Edo, a young entrepreneur from Pekalongan, Central Java, had been distressed to see his fellow batik craftsmen lose their job back in 2020. They were made redundant due to the outbreak of Covid-19 that affects seriously on global economy. Instead of complaining, Edo chose to run his own business under the umbrella of Sarung Tentrem. As his hometown has long been famous for its batik, he decided to produce sarong that accommodates traditional values in fresh design.


The new brand has proven to be a financial success and soon gains fame among batik lovers particularly millennials all over the country. The product, presented in uniquely fresh design, has made its way to popularity even in the neighboring countries including Malaysia and Singapore.

 

The fresh design and color makes the sarong special.


What to do according to Javanese expression

What is primarily striking is that Edo's business starts and blooms in the pandemic. He has managed to build a business during tribulations of life and scored a success owing to creativity. This reminds me of several Javanese expressions known as tembung entar. This type of tembung is also called tembung silihan meaning loanwords.
Simply put, when we use tembung entar in a sentence, the phrases carry connotative meaning rather than the original denotation. The meaning is more implied than what the words appear to be. These expressions may belong to figurative language that is used in order to amplify a message.  

1. Amba jangkahe

The phrase literally translates "large steps" and is used to state when someone is willing to make every possible effort with available resources to deal with a situation. When one is described amba jangkahe, the person is either confident about finding a way out and will stop at nothing to search for opportunity. 


They believe that with every problem is a solution and that there are limitless opportunities for us to deal with difficult situation if we keep things in perspective. Edo never minds the pandemic that he takes it as an opportunity to produce a new product and further its sale using digital marketing.       


2. Thukul pikire

While it is a relatively new brand, Sarung Tentrem has been able to top-rank its competitors owing to creativity. In Javanese context, Edo is credited as thukul pikire that highlights his inventive turn of mind. The phrase actually means growing mind to imply one is astute and has a perceptive observation that they can come up with a solution with creative energy.


 

In Edo's case, the pola sorot (highlight pattern) normally found in the center of batik sarong is removed that makes his sarong design more fresh and dynamic. This creative decision has led his product to be very close to consumers' heart, outmatching the competitors in the established market.           


3. Gilud kawruh

During this catastrophic episode of life, it is imperative we have the enthusiasm to learn a new skill and find us time to upgrade existing ones. There have been numerous webinars offered since the beginning of the pandemic and the topic covered have been varied and proved to be relevant with what we need today including digital marketing, public speaking, mindfulness, blogging, and the like. The key to success in everything is gilud kawruh that is making use of time to learn and update competence.         


4. Padhang langite

If you want to be creative even under severe strains, be committed to happiness. You must be happy in order to embrace creative vivacity. When you are delighted, positive vibes occur and you will be feeling very fortunate to have everything around you. That is when padhang langite takes place. The phrase reads 'bright sky' in English and firmly indicates happiness you need to adopt as integral part of yourself. This includes self-possession that we are in control of ourselves and free from agitation.


You may enjoy listening to music or reading a favorite book to freshen up, it is of the essence that you find something that invigorates you. There must be one that we enjoy the most out of many activities we normally do. Playing games can be one of those invigorating recreation to shift from daily routines. And when it comes to gaming, playing online seems ideal at the moment as we tend to spend more time at home during the pandemic.


Not only are we kept away from the dangerous virus, staying at home will also provide us with more family time. It just so happens that I come across Candy House when looking for entertainment during a short respite from writing on the laptop. I sometimes get stuck when blogging and online games are a perfect pick to give me instant amusement. 



Candy House is a very easy game to play. All we have to do is create a line of three or more candies of the the same color either horizontally or vertically. When three or more pieces match, they will collapse and disappear, allowing other pieces to fill the empty space while adding up scores. It is more interesting when the layout design changes and some pieces are locked in position as we move to higher levels. 

