Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kartini and Feminism

A note from my hybernating period .. to commemorate Kartini's day

Visited another country just for a vacation is something that I never dream for. Not because I could not afford it, it’s just because I love the beach and the sun which shine for 24 hours (except for rainy days).

My trip is always a business trip combine with a vacation trip after the exhausting day of exhibition, working or even training.

Therefore, when my husband and in-laws offered me to spend four days to the “most-common-visited” country by the Indonesian, the paradise of shopping sale, I felt a little bit uncomfortable.

The reason was simple, because it is not a business trip, it’s a vacation and vacation is something that I always plan ahead. I could not go to a vacation without prepare the details of my trip. Even to the place that I always visit, still planning is in my top priority.

And … the journey starts at Emirates.

As we all know, Arab Saudi is the first destination for Indonesian women workers. They work for Arab Saudi’s family helping the house wife in managing the house holds. Once a year, they go back to Indonesia before they flew back to Arab Saudi again.

The education? Arab Saudi didn’t ask for higher education, at minimum they have to pass their elementary school. The language or the culture was being trained by the agent before they got a place to work. Therefore we can imagine the difficulty they have to face in listening the instruction given by their master.

Anyway, back to Emirates, in my row – we were sitting at 4 seater – one of the passenger were one of Indonesian women workers.

I felt pity for them, we left Indonesia around 08.20 pm and for the long trips like that, at least we have to prepare our clothes to fight with the coldness but this Indonesian woman worker only wore a shirt and a suit; besides their ability to communicate in English, even though it is a simple question.

In our row the Indonesian woman worker sat next to Indonesian rich, educated guy. Then here the story continues ….

When the female attendant asked the Indonesian woman worker to fasten her seat belt, she didn’t know how to do it.

Our Indonesian guy didn’t say anything not even helped her.

Then when it comes to choose the dinner, she also couldn’t say her decision. She didn’t even understand that she has to make a choice.

Like before, our beloved Indonesian guy just sat quietly but now he gave his odd look to our Indonesian woman worker.

The last one is when our flight transit in Singapore and the flight attendant asked our Indonesian woman worker to leave the plane.

Our Indonesian guy just left the plane and as usual didn’t say anything while the flight attendant made every effort to make our Indonesian worker understood the meaning of transit.

Once again, I felt pity for them. They just left Indonesia in 1 hour flight from Jakarta to Singapore and they have received the worst treatment from the same Indonesian citizen not the Arabian.

And now, today, when we commemorate Kartini, the Indonesian woman leader of emancipation, we forgot to touch the basis of emancipation. The basis that I called “Respect”.

Emancipation is all about respect, respect from both side, as a human being not based on gender. Emancipation is all about recognition that woman as well as man contribute the same thing through different shape, different form.

Like what the Indonesian guy did to our Indonesian woman worker, if there’s respect even though they are a helper, then he will help them, guide them in that 1 hour flight.

I read in the article in one of Indonesia woman’s magazine, the writer stated that Indonesian woman always fight for their right but at the same time they need the man treat them like a woman, whilst if we asked for the right similarity then we have to stop to protest if the man treat us like them.

Maybe I’m not a modern woman, maybe ..; but for me, emancipation is about accepting that we’re different from man. Emancipation is about stopping to beg the mars people to treat the Venus differently while at the same time fight for the similarity. Emancipation is about knowing man’s and woman’s superiority.

Kartini never fight for feminism and it’s totally wrong to put Kartini as the leader of the Indonesian woman liberation.

….my two cents…


Anonymous said...

Jui, I love this post. I couldn't even imagine if I were in their positions. Scared, confused, and probably nervous. I remember my first international flight, it was only to KL, Malaysia and man... I was like a wreck.
And unfortunately, some ethnic in Indonesia, values patriarch so highly; where man is considered to be more valuable than woman. Do they respect Kartini's emancipation? It's back to the famiily, I guess. How they educate their young males.

Katadia said...

I love this post too!!!!!!!

I remembered my husband filling in the immigration card for a domestic worker once.

I might write a post for the Kartini day too. Udah telat... but better than never right?

I'm updating my links, aku link ya mbak?

tere616 said...

accordingtod : Thank you Din and yes, it's back to the family. In our tradition - not all - patriarch were value so high and yet the younger generation can't change it and yes, they don't want to change it :-(

katadia : Hi..where have you been ? Wow... how kind he is. Ah..nggak ada kata terlambat kan.. ? Waiting for your post.

Aku link juga ya..terima kasih sudah di link.