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, " 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)

blog it


All you never needed to know about glue

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 4 July 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The Romans used pine wood tar and beeswax as a waterproof adhesive for shipbuilding. Beeswax is still used today as a reliable adhesive.
  • The ancient occupation of the "Gold Beater" was one who flattened out gold nuggets by hammering them in between the outside membrane of the large intestine from an ox (known as Goldbeater skin) to produce the gold leaf used in decorative gilding. The adhesive used to attach this metal to paper or plaster, in ancient times and still today, is egg whites.
  • Formerly known as "ol' pile o' bones", Regina, Saskatchewan, in Canada was a large source of buffalo bones used in the production of animal glues. The advancement of the railroad resulted in the slaughtering of thousands of buffalo, and the bones were later shipped back east on the same railroad, to be turned into glue. This type of glue has mostly been replaced with synthetic PVAs in the domestic market. But some glues still use a combination of animal or fish bone and PVAs.
  • When you are sucking in all the toxins from your cigarette, you can rest assured that the glue used to hold it together is completely non-toxic. It is made from a combination of casein (milk) and wax (to increase moisture resistance), and is absolutely harmless.
  • The manufacturing of synthetic adhesives is cheaper than the manufacturing of original protein-based adhesives such as blood, bones and milk.
  • Starch-based adhesives have been used for thousands of years. Starch on its own has no adhesive qualities.It must be boiled in water, which makes the starch granules swell, to become gelatinous, which creates its adhesive quality.
  • Starch is used as a binder in the production of paper. It is the use of a starch coating that controls ink penetration when printing. Cheaper papers do not use as much starch, and this is why your elbows get black when you are leaning over your morning newspaper.
  • Corrugated cardboard is often held together with cornstarch. In the production of cardboard boxes, the cornstarch is mixed with formaldehyde resin to make the cardboard water resistant.
  • Alfred Nobel used a cellulose adhesive (nitrocellulose) as the chemical binder for nitroglycerin, which he used in his invention of dynamite.
  • The Aztec Indians in Central America used animal blood mixed with cement as a mortar for their buildings, many of which still remain standing today.


Strange and bizarre laws of bygone days

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

~Compiled from various sources~

  • According to Hammurabi's Code (earliest known law code from the Near Ancient East), the penalty for medical malpractice was to cut off the doctor's hands. A barber who made a serious mistake could face a similar fate.
  • Under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry, and therefore there are reportedly men whose full-time job is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time.
  • In Norway, you may not spay your female dog or cat.
  • In Italy, a man can be arrested for wearing a skirt in public.
  • In Finland, taxi drivers must pay royalty if they play music in their cars for paying customers.
  • In Ireland, any person using any type of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or pretend knowledge of any occult or craft or science shall be imprisoned for one year.
  • In 1845 English law, attempting to commit suicide was considered a capital offence, punishable by hanging.
  • The first Jewish member of the British House of Commons was Lionel Nathan Rothschild of the prominent family of European bankers. He did not assume his seat for 11 years, until Parliament finally let him take the oath in a manner acceptable to his Jewish faith.
  • In 1692, the good people of Salem, Massachusetts, hanged 19 convicted witches, and pressed another to death beneath heavy stones. They did not, however, burn any at the stake.
  • A judge in Louisville, Kentucky, decided a jury went a "little bit too far" in recommending a sentence of 5,005 years for a man who was convicted of five robberies and a kidnapping. The judge reduced the sentence to 1,001 years.
  • A lawyer defending a man accused of burglary tried this creative defence: "My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offence commited by his limb". To put which the judge replied: "Well put! Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to one year's imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses". The defendant smiled. With his lawyer's assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out.
  • John Bunyan, who was a popular writer from the 1700s, was put in prison for 12 years for preaching.
  • In 1924, a nicotine-addicted monkey in South Bend, Indiana, was convicted of smoking a cigarette. His punishment was to pay a US$25 fine and trial costs.


