Jelajah Taman Surabaya

Jelajah Taman Surabaya

Sejak Bu Risma jadi walikota, konon katanya ruang hijau di Surabaya semakin mempesona. Banyak taman2 yang dibangun dan diperindah tatanannya. Sudah lama sih saya penasaran pingin keliling ke taman2 kota Surabaya. Minggu lalu (13 April 2014) akhirnya hasrat itu tersalurkan juga. Hanya dalam setengah hari, bersama Rahayu partner-setia-di-tanah-rantau kami berhasil menyambangi 4 taman di Surabaya. Yuk langsung aja simak liputannya!

1. TAMAN PRESTASI

IMG_20140413_072344

Salah satu sudut Taman Prestasi

Taman ini terletak di Jl Ketabang Kali, persis di tepi Kalimas. Model tamannya memanjang mengikuti kontur sungai, semacam “riverside park” gitu deh. “Target pasar”nya anak2 kecil dan keluarga, karena banyak patung2 dan mainan anak2. Kalau Minggu rameee banget, banyak yang jualan dadakan di dalam taman. Uniknya, taman ini punya kantor informasi yang selalu siap “halo2” kalau ada anak hilang, barang ketinggalan, ataupun “mengusir” PKL liar di dalam taman. Di bagian depan taman ada semacam perpustakaan/ lab komputer yang seharusnya digunakan untuk belajar bahasa. Tapi entah kenapa waktu itu dikunci. Oh ya, di dalam taman ini juga ada jembatan gantung dan dermaga loh. Kita bisa naik perahu menyusuri Kalimas lewat dermaga ini.

IMG_20140413_072627

Aneka permainan anak2 gratiiisss…

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

IMG_20140413_073505

Learning center dii dalam taman, tapi kok dikunci ya

IMG_20140413_073558

Perawatan taman yang teratur

IMG_20140413_073753

Semacam open auditorium yang biasanya digunakan untuk acara komunitas

IMG_20140413_074101

Dermaga Kalimas, bisa naik perahu bayar sekitar Rp 4ribu

IMG_20140413_074121

Jembatan Gantung di atas Kalimas

IMG_20140413_075504

Turun ke dermaga

2. TAMAN BUNGKUL

Taman Bungkul memang yang paling terkenal di Surabaya, mungkin karena reputasinya sebagai tempat pacaran #eh. Tapii sekarang citra itu sudah mulai dikikis dengan menjadikan taman ini sebagai pusat kegiatan komunitas sekaligus wisata kuliner. Setiap Minggu pagi taman ini diramaikan oleh Car Free Day alias CFD karena lokasinya juga di Jl Raya Darmo Surabaya. Jika malam tiba taman ini lebih keren lagi karena lampu2nya yang cantik menyala terang dan semakin banyak komunitas yang kumpul2 atau sekedar nongkrong. Konon katanya di sini juga ada makam Sunan Bungkul tapi saya belum nemu sih.

IMG_20140413_093919

Hayooo tanda apa ini…

IMG_20140413_094510

Open auditorium besar di tengah taman dengan tempat duduk penonton semacam tribun stadion. Perfect place for community gathering.

IMG_20140413_100623

Dedek2 main balon

IMG_20140413_101152

yo iki rek jenenge TAMAN mBUNGKUL

IMG_20140413_101504

Jalur terapi kaki

IMG_20140413_101737

Space buat yang demen akrobat

IMG_20140413_102341

PKL-nya udah dilokalisasi biar tertib. Salah satu yang terkenal “Rawun Kalkulator” gegara bapaknya kalo ngitung cepet banget kayak kalkulator.

3. TAMAN APSARI

Taman yang lebih kecil dan sepi, lokasinya persis di seberang gedung Grahadi (kantor gubernur Jatim). Kalau mau ngelamun atau baca buku atau ngobrol dari hati ke hati di sini aja jangan di Bungkul. Di tengah taman ini berdiri megah monumen patung Gubernur Suryo, dikelilingi air mancur yang segar membuat pemandangan semakin cantik. Oya, sekitar 100 m di belakang taman ini kita bisa menemukan lokasi arca “Joko Dolog”.