To break the locked pieces, we can match those pieces as part of a set of three or having a line destroyer set off on the same plane. If we want to destroy an entire line, we have to match four pieces of similar items in a row. 

pieces with horizontal hashmarks destroy anything on their horizontal line when they are moved to complete another set of three (even if a different colored piece makes the set of 3)

pieces with vertical hashmarks operate similarly with destroying all pieces on the vertical line they are on

destroy column & row: these are earned when you complete 3 in a row across and vertically at the same time. when these pieces are moved they destroy whatever is aligned with them vertically or horizontally.

rainbow: This piece is earned when you make 5 in a row. You can move this piece into any other adjacent piece and it will remove all pieces of that color from the board.     

With solitaire.org, there is no reason for you to live in solitude even when you choose to run a solitary life.    

5. Lobok atine

While it is


6. Meres kringet

Roughly translated as squeezing sweat, meres kringet indicates 


7. Kandel kulite

    

During a visit to Ponorogo while joining Kelas Inspirasi back in 2019 I had the privilege of meeting the headmaster of a local school of elementary level. The man dressed in a Reog team costume spoke in a powerful voice when welcoming us volunteers before we enter the classroom. The black dress he was wearing exudes both confidence and authority. The audience remained silent, clearly expecting something extraordinary.


"Kridha Ambuka Gatra! That's what you can read on the raised platform over there." He said without hesitation, neither pretended to be arrogant. While his elaboration was full of ambition, I couldn't agree more with every word he uttered. The sky was fresh that morning but the air stood still.

 

He further told us what the Javanese expression meant. "It emphasizes the virtue of work. One must be willing to do something in order to create opportunities." Kridha equals work, ambuka means to open, and gatra is opportunity.


It is imperative the students in the school demonstrate hard work and strong will to learn without consideration to stop. It is with actual doing that we can unlock potentials and embrace opportunities. It is also owing to real work that we can be taken closer to realization.


So do your best and let God take the rest.                  

The outbreak of Covid-19 has been a matter of unforeseen circumstances. The pandemic occurring in the global scale is no longer a battle of health, but an economic struggle that ultimately impinges on energy issue and social solidarity. For the last two years the hazardous disease has inflicted serious damage on the foundation of our life including the loss of people we dearly love. Not until the vaccine is invented and massively implemented that we are no longer at the mercy of the deadly virus.


The loss of family and friends has been an indescribable test. Restrictions on outdoor activities and the recommendation to spend more time at home have presented yet another problem to deal with. Mental health is becoming a serious matter of concern. Worse still, employees and labors alike were laid off, either temporarily or permanently, that results in a more challenging economy and gets them nowhere but holding up under the strain.


Javanese people have their own way to cope with the situation. They have philosophical doctrines to get its adherents to endure the stresses and strains of life like what we experience today. Sumeleh, sareh, ora jireh, and sumeh are a series of values we have long believed to equip us with power to thrive during hard times like the ongoing pandemic.


To flow like water

Sumeleh is derived from the word seleh that literally means “to put down”. Instead of giving up, sumeleh encourages one to embrace self awareness and to get rid of egoism while submitting to higher authority, i.e. Gusti (God). Sumeleh indicates a deliberate act of submission or subservience. With sumeleh we are required to understand that we cannot always impose every will without constraint, no matter how ideal and decent it may appear to us. Being sumeleh, we are to flow like water so that we are able to adapt to obstacles or turns, and other matters we encounter along the way.


While sumeleh also suggests we keep things in perspective, there are points when we need to grow sareh. Sareh equals patience and ability to remain composed. We are said to be sareh when we demonstrate endurance without inclination to instant insurgence. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we become fearful. We should never be afraid (ora jireh) of fighting for goodness despite the unexpected resistance. Ora jireh implies the audacity to act with reason and to be strongly disposed to take consequences.


The power of unfeigned smile 

The courage to engage in a fight against the current plague or any adversities should be equalized with sumeh (responsively unfeigned smile). This is perhaps the most paramount value underlying the Javanese philosophy. Be prepared for new challenges with a genuine smile. A smile makes us stronger and keeps us from being frightened (ora jireh). In addition, a smile sets us more unwearied (sareh). It is also smiles that keep us submissive without recklessness (sumeleh).


