‘If We’re Being Honest’: Novo Amor’s Most Magical Song to Me

In summer 2018, ‘Birthplace’ was his first song that I heard and I was like, “Damn, I love this voice.” After that, I loved ‘Terraform’, his other single which lyrics I still don’t understand until now, and the series of loving all his works started then. Around a week ago, on September 3rd, Ali Lacey, better known as ‘Novo Amor’, released his new single, ‘If We’re Being Honest’ that turned out being my magical song.

I used to keep Novo Amor’s songs as my own secret playlist, like ‘this music is mine’. You’ll be too lucky to find my Spotify account and see how many playlists I put his songs into. To be honest, whether you’re too close to me or too strange to me, I’m not gonna share Novo Amor to you. Also, I’d never think to try to figure out the musician’s personal life though, because I didn’t wanna be so subjective since his music has been great already. But this suddenly changed when Novo Amor released his new single, ‘If We’re Being Honest’, the magical song that leads me to write this story.

I still can’t get over it so you might find some excessive fangirling responds I write here. It all started in one morning that I thought will be as boring as the past weeks, where I get my mood so fucked up, but apparently this song changed my entire boring day (even weeks!) into something lighter. I felt like this song helped me carry up half of the weigh I’ve been lifting.

September 3rd: Release Day of “If We’re Being Honest” by Novo Amor

“Newest hit from Novo Amor is now on J**x. Listen to If We’re Being Honest right now!” said this one music app I rarely use, who keeps asking me to use it again, but then I only responded with saying “What…the…heck…”. Days before, I thought Novo Amor released a new song called ‘Shape and Patterns’, but that was just a short video about his new upcoming collaborative album, “Cannot Be, Whatsoever”.

Not letting myself forget this update, I googled this new song, and I found “Novo Amor – If We’re Being Honest (Lyrics)” by this channel “Penguin Music” was uploaded 3 hours ago in YouTube. I was like “Yum, here we go!” then I clicked play. Turns out, the music video is premiered in the next 9 hours. I clicked “Remind me” and yet I didn’t have the heart to close the YouTube tab. I told myself that this is going to be my reward after I do my work today, so let me do my best. (But I keep coming back to the YouTube tab to see the remaining time, LoL!)

Unlike his previously released songs (Halloween, Decimal, and Opaline), this is the kind of song I’m going to love and put it in my playlists, most likely would be in my “On Repeat” playlist. Yes, I’m madly in love this song! This is the kind of song that gets me, just like “From Gold” and “Carry You”. I deeply in love with the drums part so much, it flies me, you know. You’ll only get this when you hear them.

After a dozen of replays while I’m working, I decided I wanted to share this magical experience I’m having as an impromptu review. Let’s start with an opening, I thought. Then I asked myself, “What was his name again?”
Oh okay,” after I googled.
Damn, he had an interview with CreativeDisc, how come I’d never figure this out?!” I mumbled, but then I read the transcript to get some more insights.

Cut to the chase, it was 15 minutes before 10 pm, I sent a reassuring chat whether everyone’s having their day made after listening to this song, just like the one I had. Right after I sent my chat, the person we’ve been waiting for has come, as seen in the image below.

novo amor if we're being honest chat box 1

Not so long after, I asked a question about him coming back to Jakarta and play a show. Guess what? He replied!

I squealed in happiness of getting my first response from him (the feeling stays until now because I find myself smiling at 3:45 am while I’m writing this blog). After replaying the music video and showing it to my Mom, I finished, then submitted the article. It came up the next day and you can read it in Bahasa Indonesia here:

‘If We’re Being Honest’; Surprise Novo Amor untuk Album Barunya, “Cannot Be, Whatsoever”

September 4th: The Offer

I thought it’ll be just that, I submitted the article, the article is posted, I promoted the article, done. But apparently, after I shared my article in Twitter, Ali himself gave it a like and it’s messing with my serotonin in a good way. Yep, that made my day again because at the end, the article reached the website’s most popular posts!

novo amor if we're being honest popular posts

I was still thinking it’s all enough. I got 2 of my tweets liked by Ali in Twitter, the article’s exposure is getting better, while I keep streaming ‘If We’re Being Honest’ over and over again. Until this one midday where CreativeDisc asked me about interviewing Ali, it goes like,

“Tristin, if you get a chance to interview Novo (Ali), do you want to? Can we do it by Zoom? Haha”

Then I almost got choked and having this butterflies in my stomach while reading this deadly damage in a form of words. I didn’t reply it immediately and waited like 2 minutes while digesting this information. I said I’d never do any interviews with any musician using English language yet, AND BY ANY OTHER CHANCES WHY HIM. I believe I’ll got my star-struck syndrome relapsed. But blah blah blah and eventually I said “So as not to regret it in the future, I’ll agree to it first”.

The request to interview Ali was sent to Novo Amor’s management and all I did was preparing my mentality, wondering what should I ask, and knowing that I need to do a lot of research since I’d never read anything about him online and ONLY listened to his songs in the past two years. The news has arrived, we’ll do the interview on Monday at 7 p.m. WIB. Damn, THIS Monday? And I only got two fcking days to prepare? But challenge accepted.

September 5th to 6th: Preparation

Obviously, I did as much research as I could to figure out who is he and how’s he like. Armed with my moderate skill at interviewing, I made a list of 10s questions and did some rehearsals. By ‘rehearsals’ I mean I literally recorded myself in a Zoom meeting and watch the preview. Man, I couldn’t even imagine myself talking to the guy who sang all the songs I’ve been singing in the bathroom, in my bedroom, in the office, even on the ride when I’m alone.

I didn’t even think about reaching him out like how I reached Greyson Chance out because I thought that he only wants us to listen to his music and interpret it on our own. And through his interviews I researched, it was right. He likes his songs meaning remain mysterious so we can understand them ourselves. For me, I only need to feel it to understand the song in a way I can’t even explain it to myself. I could cry, smile, being like a person who’s in love with her life, and that could come only from the same song.

September 7th: The D-Day

I spent my morning just like usual, working. But I feel something’s off, like something’s holding me and it ruined my mood (again). I’m feeling nervous, but the playlist I used to listened to is the reason why I feel this. I tried so hard not to care about this feeling, but my body can’t lie.