When two handsome genes unite...

There were Stanford, Putera Zenata, and me in the room.

I asked Stanford (who is a Chinese from Medan), "Ford, what do you think... Are Chinese guys handsome?"

Stanford, who is originally much more narcissistic than I do, grinned, "Of course... just look at me Cool".

I asked Putera a similar question (who is a Bandung Sundanese), "Put... Sundanese people are attractive, right?"

"Yep, there's no doubt about that Cool", he beamed.

I straightaway exclaimed, "Thanks guys, both of you just admitted how handsome I am! Big Grin"


The change I need

Much has been said about how America has finally come to terms with its racist attitudes in the past, what with electing Obama into office only 40 years after the civil rights has been accepted nationally... So I guess I won't comment on that one.

I am proud myself to announce that for the first time in decades, Virginia (which is originally Red, or Republican-leaning state) has turned into a blue state! Hahaha glad to be a part of the Virginia voters!

(my ballot was sent from the Indonesian chapter of the Democrats Abroad affiliation of Dem Party, check this post for further reference)

It would suffice to say that while I am very much happy to see Obama taking the office, while some Asian markets have shown a positive optimism on the day after election, Rupiah has not shown any promising outlook, with the figure of exchange rate still straying around 11,000.

Ah, what a disappointment.

I'm still looking forward to see the figure drops back to its previous rate of 9,900 and below, as to implement some real changes in my family plans (read: Plan C).

And yeah, Plan C is very much related to the relocation of my family back to the States and also to claim the ownership of that "thing" somewhere outside Indonesia.

God, I really want to visit that country and see that "thing" for myself! Ahhh... I just can't wait to see what has been mine all along! Big Grin


Indonesia's porn bill degrades women

This is what happens when we elect idiots into the Lower House. Out of the many parties in the Lower House, only PDI-P and PDS have the will to reject such a discriminative legislation into approval.

The fact remains that a couple of those legislators are having some illicit one-night stands with prostitutes in some of Jakarta's five-star hotels (with or without knowledge of the mass media), hence they want to cover up their wrongdoings by passing this "holy bill."

We Indonesians always commemorate 21 April as Kartini Day, the day when Raden Ajeng Kartini, the main emancipator of women during the heydays of Indonesian awakening era, was born.

Ah, what a hypocritical nation Indonesia has turned into!

We claim to protect women when now we have regulations that decide what a "morally decent" woman could wear and could not wear.

We claim to emancipate women by imposing a curfew for women to disallow them from walking the streets alone (as is evident today in Tangerang city, Banten).

That does not manifest the so-called "Indonesian emancipation for women", does it?

Whether a woman in the beach wants to wear hijab (Islamic headscarf), a bikini, or a cleavage-showing skimpy T-shirt, it is her full right to do so, just like the way men have the right to show his muscle abdomens by not wearing any shirt at all.

A picture of a nudity may or may not incite sexual arousal, because just as the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sexual arousal is in itself also in the eye of the beholder.

One clean-minded guy may see the Miss Universe in nude as uninviting, while another guy may see a lady fully clothed in red dress as sexually arousing.

Pornography is one subjective thing, really.

Now let us have a look at some of the contentious articles in the porn bill itself...

Article 1: Definition

Pornography is drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, texts, voices, sound, moving pictures, animations, cartoons, poetry, conversations, gestures, or other forms of communicative messages through various kinds of media; and/or performances in front of the public, which may incite obscenity, sexual exploitation and/or violate moral ethics in the community.

Commentary by Toshi on Article 1

Ah, so "pornography" is a loosely-defined word!

Now let us highlight one part here:

"which may incite obscenity..."

What may incite obscenity? Does saying the phrase "F*** You" considered obscene, since the F-word is originally meant as "copulating"?

Does a picture of a girl fully clothed in school uniforms with her hands and legs tied for an S&M bondage could be considered obscene, or is the definition of "obscene" limited to those who wear bikini (or nothing at all)?