IMG_20140413_114156

Patungnya kayak lagi pipis yah

Bersih dan tenang

Bersih dan tenang

Pidato legendaris Gubernur Suryo yang penuh semangat

Pidato legendaris Gubernur Suryo yang penuh semangat

Area arca Joko Dolog

Area arca Joko Dolog

4. TAMAN BMX (SKATE & BMX PARK)

Ini nih taman yang unik.banget. Entah kenapa Surabaya begitu memperhatikan komunitas skateboard dan sepeda BMX yah…sampe2 dibikinin taman khususnya segala. Sama seperti Taman Prestasi, taman ini juga sejenis “riverside park” yang terletak memanjang di tepi sungai Kalimas. Lokasinya agak “nyelempit”, persis di belakang Monkasel. Sempat kebingungan juga cari jalan masuk ke taman ini karena harus lewat Monkasel dulu. Bisa juga parkir kendaraan di Delta Plaza (samping Monkasel) lalu masuk lewat parkiran mobil luar. Alternatifnya, lebih enak lewat jalur belakang aja yaitu parkir motor di gang pinggir sungai (pujasera Kalimas sebelah Pusura).

IMG_20140413_104648

Taman Skate dan BMX dilihat dari sisi seberang sungai (Grand City Mall)

IMG_20140413_122001

Peraturan yang cuma jadi pajangan

IMG_20140413_122122

Gunung2 semen buat latihanmu dek

IMG_20140413_122219

Syuuuttt…meluncur di bawah patung Suro & Boyo

IMG_20140413_122535

Latihan cheerleader yang luar biasa

IMG_20140413_124301

Lihat tiga titik hitam di gambar ini? Itu orang2 yang lagi “slulup” loh. Entah apa yang dicari di kali kotor nan buthek ini.

Naaahhh demikianlah sekilas liputan Jelajah Taman Surabaya. Keempat taman ini letaknya berdekatan, jadi bisa dikunjungi sekaligus dalam waktu setengah hari saja. Selanjutnya masih pengin mengunjungi taman2 lain di Surabaya: Taman Pelangi, Taman Lansia, dll. Mudah2an masih bisa keturutan yah! 😉

twitter2

Numpang narsis ah…

Hello Sheila

Hello Sheila

Blog post ini dibuat dalam rangka mengikuti Proyek Menulis Letters of Happiness: Share your happiness with The Bay Bali & Get discovered!

Hello, Sheila. Now here we are. You and I are on our way of making the most beautiful journey through this island of Bali. Just two weeks of budget trip, but we know that we’re going to make it unforgettable! We can eat anywhere, sleep everywhere, and enjoy every single footstep we make. We’re lost in travel, but we find each other’s soul. This journey is our way into freedom, our path to everlasting love. With you by my side, I feel that I can conquer all places in this world with only a backpack and a pair of legs.

And today, I’m going to bring you a surprise.

“The Bay Bali?” your eyebrows frowned when I ask you to have lunch there. “Are you sure you can afford that?”

As always, you said things frankly as it came up to your mind. I just giggled. “Well, if you don’t want to have lunch in that place, I can just buy you a packed street food and we can have picnic by the beach and eat together there.”

Your laugh suddenly burst out and you hug me promptly. “Of course I want The Bay! As long as you don’t let me do the dishes for paying our meals!”

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

Hello, Sheila. I know you always love beach and ocean—that’s why I decided to bring you here. My best friend, Ray, told me about this place. The Bay is a site of some extravagant restaurants that in line aside the beach of Nusa Dua. I know you have never complained that we agreed to do this trip in “backpacker” way, but somehow I just want to let you be a princess for one day. Yes you’re a strong woman warrior that can bravely survive in a tough place, but today I want to make you a princess that stays in a comfortable castle. You deserve this treat.

