It’s okay, read as many as you would love to.

I’ve been doing things, but I haven’t been doing my things. It feels off and odd to actually sacrifice the time that was given to me hours and hours everyday and none of the days I could eventually spend the time for me. So here I am, trying to write things I wanted to write for long : read things that you like, regardless.

I was only ten, if I recall correctly, when I spent majority of my Lebaran money at the nearest Gramedia in my hometown. I barely spent a lot of money, not even on birthdays or other occasionally “special” days. But when it comes to books, I’m all in. The store was not that far away from my Granny’s house, so we–my cousin and I–took the public transportation a.k.a Angkutan Umum (Angkot). And yes, without our parents.

Time flies, don’t you think? When you’re wandering between the shelves and aisles thousands of books, when everything seems just pretty interesting because it was only you and those twenty-six repeated alphabets? It was hours spent ; choosing the Ones for me, the right compilations of stories that I’d love to endeavor, the escapades I’d like to join in my spare time.

I can’t recall titles but I remember there were stacks of books on the cashier desk and plenty plastic bags I brought downstairs the shop. I was too excited. My face was surely in glee, it catched the whole family’s attentions. Literally. The big family.

“What did you buy, sweatheart?” That’s one question from my aunt, and practically the rest of the big family members. I do not wish to reply, really. Because they’d give that stares if they’re know what I’m buying. But nonetheless, I did.

“Novels….. and uhm… a dictionary I’ve been wanting for so long?” I replied, scared of the expression that they’d gave.

“You should’ve save the money.”
“Why didn’t you buy textbooks?”
“What kind of stories was that?”
“Oh girl–…”
“I thought you were reading…”

It goes on and on, and I grew tired buying books in front of them, so I’ve never done that anymore. It feels like I’m a topic, and not a person they’d like to discuss a topic with.

But hey, those bitterness and saltiness ; sweetness and sourness ; all combined to create this messy but beautiful crawl called life. I learned the hard way that it’s actually okay to read things that you liked, regardless the fact that it’s just fiction and surreal.

It’s true.
In case no one ever telling you this : you have all privileges to read any kinds of books you would love to read, as many as you could, as much as the time that you have.

It’s okay if you like reading comic books, go on and on, get obsessed with it.
Poems are also lovely. If you are keen to read one, I do hope you’ll also make a great one one day.
If you are into dystopian kind of fiction–hey we’re on the same path! Continue that voyage you’re currently in ; forget your surroundings for once more, get drowned deep in it!
Even if you’re only passionate in reading captions like Humans of New York’s, I truly hope you will always, always read the captions every pictures they uploaded in Instagram.

Because the most important thing for you is to read. Not many realized this, but reading anything, whatever it is by all means, will help you a lot later or sooner in your life. It wasn’t quotes about newspapers that were famous and laid in the hearts of millions people, right? It was only about reading.



Started from reading unrealistic things, I find myself easier to digest and kind of take a look of the real things from my surroundings. It’s like the knowledge I got from unrealistic stories helped me to clear my glasses, to let me see the world as vulnerable as it is, as crystal clear that it possibly can.

Those imaginary scenes–they helped me finding the right words to speak to people. More accurate words that I can pour into writings. Life lessons, that absurdly more relatable than the ones I heard directly from people.

“You should’ve done something more productive…”

It’s okay. Judgement do comes from people. It’s a consequent things that of course happened because we’re all human, and we have the ability to think and utter our opinions.

Whatever it is that you’re reading, it’s not an act of wasting time. Heads up. You are not doing the wrong thing. Never been. It’s for you and not for them anyway. You have to listen to your surroundings at times, but most of the times you just have to follow your own decisions and have faith in it.

Be brave,
even on the smallest thing like this–reading books that you actually like.


May your day filled with joy,


PS. Here’s some of my favorite words from my favorite people about reading. I hope you really read more books that you like to read after reading them!

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
― Gustave Flaubert

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin,

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!


What it means, to be protected?

If you ever walked from Sudirman station straight to M.H. Thamrin street through the Bunderan Hotel Indonesia, you’ll realise that there are many, many buildings are shaped almost like prisons. High walls, wires on top, and at least three securities guard the front door with stoned faces. Not much space for parking lot and seemed like only few people come & go through the building.

The Embassy of Germany for Indonesia is what I was talking about, and what amazed me for the most. The walls that surrounded the building is likely up to four meters in high, with curled wires on top, CCTV(s) at the pedestrian walk, and four people guarded the main gate. You can’t even see the entrance door of the building from the outside.

