Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Last Saturday in the tram, some guys said that Sinterklaas is not real. I was with my friend and her charming 7 years old daughter L, who still believes in Sinterklaas, Dutch's version of Santa Claus. She whispered to her mom, "Sinterklaas is real, it's the Zwarte Piet that isn't. They are just people with make-up."

Isn't she cute?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Last Lecture

What would you say to your students on your last lecture? Last month Randy Pausch delivered his "last lecture". This 47 years old married father of three children and Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon suffers from pancreatic cancer and literally only has weeks to live. His lecture is full of humor and wisdom on realizing your childhood dreams.

To read the transcript click here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cool ads

Nice CGI and a thumping tune. Alex Rutterford is the guy who produced the amazing video for Autechre's 'Gantz Graf'.

Would you notice the beauty in front of you?

What would happened if a world famous musician & his famous instrument busking at the metro station? Have a guess. Have a wild guess.

An interesting story at Washington Post.

I like this quote:

If you love something but choose not to do it professionally, it's not a waste. Because, you know, you still have it. You have it forever.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I am third behind G_D!

We were hanging out together the other day after Tango, when U told me about one of his Indonesian students. Apparently, he was the second supervisor of this girl's thesis. While reading her preface, to his surprised, he found out that (most) Indonesian(s) thanks G_d upon completion of their theses, something he never found in his culture.

He told his friends: Look! I am third behind G-d!

Run Fatboy Run

A nice little Flash game made for the new Simon Pegg film Run Fatboy Run

Sunday, August 12, 2007

(My) Postsecret

Ever since I found this site where you can send your secret anonymously to Frank Warren back in 2005, I visit it almost on weekly basis, sometimes more that once a week, just to see some email comments on it. Wondering who sent those secret, why did they do that, how are they doing now. At the end of last month, all of the sudden there was no update on Sunday. I started to wonder about Frank, I hope he is ok. It's strange, I have no idea who he is, yet there's concern about him from my part. A connection. Funny how blog can create that.Then, I noticed the 'comment section' was turned on with hundreds of comments about why there was no update, why the comment section is available, and of course about the published secret.

The following week, he turned off the comment section and posted a note explaining why he was absent, and mentioning that the site will go on for another 130 weeks. About 2600 secrets left for us to see, I think.

Out of about 1000 postcard he received on weekly basis, he put up about 20. Just 2%. How did he do that? Did he choose it based on the art or on the secret, or a bit of both? After all you can't post a 'I sleep with my whatever' card every week. How did he select which cards go online, which ones go to one of the books and which ones go to the exhibitions. He has, to date, more than 100.000 postcards to choose from.

One day early last year, on one of my creative mood I decided to create a postcard and sent it to Frank. I did it in half and hour. Deep down, I want to see it published. I know, weird huh? What's the point of having a secret if you want to see your secret published where millions of people can see? I dont know how to explain it, it's like I want to prove to myself that I can do something creative & hopefully positive with my secret. After about a month of religiously checking the site I came to the conclusion it was not interesting enough to be published.

But guess what? Several weeks ago, on one damp Sunday morning I logged on to the site and that card of mine was staring back at me. It was intimate, yet foreign. I was proud, yet ashamed. I was curious how others think about it, if people who knows me knew it was mine, I wonder if anyone downloaded it (cause I didnt), and most importantly, why Frank, in the end, chose to publish it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pepsi Tattoo

Go to Pepsi site and if you upload a photo of a friend, it gets incorporated into the video, along with a bunch of other personalizable data, and the girl in the video tattoos his name across her body. Try it! It's pretty disconcerting

I tried it, and this is the result on John, the only Irish I know :D Too bad there is no 'Indonesian' in their option.

It takes only one bite

A campaign against malaria

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who did What

This is a story about four people named
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done
and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that,because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it,
but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody,
when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

writer: anonymous.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

HIV microchipping in Papua?

I cant believe this news. The Papua's Government are nuts. How on earth do they come up with such stupid ideas of tattooing/microchipping people with HIV/AIDS?? It's against human right to do that. It also reminds me of what the Nazi did during WWII.

