About Me

I am an introverted kind of person who prefer to spend most of my pastime online. I don't wear glasses despite the fact that I often read while laying down on the couch or my bed.

Some people may think that I have a weird insight to a lot of things, but as a matter of fact, they are correct. I always seek to be freshly radical in most of the things I do or write, because I rarely like to join the mainstream voices as I see fit.

In direct contrast to 99.999% of Japanophiles you can encounter in any parts of the globe, I love Japan NOT because of its anime/pop culture/Harajuku freaks/cosplay! As a matter of fact, I have adored Japan long before I even knew that Doraemon is included as a part of "anime". I love Japan because of the intriguing way the Japanese live their lives in the society, from its barbarian past to its currently Occidentalised culture (because as I had found out, Japan is a much more westernised country than America itself). And this is the sole reason why I have chosen to learn their language.

I am a fan of Warren Buffet, Joanne Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Rachel Maryam, John Mayer, Will Smith, Avril Lavigne, Mariana Renata, VJ Cathy, Il Divo, Ken Hirai, Misa Uehara, Mai Kuraki, Utada Hikaru, Cecillia Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, Junichiro Koizumi, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Steve Jobs, Toma Ikuta, Ueno Juri, Jared Diamond, Confucius, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Sun Tzu, Kong Hu Chu, and Jesus Christ.

This blog is mainly created as a receptacle for my feelings and emotional upheavals, and as a place where I could share my life experiences in the form of memoirs. I also hope that this blog could serve its purpose to bring Indonesia to the outside world (and vice versa) using English language, the most widely-spoken lingua franca in the world, as its sole medium.

I do my best to update my blog on a daily basis, hence you could always expect something new and fresh everyday.


You mentioned that you love Japan not because of its pop culture. Does it mean that you don't like anime, then?

Nah, I still watch anime to a certain extent. But I don't watch any random animes like other Japanophiles do, because I always choose to listen to at least five people's testimonials (and they'd better be good ones) about a certain anime before I can decide to watch it. And FYI, I hate watching girly animes like Tokyo Mew Mew or mecha animes like Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Toshi seems like a virtual alias. What is your real name?

I have my real name somewhere on this page... Find out yourself.

You have lived in a lot of places. Are you a nomad?

As a matter of fact, I am. And I don't think I would settle down in any country for more than a decade at any given time in my life, deriving from my nomaden upbringing. I love my home country Indonesia, but it does not mean that I don't want to try living in New Zealand or England or Japan for a year each...

You are weird!

Sorry to disappoint you, but you're not the first person to say that. Most successful writers start living their lives as weirdos themselves... I just couldn't help not to be one.

Are you single?

Seriously, does it matter?

Are you straight?

Yes, but I don't really mind feigning to be otherwise.

Any hobbies?

Napping, chatting on my IM, watch DVDs, read Wikipedia articles... I also write random stuff on my spare time.

Do you have any e-mails or online accounts where I can add you?

I have an account in Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Friendster, Facebook, Zorpia, Youtube, Wikipedia, Uncyclopedia, Tolololpedia, Technorati, and Anobii. Some of the accounts I just mentioned are found nowhere in my blog, hence you can ask me directly by writing comment to this entry or giving me your e-mail so I could give you my contact myself.

Can I have your phone number or address?

I have to chat with you in IM for at least two weeks (and like you), before I could decide to disclose such an information.


Christmas food with all the trimmings

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Monday, 17 December 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • In Victorian England, turkeys were popular for Christmas dinners. Some of the birds were raised in Norfolk and taken to market in London. To get them to London, the turkeys were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather. The turkeys were walked to market. The boots protected their feet from the frozen mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were protected with a covering of tar.
  • At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored”. This meat the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner in early England was the head of a pig prepared with mustard.
  • In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas will bring happy months in the year to follow.
  • It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.
  • In many households, part of the fun of eating Christmas pudding is finding a trinket that predicts your fortune for the coming year. For instance, finding a coin means you will become wealthy, a button means you will remain a bachelor, a ring means you will get married; while a thimble predicts spinsterhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in the cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became “king” for the rest of the night.
  • There are 12 courses in the Ukrainian Christmas eve supper. According to the Christian tradition, each course is dedicated to one of Christ’s apostles. A family’s youngest child watches thru the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin.
  • The table for Christmas Eve dinner in the Ukraine is set with two tablecloths: one for the ancestors of the family, the other for the living members. In pagan times, ancestors were believed to be benevolent spirits who, when shown respect, brought good fortune.
  • In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce and spinach. The meal is traditionally eaten after the Christmas Eve service, in commemoration of the supper eaten by Mary on the evening before Christ’s birth.


My comment on Amazing Race Asia Season 2

Never before had I found an episode of Amazing Race franchise to be as tense as the 6th instalment yesterday.

I liked Amazing Race and I watched it once in a while, but I didn’t care to watch any of the Amazing Race Asia season 1 instalments due to the lower money price of $100,000 for Asians (which I deem discriminatory towards Asia as a whole, and thus I boycotted the show by not watching it).

However, as I flicked my remote control to the 1st instalment of Amazing Race Asia’s Season 2, I was surprised to find so many good-looking girls participated in the reality show. Well some of the guys are quite hunks too, but do I care?

The prettiest girls are namely, Aurelia, Sawaka, and Paula (my favourite! )

Now that I watch ARA, AR doesn’t look very interesting to me anymore, as they mainly consist of the typical American teams with the so-so looks and freaks once in a while (such as Gay partners, Goth partners, and other kinds of freaks).

