I often hear comments from people -smart arses or not- that the language I speak at home is English.
Well I tell you, though both my parents have spent a considerable time outside the country, we always instil a sense of pride for being an Indonesian family.
In comparison to other so-called internationalised families in Indonesia (i.e. families whose parents are American or Europe-educated and choose to speak totally English and zero Bahasa Indonesia at home), we are very much prouder to speak our own mother tongue on everyday basis.
If you want to know how I could keep my English grammar and lexicon nearly intact since I left Singapore 20 months ago, it is due to the fact that I have a strong sense of discipline to myself to watch CNN and BBC regularly everyday.
I also shun the usage of English when conversing with fellow Indonesians: I consider it a haughty and inconsiderate attitude towards our own mother tongue.
But of course I always delight on the prospect of having a non-Indonesian desiring to converse in Indonesian with me, because this gives me a chance to promote the usage of Indonesian in this globalised world!
A tinge of chauvinism in this post doesn't hurt, I suppose.
I hope this guide could help you in traversing your way thru the Hiragana characters for the first time.
If you count all the existing Hiragana characters in your Japanese study book, you'll see that there are more than 100 characters (107 to be precise) to memorise.
But fear not, because the real number of Hiragana you have to memorise is no larger than 46 characters only.
When I first studied Hiragana three years ago, it took me hours to relate the Hiragana characters to other symbols that I -as non Japanese- am familliar with. Though not all of the Hiragana characters are somehow related with a mental picture, let me elaborate on the easiest characters first:
1. The so-called "Mathematical Hiragana"
Does this character look familliar to you? Yes, it looks just like the number 5, only with a "lowered roof".
This is what you get if you display the character CHI above on the mirror.
Just remember it as a SA with an additional cross. Make sure not to confuse it with SA, though.
Now this is the number 5 with the roof "blown off".
This is just a RA with additional two legs on its bottom.
In maths, we call this "lower than". In music, we call this "Crescendo".
"Equal to", with a slightly hooked top.
Looks like the number 3, only with a sharper roof.
You shouldn't confuse it with RO, since this has a tail on its bottom.
Mathematical people call this "brackets with a cross", while linguistic ones prefer to call it "parenthesis with a cross". Either way, they're synonymous
2. Other easy characters to remember
Please don't remember it as "the Christmas candy bar", because you could get confused whether the hook was turning left or turning right. Instead, picture this character as the Latin alphabet "J" on the mirror.
This looks perfectly like a part of high-heeled shoes.
You may not believe me, but this is actually the easiest Hiragana character to memorise. Or rather, as I say it, the hardest one to forget. Even if you choose not to touch your Japanese study books for decades, forever you'll always remember this の as a NO. Hey, it looks just like an eye, don't you think?
This looks like the lower-case alphabet of "H" with an additional diagonal scratch on its right-hand side.
Imagine it as a KO (こ) with a stick on its left-hand side.
Bump in the road, anyone?
A simple tail. Just like NO, this character is hard to wipe off your memory.
This is the Hiragana N with additional two roofs above it.
3. Potentially confusing pairs
From this point onwards, I'm afraid you'll have to memorise the characters themselves, with no other pictorials to guide you. But I still feel obliged to tell you the difference between each potentially confusing pair of characters, though.
TA (た) and NA (な)
As for this pair, pay a close attention to the slight difference in the bottom right, and you'll remember it fine.
ME (め) and NU (ぬ)
NU has a tail, while ME doesn't.
WA (わ) and RE (れ) and NE (ね)
Make sure to remember that each of these three have different "tails", otherwise it'll be easy for you to confuse one with the other two. And now that you see it, WA doesn't have any tails, right?
I (い) and RI (り)
At a glance, they look the same, but let's remember it this way: I has a longer left hand, while RI has a longer right hand.
HA (は) and HO (ほ) and MA (ま)
MA has no stick to begin with. HO has a roof, while HA has none. And take a closer look, it may seem that MA is just another HO with its stick taken, but it really isn't. MA has no roof, don't you see?
So far I've helped with you with 30 of the 46 main Hiragana characters. The rest shouldn't be very hard to study (It only took me two days of rote memorisation to study the remaining 16 of them).
Once you've gotten the 46 main Hiragana characters firmly implanted in mind, it would be very easy to memorise the other 61 characters that I choose to call "extended Hiragana".