If some people wants to spread the virus to others, no microchip can stop them. They are just going to do that with and with out the chip.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter

I was aware about the Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows leak for days before I decided to check it out. First, I read the (photographed) epilogue which I found too sugary, with no mentioned of professions, practically only about who has how many kids. So I thought it couldn't be the real book.

Then came Saturday, boy was I wrong! I had the real book all along. It took me about 18 hours to read through, longer than my usual 10 hours because I still read some other things in between, plus cooking, plus packing. It was an interesting read, full of actions, joy, laughter, and sadness. Until the epilogue, that is. She could have spent more pages on a better epilogue. So what, 20-30 more pages won't kill you if you already have been through more than 500 pages anyway. Such an anticlimax. It's like JK reminds me again that HP is a children's book, where a story has to end happily ever after. Gosh, I still couldn't believe she did that. I felt cheated in the end. So, my advice is: don't read the epilogue.

While I am glad my hunch on Snape & Dumbledore came true, JK didn't mention anything about how the wizarding world see both figures after the events. Was there any exoneration? I wonder what happen to the Dursleys, JK hinted that we would know more about them in this book, but she failed to let us know what Petunia did to Dudley (remember Dumbledore said something about it in the previous book?). I wish she said more about the transformation of some of the characters (e.g. Neville, Draco), what happened in Hogwarts while the trio were away and why didn't Harry/Ron/Hermione use their DA coins. Lots of questions to answer, leaving room for (a) spin-off(s).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I Carry Your Heart With Me

(I Carry It In My Heart)


Friday, June 22, 2007

New trend? Think again

This morning someone called our surgery asking about how to 'glue' thing to tooth without using light. Turns out, it's to glue diamond to the tooth. You'd have thought it's a modern trend. Well you are wrong.

In the ancient Mayan kingdom of Copan (500-900AD) such adornment was used by privileged people. Last year, an anonymous sender sent a packet of two jaws adorned with jade to Honduran embassy in the Netherlands. The technique of putting those tiny jade was superb, no nerve was damaged from the process. Remember, it was done when there was no tiny drill, etchant or cement like they use when applying braces in our time.

I am always amaze with the technology that ancient civilization use back then, and wonder how it would have been like if their knowledge was preserved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Polish, any one?

No wonder people oppose immigration. Look at this headline in the UK.

The British workers denied jobs 'because they can't speak Polish'

Friday, June 08, 2007

Everyone's A Little Bit Racist

When I told D that I am a little racist, he looked at me strangely. I know most people would deny that they have prejudices, let alone admitting they are racist. However, I believe each and everyone of us are a little racist. Go on, admit it. No, not racist in the sense you are into hate crime or anything, however, we consciously or unconsciously have our prejudices about others. Our unconscious attitude may be 180 degrees different than our conscious values. It is because our surrounding influenced the way we think & feel which are important in things like prejudice and discrimination.

Remember about the dolls experiment? It shows that as young as 4-5 years old, children have (racial) biased thoughts. In most societies lighter skinned is considered as more beautiful or simply better. You don't choose to make positive associations to lighter skinned, but you see it everywhere that groups is 'reflecting' good things. It is sad, but real.

At Harvard Uni, Anthony Greenwald, Mahzarin Banaji, and Brian Nozek created the Implicit Association Test (AIT) which is based on observation. We are forever making connections of ideas in our mind. Sarah - Female, John - Male, Laundry - Family, Merchant-Career. How about putting words into categories? It feels uneasy for me to put a word like 'Laundry' into 'Family' category when 'Family' was paired with 'Female' or when I put 'Merchant' into 'Career' when 'Career' was paired with 'Male'. But it took me a while when the categories were reversed.

