Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Where ever You are

As we're ringing the New Year,
a simple prayer from St Francis of Assisi seems fitting to start a new leaf of life:

Lord , make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is HATRED, let me sow LOVE
Where there is INJURY , let me sow PARDON
Where there is DOUBT, let me sow FAITH
Where there is DESPAIR , let me sow HOPE
Where there is SADNESS , let me sow JOY
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be CONSOLED as TO CONSOLE
To be UNDERSTOOD as TO UNDERSTAND
To be LOVED as TO LOVE
For it is in GIVING that we RECEIVE,
It is in PARDONING that we are PARDONED,
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life...............

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
Happy Holiday!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Note to self #2



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Dream

I had this weird dream last night. A bunch of us were in some sort of tour bus along with others. I was sitting at the back. Somehow my friends started to give me a tiny piece of paper with their religion in it. They said I'd better hold those papers and give it later to this guy. Other people didnt do that. I remember this guy's an atheist in real life, but in my dream his paper said catholics, then another guy whom I have no idea what he believes also has the same thing written on his paper.


Unlike most Indonesians who ask people's religion, I find it too personal and it can be used against me, so I never ask the question unless I have to. So, why did I dream that?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beer

It's late, and I just remember I had to translate this thing for tomorrow. It went well until I translated "beer" to "bir". It wont be wrong if it's not for kids. Nor if it was from English.


And I dont even like beer. The liquid kind, that is.

When I Said "I Love You"

... it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and strength. I’ve seen the best and worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what and who you are.
— Joss Whedon

Hijab

Neither abstinence from fish nor flesh, nor going naked, nor shaving the head, nor wearing matted hair, nor dressing in a rough garment, nor covering with dirt, nor sacrificing to fire, will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions. - Buddha Gautama
It's weird to quote the Buddha when I want to talk a bit about hijab. However, it makes sense [I think] as a hijab is just a piece of clothing that one put on to cover up one's aurat/awrah, intimate parts of the body. I need to remind myself about that fact each time I see women in hijab who are talking or acting in such way that I find them as a disgrace of the hijab.

I believe, hijab is a tangible reminder for us to be modest, because it is more difficult to 'cover up' our heart and mind than just wearing a piece of clothing over it. I guess the general public, of course, disagree with my notion, as most people are more into ritualistic side of any religion anyway.

Nowadays, there are more and more Indonesian women who wear head covering in any kind than ever before. The one with 'full pressed body', the one that looks like a tent, the one that you can see their palms and face, the one that you can only see their eyes, and lastly what I find the worst kind as it is contrary to what the Koran said: the one that you cant see anything but a massive flowing clothing with presumably a woman underneath it. Mind you out of all kind of covering, I really think the last one needs to be banned for the sake of security (ours and hers as often she couldnt see clearly underneath that thick black clothing).

One of my friend asked me what's the deal of Indonesian women wearing jilbab (that's what Indonesian called for that piece of cloth). I said, there are women who are doing it because they really believe that it is written in the Koran, but there are plenty who are wearing it because it's a trend. Yupe, it's trendy to wear a hijab and people would thing you are a good religious person because of it. Some would say you look much prettier in one, eventho honestly I think very few Indonesian women have the facial bone structure to wear this look but I digress. Some elderly ladies wear them because they just dont bother to take care of their grey hair. Kids wear them because the school or their parents told them to. Some wear them because everyone in her circle is wearing them.

I've met enough women with hijab whose mouth & mind are as dirty as, if not more than those who are not wearing one. Some steal other women's husband and even resorted to use black magic to get what their want be it work, love, or money. I didnt see the point why they need to wear that kind of clothing under this weather while not improving their mind and mouth. Perhaps it's their way of setting a new 'improved' image of themselves. After all in this place anything remotely religious is deemed good.

That being said, a good friend of mine wears hijab. She used to be one of those anak disco, a reveler (perhaps more than I ever did), until one day she went to Haj pilgrimage and decided to wear one, and never took it off. At home she still wears short pants around her husband and kids tho. What I love and respect about her is that she is consistent, in her acts, talks, dresses as one unity. She doesnt curse, no matter how hurt she was nor said anything bad or with sexual connotation about or to anyone, she is ever so polite, and helpful. She never said anything implying her way is better than mine. In fact she told me that I need to be consistent in what ever path I choose. Each time I look at her, I know she's not wearing hijab just for other people's sake, but she's really wearing it inside and out. As I think it should be.

But hey, it's just my bias opinion.

Sometimes...




it's the little things that occupy the biggest part of the hearts

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Missing the Snow

I've been looking at my friends pictures of the Lowland covered in snow. THICK SNOW. I'm so jealous. I miss the snow. That being said, I'm not missing when its melted. I wonder if I ever see snow again.

It's official...

I just fried my brain sitting for the two exams since 9 o'clock this morning. By the look of it, I'll be sitting for the same exam this time next year, but if I passed both exams this time around.. I'll sacrifice a goat and make it Kambing Guling, eventho I wont be eating any of it.


I dont even remember what I wrote. I'm in such state at this moment.

Eventho I want to go to any party (I dont care which one as long as it's a party), but I think I am more in need of: SLEEPING!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Indonesian scientists are pro-smoking

This article is kind of ruin my morning. I guess those so-called scientists never had the experience of having their love one died of smoking related diseases. I wonder how much the cigarette companies are paying them.

Note to self: crossed Brawijaya University from recommendation list.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Argentine Tango

Today I had a meeting with an Argentinian guy. It's been ages since I listened to Latin Spanish. It's cute. We talked a bit about his country and Argentine Tango.


I heart Argentine Tango. Mucho.

Out of many dances I'd learned since my childhood, I feel Argentine Tango is the closest to the reality of man-woman relationship. It can be fun, sad, sensual, flirtatious, playful, slow, or in quick tempo. There's smooth flowing motions but also sharp turns. There's no choreography, it's all about improvisation. There's a synergy between opposites, between the dancers.

There's an old saying: Tango is 4 legs, 2 bodies, 1 heart. It's because it's not merely about moving from one step to the next, but it's about feeling and sensitivity. Each dance is a new dance created by the (new) partners according to the music, the mood, the moment, the state of their inner beings.

The first thing you'll learn at tango class is to be in tune with your partner's movement. It's not about calculating/expecting/anticipating his or her next step, but paying full attention to their subtle signals and accommodating it. You learn to just walk in sync and in rhythm. Sometimes, you are not even embracing your partner. Only after you master this, you'll learn the basic moves.

In order for a man to be a good leader, he must be clear and unwavering in his intention. He must lead with certainty and conviction. Certainty is the key. The woman needs to trust and let the man take control. She must be open, receptive and patiently waiting for his lead and responding to that accordingly. There's this frantic male energy and female calmness in the dance, and it has to be in balance. If the male energy is too dominant, you are risking throwing her around, losing the connection and being disrespecting your partner as well as compromising her balance. Therefore, the man also need to wait and listen to their partner's respond. If the woman doesnt respond correctly to the lead, she is just there dragging along behind without grace. If the man is not leading, the woman will not following. If the woman can figure you out, you'll lose her attention and she'll start dancing on her own.

Vale, Vamos a bailar!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It wasnt meant to be

A couple of weeks ago, at the end of the week, my boss told me a lead for an investment. We figured it could bring us at least 30% profit. Before I was able to take care of it, I was bed ridden. I tried asking my brother to take care of it, but he didnt.


Today it would've brought us 100% profit.
It's one of those things, it's just not meant to be.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weird Conversation #4

We just wrapped up our meeting. The guy rose from his chair, looked at me, and approaching me.


+ Are you related to T? His niece, perhaps?
- Yes sir, I'm his niece
+ I thought so, you look a bit like him. So, Are you from his side, or from his wife's?
- Actually, from his wife's side.
+ Yeah, your uncle is arabic descended.
* She's also B's niece
+ Oh, no wonder. I know you uncles.

Today I told oom T & B about this, and they were laughing. Oom T looks very Arabic, I look very Indonesian. Our similarity is having the same malocclusion. My uncle didnt even remember the guy or if both of us (I used to tag a long Oom T's meetings or functions) met the guy before.

mindfulness

I went to see this monk today, Bhante Uttamo. He was one of the funniest and wisest people I know. He taught mindfulness meditation. What I like about his teaching was he also taught about mindfulness in the real life. Sitting meditating was just a practice for being mindful in the real life.


Yesterday I said I wouldnt ask any question today, because most of the time when it comes to meditation, the answer would be: Just observe the sensation. However, I ended up asking a lot of questions. I formulated in general questions, as I asked them in public. His answers were all actually specific to whatever I was struggling. There was only one person who knew about the story behind my questions. After the meeting she commented that now I had the answers I was looking for. Yupe. I know I'm in the right path eventho sometimes I made a detour.

