Thursday, March 31, 2011

Foggy Brain

I bought Actifed cough meds yesterday because, you guess it, I am sick again. Sigh. I contracted cough germs from this guy in the delegation. I told him many times over to wear proper clothing because of the weather, but he still didnt listen and got sick and got me sick because we went to the same meetings all the time.

So anyway, I took one dosage of actifed around 5 pm yesterday at the restaurant. By 6pm in the car I was sleeping soundly. When we got home, my boss emailed if I want to go to our fund raising event at Le Meridien but I had to pass that one. I had to email someone in the USA for mom, and slept next to my laptop waiting for the reply. Later on, mom dictated her reply in Bahasa Indonesia and I, half asleep, translated it to English. I couldnt even understand what she was saying in Bahasa Indonesia, so I put a disclaimer in that email about taking meds.

This morning I woke up late and still groggy, I had to drag myself to shower and later on to work. What little left of my intelligence was practically gone by the time I got to the office. At one point, I looked for my cellphone while talking on the said cellphone! The guys were laughing at me, saying it's all due to age factor, not only because of the meds. Right.

If anything, these are the moral of the story: first, I get easily contracted with cold and once I started to cough it takes ages to cure. Second, a low dosage of sleeping meds will knock me out cold for a long time.

So tonight, I didnt take any cough meds, only my antibiotics. Have lots to do in the morning. On the positive side, my throat feels a bit better than last night.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Reaction to Bad News

I've noticed that each time someone deliver bad news about me, other people were more shock hearing it than me. Most of the time the news is just a confirmation of my gut feeling. So, when they were all speechless, I'd be: 'ok, what next?'

Perhaps I'm grieving. Perhaps I'm in denial. Perhaps I'm just being in the zone.

With each bad news, I just thought "this too shall pass".
I dont know when, I dont know how. But it will. I have faith in it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ajahn Brahm

Back in December, my friends were planning on going to Ajahn Brahm's micro retreat & lecture together. I didnt even know who he was. As it turns out he's a Cambridge educated Englishman who became a forest monk in Thailand and later on settle in Australia. He wrote bestseller books. Apparently his "Cacing" (the worm & his lovely pile of dung) book out sold Harry Potter in Indonesia. Impressive. This is not a country with a reading culture. A book heavy on Buddhism sold more than 100.000 exemplars in a Moslem majority country where getting 10.000 exemplars sold is already difficult.

So I bought his book in Bali, and started reading it in the plane.

It's an easy read, full of every day lesson. And funny. In fact some story are really funny. As always there's a message, about letting go, about enjoying the moment, about not having fear, about forgiving oneself. You get the point.

I didnt feel like looking for another way of meditating, so I only went to his lecture. The man is funny and surprisingly very open. So open that he said meditating is better than sex. Or at least his experience of sex before becoming a monk. Of course it could means he was crappy in sex, or meditating was really that good. Either way in my experience no other monk/ustad/priest ever said something like that in public before.

Anyway, in his lecture Ajahn Brahm taught us to keep only happy memories and let go of the pain in the past, because otherwise you will be a prisoner of the past. Let go the small stuffs and keep the big stuff. Let go having to be right which also means letting go ego. What matter is not me, or you, but us.

I also like when he talked about being vegan. I know there are plenty of hardcore vegan out there. Preaching how good it is being vegan. However, I once read about karma & being vegan which raise an interesting point, which is if you are a vegan and you make others difficult by you being a vegan, you create bad karma for yourself. Ajahn Brahm put it slightly different. He said be compassionate to animal, but also be compassionate to fellow human being. Because what is more important is what comes out from your mouth, than what enters into your mouth. This last part I think is his judeo-christian background speaking.

It was an interesting evening. Fun and full of reminders on how to be happy and to be in the moment. If only the interpreters were much better. At one point I saw a girl with hijab giving her donation for Ajahn Brahm. Cool.

May all being be happy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Benefit of Dying in an Aeroplane

Inside the back of 737 on the way to Amsterdam from Dublin, I was talking to this Dutch guy about flying school. Then there was turbulence and I was Ok with it. He commented about me not scared about it. I told him,"The way I see it, when it is time, it's time. It be in an airplane, or in your bed. So I'm not scare about the turbulence." He said that he wanted to die on his bed, sleeping.

