIM
Typing 300 pages of notes to get ready for exam? Printing hundred copies of exam papers to hand out to students? Got a laptop and printer? Okay, we’re good. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century where everything is already advanced enough to make our life more efficient and effective. Now imagine a time before computer and printing. Imagine if you have to write each page by hand. Imagine how much time it would take and how frustrated you’ll be! But that was what people did before Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing press in 1452. Without his innovation and the global spread of printing press, it is highly possible that the subsequent eras of the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and Technological Revolution as well as the modern world we live today could not even have existed (or at least these eras would take place much further in the future). Thus, Gutenberg’s invention was arguably a significant historical mark in mankind existence as it contributed to a huge jump in the social and cultural revolution - consider cash, newspapers, books, magazines and even motion pictures, aka films, that started with photograph printing! The Industrial Revolution beginning in the 18th century saw the invention of miraculous technological inventions, such as James Watt’s steam engine, that pushed for time and labour efficiency. This engine managed to reduce dependency on manual labour, but still needed human intervention to operate. Steam locomotives, for example, required human engineers to regulate steam pressure and control movement. Even so, steam locomotives were faster than horse wagons and could carry numerous passengers, which diminished the amount of time needed for humans to travel. These inventions spread out globally and thus began the era of human reliance on machineries.
But wait - how did all these inventions start? What pushed humans to invent and pursue efficiency? The Black Death around the 14th century had greatly reduced the number of human population. There were no enough humans to work the soil and people were starving. Therefore, people started to imagine ways to make their lives easier. They imagined a better life and put that imagination into action (using the inheritances they received from their dead parents/ uncles/ aunts). Guess what came after the Black Death? The Renaissance era, where art, architecture, literature, and inventions became ubiquitous! So yes, everything started as a mere idea, a mere imagination, and then action. Just like what the scientist Doc Brown from Back to the Future II (1989) wisely stated, "Your future depends on whatever you make it". The business visionary Elon Musk, for instance, is currently developing a project called the ‘SpaceX’. He aspires to reach out new horizons, including flying in a rocket colonising the planet Mars. His aspiration is exactly how all technological development started. Musk imagines a human life in Mars, then he acts on his imagination by gathering resources and developing new technologies! This ongoing project has also significantly reduced the cost of space travel. The SpaceX’s Heavy Falcon rocket is indicated to be ten times cheaper than NASA’s rocket per launch. Furthermore, Musk also imagines a future that consumes less natural resources. With this goal in mind, he then co-founds the company ‘Tesla’ that specialises in electric vehicles consuming no fossil fuel, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing producing renewable resources.
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With further technological advancement and highlyimproaved innovations, it is possible that humans will be completely dependent on machines. There are two sides in the argument regarding technology’s influence on human agency. The movie Wall-E (2008) portrays human reliance on technology in a negative light. Wall-E is a waste disposal robot that illustrates a human-like personality. His job is to clean the mess humans have made on earth while the humans live inside a spaceship where they travel using magnetic chairs. The humans depend on a machine like Wall-E to do all the work and repair all the junks they threw away. In the film, the humans have become mindless, indulgent consumers as it is the robots that feed the humans and even educate the children. While it appears that the robots are only the help, they are actually the ones in charge. The humans’ role is to merely follow the instructions given by the robots instead of vice versa. On the contrary, another view revealed by the movie Back to The Future II (1989) gave us a perfect vision of a future positively influenced by technology. These technologies are portrayed as helpful and useful as humans employ them to better their lives. Some astonishing inventions shown in the movie 30 years ago actually happened today, such as the self-lacing shoes developed by Nike, the high-tech Google Glass eyewear, DJI drones hovering up in the air and the mobile electronic tablets. These films may be fictional, but they also demonstrate the extent of human imagination. Films, after all, serve as a two-way channel that both derive from and reflect on reality. Humans’ fear and fascination of technological advancement have thus made it to thousands of motion pictures. Why thousands? Because film producers and directors ultimately have their own imagination concerning technology and its impact on the future, just like any of us.
