Surabaya is NOT Afraid!

2:50:00 PM

Hi guys...

Oh shit, i already know that i'm gonna be super emotional writing this. My eyes are already watering and my heart is racing.

So, i guess if you don't live under the rock (and you actually cares about what's happening in the world, watch news and stuffs. Because i admit i usually don't) then you might hear about the bombings that's been happening in Surabaya last Sunday and Monday.

Yes. In Surabaya. Where i live.

It's especially hard to digest even for Surabaya people like me because throughout the history of Indonesia, through the 1998 riot, through all terrorist attacks that happened in Indonesia in the past few decades, Surabaya had always been relatively safe.

I had ALWAYS felt safe in Surabaya. And so were my family and friends. We would get angry, cry, and curse terrorist attacks that happened in Bali, Jakarta, and other cities in Indonesia - but cocky as it might sound, we never thought it would ever happen in our backyard.
Like what happens whenever a traumatic event go down, i know exactly where and what i was doing, also how i felt when i first heard about it. It was a Sunday morning, i woke up late as i always do and reached for my phone. Surabaya Beauty Blogger was scheduled to join an activity in Sutos that whole day and we were holding a bloggers' garage sale there. Some of our members were already in Sutos after loading in our stuffs and i was scheduled to be there in the late afternoon until night.

My Line, WA and other chat apps were full with notification, i was half asleep and still couldn't really comprehend what was happening. Then i read the words "Churches getting bombed" "some victims are dead" and i still couldn't understand it. One of the Churches that were bombed is pretty close to my home, so close that my maids all heard the explosion but thought nothing of it. I, of course, was dead asleep through it all and didn't hear anything.

We still went and do the garage sale although lots of the members canceled and most of our followers who wanted to come didn't come, shockingly we still did well despite the circumstances. But this whole thing is definitely the only topic we talked about while we were at Sutos, and we were pretty glued to our phones so we could keep on checking about the situations outside and on the victims' conditions. Our situation was pretty bad that we went into Siaga 1 (emergency alert) and we are advised to stay at home for a few days (which i did for 2 days, but of course i am already out and about by yesterday)

I had to check myself to be safe in Facebook emergency alert. This is very surreal as it's something that i never thought i would ever have to do in my lifetime. It got to bad that i received endless DMs, messages and even emails from friends all over Indonesia and overseas checking on me. 

Personally think that Indonesian in general (not the crazy fanatics and radicals) are very solid (one thing that i heard from foreigners is how Indonesian would always call themselves Indonesian. In other multi-cultural countries, they would usually answer to the "what are you" question with their ethnicity, be it Malay, Chinese, Indian, or other. Not Indonesian. Whether we are Javenese, or of Chinese, Arabian descent, we would always proudly refer to ourselves as Indonesian. And this is something that a lot of foreigners point out to me so it's not like i anyhow say this), but Surabaya people are in another level.

I would say that Surabaya people's characteristics are very chill (we are used to slower pace of life, even compared to the only bigger city in Indonesia - Jakarta), we are very kaypoh (we gossip about people a lot. Most of the time not maliciously, but we definitely care a bit too much about other people's lives) to a point where it can get  (very) irritating sometimes. Like if we dress slightly differently from the typical Surabaya girls dress, people would blatantly stare. This used to be a very negative thing for me, but not anymore.

This very characteristic in us, proves to be a very positive thing during this whole ordeal. Like most Surabayan, when we heard about this, we weren't afraid or worried about our safety. We immediately try to find out who the victims are and pray for them to be okay. Although Surabaya is big, we are close knit and solid. Most of us didn't even pay attention to the terrorists themselves, but focus on the victims and what we could do for them.

I heard so many heart warming stories shared in social medias. On how so many of the victims actually are HEROES. They tried to stop the terrorists, and most of them succeed in stopping them to get into the Churches, sacrificing themselves and making sure that the victim counts are minimal (as opposed to the number that would surely triple or more of the terrorists managed to get into the Churches). About how hundreds of Surabaya people rushed to the ER to donate their bloods, queuing from morning to night to do their part in saving our brothers and sisters in need.

One of the doctors that was in charge of one of the ERs (closest to my place) also shared the story about how every single one of the victims (who were conscious), no matter how bad their condition was, ask if there are more victims, if the bombings are still happening, about how everybody was doing. Every single one of them also told the doctors that they are okay (although they were  obviously not) and encouraged them to tend to those who were more badly wounded than them. 

Lots of the victims were also sent to the ER by civilians, who rushed to the scene without fears, not to watch the horrifying ordeal, but to do whatever they can to help. 