“This is greaaattt!” your face is soon overwhelmed by smile when we arrive. The sense of satisfaction suddenly stream into my blood as I see you smile. You’re right, this place is fascinating. We decided to drop in Hong Xing, a dainty Chinese restaurant with attractive interiors and delicate Asian cuisine. Right behind the restaurant, we can see a beautiful private beach; simply clear blue water, tender sand, and shady trees. They also provide some cozy table sets in this outdoor area; designed in such a way so that it looks like a dazzling Chinese garden. Of course, you soon pick a seat in this garden area, so that we can have lunch while enjoying warm sunny breeze of the beach.

Backyard of Hong Xing

Backyard of Hong Xing

Chinese garden style of sea shore restaurant

Chinese garden style of sea shore dining place

“Ohhh…so tempting!” you murmur vibrantly as the waiter bring in our dishes. A set of dimsum accompanied by some seafood and noodles, I’m sure you can handle it all!

“You know you can eat that fork if you want to—and if you’re able to,” I throw a joke on her, seeing her outstanding appetite.

“Owh ywes owf cwourse,” you replied with a mouth full of food. “As long as it’s made from this incredible dimsum!”

Hello, Sheila. You know I can’t stop smiling for the rest of our lunch. I’m too glad to see your happiness now. For me, being together with you is happiness. Making you happy is more happiness. In my mind, happiness is simple; because happiness is you.

After finishing our contented lunch, we decide to enjoy the surrounding scenery. We’re just walking along the beach line, passionately talking about everything till we lost attention of where the road has brought us. Until up to nowhere, it was such a coincidence that we end up here—in this gate of a place named “Water Blow”.

Water Blow

Water Blow

“What is it?” I ask curiously.

“Why ask?” you throw that typical grin to me and spontaneously run into the gate. Ah yes, I should have known you better, Sheila. Follow your steps, I run after you, chasing your shadow with overwhelming spirit bursting in my chest. And there you stop. And here I stop, standing beside you. We unconsciously hold our breath—trying to realize that currently we’re standing together in such a stunning, wondrous place.

“It’s beautiful…” you whisper gently. You seem so amazed that I almost catch a tear drop from your eye.

Suddenly, a glimpse of information came into my mind. Oh yes, I know this place. My best friend Ray once told me. People call it “Water Blow”, the place where you can see the waves “blowing”. It is actually a beach, but not really looks like a beach. We can’t find white sand and warm water here. Instead, it mostly consists of sharp crags and hard rock’s everywhere. However, this dangerous coral beach seems to be a tourist-attracting spots; since it creates miraculous effect of “blowing water”. The great wave of Indian Ocean will be trapped in those narrow coral gaps, rising its pressure, and the blow it up far above. Crassshhh! The water then splash out everywhere and the tourists, standing safely on the bridge above the corals, will be laughing satisfied to get those senses of splashes.

“Do you know tale of ‘The Little Mermaid’?” suddenly you ask me, stopping my reverie. I deliberately look at you and catch your eyes. Those two are brightly outgrow, as usual when you want to know something curiously.

“Uhm…that red-hair Ariel and the yellow fish Flounder?” I guess randomly.

“Nooooo that’s just a Disney brainwash!” a tone of protest arise from your voice. “I mean the original one, written by Hans Christian Andersen. You know—that Danish author?”

“Well…You know I’m not a fan of literature works.”

“It’s not that kind of Shakespeare literature, actually. It’s just a children fairytale and when he wrote it Hans was thinking of—”

“Okay, so what is it all about?”

Hello, Sheila. There you are, vigorously spin a yarn about a mermaid princess who was longing for a new life beyond the ocean. One day she met a handsome human princess and fell in love with him. She did everything to marry him in order to live a new life as a human. She was even willing to exchange her tongue with a pair of legs. But sadly, it was a tragic story. It wasn’t a happy-ending fairytale as seen on Disney movie. The handsome prince neglected her and got married with another girl. Feeling broken-hearted, the mermaid princess eventually disappeared and her body turned into sea foam.