It was 2 p.m. when I told my Mom, “OMG, Mom, it’s less than 6 hours left from the interview,” and she was like, “Ugh, you’re overreacting.” You know how Asian moms would act. Less than two hours later, I got this butterfly in my stomach turned into some kind of monsters, I felt my stomach churned, followed by my heart beating fast, excessively sweating, and shortness of breath. After, like, four times going back and forth to the restroom to had some poopoo, I thought I wanted to take a sick leave, but cancelled it bcs the office hours is nearly over.

I calmed myself down after reading an article about how to stop panic and anxiety attack then took a deep breath and knowing that I shouldn’t let my heart beats fast or I’ll instantly “wake up” the monsters again. Remembering this, although it’s almost 5 in the morning when I write this, I can’t help myself not to giggle because how weird my body was. My Mom and Dad seemed worry about me but I told them it’s okay, Dad offered me a herbal drink and I drank it to suggest my brain to feel better.

It’s finally 7 p.m., I already took a bath and changed to my black pyjama T-shirt. I’ve prepared my working room, did some makeup so I wouldn’t look too pale, and set a camera to record how did the interview look like from behind my back. It was kinda cute, though, getting this much effort just to do a 30-minute video call with the guy I barely know whose songs I love so much.

Ali is apparently a nice guy, though, he entered the zoom meeting room on time and was really chill and friendly throughout the interview. You can see this interview I attach below, but what you might not know is that I still got around more 10 minutes to talk to him but I was too nervous when he asked me to ask him my personal questions. I only asked him my two other spare questions while actually there’s this one fun question I should’ve ask, but I didn’t.

“Hmm, mayybee that’s all, I guess,” I said very doubtedly, then my senior interviewer jumped in and joined the conversation to say thanks and said that I was fangirling over him these past days, which frankly right. The more you get to know your favorite musician, the deeper you love them because you both have the same taste in music, am I right? He said “That’s cute,” right before I cut and said panicly that I thanked him for what he did and told him to never stop making music.

September 8th: Songs Recommendation

As you can see in the interview, I said I’m going to look for the songs Ali into. Yeah, that wasn’t just a chit-chat question. I listened to the songs, and for all the pressure I had while listening to Bloom by Great Grandpa for the first time, I cried. And the other one is Labrador by Hailaker, a band Ed Tullett made with Jemima Coulter, Ali was kinda involved in the process of making their album and he said he liked Labrador.

September 9th: Playlist

The next day, I tweeted to Ali that I listened to the songs above and I asked for more songs recommendation since I love the first two he told me. Since I kept Novo Amor as a music I ‘own’, it’s been years since the last time I trade playlists and it’s even longer since I listened to a playlist that ‘clicked’ with me. I actually don’t really believe that people can share the same taste in music, until this one.

Ali replied my tweet with an entire playlist he made in his another Spotify account. Among those musician I know, I found a song that has been my favorite since the end of 2018, Smoke Signals by Phoebe Bridgers, whose album (Stranger in the Alps) is in my most played album in 2019!

Songs by songs are being played and I was like, “Oh. My. Goodness. I’d never feel so ‘clicked’ with a playlist recommended by other human being!” And I was literally squealing and crying tears of happiness. To Ali, if you ever read this, I think it’ll be great if we can spend some more time talking, please don’t get tired of my questions, and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALWAYS MAKING MY DAY!!!

Days after the interview: The ‘Research’ Wouldn’t Stop

After talking to him on the interview, knowing him a little bit through our conversations (that I listened again to write the summary article), and his interactions in his media socials, IDK why I get the impression that he’s actually funny and really enjoyable to talk with, but some of his followers think he’s a rigid person, it’s weird but cute.

Anyway, another “‘research’ that would’t stop” happened while I was doing research for this article. So apparently, in an interview, Ali stated that ‘Stranger in the Alps’ by Phoebe Bridgers is the last great record he recently heard in around July 2018, which I figured out around five months after that.

The other one I found is apparently, Novo Amor’s ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is a rearranged version of Guns n’ Roses’s ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, which also embarrassed me because I’d never realise that until I read the lyrics. This song was once used for an AXE/Lynx Black ads. HAHA, now you know how lack the information I knew about Novo Amor’s discography.

From now on, I think I’ll try to stay connected to the information Ali shared to his fans, because apparently that’s an important thing for me to know the musician whose songs I love so much. Thanks to Novo Amor’s ‘If We’re Being Honest’, I actually couldn’t feel more thankful for this fun experience I was having. If you still have some time, please take a look at the summary article I wrote by clicking this image below:

novo amor if we're being honest

Well, as you can see, I wrote this 2K words article to share my story about that four magical days I’ve had with Novo Amor after If We’re Being Honest. Now I felt like I was just coming out through this article, because I used to keep Novo Amor as my own secret playlist until ‘If We’re Being Honest’. Since you guys know the story already, the situation is now changed. But, as long as this way of exposing my playlist could help me support him, I’m gonna do it. So, click here to pre-order ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’.

It’s been 7 a.m already. Good morning and I need to sleep, I think this’ll end here for a while. Bye!

Enkosi Kakhulu, Kumkani!

“Guess I’ll never watch Black Panther with the same feeling again,”

was the thing came out in my thought when i heard about Chadwick Boseman’s death. It’s been a long time since the last time I write a blog. But let me express my feelings here and deal with this thoughts.

It was Saturday morning, my brother woke me up and with his kinda-stammering weak voice he said “Ce (a Chinese call for “Sister”), I got a bad news,” and with a little panic voice I asked him “What?”

“Chadwick Boseman is dead.”

Then with my trembling low voice, totally awake, I said “Damn… seriously? Why? Are you sure?”

“Yeah, cancer.”

“What cancer? Are you sure he’s dead?” Because I really have got no idea he had cancer.

“IDK, Google it.”

I took a deep breath and I was like “f*************ck,” while closing my eyes again, trying to digest the news I just heard, while inside, I feel my heart is beating faster, I feel my body shaking, and my tears, unknowingly, was streaming along my face that morning. Doubtfully, I know I’ll know the news, sooner or later, so I picked up my phone and read the news.

On that entire day, I–like for almost every second, was stunned. Still trying to accept the reality and figuring out how to respond in a normal way. I got up from the bed and told my Mom that T’Challa (she knows him as this character), is dead. “Yeah, the actor who played T’Challa,” I clarified. And my Mom was like having that little loss as well, because I keep talking about Black Panther to her while I did my research last year.

