Dude Harlino and Lee Dong Wook: Separated at birth?

Compare these pics below:




Dude Harlino
(Indonesian actor who curently stars in the RCTI sinetron "Cahaya")


and this:


Lee Dong Wook
(Korean actor who starred in the famed K-drama "My Girl")

Separated at birth?

Read more...

Indonesian Language is claimed by Malaysia

This is originally a translation of this site.

They’ve claimed our song (Rasa Sayange), our dance (Reog Ponorogo), our food (Nasi Goreng), our clothes (Batik), our territories (Sipadan&Ligitan), and now our language.

So what’s next on the list?

Our sinetron? Or perhaps Chrisye’s songs as Malaysian- masterpieces?

OR maybe…. The Indonesian external debt that have totalled billions of dollars? Now THAT could worth quite a fortune for our dearly beloved “Truly Asian” neighbour.

Just read on, and you’ll see how our “brotherly” relationship with the next door country is as thin as a piece of ultimatum.

~~TRANSLATION STARTS HERE~~

DIPONEGORO, (GM).-
DIPONEGORO, (GM).- Our next door Malaysia threatens to claim the Indonesian national language as Malay language (language of Malaysia). “The Malaysian Government will claim the Indonesian language as Malay language. Because Malay language is the language of Malaysia,” said the Malaysian Deputy Ambassador for Indonesia, Dato Abdul Azis Harun to the reporters amidst the “Kemilau Nusantara 2007” party in the Satay Building, Bandung, Sunday (25/11).

That ultimatum, he said, will be done if the Indonesian government and people still fuss the Malaysian claim over the Ponorogo Reog art and the “Rasa Sayange” song.

According to him, “the “Rasa Sayange” was composed in 1907 and Ponorogo reog much longer before that due to the fact that they were born before Indonesia’s birth. The only extant thing that time was a combination of Indonesia and Malaysia which were altogether called Nusantara.

“The Malaysian government and people deem Indonesia and Malaysia as a part of Nusantara. This problem arose because the nation of Indonesia choose to narrow down the definition of the word ‘Nusantara’,” he compounded.

There are also other countries included in that Nusantara apart from Indonesia and Malaysia, he stated, which are Singapre, Brunei Darussalam, and southern Thailand. So if there is an Indonesian folksong that had taken root in Malaysia, it surely is a natural thing because the art was brought by the Indonesian ethnic groups to Malaysia centuries ago.

“The Indonesian ethnic groups came with their art and traditional culture and had them developed in Malaysia. It surely is impossible to separate them with their art and culture,” he said.

Abdul Azis also stated that the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have taken the widely debated issues into discussion, such as the Reog Ponorogo art and the “Rasa Sayange” song. In that discussion, he stated, the Malaysian government prioritises the unity of Nusantara. “But I don’t know in detail the result of the discussion between the Indonesian Culture&Tourism Minister with the Malaysian Culture Minister,” he explained.

He also stated, the Ponorogo reog traditional art case and the “Rasa Sayange” song gets highly publicised because of the Indonesian press. Whilst the Malaysian press itself, he added, doesn’t make a big fuss over that problem. “The thing is, both cultural aspects have taken root in Malaysia for centuries, which was brought by Indonesian people who then resided in Malaysia,” he explained. (B.81)**

~~TRANSLATION ENDS HERE~~

Read more...

General Paper in JC: A very advanced form of English subject

For the purpose of discretion, the friend in discussion is not to be named here. So let me just rename him: “Kenji”.

I could recall that in his phonecalls, there isn’t a single time that Kenji does not whine about the subject called General Paper. And since I barely knew anything about it, I could offer no sympathy to him.

Then three days ago, I asked him on phone, “Hey, why don’t you send me a sample paper of GP exam?”

“OK”, he replied.

That same night he e-mailed me the comprehension section (P2) sample of GP test paper from the “Catholic Junior College Promotional Exam 2002”.

My first reaction was… gape.

Nope, not bewilderment, not confusedness, but a mere gape.

Then I mouthed, “What the F”£$%^&* !!”

It was notoriously fiendish!!!

Don’t ask me to compare it to any other standardised English tests, it is already 20 times harder than ‘O’-level English paper alone. Thus, in a rough comparison, the GP paper is 200 times harder than TOEFL.

Or more.

Anyway, looking at the Answer Scheme part of that Compre is the most shocking part of all. There are two different partitions for almost every question: “Lift” and “Paraphrase”. Now that is what I call a total comprehension!

I couldn’t imagine anyone scoring 90% or above in such papers, even though I knew such people are extant.

After I googled GP, I then found the RJC (Raffles Junior College) website which gives perceptive insight to what GP is all about.

Quote taken from this site:

General Paper is compulsory for all Junior College students. It is primarily a test of English language, but the course also aims to help students acquire a general knowledge of world affairs including questions of human values, often taking an historical or comparative approach. Beyond the requirements of the written examination, the RJC GP course encourages wide reading and an awareness of national and international issues. Oral skills are developed to help students acquire greater poise and confidence in public speaking and interviews.

Now that I see it, it looks more like Secondary’s English + Social Studies + a little bit of History combined altogether, thus making it a hell lot harder.

Now the question is: How am I gonna start? There isn’t a ‘A’-level teacher here in Jakarta..

That’s not really a big problem. Lacking an instructor isn’t a big hurdle after all. I could ask my friend Kenji to e-mail me more GP papers!

I could always google for the GP tips anyway. And one thing, I somehow know a sly trick on how to get my papers marked by an instructor for gratis. ^^

>>> evil grin <<<

For those of you plebeian Indonesians/non-Singaporeans who wanna know what on earth a GP paper looks like, here is a slight peek:

COMPOSITION SECTION

(taken from Raffles JC 2002 Preliminary Exam)

Answer ONE question.

Answers should be between 500 and 800 words in length.

  1. "We experience technological and social change at a rate faster than our institutions and ethics can cope with." Discuss.
  2. Do you agree that copyright laws make life better for everyone?
  3. Is a meritocratic society sustainable
  4. What are the most important factors in determining a student’s success or failure?
  5. How far would you agree that a stable society depends on the survival of the traditional family?
  6. (the rest of the questions have been blanked by Toshihiko in order to respect the copyrights)……….
  7. ……..
  8. ………….
  9. ………………
  10. …………………..
  11. ……………………..
  12. …………………………

COMPREHENSION SECTION

(taken from Catholic JC 2002 Promotional Exam)

…………………….

6. Explain the following phrases in your own words as far as possible.

(a) “babble of tongues” (line 38)

(b) “not being able to distinguish bad money from good” (lines 66-67)

7. From paragraph four: Why does the writer refer to the problems of a minority of students learning Chinese?

8. The writers in Passage A and Passage B have differing views concerning the value of the local variety of English in any country. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Justify your choice by examining each writer’s arguments and referring to your own experience.