From global economy perspective, however, the business-based nonprofit World Economic Forum expresses concern about technological changes. The exponential growth, and productivity, of technological advancement could have a negative impact on human employment. Technology’s ability to produce more with less time, as exemplified by our food industry compared to 100 years ago, means that corporations could earn more profit by replacing human labour. It is highly probable that robots will replace these employees within the next 20 years. A recent study from BBC Future Now believes that over the next decade or two, 47% of US employment will be at risk of getting replaced by automated machines. Technological changes have even threatened jobs that are considered as ‘safe territory’, such as being a taxi driver, accountant or cashier - consider selfdriving cars, huge and efficient calculators, and Amazon’s grocery store. Despite the problems that technology might cause in the global economy, it appears that one cannot stop furthering such advancement, particularly in this technological digital age. Visionaries from multinational corporations such as Google and Amazon are still keen to make more humanlike automated machines without any human interaction. Two years ago, for instance, Amazon opens up their first flagship grocery store in Seattle where shoppers could purchase a product by just taking it from the shelves and directly leaving the store. The grocery stores’ doors act as a metal detector and cash register that scan your credit or debit cards in your wallet. Your purchases would then get sent directly to your bank account. Furthermore, Google recently announced the launch of their first Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant called Google Duplex. Humans could interact with Duplex as if they are interacting with another normal human being. This Duplex innovation fulfils humans’ greatest imagination often depicted in numerous Hollywood films: to create a sentient robot! These are brief descriptions that barely scratch the surface on the debate concerning technologies and the future. Even though it all started with mere imagination, technological developments have great impacts on our human life. The future could be better or bleaker. Regardless, we humans are the ones who imagine and create, so ultimately, we are the ones responsible for our own future.
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Even though it all star ted with mere imagination, tec hnological developments have great impacts on our human life. The future could be better or bleaker
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Flashback 2015 vOLUMe 4: hUManS “DeCOnStRUCt eveRything, QUeStiOn eveRything” by DyLan aMiRiO " Religion, however, is protected by a divine veil of immunity that humans tend to see as absolute“. You try that [writing Charlie Hebdo’s satires] in Indonesia, and because of the incredible veil of immunity, no paper is brave enough to take the risk... " Q: Consider political movements based on religious agenda in Indonesia. Attempts to satirise religious beliefs can result in dangerous backlash. Charlie Hebdo shooting created a fear-mongering precedent to many journalists who have been relying on the rights to freedom of speech. In Indonesia, this fear stands on the same ground. While the former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) was not a journalist, his incarceration for blasphemy is an ending sign for religious toleration in Indonesia. - Jason Hendricks
“CRaCking the DRUg Myth” by aUDRey kang " Drugs, or at least soft drugs, have been becoming more acceptable in society. While stigma still comes along with it, most recreational drug users are facing fewer objections as compared to decades ago... " Q: How has laws (local or international) regarding drugs evolved? Over the past few years, public perceptions of recreational drug use have evolved. Policy and legislation have begun to reflect this new understanding, with marijuana now legal in several countries and a number of U.S. states. As with any other substance that requires regulation, such as tobacco and alcohol, one should exercise responsibility. Know the risks and know your limits. - Sheri Lohardjo
vOLUMe 5: PRiDe
“OPen aPOLOgy On BehaLF OF aUStRaLia: i’M SORRy.” by tRaviS LaRCOMBe "“...the truth is that the ‘fair go’ was only ever there for those of us with fair skin and European ancestry“.I’m sorry that the Australian media is so consumed with pandering to nationalistic sentiments that it constantly perpetuates negative, alarmist stereotypes about non-Western countries and cultures.. " Q: How do you react to Travis’s open apology? As touching as Travis’s humility is, I personally disagree with his opinion as I believe that no country is perfect. In a melting pot such as Australia, there are kind-hearted, reflective individuals who insist on helping others (like Travis), but there are also those who perpetuate negative sentiments to marginalised community. As long as there are people with good intention, a country is not morally incapable of keeping themselves in check. - Jane Novella
“inDOneSian hiStORy, ChineSe WhiSPeRS” by Raina angDiaS " Rani Pramesti’s modus operandi: to create meaningful, overtly feminist, and personal performance installations... her work concentrates on topics people are not proud of. " Q: What is your opinion on artists using their art to reveal societal issues? It is very humbling to see artists like Rani Pramesti showing strong messages through their artwork. These artists are the ones I admire most because they are using their artistic talents to express greater yet controversial topics to the world. To raise public awareness and encourage reflection is challenging, but not impossible for these artists who push themselves to become the voice of their country. - Agnes Wijono
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GRESELvA PRAJITNO
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PHILOSOPHICAL ACTION WORDS JOCELYN DEANE ILLUSTRATION PATRICIA HIMAWAN
Just a regular ‘philosophical’ chat with your friend Wright about what you would do if you have God’s powers.