Someone asked about desire in Buddhism. He said it is ok to have desire as long as we are not attached to it. Just as well with love. According to him, to love means we are acting in such way to make the one we love happy without wanting anything in return. As soon as we expect something from that person, it's a form of attachment. Need to ponder more on that one.

What is interesting, some of his example about mindfulness in real life I learned it before from my dad. I've never thought about it as being mindful before. In 8 hours I learned so much, and laughed so hard with him. I feel like my battery has been recharged.

Perhaps like the bhante said, we have enough good karma for us to meet each other at the right moment. Thank you Bhante!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meeting Up People

It's been 2.5 years since I came back. A lot has happened. There were some ups, but there were much more downs. I lost myself in the process. In short, I've changed. I'm not as happy-go-lucky as before. A friend said I'm more assertive, probably it's her nice way of saying I'm more bitchy. I used to be very flexible with my time, now I am not. When people upset me, I used to let it slide, now I dont.


There are parts of me that still 'Dutch'.

Like I still ask for mayo for my (thick) fries, or still show up on time even just for meeting friends. It bothers me when people show up late, especially without any news about it. Take my friends from Junior High. We met up twice, and I always be the first person to show up at the venue. In the last meeting the first 2 people who arrived at the venue was my friend who lives in NL and I, the rest were at least 1 hour late. I told them early on, I had another appointment afterward, so I left about 1.5 hour after arriving. The late comers commented why do I have to leave so soon as they just arrive! Are you kidding me?

What worse is when someone cancel a meeting without telling me about it. Between work, class, traffic jams, I dont have much spare time. When I said I'm meeting someone, I'd do my best to be there. Even if I felt like crap, I'd try to make it. If I cant make it I make sure you know about it, depending whether I have enough credit on my cell, most of the time I call because in my experience I dont always get my sms (I have no idea why I use 2 providers and they are the same).

I still try to go out my way for those important people in my life. Now, however, when I feel like they didnt even care about me/what I'm doing, I stop making the effort. I figure, why would I have to bend over backward for someone when that person doesnt appreciate it.

People would say that I need to lighten up about it, but I feel it's about respect & appreciation. By being late, you are not respecting and appreciating the other person's time. Plain and simple.

Myanmar?

I was talking to one of mom's friend the other day. She talked about her son and how she wanted her son and I to go to Myanmar, because her sister just came back from a trip up there. Apparently there's a temple that she wanted us to visit.


Ever since I met this lovely girl from Myanmar before I left for NL, I always want to see the place. Then I started learning Vipassana that was thought by Goenkaji who happen to be from Myanmar. I want to one day do Vipassana in Myanmar. However, I heard that to meditate in Myanmar we need a special visa and in order to get it, I need to get a letter from both meditation centers in Indonesia and Myanmar. What a hassle! Plus, I tried emailing and calling the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta about it but to this day I never get any reply.

Who knows we might ended up going up there one day. For the time being, both of us are busy with our own things.

Phew..

I went to the doc yesterday, he didnt believe my calcium result, so I had to do another blood test today. The result came back in the normal range eventho it's on the higher side. Phew. Last night he said based on my other blood test, I have some viral thing going. At least I dont have to be worried about a future of osteoporosis or worst yet: renal failure.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Touching Ads

Watching these two ads, made me cried because I miss two of the most important men in my life: my dad & grandpa.

Disconnect to Connect

This Thai ads shares the same sentiment that I have about being connected. I often feel invisible when I am surrounded by people who are into their (smart)phones. Mind you, there are many of such people in Jakarta.



Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Perhaps It Explains My Irritation

After an exam, I went straight to the hospital and stayed there for 5 hours last Saturday because I felt like crap. I thought the bugs still bugging me. However, the doc told me to get another blood test to check my electrolytes.


I just called the lab to ask for the preliminary result, and it seems like my calcium is way too high, almost 4 times higher than normal. The lady said she's going to check some more to make sure before I see the doc on Thursday for a consult.

4 times as high means hypercalcemia. That explain the irritability I've been experiencing which I thought due to stress. Good thing that I havent been in confusion, which is also another side effect. It seems that my hormones are still imbalance. In worst case scenario, it could lead to renal failure.

So, it seems like I have to do more hospital run after this. Fun! NOT.
Oh well, better now than if it was too late, eh?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Good News at The End of The Year

Today is the last day of Islamic/Javanese calendar. Some people would do certain ritual tonight to start the new year in a 'better' way, cleaning up the old habits.

Well, after being busy and sick as of late, finally I went to see Harry Potter followed by dinner after work. I got home to 2 great news. One of them was courtesy of Colson and his family. The best Sinterklaas gift. Thank you so much. The next one was about this short trip in January, which could lead to another trip. I feel like dancing now..

A great start of the new year, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saudi's Women

I want all Indonesian women who want to have Shariah implemented in Indonesia to read this article. Seriously, I dont get why Saudi has a seat in the United Nations Women's Rights Council, their track record of Women's rights is preposterous.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Moment of Truth

When a guy tells you he's an asshole, believe him. He's telling the truth.

Resolution

Colson reminded me about Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet and what they are going to do to those who are naughty. Zwarte Piet scolded you then take you to Spain. SPAIN! Just think about things you could do in Spain when Piet scolded you. I need to work on my naughtiness so they take me to Spain. So I can be in Barcelona again, be in places Gaudi touched, be in places that inspired Miro, Picasso & Dali. Not to forget: dancing Flamenco again.


That's it: I'm taking up Spanish again next year, besides there's a chance I'm dealing with Spanish company next year.

Being Appreciated

My friend's Facebook status was:

@ Marioteguhquote: If you are not appreciated where you served at this time, allow your heart to hurt a little, but still be the best.

I'd say look elsewhere where you are being appreciated. You work hard but the boss doesnt appreciate that, perhaps a new boss will help you excel even more, because you'll work much better and happier if the boss appreciate your effort.

Life is too short to be surrounded by people who don't appreciate who you are and what you do.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Reminder for Foreigners

When you visit Asia, especially in Indonesia, dont forget to bring small souvenirs to save yourself from embarrassment. More importantly when you are visiting an institution. They will give you souvenir. If you dont have one with you, dont tell me that I didnt warn you.


Dont be arrogant & know-it-all just because you are from the developed country. People can make your life miserable because of it. They can make up special rules for you.






Friday, December 03, 2010

SBY VS Sultan of Jogja: Apple won


We knew that Putin has one. During the eruption of that unpronounceable volcano in Iceland, Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian PM used one to govern his country from the US while being stranded.

Our president and Sultan of Jogja have a disagreement about the head of Jogjakarta province. For days, the media covered with it. The way I see it, it's all about money. What else matter in this land? It always comes down to it.

What interesting is, Apple is the winner of the battle.


SBY has been known of using IPAD for his speeches. So far, the famous logo was hidden from the camera. Then SBY made a speech on the situation with Sultan. It was more prominent than the Garuda, our national emblem.

You see, SBY need to invest in teleprompter just like Obama to avoid something like this to happen. If he still wants to use his Ipad, he'd better concealed the logo.

In the meantime, with a free advert like this for Apple, does it mean Indonesian get discount for Ipad?

Korean Drama

No, I am not going to talk about what happen between South and North Korea at the moment. It's too depressing.

Some of my friends are into Korean drama/telenovela. Never caught the bug myself, tho. I found out the surge of Indonesian students in South Korea is partly due to their exposure to this drama. They fell in love with Korean sceneries and people, and from there they decided to study in Korea.

I touched about this phenomena during our lunch the other day, as a way of introducing other culture to Indonesians. It's probably cheaper than having a tourism fair/cultural night to get wider audience.

As I was lounging in front of the telly this afternoon, my cousin & maid were watching one of Korean Dramas. I have no idea which one, it's about a boy and a girl who likes each other but trying to conceal their feeling. Old story. The guy is cute, too pretty actually. The girl is very cute. I didnt see any scenery tho. They shoot everything indoor in this one.

As it is in Korean, we have to read the subtitles. However, the subtitle is terrible. It's in pidgin Bahasa Indonesia. I think they use some machine to translate the whole thing. It's cheap to do that, but most of the time you cant understand the translated part. The grammar is mostly completely wrong, that it made absolutely no sense why they even bother reading the subtitle.

I wonder, if watching too much of Korean Drama with awful subtitle can in the long run ruin your command of proper Bahasa Indonesia.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Circus in Town

They finally arrived last Tuesday. Had I not been bed ridden, I'd have joined the dinner that night. The next day, in the front of the hotel there was a demonstration of women in black/white jilbab carrying Arabic banner demanding sharia law. Gosh, I wish I was rich enough to give those ladies one way ticket to middle east or at least to Aceh. What a welcome to those who've never been to Indonesia before.

