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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marriage & Homosexuality

Marriage will always be a never-ending topic to be discussed. :) In my "Religion Education" class we also talked about it. (See my previous posts here and here.)  Below you will find the answer of my students in one quiz I gave them some time ago. There are 12 students in my RE class.

The first question is "why do people marry?"

Interestingly, the number one answer is to be able to celebrate the joy of sex. Well, despite the fact that some students of mine claim that they are non-believers, they put "sex" as the most important thing people pursue from getting married legally. The second most answer is to have babies. No matter what if you live in Indonesia, you will feel more ungodly if you have babies outside wedlock. You will feel that you follow the society norm by having babies after you get married.

(I remember many years ago, I liked teasing my students if they answered "to have babies" to answer why people get married by saying, "To have babies, you don't need to marry, you just need to have sex with someone. LOL.)

Some other answers vary from to strengthen the bond with the one they love, to prove to their loved one that they love him/her, to continue the family name after having babies, to ensure that their partner is committed to them and is responsible for the babies they "produce" :) to get rid of society's pressure that someone must get married after reaching a certain age until more "economic" reason such as to lessen parents' burden, to ease financial burden, and to continue the family business (in case of forced marriage). Some students answered people marry because their religion asks the adherents to. :)

The second question is "Explain why attitudes towards marriage have changed."

There are some interesting answers. First is the influence of globalization era. This era really has shrunk the world so that one nation cannot avoid the influence from other nations. Second now that women have more rights (in public sphere), such as working to make their ends meet or pursuing education as high as they want, they become less dependent on men. When a woman does not depend on a man, she probably can view marriage differently; this probably makes her think that she no longer needs any bond with any man. Third, economic factors.  Marrying and 'building' a family is costly in  this era so that it can stop someone from thinking of the need to get married. This, therefore, leads to the following reason: people are a lot more career-oriented.

Besides those four reasons, some other reasons are mentioned such as in this era people are not that strict anymore in adhering a religion so they do not need to feel guilty/sinful to have sex outside marriage. When they can have sex before getting married first, why do they need to marry? :) (This reason is really contradictory to the answer in the first question, isn't it? :) ) The practice of cohabitation is more acceptable now. Last but not least is in this era gay people are more open about their sexual orientation; so as long as they have a soul mate (from the same sex), they do not need to 'imprison' themselves in a marriage boundary. :)

The third question is "How does Judaism view marriages?" but I do not want to include the answer of this question in this post.

The last question is "Do you think religions should accept homosexuality?"

From 11 answer sheets I have (1 sheet was gone :( ) three students answered NO. There is only one reason: it is against religion teaching. They believe that God created man and woman to love each other, it is the natural law. Man and women are created to love each other, then marry and have babies to continue "human race".  A homosexual couple cannot have baby so they are against the "natural law".

Eight students answered YES. Some reasons are

  1. It is everyone's right to choose who they will live their life with as long as they do not harm others.
  2. Spiritual encounter is personal, it differs from one person to another.
  3. Gay people deserve equality with heterosexual people.
  4. Religions (are supposed to) believe that only God judges a person for his/her sins, not a preacher.
  5. There is nothing wrong for being gay.

No one remembers to answer that love is more important than being heterosexual/homosexual. As long as love exists between two people, what else matters?

GG 08.14 11 September 2014

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Changing attitude towards marriage (2)

First thing to do before discussing the subject, "Family and Relationship" the material provides some vocabulary needed. Excitingly, most vocabulary is related to sex :D such as promiscuity, cohabitation, pre-marital sex, adultery, civil partnership, nuclear family, reconstituted family, faithfulness, remarriage, contraception, and homosexuality. It is surprising that my students do not know yet many words, such as promiscuity, cohabitation, adultery, nuclear family reconstituted family and civil partnership.