But that statement escapes me too. Then who should we trust?
Wright, you know that movie? The one with Jim Carrey, where he got the powers of God, I think Bruce Almighty it was called.
Well, I know whom I trust, how about you? I don’t want to impose my point of view. Wright, you know what? I don’t feel great.
The premise is cool, don’t you think? But I don’t want God’s powers. It’s crazy. You have to watch over all living things. It’s not all fun and games you see.
Oh, I don’t want to talk about this anymore, just talking about change is such a snore. No point of talking when there’s no action. If there’s no action, there can be no transformation.
What if I snap my fingers, and then poof! The sky is no longer blue, your feet leaves the ground, and the world is void of sound. What if I clap my hands and thunder rumble, and lightning strikes a tree on the sidewalk? Then, cars drive out of control and tumble, just because a bus hit a misplaced rock? You CAN change the world. Just bam and end world hunger. Geez, that does sound amazing, but what if the repercussions aren’t appealing? The future will be vastly different, even if you just change one thing in the past. Things happen for a reason, maybe it’s better for things to be left as it was. Don’t I want things to be idyllic? Of course! I’m not trying to be a cynic. Just saying that the universe is too humongous. How can we stop every single abuse?
Hm, let’s start from your apartment. You know it’s filthy, right? Do you recycle your tuna tins? You still have these plastic bottles, Wright… If you don’t recycle, it’s gonna be like Wall-E. That movie is really imbued with realism, look at all the trash filling our city, and the iron grip of capitalism. Wright, I’m not complaining. I am only stating the facts. I am breaking this news with tact through a great ‘philosophical’ chat in the evening. You keep changing the subject, you brat! You’re the one who made this about your dirty flat. Whatever, it’s time for dinner! These ‘philosophical’ chats exhaust me. Where do you want to go? Actually, let’s just order takeaway. I’m too lazy to walk.
