Budaya Pus Am

Sebenarnya saya ragu untuk menulis artikel ini. Sedikit khawatir bila tulisan ini akan menuai kontraversi seperti jambul Khatulistiwanya Syahrini, karena artikel yang akan saya angkat menyangkut adat-istiadat masyarakat luas di daerah tempat tinggal saya. Setelah saya mempertimbangkan lebih lanjut, saya harus menulis artikel ini dengan berbagai sudut pandang yang berbeda. Sebab pada hakikatnya segala sesuatu hal senantiasa memiliki dua sisi yang bertolak belakang: baik dan buruk, positif dan negatif, menguntungkan dan merugikan.

Masyarakat di daerah barat daya provinsi Kalimantan Tengah mengenal budaya pus-am sejak zaman nenek moyang mereka menempati wilayah tersebut yang meliputi kabupaten Sukamara, kabupaten Lamandau, dan sebagian kabupaten Kotawaringin Barat. Ada pula masyarakat di wilayah selatan kabupaten Ketapang yang terletak di provinsi Kalimantan Barat. Lalu, apakah yang dimaksud dengan budaya pus am itu?

Lebih tepatnya pus am atau kerap juga dilafalkan pusam dalam aksen cepat, adalah suatu kebiasaan masyarakat di wilayah yang telah saya sebutkan di atas, di mana mereka enggan memedulikan suatu persoalan yang mungkin dianggap penting oleh lawan bicaranya. Secara harfiah pus dapat diartikan ‘biar saja’ dalam bahasa Indonesia. Akan tetapi masyarakat cenderung mengartikannya sebagai suatu ungkapan yang berarti ‘masak bodoh’. Masyarakat di perbatasan Kalbar dan Kalteng seringkali melafalkannya, “pus am!” atau “pus am bah!” dengan intonasi meninggi pada kata ‘am’ dan memanjang pada pengucapan kata ‘bah’ menjadi ‘baaah!’ 

Kata ‘am’ dan ‘bah’ itu sendiri tidak memiliki makna yang berarti. Kedua kata tersebut hanya menjadi penghias kalimat, atau penekan kalimat yang mengindikasikan kasar-halusnya suatu pengucapan. Bunyi ucapan tersebut memang tidak nyaman didengar dan terkesan kasar. Akan tetapi kebiasaan mengucapkan kata-kata pus am telah mendarah daging di masyarakat sehingga menjadi tradisi. Saya kerap dibuat jengkel tatkala mendengar seseorang mengatakan pus am kepada saya. Seringnya saya mendengar kata-kata tersebut akhirnya saya menjadi terbiasa dan bersikap sabar ketika menyikapinya. Beberapa kejadian tidak menyenangkan yang pernah saya alami dengan budaya pus am antara lain sebagai berikut:

Pertama, waktu itu saya baru menjadi seorang guru di sebuah SMA. Murid-murid saya tidak berpakaian rapi layaknya pelajar. Dan saya menegur mereka, “Tolong dimasukkan pakaiannya ya, supaya kelihatan rapi!” Namun mereka membalas ucapan saya dengan pernyataan, “Pus am, Pak! Apa guna rapi-rapi?” sambil berlalu meninggalkan saya tanpa mengindahkan teguran saya. Melihat hal itu, saya hanya menggeleng-geleng kepala.

Kedua, pernah suatu ketika saya menyuruh salah seorang siswa untuk menjenguk temannya yang beberapa hari tidak masuk sekolah. “Sudah beberapa hari Rafta tidak masuk sekolah, bisakah kamu mampir ke rumahnya sepulang sekolah nanti? Barangkali dia sakit,” pinta saya waktu itu. Tak disangka jawaban murid yang saya mintai tolong itu seperti ini, “Pus am bah! Apa guna juga menjenguk dia? Biar ja amun dia sakit.” Ujarnya dengan nada datar. Mulut saya ternganga mendengar jawaban tersebut. Apakah dia tidak memiliki solidaritas, pikir saya.

