A contemplation for New Year

The beginning of the year is always a good time to reflect and ponder things. Here's an interesting piece below:

The Paradox of Our Time in History

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin


Toshi's wrap up of year 2008

From my personal point of view, 2008 is mostly an unproductive and bittersweet year.

Unproductive, because I don't attend college (yet).

Bittersweet, because the acridity and the pleasantness intermittently come and feature themselves for most part of the year.

But I've decided not to dwell to much on the negatives.

Because this has been the year when I came to learn new things and wisdom which could prove quite handy in my latter part of life.

The best part of it?

Let's see, here are the main highlights of 2008:

1. Going to Menado and Sangihe

This was a spiritually life-changing experience for me. From 6 to 27 March 2008, I could see for myself my (paternal) ancestral homeland and what it looks like at the borders of Indonesia's north.

2. Foreign Prophecies goes famous

For the first three months of 2008, my blog gets featured and commented most and was quite widely (albeit sparsely) discussed in the Indonesian blogosphere.

This blog entered Patung's IndonesiaMatters rank right from the beginning of February and has been climbing up the ladders ever since.


Indo-lyric: Melupakanmu (Jikustik)

English translation:

Forget you

now I could prove
I could find you
though it takes a long time to wait
every shards of memories
I hold firmly on my hands
shaded from rain and storm

till this day
I've never thought
of forgetting you
in my heart
I don't wanna
forget you
forget you

Look at the night stars
that have been a life companion
while looking in this long wait

repeat Reff 2x

Original lyric in Indonesian:

akhirnya ku buktikan
dirimu bisa kutemukan
walau mencari menunggu lama
setiap keping kenangan
kusimpan erat di genggaman
terlindung dari badai dan hujan

sampai saat ini
tak pernah terpikir
di dalam hatiku
ku tak pernah mau

pandang lah malam bintang
menjadi teman perjalanan
saat mencari menunggu lama

ulangi Reff 2x


on Pencil case and washing the dishes

I always wonder why is "pencil case" called a "pencil case". I mean, that rectangular container does not necessarily keep only pencils, right?

The same thing goes for the phrase "washing the dishes". When one is asked to "wash the dishes", does it mean that you only clean up the plate and ignore the cups, glasses, or other cutlery?

If you think that this is merely a buffoonery in English language, then think again. When translated to Indonesian language, "pencil case" becomes "kotak pensil" and "washing the dishes" becomes "cuci piring" which remains faithful to its original English rendering.


Nothing is for certain except death

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Saturday, 3 May 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The Mount of Olives in Israel is the oldest, continually used cemetery in the world.
  • By law, all executed criminals in the U.S. have to have an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
  • A body decomposes four times faster in water than on land.
  • If you are planning on being cryogenically frozen, the ideal time to start the procedure is within 10 minutes of death.
  • The first recorded means of execution is stoning. It was usually a public participation sport, and it was considered bad form to hit the victim in the head. The preferred method was to keep the victim conscious and suffering for as long as possible from internal injuries and broken bones.
  • Dr. Joseph Guillotin did not invent the guillotine; he just persuaded officials to use it as a means of executions because of its speed and efficiency. It is a myth that he died by the device.
  • Murderers, on average, are 7.5 years younger than their victims.
  • The Vietnam Memorial has the names of 38 people engraved on it who are listed as killed, but weren't.
  • Extreme cold is more lethal to humans than extreme heat. Cold makes you sleepy, and when you fall asleep, you die.
  • Funeral directors in Florida gets 500 frequent flyer miles for every corpse they ship out of Daytona Beach International Airport.
  • Japanese factory worker Kenji Urada became the first known fatality "caused by robot" in July 1981, in a car plant.
  • The death of George V was timed so it would make the morning papers.
  • In the "old days", men and women used a Laff Riot of deadly substances for cosmetics, which would often lead to their insanity and death. Lead was used for that pale white skin in the form of Lead white and Venetian Ceruse, which was absorbed into the skin, into the tissues and blood and caused acute lead poisoning. Mercury, in the form of mercury sublimate or "Solman's Water" was used to remove warts and bleach freckles. Belladonna, a fatally toxic hallucinogen, was used to redden cheeks and lips.
  • It is said that most people who commit suicide "arrange" it so the people/person they want to "punish" or gave a final "I told you so" find the body.
  • The most common animal people on their death beds or in death hallucinations/visions report seeing is a grey or black dog.
  • More men than women commit suicide over love affairs gone wrong.
  • In the 20 years of the Great California Gold Rush (1849), about 300,000 died from disease and 362 were killed by Indians.
  • When Anne Boleyn was beheaded, so was her dog, Urian.
  • It is estimated that in one hour, Genghis Khan's army killed 1,748,000 people. Each of his men was ordered to kill as many people as they could until they dropped down from exhaustion, and bring the ears of the victims to the officers for proof.
  • Union General John Sedgewick was killed during the Battle of Spotsylvania on 9 May 1864 while sitting on his horse and making the comment that the confederate troops were so inept that they "couldn't hit an elephant from this dis...". Those were his last words.


With freckles and mascara, no wonder puss is cute

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 27July 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • Cats can have freckles. They can appear anywhere on a cat's skin and even in its mouth.
  • The dark lines connecting to a cat's eyes are called mascara lines.
  • Cats with white fur and skin on their ears are very prone to sunburn.
  • Cats can see up to 36 metres away. Their peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.
  • Cats have 13 ribs.
  • Cats have a third eyelid, called a haw, that is rarely visible. If it can be seen, it may be an indication of ill health.
  • Cats have true fur, meaning that they have both an undercoat and an outer coat.
  • Ear furnishings are the hairs that grow inside a cat's ears.
  • In addition to using their noses, cats can smell with the Jacobson's organ, which is located in the upper surface of the mouth.
  • A cat has approximately 60 to 80 million olfactory cells while a human has about five to 20 million.
  • Cats are sometimes born with extra toes. This is called polydactyl.
  • Cats can donate blood to other cats.
  • Cats can have AB blood groups just like people.
  • In relation to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.
  • A female cat can begin mating when she is between five and nine months old.
  • A male cat can begin mating when he is between six and 10 months old.
  • Young cats can distinguish between two identical sounds that are just 45 cm apart at a distance of up to 18 metres.
  • Cats have a homing ability that uses its biological clock, the angle of the sun and the Earth's magnetic field.
  • A 15-year-old cat has probably spent 10 years of its life sleeping.
  • Cats must have fat in their diet, because they can't produce it on their own.
  • In general, cats live longer than most dogs. An average life span might be 12 to 14 years. Some cats live 20 years or more. A cat's longevity depends on feeding, genetics, environment, veterinary care and other factors. It also depends on whether a cat lives indoors or is allowed outdoors (outdoor cats live an average of eight years).
  • Neutering a cat extends its life span by two or three years.
  • The average canned or dry cat meal is the nutritional equivalent of eating five mice.
  • When you find your cat glued to a window intently watching a bird, making a strange chattering noise and clicking its jaws oddly, it is merely acting on instinct. What your cat is doing is directly related to the killing bite that all cats (both domestic and wild) use to dispatch their prey.
  • You can tell a cat's mood by looking into its eyes. A frightened or excited cat will have large, round pupils. An angry cat will have narrow pupils. The pupil size is related as much to the cat's emotions as to the degree of light.


When a guy brings condom in his bag: Premarital sex, trust, and loyalty

Whenever I see a fellow guy bringing a condom in his bag, I always pose myself a question:

Does he bring the condom as a sign that he's prepared for sex?

Of course I never mouthed those words to any of them (that would be embarrassing to some, insulting to others), but I surely know that most guys I know are virgins who are not at all ready for such premarital sex thingy...

Whatever your opinion may be, if that condom-carrier happens to be a guy who have not even graduated from college nor found a steady job to do premarital sex, the answer would come to this conclusion:

He does not trust himself that he could resist the temptation of sex.

Yep, that's the most logical answer to that.

He does not trust himself that he would not fall into seduction, hence he brings a condom...

Hahaha... That would amount to a sad sexual fantasy.

Pathetic, don't you think?

Most of the time (I daresay 99%), if a guy and a girl decides to have sex before they are married, it would be the guy who firstly asks for sex.

It is almost always the guy who asks for sex, and very rarely the other way round.

Now for girls out there, please don't be fooled.

Back in Bali, a friend of mine (from another well-reputed school) told me how his senior has had sex with his girlfriend in the second year of secondary school (kelas 2 SMP!)

I asked...how? How could the girl be easily duped into doing such a thing at such an early age?

Then my pal quoted what his senior had requested to his girlfriend:

"Kamu beneran sayang sama aku ngga? Kalo kamu emang sayang, buktikan"

(Do you really love me? If you do, prove it)

This quotation above apparently has become quite commonplace during the last three years that I think it has been bloody overused.

And whenever such a "request" is granted, I don't know who should bear the blame more...

Is it the guy, who reduces the meaning of love into sex? Or is it the girl, who so easily falls prey into such a tricky question.

Such a sad thing, really. It indeed is a sad thing to reduce, or even equate the meaning of LOVE with SEX.

Because they are not even inherently correlated.