Tonight I went to Ajahn Brahm lecture. He said something about him not scared about terrorist attack in the plane because there are 3 benefits of dying in an airplane:
1. It's an instant cremation. Very efficient.
2. It's free. A normal burial costs a lot. When your plane blew up, it's a free cremation. Plus your family receive some money from the insurance.
3. Since you are flying, it's closer to heaven!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kuta Cowboy

In the 5 minutes I was in Kuta Beach I was approach by a Kuta Cowboy. Gosh! The guy came and invited me and my friends to sit. They act quick, huh? A commented that we looked like mommies that's why he approach us. I told her she did.

What amazed me was there was A's hubby & baby with us. Man..

Sending Good Thought to the Bond Family

I read this story about a young family with a heart breaking story. Nathan and Elisa Bond were diagnosed of late stadium of cancers in less than 2 weeks. They have an 18 months daughter Sadie.

I pray they have speedy recovery and able to see their daughter to grow.

Not Loving Bali Anymore

When I was a kid, we went to Bali almost on monthly basis. I learned Balinese dances, I learned how to create the coconut leaves pieces needed for my dancing & Hindu prayer. My friends thought we were Balinese family. I wanted to live in Bali because I felt I could be myself over there. In short, I loved everything about Bali. Yes, loved. Past tense.

Then our family moved to Jakarta. And until last week, I hadnt been to Bali for more than 15 years.

I flew straight to Bali from Ireland to meet my friends. At that time two of my closest buddies were in Bali. I couldnt pass the opportunity to meet them both, right?

My dear friend B picked me up at the airport that night and we had a lovely dinner at Oenpao restaurant. I was so happy to be in the same place as him after all these years. We caught up with each other's work, family and love life. I stayed at his place while in Bali. It was lovely seeing him with his cute little daughter. A sight I had never imagine to see. His wife is great. She's a very successful furniture/interior-designer/exporter. If you need any rattan furniture, I hook you up with her.

The next day we went to his office. Great place. I love their huge meeting desk. It was made from 1 single tree trunk, and it was massive. It took 20 people to lift it! It has Balinese letters with their office logo and two some sort of leaves carved into it. It was given for free by the carpenter along with some other beautifully carved pieces around their office.

We then went sightseeing. We drove to Ubud and Nusadua area. That was when I saw how my beloved Bali is no more. Gone are the lush greenery view and was replaced by shops along the way. It broke my heart seeing it. Back in the day Bali was already commercialized but this time it was beyond of what I could've imagine. Coupled that with the fact I was in Ireland the day before with its wonderful pristine landscapes. How could Ireland keep their landscape free of commercialization while attracting seven millions of foreign tourists yearly (which is almost twice their own population) while Bali couldnt do the same thing (there are less then 3 million tourist visit Bali from abroad on yearly basis)?

I had my first ever jetlag that day, had to catnap as soon as we got home. I cancelled my dinner in Jimbaran and later we went for a late super in Il Pomodoro which has rather nice pizza. I wanted to eat Bebek Bengil but B doesnt like it, and as I dont eat red meat we didnt visit Warung Nury in Ubud which is famous for it's pork.

The next day A picked me up and we went to her hotel in Jimbaran to have breakfast. We hung out and caught up with each other before going to Kuta for lunch at Red. Afterward I flew back to Jakarta.

I dont think I want to go back to Bali for vacation any time soon. I'd rather go elsewhere. B said I need to go to a resort in Bali or some back street where it's still untouch by commercialization. I dont think that's the way to enjoy Bali that I used to love. Oh well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Warren Buffet on Success

I measure success by how many people love me. And the best way to be loved is to be loveable.

It's not something I would expect one of the richest persons in the world to say about success. And I admire him for that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Being Connected All The Time

I am addicted to the net. I need to login every day. I can sit behind the computer for hours to end. Yet I refuse to use Blackberry because it'll get me connected all the time. I dont need that. I need my unconnected moments. Sitting there and read, or just watch the world goes by.