Ketiga, saat sedang ujian berlangsung salah seorang siswa tak kunjung mengisi lembar jawabannya. Sementara waktu ujian akan segera habis. Secara kebetulan saya sedang mengawas. Tentu saja begitu saya melihat kejadian itu, saya langsung menegur siswa yang bersangkutan. “Tolong lembar jawabanmu segera diisi, karena waktu ujian sudah mau habis. Maaf, saya tidak bisa memberi perpanjangan waktu untuk itu,” ucap saya dengan hati-hati. Lagi, mata saya harus membelalak lebar mendengar tanggapan si empu kertas. “Alah, pus am bah, Pak! Mau waktunya habiskah, mau diperpanjangkah nggak urus. Biar nggak dapat nilai juga!” 

Saya tidak habis pikir mengapa orang-orang di daerah tempat tinggal saya memiliki pola pikir yang begitu pendek. Mereka tidak mau memedulikan apa yang orang lain khawatirkan meskipun hal tersebut berkaitan erat hubungannya dengan mereka. 

Kejadian lain yang pernah saya alami, suatu hari saya melihat seorang anak balita kira-kira berusia dua tahun berjalan kaki mengikuti ibunya keluar masuk hutan untuk mencari rebung. Panas matahari begitu terik, bocah itu tidak mengenakan alas kaki sama sekali. Bocah itu meraung-raung kesakitan sambil terus mengejar sang ibu yang berjalan jauh di depan. Saya tidak tega melihatnya, apalagi kaki si bocah dipenuhi luka parut akibat bergesekan dengan semak berduri dan ranting pepohonan yang tidak bersahabat dengannya. “Aduh Bu, ini anaknya kasihan luka-luka. Ayo saya antar ke puskesmas,” tawar saya seraya menggendong si bocah. Sang ibu dengan sikap acuh tak acuh, hanya menoleh ke arah saya sekilas kemudian melanjutkan langkahnya jauh ke dalam hutan. “Pus am, Pak! Suruh dia jalan lagi!” teriaknya tiba-tiba dari kejauhan. Ya, saya maklum penduduk lokal memang terbiasa berjalan tanpa alas kaki. Karena itulah mereka memiliki fisik yang sangat kuat. Tapi untuk anak seusia itu? Terlalu dini rasanya. Atau jiwa saya yang terlalu lembut?

Di lain waktu pernah pula seorang teman meminjam beberapa barang milik saya antara lain jam tangan, jaket, dan sepatu. Entah disengaja atau tidak, semua barang yang dipinjam oleh teman saya itu ditinggalkannya di kamar hotel ketika ia berjalan-jalan ke kota dengan kekasihnya. Setelah saya memintanya untuk mengembalikan barang-barang tersebut, dengan enteng teman saya ini menjawab, “Pus am bah! Ambil aja sendiri ke hotel sana!” Grr… Benar-benar menjengkelkan punya teman seperti itu. 

Ada banyak sekali kejadian berujung pus am yang saya alami. Kebanyakan pus am-pus am itu lebih bermakna ‘Sorry ya, aku nggak peduli’. Sampai akhirnya saya memahami mengapa tradisi pus am telah mendarah daging di masyarakat sejak zaman bahari. Konon dahulu kala di pedalaman pulau Kalimantan pada masa kolonialisme dan imperialisme bangsa barat, para kompeni tidak pernah sampai ke area pedalaman. Sehingga penduduk di pedalaman tidak terlalu menderita seperti halnya penduduk di kota yang notabene banyak mengalami penyiksaan. Penduduk pedalaman berjiwa bebas. Mereka berperang bukan untuk melawan penjajah, melainkan suku lain yang dianggap musuh oleh suku mereka. Begitu negara Indonesia merdeka dan pulau Kalimantan masuk ke dalam wilayah NKRI, penduduk di pedalaman tidak begitu mengerti makna sebuah kemerdekaan. Mereka kurang menjiwai nilai-nilai luhur yang terkandung dalam Pancasila seperti tenggang rasa, toleransi, musyawarah, dan jiwa nasionalisme. Saking kurang memahaminya, pernah saya mengunjungi suatu dusun di pelosok Kalbar pada bulan Agustus untuk melihat perayaan dirgahayu RI di sana. Setibanya di sana saya sangat kaget, karena saya merasa tiba-tiba bukan berada di negara sendiri. Sepertinya saya sudah tersesat ke Republik Polandia. Karena apa? Sang saka merah putih dikibarkan terbalik di setiap halaman rumah para penduduk dusun. Saat saya memberitahu warga bahwa pemasangan bendera di dusun mereka semua terbalik, lagi-lagi warga hanya menanggapi perkataan saya dengan kata, “Pus am!”

