This is When I Tried to Understand God’s Perspective

I’m always asking, “Why does God create us?” What does He want? Doesn’t He have anything to do and want something to play with? Does He feel lonely? Are we all a mere experiment to Him? A huge nonsense? What’s the point of Heaven and Hell, if those even exist? Why would He create us, watch us live and suffer and dead and live again, only to put us into Afterlife? What’s the point? Why? Why? Doesn’t He even exist, or am I talking about something that isn’t there in the first place?

I was crying one afternoon because I was so upset listening that non-Muslim people will go to Hell no matter how kind they are. They said it was like you were attending classes in the university you didn’t register. You might attend all classes, pass the tests with flying colours, but in the end you wouldn’t get any graduation certificate because you weren’t registered as a student in the first place. It was the same with religion; even though you do good deeds on Earth, you won’t be accepted in Muslim’s version of Heaven simply because you’re not a Muslim. Or any Heaven from any religion’s version, it doesn’t matter. I picked Islamic version because I’m a Muslim and that was what I know.

Perhaps there’s a different concept of Heaven?

Anyway, if the correct version of Heaven is the one I wrote before (only Muslim can enter—and they’re not even guaranteed to go there), does it feel right for you?

For me, it doesn’t feel right. Not even okay.

If you’re using Vine, you must be familiar with Jérôme Jarre. He’s French, now in Somalia helping people to stop famine and make them happy again. In the process, he met Muslim woman, talked with her, and she taught him how to say “Alhamdulillah”. He published on his Instagram, “Islam that world didn’t see”. “Islam is full of love”, and he spread the news even though he’s not a Muslim. I don’t know what he believes in, but now it doesn’t matter—what really matter is his helping people sincerely because he’s a human who wants to help other humans. As simple as that.

Just to make sure, I asked some Muslims, “Will non-Muslim be able to go to Heaven when they’re very kind to other human being while they live on Earth?” They said, “No, they can’t.”

However, if you read at the previous case, actually a non-Muslim guy is helping Muslim people in Somalia so they won’t starve anymore (yeah, he’s still doing it as I’m writing this post). They must be very thankful to him and to God as well, and Jérôme—intentionally or not—made some Somalis love God more because “God” finally sent them a good human being to help them. (I said “some” because probably some others decided not to believe in God anymore and just believe in the real thing.) According to Islam, Jérôme will go to Hell—really?? Are you serious? He’s helping Muslims, spreading the good about Islam to the world, yet he doesn’t deserve a Heaven at all? Must be kidding, right?

Why do we have to go to Heaven in the first place? From what I heard, anyone can get anything they want once they’re there—all they need to do is asking. What’s the purpose of living when you don’t have to fight for anything anymore? What’s your life purpose? Would life be boring, you think? If I were there I would be lazy all the time.

It made me frown; I really was confused. I didn’t get what God thought of all these things. If You’re really there, would You make me understand? Why are You so happy making people feel confused about You? Don’t You want to be understood, to be recognised? WHY are You making it so hard?

This was when I made an analogy.

I imagined myself as a mother of two children, a boy and a girl. Why would I have children? I don’t know; probably because I’m bored with my life and I want something new, because I want to give love to other creature (this doesn’t make sense though as there are still a lot of kids who need love and care, so why should I “create” a new one?), or because it’s an accident caused by uncontrolled lust?? (No way in hell!—well it’s just an instance.)

(Have you ever asked your parents why you were born? What did they have on their mind when they decided to have you? Did you dare to ask? I haven’t asked my own parents until now—I’m shy and afraid to make them angry. Why? They easily make a fuss about little things that feel personal and I don’t want to play with the fire. I do encourage you to ask your parents though, and let me know their answers if you don’t mind.)

Then sadly one of my kid, let’s say the old one, didn’t recognised me as his parent. Even though I cared and loved him so much and helped him to grow up until he became a man, I was invisible to him. The cause can be anything: he was hurt by me for some reason; I didn’t give enough love, care, or money; he found more loving and caring “mom” out there; or he simply was an asshole. Either way, I didn’t exist for him.