…………..

I believe that by now all of you readers agree that the General Paper subject truly is…. fiendish.

PS: So then, my next task toward a mastery of English is conquering the GP!

Today I promise I won’t call myself a fluent speaker of English until I have thoroughly mastered the skills needed for GP. I will do at least one GP composition a day starting from Sunday, 2 December 2008 (I have a JLPT paper on Sunday, which is why I’m now focussing all my attention to Japanese Kanji, etc.)

Read more...

The man who hasn’t sleep for the last 34 years has -surprisingly- never fallen ill.

The original text can be found here.

Vietnam man handles three decades without sleep

As songbirds awaken the early risers at dawn on the farm, one resident is already up; in fact, he never slept – not once in the past 33 years.

You’d think going without sleep for that long may have its drawbacks, but not for the man in central Quang Nam province who has never been ill after decades of insomnia.

His inability to sleep has not only made him famous, but also represents a “miraculous” phenomenon worthy of scientific study.

Sixty-four-year-old Thai Ngoc, known as Hai Ngoc, said he could not sleep at night after getting a fever in 1973, and has counted infinite numbers of sheep during more than 11,700 consecutive sleepless nights.

“I don’t know whether the insomnia has impacted my health or not. But I’m still healthy and can farm normally like others,” Ngoc said.

Proving his health, the elderly resident of Que Trung commune, Que Son district said he can carry two 50kg bags of fertilizer down 4km of road to return home every day.

His wife said, “My husband used to sleep well, but these days, even liquor cannot put him down.”

She said when Ngoc went to Da Nang for a medical examination, doctors gave him a clean bill of health, except a minor decline in liver function.

Ngoc currently lives on his 5ha farm at the foot of a mountain busy with farming and taking care of pigs and chickens all day. His six children live at their house in Que Trung.

“I have tried sleeping pills and Vietnamese traditional medicine but nothing helps, even to sleep for a few minutes,” he said.

Creature of the night

Ngoc often does extra farm work or guards his farm at night to prevent theft, saying he used three months of sleepless nights to dig two large ponds to raise fish.

Neighbor Vu said Ngoc volunteered to help beat a drum during the night and guard the house for the relatives of the dead during funeral ceremonies so that they could take a nap.

Vu also said when the commune was planting sugar cane, several people also asked Ngoc to awaken them at midnight to go to work, since he was up anyway.

On Ngoc’s prolonged insomnia, Phan Ngoc Ha, director of the Hoa Khanh Mental Hospital in Danang said sleep disorders often cause anorexia, lethargy, and irritability.

But, in special cases, some people can handle it and still live and work normally, although this was a very small ratio among insomniacs, Ha added.

Read more...

Blood, sweat and tears.

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Saturday, 10 November 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The average healthy person can lose as much as 1/3 of his/her blood without fatal results.
  • The sound heard by a listener when holding a seashell to his ear does not come from the shell itself. It is the echo of the blood pulsing in the listener’s own ear.
  • On average, a person has two million sweat glands.
  • The average adult loses 540 calories with every liter of sweat. Men sweat about 40 percent more than women.
  • There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in your feet, and they sweat as much as 0.25 kg of moisture per day.
  • Men sweat more than women. This is because women can better regulate the amount of water they lose.
  • The human body has over 600 muscles, 40 percent of the body’s weight.
  • The average adult male, having about 34 kg of muscle, can bench-press 88 percent of his body-weight, or about 19.5 kg.
  • The average man’s muscles comprise about 40 per cent of body weight, or about 34 kg.
  • A person uses 200 muscles to take a single step forward.
  • It requires the use of 72 muscles to speak a single word.
  • The longest muscle in the body is the sartorius. This narrow muscle of the thigh passes obliquely across the front of the thigh and helps rotate the leg to the position assumed sitting in cross-legged.
  • The smooth muscles of the human body operate involuntarily and are located inside organs, such as the stomach and intestines.
  • When you pull out a nose hair, your tears come only from the eye on that side.
  • The reason why your nose gets runny when you are crying is because the tears from the eyes drain into your nose.
  • The longest bout of hiccups lasted 69 years.
  • People are the only animals that cry tears.
  • The human body makes anywhere from half to 1.5 litres of saliva every 24 hours.
  • In your lifetime, you’ll produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools.
  • The average talker sprays about 300 microscopic saliva droplets per minute (about 2.5 droplets per word).
  • A person will die from total lack of sleep sooner than from starvation. Death will occur after 10 days without sleep, while starvation takes a few weeks.
  • If you are locked in a completely sealed room, you will dir of carbon dioxide poisoning before you die of oxygen deprivation.
  • You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
  • You can burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.

Read more...

Indo-Lesson 4: "Kenapa Ayam Menyeberang Jalan?"

This is a quite funny joke I found just now. So here it is, I'm using it as today's lesson! The Indonesian words in the text are quite easy to comprehend, thus help yourself (I'll translate several vocabs only if there is anyone requesting them. Otherwise, I'll left this blog post as it is).

Kenapa Ayam Menyeberang Jalan? (Why does the chicken cross the street?)

Author unkown

Jawaban dari:

Guru TK : supaya sampai ke ujung jalan

PLATO : untuk mencari kebaikan yang lebih baik

POLISI : beri saya lima menit dengan ayam itu, saya akan tahu kenapa

ARISTOTELES : karena merupakan sifat alami dari ayam

KAPTEN JAMES T.KIRK : karena dia ingin pergi ke tempat yang belum pernah ia datangi

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR : saya memimpikan suatu dunia yang membebaskan semua ayam menyebrang jalan tanpa mempertanyakan kenapa

MACHIAVELLI : poin pentingnya adalah ayam menyebrang jalan!siapa yang peduli kenapa!akhir dari penyebrangan akan menentukan motivasi ayam itu

FREUD : fakta bahwa kalian semua begitu peduli pada alasan ayam itu
menunjukkan ketidaknyaman seksual kalian yang tersembunyi

GEORGE W.BUSH : kami tidak peduli kenapa ayam itu mnyeberang! kami cuma
ingin tau apakah ayam itu ada di pihak kami atau tidak, apa dia bersama
kami atau melawan kami.tidak ada pihak tengah di sini!

DARWIN : ayam telah melalui periode waktu yang luar biasa, telah melalui
seleksi alam dengan cara tertentu dan secara alami tereliminasi dengan
menyeberang jalan.