Apa saya terus tinggal diam menyikapi orang-orang di sekitar saya untuk melestarikan budaya pus am? Awalnya saya maklum, dan hanya bisa menerima perlakuan yang tidak mengenakkan ini secara sepihak. Seiring bergulirnya waktu akhirnya saya mencoba untuk menentangnya. Tentu saja bukan dengan cara yang ekstrim dan anarkis. Cara saya adalah menempatkan diri saya sebagai bintang drama Korea. Haha… mungkin ini lucu kedengarannya. Silakan Anda baca kembali cerita kejadian-kejadian yang telah saya alami di atas. Bayangkan kalau Anda sedang menyaksikan adegan drama Korea di mana para tokoh-tokohnya sedang cekcok satu sama lain. 

Setiap ada murid yang penampilannya tidak rapi, saya tetap menegur mereka untuk merapikannya tak peduli bila mereka mengatakan pus am kepada saya. Bila mereka tak mengindahkan perkataan saya, maka aksi drama Korea saya adalah menghalangi langkah mereka sebelum mereka berlalu meninggalkan saya. “Hey, biar saya saja yang merapikan pakaian kalian! Orang tua kalian tidak pernah mengajari bagaimana cara berdandan ya? Ayo, sini saya ajarkan sekalian! Penampilan saya sepuluh kali lebih rapi daripada Lee Min Ho. Kalian tahu itu?” Sengit saya seraya bergerak menghampiri mereka.

Setiap kali melihat murid yang tidak peduli terhadap keadaan temannya, saya membujuk mereka dari hati ke hati, “Ayolah, kalian tidak sedang putus cinta kan? Apa kamu tahu kalau dia selama ini sebenarnya sangat perhatian terhadapmu? Kamu pasti tidak tahu kan seberapa besar pengorbanan yang telah dia lakukan selama ini untukmu? Jadi, saya mohon jenguklah dia di rumahnya. Dia pasti akan sembuh setelah melihat kedatanganmu!” 

Dan setiap kali saya mendapati teman yang tidak bertanggung jawab atas barang-barang yang mereka pinjam dari saya, maka aksi drama Korea saya selanjutnya adalah: “Bisa tolong tunjukkan kartu identitasmu? Silakan tunggu sebentar, tidak lama lagi polisi akan tiba di sini. Baru saja saya melaporkan kalau ada anggota teroris yang mengidap penyakit demensia di sini.”

Haha… Ini konyol sekali, kan? Mungkin ini terlalu frontal. Akan tetapi memang demikianlah karakteristik penduduk di daerah saya. Karakter mereka tidak berbeda dengan karakter orang Korea dalam drama. Saat seseorang bersikap frontal terhadap kita, maka cara jitu yang bisa mengatasinya adalah membalas tindakan secara frontal kembali. Bukan hanya diam menerimanya begitu saja secara sepihak. Karena itulah mengapa saya bersikap layaknya para aktor Korea.  

Usaha saya selama ini tidak sia-sia. Sebagai seorang guru yang berpacu dengan arus globalisasi, saya harus memiliki sikap kontemporer. Di mana jiwa pendidik yang bersemayam di dalam diri saya tidak harus selamanya ortodoks yang senantiasa mengikuti sikap kharismatis Oemar Bakri, sang guru teladan yang fenomenal itu. Katakan saja saya adalah seorang guru yang sensasional, tetapi justru sikap seperti inilah yang cocok diterapkan dalam mendidik putra-putri generasi muda di daerah saya. Dengan berbagai metode pendekatan sensasional yang saya lakukan terhadap orang-orang di sekeliling saya, pada saat ini budaya pus am telah berbalik memberi kesan yang jauh lebih baik daripada dua belas tahun sebelumnya. 

