A a beautiful post from Nikita Pandya about fear really struck me in the heart and inspired me to compose this writing.

I always imagine myself as courageous woman. I always have this image of myself being able to stand up for every one in need, defending those whose rights have been abused. But I guess, that’s just an illusion. I was not brave at all.

The point where I finally got the nerve to stand up was when I confronted my angry father, who had his fist clenched and punched it to the wall right next to my left ear. I did not blink and I certainly did not try to avoid that fist. I looked him in the eye, and challenged him. I said, ‘Go on, do what you want to do with me. I am not afraid.’ After that we had an endless and pointless argument for about an hour.

I went back to my room and suddenly I started crying. I called my husband, at the time still my boyfriend, and couldn’t say a word. I just cried. He listened to me crying until when I was finally able to control my breathing, I said, “Dad tried to hit me again,” and he said, “Okay. Now what do you want me to do?” and I replied, “Nothing. I’m going to hang up the phone. I love you.”

I think it was the bravest moment in my life that I have ever experienced. When I was a kid, when my father would swing his arm to hit me in the face or wherever he can land his hand upon me, I would not dare to even look him in the eye.

I guess growing up makes me stronger. I guess moving away from the family gave me a different perspective and suddenly I am not a child anymore.

But I am still not fearless. I’m still afraid of things unknown and uncertain. I certainly still afraid of failure. And, oddly enough, I don’t want to lose that feeling. Fear has made me stronger. I’ve known fear for almost my entire childhood. We’re sort of best friends. Without fear, I wouldn’t be able to prepare the worse case scenarios. And therefore, I wouldn’t be able to strategize my steps forward. Fear makes me human.


I walk side by side with fear

I acknowledge her being there

Watching me, taunting me


It gives me goose bumps

It makes my voice tremble

It discourages my faith


Sometime I got beaten

Most of the times I won


Fear is not the enemy

Fear is the motivation,

The drive,

To keep on moving forward,

And to dare




Catatan Pingit (English)

I’m beginning a serial post entitled #CatatanPingit (in English it says Notes about Pingit). It’s about my experience volunteering as teacher for homeless children in Pingit, Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

I started volunteering when I was in university, around 2007-2009, but then I got caught up with my undergrad thesis so I left the community since and went back to my hometown in Jakarta. Since I got married and moved back to Jogjakarta permanently, I re-joined the group. Ever since I joined, I always think I am so lucky and blessed to be able to experience both formal and informal education. There are things in life that often unbearable and hard to digest, but the lives of these children and their families taught me how to face the ordeal in a different way that I was brought up.

There are no real science or theory to deal with these kids. I wasn’t given any kind of theory or tips on how to talk with them on my first day. I just jumped in directly to the ocean of the unknown. And I am still learning. I have read some philosophical books to help answer some of the questions in life. Yet, most of the times, these marginal people are the ones who actually show me the way how to live life, to appreciate what you have, and why you have to always be grateful.

Through the series, I want to share with you my ride with the kids, and I hope that you, too, would like to give me some tips on how to help them. For example, teaching a 10 year old girl ABC and numbers. That’s just one tiny example. There are other challenges far more difficult. And of course, I want to share what sorts of insights I have gained.

Because my target is for Indonesian people in general, I would most likely write in Indonesian, though I would occasionally write in English as well.

Hopefully, these kids will get a second chance in order to earn a better life. #CatatanPingit