EINSTEIN : Apakah ayam itu meyebrang jalan atau jalan yang bergerak
dibawah ayam itu, itu semua tergantung pada sudut pandang kita sendiri

NELSON MANDELA : Tidak akan pernah lagi ayam ditanyai kenapa menyebrang
jalan! dia adalah panutan yang akan saya bela sampai mati

THABO MBEKI : kita harus mencari tahu apakah memang benar ada kolerasi
antara ayam dan jalan

MUGABE : Setelah sekian lama jalan dikuasai petani kulit putih, ayam miskin yang tertindas telah menanti terlalu lama agar jalan itu diberikan kepadanya dan sekarang dia menyebranginya dengan dorongan ayam2 veteran perang. Kami bertekad mengambil alih jalan tersebut dan memberikannya pada ayam, sehingga dia bisa menyebranginya tanpa ketakutan yang diberikan oleh pemerintahan Inggris yang berjanji akan mereformasi jalan itu. Kami tidak akan berhenti sampai ayam yang tidak punya jalan itu punya jalan untuk diseberangi dan punya kemerdekaan untuk menyeberanginya!

ISAAC NEWTON : Semua ayam di bumi ini kan menyebrang jalan secara tegak
lurus dalam garis lurus yang tidak terbatas dalam kecepatan yang seragam, terkecuali jika ayam berhenti karena ada reaksi yang tidak seimbang dari arah berlawanan.

SUTIYOSO : itu ayam pasti ingin naik busway

PROGRAMMER J2EE : Tidak semua ayam dapat menyebrang jalan, maka dari itu perlu adanya interface untuk ayam yaitu nyebrangable, ayam2 yg ingin atau
bisa menyebrang d haruskan untuk mengimplementasikan interface nyebrangable, jadi d sini sudah jelas terlihat bahwa antara ayam dengan jalan sudah loosely coupled.

HARMOKO: Berdasarkan petunjuk Presiden

Benny Moerdani : Selidiki! Apakah ada unsur subversif?

Gus Dur : Gitu Aja Kok Repot?

Megawati Soekarnoputri : Ayamnya. Pasti Wong Cilik. Dia Jalan Kaki toh.

Aburizal Bakrie : Pasti Ayam Ngungsi Dari Lapindo



what's yours?

Read more...

Anime version of The Simpsons

Very creative work of designing I just found here… not mine though. Compare these two versions below:


Original Pic


Anime-adaptation pic

The anime version above looks kinda spooky though… Yet still, the original is a hell lot spookier!

Oh well, I’ve never liked Simpsons anyway... This one below is a bit better.


Read more...

My Family Tree explained in detail

“Where do you come from?”

I always hate when people ask me this question. It’s because the answer varies, depends on who is asking.

If the questioner is a westerner, I’d answer that I’m American.

If the questioner is an Indonesian, I’d answer that I’m of a very mixed ancestry (while hoping that I won’t have to elaborate on what ethnicities I belong to, with a reason I’m going to expand further below). If I had to answer in detail, I’m afraid I have to enumerate half the member countries of United Nations!!

If the questioner is a non-Indonesian Asian, I’d answer that I’m Indonesian.

The varied answers above do not imply that I’m lying to any single one of them. Rather, all the answers I’ve given are true to their fullest extent.

By citizenship or by birth, I am an American.

By ancestry, I am 80% Asian, 10% Middle Eastern and 10% European.

You may want to judge my ancestry by my face alone, but perhaps you would give a second thought. Due to my anonymous nature in not revealing my true identity in this blog, I will not display my own picture here. Rather, I’ll quote what people had said about me.

If an Indonesian sees me, he/she would think that I’m half European-half Indonesian, with a kind of “Indonesian but foreign” look on my face.

If a westerner (Caucasian) sees me, he/she would think that I’m a pure Indonesian, without the slightest tinge of being European.

If an Asian non-Indonesian sees me, he/she would think that I’m Malay (some even called me Arab!)

Bewildered? You may say so, but Tiger Woods is another example of a person of very mixed ancestry (while his dad is an African American, his mom is Chinese-Thai!).

Let’s find out the truth (all ancestries I belong to are emboldened in red fonts).

My maternal family is a Muslim one, with a Gayo-Acehnese ancestry on my late grandfather’s side, and Sundanese on my late grandmother’s side. And my grandmother has a trace of Chinese too (though she had never admitted it due to the dogmatism of being “Chinese” brings in Sundanese community). My mother once told me that my grandmother is in the 6th line of descendant from Prince Diponegoro (an Indonesian national hero), though the truth is yet to be verified.

My maternal grandmother had never celebrated Chinese New Year (esp. since it was banned during the Suharto era), and coupled with my face (which does not show in the least any trace of Chinese complexion), one would be excused for not believing that I’m 10% Chinese. My mother doesn’t look Chinese, since she resembles more of my Acehnese grandfather, but you would be forced to believe my Chinese ancestry anyway after you’ve seen my mother’s eldest brother, who does look very Chinese!

My paternal family is a Catholic one, with a Sangihe-Arabic ancestry on my late grandfather’s side and a very mixed Portuguese + Padang + Filipino ancestry on my estranged grandmother’s side. With an Arabic blood, one may wonder why my grandfather was a Catholic. Well, my great grandfather was a Muslim with a very Arabic name indeed, and I presume he converted during his days in Indonesia. My grandmother’s relationship with most of her family members is an estranged one, which is a confidential family matter that is not supposed to be written here. Hence, I do not know what she looks like, nor do I know how “Portuguese” she is, but from family photos, I could see that she looks much more Indonesian than European.

For those who do not know, Padang is an ethnic group that originates from Western Sumatra, while Gayo-Acehnese is a specific ethnic group of Aceh in the northernmost of Sumatra Island. Sangihe is an ethnic group from Northern Sulawesi (the antiques liked to call it CELEBES), and Sundanese is from Western Java.

It kind of honours me (sorry for a bit of boasting here), that I have royal blood running through my veins. My maternal grandfather was the first son of the direct descendant of Gayo king (a kingdom that ceased to exist since Indonesia’s independence) and my maternal grandmother was a grandchild of the Sangihe royalty (another kingdom that no longer exists today). The succession line still continues unbroken today, though the title of “Gayo king” would not be held by me even if it still exists, since the succession goes to my mother’s eldest brother’s son.

I know that tracing back family genealogy is not a common practice among Asians, since it is more of a European custom, but it’s a custom that I like to do anyway (and I seek to inherit to the next generation in my family). There are 131 individuals (both living and deceased) whom I have named in my Family Tree software, and I’m looking forward to linking more of the Portuguese, Chinese, and Filipino names… Who knows, one day I may meet my distant kins there!

PS: By the way, I’m more than proud to declare that I am “mostly Indonesian”, since Indonesia is the country that I love most. (^_^)

Read more...

How to Google effectively

I know that this may be a random repost you’ve read somewhere, but you may refresh your mind with these complete list of steps you must take in order to google efficaciously:

  1. Fill in the search box with all the keywords you know, for example: keywords related to journal:

>.pdf // journal is usually stored in the PDF format

> abstract // every journal usually has an abstract

> // the topic related to the journal, e.g. ergonomics, hand tools, etc.

