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Four Hours of Anxiety

Quite a while ago I read an article which shows a bit of my feelings which I never had the chance to write or share it in any other form than just a short discussion with my close friends. Growing up in an artsy city of Yogyakarta, I never skipped the past 6 years of my life attending ArtJog and Jogja Art Biennale, two of the biggest art fair in Yogyakarta. I have always been infuriated with the people who go to an art exhibition but take it as a place to get a good selfies of themselves while using the art exhibition as their properties inappropriately - and of course at last it's just for the sake of social climbing purposes through social media recognition. No, I am not against this trend, since I understand that many people are influencing others, using it as a tool to express themselves, and even some are making some money from it, and a lot of them are for a good cause (charity, education, etc). So, basically, recognition on social media is of course needed for those purposes. What drives me crazy is that the priority of making this social media recognition is getting higher for some people, against all of the common senses, including how to appreciate arts in an ethical way.

I am sure this article explains this issue better than I do. So if you have the time, please read this : Selfies as Declaration of Stupidity . It is a brilliant article written by Ivan Kralj. I also have followed one of the best social influencer - (or .. I do not know what should I describe her job but she does an amazing job through social media. She has inspired a lot of people through her pictures, stories, and almost everything!) - from Indonesia since years ago. She is Nyimas Laula (instagram : @nyimaslaula). She also talked about this issue through her instagram and yes, I feel you, girl!!! The article was also shared by Nyimas Laula on her instagram once and she inspired me to share this thought.

Okay. What's next?

I believe the convenience of a good smartphone with dazzling front camera is great for the society. But what if this becomes the future priority of our generation or the next generation?
What if selfie is more important than safety?

I went back home from Gothenburg to Indonesia by two connecting flights on June 26th, 2017 and it was one of the scariest journey I have ever been in. Believe me, I have been in 2 thunderstorms on flight back in 2006 and 2010. Not to mention I had an emergency landing once in 2006. The flights were scary, but the last flight I had was the worst. My flight from Gothenburg to Dusseldorf and then from Dusseldorf to Hong Kong were completely fine. It was nice and steady, everyone was calm, the weather was a bit cloudy so it was a bit bumpy but nothing serious happened. 

The beautiful and busy Hong Kong International Airport
Picture Credit by Raffles Medical

On the last transit in Hong Kong, I did not have any bad feeling about anything since I believe that it would be a nice flight to Jakarta. The weather was warm and bright. It was a very beautiful morning in Hong Kong. Then I went on board, I was travelling with one of my friend Mira and we sat on the second row seat after the emergency doors on the wings side. When we got on, we noticed that almost half of the passengers speak Bahasa Indonesia which made us feel : Yay we're nearly home!

We were getting ready with the routines : put our bags in the compartments, put our phones on flight mode, turn it off, and fastened our seat belts. Then 15 minutes later, we were taking off. I overheard some fuzz behind my seat but I did not really put an effort to look what was happening back there. But then there was a finger touching my shoulder then a loud voice speaking in Bahasa Indonesia started to ask me : "Miss, should we turn off our phones on this flight?" I said gently : "Yes miss, that's what the captain and the regulation said. If you want to turn it on again wait until we're allowed to - but only in the flight mode, since there is no Wi-Fi on board on this flight." Then she said : "Ok! Thanks!" - and then she turned around and said to her friend who was fuzzing on the backseat "See? we have to turn our phones off." Then I was curious and I looked back. Those girls behind were still posting on snapchat. How did I know? One of them said "It's our business, it's our snapchat it's not yours." That was a bit annoying, of course. The most annoying thing was that they spoke in Bahasa Indonesia, too (so that I know how stubborn they were and I understand that the words they said were not nice words). I do not know if they are unaware of the regulations, or they just did not understand what the captain said since the captain spoke in English. I was quite disappointed that there were no flight attendant who told them to stop using their data connection. I did not have the chance to say anything either since we were taking off.

When the seatbelt sign went off, some passengers were busy to get off their seat to go to the restroom. Then something strange happened. The passenger in front of me stood up and took his bag from the compartments on the top of his seat. He sat down again, and put the bag in front of the emergency exit. One flight attendant passed by and kindly said to him "Sir please put your bag in the compartments." And then he replied "Yes later, I am getting my headphones and charger." The flight attendant said ok and went away. After he got his headphones and charger, he did not put the bag back. I was so concerned. It got worse that the plane was shaking even though the weather was good. Then I tried to relax and keep thinking that everything is going to be okay. The flight attendant went back and asked him again to put the bag back. The guy insisted he wanted the bag there, not in the compartment. The flight attendant looked stressed. Then he asked for another flight attendant who speaks Bahasa Indonesia to explain to the passenger why he can't put his bag there. The passenger gave up and put the bag in the compartment with a bit of anger. Then something else happened. I saw the guy sitting on the aisle seat in front checking on his phone and what I saw that the bluetooth, data, and Wi-Fi were on (his phone was big and you can tell how Samsung's interface for the shortcut panels is super obvious). I saw him took at least two selfies but I did not see if he sent or upload it through his phone.

4 hours of anxiety

One of my favorite show on NatGeo channel was Air Crash Investigation. I heard one of the engineers interviewed by NatGeo clearly said that the signal of the phone can really put your flight on danger by affecting the navigation system and the turbine system. The flight from Hong Kong to Jakarta was for around 4 hours (or more, I don't remember exactly). You can imagine how my heart was pounding through the whole 4 hours. The turbulences happened once in a while and the captain had to put the seatbelt sign on again. The seatbelt sign was on for almost 30 minutes. During the 30 minutes, some passengers are still walking around the cabin. Some went to the bathroom, some others are just walking. I can see that the flight attendants were stressed since they have asked the passengers to sit down and put their seatbelts on. I was not sure if it was about language barrier or ignorance (or both?).

That was my horrible flight experience in 3 paragraphs. I am blessed enough to arrive home safely in Indonesia, but I take this experience as my concern for the sake of safety on flight. While the previous article was about selfies as declaration of stupidity in art galleries, I think this problem isn't only happening in art galleries. The need of social recognition has overpowered the awareness of safety for some people. These habits of ignoring and breaking rules (in any kind of sense) annoy me so much because it shows lack of education, knowledge, and awareness. I regret myself for not being brave enough to ask them politely to do as told by the captain on the flight, so this is the least I can do to spread this issue.

If you know someone is flying for the first time, or someone who does not know about airline safety (or any kind of safety issues), please tell them kindly. I am not blaming them completely for taking those selfies or those inappropriate actions, maybe they did not know about the danger of their actions?


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