As for the extended Hiragana, let's take it this way:
K ==> G (add an apostrophe). For example, to get a GI (ぎ), just add an apostrophe (") to the character KI (き)
S ==> Z (add an apostrophe). Same example as in above.
T ==> D (add an apostrophe). Refer to the above too.
H ==> B (add an apostrophe).
H ==> P (add a degree). You know, the Centigrade/Fahrenheit degree? just add it (°) to the HA (は) character to get a PA (ぱ). Just make sure not to confuse it with the BA (ば), which has an apostrophe.
...a feeling I've learned to ignore.
A close friend of mine, let's call her Linda, recently confided in me that she's willing to stoop low down in front of the guy she likes and beg for him to accept her heart. Linda is willing to do everything to obtain his heart, no matter what kind of cost she has to bear.
Well in the past I used to be similar to Linda too; you know, such as stooping down very lowly in front of the girl I liked.
But over the years I've learned a couple of things, and here is one of them:
Girls tend not to like guys who belong to the "Doggy" type.
This is the most basic rule of all.
"Doggy-type" is the type of guy who is always ready to be ordered around like a dog. And now that I think of it, I could see in my friends' cases that the more "doggy-ish" a guy is in front of the girl he likes, the more unlikely that he could win her love.
No wonder I wasn't able to win Isabella's heart ("Isabella" is a pseudonym too).
Isabella has chosen another guy over me despite all the obvious facts that:
1. His abilities in any academics or knowledge disciplines (except sport) is half as competent as mine
2. He has never spent anything on her
3. Isabella hasn't known him for that long
But perhaps there is one quality that she sees in him (but not in me):
He has never been a "doggy" to her.
This was one HUGE MISTAKE I've overlooked despite the fact that I've known about it in the first place.
So in the end; I've finally come to realise that the one to blame should be ME, not her.
Because I'm a guy, I've made a commitment to myself that I would never ever follow Linda's example; that is, to lower my pride in front of the girl I like, no matter how much hurt I feel deep down inside.
Only a few close guys of mine (and you my blog readers) have been quite privileged to be my confidant(e)s regarding the arduous love hardship of mine, and you should give yourself a self-congratulatory back-pat for that.
Thank you people, I really appreciate your readership! (^_^)
Btw I'm really willing to move on now, and I sincerely hope that this will be my last blog entry ever written regarding Isabella.
I've promised myself that the next love poem I write would be about another girl and no longer about Isabella. Since there isn't anybody else yet in my heart, I don't think I'll be writing any more poems for the next several weeks (or months)...
While on this forum thread (created by a web designer), it is said that such a website could only cost Rp 10 million ($1000) at most.
Well I'm not making allegations here, because I assume most of you are able to guess where the remaining Rp 590 million goes to.
To judge how expensive the website should cost, you could visit this official DPR website yourself.
Setjen DPR & BURT Silang Pendapat Soal Website
Around 10 months ago I’ve written a post regarding my desire to become a hyperpolyglot; meaning, a person who is fluent in more than six languages. That time I had a list of 12 languages I want to be fluent in my lifetime.
However, I’ve been thinking that the target I've made is quite a far-fletched idea, especially since it struck me that I may not need to study them all to be an accomplished writer (or journalist? translator? Senior Editor? you name it!)
So I've cropped down my wishlist info a mere six languages, which is just fine to make me a Polyglot (i.e. a person who is fluent in just six languages).
Below are the languages which are "lucky" to be shortlisted, with reasons provided as to why I want to acquire them (the ones in italic are those I have mastered):
- Indonesian. Automatic fluency, since I was raised with this language anyway.
- English. My first encounter with the language was when I was six (when my family moved to Richmond, USA for eight months). There I started to learn English from a total blank to a decent conversation. By now I'm quite contented that I've been able to write hundreds of essays in English.
- Malay. Many Indonesians claim that they are able to speak Malay fluently, but trust me: they really don't. The only Indonesians who can speak Malay fluently are those who live or have spent a considerable time in Riau, Batam, Malaysia, or Singapore, where Malay is widely spoken. And I can proudly say that I'm decently fluent in Malay, because I belong to that group of Indonesians (gee-hee, vanity prevails here!)
