Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Diving in Tolala, Like Never Before

“Scuba diving in Tolala, where?” was exactly my friend’s reaction that tickled me after she curiously asked what I’d be doing in my weekend. I genuinely understood if nobody would realize a place called Tolala even ever existed in Indonesia. And the weekend getaway to go scuba diving there is a little peculiar, yet appealing.

Located nearby the border of South Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi, Tolala subdistrict is apparently a little village in the coast of the Gulf of Bone. When you head to the south, the Gulf leads into the Banda Sea.
Tolala subdistrict is humid and sunny all day, despite the rainy day.

The rock hills surrounding the ocean of Gulf of Bone.

As a home to traditional fishermen, Tolala is mostly known as a stopover for people driving to Poso, Central Sulawesi. However, for some people who work at a mining company in Sorowako, South Sulawesi, visiting Tolala would refresh mind and soul. This is what I’ve been doing in the weekend with some other buddies from Sorowako.

There is no phone signal and internet connection in Tolala. So we can’t make a call and book katingting (traditional wooden boat) for the trip, nor twittering or instagramming pictures from there. We just have to go to Tolala and talk to the fisherman if their katingting is open for rent. Don’t worry, the boat rent is in good price and it is negotiable.

Does this show how crystal-clear enough the sea?
One of the Tolala private, white sandy beach.
Katingting boat parks nearby while we  do SIT in the beach.

Another side of the rock hill on the beach.

In Tolala, do anything you want, as nobody but us, the boat people and the sun are there. White sand beaches in Tolala are all over the place like a line of bungalow. Besides diving, we are free to go sunbathing, snorkeling, playing volleyball, or barbequing with fresh sea foods we buy directly in the fishing nets belong to the local fishermen straightforwardly in the sea.

The traditional fishing boat of Sulawesi fishermen, Baga, stays still on the sea.
To go scuba diving, this is very important to bring your own gear. It means not only your basic gears of mask, fins, wetsuits, BCDs and regulators; but also scuba tanks. Yes, you hear it right, scuba tank to keep you alive down there in the sea. Well, stay calm, go straight to Sorowako and contact the Sorowako Diving Club (SDC) to rent – and perhaps ask for their guidance to diving in Tolala.

Scuba dive in Tolala gave me an odd, one of a kind diving experience. Firstly, the katingting boat crew never ever had guests who dived. Nevertheless, now they’re getting used to it. Now they are quick to help us lifting and bringing the scuba tank from the shore to the katingting, as well as supporting us wear and take-off the BCD and tanks as the diving started and finished.

Secondly, the dive spots in Tolala are virgin, no divers before SDC rolled up the dive spot exploration. Even until now, the spots are still random and leaving nameless. Locals named the spots similar: The central coral reef (karang tengah). They name it so as innocently they catch fish in the coral reef which is situated in the midst of the sea; and the karang tengah are everywhere in the Gulf of Bone sea.

When the visibility's clear, it's really clear.
Third, the diving in Tolala has been surprising as well as baffling, I never know what I will find in the next diving. In some dives, I encountered around six sea turtles calmly swimming through and discovered nudibranches and sea lobsters with such bad visibility as the scatters around. The rain last night had seemingly brought the particles up.

In another dive, the visibility could be like this one above.
However, some group of fish are playfully swimming around.
A sea turtle is seen and captured this close. Somehow they don't move
and looks like they realize we take their pictures. Super awesome!
The coral reefs in Tolala are mostly healthy, with groups of fish draw together for foods and safeguard. Mostly hard corals can be seen all the way in the diving, although soft corals are also visible here and there. From Staghorn, Pillar to Table, Tube, Wire and Blue corals, and also the Gorgonians or Sea Fans, Toadstool, to the Bubble and Carnation corals make diving in Tolala more exciting. 

Clownfish appear with some other tropical coral reef fish like butterfly fish, angelfish, surgeonfish, and gobbies. Not to forget the astounding moray eel, blue tang, a little group of tuna, puffer and boxfish, sea snake, pipefish, stingray, mantis shrimp and more that is quite shy to come close.