  1. The keyword that forms a phrase is quoted within apostrophes so that Google searches them as a phrase, for example:

> “chlonorchis sinensis”

> “james martin”

  1. If there are several words that you wish could be found in the search, begin each words with a plus (+) sign stuck to the word, for example:

> +model +biomechanics +Chaffin

> +design +”User Interface”

  1. If there are several words that you DON’T wish to be found in the search, begin such words with a minus (-) sign stuck to the word, for example:

> TORA –Oracle

> .pdf -Subscribe

  1. If you’re still confused in searching with the above steps, just use Advanced Search!

Next week I’ll blog on the method of googling for FREE MP3 DOWNLOADS effectively and legally. I rarely fail in googling for free songs, so you can be rest assured in my method.

Read more...

The fine line between HATE and DISLIKE

People around my age usually think that the words hate and dislike are synonymous in nature (as is their Indonesian equivalents of tidak suka and benci).

Yes, they may be distinctly related, but the fact remains that they’re not even closely colligated. Everybody knows that the word hate is more intense than the latter, but in my opinion, it’s a hell lot more than what you think.

I’ll tell you why.

(To be noted here, this blog post is largely philosophical than linguistic. Thus, I’m not gonna discuss the words from their etymologies as I usually do.)

When you dislike somebody, it means that you don’t like that person. The person that you dislike may be your spouse, parent, relative, friend, colleague, or even a stranger.

Now that’s obvious.

When you hate somebody, it means that you don’t love that person and don’t care whatsoever shit that happens to him/her.

See the difference? No?

Well, the difference between don’t like and don’t love can be explained simpler this way:

If you see that person, let’s say your ex-wife who had once cheated on you, lying down on the street due to a car accident, what would you do?

Would you call an ambulance straightaway? If you did, that means that you DISLIKE your ex-wife, yet you don’t hate her.

Would you pretend to see nothing? If you did, that would mean that you HATE your ex-wife.

As you see, when I say you don’t hate your ex-wife, it doesn’t mean that you’d still be in love with her. No, of course you don’t love her romantically.

Remember when Jesus in the Gospel said that we must love other human beings? Love one another as is the way you love yourself. And that would mean anyone that you meet, doesn’t matter who he/she is.

Disliking a person is not a sin. Hating a person is.

You may dislike your children, but you still love them anyway, right?

According to the parable I’ve given above, let’s just see it that way:

If the person whom you DISLIKE is found dying because of a car crash or food-poisoning, would you give him/her a first-aid and call the ambulance?

If no, that means the feeling you have toward him/her is pure HATRED.

If yes, that means the feeling you have toward him/her is a mere DISLIKE, not HATRED. And that would also mean that you still care for him/her.

Read more...

Nationalism and Race: It’s all a matter of sex

(First and foremost, I would like to avoid misconceptions and unnecessary arguments by defining the word “nationality” not the birthplace of one’s parents or one’s grandparents or one’s great-great-grandparents, but as the place where one was born. While such a definition may contradict your Oxford, I am making it clear now that my main discussion is about birthplace and race, not citizenship; as to avoid being double-standard in my own arguments like the case of another blogger in town who oftly contradicts his own arguments.)

I noticed lately that there is this little commotion regarding the question of one’s own nationality: parochial or not.

Now let me discuss my take on the issue.

There are two things that we human beings could never choose or buy.

Nationality and race.

While you can change your own citizenship, such as Einstein who renounced his German for an American one, one could never change one’s nationality.

Just like Simon has put it, being an Indonesian, British, American, or Malaysian national is not something that you can choose by free will.

So, what’s the nationalism fuss all about?

It simply means that your parents had sex there.

The same thing goes with one’s race, it depends upon your parents’ ancestry in the first place, no question asked.

Well, if you are a Caucasian and you want your children to be half-Chinese, you can always marry a Chinese. Then, what race would your children be? Half-Chinese half-Caucasian, of course! You still can’t change your children’s race into half-Chinese half-Latino, unless your wife cheated with a Mexican, that is.

While you may choose half of your children’s race, you can’t choose a single blood drop of yours.

If you were born as a Jewish in Germany, so be it. You can’t purchase another race, not even by the latest scientific improvements!

Frankly, I myself used to wish that I was born as a half-Japanese half-Caucasian, as to get a better look and posture than what I am now. And that time I wasn’t proud too in being 85% Indonesian with a slight tinge of Portuguese and Arabic ethnicity as the way I am now.

Having been born elsewhere notwithstanding, I learned to accept myself as the way it is: an Indonesian ethnic. There’s no way to change it, you can only accept it and love the way you are now.

While you may conceal your own nationality by lying, your race is something that you couldn’t change, and it lives in every inch of your body, within your pigments, skin, hair, blood cells, and pupil. Yet you’re still forced to walk around with it.

Read more...

You can obtain an American scholarship with just a good TOEFL score?

Of course it’s not possible.

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that I can obtain an American scholarship with just a good TOEFL score, say, 800…

She recommended me to do a TOEFL on the basis of her own relative who had obtained one in the past just by excelling in TOEFL. She knew that if I do one, I’d stand out amongst others.

I thanked her, and appreciated her for the attention. Yet, I quickly refuted her by saying the obvious facts that I have that would contradict her statement straightaway:

  1. TOEFL stands for “Test of English as a Foreign Language”. I think it’s pretty obvious that despite being a native speaker of Bahasa Indonesia, English is no longer a foreign language for me.
  2. If there still exists such a scholarship in the first place, my batch –no— the entire bunch of foreign scholars whom Singapore accepts anually would no doubt switch for an American scholarship as soon as they finished their ‘O’-levels

Honestly the point no.2 is the only one that I mentioned to her, as no.1 would sound more like a boast.

Anyway, doing a TOEFL which is 80% MCQ (Multiple-Choice Questions) could be defined as an attempt to undermine (not examine) my own English proficiency, as the TOEFL itself doesn’t examine really my composition-writing ability!

Never in my whole life, even under Damocles’ sword, would I ever do a TOEFL. I’ve done an English ‘O’-level, which consists of both Comprehension and Composition sections, and the only next thing harder than that would be an English SAT (wherein we have to write an English essay as a closing).

Read more...

Methods for quitting smoking

* Self-help. When unable to quit cold-turkey, smokers can use a wide variety of resources to help them. They include self-help books, pamphlets, videos, audiotapes and even websites. This method is particularly useful for those with a mild nicotine addiction and those with moderate to high levels of social support.

* Counseling. Individual counseling with a doctor, a nurse or specialists help smokers design and carry out their path toward recovery. Telephone counseling is also a choice for smokers who can’t provide time to consult experts.

* Intensive counseling. Intensive one with an expert on quitting helps smokers set up measurable goals and methods. This is the best choice for highly addicted smokers who have tried stopping several times but never succeeded.

* Alternative method. There are various alternative therapies that can help smokers quit. This includes acupuncture, hypnosis, reiki and even yoga. This method is applicable for those with an on-and-off relationship with cigarettes.