I would be very, very angry if it happened—and sad. Terribly sad.

Nonetheless, he really cared for his younger sister. He was always there for her, be a silly friend and a protective brother. He even made his sister loved me more as her mom. She thanked me for “giving” her such a kind brother whom she saw as her hero, even though she felt sad because she couldn’t encourage her brother to love me. She was torn.

So was I.

I would still love my children regardless of how they behaved towards me, especially if my son made my daughter loved me more although he didn’t intentionally do it. I really would love to reach for him again, but it was hard for me to do that because I didn’t exist in his world—there was nothing for me to do if he had already built such a tall, strong wall that was hard to break. I would be able to break it if only he allowed me to do so. I would feel resentful, but yeah… I could only shrug, I guess? I could provide an extremely beautiful place to live in, yet he refused to enter. Though, if in a blue moon he changed his mind and chose to come to me, I would gladly open my arms widely and accept him as he was.

Perhaps God is pretty much the same: feels betrayed when people don’t recognise His existence, desperately want people to come to Him but some people refuse, and so forth. I personally think that there’s a supreme being who created all of us. Since I was born as a Muslim, Allah is the God I know and Islam is the way of living that I understand. Yes, if I were born in a different family there were a chance I wouldn’t be a Muslim; I would be so different, thus I wouldn’t be “me” at all. Now I’ve found more peace in my belief. It doesn’t matter that there are many other religions or no religion at all. This is what I know, and I just want to go “home”.

What about other religions? Do they belong to the Heaven that I (don’t) know of? Maybe there are many Heavens out there, just like many countries in the world. Every country has its own system; none of them are wrong. It’s just a matter of what suits it best. Same goes with Heaven, maybe. (I wrote lots of “maybe” because I don’t know myself. Then again, who knows?) What if someone doesn’t believe in God or Heaven at all? They might not believe in it, but I believe that they will have a place as well. It’s better for them I think because they have nothing to expect.

Now that I wrote about it, it sounds silly that Heaven has many “countries”, but I just want kind people who aren’t Muslim also belong to Heaven, in their own terms, and I can meet family and friends again. Heaven won’t be so boring as long as I have them there, eh?

Everyone’s perception about God would differ, and it’s totally fine. No one knows the truth. My perception could change as well if I change my analogy, yours too, and there’s nothing we can do about it. I imagine myself as a parent who has children because that’s what makes sense for me so far; I’m open to new perspective if you care to share some to me. The bottom line is maybe it’s kind of useless to think about this abstract stuff, but having a place to stand on makes me feel in peace.

By the way, what do you have in mind?


One of The Brightest Stars

(Source: Genius)

I had never posted any posts related to songs in WordPress until now; I wrote it because this song touched me to the personal level. The song was introduced to me by a friend, Dino, and I thank him so much. I won’t interpret the song by words, but by how it means to me.

It’s better to listen to the song first. You’re gonna like it. 😉

One day your story will be told.
One of the lucky ones who’s made his name.
One day they’ll make you glorious,
Beneath the lights of your deserved fame.

This lyrics give me hope. Yesterday, I read that there is 3-step process to create your reality. I’m on Step 2, and listening this fuels my spirit. I picture that in 5 years, I will help coffee farmers to process their coffee so the beans will have the highest quality. Their life will be better, and we’ll all be happy together.

Anyway, I won’t hide the fact that I want to do something good at last because I want to feel good, be good, and look good while I’m doing it. I also want to prove myself and other people that I can do one thing properly and do it until the end. If you think that it’s not good to have your personal reasons, nah, it’s totally fine. You don’t have to share it to anyone if you’re uncomfortable, but at least be honest to yourself. Acknowledge it, and let it empower you when you feel like you want to give up.

After all, I (and you too) will be blinded by the lights of our deserved fame some time soon.