It was quite a disappointment for me to watch Aurelia’s team eliminated 3rd, but I think she and Sophie deserved it as a team. Their team was so disorganised and Sophie was a pugnacious girl (whom everybody would love to hate) that I could say their elimination was a comeuppance.

The 1st half of the 5th leg (where the race went from New Zealand to Japan) went on quite well with my fave teams (Paula-Natasha, Adrian-Collin, and Daichi-Sawaka) leading in the front.

However, things didn’t seem so well with Daichi-Sawaka ending up in the 5th place on the end of that 1st half, despite competing in their own country and having the advantage of knowledge and familiarity with directions. Indeed, it was adumbrative of how they are going to be eliminated on the 2nd half.

I got teary-eyed seeing Daichi-Sawaka’s team eliminated, as I really loved seeing them racing. Apart from being Japanese, they have quite a good teamwork and they’re able to speak English coherently.

(Well, no offence here, but it is a common knowledge that almost no Japanese could speak decent English. A lot of Japanese teachers of English are able to write in good English, yet it is very rare to find any of them who can speak intelligible English. Yep, I wonder whether Daichi and Sawaka had spent significant time outside of Japan that they were able to speak good English…)

Anyway, back to the topic.
I wonder if I could watch the next instalment of ARA2 with the same enjoyment as before… Things wouldn’t be the same with one of my favourites fell, huh.

I just really hope that Ann and Diane got eliminated next, which means that my personal (and most people’s) vengeance are well-served.

And by the way, since the ARA2 is already over 6 months ago, I wonder if any of them are reading my blog now. Even then, they wouldn’t be able to tell me any spoilers, as the regulation obliges them to pay US$500,000 if they do so.

All in all, despite not being my favourite, the Marc-Rovilson team is the most likely winner of the show. Their good cooperation and fit postures (which is very suitable for a race like this) makes their team has the highest chance to win. Adrian and Collin has a disadvantage of being hearing-impaired (I’m not being discriminative here, but it’s a truth that that fact slows them down sometimes). Paula and Natasha has good cooperation (and bodies too! ), but they’re not as fast as the Marc-Rovilson team.

Regarding the Philippines couple (Terri-Henry), what should I say about them? Well, they’re very uncooperative, but I think Terri has finally learned how to appreciate her husband better in South Korea with all the challenges there. She was even the one who took the patience Roadblock (where she had to find the right padlock amongst myriad of them with one key)! Man, I was surprised to see her taking it, I expected Henry to take it instead actually, being the more patient one.


Why bomb threats shouldn't be taken seriously

It was on the news yesterday how the Christmas celebrations around Indonesia went well and turned out to be 100% safe, despite having an anonymous bomb threat in a Plaza in the Tanah Abang district of Southern Jakarta. 20 bomb squad officers were sent there to secure the area.

Now that is plain stupid.

Nope, not the bomb hoax guy who is stupid, but the police.

Wanna know why I choose to direct his teasing at the police instead?

It’s because of the common sense of logic that a real terrorist would never ever notify anyone – not even their wife – of any terror attacks they are planning. See the logic now?

If I were a terrorist, I would of course plan my attacks very carefully and take care not to even mention the word “bomb” or “TNT” to anyone outside of my terrorist link, let alone the police!! That way, the bomb could have exploded for good.

Indeed, there are times when there are criminals who like to “play” the police by planting an explosive device in a public place during big national holidays and then called in the cops for a “bomb-challenge” due to their personal vengeance with the police force, yet such cases are very rare to be found.

That anonymous caller who notified the police of a bomb threat is perhaps a guy with nothing else to do than sitting around at those warung (traditional Indonesian coffee shop) stalls and a public phone nearby.

How to make an anonymous bomb hoax

Please be aware that the writing above is “How to make an anonymous bomb hoax”, NOT “How to make an anonymous bomb threat”, as my blog isn’t related to any f***ing-organisations-I-shouldn’t-name-here-due-to-safety-reasons!

Now that I think about it, I actually know exactly how to make such hoaxes. This idea came to me during my 2nd year of Secondary school exam period while I was having a late night discussion with a friend of mine on how to make the exams postponed.

One of the ideas that struck my mind was to make an anonymous phone call to the Headmaster’s office saying that a bomb would be detonated at the next day if the fraudulent so-called “bomber” (which would be ME) saw any student came to school on that day of examination.

My friend and I laughed the idea off. It was just a sidetrack harmless joke, and of course I never made such phone calls. I could have done it if I want to, by paying a visit to a public phone nearby, wear gloves as to cover my fingerprints from the phone handle, and disguise my voice by muffling my mouth. But such a phone call would create unnecessary troubles for my teachers and headmasters, and I don’t wanna see myself doing such a nasty evil trickery to some of the teachers whom I respect. That’s why I didn’t make that call.

Lols. Anybody can try it of course, but please don’t try that with your home phone, otherwise you’ll soon see a big fat burly cop paying a visit to your door.