~From various sources~

Read more...

Meeting with Stanford.

I met up with Ford last Friday in Plaza Indonesia. The appointment was on 11.30 and I was on time (fortunately! The first time I came on time in years!) and firstly had lunch in a hot dog parlour where he told me a secret which unfortunately can’t be blogged here as I’ve sworn silence.

We talked abt heaps of stuff: girls, sex, booze, Todai, EJU, future education, brands, Christmas, JJC, ACJC, IB, old friends, our batch, juniors, seniors, ACS halltutors, fun-ness in JC, etc as we strolled inside the entire Plaza Indonesia and the adjacent e’X.

Then we went to the newly built Grand Indonesia which is located just across the street. There Ford told me how he had not taken a public transport in Jakarta (gasp as you like) as his parents forbids him to.

Now that… is… cool! I kinda sympathise him you know, haven’t got even the least bit of dip to experience a “taste of poverty” in Jakarta. He hadn’t even taken the Transjakarta bus ride yet before, one of the most convenient means of transport in Jakarta (though it turned into hellish during rush hour!)

We parted at 5.30 when his chauffeur picked him up in his Kijang. Man, it would mean probably years before I ever meet him again! That is, provided I don’t go to Singapore this March…

I went home by Transjakarta and changed transport into Metro Mini no.79 in Blok M, the orange transport wherein one could experience the utmost contrast from the upscale and indulgent life advertised in Jakarta malls.

Huh…

Just bought ELDEST after church mass today in PIM’s Periplus for Rp 85,000—which would engage me in fantasy adventures of Eragon and his chum the dragon Saphira for at least the entirety of the next week.

Also bought a TIME magazine where the main coverage is about the most lucrative nations for business and the Green Vote in Australia

Never thought that Australia is the worst polluter in the world, huh? With a population which is just a bit above 20 million people, it hardly fills in the space of 1/10 of the American population altogether, and yet we always thought that the Americans are the worst polluter.

Enough said. Bike to work, SBY say.

Read more...

Top 5 "Be Your Own Boss" Careers

by Joe Taylor Jr.

A growing number of Americans have discovered the joys of working for themselves. By developing a marketable skill, you can work directly for customers and clients without having to worry about middle managers or boring company presentations. In today's increasingly flexible job market, medical careers no longer require working in hospitals, and technology degree holders can find lucrative work from their home offices.

According to government data, these five careers offer some of the easiest ways to get started with self-employment. In many cases, you can usually start earning money while completing your formal training.

1. Home Health Aide

While most home health aides spend their time working from clients' homes, this fast-growing profession combines many of the benefits of a nursing career with the flexibility of self-employment. Earning $20,000 per year or more by working part-time, a typical home health aide assists clients when he or she is not caring for family members or completing a nursing degree program.

Many states require a prospective home health aide to hold an associate medical degree, as well as a personal bond. Though some home health aids are truly self-employed, the vast majority of professionals book clients through a professional agency. Agencies provide tax withholding, bookkeeping, and business support for home health aides. Some larger agencies even provide tuition reimbursement for online health degrees.

2. Private Investigator

A criminal justice degree and a love for working unusual hours are two of the most important ingredients for a job as a private investigator. Private eyes often transition to this career during or after a similar career in law enforcement.

Retired or injured police officers who cannot return to active duty often take on P.I. work to supplement pension or insurance payments. Hard work in the field pays very well, since skip tracing and other collection activities frequently offer larger, immediate bonuses. Many private investigators earn over $32,000 per year working full-time. However, the flexibility of P.I. work allows many professionals to spend time attending law school or completing other degree programs.

3. Freelance Database Administrator

Nearly every business in America relies on a database, yet few small businesses can afford to hire a full time staff member with a technology degree. Therefore, the market for freelance database administrators has blossomed over the past ten years.

Many online technical degree programs now offer elective courses on business management and marketing for freelance professionals. Meanwhile, online technology courses help freelancers earn and maintain industry certifications.

Working full time from home, some freelance database administrators earn $60,000 or more per year.

4. Personal Chef

Don't confuse today's personal chef with a nanny or housekeeper. Professional personal chefs spend their afternoons bouncing between two, three, or four home kitchens, putting their culinary degrees to work for clients. Many personal chefs earn $33,000 or more per year, without the long hours or the stress of working in a commercial kitchen.

Personal chefs are also part of another interesting trend in larger cities: personal dinner preparation centers. Customers can book time at these open, professional kitchens where chefs help prepare ingredients that can be completed quickly at home. Personal chefs often round out their schedules by teaching group culinary courses at the homes of clients or at catering facilities.

5. Graphic Designer

Thanks to new technology, a growing number of graphic designers prefer to work from home studios and keep their own hours. Some modern graphic design degree training is done on software that can run on home computers. Working online graphic from home allows many creative people the chance to complete design degrees while still earning an income of $38,000 per year or more.

Although working from home requires more discipline than working at an agency, many graphic design schools offer time management and business courses that help students prepare for the freelance life. Local graphic design colleges also sponsor exhibitions, seminars, and other social events that help professionals make valuable, personal connections.

Transitioning to Self-Employment

Many career experts recommend testing the waters before making a major career change that involves being your own boss. For example, taking a few culinary courses can help you decide whether you really have the patience and the skill to become a personal chef. Likewise, an introductory online technology course can determine whether you've got the passion to make databases your full time job.

While working independently can hold tremendous personal rewards, self-employment carries some burdens and risks. Experts encourage self-employed professionals to save at least a third of their income in a high-interest savings fund to cover emergency expenses, unexpected sick days, and income tax withholding. On the flip side, small business owners can often take tax deductions on work-related equipment and professional development programs.

Enrolling in online career training courses today can help you start your own career transition.

Read more...

Can you solve this riddle?

This riddle is kinda amusing. I found it on a serial Friendster board. Try to answer the riddle first without looking at the answer. I higlighted the answer in yellow.


(Author unknown)


Riddle:

I turn polar bears white
and I will make you cry.
I make guys have to pee
and girls comb their hair.
I make celebrities look stupid
and normal people look like celebrities.
I turn pancakes brown
and make your champagne bubble.
If you squeeze me, I'll pop.
If you look at me, you'll pop.
Can you guess the riddle?




Answer:

The time has come,
winter is here
and those yellow bears disappear.

The time has past
as man looks back with a sigh
and a tear in his eye.

As time is held
boys cross their legs
but of course the toilet begs

As time marches on
Girls loose their blush
and swap a comb for their brush

As time passes
For those held high
their end is nigh

As time catches up
Everyone is equal
when we get to the final sequel

As time turns
Without it we have flour and water
With it we have breakfast for my daughter

As time revolves
How does one turn water and wine
into something so fine

As time runs out
The more in a minute you try and squeeze
the less you can do with ease.

