Usaha Merawat Sejarah di Hari Pers Nasional

Beberapa kejadian belakangan ini berkelindan erat, membuat peringatan Hari Pers Nasional yang jatuh pada 9 Februari kali ini terasa melankolis.

Dimulai dari minggu lalu, saat saya bersama Nidaa, Data Analyst di Nafas, hadir di forum diskusi yang diadakan oleh Resilience Development Initiative (RDI) untuk membahas soal diseminasi informasi hasil pemantauan kualitas udara. Acara tersebut juga dihadiri oleh perwakilan institusi-institusi pemerintahan. Kami berbagi pandangan soal kerja-kerja produksi dan distribusi konten yang dilakukan oleh Nafas. Bagaimana kami mengolah data saintifik dan informasi kompleks ke dalam bahasa visual yang menarik dan mudah dipahami. Jika kemudian memicu diskusi dalam skala yang jauh lebih besar dan menjadi topik nasional pada periode Juni-Agustus 2023, hingga mendapatkan perhatian dari Presiden Jokowi dan pemerintah pusat, artinya ada keresahan warga yang terwakili di konten-konten tersebut. Ada beban harapan yang dititipkan kepada kami.

‘Viralnya’ isu polusi udara di media sosial tersebut rupanya dianggap menarik sebagai bahan penelitian. Beberapa hari lalu, saya dan Nidaa diminta menjadi narasumber oleh seorang mahasiswa S2 Sosiologi UI mengenai ‘viralitas’ topik polusi udara di Jakarta.

Di salah satu pertanyaan, saya menjawab sambil menerangkan rangkuman linimasi ‘viralitas’ topik polusi udara tahun 2023 yang kami sertakan di dalam Laporan Kualitas Udara Nafas bulan Agustus 2023 (selengkapnya di halaman 39-46).

Cuplikan linimasa topik polusi udara di Laporan Nafas Agustus 2023

Ia mengapresiasi usaha riset yang tim kami lakukan. Saat itu saya hanya merespons singkat dengan mengucapkan terima kasih. Bagi kami yang rutin memproduksi konten, riset lumrah dilakukan dan sudah menjadi rutinitas. Namun, semakin saya pikirkan, kerja-kerja riset tidaklah mudah. Jadi izinkan saya menggunakan momen ini untuk kembali memberikan apresiasi tertinggi kepada tim konten dan media sosial, tim data, serta tim kreatif Nafas. Mereka-mereka lah, yang selama satu setengah tahun terakhir ini, bersama saya intens memproduksi konten-konten Nafas. You’re all doing fantastic work!

Momen selanjutnya yang cukup melankolis di peringatan Hari Pers Nasional kali ini adalah saat peringatan hari lahir Pramoedya Ananta Toer yang ke-99 pada 6 Februari lalu. Gara-gara satu cuitan di X yang lewat di linimasa, saya jadi bernostalgia pada kenangan nyaris dua dekade silam, saat masih berstatus mahasiswa tahun pertama dan anggota baru pers mahasiswa Media Publica.

Saat itu, saya bersama dua orang kawan, dua senior, dan seorang penghubung berkesempatan bertemu dan mewawancarai Bung Pram langsung di kediamannya di Bojong Gede.

Bersama Pramoedya Ananta Toer di Bojong Gede, 15 Maret 2005. (Dari kiri ke kanan: Adel, Sara, Dimas, Bung Pram, Sam, dan Ijul)

Obrolan kami berlangsung selama kurang lebih 2 jam dan menghabiskan 4-5 kaset mini recorder. Hasil wawancara aslinya diterbitkan sebagai surat kabar Media Publica di kampus dulu, namun versi daringnya masih bisa dibaca di sini: Wawancara Pramoedya Ananta Toer (2005).

Sejak itu, dan tentu saja berkat pengaruh mahakarya-mahakarya Bung Pram, saya semakin yakin bahwa menulis adalah bekerja untuk keabadian. Sepintar apapun, jika kita tidak menulis, kita akan tenggelam dan hilang dari sejarah. Selain menulis, saya juga belajar bahwa melakukan pengarsipan merupakaan pekerjaan yang tidak kalah penting. Dan itu yang ia giat lakukan hingga akhir hayatnya: mengarsip.

Sebuah kebetulan manis jika beberapa hari setelahnya, Bung Pram kembali ‘hadir’. Kali ini di layar lebar, melalui kutipan yang diucapkan oleh Sarmadji, salah seorang pelajar Indonesia yang dibuang paksa oleh rezim Orde Baru puluhan tahun silam. “Save what can be saved (Selamatkan apa yang bisa diselamatkan),” ujar Sarmadji, mengutip Pramoedya Ananta Toer, salah satu penulis kesukaannya, dalam dokumenter Eksil (2022) besutan Lola Amaria. 