The 1st meeting didnt go as well as I thought it would be. Too abstract, too much unimportant information about some trees. I dont get it. This is the opportunity to talk about cooperation and the guy talked on and on about some stupid trees. What a waste of time. Plus, the one who really had prepared for the meeting didnt get the chance to talk. That's how most Indonesian bosses are. Sad, but it's the reality.

Had a great dinner by the pool & there was an impressive presentation by this high school kid. Later on I overheard my boss telling his wife that a member of the delegation told him that I was very sexy. I still dont know how to take that. Ok, normally I go to work in a pair of trousers and a blouse, long sleeves, covered up with a wee bit of make up. I make more effort when I have to meet a client. Last night, still feeling under the weather, I put on a moss green knee-length dress with a matching crop cardigan and some make up. I showered and got ready in less than 30 minutes because I needed to prepare everything to the last details.

The ladies said I looked great. I can take 'great'. The guy who helped me at the executive lounge said I looked gorgeous. I can take 'gorgeous' any time. But 'very sexy' from a client to my boss. I dont know what to think. Until I figure it out, note to self: stay away from dresses. Anyway, I am back to the usual uniform of trousers & blouse today.

Both of our today's meetings went well. It was more concrete, and by the look of it, my client's objective can be reached just by this visit. The bosses are very pleased. Fingers crossed come end Q1 2011, that thing I've been praying for would materialized.

Despite the excruciating pain I had last night, I really enjoyed the circus in town. It's worth the pain.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Man

You give them an inch, they will take a mile..

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reactions

I told several people about my being bed rest, and here are their reactions:
Boss: Mati aku... (I'm dead)
Colleague: I heard you are sick, get well soon, what can I do to help preparing for Wednesday?
Uncle: Wait, what about Wednesday?
Vice Dean: How could you and your uncle get sick at the same time? What about Wednesday?
An Auntie: Stay put in bed, dont go any where, not even for your big meeting on Wednesday. Your health is your priority!
Brother: Yeee...
A friend: .... [then change the topic]
Another Uncle: Oh, it's nothing, you can go on Wednesday, just take your meds.

The maid is missing in action that even screaming calling her name didnt work and I have to go to my niece's room asking her to get the maid upstairs in her room because the water dispenser is almost empty. So much for bed rest.

Meanwhile, I have my computer, books and dictionaries on my bed; bottles of water, meds, phones, cookies & chocolate next to my bed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You

Each time I see a rainbow, I remember you
Each time I see a full moon, I remember you
Each time I am in an elevator, I remember you
If only I could wrapped you, you, and you into one.

Then perhaps I'd have found my home.

Not Again..

The doc told me to bed rest for several days. As if I can do that. Well, I am on my bed, working & blogging. Does that count? I hope it does.


I've been taking my antibiotics, anti nausea, paracetamol, vitamin, and even worms. Yupe, I'm willing to eat dried worms to fight these aliens invasion of my body.

After seeing the doctor, I asked the Satpam to help me getting a taxi. He asked,"For the patient?" to which I replied, "I am the patient." I cant blame him, I went by myself to the doc. I've noticed Indonesian tend to bring the whole bunch of people to see a doc. Plus, they look like a mess. I always made a point of putting on some make-up each time I go to hospital and when I have to go somewhere eventho I was sick/in pain (even more than going to the office). Because if I didnt, I would feel even worse about going outside. You know, crappy inside and outside. The bad side is, people then thought I was just wanting the attention because I dont look sick. U used to say, "I thought you said you are in pain, but you look good."

Ok, it's almost midnight, better get some shut eyes...
and do the rest of the work tomorrow.. from bed. Hah!

Thunders

I'm trying to sleep to conserve little energy I have left. There has been thunder upon thunder for the last 30minutes. It rains a bit, diagonally. I hope it'll stop by the time I have to do hospital run.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Baby Sitting

Mom is away, and she asked my cousin and her daughter to accompany me at home. Well, more to accompany my maid actually, cause mom doesnt like the idea she is home alone all day. So far, it is more like I baby sit my niece, and sometimes that including her friends.


I was thinking about staying over at my other cousin's place tomorrow night, until I remember...
I have to baby sit since my cousin who supposed to accompany me, left out of town without notice this morning until next Monday!

Grr... there goes my night of dancing.

Man, I have only one free night this week before the circus arrive next week, and I have to baby sit. Thank you. Seriously!

Verrek Zeg!

Tante O visited me this morning, and we talked heart to heart. Before the Japanese occupation, when she was less than 6 year old, Tante O used to speak Dutch with my grandparents. During and after the occupation, Dutch language was in verboden in our house because my grandfather was part of the troops. Growing up sometimes I heard my grandparents talked in Dutch between themselves.


We were talking about her ex when Tante O suddenly said, "verrek zeg!" about something. I couldnt help but to burst laughing. It's been ages since I heard that sentence. I've never expected to hear it from her! I think she still remember enough Dutch, to understand simple sentences. So I started using Dutch here and there with her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Learning By Doing

I used to built my own PC. An ex taught me how to do it. Now I am teaching my niece. There are parts that she'd never seen before. Kinda weird, considering we are just rebuilding old PC by merging working components of two PCs.






Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a Weekend

I spent this weekend: studying, working and on the phone. With full moon, hormone, blackouts (sadly electrical, not alcoholical), bad quality of sleep, and stress combine, I was in emotional roller coaster.


Gosh I'm such a tired, nerdy, werewolf.
Cant wait for the end of this year...

Taxi!

I take busways, sorry Trans Jakarta or taxis daily as I refuse to drive for the sake of my sanity. Driving giving me a nervous breakdown. I know all bule have been brainwashed into taking Blue Bird or if no other choice: Express.


From my experience, I'd rather not taking Blue Bird. First, it is more expensive. Second, most of the times I took Blue Bird, the driver had only vague idea on how to get to my destination because chances are they are just started driving a cab for several months. Therefore I try not to take Blue Bird because put two and two together, it'll be an expensive trip. Thank you very much.

My favorite taxi during any traffic jam is Transcab. Yes, John, I heard you snickering. Listen, it's cheap, the drivers are experienced and polite, plus it has a decent tv. The down side is, there are only a few hundreds Transcab in Jakarta.

Another favorite is Cipaganti with it's loud red paint job. Again, it's cheap, the drivers know Jakarta well and each has build-in mobile phone/laptop charger unit (but you still need your cables). The down side is its tv is karaoke only, well it can also be an up side for you.

I've been having interesting chat with Gamya's drivers lately. Some used to work for Banks, others worked for insurance companies. They know their way, and the car is clean inside and out. Since one of their pool is near my place, it's easy getting them. The down side is, most of the time they dont have enough change for a Rp. 100K, because most of the time I was their first client of the day.

If any of the above three cabs arent available (which is sadly more often than not), I take Express. Although their drivers are knowledgeable, most of the time their white lining is dirty and every now and then I see cockroach crawling.

Only when I am desperate I take other cabs such as Taxiku, but I steer clear of Kosti no matter what.

So, there you go, my take on Jakarta's taxis.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Want To Tell You About My Feelings

A good animation by Mamoru Itoh who superbly explained the different ways of communicating to children. It reminds me of Deborah Tannen's book.

Hat tip to Kiki by way of Yudi.

An Awesome World

I love an awesome book and an awesome book of thanks!, I think they are really awesome. Love the color, love the message, love the drawing. Probably I will print some of their pages for the kids at the free library next Friday.

Hat tip: Yudi

Today's Articles

There is an article on Jakarta Globe on @, I wrote about it back in 2004. It says that in Dutch it is called Apeklootje, monkey's testicle. I googled it up, and as early as 2000, someone wrote about Apeklootje.


I've never heard anyone called it that way in NL. To my recollection, even in 1995 they called it Apestaartje, monkey's tail. I recalled back then some people in Indonesia called it konde, a sort of chignon, which I never heard it again these days.

There is also an article of this girl who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder making her wheelchair-bound. I can only imagine her difficulties moving around in Jakarta/Indonesia. Even for normal pedestrian it is not easy to walk around Jakarta, the side walk is not always available (hawkers, manholes and motorcycles are hijacking it). Public buildings are not always equip with ramps or toilets for people on wheelchairs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sumiati and her friends

Nowadays it's not easy finding a maid in Jakarta, sometimes you have to pay a lot for getting them from the supplier and it is not guarantee that the maid is going to stay with you. It is because most prefer going abroad and work there for a much bigger salary.


One of the destinations is Saudi Arabia. They say the money is good. The down side is they work a very long hours, most of the time they are not allowed to sleep before the employers go to bed, which can be in the wee hour. If you are unlucky, you ended up impregnanted by your employer or a member of their family, or getting beat up just like Sumiati.