“But I don’t think it’s a sad story,” you start to argue. “Her physical body might disappear, but her soul was eternal. She stayed alive with the “daughters of air” as if human’s soul everlasting in heaven. She’s happy—more than that, she’s joyful.”

“She’s dead anyway,” I state realistically.

“Yes, but in a way she wanted. Did you know why she was craving to be a human? Because she wanted an eternal soul! After death, mermaid soul will cease to exist, while human soul will live eternally in heaven. This is what she wanted. She expected more than just a marriage with the prince—an eternal soul, it’s what she actually looked for.”

Hello, Sheila. Right now, you tell me the tale as if you were the mermaid herself. We both lean on the bridge bars above the corals. You are enjoying every movement the waves make. They run, swash, and dance on wildly. Your eyes gaze deeply to the waves as your words glide enthusiastically from your mouth. I just can’t help adoring this scene. Your long wavy hairs flutter in race with the wind, your voice collides with the wave noise, and I can’t stop staring at you.

Don’t you know that you’re just too beautiful?

Please go on. Please keep telling me story. I may no longer pay attention to your tale, but I’m sure I’ll pay attention to yourself. You’re the center of my world, you’re the main source of my happiness—no, you’re the happiness itself. Sheila, please stay here. Stay with me and we’re gonna travel the world together forever. You don’t have to go alone. You’re safe with me, you’ll be my princess and we’ll live happily ever after. We are the fairytale ourselves. Can’t you understand, Sheila? Sheila, please don’t go!

Spontaneously I hug you. Hug you so tight that I can’t feel anything but pain. It suddenly hurts when I realize that I just hug a splash of water! Sheila, where are you? The waves are just blowing and wet my whole body—but where are you? You suppose to be here by my side? Where are you, Sheila…?! Oh yes I understand. There you are. You’re just splashing me! Ah…I know you have turned into that sea foam. You are a mermaid princess that deserves an eternal soul. I know you won’t leave me alone here. Even though you have changed your form, deep inside I know it’s still your soul. Sheila, come here! Splash out! I’m gonna be wet along time! We’re gonna be together and happy ever after!

***

Hello, Sean. I’m Ray. Can you still remember me? I’m your best friend. I’m the one who told you about The Bay and Water Blow. I’m the one who knew exactly how much you love Sheila. I’m the one who saw her leave, and the one who witness how deep you’re broken after that.

Hello, Sean. There is no more thing sadden me now than seeing you lose your healthy life. You always find a chance to run away from hospital and come back to this place. You will repeat the scene you have done with Sheila years ago without even realizing that she’s no more beside you. You walk to the restaurant alone, you order and eat alone, but you talk as if Sheila was there in front of you. You walk along the beach by yourself, you reach Water Blow by yourself, but again you’re holding into that wave splash as if you’re holding Sheila. Don’t you know how grieving it is for me to see you act like that?

“I’m not crazy, I’m happy!” once you said to me—consciously or not, I didn’t know. “I’m happy because I can always meet Sheila in this place. She is a mermaid princess. She might not be with me but she has turned into sea foam—you know, and her soul is eternally live! I can always meet Sheila here, I can always be happy here. Sheila is my happiness. Don’t call me crazy—I’m absolutely happy!”

Hello, Sean—my best friend. If this is what you call happiness, I’m happy to know that you’re happy.

***

This post is originally written by the blog author, all photos and video are derived from the writer’s personal documents.

Naik Kereta Yuk!

Naik Kereta Yuk!

Buat para pengguna setia jasa kereta api, mungkin sudah pada tahu kalau sekitar 2 tahun belakangan tampak peningkatan2 fasilitas yang drastis pada sarana angkutan rel ini. Mulai dari kereta yang makin bersih dan tertib, penambahan AC, perubahan tarif, dll. Hal yang paling kentara adalah ditetapkannya sistem tiket boarding pass. Nah loh, keren kan? Naik kereta api goceng aja udah berasa naik pesawat!