Quirky Christmas Facts

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Wednesday, 5 December 2007 and Wednesday, 12 December 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • Christmas was once a moveable feast celebrated at many different times during the year. The choice of 25 December was made by Pope Julius I, in the 4th century A.D., because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.
  • The custom of singing Christmas carols is very old — the earliest English collection was published in 1521.
  • Postmen in Victorian England were popularly called “robins”. This was because their uniforms were red, like the bird. The British Post Office grew out of the carrying of royal dispatches. Red was considered a royal colour, so uniforms and letter-boxes were red. This is why Christmas cards often picture a robin delivering Christmas mail.
  • Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company.
  • The traditional flaming Christmas pudding dates back to 1670 in England, and was derived from an earlier form of stiffened plum porridge.
  • Originally, Christmas decorations were home-made paper flowers, or apples, biscuits and sweets. The earliest decorations to be bought came from Nuremberg in Germany, a city famous for the manufacture of toys.
  • Long before it was used as a “kiss encourager” during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.
  • Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy used to decorate the Christmas trees. A precentor at Cologne Cathedral decided to have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services. It wasn’t until about the 20th century that candy canes require their red stripes.
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally written to help Catholic children in England remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant monarchs. The “true love” represented God, and the gifts all different ideas: the Partridge in a pear tree was Christ; Two Turtle Doves were The Old and New Testaments; Three French Hens were Faith, Hope and Charity — The Theological Virtues; Four Calling Birds were the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists; Five Golden Rings were the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch which relays the History of man’s fall from grace; Six Geese a-laying were the six days of Creation; Seven Swans a-swimming were the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments; Eight Maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes; Nine Ladies Dancing were the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit; 10 Lords A-Leaping were the 10 commandments; 11 Pipers Piping were the 11 faithful apostles; 12 Drummers Drumming were the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed.
  • On Christmas Day of 1989, Eastern Europe was permitted to celebrate Christmas freely and openly for the 1st time in decades. Church masses were broadcast live for the 1st time in history.
  • The actual gift givers are different in various countries:

ü England : Father Christmas

ü France: Pere Noel (Father Christmas)

ü Germany: Christkind (an angelic messenger from Jesus)

ü Holland: St Nicholas

ü Italy: La Befana (a kindly old witch)

ü Spain and South America: the Three Kings

ü Russia: Babouschka (a grandmotherly figure) or Grandfather Frost, depending on the region

ü Scandinavia: a variety of Christmas gnomes.

  • The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started as a bed-time story. American Robert May told it to his daughter Barbara. The point of the story was to show that it was not always bad to be different. He repeated his story to his work colleagues at a Christmas Party in 1938 and by Christmas 1947 over six million copies of the story had been sold all over the world.
  • Hanging up a stocking is closely related to Saint Nicholas’ habit of dropping money down chimney pots to help people. Legend has it that an elderly man had three daughters but no money to give them for a dowry. When St Nicholas dropped some money down the man’s chimney it fell into the stockings of his daughters, which were hanging to dry over the fireplace.
  • The world’s first singing commercial aired on the radio on Christmas Eve of 1926 for Wheaties cereal. The four male singers, eventually known as the Wheaties Quartet, comprising an undertaker, a bailiff, a printer and a businessman, performed the song for the next six week. The commercials ere a resounding success.
  • Child singer Jimmy Boyd was 12 years and 11 months old when he sang the Christmas favourite, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The song hit the top of the pop charts.
  • In 1830, an Englishman called John Calcott Horsley produced smalls cards featuring the festive season and a seasonal greeting. These became very popular and when the postage stamp was introduced people could pay for the cards to be delivered.
  • The first charity Christmas card was produced by UNICEF in 1949. The picture chosen for the card was painted not by a professional artist but by a seven-year-old girl. The girl was Jitka Samkova of Rudolfo, small town in the former nation of Chzechoslovakia. The town received UNICEF assistance after World War 2, inspiring Jitka to paint some children dancing around a maypole. She said her picture represented “joy going round and round”.
  • According to a survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.
  • The image we have of Father Christmas comes from an advertising campaign run by Coca Cola between 1931 and 1964. The original paintings for this were by Haddon Sundblom.
  • The magazine Harpers published a series of the engravings between 1863 and 1886 and the designs have become very popular over the years.


‘Tis the season to be jolly

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Saturday, 22 December 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The first decorated Christmas was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.
  • Christmas trees have been sold commercially since the 1800s.
  • In the United States, there are more than 21,000 Christmas tree growers.
  • Recycled trees have been used to make sand and oil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter
  • Christmas trees take an average of seven to 10 years to mature.
  • Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of Vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
  • Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air.
  • The use of evergreen trees to celebrate the winter season occurred before the birth of Christ.
  • Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.
  • An acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.
  • The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
  • The northern European custom of the candlelit Christmas tree is derived from the belief that it sheltered woodland trees when other trees lost their leaves during winter.
  • The tradition of Christmas lights dates back to when Christians were persecuted for saying Mass. A simple candle in the window meant that Mass would be celebrated there that night.
  • The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.
  • Frankincense is a sweet smelling gum resin derived from certain Boswellia trees which, at the time of Christ, grew in Arabia, India and Ethiopia. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba. The frankincense trade was at its height during the days of the Roman Empire. At that time this resin was considered as valuable as gems or precious metals. The Romans burned frankincense on their altars and at cremations.
  • One Norwegian Christmas custom begins in late autumn at harvest time. The finest wheat is gathered and saved until Christmas. This wheat is then attached to poles made from tree branches, making perches for the birds. A large circle of snow is cleared away beneath each perch. According to the Norwegians, this provides a place for the birds to dance, which allows them to work up their appetites between meals. Just before sunset on Christmas Eve, the head of the household checks on the wheat in the yard. If a lot of sparrows are seen dining, it is suppose to indicate a good year for growing crops.


A message for the holiday season

The artificial abies amabilis* is set, with the ornaments hung on almost all of the branches and lamps flicking their different shades

In the southern outskirts of Jakarta, the rain pours down perpetually everyday, making the title “Wet Christmas” more suitable for the song “White Christmas”. We order KFC chickens as a substitute for the virtually nonexistent turkeys.

