Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It's been a very tiring month.
Physically and Emotionally.
So tired that sometimes I couldnt sleep well because of weird dreams.

On the upside,
I've meet interesting people.
Learning a lot.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Unlike in any other Islamic society, in Indonesia we celebrate the end of Ramadan bigger than the Idul Adha (Offer festival). As the end of Ramadan is getting near, people are preparing to mudik, going home. Just like every where in the world around at certain time of the year, people booked that overpriced transportation to see their folks because it's tradition.

When I was little we used to be part of that crowd, traveling more than 1200km from one end of Java to one end of Sumatra where My maternal grandparents lived. I hate the journey. It still takes longer to get there because of the traffic. Very crowded. Not to mention we have to cross the Sunda strait for hours.

Each year, you hear bad news about people who mudik to their villages, especially those who are using motorbikes. Babies/toddlers who died once they arrived at the destination because their parents took them on hours of bike ride. I dont get why people wants to risk something like that just because it's a tradition. The price is too high. Why cant they wait for another time? It's not like they cant share their emotion/feeling at all if they are not mudik. There are technologies to help us connected with our love ones. Almost everyone has a cellphone, even in the tiny village.

On the other hand, I enjoy Jakarta more when people are mudik. The traffic is so much better.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Busker Theme

For a long time back in 2008 I thought this song I always heard sung by buskers as their 'association theme' or something like that. I just found out that it was Ungu's song 'Dengan nafasmu'.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vegan Satay

Yesterday I got home to a very delish vegan satay that mom bought. I absolutely love it, and asked our maid to make it today.

Turns out it is easy to make.

You need oyster mushrooms, some Indonesian kecap and butter. That's it.

After you clean the mushroom, boil them with a bit of salt. Dried the mushroom, then mixed it with kecap and butter. After putting them in skewers, grill them on the barbie.

It can be serve with or without peanut butter sauce.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doctor's Religion Matters

When patient is close to death, your doctor's religion influenced his/her decision according to the new study.

I think it plays role even on treatments not related to death.

My Indonesian doctors are/were all Moslems. Some were really influenced by their religion to the point that they talked condescendingly to me while citing religious ideas that I went straight to second opinion afterward.

Back in NL, I had this Hindustani patient who used to be very happy with his treatment until his oral surgeon used cow's bone for his jaw bone graft. The man was very upset because he was a practicing Hindu and cow is sacred for them. He said, 'It is like you put pig's bone on a Moslem.' To be fair, pig is something forbidden in Islam, so it's not exactly the same. No one talked about religion prior to his treatment. In my own experience in NL, religion never plays role in the hospital during our consultation. I happened to know that some of my doctors were Christian and agnostics, I wonder how their beliefs influenced my treatments back then.

As a patient you have the rights to ask about the treatment and voice your concern, including things related to religion. Use that rights, and ask as detail as possible. I've been know of bringing a list of questions when I see my doctor. Some doctor loves it, some probably hates it (I think most of Indonesian doctors hate it); I dont care, as long as they answer my questions so I know what I put myself in to.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Veteran Athletes

Mom's eldest sister, Tante O, is a veteran athlete. Last July she won gold medals at Indonesian athletic tournament in Bandung for 200 meter sprint and long jump, plus another medal for 100 meter sprint. She's 74 years old, but I wont be able to beat any of her records.

She might be competing again in Kuala Lumpur this December.

This morning she was at the Immigration office to get her new passport. When she got there she was asked what she was. 'I'am an athlete', replied Tante O. The guy inquired what kind of athlete. She told him that she's a sprinter of 100m, 200m and 400m and a long jumper. The guy was surprised, 'Long jump?' I think he thought my aunt was just pulling his leg, a tiny elderly lady telling him not only she is a sprinter, not 'was a sprinter' but 'is a sprinter' and a long jumper.

Tante O then waited for her turn. Suddenly someone approached her and told her that someone would like to talk to her. Off she went. The guy inside one of the rooms asked her again about being an athlete, 'So, you said you were an athlete.' 'Yes, I am.' replied my aunt. 'At your age? what kind of athlete?' asked the guy. Tante O who happened to carry her medals took them out of her bag and showed them to him while telling him her sports. He then asked about her records. She told him that she ran 200m in a little over 30 seconds, and she jumped 2.4meter. He kept nodding his head and was impressed since he cant even do all those things.