I know in Indonesia - like in any other country - racism is still present, there is no denying that. Also in this country, there are people who try their best (mostly for political reasons) to divide us due to our religions. But i personally feel in my everyday life, that it's very minimal in Surabaya. One of my closest friends at the moment is Javanese, and she is a Muslim. Members of Surabaya Beauty Bloggers come from different ethnics too, there are Muslims, there are Christians, there are Catholics (we definitely welcome any other religions too!) and it has never been an issue for us, in fact... It's not even something that is worth thinking or mentioning about. We're all friends, and we're a family - that is the only thing that matters.

This reflects the relationship of other Surabaya people too. Nobody cares if the victims are Chinese or Javanese, and if they are Christian, Catholics or Muslim. The only thing that we care about is getting them to safety and get help. Because we are one big family. That is how most Surabaya (i am strongly excluding some crazy people like the terrorists and the very rare ones that actually seem to be happy about what's happening. They really are sick. Especially those who take their time to share demeaning social media statuses/comments. I hope every single one of them are taken in for questioning by the police because i know for a fact some of them are already taken in) feel about each other and this whole ordeal.

I also want to tribute this post for the victims. I don't know the names of every single one of them, but i do have  few that really made my eyes swollen for crying too much in the past few days. 

Every single life is important, every single one should be remembered and prayed for, but i do want to mention a few that i feel personally impacted by.
Nathan and Evan
Every single time i heard their names or see their photo, i burst into tears. Evan was 11 (just a year older than my own son) and Nathan was 8, they are brothers and they passed away just a few hours apart. My heart was utterly broken when i heard the news, and i can't even imagine the pain that the parents must go through. The mother is a few years older than me, and when i checked her FB profile (because i am Surabayan and i am kaypoh like the rest of us) and saw that she has a few mutual friends with me, she is also still in a pretty bad shape (she is also gravelly injured from the bombing) and i had never stopped sending her prayers.

A lot of my friends and acquaintances go to the same Church, and i read many chilling statuses made by them telling their stories. One friend just left the Church 10 minutes before the bomb blasted. Another friend was preparing to come to the exact mass but had to cancel because her husband suddenly had a tummy ache. And there are endless similar stories circulating around us because of the super close proximity of the Church to our place so most people we know (who are Catholics) do go to that exact Church.

I don't even know what to say about Evan and Nathan, except that i know that they are already in heaven with our Heavenly Father. And that i can only pray and hope for their parents and family to be be given strength and peace in the hardest time of their lives.
Daniel was just 15 years old, he was helping his father who works as parking attendant in the Church when the bomber's car tried to get into the parking lot. Daniel and another staff actually physically stopped the car from going any further. How can a 15 year old be so brave and selfless, i can never understand except that he truly is a Hero. 
Aloysius Bayu
Like Daniel, Bayu actually physically stopped the bombers (as you might already know, the bombers are families. The one that struck on that fateful Sunday is one family as well)  who rode a motorcycle from getting closer to the Church. Bayu was a photographer and someone i know used to model for him. She is a Muslim but she consider him a big brother (this again prove the point that religions has never been a barrier for us) and she posted a lot of Instastories in remembrance for him. His wife is actually my close friends' daughter's teacher and they also just had a baby (the photo i use is quite recent). 

Every single victim has a story that tugged at my heartstring. So many of them are connected to me in many ways, making it even more real and hard to understand for me.

Like i mentioned earlier, we might be a bit cocky because we were so sure of or brotherhood in this city, that we won't want to do anything to harm our brothers and sisters, no matter what their race or religions are. So this is extra shocking and hard to accept for us. 

But i am super proud too of how all Surabaya people from all walk of lives, from all religions and all races have actually come together as one and we have one message for the terrorist : We are NOT afraid. There is no place for terrorists here (and hopefully in the world!) and we will not allow you to try to divide us and send any terror to our lives. Just 2 days prior to the bombings, life has almost turn to normal to most of us - except that this incidents bond and change all of our lives at the same time and we will never be the same. We are stronger, bolder and more solid than ever.

Surabaya people are very loud and we love to curse (our fave curse word is Jancuk/Jancok, which pretty much means fuck haha), what most people would not except is probably this :
That is just one of the many many signs cursing and screaming at terrorist to go fuck themselves. It is all over Surabaya, wherever you go you would easily spot such signs (hand written and printed) every where and it sums up our feelings.

I am writing this post down to remember the traumatizing event that shook our lives, also to honor the vicitims and their families, to send hope, prayers and positive lights to us all and to send the same message all Surabayan feel : that we are NOT afraid and we will fight off any terrorist to get them the hell out of Surabaya.
For us to go back to the super safe and welcoming city we always are, and for the victims and their families
who is also not afraid.

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