The material does not provide the reasons why and how British attitudes towards marriage changed. We came to one point, though, "women are now more financially independent so they no longer depend on men/husband." If 50 years ago, women wouldn't have filed a divorce -- no matter what happened in their marriages -- because they depended on their husband to finance themselves, now women are free. Therefore, I suppose that women movement really brought big impact on marriage life. If 50 years ago, nuclear family referred to father, mother and children, in this era, nuclear family can mean only a mother (or a father) and kids. Talking about civil partnership, well, as I wrote in the previous note, after doing research, scientists concluded that being a gay is not a choice; it is fixed by mid childhood. This means, a nuclear family can mean same sex parents and kids. 

The last topic we discussed this week is about divorce, from Christian point of views. As in the discussion last week, in viewing divorce, the material also provides us three different views, Catholic Christian which is very strict, Church of England which is in the middle, and Liberal Christian which is liberal.  

The material of RELIGION EDUCATION class in the school where I work provides students different point of iviews. The students are expected to open their horizon so that they can accept differences. 


promiscuity: having sex with many partners without getting married
cohabitation : living together with a partner without getting married legally
pre-marital sex : having sex outside marriages
adultery: a sexual act between a married person with someone who is not their marriage partner
nuclear family: mother, father, children living together as one unit
remarriage: getting married again after divorce
reconstituted family: two sets of children (step sisters and step brothers) become one family after their divorced parents marry each other
contraception: intentionally preventing a pregnancy from occurring
faithfulness: staying with your marriage partner and only having sexual contact with them
homosexuality: sexual attraction to the same sex
civil partnership: a legal ceremony giving a homosexual couple rights as a husband and wife

LG 18.10 06/09/2014

Changing attitudes towards marriage

For these past a few months, my Religion Education class has been talking about "Family and Relationship". The first subject is about the changing attitudes towards marriage. Since the material is from Cambridge, the topic is about the changing attitudes towards marriage in the UK. (And it surprised my students to find out that several decades ago UK was as "conventional" as Indonesia nowadays. (It made me remember one lecturer I had once said that Indonesia is 50 years left behind America. :) ) 

Here are the list we discussed what happened in 1960s

  1. Most people got married in churches in their mid 20s.
  2. No sex before marriage
  3. Divorce was taboo
  4. Children were born inside marriages
  5. Homosexuality was sin

In the beginning of 2000s, those 1960s "attitudes" changed into:

  1. Less marriages are held in churches
  2. Divorce is more acceptable
  3. Sex before /outside marriage is common
  4. Many children were born outside wedlock, some children were raised in same-sex parents
  5. Homosexuality is more widely acceptable -- although the UK does not really "endorse" same-sex marriage, the government accepts civil partnership (same sex couple live together) and they get exactly the same rights as heterosexual couple

Two weeks ago we talked about homosexuality. The changing attitude viewing this is in1960s, homosexuality was a criminal offence as well as a sin, but now homosexual couple can have their relationship recognized legally with a civil partnership. After studying for many years, scientists concluded that being gay is NOT A CHOICE. It is generally accepted that people do not choose their sexuality, but it is fixed by mid childhood. The prejudice suffered by many gay people in society certainly wouldn't be chosen by anyone. Many gay people we see on the television are stereotypes and do not really help people accept homosexuality.

Last week we talked about sex before/outside marriage. First, the students are to write their own opinion about cohabitation, promiscuity, and pre-marital sex. whether they agree and disagree. Second, they must write what their religion teaching tell them about those three things. (Un)luckily this time we "only" discuss Christian views on these attitudes. (Not yet from other religions such as Islam.) Christian view is divided into three; 1) Catholic Christian (which is very rigid) 2) Church of England 3) Liberal Christian. Catholic of course condemns both homosexuality and sex outside marriage; Liberal sets the adherents free because people are seen as resposible people who will take the responsibility of anything they do. Church of England is in between Catholic and Liberal.

Are you interested to know how my students think about this changing attitudes topic? 
(2 students of mine are Muslim, 2 students are "strict" Christian, the others are 'liberal' Christian and Buddhist. Some say that they are non-believers.)