- Japanese. I pick Japanese simply because I love their food and traditional culture (No, I don't love Anime as much as you've always thought, people!). Despite having spent a considerable time in studying the language, I still have a very pitiful grasp of intermediate Japanese and to be honest, I'm deeply ashamed of such a poor achievement. But that aside, I've graduated from JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level 4 last year, and I'm on the way to get my level 3 this year. Hopefully by December 2010 I could take my JLPT level 1 and obtain a near-perfect mastery of the language!
- French. I've always loved the suavity that French speakers produce when they speak, and I must admit that I love French much more than I love English. This is not attributed to any French movies or pop culture whatsoever though, because I rarely watch French movies in the first place. I just love the language, period.
- Spanish. It took me a lot of time pondering whether I should pick this language instead of German or Mandarin. But I finally zeroed in on Spanish due to the fact that it is the most widely spoken language after English, Mandarin, and Hindi (and I'm definitely not attracted at all to Hindi). It is the largest language in the American continent anyway, and I believe that acquiring Spanish would help me a lot when I travel to Latin American countries in the future.
- Plastic was introduced about 25 years ago.
- Today's worldwide consumption rate is over 500 billion plastic bags annually; this is almost 1 million plastic bags per minute.
- Average household waste includes about 11% of plastic.
- Plastic is made of oil, a non-renewable resource that is created over millions of years.
- Oil is estimated to run out in the next 50 years at current consumption rates.
- Single-use bags (typically the plastic bags supplied at supermarkets and other retail stores) takes up to 1,000 years to decompose.
- In Africa, cottage industries have been established to "harvest" windblown plastic bags (bags carried by the wind) to make hats and bags out of them. One such cottage industry is reported to harvest 30,000 such bags per month.
- Recycling plastic is not a regulated, mandatory activity around the world, although plastic is available in virtually every country in the world.
As the clock carried love
I decided to have you here
That drop of feeling has dripped
If I could feel your heart agitating
When you love me how on earth could I
Please let me be
The last one for your heart
Butterfly let yourself soar high
As high as my dreams to reach you
To embrace your chaotic inner side
Because of your yearnings
Butterfly fly away so high
As high as hopes I pray
To come and reach for you
Rescuing your soul
that previous messed up touching me and you
This road is tortuous
But we will traverse it
As if the earth
Only belongs to the two of us
It may be too much of me
To approach you too near
But I will wait
Original lyric in Indonesian:
Ketika waktu mendatangkan cinta
Aku putuskan memilih dirimu
Setitik rasa itu menetes
Dan semakin parah
Bisa ku rasa getar jantungmu
Mencintaiku apa lagi aku
Pilihan terakhir hatimu
Butterfly terbanglah tinggi
Setinggi anganku untuk meraihmu
Memeluk batinmu yang sempat kacau
Butterfly fly away so high
As high as hopes I pray
To come and reach for you
Rescuing your soul
that previous messed up touching me and you
Jalan ini jauh
Namun kita tempuh
Bagai bumi ini
Hanya milik berdua
Biar ku berlebihan
Namun ku tunggu
Most people who haven’t tried playing either golf and tennis would dismiss them both easily as simple games; as sports that do not require vigorous strength from the hand.
Believe me, most of them (who haven’t tried playing tennis) think of tennis simply as “another form of badminton”. My friends say this when I ask them of their opinion of tennis, “Well… Tennis is just like badminton, right? We could just easily swing the racket here and there and smash the tennis ball!”
For those who think that Tennis is just ‘another form of badminton’, here I tell you: TENNIS IS 10 TIMES HARDER THAN BADMINTON.
There are a lot of factors that make me say this.
For one, Tennis racket is much heavier than Badminton racket.
Another thing, the tennis ball is also much heavier than your shuttlecock.
Combine those two factors together with the fact that in order to serve in tennis, you must deliver the ball towards the opponent's side which is in a court several times larger than a badminton one.. and Voila!
Tennis is no longer "another form of badminton"!!!
The same thing goes with golf.
Golf clubs may look freaking easy for you to swing, but HELL NO, they are not.
Don't you know that a standard iron club is actually heavier than a tennis racket?
Most beginners in golf (such as me, gee-hee) spend many weeks of practice in driving range before we could finally deliver a decent 100 metres shot.
And playing golf involves more than just 'hitting the golf ball', because it also requires a great deal of manoeuvre in your swinging technique.
Vis-a-vis the difference between tennis and badminton, you shouldn't equate compare golf with those putting games you find in malls.