My stop was the Embassy of Japan. It was only ten minute walk from the former one, past Grand Indonesia. When I was crossing the road using the hanging bridge, I can see the building clearly from top. From the outside, it just doesn’t look friendly. Indeed, almost looked like a prison. The building is dark brown in color, and there’s just barely any window glasses can be see-through from afar.

The standard security system here in Jakarta, Indonesia is to leave your ID card to the security (you can bring it back after you finished your business), body check, and belongings check. After you are confirmed free from harmful things, you’re allowed to go inside afterwards.

The part of the building that I visited was rather small, compared to other buildings in the street. It was only a two story building, but I took a lift upstairs because I felt tired after quite a walk. I visited the library and from there, I wished to see the street from above. But then, I couldn’t.

There were windows there, but the windows fence are striped horizontally, and block the access of the window to be opened from inside. So you’ll feel like in a cell, really. But the good thing is that the library is really comfortable. There weren’t many books there, but quite understandable since it is just a part of an office.

I also made another visit to Institut Francais d’Indonesie (IFI) last year, and I remembered feeling confused with the entrance gate because it was just a one story building, so I really, really couldn’t see anything from outside, with high, pure black walls around it.

It’s crystal clear that many people feel traumatized with bombing attacks that happened many times in the capital city, and how many foreign embassies do everything they could to protect their people inside their work area.

But it’s also crystal clear that we, civilizations, are just exposed to any kinds of attack. It makes me wonder, if there’s a bad person go to my school bringing a bomb—and nobody knows because there’s no such of security system in my school—aren’t the hundred students in my school is just really, really vulnerable to that attack? We are the youths, the ones that people keep saying as the country’s next leaders, but at the same time there is no mean of protections that we received (or to the ones we loved ; family, friends).

And it also makes me think, that even people who work in high buildings with many kinds of security system, after they got home, they’re no longer receiving that protection. They’re unprotected as ever, as vulnerable as ever.

So what do we need to do exactly?

I think for the most part, we’re not THAT afraid with the attacks we don’t know. It’s just we are THAT scared with death. The fear lie beneath us; the fear of leaving the world, the fear of not able to feel the things we are feeling right now, the fear to taste death in the worst way.

The fear to be alone inside the earth mother’s womb, the fear to be surrounded by pure blackness, the fear of not knowing anything what will happen after we die.

But we know, don’t we?

We know what will happen there. It’s just a matter of willingness to believe in it, or not. We know it’s what we do today that will affect our lives later. We know today’s act means a lot to the dead version of us. We know that every decision that created our actions will be counted for good or bad.

I’m not here to scare you. I am also a sinner. We’re all humans are sinners.

Either we die in places we want to be or in places we don’t want to be;
either we die in time we want to be or in time we don’t want to be;
either we die in a way we want to be or in a way we don’t want to be;
death will still find us, and it won’t stop to take our souls even if we don’t want  it to be.


It is a destiny, a decision, a fate He has wrote a long time ago, before the entire universe was made.

So, be prepared.



Ditemani suara kembang api yang sayup terdengar dari kamar saya inilah, saya mencoba merangkai kata. Membentuk suatu kumpulan kalimat yang akan saya tulis untuk terakhir kalinya pada tahun 2016.


Hampir semua orang suka melemparkan pandangan kembali ke belakang, kepada perjalanan-perjalanan yang telah mereka alami, peristiwa demi peristiwa yang mereka lalui, maupun pelajaran berharga yang mereka dapat dalam waktu dua belas bulan yang lalu.

Termasuk diri saya.


Permulaan 2016 bukanlah awal yang mudah bagi saya. Sebuah ujian di datangkan pada saya. Ujian yang belum pernah saya terima sebelumnya. Bahkan pada awalnya saja, 2016 sudah terasa pahit.


Di saat yang sama, 2016 menjadi batu loncatan bagi saya. Ditengah kesibukan belajar di sekolah menengah atas, saya juga memiliki kesempatan untuk berkontribusi dalam banyak hal. Saya menjadi bagian dari beberapa organisasi. Saya mulai memaksakan diri untuk menulis lagi, karena kemampuan seseorang bukanlah ada hanya karena bakat, namun juga kebiasaan. Saya menantang diri mengikuti kompetisi-kompetisi ; dalam sekolah, antar sekolah, antar kota, antar provinsi, hingga kompetisi nasional. Saya juga bertekad menguasai bahasa Inggris hingga kemampuan saya selihai orang yang bahasa ibunya adalah bahasa tersebut. 

Dan, ya. Banyak hal yang terjadi untuk pertama kalinya pada tahun 2016.