Saya bukan pengguna rutin kereta api, tapi cukup sering menggunakan moda transportasi ini, terutama kereta api ekonomi Penataran jurusan Surabaya-Malang-Blitar. Dulu pas jaman SMA dan kuliah, kalo ke Surabaya naik kereta harus selalu was2 karena takut nggak kebagian tempat duduk. Tiket kereta jaman dulu cuma selembar kertas kaku berstempel PT KAI, bentuknya persis kartu domino. Jumlah tiketnya nggak terbatas, bahkan meskipun kereta sudah datang dan siap berangkat, kamu masih bisa beli tiketnya di loket dan langsung ngebut masuk stasiun ngejar kereta (serius).

Nah, bagian paling menguras tenaga pada “masa jahiliyah” dunia perkereta-apian adalah perjuangan mendapat tempat duduk. Karena sistemnya siapa cepat dia dapat, saat kereta datang kita harus menyiapkan fisik dan mental (serius) untuk berdesakan masuk kereta dan berebut mendapatkan kursi. Well, kamu juga bisa mengalami ini kalo naik bis ekonomi sih, tapi somehow di kereta api tuh efek perjuangannya lebih kerasa. Mungkin karena jadwal kereta nggak sesering bis ya, jadi orang2 bener fight supaya gak ketinggalan kereta.

Jadiii, tempat duduk adalah hal yang sangaaattt berharga pada masa itu *tsah*. Kalau apes gak kebagian kursi, yah terpaksa kita berdiri sepanjang jalan. Dan percaya deh, berdiri di kereta ekonomi itu lebih sengsara daripada berdiri di bis. Karena penumpang kereta itu barang bawaannya lebih “luar biasa”, gak cuma sekedar tas aja. Cari senderan kursi pas berdiri juga sulit untuk dapetin posisi PeWe. Kita cuma bisa berharap, di tengah jalan ada penumpang turun jadi kita cepet2 dudukin kursinya. Pokoknya kalo keinget masa2 penuh perjuangan itu, rasanya bersyukur banget deh naik kereta jaman sekarang.

Jadi, apa aja bedanya kereta api ekonomi dulu sama sekarang?

1. Pembelian Tiket Kereta Api

DULU

– Tiket KA ekonomi jarak dekat hanya bisa dibeli pada hari H

– Jumlah pembelian tidak dibatasi, cukup bayar langsung dapat tiket

– Tiket semua penumpang sama, tidak tertera no kursi dll

SEKARANG

– Tiket KA ekonomi jarak dekat bisa dibeli sampai H-7

– Jumlah tiket terbatas, pembelian harus menunjukkan KTP. Jika membeli tiket untuk orang lain, harus membawa KTP orang tsb (atau no KTP-nya saja)

– Tiket setiap penumpang berbeda, tertera nama penumpang, no KTP, dan no tempat duduk

Tiket kereta api ekonomi jaman sekarang

Tiket kereta api ekonomi jaman sekarang

2. Proses Masuk Stasiun dan Kereta Api

DULU

– Semua orang bisa masuk stasiun. Jika bukan penumpang (hanya pengantar), bisa masuk dengan membayar tiket peron.

– Sebelum masuk stasiun tiket penumpang hanya dilihat saja (bawa tiket apa enggak).

– Saat kereta datang, penumpang berebutan masuk, tidak memberi kesempatan penumpang di dalam turun dulu, berdesak2an nggak karuan.

SEKARANG

– Hanya penumpang bertiket saja yang boleh masuk stasiun, pengantar dll dilarang masuk.

– Sebelum masuk stasiun tiket penumpang dicocokkan dengan KTP (jadi harus tunjukkan KTPmu juga). Jika nama di tiket dan KTP berbeda tidak boleh masuk stasiun.