To make the secret work, we must:

  • not deny the pandemic as a real occurrence as well as the serious impacts it entails;
  • build connectivity through collaboration to support each other during this catastrophic episode of life;
  • maintain both physical and mental health by regular exercise and stress management;
  • get vaccinated to build herd immunity that will protect us from the harmful disease;
  • relax our mind to give us a respite from taxing activities or intense anxiety.  

There are many ways to have a relaxed mind including listening to music, watching movies and travelling. Travelling might be ideal to refresh but currently not viable due to mobility restriction and will cost quite a lot of money other than staying at home.

 

Why online gaming?

And when it comes to longer stay at home, especially during the pandemic, playing games seems to be a perfect pick for us. Not only do video games enhance memory and boost concentration, they can also establish social connection and lead to financial benefit. Online games are getting more and more popular as pandemic hits humanity that we spend plenty of time at home than outdoors. People prefer playing online as there are a large variety of games and come with a more attractive visual presentation.


More to the point, online games can be played anywhere and anytime with flexibility of the number of players. Children and teenagers, in particular, will enjoy online games the most as they are digital natives. Parents may help them find the good source of games and expect their language skills to improve in the process.


If you have no idea what to play at home, plays.org is all you ever need to make online gaming fun and entertaining. It offers hundreds of games on the site and they are all free. A couple of games are added everyday and the best part of it is you do not need to download particular apps in order to play. This way you neither have to bother with losing phone memory nor deciding which app to remove in exchange of gaming apps.


One of the games worth trying is a math game called Guardians Defenders of Mathematica. It is an educational game that allows a player to work on addition, division, subtraction, and decimal fraction in an amusing way. Kids will certainly find this game enjoyable as they will likely focus on those attractive characters while unknowingly learning math.


Players can pick a character out of the available groups including knights, warriors, elves, rangers, witches, and wizards that will create strong ambience for kids with fitting sound and appealing narration. While it is a digital game, kids still have access to paper and pencil to do manual calculation in order to answer every question. Winning a math battle from evil wizards, trolls, giant spiders, hobgoblins, and dragons only by answering at least 7 out of 10 questions correctly will be a distinctive experience.



Trying to celebrate the past TV series including TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Tom & Jerry, Plays has another science game called Electrio based on the Beano character Rubi von Screwtop, who appears in Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed back in 2017. In this simple game players are to help a young girl repair her broken gadgets by linking broken circuits together. Our duty is to connect positive and negative nodes, representing circuits, in an alternating pattern to form a closed loop in order to function.


We simply click (when using a computer) or tap (on a smartphone) a negative node to connect it to a positive one until a completely closed loop is made. When a correct link is built, we then go to the next level and be prepared to expect moving nodes as the level increases. It may seem effortless but it takes strategy and involves brain exercise to complete this mission.


If your kids are clueless how to connect the nodes, they can always click the Help button on the lower right corner of the game screen and a circuit arrangement will appear as a hint. Don't worry to lose points as there is no score deduction in this game. I am convinced kids and adults will equally enjoy this game in their leisure time as it comes with vivid animation and easy operation.


Obah, mamah

With Plays, online gaming has never been this fun. Just open your browser on a cell phone or a laptop and enjoy a wide collection of games in various categories to choose from. We would care less about any possible lockdowns once we know where and what to play to stay energized.  


A Javanese catchphrase says, “Obah, mamah” that literally means “to move, to chew”. This highlights the powerful nature of human being that if we are willing to make a purposeful move we will be able to survive. Quoting Albert Einstein, the key to survival is that “you must keep moving" assuming that “life is like riding a bicycle.” Accept what happened with submission and expect challenges with boldness to take action without forgetting to smile up and endure even the most harrowing phase of life.       

One of the most memorable moments I cherish during the pandemic and would like to repeat when things go normal again is my participation in Kelas Inspirasi, a volunteering activity in education that provides me with ample opportunity to visit elementary schools across the country. I have only joined four occasions in four cities including my hometown during 2019.


To be frank, visiting Madiun has been a hell of memory for me. There is when I discovered the magical clause, "Ojo leren dadi wong apik."


