The day when I shivered in the public toilet of Gloucester Green, desperately looking for a room, felt like yesterday. Yet, May is already here, and I still have no clue on what subject to choose for my PhD. I know that I got tired of cutting and pasting DNA segments, and I would love a more direct, marketable applied research. I still keep my desire to be a science writer burning strong inside. Right now, I am torn between two options: networking option, or cutting edge research? Hopefully, by writing this blog post, I can sort my mind and choose what is best.
One can easily say that Indonesia is a land of contradictions. The country acknowledges five official religions, but Islam is easily the most dominant of all. Yet, the ‘Islam’ that most Indonesians observe is not the carbon copy of Middle East’s ‘Islam’. To make things more complicated, there are different shades of the religion itself, ranging from the most liberal to the extreme radicalist. Despite all that, the climate of Islam in Indonesia never seems to reach the boiling point, though it might appear simmered from time to time. What makes Islam in Indonesia so distinct and special?
It’s a nice coincidence that Indonesian Student Association in Oxford (PPI Oxford) bring up these above questions as the theme of their latest iTalks session. And they managed to bring two important figures of Islam in Indonesia: Prof Yunahar Ilyas and Dr. Agung Danarto. Some might dispute that the topic they brought will be biased, as both figures come from Muhammadiyah, one of the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia. However, what they share to the audience sure is an eye-opener. Since I had the privilege to be the moderator of that session (and thus forced to take notes onstage), I will share some of my notes into this short writing.
There were times when I plan to really finish this post. I see this post as a way to make sense (or to convince myself) of doing Ph.D. But, apparently I hadn’t know much at that time to write a concise and convincing story. And, because I finished my master thesis (finally!), I might be able to write it now. Here goes!
I heard so many scary stories about doing thesis in Wageningen UR. Most of them was about delayed end date caused by mistakes and/or technical difficulties. That’s why, I tried my best to plan ahead, including when I had setbacks. When I can’t plan ahead, I got worried. Especially because I feel like I am clumsy and accident-prone in the lab; I have this deep fear of jeopardizing my experiments, or setting fire in the lab.
“So, do you think Indonesia’s better off occupied by The Dutch?”
One evening, my Dutch friend asked me that. It was clearly a joke. Yet, it got me thinking. The Dutch’ occupation of Indonesia did leave a very important mark in the country’s history. And it colored my point of view towards Netherlands as well. Don’t get me wrong, I do like this country and its people. I don’t think that Dutch people are rude. Okay, some people are, as rude as an immature child trying to make a statement about something. But I can’t help feeling bitter about Utrecht’s Oudegracht or this event from Rijksmuseum.