It wasn’t a terrific thesis I made, but I truly enjoyed doing the research, working it in every words, watching the movie again and again, collecting facts that leads me to knowing that T’Challa would marry Storm from X-Men. I told my Mom about this as well, maybe she even got tired hearing me saying the lines I nailed in my head from some scenes again and again, but she mourned anyway.

Chad’s character was THAT strong. I mean, he doesn’t even know me, but i feel this much sadness when he’s gone. It felt like a King that everyone loved in an imaginary country I once lived, is now dead. I am now still overly sensitive seeing eulogies from the people who knows him personally.

Until I write this, my heart is still broken. At this very point, I don’t care if I’m being too excessive, this is how I deal with the sadness. I tried to ignore this fact of Chad’s death because it shouldn’t really matter to me, but since I just saw a very short scene in Black Panther when T’Challa debated with Killmonger in a railway, I felt like my heart was just beaten again, realizing the fact that this man has been gone. Forever.

Then again, people die everyday, it’s only a matter of who. So why don’t we cherish this short time we have before they (or we) leave?

Anyway, enkosi kakhulu, Kumkani. Thank you for this empathy you left me feeling. May you rest in power forever with your ancestors. *crossing fists upon my heart*

Meeting Greyson Chance: Part 1

“When he hugged me with that broad shoulders, it felt like all the efforts, the dreams, the make believes, and all the time it took to get me here, was all paid.”

My Mom was never believe me and she said to me once, “Find a real person to be loved, you can’t love someone’s unreal.” Those words hit me like a giant stone falling onto my body. Since then, she always ignores, like, almost everything about Greyson.

I feel like this topic is kinda outdated, but here it is, the D-day, when I met the person I always thought was impossible to meet.

It was May 10th, when my friend told me about Greyson is going to throw a concert in Jakarta. I told him I don’t believe that and I’ve been having trust issues about Greyson’s concert in Jakarta. I totally don’t care, until I figured out myself from a trusted source.

I know that this time, I’ll see this guy performing right in front of my eyes. At that very moment, I was like “💩💩💩, how can I get the ticket? Should I kill someone or infiltrate the promoter crews?” Not even a single day passed that I’m not thinking about getting the concert ticket. I mean, beside Greyson, this is going to be my first time attending a concert!

Time goes by until the ticket purchasing day, where everyone was rushed to get the chance getting the ticket, while I woke up and opened the website like 40 mins after. My heart was beating so much faster, even faster than when I was on my thesis defence. At the end, I got the Presale 1 ticket, not really bad though. The only bad thing was, there’s no VIP ticket in Indonesia, sucks.

The story doesn’t skip from there. While I was doing my final thesis, I was also thinking about how can I get the chance to meet him in person. I wanna break my Mom’s statement that says I will never see Greyson in person.

I kept thinking to look for a job as an interviewer, and I remembered my friend, who knows a music media, and worked as their freelance reporter once. Long story short, I gotta write for the media and let them decide whether I’m qualified enough for the job. I accept the challenge, and I keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t put a high expectations on it.

Several weeks later, the media owner texted me and told me that the media (Creative Disc) is doing a giveaway. TBH, my too-careless-self thought it was a concert ticket giveaway, I didn’t notice the message at the first place. Turns out it was a meet and greet ticket give away, holy f*ck, what’s happening on this earth, why’s everything coming right in time, like the universe is trying to get me to his arms. I really wanted to hug this skinny bear I was always dreaming of.

Voila, it wasn’t so hard for me to do the challenge, as you can see on this post. It was like an interview to me, like asking me how much I know the company. Man, I even know the office security’s name.

Since I was a kid, I could never really do cheating, except when it comes to playing GTA, that’s the only, only exception. So I was just waiting, keeping myself calm, not thinking too much about it, and not trying to join the other giveaway bcs I don’t really wanna do those things they ask. I kept my distance from the media’s owner bcs unlike those bootlickers, I want to make it as fair as it could be.

The announcement day has come and as some of you might wish, I won the meet and greet ticket! Suck that bithc! Sorry Greyson taught me that on the interview session, he also taught me to say sorry after saying harsh words. Peace out.

Hell yeah, so I won the ticket and you could never feel how “winning” I was when I told my mom about it. She was like, “Believe it or not, I’m giving up on this argument. Now I’m on your side.” Yes, she was on my side and you’ll see it on the Part 2 post.

The happiness didn’t stop there. Along those months of waiting, I wrote some articles for the media, including Portraits album review. You can tell me when you find the article, I’d be happy to discuss it with you. And yep, I passed the challenge.

Another long story short, the D-day has come, I was hired to record an interview with Greyson with my own camera, and I’ll proudly share my schedule that would be:

  1. Attending the meet and greet with Greyson.
  2. Joining an interview with Greyson.
  3. Attending Greyson’s concert.

OK now we’re really going to the next post.

Next post?

Dying with The Dying Girl

Greg, seorang siswa SMA yang tidak mempunyai banyak teman namun mempunyai hobi membuat parodi film klasik dengan cara (yang menurut saya) kreatif. Kehidupan Greg berubah setelah sebuah permintaan yang lebih seperti ancaman muncul dari Ibunya, yaitu untuk menjadi teman bagi Rachel, tetangga dan teman sekolahnya yang dikabarkan menderita Leukaemia.

Sebelum berteman dengan Rachel, Greg sudah mempunyai sahabat yang telah bersamanya sejak kecil, yakni Earl. Greg dan Earl seringkali mengunjungi ruangan Mr. McCarthy untuk menonton atau sekadar bermain game.

Sudut pandang film ini berasal dari Greg sendiri, yang menceritakan kehidupannya di sekolah, di mana dia tidak mempunyai banyak teman, lalu bagaimana dirinya menyukai teman sekolahnya, Madison, hingga pertemanannya dengan Earl dan Rachel.

Beberapa waktu setelah omelan Ibunya, Greg menyerah lalu mematuhi permintaan untuk mengunjungi rumah Rachel dan memberinya dukungan untuk melawan Leukaemia. Sama seperti menulis buku harian, Greg menghitung harinya sejak pertama kali dia datang ke rumah Rachel yang disebutnya sebagai “Doomed Friendship“, namun seiring berjalannya waktu, kecanggungan di antara mereka perlahan menghilang.