What’s left now? Yeah, a collection of Christmas carols. And don’t forget the jovial mood too.

My favourite day of the year.

Have a Happy Christmas.

*abies amabilis = binomial nomenclature for Christmas tree


Holiday card mailed in 1914 arrives almost a century late

The content of this blog post is originally taken from this site, hence a courtesy of The Straits Times.

OBERLIN (Kansas) - A POSTCARD featuring a colour drawing of Santa Claus and a young girl was mailed in 1914, but just arrived in northwest Kansas.

The Christmas card was dated Dec 23, 1914, and mailed to Ethel Martin of Oberlin, apparently from her cousins in Alma, Nebraska.

It's a mystery where it spent most of the last century, Oberlin Postmaster Steve Schultz said. 'It's surprising that it never got thrown away,' he said. 'How someone found it, I don't know.'

Ethel Martin is deceased, but Mr Schultz said the post office wanted to get the card to a relative.

That is how the 93-year-old relic ended up with Ms Bernice Martin, Ethel's sister-in-law. She said she believed the card had been found somewhere in Illinois.

'That's all we know,' she said. 'But it is kind of curious. We'd like to know how it got down there.'

The card was placed inside another envelope with modern postage for the trip to Oberlin - the one-cent postage of the early 20th century would not have covered it, Martin said.

'We don't know much about it,' she said. 'But wherever they kept it, it was in perfect shape.' -- AP


Ever wondered why…

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Saturday, 1 December 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
  • Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but people don’t point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?
  • If it’s true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?
  • Do people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water know that spelling it backwards is Naïve?
  • If four out of five people suffer from diarrhea does that mean the fifth one enjoys it?
  • If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?
  • The Dark Ages was caused by the Y1K problem.
  • Treat each day as your last; one day you will be right.
  • Marriage is not a word. It’s a sentence.
  • Is Marx’s tomb a communist plot?
  • The best contraceptive for old people is nudity.
  • Birthdays are good for you – the more you have the longer you live.
  • If you think you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
  • Atheism is a non-prophet organisation.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
  • If you can’t convince them, confuse them.
  • When blondes have more fun, do they know it?
  • Money isn’t everything but it sure keeps the kids in touch.
  • I like cats too. Let’s exhange recipes.
  • I was more nervous than a ceiling fan storeowner with a combover.
  • If you think there is good in everybody then obviously you haven’t met everybody.
  • If an ambulance is on its way to save someone, and it runs someone over, does it stop to help them?
  • If a cat always lands on its feet, and buttered bread always lands butter side down, what would happen if you tied a buttered bread on top of a cat?
  • Why does a dog go crazy when you blow on its face but when you take it on a car ride it sticks its head straight out the window?
  • Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn’t zigzag?
  • Las night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.
  • Whose cruel idea was it for the word “LISP” to have an “S” in it?
  • I’ve been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog.
  • I wondered why the Frisbee was getting biggerm and then it hit me.
  • Take everything in moderation. Including moderation.
  • Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.
  • Never go to bed angry, stay awake and plot your revenge.
  • If #2 pencils are the most popular, are they still #2?
  • A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered drawer.
  • A journey of 1,000 begins with a cash advance.
  • All I ask is a chance to prove money can’t make me happy.
  • Originality is the art of concealing your sources.
  • Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.
  • Wear a watch and you’ll always know what time it is. Wear two watches and you’ll never be sure.
  • How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you’re on.
  • Teach a child to be polite and courteous, and when he grows up, he’ll never be able to edge his car onto a freeway.
  • Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.
  • Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can’t even get into my own pants.
  • If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
  • I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with “Guess” on it. So I said “Implants?”
  • I’m busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest.
  • If you’re cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you see perfectly?
  • He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.


Why do we find the term “INDON” insulting?

It may seem like the Indonesian equivalent created to the derogatory jargon “Malingsia” created by the Malaysians, but it isn’t.

During the 2 years I lived in Singapore, Singaporean and Malaysian friends of mine are very used to shorten “Indonesia” to “Indon” even though they mean no insult (and thus we Indonesians there are OK hearing that term), yet it is such a surprise for me when we return to Indonesia to find the term “Indon” widely accepted as a disparaging term.

Not that I’m being a Malaysian apologist here –as I don’t like that neighbouring country too— but believe me, most Malaysians and Singaporeans mean no insult when they use the term. The abbreviation has been a part of Singlish as far as I know and thus, a part of Manglish (Malaysian English) too.

(FYI, outside Indonesia the shortened term of “Indo” is more widely used to refer to the Indochina region, hence the additional letter N. another thing, “Indo” is the Japanese word for “India”)

I've made a discussion and poll on this issue here.