Ketika seorang teman belum mengembalikan uang yang dipinjamnya, sang pemberi pinjaman berkata: “Pus am bah! Enggak apa-apa, nggak dikembalikan juga. Saya ikhlas kok!” Oh, tidakkah ini sangat dermawan? 

Ketika seorang teman membayarkan makanan yang kita makan, kita bermaksud mengganti biaya yang telah dibayarkannya. Maka teman itu akan berkata, “Nggak usah diganti! Pus am bah, biar saya yang bayar!” 

Dengan demikian dari dua contoh kejadian di atas, perkataan pus am telah mengalami pergeseran makna menjadi: “Sudahlah, biar saja tidak apa-apa!” dengan penekanan yang sangat halus. Itulah pengalaman saya dalam kurun dua belas tahun terakhir mengenai budaya pus am di daerah saya. Tak diduga budaya dalam drama Korea bisa memberikan manfaat dalam kehidupan saya. Percayalah, di mana ada aksi pasti akan menimbulkan reaksi. Sampai jumpa di tulisan saya berikutnya ya. Salam…

My Third Year in Borneo

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This event has been a very long time ago, I will hardly remember when exactly. But I accidentally wrote back here just for the nostalgia even though without any  photos because I didn’t have a camera at the time. Understandably living in the rural areas, all completely within the limitations.

This incident took place at approximately the first quarter of 2006, second semester I taught at SMA Negeri 1 Balai Riam, or rather in its third year I lived in Borneo. I still remember clearly when it was Friday in which the activities in the school where I taught this very freely. Usually activities at school on Friday was limited to a healthy heart gymnastics, community service cleaning the school environment, and the specific subjects in each class. In short when I was filling the last hours in one class, one of the senior students of grade XII named Mispansyah, knocking on the door of the room where I was teaching.

“Excuse me Sir, you are asked by the people to go to Balai Riam now! We have two foreigners as our guests. But we don’t understand at all what they want,” said Mispansyah while struggling like he’s being chased by the ghost.

Because it happened when it was disbanded school hours, I immediately packed up and said goodbye to my students. Before I sat on the top of Mispansyah’s motorbike, some teachers, the co-worker expressed the same thing as what was conveyed by Mispansyah. “Hurry up Sir, you are being waited!” Said Mr. Jahrani,  our senior teacher.

Mispansyah immediately drove to
Mr Siong’s house, a resident whose
house used to be a shelter for the foreigners. I found them in the livingroom, we introduced ourselves each other. Apparently they were married couple named Sergey and Michelle. They came from Russia and doing hitchhiking. Initially I did not understand what was hitchhiking. But they kindly explain to me that they were traveling around the world just by walking and they asked for a ride to any rider who passed along the way. Wow, sounds interesting huh? It means they traveled the world for free. Then Sergey said that they went through 2/3 parts of the world. They had run out of water drink in the Kalahari desert of Africa, and ran out of food supplies in China’s Gobi desert, also became a captive in inland of Thailand. Until finally, they arrived in Indonesia. They even had Batam Island resident spotlight until in the paper. And Sergey showed me pieces of the newspaper article which ran a story about them for at Batam. If they understood the Indonesian language, they might be embarrassed or angry. Because the content of the article was the Batam resident judged them as beggars who wanted around the world for free and without bringing any money. (U_U)

The journey continued to Borneo after they managed to explore the island of Java. After taking the route Pangkalan Bun-Kudangan with riding a truck, they intended to continue the journey to Pontianak to extend the validity period of the visa. Unfortunately they should be kept up to Pontianak via Kudangan, but because of miscommunication between them and the truck driver did not speak English, the couple Sergey and Michelle brought to the truck drivers Balai Riam, subdistrict where I lived. Then finally I met them.

I was amazed to Sergey and Michelle, in the still fairly young age they’d managed to explore the 2/3 parts of the world such as: Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Their final destination was the continent of America and perhaps including Antarctica. Their visit in Balai Riam Subdistrict would last for 3 days 2 nights. Because they deliberately wanted to rest for a while after traveling a very long and tiring. As a good host, I purposely took their tour to see the situation in Balai Riam. First I invited them to look across the village settlements (old village). Sergey and Michelle were amazed to see our local traditional house made of ironwood and very durable tens to hundreds of years. The public was enthusiastic welcome them. “Sir, please tell them later at night we held a party for them. We’ll make a roasted pork!” Said one resident familiarly. When I delivered to Sergey and Michelle mentioned subject, they were very happy as if they had not enjoyed a delicious meal, especially when I mentioned its specialties is the ‘pork barbeque’. They almost dripping saliva after hearing.