Film ini mengisahkan para eksil yang dibuang paksa saat sedang belajar ke luar negeri oleh rezim Orde Baru. Mereka klayaban puluhan tahun tanpa kewarganegaraan di negeri orang. Di antara banyak eksil yang dihadirkan dalam dokumenter ini, sosok Sarmadji yang paling menarik perhatian saya.

Sarmadji saat proses pembuatan film “Eksil”. (Sumber foto: Instagram Lola Amaria)

Ia diasingkan saat sedang menempuh Pendidikan Luar Sekolah di Tiongkok. Kewarganegaraannya dirampas dan dilarang pulang ke tanah air. Selama di Tiongkok hingga akhirnya tutup usia di Belanda pada Desember 2022, ia tidak pernah berkeluarga ataupun memiliki keturunan. Hidupnya hanya ditemani ribuan buku, arsip, serta dokumentasi sejarah Indonesia, khususnya yang terkait tragedi 1965-1966.

Sarmadji mendirikan Perkumpulan Dokumentasi Indonesia (Perdoi) sebagai usaha menyelamatkan arsip sejarah bangsa yang tercecer dan rentan (di)hilang(kan). Hingga akhir hayatnya, Sarmadji setia melakukan dua hal: mencintai Indonesia dan meneruskan kerja-kerja mulia penulis kesukaannya terdahulu (Pramoedya Ananta Toer); merawat sejarah lewat dokumentasi.

Atas nama Udin, Ersa Siregar, Maraden Sianipar, Herliyanto, dan Naimullah, mewakili seluruh wartawan Indonesia yang dibunuh, diteror, diancam, dan dikriminalisasi saat bertugas, saat berusaha menjadi nyala dalam gelap, saat menyuarakan kebenaran namun dibungkam, dan saat berada di garis depan merawat ingatan lewat cetakan sejarah.

Selamat Hari Pers Nasional dan panjang umur perjuangan!

Behind the Linkedin Curtains: What We’re Not Talking About

It’s intriguing how we seem to have an unspoken “agreement” that professional platforms like LinkedIn should remain untouched by discussions on the Palestinian occupation. Judging by the scarce – almost non-existent – posts related to the occupation in Palestine, save for a few from Western news outlets that, well, you know how they can be.

Is it that the platform is not the “right place” for such discourse? Is there a sterile space in social media? Or perhaps we shouldn’t mix business with ‘personal beliefs’? Our professional affiliations and industry ties often compel us to tread lightly on matters unrelated to our jobs.

To date, I’ve yet to see corporations openly take a stance or show support. Few individuals post about it either. And when they do, the comment section is often dominated by pro-occupation voices. Or perhaps I’m just not well-connected enough?

I’m secretly hoping to stumble upon a tech bro or sis spilling some enlightening beans on this issue. But no, instead, it’s an avalanche of ChatGPT tutorials, the A to Z of digital marketing, and the secret sauce for “viral” content. 

There’s a universe of vital topics to delve into. For instance, the role of social media during occupation times – how each side leverages platforms differently to disseminate information, fact-check, and rally support. *Final year students, jot this down for your thesis/dissertation ideas.*

And for the tech aficionados constantly buzzing about AI: there’s also that post on platform X featuring an AI-generated Bella Hadid video to sway opinions. Flagrantly false, it was promptly flagged by X’s community guidelines. (Honestly, that was a facepalm moment.) Lastly, let’s ponder how TikTok, indirectly through its platform, plays a role in fostering and amplifying inhumane trends that debase our shared humanity.

So come on, surprise us with a post that’s both impactful and meaningful. Challenge accepted?

Umur Baru RI, Masalah Lama: Polusi Udara

Minggu yang riuh dan melelahkan lahir batin, ya? 🙂

Setelah polusi udara menjadi topik ‘suam-suam kuku’ dan mendapat porsi perhatian seadanya, akhirnya minggu ini seakan meledak seperti perut si tamak yang tak lagi kuat menampung segala keserakahan yang masuk tanpa pikir panjang. Satu-satunya kancing yang menahan kemeja si tamak, akhirnya lepas terdorong lemak terakumulasi yang tersimpan dalam perut. Ini batasnya. Bertindak sekarang, atau tidak sama sekali.

Tajuk harian Kompas 10 Agustus 2023

Hari Senin (14/8) Presiden (akhirnya) mengadakan rapat terbatas membahas kualitas udara di wilayah Jabodetabek di Istana Merdeka bersama jajaran pemerintah terkait. Beberapa rekomendasi dan arahan jangka pendek, jangka menengah, dan jangka panjang dikeluarkan.