For those who don’t know, ambidexterity means “The property of being equally skilful with each hand”, which is the combination of both left-handedness and right-handedness.
As to what I see, the Eastern society tends to shun the usage of left hand in exchanging items with other people. One may think that this derives from Muslim culture, but it really isn’t. Using your left-hand to pass an item is also shunned in the predominantly Hindu Bali and secular Singapore.
If you ask any Easterner as to why they deem the usage of left hand as impolite, the immediate answer would be around “because we use the left hand to clean our buttocks after defecating”.
That’s a common sense.
What’s not a common sense is the fact that not everyone in Asia actually use their left hands to clean their asses.
There is the bidet, apart from the long existing toilet papers that is more commonly used in the Western society.
Now my post today would not focus very much around your ass-cleaning activities, because I know this would scare you off from reading any further.
Rather, today I want to focus on how to become an ambidextrous person.
The statistics have shown that one-sixth of the world population is a left-handed, with significant minority of them being coaxed (or sometimes forced) to become a right-handed since their childhood.
I actually wonder why don't we just banish the idea of being left-handed or right-handed together.....
Why don't we just train ourselves to become ambidextrous instead of promoting "hand superiority" over the other? Take a look at it, a majority of us right-handers tend to 'overwork' our right hand in these activities below:
writing, opening the door, brushing our teeth, clicking the mouse, applying motorcycle brakes, etc.
That's exactly how I perceive my own right hand: It has been overworked, while my left hand has been slacking off during 18 years of my life.
Don't you 'sympathise' with your right hands too?
I must admit, practising writing with your left hand could make you feel like a kindergarten student learning how to write all over again from the ABCs and such.
But I have a list of activities where you could easily switch from your right hand to your left.
For starters, what about picking up a musical instrument that require both hands together? Piano is a good example. Guitar, which requires heavy usage of left hand on the chords, is also an excellent example.
You could also switch your computer mouse from the normal right-hand orientation towards the left-hand one. Here's how to do it (for Windows users):
Settings >>> Control Panel >>> Mouse >>> Buttons
and tick the "Switch primary and secondary buttons" option.
For those of you who play badminton or squash or tennis, you may also want to switch to use the racket on your left hand.
Using your left hand to use the racket may seem like learning to write, but it really isn't. Trust me, there are actually a lot more benefits you could reap (especially regular players) if you use both hands interchangeably, because you could still play the sport even if your right hand is fatigued.
The title above may sound arrogant to some people but why should I care, this is my blog anyway.
Below is a list of countries that I hope will ban me from entering their territory, ever
1. Zimbabwe. Why on earth would anyone like to visit a mega-inflationary and conflict-ridden country such as this one? The moron up there is quite old and will soon be dead, but just like other retarded regimes in the world, I think he'll just annul the current elections and elect another retard to replace him, which would make no difference at anytime, ever.
2. Iraq. Another conflict-ridden country. The best place to commit suicide, because you don't have to kill yourself in order to gain a quick death.
3. Sudan. The same reason as in Iraq.
4. Saudi Arabia. Perhaps I'll visit it when I get reincarnated.
5. Cuba. As long as it remains a Castro dynasty, may God forbid me from entering this country.
6. Sri Lanka. It has been like... three decades of bloody rebellion? Can't stop fighting, can they?
It’s always a dismay for me to see that the seats of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) were originally drawn from the victorious powers after World War 2.
The UNSC’s veto power is wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any 'substantive' draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft.
I personally think that some of the current members should be replaced by other countries that could represent a higher proportion of the world demographics.
Now let me take a look at each of the current members and argue which of them should leave and which should stay…
1. People’s Republic of China (STAY). PRC is the largest population in the world and it also holds much influence to the world economy (even projected to defeat the American economy in several years to come).
2. United States of America (STAY). Being the largest military and economic power in the world, USA should stay in its seat.
3. Russia (LEAVE). Despite having a role in the establishment of the UN in 1945 and taking an active role in the UN, Russia should leave the seat because it does not represent much of the world’s power as proven in its handling of former USSR countries.
4. United Kingdom (LEAVE). Hasn’t the Western world enough represented already by America? Moreover, there isn’t much difference between the needs of the British government and the American government. They’re very much of the same brain wavelengths.
5. France (LEAVE). Despite the major differences the French government usually have with the Americans, I believe that the French no longer holds that much influence to the world in general.