Suatu hari, Greg mengajak Earl ke rumah Rachel, lalu mereka bertiga keluar untuk membeli es krim. Earl menjelaskan pada Rachel bahwa Greg mempunyai trust issue sehingga dia tidak mempunyai teman, melainkan “co-worker“. Saya yang tadinya ikut bingung dengan sebutan “co-worker” akhirnya mengerti makna kata tersebut.

Beberapa minggu kemudian, Madison datang saat Greg dan Earl membuat parodi film, dia meminta agar mereka membuatkan film untuk Rachel, tentang segala hal favoritnya dan semacamnya. Meskipun Greg tidak setuju, tapi akhirnya mereka membuatnya juga.

Greg mengingatkan beberapa kali kepada penonton bahwa ini bukanlah film drama romantis, dan melalui narasinya, dia juga berjanji bahwa Rachel dapat bertahan dari penyakit kankernya, that’s a little bit spoiler I guess, namun tetap saja saya melanjutkan tayangan film ini.

Tak hanya berfokus pada penyakit Rachel, namun Greg dan Earl tetap produktif menciptakan parodi film, di mana penonton juga dapat melihat hasilnya dalam bentuk potongan adegan kocak, it was kinda fun, though.

Diperankan oleh Thomas Mann (Greg), RJ Cyler (Earl), dan Olivia Cooke (Rachel), menurut saya film ini cukup berhasil menciptakan vibe sederhana akan kehidupan seorang siswa dengan trust issue dan kreativitas membuat parodi film bersama sahabatnya serta mendukung perjuangan seorang teman yang menderita Leukaemia.

Pada dasarnya film bergenre drama komedi yang dirilis pada 2015 ini adalah cerita Greg mengenai kehidupannya yang ikutan ‘sekarat’ sejak dia mengenal seorang perempuan penderita kanker yang sedang sekarat (the dying girl), Rachel, juga tentang persababatan yang yang tak selamanya berjalan mulus, dan mengenai penerimaan jati diri. Tapi ingat, jangan mengharapkan adanya adegan romantis ya, karena sekali lagi, ini bukanlah film drama romantis.

Meskipun tidak sempat tayang di Indonesia, namun film ini cukup saya rekomendasikan untuk ditonton bersama keluarga atau sekadar untuk hiburan. Penilaian yang saya berikan adalah 7.5/10 untuk alur dan penceritaan Greg yang begitu kronologis, maklum saja, saya suka menjadi pendengar.


Petualangan Gadis Kecil Menyelami Hidup Orang Dewasa

Oleh Tristin Hartono

Scout Finch menceritakan kisah hidupnya ketika ia berumur enam tahun, ketika Dill Harris datang ke kehidupannya dan kakak laki-lakinya, Jem Finch. Dill adalah keponakan Miss Rachel, yang tinggal tidak jauh dari kediaman mereka di Maycomb County. Hidupnya berubah setelah Dill harus kembali ke rumahnya di Meridian.

Scout yang masih anak-anak mulai memiliki rasa ingin tahu yang besar tentang kehidupan manusia di sekitarnya. Novel ini mengambil setting waktu di tahun 1930-an, ketika perbedaan warna kulit di Amerika masih sangat kentara. Setiap orang berkulit hitam dianggap pantas menerima hukuman gantung meski tanpa proses pengadilan.

Atticus Finch, ayah Scout dan Jem yang bekerja sebagai seorang pengacara saat itu dengan berani memilih untuk membela seorang kulit hitam yang juga budak bernama Tom Robinson dalam sebuah pengadilan dengan kasus pemerkosaan terhadap wanita berkulit putih.

Scout yang dengan polosnya selalu menanyakan hal yang ingin diketahuinya tidak setuju dengan hasil pengadilan yang masih menyatakan Tom Robinson sebagai orang bersalah. Namun apa yang bisa dilakukan seorang anak perempuan berumur tujuh tahun terhadap keputusan pengadilan yang didominasi oleh orang kulit putih?

Dalam kutipan “Kau tidak akan pernah bisa memahami seseorang hingga kau melihat segala sesuatu dari sudut pandangnya … hingga kau menyusup ke balik kulitnya dan menjalani hidup dengan caranya,” Harper Lee mengajak pembaca melihat kehidupan orang dewasa yang selalu berprasangka antara satu sama lain melalui sudut pandang Scout.

To Kill A Mockingbird sempat memenangkan piala Pulitzer di tahun 1961. Novel yang mengguncang khazanah sastra dunia ini sudah terjual hingga 40 juta kopi di seluruh dunia, dan menurut Library Journal, To Kill A Mockingbird adalah “Novel Terbaik Abad Ke-20”.

Setelah sukses dengan To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee kembali menerbitkan karyanya yang hilang selama 60 tahun, Go Set A Watchman, novel yang menginspirasi lahirnya mahakarya To Kill A Mockingbird yang mengantarkannya pada penganugerahan Presidential Medal of Freedom 2007, The Highest Civilian Honor USA.


Judul buku: To Kill A Mockingbird

Pengarang: Harper Lee

Penerbit: Qanita

Cetakan: 1, September 2015

Tebal buku: 396 halaman


(Tulisan ini telah diterbitkan di rubrik “Resensi” Majalah What’s Up! volume 7 no. 2 Agustus 2017)

Sumber gambar: Carousell

Menangkap Makna dalam The Catcher in The Rye

Julukan “The Coward Sarcastic” atau “Si Sarkastik yang Penakut” saya rasa dapat menggambarkan karakter utama dalam novel ini. Holden Caufield namanya, seorang remaja 16 tahun yang sudah bosan dengan kehidupannya di sekolah asrama khusus laki-laki daerah Agerstown, Pennsylvania, yaitu Pencey Prep.


Cerita ini mengisahkan seorang anak lelaki dalam mencari jati dirinya. Pandangan skeptisnya terhadap kemunafikan orang-orang di sekitarnya membuat dia muak dengan segala yang dialaminya selama ini. Tak jarang, Holden terlibat dalam perkelahian yang sebenarnya bisa dihindari.


Menggunakan sudut pandang orang pertama, sang penulis kontroversial, J.D. Salinger, berhasil membuat karakter Holden hidup melalui percakapan dan gerutu Holden. Bagaimana tidak, karakter Holden setidaknya berhasil ‘menyihir’ Mark David Chapman, si pelaku penembak mati John Lennon pada Desember 1980.