My aunt, my high school PE teacher (she's now in her 80s) and their friends are fabulous veteran athletes who compete in and outside Indonesia and won. It is a pity that the government and media dont really support the veteran athletes, because from what I know about them, they have a good result each time they compete in the International level. Perhaps we can use veteran athletes as an example for our younger athletes especially in the athletics field, because some of them even hold world record for their age category.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Pill & Our Relationship

In the last 50 years there is this tiny thing that change the world: anti conception pill. It is so profound that it is simply known as the Pill. While it helps women in some ways, I think it also change our relationships for better or worst.

When a woman meets a man, not only we take cues from what we can see, hear, or feel, our hormones also play role. Through our olfactory nerve, we exchange our pheromones and major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Each of us has a different set of MHC that encode various part of our immune system. Those who have different kind of immune system are more likely to be biologically compatible. When we are biologically compatible, we are more likely to be attracted to one another, it is our survival instinct.

Alas, the Pill changed that.

Apparently, women who use the pill, their preference shift toward the scent that is similar to their own gene. It means, women instinct to select a partner with whom she has more chance of having healthy children or less miscarriage is altered by the pill.

Not only the pill affects our fertility, it also affects our relationships. Instinctively, women look for 'more masculine features' kind of partner during her ovulation, while they prefer 'more sensitive' kind of partner when they are not. Women on the pill are not ovulating, the pill tricks their body into thinking it is pregnant. This might be a factor of why we have around 50% divorce rate. If a woman on the pill chose her more feminine partner, by the time she is off the pill, she might follow her instinct and find her a more masculine partner, and her old relationship might break down.

Apparently couple with similar MHC are less satisfied, adventurous and responsive in sexual matter. The women who have similar MHC with their partner reportedly have more fantasies about other men during ovulation, and they also reported more infidelities. I guess the fact that women bore the physical side of having offspring made women reacted this way toward MHC. Men on the other hand, dont have any correlation between similarity in MHC with their partner and their orgasms, infidelities nor fantasies.

An interesting result on a study involving exotic dancers, those who are not using the pill received 50% more tips than their counterpart, especially when they are ovulating. It means men perceive non-pill-using women as more sexy.

Another side effect of the pill that might disturb any relationships are weight gain. Let's be honest, some guys dont even want to date someone who is slightly over weight. So, if a woman started to gain weight due to her pill, he might've ended the relationship.

For some women, pill can alter their moods, some even made them depressed. It is not easy dealing with a depressed person, unless the woman changes their pill (not all pills created equal) the pill might ruin it for her.

So, yes, the pill helps liberated women all over the world, but it has a darker side that can ruin their relationship: it might push away the potential suitable partner based on their olfactory preferences.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Emotion: 2008-2010

Neutral - Irritant - Dislike - Disdain - Worried - Pity - Acceptance - Anger - Scorn - Indifference

I tried, ok?!


My last meeting got me thinking about Wakatobi. However, I dont think that or any other destinations are possible with this ongoing family matter.

Hell's Gate

In the Islamic teacher, if I am not mistaken, there is this belief that God locks up all evil spirit in hell during Ramadan which this year started on August 11 to (maybe) September 11. Therefore Moslem can fast and pray more easily during Ramadan with less temptations.

In the Chinese culture, there is this belief that in the 7th month of the lunar year, which is between August and September, the gates of hell are open so the hungry ghosts are free to wander in seek of food on earth. To remember their dead family, the Chinese celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival. They feel by making food offering the deceased would appeases them and ward off bad luck.

Isn't it interesting that in the same period hell's gates are both open and close.

CODA Flash Mob

I know, I know, flash mob has been done before. This one is a bit different as it is done using Sign Language by CODA, child of deaf adult, to highlight the importance of Deaf culture for hearing children of deaf parents.

One of my nephews has deaf parents. While most of my big family prefer that he is raised by his hearing grandparents in Jakarta, I believe he is much better with my cousin, his mom, and her hubby in USA. At the moment he is bilingual: English and American Sign Language. If he lived over here, he would've lost his ability to communicate with his parents in ASL and missed out their culture.