What do I propose we should do? I don’t know. They say it should start from us, ARTS, CULTURE & EDUCATION /
Flashback 2016 vOLUMe 6: ShaDOWS
“aRtS BeLOW the RUg” by BhaRgavi BattaLa " Not all artists are into pop-culture, though it the most money making channel of art due to mass consumerism. A lot of art is done in the shadows of pop-culture... art that is trying to make our world a better place to live in. " Q: What makes certain mainstream culture commercially successful? Is it because it’s more intriguing than other alternative cultures? Art is a form of expression and can be considered as a communication device. I think the reason why certain arts dominate pop culture is because they offer consumers access to affordable ‘prestige’. After all, consumers consume based on both social capital and artistic value. Alternative culture also has its own niche market offering audience the luxury to ponder. Often, it is the audience that gets consumed by art, with how it resonates with them. - Gabrielle Aquilla
vOLUMe 7: RevOLUtiOn “aRtiFiCiaL inteLLigenCe” by ziDny iLMan aRBy " The idea of creating a sentient computer“ and implanting either into an artificial body will not only have exciting implications, but also have powerful applications. " Q: Has technology further enhanced the everyday applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? The advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents an endless possibility to the human imagination. We have seen AI’s positive potential for the betterment of human lives nowadays, with self-driving cars and virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. However, there are also fears that AI could endanger human lives. The second Avengers movie, for instance, depicts AI’s potential to destroy mankind. Although fictional, the movie serves as a cautionary tale to AI’s superiority. - Ivan Hasjim
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARCELLINA TACHJADI
THE ROLE O F THE INDIVIDUAL WORDS BRYANT KURNIASURJA ILLUSTRATION JANE NOVELLA PHOTO CLARA KOSASIH
Utopia: an imagined place or state where everything is perfect. Mankind history has recorded multiple attempts to conjure up promised utopias through the upholding of ideologies. In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn cited that the Soviet Union had to pay with 66,000,000 lives for implementing communism into their state in the 20th century. China’s revolution under the dictatorship of Mao killed 45,000,000 in mere four years according to historian, Frank Dikotter. Not forgetting the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, that’s two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe at the time. The examples laid out above are the catastrophic ends associated with states serving as upholders of pathological ideologies. The fact that people nowadays are pushing forward these ideologies to be realised again just beggars the imagination. Why? It isn’t the case that if these ideologies are to be implemented today, the promised utopia will be established. Here’s what history has taught us, human beings have an immense capacity for malevolence. If you think you would have never done the torturous things those camp guards in the Gulags or Auschwitz had done, and possibly enjoy doing so, you might not have yet fully understand who you are, and what you are capable of. They were human beings, and we are human beings— you see the murderous things human beings have done in the 20th century? That’s what we’ve done and are capable of doing. And so, the question remains, "Why are these ideologies still being pushed forward these days?". German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche predicted in the 19th century that following the "Death of God", societies will either hold on to pathological ideologies, or default to nihilism (a will to nothingness). It wasn’t a triumphant declaration by Nietzsche— he believed that it would leave a void in societies that would make them prone to collapse. 60
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Nihilism is the rejection of all religion and moral principles, rendering life meaningless. Why do you think you matter? You’re one in 7 billion, and your actions won’t matter in a million years anyway. Questions like that are central to the ideology of nihilism. But I think that’s an ill-informed truth. One of the things that I have learned, and many of us might also have, is that life is not entirely meaningless. Why? We all feel pain, and pain means something, we suffer from it. How do we suffer? For starters, we’re full of inadequacies. We’re born with certain conditions that we wish we were born without, we’re subject to judgement and rejection, and we’re not living up to our full potential. We know that we’re not who we could be, but that’s okay, since it opens up a realm of potential that we can realise and improve our life upon. It’s a liberating truth because it at least gives us things to work on during our time here. Other than that, we also must face the tragedies life befalls us. What are these tragedies? Human beings are prone to illnesses , accidents and the inevitable witnessing of the passing of a loved one. It doesn’t stop here however, since malevolence exists. Evil, the manifestation of resentment and hatred. No wonder people get resentful, we suffer through life, and sometimes it’s just too much for us to bear. The thing about the suffering that evil brings about is that it’s unnecessary. Life is hard enough; wouldn’t it be better if malevolence is constrained? And I am not directing this message to those who are bad, it’s a message for all of us. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, "The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being". The line does not divide groups of people, or states alike, it runs down the heart of every individual, including you. Human beings’ capability for malevolence is not up for debate, it’s been well-documented in the 20th century! You’re no saint. The chances of you being Oskar Schindler during the holocaust is extremely low, whilst the chances of you becoming an
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L i f e i s n ’ t f a i r, i t ’ s c r u e l , i t i s o l a t e s u s … I think if we act out our resentment, we’ll easily find ourselves in Hell
Auschwitz camp guard when you are faced with the opportunity and find enjoyment in your "work" is quite high. Evil is a real thing, it lurks inside of all of us, and we see it manifested in the world. Hence, on top of the suffering and tragedies our mere souls need to endure, we are still faced with evil. That’s suffering. That’s pain. Pain is not meaningless, it’s not mere opinion, we feel it, it’s real. Now the question is, "what should we do about all of that?" You let it corrupt you, or you prevail above it. Two distinct pathways. The heroic pathway, or the alternative. The heroic pathway is the pathway where, given the suffering state of the individual, the individual accepts, bears, and continues to orient themselves as a force-for-good in the world anyways. The individual does not allow his/her character to be corrupted by the injustice that is ever-present. The individual acknowledges the consequences of taking this pathway will cost, but still courageously takes it. The individual realises his/her own ability to act malevolently, and keeps it constrained. The individual also commits to act upon a noble aim that is predicated on the betterment of the world. It is an act of faith as Soren Kierkegaard would call. The question is, "what would happen if we choose to take this pathway? Isn’t life cruel enough?" The answer is, things would probably be better compared to if we let ourselves take the alternative pathway.
