What ‘distinct’ Means

I think most of the people would agree to me when I say of all reading materials and literature, it is the adventurous story in a new places we have never been which attract our ‘distant’ involvement in the storyline; that is when you can vividly seeing what the author meant while reading their passages.

Few weeks ago, thanks to a friend lending the book authored by A. Fuadi, I was deeply impressed with the poem-quote used to inspire people to get out of their comfort zone. The poem was from Imam Syafii, a famous Islam scholar, which goes something like:

“Leave your home and families

To a new place

Where you will find new people to befriend with”

So, what you’ll read is about one particular journey that still on the present-continuous form of its grammatical complexities.

Even though you travel to many places, it’s not automatically guarantee that you will travel in open-mind through which you will gain unexpected things, talking to random people and yet, actually learn something from their perspectives.

One the day after the famous April Fool’s Day and spending eight hours stranded in the Cengkareng airport with my boss in the office; you’d know what travelling with a boss felt like, I met two particular persons whom I got a chance to talk to during the journey most people preferred with their loved ones.

The first person I met, he already made the scene on his appearance. Try imagine what a white (this word is used only to serve the detail of information and never was and will never be intended to refer to racial affiliation in negative manner) Australian passport holder, trembling, tattooed, and barefooted look like. Already invited suspicious eyes judged and suspected him, he grew beard and mustache, and knotted his shoulder length hairs that haven’t had a contact with product called shampoo for quite a while. With all the pretentious difference of outfit with regular traveler in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, he was and is a distinct person.

One thing every person, well if not all most of them, have in common looking at his appearances is the inquiry of whether or not this man which I didn’t ask his name were in his rightful place to be. This sad presumption is easily triggered by his indifference and, to some negative extent, tag along judgment. On this moment we can admit and we must do, that we have the tendency to judge people. The secret about the phrase “don’t judge the book by its cover” is applied rightfully under this kind of condition.

Being the man he is, the Australian man managed to secure three, at least, square meter perimeter from his standpoint. When he took rather long time before walking through metal detector in gate G8 KLIA, no one stepped up for complain which they would usually do in other cases. The people, and that including me, only dare to make their subjective comments while talking to themselves about how weird can you be relative to this guy.

We’re nothing compare to him, really.

I then decided to become not the usual me for that moment. Improvement.

Fully understand that he was as clean as everyone else in the boarding room; in the context of illegal possessions, I made contact with him. I can tell you that the first contact was the hardest. Afterwards it’s only downhill road.

My first question to ‘our guy’ was “What brings you to Siam Reap?”; a usual line anyone can use. By the way, I forget to tell you that I’m on a trip for official duty and sort to Cambodia.

Then he told me his story. ‘Our guy’ is an adherent of Buddhism who likes snakes but unexpectedly bite by one while, referring to his words, trying to impress a girl. On that sense, he’s just like regular guy out there despite his pet affiliation. Suffering from the snake’s venom, his left point-finger, if I’m not mistaken, was infected and about to be amputated for his own good which he didn’t get in his home country. It was interesting to hear his story about the reason his point-finger is still attached to his palm. He said that the doctors were afraid that he potentially would sue them when they do cut his finger.

To make himself even more understandable, he related his story with a burglar in one particular country who sued the owner of his target of operation because of the traps set in the owner’s backyard. Never mind the end of that story.


‘Our guy’ mentioned also about seven immigration and police scrutiny he underwent before board MH 764 from KL to Siam Reap just because of the presumption that he looks suspicious. He then exclaimed proudly, “I’ve been sober for months!”


Up until this point, ‘our guy’ has proved nothing but his innocent and premature social judgment sentenced to him from two eyes observation alone.

Just like few other passengers who never set foot on Cambodia he was excited to visit the Angkor Wat in the city of Siam Reap.

In order to balance his passion to share anything about himself, like the tourism ambassadors from Yogyakarta, I told him about why he needs to visit Borobudur for his religious further expedition and pilgrimage.

Our conversation was adjourned when the airport staff called upon the passenger to board the aircraft.

Earlier I mentioned about two guys, well, let’s save the next guy ‘Tim’ for the passage tomorrow.

From the distinct guy, I understand that it needs a hell-lot-of courage just to be your-true-self. Sometimes, showing who you really are is not as easy as it sounds like. The next important thing is that ‘never judge people’ in the beginning just because of the way they dressed because a-short-conversation later you’d realize how strong they are and how biased we are.

Telling you all this reminds me the phrase in the soundtrack of an exchange program I participated years ago.

See the person next to you, will you be his friend?


With open-mind and smile as your weapon, the answer is YES.


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