An interesting thing about CODA: some of them identify themselves as deaf even though they are hearing, because they grew up in that culture and their first language is Sign language. However, some deaf people refuse to acknowledge CODA as part of Deaf culture because they are hearing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It Broke My Heart

Story like this broke my heart. The thieves stole 81 pieces from the museum, including a precious golden mask from the 8th century, allegedly given by King Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit to his grandmother Queen Gayatri.

If the second biggest museum in the country has this problem, I wonder how many pieces we lost in smaller musea across the land.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I think I might had sexual harassment the other day. I was in a packed busway home when I felt this hand kept on moving in front of the area of my pubis bone, I tried to move away. By the next stop, that bloke was standing behind me, and I felt his hand on my behind. I then tried to move away again. The thing is, I wasnt sure if he was really trying to grope, since he was holding his bag. Then again it might be his MO, Modus Operandi. If I were him, and I felt someone's pelvic area while holding my bag, I would've put my hand in a more appropriate position.

I experienced rush hour commuting in other countries before, but I'd never experienced any sexual harassment. Only in Indonesia I experienced it, and no one helped me back then. It sucks being female in this place.

3 Idiots

Dicky told me to see '3 idiots' movie and convinced me that I would like it. I do. It's the highest-grossing Bollywood movie, and I can see why. It's funny, entertaining, enlightening with some emotional moments. I love its message to follow one passion. I also like the fact that they show case some of India's inventions by lay persons such as bicycle-powered sheep clipper invented by a barber. They also put a Moslem, a Hindu together, something that, from what I understood, is 'not natural' in India.

The story is about friendship of three students/roommates of Imperial College of Engineering in India who come from different backgrounds and have different motivations for studying Engineering. The antagonist in the story is the ICE director, nick named ViruS, who is very strict, competitive and a disciplinary. Ever since the first day, he finds Rancho, the leader of the pack very annoying due to his unorthodox way of thinking.

Of course this movie is not perfect. The second part of the movie is too long. The birthing scene is a bit stretched, I mean vacuum cleaner? Plus, I could live without the typical Indian sing song scene, no matter how catchy the tune was.

It is one of the movies I wouldnt mind watching it again eventho it takes about 2.5 hours.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Loan or Money Down the Drain

Indonesia is hosting SEAGAMES next year in Palembang. However, they have a bit of budgeting problem up in Palembang, so the government is lending USD 67 million from the education budget to 'supplement' the over budget project. It is in fact a bigger share than the allocated budget. Really, they need to sack who ever did the budgeting.

Apparently hosting a ten days games is judged more important than tackling our educational problems by our government. There are thousands of ruin schools in Indonesia that need renovation, but no, we are going to renovate Palembang's sport complex for a ten days event. There are millions kids who cant afford to buy books or sport shoes or pay for extracurricular activity, but no, we are going to host this prestigious games. There are thousands of teachers who are paid very little (and sometimes the paid was late), but no, we are going to work on this 'national endeavor'. We dont have the money. If we want to redirect our budget, why dont we use military budget instead? We are not at war any way.

More often such endeavor wont even break-even, remember Greece? If it wont break even, how could they return the loan? I wish Indonesian government are more level headed like their Singaporean counterpart who pulled out last year citing they wont be ready to host.

What is it about Indonesian government and their showing off attitude?

Got Milk

It's another tainted milk case in China. This one is tainted with hormone, resulted in premature puberty in some babies. Some of them has premature breast growth.


Perhaps it's better to sell them to American ladies as a non surgical alternative for boob job. After all there are more boob jobs done in that country than in any where else.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Security or Money?

I wonder the real reason behind Indonesia's government insistence that Blackberry has to have a server in Indonesia. Is it security or money?

My bet is the latter.

Simple, RIM is a foreign partner, however, Indonesian regulation didnt specify about foreign partner such as RIM who has no local license as internet provider nor as multimedia provider. Therefore they dont need to have its server in Indonesia.

Indonesian operators at this moment are paying for the cost of setting up internet link that can amounted up to USD1000 per Megabyte. Since RIM using that connection to send their data to their servers, I wouldnt be surprise that the local operators want that RIM also bear that cost.