As it is a big business with a lot of stakes, job seekers begged and borrowed money to pay the agent a lot of money to be send abroad. Sometimes while they are waiting for their departure, they sleep with people from the agency. I heard about this from my neighbors because there are plenty of such boarding houses for them near my place. A good agency teaches these people some basic foreign language, how to work in foreign places, basic things like that. But I guess, if one pays a lot more than the rest, they can go abroad without those knowledge, as in the case of Sumiati.

In Singapore they need to pass an exam to be able to work as a maid over there. I heard this from this girl I met last year at the airport, she was sent back because she failed the test twice and nobody picked her up. I heard from an ex foreign worker I met in NL that normally an agency keep her first 9 months' salary as a payment for the training, administration fee, immigration fee, and her flight. When she worked in Singapore, after 3 months the employer turned her over to the agency, and since she couldnt get a new employer afterwards, for months she stayed in a boarding house own by the agency in Singapore and was only fed porridge once a day until they sent her back to Indonesia. She later on went to work in Hongkong and Japan where she had lovely families to work for, before working for an ambassador family in NL. Her sisters at that time were in Japan and Hongkong also working as maids.

I cant blame them for wanting to work abroad, but I wish the government give them more protection and standing up for them abroad. It's been said that Indonesia is going to stop sending its workers to Saudi Arabia because there have been plenty of documented abuse on foreign workers in that land. I think it's about time the government acts this way.

When I was in Lampung, I visited many villages where a lot of their women are abroad working as a maid. They send home money to renovate their house, send their kids to school, or buy a plot of land. I also noticed that the men were just living off what their wives send. Some even have the audacity to take another wife or girlfriend because their wives are away too long!

Currently at Soekarno Hatta they separate the terminal for foreign workers from the 'normal travelers'. I heard stories how some low lives would ask them for money one way or another. The seasoned workers would send most of their money via bank to anticipate these practices.

These women want to improve their lives, but so many people around them act like vultures trying to get something out of them. I hope things improve soon enough for them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sacrifice

For some Indonesian Moslems, just as for those who are in the Saudi Arabia, today is the Eid-ul Adha, Festival of sacrifice. Indonesian government rules that according to their calculation, the celebration is not until tomorrow. Since some of our experts and staffs celebrate it today, our office decided that today is also a day off.


I've been thinking about the ritual of Eid-ul Adha. To the best of my knowledge, according to the teaching, those who can afford it sacrifice (at least) a goat or a cow. Later, I heard these animals would be our vehicle in after life. I dont know about that. I know that it's to commemorate Abraham's act of sacrificing his son, Isaac according to the Judaism and Christianity and Ishmael according to Islam.

What I perceive from the story, we need to learn to be ikhlas, sincere, with what we are giving. I dont think it's about the goat or the cow, but more about our heart. With disasters all over Indonesia, I thought instead of buying a goat the money is much better spend on helping the victims. I think Islamic scholar Quraish Shihab even said that making sacrifice is recommended. Meanwhile helping people who desperately in need in this disaster is an obligation. However, plenty people still think that making sacrifice is more important. Perhaps they still need their vehicle in after life. Each for their own. I was talking about it with an aunt, she commented that if all those goats and cows are donated instead of being slaughtered, it helps the victims to rebuild their lives. True.

The difference between slaughtering an animal and helping the disaster victims is the giver has the right to one third of the meat and he/she can give the rest to their friends/family or those who are asking for it. When we give to the disaster victims we give it all to them, and we are giving it to those who are really needed. Since I'm still living in this world, I think I know what is more important to me at this moment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Have Female Brain Now

Years ago I did BBC's brain test before, and the result was I had a male brain. Today I tried it again and these are my results:
Part 1
Angles:
This task tested your ability to identify the angle of a line by matching it with its twin. This is a spatial task, which looks at how you picture space.
Your score: 16 out of 20
Average score for men: 15.1 out of 20
Average score for women: 13.3 out of 20
If you scored 13 - 17: You found this test neither hard nor easy. This suggests your brain has male and female traits when it comes to spatial ability.

Spot the difference:
This task tested your ability to identify which objects changed position. You lost points, if you incorrectly identified objects.
Your score: 93%
Average score for men: 39%
Average score for women: 46%
If you scored between 67 - 100%: Those with a female-type brain generally score in this range. Your ability to remember where objects are may serve as an advantage to you when you're trying to find your way around places. You're more capable of recalling landmarks to get from one place to another.

-> Ok, my mom and I are good in reading maps, and dont tend to get lost, unlike some GUYS I know. You know who you are. So how come people say that women cant read maps?

Part 2
Hands
You said your left thumb was on top when you clasped your hands together.
Left thumb on top: This suggests the right half of your brain is dominant. Some studies theorise that as a right brain dominant person, you may excel in visual, spatial and intuitive processes.


Emotions and systems
This task looked at whether you prefer to empathise or systemise.

Empathising
Your empathy score is: 7 out of 20
Average score for men: 7.9 out of 20
Average score for women: 10.6 out of 20

Systemising
Your systemising score is: 19 out of 20
Average score for men: 12.5 out of 20
Average score for women: 8.0 out of 20

Systemisers prefer to investigate how systems work. A system can be a road map, flat pack furniture, or a mathematical equation – anything that follows a set of rules. A score of 15 and above suggests you're good at analysing or building systems. Men in general are better at systemising.


Eyes
This task tested your ability to judge people's emotions.
Your score: 7 out of 10
Average score for men: 6.6 out of 10
Average score for women: 6.6 out of 10
If you scored 7 - 10: Your result suggests you are a good empathiser, sensitive to other people's emotions. Women generally fall into this category.

-> I'm visual. Apparently face to face I am more sensitive to other people's emotions. It's funny that I can match the eyes to the emotion better than the whole face to the emotion in another test I did for autism/asperger.

Part 4
Fingers
We asked you to measure your ring and index fingers. Your ratios came to:
Right Hand: 1.04
Left Hand: 1.04

Average ratio for men: 0.982
Average ratio for women: 0.991
It's thought that your ratio is governed by the amount of testosterone you were exposed to in your mother's womb. The ratio of the length of your index finger to the length of your ring finger is set for life by as early as three months after conception. Even during puberty, when we experience intensive hormonal changes, the ratio stays the same.

Men generally have a ring finger that is longer than their index finger, which gives them a lower ratio than women, whose ring and index fingers are usually of equal length.

-> With that ratio, I'm a freak of nature. Then again, it's nothing new.

Part 5
Faces
This task looked at how you rate the attractiveness of a series of faces. The images you looked at were digitally altered to create slight differences in masculinity.
Your choices suggest you prefer more masculine faces.
Interestingly, women's preferences are said to vary across the menstrual phase. A more masculine face is preferred during the 9 days prior to ovulation, when conception is most likely.

-> I am not ovulating and prefer the brain actually.

Part 6
3D Shapes
This task tested your ability to mentally rotate 3D shapes.
Your score: 10 out of 12 

Average score for men: 8.2 out of 12

Average score for women: 7.1 out of 12
If you scored 10 - 12: Are you an engineer or do you have a science background? People with these skills tend to score in this range. Past studies have concluded that people in this range have a more male brain.

Words
This task looked at your verbal fluency.
Your score: you associated 7 word(s) with grey and you named 7 word(s) that mean happy. We are assuming that all the words you entered are correct.
Average score for men: 11.4 words total
Average score for women: 12.4 words total
If you produced 6 - 10 words: Most people in this range have a female-type brain.
Women are said to use both sides of the brain when doing verbal tasks while men mainly use their left side. Studies have shown that girls develop vocabulary faster than boys. This difference in brain power is caused by levels of pre-natal testosterone.

Ultimatum
This task asked you how you would divide money.
If you had to split £50 with someone, you said you would demand £25
So far on the Sex ID test, men have demanded 51.6% (£25.80) of the pot and women have demanded 51.0% (£25.50), on average.
Scientists believe that people with lower testosterone levels tend to take fewer risks so they are probably more willing to keep less for themselves. Those with higher testosterone levels tend to drive a harder bargain and are less compromising.

The new result suggests that I have a female, almost balance with male brain. I demand less than average and tongue-tied about it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's not Easy Doing Good

I was discussing with pak RT about hosting a children library in the neighborhood the other day. I've been wanting to start this project and luckily he supports my idea. Most of people in the neighborhood are not well off and reading is not their priority. I would love to see that change, one kid at the time.