Love does not necessarily end with sex, and more often than not, Sex shatters the meaning of love into nothing.

Girls out there, take note:

When a guy wishes for sex too soon, it shows that he is more inclined to continue the relationship in order to satisfy himself with your body, and not for the sake of pursuing your heart!

Please do NOT be such an idiot by falling prey into those "if-you-love-me-then-please-go-to-bed-with-me" kind of request... Having sex does not in anyway prove the loyalty of your love, and you should keep that in mind.

You know, people of tribes in the past used to have those customs of having forced marriages where both the brides have never even met each other.

A man from tribe G marries with a woman from tribe H in order to merge their cultural values or even create a larger tribe. When the guy from tribe G and girl from tribe H get married, do they even love each other?

No, not at all.

But they're still bound to produce heirs notwithstanding.

And there is also this quote I have read by an editor of The Jakarta Post for both sexes out there regarding whom you should love and marry... I am paraphrasing it here:

Don't marry a person because she's gorgeous, or he's handsome, or she's sexy and all that. Because all such passions are temporary and fades away with age, and the sex would not be so hot after both of you reach 60 anyway. Rather, marry the opposite sex with whom you love to have conversations most, because that is the kind of relationship that could last longer than other kinds of relationships.

It sure is hard to disagree to this one.


People who don't read my blog

This is really a blogger's thing.

No matter how famous a particular blogger is, there must be several select group of close people whom the blogger would rather not have the blog read by.

For me particularly, absolutely NONE of my friends in Bali knows any existence of Foreign Prophecies (yes, that includes Sis R too! She could have read this blog if I had given her the link, but I don't think that would be a very nice thing to do). And there are only a handful of those in Singapore who have read this blog of mine and visits it on a regular basis.

My parents know the existence of this blog, and so does a couple of my other relatives, uncles, and aunts... And I know some of them are dropping by for a visit from time to time.

Well let me say... Hello!


But to make my blog's fame circulated in Bali... I don't think it would be a very good idea. I would have less liberty in discussing my past life in Bali by doing that, because there are several of them whose stories are not very well-told in my blog.

So for the moment, I just hope nobody in Bali happens to recognise Toshi's real identity... Or even if they happen to click by, it would be no more than just a 5 minutes of bloghopping.


The first SMS

The first SMS I ever received in the inbox of my current phone is from Sis R, dated 12 April 2008, 09:16:39 WIB.

What a trivial tripe. Haha


Indo-lyric: Demi Cinta (Kerispatih)

English translation:

For the sake of love

Sorry, I have hurt you
I have disappointed you
Even I wasted my life
and I brought you like I did to myself
Though this heart keeps on crying
resisting this pain
but I do everything bcoz of love

Eventually I must lose my true love
everything has been given
also my downsides
If this is the best
for me and for her
I'll accept everything for the sake of love

Honestly, I couldn't stand it, to hold your hands for the last time
but one thing for sure, we could no longer be together
if one day later
I find you smiling blissfully
allow me to keep our love story together

Original lyric in Indonesian:

Maaf, ku telah menyakitimu
Ku telah kecewakanmu
Bahkan ku sia-siakan hidupku,
dan kubawa kau s'perti diriku
Walau hati ini t'rus menangis
menahan kesakitan ini
tapi ku lakukan semua demi cinta

Akhirnya juga harus ku relakan kehilangan cinta sejatiku
Segalanya t'lah ku berikan
Juga semua kekuranganku
Jika memang ini yang terbaik
Untuk diriku dan dirinya
Kan ku t'rima semua demi cinta

Chorus :
Jujur, aku tak kuasa, saat terakhir ku genggam tanganmu
namun yang pasti terjadi, kita mungkin tak bersama lagi
bila nanti esok hari
ku temukan dirimu bahagia
ijinkan aku titipkan kisah cinta kita selamanya


Jack hits the jackpot and Hitler disappears

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 20 July 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The largest single-ticket jackpot winner in history is Jack Whittaker Jr. of West Virginia. In December 2002, he had the sole winning ticket for a $314.9 million jackpot in the U.S. Powerball lottery.
  • The New York phone book had 22 Hitlers listed before WW2... and none after.
  • The three best known Western names in China: Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.
  • The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
  • Up until 1994, Washington state executed death row inmates by hanging.
  • Three chemicals are used to execute criminals by lethal injection. First, sodium thiopenthal is injected, causing the inmate to fall into a deep sleep. The second chemical agent, pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxer, follows. This causes the inmate to stop breathing due to paralyses of the diaphragm and lungs. Finally, potassium chloride is injected, stopping the heart.
  • For two years, during the 1970s, Mattel marketed a doll called "Growing Up Skipper". Her breasts grew when her arm was turned.
  • Kotex was first manufactured as bandages, during WW2.
  • The catgut formerly used as strings in tennis rackets and musical instruments does not come from cats. Catgut actually comes from sheep, hogs, and horses.
  • A cubic mile of ordinary fog contains less than four litres of water.
  • Hydrogen gas is the least dense subtance in the world, at 0.08988 g/cc. Hydrogen solid is the most dense substance in the world, at 70.6 g/cc.
  • Annually, approximately 46 million Cokes, five million pounds of French fries and seven million hamburgers are consumed at Walt Disney World Resort.
  • Ancient Romans eat flamingo tongues and considered them a delicacy.



So I noticed something different in her last evening. And yes, Mom had noticed it much earlier, and it was finally evident when I could have a long chat with her, again.

The way she talks, the way she thinks, and the way she responds to things... Ah, she has changed quite a lot now.

For the better, I say. I've seen a more mature part of her yesterday, and I'm glad to see that.

However, I was deeply embarrassed that her sister, and hence Melody too, knew the content of my birthday SMS, which contained some very sweet words to her.

How did they know? Damn, she must've confided the content of SMS to her Sis!

They repeated a particular phrase in the presence of my Mom and hers, and uhh... I guess I flushed red.

Thank God she wasn't in the living room when they teased me with that phrase. And Mom came to my defence by saying that indeed it's normal for me to say such a thing to her, since she and I are friends and "siblings" anyways.

Yep, Mom saved the day, methinks. Big Grin

When she finally came into the living room, I asked her regarding how many birthday presents has she received that day, and she answered, "Only from you and your Mom"

"And you're the first to send me that birthday message, T.." she quickly added.

I smiled knowing that.

So I guess she and I are playing on an even field, then. Happy

She was the only friend on earth who gave me a birthday present (on my 18th birthday), and now, I have become the only friend who give her a present on her 16th birthday.

Or perhaps the others are late in giving her presents.. who knows?

"So where did you buy the presents?"


"Where were you this afternoon again?"

"McD in Pondok Indah"

"So...you bought it in PIM?" she grinned.

"Nah, somewhere else"

"Poins Square?"

"Nope. Somewhere closer"

She thought about it for a while yet she seemed clueless. Her sis added that the presents were bought in vendor stalls, to which I jokingly replied, Correct!

And we laughed.

She still seemed clueless after several minutes, so I gave her another hint, "Today is Ladies' Day, eh...?'"

"Ah!" and her guess was correct.

Then I asked her to open my gift in my presence, to which she said, "Well..we're not supposed to open gifts in front of the giver, are we?"

Yes, right.

Now I understood what my Japanese-taboo-of-opening-present-in-front-of-giver entails.

We confabbed for hours with the accompaniment of kacang Garuda and a birthday cake until Uncle R, Tante Nana, and their bunch of primary-schooler kids (read: my cousins) came around.

Dad came around to pick me up at 8 PM, to which I left her home feeling inherently pleased.


I should've fixed it

A couple of months back she asked my sis Melody regarding that birthday present she gave me (when I was 18), "Why isn't he wearing it?"

Melody told me about this and I was ashamed of myself.

Right, I should've worn it. Or rather, I should've taken it to be repaired...

I promise I'll fix it today. And you'll see me wearing it, the next time I meet you Winking


Indo-lyric: Melepasmu (Drive)

English translation:

To let you go

it's impossible to blame time
it's impossible to blame fate
you come to me when I need you
from my life problems with her

the more I love you
the more I have to let you go off my life
I don't wanna hurt you more than this
we couldn't possibly together for ever

one day you will get
someone who will walk together with you
let this turn into a memory
of two hearts not destined to unite

repeat reff

I'm sorry that I've let you too far
inside into my daily lives
I'm sorry that I have to let you go
though I don't want to

repeat reff

Original lyric in Indonesian:

tak mungkin menyalahkan waktu
tak mungkin menyalahkan keadaan
kau datang di saat membutuhkanmu
dari masalah hidupku bersamanya

semakin ku menyayangimu
semakin ku harus melepasmu dari hidupku
tak ingin lukai hatimu lebih dari ini
kita tak mungkin trus bersama

satu saat nanti kau kan dapatkan
seorang yang akan dampingi hidupmu
biarkan ini menjadi kenangan
dua hati yang tak pernah menyatu

ulangi reff

maafkan aku yang membiarkanmu
masuk ke dalam hidupku ini
maafkan aku yang harus melepasmu
walau ku tak ingin

ulangi reff


They're breathing the same air as we do

When I walk on the streets of Jakarta and remember the riots of May 1998 (when I was 10 years old), I said to myself that there were a lot of people were involved in that riot.