And it all comes round.
Once in a lifetime like it always does.
Everybody loves you ’cause you’ve taken a chance,
Out on a dance to the moon, too soon.
And they’ll say: told you so.
We were the ones who saw you first of all.
We always knew that you were one of the brightest stars.

A chance will come only once in my life, and everyone will love me because I’ve taken the chance as soon as it appears. They pretty much will tell that they’ve always known that I deserve all of the good things that happens to me. People always like to be close to someone who is kind, has a good reputation, and is successful in life. That’s why they’ll say, “Told you so.” They think they knew it since the first time they saw me struggle. Some of them are true, but only God knows about the others.

One day they’ll tell you that you’ve changed,
Though they’re the ones who seem to stop and stare.
One day you’ll hope to make the grave,
Before the papers choose to send you there.

People won’t notice me until I give impacts to them, either directly or indirectly. For the third and fourth line, I don’t believe that “one day I probably choose to die instead of let the fate send me to the grave”. For me the meaning is I’ll live this world as fully as possible before I die.

And it all comes round.
Once in a lifetime like it always does.
Nobody loves you ’cause you’ve taken a chance,
Out on a dance to the moon, too soon.
And they’ll say: told you so.
We were the ones who saw you first of all.
We always knew that you were one of the brightest stars.

(Source: azlyrics)

In some cases, people might hate me because I’m taking a chance towards my dreams. Some people won’t like seeing me succeed for some reasons, even though in the end they probably will embrace me as a friend again when I’ve reached my goals.

Either way, I still will be one of the brightest stars.

Why I Go To College (and Why You Shouldn’t)

In my last year of high school, mom, dad, and basically everyone asked me, “To which university will you continue your study?” “What major will you take?” and so on. I had no idea what I want to become back then, so I chose a major that I thought I would enjoy studying.

All of it happened so naturally and no one questioned why everything goes this way. It’s like a pattern that people expect me to take. It’s like when I go home with the same route over and over, unconsciously, without wondering why I should take this route and not another.

I was reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki when I found myself thinking, “Why do I go to college?”

Why? Why? Why? To get a good job? To satisfy my parents? To devote myself to study more?

I asked deeper to myself:
Why do I want to get a good job? To be financially secure? Will getting a job make me financially secure? Why should I get a job? Do I want to be someone else’s slave? (Pardon my language, but that’s what I think.)

I know I want to make parents proud, but is going to university the only thing I can do to reach that?

And why should I spend a hell lot of money (it’s IDR10,000,000 in my campus for one semester) to study, while in this era I can get all the resources from internet? How about joining a community or volunteering for something and learn something real from that? Am I that close-minded and uncreative to not consider other options?

So why do I go to college?

Frankly, I’m just following the path.

Oh my, it’s very hard to admit it out loud, but yes, I had no idea what I’m getting myself into when I was in my last year of high school.

No one asked me why I wanted to continue my study to university. As I previously said, it’s kind of obligatory for me to get a bachelor’s degree. The pressure from family, friends, and,  even society is very high—they will consider me as stupid if I don’t get at least bachelor’s degree.

It is very conservative and close-minded to think like that; I believe my education doesn’t necessarily define how smart I am, how successful I will be, or what kind of person I’ll become.

Had I known earlier what I would be facing if I go to college, maybe I would take a gap year. Or start a biz, learn new skills and become so good at it, travel, write a book… I don’t know. The option is limitless.

There are three kinds of people: the poor, the middle, and the rich. My parents are the middle. The middle usually get high education,  go get a job, spend money on consumptive goods, unsatisfied with their current salaries, get higher education and expect pay raise, get promoted, spend more money on what they think is assets but actually liabilities, and work until the rest of their life. They work mainly to pay bills, get a vacation for a few weeks in a year, and then fall back into routines.

The pattern is set; it is called Rat Race. Does it look familiar, that pattern?