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What’s the alternative? Good question. It is when we choose to curse and resent the structure of Being in its entirety. The individual chooses to lay the cause of all life’s problems at the feet of the universe or God. Life is unfair. Life is cruel. Why was Being ever created in the first place? It’s true. Life isn’t fair, it’s cruel, it isolates us. The question remains, "What will we do about that?" I think if we act out our resentment, we’ll easily find ourselves in Hell. John Milton once wrote, "Hell is a bottomless pit." The idea embedded in that statement is that there is no end to how horrible our life can be, it’s a pit that goes down into the infinite abyss. Our decision to act out our resentment, moves not only us, but also society closer down to hell. You might ask, what does Hell look like on Earth? Here’s hell on earth from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago— A taste of camp life; a prisoner in one of the Gulags, bound to work 14-16 hours a day, with a 7-ounce of bread ration per day, whilst also having the privilege of watching camp inmates suffer from malaria, tuberculosis, etc. And here’s what interesting, for Solzhenitsyn, what happened in the Soviet Union was not a top-down leader manipulating innocent masses. It’s the moral failings of every single individual unwilling to say their truth, unwilling to act out what they know to be right that produces the catastrophic state, reinforcing again the idea of how your decision to take this pathway will lead to catastrophe. Hence, the answer to the question, "What’s the alternative?" The answer to that is "Hell."
Now, imagine that you are in a world where people collectively get their act together. Where people collectively accept their limitations, and face lifeâ€™s tragedies in a noble manner. Where people face malevolence, injustice and betrayal without letting themselves be corrupt. Where they strive for the absolute good and contribute to the betterment of the world, furthering themselves as far away as possible from hell. Where people donâ€™t live their lives as puppets of ideologies, but instead cut their strings loose, and become a well-articulated, strong individual that takes on optimal challenge and bear maximum responsibility. Where people donâ€™t suffer from meaninglessness, but acknowledge suffering, and try to aid it. In that world, people are collectively moving the world closer to heaven. It might be the case upon which heaven can be brought in a world where malevolence exists. What a world that we will inhabit if individuals choose to take the noble pathway, and embody the spirit of the good instead of living as serfs of ideologies or suffer dreadfully in ultimate meaninglessness.