Untuk pertama kalinya, dalam tiga hari kemping, saya hanya mendapatkan waktu tidur selama dua jam.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya melupakan isi sila ke 4 Pancasila pada saat berada di tengah-tengah kompetisi debat bahasa Indonesia.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya membeli buku dengan voucher toko buku yang saya hasilkan dari keringat saya sendiri ; memenangkan sebuah kompetisi menulis online yang di selenggarakan oleh salah satu toko buku di Indonesia. 

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya pergi ke suatu pentas musik bersama teman-teman dan baru tiba di rumah pada tengah malam. 

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya memiliki nyali mengunggah video di channel youtube saya sendiri. Meski hanya untuk keperluaan lomba.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya bisa mengudara dan naik kapal terbang.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya pergi ke bandara dan pulang dari bandara seorang diri. Naik bus damri, lebih tepatnya.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya pergi beribu kilometer tanpa orang tua saya. Bali. Pulau dewata itu.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya naik bis sendirian dalam perjalanan dari Surabaya menuju ke Jakarta.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya menginjakkan kaki di Denpasar, Bali.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya bertemu langsung dengan seorang mahasiswa indonesia yang tengah berkuliah di Turki karena beasiswa yang ia terima.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya menginjakkan kaki di Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata. Sekolah yang bahkan dahulu tidak pernah terlintas barang sedetik pun dalam benak saya.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya merasakan sakit hati.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya melakukan hal bodoh pada orang-orang yang begitu berarti bagi saya.

Untuk pertama kalinya, saya tahu dengan pasti kemana saya harus melangkah setelah sekolah menengah atas berakhir.

Saya bersyukur atas banyak hal yang terjadi di tahun ini. Saya menangis karena putus asa tahun ini. Tetapi saya juga menangis karena sadar bahwa saya tidaklah sendiri dalam menghadapi ujian hidup. Karena ujian itu akan selalu ada, dan satu-satunya kunci untuk menghadapinya adalah menerima dan ikhlas. 


Saya tertawa pahit tahun ini, mengingat banyak sekali rasa sakit yang saya derita dan betapa sulit untuk menutupi luka itu di depan banyak orang. Namun saya juga tertawa dengan lepas dan bahagia tahun ini. Ada banyak hal yang membuat saya mengangkat kedua ujung bibir saya untuk melepaskan rasa senang, dan hal-hal itu adalah hal-hal yang tidak saya sangka sama sekali.


Saya hanya dapat membaca beberapa buku tahun ini. Saya hanya dapat menulis beberapa tulisan remeh-temeh tahun ini. Saya bahkan hanya menginjakkan kaki sekali ke bioskop lokal–itupun untuk menonton film gratis, yaitu Habiebie dan Ainun pada hari anak nasional.

Saya hanya belajar sebagian kecil tentang pelajaran di sekolah dibanding dengan teman-teman lainnya. Pun tentang pengalaman berorganisasi, masih sangat jauh di banding remaja enam belas tahun di luar sana yang sangat aktif dan berdedikasi tinggi.

Tapi di atas itu semua, saya bersyukur saya mencoba untuk bersyukur atas ujian yang saya terima, dan bersyukur atas kebahagiaan kecil yang kadang sering saya lupakan. Karena tanpa rasa syukur itu, mungkin saya tidak akan bisa seperti sekarang. Tanpa rasa syukur itu, saya pasti sudah tenggelam dalam samudera pikiran yang gelap dan kelam.

Di akhir tahun ini, saya merasa benar-benar ada perubahan dalam diri saya. Ada bagian dari diri saya yang menjadi lebih matang dalam memikirkan suatu persoalan, dan mencari solusinya tanpa tindakan gegabah. Saya begitu bersyukur…

Terakhir saya berharap, siapapun yang membaca tulisan ini dan menghadapi suatu ujian juga, tolong kuatkan dirimu. Saya tak akan bilang menguatkan diri itu mudah, karena saya sendiri butuh waktu enam hingga delapan bulan untuk menerima dan merasa ikhlas secara tulus dalam hati, jiwa, dan raga saya.

Ujian bagian dari kehidupan. Ini mungkin bagian terklise dari tulisan ini, tapi memang betul, kita selalu di uji hampir setiap waktu. Dan ingatlah, kalau kamu berhasil melalui ujian yang tengah kau hadapi, in sya Allah, dengan izin-Nya, iman mu akan bertambah dan rasa tenang yang nikmat akan segera menyejukkan hatimu.
Semoga kita semua bisa menjadi pribadi-pribadi yang jauh lebih baik dari hari ini.


Syahra Affandi

When the Music is On

There’s an indie band called Payung Teduh in my country. Their songs are my favorite ones.

