- Part time
I am a journalist with The Jakarta Post for six years, but now I am a freelance writer and journalist working on any kind of writing such as news writing, short stories, columns, opinion pieces, blog writing and history writing
Editor in Chief
From July 2012
The Jakarta Post
September 2006 - July 2012
Comissao de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliacao (CAVR)
February 2005 - January 2006
Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor
January 2002 - July 2002
PIAR (Pusat Informasi dan Advokasi Rakyat) Kupang
September 1998 - December 2001
Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor
My son Tiadea at home
Jalan Bersama Mama Bokik*
Aku ingat berpuluh tahun lalu
aku jalan bersamamu
Dari Lalao ke Oeulu
Langkahmu pendek seperti langkahku
Namun engkau tak berkata “ayo cepat jalan”
Engkau selalu bersabar
Baru sekarang aku berpikir
Engkau telah cukup tua waktu itu
Namun engkau memberi kaki-kaki kecilku tumpangan
Aku di atas kuda, kau berjalan kaki menarik kudanya
Aku senang berjalan bersamamu mama
Matamu seperti mataku juga
Terang dan keras
Namun lucu dan penuh pengertian
Setengah tertutup oleh guratan-guratan usia
Jika engkau lelah, engkau berhenti sebentar
Berhenti dan bertanya kepadaku dari balik penutup kepalamu
apakah aku juga ingin berhenti
seingat aku engkau tak pernah berjalan kaki sejauh itu
namun engkau melakukannya untuk aku
Tigapuluh dua tahun kemudian
aku masih mengingat sinar di wajahmu
aku masih ingat langkahmu mama
Aku merindukan mu mama
Aku bahagia engkau ada bagiku, mama.
Selamat ulang tahun mama.
Serpong, 9 November 2011
* mama bokik adalah bahasa Rote dialek Landu yang berarti ibu kandung. Sejak usia beberapa bulan aku diasuh nenekku di Rote dan aku selalu memanggilnya sebgaia ibu walaupun aku tahu ia adalah nenekku.
Hari ini Tiga Tahun Lalu
HARI ini tiga tahun lalu
Tiada kata perpisahan bagiku
Tiada yang mendengar tangisku di negeri asing
Langit membisu pada doaku
Engkau pergi untuk selamanya
Dan aku tidak ada di sampingmu
Sekedar membisikan aku sayang padamu
Aku memang telah mengambil jalanku sendiri
Namun aku masih bagian dari duniamu
Kepada siapa aku berpaling untuk bertanya
Jika hidup menjadi tak masuk akal
Hari itu takkan pernah kulupakan
Aku tak sepenuhnya aku lagi
Sakitnya masih sama kini
Adalah engkau jika aku berpaling ke cermin
Adalah engkau jika aku melihat tapak hidupku
Adalah engkau ketika aku melihat anak-anakku
Aku memang bukanlah yang terbaik
Bersalah dalam pengabaian,
terbatas dalam kemampuan
Tapi engkau tahu papa tersayang,
Aku hormat dan kagum padamu
Engkau yang mengajarkan aku segalanya
Engku yang membuat jari ini tak pernah lelah menulis
Engkaulah semangat aku mengambil resiko hidup
Engkau alasan aku bangga akan siapa aku
Engkaulah topangan ku tengadahkan kepala
Engkaulah keberanian aku melanglangbuana
Engkaulah alasan orang menganggukkan kepala kepadaku
Engkau memang tak pernah berhenti
Tak ada yang bisa menghentikanmu
Pun jika kuminta akulah yang mengepal jemariku
Menggantikan kepalanmu yang dimakan usia
Engkau tak akan berhenti
Karena engkau pejuang sejati, sejak dalam kandungan ibumu
Engkaulah Benjamin yang sulung
Engkau mungkin berpikir aku tak melihat
Atau mengira aku tak mendengar
Pelajaran kehidupan yang kau ajarkan kepadaku
Tapi aku mengingat setiap kata, papa
Mungkin engkau berpikir aku tak menyimak
dan kita berdua berbeda haluan
Tapi aku menyimpan semuanya
Tertulis dalam hatiku
Tanpa engkau aku bukan laki-laki yang sekarang
Engkau membangun dasar yang kuat
tak ada yang bisa mengambilnya dariku
Aku hidup dengan nilai-nilaimu
dan aku bangga jadi anakmu
Jadi inilah aku, anak laki-lakimu
Poku dou-mu yang berterima kasih padamu
Hari itu, engkau pulang
Hari itu akulah yang tersesat
Jauh dari rumah, dari kehangatan kasihmu
Jauh bukan karena bentangan laut
Jauh bukan karena luasnya daratan
Jauh karena aku tak menemukan jalan pulang
Jauh karena pulangku tak akan sama lagi
Jauh karena pulangku
adalah pulang seorang anak yatim
Inikah harganya kembara di jalan iman?
Inikah hidup dalam tenda dimana patoknya siap dicabut kapanpun?
Inikah pengembaraan tanpa akhir?
Inikah jalannya mengharapkan janji kudus?