A cuttlefish serenely swims in the undersea of Tolala.
A stingray hides under the coral of Tolala.
A group of Scorpion fish pose next to a coral.
A soft coral is filled with hundreds of shrimp.
A ghost shrimp on a sea anemone.
Hi, clownfish my dear!
Unfortunately, at some other spots, I would find the corals were dead and damaged by the bomb explosion of dirty fishing and several foreign mine vessels round the corner. This is the ugly truth because we realized those vessels are in a hurry dredging and selling the Earth to other countries before they are caught in the act. 

If you can see those vessels afar, that what I've been talking about.
The government has already implemented restrictions on raw mineral exports by 2014 that demanding that miners to obtain “clean-and-clear” status from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to export commodities. As long as the Earth digging keeps performing, no wonder if scatters will keep coming up and fish will be away.

When the visibility is all about scatters, this is how it looks like down there.
Diving in Tolala had made me perceived those dead corals and how irresponsible some people with the nature. This is what I mean as doing hobby or personal interest would then give me more than just an ecstasy of joyful and rejuvenated mind. Although coastal communities have long pulled out marine resources sustainably nowadays, population growth has put additional pressure on our coral reefs. As a scuba diver who enjoys the serene of undersea life experience, I always want to contribute everything I can do to sustain the sea for the sake of our grandchild and generation to come.

"Oops! You got me..."
An octopus is captured in the moment.
See, you can never guess what you'd see while diving in Tolala.

Moray eel even says hellou to us!
A nudibranch chooses to stick to a coral there...

Wouldn’t it be heartbreaking not to let them witnessing the beauty of Indonesia’s underwater in the future as we did? 

Photo Credit:
Levin Hidayat, Ichwan and Merrylin.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.  

-Pablo Neruda


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Every morning you wake up...

Peihang Huang

I've always been told by some people closed in my life that I am a nice, good person. Before you read this long, please bear in mind that I'm not a selfish, narcissistic maniac who adores myself that much. And that is a little inhumane version of being human-being, personally (seriously!).

Well, I reflect what they say inside of me. I recalled some said I should not say sorry for everything bad that happened or if things were going out of plan. With it, I really am a nice, annoying person. I shouldn't say it anymore, they suggested. This is true though, I clearly see myself repeatedly say "I'm sorry...", eveeeerrrrrytime I need some help from others, or ask people about something, or if bad things unexpectedly occur. And I tried hard to eliminate or at least minimize the habit before I bring it to my graveyard.

Another thing is not to speak up, show everything is just fine, not to express myself and that fake, happy smiles. Aren't I a good person? Bitch, that stupid, I know. It's not being nice, it's being moron. Why is that? Because I realize it now that this fear of rejection and dislikeness are covering me. I guess I'm afraid If I tell people the truth about awful stuff (for them), they will be gone away from me. I solemnly swear that I am a critic of life. I criticize everything around me - including myself and the trash bin in the corner of my office room! However, I always keep them inside which can drive me crazy in some other times. Talking about the timebomb power.

I learned, if people don't like me because of my honesty and viewpoints, that's totally fine. Everyone has their own perception and thoughts, we cannot force them not to think about it or say it. It doesn't mean that I can't also utter what I think and feel about something, It's only a matter of picking the proper words; the words that don't deeply hurt - the way you deliver it, the intonation and your face expression. Even though it again depends on others' point of view whether it hurts; well at least you've tried.

Besides, society is too damn ugly anyway. When you act happily as you are, they expect something else. When you do something else, they have their eyes curiously on you. They judge, talk about and always dislike something about you. No. It's not in your mind only, it exists. Somehow, when you feel enough of those shits, you end up living just being your true self. It's awesome, smart, strong as well as vulnerable. It's beautiful.

You know, I don't think we do tolerant or appreciate the differences. It all only appears on the surface, in the context. I can't seem to find it in reality, too bad. Ultimately, as we're all growing up, we alert of which needs to be ignored, whose words matter, how you want to be happy and with whom you want to share the joy of life.