Getting to the heart of the matter

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Monday, 19 November 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The average human heart beats about 100,000 times every 24 hours. In a 70-year lifetime, the heart beats more than 2.5 billion times.
  • A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s.
  • The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood nine metres out of the body.
  • The valves of the human heart are as thick as a single piece of tissue paper.
  • The aorta, which is the largest artery located in the body, is about the diameter of a garden house.
  • The average person takes from 12 to 18 breaths per minute.
  • The right lung takes in more air than the left lung.
  • The left lung is smaller than the right lung to make room for the heart.
  • The brain has no sensation of pain, even when it is cut.
  • The average brain comprises 2 percent of a person’s total body weight. Yet it requires 25 percent of all oxygen used by the body, as opposed to 12 percent used by kidneys and 7 percent by the heart.
  • There are 100 billion neurons in the human brain. Each neuron is linked to hundreds of other neurons.
  • Electrical simulation in certain areas of the brain can revive long lost memories.
  • Your brain is more active and thinks more at night than during the day.
  • The arteries and veins surrounding the brain stem called the “circle of Willis” looks like a stick person with a large head.
  • The brain is 80 percent water.
  • Your brain has the relative consistency of oatmeal.
  • Humans begin losing brain cells at the age of 21.
  • The Neanderthal’s brain was bigger than your is.
  • The short-term memory capacity for most people is between five and nine items or digits.
  • The human brain stops growing at age 18.
  • The skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
  • The storage capacity of the human brain is about four terabytes (4,000 gigabytes).
  • The average brain weighs 1.35 kg, but about 1kg of that is water.
  • The soft mass of the adult brain is motionless. Though it consumes up to 25 percent of the blood’s oxygen supply, it does not grow, divide or contract.
  • Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 270 khp.
  • The stomach can break down goat’s milk than cow’s milk.
  • It takes the stomach an hour to break down cow’s milk.
  • The stomach of an adult can hold 1.5 litres of material.
  • There are 35 million digestive glands in the stomach.
  • Every day the human stomach produces about two litres of hydrochloric acid.
  • Even if you eat food standing on your head, the food will still end up in your stomach.


A complete answer to the confusion regarding Japanese particles

What is a (language) particle?

As defined in Japanese About:

Particles are probably one of the most difficult and confusing aspects of Japanese sentences. A particle (joshi) is a word that shows the relationship of a word, a phrase, or a clause to the rest of the sentence. Some particles have English equivalents. Others have functions similar to English prepositions, but since they always follow the word or words they mark, they are post-positions. There are also particles that have a peculiar usage which is not found in English. Most particles are multi-functional.

From that website too, I’ve compiled various differences in the usage of particles that beginners in the Japanese language may find confusing from A to Z. Hope this guide compilation is useful enough!

Note: This list is not exhaustive, please feel free to send in your questions whenever you stumble upon them.

Location Marker: NI or DE?

Ø DE is used to indicate the place where an action takes place.

e.g. Honya de manga o katta (I bought the comics at the bookstore)

Ø NI is used to indicate the place whereabouts of an inanimate/animate object (esp. with verbs such as iru/aru [to exist] and sumu [to live])

e.g. Okaasan wa Sapporo ni sunde imasu (Mom lives in Sapporo)

Direction marker: E, NI, or O?

Ø E is interchangeable with NI to indicate a destination.

e.g. San-ji ni uchi e kaettewa ikemasen (You can’t go home at 3 o’clock)

Ø NI is translated as “to” when indicating a destination.

e.g. Seinen Furansu ni itta (I went to France last year)

Ø O is used to indicate the route which the movement follows, i.e. with verbs such as walk, run, pass, turn, drive, go through, etc.

e.g. Takushii wa yuubinkyoku no mae o toorimasu (The taxi passes in front of the post office)

The difference between GA and WA.

Fear no longer. You’ve found this blog post, and here are the tricks to choose the correct particle whenever you stumble upon those two:

Ø WA is used to mark something that is familiar to both the speaker and listener. GA is used when a situation or happening is just noticed or newly introduced.

e.g. Mukashi-mukashi, ojii-san ga sunde imashita. Kare wa totemo hansamu deshita. (Once upon a time, there lived an old man. He was very handsome.)

Ø Never use WA with a question word. Use GA instead.

e.g. Kono hito ga sukii desu ka? (Do you like that guy?)

Ø Under special circumstance, GA replaces O to accompany some verbs and adjectives (expressing like/dislike, desire, potential, necessity, envy, fear, etc.)

e.g. Kuruma ga hoshii desu. (I want a car)

Ø WA is used to show contrast.


Hady Mirza as Asian Idol? Let’s reveal the inconvenient truth behind the result.

Please pardon me for using that Al Gore-ish title.

Somehow, some of us know exactly how Hady could clinch the title. Even he himself “dropped to his knees and covered his face with his hands for a full minute before being hoisted up by his fellow contestants” as written in the Morning edition of The Straits Times this morning. He was astonished, and so were all of us who watched the show.

Why am I not surprised..

As not to jump to hasty conclusions, I’m not writing on this blog topic because Mike hadn’t won the title. No, of course not. It would still be better off if it is won by Sawant (whose country has 1 billion+ population) than Mirza (whose country has a mere 4 million).

Anyway, let's begin.

First of all, do you know how the votes are tabularised?

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

As consideration on population size among the participating countries, tabulation of votes is done through an "Equal and Even Cumulative Method", wherein the total votes of each country are converted into percentages. The winner was determined through 50% viewers' votes and 50% judges' scores.

We all know that the judges don’t really favour Hady Mirza (aside from Ken Lim, of course). The overall judges’ verdicts are more likely to favour between the trios Mike-Mau-Jaclyn who had the best voices amongst the 6. As such, the percentage that Hady had obtained must have been really high with a far gap with the 2nd highest person to have the judges agree with the voting results.

Well yes, if we look again, Hady’s victory might have been attributed to all the combination of these three factors below:

  1. He was the most handsome Idol, thus more likely to garner smses from female voters, as the MCs had said.
  2. Singaporeans are relatively richer than the rest of the contestants' countries.
  3. Hady is seen as a “harmless opponent” by the voters from non-Singaporean countries, thus he is likely to gain a whole load of “unintentional” votes by those who knew how the voting percentage worked.