As time ticks
All the time that has past
man cannot comprehend something so vast.

Read more...

Happy Birthday to me!

15 November 2004.

It was my 15th birthday.

The first time I celebrated it without my family. It was Idul Fitri, and schools were off.

That was also the day I first rode an MRT together with my fellow Balinese scholars BooN, Ivan, and Koko. Went to Kinokuniya in Orchard, and bought a “Longman Dictionary—Low Price Edition” for SG$16.70 as a birthday present to myself.

15 November 2005.

My 16th birthday.

I celebrated it at home in Tanah Kusir, as I got the chance to went back to Jakarta just two weeks before my birthday.

15 November 2006.

My 17th birthday.

At precisely 12 a.m., I was in the boarding school field, celebrating my own birthday by running round the field. I avoided all my friends in the first hour of that day, and made a wish to God that my 17th year would be much more productive than the former.

Finally, I reached my Indonesia’s coming-of-age limitation.

But I was in Singapore and I’m facing the last three days of my ‘O’-level papers. And dammit, I was having Physics paper!

I didn’t care. Did I study for that Physics paper? Not really. Despite being the only Science ‘O’-level that I took, I revised my Sec 3 and Sec 4 books for only an hour and stayed up late until 4.a.m, enjoying the Korean drama series Sassy Girl Chunhyang episode I just downloaded using BooN’s laptop.

As a result, I caught cold during my Physics paper. However, I fought the battle and obtained a B3 (65-69% point) for that paper. I knew I could’ve done better if I studied longer.

Bah, I don’t care. The Physics paper had violated the sancitity of my birthday anyway.

15 November 2007.

My 18th birthday.

Finally, I’m categorised as lawfully mature according to most Western states (incl.USA). What am I doing now? I’m blogging, amidst all the typing and cacophonies of Ragnarok, DotA, Seal, and Gunbound in the net café.

My wish for the productiveness of my 17th year wasn’t fulfilled by God. As the way I see it now, my 17th year was apparently the least productive, as I was unemployed for almost the entire year.

As I’m gonna spent the next few months abroad and alone this time, there’s no questioning that my 18th year is gonna be my most challenging year. It may not be productive, but it would still be challenging.

Anyway, happy birthday to me!

Read more...

Update on Dumbledore’s Homosexuality

Knock, knock! Update on my previous blog post here! I don’t know if this image is photoshopped or not, but it seems real enough to me. Perhaps the graffiti on the bottom-right side of the picture may help reveal its authenticity.


(If it was real, I’d like to shout this out from the rooftops: What on earth are you editors of PEOPLE mag thinking?!! Sardonic yellow-journalists!)


Read more...

The two books I’m gonna save if my house was burning down

I don’t remember the exact wordings, but there is this section in the second last page of the Singapore newspaper Straits Times where various public figures are posed with the same question every week on its bookish section:

Q. “If your house was burning down, which books would you save?”

As a book-lover myself, I don’t know if I’m gonna be posed with such a question one day, so let me just prepare the answers beforehand! ^^

A. Of course the first thing I would save are my certificates, my ACS prelim test papers, and my Computer Hard Disk where important and unexchangeable memories are kept. But as they wouldn’t qualify as books in the first place, let me stick on answering the question.

  1. My ACS 2006 yearbook. ACS(I), my former school in Singapore, is the place where I learned for the first time the meaning of friendship, enmity, hardwork, determination and love. Oh well, let’s omit the last part because it’s a boys’ school after all and I’m definitely not a gay, though I must admit I almost turned one there. Or let’s just call that love as “brotherly” (no other connotations intended)
  2. Paperback Longman Dictionary. You may wonder why I would ever want to save a paperback, but it isn’t the monetary value that makes me fond of it after all. I could easily obtain the same copy of it by going to Kinokuniya in Plaza Senayan, but this dictionary is the most faithful book that I always refer to in times of hardships (read: encounters with verbose words) which is why I’m greatly fond of it. And hey, it was bought as my 15th birthday present! (to be noted: it was a gift bought by myself for myself)

Read more...

Indo-Lesson 3: “Saja” and its implications

Toshihiko here, and this is the 3rd lesson on the Indonesian language.

Today I’m going to focus on the discourse word “saja” and its usages.

Let's begin.

Saja, while can be loosely translated into “only” in English, it actually carries another meaning that has different implication, as can be seen in the following explanation:

  1. Saja as a plural.

In order to imply itself as a plural, the word apa, siapa, di mana, ke mana, and dari mana is followed by the word saja. Take a look at these two examples below:

(a). Kamu tadi pergi dengan siapa?

(b). Kamu tadi pergi dengan siapa saja?

In sentence (a), the questioner asks the question in which the answer can either be a singular or plural: dengan Andy or dengan Andy dan Harry.

In sentence (b) the questioner already presumes beforehand that the questioned went with several people and thus, he is asked to name those people. The expected answer is those people’s names, although it does not rule out the possibility that the questioner’s assumption is wrong.

Therefore, the answer for (b) could be Dengan Harry dan dengan John; Dengan Andy, Harry, dan John; or Hanya dengan Harry. Here are a few examples to show you how the absence of “saja” neutralises the sentence of pluralities:

  • (c). 1). Anda akan membeli apa?
  • (c). 2). Anda akan membeli apa saja?

  • (d). 1). Tadi malam ibu pergi ke mana?
  • (d). 2). Tadi malam ibu pergi ke mana saja?

  • (e). 1). Dari mana kamu, jam begini baru pulang?
  • (e). 2). Dari mana saja kamu, jam begini baru pulang?

  1. Saja as an indication of uncertainty.

The question phrases apa saja, siapa saja, di mana saja as stated above are used to indicate uncertainty when they are used in assertive sentences. Thus. The sentence Dia boleh membeli apa saja means that the items one can buy is not limited in variety and number. Take a look at the example below.

(f). Silahkan, ambil apa saja yang Anda inginkan.

(g). Tony bisa bergaul dengan siapa saja.

(h). Ke mana saja orang Jerman itu pergi, anak-anak mengikutinya.

(i). Ambillah berapa saja yang Ibu perlukan.

It is worth noted that berapa saja is not generally used in an interrogative sentence, yet it is commonplace in positive sentences such as example (i) above. As the word order in both positive and interrogative sentences are the same, then the difference lies in the usage of punctuation –with a dot < . > or question mark in written language– and intonation in spoken one.

Take a look at the contrasts shown in these sentences.

  • (j). 1). Kami boleh membeli apa saja?
  • (j). 2). Kami boleh membeli apa saja.


  • (k). 1). Dia diizinkan pergi dengan siapa saja?
  • (k). 2). Dia diizinkan pergi dengan siapa saja.

  • (l). 1). Orang itu boleh tinggal di mana saja?
  • (l). 2). Orang itu boleh tinggal di mana saja.