And they numbered in tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of them are scattered across Jakarta.

Where are they now?

A lot of them have looted those department stores and raped those Chinese Indonesian women.... Why are 99% of them still walking free as of today?

It shudders me to think that the ones involved in that looting and burning and raping are still walking free as those bus drivers, newspaper sellers, station officers, security guards, postmen, white-collar workers, insurance agents, you name it.

We meet some of those freaks everyday and we may not realize what kind of fucking crime they had done during the year 1998.

Have they regretted their actions?

Are they tortured by guilt for burning the properties that belong to the Chinese Indonesian tycoons?

I doubt so.

They're still breathing the same fresh air as you and I do, and it just gives me the creeps that they could still provide us with much affability with their smiles in the quotidian life of Jakarta.


Flying in the face of it all

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Thursday, 14 February 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The housefly hums in the middle octave, key of F.
  • After eating, a housefly regurgitates its food and then eats it again.
  • A common housefly processes visual information 10 times faster than humans.
  • The compound eye of a housefly has more than 4,000 lenses.
  • A housefly can transport germs as far as 24 km away from the original source of contamination.
  • The entire life of a housefly is spent within one or two hundred metres of the area where it was born.
  • The average airspeed of the common housefly is 7.2 kph.
  • A housefly beats its wings about 20,000 times per minute.
  • The buzzing of flies is the sound produced by their wings moving up and down at a rapid rate and is not produced internally by their bodies.
  • A common housefly is faster -in one sense- than a jet airplane. The fly moves 300 times its body length in one second, whereas the jet, at the speed of sound, travels 100 times its body length in one second.
  • Contrary to the popular myth, flies do exist in Alaska. In fact, there are almost no worms in Alaska, and the flies fill that ecological niche - birds of many species feed on flies and maggots. Fish even eat the maggots from rotting salmon in the streams.
  • Flies prefer to breed in the centre of a room, which is why experts advise placing flypaper away from the corners of the room.
  • It is because of the sticky pads and hairs on the legs of a fly that the fly is such a carrier of germs.
  • A fly can react to something it sees and change direction in 30 milliseconds.
  • A fly stuck in a spider web can escape in about five seconds if the spider does not get to it first.
  • Assuming that all the offspring survived, 190 quintillion (190,000,000,000,000,000,000) flies could be produced in four months by the offspring of a single pair of flies.
  • Prior to a fly landing on the ceiling, it flies right side up. Prior to impact, the fly extends its forward legs over its head, makes contact, and uses the momentum it has gathered in flight to hoist the remainder of its body to the ceiling, thus proving to be a bit of an acrobat. Once the fly has all six feet on the ceiling, it walks across the ceiling, securing itself by the sticky pads found under its two claws attached to each of its feet.
  • The coffin fly maintains itself for many generations in human bodies buried in coffins.
  • Petroleum flies feed on other flies that get trapped in pools of crude petroleum.
  • A female bot fly lays her eggs on the proboscis of a mosquito; when the mosquito bites a human, the bot fly larvae emerge from their eggs and crawl under the human's skin through the mosquito bite or by boring into the flesh.
  • A greenfly born on a Tuesday can be a grandparent by Friday.
  • Mayflies, after hatching and then spending one to three years developing as naiads, live less than one day as adults. During this one day, they mate and lay eggs in water.


Demise of an uncle

Then again, this news just came in a couple of mins ago (7:15 PM of Jakarta time, to be precise).

I'm sorry to say that this is not a really delightful day after all.

Particularly since about an hour or so ago, the father of a childhood friend of mine (Z) had passed away.

I've known him as an affable man, who is always ready to lend friendly advices and warm chit-chats whenever I drop by for a visit in Z's house... And he looked perfectly healthy when I last saw him last week, before taking Z's mom for a hospitalisation.

I know the possibility of you ever dropping by to my English blog and reading this message is tiny, but I just hope you could weather this well, dear...

I offer my prayers to him and those beloved ones who have survived him.


on Benford's law and my own coin tosses

I tossed a coin last week just for the sake of proving that Benford's law was correct. Yeah, me and my semi-autistic tendencies to spend my pastime.

For it was said there:

Dr. Theodore P. Hill asks his mathematics students at the Georgia Institute of Technology to go home and either flip a coin 200 times and record the results, or merely pretend to flip a coin and fake 200 results. The following day he runs his eye over the homework data, and to the students' amazement, he easily fingers nearly all those who faked their tosses.

Probability predictions are often surprising. In the case of the coin-tossing experiment, Dr. Hill wrote in the current issue of the magazine American Scientist, a "quite involved calculation" revealed a surprising probability. It showed, he said, that the overwhelming odds are that at some point in a series of 200 tosses, either heads or tails will come up six or more times in a row. Most fakers don't know this and avoid guessing long runs of heads or tails, which they mistakenly believe to be improbable. At just a glance, Dr. Hill can see whether or not a student's 200 coin-toss results contain a run of six heads or tails; if they don't, the student is branded a fake.

And yep, I didn't even have to reach my 50th percentile just to prove Benford. I got a straight run of six Heads starting from my 39th toss.


on helping the poor

It pains us urban citizens to see how many of the poor are still seen begging on the streets, many of whom are still on those ages younger than 15.

But whenever we see them begging on the streets and give them those alms, are we really helping them by doing that?

There was one interesting story Dad told me about a dramatically ironic scene he saw under a bridge in Central Jakarta.

There he saw children "depositing" their own hard-earned pennies to a plump, shabby-looking and dark-complexioned woman who was licking a Walls ice cream she had just bought.

A Walls ice cream, bought with the pennies that those children had earned!!

That woman was already fucking plump herself, yet the children under her care was forced to work 24-7 under the scorching heat of sun until they got too thin to feed themselves.

The other day I also read an article of an official in West Nusa Tenggara province blaming the deaths of malnutrition on the children's parents.

He was quoted as saying, in a paraphrase, that those children starved to death for the fact that their parents care more about buying all those cigarette packs instead of buying their children nutritious food.

While that West Nusa Tenggara official may be a corrupt man himself, I think there is a certain degree of truth in his statement.

Which gives us the lesson that, just as the saying goes "Give man a fish for a day and he'll ask for more later; teach man to fish for today and he'll be able to feed for life", I think we should simply resist ourselves from giving direct cash to the poor in urban and rural areas alike.

We could teach them to fish simply by having their children educated.

That way, though it has almost no effect on the parent's income, at least we are giving their children an opportunity to fend for themselves.

Hence, giving those poor children a chance to climb the social strata ladder... from the low-class regions to a middle-class family.


My allergy to Sate Padang

One particular food that I am highly allergic to is Sate Padang.

Well, one may call it a nocebo effect here (which is the reverse of "placebo effect"), but for the sake of keeping things simpler, let's just call it an allergy of mine.

It all started a couple of years back when I was around 11 or 12 years old.

There was nothing fantastic really, apart from the Sate Padang itself that made me (and also Mom and my housemaid) threw up repeatedly in the next two hours or so after we had eaten it.

That particular incident has -till this day- given me the creeps whenever I smell the aroma of Sate Padang... I just couldn't stand it.

I still could tolerate the aroma of coffee to a certain extent, or perhaps Durian which is not rather bad after second thoughts... but no Sate Padang, please.


Indo-lyric: Tiada akhir (Audy)

English translation:

Without end

if you ask me to leave
you won't see me here
if you ask me to stay
I'll remain here without regrets
coz this is how I love you

* coz the love that I have
won't be limited by distance
I still love you
regardless of limitations, till the end of time

traversing the insides of your heart
I will do it without hesitation
to turn you into the warmest place
accept your embrace tightly
coz this is how I love you

repeat *

regardless of limitations, till the end of time
I still love you

Original lyric in Indonesian:

bila kau memintaku tuk pergi
takkan kau lihat aku di sini
jika kau memintaku tuk tinggal
ku kan di sini tanpa menyesal
seperti inilah aku mencintaimu

* karena cinta yg ku punya
takkan terbatas dunia
aku mencintaimu
tiada batas tiada akhir

menelusuri dalam hatimu
akan kujalani tanpa ragu
menjadikanmu tempat terhangat
jatuhkan pelukmu dengan erat
seperti inilah aku mencintaimu

repeat *

tiada batas tiada akhir
aku mencintaimu


Between nuclear, education, and terrorism

Don't you find it ironic sometimes that certain countries are more inclined towards having nuclear power in their country and spends large bucks in their military, yet they spend so little on education?

Take Pakistan for example.

They have an illiteracy rate of 48% amongst the productive age group, yet they have so much to brag about regarding their nuclear power.

No wonder those countries have high rates of poverty (and terrorism too).

When you could not afford to read ABCs, it is easy to infuse outside ideologies into your mind. All you need is a big brother to watch you over with some money backings from terror-oriented organisations and...Voila!

There you go, it suddenly becomes way too easy to look for radical supporters in the villages.



Yesterday (7/12) was NOT exactly my favourite day of the year.

While the day before was spent by watching Twilight with a dear friend (and the sky was bright), I thought I had gotten up the wrong side of the bed on Sunday.

