Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Confession of a Cheater

A friend called me up tonight. After a transgression. Well, actually two transgressions. But he called soon after the last one. Apparently he felt guilty especially about the last one. No, he wont confess to other people. This time I dont know his girlfriend, so I dont really care if he is going to tell her or not.

This what I dont get. My friends know how I feel about cheating. After this ex-cheated on me, each time I heard about someone cheats my heart cracks a bit. Moreover, this particular friend was cheated on before. I thought knowing how terrible it is in the receiving end, he wouldnt have done it to someone else. But I was wrong.

In another friend's case, I get to know his girlfriend. One time she found out about him texting his ex, but he was able to convince her that it was nothing. Of course, I knew it was something more. I tried dropping her some hints about this friend when she asked my opinion about him, but either she falls for him hard and eats from his hand, or some black magic involves (after all this is Indonesia, these things happen believe it or not).

If I found out about my friend being cheated on, I think I wouldve at least tried letting my friend know about his/her partner affair. She/he might not want to hear it and might even be angry with me. But I think my friend deserves to know what's going on. If they want to stay together afterwards it is their choice.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


What pop up in your mind when you heard the word 'umbria'?

I saw a tree shadowing a golden field.

Bear in mind I've never been there, or had any idea where exactly the location of it other than somewhere in Italy, or had any idea the meaning of the word in Italian.

Yes, it means 'shadow', so I've been told.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snob and Indonesian Health Care

One time, an Indonesian conglomerate went to a hospital one of his foundations owns in West Jakarta for a bout of stomach ache. The doctor treating him listened to his predicaments, and concluded that the rich guy had stress problems.

The guy refused the diagnosis, flew to Singapore for a consultation with the esteemed Singaporean doctors.

They prodded him, drew some blood, put him under scan after scan. About Sing$10,000 later, the good doctors came with their conclusion: Stress.

The rich guy still thought that Singaporean doctors are better, because "they checked everything". The thing is, if he was in NL, I bet my arm on this, that Dutch doctor treated him just as his Indonesian counterpart. They listen to you, making an anamnesis, then based on their diagnosis, they decide if you need more tests or not. Sure, you can go directly to a specialist without any referral, but you have to pay out of pocket, and it costs at least 10 times as much as Indonesian specialist. Since in NL you are covered by an insurance, doctors are more reluctant prescribing you any unnecessary tests or drugs to cut the cost bore by the insurance.

In Indonesia you seem to only hear good stories about foreign doctors and bad stories about Indonesian doctors. The fact is, bad doctors are everywhere, just as good doctors are everywhere. I met several parents who had their share consulting with foreign doctors in Indonesia about their kids. Some told me their negative experiences in private, and when I asked why dont they warn other parents about those foreign doctors, my friends just blamed it to their own bad luck or said perhaps other people experience it differently.

It really makes me wonder, why Indonesian are so easy divulging their bad experiences with Indonesian doctors but not when it comes to foreign doctors. Is it because of inferiority complex? Is it because of Indonesian doctors have worse bedside manner? Is it because they already paid way much more to the foreign doctors, so if they had bad experience it's down to Indonesian patient's fault, not the foreign doctor's (after all, they say there's price for the quality)?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inappropriate Feeling

I realised something today...
I have tendency to have inappropriate feeling for inappropriate people.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Longest Sentence Ever

Mr. De Haan is one of the kind. Never in my life on the first day of the semester a lecturer asked if we were sure to do that class until I met him. "Are you guys sure? This is very hard, but if you passed you certainly have an added value." That's what he said as soon as he saw the 10 of us. By the end of the semester only 3 people remained, I was the only girl through out.

He was the one first of all my teachers in my life who noticed that I am visual. One thing I always remember, his insistence for us learning how to write concisely. I think it was Mark Twain, or was it Pascal or perhaps Voltaire, anyway.. this bloke who said "I didnt have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead". And yes, I still struggle writing concisely.

I really wonder his comment reading this first two sentences from Dockery V Sprecher in the USA regarding a malpractice suit. Even people in legal drafting business find it incredible. The first sentence is 303 words long, and the second sentence is 343 words long with 2 semicolons.

