Essays

The Bongo Man

A while ago, I entered a competition called Genius Olympiad. Thankfully, my essay made it to the final round. However, the trip to New York and back is far too expensive. So instead, I’ve decided to share my essay here. Hope it brings you a little moment of reflection… =)

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I’ve always longed to see the “spirit” of nature. Oftentimes I’ve asked myself, what would it be like to feel the heartbeat of a forest, or to hear flocks of birds take flight across wide open fields? What would it be like to observe, uninhibitedly, monkeys swinging from branch to branch in the thriving Amazon rainforest? What kind of person would I have been had I grown up in a world of dark starry nights instead of artificial city constellations?

Then, in fifth grade, I finally found my own “deep connection” with nature.

It was one of those days where the sun shone and the sky blazed blue, scattered slightly with clouds. The breeze blew, bringing scents of warm soto, cow dung, and burning wood, curiously all mixed into one. Panting, I made the final leap through the air.

“Yes! I win!”

Face crimson with sweat, my friend Alia staggered behind and planted her hands on her knees.

“You… got a… head start,” she rasped.

“I did not.”

Pushing aside a hanging branch, we stepped into the shadows of the forest canopy. Here, it was a whole other world. Here, light danced in strange ways before us, casting its rays upon crawling critters on the forest floor and fallen fruits. Branches rustled and creatures scuttled. The air was vibrant with the smell of the moist soil that pillowed our feet.

Treading lightly, we weaved between slants of sunlight, when a boom suddenly echoed through the air.

Thud. Thud. The sound was constant, reverberating through the foliage. We stood rooted to the spot.

“Do you hear that?” I whispered.

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Living in a Boarding School

Hi guys!

Maybe I’ve mentioned it before, or maybe I haven’t. But something really different is happening in my life right now.

I’m in a boarding school. 🙂 The name of the school is Kharisma Bangsa. And so far, it’s brought me so many new experiences.

The first thing that I noticed when I came to this school was… well, how smart everyone was. To be honest, I regret my middle school days a little bit, because I did nothing special during those three years. Yet here at Kharisma Bangsa, everyone around me is smart and talented. In fact, in my block there are two people who won the science olympiad. One of them, Fadhila Mahardika, even went to international! Isn’t that so cool? My other friend who won the science olympiad is Eva Maisaramita Gayoris.

I’m so astounded by their achievements. And I feel so small next to them. What have I done in my life that I can be proud of? Why didn’t I do something extraordinary in middle school? How come I wasted it doing stupid, silly things?

However, it wouldn’t do to just sit and complain, would it?

I’ve made a resolution to myself that during high school I want to try to be the best person I can be. And I want to try everything. Like in that Shakira song. I want to participate in as as many competitions as I can, be really active in class, and still have time for having fun(hopefully). 

I think that confidence is the key to success. You should have confidence not only in others, but also yourself. You must believe in your heart that you can be whatever it is you want to be. At the same time, you have to make sure that your reason is right. It mustn’t be for pleasing others or so you can get good grades. It should be because you want to be an inspiration, you want to help or motivate other people, and it should be for God.

I still hope that I can make a difference. In my heart I believe that I can. And I will always dream, and I will never stop dreaming.

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Our Story- Arvoisa

Dedicated for my friends from Budi Mulia Dua Bintaro, angkatan ke-empat, ARVOISA.

The bell rang through the school corridor, signaling that yet another school day had begun. All 19 of us shuffled into class. We took our seats and waited for the teacher. There were 19 students in the Arvoisa generation- out of 60 students in total. We started school without knowing each other, or what would happen to us, yet during those mornings we drilled for the National Exams, I couldn’t believe how close we were to graduating. How far we’d come.

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Writing About Writing

A while ago, I was trying my luck in applying for Phillips Exeter Academy. Yep. That extremely selective private boarding school. The school of Mark Zuckerberg and Dan Brown. That school. I don’t know what I was thinking. But, everything’s worth a try right? Heh.

Anyways, now that it’s all over and done with I decided to share one of the essays I wrote for that school. I don’t know if you’ll like it, but maybe you’ll agree. 🙂

Write a topic or activity about which you are passionate.