Dampak gerutu kasar dan sifat tak pedulinya Holden membuat buku ini berkali-kali dilarang beredar di beberapa sekolah di Amerika Serikat (AS) sejak 1962. Berbagai alasan dilontarkan institusi yang melarang beredarnya buku ini, mulai dari perkataan kasar (F-words), adegan sensual, hingga penyalahgunaan minuman keras oleh anak di bawah umur.


Namun, tidak sedikit juga lembaga pendidikan yang mengakui bahwa The Catcher in the Rye merupakan salah satu literatur penting Amerika sehingga mereka mewajibkan para siswa untuk membaca buku tersebut sebagai tugas sekolah.


Kini giliran pengalaman saya dengan The Catcher in the Rye dan Holden yang akan saya tuangkan dalam postingan ini. Sejak pertama kali dibeli sekitar lima tahun lalu, tepatnya ketika saya akan duduk di bangku SMA, perasaan saya tak pernah berubah terhadap cover buku terbitan Banana Publisher ini.


The Catcher in the Rye (Banana Publisher 2005) (P.s.: I took the photo myself)

Seperti tampak pada gambar di atas, “Novel Amarah Anak Muda” merupakan kalimat yang terpampang di selimut buku dan tampilan sesosok anak lelaki (berwajah mengesalkan) dengan ekspresi kesal disertai api membara di atas kepalanya. Namun setelahnya saya berpikir, toh, yang saya butuhkan adalah isinya. Rasa penasaran pun sudah menggerayangi saya, mengalahkan perasaan illfeel saat melihat cover buku.


Bertajuk sama dengan bahasa aslinya (Inggris), The Catcher in the Rye terbitan tahun 2005 ini dicetak dengan bahasa semi-formal. Saya menyebutnya semi-formal karena mengandung beberapa kalimat baku khas novel terjemahan, ditambah beberapa kalimat sumpah serapah tidak sesuai Ejaan Bahasa Indonesia (EBI).


Saat pertama kali membaca buku ini pada 2013 lalu, saya sangat tidak menyukai Holden, anak yang dikeluarkan dari sekolah, suka berbohong demi kesenangan, bahkan berbicara kasar seenaknya hingga dihantam temannya sendiri sampai lebam dan berdarah, and I was like, “Apa-apaan, sih, nih anak.


Namun saat saya menonton film biografi J.D. Salinger dalam Rebel in the Rye (2015) beberapa hari lalu, saya kembali penasaran dan membaca ulang novel ini dari awal hingga akhir tanpa melewatkan satu kalimat pun. Hasilnya, saya merasa adanya perbedaan perasaan saya terhadap Holden Caulfield dibanding saat pertama kali membaca.


Well, tak bisa dipungkiri memang, terdapat begitu banyak kata kasar terlontar. Saya pun menyadari bahwa meskipun saya baca ratusan kali, setiap kata dalam buku ini tidak akan berubah. Tapi, ada beberapa cara pandang saya yang berubah terhadap Holden. Jika dulu saya menganggap dia mengesalkan, kini saya menyadari bahwa Holden is such a loving guy (saya menggunakan bahasa Inggris, sebab agak janggal jika diterjemahkan ke bahasa Indonesia).


Bagaimana dia sebenarnya menyayangi Sally Hayes namun tak dapat mengungkapkannya, dan bagaimana adiknya, Phoebe, bisa begitu menyayangi kakak yang sudah empat kali dikeluarkan dari sekolah ini membuat hati saya sedikit luluh, ditambah lagi dengan serangkaian kalimat lucu nan polos yang dilontarkan Holden, salah satunya adalah pertanyaan tentang “Ke mana para bebek di danau Central Park pergi saat musim dingin?”


Membaca novel ini rasanya seperti mendengarkan Holden menceritakan semua curahan hatinya tanpa harus memberikan banyak komentar —hanya respon dalam bentuk senyum lebar dan tawa akibat celetukan kocaknya. Sampai akhirnya, saya baru menyadari bahwa Holden adalah sesosok remaja dengan mimpi sederhana namun disertai pemikiran kompleks.


Another fact, agak sulit jika Anda tidak tertarik membaca buku namun ingin mengetahui kisah Holden, sebab, Anda tidak akan menemukan film yang menceritakan petualangan Holden sejak dia keluar dari Pencey Prep, membeli topi berburu, hingga menyelinap ke rumahnya sendiri demi bertemu adik kandungnya ini. Sang penulis, J.D. Salinger, tidak mau menjual hak cipta The Catcher in the Rye untuk dijadikan film. Sama seperti pernyataan Holden, “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies.


Meskipun sang penulis yang telah menghabiskan sisa hidupnya dengan mengasingkan diri di New Hampshire ini sudah tutup usia sejak delapan tahun lalu, namun Holden akan tetap hidup di setiap imajinasi pembaca yang pernah “berkenalan” dengannya. Saya memberi nilai 9/10 atas kesederhanaan, kegamblangan celetukan Holden, dan apresiasi terhadap komitmen yang dipilih J.D. Salinger untuk tidak mempublikasikan (bahkan) satu hasil karya lagi hingga akhir hidupnya.


Rebel in the Rye: A Figure Who Brought Holden Caulfield to Life

The first time I read The Catcher in The Rye is when I was 16. It was one of the first novels I’ve read. Not one of my favorite, tbh.


So I live in Indonesia and my school didn’t train us to make reading as a habit, it’s a kinda common thing here, then I’d never know about the novel from anywhere at school, until the day where a singer-songwriter, Greyson Chance, mentioned it in one of his tweet.


Long story short, the curious nerd younger self of me tried to look for that book, and voila, I got it. Since then, I could never forget the writer’s name (J.D. Salinger) and the fact that this book I read was first published in 1951, including the other fact that the writer has passed away 3 years before I read the book (so sad).


In 2018, my YouTube account suggested a movie trailer that seems familiar to me, “Rebel in The Rye”, starred by the actor I know, Nicholas Hoult. I immediately clicked the video and didn’t get disappointed, because I finally got the chance to learn more about the writer!