When we arrived at the indigenous leader house, we were greeted with a ceremony and drinking party. Our hands were each tied by a rope made of reeds and woven in a way that looked like a very beautiful bracelet. It signified that we had bound to be part of the Dayak in particular areas Balai Riam. We had become part of the family in the land of this amethyst gem. We should not be decided wrist strap that bound us intentionally. Because the rope would break up by itself right at the third, fourth, or fifth day. And magically, it’s true! Rope tying my wrist cut away on the third day. Though my hand did not experience friction with any object. The party  held at the home of indigenous leader house. Sergey and Michelle danced to follow the movements of the Dayak dancers form a circle. While dancing we were required to drink wine and wine interchangeably. Because I am a Muslim, so I just simply hold the cup to my lips without drinking a drop. Phew, it is a relief!

In the afternoon I again invited them both around while jogging look around the forest and look for cassavas. Michelle was very fond of fried cassava. For her cassava was the most delicious food  she had enjoyed. Well, fortunately the waitress of Mr. Siong had no objection to fry it for Michelle. The Dayak children continued to follow us along the way that we went through, they were even willing to help Michelle look for cassava growing in the woods. The children were very interested to interact with foreigners. Because it was the first time for people in Balai Riam met foreigners.

In the evening, after maghrib prayers, I asked Mr. Arif, the principal superiors, to take us to see the head of subdistrict. Our arrival was greeted warmly by the head of subdistrict. He explained on the composition of the population in Balai Riam Subdistrict, as well as the number of people in each village. I never thought we could talk familiarly together to laugh. Sergey and Michelle were very impressed with our service to them. Coming home to Mr. Siong’s house, I was asked specifically by Mr. Siong family to spend the night at their house. Worry if there something would happen to our guests or Sergey and Michelle needed something while Mr. Siong did not understand the language they use. So the whole night that I was with Sergey and Michelle spent time exchanging stories together.

Sergey taught the Cyrillic alphabet which is the Russian alphabet. I thought the Russian language was very difficult but very interesting. Many times Sergey trained me how to read any Russian alphabet written on a piece of paper. I very difficult pronounced, but Sergey was patient and humorous person. There were excerpts of the conversation which still burned into my memory.

I’m the Curious (IC): “Sergey, could you please tell me the life in your country during the heyday of the Soviet Union?”

Sergey (S): “What do you want to know about the Soviet Union?”

IC: “Frankly, when we hear the name of the Soviet Union, many Indonesian people are frightened.”

S: “What is fear?”

IC: “the Soviet Union communist state. In the past our country also had almost become a communist country.”

S: “So?”

(Ergh… Why Sergey often asked me back, huh?)

IC: “The Communist Party in our country had done a great incident. A number of our army leaders were arrested and killed. Places of worship such as mosques burned. Of course we are afraid of communists and strictly prohibits the existence of the communist party in our country.”

S: “In our country it had become commonplace.”

IC: “Was it not disturbing people in your country?”

S: “Why should fret? Let it all flows and community members are slowly going to enjoy it! ”

IC: “I heard the economic system in your country adopted a centralized economy. Could you please explain what kind of economy there? ”

S: “Yup, that’s right! So during the period of socialist rule, almost all the residents did not have a business license. Because all activities were controlled by the state of society. Agricultural activities, livestock, industry, fisheries, plantation, etc. were managed by the state. Thus the welfare of society equally. There was no person who was the richest or the poorest like here!”

IC: “Oh, I see. And what about the activities of worship? Was controlled by the government as well? ”

S: “Of course. If not so, the people in our country would not be  regular. Essentially all community activities were controlled by the state. You know, including our spouses also when in the mood to make love must wait for a mandate from the state! ”

(Sergey glanced at Michelle playfully)

Michelle giggled hear the narrative of her husband,”For the last statement that he said, please do not believe this!” Michelle said as she glanced at me.