We do not talk about inter-religion marriages yet, one topic which is still very much debated in social media at this moment. :)

LG 11.38 06/-9/2014

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Bali Field Trip (Day 4 & 5)

Day 4 May 3, 2014

The girls seemed very lazy to wake up this morning due to fatigue and sunburn they got from rafting. NAH LO. J Mr.Bob asked us to be ready at 08.30 to leave for Uluwatu. Bella, Ellen, and I went down to the restaurant to have breakfast at 08.00. (Around that time Retno and Cecil were still sleeping in their room.) On the ground floor – where we had our breakfast – they boys already enjoyed their breakfast. Aha ... in fact the boys were very excited for the plan that day : playing water in Water Bom, located not far from our hotel. We planned to go there after we visited Uluwatu.

To Mr. Bob’s disappointment – due to the girls’ fatigue – we eventually left the hotel for Uluwatu 20 minutes later than the plan. Again, due to the fatigue of the girls – and the excitement of the boys for Water Bom – we didn’t really enjoy our visit in Uluwatu. We even didn’t reach the temple located at the highest point. One so-called entertaining but annoying thing happened here: Ms. Kerry’s glasses were taken by one naughty monkey there! J After that event, they both directly left the area, to be back to the mini bus. They gave us 30 more minutes to enjoy our stay. But as I wrote before (due to the girls’ fatigue and the boys’ excitement), we did not spend much time. Soon, we followed Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry to the bus. We headed for the next destination : to be back to Kuta beach area.

One behalf of the girls, I asked Mr. Bob’s permission to be back to the hotel while the boys had fun in Water Bom. Peter, who said that he didn’t feel well, joined us to be back to the hotel. Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry had romantic moment by themselves around the beachwalk. J We arrived at the hotel at 11.45.

Did you know what the girls did in the hotel? Yeah, since they were exhausted, they took a nap! Yay, they spent their holiday in Bali napping in the hotel! LOL. So did Peter. Bella, Ellen and I went back to our room; Retno and Cecil went back to their room; Peter went to his own room. Ellen and I napped, while Bella made herself busy with her phone.

Around 15.00 three of us went out to have our lunch in the restaurant across from the hotel. An hour later we dropped by at Retno + Cecil’s room to invite them to join us swimming; Cecil was napping while Retno was reading a book. We then visited Peter’s room and found out that he was really not healthy: he claimed he was dizzy and his temperature was quite high. After making sure that Peter got his lunch and had some medicine, three of us went to the top floor of the hotel : swimming! Not long after that, Cecil came to join us swimming. J

At 18.30 we were all expected to be on the ground floor to have dinner in the same restaurant – across from the hotel. The boys were already back from Water Bom. Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry eventually found out that Peter was really unwell. Julio claimed to feel unwell too. That made the situation a bit chaotic. Julio’s mom insisted that Julio get traditional treatment (‘dikerokin’) but Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry didn’t approve this kind of thing. So, they called a doctor to come to the hotel to check Peter and Julio’s condition.

After dinner, the girls and I went shopping. We were accompanied by our sweet Vito! Despite the fact that he was exhausted, he was willing to accompany us walking as far as 3 kilometers (6 kilometers back and forth).

We were back to the hotel at 22.00. Bella and Ellen were packing, I directly brushed my teeth and ... went to bed! Sooo tired! J

Day 5 May 4 2014

Time to go back to our respective family in Semarang!

Lazy morning. We didn’t plan to do any activity except packing. We were all ready in the lobby at 10.00. After Mr. Bob finished his business with the hotel (paying the bills), we went to the airport by four taxis. One taxi was charged Rp. 60.000,00. In the airport we saw Revy, one ex student of Permata Bangsa, an ex classmate of Vito, Ryan, and Ellen. J Revy, along with his mom and sister, was also on the way to Semarang.