It started off with all those JLPT I did in Unsada.

In the morning, I wondered perhaps I could meet Silmi again, if she was to take this year... I was about to look for her name on the examinee list when I realised that the ones taking the same level as I did (level 3) numbered to roughly 700 people.

And the names aren't arranged alphabetically at that.

Geez, that would take quite a hell to look for someone's name (despite the fact that I know her full name).

It has been a while since I last contacted her, perhaps it would do well to drop a message in her Facebook... She congratulated me on my last birthday anyways.

Seeing that most of the examinees knew some other people whom they could chat with, I knew that I could not have been taking this test alone this year.

Citra was supposed to be registering too, but it was a tad too late when I informed her of the deadline.

Well...so be it, she missed two levels on two consecutive years.


The JLPT questions themselves were hellish.

For example, I had to spend a long time on three particular questions that deal with a comprehension passage about Kaigi-shitsu (they wrote the Kaigi in かいぎ instead of 会議).

The whole passage didn't make any sense to me for the next bloody fifteen minutes, until I realised that the word "kaigi" means "conference" in English.

Goddammit, life could've become much easier if they had written in the normal Kanji instead!

Then during the recess time, Sis R phoned me that she's not coming to Jakarta as her aunt's house in North Jakarta would be packed by families outside the town. Staying in a hotel for a week would pretty much drain her pocket, so....

AH, Why on earth did I pick up the phone anyway?!!

I could've let it unanswered, or she could have chosen a better timing (e.g. during the exam) so that the phone call could turn into a Miscall instead.

But nah, I answered it.

Hence the rest of the exam's session was spent with my mind divided between some personal issues and the test's challenging questions themselves.

It sure was NICE to hear that she's not coming to Jakarta. Could things have gotten any worse?

Unfortunately, yes.

When I got home, it dawned upon me that I was tired. And slightly vertiginous.

So I slept.

When night came, Lina informed me on MSN that Anggi had taken Egy, Na, Pt, Kr, and Koko for a treat in her father's restaurant in Legian.

Of the whole bunch that night, only Lina and Pt made a mention of my name.

Neither Egy nor Koko had asked any curious questions regarding their former comrade here in Jakarta...

Bah, it's just sad that they had forgotten me... Though in retrospect I am a bit delighted that Pt remembers me quite much (she never really paid me much attention when I had a little interest in her back in our schooldays), I am still just disappointed in those two guys of mine.

I think I played a role to be blamed too, since it was me who cut communication from either of them.

And then there's that thing of the past which still haunts me till this day. But how could they paid no attention at all, not even to the point of asking my name or what I am doing now in front of my former classmates?

Oh well...


Leaving no stone unturned

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Thursday, 9 October 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • In the golden age of cinema, many movie stars wore their own jewels in their movies.
  • Actress Marlene Dietrich once accidentally baked her 37.4 carat emerald ring inside a cake, when it was discovered during dessert.
  • The most expensive piece of jewellery ever designed for a movie was a US$1 million necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in the musical Moulin Rouge that was made of platinum with 1,308 diamonds with a combined total of 134 carats.
  • The tradition of borrowing jewellery to wear to the Academy Awards ceremony was started in 1944, by Jennifer Jones, who wore Harry Winston's jewellery for the occasion. To this day, the jeweler is still one of the biggest names on Oscar night.
  • Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor owns the famous "La Peregrina", a stupendous, 203.84 grain, pear-shaped pearl given to her by Richard Burton and discovered in the early 16th century buy a slave on the shores of Panama. The slave won his freedom with his find, which was then given to Mary Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII, by her husband, Spain's King Phillip II. It became part of the Spanish treasury and eventually made its way to France, where it was sold to save its newest owner, the son of the French emperor Napoleon III, from financial disaster. It finally ended up at Sotheby's, where Burton bought it as a Valentine's gift for Taylor in 1969. It was made into a ruby and diamond necklace incorporating the pearl by Cartier. Taylor once lost the famous La Peregrina pearl in her white-carpeted home. A frantic search turned up the enormous white gem... in her dog's mouth.
  • The British monarchy's Imperial State Crown stands 31.49 cm tall and weighs almost one kilogram. In addition to the Cullinan II, it is set with over 3,000 precious stones.
  • Henry VII, Henry the VIII's father, had a collection of 324 jewelled rings.
  • The Hope Diamond dates back to 1668, when it was brought from India to King Louis XIV.
  • In 1283, England passed a law stating that only those of noble birth could wear jewels.
  • By 1363, British King Edward III forbade even knights to wear precious stones.
  • Khosrau II, king of Persia in the seventh century, had a crown of pure gold covered with pearls the size of sparrow's eggs. It also had inlaid grenadine rubies and emeralds. It hung from the ceiling, over the king's head, where sat his throne. It touched his head without weighting him down.
  • Garnets were on Noah's ark. A large carbuncle was thought to have illuminated the ship by both day and night.
  • Eastern physicians thought the emerald could cure epilepsy, remove both mental and body pain, stop vomiting, purge the blood, act as an antidote to poison and bites from wasps, bees and scorpions; helped diabetes, was a remedy for jaundice, and treat leprosy when ground finely applied as a poultice.
  • In 500 AD, Chinese doctors used finely powdered jade in fruit juice for the relief of heartburn, asthma and diabetes.
  • During cholera plagues in ancient Egypt, slaves that mined malachite were usually unaffected, since malachite is a basic copper carbonate. Copper helps rheumatism, asthma and colic.
  • In times gone by, a red or yellow diamond was reserved for wear by the king only.
  • Six-cornered diamonds are thought to bring good luck.
  • Five-cornered diamonds were thought to bring death.
  • Romans had a passion for rings, with some wearing six on each finger.
  • In the days of yore in many European countries, amber was worn as a protection against witches and warlocks as well as against bad luck.


No posts on birthdays

Some of you may have noticed that I had not made any single "birthday entries" at all during any point of time this year, such as proven by these supposedly special dates below:

  1. 2 February
  2. 12 April
  3. 25 July

But as to make things fair and square, I don't even make any attempts to beautify my own birthday, which falls on 15 November last month.

Why is it so?

It's for this simple reason:

When I start putting this blog into a celebratory and/or jovial mood on any particular dates, that would mean that I have to set aside five to 10 days every year for all those well-wishes and uhh... it gets more perfunctory and less sincere when you say it too often, does it not?

Every birthdays should be filled with surprises, which is why I've made it my policy to ignore any birthdays (including my own or my family member's) in this Foreign Prophecies blog.


When my own life decision also affected my friend's life decision

It may sound as if I'm overestimating the story here, but I'm not: one of the major decisions that affected my entire life...affected my friend's life too.

It always sounds funny when I think about it, but my decision in not continuing my education in Singapore had also affected Sis R's decision on her life.

There I was, visiting her home in Denpasar in early February 2007.

I was scheduled to go back to Singapore in mid-February 2007 and that time I was still largely undecided whether I should proceed in going to Singapore or waiting for an American education instead for an indefinite time being.

Coincidentally, on the same week she was scheduled to stay in Singapore in the long run too. She was to take a short training programme in Ngee Ann Polytechnic for six months and there might also be a possibility that she's going to continue her Master's degree in NUS.

In Singapore, Sis R was about to stay in her cousin's apartment block in an area not so far from the hostel I planned to stay in, which sounded very nice.

We discussed the whole "moving to Singapore together and living close to each other" for an entire day at her home, and we ended up with me finally deciding that going to Singapore would be for the best for both of us.

I'd be having my own 'sister' living in a same city outside Indonesia, at last!

I left Bali for Jakarta just a week before mid-February 2007, when I changed my mind into not going back to Singapore after all.

I phoned her Singapore number on the day she arrived there. Of course by making little whit lies that I was already "too late" to take a further scholarship application there.

She was unduly disappointed seeing that I was no longer eligible to continue my education there.

Despite the fact that there was aplenty of opportunities for her to continue her Master's study and take that short training programme and look for a nice-paying part-time work, she didn't last staying there for more than two weeks.

I asked her for the reason why she left Singapore and she answered,

"I couldn't stand staying with my cousin's family there, Toshi... They're always brawling all the time, I couldn't stand it! Moreover, do you know how disappointed I am in you? I had imagined how much fun we could have had together there, yet you were that dumb in being late for that scholarship education!" she jeered.

"So basically... You decided in not living in Singapore... it's because I'm not living there anymore?"

"Yep, that's one of the two major reasons", she admitted.

I don't know whether I was supposed to be flattered or disappointed by her decision.

How stupid or incredulous it may sound, it really did happen to her and it was me who had made her thought twice in not staying in Singapore.

However, it dawned upon me that time that... Sis R had decided against studying and working in Singapore just because I didn't keep my promise of staying close with her in that country.

If only I had decided differently back then, she may not be working in Bali right now!

Hahaha... how funny life could turn out, eh?


Afblijven: my fave movie ending scene of the year

I've seen a couple of interesting movie endings these years, but only one of them impressed me this much.

This scene is from Afblijven, a Dutch youth movie.


Though he accepted her apology, there was no longer any hugs or show of fondness like they used to in the past.

He simply walked away.

"Wait!" the girl called, still standing there under the sun.