IC: “Wew!”

Sergey was very interested in listening to myths inland Dayak that I told him. Like ‘kuyang’ an old woman who absorbs infant blood in order to make herself forever young, kayau the head hunter, cannibalism of the Dayak, and so forth. While Michelle was more interested in listening to the stories of tragedy Sambas and Sampit which had similarities of the  background chronology. Both asked me so I deign to write them all down and send them to their email addresses published into a book published in the country. It turned out their second job were journalist. Little vent also to me the reason they did hitch-hiking, as the background of their problems. Frankly they told me apparently they were a married couple who eloped because it was not sanctioned by their parents. OMG, nowadays still a ‘run-away marriage’. Mr. Deny … please please! (Imitating the style of Jarwo Kwat, member of Indonesian Comedy Club).

On the last day of our meeting, with the permission of Mr. Arif at night before I accidentally took Sergey and Michelle visited SMA Negeri 1 Balai Riam where I worked. I deliberately asked for them to be native speakers of English in school hours. Well, it turned out though their words were Caucasians, not necessarily a guarantee that their English must be good you know! The proof pronounce the word ‘banana’ are supposed to be pronounced ‘benane’ even pronounced the same as the ordinary Indonesian people mostly English. But this very memorable session for my students. Well, even though my students could only admonish ‘how are you?’, ‘Good morning’, and ‘what is your name?’ But we all really enjoyed the togetherness that only this moment. Sergey even had time to share his  knowledge to us how he and Michelle get drinking water in the middle of a vast desert when they ran out of drinking water supplies while no oasis around them. Wow that was very interesting and we also put it into practice, the results were amazing. Scorching sunshine very helpful our experiments. This way we refered to as ‘water condensation sun’.

Towards the final seconds of our time together, I and my students invited them both to play ‘kasti’ in the school field. Sergey said the game was very similar to the game of cricket. Before they actually went I was very curious with a backpack carried by them. According to Sergey explanation fill their backpacks include: tents, iron pegs, stove, pots, pans, clothes, flashlight, map, shoes and others. I was allowed by them to lift the backpack belongs to those who were so great, and beyond my expectation their bags were extremely heavy … To the extent that I fell backward carry. How not just my weight only 50 kg while Sergey’s bag 60 kg, like a rhino holding the horse …

As a memento of me so they always remember Indonesia, I purposely gave Sergey a Javanese batik shirt. Fortunately, the same size of our clothes. And one of my students gave a gift to Michelle who knows what was in it, I did not know it. Hopefully just not a bomb or stone. Hehe…  😀

After a while waiting for passing cars, came a silver Estrada in front of us and I stopped it. Fortunately I knew the driver of the vehicle. He was Mr. Darmadi  who was on his way home to HHK Timur, West Kalimantan. I told him a little bit about Sergey and Michelle, I entrusted this couple to him up in HHK Timur and introduced them to Mrs. Ani, one of my acquaintances who also worked as an English teacher at HHK Timur. Not to forget I dropped a letter to Mrs. Ani so Mrs. Ani pleased showed Sergey and Michelle road to Pontianak, so they did not get lost anymore, or was taken the wrong way by truck drivers who did not understand English as they had just experienced yesterday.

One week after their departure…
“Sir, I just arrived from the village of Tumbangtiti, West Kalimantan. Uh, there I met Sergey and Michelle again. Then I asked my brother there to lead them to Pontianak, Alhamdulillah now they’ve arrived in Pontianak!”Said a student of mine named Dina.

Ah, thank goodness. May they always be safety, and health by God during the journey to realize their dreams. Aspiration is not to simply remain a distant dream. Rather it should be a chain of struggle that never break up. Because life is not just for dreaming!

My Second Year In Borneo

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July 2005
This is the second year I stayed in Borneo. Without felt I had missed my days a year that had felt like in prison for life in a completely limitations. Still remember my  previous post about Borneo? In the village where I lived there was no electricity, we could only enjoy electricity village 5 hours a day (lit at 5 pm extinguished at 10 pm). There was no telephone line of any operator as well. The only means of communication was just a public phone booth located in the village shopping center (sorry not the market) was about 2 kilometers from our house. So when our family from Java needed to contact us, they could only contact the booth guard. Then the booth guard would pick us up so we called back our family who had contacted the booth guard, yet again we had to pay Rp15,000 once shuttle pick-up service, since in our village there was no public transportation.

