Oldest Questions

It all started by me. I have been doing this stupid thing within the past year and I cannot believe it myself.

That stupid thing I’ve been doing is meeting new people.
No, if you’re pervertibly thinking something else, maybe in relation to this post, sorry, my friend, you are wrong.

This stupid thing of meeting new people is 100% plutonic. It usually is for work or project or just casually meeting a friend of a friend of a friend.
The ironic thing is that I don’t hate meeting new people – although I hate it even more so now that I’m older. I actually quite enjoy meeting new people.

They start asking me the oldest questions in my life time.

What are these oldest questions in my book, you may ask. They are as follow.

1. AliEn? Alin?
I am sick and tired of repeating my own name to these new people I’m meeting. My name is AliEn. Yes, like the UFO. Yes, you may think my parents are weird for giving their daughter a weird name. But it IS my name.
I tolerate only these following people to call me Alin, instead of AliEn:
a) my teachers/lecturers/professors/bosses
b) if the new people I’m meeting is over 50 year-old
c) if their hearing is impaired.
So, if you’re none of the above, get over yourself (maybe go to the ear doctor) and accept that my name is AliEn.

2. AliEn? Where do you come from? Mars?
Okay. Need I say more?
It is THE oldest joke in my book.

3. Who are your parents and what do they do?
Okay. I have to admit, unlike those two earlier questions, this question is usually asked by Indonesians. But this question is the one that bothers me the most.

What is it with Indonesians and our obsession on who’s giving birth to whom? I’m not even kidding when I say that we’re obsessed. We’ve been overly obsessed even before the country was born. There’s this saying that comes from Javanese, but by now it is embraced by EVERYONE in the country. The saying is “you have to know bibit, bebet and bobot of a person”.


Bibit = you basically have to know everyone in someone’s family tree and it goes back to their great great great great great grandfather (note: grandmothers are not important, as they are not mentioned in the family tree).
Bebet = you basically have to know their parents and siblings, what their favourite food are, what they do on a long weekend, what music they listen to, who their domestic help(s) is(are) and where they’re from.
Bobot = you have to know how much money they’re making, their future plans, their lifestyle, the car they drive, the house they’re living in, the lunch they had earlier, the size of their underwear.

My point is, by using the concept of bibit-bebet-bobot, when 2 out of 3 concepts of choosing an acquaintance suggest that you have to be aware of who someone else’s parents are, don’t you agree that we’re just a TINY bit obsessed?

What is the significance of someone knowing who my parents are?
I mean, they’re extremely important to me, but what is it to you?
What’s so interesting or uninteresting about me that make these new people I’m meeting curious about my parents?
They’re somebody (or two somebodies) to me, but as far as I’m (and my parents are) concerned, they’re nobody to you.

I am sick and tired of hearing the question about my parents. It’s either you like me or you don’t, and my parents have nothing to do with everything (maybe some things, but not everything) that I’m doing.

So, whether we just met, or maybe somehow somewhere we’re going to meet up in the future, I would genuinely appreciate if you don’t ask these there oldest questions.
It’s 2015. Let’s get more creative.

What is on your mind?