In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for medical malpractice, etc., the plaintiffs appeal, as limited by their brief, from so much of a judgment of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Hart, J.), entered July 10, 2008, as, upon the granting of that branch of the motion of the defendants Stanley Sprecher, Peninsula Radiology Associates, P.C., and Peninsula Hospital Center pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the plaintiffs' case, which was for judgment as a matter of law dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against them, upon a jury verdict finding the defendants M. Chris Overby, and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C., 45% at fault, and nonparties Philip Howard Gutin, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 55% at fault for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff Thomas Dockery, and that the plaintiff Thomas Dockery sustained damages in the principal sums of $10,000,000 for past pain and suffering, $27,750,000 for future pain and suffering, $370,000 for past loss of earnings, $80,000 for future loss of earnings over a period of 28 years, and $21,636 for loss of Social Security income, and that the plaintiff Karen Dockery sustained damages in the principal sum of $18,000,000 for past loss of services, and $48,700,000 for future loss of services, and upon so much of an order of the same court entered December 3, 2007, as granted, after the jury verdict, that branch of the motion of the defendants M. Chris Overby and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C., pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the plaintiffs' case, which was for judgment as a matter of law dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against them, dismissed the complaint insofar as asserted against the defendants Stanley Sprecher, Peninsula Radiology Associates, P.C., Peninsula Hospital Center, M. Chris Overby, and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C.

Ordered that the judgment is modified, on the law, on the facts, and in the exercise of discretion, by deleting the provision thereof dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against the defendants M. Chris Overby and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C.; as so modified, the judgment is affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements, the motion of the defendants M. Chris Overby and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C., pursuant to CPLR 4401, made at the close of the plaintiffs' case, for judgment as a matter of law dismissing the complaint insofar as asserted against them is denied, the order entered December 3, 2007, is modified accordingly, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Queens County, for a new trial as to the defendants M. Chris Overby and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C., on the issues of apportionment of fault and damages for past and future pain and suffering and past and future loss of services unless, within 30 days after service upon the plaintiffs of a copy of this decision and order with notice of entry, the plaintiffs shall file in the office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Queens County, a written stipulation consenting to the apportionment of 10% of the fault to the defendants M. Chris Overby and Levine Overby Hollis, M.D.s, P.C., and 90% of the fault to nonparties Philip Howard Gutin and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and to reduce the damages for past pain and suffering from the principal sum of $10,000,000 to the principal sum of $1,200,000, the damages for future pain and suffering from the principal sum of $27,750,000 to the principal sum of $6,750,000, the damages for past loss of services from the principal sum of $18,000,000 to the principal sum of $350,000, and the damages for future loss of services from $48,700,000 to the principal sum of $1,000,000, and to the entry of an amended judgment accordingly; in the event that the plaintiffs so stipulate, then the judgment, as so reduced and amended, is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

What is it about legal writing that it tortures us to reading it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Correct Practice

I was skimming Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh the other day when I read this part that made me laugh out loud:

"There is a story I would like to tell you about a woman who practices the invocation of the Buddha Amitabha's name. She is very tough, and she practices the invocation three times daily, using a wooden drum and a bell, reciting, "Namo Amitabha Buddha" for one hour each time. When she arrives at one thousand times, she invites the bell to sound. (In Vietnamese, we don't say "strike" or "hit" a bell.) Although she has been doing this for ten years, her personality has not changed. She is still quite mean, shouting at people all the time.

A friend wanted to teach her a lesson, so one afternoon when she had just lit the incense, invited the bell to sound three times, and was beginning to recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha," he came to her door, and said, "Mrs. Nguyen, Mrs. Nguyen!" She found it very annoying because this was her time of practice, but he just stood at the front gate shouting her name. She said to herself, "I have to struggle against my anger, so I will ignore that," and she went on, "Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha."

The gentleman continued to shout her name, and her anger became more and more oppressive. She struggled against it, wondering, "Should I stop my recitation and go and give him a piece of my mind?" But she continued chanting, and she struggled very hard. Fire mounted in her, but she still tried to chant "Namo Amitabha Buddha." The gentleman knew it, and he continued to shout, "Mrs. Nguyen! Mrs. Nguyen!"