Do you often hear a story that someone is rich and a leader of many people smarter than him, meanwhile he’s just a college dropout or his highest education is only high school? Isn’t it unfair for us who have spent so much money on our education, and yet people who are lower than us can boss us around? Don’t you think you can be more than them?

Then why does it happen?

The answer is very simple: they are financially literate. The rich knows how money works and finds thousand ways to make money works for them. The middle, on the other hand, doesn’t understand that. Therefore they work their butts off for money, which is just an illusion by the way.

Financial literacy is extremely important; yet no one teaches it in school or university. Don’t ask me why; I have no idea.

One more thing, what people tend to forget is specification also means limitation. The higher your education, the more limited your options will be. Your mind will be trained to think that way, in a way you’re already familiar with. It won’t happen though if you read books or meet people from different backgrounds.

Hey, cheer up! I’m also a college student you know, haha. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to college at all; my point is do it with a good reason. A great, fantastic reason, and only you who know what it is.

Also don’t forget to educate yourself financially.

Asri F. Septarizky

10 Ideas about How to Improve Cokotetra

Cokotetra (Coklat, Kopi, Teh, dan Sastra or Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, and Literature if you don’t understand Indonesian) is a small cafe at Dago area, Bandung, Indonesia. I always like chocolate more than tea or coffee; it really made me happy when my friend brought me to this place! It was founded in 2012, so the place has been there for nearly 4 years. Long enough, yeah, but sadly some people will frown in confusion when I say I like to visit the place once or twice a week.

“Where is it?”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

Come on, guys!

But, then again, I wouldn’t know that Cokotetra is an acronym if I didn’t searched a bit about the place… and I’m a regular customer.

I don’t visit Cokotetra that often, but I know baristas and waitpersons who work there. I talk to them if I come there, and sometimes I even try to make my own coffee or chocolate with their guidances. Cokotetra is a nice place to talk, meet someone new, or just sit alone and have a me-time. But, after hopping from one coffee shop to another and come back to Cokotetra again, I feel some things are missing.

I don’t know what Cokotetra has been doing so far, but here’s my ideas about how to improve the place, to make it more lively and get more customers. (Anyway I don’t write this in exact order; I just write what comes to my mind first.)

  1. Redesign the place.
    Cokotetra is dominated by brown colour which is good because, in my opinion, brown expresses warmth and welcoming vibe. The place is small and compact, with not too many tables and a close distance to baristas so it’s possible to talk with them from your table.However, after several times coming there, I feel like the place needs a refreshment. The place needs to be brightened, either by repainting the wall with lighter brown or changing the lamps so it will be brighter and customers can read books comfortably.

    Adding some decorations like painting, typography, or plants would be good too!

  2. Retrain the staffs.
    My friend told me that staffs in a company where he works always get training every some time (I forget how often). The point is, staffs need training so they can learn something and improve themselves. Furthermore they can give better services and the company will get more income in return.Cokotetra also hired a new staff. It will be good if they have a good quality control over their staffs, so each of them can reach the company’s standard (maybe have a same vision or something. I’m not an expert about this kind of thing).
  3. Add more coffee variety and ways to brew it.
    Maybe Cokotetra’s main selling point is its chocolate and there’s not so many people who are interested in which beans the cafe use to make their coffee, but some people care about it. I think a good cafe is the one who can accommodate each demands from customers even though the demand isn’t that high (of course only demands which are related to the cafe. You wouldn’t give a massage service in a coffee shop even though some customers beg you to). Adding more coffee beans selections would be perfect!And also ways to brew it… I think it has got something to do with the former point of this list. More training means you can push your staff to stretch their limits, so you can improve and give varieties about what you can give to customers.
  4. Find ways to make all foods and drinks on the menu available.
    It is disappointing to know that some of the menu (especially foods) are not available because the suppliers are no longer producing the products, etc. Although it is not restricted to bring foods from outside and eat it there but it’s just, well, weird. Cokotetra should find ways to make all the menu available to order. They can seek for new suppliers or change the menu to the ones which they can cook themselves.
  5. Advertise more.
    Cokotetra is a kind of cafe that you will never know of if your friends don’t tell you about it. Even though the place is located on a main road, there’s a huge tree in front of it that blocks the view. Cokotetra needs to do more advertising in order to attract more customers (or maybe cut down the tree).Publishing promotions in social media is not enough because the followers of social media are mostly regular customers and they can’t just rely on them to share the info (some of them most likely only will hit “like” button). I think Cokotetra can create Line Official Account because it’s easier for people to read it (young people in my city rarely use Facebook or Twitter; most of them use Line instead) and the post can be indirectly shared by clicking “like”.