Another thing, the highest vote from each countries would no doubt go to their respective countries, which is why logically the vote result that is taken into consideration is the 2nd highest.

Some of you may not understand the point no.3 above, so let me elaborate on it.

Every single one of us who watched the show on Saturday indeed brought our own nationalistic biases as to reserve the first place to our own country’s representative, and then choose the second place for the one we think the best amongst the remaining five contestants.

Unfortunately, as time progressed, a lot of us found out that the 2nd place might be better off reserved for the one we thought had gained the least votes –which is to say— Hady Mirza. I dare wager that at one point after the Asian Idol Saturday show, Hady’s percentage had reached the lowest point only to climb up the ladder gradually as people realised this strategy.

The Indian and Malaysian biggest concern is of course Mike and Mau, who have a large SMS-freak stronghold backing them. Voting for Phuong would only lessen Jaclyn and Sawant’s chance anyway; hence the last option for the 2nd country goes to Hady.

The Vietnamese people had a cause to worry that Mike or Sawant had a large chance to win, hailing from two of the most populated countries in the world. Voting the 2nd place for Mau Marcelo is quite risky too (since her country has an SMS-freak population of 80 million), hence the 2nd choice falls to Hady Mirza.

The strongholds that seem to relax most were indeed the Filipino and Indonesian sides, since they knew very well how SMS-freak their populace are. However, they also knew that the Hady might have gained the least votes since he has a non-SMS-freak population of 4 million backing him anyway, hence the 2nd choice would mostly go to Hady Mirza as a safety precaution.

The Singaporean side would of course, choose Hady Mirza.

That’s how I took that conclusion above.

As a sidetrack, let me share what I found in Kaskus:

Asian Idol Official Result

1.Hady Mirza (Singapore) 28%
2.Jaclyn Victor (Malaysia) 27%
3.Abhijeet Sawant(India) 15%
4.Mau Marcelo (Philippine) 12%
5.Phương Vy (Vietnam) 11%
6.Mike Mohede (Indonesia) 7%

I hereby request you people NOT to believe so-called "Official Results" such as the one above
, as it is already the policy of the Fremantle Media not to announce the percentages of the result. Therefore, the above "Official Result" is a complete farce.

As for sms cost comparison between each countries, you may have a look at this data below (from Asian Idol website):

India : 3 Rupees
Indonesia : 2000 Rupiah
Malaysia : 0.50 Ringgit
Philippines : 2.50 Peso for GLOBE and SMART 2 Peso for SUN Cellular
Singapore : $0.60
Vietnam : 3000 Dong

Just convert the currencies yourself by using Google.

What seems weird to me is the uncanny fact that even if each and every Singapore citizens vote ten times for Hady Mirza, it would be counted as 40 million votes. While on the other hand, if s mere 5% of the Indian population voted once for Abhijeet Sawant, it would be counted as 50 million votes, which is still a lot bunch more than the Singaporean votes.

I must confess I voted the 2nd place once for Mau, Phuong, and Hady each, as to make it even among the non-Indonesian contestants.

No wonder Ken Lim became cryptic when asked by the MCs regarding who would win the show by simply saying “Asia will win”, eh?

Anyway, congratulations to Hady Mirza! I wonder if Taufik Batisah would envy you now…


Everything about last night’s Asian Idol

Quote taken from Kaskus:

kalo mike mau menang,

rakyat indo harus milih mike n yg dari vietnam..

-yg dari vietnam suaranya ga bagus2 amat, dukungan rakyatnya kecil, jadi voting bisa dialihkan ke dia instead ke negara lain..
-kalo filipin, rakyatnya maniak sms, jadi saingan berat (jangan pilih filipin)
-kalo india suaranya ga bagus.. tapi ada ratusan juta diehard fans yg siap sms dia (jangan pilih india)
-yg malingsia suaranya bagus banget... tapi orang indo jangan harap milih dia.. sentimen anti malingsia lagi panas2 nya disini (jangan dipilih, karena akan memperkecil chance mike)
-yg singapore.. ga usah dipikirin, biar seluruh orang singapur dikali 2 tetep ga ngaruh..

The above quotation is a cool analysis enough. Lols.

Anyway, below is my own review of last night’s Asian Idol. As I’m not a crooning master nor have I studied vocal arts, pls forgive my “plebeian” judgement. I’m giving my own perspective of them as the way I see it, so be prepared to see tidbits of national biases…

To be noted, I’m not reviewing them in any particular order.

Toshihiko’s review of last night’s Asian Idol

1. Hady Mirza (Singapore)

***Review: I don’t know why Singapore chose him over Taufik Batisah, is it because he’s more attractive? I thought Taufik was the more popular one, being the first etc. Anyway, he sang quite well in his Malay song “Berserah”, but I think he didn’t do quite well for his “Beautiful Day” song. It was a wrong choice of song and after all, it’s U2’s song? Doesn’t seem quite right for him to sing it solo. Anyway, I disagree on the judges and MCs’ comments that only female voters would be enticed to vote for him. He’s quite good.

***Verdict: A good choice for Asian Idol, though I’m not voting for him.

2. Jaclyn Victor (Malaysia)

***Review: My sister was quick to point out that she is the singer of the Asian version of High School Musical soundtrack and she is indeed the most well-known Asian Idol contestant outside of the respective country now. She sang incredibly with good personifying, but unfortunately she’s a Malaysian. No offence intended here, but my love for Indonesia forbids me to vote for her (which is a pity for Malaysia, really. If the Reog Ponorogo, Rasa Sayange and other heaps of stuff hadn’t been claimed by Malaysia, I’m sure more Indonesians would care to spend their Rp 2000 on voting for her).

