When Differences is A Crime

Pritha Hanindita


“Could you tell me what is on your mind when you see this?” said my friends, in one afternoon, as we were sitting next to each other after class. It was an Al-Quran, and when I simply answered it, he smiled at me and continued, “Yes, by the outer appearance, it looks like it is, isn’t it? But actually, this could be just anything: a dictionary, a textbook, even holy bible of another religion. No matter what you’ll do, people would always sees you from outside first. You can’t wished them to all sees people as what you did.”

He then calmly stand and walked away, left me hanging with questions. It took a long time for me thinking about our conversation, and still, it’s going to a dead end. Even the analogy he made about Al-Quran simply told me that he couldn’t understand what I meant, which made me felt more confuse. The only thing that becomes clearer is a fact that we’re going to be in the different borders, and he wouldn’t invite me to cross over, neither let me inviting him to do so. I could see how careful he handled me along the conversation, no matter how open I try to be.

It was just about a simple, little thing. Maybe a coincidence, although I prefer say it “…just my own path.” So, here I am, an-almost-20 years old girl, taking a biology major, have been taking 4 terms, and, tragically, getting trapped in such sticky situation for at least two years later.

I used to go to national schools for my whole life. Yeah, if there’s any jungle for student in a big city, it got to be favorite national schools. Heterogeneity, competition, bullying, variation in teacher’s quality…students in national schools could only rely on truly two things: themselves, and friends, if there were any. Just drop any wish that our beloved teacher is going to guide you step by step through the way. No one could be special, unless you have proven you are special. No matter you are the son of the President, the seventh son of the seventh son, Javanese, Arabian, Sumatranese, Ambonese, Chinese…unless your teacher has sold his/her soul for money, if you couldn’t help yourself to survive, you better let go, or just die. Literally.

So, I survived those jungle, with peace, and happiness. Being the first child in my family, I have the experience of seeing and being part of family problems, from the simplest, to the hardest. It made me grown into a woman whom easily find happiness in a simple, little thing. Life it self has never been easy, why should make it any difficult? ;)

Back to the topic, after I graduated from high school, has a little struggle searching for college, finally I’ve been accepted as a student of University of Indonesia, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, biology major. Phew. University of Indonesia, how beautiful it must be! The mix of any cultural and languages an Indonesian has, differences for one, one in differences. I was gladly prepared myself and taa-daa…

I ended up in front of my faculty.
I looked around, oh, everything is just seems to be normal.

Until one day, I found something that truly annoyed me.

It was one Friday afternoon in our Department of Biology’s yard. All the freshmen (except them whom has to do Shalat Jumat), including me, were taking a quick rest before OPDB (Orientation of Biology Department) will begin. We were about to choose the leader of our 2011 generation, and soon it became a hot topic in discussion. It was known that the leader usually chosen is one whom became our coordinator during OPDB, and we were all agreed if he would be chosen, because we have seen his performance and hospitality to us. We were all agreed he will be the best leader for us.

When the rest of our friends came back from the mosque, I shared a glimpse of the late discussion with them. Most of my best friends in Biology, even until today, are boys. There’s no specific reason, I just found them matched me and are great people to talk to. Have heard what I said, one of them sadly shook his head and said,

“Haven’t you heard? We can’t choose him. Or I should say, we were told not to choose him.”

I was so surprised. “Why?”

“Because he is a Christian.”

“Okay, what’s wrong about being a Christian and a leader?”

“It didn’t match our culture in here. A senior said, Moslem can’t be lead by a non-Moslem.”

“But this is University of Indonesia. It’s nationals! That is so unfair!”

“I know. I do think that it’s sucks, too.”

It was just so annoyed me that I became speechless. All of my boy friends quietly murmured to each other how terrible it was. All was said during the qultum session before Shalat Jumat: do not choose that man because he isn’t a Moslem. What a coward! In all criteria we could use to rate a good leader, the only thing that he saw is only religion, to rate anyone in a heterogen community! If one doesn’t like the idea of being lead by a Christian, just go to somewhere which only consists of Moslem! More worse, why should he told everyone to have the same idea as he did?

I was sunk deep into my head, have no idea what is actually going on around me. The idea of brought a religion to be the basic culture of a society in a national institution, which should be accepting any terms of humanity, is just seemed too terrible to imagine. But I started to felt it right there, wriggled around my heart, gave me a mental note that this isn’t going to be easy, nor fun to do. I was frozen.

Well, most of girls in my major are wearing hijab. I am excluding. But I never saw it as something differentiate us. According to my habit, I saw a person as a person, and that’s it. Whatever is outside will be stayed outside. It is true, that a book’s cover will tell us a lot about the book, but seeing a book only from it’s cover is usually unfair. Anyone who happened to met a lot of people from different cultures and civilization like me, surely would understand what I mean.