We left Ngurah Rai international airport at 12.00 WITeng. Bye bye Bali.We’ll miss you.
We arrived at Ahmad Yani international airport Semarang at 12.00 WIB. All students were picked up by their respective family members. Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry were packed up by the school driver, Pak Joko. And Vito brought me home. J

What a very tiring yet exciting and memorable trip!

GG 13.13 07/05/2014 

Bali Field Trip (Day 3)

Day 3 May 2, 2014


It was a dream come true day for me. J I have wanted to have white water rafting for years and eventually the chance came to me. At first, in fact, rafting was not on our list to do on our field trip. Mr. Bob offered us this and we happily agreed. J

We left the hotel around 09.00 WITeng, after having yummy breakfast. Mr. Bob chose ‘LapamA rafting’ for us. They picked us up in the hotel with two cars. The location of our rafting is in Telaga Waja river, Muncan village, Karangasem. It is located around 60 kilometers from our hotel. Without traffic jam, we needed one and a half hour by car. The driver of the car where I was sitting at the front was very friendly. After leaving the heart of Kuta I realized that in fact Denpasar was not that crowded. J He explained the route to Sanur beach, Safari Park, etc on our way to Telaga Waja river.

For rafting, each of us was charged Rp. 270.000,00 (I got the information from internet though, Mr. Bob had paid for our rafting.) In order to get documentation of our activity, Mr. Bob asked LapamA rafting to have our pictures taken during rafting. And for that, they charged us Rp. 700.000,00 because there were 14 people in our group! WOW! Expensive, eh?

The rafting was really fun! Tiring, but it was worth it. Telaga Waja river is well-known as the best rafting place in Bali due to its high difficulty; the obstacles are rocks,bamboo bridges, falls, with its high density of water flow. The more positive side is the river is located in the middle of terraced paddy fields, plantation and tourists can see beautiful view of Agung mountain from the distance. The trek is 16 kilometers long and it needs two and a half hours to do the rafting. The most exciting part of the whole activity is the 5-meter fall where we have to jump while staying inside the boat!

For beginners, don’t worry because LapamA rafting provides trained guides in each boat. They also give brief instruction how to do it before we start. It is really fun and safe for those who love challenging outdoor activity.

After finishing the trek, we are provided with lunches where we seat ourselves in a strategic cottage so that we can spoil our eyes with beautiful scenery.

We left the village around 14.30 and arrived back at the hotel at 16.15. Mr. Bob didn’t give us long time to rest because we were asked to be ready in the lobby at 16.30 for the next destination : JIMBARAN BAY!

You will fall in love with everyone you meet in Jimbaran Bay, Nana,” Ms. Kerry said to me the previous morning. WOW.

One thing I could say : the sunset is really amazing! Peter complained, though, that the waves were not as high as the ones in Kuta beach. J Yes, Peter spent some time swimming in Jimbaran while waiting for our dinner to be prepared. Some people – me included – bought some yummy grilled corns. The other boys played ball.

For our dinner, Mr. Bob ordered grilled fish, vegetables (ca kangkung), steamed white rice, and some fruit for our dessert. Each of us got one bottle of 600 ml mineral water for our drink.

Before  19.00 we finished our dinner. We directly headed back to the hotel. On our way back, 8 students (Vito, Ellen, Retno, Aryo, Julio, Cecil, Peter, and Bella) and I dropped by at around Kuta square for shopping souvenirs. The four boys (Zulfan, Ryan, Alex and Samuel) and Restu were back to the hotel, together with Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry. But then, they rented motorcycles to go around Kuta! J

The 8 students and I were walking along the road while shopping. That night we walked around 3-4 kilometers after the exhausting rafting in the morning! Great! J Again, it was really a good exercise to burn calories after we ate a lot in Jimbaran. J (Ups, Peter still bought some munches on our way. LOL.)

As two nights before, we went back to the hotel at 22.00. Bella, Ellen, and I directly fell asleep after we were back to our room.