    Giving brochures or fliers to campuses and local communities also will do because that’s how I know Cokotetra. I know Cokotetra used to do that before, and I also read that some communities held a meeting there back on their golden age, but I rarely see any nowadays.

  6. Ask testimonials and photos from customers and post it on instagram (or any other social media).
    Posting testimonials or photos of their customers (after granted a permission) can be a way to say thanks to customers for visiting Cokotetra. Moreover, by doing so, people who never visit Cokotetra at least can get an idea how Cokotetra is like and the owner also will know what his customers think about the cafe.It’s very different to see testimonials from cafe’s official account and read it from someone else’s blogs. It gives personal and thoughtful image of the cafe if they post those testimonials themselves.
  7. If the concept is to make people talk with each other every Saturday night, initiate it!
    Wifi password of Cokotetra is unique: “malamminggutanpawifi” or Saturday night without wifi in English. Why? Because they want people to drop their gadgets and spend the night talking and sharing stories with each other.I came to Cokotetra once on Saturday night, but it was raining so the cafe wasn’t crowded. Still, there were customers there, and I think it would be great if the staffs initiate the conversation with customers! What I mean here is more than just say hi and ask the taste of the coffee, but an actual and meaningful conversation. That would be unforgettable.
  8. Hold a book club, a writing club, or anything.
    As I previously mentioned, Cokotetra used to be a place where communities hold their meetings, events, etc. They should do it again to make the cafe more lively. Crowded cafe attracts more consumers as people tend to follow the crowd and crowd also makes them curious.If the communities don’t contact Cokotetra first, it’s okay to be the first to contact. Offer the place, make some arrangements, or give them discount if they can bring 10 people to the cafe.
  9. Give ways for customer to keep in touch even though they cannot come.
    Cokotetra has accounts in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (maybe there’s more) and that’s great. They just need to be more active and post more things such as promotions, testimonials, facts about coffee or something new about the cafe, and so on.Cokotetra also can open a funding or book donation (for the library) for those who wants to contribute for Cokotetra to grow. Or maybe a donation for coffee, tea, or cocoa farmers, so customers who buy something at the cafe know that some of their money will be given to those who need it the most. After all most people likes to do good and feel good about themselves.
  10. Think of another selling points (and strengthen the current ones).
    I have mentioned selling points which Cokotetra can use to improve:
    – variation of coffee beans and ways to brew it
    – interaction between fellow customers and staffs (initiating conversation, actively posting on social media, asking for feedbacks)
    – be a connector between customers and worlds of chocolate, coffee, or tea (donations)There is one more idea for me for the third point beside donation: in order to make customers more connected to what they drink, offer customers a chance to make the drink themselves if the baristas are not busy. Trust me, I have done that and it was very interesting and exciting! Don’t worry about them stealing your recipe because it takes more than once to perfect the coffee/tea/chocolate making process; they won’t be able to do that. It will make customers know more about what they drink and coincidentally Cokotetra will contribute to educate people about worlds of coffee, tea, or chocolate which aren’t really well-known among people. 🙂

That’s all I can think of how to improve Cokotetra to be more than just a small cafe in a city which is full of coffee shops. I really like Cokotetra and all people in there, and I hope Cokotetra can grow, able to make people more open and carefree, and serve a hell cup of chocolate!


Asri F. Septarizky