I know even if we dont charge them anything, chances are the interest wont be that high. In order to instill reading habit, it must be a free library, meaning we need sponsors. This is where potential problems rise. I'm not concern about not finding any sponsors. I'm more concern about close-minded people in the neighborhood who will object the scheme. Mind you, indigenous people of this neighborhood are mostly only having a secondary level of education and rather religious. I wont be surprise if some Imam would object the library and branded it as part of proselytize movement. It happened before in other area that utilizing the same scheme for its free library.

Proselytizing is a big deal in this neck of the woods. One word of it and parents wont let kids coming to the library. Therefore, pak RT is lobbying the imam and we are planning to use the community hall, located opposite the musholla, to house it twice a week.

Should every things run smoothly, we are hoping to start our library next week with about 300 books. Wish us luck:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

More HD than HD

This is why I love visiting museum.

Obama Visit

Surprise, surprise, Obama finally visited Indonesia. He cut short his trip into less than 24 hours. Officially it is said that it was due to Mount Merapi ashes, but I think it was because Obama didnt want to report his stay after 24 hours to Pak RT (neighbourhood chief) as regulated in Indonesia.

Another surprise and lesson learned was Megawati's attendance at the state dinner. She hasnt been seen at the Palace ever since SBY took office in 2004. Then the Palace cooked Bakso and Nasi Goreng for a State Dinner, and there she was sitting pretty at the top table. Note to self: serve Bakso and Nasi Goreng when inviting Mega.

Obama delivered a good speech the other day at the University of Indonesia. He talked about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, unity in diversity, which is similar to American's E pluribus unum. It's ironic that a foreigner talked about and praising something that even Indonesian students nowadays dont really learn about. I have this feeling that these days, Indonesians see themselves more as part of certain religion or tribe or even sect instead of Indonesian first.

Another thing that I noticed, Obama used Bahasa Indonesia sentences in his speech. More and more Indonesian children these days have trouble speaking Bahasa Indonesia because they use mostly English in their daily lives. I have yet to find any expert to comment on this matter in Indonesian media after Obama's speech.

While a lot of people complained about the road blockages while Obama was here, I would love to have him all the time. There were actually less traffic on the road because everyone expecting a huge traffic jams. I was also praying hard that it was flooded around his hotel area so that Foke finally does something real about flooding in Big Durian.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ketelbinkie-Frans van Schaik

I remember being taught this song on a boat along the river Maas in my other life by 3 Corpsballen

Merapi in Pictures

Great pics. Reading this article makes me worry.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Merapi

As soon as I met my cousin who lives in Jogja, we talked about Merapi, scientifically and metaphysically. How vulcanologists baffled by Merapi's behaviour which is not according to it's pattern and how some paranormals predicted about Merapi would split Java. He told me about people were waiting for a bigger eruption today/tomorrow. By midnight, we started receiving texts and calls from Jogja.

Merapi erupted again. Bigger than yesterday.

With the new development, my cousin's place is becoming a refugee camp for his friends. There was sand shower. According to the news, the last eruption was 8km high. My heart goes out for those affected.

ps: I read somewhere that the ash cloud could reach Jakarta, at the moment it's already reaching Ciamis. It reminds me of Galunggung eruption back in the 80's (which I think was not as big as last night's eruption). We lived about 800km away from it, but almost the whole period of its eruption my brother and I were coughing for months that my dad thought we had whooping cough. Just realized, I started to cough yesterday, perhaps the ash is already reaching Jakarta. Better stock up with some masks

Kicking Myself

I havent been taking any pictures for sometimes. I thought I was going to take pictures of my cousin's labour, but she didnt call me before the baby is born. Tonight, I had a chance to take some pictures. So, this morning before I left for the office, I just took my camera with me. By the time I checked it at the office, turned out the battery is empty. Man, I am still kicking myself for that!

There were: Rumingkang, Funky Papua, Didi Nini Thowok, Glenn, Idol Divo and Anggun. Plus, I got backstage pass!

Oh well.. let's hope I can make up for that on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Right-Wrong



I heart Calvin & Hobbes

Earthquake and Durian

Apparently indigenous people of Mentawai doesnt have a word for Tsunami. As they are living in the middle of the island or in the banks of rivers, they dont have the concept of tsunami. They have a word for an earthquake, which is Sigeguegue. In their culture, when there's an earthquake, they are taught to take a refuge under the banana tree. They also believe, when a sigeguegue happens in the morning, which they call it sipananduk, the durian season is coming. When an earthquake happens in the afternoon, it's time for them to look for induat, a type of fungi.

The closest thing to tsunami for them is oju, it's when the river's flooding from the direction of the estuary.

Since those who lives/d in the coast of Mentawai are non-indigenous people of Mentawai, it isnt a wonder that Mentawai people oppose the notion of relocating that is mentioned by Marzuki Alie after the tsunami.

Monday, November 01, 2010

McClintock Effect

I got home to my cousin complaining about me to my mom. I was laughing so hard while she did that. The reason of her complain was my period affecting hers. Seriously.

The last time she visited us, I told her I had period cramp. That day she was already complaining about me telling her that, because every time I mention to her I have my period (I dont even have to see her in person), she immediately gets her period that same day or the next day. I am not kidding. It happens all the time, even though we have different cycle (different starting date and length of cycle), so I caused her having two periods in a month. This time, as I found out tonight, her daughter who was skeptical about it was also affected, as she had her period as soon as they got home. Apparently I'm like a magnet for periods.

I guess we are going to have synchronize periods when they are staying with me starting next week. *grin*

This is not the first time something like thing happened. Back in NL it was me who was affected by my flatmate Sisca's cycle. Not as severe as my cousin's tho, it took several months to get our period synchronized to Sisca's cycle. I also remember working at an office with 90% of the employees were women, our cycle were only days apart. Imagine the bitchiness during PMS period.

This synchronization of women who live together is known as McClintock effect.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Serahkan pada Ahlinya..

And you've been Foked! [We have a new swearing word: FOKE.]


During his campaign for Jakarta governor, Fauzi Bowo's, nicknamed Foke, tagline was "Serahkan pada Ahlinya" or Leave it to the expert. At that time Foke said he was an expert in tackling floods and traffic jams. Judging by last night, he probably is an expert of creating floods, there are new area of flooding. Despite the new flood canals, we still have problems during rain. Even Sudirman, Kuningan, and Thamrin business area experienced flooding last night. I heard at the Energy building near my office, was flooded about 1 meter high last night. Some cars at our parking lot were underwater. A guy in our office said in 5 years he's been working in the same building, last night was the worst ever. A lot of people opted not to go home, some brave the rain and flood and got home after 4, 5, 6 hours on the road. Some friends of mine were stranded and slept in their car between their home and office. A friend joked that Foke managed to create the biggest Waterboom creational park and parking lot in the world, and last night was its soft-opening.

I dont think I saw/heard Foke last night on telly. Where was Foke? However, today he said the flood happened due to extreme weather. Right, blame the nature. There's nature and there's nurture. Let me give you example of the street I live in. the street is practically divided between two neighborhood. Our neighborhood chief (Pak RT) has a routine gutters cleaning program, the other pak RT doesnt. Even during dry season their gutters are clogged, blackened, and almost always full to the brims. Last night, as soon as we crossed the invisible divider between our neighborhoods you saw that our area didnt experience flooding, while they did. That's nurture, not nature.

We could do a lot ourselves to curb the flooding problem by throwing our trashes to its place, clean our gutter regularly, stop covering our space with cement or asphalt. Small things but we can start it in our own lives at home and in the office.

It's ironic, to think that after living for years several meters below the sea level in NL, I experienced flooding while living above the sea level! Where are the Dutch when you need them?

Monday, October 25, 2010

When It Rains, It floods

I just got out of the building when the first rain drops fell. Armed with my umbrella, I scurried to across the street and hailed a cab. I wanted a Transcab, but I got Express taxi instead. So, there's no tv along the way. It was stormy, I was glad I took the cab instead of the busway.


It took us about an hour from the office, because the visibility sometimes limited, and some part of the roads were/are flooded. I could get to our place from the usual route, due to traffic jammed, so I told the cab to take the longer route. Not a good idea.

The cab almost broke down, because of the flooding near the back of our place. It is a known problem in the area that the neighborhood chief of that area doesnt care about his area's problem (bad drainage, etc). As soon as we crossed to my neighborhood, there was no flooding. It took only an hour of hard rain, that it started to flood to about 40cm deep. So, by this time-3 hours later, I guess the flood is much deeper than that.