He glanced back, "Yea?"

"Couldn't we just remain... as friends like we used to?"

He stared at her for a second, and said with a glum face, "I don't think so"

And he continued walking, before she finally understood what he meant.

She ran after him, and he smiled at her.

They hugged and they kissed.


Indo-lyric: Terpesona (Glenn Fredly feat. Audy)

English translation:


when we meet
there is this feeling in my chest
you smile intimately
and make me enchanted

I couldn't bear myself
to resist this bubble
I just wanna say
that I like you

only you
whom I like


captivated on the first sight
and I couldn't bear to resist my yearnings
your smiles always fill my dreams
I wanna hug and kiss your forehead
oh how beautiful

I feel it now
this love vibration in chest
I wanna be with you

Original lyric in Indonesian:

saat kita jumpa
ada rasa di dalam dada
kau tersenyum manja
membuatku terpana

akupun tak kuasa
tuk menahan gejolak ini
ingin kukatakan 
aku menyukaimu

hanya dirimu 
yang aku suka


terpesona ku pada pandangan pertama
dan ku tak kuasa menahan rinduku
senyumanmu slalu menghiasi mimpiku
ingin kupeluk dan kukecup keningmu
oh indahnya

kini kurasakan
getaran cinta di dalam dada
kuingin bersamamu 
untuk selamanya


Let us all transfer our money to Nigeria!

If there is one country in the world where I think an internet ban should be imposed, I'd recommend Nigeria.

Nigerians are, by and large, the most retarded netizens in the world.

While the most evil vices that Asian people do may be limited to sharing and downloading pornography, Nigerians are always very eager to send illicit e-mails to those whom they think could be duped.

They would typically send us those e-mails that announce if we have won a lottery in London or inherit a large sum of money from some rich lad in Switzerland.

If we respond, we would then be asked to send some "small" amount of money, say.... US$1000?

Despite the fact that the lottery came from London, we are required to send our own money "in order to open a bank account in Abuja, Nigeria"

Ah, such a lucrative way of earning money. I really would love to send some "small bucks" to Abuja right now. Perhaps I could be as rich as Bill Gates if I decide to send US$50,000.... who knows?

My buddy Gilang has his own witty insight on this, feel free to go and have a look.


Camels and llamas, beasts of burden

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 3 August 2007.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The normal life span of a camel is 40 years.
  • A camel is mature after five years of age.
  • Camels were used as transportation by desert people of long ago and are called "Ships of The Desert".
  • Camels are the only animals with humps
  • Despite its hump, a camel has a straight spine.
  • The humps on a camel's back are stores of fat and flesh that can weigh as much as 35 kilos in a healthy camel. These humps help camels survive for weeks without food and water.
  • When a camel's energy reserves become low from lack of food, the hump shrinks and becomes soft and will flop over to one side.
  • Camels have three sets of eyelids to protect them from blowing sand.
  • A camel can close its nostrils.
  • Camels walk at a speed of about 5 kph.
  • Camels can run just as fast as horses, if not faster.
  • Camels can go without drinking water for three to four days at a time.
  • The camel is able to carry loads as heavy as 400 kilos, although normally a camel will only carry a third of that.
  • Camels don't usually do heavy work beyond 25 years of age.
  • At night, a camel's body temperature is 40°C. During the heat of the day, it's 34°C.
  • Camels can drink 115 litres of water at a time.
  • A camel can produce up to 600 litres of milk a year.
  • Camel's milk is about 5.5% milk fat, 7.5% milk solids and 87% water.
  • Camel's milk does not curdle.
  • A distressed camel may spit a noxious stream of stomach contents, but generally camels are hard working, intelligent animals.
  • Abdul Kassem Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the 10th century, carried his library with him wherever he went. The 117,000 volumes were carried by 400 camels that were trained to walk in alphabetical order.
  • In some countries camels are a source of entertainment, with camel races and camel fighting attracting audiences of all ages in several countries around the world.
  • Camel was considered an unclean animal in the Bible, but was highly regarded in Ancient Rome, where grilled camel's feet was a gourmet dish.
  • There are fewer than 1,000 Bactrian camels left in the wild. They have survived in a land with no water in an area used for nuclear testing. Their numbers, however, are falling dramatically as humans encroach farther and farther into China's Gobi Desert.
  • Llamas were originally domesticated in 1531.
  • Llamas come in various colours and shades of whites, browns, blacks and reds. Their designs are sometimes solid, but they are more often spotted and patterned in combination of these colours.
  • The average lifespan of a llama is about 20 years.
  • Llamas are usually used to carry packs. One llama can carry a pack of up to 60 kilos at 30 km/day over rough mountain terrain.
  • Llamas can chew their cud like cattle and sheep, and because of efficient digestive systems, their protein requirements are low and they can be inexpensively fed on a variety of pasturage.
  • Llamas have a soft pad on the bottom of their foot, not a hoof, so they are gentle on the ground.
  • Llamas have three stomachs.
  • The llama's blood is different from most mammals. It has more red corpuscles, which makes it more efficient at using oxygen. This allows it to live in higher altitudes.
  • Llamas have a communal dung pile with very little odour, unlike other animals that go all over the pasture and have a strong smell.
  • Llamas communicate most often by making a humming sound. When in danger, they let out a high-pitched warning whine; they also communicate with body posturing, facial expressions and ear and tail positions.
  • Llamas have a reputation for bad tempers. If they are overloaded, they tend to spit, bite and refuse to move.
  • Spitting is the llamas' way of saying, "Scat!". Normally used between llamas to divert annoying suitors, ward off a perceived threat or, most commonly, to establish pecking order at mealtime, an occasional llama that has been forced to tolerate excessive human handling may have developed an intolerance for or fear of humans and will spit if they feel threatened by them.
  • Llamas cannot be ridden.


When you could not afford a burial, should you just burn?

This is a theological question for my Christian and Muslim readers alike:

When you could not afford a burial, should you just burn?

It is expressly forbidden to burn bodies in the Abrahamic religions since it is said that

"what comes from the dust must return to dust"

(I am quoting neither from Bible nor Quran here, since the above quote is just my own estimation of what were said there)

Some may take it easy by saying that "ah, we will pay for the funeral no matter how much it costs".

Now I ask them back, "Oh, REALLY?"

While in some outer islands of Indonesia it costs only Rp 16,000 (EUR 1.03) to buy one square metre of land, some other places in the world are not as fortunate.

If you happen to be living in Tokyo, be prepared to cash out some large bucks out of your pocket.

One square metre of land in Tokyo could cost up to US$2 Million (EUR 2.5 Million).

Yes, you read it right:

TWO MILLION American Dollars for one square metre of land!

You must be extremely rich to afford such an amount.

Looking for graveyard plots on the outer areas of Tokyo such as Chiba and Saitama could be much less pricey, perhaps putting a figure of US$50,000/square metre of land.

US$50,000 is still expensive nonetheless.

So how do you manage your body if you happen to drop dead in extremely expensive cities such as Tokyo or London or Vienna?

Here are some suggested solutions of mine:

  1. Look for the sparsely populated lands outside of Tokyo such as Hokkaido... or you could choose to bury it outside Japan altogether, perhaps by managing a burial in countries where the land is cheap, such as Kenya or India or Guyana. But that would make it difficult for your relatives to pay last respects then, since you must travel half the world to do that.
  2. Consult your local cleric/laymen if it is possible to burn the body in Tokyo instead, firstly making sure that you do not cross the line from your religion. Hence, relatives could always feel the body much closer to home, and you could always pray for the dead by making annual homage to the ashes instead.

Perhaps anyone out there have had a personal encounter on this, or should you just happen to have some other solutions, please feel free to comment.


Tree, grove, forest, and Amazon


The Kanji (Chinese character) for tree is actually a pictograph of a tree including trunk, branches, and roots as you can see below:


The Kanji for "grove" is actually a compound of two adjacent trees of 木 + 木 :


The Kanji for "forest" resembles three trees in close proximity and could either be a sum of 木 + 林 or a sum of 木 + 木 + 木 :


Ah, I'm not exactly sure how the Chinese make a character for "Amazon". While the Japanese could make do with their own katakana of アマゾン , the Chinese always have their own freaking distinct way of naming things. They even transliterate their own "Indonesia" into "Yindunixiya" or "Singapore" into "Xinjiapo"...

The Chinese have a kinda...uhm..stupid way of renaming things, don't you think?

(Nah, I ain't being racist up there, because I myself am 1/8 Chinese. Just call me linguicist)


Intentional and unintentional "wrong SMS delivery"

on the unintentional SMS deliveries...

It's a dangerous thing really to gossip about a particular person thru SMS. I almost broke a friendship once because of such a case.

This happened a couple of years back in Bali.

I was chatting with a friend (let's call her Nina) thru SMS , and the main topic was one of the guys (let's call him Ron) in our class.

There was some kind of misunderstanding about a particular event in our class, and as a result, I had to explain everything... Of course, the blame was mainly loaded on Ron.

So I was supposed to send this SMS that says something like this to Nina:

"It's Ron's fault and bla bla bla..."

However, it was wrongly sent! Instead of sending that SMS to Nina, I sent it to Ron!!!