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Flashback 2017 vOLUMe 8: yOUth
“the neW Wave OF yOUng” by FeBRina ReBeCCa " Every area in the fashion industry is now influenced by culture of the young that is very rebellious with strong sense [of] individuality“. Young souls are discovering untapped areas of inspiration“[and] exploring new meaning of creative expression to reinvent things. " Q: Do you agree/ disagree that the young has great impact on the rise of certain trends? The young influences the rise of fashion trends? Na’ah. Honey, you are wrong if you think fashion is unpredictable. Buyers, merchandisers, designers, people behind the scene are the ones preparing and enforcing the trends. Most consumers are not the trend creators; we pick up what fast fashions and influencers feed us. When big brands present the comebacks of old trends, we consume. Just look at Dior back with its old-school saddle bag! - Kinski Shabilla
vOLUMe 9: FLOURiSh “the BitCOin FRenzy” by ivan haSJiM " One can anticipate that the demand for bitcoin, as well as its value, will continue to increase exponentially provided that one eager investor after another consistently jumps on the bitcoin bandwagon. " Q: Consider the value of bitcoin and its future. 1 Bitcoin = AUD 10,945.89 as of 20 May 2018. Modern technology has enabled us to live conveniently by integrating every aspect of our daily needs into a single device, such as phonetap payment. It is doubtful that Bitcoin’s value would remain stable in long-term for it relies only upon the demand and supply of market sentiments. One should never consider investing one’s entire savings on Bitcoin as the absence of a regulatory body means volatile demand and thus value. - Patricia Himawan
PHOTOGRAPHED BY GIFFARY AHMAD PANGESTU
FLipping c r e at i v i t y WORDS zidny ilman arbi ILLUSTRATION PATRICIA HIMAWAN
With over 415,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Adam Neely’s resume does not only list him as a popular and busy bassist, but also as a graduate of two prestigious music schools, the Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. His YouTube channel features not only his gigs but also his own educational videos on music composition and its techniques. He also constantly questions the nature of music itself. In his video titled “Elemental Arranging”, he opens the video with the statement: "Nobody is original." In this video, Neely explains the essence of "Elemental Arranging" by stating that every piece of art is "stolen from people who have done it before". An ‘art’ may appear original, but that is only because the artist is able to blend concepts that they ‘stole’ from the preceding and disparate influences. The artist is then able to synthesise this ‘art’ in a way that reflects both the artist’s sense of taste and ability to realise and manifest ideas. Whether its music, a piece of painting, or even a comedy show, this process persists throughout the ages. The video goes on to explain how Neely covered Zedd’s 2012 hit song “Clarity”, and explained how he used elements of other music styles, such as trap rhythms, bass vocoders and narrative structures, to help shape his chord and melody progressions, which helps shape his own unique take on "Clarity". Neely may not be the first one to do this, but he is the first one to give this concept of, "Elemental Arranging", a name, at least for modern music. Andrew Huang, a YouTube musician boasting 1.3 million subscribers, applied a variation of Neely’s "Elemental Arranging" in his video titled "4 PRODUCERS FLIP THE SAME SAMPLE". As the video’s title implies, Andrew Huang asked his producer friends to join him in the challenge of remaking one existing song (in this case, the indie/alternative track “Foreign Bodies” by Lucy Swann) into one of their own compositions. Within the 24-hour time 66
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frame, each producer created an original piece of music by ‘remixing’ or ‘sampling’ from "Foreign Bodies". In their creative processes, each producer implemented their musical styles and backgrounds. Throughout the video, they each emphasise on how they want their composition to sound like certain genre they are familiar with. One of the composers, Jeremy Blake, stated that he has been, “listening to a lot of ‘Future Bass’ and ‘Neo-Soul and wanted to do something in that vein”. The other producers in the video took different influences to create a sound that resonates with their creative interests, such as the producer Cuckoo with his glitchy rendition of the song, Rachel K. Collier’s electro-punk version with a focus on a vocal melody that sounds like "Follow Puppies", and Andrew Huang’s unplanned, multi-part execution of different musical flavors. Thus, despite using the same ‘foundation’, i.e. Swann’s "Foreign Bodies", each artist produced vastly different results. Perhaps all of these ‘new’ renditions can be seen as original, but once composition is broken down to their base elements, they are not as original as we thought. Creative in their implementation, but not wholly original. This is not to say originality is completely dead though. Western music still experience their bouts of dramatic evolution, even during the time when "Classical", where most people mean orchestral, music reigned supreme. In actuality, orchestral music faced different evolutions throughout its peak before the mid-20th century due to each transition being a response to the eras before. Each period of traditional Western music clashed with each other over traditional rigidity and human expression, such as with the simplistic style of Renaissance songs, followed by the grand and extravagant Baroque era before transitioning to the actual "Classical" music with their refined, yet expressive compositional techniques (of which many modern
musical composition is based on). Even now, hip hop is entering their era in mainstream music as they took the place of pop punk in the early 2000s. The face of music has radically changed throughout the years, and each period certainly cannot be called purely unoriginal, as in this case originality is someone’s innate ability to pull in their influences in such a way that resonates with the culture at the time.
perfectly captures the mood of an afternoon forest, spat at it and said, "Screw realism, I’m making my own art style." More often than not, different movements happen because other people outside of the artists like the way they do things. While the artists might not perceive themselves as making a new wave in art, critics and curators of that artist’s work will decide that this "stroke of originality" is the next trend.