***Verdict: I must admit that she deserves a high merit, though votes for her by Indonesians are highly discouraged.

3. Phương Vy (Vietnam)

***Review: I know she’s the cutest girl there but her voice proves not. I used to live with a Vietnamese roommate for 2 years with all his Vietnamese song collections and believe me, those (the songs Phương had sung) are the kind of songs that Vietnamese people favour most. She’s quite good as a Vietnamese singer, but not as an international one. She needs to apply a different persona if she wants to go global.

***Verdict: As aforementioned, she isn’t ready to go global. Being cute isn’t everything. Thus, I don’t encourage non-Vietnamese to vote for her.

4. Mau Marcelo (Phillipines)

***Review: Wow, she’s marvellous! She reminded me of one of the American Idol winner (or was she a finalist?) who also had a similar posture and voice to hers. Both the Tagalog and English songs were well sung.

***Verdict: Votes are well deserved; I highly encourage others to do the same.

5. Mike Mohede (Indonesia)

***Review: Mike is also comparable to an American idol winner (his name is Rueben if I’m not wrong), who has a very amazing voice with a similar posture. He brought the R.Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” with a more uniquely personal “Mikey” taste to it whose whole embodiment made us speechless.

***Verdict: What can I say? Of course I’m voting for him.

6. Abhijeet Sawant (India)

***Review: Coming from a nation where English is widely used, I’m quite taken aback to find out how poor Sawant's English is. But that’s not the main issue here. Probably not used in bringing English songs, he sang with a poor personifying in the “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” song. Moreover, his Indian “Junoon” song which is more suitable for Bollywood movies and Indian people, doesn’t have too much of an international taste to it that may turn some people away.

***Verdict: Relax, he has got a big population backing him… Better vote for Hady/Mau/Mike instead.

Some other stuff about Asian Idol

Last week, as I watched Mike Mohede becoming the first Asian Idol contestant from Indonesia, I wondered how on earth the vote of Indonesians (whose country population totals 250 million) could help him beat the Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant (who has 1 billion+ behind him). A dimmer aspect would be for the Singapore Idol Hady Mirza, who only has a maximum of 4 million people backing him. That is of course, the case if the entire population chooses to vote one SMS each.

Then I found out how the Fremantle evens the playing field by making it a requirement that each caller votes for two contestants, thus allowing contestants to receive votes aside from their respective countries. Nationalistic bias would indeed come first, howsoever bad/good the person who represents your country is. Now that’s a brilliant move!

Moreover, as consideration on population size among the participating countries, tabulation of votes are done through an "Equal and Even Cumulative Method", wherein the total votes of each country are converted into percentages. The winner will be determined through 50% viewers' votes and 50% judges' scores.

To address differences in time zones (and in some cases, telecast dates), shows about Asian Idol was broadcast on different time slots and dates depending on the country. For instance, viewers in Indonesia, Philippines, and Malaysia, watched Road to Asian Idol on 8 December 2007, while it was shown in Vietnam on December 9. Viewers in India and Singapore will watch the preview program on December 14.

The Performance Night was taped on 12 December 2007, in Hall D2 of Arena Pekan Raya Jakarta. This program will be seen first by viewers in Vietnam on 14 December 2007, followed by viewers in other participating countries on 15 December 2007, although in different time slots.

The Results Show, meanwhile, will be shown on 16 December 2007, with varying time slots.

SuperStar KZ, the Idol franchise of Kazakhstan, was included in the lineup but failed to send a representative.

Below is a random stuff that just caught my eye...

Who has the best picture in the Asian Idol Gallery?

Phương Vy 44.74 % (16428)

Mike Mohede 40.81 % (14984)

Mau Marcelo 11.80 % (4334)

Jaclyn Victor 0.94 % (345)

Abhijeet Sawant 0.89 % (327)

Hady Mirza 0.82 % (302)
Total votes: 36720
You have already voted!


Realita Perubahan Iklim: "Sebelum semuanya terlambat"

The entirety of this blog post is originally the Indonesian translation of the editorial section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 30 November 2007, titled “Before it’s too late”.

Translated by: Toshihiko Atsuyama

Written by: Unknown

Sungguh sebuah berita baik bagi Indonesia untuk menaiki tangga Indeks Pembangunan Manusia (HDI), standar internasional yang menentukan kemakmuran sebuah negara.

Secara keseluruhan, nilai HDI Indonesia telah meningkat dari 0.711 tahun lalu ke 0.728 tahun ini, yang menempatkannya pada posisi ke-107 di antara 177 negara yang disurvei. Indonesia telah berada dalam kurva meningkat sejak 1975, walaupun harus diakui bahwa peningkatannya masih sangat lambat, bahkan lebih lambat daripada tetangga ASEAN kita Vietnam.

Mungkin saja di khalayak banyak yang tidak peduli atau bahkan mengerti arti pentingnya sebuah data yang diperbaharui setiap tahunnya. Tetapi tetap saja kita harus menghadapi fakta bahwa setelah 3 dasawarsa laporan HDI pertama kali dipublikasikan, Indonesia tidak pernah menempati posisi lebih tinggi daripada no.107 walaupun mempunyai kekayaan alam yang berlimpah ruah.