– Saat kereta datang, sudah ada petugas2 stasiun yang mengomando, membantu penumpang mencari gerbong dan tempat duduk yang sesuai dengan tiketnya. Penumpang turun dan naik dengan tertib tanpa berjubelan.

FYI, in case kamu nggak dapat nomor kursi, maka di tiketmu akan ada tulisan “tanpa tempat duduk”. Ini bukan berarti kamu dapat tiket berdiri, tapi kamu bisa duduk di gerbong makan (paling depan setelah lokomotif) atau gerbong paling belakang yang memang dikhususkan untuk penumpang bertiket “tanpa tempat duduk”. Jadi intinya, sekarang kamu naik kereta ekonomi pasti dapat tempat duduk, gak perlu berdiri.

Nomor tempat duduk

Nomor tempat duduk

3. Fasilitas Kereta Api

DULU

– Kereta panaaasss

– Kereta kotooorrr

– Pedagang asongan, pengemis, pengamen luar biasa banyaknya

SEKARANG

– Kereta adeeemmm, kan udah ada AC-nya 😀

– Kereta bersih. Ada petugas khusus yang memang tugasnya menyapu gerbong.

– Ada stop kontak untuk nyolokin charger! Tempatnya di pinggir jendela.

– Pedagang asongan dll terbatas dalam 1 paguyuban resmi. “Restoran” kereta api juga “masak” dan jualan keliling dalam gerbong, produknya pop mie dan es teh/jeruk.

Tempat duduk yang bersih

Tempat duduk yang bersih

Stop kontak untuk charger di setiap tempat duduk

Stop kontak untuk charger di setiap tempat duduk

AC Split di atap gerbong

AC Split di atap gerbong

4. Jadwal dan Jenis Kereta Api

DULU

– Kereta api suka molor jadwalnya

–  KA Malang-Surabaya cuma ada 1 jenis, yaitu Penataran ekonomi

SEKARANG

– Kereta api masih suka molor jadwalnya…haha. Terutama yang jadwal malam. Kalau yang paling pagi pasti tepat waktu. Semakin malam semakin molor (soalnya telatnya terakumulasi). Kalau mau tepat waktu, bisa pilih kereta bisnis/eksekutif.

– KA Malang-Surabaya ada 3 jenis, yaitu Penataran ekonomi, Penataran express (bisnis), dan Bima eksekutif. Sebagai perbandingan, harga tiket ekonomi Rp 5.500, express Rp 25.000, eksekutif Rp 30.000. Waktu tempuh ekonomi sekitar 3 jam, express dan eksekutif cuma 2 jam. Soalnya, KA ekonomi berhenti di semua stasiun sepanjang Malang-Surabaya, dan juga harus mengalah/ menunggu jika ada kereta bisnis/eksekutif lewat. Sedangkan KA express tidak berhenti sama sekali mulai stasiun Sidoarjo sampai Lawang, jadi bablasss blass.

Kereta Penataran di malam hari

Kereta Penataran ekonomi di malam hari

Nah demikian sekilas ulasan tentang peningkatan layanan kereta api. Memang patut diacungi jempol deh usaha Direktur Utama PT KAI Ignasius Jonan ini. Sejak beliau menjabat, alhamdulillah naik kereta api semakin nyaman 🙂

Saya pribadi suka naik kereta, karena kesan “perjalanan”nya lebih kerasa gitu. Tempat duduk lebih lebar, nggak kuatir macet, pemandangan bagus…lewat sawah2 dan gunung2, bisa sambil ngelamun 😛 Di kereta (ekonomi), kamu bisa ketemu berbagai macam orang dan mempelajari berbagai macam kehidupan (elah). Dan nuansa stasiun itu…hmm romantis aja gitu rasanya. Gimana yaa…Nggak tau lah pokoknya naik kereta itu enak…hahaha. Makanya ayo naik kereta yuk! 😀

There is No Such Thing as a Free Gift

There is No Such Thing as a Free Gift

You must be thinking that I’m gonna preach you an evil idea to drive you away from sincerity act. No, it’s not. In fact, I’m gonna tell you some secret behind the working scheme of our society. Do you know that social relationship works by not giving a “free gift”? Oh yes, by not giving a free gift we create social bonds, thus develop and maintain alliances along with social solidarity.