As for security, to my knowledge most if not all Indonesian Blackberries are for personal use. It ties in with one's identity and its encryption is not as good as corporate Blackberry. If I was a terrorist, I wouldnt want to use Blackberry because of it. Plus, rumor has it American NSA has the capability to crack RIM encryption in matter of hours without the help from RIM. Apparently there's also a flaw in Blackberry encryption as the device itself can decrypting any message sent by any other Blackberry.

Anyway, that's just my hunch.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Bitch Slapped Karma and Karma Won

I've been complaining about this 'kingdom of evil' while worshiping the altar of another evil. Guess what? As of yesterday, I have to put good words on that kingdom of evil. Oh goody! Cant wait!

This adventure's turning very interesting indeed :)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Gut Feeling

The older I get, the more I listen to my gut feeling than before. Unless I feel a 'good vibe' from a new person, I tend to keep my distance. Therefore after meeting me, for some people, I am perceived as aloof bordering arrogant. Well, you cant please every one, right?

I know it doesnt sound logical, to listen to 'vibe'. I cant begin to explain what I feel. However I think every one at some point in their life has that feeling about certain thing in their life, some sort of internal warning. Some would say it's 6th sense, some would say that your subconscious is reading all the micro cues and reacted to that. What ever your explanation of 'vibe', I try to listen to it, albeit not always right.

Therefore I hate it when I had 'bad vibe' about something but I ignored it, and in the end it turned out bad. Really bad. Just like what happened many times over this week. One revelation after another, that can conform why I felt the way I felt all these time. It make all sense about things, eventho I still have a hard time digesting it. At some level the feeling prepared me to brace myself of what may come, tho sometimes things are worse than I expected. I just take comfort that this too will pass and I'll come out stronger.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I was planning to go straight to the hospital from work yesterday, but mom wanted me to go home first then go with her & my aunt to visit my sister-in-law at the ICU. So, I did. After trapped in a deadlock traffic for a while I tried to get home as soon as I could only to tumble in front of the mall near our place. Good thing I stopped myself in time from falling into the busy street.

It is nothing new. I fall a lot in my life. Embarrassment? What embarrassment? Take cue from Naomi Campbell: just pick my self up and walk away when it happens.

The thing is my body's still aching from my sprained muscles. From head to toe, and on my palms and arms. I feel like cheburashka.

How to Pick Your Wine

U tried to educate me about wine. Red wine to be precise. Let's just say I only know if it was a good summer, chances are we have good wine from that year, and that EU wine can be added with sugar to increase its alcohol level.

One day my friends and I hung out and wanted to have some wine. Olivier, whose father loves wine, told us his method of selecting wine: pick a bottle with the highest punt. He theorized that the higher the punt, the better the taste. Of course he failed to prove it. But we had a great time any way.

I've noticed that a lot of Indonesians I know prefer sweet wine. Perhaps they should just stick to Port or try Pineau des charentes.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Of Bees and Mist

I wanted to read this book ever since I read it's review a year ago when it first published. Last June with the help of her aunt, A sent me this book with such wonderful cover. Today I finally finished reading Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan who before migrated to the US of A when he was 16, Erick spent his childhood in Indonesia. I find this background is very prominent in his enchanted story centered on the life of Meridia, span for about 3 decades.

Born into a dysfunctional family, Meridia found love in charismatic Daniel and married him. It was then her troubles really started, coming in the form of his mother, Eva, who once captured Meridia's heart. Erick woved his story with supernatural elements vividly that they are becoming part of life of the characters. It comes in the form of specific scent cling to a character, mists that behave in certain way it might as well alive, bees and marigold. They are allegorical to emotions and reflection of the characters.

Erick drew from his Chinese background, the food, the tradition of newlywed living with the family of the groom and some behaviors. I heard there's tradition in some Chinese families that the mother-in-law choose what part of your dowry that you keep and what part that she keeps, just like in this story.

It is very interesting to see how the story unfold and how the characters grow. The intricate familial relationships with its love and hate which I think we all can identify with. How two strong women collide. For a book written by a man, this one is full of strong women and weak, adulterous men.

In general, I like this book, there are parts that I just couldnt put it down, but there are parts that went on and on, it reminds me of the bees. Not bad for a debut novel, I look forward for his next one.