The definition above is open to all kinds of interpretation and could always be subjected to debate.

Articles 20-23: Public Participation

The public can play a role in preventing the production, distribution and use of supervising people on the danger of pornography.

Commentary by Toshi on Articles 20-23


The part of these articles that we should take into consideration is:

"The public can play a role..."

Now those F***ing Pathetic Idiots or some other blinded fanatical groups in Indonesia have one more cause to pursue: "supervising" women on the danger of pornography... perhaps by butchering women who wear bikini?

Who knows?

Articles 8, 34, 36: Criminalisation of victims

The articles threatens up to 10 years in prison or Rp 5 billion in fines for violators of the law.

Commentary by Toshi on Articles 8, 34, and 36

Hmm... Who are the violators here, really?

Are they the ones who incite the sexual arousal (who are women), or are they the ones who gets sexual stimulation (who are men), ay?

Such a "holy country" Indonesia has turned into... The politicians in the Lower House (who are mostly men) now have the full right to patronise women on what they should or should not wear..

Thank goodness, Indonesia has turned into a safe haven for women!


on Dollar-Rupiah exchange rates

Seeing that people here and there are making a big fuss on the Financial Crisis, I just said... "hmm?"

I had previously thought that I only have to relax, because the ongoing Financial Crisis only affects Indonesian business owners, CEOs, or shareholders, right?

But I was WRONG.

Much of the success of Plan C that my parents and I had decided upon a couple of days ago (sorry folks, this blog is restricted to my closest friends only) is largely dependent on how this crisis could heal too.

Little did I know that I also have to keep a close watch on the Dollar-Rupiah exchange rates.

Ah, so this mess has gotten its grip on me too.


Above is the figure for USD-IDR exchange rates, which reaches point highs of 11,400 on 28 October to 30 October, for a consecutive three days.

On 31 October, the highest apex reached was 11,150 while on 2 November, the peak was 10,950.

Now speculation is widely in the air that the peak of the Dollar-Rupiah exchange rate could reach a new low on 4 November, which is the day of the American election.

I don't know how it comes about (because I myself am not very knowledgeable in the Forex issues), but let's just say that the prospect remains sweet for a couple of days ahead.

Between today and 15 November (which coincides with my own birthday), I will be keeping a close watch on the Dollar values.

I certainly hoped that sometime and two weeks from now, the peak exchange rate would be at 10,000 at its most, perhaps deriving from a better optimism in the future president?

Who knows. I myself have voted for a change in Washington, so for the moment, let us just pray that he would take office.

My parents and I are waiting for a peak figure of 9,900 before we could implement anything in our Plan C.


Indo-lyric: Hanya Dirimu (Dygta feat. Meda)

English translation:

Only You

loving you while I'm still breathing
is as beautiful as the morn shine
as it lights up my life

having you and I believe
that the love you give
has opened my eyes

when I firstly realise
that you're my love


I couldn't bear to do anything
without you on my side
coz you've taken grip of my heart

I just couldn't
spend years without you
coz you're the only one who understands

embrace me and erase this wounds
I won't change
coz I've chosen you

repeat Reff

Original lyric in Indonesian:

mencintaimu selama aku bernafas
seindah cahaya pagi
sinari hidupku

memilikimu dan aku pun percaya
kasih yg telah kau beri
membuka mataku

waktu pertama kali kusadar
kau cintaku


ku takkan bisa melakukan semua
tanpa dirimu di sisiku
kau yg menggenggam hatiku

ku takkan sanggup
melewati waktu tanpamu
karena hanya dirimu yang mengerti

peluk diriku hapuskan luka
ku tak pernah berubah
karena ku memilihmu

ulangi Reff


Quotable utterings of the famous (Part 1)