To be continued :)

Bali Field Trip (Day 2)

Day 2 May 1 2014

We had our breakfast at 07.30. The hotel provided us various kinds of food, from local cuisine, such as fried rice until western one. For the beverage, we could choose tea, coffee, milk and some kinds of juices.

We left the hotel for Ubud an hour later. Again, due to the traffic jam, we took a longer time than we should from Kuta to Ubud. (Aha ... in fact Jakarta is not alone for its being notorious for its traffic jam; only Denpasar – especially Kuta perhaps – is not that notorious as Jakarta. LOL. As an international city – you can find almost any nationality of people here – it is understood for being crowded no matter whether it is holiday season or not so people understand if traffic jam is everywhere. The local people understand it, the tourists – perhaps due to their holiday mood – also understand it. J

The first place to visit is Bajra Sandhi monument. This is a monument to commemorate heroic Balinese struggle against Dutch colonial government. It is located in the center of Denpasar, the capital city of Bali. It takes around 30 minutes by car/bus from Ngurah Rai International airport. This is one best place to learn the history of Balinese people since pre historical era until the twentieth century. The historical struggle is illustrated in 33 units of diorama.

The monument/museum started to be built in 1987; it was officially opened by Megawati Soekarno Putri – the then president – in 2003. Bajra means carillon while sandhi means sacred. The shape of the monument is like a carillon. This sacred carillon is usually used by Hindu priest in holy religious prayers.

From Bajra Sandhi monument we visited Pura Puseh in Batuan village. The temple is built in classical Balinese temple architecture style with elaborate carvings. Before entering the temple, we are given sarongs to wear during our visit.

We didn’t spend much time in Pura Puseh. The following place to visit is Ubud! Shopping time! Yeayyyy. As before, I was responsible to supervise the girls + Peter. This time Julio chose to be with the other boys.

After shopping for around an hour, Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry took us to NOMAD restaurant for lunch; a very historical restaurant for both of them! (Ssshhhttt, Mr. Bob proposed Ms. Kerry to marry him here! )

As one of the oldest restaurants in Ubud, Nomad offers a mix of fresh modern Asian and Western tastes mixed in with Balinese classis cuisine. I ordered a plate of fried noodle. It was very yummy; but the big portion made me so full that I couldn’t finish it.

It was drizzling after we finished our lunch. However, we were all excited with the following destination : SANGEH.

Sangeh – a forest site full of monkeys – is not far from Nomad restaurant. Everybody had fun with the funny but naughty monkeys inside the forest. The hiking was enough to burn calories after our yummy and full lunches.

We arrived back at the hotel around 17.15. We didn’t want to pass up the stunning view of sunset in Kuta beach of course. The boys played ball using the ball they just bought in Kuta Square. Peter went swimming again, enjoying the quite big waves in Kuta beach. The girls were playing with water only.

In this second chance to spend our afternoon in Kuta beach, there was a minor accident: the boys threw some mud to one another and Aryo accidentally threw some mud to Zulfan’s right eye! This made Mr. Bob and Ms. Kerry get angry. As a result we were grounded: after dinner we were not allowed to go out from the hotel.

We had our dinner in the restaurant across from the hotel again. Well, anyway, the food was delicious. J After dinner, we all went back to the hotel. (All of us? Oh in fact NO! Secretly – without Restu and my knowing – two boys sneaked out to have tattoos! Can you guess who? Ryan and Samuel! Oh well ...) Meanwhile, Zulfan was resting in his room; Aryo, Alex, Julio, Vito, Ellen, Bella, Retno, Cecil, Peter, Restu and I went to the top floor of the hotel. But not long after that, Ellen, Bella, Retno, Cecil and Peter went down to Retno’s room to watch movies. Restu jumped to the pool and had some swim, the rest – Vito, Alex, Aryo, Julio and me – had some chats until 22.00. After that, we all went back to our room. 

To be continued :)