Terlambat, tapi lebih baik daripada tidak sama sekali.

Kemenangan warga sudah di depan mata? Nope, masih jauh dan samar-samar. Tapi cukup menerbitkan harapan ketika diskusi akhirnya tidak mentok membahas sektor transportasi sebagai penyebab tunggal polusi udara.

Meskipun yang terjadi selanjutnya, seperti menonton drama Korea “Reply 1988” untuk pertama kalinya. Berbagai emosi dimainkan saat membaca dan menonton pernyataan para pejabat pemerintahan. Asupan konten digital tak henti dari berbagai portal media dan kanal media sosial dari para pejabat pemerintah terkait polusi udara.

Sejenak kesal, kemudian gregetan, tak lama meringis menahan pipis, sempat frustrasi, tapi kemudian optimis lagi melihat kerja keras berbagai organisasi dan elemen masyarakat dalam memperjuangkan udara sehat sedikit demi sedikit melangkah maju. (Tabik, teman-teman Bicara Udara, Pandemictalks, ThinkPolicy, Greenpeace ID, dan masih banyak lagi!)

Bagaimana dengan tim Nafas?

Permintaan wawancara dan data kualitas udara meningkat. Belakangan ini kedua founder Nafas seakan ‘adu eksis’ dengan sibuk menajdi narasumber di banyak media lokal, nasional, dan internasional.

Seri konten Bad Air Seasons di Instagram @nafasidn

Selain itu, rasanya tidak ada yang berbeda di dapur Nafas: tetap meeting koordinasi setiap pagi, update harian data kualitas udara beserta temuan-temuan menariknya, melanjutkan seri konten “Bad Air Season” sejak Juni (yup, polusi meningkat bukan cuma seminggu belakangan), menjegal mitos polusi udara, membantu mengingatkan warga akan dampak polusi terhadap kesehatan, dan tetap memberikan tips praktis untuk mengurangi paparan serta produksi polusi udara sehari-hari.

Tapi.. mungkin ada satu hal yang akan berbeda mulai minggu ini. Kita punya ‘tugas mulia’ untuk mengawal komitmen dan keseriusan pemerintah dalam memperbaiki kualitas udara.

Berat ya jadi warga di kota berpolusi? Sudah jadi korban, sering dikambinghitamkan, cari solusi dan melindungi diri sendiri, dan sekarang mengawal kerja pemerintah. Kalau kata Dr. Erlina Burhan, dokter spesialis paru dari FKUI, udara bersih itu hak seluruh warga, tapi sayangnya, kita harus memperjuangkan hal itu saat ini.

Selamat panjang umur saya ucapkan tidak cuma kepada Indonesia, tapi juga perjuangan. ✊

Pocket-size Luxury in Times of Crisis

Did you find yourself on beauty products buying frenzy lately despite of the recession that is currently happening? Several lipsticks on different shade? Or maybe luxury perfume? We might have an explanation about that.

Former Wall Street trader turns financial literacy content creator, Vivian Tu or popularly known as @yourrichbff, posted an interesting video a while back about the lipstick index or lipstick effect.

She briefly explained that the lipstick sales could indicate a recession. Our common sense would make us think that when the times get tough, let alone recession, we’ll do the best we can to save money and cut spend on non essential items. But that’s not always the case.

Leonard Lauder, one of the heirs to the Estée Lauder cosmetics company, first saw ‘the lipstick effect’ in 2001. When the economy got worse, their beauty products sales get better. 

The economist saw similar ‘trend’ again in 2008 when nail polish sales soared. Then in the beginning of pandemic (2020), the fragrance sales saw an uptick.

What about this year? Similar to those previous years, a tube of lipstick feels like an affordable luxury that people can buy nowadays, despite the upcoming (or ongoing?) global recession.

Many people in Vivian’s video comment section would disagree with her and argue that the recent spike in lipstick sales wasn’t an indicator for recession, but could be caused by several possibilities.

First one—and also become the most mentioned possibility—is because of the mask policy has been lifted in most countries. People can wear and show off their makeup again. In the beginning of pandemic, they can’t do it freely, hence fragrance or perfume is a tool to enhance their ‘appearance’ and feel good about themselves.

The other reason is just a domino effect caused by recession. When the economy crashes and many people lost their job, lipstick can help them to look decent or professional for a job interview.

But is the Lipstick Effect real and that the beauty industry recession-proof?

I found a 2012 article (Lipstick, the Recession and Evolutionary Psychology) by Sarah Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, in Scientific American. She mentioned that the “lipstick effect” is not only real, but deeply rooted in women’s mating psychology, according to studies results that were published on the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Their findings from four separate experiments consistently supported the lipstick effect. Cited from the article, Sarah Hill stated that:

“As college-age women, when primed with news of economic instability, reported increased desire to buy attractiveness-enhancing goods, along with a decreased desire to purchase goods that do not enhance one’s physical appearance.”