How come?

Well, I just jumped on a passage about “theory of gift” and mesmerized by the idea that Marcell Mauss sparked 89 years ago: there’s no such thing as a free gift. In his opinion, practice of giving does not only involve the act “to give” and “to receive”, but also “to reciprocate”. When the giver gives the gift, eventhough he does it sincerely, it will create “moral duty” imposed on the receiver. The receiver will feel that in the future he has to reciprocate what has been given to him. Until that time, giver and receiver will develop mutual interdependence.

"Here is a free gift for you!"

“Here is a free gift for you!”

This is the passage quoted from Wikipedia:

“Because of this bond between giver and gift, the act of giving creates a social bond with an obligation to reciprocate on part of the recipient. To not reciprocate means to lose honour and status, but the spiritual implications can be even worse…”

“Mauss distinguished between three obligations: giving – the necessary initial step for the creation and maintenance of social relationships; receiving, for to refuse to receive is to reject the social bond; and reciprocating in order to demonstrate one’s own liberality, honour and wealth.”

“According to Mauss, the “free” gift that is not returned is a contradiction because it cannot create social ties.”

See? You must have ever experienced this kind of feeling. When you receive an aid from someone, eventhough he gave it genuinely without expecting any return from you, you’ll indirectly feel that this is “a loan you have to pay back”. Then this feeling will make you cling to him until you’re able to “settle the loan”. If someday you’re the first to grant him a gift, then it’s his turn to be subjected a “moral duty” of reciprocation. This cycle will keep evolving, both of you will be attached to each other, thus maintaining the so-called “social bond”. See your families, neighbors, friends, colleagues, communities, business partners, and even government of countries. It’s the way our society works.

For example, your parents. You didn’t ask them to feed or raise you, and they also didn’t expect you to return it, but you will automatically feel a duty to pay their merit. Your friends, your lover, they give you something simply because they like you, but however you have to do something back to “zero-sum” it. This what keeps you relationship going. They give you love, you have to return their love, too.

Beware of the gift

Beware of the gift

So, in contrast, the theory can also work vice versa. If you feel you don’t want to build a social bond with someone or certain group, do not receive any aid from him/them. Receiving help will tie you up with the giver, so unless you’re in favor to have a long-term relationship with them, just do not turn the button on.

This advice might sound selfish and arrogant, but you can counter it back. I myself don’t thoroughly agree with Mauss idea anyway. In some point, people can be entirely sincere about their act of giving, especially in individual level. For instance, when you donate your blood to unknown recipient, both of you don’t know each other, so there’s no opportunity for “reciprocation relationship”.

But I think in a group level, such as organizations and countries interaction, Mauss theory works very well. Do you remember when Soekarno rejected the aids given by Western countries to help Indonesian economy? I think he clearly understood this way of “gift economy” works. He didn’t want to trap Indonesia in a grasp of capitalist country by burdening a “moral duty” on us. He preferred not to “turn the button on”. He thought that we better be independent, stand our own feet, so we don’t need to be a bondman of any country.

Somehow I think, the aid given by those developed countries are based on their understanding of this “gift theory”. They want to reign and control the poor countries by letting them dependent on their help. You see what happen to Kuba, Iran, or North Korea: they build their own technology and reject assistance from other countries, simply because they don’t want to be under control of the superpowers.

To think some “evil way”, you can utilize this theory. If you want to bind someone into a strong social bond, or even take control of him, you can just help him. Give him an aid that he badly needs: a treasure, an authority, an opportunity, or even a life. This way he will be your slave forever. *evil laugh*

Well, I guess now we understand better about the prophet teaching of “the upper hand is better than the lower hand.” 🙂