So…. 2 countries stay and 3 countries leave. I have three other world entities that I think deserve to replace the three on my above list:
1. Brazil. Yes, South America does need a permanent representative in the UNSC membership. Brazil, as the largest population there, should be given the power.
2. Indonesia. Indonesia holds much influence due to the fact that it is the largest Muslim population in the world and also the largest power of ASEAN.
3. India. This second largest country in terms of population, together with it being the largest democracy in the world, India deserves to represent most of the world’s Hindu population.
For a more comprehensive debate on this issue, you could check here.
A number of discussions have taken place recently over the suitability of the UNSC veto power in today’s world. Key arguments include that the five permanent members no longer represent the most stable and responsible member states in the United Nations, and that their veto power slows down and even prevents important decisions being made on matters of international peace and security. Due to the global changes that have taken place politically and economically since the formation of the UN in 1945, widespread debate has been apparent over whether the five permanent members of the UN Security Council remain the best member states to hold veto power. While the permanent members are still typically regarded as great powers, there is debate over their suitability to retain exclusive veto power.
To my knowledge; Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have supported each other in their G4 alliance in their bids to become a permanent UNSC membership. Indeed, if not by replacing the five permanent UNSC members, the UN should let in a higher intake of permanent member countries into 10 (by adding four from the G4 nations and one from Indonesia, the Muslim-majority nation)
Now some may argue that my decision not to include any African country as being slanted. Far from being biased, the largest African country is Nigeria (with around 135 million population) which is still less than Brazil's 185 million. Moreover, isn’t the original Permanent UNSC membership much more biased in the first place? Take a look at it, the current members there does not include any single South American countries, despite having two (or three, if you include Russia) European members.
I really am sickened to see the way Indonesians treat their fellow passengers in an angkot (minivan) ride.
Let’s say that Jojon is about to get off from the Angkot at point X.
At point X, there is already Budi who is happy to see that the angkot he’s waiting for has finally arrived.
Now I have a question here….
When the angkot arrives at point X, what would Budi do?
A. Wait until Jojon alights first, then get on the angkot
B. Insist on getting on the angkot before Jojon alights
Well, if Budi is a typical Indonesian, he would certainly do action B. He would insist on getting on the angkot before Jojon alights, thus making a little commotion in the tiny claustrophobic space inside the angkot.
I’ve seen such cases more than once, and I always utter under my breath, “What the F*** is this guy thinking?? Couldn’t he let others to alight first before getting on the angkot?”
If I were the one who is about to alight, I would certainly utter that holy F-word to the guy. Fortunately I never encounter such a case myself.
In Singapore it is always announced over and over on the MRT station speakers (in 4 languages!) of how important it is to let the passengers inside alight first.
I mean…. They should use their logic: Don’t they know how much commotion and hassles it could create if they insist on getting inside the vehicle at the same time the passengers are alighting?
The Singaporean people must have got the same kind of attitude in the past that the government decided to have that speaker announcement on a repetitive manner.
Now let’s get back to the Indonesian etiquette.
Apart from the fallacies found in Indonesians, angkot and bus drivers are not free from faults either.
Oftentimes I find it freaking annoying to get on an angkot that is half-full with passengers, only to wait for another 30 minutes inside the UNMOVING angkot.
In Indonesian slang, we call it “Ngetem”, which is defined as:
a situation when the driver waits for future passengers either by driving the vehicle very slowly or not driving it at all, often to the point when the vehicle is filled with passengers till its fullest capacity, hence ignoring the necessities of all the passengers that has already gotten inside in the first place.
I personally think this ngetem activity should be categorised as a minor human right violation, because in more modernized countries like Japan or China, such a ngetem wait could generate losses in man hours.
Most of the time, ngetem is done in busy intersections by several angkots or buses together as to compete each other for more potential passengers, thus blocking the traffic surrounding them.
So…. What do I do to the drivers every time I’ve gotten on an angkot and they do ngetem?
There is nothing I could do, because other Indonesian passengers have seen ngetem as a normal part of their daily lives. If I voice my concern out loud to the driver, other passengers would certainly shun me as to make me follow the typical mob mentality in Indonesia.
Nobody has ever protested such an inconsiderate attitude by the drivers because, as we all know, it is normal for Indonesians to be laidback in every single aspect of their lives.
Poor etiquette in public transportation is just one thing amongst a pile of other poor attitudes that most Indonesians have.
