Eudaemonia

Eudaemonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯mo’níaː]) A Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing" has been proposed, throughout the evolving history of the English language, as a more accurate translation.   She was singing. The forest was the orchestra of her mind -- one enchanting symphony after another as her lush green leaves danced to an unspoken beat. In a world blanketed with iridescent verdure, she stood amongst the clouds; her luminous silhouette seamless yet extended so starkly to each crevice among the trees —her ever-ubiquitous presence. Where lustrous petals of flora freckled the sky, she painted the wind with colours. Where the over-arching vault of leaves and limb flourished with prolific life, she was its pulsing heart. Amidst the fields of foliage and the smiling lips of fauna, the dulcet tones of aria cascaded into open spaces through the frill of flowers. She smiled, and breaths of life adorned the terrains. The landscape overflowed with potpourris of fruit. Euphonious as it all was, her heart brimmed with more joy when the life she created evolved into something more. Humans. They were strong, intelligent and different from other creations. She saw them laughing, beaming, grinning as they interacted with the animals. She smiled when they started building houses from straws, wood, bricks, then finally, concrete. She smiled as the humans began to forget how dependent they are on her. She smiled through it all — through their exponential reproduction rate, through the escalating clearing of prairie now reconstructed to form fields of grey. She could hardly see her veins within the trees; only monoliths of concrete soaring out of the sidewalk were at sight. The cityscape was unapologetically urban. Drowned were the sounds of animals masticating on nuts and slurping on berries — they meandered, dug, and disappeared in fear of the superior inhabitants. The evergreens that were once fine saplings with soft spring leaves became gnarled embittered trees, growing tall without strength as they competed unnaturally against the towering apartment blocks. Nature was subjected to the fangs of humanity, turning it insipid, tasteless, incapacitated. Her eyes brimmed with tears as memories of what used to be flashed before her. She felt herself grow colder as her sky was shrouded in mottled grey. She breathed in, and she let it all go. A great scar of seething light opened the cloud’s center. Writhing and wriggling, great forks of flame-gold zigzagged through the agonised air. Her tears sank into the skins of grey concrete, as the humans stood untouched, protected by the kingdom that they have selfishly built. Not even a thousand days of rain could stop their insatiable flourishing of urbanisation. She could only watch in torment as biodiversity dwindled in number — gone were the first traces of life that stood by her. Distress was swallowing her whole; the anguish that wrecked her entire being was unceasing. In her eyes, there was no beauty in the arrays of buildings colliding in a mixture of shadow and geometry. On her skin, there were only tiny vehicles scurrying along the coarse, tangled lines of asphalt streets. The sea of metropolitan skyscrapers was all intertwined in a cataclysmic mess of a dream — a dream from which she would like to wake up. The more she watched, the more her frustration morphed into anger. She could no longer comply with their bidding and let them soak in her like a drug. No more! She could no longer spoil them. She should not let them bask in the fresh breeze of spring or the brilliant shades of fall . Even the heat of sultry summer was too good for them. She needed to remind those humans that she was not there for them; they were there because of her! Darkness began to cover the earthy landscape as she howled a noise so terrifying it pulsated through all matters. Attacks of lightning burst on the streets. A ghastly orange grin tore through the terrain as she spat unfettered flames to the screaming creatures. Her blood simmering, her brain stewing, and her bones smoldering with the intensity of her wrath. She let the blaze devour everything in sight, licking and enfolding every coppice. She quaked and the sea gorged on life. For a moment everything became silent as fear had transformed intelligible words into searing moans and groans. Months had passed, but the earth had not forgotten. The terra was scarred by scorched fire as the trees were stripped of their evanescent beauty, leaving only their gaunt, skeletal remains rooted on the barren soil. She was tired. Her outpour of emotions was so intense that she was left empty — drained of the sentiment that once fueled her fury. She needed time, and so she let her eyes close. The breeze lifted the veneer of dirt and grime that clung to the land — a subtle sign that the life below took for a second chance. Just as fast as the way they collapsed into the ground, other concrete towers stretched out to the sky yet again, reaching out with their pallid, gnarled hands. Though these skyscrapers were just born, the history of their ancestors etched across their bodies like fresh blood. They tried so desperately to latch on to what was left of their once sacred realm. When she finally woke up from her daze, her eyes could not believe what they were seeing. More cities. More concrete. More humans! She stared at them in disbelief; these humans never gave up hope. Her eyes sparkled with awe as the clouds broke apart, reveal its golden-blue glory. Harp strings of coruscant light immersed the meadows in sheets of flaxen, as flora dazzled in the crisp air. Lush green leaves awoke from their slumber, dancing higher and higher in the vast expanse of light blue sky. Life was resonating through every being, and she realised that she should not be looking at it in spite. She still loved the humans nonetheless. She hummed quietly and beats of avian wings lilted across the air, serenading the murmur of the vibrant city. Her soft whispers hung suspended in the air, tranquil and mindful. All was peaceful, all was calm, as it always was before the storm. Seconds after, pain lanced through her core. Her insides began to twist, intensifying with each jagged breath she took. She tried to keep her eyes open, tried to endure the shooting aches, but with each movement, she quivered — her consciousness ebbing away. Black mists swirled at the edges of her mind, slowly drawing her into dark oblivion. As much as she tried to hold onto life, the pain soared and choked her alive, suffocating her from within. And before she could warn the creatures below, the wound took her far, far away. A deep bellow of pain roared through the sky. Then it sizzled itself to silence, its searing stilled, its anger quieted. Reboot. Reset.