Hill, Sarah. “Lipstick, the Recession and Evolutionary Psychology”, 27 June 2022.

Regardless of the objective, since it sounds very old fashioned and straight-up sexist to assume that women only wear make up to attract men, we all can agree that buying beauty product serves as the emotional uplift for the women in times of a recession.

When splurging money for a lavish vacation or designer bags could break the budget, lipstick doesn’t. It fits the bill.

The recent Google Search Trends actually showed similar result with what Vivian Tu tried to claim with the lipstick effect.

As people are struggling with the current economic downturn, many turn to Google to search for a myriad of finance-related topics. Millions of high-growth search terms from across APAC were analyzed and came down into three insights.

People are asking a lot of finance questions.

Phrases like “what is inflation” has seen a significant increase this year, along with questions like “why” in relation to “expensive”. So for example “Why is lettuce so expensive” in Australia, or “kapan harga turun” (“when are prices going down”) in Indonesia.

Inflation and sustainability are going hand in hand.

Consumers prefer to buy “second hand” or “used” which is considerably more affordable compared to new products. Coincidentally, it’s actually good for the environment! Some of the “second hand” searches that have seen an increase in APAC according to them are for wedding dresses, electric cars, watches, mobile phone, and furniture.

I know personally that second hand cars and mobile phone are quite a thing for a long time in Indonesia. So I’m really curious to see if other products are becoming trends as well.

The third insight could be the closest one to the Lipstick Effect.

Despite everything, people still want little luxuries.

An affordable luxury that brings joy to them. It is indeed a consistent behavior that recurrence when a global recession happening.

An increase search for “cheap” and “luxury” in across APAC. For instance “cheapest car” in Australia, “cheap buffet” in Singapore, “luxury perfume” in India, and “glamping” in Indonesia and Taiwan.

As marketer, all I can say is that we need to understand our consumers mindset. Although I have mentioned there’s a consistent behavior where people seek for joy during the economic uncertainty, it is also important to look at both short-term and long term trends data. Then you can identify the changes and keep up with the trends.

And as a consumer, I do indeed turn to an affordable luxury too! I prefer taking staycation in the city with my family instead of going on a vacation abroad, wide range of beauty products (yes, including lipstick!), and—what seems like comeback to live since the pandemic—going to a concert! I’ve bagged a ticket for the upcoming show of my favorite K-Pop group.

How about you? What affordable luxury did yourself turn towards instead of splurging money on a bigger purchase?

Until Next Time, Museum of 100 Days!

Documenta fiffteen has officially ended yesterday. I couldn’t be more proud of ruangrupa as the first Indonesian artistic director of this world renowned and prestigious art exhibition! Their approach was radical, focused on collaboration and networking/ shared value (hence ‘lumbung’ as a concept), rather than curator-led. ruangrupa invited art collectives, organisations, and institutions from around the world, and they invited another artists/collaborators for their project, and so on. So God knows the exact number of participating artists in this documenta edition!

Despite the controversies that were surrounding (you can google it yourself, but it’s safe to say I’m on their side), ruangrupa has shown us what a non-eurocentric art exhibition looked like.

Taken from the last day of documenta fifteen. Seen on stage Ade Darmawan and Reza Afisina (two of ruangrupa board members) in front of thousands of documenta fifteen supporters (collectives, artists, local citizen, etc). (Credit: Marishka Soekarna, one of the participating artist, shared via Whatsapp group)

Although I live 11,000 km away from Kassel, Germany, where documenta fifteen took place, I can feel how heartwarming and full of solidarity this whole ‘lumbung’ and ‘ecosystem’ exhibition was through their well organized virtual programs and daily updates on social media. Of course I didn’t hesitate when ruangrupa asked me to be the editor for their Indonesian and English edition of Lumbung magazine.

majalah lumbung documenta fifteen id-en
Two edition of Majalah Lumbung (Indonesian-English version)

As part of the exhibition, documenta fifteen was publishing two issues of a magazine that hone in on the core idea of the exhibition, which is collective working. In total there are 26 works, written by Indonesian (spread from Aceh to Papua) writers, researchers, and contributors. It’s a humbling experience to be able to work (even just to edit and proofread her writing) with prominent figures, such as Prof. Melani Budianta, M.A., PhD.

(Read my previous writing about Majalah Lumbung magazine here.)

I guess 2022 to me is about bidding farewell and gaining something new from it. Congratulations once again to ruangrupa, organising committee, and to all collectives, organisation, and institutions! My highest respect to all Indonesian artists involved, I’m a proud friend/ collaborator! ✊