The temperature in Borneo was very hot, and the water contains a very high acid pH. So do not be surprised if you see people from Java or Sumatra and Sulawesi, their skin will turn dark after a few days stay in Borneo. And their skin will be cleaner when returning to their home land. Not to mention common diseases are toothache. Know why? Because the levels of acidic substances too high in water content in Borneo. Unlike the indigenous tribes: Dayak, Malay, and Banjar, their skin white despite the hot temperature. Even the  Dayaks teeth were good because of their habits are like ‘menginang’. Menginang is chewing ripe pinang and lime paste covered by betel leaf.

The story begins, so after I returned home from Bogor to spend my vacation there, I was surprised to come back to Borneo, my aunt said that while I was away on vacation, our neighbor Mr. Iwan  had several visits to the aunt’s house to look for me. What is it? I thought at that time. Until finally I decided to see him in his home. Shocking news was received from him. “You are being called by Mr. Arif, head of SMA Negeri 1 Balai Riam. He would like to ask you to teach English. Do you mind?” Mr. Iwan said that time. Without thinking, the same day accompanied by my cousin, we went  to Mr. Arif’s house in order to confirm about this vacancy and I would like to apply for the job. But it turns out he was not in his house, no pains we also managed to see him planting acacia trees around the school.

Mr. Arifandi is familiarly called Mr. Arif, a humorous stocky with a rather low height, and sense of humor. In short at the meeting He directly gave me details duties as a faculty member of SMA Negeri 1 Balai Riam, newly opened government school. Its previous status was a private school under the auspices of PGRI (the unity of Indonesian teachers). He asked me to teach literature: English, Indonesian, and Japanese! No half-hearted, not! Was it just a dream? I was just a high school graduate, but I had to teach in high school! Frankly, taught in high school was my dream when I was in senior high school. While still in high school I saw seemed engrossed that I associate English-Japanese literature-and Indonesia to become one! I want to explain to the public variables are inter-related literature. Perhaps by way of being a teacher, I could do it. Unfortunately, my dream of becoming a teacher did not have the support of my mother, “So the teacher salary is not enough for you to live!” She sneered. But she also did not sue me what I should be in the future, all probably because my mother was not able to pay me university tuition fee.

SMA Negeri 1 Balai Riam only had 4 classrooms with the number of students ranges from 128 people. The number of teaching staff at that time there were only 6 persons, among them: Mr. Jahrani, Mrs. Yani, Mr. Yani, Mrs. Wulan, Mrs. Yuli, and I. Each teacher must hold at least 2 subjects. In between us just Mr. Jahrani was the only teacher who was civil servant. But over time every year SMA 1 Balai Riam (well-known as SMANBA) received additional new building plus a new teacher who was placed in charge at our school after a civil servant appointed by the local government. One day, because of a problem, Mrs. Yani resigned. While there was no one who could replace her. So, because my brain was still fresh and lessons in high school was still stuck in my head, I was sorry for my students to miss class, then I ventured to replace Mrs. Yani temporarily until sometime in the future there would be more appropriate for the teaching field. So finally I taught to 9 subjects in SMANBA: English, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese Language, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Econometrics, Finance and State Administration. Wow! Fortunately it only lasted one semester, because new teachers began to emerge in the next semester.

My life was getting excited as I taught in SMANBA. Perhaps the reader think, I like to teach in high school because in high school many teenagers are soothing eye? Sorry, I never thought there. That sometimes I was a little paranoid if I met students who were local people of Borneo island (Dayak tribe). Even when I entered the Balai Riam region where the majority of the population was ethnic Dayak! I often recalled events Tragedy Sambas and Sampit when met Dayaks. Although I’m not the Madurese, I sometimes feel insecure when I met Dayak inland. Somehow I often feared itself when I thought of two devastating tragedies in Borneo’s land. But there was one event that my fear was dispelled. One day when I was walking alone in the village of Dayaks, I met an old woman who also was walking toward in the opposite direction to me. She was barefoot, in her head tied a basket (buya) made of woven rattan. Her ears were very long and filled with large earrings. Somewhat afraid I greeted the old woman, “Where are you going to, Grandma?” Then the old woman replied in the Dayak language I did not understand at all. I told her that I did not fully understand the Dayak language. Then the old woman suddenly smiled and said, “I’m going home, let’s visit my house! My house is across the river!” See hospitality in the face of the old woman, my fear of the Dayak vanished. To what we fear to others if we do not feel guilty. Never judge others from their appearance, but look at their hearts!

