The Madness of Being "Normal" (from Paulo Coelho’s blog)

Two years ago, I asked some friends the rules of normality. Let’s list more rules on how society expect us to behave, so not only can we leave a legacy to the next generation (see? That’s how THEY wanted us to become!) but we also can be very attentive in not following patterns that other are always trying to impose on us.

There are three definitions of normality. First, it goes with what majority does. Second, as long as you don’t bother others. Third, law.

In my country, first and third definition win. This is only my opinion, you could object that and I’m opened for it.

These, in my opinion, portray what normalcy goes in my society (MADNESS), they’re not something to be dissed about, just for a good day laugh (ironically) and a starting point to decide whether you want to go along the ride of what-so-called normal, or to become an agent of change.

Here they are:

1. You ought to have a religion. In Indonesia, there are five religions that our government stated in their laws: Islam, Buddha, Hindu, Catholic, Christian. We have to choose one of them and they type our religion in our ID. Once, my friend (an artist) wanted to make a citizen ID and refused to choose between the 5, simply because he didn’t belong in those religions. However, the official still put one of the 5 in the ID. My friend had to tape the religion section in his ID and wrote over it: “Artisto Liberte”.

2. Women: study hard, go to college, graduate, work (to find a guy), then get married. If you’re over 25 and you haven’t gotten married, they will push you. If at that time you don’t have a boyfriend, they will insist to find one for you. After getting married, have children. If you haven’t conceived after getting married for one year, they will push you to have children as soon as possible, offering any possible remedy and medicine to “cure” your womb.

3. It’s not polite to refuse people’s offer. Say, “maybe another time”, instead of “I’m not interested”

4. Working means white-suit working labors. Art doesn’t count, generally.

5. Having children only possible if you are married. You are considered nuts to have a child (either by conceiving or adopting) without a husband.

6. Men can have more than one wife (polygamy) and people may think that they are building a small kingdom, and it’s praised. Meanwhile, women having more than one men, are called sluts.

7. You can only have a romantic relationship with other sexes. LBGT is considered a disease here.

8. Be busy. No matter what. Spending time with yourself with no books, TV, internet, etc., they may think you as a lazy person and warn you that by doing that, you’re allowing devil to possess you.

9. Follow fashion. Buy what your friends are crazy about, even though it only ends up in your closet and you never have guts to wear it.

10. Having blackberry. Use blackberry any time, in any occasion including social gathering, family time, watching movies together with your friend. Anytime. Don’t mind people talking to you, BB is more important than them.

11. Following dreams. They may think you as a dreamer with no real plan, lack of consideration, “short-sighted”, and are walking the path to be slaughtered with disappointment. Life is only when you follow the normalcy rules.

12. There are certain religions considered “appropriate” for every race. Example: Chinese must be Christian, Catholic, or Buddha, and ill-portrayed if Chinese choose Islam, even though history told us that Chinese race participated actively in spreading Islam in Indonesia.

13. You don’t argue with religious leader. Once in a seminar, I argued about politics with a priest and people booed at me, thinking that I was rude (while in fact, the priest and me were enjoying the argument).

14. Women talk only about gossips, men debate on politics and sports.

15. Being angry for anything that people say it is a threat, though the “threat” has no logical based and may be a hoax.

16. Possessive about the cultural heritage though you actually don’t love it. Indonesia and Malaysia are having arguments on who has who. When they read a news stated that Malaysia put Pendet Dance from Bali (Indonesia) in their visit year advertisement, people expected us to be angry and dissed Malaysia as rude as possible, though only a few of them that know, love, and learn about Pendet Dance.

17. Sex conversation is exclusive only for men. Women having discussion like sex and the city, wow, they may think that you’re slut that want to sleep around with anyone anytime.

18. Getting married only with people from the same religion. If you don’t, well, you have to get married abroad and be prepared that your child may not have an Indonesian citizenship, because Indonesia doesn’t accommodate people from different religion to get married.

19. Being assertive is rude.

20. Being obsessed to have white skin though naturally our skin is brown. White skin = pretty = guaranteed to be loved (in other words, you have to be have a fair skin to get people to love you, ironic).

21. Be “morality police” anytime anywhere. Our parliament is in the process of writing a pornography / “pornoaction” law. They are holding a hearing to determine which CULTURE IS CONSIDERED AS PORN. By culture, I mean tribal dance, tribal clothe, etc. Soon, maybe, you may not see people wearing bikini in a pool. We may have to wear clothing four size too big. They have just issued a bill for cinematography. The bill is designed so outlandish and restrictive that we are only allowed to produce films only to teach in vagueness, and are not allowed to portrayed harsh reality such as racial prejudice, etc.

22. Wanna stay in trend? Use angry words (swearing) anytime, anywhere, to anyone despite of the absence of strong logical basis or reason. Find something or even someone to be pissed on. The harsher you get, the higher you’ll go. Trash in on social networking site, they will crown you as a go-to person to stay updated.


  1. Setujuuuhhh…no.2? tindakan preventif gue dari 9 taon lalu…"jangan nyuruh gue cepet2 nikah hahahha" itu yang gue bilang ke bo-nyok

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