  • (m). 1). Bethel boleh bermain ke mana saja?
  • (m). 2). Bethel boleh bermain ke mana saja.

You must always remember that Indonesians speak formal language of EYD Indonesian only in politics, courtrooms, and Indonesian lessons. Therefore, never use the word “saja” in its formal context if you want to familiarise yourself with your Indonesian acquaintances: use “aja” instead.

That’s all for today’s lesson.

If you want to send me any questions regarding Bahasa Indonesia or the confusion you may find regarding the close affinity between Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu, you can always comment on this blog post or on the shoutbox in the sidebars. You may also send me suggestions on what I could discuss on future lessons.

References:

TATA BAHASA BAKU BAHASA INDONESIA (Perum Balai Pustaka—1992:190-191)

Read more...

The origin of my pseudonym Toshihiko Atsuyama

I once introduced myself with my pseudonym to an American teenager in a chat room.

Then she said, “Wow, your name is Toshihiko Atsuyama? Cool! I like Chinese stuff. There is this Chinese restaurant that I frequent, you know.”

Yeah, and you’re bloody frigging cool too.

For a bunch of you American hermits who can’t differentiate between Chinese and Japanese names, I’m telling you now: Toshihiko Atsuyama is a Japanese name.

And yes, China and Japan are two separate countries. Their languages aren’t even distinctly related: the only thing that they have in common is their writing system!!!

You see, Americans are very obtuse when it comes to knowing the culture of another country. The only foreign capital cities that they know are Toronto and Mexico City. That’s if they can pinpoint the country, of course (which is bloody impossible if there are only 48 states shown in the map and two other faraway states in the inset).

Ask any Americans (apart from the politicians, of course) to name of the capital city of PRC, and I’d bet all the money I have that they… do NOT know the answer.

Well, that would make me an exceptional American. I can even mention the capital city of countries in the middle of nowhere such as Tajikistan. It’s Dushanbe, right?

Anyway, I seem to be straying far off topic now. I’ll talk about that some other time.

Toshihiko Atsuyama, as some of my close acquaintances may have known, exactly renders my own real initial of TA.

Toshihiko wasn’t adopted from the Japanese politician’s name of Toshihiko Fukui. No, I never liked politicians, and I’d never adopt my name from such people.

Rather, I adopted the name Toshihiko from the main character of the Japanese manga series Shoot!, Toshihiko, a high school football player who has a determined character that had inspired me during my childhood.

Later did I found out that Toshihiko is a unisex name in Japan; which means that the owner of the name can be either a male or female!

But oh well, I’ve taken that name anyway, and on the cyberworld people already recognise me more with my pseudonym rather than my own. If I take a new pseudonym, it would mean that I have to kill my alter ego “Toshihiko Atsuyama”, a thing which I’m very much reluctant to do.

FYI, the name Toshihiko is more frequently used by guys than ladies, so using that name still wouldn’t turn me into an epicene.

About the name Atsuyama (which corresponds to my real surname), I couldn’t recall where I picked this name from. Probably from the tabloids or newspapers, and the only thing that I remember is that I adopted Atsuyama at a later time than Toshihiko.

The name “Atsuyama” (厚山)bears the meaning of atsu, which means thick, and yama, which means mountain. So in the wholesome it means “Thick Mountain”. I know how base such a meaning may sound but hey, I only found it out after I learned Japanese!

The name “Toshihiko” may carry six to eight meanings, depends on which kanji name combinations do I use. For now, the kanji I’m using for Toshihiko is still a temporary one (利彦) as I have yet to find another meanings for the kanji collections of “Toshihiko” I’ve gathered this far.

One thing for sure though, my nickname Toshi carries the meaning of “alert”.

Read more...

Indovision or Astro? I don’t care.

I know that if you reside in Indonesia and fluent in English, chances are you’re subscribed to Astro now.

Or, at some point, you “converted” from Indovision to that of Astro “faith”, with its new offer of the "divine" English Premier League.

But I don’t care. I’m sticking to Indovision, because the only football matches I ever bother to watch are the World Cups, where I can witness the quality of a multiracial sporting event where the players of opposing sides don’t usually speak the same language.

Oh well, unless you don’t subscribe to cable TV in the first place, I know that you’ve got that Indovision decoder at your roof exchanged for an Astro one.

What a waste, I say. Indovision costs Rp 150,000 monthly while Astro costs the same merely for the first three months. Then, Astro would charge you Rp 250,000 which is a hell lot more expensive than Indovision.

I’d rather buy the month’s National Geographic, Readers’ Digest, and TIME magazines with the Rp 100,000 you wasted.

But oh well.

Read more...

Which is worse: Life without cheese, or Life without chocolate?

For me personally, it’s life without cheese.

Kinda against the popular “religion”, huh?

You know, there is this wise saying (or “survey”, as I may call it) where it is said that 9 out of 10 people in the world love chocolate, and the 10th person’s statement is usually a lie.

So um… Nope. It’s not as you thought. I don’t hate chocs. Not at all!

I just like cheese better, that’s all. Everytime I’m presented with a choice between a chocolate bread and a cheese bread, I usually go for the latter.

Now that you think of it, there is no such thing called Chocolate Burger, right??? And your pizza toppings would taste a hell lot better WITHOUT chocolate.

Unless you’re playing Pizza Frenzy, of course. Oh well.

So, what do you think? Which is worse: Life without cheese, or Life without chocolate?

Read more...

Uses of a blog

This is a shortened version of the essay written by Leo Babauta

The explosion of blogs throughout the world has been the biggest phenomenon since the rise of the Internet itself. Today, more people read blogs than newspapers. And yet, blogs are dismissed as rants and ego-tweakings, because so many of them are personal journals or the ravings of madmen.

But take note: bloggers will change the world, and have already begun to do so.

Blogger James McGovern talked about how bloggers could change the world if they focused on others instead of themselves:

“If every blogger reading my blog instead of choosing to exercise their right to remain silent instead decided to spend just five minutes talking about poverty to one or two other individuals, poverty would be eliminated.”

There is truth in that statement. I’d take it even further: blogs have already changed the world, or at least a part of it, in several ways. And they will continue to be a force of change as their power grows.

Blogs are just a tool, of course. It’s the bloggers behind the blogs that will make the difference. Here’s why:

1. Freedom of speech. Blogs allow ordinary citizens to exercise the power of the freedom of speech in ways that have never been possible before. Sure, we were always able to get on a soap box and spout off, but until now, there was no way to really be heard. And sure, even now it’s hard to be heard with so many blogs out there, but there’s no question that it’s much easier to be heard by a global audience now than it once was. The freedom of speech is a powerful tool, and one that is taken for granted by many people in the industrialized world. Blogs make that tool even more powerful.