A more noticeable example of this type of originality is within the evolution of visual of art. From caveman paintings to realism, from modernist style of reinventing the past in abstraction to post-modernist style of deconstruction and intertextuality, each era of art brings about a different aesthetic distinct from the ones before. Even if modernism is characterised by experimentation, it may not be entirely true to say that Picasso’s collage or any other early modernist artwork was completely original. Rather, it is more accurate to say that people saw it as vastly different than the majority of works before. This, thus, made the implicit connection that "different" means "original". It also cannot be said that all art movements made after the realism era are made as a rejection of their predecessors. It is not as if artists like Vincent Van Gogh saw a painting that
Today’s art is an endless mix of realism, photography, installation art, interactive virtuality, as well as various modernist interpretations of art, textures and pop culture ideas. Meanwhile, music will maintain its cyclic nature, yet it will never get stale due to the sheer body of work that still remains within the "underground music scene". Regardless of auditory or visual art, originality pulls influences from the past, the future, and the present to create something new. Originality exists, but not as the concept of pulling things from thin air. Rather, it is a way of refreshing tropes in ways that might not have been experienced before. "Nothing is original," but that doesn’t mean art and life cannot be new, creative, and fun.
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FILM PHOTOS by Deta Liwanuru
the Future oF Finance WORDS eDWaRD tanOtO iLLUStRatiOn PatRiCia hiMaWan PhOtO zi yi (BiLLy) kOay
"Thereâ€™s enough math in finance already. Whatâ€™s missing is imagination." Following this statement, Professor Emanuel Derman of Financial Engineering at Columbia University explained that imagination is core to building a financial model. Furthermore, a model for a financial valuation is based upon an assumed outcome that will supposedly occur, and one on which analysts base their valuations. Much of the work is left to the imagination to conjure a probable forecast and implement it into the analysis. It then becomes an irony that in an era of scientific discovery and technological advent that finance is still very dependent on the human imagination. The financial structure we have today has also come to be from the collective imagination and dedication of different people putting in their pieces onto the puzzle of financial future. Now imagine that you were working in 1968 as a financial analyst. Would you be able to imagine a future financial system that is operated by machines and not humans? Would you be able to predict that by 2018, technological advancement in machine learning could open the possibility of a fully automated algorithmic trading in the market? It would have been difficult, especially with computers that still functioned in their analogous form with commands entered in ASCII and digits. Fast forward to 50 years later and we are already functioning under a digital system that was unthinkable at the time. Fast forward another 50 years to 2068, and how different will our financial system be compared to today? Again, it is a blur but let us try to imagine.
The new boy on the street
Arguably, no other market has managed to shake the world as much as cryptocurrency did in 2017. When Forbes published an article highlighting the 1,200% surge in the crypto market on November 17th, 2017, the total market capitalisation for the cryptomarket stood at $234 billion. This was a stark increase from its $17.7 billion market cap on January 1st, 2017. One month later on December 17th, 2017, the crypto-market reached its peak market cap value at $590 billion. However, the immediate and devastating plunge that ensued served as a wakeup call that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The drop shedded off 32.9% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. The volatility surrounding cryptocurrency and its trading has given rise to both proponents and opponents. Proponents herald digital currencies as the future currency, citing advantages such as their fast settlement process, low processing fee and plausibility as a global currency in trades and businesses. In contrast, opponents focus on 70
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its inherent volatility, arguing that their rapidly changing value will discourage anyone from recognising it as a payment method. The increase in speculative trading and volatility had also prompted the South Korean government to crack down on cryptocurrency trading and the Indonesian government to ban the use of cryptocurrency as a payment method in early 2018 . In 50 yearsâ€™ time, cryptocurrency will certainly gain a better reputation. Bitcoin has currently been accepted as a payment method by several companies such as Expedia.com, CheapAir.com and Bloomberg.com among many others. While it is mostly used as payment for retail items and purchases, it is highly plausible that Bitcoin (or cryptocurrency in general) can also be used to purchase physical and financial assets in the future (properties, stocks, CFDs, etc.). It could even be used as a wage payment mechanism, much like how some companies pay their employees with partial shares of their companies as opposed to a full wage.