According to the study, our attitude toward things like gender & race is not straight forward. On conscious level, we operate deliberately in accordance with our values. However, our unconsciousness, the one that AIT measured, reflects our automatics associations before we've even had time to think. The formation of it came from the experiences we've had, people we've met, books we've read. This can also predict how we act in certain situations. If you have a strong preference towards white people, chances are you are behaving differently in the presence of black person. You might not be aware of it, but you'll probably smile less, keeping more distance, hesitate. And those unconscious behaviors do matter. That person will pick up your behavior and feels uncertain about himself, which in turn give you the wrong impression about him. Imagine if it happened on interview. The chance of that person getting that job is just diminish.

Interestingly, even though I think I am a little racist, my AIT result suggest I have little to no automatic preference between European American and African American. I was surprised, I thought with all those Hollywood movies I've been watching, living in the predominantly white neighborhood, my result would suggest a moderate automatic preference for white.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A lesson in discrimination

Tonight the Belgium tv Een screened a documentary of an experiment that took place at Annie Leblanc's homogeneous classroom at primary school of Saint-Valérien-of-Milton, in Montérégie, Quebec, Canada. Each year there's always a scapegoat in her 3rd year classroom. This year it is Pierre-Luc who is obese.

So what a teacher can do...

She used the segregation experiment done by Jane Elliot back in 1968 in her classroom. The experiment took place in two days. On the first day, She told her pupils that the smaller (under1.34m) children were intelligent, faster, wiser and more creative. In short, they were better. On the second day it was the bigger children who were better. Very soon the children adapted to the roles. At the end of the day both Jane Elliot's & Anne Leblanc's pupils were all behaving like 'victims and torturers'.

The good news is, after 3 weeks, the film crew went back to the school, and it seems the lesson has been learned. The pupils learn about discrimination and the effect of it and also the connection between encouragements and the self-esteem. They treat Pierre-Luc differently, they even stood up for him.

I found this experiment very interesting and powerful, seeing how quick and easy discriminating behavior can emerge in children. I wish my elementary school did this. I can recall one incident on the 3rd grade, when a new girl just got transfered to our midst. One boy refused to be in the same class with her because she has different religion belief than the rest of the pupils. I was furious with his behavior. In the end both stayed in the same class, but I can't recall they really talked to each other. I cant blame her, he was an a**e.

To see Jane Elliot's blue eyes v. brown eyes experiment you can click here, for the transcript click here
To see Anne Leblanc's you can click here (in French)

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Big Donor Show

When I first heard about Endemol's de grote Donorshow I thought it's another shocking show from BNN, Dutch tv station that gave us programme such as 'Neuken doe je zo!' (This is how you ****) and 'Spuiten of slikken' (Injected or swallow) a programme where the presenters use LSD, heroin & opium to send out message about the danger of using substance.

Lisa who has inoperable brain tumor would donate one of her kidneys to one of the three kidney patients within 1.5 months. During the show the audience could advice Lisa via SMS to whom she should donate her kidney. However, the lucky winner was still chosen by Lisa.

The show is not only generating discussions in NL, but also all over the world. Most people find it tasteless, unethical, and even macabre. Others, such as Dutch Kidney Foundation Director Paul Beerkens is pleased with the publicity about the lack of Dutch donors. Although he said, "The form BNN has chosen, would definitely not be ours. I personally think it goes too far."

Tonight, by chance, I saw the last half and hour of the show. It's like watching a train wrecks. After each candidates, Esther Claire (she's Ambonese, by the way), Vincent and Charlotte, told their stories, Lisa asked each of them one question. Before Lisa chose the winner, each candidate had 30 seconds air time to convince Lisa that she or he is the right person to get a new kidney.

First, The oldest candidate lost the race, Lisa thought she is not the person who needed the kidney the most. Then, before Lisa announced who's going to have kidney surgery in 1.5 months, the show stopped. Patrick Lodiers, the presenter, revealed that tonight the show wasn't going to give away any kidney. The show was not real. A brilliant hoax. Very Bart, the founder of BNN who was a kidney patient himself. Lisa is actually an actrice. However the three candidates are real kidney patients and still needing new kidneys.