What I'm trying to say exactly is, every morning you wake up, tell yourself that you're a badass bitch from hell and that no one can fuck with you. Then, don't let anybody fuck with you.

Cheers! xxx

Sunday, February 17, 2013

So rare

Politeness has become so rare that people mistake it for flirtation.

You know it's true, don't you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The lady is no longer waiting

“Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2012” at GFJA, Jakarta

It’s been universally consented that people all around the world hate to wait. Okay, perhaps “hate” is a harsh word. But admit it, each of us sometimes sacrifice ourselves to wait over something or someone – in a big long time, with probably no clear-cut intention at the end of the day. 

Well, you set your own factor measuring how long the times should be ended until it really put you in the awaits situation. In the end of it you might ask yourself, “Why on earth I do this? Is it worth my time?” kind of matters, with emotions and tears. Waiting is sometimes needed, but most of the times it’s obviously not. 

What are you waiting for right now, in this very moment? Delivery meals? Some work approval from the boss? Important decisions upon works, opportunities or study? Critical calls from influential persons or organizations? Business related friends? Boyfriend/girlfriend or even future spouse to finally arrive? 

Whatever they are, yes, they are maybe important. But hey, really? 

In your life, how many times have you spent to waiting for something or someone for some purposes? That vagueness lead you to the other side of the world, to an alien point which actually doesn’t matter at all cost. Why would you want to put yourself, to hold-back your life for a moment and do wait something magical to happen? 

Personally, I have been in this situation for million times. And so have you! Once, I let myself trapped in my own mind – which was some psyche trick, dare I say. I repeatedly waited my lucks to happen, and it never came. Over and over again, I put myself on-hold of my own interests, flirtations and curiosities just because I over-analyzed stuffs, waited an silenced. 

I waited and waited and waited because naively I thought the right moment surely would fall into places If I patiently, uncomplainingly wait. Gosh, patiently wait, like really? I cannot believe myself! Logically, How can those things happen while I did nothing but sit sweetly and quietly? 

Yes, I plonked my happiness and hopes onto those waiting sweethearts. After waiting for hours, days, months, years and infinity, I still expected if it’s just not the right time for them to come true. I became this freakish person who was dependent on another for happiness, for affirmation, for permission to exist the way you choose to. Because I believed they would have given me the thing I thought they would give. It was embarrassment and pity that hit the tip of the iceberg. 

I kept my life moving following the ticking time, but I stucked. At some points, I wanted to turn left but I chose to stay for a while. On another day, I forced myself to go get them, but I hesitated my decision. So that I performed half-heartedly because I was unsure to chase some things just like that. And you may guess, the result was a nightmare since I doubted myself. 

Waiting for someone is torturing as well. Especially when you assume they will keep their words into actions. You then have expectations toward this uncertainty. Somehow, I agree that the “only thing certain is uncertainty”. But we can still work on that, can’t we? When I have to pursue someone at work because that assignment needs his review and approval, what should I do huh? I can’t linger, sit back and relax, passing the time presuming he will give his review shortly. No, I should frequently ask him about it, I must get shits done real ASAP so I can move my focus to other tasks. 

There are people who make you wait. There are people who know they have a certain amount of control and influence over your life and use it to make sure you don’t go anywhere while they look around for the possibility of better options. Well in my life, I am trying hard not to be controlled and look like desperado bitch begging to end the waiting. And it’s frigging hard

The worst thing waiting for something or someone causes a constant state of never knowing, something to be said for the uncertainty of having no control or say over someone or something intensely tied to my emotions. It can become addictive, the feeling of endless waiting interposed by the sporadic moment of a text or call or vague signs of affection which can overwhelm me over for another few weeks or else. In our lives, time after time, we are told to passively sit and wait for someone or something else to come and make things better. We wait until it validates, adorns and rewards us for having been so freaking patient and enduring. 

But think of all the wonderful things we could be doing instead of waiting, the people we could be if we weren’t tempering our us-ness to impress some people. Indeed, an ordinary day lived fully is better than the best day spent in waiting. 

That is why I should not wait for anything anymore. 

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