When Ron finally replied that SMS, he could find out straightaway that I was gossiping about him. Then he threatened to break his friendship, one thing that I had feared the most.

It was Sunday morning when I delivered the SMS, but after making a direct apology thru the phone, he had forgiven me by Sunday evening.

Thank goodness, it was a disaster averted and a lesson learnt.

Starting from that day onwards, I always made it a point to check (and recheck) the SMS destination before hitting the "Send".



on the intentional ones...

You may find it peculiar here, but I also had this habit of "sending wrong SMS" intentionally.

Yes, intentionally.

This is a bad habit really. The purpose of sending wrong SMS is none other than making the person (read: girl) concerned jealous.

I had done this several times in the past, but let me pick out a particular experience that still makes me laugh till this day.

There was this girl in my class who used to like me a lot (let's call her Elise). Though she never said anything about it, nor had she ever declared anything to me, almost everyone in school know the truth that she liked me.

Frankly, Elise was quite kind and caring towards me. However, she was not very attractive that I decided not to respond anything on her "undeclared liking".

Yeah, it sure sucks... But we guys truly are creatures who put the last judgement on what we see, girls! Lolz.

Now let me get back to the topic.

Being a doubtful type of person as I always am, I decided to "send a wrong SMS" to Elise that was more or less sounded like this:

"Ok Na, let's meet up tomorrow afternoon (^_^) "

That "Na" was supposed to be referring to another female friend of mine who was quite close to me.

Well... I thought it was enough for Elise to pick up the small "fake hints".

Her reaction was something of a disappointment, as I could see clearly depicted in her reply.




Of course, I no longer send wrong SMSes as of today. If I really had to gossip about a particular person, I prefer to do it thru my YM or MSN or e-mail or phone call instead of explaining everything thru SMS.

Yeah, I no longer continue that bad habit of sending wrong SMSes deliberately. It was designed to hurt anyway, and I have learned a lot in all these years since I quit that habit that, whenever I hurt a girl, the Karma will bound to hurt me sooner or later.

Yep, that Karma had hit me a couple of months back... Hahaha


Legs more tanned than the arms

It's a curious thing really, but a friend happened to tell me a couple of weeks back regarding how one's feet could get tanned more easily than the hands.

Ah, really?

I scrutinised her and she was right: her lower limbs is slightly darker than her upper ones.

However, I see the outright opposite in me.

My legs are surprisingly much fairer in colour than my arms!

How ludicrous.

Despite my best efforts to balance the tan between my arms and my legs, I don't spot anything on my legs that show any signs that I have tanned consistently for the past six months.

Ahh.. I'm half tanned.


Indo-lyric: Pelangi di Matamu (Jamrud)

English translation:

Rainbow in your eyes

30 minutes have passed by
without a word between us
and I'm anxious
that I have to wait long
for a speech from your mouth

perhaps we would need a lesson
to assemble words into phrases
to talk to each other
and I just hate
that I have to be honest with you
about all this

even the clock has laughed
because I only stayed silent and mute
I wanna insult myself
as I stood limp in front of you

there is something else
in your smile
that has made my tongue
unable to motion
there is a rainbow
within your eyeballs
and it forces me
to say
"i love you deeply" (2x)

(as if forcing
and keep on going)

it may be next saturday
that I confess it all,
the contents of my heart
and I just hate
that I have to be honest with you
about all this

Original lyric in Indonesian:

30 menit kita disini
tanpa suara
dan aku resah
harus menunggu lama ..
kata darimu

mungkin butuh kursus
merangkai kata,
untuk bicara
dan aku benci
harus jujur padamu,
tentang semua ini

jam dinding pun tertawa,
karna kuhanya diam dan membisu
ingin kumaki diriku sendiri,
yang tak berkutik di depanmu

ada yang lain
yang membuat lidahku
gugup tak bergerak
ada pelangi
di bola matamu
dan memaksa diri
tuk bilang
“aku sayang padamu”  2x

(seakan memaksa
dan terus memaksa)

mungkin sabtu nanti
kuungkap semua,
isi di hati
dan aku benci
harus jujur padamu
tentang semua ini ……


Do I care?


My sis Melody called.

I glanced from the novel I was reading.


"You know what... I think [name undisclosed] really likes you... Nah, she's in LOVE with you!"

I gazed at her eyes for a second before continuing what I was reading.

"Oh", I answered unsympathetically.

"So.. so... What do you say?"

"Good for her!" I sneered at my sis.


"Meaning, do I give a bloody care? You're not the first person to say that anyway, so I suggest you stop that matchmaking activity of yours with [Person A], [Person B], or [Person C]! I'm kinda fed up with that, understood?" and with that I gave her the most scornful smile of the day.

She gave me that uneasy evil I-think-I'll-give-another-try-when-Toshi-cools-down kind of look before she left my room.


Beliefs that let the cat out of the bag

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Sunday, 8 June 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • In ancient Japan, it was thought that somewhere on the tail of a cat there was a single hair that would restore life to a dying person. Relatives would sometimes bring a cat to the dying person and let them pluck a hair to try their luck.
  • In the early 16th century, a visitor to an English home would always kiss the family cat.
  • In 16th century Italy, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick man, he would die.
  • English schoolchildren believe seeing a white cat on the way to school is sure to bring trouble. To avert bad luck, they must either spit, or turn around completely and make the sign of the cross.
  • A cat on top of a tombstone meant that the soul of the departed buried was possessed by the devil.
  • The Welsh believe that when the pupil of a cat's eye broadens, there will be rain.
  • In the Netherlands, cats were not allowed in rooms where private family discussions were going on. The Dutch believed that cats spread gossip.
  • The Scottish believe that a strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.
  • The French believe it is bad luck to cross a stream carrying a cat.
  • The Irish believe that to kill a cat brings 17 years of bad luck.
  • The British believe that if cats desert a house, illness will always reign there.
  • In Normandy, seeing a tortoise-shell cat foretells death by accident.
  • The Irish believe that black cat crossing one's path by moonlight means death in an epidemic.
  • Americans believe that a cat washing itself on the doorstep means a clergy will visit.
  • A black cat crossing your path is considered good luck in some countries, bad in others.
  • A black cat seen from behind is a bad omen.
  • Seeing a stray tortoise shell cat is a bad omen.
  • Cats bought with money will never be good mousers.
  • A cat sneezing once means it will rain.
  • A cat sneezing three times means the family will catch a cold.
  • Kill a cat and you will sacrifice your soul to the devil.
  • Kicking a cat will result in rheumatism.
  • It is bad luck to see a white cat at night.
  • Dreaming of a white cat is good luck.
  • When you see a one-eyed cat, spit on your thumb, stamp it in the palm of your hand and make a wish. The wish will come true.
  • If a cat washes behind its ears, it will rain.
  • A cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means cold weather ahead.
  • Two cats seen fighting near a dying person, or on the grave shortly after the funeral, are really the devil and angel fighting for the dead person's soul.
  • To see a white cat on the road is lucky.
  • When moving to a new home, you should always put the cat through a window instead of the door so that it will not leave.
  • A kitten born in May was believed to be a witch's cat.


Not opening present in front of the giver

Whenever anyone gives a present to me and he/she asks me to unwrap the present in front of him/her, I always refuse to do so.

That friend usually asks, "Why?"

"Because it's taboo in Japanese tradition to open a gift in front of the giver..."

Then they let out a big ZWT and say,

"But we're not in Japan, and we're not Japanese..."


Confiding in Toshi.. is it safe?

It totally depends.

When a friend confides a secret in me, sometimes I find it interesting/unique enough that I decide to rewrite his/her secrets in this blog of mine (which is a public domain), albeit with a pseudonym.

Some of you my blog readers must be thinking that I'm a poor confidant that I oftly rewrite my friends' secrets here.

But hell, no.

Whenever a friend confides a secret in me, I always make it a point to see whether he/she has put me into an everlasting promise that I will keep my mouth shut.

Because once I am bound by an everlasting promise, I will do my best not to break it.

Which is why I am currently suffering in silence after being told a secret regarding two friends of mine, let's call them P and Q (genders are to be undisclosed).

P has told me a secret about Q and he/she has binded me into an everlasting promise that I will not tell Q about the secret under whatever condition.

Damn, I really would like to ask more about the secret to Q...

But I just couldn't, because I've promised.

I've promised to P, and there is no way that I could tell Q about it.


Seeing molestation with my own eyes

This happened in Bogor last Tuesday, just around the perimeter of Bogor Botanical Gardens.

I was walking towards the church with Dad far in front of me.

There was just shabby-looking man in his fifties up in front of me.

Two female high school students were walking against my direction, when I suddenly saw that dishabilled guy grabbing something on one of them.

What was it that he grabbed, I wasn't sure because I didn't pay much attention.

But one thing for certain, both of them got freaked out and said, "What the freak?!"

Yeah, Wtf.

That dishabilled man walked away quickly so that he did not make a scene. It was fucking fortunate of him that both the girls weren't deciding to make a case of it.

It was the first time ever I saw molestation with my own eyes.. Geez, that sure was creepy.



Tree got me alarmed when the word "meh" is finally accepted as an English word.