I know some Indonesian are rather proud of being always connected. Having all devices available to achieve that. Updating every minute details of their lives. I've seen people fall out because of some stupid status updates. I dont need that. It even scares me to think about it.

Yes, I blog. I'm guilty of putting way too much personal information in this blog. Yes, I have a couple of social media accounts which I mostly use to connect with my family as I dont use Blackberry as most of them. Each time I want to delete it, someone protested. Yes, I have a twitter account since this year because I had to contact this university for work and never use it again after that.

There was this conversation the other day on why there are almost 200million mobile user in Indonesia. I was told it's because we have traffic jam and Indonesians love to chat. I'm sorry, but I think it's because Indonesians arent into reading. Take any public transport in Jakarta, I bet you'll find people glue into their cellphones and virtually no one read any thing. Take any public transport in NL you'll find someone reading a book or a newspaper. With all the hours we spend being in the traffic, if we read instead of chat/text we probably can increase the book sales in Indonesia.

When asked why one needs more than one cellphone in Indonesia? Someone said it's because sometimes the battery ran out and she needs to be always connected and she needs to compartmentalize all her calls. That girl is not the only person I know who carries more than 2 cellphones with her in Jakarta. I know some carries up to 6 (!) cellphones. I'm guilty of carrying two old cellphones, one prepaid for work and one postpaid (my dad's old number) just in case I forgot to top up the prepaid one, and I dont always remember charging them. And since I dont remember my dad's number, I only give out my prepaid number to people.

At one point someone (unknowing about the girl situation) commented that one of the reasons why there are more divorces in Jakarta is the fact that people spend too much time on their Blackberry and not enough time with their partner. I guess there's a truth in it when that girl replied very crossed about that statement.

Back in Ireland, I didnt notice the Irish reaching for their cellphones all the time. It was only the Indonesians who did that. Seriously, lay off the cellphone every now and then, we lived without them for ages, how come now it's such a weird thing not to be connected all the time?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Women Power

This article is interesting about Indonesian women.

Cad é an scéal? What's the Story?

I went to the land of Guinness last week for work. Transited at Schiphol for several hours and meeting up some friends while stocking up my cheese [oude amsterdam] and toothpaste [red paradontax] plus re-adjusting my orthopedic sole [for free! If I made a new one in Jakarta it would've cost me USD 400]. It was a great day in lowland.. such a great weather. I told my ex-flatmate that it wasnt the typical weather I associate lowland with. Too bad I didnt have the chance of eating raw haring or that risotto and italian ice cream near my old place.

Landed in Dublin that night and found out my almost brand new baggage [it was only it's second use] was cracked. Complained to KLM and was told to complain to Aer Lingus. Every Irishmen I met wishing me good luck with that. Not a good start.

The last time I checked my email in NL and I was told that the dinner was canceled the next day. So I spent the day with friends doing walkabouts and watched some Irish music. I made a mistake ordering my lunch, it was huge. Nice seafood chowder and salmon sandwich that I couldnt finish (I thought it would be in Dutch smaller portion for that price). Got to the hotel that night with voice mails about dinner, they were afraid I was missing.

The hotel was interesting, part of it was an old castle near a battle field from 1014! I told my friend if there were any ghosts, I'll move to their place. A lot of old people & Americans stay in the hotel.

The next day after my boss was deemed MIA, we went down to Wicklow County with a tour bus. It was said that the temperature was 1 degree but felt like -7. Grand. We went to Sally gap where they shot P.S. I Love You, and visited the place they shot Brave Heart and Bally Kiss Angel. We visited St Kevin's monastery and I hugged the true cross, stopped by the Guinness Estate with it's pint-looking-lake-and-imported-white-florida-sands-as-it's-foam and a waterfall. We also visited the place where Thomas Moore wrote his poem The Meeting of The Waters. We had a lovely dinner at Dun Loaghaire followed by a quick meeting at the hotel about the next day.