I pity those who are still trap in the traffic jams, and those whose houses are flooded.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

English vs Bahasa Indonesia in Daily Life

Back in NL I used to mixed languages while talking to my Indonesian friends: English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia. As I moved back to Indonesia, I consciously curb that habit, and do my best in speaking in 1 language in a full sentence. In the beginning sometimes it came out hilarious for Indonesian ears, because I just did foreignization of words that I forgot. Soon, I get the hang of it. In fact, one day one of my bosses said that there was this new gal who had difficulty speaking Bahasa Indonesia and spoke in British English. Being curious, he asked if she just returned from abroad, guess what? She never left the country! When he told me the story he commented how judging from my long stay abroad, it should've been me who had problem with Bahasa Indonesia and not that gal. However, I've noticed more and more young Indonesians have problem speaking Bahasa Indonesia. Some of my nieces and nephews are bilingual, they are mostly more fluent in English than in Bahasa Indonesia. It wasnt such a problem if they live abroad, but some live in Indonesia. Just like the children in the New York Times article.


However, the problem of butchering both English and Bahasa Indonesia is plaguing Indonesian young and old. Even on a newspaper such as Kompas, which most regard as a reference in term of usage of Bahasa Indonesia, I found mistakes in its writing. Television is even worse. Most of tv reporters cant even make a good logical sentence in Bahasa Indonesia during a live coverage. Celebrities and comedians didnt help either.

Perhaps we all need to re-learn how to speak Bahasa Indonesia properly, not merely the colloquial one. Perhaps I should start writing in Bahasa Indonesia again, but then who would read it, since my loyal commentator cant speak Bahasa Indonesia and people only interested to read my post in Bahasa Indonesia about how to measure your bra correctly.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cuteness

I found this link of old pics. Cute pictures of tiny superheroes. Growing up I dont think I had the superhero thing going, plus we dont have Halloween, we only dress up for Kartini day and Independence day but it also means wearing traditional attires or some old pejoeang uniform.


Hmm.. better tell A that she should dress baby K as Buttercup:)

Reverse Role

Mom & I on Saturdays (and Sundays), except she'd be like Calvin.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Croc Crashed an Aeroplane

A bizarre story. I guess it didnt take as long as that movie about snake in the plane.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

20102010

"Hahaha, I didnt get the Oz thing, did you?" that text woke me up this morning. I turned on the Net, logged in to my email account and saw an email subject started with "IMPORTANT". In the third paragraph, I read "I regret to...", not bother reading the whole thing, I texted back: "Neither did I hahahaha". Ms. T. urged me last month to apply for this course in Politics, which I wasnt sure about because had I gotten the place, I would have missed my last class and I have an exam due the day upon arriving back in Jakarta. She said I got nothing to lose, so why not applying. True. So I did.


I went to Permata Bank to pay for mom's visa application, and tried to get information on my dad's account problem at their other branch. The Atrium-branch's customer service manager helped us sealed a deal with that problematic branch about my dad's account.

After calling my uncle about mom's appointment rescheduling problem at the US embassy, I tried calling the embassy and was told that they just opened new slots in October, so I could try to use that option first, and I managed to get it rescheduled from Nov 16th to Oct 27th. Fingers crossed, she gets her visa and can go on Nov 7th to support my cousin whose husband is getting a stem cell procedure for his cancer.

And I read this article: interesting.

Definitely not a bad day:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bitte Bitte Bitte..

I've been working on something I really care and love. So far, it seems every thing is going on pretty well, my proposal was accepted with some fantastic options. I am waiting for it to materialize, which starts around the end of 2011-Q1. I wish to g_d that nothing will jeopardized this project, because the best part about this project is it'll change some people's lives.


Please, please, please let it happens, not for my sake, but for those people's lives.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Small Things

A taxi driver told me his experience in Europe followed by trying to introduce me to his Italian friend. He then promised me he's praying that I'll ended up with a European, so I can 'improve my offsprings" and have a romantic husband, whatever that means.


---

A bloke thought I was 10 years younger and still couldnt believe that I told him the truth. He put it in good genes and being Asian. He also thought my English is about 97% perfect, I think he was too generous with that one.

---

That printer problem I had on the 13th made my boss scared the next day because when all computers were still off, the printer printed out my file, twice!

---

Although it's nothing compare to O'pazzo in NL, Pepenero pizza is decent enough plus it's practically next door.

Wayang is the Next Victim of Fanatics

The absurdity of the fanatical moslem in Indonesia is beyond me. I've noticed it years ago that more and more Indonesian moslem who view themselves as Moslem first, Indonesian (or whatever tribe they are part of) second. What ever seemingly Islamic or Arabic is deemed great. Abaya is more beautiful than kebaya, Kebob and dates are better than Kolak and Durian, Arabic language is the language of heaven because the Koran is in Arabic, and the list goes and on and on. Some women even support the Taliban! You get the idea.


I applaud who ever managed to brainwash all these people into thinking this way. I would love to know how they did that. I know most of their followers have had little education and mostly are not earning enough, although the ignorance people are not limited to this group.

It pains me to read that these people attack the Shadow puppet show, our own cultural heritage! How could this be happening? I remember learning how in the early days of Islam in Java, the 'wali songo missionarists' used Shadow puppet to spread the religion. If it's not for Shadow Puppet, we might be still mostly hindu or buddhist now.

The other disturbing thing is, non English Indonesian Media didnt report this incidents.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

13

I've never believe 13 is an unlucky number. That being said, yesterday was not exactly a lucky day. I woke up with my Internet down while I had to send out assignment before 9 AM. My first "solo" meeting got last minute rescheduling, later on I deleted his number by accident. I had trouble printing all day, for some reason the printer refused cooperate each time I needed to print but not with the others, the same goes with printing at the digital printing shop. I tried calling my mom with no luck, by the time she called me up I was already home and she was having dinner in Plaza Senayan which was not that far from my office. After waiting for ages my Busway had no Airco. Since my internet was still down when I got home, I lost a side-job offering. When the technician came around, his verdict was modem failure. I looked for my old modem, and I found out someone nicked it along with my external hard drive, pen tablet, and dial-up modem (I put them all in one box).


I woke up this morning, and my modem works again. I hope things get better today, and my meeting wont get rescheduled again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If I Were a Rich Man

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Screwed Up

That's it. It's confirmed.
I screwed up.
Big time.
I blame myself for everything.
Sorry.
So sorry.
So very sorry.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SBY & Kort Geding (Interlocutary Process)

SBY cancelled his trip due to an interlocutary process, kort geding, in Dutch court. Last Thursay he even cited saying that the Dutch court handled the case unethically in setting a hearing for the day after it was filed.

In a Kort geding, it is very normal to have a hearing the day after it was filed, because as the name suggested, it's a speedy court process, to settle urgent matters, such as to end a strike or to have decision regarding patient's medical needs. As it happens, it can take place even on Sunday when needed, and it can also take place outside the court house. Most of the time the judge can immediately give his ruling.

Indonesian Law is based on Dutch Law, but we dont have a similar procedure as a kort geding. That's I think why SBY was missing the point. He and his crew saw it as a normal process such as the one in Indonesia. They are too preoccupied with their Indonesian way of thinking and dealing, and they oversight that it was about Dutch Law, which had similar background but have been evolving and maturing more than Indonesian Law.

Seriously, SBY needs to surround himself with people who are knowledgeable, not just yes-men or some parties members of the coalition. He needed to have at least someone who know how to use wikipedia, because you can read at wiki what kind of animal kort geding is.

Blame the Dutch

I told you before that I've been bitchy lately. Last night my 'victim' was the cab driver. I dont remember how it started, but he started to invoke "Dutch legacy" in what ever degradation Indonesia is suffering at the moment. It's my peeve that Indonesian blame the Dutch for what ever going wrong in this place. I started to lecture him for a good 15 minutes about how such thinking is the mind of a still colonized person, if not nation. If we believe that we are free since 1945, start acting like a free person, improve what ever needed and move on!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Weird

I was at this conference in the last two days which had both foreign and local participants. Normally in NL I was considered as short being less than 1.70m, by Indonesian standard I am all right. However, during group photo, I stood behind because I was "tall". There were some Europeans ladies, but most of them were "Indonesian size".

During dinner last night it was obvious the separation of foreigners and locals. One table sat 80% foreigners, on the other sat 80% locals. Since I was there to get more Indonesian contacts I sat in the predominantly local table, next to a German lady and a Bulgarian guy. I knew most of Indonesian there were trying to get more contact with the foreigners, so I found it weird that they didnt use the dinner to network with them. Their lost, my gain, I'd say.

Oh, another thing: The waiters only offered wine to the foreigners. The German lady said,"they thought you dont drink, so they dont offer you any as to not offend you." Perhaps.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Whose Fault?

So, Indonesian President's trip to the Netherlands has been cancelled due to a law suit against him brought by RMS in The Netherlands. RMS asked the Dutch Government to arrest SBY for violations of human rights. Despite the reassurance from the Dutch government that SBY has Immunity during his visit, the president decided last minute to cancel his trip, citing that such law suit is an insult to Indonesia's dignity.