Lodiers urged the audience to fill in the donor registration form, because there's a huge shortage of donor in NL. Well, actually in whole Europe. In fact, yesterday the European Union's health chief, Markos Kyprianou, presented his proposal to increase organ donations and transplants in the 27-nation EU.

There are at this moment 40 000 Europeans on the transplant waiting list, some of them have been waiting for years. About 10 patients die each day due to the shortage of donor. Apparently, donor of minority background is even rarer.

So, would you consider becoming a donor?

update June 2nd 12:46 PM: within hours there were 12000 registration forms filled. They supposed to do it back in 1998 when everyone in the country received the form like I did. I guess people need to be shocked to do something about it.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Deeper than skin deep

This award winning movie was made by 16 years old Kiri Davis, to explore the standards of beauty of young black girls. She recreated the Clarks' Doll experiment by presented a bunch of 4 or 5 years old children with two dolls - a white one & a black one. After asking them which one they liked to play with, she then asked them which they thought was "nice" and which was "bad."

As in the original study back in 1940's, most of the black children preferred the white dolls and identified the black dolls as "bad." According to the Clarks, the experiment was proof of internalized racism, the tendency of a person to identify with the racist stereotype of one's race. The children are "subjected to an obviously inferior status in the society in which they live" and "it is the kind of injury which would be as enduring or lasting as the situation endured, changing only in its form and in the way it manifests itself."

I suppose if one conducted the same study with Indonesian children the result would've been the same. Children in Indonesia is affected by media and marketing that promote light skinned. Look at pages of promotion for beauty product that will lighten your skin color. Look at the movies and tv that mostly depicted light skinned as the attractive, rich, intelligence, good guys, while the dark skinned as the ugly, poor, bad guys. All of it does not help boosting the children's self-esteem.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What I learnt today

Indonesian cant queue, there's nothing new about it. But Dutch that cant queue is new, at least for me.

I was at my GP this afternoon for check up when it happened. My appointment was at 13:50, I got there 5 minutes late. I know, it's terrible. To my defense, it never happened before that I got there and got help straight away.

Anyway, there were 2 guys waiting before me, (I think)a Moroccan and a Chinese. Then came this dark skinned girl after me, followed by this posh Dutch lady. This Dutchy asked who was the last patient, and acquired what time did she have her appointment. This girl answered, 'At 14:10, but it doesnt matter, it's always first come first serve.' But this posh lady wont take that answer, saying her appointment is at 14:05 so she must go first. Then she went to the receptionist/GP-assistant to get earlier face-time with the GP and to our surprised she got it!

So I asked the Chinese guy when his appointment was, it was at 14:00. Then I told the girl when my appointment was. That girl went protesting to the receptionist and was told that that lady was in a hurry or something. We found it ludicrous how they handled the matter.

At situation like this I cant help to wonder, what if all of us were Dutchies, would she still have done that?

Well, I wasn't in a hurry & in a good mood, so I let it slide. I only said to that girl, ' So, you learn something every day, huh?'.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Europe v. Italy

Funny animation about Italy made by an Italian guy. Apart from the thing with coffee, it's like watching Europe v. Indonesia.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The power of blog

About two years ago, RM Suryo said that "blog is just a temporary trend and only functions as an exhaust for personal catharsis." He's just so wrong.

Yesterday, Apple lost US$4billion in 6 minutes after a blog,, posted an email at 11:49 AM EST claiming that iPhone & Leopard OS would be seriously delayed.

Turned out it was a hoax, according to Apple both iPhone & Leopard is on track, but the damage has been done.

Do not underestimate the power of blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Walk the World, Fight Hunger

To raise awareness about the 400 million hungry children all over the world, World Food Programme organized a 5 km walking event all over the world annually. Why the 5 km walk, why not shorter? It reminds us that a child dies every 5 seconds due to hunger or related causes. It also aims to raise funds to finance projects that assist hungry children for example with their School feeding programme. By giving food at school, not only it attracts hungry children to school, but education also broadens their options, helping to lift them of poverty.

This year, on Mother's day, there are two events in NL, in Amstelveen and in Rotterdam. I went to Rotterdam event with Rob & Sita.