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Faced with high school students in SMANBA was a surprise to me. I experienced culture shock was so great, but fits the saying goes “Other another desert locust! Other other bottom fish too!” So I should be able to adapt to local custom. If used during school in Bogor, all students would be subject to and shook their teacher hand politely as they passed in the street. So in different SMANBA no student wanted to shake the hands of the teacher as old as any teacher. Here, the teacher was seen as a friend, not a surrogate parent in the home. Many fellow teachers who courted his own. So no wonder that saw students being disrespectful to the teacher. Once, when I was teaching, one of my students (Dayaks) did not listen to the subject matter that was being explained. He even fun lying on the floor. Spontaneous I was admonished allow him to leave the class, because snoring very distract other students. What did I receive? He was even reluctant to move from where he threatened me, “What’s your right not let me sleep in class? You’re just newcomer, I’m inlander here! Shall I bring mandau for you?” Mandau is a traditional weapon Dayak. At first I was afraid of the threat that my student, frankly scared me not because he was indigenous, but because of the age of my student was a little older than me, funny right? I was afraid he meant by his words. But thankfully, my other students and also fellow Dayaks defended me, “You must learn manners, customs from your village do not be carried around here! That’s what the school for!” They shouted. The bad guy was immediately left the classroom after being reprimanded his friends.

One other thing that is different from SMANBA compared to other schools are myriad accomplishments achieved by way of a lot of practice! Mr. Arif really loves art, especially the art of music and dance. His movements are very graceful when bringing Dayak dances. The funny thing is he had a rule aimed at teachers like this: “If there is a race preparation activities extracurricullar or whatever it is, please sought not to interfere with teaching and learning activities in the classroom! Perform such activities outside school hours!” Then no one else in between our teachers who dared to violate the rules. But you know, what happens if Mr. Arif want SMANBA engage in contests dancing? Three consecutive months of intense dance training carried out regardless of whether the clock is still school hours or not! Dung crunch teng teng nong drum music sound was audible noise to a radius of 2 km. If you have this, the entire school was not able to concentrate on the lesson. Who has violated the rules?

Although I taught in high school did not mean I stopped teaching English in primary school! I still taught at the primary school only one full day! So 5 days I focused in high school. During the first few years I taught in SMANBA, I used to walk back and forth. Though the distance from the village of Balai Riam-Bangun Jaya to approximately 10 km! So every day I traveled 20 km. Still no luck so Oemar Bakri left teaching to ride a bicycle! Yes, this is the life! Life is a chain of struggle that there is never a break!

It seems that in the second year I lived in Borneo (2005) I started to feel like living in Borneo. Mainly because of its natural, cultural, and interesting things that I like is to see a village that slowly began to evolve. Over time I see a lot of changes that have occurred in this remote area. Masts mobile phone towers have been glued, the communication more smoothly. Mobile phone counters increasingly popping up. The streets are paved, access to the city, the better. Houses more feasible, they changed the former board house transmigration into concrete houses like a magnificent palace. Many residents live well, luxury cars, nice bike, plus yield lucrative oil every month. No need to work as an employee, simply waving legs at home! However, unlike me who do not have a palm oil plantation, I can only be a spectator! So I can not wait for the harvest demoted foot arrived! My role is simply advancing education in the realm of the interior of this growing! Although it is now (2015) after 11 years I became a resident of Borneo and my income started to increase as a positive impact on the residents income increased oil yield, I still want to be able to realize my dream of studying in cherry country, Japan! However Kalimantan soil is a bright prospect for my future, but the future will not be in balance if not balanced with science! I can only continue to live with the remnants of which still had the spirit of struggle. Someday maybe I can make it happen, hopefully!