The next thing I knew, RMS's president declared that RMS won and they will sue the President every where he's going. I am very concern about this. This incident set a precedent for other separatist movements all over the world to follow suit. If SBY keeps doing this, he wont be able to visit any foreign countries. I am also concern that his gesture could be interpreted as him admitting that he did something wrong and he's afraid of getting arrested. By cancelling his trip, SBY gave RMS more power then they ever had against Indonesian government.

On the other hand, I understood that Indonesian government is upset someone in The Hague didnt lobby RMS enough to not filing the suit prior to SBY visit. For the Dutch the RMS is an insignificant matter, but it is a huge deal for Indonesia. I guess it's an oversight during the months of preparation for this visit.

Just now on the telly, Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Joko Suyanto said that the President wished that the trial process to run its course, so that there would be a clear court decision before he travels to the Netherlands. Apparently Indonesian government found it would've been a bad decision for the president to be in the Netherlands while the Dutch court is settling the law suit, especially if the court decision is not in favor of the President. Mr. Suyanto also mentioned that the government wants for the presidential visit to be conducive for the both countries. The law suit is deemed not conducive.

I guess the bottom line is they wanted to avoid bad PR, instead they created a worse one.

Seriously, for someone who is into image creation SBY has been making a lot of mistakes lately. I wonder who have been advising him.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Psychology, Virtual Money and Curbing Inflation

I know, I have to go back to work, but I have to share this story about Psychology, Virtual Money and Curbing Inflation.

It reminds me one of my prof did a study about media and recession. The more media talks about recession, the longer the recession lasts.

Scatter Brain

I've been pretty busy lately, although you might think otherwise judging by the number of my posts lately. I handled two, three things at the same time, running from one part of the city to the other. The bad thing about it is I dont have enough sleep, because of that my brain is pretty scattered and I can be really bitchy, or at least I would give you my nasty stare. Trust me, you dont want to be in the receiving end.

Being a scatter brain, I had a laugh this morning.

Two weeks ago one of my friend invited me to his wedding via Facebook. It's in Pamulang which I dont even know where it is other than somewhere far, far, away in the south. I emailed him and told him I couldnt make it because I have class on Saturday. His reply was: It's on Sunday.

Last Sunday, mom took the car to visit her ailing sister. I thought I had to take a cab all the way to Pamulang, but it started to rain. No, it was more like a huge storm. So I decided to stay at home and work. I was going to text him, but I thought with the wedding and honeymoon, I'd text him next week.

Imagine my surprise when I saw his Facebook status: D day-5. He wrote something about being excited to start a life together with his other half in 5 days. What? Didnt he get married two days ago? So I checked his invitation, and yes, the wedding is on next Sunday, not two days ago. I emailed him, and he was laughing.

Good thing this kind of thing so far didnt affect my job. Fingers crossed it wont.
Ok, I'm back to work

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cultural Values

Each time I hear some politician talked about 'our cultural values', I cringe. It seems with globalization, politicians all over the world are playing with the xenophobia in the society. In the West it's against Islam, in Indonesia it's against Western. I'm tired of it. The so-called 'our culture' in Indonesia is a mixed of different cultures, which also come with different values. The notion of our cultural values are better than those of the West, is rubbish. Just as with every things, there are positive and negative. Not every single things Indonesian is good, just as not every single things Western is good.

How about learn the good thing from each other,and leave (what you think as) the bad behind.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Chop Chop!

Hans Teeuwen on respecting women

Friday, October 01, 2010

Vitamin G

I know Hong from an ex, they were colleagues. We skype every now and then, he asked me about where to get things, for advice about health and Dutch thingy, I asked him about whatever I thought he might knew. In real life he's more quiet than online.

He just asked me what vitamin G was, because I wrote something about having some vitamin G. I told him it was Guinness. He replied,"grape?"

I found out that Indonesian is Guinness 6th biggest market in the world, which was rather surprising. I also found out according to this research, it has antioxidant and low dose of aspirin. I was surprised to read that in UK there was time when patients and blood donors were given Guinness as it was believed it was high on iron.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Awe of Dali

I was supposed to go to Jakarta Exchange Building this afternoon. To get into that building one needs to leave one's ID card. Before leaving my building, I looked for my ID card, and found none. Panic! I searched my bag, thought when the last time I used my ID card until I saw this visitor badge of Mayapada building.

Yes, I went to Mayapada Building last Saturday, that was when I had to leave my ID before going to this firm upstairs. Upon returning, I completely forgotten to get my ID back because I was in awe of this Salvador Dali's statue in the lobby. It's his "Homage to Newton" statue numbered 4 out of 4 according to its placard. The real deal.

The owner of the statue is Mr.Tahir, Mayapada's boss.

I was surprised to see a Dali in public in Jakarta. Most of the time works of famous artists are not shown in public in Jakarta because they are owned by private collectors. I've heard there are Indonesians who owns/owned a Monet, a Renoir, and artists in that caliber, but that Dali was the first that I knew openly shown.

If I'm not mistaken, in Singapore they also have Homage to Newton statue numbered 5 out of 8. From the look of it, it's the same series, I dont know why they put the one in Mayapada as 4/4 instead of 4/8, perhaps the great master changed his mind?

Anyhow, I have to go back to Mayapada tomorrow to get my ID card and stare at the statue again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sang Pencerah

We went to see Sang Pencerah tonight, because 1) today is the only day that we both were kinda free this week,2) the choice was between Sang Pencerah & The Experiment, I wasnt in the mood of watching something cruel.

It's a story based on Ahmad Dahlan's life, the founder of Muhammadiyah. In the beginning the pace was pretty fast, but later on it was a bit too slow, resulting in 112minutes of movie. Since the languages of the movie are Indonesian, Javanese, Dutch and Arabic, I missed a lot when they didnt translate the Arabic part, some of the actors spoke Javanese pretty fluently, while in most actors you'll hear the non-javanese accent. There were scenes in Dutch, I wished they trained the actors to speak their dialogues in Javanese accent or for those Eurasian in more Indo accent. As I watched it at Grand Indonesia, they screened it with English subtitle, however, most of the subtitles were missing, and when there were, it contained typos or translated wrongly.

In general I like the story line, there were a lot of critiques on Moslems and leaders, which resonant with our daily problems these days. I also learnt that according to Ahmad Dahlan in the movie Muhammadiyah is not a sect of Islam but only a social organization. I found it interesting as nowadays I had this feeling that Muhammadiyah is more like a sect, just as NU because people would say that they are Muhammadiyah or NU or Salafi, etc.

The movie told the struggle that Dahlan had because he challenged the traditional norm and practice which was a mixed between Hindu and Islam. He wanted to introduce modernity to Moslems at that time. Others who refused his teaching branded him as Kafir, infidel, partly because he used modern tools in spreading his teaching. He tried to correct the direction of prayer which was toward the west, something that was still practiced in parts of Indonesia to this day. In fact, only weeks ago the newspapers were full about this matter, that most of Indonesian mosques are facing the wrong direction. When he insisted on building his own musholla with the right direction, people burned it down. He then joined Boedi Oetomo before founding Muhammadiyah.

The release of this movie was coincidence with the inter religious problems in Indonesia. I hope it can be an inspiration about religious role in the society, religious freedom and pluralism.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Devide Et Impera

Every Indonesian knows what devide et impera means. It's been drilled into our brain for ever at school, when they talk about history and in moral Pancasila study. Divide and conquer.


At school I'd been told how Dutch used this devide et impera tactic to rule Indonesian for 350 years. Come to think of it, the Dutch didnt conquer us for 350 years. It took them about 300 years to conquer all Indonesia. They came in 1552 in Banten, and it wasnt until around 1907 that they conquered all Indonesia before leaving in 1942.

That being said, we saw Dutch involvement in some of the conflicts between Indonesian kingdoms or within kingdoms. I cant really blame the Dutch for doing that, it was their opportunity to gain some allies and power. I blame Indonesians who were/are power hungry and willing to sell their land/country.

Fast forward to the present time, as the Dutch are far far away. Devide et impera is still tangible in Indonesia. There are religious, ethnic, political conflicts all over the country. Years of brainwashing about the danger of devide et impera doesnt pay off. It's still easy to divide Indonesians. I guess the need for power is stronger than the need for achievement in Indonesia. Even in the lower rank you can really feel the need for power in all aspect of life. There are plenty incidents where it could've been simpler/better, but because of the need of power of the person in charge with it, it became difficult.

Back in 1928, our forefathers managed to put their differences aside, and worked together to gain independence. We need to follow their lead and put our differences and the need for power aside, work together to create a better Indonesia.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time

I am used to deal with people in the State and in Europe, that I almost make a mistake about sending a document to Australia. Until minutes ago I forgot that 9am in Australia means it's still 6am in Jakarta. For some reasons, I was thinking we are ahead of Australia.