One of their songs, entitled “Kita adalah Sisa-Sisa Keikhlasan yang Tidak Diikhlaskan” is a really memorable one for me. It remains me to be calm at times, and remind me with a battle I failed some time ago.

I joined a debate competition in UPI Bandung back when I was in eleventh grade. The first time I contacted the person in charge, they say the fee was going to be around more or less 200k IDR. The second time I confirmed, they said they already cooperated with Mahkamah Konstitusi. So, my friends and I won’t even need to pay at all. What’s even better was they provided food, hotel, certificate, and photo booth. I was one lucky soul.

I came to Bandung by bus, with a friend of mine, Stella. We rode Primajasa, and then took Damri to reach UPI. It was just really the two of us, talking and chattering around along the way, while singing Payung Teduh’s songs. We don’t really feel anxious back then. It felt like we were on an adventure.

As soon as we arrived to the hotel, we had a quick conference for the debate mechanism. Then we had dinner, and allowed to have rest afterwards.

I couldn’t fall asleep. I felt so anxious, thinking about my rivals and how bad I am when I’m delivering my arguments. I’m afraid of so many bad things, and I just can’t let them get out of my mind.



I walked outside, to the mini park, sat on a bench; plug in my earphone, listening to Payung Teduh’s Kita adalah Sisa-Sisa Keikhlasan yang Tidak Diikhlaskan, and chill. Bandung looked so peaceful. It was 11.00 pm and everyone was asleep, and there I am watched the lights of the city. The wind wept my face so soft and soothing. It was a cold night and I didn’t wear any socks, but I don’t mind.

It was really calming. I had my spirit back with me. I continued to make other arguments, and had a high hope that my friends and I would win the competitions.

We didn’t though. It’s just me who couldn’t give a better understanding to my other two partners about the motion, and I ended up making them made uncoherent arguments just because of my first explanation.

But I felt happy as I could be. I learned one big thing that it’s really important to be calm.

Also, practice and have lots of discussion in order to make a coherent, codependent and cooperative arguments is always needed. Since debate is a team competition, the more you gather, the more skillful you are on delivering and thinking about new arguments.

Thank you for the chance, Civics Law of Universitas Pendidikan Bandung.


Warmest regards,


busy, hectic, yet somehow joyful

I’m in the senior year now. Third year of high school. The last year.

A lot of things are going on right now. School always give more homework than needed, and student council is on its most busy schedule of all year. Twelfth grade filled with both academic and non academic stuffs. 

The first weeks weren’t easy though. I had to cope with everything all of so sudden, and I didn’t get used to it back then, so all I did was crammed tons of work in one day, and procrastinating dayd before that. I know, I’m actually such a loser.

I went down for some time, just because I can’t handle my own thoughts that wandered too far, and it wss so hard to fathom them all at that moment.
But I have learned from that. I chose not to think about it.

I chose to just do every work that needed to get done with my best, and with no help from the other. I hope in the end, I can be an independent person, who loves to do her tasks on time and erase the word procrastination on her dictionary. 




My grandpa is someone serious. I think I inherited that personality too, because sometimes, I feel like I actually have zero funny side. When others seemed to enjoyed and relaxed and laughed hard at one moment, what I did was stared blankly and found nothing funny.

Anyway, let’s move on. 

My grandpa is an old man. He’s 73 years old now, and once in a while he will tell me how hurt his legs and he need to stop walking ini a far distance. He currently stays in my house, because my aunt just gave birth and my grandpa wanted to see his newborn granddaughter. 

He is the type of man whom everyone respect. My mother said, in her hometown, my grandpa is an imam shalah in a mosque close to his house. Each day, many among the folks who live there follow his command in prayers. He always managed to come to the mosque at least half an hour before the adzan heard by the houses complexions.

The nearest mosque located in my residence are 100 metres away. Maybe it took only five minutes to get there. However, my grandpa, doesn’t like the ambiance there. He prefers the mosque that is located almost 600 metres away from home. Usually he goes there by bike. But when his legs feel numb and start to ache, he will stop riding the bike, and choose to walk instead.

Walking may sounds better, but to a 73-year-old man, walking could be such a pain even though he walked as slowly as possible, and walk with no rush at all. 

But he never stop walking. Five times a day. He’ll took off from home at 4 am, back at 6 am, and so on. Fitting his time with the prayers time.
My grandpa bear the pain, just to pray in the mosque, in the first line of shalah and in the exact time, and he put prayer first before everything.

Pain is not supposed to slowed you down.

It supposed to lift you up, and make you stronger than before.

Make you feel you ought to and must overcome the pain to get things you desired, and not giving up because you can’t hadle the pain well.