I still don’t really get why am I so curious with the life of a writer, philosopher, or scientist (like Marie Curie for instance). It’s been my own hidden curiosity (the one I’d never tell anyone) since I was in junior school.


Let’s get back to the topic. The film was released in 2017, the story line is basically about Jerome David Salinger (Jerry Salinger), a young, not really smart, and sarcastic kid who didn’t want to be a “King of Bacon” as his father wished him to. He wants to be a writer and took a creative writing major in Columbia University.


[WARNING!!! This post contains a spoiler, but the film still worth the watch. I didn’t spoil much.]


He met a lecturer which soon will be his mentor, Whit Burnett. After that meeting at the café, young Jerry started to learn a lot of things about writing. Not only him, but also the audiences as well, we can also learn to write a story that could bring up some feelings on the readers mind. As the story goes, we can understand how hard it was to publish a book in that age, how Jerry respects his privacy a lot, and more because of the trauma he had when he was a soldier in World War II.


As a biography film, we’ll find a lot of Jerry’s life stories, like when he got rejected by the publishers for multiple times, then almost got published right when the war has just started, or when his girlfriend, Oona O’Neil, dumped him by marrying an old man.


Whit once said to him,

“Are you willing to devote your life to telling the stories, knowing that you may get nothing in return? And if the answer is no, well, then you should go out there and find yourself something else to do with your life because you are not a true writer,”

which got him thinking about his willing (and mine) to write. It all then finally comes to the point where his novel about a grumpy sarcastic boy, The Catcher in the Rye, was booming and so much more famous than what he imagined this whole time.


Jerry felt overwhelmed, he don’t want a fame, all he wants is to write and write and write, so he looked for peacefulness by moving from New York City to live in Cornish, New Hampshire to have a new life and meditate, which he learned from a Buddhist Zen monk. He was married and had two children, but he stayed in a small hut near their house to write, and never published even one of his writings until the end of his life.

Nicholas Hoult as J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye

Despite of the real story of J.D. Salinger, I also want to appreciate how Nicholas Hoult could bring the character alive. I don’t know J.D. Salinger, like how he speaks, think, or gesture, but through Hoult’s acts along the film, I can feel all the nervous and awkwardness when Jerry met Oona, desperation when he was at war, even the struggle moments he had, Hoult expresses it all through his eyes and mimic.


And then I was wondering about the 6.6/10 rate from IMDb, I mean, it’s a TOTALLY UNDERRATED MOVIE! Because I’m gonna put 8.5/10 for the story line, cinematography, vibe, and the acts.


p.s.: the cover photo credit goes to this website


Bertualang di Kota Kembang [Bagian 2]

[Bagian 1-nya ada di sini]


Setelah melewati Tugu Titik Nol Kilometer Bandung, muncul pertanyaan “Mau ke mana lagi nih kita?” dari Stella. Saya yang agak bingung untuk memutuskan akhirnya mengajak Stella untuk bersama-sama mencari tempat tujuan lain hingga Museum Konferensi Asia Afrika (KAA) menjadi tujuan selanjutnya. Pintu masuk yang kecil membuat kami agak ragu untuk masuk, karena masih ada pintu lain mengarah ke Gedung Merdeka yang tertutup rapat oleh pagar besi.


Namun, papan pengumuman yang menyatakan bahwa hari itu Museum KAA buka meyakinkan kami untuk masuk dan mendorong pintu. “Tok tok,” celetuk saya, yang disambut oleh penjaga pintu museum dengan senyuman. Ternyata pengunjung tidak perlu membayar sepeser pun untuk menikmati museum yang menerima penghargaan sebagai Museum Paling Menyenangkan tahun 2015 ini.


Beragam hasil dokumentasi Konferensi Asia Afrika yang dihelat pada 1955 lalu membuat saya terkagum dengan pencapaian yang pernah dilakukan Bung Karno dan Bung Hatta saat mereka masih menjabat sebagai presiden dan wakil presiden Indonesia. Bagaimana tidak, PM Indonesia, Ali Sastroamidjojo, berhasil mengumpulkan perwakilan dari 29 negara untuk bertemu di Bandung demi mendiskusikan perdamaian dunia.


Namun, saya masih agak menyayangkan perilaku pengunjung yang tidak dapat menghormati museum ini. Ketika saya berkunjung, segerombolan anak remaja 13-16 tahun berjumlah 8-10 orang memainkan layar sentuh yang mungkin berisi video pendek rapat KAA, lalu mereka duduk di salah satu kursi aula KAA sembari menaikkan kaki ke senderan kursi di depannya. Kasus lain, tombol untuk memutar pidato pembukaan KAA oleh Bung Karno tidak dapat dimainkan, sayang sekali.


Sepulang dari Jalan Braga, Lapangan Gasibu di Jalan Diponegoro adalah tujuan kami selanjutnya. Saat sampai di sana, Stella menjelaskan bahwa dosennya merupakan salah satu desainer lapangan ini. Kunjungan ke Lapangan Gasibu terasa seperti tur bagi saya, karena Stella menjelaskan cukup banyak hal mengenai konstruksi lapangan seluas kurang lebih 6000 m2 tersebut.

Lapangan Gasibu dan Gedung Sate di kejauhan.


Kami menghabiskan cukup banyak waktu untuk memilih destinasi selanjutnya hingga waktu menunjukkan saatnya makan malam, di mana Warung Kopi Purnama yang terletak di Jalan Alkateri, Braga menjadi pilihan. Tempat ini menjadi salah satu rekomendasi tempat makan di Bandung, tidak heran, selain sejarah yang dimiliki, Nasi Goreng Purnama yang dibanderol dengan harga Rp30 ribu pun mampu memanjakan lidah. Di sinilah “deep talk” kembali dimulai, bahkan setelah Warung Kopi Purnama tutup, percakapan kami masih berlanjut.


Ditemani Stefan, kami bertolak ke Warkop Gemboel Mini (Gemini) yang terkenal sebagai “Warkop yang tidak akan pernah tutup kecuali kiamat” hingga waktu menunjukkan hampir pukul 12 malam dan kami harus kembali ke indekos Stella.


Sesampainya di indekos, kami yang sudah berjanji untuk menonton film bersama tetap melaksanakan perjanjian tersebut. Setelah memilih beberapa film, Forrest Gump menjadi pilihan, well, I’ll never regret that choice, karena saya kerap mengingatkan diri sendiri bahwa film tersebut diproduksi di tahun 1994 akibat plot dan pengambilan gambar, serta akting Tom Hanks yang terlihat sangat mengesankan (9/10 dari saya).


