Month: June 2020

How to Be Healthy During Quarantine

The Turning Point

Throughout my life, I was never what you would consider a “fit” girl. I never joined a sports team. I only once joined a sports club. During school days, I relied on P.E. classes and walking for exercise. During holidays, I almost never exercised.

I grew to be a bit chubby during some parts of my life. I was never confident with my body. I thought I was too big, considering how I am a bit taller than the average Indonesian woman already. Moreover, everyone from my mom’s family is small. So whenever I visit her relatives, they always comment on how bongsor, big, I am. Once an old woman in my mom’s village even said that I should get married soon, even though I was only 13, because I was so big compared to my peers.

In UWC, we follow the IB curriculum, which does not have a mandatory P.E. class. All it requires is that you take one club that is “Activity” related. However not all the clubs listed as “Activity” are rigorous enough to make you sweat. In my case, I took Dragon Boat and Balinese Dance, both of which are low-intensity activities. And I only took these for two semesters. Besides these, I almost never exercised.

What can I say? The IB is so demanding that it leaves little room for other things. School is always my priority. So for someone who is not used to exercising, and does not prioritize it, it means there will be no exercise. So in terms of my health, UWC was both hell and heaven. Hell because I wasn’t exercising, so my body was not the healthiest. Heaven, because I didn’t like exercising, so not being required to exercise was great.

However, at least I was walking (sometimes running) from class to class.

Then, something happened. It is amazing how impactful someone’s words might be for you, even though they might never realize its impact. The life-changing moment for me came during one groggy morning of Biology class. I usually come early, because I have breakfast early and then go immediately to class, so I have a little bit of time to chat with my teacher.

My teacher asked, “Sophia, what kind of exercise do you like?”

“I… don’t really exercise,” I answered sheepishly.

He stared. “What? But… you’re not gonna be young forever.”



Papuan Lives (Also) Matter

Here is an article I wrote that was published on The Jakarta Post, on June 4th, 2020. It is about the recent tragedy regarding George Floyd, and the Black Lives Movement that grew stronger as a result.

Please look at these links if you are interested in learning more, signing petitions for the Black Lives Matter cause, or donating to organizations that work for this goal:

And here are some resources to learn, petition, or donate towards the Papuan Lives Matter movement:

There are often mean jokes made about Papuans. One day, someone told me, “You’re beautiful, like a Papuan!” and then laughed hysterically. What he implied was that Papuan people are not beautiful.

It is common for someone to equate beauty with having light skin and a pointed nose, like Europeans. What has shaped such a mindset? Was it the years of colonialism in our past? Has it been instilled in us that Caucasian features are superior because of the hundreds of years that they forced us to crane our heads up toward them, belittled and ashamed?

Sadly, this is a mindset ingrained into many people in Indonesia, perhaps even throughout Asia. Is it not true that saying to someone, “Oh, you’ve gotten whiter!” is a compliment in this country? And isn’t saying, “Oh, you’ve gotten darker!” offensive to us? The “well-intentioned” commenter of your darkening skin color would then recommend you some whitening products, or to stay out of the sun.