On Monday we met several companies all day long before going to a so-called Dutch Indonesian Restaurant in Temple Bar area. I was warned about the restaurant by John and my friend so my expectation was pretty low. When I was asked about the food by Edel, I said it's not Indonesian, nor Dutch Indonesian. But as fusion it was alright. We then headed to a proper Irish bar for a pint of Guinness. I had a lovely chat with Edel. That night we had more drinks at the hotel. When in Dublin you know...

The following day we had more meetings but we ended the day at the Guinness Storehouse. Their 360degrees Gravity bar is awesome. Since Guinness is not my poison of choice and I was famish, I passed up the pint. We had dinner at Brazen Head, the oldest pub from 1198 or so they say. The food was nice actually. The group split up as I had to accompany our reporter to track down my boss at some pub for an interview and more drinking.

Back in Indonesia I wanted to visit Newgrange, the second oldest building in the world. It's a burial site actually. However, due to last minute meetings I had to cancel that trip. The last meeting for the trip was the best meeting ever! I had the chance to fulfill my dream of flying an aeroplane for half an hour. That's the reason I wont complain about not visiting Newgrange. The guys then gave me vodka to celebrate it.

The last day of my trip was on St Patrick's day. I waited for 3 hours for a 1.5 hour parade. It's craic tho. We then rushed to the airport where my plane was delayed and I had to run like mad at Schiphol to reach E22 from D17 in 20 minutes. Thank you Aer Lingus!

So that's the Story so far...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Good News Is..

Apparently according to a seasoned flight instructor I'm a natural...
Now, where can I find €65K+ to get me a commercial pilot license?
Should I open a Paypal account for donation?

According to an Irish Legend

I wont meet my true love this year...
(But I bet all tall Dutch people meet theirs this year)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This morning in Irish newspaper there's this picture of arson and we couldnt believe that such act still happens in a place such as Ireland. Less then half an hour later there was a tweet about the bombing at utan kayu and we couldnt believe it.

I can see the reasons why they want Ulil or Yapto dead, but the head of anti narcotic bureau?
People are getting more and more nuts these days..

Sunday, March 13, 2011


My sky for the next few days, methinks

Friday, March 11, 2011

Blink And You'll Miss It

After 13 or so hours flight, 2 new acquaintances later.. just touched down in lowland.
I was welcomed with 5degrees weather, just like the first time I was here in my other life.

Surprisingly, the sky is pretty clear. When we were descending toward the airport, every things are illuminated.
there were blocks of greenhouses and cities lighting up below.

There's this familiarity but also strangeness being here again.
the smell... the flatness... the way things are... the coldness...

In a few hours I'll be gone again...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


I'm checking my lists.. and I still have this nagging feeling that I forget about something.
If I dont get them right in the morning, by this time tomorrow, it'll be way too late.

note to self: should it happened, just enjoy what I have.

here's hoping all ends well.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Dr Seuss

March is Dr Seuss' birth month. I want to share my fave quotes of his:

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange bird as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great balancing Act. just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up you right foot with your left.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So.. get on your way!

And I want this last one read at my funeral:
I'm glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got a started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Splitting Headache

Last Tuesday I got home to mom unpacking her 3 huge baggages. Yupe, mom is back from her 4 months trip. There is this familiar smell since then in our house that I always associate with USA.

Since then I've also noticed that I started having dizziness, headache and really sleepy during the day. So sleepy that I could fell asleep and dreaming in the busway on the back from the office on Wednesday! Normally I cant sleep in public. Weird.

Today the headache is getting worse that I couldnt think straight. I managed to sleep it off a bit in the morning only to wake up because of the headache. Because I need to pack for my trip while I still have time, I started to put my wardrobe together, so I can mix and match later on without bringing too much of it. When I was trying out the new dress mom bought, I got splitting headache from the smell of it. For someone with a weird sense of smell it's too much. I mentioned about it to mom, she said it's the smell of detergent they are using over there. However I'm suspicious that it's the chemical they use in the airport to fumigate the baggages because every things smell like that, even the shoes and bags she bought. Plus, one of her baggages was opened for random inspection over there.

Now I need to air everything I want to pack, just in case.
Seriously, It's been years since I have this much headache.

ps: if my hunch is right, does it mean I can sue USA airport for immaterial damages? ;)