Di hari terakhir perjalanan ini, saya, Stella, dan Stefan akan kembali ke Jakarta menaiki kereta tujuan Gambir pukul tujuh malam nanti. Kami mengawali hari ini dengan menyantap daging sapi di Se’i Sapi Lamalera yang terletak di kawasan Lebakgede, Coblong, dengan harga terjangkau, misalnya se’i sapi sambal matah yang saya pesan ini hanya dibanderol Rp25 ribu saja! Setelah itu, saya mengajak mereka untuk menonton Deadpool di Ciwalk (akhirnya dapat tiket nonton dari kota lain selain Jakarta!).

Se’i Sapi Sambal Matah, Yum!


Waktu kurang lebih menunjukkan pukul setengah lima sore ketika saya dan Stella sampai di indekos. Kami berkemas lalu kembali bertemu dengan Stefan yang sudah menunggu di ujung gang. Saat kami sampai di stasiun, ternyata masih ada waktu untuk santap malam yang akhirnya kami gunakan untuk menyantap sajian dari Hokben.


Kereta meluncur sekitar pukul 7:30, melesat melampaui ruang dan waktu hingga menyisakan Bandung dalam ingatan kami, saya hanya dapat menyatakan dalam ingatan bahwa Jalan Ir. H. Djuanda yang dihiasi tiang lampu hijau gelap dan bunga (kembang) merah baru saja menjadi jalanan favorit saya di Bandung.


Meski hanya tiga hari, namun waktu yang telah kami jalani tak akan bisa diambil kembali, lalu saya teringat ujaran Pidi Baiq yang dipajang di terowongan Jalan Asia Afrika, “Dan Bandung bagiku bukan cuma masalah geografis, lebih jauh dari itu melibatkan perasaan, yang bersamaku ketika sunyi.

sumber foto: klik pada gambar



Turtles On Turtles On Turtles

Tristin Hartono (14150098)

It’s Turtles All The Way Down (TATWD), another masterpiece of an American writer and video blogger (vlogger), John Green. This story came up with Aza Holmes, the girl who suffers an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that lives in the north side on Indianapolis. Aza could never handle herself to pressed her right thumbnail into her middle finger’s pad, and that’s why she always covers her right middle finger with band-aid–and she’s kinda addicted to hand sanitizer too, BTW.


She lives with her Mom who works as a history teacher in her school, White River High School. Her father died of a heart attack while mowing the lawn when she was around eight, his phone and car (Harold) are the last things she had from her Dad.


The story focused on Aza with her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, looking for a fugitive billionaire, Russel Pickett, who was missing at the night before his raid. Daisy aims the $100,000 reward and she has Aza, who’s kind of had a “thing” with the billonaire’s son, Davis.


Through this novel that released at October 2017, Green lets us drown into Aza’s thought about everything, about how she wants to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, or maybe a good detective which eventually leads her to a spiral thoughts that keeps tightening.


The reader is asked to help its narrator evaluate herself often, which as we all know, we’re our worst and best critic. Also, we’re slowly walking into Aza’s life, how she gets on with every mysterious things she had within herself.


The storyline might not only focus on Russell Pickett’s missing, but don’t worry, the ending still worth the read, though. You will find some kinds of relationship through all the characters, like, you’ll find the reason of how an entire estate legacy would be left to a tuatara instead of human.


This review might be subjective because I’ve read all Green’s novels (including the two collaboration novels that he took a part of) and I love every single one of them, but I still have at least one thing to criticize the novel.


It was about Davis’s life at the end of the novel―no spoilers―that ended up disappointing for me. I mean, I think I started to get a crush on him, though. He’s such a soft, calm, lovely, responsible, and sweet character, the way he talks about the stars and constellations make me wonders about them too, he’s really a smart-but-not-a-nerdy type of guy.


At the almost end of story, be ready for the actual meaning of “Turtles All The Way Down”―this is why I told you that the ending is still worth the read. Green has always got surprises for the readers, like how one of the leading characters die of cancer in his previous “The Fault In Our Stars”, or like the ending of Margo’s life in Paper Towns that left my eyes in a little sweet teary (this one is my all-time-favorite-underrated-novel, FYI).


Beside writing novels, John Green also does a video blogging (vlogging) with his brother, Hank, since 2007. At their YouTube channel named “vlogbrothers”, John and Hank separately talk about a lot of random things, from books, films, jokes, a protest to education system, until an explanation of President Trump’s budget.


Speaking of which, John admitted that Aza Holmes is a totally fictional character that came from his thought of how if someone’s in a particular situation like what Aza is facing at the novel, as he explained in his introduction video of TATWD. He confessed that he had an OCD too, where at particular moments he couldn’t have control on a ‘ship’ called Myself (himself).

(the photo was taken by me)

Over all, I put this 286 paged book on a rate of 9/10 for the simple diction that I enjoyed quite a lot, well I can even see the scenes in my head, though! And the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault In Our Stars, John Green, has finally earn another big heart from me.


I’m going to end up this review with a quote said by Aza to give a depiction of how despairing it is to have an OCD, it goes like this:

The thing about spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely. – Aza Holmes



Journey of Revealing The Truth

 Tristin Hartono (14150098)

(sumber foto: klik pada gambar)

 “The only way to protect the right to publish, is to publish.”

Kalimat tersebut masih menempel di pikiran saya sejak credit title ditayangkan. Ben Bradlee, yang diperankan oleh aktor kawakan, Tom Hanks, dengan jelas mengucapkan pernyataan itu ketika ia bersikeras ingin menerbitkan berita yang dapat mempertaruhkan nasib perusahaan surat kabar The Washington Post.


Mengambil latar waktu di tahun 1971, ketika perang Amerika-Vietnam hampir berakhir, film besutan Steven Spielberg ini  lagi-lagi berhasil mencetak 13 prestasi pada 12 ajang penghargaan film di Amerika. Selain Tom Hanks yang sudah menjadi langganan memerankan film arahan Spielberg, kita dapat melihat hadirnya Meryl Streep yang memegang peran sebagai karakter utama, yakni Katharine “Kay” Graham, penerbit The Washington Post.