Project O: A Night of Charitable Joy

On 7 October 2017, RMIT University Storey Hall lit up with a wide range of productions from skits, dances, stand-up comedy to an assortment of singing performances. Project O 2017 focalised their event on the theme “Happiness in Giving” and centred their shows on the dynamics of education and their appreciation towards Papuan culture. Since its inception in 2010, Project O had set itself apart from other Melburnian events by focusing not only on the entertainment aspect but also on the social issues within Indonesia. This year, Project O collaborated with Book for Papua with the aim of improving access to education in Indonesia’s most western region. Not only did Project O raise awareness of the non-profit organisation and the literacy issue in Papua, but they also donated 60% of the event’s income to Book for Papua. “We define success by the outcome of our cause. Our event is only a success the moment our project could improve the quality of education in Indonesia especially children in Wamena, Papua,” said Fransiska Darmawan and Avada Nirel, the Project Managers of Project O 2017. Following welcoming speeches from the President of PPIA RMIT, Joshua Koswara, Project O Project Managers, and Dewi Savitri Wahab, the Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia for Victoria, the three-membered band Klaudspirits opened the evening with a song cover of popular Indonesian band Noah and their own original song. The winner from Project O’s pre-event “Samuna”, a four-membered band called Ajoy, then continued to keep the audience on the edge of their seat with their rendition of a traditional Papua song “Apuse Kokondau”. Accompanied with contemporary dances, the acoustic arrangement of the song induced melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere to the whole auditorium. Two skits by Students of Melbourne followed the performances of the evening. The first skit showed a contrasting scenario between a school at an Indonesian metropolitan city and a rural village in Papua. While the urban students expressed indifference towards their accessibility to learning facilities, the rural students were struggling to obtain new learning materials such as books and notes. The second skit concentrated on the importance of staying true to oneself despite the social expectations and new whereabouts, which was an issue relatable to many Indonesians overseas. Monash University student Yehezkiel Nicolas Susanto shared his experience and remarked that he thoroughly enjoyed the performances. “The event [Project O 2017] was a great success,” he said. “It was really good from the powerful skits to the singing performances. Amazing!” Later in the evening, the stand-up comedian Mamat ruled the stage. Originally from Papua, Mamat was drawn to Project O’s cause as he could relate to the Papuan’ struggle with scarce access to education. “Be successful. Have dreams. Achieve them,” said Mamat during Project O press conference to Indonesian student overseas. “But don't forget your roots, don't forget to come home. Indonesia is a growing community that is perpetually in need of contribution and improvement. You are pursuing your goals and dreams while children in papua do not have the same opportunities as you do. To have dreams is a privilege to them, to be able to achieve them is a miracle.” Although Project O was Mamat’s first time performing overseas, his performance was beyond memorable. He delivered jokes that brought the auditorium into bursts of laughter. While his topics revolved around his native region Papua, Mamat satirically addressed the existent stereotypes and uttered inspiring commentaries on eradicating discrimination on the basis of appearance. But Mamat was not the only highlight of the evening. The singer-songwriter Yura gave an equally unique performance with her captivating voice. She performed her hit songs along with a song that had a Sundanese-Jazz arrangement. Resonating the message of the second skit, Yura emphasised the importance of remembering where we came from. “The idea of “Happiness in Giving” makes you feel good about yourself because giving and sharing is much more rewarding than just receiving,” said Yura during the press conference. “This is also the perfect opportunity to inspire a sense of nationalism and pride in our culture and language since we are living overseas.” Yura’s tribute to Sundanese music was evident in her performance. Her Sunda-Broadway-Jazz arrangement as well as her song “Cinta dan Rahasia” proved to be a hit as she drove the crowd to the front of the stage to sing along. As the evening drew to a close, Clara Tandi from RMIT University felt positively charitable and commented, “It is really nice to know that profits [from the event] are given back [to society].” Fransiska Darmawan and Avada Nirel added that it was an evening filled with relief and triumph after months of hard work. “We hope that the event reminds fellow Indonesians of their roots. We believe that through these performances, people can reflect on themselves better, and that the impact will be stronger and will last longer,” they said. With the audience’s positive responses to Project O 2017, Fransiska and Avada were optimistic that the committee next year would exceed the hype from this year’s event and continue raising awareness of the social condition and education system in Indonesia. “Just like our motto, “Share to learn, learn to share”, we aim to break the poverty chain by helping Indonesian students obtain a better access to a education.”