Aku tak tahu dan tak ingin menjawabnya
Karena satu hari nanti akupun akan mengerti
Engkau akan datang menjemput aku
Seperti ayahmu datang menjemput engkau
Karena engkau mencintaiku.
Serpong, 25 Januari 2012; Leiden, 25 Januari 2013
Winter in Leiden
winter in Leiden
Francesc Fabregas i Soler: Size doesn’t matter
My interview with Spanish International Cesc Fabregas
John H.G. Soe: Nobody's child, everybody's man *
Matheos Viktor Messakh
Some blame their parents for their misfortunes, others blame God. But John H.G. Soe has never blamed anyone for mistreating him, or for the polio that shaped his life.
It was because of this polio that his parents abandoned him at a hospital in Medan when he was four months old. The nurses took care of him for a few years, before sending him to a Catholic orphanage in the same city.
But when he was in the third grade, renovations to the dormitory meant families had to take the children home. No one came for John, who was then called “Kong”; he was nobody’s child.
“Not only that day, but every school holiday, other children were picked up by their family, but nobody ever asked me even to go outside the orphanage’s dormitory …,” John told The Jakarta Post.
A nun found his parents, but his mother rejected him, but the nuns couldn’t take him back because of the renovations.
“I was crying because I felt more comfortable with the nuns. I had no feelings whatsoever for my parents.”
He spent “a very bitter week” with his family. They kept him in the small backyard and he was not allowed to play with his sisters and brothers. He slept on the floor where the others had beds, and was fed differently.
“I was given rice and a bit of vegetables while my brothers and sisters got chicken or duck,” John recalled. He also remembers an occasion when he was dragged to the back of the house when a guest asked who he was.
After 10 days, his brother took him back to the orphanage. The nuns, shocked at his condition, never sent him back to his parents again.
In 1973, Dutch-Italian businessman Ted de Ponti, a Singapore-based Rotarian and former Red Cross volunteer, visiting one of the nuns at the orphanage, said he wanted to adopt an orphan who was “really abandoned but academically bright”.
“I want him to be someone,” he said.
The obvious choice was the boy who was crippled by polio, a boy who had never had anyone visit him, but was so clever he could repair his friend’s broken radio. “I remember it was Sunday June 13th. The nuns said ‘an uncle’ would come and meet me to adopt me.”
John put on his best clothes and dragged himself to the parlor to wait. “I felt so happy when he hugged me. He took me to the shop to buy me my first new clothes ever and a Timex watch, and held a dinner at a restaurant where he introduced me as his son to his friends.”
De Ponti covered all the boy’s expenses and visited him regularly, before arranging for John to be taken to Singapore for surgery.
When the nuns got papers from John’s parents for the passport, he finally learned his birthday — June 17, 1959 — the names of his parents and his eight siblings, and his own birth name: Soe Hian Ghe.
In December 1973, De Ponti brought the boy to Singapore. The Rotary Club had decided to pay for the operations and Rotarians in Zevennar, the Netherlands, sponsored the trip.
He underwent four operations; after eight months in the hospital, his right leg, which was bent like a bow, began to improve. His ankles started to function, and now he can even drive a car.
After the first operation, The Strait Times ran a story about him, including a picture of him munching chocolates. The chocolate company, pleased with the free advertising, sent him dozens of boxes of chocolates, which he sent to his friends in the orphanage in Medan.
Everything was done at no cost — even Singapore Airlines provided a return trip for free. The money Rotary had committed for his operations now went to his education.
A month after the final operation, John returned to school in Medan. As he was 14 years old and had a disability, only a girl’s school would accept him. “Only two of us were boys, we both had polio.”
He later studied architecture in Singapore and interior design in London. He planned to return to Singapore but because of the 1985 economic crisis, his foster father advised him to go to Jakarta instead.
The first thing he did was to look up his family, who had moved to the Indonesian capital. His mother was still cold to him. “I told them that I only wanted to make a family bond and had no intention of making them feel bad.”
A year later, his family asked for forgiveness. John felt the request was unnecessary. “The past is the past, let’s look to the future,” he said.
John soon began his career in an architecture firm, and within five years had set up his own architecture and interior design company, which he still runs.
He married in 1988 and has two children. Ted de Ponti died in 1990, two month after John’s first child was born.
“I still remember he was very happy when my son was born. My son was like a first grandson to him,” John said. “Ted gave me confidence and love. He changed everything in my life.”
Because of the help Rotary gave him, John wanted to become a Rotarian, a dream realized when a client recommended him for membership in 2003.
Since he was indicted in 2004, he has held several important positions, including club secretary and club president; he is now the assistant governor for the Jakarta region.
He was been active in Rotary’s fight against polio, especially during the joint Rotary–Health Ministry campaign for the national immunization program in 2005 and 2006.
Looking back, John has no regrets or bitterness.
“I always think there is always someone who is experiencing something worse than me,” he said. “Everything is a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t be what I am today if my parents did not leave me at that hospital.”
* one of my article in The Jakarta Post
An Old Man
It is an example of my pencil drawing. I took a model from a photograph in the National Geographic magazine.
Qualifications & Certifications
Faculty of Humanities Leiden University
Nottingham Trent University
BA in Protestant Theology
Artha Wacana Christian University Kupang