Random Access Memories

What a random!

The issue about belief is that I found myself continuously evaluate it. My belief. My faith. I do not compare it to another belief. Every soul has its own judgment to honor which belief it proclaims. Every little thing could trigger the question over and over again. About life, about dreams, about hopes.

It was that particular morning that I remember dearly. I was on the trip to Lombok, an island located in eastern part of Indonesia, to be exact I was at Gili Trawangan. In my every journey to places, I always plan myself a moment of contemplation. Some kind of ritual, a feed for the soul, the inner side. To be in silence. That morning, I was planning to see the sun rises behind one of the most amazing mountain in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani.

I rode my bike in early dawn. Dark and breezy. I reached the harbor bridge at five in the morning. I had brought my phone, both of my cameras, digital and polaroid. I sat alone in the chair not far from the bridge. Ten minutes later, a stranger came passing by. He was looking for some food. He had trouble talking with the local. I managed to translate what he was asking to the kiosk. Afterwards we talked a little bit. He was twenty something, came all the way from Sweden to have the trip of his life with his friends in their gap year. We were telling each other about ourselves, what we do for living, and he gasped when he found out that I work as a medical doctor. Out of nowhere he fired up a question, bluntly, about my belief. Well, I never expect I would hear that from a stranger I just met and chatted with for merely fifteen minutes. I poured down our intriguing dialogue here.


How do you feel about yourself? Your job as a doctor?

I feel fine. It’s always what I dreamed for.

Why do you want to be a doctor?

(I smiled) I also asked myself the same question everyday. The best answer I’ve got so far is that I want to honor the life at its best.

Honor life? Not saving life?

Yes. To honor life. Saving is a huge word.

But you did save lives?

Well it’s not ‘saving’ life. I just did what I had learned and trained for to a human being. I do not save them, my patients, nor heal them. I treat them.

Why do you think so?

Because I am also a human being. I happen to have the knowledge of how the body functions, and when alteration occurs, a disease, an illness, I treat it, because I have known the normal and the abnormal. I did not save lives. I do not have the authority. It’s up to The One up there (I raised my index finger upside pointing at the dark sky). He alone has the power.

You believe in ‘it’? (He also raised his index finger upside)


But it is not fair.

Why not?

You did all the work.

I put my knowledge and skill into practice. He made the call.

Why so?

Because I found lots of inexplicable thing in medicine. When patients come to see a doctor, they hope the doctor could heal them. But that’s not it. Doctor merely just a tool. Medicine is just a pathway, to health. There is never a solid guarantee of cure. That is why medicine keeps improving day by day. Research being held all over the world of medicine. The numbers explain everything. Where it fail, why it fail and how to avoid failure in the upcoming days. We have the standard operational procedure of every disease known. We have guidelines. That’s the base of our practice. Ideally, we follow the guideline, the disease then be cured. But I said before, sometimes things become… inexplicable.

I just don’t get it.

Okay. Let me put it simply. Let’s say there are two patients. With the same illness. One came to a doctor while the other one stayed put at home, barely consult to any health provider. The first one got treated, underwent the standard procedure. The doctors did everything they could, but the illness exists, slightly remitted. While the other patient, done nothing to the illness and then one day out of nowhere, the illness just gone. Poof. Just like that. See? I have no answer for those two events. None of the medical books could explain what happened. There must be some kind of external power beyond medicine that controls every thing, in particular, health. Therefore, I believe in The One up there. I do not save lives or cure illness. I just did what I had learned and trained for, providing a way to health.

(His eyes fixed into my eyes and breathed heavily) Still, I think it’s not fair.


You did all the work, and ‘It’ got the credit after all? Oh come on. (He smirked sarcastically)

(Then I laughed. A long laugh.) I did what I could do, my job, He made the call. Then I got the fee. (I winked)

(And then we both laughed. A long laugh.)

Well, you are one of a kind.

No I am not. There are others out there, you just met one of them.


We talked for hours. At one point, we agreed that life is about being surprised. To do things we have not done before and let ourselves filled with the adrenaline and the endorphin  of joy. A local professional photographer managed to take pictures of us with the sun rising behind. That morning, we closed our heart-to-heart discussion with a spontaneous jump from the harbor bridge before we parted ways.

I never thought I will have this random talk with a random stranger in random place. But isn’t that what life is all about? Being awed. By random events. This one is a treasure for my heart. A random access memories.

– i –

Memory of May 23rd 2013.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia.

A heartfelt message for Mr.OT somewhere out there, I hope you got to see the rest of the world, mastering the oceans on your own.  We will see each other some place else. 😉

The title of the post is inspired by Daft Punk‘s recent album, Random Access Memories


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