Sudah jelas bahwa terdapat banyak kekurangan dalam metode yang diterapkan negeri ini dalam mendayagunakan Sumber Daya Alam (SDA)-nya, terlebih lagi hal itu juga tidak membawa manfaat sama rata bagi semua penduduk Indonesia. Bahkan ada suatu masa ketika sistem pemerintahan yang terlalu terpusat mengorbankan daerah-daerah ber-SDA tinggi dan penduduk lokal.

Angin perubahan sudah mulai mendesir ke pelosok nusantara dan beberapa pihak sudah mulai mengambil inisiatif untuk membayar kesalahan kita di masa lalu. Tetapi tentu saja tantangan untuk pengurangan angka kemiskinan tidak berhenti di situ. Jalan menuju kemakmuran akan jauh lebih panjang dan berbatu-batu bagi Indonesia, seperti yang dilaporkan dalam Laporan Pembangunan Manusia (Human Development Report).

Laporan tahun ini dengan sengaja telah mengangkat topik yang bahasan hangat di banyak negara berkembang, terutama Indonesia, yang usahanya mengurangi angka kemiskinan berisiko tersabotase oleh perubahan iklim.

Seperti yang sudah diperingatkan oleh Sekretaris Jenderal PBB Ban Ki-Moon, perubahan iklim mengancam akan adanya musibah ganda, dengan adanya penderitaan rakyat miskin pada awal mula dan diikuti oleh bahaya jangka panjang bagi seluruh umat manusia.

Kita telah memasuki jangka awal “musibah ganda” ini dengan adanya banjir, tanah longsor, dan kekeringan di berbagai daerah. Pada semua peristiwa-peristiwa ini, penduduk miskin menjadi korban walau mereka tidak berhak menerimanya hanya karena kurangnya akses mereka pada sumber daya yang tepat.

Ketika banjir menenggelamkan banyak bagian Jakarta bulan Februari lalu, lebih dari 422.000 orang terpaksa meninggalkan rumah mereka. Walaupun begitu, penduduk dari kelas-bawah adalah yang paling menderita karena kekurangan sumber daya untuk mencari tempat tinggal sementara lainnya, dan karena itulah mereka terpaksa tinggal di rumah mereka yang kebanjiran atau pindah ke tempat pengungsian yang disediakan Pemda Jakarta.

Ketika kekeringan jangka panjang menimpa belahan timur pulau Jawa bertahun-tahun yang lalu, lagi-lagi para petani yang harus menanggung beban paling berat hanya karena mereka tidak mempunyai tabungan yang bisa menolong mereka keluar dari kegagalan panen.

Sudah merupakan tanggung jawab kita semua, terutama pemerintah, untuk membantu masyarakat kelas-bawah untuk menghadapi perubahan iklim dengan dampak-dampaknya. Dan membantu orang-orang ini akan membutuhkan biaya.

Sampai akhirnya kita pun mendukung inisiatif pemerintah untuk mengusahakan didirikannya sebuah mekanisme pendanaan global melalui Dana Spesial Perubahan Iklim, untuk membantu negara-negara berkembang beradaptasi pada dampak-dampak perubahan iklim.

Selain pendanaan, strategi adaptasi yang lebih baik juga vital karena dampak dari perubahan iklim sangat mudah diprediksi.

Berbagai studi telah menunjukkan, misalnya, bahwa kalau kita melanjutkan bisnis seperti sekarang ini, bongkahan besar dari pesisir pulau Sumatera akan menghilang, sama seperti beberapa bagian dari pesisir timur Kalimantan dan bagian selatan Papua. Yang juga akan menerima dampaknya adalah jutaan penduduk yang tinggal di pesisir utara pulau Jawa.

Oleh karena kita mengetahui bahwa semua ini bisa terwujud menjadi realita yang harus kita hadapi dalam jangka waktu minimal 20 tahun dari sekarang, kita harus bertindak sekarang untuk mencegah hal itu terjadi. Sangatlah penting bagi pemerintah untuk menyatukan kesadaran akan alam dalam perancangan dan perencanaan kebijakan yang relevan.

Biarpun begitu, usaha-usaha untuk menghindari musibah di hadapan kita ini akan padam tanpa dukungan dari segenap lapisan masyarakat, termasuk sektor bisnis. Hal paling kecil yang bisa kita lakukan adalah mengubah gaya hidup kita yang terlalu eksploitatif, sementara pihak swasta bisa berinvestasi dalam pemberdayaan alam.

Kita semua memiliki tanggung jawab masing-masing untuk menyelamatkan alam. Bertindaklah sekarang, sebelum semuanya terlambat.


Help stop climate-wrecking in Bali UN Climate Change Conference

I just signed an emergency petition trying to save the crucial climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia right now by telling the US, Canada and Japan to stop blocking an agreement. You can sign it here:


Almost all countries have agreed to cut rich country carbon emissions by 2020--which scientists say is crucial to stop catastrophic global warming, and will also help bring China and the developing world onboard. But with just 24 hours left in the conference, the US and its close allies Canada and Japan have rejected any mention of such cuts.

We can't let three governments hold the world hostage and block agreement on this desperate issue.

There's still 24 hours left to turn this around - click below to sign the petition - it will be delivered direct to summit delegates, through stunts and in media advertisements, so our voices will actually be heard. But we need a lot of us, fast, to join in if we're going to make a difference. Just click on the link to add your name:




My World View

You can take the quiz on this site.

What is Your World View?

You scored as a Romanticist

Romanticism encourages society to look backwards to find our solutions. Your rationale is that things were much better a few hundred years ago so we should thus look back to those times and replace them in our modern society. You believe in a simple life and that the complexities of the modern world have turned it upside down.



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