Faith itself, for me, is really a private relationship between worshipers, and their God. No one is ever has rights to judge what people are doing in their faith. Even every Prophet in Islam introducing this religion in such logical way, brought ideas that there is Allah SWT, One Who Is Almighty,who creates world and arranging universe in such way that any of His creatures would never able to do. Ideas, which get understood and attracted people to get to know more…and truly believed by heart.

So, nothing could perfectly described my feeling…when they started to tell, that I am not a good one, because I didn’t have any hijab.

Let us see. I know, hijab is a must when a muslimah reach her puberty according to Al-Quran. I know, aurat for a muslimah is everything on her body except her face and palm. I know, wearing hijab means protecting ourselves because woman is sources of beauty and desires. Just, believe me, I know. I, am not a stupid, nor an ignorant.

I also know that you all are going to tell that there’s nothing wrong to encourage me to wear one. Nothing’s wrong either if you all going to think how stubborn I am. Or evil. Devilish. B*tch. Whatever!

But, please…whatever judgement you have upon me, do not ever influencing people to think as the same as you do. More worse, using religion to influence people that I was as bad as you thought. That was so rude, Man.

I was chosen to be in charge in the Discipline Commission of the next OPDB. Of course, they shouted their disagreement. First of all, I didn’t wear any hijab, and having a body curve as I do without hijab is number one’s crime. Secondly, I was never be a passive person who’ll always obeying orders without consideration. And the last, I am a straightforward person. I know that they’re exactly three main reasons why they disagree with me. But guess, what did they said about me to build public opinions?

“See, she was graduated from SMAN 70, means she has the common sense to bullied juniors, because she has been bullied. She surely will be cruel!”

I was bursting out a laugh when I heard it. Again, what a coward! Anyone who ever know me would likely doing the same thing. Are they run out of words trying to break my reputation, until decided to say something way too far to connect?

At the end, people still tends to choose me. Am I happy? No. Sad? Not either. Well, I don’t really like spotlights. It’s better for me to silently working behind, no one have to know, and I’ll have my peace. But as I’ve been chosen, fine, I’ll do it with my best, because I appreciated the trust has been given to me.

Days after days after I’ve been chosen, they were watching me just like predator to its prey. Made list of my mistakes, protested about this and that. Fine. I made up, do the rule, and done! But when they started to gossiped behind my back, once, twice, three times, four times, five times….I begun to clutched my hands and said,

“…yeah, great. Very good. Just look at you. Reciting Al-Quran everyday, teaching me about hijab, but have no shame to talk about me behind my back. Doesn’t it called ‘ghibah’? Why don’t you just came to me and criticized it straight to my face?”

Felt out of mind, I came to see a friend who is now in charge to lead Student Council of Biology. He used to be my friend, close enough to have free talk about everything. The first boy friend I ever know. i believe we have knew each other as well. But as he blend in with people, I saw how different he was becoming. That soul I used to know, seems to have been carefully hidden inside his heart, too afraid to show himself, and he would probably called it as enlightenment.

And so it was, we were having conversation, as I have mention early on the top before, about analogy of Al-Quran and physical appearance. I told him what I was feeling. What I was thinking. What made me so sad. Just after he made an analogy by Al-Quran, he said,

“…you can’t always hope that people will thought as the same as you do. When you entering a society which is different from what you’ve seen, you have to accept it. If you ever thought why there are any people like that in the world, there they are, in front of you, existed! When you still ask the same question, that means your mind is so narrow.”

I was just giving him a little smile and replied,

“…very true, my friend. Well, I hope anybody ever think that I am different would arrived on that conclusion too, as I have arrived there first, long time ago.”

I could see his face became pale as he awkwardly closed the conversation and requested to left.

Left me sit alone in the corner, hanged with question. The idea of disputed what I wear when we were in an situation of corrupt government, highly uneducated people, high rate of consumerism and unemployment, high dependence of imported products, and many more serious problem, just seems so last year. It was just like a situation of we having a meteorite coming down in seconds, but we still debating what color we should use to paint the spaceship. In Bahasa, I would say, “Keburu mati, woy, gila! Katanya, ‘Hidup Mahasiswa!?”

I didn’t mean any harm by writing this. It was simply my anxiety, my sadness, and the unbelievably feelings of me. Friends, we’re living together on this earth, with our differences, and I love you all just as who you really are. I just want us to unite for our better future, without hurting each other to gain more people at each side. Just let people choose anything as they want, as they thought, because every of us is the finest human being ever born. Because every of us is special.

Because differences, is, actually,



52 Comments to "When Differences is A Crime"

  1. Linda Cheang  5 June, 2013 at 13:40

    komentar no 17-> setuju. Selesai!

  2. Silvia  5 June, 2013 at 13:12

    Bersyukuuuur banget buat mereka yang bisa menerima perbedaan dengan hati lapang.

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