It was gezellig. We met up around 11:30 at Willemsplein under the Erasmus bridge when it started to rain a bit. After registering, picking up our t-shirt, cap and balloon, buying mother's day gift for Rob's mom, we had small lunch. One needs energy to walk;)

After some music & speeches, we released the balloons at 13:00. A great sight to see. Then Erica Terpstra, the chairperson of NOC*NSF, gave the start signal. Boy, you could tell she's a pro :) Set 'em op, jongens! Go get 'em! That's what she said from the podium while 3000 of us were starting the walk.

So, we walked (and took some pictures too). During the walk, some stopped at cafe's, some went to shop, some was trying to work out the quiz they gave us. (There are 38 buttons on Peter the Great's statue, Euromas is 185m high)

That day, we collected €125000, enough to feed 5000 kids for a year.

I know that the walk won't do much against poverty in the world, but knowing that some kids out there can get meal & education gave me good feeling inside.

For more information about hunger in the world:
Hunger map
Hunger facts

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Body World v. Bodies: the exhibition

The first time I heard about the work of Dr. von Hagen on plastination in 1997 I wanted to go and see them. However, it wasn't until in 2000 I went to Körperwelten (Body Worlds) exhibition in Oberhausen, Germany. We had to queue for hours in the cold winter day but all was worth it. It was simply amazing. Coming out of the exhibition made me thing about my own body and the possibility to donate it one day. Maybe you've seen a glimpse of Body Worlds exhibition while watching the new James Bond's Casino Royale.

Last year I found out that Bodies: the Exhibition is coming to Amsterdam. From what I heard Premier Exhibitions Incorporated, the American company behind it, works together with former partner of von Hagen and rumor has it they use bodies from political prisoners/unclaimed bodies in China. If it is true it might be a violation of human rights & Chinese law. Of course the PR people maintained that they acquired those bodies legally from Dalian University.

Anyway, since my father was here last March, we went to see Bodies: the Exhibition in Amsterdam. Yes, it seems morbid & weird bringing your father to see dead people. Its something that my father and I shared, those dead people are our teachers. He told me to respect those cadavers, and not to be afraid of them before I had my share of experience with them at school. My father found it amazing and especially liked how they show the blood circulation without the body itself. He even put comment on their guestbook & still talked about it several days later.

But I can't help comparing both exhibitions.

Aside from ethical issues, Bodies: the Exhibition exhibits fewer whole bodies & organs than Body Worlds. Their fetuses' exhibition is limited to embryos & normal fetuses in various stages of development. They don't have congenital disorders fetuses. If you've taken into account the number of specimens you can see and the price you pay for a visit, Bodies: the Exhibition is more pricy. For €20 plus fee a ticket, they didn't even give you any booklet as a guide; you have to rent an audio tour. I remember I paid DM 16 (about €7) to Body Worlds and got a 100 pages booklet about their exhibition. I know, it was 7 years ago, but I've checked their site and it costs about US$20 (about €16) for a visit at this moment.

I found the specimens in Body Worlds were done in more esthetic manner, and in more care. Their poses are more artistic, some specimens will remind you of certain famous art works like Dali's Woman with Drawers. I noticed while observing the nerves on the whole body specimen, the nerve endings sometimes stray in Bodies: the Exhibition. I also noticed, that the color of the muscles is more bland, than the one of von Hagen's. That being said, it is still much better looking than on bodies drench with formalin, the ones we use at medical school. Not to mention the lack of the smell of formalin in both exhibitions.

At Body Worlds you learn more about various medical conditions, you'll see how your liver looks like if you had cirrhosis which makes you think about heavy drinkers and hepatitis B & C patients, how pollution & smoking affecting your lung, the look of tumor in various places in your body, how congenital disorders looks like, and pregnancy.

Last but not least, observing both exhibitions I learnt that the myth about European v. Chinese is true. I am not being racist here, just stating the fact. You might have noticed it yourself from the picture. ;)

All and all, I prefer von Hagen's exhibition above Bodies: the Exhibition.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Proof of 25:5=14

All these years people keeps saying that 25 divided by 5 is 5. WRONG!

Shame on you! You should've known better, where did you go to school? The right answer is 14. Don't believe me? Just sit back and watch this video, and you'll understand.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


  • Apparently there are not one, but two Buddha's day this year: 2nd and 31st of May. It's the most holy time in Buddhist calendar, significance the birth, enlightment and passing away of Buddha. It is strange that Indonesian celebrate it on June 1st. I thought Vesak supposed to be on full moon in May.
  • Another prove that cannabis distrupts the inferior frontal cortex, it's the area that keeps inapproriate thoughts (such as paranoia) in check. I think I've seen it happens to a friend of mine.
  • We need to hear good stories every now and then. People at shares their stories of kindness in their communities.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Free Gendun!

Gendun Cheokyi Nyima turns 18 today, but he's been missing for about 12 years now. When he was six years old, the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most important figure in Tibetan religion after the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese authorities rejected his appointment, and soon afterwards, he and his parents w
ere missing. The Chinese then appointed their own version of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu. This move is very important, as traditionally the Panchen Lama is the key to recognizing the reincarnation and the education of Dalai Lamas.

As the 14th Dalai Lama ages, a bigger crisis awaits the Tibetan community.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


According to Hammurabi's Code of laws:

218. If a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill him, or open a tumor with the operating knife, and cut out the eye, his hands shall be cut off.

219. If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave.

If back in 1700s BC, a physician's malpractice got punished, how come in the 21st century Indonesia it is so difficult to punish those who did malpractice?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Logika bahasa Indonesia di media

Saya bingung. Bingung, apakah bahasa Indonesia saya sudah sedemikian jelek, atau bahasa Indonesia di media Indonesia sudah menurun kualitasnya?

Hari ini di saya membaca kalimat berikut:

Mora merupakan salah seorang mahasiswa Indonesia yang menjadi korban dari penembakan yang terjadi di Virginia tech University, Amerika Serikat, Senin (16/4) waktu setempat.
Sepanjang yang saya tahu, hanya ada satu korban dari Indonesia dalam insiden tersebut. Kalimat di atas menurut saya dapat diartikan bahwa ada mahasiswa Indonesia lainnya yang menjadi korban. Lain halnya bila kalimatnya sebagai berikut:
Mora merupakan seorang mahasiswa Indonesia yang menjadi salah satu korban dari penembakan yang terjadi di Virginia tech University, Amerika Serikat, Senin (16/4) waktu setempat.
Atau logika saya yang aneh?

Di Gatra edisi 9 April dalam rubrik kesehatan saya juga menemukan kejanggalan berikut:
Si anak cerdas ini tak bisa duduk diam selama pelajaran berlangsung. Ia sering mondar-mandir dan berputar-putar di dalam kelas tanpa sebab. Ironisnya, ketika ditanya gurunya mengenai materi yang diajarkan, dengan enteng Amanda dapat menjawab dengan benar.
Apakah pemakaian 'ironisnya' di penggalan tersebut tepat? Menurut saya tidak, karena biarpun isinya bertentangan tapi tidak dalam arti yang negatif. Mungkin penggunaan kata 'tapi' lebih tepat dalam kalimat terakhir.

Di website saya juga menemukan penggunaan kata yang janggal pada tajuknya ketika mereka membahas tentang sindroma Marfan atau dalam bahasa Inggrisnya Marfan syndrome.
Diserang Marfan's Syndrom, Tinggi Badan Ajeng Terus Menjulang
Penggunaan kata 'diserang' tidak tepat, mengingat sindroma ini disebabkan masalah genetik (baik yang karena turunan maupun yang mutasi) yang mempengaruhi kolagen atau jaringan pengikat dalam tubuh. Lain halnya bila membahas mereka yang menderita malaria misalnya, maka penggunaan kata 'diserang' tepat digunakan karena penyebabnya bukan genetik. Selain itu penterjemahan Marfan syndrome ke bahasa Indonesia seperti yang mereka lakukan adalah salah, yang benar adalah Sindroma Marfan.

Saya jadi pesimis, bila dalam satu generasi penggunaan bahasa Indonesia sudah semakin buruk, bagaimana dengan generasi yang lebih banyak menggunakan bahasa asing di sekolah (yang bilingual) nanti?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mozart won't make you smart

You heard me, despite what the media told you, Mozart does not and will not make you smart. Not by listening to it anyway. A recent study in Germany, lead by Ralph Schumacher, dispelled the myth.

All of these years I've seen people taking advantage from the controversial study of UC-Irvine's psychologist Frances Rauscher. In 1993, he claimed that after listening to Mozart's Sonata for two pianos in D major (K448) for 10 minutes, his subjects performed better on spatial tasks — such as recognizing patterns, or folding paper. This Mozart Effect, a term coined by A.A. Tomatis, is becoming a marketing tools for a whole new industry (music, therapies, books, websites) worth billions of dollars.

However, other researchers have trouble reproducing the same result. In fact, one of the studies claimed that Mozart makes some people dumber. Definitely not a something you are after.

On the other hand, according to the study of
Glenn Schellenberg, playing music for some period of time can actually increases your IQ slightly. Remember: slight increase, so it won't make your kid a genius by playing music.

On being sick

Why is it when a guy is coming down with cold, he is almost die; but when a girl is under antibiotic medication for the second round in a month, she's just sick?

Monday, April 16, 2007

I am falling for...

somewhere i have never travelled
by E.E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

Sunday, April 15, 2007

On being colored and driving a nice car

I was in Amsterdam's crowded tram with my father when I listened to this Dutch guy talking to his lady companion behind us. Upon seeing this allochtoon, a Dutch word for foreigner, who happened to be a colored guy driving a nice convertible car, this Dutch guy asked how could that colored guy drives such a nice car, that he must have been doing something illegaly to be able to afford such a thing because he and his friends can't afford to own one. That it's only in the last decade that such phenomen appears in this calvinist country.

I was going to ask him to shut up, but he stopped his rant soon after I gave him a dirty look. If I were his friend, I would have talked him some senses right there and then. Oh wait, I wont be friend with someone like him.

Now, that was not the first time I heard a Dutch guy commenting a colored guy with a nice car, but it is the first time I heard it in public. I bet they won't give such comment upon seeing a white guy driving a nice car. G_d forbid, only those black/turkish/morrocan/colored guys who do illegal stuffs and drive nice cars.

Sure, there are allochtoon who are in criminal circuits, and they probably drive nice cars. Just as there are white caucasian criminals driving nice cars. But I've never once heard anyone commenting a white guy is doing some criminal activity to afford having a nice car.

From what I've seen so far, my European friends spend their money on their vacations or houses, while my non-European friends spend their money on their cars, bling-bling, or to help their family back home. Different priority in different cultural background.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

To confess or not to confess

On this week's episode of Grey's Anatomy there's a betrayal. It involved a bottle of bourbon and sex. Lots of sex. Lots of great adulterous sex. They didn't see it coming. It's not like they planned it to happen. But it did, and it was a mistake. People. makes. mistake.

Then there's this question about what to do next. As Christina put it some weeks ago, when we betray each other, the path to recovery is less clear. Should you confess and hurting the one person who is always encouranging, believing and supporting you? Can you justified clearing your conscience at somebody's expense by confessing? Should you just confess and bear the consequences?

Or should you just keep it a secret and live with it? After all, ignorance is bliss.

Seriously, maybe you need to ask some advice from someone who have been touched by evil or whatever, as you are and make it back alive. Maybe from their story you can find your way to deal with your mistake.

The thing is, secret kills intimacy. You need to share important information with the one you want to connect on a deeper level. Of course there is a chance that that person will reject you, but at least you know if he sticks around he accepts you as you are. Damaged, flawed, and all.