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Friday, 15 February 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo" - H.G Wells.
  • "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever" - Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • "Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake" - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower.
  • "Don't be so humble - you are not that great" - Golda Meir to a visiting diplomat.
  • "His ignorance is encyclopedic" - Abba Eban
  • "If a man does his best, what else is there?" - Gen. George S. Patton
  • "I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better" - A.J. Liebling.
  • "People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid" - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard.
  • "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet" - Saint Augustine.
  • "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted" - Albert Einstein.
  • "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein.
  • "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" - Sir Winston Churchill.
  • "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use" - Galileo Galilei.
  • "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work" - Emile Zola.
  • "This book fills a much-needed gap" - Moses Hadas in a review.
  • "The full use of your powers along lines of excellence" - definition of 'happiness' by John F. Kennedy.
  • "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart" - E.E. Cummings.
  • "Give me a museum and I'll fill it" - Pablo Picasso.
  • "Assassins!" - Arturo Toscanini to his orchestra.
  • "I'll moider da bum" - Heavyweight boxer Tony Galento, when asked what he thought of William Shakespeare.
  • "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is" - Yogi Berra.
  • "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have" - Thomas Jefferson.
  • "Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems" - Rene Descartes, Discours de la Methode.
  • "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends" - Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right" - Henry Ford.
  • "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go" - Oscar Wilde.
  • "He who has a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'" - Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • "Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions" - Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • "I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters" - Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh" - Voltaire.
  • "He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death" - H.H. Munro (Saki).
  • "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter" - Sir Winston Churchill.
  • "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them" - Ian Fleming.
  • "If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars" - J. Paul Getty.
  • "Facts are the enemy of truth" - Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.
  • "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world" - George Washington Carver.
  • "How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself" - Anais Nin.
  • "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work" - Thomas Alva Edison.
  • "I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right" - Frederick (II) the Great.
  • "Maybe this world is another planet's Hell" - Aldous Huxley.
  • "Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact" - George Eliot.
  • "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth" - Sherlock Holmes (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).
  • "Black Holes are where God divided by zero" - Steven Wright.
  • "I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it" - Groucho Marx.
  • "It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - Walt Disney.
  • "We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time" - Vince Lombardi.
  • "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true" - James Branch Cabell.
  • "A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship" - John D. Rockefeller.
  • "All are lunatics, but he who can analyse his delusion is called a philosopher" - Ambrose Bierce.
  • "You can only find truth with logic if you have already found the truth without it" - Gilbert Keith Chesterton.
  • "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered" - Gilbert Keith Chesterton.


Europe On Screen 2008 in Jakarta

Europe On Screen is an annual event held in several Asian countries and sponsored by the embassies of various European Union (EU) member countries. In Indonesia alone, it filmed movies in several European cultural centres in large cities such as GoetheHaus (German) or Erasmus Huis (Dutch).

And yes, the most pleasant thing from this event is that all the movies are screened gratis; which is why I made it a point to watch as many of their movies as possible.

They are screened from the first movie in the afternoon (at 13.00 on the first day and 15.00 on the subsequent days) until the last movie in the evening (starting from 19.30 onwards).

Most of them screened basically take an underlining theme, such as Urban Landscape, Inspirational Stories, and Youth Life.

In Indonesia alone, EOS is held on several cities across the archipelago, from Banda Aceh, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Bandung, Semarang, Makassar, and Jakarta. Due to a larger number of potential audience in Jakarta, we Jakarta residents are more privileged to get all five full days of screening (+2 days of invitation-only screenings) in comparison to other Indonesian cities which are entitled to two days each.

Here are the films which I had been lucky to watch for free:


Sunday, 26 October

Ott Ega Rott. A Swedish film, it gives a good insight into Muslim immigrants to Europe and how well (or bad) things could turn out for different people due to a clash of culture. Eight out of 10 stars.

Taxandria. A Belgian fantasy film. Five out of 10 stars.