I have always loved words and telling stories. Through stories, you can open up gates to a world both so fascinating and awe-inspiring it cannot be much expressed through words. For years, people have always found magic in folktales and legends. Martin Luther King fought against discrimination using words, not force. Princess R.A. Kartini of Indonesia changed the minds of Indonesian women through her writing. Anne Frank gave us a deeper understanding of her struggle during World War I, which we would not have acquired had it not been for her diary. Writing is a vital part of life, just as much as eating and breathing are. Writing gives us documentation, in phenomenal ways that no technology can replace. Even human history was marked by the point when we began to record things in writing.

Writing has always been a big part of my life. In the corner of my room, I have a stack of dusty journals to prove it. Soggy as they might be from the rain that once leaked in, I like to leaf through them and see how much has changed. In the third grade, I wrote a novel titled Two Lives in One Girl, which was originally only a handwritten story in a journal. When I finished that book, and the one I wrote with my friend titled Heart of the Willow, I felt like I was on top of the world. I know that seems like such a simple thing to be proud of, but it turns out that writing a novel is hard work. It takes sweat and determination. Writing has different meanings for everyone, but anyone can agree that even though it is a grueling process it produces fruits that are so sweet to harvest.

I believe there is power in words. Words are important. With them, you can inspire, motivate, and change the world. That is why writing is my greatest passion. I find it amazing how you can express yourself and pour out your heart through written form, and even inspire others with it. I never want to stop writing. Someday, I want to change the world with this beautiful craft, the way my favorite authors Markus Zusak, J.K. Rowling, Madeline L’engle, Princess R.A. Kartini, Anne Frank, Jostein Gaarder, and so many other great authors have changed my world.

Ramadhan

Last month was Ramadhan, the month of fasting for Muslims all around the world. On July 6th it was Eidul Fitri. So to all my Muslim friends reading this, I wish you a Happy Belated Eidul Fitri! How did you celebrate(if you did)?

Ramadhan is always a special time of the year, like a prolonged Christmas. During that month, you can’t eat or drink during the day.

Here is a rundown of how us Indonesian Muslims fast:

To prepare for the day, you wake up at 4:00 A.M.(give or take) to sahur, or eat. You fill your stomach to the brim until the adzan sounds through the neighborhood. Then, you have to quickly swallow your food, then a big gulp of water. You pray Subuh, then go back to sleep, read the Qur’an, or exercise depending on what type of person you are.

Throughout the day, you try to make the month extra special by doing good things such as helping the poor, being kind, and praying.The day feels long and hot. Your chores never seem to end…

Finally, after a long day, you look at the clock and watch the hand tick ever closer to Maghrib time. Your anticipation rises. You and your family prepare for breaking the fast by concocting fruit salads, hot tea, soups, kurma, rice, and all the other foods that look so much more delicious when you’re fasting.

Tick. Tock. Everything’s ready. Everyone is waiting, waiting, and waiting for that cue. Someone turns on the TV and channel surfs to see if it’s time yet. Tick. Tock. At last, the adzan rings through the air. The beautiful, lyrical Arabic words travel through the dusky air of your neighborhood and from the TV. Allahuakbar Allaahhuakbar, Asyhadu’ala ilaha illallahh… “Alhamdulillah! Yay!” All crowd to the table and say their prayers. The food is gone within minutes, yet somehow you feel full even after only one bowl of fruit salad. How odd.

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Someone to Love Us

Memory I

It was a cold winter day. There was no snow in Austin, but in my head, ice flakes were flurrying down and all around. The skin between my index finger and thumb had gone dry, causing cracks in my skin. Dried blood. Shivering, I waited. I looked between my feet and waited. I looked at the neat, beautiful houses in rows and waited. At the cars going by. And waited.

My mom sat beside me as we both squinted into the distance, eyes searching for the signature university colors of dark orange and white. Upon seeing my chattering teeth, Mama took off her woolen jacket and wrapped it around me. I stayed quiet.

Ten minutes felt like an hour. But at last the campus bus came, and we shuffled into the warmth.

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