The clause may be short but it proves powerful. It is fueling life with energy that transcends belief and intelligence. The Javanese phrase literally translates, "Never cease being good!" and that is what makes us human. 


People today may be driven by greed and superficiality and more people are perhaps taken into joining the group. However, it is our job to remain who we are, to show everyone we enjoy doing good and take pride in preserving any acts of random kindness. 


It doesn't imply we desire no money or wealth, but the clause emphasizes that doing good is neither a hobby nor a mere manifestation of God's command but a part of lifestyle because we have it in our DNA so that we escape life if we don't embrace it.                 

We can choose to complain about the unbearable situation these days or to grow confidence that we will progress and thrive after the pandemic is over. It is not easy to remain strong and optimistic whereas the dangerous virus is still lingering around us in the global scale. I know it will take serious determination to steps out of the pandemic and we can always deduct energy from inspirational quotes. 


  1. Albert Einstein: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." The key is to keep doing the best possible without fretting too much about limitation.
  2. Arianna Huffington: "Failure is not the opposite of success; it's part of success." We don't have to worry about making mistakes, including a temporary unemployment due to the pandemic.
  3. Confucius: "The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home." Remember that it takes great preparation in order to succeed, and the pandemic is a good moment to gain knowledge and valuable skill.  
  4. Napoleon Hill: "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." It is imperative we help each other and benefit from collaboration especially during hard times like today.
  5. Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Never ever forget histories as they enrich and equip us to understand better how to make important moves to shape our future.
It is entirely up to us to live in despair or to move in hopeful manner. Let's pick whichever quote that empowers and enliven us so that the pandemic is longer a frightening episode, but an opportunity to learn and to be well prepared. 
 

What is the most precious commodity in the universe? Is it a strong question or a rethoric one? There may be as many answers to this question as the number of leaves on a tree. What is precious to someone might not be valuable to somebody else. Everyone has his own reason to tell what they think as precious.


Money might be on the top list as life carries on with possession of money, in the form of cash or digital wallet. People work 9 to 5 every day to make money in order that all expenses be met. With money all purchases are possible and with money too various needs can be fulfilled.

Forest is vital to human life.

What we need the most

People all over the world in all walks of life make every possible effort to own money. Engineers, writers, film makers, accountants, lawyers, pilots, traders, politicians, are all spending time to assure the attainment of their goal with possession of money.


What is spoken in a fragment of "Jupiter Ascending" starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum is somehow very interesting. One of the characters named Kalique Abrasax puts it this way:

In your world, people are used to fighting for resources... like oil, or minerals, or land. But when you have access to the vastness of space, you realize there's only one resource worth fighting over... even killing for: More time. Time is the single most precious commodity in the universe.

Now it is obvious that we expect to have more time, like we might want to go back to the past to fix what we finally regretted. It takes time to forget a terrible past and heal from unbearable wounds. We need more time when we desire longevity in age so that we can live to the fullest and highest possible.


Muhammad once warned of two blessings man mostly skip and abandon: health and leisure. We will likely be regretting when we lost them one day when we have no more power or energy to access those most precious commodities. 


What really matters eventually is that we have investment even if it is a tree grown before doomsday that comes tomorrow.   

Refugees are not mere number. They are fact and real human beings that need our thorough attention. This come to my attention when reading a book that recounts the journey of a Syrian teenager owing to a terrible civil war in the country. What makes the journey remarkable is that she is transported on a wheel chair during the dangerous trip across islands, from Syria to Germany.


Nujeen Mustafa is actually a Kurd whose people can form a single country instead of settling stateless in Iraq and Syria. The war that broke out in Syria is very complex as it involves many countries with different interest. It is no longer a battle against particular faith or religion, but a designed fights for power and economic domination.        


This book helps us understand how refugees come into being and how horrible their condition is before getting asylum in a country with disapproving status as compared with local citizens. From Nujeen's stories, I have been able to formulate how to respond occurring in the Middle East.
More importantly, I finally gain valuable insights that human tend to be greedy and that living in a safe country is worth a gratitude. All we see as horrific calamity in ur daily life is perhaps nothing in comparison with what refugees face wherever they may be.