Raw Passage: The Open Office

Raw Passage: The Open Office

The open office can become a constructor of identity. It is what philosopher Michel Foucault calls ‘heterotopia’. A concept in human geography to describe places and spaces that functions in non-hegemonic conditions. Places and spaces that possess no authority or domination over others. Places and spaces that offer you an important philosophy, it proposes true choices.

These leaderless places and spaces are a comprehensive web of many themes: happiness, sadness, loneliness, voyeurism, compassion, melancholy, inclusiveness and even exclusiveness and many other complex leitmotifs. Because of this, your identity changes; never in a state of stand still.

You cannot stay in one place or space nor is it is recommendable. So you move from table to table, chair to chair, space to space. Consequently, you change from one identity to another. While your micro-movements are always subtle and uninformed, they are always with purpose and choice.

A choice in the open office can bring the virtuous and unscrupulous behaviors to its occupiers. Your place and space can become a small suffocating island. You can become lazy, careless. Cue, a Peter Gibbon quote. You can be utterly pre-occupied with yourself in unhelpful ways, if you decide to. You can place yourself in constant drama in your head: collisions, swirls and frictions. Human life becomes frustrating. You would begin to remember the agitation of the here and now. As aforementioned, depressive themes can arise in your place and space. Everything becomes unearthed from the darkness and deviously focused. Are you now a poison to others? Are you just prancing and finding ways to stay afloat in the politics of the office?

Choices are important in the open office. You can make the ultimate choice for the open office to be a haven of chaotic order. It can be where your heart is when you truly accept and respect its powerful enigmatic quality. You can finally discover your great potential, create creative cosmoses, impress humankind through kindness and ultimately, grow. You can start to entangle nodded feelings and ideas. Like Andrew Carnegie once said, “my heart is in the work”. It is our true hearts that can bring insight and light when you make the right choices.

One should not call for optimistic or pessimistic reading of the open office. But to admit that it offers you and everyone in it, true choices. Choices of becoming a Gibbon or a Carnegie. Choices that would mend you or break you. Choice that would have you stand in the light or hide in the darkness. Once you do this, not only that it offers physical health but as importantly, sanity. You will finally and greatly make progress with yourself.

Travel Journal: Early Days in Sukasaba

Travel Journal: Early Days in Sukasaba

14th October 2013
10:25PM (Indonesian Time)
Sukasaba, Indonesia

Tonight is the night I start a travel journal. I’ve been contemplating about this for a while now especially since I’ve been in Indonesia for the last 2 weeks or so. I can’t point to a sole reason why I’m starting one. However, one of the reasons would be, to document my travel experiences. This basically means that I will only write when I’m abroad. I’ve traveled to a few Southeast Asian countries since the start of my twenties. And it has been quite an experience.

I travel with a reason: forums, conferences, to volunteer, lectures, project collaborations and to meet individuals who are making a difference. Personally, I don’t believe in vacations. My views, perspectives and my core standpoint of people, life, friends and family have been broadened to more than I have ever expected. A vacation can’t do that. I can honestly say that I’ve learned quite a lot and maybe even, dare I say changed. Anthony Bourdain said travel in your youths while Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said to seek knowledge from cradle to grave.

I’m opening my journal on the night before Hari Raya Eid Adha at one of the rural areas of Indonesia. The environment is more than lively. Actually, it’s quiet by the villagers’ standard. You can hear the Takbir and traditional drums playing and it’s almost 11PM. It’s supposedly normal; such a contrast to back at home.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been here 2 weeks or so already. The once privileged way of living becomes a distant memory. Our water source is from a well, we have a roof but no ceiling, there are no cars, no roads and life here is quiet (well apart from tonight). As a whole, I don’t know if I’m at a point where I’m still adapting. But I’m happy, happy that I’m learning through an extraordinary experience.

Andi (pseudo name), our local friend, house mate and now part of our new found family, said something profound. A couple of houses away from ours were a family that was once extremely poor. That family came from rags to riches. He now has a new house and a car. A change of fortune did not change the attitude of this strong knit community. They were family when they were poor and they are still family now that they are rich. Andi said that you don’t bring your fortunes to the grave. Everyone dies with nothing. This humble and honest village doesn’t look at someone else’s fortune. As long as you have your family, your faith and your rokok (cigarettes), life is good.

So, tomorrow starts an early and busy day of religious festivities. I look forward to it. Since I’ve taken up smoking again, life is essentially good.

A Daring Adventure or Nothing at All

A Daring Adventure or Nothing at All

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller.

After almost half a decade (close friends know that I’m a workaholic and this addiction started at a very young age) of working my ass off, there are things that I’m doing that doesn’t feel like an adventure anymore or at least not for the time being.

While losing your spark can be a terrible thing, I think it’s a chance for rediscovery. And rediscovery can be process of growth.

Time to write again, time to learn, time to go on a new adventure.