Monday, 27 October

Voisins, Voisins. A French rap musical film. Gives a balanced insight between differing ethnicities in a common French city: Arab, Jews, French, British, and how well those people could get to live with each other. Eight out of 10 stars.

Utazasok egy szerzetessel. A Hungarian documentary on the life of a priest on the Romanian-Hungarian border. Seven out of 10 stars. 

En la ciudad sin limitas. A touching Spanish drama about love and family. Nine out of 10 stars


Tuesday, 28 October

Best European Shorts. A compilation of the history of EU and EEC by the French broadcasting commission. Eight out of 10 stars.

Mutluluk. A Turkish film which gives an insight to the difference between rural Turks and their urban counterparts. Seven out of 10 stars.


Wednesday, 29 October

Afblijven. A Dutch film, definitely the best youth movie I had seen since Juno. Nine out of 10 stars.

Nuits d'Arabie. A Luxembourgish film. Five out of 10 stars.


Thursday, 30 October

Anlat Istanbul. A Turkish film, with a short review. Six out of 10 stars.

Alice. A Portuguese film. Four out of 10 stars.


After they are screened on a particular venue, some of the films are rerun on several other venues. I myself reside in Jakarta, and I have compiled a personal commentary of the four venues, as a future guide for you attending any similar European-related events in Jakarta.


(Note: due to the unstable exchange rates between Dollar and Rupiah during this financial turmoil, I have decided to put price figures on Euro instead for the entire year of 2008 and 2009 in Foreign Prophecies)


1. Erasmus Huis (Dutch).

providing Wi-fi access: N/A.

With a capacity of 350 seats, its auditorium boasts the most seating for the largest number of audience. It is however, not to be taken as to mean that it is the best venue amongst the four.

As a matter of fact, be prepared to spend money way beyond your pocket if you don't bring your own food or drinks to the event. A small water bottle (330 ml) of Aqua brand cost me a hole-burning Rp7,500 (EUR 0.40), which is extremely expensive by any standards of measure in Indonesia.

Since the events had film until the sun sets, it of course made no wonder that I had bought much more than just an Aqua bottle that day.

But alas, I was athirst and starving that time and it was unfortunate of me to find no warung around the vicinity so kaching!... A money (not) so well-spent.

They also made sandwiches too, which made me wonder how much they sold it for.

Regarding the auditorium seatings, they were not very well-recommended for a visit, because the seats they provide upright chairs just like the ones typical in Indonesian private school auditoriums. I would like to recommend other venues instead.

2. Centre Culturel Francais (French).

providing Wi-fi access: YES.

One of the most pleasant venues to visit.

Despite a seating capacity of a mere 40 seats, I loved the very fact that its inside was designed just like a medium-sized home-theatre, which made it much more comfortable even when compared to Blitz Megaplex standards.

It has a café which also made it a point to separate the smokers (outdoors) and non-smokers (indoors). The prices are largely normal in comparison to outside prices, with Rp2,500 (EUR 0.15) for a Tehbotol drink and Rp15,000 (EUR 0.85) for a serving of fried rice.

3. Italiano Instituto di Cultura (Italian).

providing Wi-fi access: YES.

With the smallest building amongst the four, it is by no means a bad idea to visit the place.

Nah, not at all.

Its auditorium boasts a seating capacity of 100 seats and gives us visitors a choice between the 50 recliners positioned on the front, and another 50 uprights on the rear.

There is a choice between a cafe inside the venue or a warung just in front of IIC, which made it pocket-friendly for all visitors to eat during the intermezzos.

4. GoetheHaus (German).

providing Wi-fi access: YES.

I have not visited this venue this year (and have no plans to do so), since my schedules to visit the other places had conflicted.

However, I had once attended a piano recital by a Japanese pianist back in November 2005, hence I could give an account of more or less what the place looked like.

It had a piazza in the centre of the venue, and yeah, the place looked exotic enough. Definitely worth a visit.


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