Good that I realized it on time.
Now, I have to think of what to write in that document.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Only Virgin Can Have Education

During lunch this afternoon we talked about as women we are second class citizen in this country. I think instead of focusing on educating women about emancipation, we should focus in men, after all this is a patriarchal country.


One of the persons we need to re-educate is Bambang Bayu Suseno from the Jambi chapter of political party PAN. He is an esteemed member of the local parliament in Jambi province who has this very bright idea about banning girls who are not virgin from public schools. He proposed that all the girls enrolling for public schools to be screened for their virginity. Those who are not virgin or already married are banned from public schools.


It is said that Bambang, who is a member of commision IV which deals with education, health care, religion and women's empowerment, is drafting a bylaw on virginity test. Apparently the head of the commission IV, Aswan Azhari from Democratic Party, supports the idea.

MUI welcomed this idea, with its Jambi chapter head Sulaiman Abdullah was saying that the morality of the youth must be protected. The virginity test could be implemented and the bylaw drafted so long as it didnt breach existing law.

The positive note came from the Jambi provincial secretary spokesman, Sudirman, who opposes the idea as it is breaching the basic human right and the education law.
With all this discussion is going, no one said anything about the boys and their virginity. Once again, women are punished for something that men can get away with. It would be a very sexist discriminative bylaw to penalized girls who are not virgin no matter the reason behind it.

We have enough problem getting everyone to have a descent education, which judging by this case, it is showed that not everyone have had descent education to begin with.

Widow or Widower Elderly Parents

I dont remember who asked me the question, but I was asked if I would allow my mom to remarry. Providing he's a good guy and he makes mom happy, of course I would, why wouldnt I? Although, mom said she wont.


From what I heard, some of my mom's friends who are widows or widowers, are not allowed to get remarried by their children. I dont think it's fair for them if they want it to. One of her friends is a widower who had taken care of his terminally ill wife ever since they got married. Yet, his children forbid him to remarry after their mother passed away. I can understand if the children involved are still young and after hearing horror stories about step-parents they are afraid of having one. However, his children are all married and not living at home any more. Perhaps they are worried about the inheritance, or they dont want to have a new parents, I dont know.

What would you do?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hujan

It's been raining almost all day. In fact it was stormy, thundery. It was great looking at the storm when you were inside. By the time I had to go back to the hospital and from there to go home, it wasnt that great. Parts of Jakarta were flooded, resulted to more traffic jams. I ended up hanging out at the hospital almost as long as I spent at the office because I wasnt in the mood of getting caught for hours in the traffic jam.



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make Your Child Genius

As parents have bragging rights about their children, the idea that you can make your children genius is very attractive. In Indonesia it's quite common to see pushy parents trying to get their children the best education money can buy. I've met parents who even paid the teacher to let their kids pass their exam. Seriously.

Parents would pay for extra classes/courses/workshop that promised to boost their children result. I heard there are even courses on how to pass an IQ test, because some elite/popular schools wont admit anyone with an IQ under 120 (normal IQ is around 100, to be admitted at Mensa you need IQ of 132 on Binet). It means who ever got admitted they are already have an above average intelligence to begin with. In such school, you can find kids with above average intelligence feeling that they are very stupid and have low self-esteem because they have to compete with even smarter peers. As soon as these kids transfered to another school, they could excelled and their result could be 180degrees from that in the previous school.

There is Kumon from Japan that supposed making kids geniuses in math. Several years ago in NL I taught math to this teenager who did Kumon, and after 6 months of graduated from it, he couldnt produce what he learnt before. He couldnt even solved a simple ABC equation. At this moment most of my nieces and nephews join Kumon, so I have the opportunity to look at their materials. It's mostly just drills, not really understanding how they reach the result. One of my cousins said the reason she put her kids on Kumon is to make her kids study, because most of the time it's not easy getting the kids to study on their own while my cousin is still at work.

Several years ago there was BrainGym, an American franchise which campaigned that by using their simple exercises children can scored a higher IQ. This pseudo science also got hold of schools in Britain. The difference between Indonesian and British media dealt with it was notable. While most of Indonesian media painted a great pictures of this expensive franchise, the BBC interviewed the founder and showed how the exercises are baseless. I wish we have someone like Paxman in Indonesian media who can say that it's just a glorified exercises..in a nice way.

Lately, the course to do for kids is Activation Middle Brain. Apparently after completing their course, kids between 5 and 15 can do things while blindfolded such as coloring and reading. These things according to their promotion means children have better memories, better school result, able to speed read, enhanced intuition, etc. However it comes with price, USD 350 for a 2 days course and the parents are not allowed to observed. It is also a pseudo science franchise, this time comes from Malaysia aiming at parents who want their children to be geniuses instantly.


I dont understand parents who wants their kids to have enhanced intuition or supersonic hear or anything like that. It is very tiring to have those abilities, especially if you cant handle 'the gift', plus people could perceived you as a nutter. I do believe such abilities could actually destabilized children mentally. I also dont get why parents want to make their kids geniuses. It's one thing to be born as genius, being made a genius, if it is possible, is a whole another story. Being genius doesnt mean things are easier at school for their kids. There are plenty genius kids out there who have trouble at schools.

However I do understand that as parents you want to provide the best for your kids, and give them plenty opportunities to find and grow their talents. I think the most important thing is parents need to make sure their kids grow up to be a happy, balance and well adjusted persons, not that their kids can read blindfolded.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Juwita Malam

Tante O was singing old song tonight, and she jumbled the text. When we told them it was wrong, she picked up her song book and sang more. All the singing reminds me this song by Ismail Marzuki from way back. By way back I mean even my granddad used to sing this song. Nowadays Slank is covering the song.
In this clip it's about Indonesian KNIL fell in love with Indonesian Pejoeang on the train to Jatinegara.

Invitation on Facebook

The only reason why I am still at Facebook is because since I am not using Blackberry, Facebook is the easier way to communicate with my family en masse. Parties, sickness, deaths, we keep each others up to date via Facebook messages or event option, so those who are not invited/ have anything to do with it wont find out.

In the last year or so, the number of Indonesians using Facebook have been increasing. I've noticed people starts using Facebook to invite people to their event. Not by using 'event' option, but just by tagging people on their invitation. The thing is, sometimes you are not being tagged for an event (meaning you are not invited), but you see that that person is having an event and inviting people.

Take a wedding invitation for example. Indonesian wedding is huge by Western standard. The number of guests can go up to thousands of people. A friend of my dad invited 10000 people to his child's wedding, hosted at two building next to each other. Wedding is more the parents' affair, than the bride and groom's. Therefore to minimized the cost of printing invitations, some bride and groom just send out sms-es or emails as invitation to friends while using the proper invitation for the parents's friends/elderly family. Because of the size of the party, most of the time you can crash an Indonesian wedding party, and if you are bule, chances are they are more than welcome to see you there.

Is it ok to invite some people and showing it to all?
Is it ok to crash the party when you found out this way?

So far, I havent heard any party broadcasted on Facebook in Indonesia that ended up like the one on the news abroad, with the house completely trashed by the gate-crashers.

Polyandry in Indonesia

Eventho it is not legal, I've heard several times about polyandry cases in Indonesia. Just as with many polygynies, they did it by performing 'nikah siri', an unregistered marriage. In Indonesia to be legally married, one has to registered their religious marriage at Civil Register for non-moslems, or at Religious Office (KUA) for moslems.

The last polyandry union I know involving a foreigner who did a nikah siri with a Javanese. After a while, the lady's parents wanted her to get married officially. I dont know why she didnt do that with her foreigner husband, instead she got married officially as a second wife of this Indonesian guy. The foreigner, the wife and Indonesian husband sort of lived together (both men are now deceased). I heard when the Indonesian husband stayed away rather long, the foreigner would asked the wife if they had a fight. At one point the foreigner even paid for the wife, the husband and his wife to go for the Haj pilgrimage.

Another unions that I know were form because the first husbands couldnt keep up with their wives' sexual urges, so he let her marries someone else. This is also a reason why some ladies letting their husband getting another wife in polygyny.

To the best of my knowledge, it is illegal to practice polyandry in Islam. Therefore it is interesting to see how these unions are possible.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Into a Cave

The other day finally a dear friend replied my message. I knew that she finally ready to talk again. She was incommunicado for a while until that day. So, I called her up.


She talked about how she was all these time. It's been a tough year for her. How she felt like she needed to go into a cave (if she could've found a real one she would've gone into one), sort things out and be grounded. She said she knew that I understood. I did. I was in that position before, and at that point I was the only one who could help myself, just as she was the only one who could help herself.

It's good to know that she's out of the wood. I've been missing our talks.