I firstly thought that it was referring to the Cantonese exclamation of "Meh":

Meh (/mɛ́/), from Cantonese, is used to form questions expressing surprise or scepticism:

  • They never study meh? – Didn't they study? (I thought they did.)
  • You don't like that one meh? – You don't like that? (I thought you did.)
  • Really meh? – Is that really so? (I honestly thought otherwise.)

which is also widely used in the Singlish dialect. But nah, it wasn't... For you Singapore folks, feel free to check out the articles on what the word "Meh" means to the Americans.


Indo-lyric: Untitled (Maliq & D'Essentials)

English translation:


When I feel that
there's a space in my heart
and I realise that
this love isn't always beautiful
perhaps I should've understood
that I'm not the one you want
is it wrong if
you're the one in my heart

do you have me in your heart
is it possible that you miss being with me
do you have any fragments of me in your heart
if I am bothersome to you
is it possible you don't want me by your side
do you have any fragments of me in your heart

if I am the one who should've understood
why can't I have your love
is it wrong if
you are the one in my heart
you're the one in my heart 2x

if there won't be love between us
I just want to be understood
do you have me in your heart
and if you know that
you are the one in my heart
you're the one in my heart
is there me in your heart

Original lyric in Indonesian:

Ketika kurasakan sudah ada
ruang dihatiku yang kau sentuh
dan ketika kusadari sudah
tak selalu indah cinta yang ada
mungkin memang ku yang harus mengerti
bilaku bukan yang ingin kau miliki
salahkah ku bila
kaulah yang ada dihatiku

adakah ku singgah dihatiku
mungkinkah kau rindukan adaku
adakah ku sedikit dihatimu
bilakah ku menggangu harimu
mungkinkah kau tak ingin adaku
adakah ku sedikit dihatimu

bila memang ku yang harus mengerti
mengapa cintamu tak dapat kumiliki
salahkah ku bila
kaulah yang ada dihatiku
kau yang ada dihatiku X2

bila cinta kita tak kan tercipta
ku hanya sekedar ingin tuk mengerti
adakah diriku singgah dihatimu
dan bilakah kau tau
kaulah yang ada dihatiku
kau yang ada dihatiku
adakah ku dihatimu


Nah, he doesn't like female singers

Below is a conversation I overheard from two of my Singapore school classmates during our exam respite...


Classmate 1 asked, "[classmate 2 nickname here], do you like Alicia Keys?"

"Alicia Keys? Hell no.. I only like male singers! I don't like female singers..." such was his reply.

Unfortunately, his answer was a tad too loud that half of the class glanced at him and let out our own individual ZWTs in unison.

Classmate 2 noticed the class reaction and quickly corrected, "Err... No guys, it doesn't mean that I'm gay, alright... I just like male singers better, that's all!"

Yeah, right. Thinking


The animal kingdom and some of its quirks

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • It has been established that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.
  • The dog is placed at the feet of women in monuments to symbolise affection and fidelity, as a lion is placed at the feet of men to signify courage and magnanimity. Many of the Crusaders are represented with their feet on a dog, to show that they followed the standard of the Lord as faithfully as a dog follows the footsteps of his master.
  • 21% of dogs and 7% of cats snore.
  • According to research in both California and England, a dog is more likely to anticipate in advance when its owner will arrive home than a cat.
  • Animals attend church services on St Anthony's Day in Mexico. This popular saint, who is regarded as a healer of people and animals, is asked to protect pets, which are decorated with flowers and ribbons for the occasion. In rural areas, peasants also bring bags of insects and worms to be blessed in church, in hope that this will prevent these creatures from damaging crops.
  • Elephants and camels both have four knees.
  • The honey badger can withstand hundreds of African bee stings that would kill any other animals.
  • About 70% of all living organisms in the world are bacteria.
  • Only female wasps, bees and mosquitoes sting.
  • 90% of bird species are monogamous.
  • Contrary to popular belief, animals are not all colour blind. Many species, such as dogs, horses and sheep, can distinguish some colours, although not as well as humans. Primates, especially chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys, have colour vision equal to that of humans. Another common belief - that the colour red enrages bulls - is also likely wrong. Experiments indicate that it is the swirling movement of the matador's cape, not its colour, that excites them.
  • More than 99.9% of all the animal species that have ever lived on earth were extinct before the coming of man.
  • Of all known forms of animal life ever to inhabit the Earth, only about 10% still exist today.
  • Carnivorous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by a lightning strike.
  • Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebra.
  • An estimated 80% of animals on Earth have six legs, i.e., are insects. The more than 10 quintillion bugs fall into some 800,000 species.
  • Aphids are born pregnant without the benefit of sex. Aphids can give birth 10 days after being born themselves.
  • The highest recorded jump by an insect is 70 cm by the froghopper (Philaneus spumarius). When it jumps, the insect accelerates at 4000 m/s and overcomes a G-force of more than 414 times its own body weight.
  • When reflected from bright lights (head lights) deer's eyes are orange, whereas cats and dogs are green. Rabbits' eyes remain black.
  • Koalas, iguanas, and Komodo dragons all have forked penises.
  • The majority of giraffes and turkeys are bisexual.
  • Wild animals, as a rule, do not get sexually transmitted diseases, although otters can get herpes.
  • Baby animals are weaned when the mother is newly pregnant for another pregnancy. In Western culture today, the most common reason cited for human weaning is in preparation to return to a job outside the home.
  • Woodpecker scalps, porpoise teeth and giraffe tails have all been used as money.
  • An animal epidemic is called an epizotic.
  • In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.


on the definition of True Love (part 2)

Yesterday's post was a recount of a personal phone call I had a little while ago.

Now let me write directly my take on this.

(I'm not going to touch the issue of platonic love today, because it could get very personal here... Lolz.)

Before we begin, let me ask... how do you define true love?

Generally, the phrase "true love" could be described in two adjectives: giving but unconditional.

If you truly are head over heels for someone, you give your love unconditionally. You show your love through your actions, words, or whatever form of expressions you may delve into, yet you don't ask for anything in return.


Because a true love doesn't ask for much.

It's just that simple.

True love doesn't make you obsessive over that "special someone". If you truly love him/her, it also means that you are willing to love him/her even if you know that your feeling isn't going to be returned the way you expect it to.

And that's pretty much explains everything... If you truly are in love, you don't get obsessed.

In the past, I got trapped into such foolery of being obsessed, you know, with all those melodramatic poems and all.

I really thought that I had experienced what people call Love.

But nah, it was NOT. Being sad and "unwilling to let him/her go" is NOT love. It was obsession.

Let us get things straight here: Obsession is one thing, and love is another thing. We're not supposed to mix up the two.

Now some of you may ask, what about "trust"? Is trust an important essence of love too?

Well, let me tell you: it is NOT.

Trust is an only a small essence you need to build a healthy relationship. However, you don't need trust to show your love.

Because when you start making promises and commitments and your date/partner/spouse chooses to trust you, your love is no longer unconditional.

Rather, it turns into an "obligation" that you must fulfil.

And when love becomes an "obligation", you lose the entire definition of love.

Which is exactly why I don't want to look for anyone to date in Indonesia right now. It's not that I'm uninterested in anybody (regarding such a possibility, let it remain an unanswered mystery for readers of Foreign Prophecies).

Rather, I don't want separation to hurt anybody because as you know it, I could go abroad sometime sooner or later.

Some people say that LDR (long-distance relationship) is a test whether your love could withstand distance and time-zone differences.

But hell, No.

LDR needs a large amount of trust, perhaps up to 90% trust and 10% care. Otherwise, you'll end up getting jealous on who your "special someone" may be hanging out with on the other side of the globe.

And as I've said before, if you focus too much on a "trusting", you will lose the essence of "being unconditional".

Because a true love only gives, but doesn't ask for much in return... If you truly love someone, the only thing you care for is that you don't want him/her to get hurt because his/her happiness is the only thing that you care for...

And don't get me wrong, it's still OK to be jealous.

A little amount of jealousy is an inevitable part of Love, but please do take care not to let it consume you.

Otherwise, it would become an Obsession and not Love. Happy


The strange and curious during the days of yore

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • Mr P.J. Tierney, father of the modern diner, died of indigestion in 1917 after eating at a diner.
  • Hippocrates, considered the "Father of Medicine", once suggested a woman with a flat bustline could enlarge it by singing loudly and often.
  • In the winter of 1724, while on an outing at sea, Tsar Peter the Great of Russia caught sight of a foundering ship, jumped in the water, and helped in the rescue. He caught cold, suffered from high fever and died several weeks later.
  • Ernestine Williams of Florida, an arthritic grandmother, ran a family pickpocket ring from her wheelchair for 10 years. Ernestine taught her children and teenage grandson the tricks of the trade, and took in as much as US$50,000 per day. Following a two-year investigation, they were all arrested in November 2000 on racketeering charges.
  • On his way home to visit his parents, a Harvard student fell between two railroad cars at the station in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was rescued by an actor on his way to visit a sister in Philadelphia. The student was Robert Lincoln, heading for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The actor was Edwin Booth, the brother of the man who a few weeks later would murder the student's father.
  • In 1899, the commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office called for the abolition of his office. His reason: "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
  • The 18th-century politician and playboy John Wilkes was arguing with a fellow politician, Lord Sandwich, who exclaimed: "Sir, you will die either of the pox or on the gallows". To which Wilkes reportedly replied: "Depending on whether I embrace your mistress or your principles".
  • Mormon leader Brigham Young had 57 children with 16 of his 27 wives.
  • Murderer John Horwood was hanged on 13 April 1821. His skin was used to bind a book describing the dissection of his body by surgeon Richard Smith.
  • Sir Thomas Carew, the speaker of the British House of Commons during the 17th century, named his four daughters Patience, Temperance, Silence and Prudence.
  • Victoria Woodhall, the radical feminist who ran for the U.S. presidency in 1872, feared that she would die if she went to bed in her old age. She spent the last four years of her life sitting in a chair. She died at the age of 89 in 1927.
  • Pope Pius IX (1846-78) was reputed to be a "jettatore" or a possessor of the "evil eye", not because it was thought he was malevolent but because it seemed that disasters fell upon the people and places he had blessed.
  • The men who served as guards along the Great Wall of China in the Middle Ages were often born on the wall, grew up there, married there, died there, and were buried within it. Many of these guards never left the wall in their entire lives.
  • Salvador Dali had his wife pose for the face of Christ in his painting The Sacrament of the Last Supper.
  • Queen Elizabeth I of England owned nearly 3,000 gowns.
  • When asked to name his favourite among all his paintings, Pablo Picasso replied "the next one".
  • The Mongol conqueror Timur the Lame (1336-1405), played polo with the skulls of those he had killed in battle. Timur left record of his victories by erecting 30-foot-high pyramids made of the severed heads of his victims.
  • Queen Elizabeth II wore three different crowns on her coronation day in 1953.
  • Queen Elizabeth II has a silver hood ornament of St George (the patron saint of England) slaying the dragon placed on any car in which she is travelling.
  • When Elizabeth I of Russia died in 1762, 15,000 dresses were found in her closets. She would change what she was wearing two, and often three, times an evening.


on White House cleanup, Thai lèse majesté, and terrorism pro-cons

Just read an interesting bit by Simon:

A friend of mine joked that Obama, in keeping with the traditional fate of African-Americans, has been given one of the worst jobs in the world cleaning up this whole mess. You can't really envy the man can you?

Truly true. A white man came and made a mess in the White House, and a black man is asked to clean up the mess.

What a jest.

Simon also wrote about the possibility of having a Papuan president in Indonesia as the equivalent of having an African American president in USA. Singapore is also considering this possibility of having a non-ethnic Chinese (which comprises 75% of its total population) as a leader, though PM Lee says that it doesn't sound very likely for the time being.

But nah, I think Indonesia has preceded Uncle S of A on this one... We had Habibie who was an ethnic Sulawesi, didn't we?

Regarding the lese majeste case in Thailand, I think it should come to us that democracy may not always go along with monarchy... You could either have the absolutism or the vox populi vox dei, but definitely not both.

On the pro-cons of terrorism in Indonesia, I read this bit below on JP:

In a particularly ill-considered instance, a private television arranged a debate Tuesday between one group opposing any kind of terrorism in the name of religion and another group accepting what Amrozi and his gang had done in Bali. Does such a controversial program deserve to be aired?

And I said... WTF?

This is not a discourse to be debated upon, for God's freaking sake!

Showing a slightest support towards those maniacal trio is already per se a delusion... you deserve to join the gang in death penalty if you think that the 200+ lives lost in Bali is a comeuppance.

Thank God they are dead now, may they rot in hell; but let's not savour too much on that.

One thing that we average Indonesians never forget is that the family and the daily lives of those trio (Amrozi-Ali Ghufron-Imam Samudra) have been given enough spotlight by our own media coverage (read: Infotainment) to the extent that they became instant celebrities... Indonesia is such a sick country indeed. If there is one country that could idolise such satanic beings, it would be Indonesia.


Why dating anyone in Indonesia seems unlikely for me

Around last week Sis R asked me over the phone call, "Are you into anyone lately, bro?"


"Nah, just curious. Hehe"



"None", I asserted, "None really"

"Really....?" she sneered.

"Yeah. Oh well Sis, even if there is, it's not like I'm interested in going steady anyway."

"Huh? Why? That's weird"

"Well... It could inflict unnecessary hurt, you see."


"Well let's say that I'm interested in someone. I'm interested in her, and her feeling reciprocates. Then we decide to go steady and then...", I paused.

I halted there.

"And then what?"

"And then I suddenly have to move abroad to where I'm supposed to be going sometime sooner or later [read: USA]. Don't you think separation could inflict unnecessary pains? I don't want myself to get hurt, and I don't want her to get hurt either. I think it's better to keep things platonic for now. It's a sad fact really, but I can't bear to hurt anyone I love here in Indonesia."

Sis R did not answer for longer than my initial pause.

Until she finally answered, "Wow. I've never thought that you could become this mature. Yeah, together with your definition of love a couple of while back... I couldn't believe how much my brother has matured!"

I laughed, "Ah...you meant that the Toshi you knew back then in Bali was the childish one. So, should I take that as a compliment?"

"Yeah sure, you should!", and she laughed too.

"However T.. you haven't answered my initial question actually. Setting your eyes on any girl at the moment?"

I pondered over the question for a while.

5 seconds passed.


10 seconds.


20 seconds.



"Well, as I've said, even if there is, is it important? It's not like I would date her anyways. Well I would if I could, but you surely know that I really can't, seeing me with this American departure that could come down like the Dammocles' sword at any time... I'm very much interested in keeping things platonic for now!" I smiled, though not very assuringly.

"And who would you be interested in keeping that platonic relationship with, Toshi?" I could sense her beaming over the phone handle.

"Ah, perhaps anyone I could think of", I diverted.

And with that, I changed the topic of discussion into the impact of the American crisis on Balinese tourism.


Indo-lyric: Setia (Jikustik)

English translation:


The rain comes down hard
It reminds me of you
I'm still here with my unwavering love

As time goes by
I don't know where you are
But I still try to remain true to you

When dusk arrives
carrying along loneliness
and when dawn arrives
though I know you're not by my side
I am still here with my unwavering love

Original lyric in Indonesian:

Deras hujan yang turun
Mengingatkanku pada dirimu
Aku masih disini untuk setia

Selang waktu berganti
Aku tak tahu engkau dimana
Tapi aku mencoba untuk setia

Sesaat malam datang
Menjemput kesendirianku
Dan bila pagi datang
Kutahu kau tak disampingku
Aku masih disini untuk setia


Master degree unfavourable to find work in Indonesia

This should come as an alarm for those of you undergraduate students in Indonesia...

We live in such an ironic country indeed. It is tough for non-degree holders to find a decently paid white-collar job, yet those who have two degrees at their shoulders have to go to such a length as to hide their second one.

Graduates hide degrees to get jobs

The Jakarta Post , Depok | Sat, 11/08/2008 11:51 AM | City

Maulana Indra, 26, sat on the floor, filling out a job application before putting it into a brown envelope along with his photograph, his undergraduate diploma and other documents. He did not include his master's degree.

"I am applying as an undergraduate because it is difficult to find a job if I apply as a master's graduate," said Maulana to The Jakarta Post during a job expo event at the University of Indonesia (UI) in Depok recently.

Many postgraduates in Indonesia apparently find it hard to get a suitable job based on their qualifications, so they don't include their master's degrees in job applications.

Maulana said he believed he had a better chance of getting the job he was applying for if he excluded his master's degree. He said his decision was based on past experience; he had applied to many companies using his master's degree, but had not even received an interview.

"I do not know why, perhaps they do not want to pay a big salary because of my higher education," Maulana said.

There are more opportunities for undergraduates because only a few companies need starters with master's degrees.

"After graduation, I continued my study to master's level. I never imagined I would have a problem finding a job," said Maulana, a graduate of the management business faculty of Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB).

Maulana is not alone. Yudi, another job seeker also hides his master's degree.

"I have been looking for a position in business companies for a year. I cannot find one because I am a master's graduate," he said.

He said he originally thought it would be easier to find a job with a master's degree compared to just a bachelor's degree.

"I was wrong. I have to change my strategy. If not, I will never find a job for the rest of my life," said Yudi, a graduate of a well-known private university in Jakarta.

To find a job, Yudi and Maulana attended the job expo at UI several days ago. The university organizes the event regularly for job seekers throughout Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, Bogor and Bekasi.

"I brought 20 copies of my documents and 20 envelopes. I hope I get a job today," Maulana said.

The UI Career Development Center (CDC), which organizes the expo, charged an entrance fee of Rp 20,000 (US$1.81) per visitor, while the catalogue of job vacancies costs Rp 25,000.

UI deputy director Devie Rahmawati said the university organized the event to accommodate students who needed jobs and companies which needed new employees.

"This is the university's responsibility. After graduation, we help students find jobs," Devie said.

She said she was aware that many master's graduates found it harder to get a job compared to their undergraduate fellows.

"To deal with the lack of job opportunities, the university tries to foster entrepreneurial skills. These skills are important for students to avoid becoming jobless after graduating from college." (naf)

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