2. Power of the pen. Along that vein, the pen has always been a powerful weapon (and is famously, of course, mightier than the sword). When people are silent, things stay the same. But when they wield the power of the pen, things can change. Blogs give the power of the pen to more people, and make it mightier than ever.

3. Reaching the public. There was a time when you could organize a small group of people, and come up with an agenda that could change the world … and then have it go nowhere. Why? Because there was no good way to reach a large portion of the public. People just couldn’t hear you. Newspapers and televisions would ignore you, because your agenda didn’t fit theirs. And so your ideas went nowhere. Today, all of that is still very possible. But it’s also possible to reach a much wider audience than ever before, and thus powerful ideas can actually reach a general audience.

4. Raising awareness. The main problem with trying to effect any change with any issue is that people are ignorant of the issue. With enough awareness of an issue, and the reasons that the issue is important, things will start to change. And if one blogger talks about an important issue, and other bloggers hear him, their awareness will be improved, and then if they blog about it … you can see how blogs can change the way that awareness is changed, and therefore the way the world is changed.

5. A global discussion. In no period of human history was it possible to have a discussion that reached as many people in as many parts of the world as it is today, with blogs. In even the recent past (just 10 years ago), if you had a discussion about something, even a community-wide discussion, the reach of that discussion was limited — unless you had the power to reach the global media, which is a power given to a limited few. Today, the things I write about on my blog reach dozens of countries in every continent in the world. It’s “globalization” in a positive sense of the word.

6. The power of many. One person fighting for change is like a butterfly trying to fight a windstorm. But if you get two people together, or 10, or a hundred, and soon you have a group strong enough to stand up to that windstorm. And if you can get thousands or hundreds of thousands of people together, talking about one issue, fighting for change, pretty soon they ARE the windstrom. And the power of the group becomes multiplied, and change is inevitable.

7. The speed of change. In the olden days (again, 10 years ago), an idea or a movement, if it were powerful enough, could spread like wildfire. The movement for change could spread from town to town, city to city, country to country, at a rapid speed. Today, the potential speed of an idea makes wildfire look like molasses on a cold day. Change is no longer measured in years, months, weeks or even days — it’s measured in minutes and seconds.

8. Interaction. While in the olden days (see above), the mass media could reach a wide audience quickly, it was one-way communication. Print publications or broadcast media reached the many, but the many couldn’t really talk back or interact with the news in any way. Sure, there were letters to the editor and similar features, but that was slow and extremely limited, and in effect made it a two-way street (even if one of the lanes on that street was really tiny). Today, it’s not just a two-way street — it’s a million-way street, as every person can interact with every other person directly. Bloggers can comment on other blogs, or post about things written on other blogs, or link to posts, or email each other, or IM each other, or work together on a group project. The limits of interaction between the blogging community, and the world in general, are the limits of imagination only.

9. Instant news and opinions. While once upon a time, the news came out the next day (and later, the news began to come out that same evening), these days the news cannot keep up with the blogs. An event happens, or is speculated to be happening soon, and it’s blogged about instantly. The news cannot compete with that kind of speed. And while commentary would usually follow the news by a slight lag, today commentary is just as instant as the information it is commenting on. It’s in the same blog post, in fact. With that kind of instant news, and instant opinion-giving, change is not only inevitable, it is coming at you faster than you can press the “publish” button.

10. Coverups are uncovered. It used to be relatively easy to cover up a scandal or negative information. The government, or a large corporation, just had to ensure that the information didn’t reach the media — not that hard a task, as the media was made up of only a handful of people, who were already too busy trying to cover the rest of the world’s happenings. Today, bloggers have replaced the media (to some extent), and they are many. And while they are busy, they are never too busy for a good scoop. It’s much harder to cover something up these days (though not impossible), as it just takes an errant word or email or Twitter from an employee or a family member, and the blogging word has it. A politician cheating on his wife? While the media’s cameras might not have been at his motel in the olden days, the motel’s janitor could certainly be a blogger these days (or more likely, the motel’s tech guy), and he might just have a camera on his cell phone for taking juicy pictures. Coverups aren’t so easy anymore.

11. Easier to research an issue. With old media, we were told something, and unless we had inside information or detailed knowledge, it was hard to dispute the information given to us. That’s changed. Now, every fact can be verified or researched, every topic is easily accessible, and everyone can check the facts themselves. That empowers the average citizen, instead of making him a passive consumer of information. And empowerment is the first step towards change.

12. Viral ideas. This is an overused term, of course, but the term “viral idea” is in itself an example of a viral idea. It was used a few times, and the power of the idea caused it to spread rapidly among bloggers. The ability of an idea to spread throughout the blogging world depends upon its power, its usefulness. And so, one idea can change the world, if it’s the right idea and if it catches on.

13. Created a new world. Bloggers haven’t just begun to change the world — they’ve created an entirely new world. It’s often (annoyingly) called the “blogosphere”, but we’re just going to call it the blogging world, or community of bloggers. It’s a virtual world, of course, and the bloggers don’t actually physically interact (except during conferences and meet-ups), but that doesn’t make it any less of a real world than other communities. For example, in most places, physical interactions between most citizens of a city are very limited. Sure, I might interact with a dozen people today, but don’t physically interact with many more that I see on the streets, and I don’t even see most of the people in the city.

Still, we are a community, because we have similar concerns, we are affected by many of the same things, we interact with each other in many ways — physically, on the phone, through the media, and virtually, through representative government. The blogger community is just as real, and in fact we interact with each other even more than many people in the physical world do. At any rate, we have become a world of millions of people, and that world is growing, changing, forming itself, and shaping future reality.

14. Government-influenced media bypassed. In many countries, there is a nominally free press, but the media is actually greatly influenced by the government. Actually, that’s true to some extent even in countries such as the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and other places with a supposedly free press. The government has a larger control of the media than many people realize (see Chomsky for more). But the control by government of the media is extremely strong in other countries, and it is in these countries that bloggers can have the most powerful and immediate impact. Government can control the media, but in most cases it cannot control the bloggers, and therefore the
bloggers are the instruments for getting the truth to the citizens of that country, and to the rest of the world.

15. No central control. Along those lines, besides the lack of government control, there is no central control whatsoever. One problem with the corporate model, and the model of a central government, is that it relies on central control. That inhibits the individuals who are not in control, restricts their power, stifles speech, cramps creativity and imagination, and severely limits the potential of any group.

But bloggers, on the other hand, are a community of individuals, free to do and say as they want, free to associate as they please, free to create without approval, empowered to act and to enact change.

16. It gets you thinking. Aside from lack of awareness, one of the problems that prevents positive changes is that people often don’t think about certain issues very much. They are apathetic, or they passively consume information, or they think about what’s going on in their daily lives without thinking about what’s going on in the world as a whole. But blogs get discussion going, and get people talking about issues, and get them thinking about them. And just that little act, of getting people to think about an issue for a couple of minutes, has the potential for powerful change.

Read more...

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP