Sunday, June 30, 2013

Twentysomething Response 11: The Fool's Proclamation - Can't you see it, on the horizon, children showing off their ability to speak Bahasa Indonesia, fluently?

I am a machine, conditioned by the past, present, and the mays and ifs of the future
I respond with every change and continuity, both publicly and privately
A bomb exploded amongst those who look like me
And I am automatically in charge of killing the enemy

And yet, I lack the ability to critically evaluate, to delve into the heart of the problem, and dig deep
I am scared of the grimes that may possibly stick to my skin
I am scared of the pupils that stare deep into my core
And the souls behind of those eyes that prejudicially determines the color of my soul

I am unmoving
Reluctant to take a bite into the perceived poison apple
Reluctant to submerge my hand in the toxic ground
Reluctant to breathe in the polluted air

Even so, I find myself in an interrogation room
With whom I respect, ogling my intentions and beliefs
I produce a high-pitched declaration
I want to go home

They push back, before banging the table

I spin the film roll, uncovering a memory
One, which I romanticized for years on
One, which left me with the conviction to return
One, which made me an albatross

I hear the tune slowly carrying me to the field
The flag rises up on the pole, gently

My mind sways
I try to picture the men and women, who fought before me
Who secured my independence and freedom
Whose blood consequently allowed me to arrange these words
I try to picture the mothers and fathers who witnessed the demise of their babies
I try to picture the bodies, which burned
I try to picture the blood-stained weapons

I finally answer
I want to fight for my nation

Though my life is less poetic and dramatic when placed side-by-side with the prose above, it continues to be one of the few reasons behind the newly earned labels that decorate my forehead.
Dreamer. Fool. Blind.

They stamp me as callow, as they did to my peers in industrialized countries when they, themselves, pitched an ostentatious idea. But, unlike the friends that come from developed countries, I am spat on for defending my country. They hope that by turning twenty, I could, perhaps, clear the wool from my eyes and abandon my folly. Maybe they are nearing the docks, which would mark the arrival of change, especially when I take on their trait of blaming the government for all that is bad in Indonesia.

Opening statement: The Indonesian government is corrupt. I am not angered by the financial loss we face or the deteriorating infrastructure that we endure daily. I am not disappointed in the way the government abandoned its next generation and neglected the underprivileged. Instead, I spit on them for the government's corruption of the people's love for the country. (I am a brat for plainly blaming the government and generalizing their impact on the nation), but I cry over and over again for the result of the crimes that they committed, as it has left the nation with nothing but qualm.

Even so, the optimistic Millennial inside me whispers, ever so softly, that skepticism is never enough reason for neglect. Instead, it is much-needed fuel to revive the dying flame. While, I do not see myself at the stakes or hanging from a noose, I do have a clear mental image of millions of Indonesians, especially the young, who take reign and say, "I want to build Indonesia." I say, Indonesian Millennials will not retrieve, instead we will contribute to our country, despite the endless nags from our elders. We are resilient of the government's sins and crimes.

Can't you see it, on the horizon, children showing off their ability to speak Bahasa Indonesia, fluently?

The Fool

With regards to Millennials:
Throughout this series, we have learned a range of predisposed labels on Millennials, be it narcissism; lack of civic duty; increasing spirituality and declining involvement in organized religion; optimistic; and loss of commitment. The truth is we are also more socially aware than Generation X and nicer. We exhibit a higher trust on the government, in addition to being obliged to contribute back to the nation. However, Millennials are most prevalent in industrialized countries. Perhaps it is sheer wishful thinking, but I do want to live in an Indonesian society where emerging adults are not afraid of declaring their love for the country or wanting to learn multiple ethnic languages.

*Author owns rights to all photos

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Twentysomething Response 9 & 10 (Two-part): Emerging adults as social changers and fighters, the relationship between emerging adults and Soekarno-Hatta, Benigno Aquino, and Ferdinand Marcos as shown through Here Lies Love

A theatre buff at heart, throughout the years I have become a lukewarm audience member who rarely stands up at the end of the show or complain endlessly about the production. Instead, I sit and stare at the stage, struggling to validate the quality of the performance. No longer am I blown away by the actor's ability to memorize their lines or their ability to reach high notes in between the high kicks. Gone were the days when my heart sped through the opening number and my brain made notes to Google the cast or the inspiration behind the story. Fortunately, early in the month I found some consolation that my theatre brain and heart are not dead, instead they were waiting for the right production to wake them up from their dormant states. 

Conrad Ricamora as Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Here Lies Love

Naturally, I was completely caught off guard when the adrenaline rush pulsated through my entire body as I shuffled through the crowd to see Ruthie Ann Miles as the infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos, and Conrad Ricamora as Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. Jose Llana as the late Ferdinand Marcos glowed through his solo number "A Perfect Hand", which played at The Public Theatre. A musical by David Byrne-Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love awakened the dormant theatre fairy. As the platforms moved from the side to side, audience members finally were allowed to sit as an ensemble member, now I kick myself for not knowing her name, performs as Aurora Aquino, Ninoy's mother. The song, which has yet been published, tells the tale of Ninoy's inspiration to lead the Philippines and even die for his country and people. I was so moved by the-

Wait a second, how does this all relate to twentysomethings and emerging adults?

In 1928, a group of young men from various parts of Indonesia banded together to fight for the country's independence from the Dutch colony. They created Soempah Pemuda or Youth Pledge that would inspire Indonesia's independence. Seventeen years later Indonesia, which was represented by Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta, declared independence from the Dutch and Japanese colonies. These young men, along with Marcos and Aquino (who were in each other's opposition), fought for their own countries despite the possibility of death and imprisonment. The optimism that blazed through the first half of Here Lies Love resembled the emotions that must have driven various young adults to fight for their country, despite the risks. The tenacious spirit, though not necessarily regarded to civic duties, still resonate in today's emerging adults. 

Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia
Republic Indonesia's Declaration of Independence Soekarno (forefront) and Hatta (right) on August 17, 1945
Kids These Days, an article published by T Magazine, delved into the phenomenon of young adult driven endeavors, such as Facebook and Google. "[Y]oung people bring fresh eyes and a new perspective to confronting problems and challenges that other have given up on" (T Magazine, 2) might have been the very reason behind the Indonesian young people's fight for success in gaining independence. These individuals saw no boundaries, limits, and obstacles that they can't overcome, creating an exciting and stimulating environment for social change. Young people have nothing to lose, as well as less commitment than their older counterparts, therefore they have the upper hand in creating change. In the past few years, young people have increasingly become much more involved in politics, as shown through the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections (Settersten & Ray, 2010). 

I found a sense of familiarity as I watched Here Lies Love and read documents regarding Indonesia's independence, as it reminded me of friends who carry a blazing spirit within them to create, innovate, alter, and, perhaps, produce a new perspective or machine. But, why are emerging adults similar to past fighters? Is it evidence of a natural social wave? Instead, I would suggest that emerging adults were raised thinking that they were special and capable of contributing to society in a major way. 

Repeated reinforcement by parents and teachers have made us much more resilient to small road bumps, but may make us much more vulnerable to an avalanche. Parents instilled a sense of optimism as they planted seeds that would hopefully aid in the development of the future generation. More importantly, many emerging adults are convinced that change will come sooner and easier with the existence of technology. Nowadays, my friends spread word about the DREAM Act, a legislation prompted by a series of responses by emerging adults, through Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet. Technology lit a new layer of optimism as it appears to be an effective way of building coalition between individuals and groups across large parameters (Gladwell, 2010). 

Despite this surge of assurance, social media platforms are only effective in raising awareness through the creation of weak ties (Gladwell, 2010). It should be primarily used to spread news of endeavors that are attractive for the lack of commitment and struggle required. For instance, "Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off!", a complain platform regarding a sudden change made by HSBC on Facebook created by Wes Streeting, a Cambridge University student and vice president of the student union. The key is to lower the obstacles in order to mobilize people cared less to "participate a little, while being effective in aggregate" (Shirky, 2008, 181). Social media platforms also allow easy organizing of action, such as flashmobs (Shirky, 2008). 

In a way, Soekarno and Hatta, in the case of the Indonesian independence, similarly reduced the obstacles for the people to participate, as they relied on massive support created by little participation. Members of a team of passionate individuals, instead of the entire nation, planned and organized the independence. Pushed by a kidnapping incident by a group of younger men, Soekarno and Hatta finalized their plans and proclaimed independence. 

Indonesian Independence Day 2010,
at Santa Laurensia Kindergarten by Tiffany Robyn Soetikno

With the addition of social media and a wave of different parenting style, as well as environmental changes, emerging adults have gradually become optimistic social changers, resembling a line of historical figures who have altered the reality of many people around the world. 

Gladwell, M. (2010, October 4).  Small change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.  The New Yorker, 1-6.

Here Lies Love Poster at The Public Theatre
Settersten, R. & Ray, B. E. (2010). Not quite adults: Why 20-somethings are choosing a slower path to adulthood and why it’s good for everyone (pp. 144-171).  New York: Bantam Books. 
Shirky, C. (2008).  Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (pp. 161-187).  New York: Penguin Books.

More information on Here Lies Love: 

Soempah Pemuda 
Kami poetera dan poeteri Indonesia, mengakoe bertoempah darah jang satoe, tanah air Indonesia.
Kami poetera dan poeteri Indonesia, mengakoe berbangsa jang satoe, bangsa Indonesia.
Kami poetera dan poeteri Indonesia, mendjoendjoeng bahasa persatoean, bahasa Indonesia.

Youth Pledge
We the sons and daughters of Indonesia, acknowledge one motherland, Indonesia.
We the sons and daughters of Indonesia, acknowledge one nation, the nation of Indonesia.
We the sons and daughters of Indonesia, uphold the language of unity, Indonesian. 

A Perfect Hand, by David Byrne, is one song from Here Lies Love that transcends generational differences. A song depicting the determination to take action and change society resonated as an anthem for many emerging adults, at this moment in time. Here are two verses that, in my opinion, signifies the boldness that many feel.

A Perfect Hand
Jose Llana as Ferdinand Marcos, Here Lies Love

They're occupyn' our country
We were almost over-run
I knew if I did not react
They'd kill us, everyone

I promised to my mother
She's meant so much to me
That's for every single tear she shed
There'd be a victory 
That's for every single tera she shed
There'd be a victory

Friday, June 14, 2013

Twentysomething Response 8: Millennials' take on news, losing our virginity, and college-for-all Packaged in One Episode of JKFilms

90s: "Did you hear the news today?"
2013: "Cray cray news alert!"

Clearly, media has gone through drastic renovations for the past decade. With the addition of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, emerging adults experience a totally new way of receiving, sharing, and even creating news. As much as I hate to admit it, I have fallen into the slid off the "conventional" bandwagon by watching news on YouTube. To clarify, I, personally, don't regard these shows as news, instead they are a great way to learn information that tend to be more shocking than the ones that appear on TV. They are also ways to communicate with other viewers and keep in touch with the young adult culture, especially in the U.S. For the past few months I have been watching JKNews, which is produced by JK Films, one of the most intriguing and innovative Asian American production companies in Los Angeles, CA. Their shows, though vulgar at times, make for hilarious and relevant entertainment. But, the most appealing aspect of the JKFilms is their candidness and their ability to freely share their thoughts with viewers.

"On the latest JKNews," as Olivia Thai would say, a mother arranged her son to lose his virginity. Cue talks on over attentive parents of the Millennial generation.  A "Helicopter mom", apparently a term reserved for mothers who are highly invested and observant of her children's emotions, development, behavior, and tendencies, basically rented a hotel room for her nineteen-year-old son, who planned on losing his virginity to his girlfriend. Interestingly, when unpacked, this story is a representation of the struggle that most parents constantly face at this moment in time. Assuming that children will do it either way, parents are encouraged to prevent health and safety implications by allowing children to drink at home but not drive. An aunt in Holland provided my cousin with a light box that spells out "Sex" when lit up as one of many measures of ensuring that her daughter is having safe sex at home instead of at a car or a motel. By retaining control, parents are able to increase the likelihood for safe and healthy tendencies, including sex, drug use, and alcohol consumption.

This story also reflects the discussion we had on Thursday, June 13. In class we discussed parental responses to children who transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. The conversation centered primarily on the primary milestones, however we have yet to talk about the details beneath these five tenets. From my understanding, the act of losing one's virginity, though less public at times, continues to be considered a milestone. But, as we see with the article and conversation around the helicopter mom, parental responses to these events could have a crucial impact on the child's development and could be a reflection of the parents' transition.

Each show, JKNews delivers approximately two news, both are categorized under certain groups, including "Prostitution News", "Parenting News", "College News", so on. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, the next story is of college. Even though they did not particularly hit the jackpot, the group talked about the college-for-all phenomena. The presenters took a recent finding that 27% of college graduates work in the same field as their majors as an indicator that many students attend postsecondary institutions just for the sake of attaining a degree. They also spoke about the lack of preparation that students experience throughout college and when entering the work place.

JKNews is one of many channels that provide extraordinary news to the masses. Emerging adults, unlike members of the previous generation, are exposed to more information than ever before. However, it is salient to understand the validity and meaning of these stories. And perhaps, this is where postsecondary education plays a major role. Even though this is a short blogpost, it touches on several pertinent issues surrounding Millennials.

JKNews episode:

Millennial-centric articles:
1. Things to learn in your 20s (Men):
2. Hipster vs. The American Dream:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Twentysomething Response 7: GPS to Normalcy, Turn Left on Love Intersection

In my GPS of life, normalcy had not been the primary destination for more than a decade, instead it is an old destination kept in the database of my mind. Like many Millennials, I want to be my own special self, with no resemblance to the mean. Nevertheless, from one time to another, whenever I was to embark to a new location, I'd see it hovering on the history page, waiting to be chosen, once again. Every so often, as much as I hate to admit it, I would wonder the type of reality I'd be in if I stuck with the road to normalcy. What if I had conformed to social norms? What if I had worried about swerving into the wrong direction and did some serious road damage just to return to the right track? 
This couple (perhaps, even siblings)
were being choreographed by a
middle-aged lady (mom?) until a
line formed

In this day and age, one could ask, "What does right and wrong direction even mean?" Well in some cultures, like the one that nurtured me before spitting me out to another continent, the right direction include being involved in less than five innocent yet caring relationships before settling down before your late twenties and producing a child immediately. In the culture that I currently live in, the right direction is to pick one up that seem most interesting (even from behind the latest set of beer goggles) to take home and romp around under the sheets with. Experimentation is a long-standing fad, that equally promotes exploration and hook-ups.

Ultimately, though, these directions are as arbitrary as it gets especially in a world where globalization blurs the lines between countries and culture. Traditions have slowly dissolved with the emergence of technology, leaving behind an eclectic remnants of what used to be. Strict rules no longer exist, which is a good thing as it allows freedom of expression, but could also be abysmal as it leads to confusion. Being in a committed relationship, seems, to be less acceptable than hooking up. Wanting to marry sounds more shocking than not wanting to hold out until marriage.

Either paradigm does not really work for me as it requires having had some experience by one's early twenties. Fact: I have no such thing under my belt. At times I am blissfully exuberant for being spared from any STD scares or awkward the-day-afters. Other times, I am absolutely neutral as I sit in an NYC cafe sandwiched between two couples. Unfortunately, I also have my share of feeling blue due to the nonexistence of a counter-part. In each moment, my friends would calibrate their responses, thinking wishfully that I would somehow reach equilibrium: normalcy. The most mind-boggling thing, though, is the fact that I find myself caring more often than not. I catch myself contemplating on joining an online dating site and actually dipping my foot in. I notice myself enviously looking at photos of my friends and their partners. I see the X-ray vision of my heart slowly melting to my stomach, causing awful anxiety-induced stomach aches. And yet, I also find myself not wanting to go on that date or not wanting what a date even entails. 
Don't you love it when Disney Royalties are candid?
Selfishly, I just want somebody to come along and whisk me off my feet. I am a lazy, loveless brat, who, apparently, has no courage or energy to jump in the relationship pool. I am much too content staying at home, watching The Mindy Project and shamelessly pining over Josh, the cheater. I would rather watch an Off-Broadway show alone than worry about whether my date is enjoying it or, on the contrary, is regretting the fact that he spent $50 on a standing show. Then again, though, I could hear this all echoing into an "I rather stay at home than be rejected or get some sort of confirmation that I am not worth loving"; or "I rather shelter myself with this bunny covered blanket than learn this unforgiving, arbitrary game." In relation to being an emerging adult, all my life I have been more or less taught that I am special, that somebody will come along (some day) and that you will sort of live happily ever after, especially if you're a good person. Even though I am unsure about my status as a good person, I think that I am quite alright, could be quite demanding at times but I don't lie that often or cheat or steal, so I should be ok, right?

Mindy and Josh without the awful truth (sigh)
Now with a red face and a tired heart, I will admit that I am a coward and idealist when it comes to love. An imperfect and complicated combination that has inhibited my finger from choosing "Normalcy" as my next destination on my GPS. I will not promise you that I will resolve any of these issues before I turn two decades old, but I have found the courage to at least plan out some of these things in my head, which for those who know me means that I am more than halfway through the entire process. If not, I have convinced my parents to help me adopt a child when I am officially declared a thirty year old spinster (kidding or not kidding)?

This is an awfully pathetic take on being a twentysomething, but I know that there are still other outliers out there who would understand this post and perhaps feel less lonely about life.

The Cowardly, Loveless Lion

Wish this Princess luck on finding her Prince/ss Charming!

P.S. Yes, I have "Disney Princess Syndrome"

Interesting articles on Millennial relationships:
1. Cohabiting with an ex -
2. Labeling in today's society -
3. The age old question -

Photos were taken at Disney World or from Mindy Project stills

Twentysomething Response 6: Being a Rolling Bowling Ball With Diminishing Parental Bumpers

"You know, I was furious!"

As I leapt through the new stream of drizzle, which only emphasized the fact that she's always, always right. At the very least, the little fall of rain provided some shelter from the storm that is my mother. It offers much needed alibi as to why I left her to walk slowly behind, amongst the fairly cluttered crowd. I sit in the cab, my mind racing, and my nail flicking away at my cuticles. We just had a conversation on the Metro North. Thought it was far from Hannah's jaw dropping realization at the beginning of Girls, it was still as bit as terrifying to fathom. 2013, as young as it is, has brought multiple tribulation for the Hannah of this play a.k.a. me.

Be careful not to fall off the Jeep, son!
A photo of me dad as wee boy with
my Oma and Opa (Dutch for Grandma
and Grandpa, respectively)
1960s in Palembang, Sumatra
Through a series of sleepless nights, ambitious projects, and sudden bouts of anxiety, I managed to embark on The Incubator, a two-sided coin that entailed business on one side and an education-based foundation on the other. Yes, the business plan is in development and the idea continues to grow, but even this Millennial needs a bit of support. Unlike my peers, I am much more reluctant to think optimistically. Instead, I rely on a series of plans that would allow me to perceive the project with a dash of optimism. Yet, still, I struggle with the thought of talking to investors, collecting the money to build this massive machinery, and succeed. Cue much needed feedback.

Am I too far off the ground, here?
Am I a looney for having these grandiose plans?
What do you think, Ma?

Surely like many Millennials, I depend on my parents for guidance even though I'm almost twenty. Blimey! In the past, they offered so much advice that I had to throw away at least a quarter of it just to maintain my sanity. Ever since I began college, my mother, especially, has stopped becoming the bumpers on my bowling lane. I thank my lucky stars that I haven't swerved off so far as to drop out or make other foolish decisions. But, deep down, I could just hear the bowling ball falling into the gutter and the hollowness that you feel inside when that does happen. Basically, I am still a child who is trailing along on the top of a wall, with one foot right in front of the other. Instead of a hand inches away from mine, ready to safe me from the hard, concrete ground, there's almost nothing to keep me safe. So, now, I am desperate for that hand. I am desperate for some guidance as to go about my life, especially when it comes to this ambitious endeavor.

Back to the taxi: I am furious and a little wet, which doesn't really help much. As I sit there I realize the ridiculous amount of metaphors I went through just to make sense of all this fear. She is letting go, as she should, to prepare me for the plunge, the climax in this roller coaster ride, the one that could lead me to boomerang back to living at home.

Wouldn't this be perfect for a Coca Cola ad?
Who's going to hold on to my bottle while I sip some soda?
Another photo of Papa and my Opa
1960s in Palembang, Sumatra
My mother and I resemble the subjects of Aquilino (2007) as well as Kloep and Hendry's (2010) studies of the parent-child relationship during the transition between adolescence and adulthood, and the parents' perceptions of their relationship with their sons and daughters during emerging adulthood, respectively. Even though she has yet to literally kick me out of the house, she has slowly retrieved her protective hand away, signaling the departure of the safety net. She is keeping her promise to raise an independent child, who will be able to stand on her own two feet majority of the time. Kloep and Hendry zoomed in on the parental perception of the relationship, when it is as salient to focus in on the children's point of view.

The world sees Millennials, one of the most if not the most prominent groups of emerging adults, as optimistic, but also protected. During our childhood, we spent the most amount of time under adult supervision. We are also hyper-aware about our past, present and future. This combination of factors could lead to a common perception shared by Millennials that we would have some trouble letting go of our parents' grasps while making the transition. At the very least, I may as well be facing this issue right now. Nevertheless, the sheer realization that she is letting go assures me that she perceives me as being prepared to take flight, most likely to success. Of course, I could possibly end as a disfigured aircraft on the side of a mountain, but, hopefully she'll be there to hear all the Maydays and see the SOS signals before that does happen. Actually, I am certain that she will be there to hear and see the signs, especially with all the technology available nowadays, cue photo of drunken self on the side of the street (just kidding!).

Aquilino, W. (1997). From adolescent to young adult: a prospective study of parent-child relations during the transition to adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family. 59 (3); 670-686.

Kloep, M., Hendry, L. B. (2010). Letting go or holding on? Parents' perceptions of their relationships with their children during emerging adulthood. The British Psychological Society. 28; 817-834.

P.S. Mom, if you're reading this, look at this link and take note of some of the pointers: (Is she kidding me?)

Other sources:
1. Wikihow's pictorial take on indicators for growing up:
2. Business Insider's perspective on growing up gifted, why does it sort of apply to Millennials, who aren't necessarily gifted:
3. Ways to grow up when you don't want to from Thought Catalogue (take this with a grain of salt, please):

Comments on the photos: I felt a tinge of guilt as I wrote this piece, fortunately I found some adowwwable photos of Dad.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Twentysomething Response 5: Multi-layer Iceberg About to Hit Millennials - so much for optimism

Good morning, Millennials, and welcome aboard Future Airlines Airbus 2000 with services to your future!

Subtle Depiction of Boomer's Response to Millennials
Taken during 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, how fitting? 

I'm only referring to the flight attendant script to indicate that the ride to the future will be bumpy. Ironically, the relationship that I share with the future resembles my tumultuous relationship with flying. I love and hate flying and the future as so much could happen: I could die or survive; I might throw up or take some pills to calm myself down, but what if there aren't any puke bags available? What if I'm stuck in a bad airline? As a spoiled Millennials I could only have the best, right? What if traffic control prevents us from landing and its been a twenty-hour flight? Aargh!

Unfortunately, researchers found that the future might be as bumpy or even more turbulent than the worst flights that doesn't end up in a crash. Different media sources have announced that members of the older generation hates us. There's a chance that "Boomer generation workers will never completely accept new colleagues who do not share their work ethic" (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010, 228). Once we are committed to specific missions, our contrasting value on "work" may force us to "accommodate the demands of the workplace" (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010, 228) and behave more similarly to Boomers. If we don't, we might be screwed. Just kidding! Where did my Millennial optimism go?
This might be a better portrayal of Boomer's response to Millennials, no?
However, a larger iceberg has hit or is about to hit us. Howe (1988) observes that a high disparity will occur between the "forgotten half" and adolescents who continue on to attain some form of postsecondary education, as a surge of demand for positions that require higher skills. Without any change, such as workforce basic skills education and apprenticeship programs, the U.S. will face a large group of "joblessness among the least skilled, accompanied by a chronic shortage of workers with advanced skills" (Howe, 1988, 30 as cited by Rosenbaum, 2010, 2). The U.S. lacks positive perceptions acquired by countries, such as Germany and Japan, that encourages eighteen-year-olds to hold responsible jobs. College-for-all campaign has also impacted society's, especially employer's, views on the adolescent population, causing a difficulty to resolve labor market dilemmas.

College-for-all has perpetuated a societal belief that college is the only yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City, more commonly known as success. In Indonesia, a country that has increasingly become Westernized with an emphasis on American-centered ideals, students flock to tutors, "success-guaranteed" courses, and even agents to attain entry to both local and international post-secondary schools. Similar to American high schools, Indonesian schools have "quietly and unofficially adopted a policy of encouraging all students to attend college" (Rosenbaum, 2001, 266). Teachers in both countries promote this campaign to avoid discouraging certain students or decrease their options (Rosenbaum, 2001). In Indonesia, this seemingly good intent, though, is not pertinent to all high school graduates. The campaign also lacks an effective system to ensure its success.

EMERGENCY! Not just for Millennials,
but Boomers  and Generation X as well
Common societal trends have shown that many Indonesian students perceive high school as being irrelevant to their future, when, in fact, it determines long term affects on the adolescents future. Furthermore, high school behavior are great indicators of later success (Rosenbaum, 2001, 272). Much like the U.S., Indonesian society stratifies incentives by spelling out clear benefits of attending college and less or none for others. The presence of discrepancies between high school and college lead to numerous students who are underprepared to apply, get accepted, attend, and complete college. More importantly, they fail to depict realistic demands of college to students (Rosenbaum, 2001).

Although most schools are yet to be equipped with guidance counselors and college counselors, the booming interest in college education has created the upsurge of college agents. A market that gained prominence in the affluent Indonesian community in the late 1980s has expanded to include clients from various socio-economic backgrounds. In recent years, high school students have became a flock of sheep that is directed by these agents to attend community colleges, when many are underprepared to enter postsecondary education and others are able to attain a seat at a prestigious Ivy, state school or liberal arts college. Vague depiction of life at postsecondary schools in other countries, as well as skewed portrayals of admission requirements, consequences, and cost have lead many to enter unsuitable colleges.

My sentiments exactly!
Lack of apprenticeship programs combined with high social stigma towards those who do not attend postsecondary education have resulted in high unemployment rate, delinquency, as well as stories of immense struggle at school. The ability to buy entry to a certain school has also made colleges only attainable to a specific group of adolescents. Indonesia, much like the U.S., faces a complex issue with multiple layers. For most Millennials, the road ahead will be a tough one, especially for those who are under equipped and lack financial resources.

Have a safe flight!


Myers, K. K., & Sadaghiani, K. (2010).  Millennials in the workplace:  A communication perspective on millennials’ organizational relationships and performance.  Journal of Business Psychology, 25, 225-238.

Rosenbaum, J. (2001).  Policy implications: Career paths for the forgotten half.  In J. Rosenbaum (Ed.), Beyond college for all: Career paths for the forgotten half (pp. 1-23; 265-282).  New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

TED Talks (double-edged sword?): 
What jobs would look like in the future -

All photos were taken by yours truly!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Twentysomething Response 4: I Do Belong at Sarah Lawrence - Why I'm so convinced that this is the right college for me

Being in the grey zone, as mysterious as it sounds, is not that thrilling, especially when you're trapped in it for four years of your life. Friends, family members, and former teachers often bombard me with a curious question: Why are you at Sarah Lawrence? Friends irritatingly continue with: Is that a community college? In contrast, family members, who in a way know better, would say, Why not go to an Ivy or a big name school, like a UC or our legacy school, WashU? This inevitable series of questions are the bane of my existence at reunions and gatherings. It doesn't help that they have regular bouts of amnesia.

Please forgive the intensifying fume coming out of the speakers on whatever device you're using to read this.

OK, breathe, just like how the stage combat instructor taught you to do for an entire year in a class called Breathing Coordination. YES, I PAY TUITION TO LEARN HOW TO BREATHE!

The fuel behind this growing frustration is the persistent inkling that retains me at SLC. It might be softer at times, but it is ever present. You see, much like guilt and conscience, this constant nudge prevented me from ever thinking about transferring to a "big" school or taking a gap year. When faced with families and friends, unfortunately, the petite character knows that time does not permit a long discussion about my darling school. It also has no appetite to explain to those who, clearly, have made up their minds about what Sarah Lawrence is, whether it is a random community college or the most expensive college in the U.S.*

Westlands in May 2013 - Don't deny your jealousy
Facts: You are not crazy, it does look like the X-Mansion from X-Men; they shot parts of Season 2 Episode 1 of popular Japanese series based on the comic Hana Yori Dango on your right hand side; and it is that pretty all year long, almost. 
Now you know that there is a subconscious that underlies my continuing commitment to SLC, but you have no clue as to its form or its validity. Well, I've always known that this whisper tells me that Sarah Lawrence is the perfect school for me. Truthfully, though, it has been challenging to admit that without any evidence to support it (let's say I am a self-conscious individual, who constantly needs pillars made out of scientific or research-based analysis).

Not so fast, yesterday, I found just the cure to this debilitating state of mind. As I prepare for an NYU class, which is not a betrayal to SLC, I came across this joyful news: faculty members agree almost unanimously that the principal aim of college is to create students who have the capacity for critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing.

Well isn't that what I'm getting from Sarah Lawrence?

The view from my freshman dorm, Winter 2011-2012
Now, don't just admit how gorgeous it would be to fall on this snowy backdrop!

Each day, as I enter and emerge from the subway or drink a beverage labelled natural or eavesdrop on a conversation, I am launched into a forest full of trees of thought, philosophical roots, and branches signifying various perspectives. In a few moments I've created an entire garden equipped with stone walkways. Now, I've got to share this trail to the world. Hours of class discussion, debates, heartache, and sore hands, contributed to my ability to complete such complicated tasks. Of course, at the end of the day, among other things, I am that much more sensitive to people's feelings caused by their ethnicity and experience, and worry over whether or not I am being Politically Correct (PC) or what PC even means, or if I even need to be PC. Perhaps, I have even developed insomnia due to these programmed systems in my head. Every semester, all of this baggage is regularly turned into lengthy papers, spanning between twenty to eighty pages. I no longer dread writing, because now words just flows through my fingertips.

Ultimately, though, does the capacity to think critically, conduct complex reasoning and write help me get a job? Well, research has said that a graduate with all these traits are much more attractive to employers. And anyways, who needs a job when all these abilities promise to prepare me for daunting conversations with a myriad of respondents?

I came to college to explore a variety of subjects; mold my passions for health, psychology and theatre together into an idealistic frame of mind; as well as sharpen my skills. Even though, there's only one more year left between us, Sarah Lawrence certainly has helped me reach those goals. And the added experiences along the way, such as taking summer courses at Boston University and New York University or doing an independent study on the new Indonesian health care reform and conduct qualitative research the Bugis tribe with five genders, have only enriched my knowledge and confirmed the inkling that whispers: you are meant to be at SLC.

If you attended, are attending, and are thinking of attending Sarah Lawrence, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!

*I admit that SLC's tuition has been ranked by many institutions as being the highest in the country. But, according to Princeton Review we have the best professors. And anyways, let me say this, I am an international student who has weighed the costs of a variety of schools based on my status.

Arum, R., & Roksa, J. (2010).  Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses (pp. 1-57). New York: University of Chicago Press.

One nitty-gritty definitions:
College - should not be mistaken for community college. In the U.S., college is generally used as a blanket term that includes universities, liberal arts institutions, conservatories, art schools, and community colleges.