She could not bear it any longer. She threw away the bell and the drum. She slammed the door, went out to the gate and said, "Why, why do you behave like that? Why do you call my name hundreds of times like that?" The gentleman smiled at her and said, "I just called your name for ten minutes, and you are so angry. You have been calling the Buddha's name for ten years. Think how angry he must be!""
How I wished I could do that to that mosque nearby.

It's not about how often or how loud you do something, it's about how correctly you do something in order to be better.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


We'd been living in lowland for less then a month when it happened. We hung out at my place, and a friend's bike had a leakage. Somehow his bike valve was kaput, so he needed a new one to repair it. The problem was, eventho there's a bike shop near my place, the three of us had no idea what it was called in Dutch, or in English for that matter.

Bear in mind we were just beginning learning Dutch. I only had a Dutch monolingual dictionary and a small Indonesian-Dutch-Indonesian dictionary with no indication of valve what so ever.

Anyway, the only flatmate around was Michiel, so we went up to him for help. After trying to explain to him in broken Dutch, in English and in body language what we needed in a good 10 minutes, in the end he gave us this answer: Oo, ventiel.

When we heard that, my friends and I were laughing out loud to the amazement of Michiel. We just wrecked out brain trying to translate Indonesian 'pentil' to Dutch 'ventiel' via English and broken Dutch.

And that's just the beginning of my funny linguistic moments.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Ever since I am in Indonesia, it seems like there is constant noise around me. Airco humming, Cockatoo screaming, motorcycles & cars honking, hawkers shouting and a mosque nearby practically yelling. Even in the middle of the night, which is really terrible.

Over here, people are constantly connected with others. Texting, Blackberry, Messengers, Facebooking. It is interesting, my friends and I used to say that once someone moved back to Indonesia, we are going to loose contact, because the internet connection is not good in this place. But when I look around, it seems like people has trouble disconnecting from their devices. There are moments when I was out with friends when I thought, "why bother? They are going to spend much time on their devices anyway."

The other day after I left my ENT doc and was told to do an audiogram, I thought about few days earlier I was thinking how I missed moments of silence. When I was abroad, some times I woke up in complete silence. How I long for those moments. Wonderful peaceful moments. Even when I went for silent meditation over here there were more noises than in low land.

It is interesting that Balinese and Javanese Hindu practice day of silence every Nyepi, which other Hindu traditions dont practice. It's a day of silence, fasting and meditation. Perhaps we need to return to the old tradition, even only for several hours in a year. To speak less (if you cant avoid talking), to reconnect more with our spirits.

There is a movement to declare March 21st, the beginning of Spring, as World Silence Day. Inspired by Nyepi, several NGOs based it on ecological reasoning of cutting carbon printing if we all cut down our use of electricity or motor vehicles for 4 hours between 10am and 2pm on that day. Think how green it is for our earth.

Imagine if the spirit of Nyepi catching on through out the world. Less pollution. People start to hear themselves thinking again. Perhaps they also start talking about this new sensation with those around them. Who knows where we might end up?

Friday, March 05, 2010


A is going to see her doc today. We were talking about pregnancy cramps she's been experiencing.
kram bahasa inggris nya apa ye

me: cramps
A: really
me: really

I love her :)

Meanwhile, I had a huge one myself this morning, I blacked out for a while. I think I'd better canceled my plans for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

World Book Day

Today is World Book Day.

Someone asked me once, how come upon interviewing Indonesians about their reading as their hobby, he was told that they read comics? For him reading means reading proper books, not comics. U told me once, for him reading is not a hobby, it's like breathing, a must.

I guess culture plays role in this. In Indonesia, our oral tradition is still strong, most people prefers to talk than write, to listen to stories than reading them, coupled that to the condition where not everyone is literate, and the difficulty gaining access to public libraries, or just to get books for that matter.

I wish Indonesian government did what Indian government did. They publish cheap foreign (text)books, it help students across the nation. Giving tax exemption on books is a must, they still put tax on ours. Books in general, and imported books in particular are expensive in Indonesia. I find it even more expensive than in NL, and I kept complaining about it back then! At least back in NL I could get cheaper ones from Bol.com, Proxis.nl, Amazon.nl or Boeken beurs. Right now, when I buy books online, I need to ship it to my friends or family abroad who bring it to me on their vacation. Why not sending it straight to Indonesia? It's because I keep losing my mails from abroad, not all of them, but there some important ones that I've never received to this day from 2008/2009! I dont want to gamble on it.

There is a trend of emerging writers in Indonesia, which is encouraging to see. Some of them are bloggers. However, if you live in small town, it is still not easy getting their books other than school books. I was in Metro, Lampung last year for a while, and I cant recall seeing a bookshop like the one I saw in a much smaller town of NL such as Heiloo.

So, the trend is there, I just hope the government supports it even more. Reading's by far a much healthier addiction than any other addiction I've known.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Happy Place

I've heard about people using the 'happy place' technique during stressful event before. However I've never successfully done it. Does that mean I dont have any happy place inside me?

There is, however, a story about a happy place that I want to share.

There is this guy who lives in his happy place, in the middle of Jakarta. He is there in his zone day in day out, come rain or sunshine, for years. He started living there as a runaway kid ages ago. He took his refuge from family trouble on this square piece of a busy Jakarta's sidewalk. Yes, you heard me right, on a sidewalk. Not, a wide and nicely done one like the one at Champs Elysees, but a narrow, bumpy one that is common in this city.

To my understanding, he managed to get a decent job, and later even built his own tiny house for his family. Somehow, each night he prefers to spend it on that same sidewalk.

It's his piece of heaven on earth. Isn't it something?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Our So Called Friend

My family has been screwed by this bloke who my dad regarded as his close friend. When I found out about it, I was really angry. Yes, there are some monetary values involved, not that little I might add. But I mostly very upset because I know how dad had helped this bloke's family and this is how they repaid him. Thank you very much.

It seems that we have to brace ourselves for a legal battle ahead of us (probably in both civil and criminal court). I really hope that we wont have to go into that direction. However, knowing that one of his kids is a DA, another is a policeman, I wont be surprise if we did.

Dad did make a colossal mistake for making a decision without any legal advice and wrote up this letter that they could use against us. However, I also knew he did it under duress, as the situation at that time brought back his trauma. A trauma that also made him the way he was, awfully nice towards other people, much nicer than towards his own family. It is because in his mind, if he's being nice to other people, those people wont hurt his family again. Of course, the reality is nothing like that. There are people who will hurt you no matter how nice you are towards them. Some times you give someone an inch and he will take a mile.

If anything, I learnt the importance of legal advice, especially when it comes to protecting your rights for now or in the future. I also learnt all I could do was being nice and not expecting any thing in return. But while doing that, I still need to listen to my guts, and let it guides me.

Monday, March 01, 2010

My Left Ear

Last month, I went to an ENT doc to get my ears cleaned. He proceed to check my hearing using a tuning fork. First he put the fork next to my ears. I could hear it in both ears. Then he did Webber test which he put the fork on my front teeth. I could hear it only on my left ear. My doc checked it again to make sure, and I still only heard it on my left. Gasp!

Ok, I've always thought that losing my sight would be such a disaster comparing to losing my hearing, as I am very visual and can do a bit of lips reading. However, at that moment, all I could think of was what did I do to losing my hearing? I dont even use headphone once a week, and if I do I never crank it up loud. Most of the time I get irritated when mom turns the TV out loud, I only turn it up when I want to watch something in the living room but the mosque nearby was louder than our TV. Yes, I have an issue with that mosque and its loudspeaker, but that's another story.

The doc referred me to see an audiologist to get an audiogram to see how severe the problem is. So I went.

She checked my ear canals, then did another tuning fork test both in front of my ears and on the bone near it. After that she did Rinne test where she put this thing on my skull from the front to the back with vibration. The last test she did was using a headphone and I have to press this button each time I hear a beep in different decibels and frequencies. All in about 15 minutes.

There were moments when I felt like hallucinating hearing a beep, since it was so faintly high pitched and sounded far away.

According to the test I have a normal hearing, although a bit less on on left than my right in lower frequency. I even have pretty sensitive hearing in higher frequencies. Probably that's why I could hear this special ringtone for teenager that was designed with high pitch so that people older than 25 years old couldnt hear it.

As for why I failed Webber test, I was told it is probably because my left ear tube was closed due to cold or something like that. That's why the conductivity was skewed, and I only heard it on my left ear.

Now I have to tell S-cough the good news, cause he was worried when I told him I need an audiogram.