I read a note written by Michelle Dian Lestari Anugrah on Facebook (you’ll find it at the bottom of this page). Suddenly all the memories came flooding back! It was like looking at the mirror, and see myself ten years ago.
In 1999, I sacrificed two weeks of my one-month vacation to attend a debating workshop at campus. The workshop was started with about 20 persons who were crazy enough to attend it. On the second day there were only 15 crazy people left. On the third day there were only 10. And so on and so forth. There were also days when the trainers outnumbered the learners. At the end of the second week, all the crazy people left were told to leave campus and enjoy the rest of the vacation, while the trainers, along with the members of the panel drew their swords, fought and killed each other, to choose 6 crazy people who would represent our campus in IVED (Indonesian Varsities English Debate) 1999.
Of course it was only a figurative writing. The crazy people were actually smart and love challenges, the trainers and members of the panel were actually discussing matters peacefully, in a wise, grown-up manner, accompanied by coffee and cigarettes… ooops…!!! ^^
The two-week workshop really changed my entire life! I spent the following two years debating (which is another way to say ‘enjoying life’). In 2001 it came to a stop (at least for me). Yet, the memories live forever. Yeah, the kind of memories that will fuel my heart to be happy for the rest of my life… ^^
This is what Michelle Dian Lestari Anugrah had written. I love it so much that I decided to put it here for you guys to read!!! It also works as a back up. I mean if someday, somebody attacks and destroys Facebook, we would still be able to read this lovely writing here in wordpress ^^ (please don’t attack wordpress, anyone…peace…!!!)
Let me remind you that BANKS WILL BE CLOSED FOR HOLIDAYS FROM DECEMBER 23
TILL JANUARY 01 NEXT YEAR. All transactions, especially money transfer,
must be done by 11 AM on Dec 23 to have the money delivered on the same day.
Banks will operate again on Monday Jan 02. This is rather tough for you
guys whose university birocracy is complicated and needs at least one week
of ass-licking to have got the money proposal read by the honourable purek
III, not to mention the delay of actually getting our hand on the dough. So,
get a rush guys and good luck…!!!
PS: When you get your invitation from ITB, read the Registration Form
carefully. One of the clause says (and I quote) “BAndung in January will be
very cold and wet. Please bring your raincoats, umbrellas and sweaters or
jackets as the committee will no be able to provide enough bodyheat.” Any
PS for RIVAN: You might want to look again re. eligibility of participants
written in your Registration Form. It says that participants are not
eligible if they have participated 3 times in IVED. I think, the count
starts when the constitution was ratified, means the participation is
counted starting from IVED 2000 at PETRA (iya khan ya?)
Hei….it means that I still can debate…hmm…hmm..wonder if Avie wants to
be my team mate….hmm…hmm…what do you think, Rivan?”
Suddenly, it all came back to me. Those crazy years of debating, my first debating championship that threw me, a newbie, an innocent, pure, loveable, timid me, into an adrenalin pumped, argument craving, fact junkie bitch I am now, the fear and thrill of facing Ade, Agung and Ria in the finals, and lost to them. The headaches, the materials, the coffee craving, the lack of sleep, the drama, the tantrums, the tears, the booze, and most of all, the comradeship that I always experience whenever there was a championship loomed and we had to prepare to our teeth for it.
What have I learned from those years? What have I got from them? What did these years do to my life now? Was it worth it? Is it still in my blood?
First of all, I learned about being me, that I actually loved being me, that I am a significant being. I learned that I was quite awesome, that I had something worth being proud of, that my brain can actually work, that I am someone worth to be feared by someone else, and could actually intimidate someone (admit it Flori, you were intimidated by me, yes?). I was no longer this low esteemed girl who slinked away from any arguments and never peeped any words in a crowd, just because she felt she was not beautiful enough, rich enough, or smart enough to be noticed.
I also learn that there are people who accept you as you are, who admired you not because you were beautiful, rich, nicely dressed, loaded with cash and wore designer goods. My fellow debaters accept the quirky me, because I am one of them, a freak of nature who just love to debate. And I learned to accept other people who were freakos, just like me, and admire their ability to think, rather that they were rich, beautiful, handsome, so on and so forth. I learn to love myself and be proud of myself.
Secondly, I’ve got the ability to put everything that I think into order (not necessarily what I’m doing though. I’m still learning to do that until now). I’ve learned to be competitive when I need to competitive, how to argue effectively, how to talk and who to talk to about intelligent stuff without being thought as a weirdo.
Moreover, debating has changed the course of my life. I used to be content to think that I would work for a certain number of years, got married, have kids, and….that’s it. However, debating has opened my small, insignificant, narrow, tunneled view of life into a wider, more interesting vista. I was introduced to many things that I didn’t know exist before. I used to read newspaper just for the sake of reading, and then turn into the funnies and then left the paper. I even existed for years without reading any newspapers (shudders….the horrors….the dark age). Now, I just have to read newspapers, and I just have to comment on something, analyze some news, ponder on some thoughts, and whenever I have the time (which is now really rare) write something in my blog, journal or in my mind. Debating has turned me into a thinking being, and thus, I started to exist. And starting to exist has made me want to do things, to leave my mark in the world, to do good, to be someone useful to my surroundings. Or, in YB Mangunwijaya’s words, I start to live as a humanized human being, not merely an entity. Plus, I’ve got the skills that enable me to find good paying jobs that are satisfying both to my soul and my pocket.
But the most important thing is, I have found a lot, and I mean a lot, of people that I can consider as my friends, both in needs and in deeds. I’ve found two of the loveliest gems in the world, Lita and Avie, the two bestest friends one can ever have. I have found Nuansa, a great friend with warm heart, Santi, the best team mate you could ever have, who was ready to jump into the fire with me with only five minutes preparation (remember IVED Petra’s Quarter Final, San?). I have found Tedjo, Ijoel, Norman, Plo-plo, Ria, Ade, Agung, Nad-nad, Day-day, Bubu, Budi, Widj, Maryadi and many other friends I could not name one by one, who are there for me and like me for who I am and what I am, not who my parents are and what I’m made from. I have found my birds of the same feathers. And it is the most valuable thing one can get from debating. Friends who are great to talk with, great to be with, and great to make you feel good. And that, my friend, is something worth more than all the gold and diamonds in the world.
So I thought, all those sweat, those tears, those sleepless nights, the stress, the pressure, the pure hard work, the social life and time sacrificed for debating have been worth it. Those were small payments compared to what I’ve got from debating: My self esteem, my existence, my life, and my friends.
The final question, is it still in blood? Oh, hell, yes it is. I was, am and will always be a debater. I learned to think critically and logically, and that stays for now and forever, amen. I learned to value people not from their looks and appearance, and that, my friend, is something that can make you survive in this cruel, cruel world. And most of all, I learned to appreciate what I have and to be sensitive to others, and I’m proud to say, that makes me a better person than I was before.
Finally, I’ve put my mark in the world. The three bitches of Atma Jaya Debating Club, Aviva, Lita and Michelle, with helps from other crazies, have founded the distinguished Atma Jaya Debating Club, surviving for more than nine, yes, nine years, and is still something worth considering in the debating society in Indonesia. Plus, the people of ADC, those who have graduated from Atma Jaya and those who are still in Atma Jaya, are also people of great existence, worth being considered. They are successful, smart and fun at the same time, retaining their craziness and uniqueness in the world full of conformity, daring to do the change and to change the do!! Ain’t that something to be proud of, guys?
With that, ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.
PS: Younger generations of ADC, I’m proud to be your senior, believe you me!!!