The old, tested currencies
Cryptocurrency has given rise to the possibility of a single currency world. However, it is hard to imagine the digital coin replacing the currency system we currently have, even in 50 yearsâ€™ time. Our currencies are more than a purchasing and payment tool. The ability for each government to control the supply of their respective currency allows national monetary institutions to ensure healthy inflation and gauge economic performance. This monetary control is done by regulating the supply of fiat money in the market with respect to its demand. Should inflation be deemed too high, a contractionary monetary policy is adopted and vice versa. A contractionary monetary policy is an inflation control mechanism that raises interest rates to encourage saving, lessens spending, and thus slows down the rate of price increase, or inflation, due to the lower spending rate. A contractionary monetary policy that is favorable for a country with high inflation will have the opposite effect in one with low inflation. With cryptocurrency,
adopting monetary policies becomes a global consideration. Under a single currency system, it becomes much more difficult to employ monetary policies into the currency itself. This is the dilemma that will have to be overcome should we choose to abandon national currencies. In the worst case scenario, there might come a time when monetary policies are deemed obsolete under a single currency world simply because a single universal interest rate no longer works for individual countries. Similarly, currencies can also be used as a distinguisher to gauge the economic performance of a country, which is important information for investors. Countries with high exchange rates imply strong economic performance (and vice versa), and a strong economic performance can be an attractive reason to invest towards, or to hold the currencies as financial assets. Cryptocurrency is unable to provide this information as it is not tied to the economic performance of any specific nation, thus placing cryptocurrency at a disadvantage compared to our fiat currencies.
The relic of the past - cash
Based on the RBAâ€™s current data on cheque usage, a forecast conducted through the site finder.com. au found that bank cheques will most likely stop circulating as a means of payment in Australia by December 2019. The increasing shift to electronic payment platforms such as Paypal or Amazon Pay and the rising usage of digital settlements in e-commerce transactions have forced the cheque out of the playing field. A cashless society has become a common goal for both developing and developed nations. The transition is slow and will definitely take time to come to fruition. While it is highly doubtful that cash will become extinct by 2068, it is very likely that we will see a rapid decrease in the usage of physical notes being used in transaction processes. Should technology continue to progress and facilitate digital payments, it is only a matter of time before cash becomes obsolete.
/ BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
When Bitcoin was first made available to the public in 2009, it had zero value. It was only when Bitcoin was first sold in 2010 that it first had value, where 10,000 coins were equivalent to two pizzas. Over the subsequent years, Bitcoin continued to outperform expectations and rose to unprecedented price levels. It had created a place for itself - a feat nobody initially thought impossible. It is difficult to accurately predict what the future holds. By math alone, there is only so much we can envision. That is exactly why we to add another variable - imagination - into the equation. After all, imagination has helped form what we have today. Who are we to break that trend?
B y m a t h a l o n e, t h e r e i s o n l y s o m u c h we can envision. That is exactly why we to add another variable imagination - into the equation
n g v t r ie n n ial by Agnes Wijono
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The mind has a powerful way of forming creative ideas and solutions. Imagination asks the question, "What if?" - and helps us to answer it....
Published on Mar 14, 2019
The mind has a powerful way of forming creative ideas and solutions. Imagination asks the question, "What if?" - and helps us to answer it....