Sarah Lawrence College was once, yes you guessed it, a women's college.
Photos of Sarah Lawrence from, who dubbed it as the most expensive college in the U.S.:
Evidence that we have the best faculty:

About the ME (capitals to prove that I am a Millennial):
Although next year is only my third year at Sarah Lawrence, it will also be my senior year. One to enable the system to my benefits, I swerved through it by taking extra classes, conducting independent studies, traveling, and attending summer classes at BU and NYU. Concentrating in global health and theatre, I serve as the photo editor of what is currently the only online campus publication and was one of two co-chairs of the International Students Union (ISU). Just to clarify, Sarah Lawrence encourages students to dip their feet into a variety of knowledge pools and fully submerge into selected waterholes, this is why we concentrate and lack majors. I am in love with my school, which translates to I can't live with or without it. As much as I hate saying it, sometimes I do wish people were more forgiving and understanding of my choices, only to realize that I am better off being an outlier.

All photos were taken by yours truly!

Twentysomething Response 3: Adults Blame Children and Adolescents for Series of Horrific Events: A short story

I* rack my brains trying to find a new telescopic view of society. Perhaps, one that is lead by angry adolescents or another full of only teen pregnant mothers. Something fresh, something chaotic, something unthinkable. What about a conspiracy theory: adults force bad behavior to angelic children, only to blame the latter for ruining the planet. Should we really be playing the blame game when it comes to world destruction?

Y walks down the street. He minds his own business except when saying "hi" and smiling at those who pass by. As he approaches the You-You-You (Y Cube), a children's club exclusive to children, Y whispers on his phone, "I am offended by curse words". A hole miraculously appears on the wall, welcoming Y into the only place where he feels absolutely secure. 

Once upon a time, they were the most watched generation in history. Yet, following a series of horrific events, adults began pointing their uncut fingernails at children for the economic downfall, political instability, and the country's overall decline. Schools and playgrounds are still covered with a mixture of profanity and terms, such as "entitled", "special?", "lazy", "spoiled", "selfish", and "narcissistic" after being repeatedly vandalized. Children and adolescents, alike, are taunted for their refusal to curse or flip the finger. Many have fled to Y Cube playhouses all over the state. 

"We should be fighting back, instead of sitting on our asses," says one kid. 
"Do you even listen to yourself? You are quickly becoming our enemy, I should not say that. They are not our enemies," the leader responds in a way that does not match what the media publicize as Millennial behavior.  
"Why don't we work together, I'm sure that our collective power will prevent the adults from advancing," another optimistically suggests. 
"I know a way!" Y suddenly voices out, "We could call a meeting. Let's explain to them that by blaming us, they are betraying the trust that they ask of us". 
"Yeah, they are also stifling our spirits!"
"And that they are not focusing on the noble duty to show us how it's done, or choosing leaders with moral authority, and strengthening the integrity, realism and farsightedness of today's adult regime". 

Unlike the conspiracy designed by the previous generation, Millennials are the made up of the most diverse group of children and adolescents, varying in race, experiences and passions. As the most ambitious, they exhibit tendencies to overachieve and pressure themselves in reaching determined goals. In contrast to their predecessor, the X generation, Millennials accept authority and follow the rules. Of course, they are also full of short comings. Members of the new generation are more prone to stress, frustration and uncertainty. Due to heightened optimism they tend to be hit the hardest when endeavors fail. 

As the sun sets, Y makes his way out of the Y Club, when he sees a middle-aged man pacing around. 
"Hi, I'm Y, do you need help?" 
"Shit! Why that's a fucking rad name you got there," the man turns to Y. 
"Thanks my parents gave it to me," 
"Does it have any meaning? Did you ask a lot of crappy questions as a baby?"
"Well, I guess, it's just a way for them to remind themselves and me that I came from them, you know, I am a continuation of who they are, the "X"es." 

* Count the number of "I"s, "My"s, "Me"s, and "Mine"s in this paper and be baffled. Is she really a Millennial?

1. Some use of profanity 
2. This is an exaggerated, almost sarcastic take on how previous generations' common perceive Millennials
3. Information was taken from and based on Howe and Strauss's book entitled "Millennials rising: The next great generation" 
4. Howe and Strauss proposed that members of the previous generation have a skewed view of the Millennials and have placed ill fitting labels on this generation due to Americans' tendency to "assume that the future will be a straight-line extension of the recent past". However, "that never occurs, either with societies or with generation" (Howe & Strauss, 2000, 10). 
5. This notion of the new generation is tied with Jeff Arnett's emerging adulthood theory. According to Henig (2010), those who are currently in between adolescents and adulthood are more optimistic, despite decreased certainty about the future. 

Henig, R. M. (2010, August 22).  The post-adolescent, pre-adult, not-quite-decided life stage.  The New York Times Magazine, 28-45.

Howe, N. & Strauss, W. (2000).  Millennials rising: The next great generation (pp. 3-58). New York: Vintage.