Selain kedua tokoh di atas, saya turut menyadari keberadaan karakter yang mondar-mandir di beberapa film yang saya tonton seperti Steve Jobs (2015), Doctor Strange (2017), Call Me by Your Name (2017) hingga The Shape of Water (2017), yap, Michael Stuhlbarg, si pemeran tokoh Abe Rosenthal, editor eksekutif harian New York Times.


Daftar pujian yang terpampang di poster film membuat pendapat saya menjadi agak subjektif, bahkan sebelum menonton film ini. Ditambah lagi janji dosen kelas Media Online yang dengan antusias mengajak kami sekelas untuk menonton bersama di bioskop. Saya yakin bahwa film ini akan menjadi salah satu film yang menggugah antusias saya, ditambah lagi, plot cerita yang menyinggung media massa dan diperankan oleh aktor yang tak diragukan lagi kemampuannya.


Gambaran Plot

Konflik dimulai ketika Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) mencuri data negara berisi dokumen perang Amerika-Vietnam yang kini disebut “Pentagon Papers”. Harian The Washington Post (selanjutnya disingkat “The Post”) yang saat itu sibuk dengan masalah peliputan pernikahan salah satu putri Presiden Nixon mendapat kabar bahwa harian The New York Times merilis berita yang menyatakan bahwa Nixon dan beberapa presiden sebelumnya memalsukan informasi perang dan mengirim tentara sebanyak mungkin meskipun pada akhirnya Amerika akan mengalami kekalahan dari Vietnam.


The Post menjunjung tinggi peran surat kabar yang harus berimbang dalam menyajikan informasi. Oleh karena itu, Ben Bradlee, sebagai editor eksekutif, merasa berkewajiban untuk merilis berita sesuai fakta yang akhirnya mengantarkan cerita pada perselisihan antara dirinya dengan Frederick “Fritz” Beebe (Tracy Letts), chief officer The Post.


Fritz yang tidak terlalu peduli tentang fakta yang seharusnya diungkapkan ke khalayak bersikeras menolak publikasi tersebut, sebab ia lebih fokus terhadap kestabilan saham The Post. Pada titik inilah Kay Graham harus memutuskan, antara mempertahankan kelangsungan bisnis surat kabarnya, atau membiarkan fakta tersebar di masyarakat.


Gambar yang ditata dengan apik melalui perspektif (dari penggunaan rule of third), pencahayaan, fokus, dan sebagainya membuat para penonton tenggelam dalam imajinasi sang sutradara. Pasalnya, pada 30 menit pertama saja saya sudah memerhatikan adanya gerakan kamera yang halus membingkai suasana lalu mengikuti objek yang dituju.


Sebagai orang awam pun, saya merasa puas dengan hasil tangkapan gambar arahan Spielberg. Meskipun bukan hal kecil, namun keramaian yang terlihat natural di kantor The Post entah kenapa sudah cukup membuat saya merasa puas, termasuk segelintir karakter yang merokok di dalam gedung (bahkan lift), demi menggambarkan suasana kantor surat kabar tahun 70an.


Menyinggung Feminisme

Kedatangan Kay Graham di American Stock Exchange. (dok. penulis)

Selain cerita yang berfokus pada dilema yang dialami Kay, saya juga menemukan pelanggaran terhadap paham feminisme. Kay Graham, sebagai tokoh perempuan pertama yang masuk dalam “Fortune 500 CEO in 1972”, saat itu belum memiliki pedoman bertingkah laku di tengah para pria pebisnis sehingga ia melakukan sedikit kesalahan saat pertama kali menghadiri American Stock Exchange yang ditandai dengan gerakan pelan moderator menahan bahu Kay saat ia akan berdiri.

Kay Graham menarik tumpukan berkas dari mejanya. (dok. penulis)

Contoh lainnya adalah ketika Kay sarapan dengan Ben, meskipun pangkat Kay lebih tinggi, namun Ben berani menegur Kay yang menaruh tangan di atas meja makan, lalu diikuti dengan adegan rapat Kay dengan para bankir, saat dia merasa canggung ketika menaruh tumpukan berkas di atas meja yang setelah itu diturunkannya dari atas meja, hingga para bankir yang kompak menganggap remeh sistem perekonomian The Post karena perusahaan itu dipimpin oleh seorang wanita, seperti yang diutarakan Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford) usai rapat.


Banyaknya karakter perempuan dengan kedudukan yang lebih rendah di masyarakat membuat saya mulai mengagumi sosok Kay Graham. Dia bisa menjadi tokoh perempuan yang stand out tidak hanya di antara perempuan lain, tapi juga di tengah pria dengan kedudukan tinggi. Dia pun dengan lapang dada membiarkan ayah kandungnya memberikan warisan bisnis untuk suaminya, Phil Graham, lalu meninggalkan kehidupannya bersama anak-cucu ketika suaminya harus pergi untuk selama-lamanya hingga mendedikasikan diri untuk terus mempertahankan perusahaan keluarganya. I mean, she’s seriously a strong woman, though!

(dok. penulis)

Meski diderai berbagai pujian, namun saya punya kritik tersendiri untuk film yang satu ini. Menurut saya, film ini kurang cocok jika dijadikan tontonan keluarga dengan anak-anak di bawah umur, karena cerita yang disajikan agak berat dan cukup membuat penonton Indonesia yang tidak mengerti istilah atau merk produk Amerika harus memutar otak sedikit lebih keras, misalnya ketika salah satu bankir yang menghadiri rapat membicarakan tentang Gannett’s Knight Ridder, yakni salah satu perusahaan media surat kabar dan internet yang berhenti berfungsi sejak 2006. See, saya pun harus menjelajahi internet terlebih dulu untuk mengetahui apa yang sedang mereka bicarakan.

(dok. penulis)

Secara keseluruhan, film yang saya beri rating 7.5/10 ini cocok ditujukan bagi penonton yang tertarik dengan film berplot “berat” yang dibumbui sejarah kelamnya Amerika saat dipimpin Richard Nixon, juga sebagai contoh bagaimana hoax sudah ada sejak zaman dulu, serta seberapa besar perjuangan media massa cetak yang menjunjung tinggi kebenaran informasi harus melalui rintangan demi menunjukkan fakta sebenarnya. Presumably, this is a film about the journey of revealing the truth!