So, what would you have done, to confess or not to confess?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fable of the bees

Their Kings were serv'd; but Knavishly
Cheated by their own Ministry;
Many, that for their Welfare slaved,
Robbing the very Crown they saved:
Pensions were small, and they lived high,
Yet boasted of their Honesty.
-Bernard Mandeville

Nina and I were at Boijmans Museum last year discussing about the poem on the wall which was part of an installation. It was a very old poem titled 'Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits' by a Rotterdammer physician/philosopher/political economist, Bernard Mandeville. He wrote it in 1714 as a political satire of England at the time, in which he concluded: vice as a necessary condition for economic prosperity.

Do you see any parallel between modern day Indonesia and Mandeville's 18th century England?

Friday, March 02, 2007

My 15 minutes?

"In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."
Andy Warhol
A couple of days ago, I was minding my own business when an SMS from U came. 'There's your picture in the "museum night" brochure'. I bursted to laugh. (Boy, I need to laugh these days. Thank you, U) He must be joking, I thought. What picture in what brochure?

Then, it hit me. This guy took some pictures of Nina and me at Boijmans museum last year. Good pictures. He said it's for the organization of the event and he's going to send us our pictures via email. He never did. Both Nina and I were complaining that we didn't ask for his email, because we want those pictures.

I called U, but he was travelling under the ground so the connection was lousy. Then he called me back telling me had he known that I was in the brochure, he would have taken extra for me. He teased that I should do modelling instead. Little did he know, this is not the first time that it happened to me in Low land. Too bad no body paying me for it. :)

The next day I got the brochure U talked about. And there it is... apparently I have more luck appearing in Dutch print media then in Indonesian one ;)

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Secret

I watched the original version of New Age hyped 'The Secret' the other day. What so secret about the Secret, I asked? Turns out, it's about the Law of Attraction, like attracts like. Soort zoekt soort as the Dutch said. They said only few people knows it.

According to the law, based on the what we're thinking and feeling, we attract things into our life. Good or bad. It's like what the Buddha says, 'Mind precedes all phenomena, mind matters most, everything is mind-made.' Millions of Buddhists and meditators know about this. Lots of self help books dealt with this. Paulo Coelho wrote about it in the Alchemist. So the Secret is no secret at all. But since they market it as 'The secret', of course a lot of people wants to know it, after all it's good to be in on a secret, right?

The movie instructs us to Ask, Believe, Receive. Changing our lives by thinking.

There's nothing wrong about its message on positive thinking and feeling, but I have problem the way they watered down wisdom into simplistic pop-culture. Instead of using the positive thinking for a greater purposes, they make it into something very materialistic. At one point they shows a kid concentrating at a picture of a bike and later on he gets it. It's another get rich quick kinda thing. And yes, I know, it sells.

They say, if you truly believe it, the universe conspires to grant your wishes. Sceptical? Just look at Rhonda Byrne, the Australian producer of this movie. She made this $3 million movie last year and managed to sell 1.5 millions of this movie at the price of $34.95 without paying for advertising or theater releases. Not to mention the selling of book, and other things from their website with their aggressive marketing. ;) Although I am not so sure about her disagreement with Esther Hicks, one of the 20 something 'experts' in the original version of the movie. Disagreement is bad vibe. Bad vibe attract bad thing according to the Law of Attraction. I guess she's not always practicing what she preaches.

Another thing that bothers me is the health claim in the movie. It was said that your mind can cure you from cancer without any chemotherapy or radiation, and even regenerate kidney! I mean come on! What if someone using it to cure his disease and not succeed? It will only increase self-blame when it is not working.

All in all, I found this interesting movie very superficial, materialistic and might be damaging for some.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

Life is better if you are having fun

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Everybody is going to be beige

Seriously, according to an evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics in the year 3000, human being would be a uniform race of coffee-coloured people, between 6ft and 7ft tall who live for about 120 years.

hmm.. I am beige already, one out of three is not that bad;)

Thursday, February 08, 2007


It was snowing heavily this morning, and I love it. Love it.
I wish I don't have this infection so I can enjoy the snow even more.