So.. Am I making hasty generalizations about fellow Indonesians here?
Ask any Indonesian you know about what they would do to the candy wrapper they have in hand:
Would they throw it into the dustbin…. Or do they prefer throwing it onto the street?
If they answer the question honestly, you may be appalled to find how inconsiderate Indonesians are of their environment cleanliness.
It is of no wonder then, if our beloved Nusantara could never reach a “developed country” status.
Of course not.
A Christian friend told me how upset she is seeing people wearing cross (or sometimes, Crucifix) necklaces just to “publicly display” how religious they are.
Well, from what I see myself, I find it strange that a lot of Christians think that wearing cross necklace is an attempt to show off religiosity.
Wearing cross necklace is just a part of the mode, for goodness sake!
If you walk on the streets of Shibuya in Tokyo, you’ll see how a staggering 90% of those Japanese with their Gothic outfits wear cross necklaces.
But do you know how many Christians are there in Japan? Less than 1% of the population.
In the West, there is also a growing trend to wear inverted cross necklace, one that looks like this:
And people call it Satanic Cross.
Hahaha… Satanic cross?
Despite the fact that those who wear such a necklace might be Anti-Christ themselves, they didn’t know that the origin of inverted cross is not Satanic in itself.
Inverted cross was the cross used to crucify St. Peter, one of Jesus’ most favourite apostle who was also the first Catholic Pope.
The Pope with St Peter's cross in the background. Image taken from this site.
Loved to be hurt
and regret I've felt
you made love in front of me
You broke your promise
to be with me always
now you've stabbed my heart
I don't wanna hear you lamenting
and I'll never touch you anymore
just go and don't come back
I wanna be alone
The long journey of our love story
you've destroyed it in a flash
is this my destiny
loved to be hurt
I know you still love me
and regret everything
Oh dear I'm sorry I just can't
I wanna be alone
Original lyric in Indonesian:
Hanya air mata
Dan sesal kurasa
Di depanku kau bercinta
Kau ingkari janjimu
Tuk setia bersamaku
Kini kau bunuh hatiku
Ku tak ingin dengar ratapanmu
Dan ku tak kan lagi menyentuhmu
Pergi dan jangan kembali
Ku ingin sendiri
Perjalanan panjang cinta kita
Sekejap kau hancurkan slamanya
Inikah takdir untukku
Dicintai tuk disakiti
Ku tahu kau masih sayang
Dan menyesali sgalanya
Ooh sayang maaf ku tak bisa
Ku ingin sendiri
Speaking of morbidity, I think suicide is the most frigging pathetic way for a person to die.
I have a ludicrous real story, and it happened in Singapore when I was Sec 4.
The suicide hit the headlines and instead of sympathizing with the boy’s suicide, everyone in the country was laughing at his cause of death.
Just take a look at the clipped news article below.
The ironic thing was that the doctors said that his genital’s size is actually within the “normal size” limitation.
That 18-year-old Junior College student left a suicide note (addressed to his family and girlfriend), and though it was not published in the paper, I could guess that it looked like this (of course I made up this suicide letter myself):
Dear Mom and Dad and my beloved girlfriend,
I know how painful it must’ve been to see me leaving you people so soon. But I don’t think there is any reason for me to live in this world anymore.
You see, the problem is that MY PENIS IS TOO SMALL. I measured it last month and compared it to all those large dicks I see in my porn collection, and I think it just won’t be able to provide any sexual satisfaction to whomever I’m gonna marry later. I’m just pathetic… How could I live with such a small genitalia? I’d rather become a girl instead.
I’ve pondered over a sex change in Thailand, but that would mean that I’m running away from this whole thing. Well, suicide is indeed another way of running away too, but at least I could breathe a sigh of relief when my soul is finally separated from this body and the small genitalia I’ve got.
Mom and Dad, I don’t blame you for giving birth to a boy with such a small vital part like mine. Nope, not at all, and I don’t want you to feel guilty about that. I just want you to know that I’d still love you, even after I get reincarnated [presuming the boy believes in reincarnation – red].
And another thing, I’ve donated most of my stuff, including my porn collection, to all my buddies at school, so you don’t have to worry about whether my brother Sam should inherit them.
For Amanda, I suggest you to find another boyfriend with a bigger genitalia than mine. I’ve been thinking about our marriage in the future (which never comes true), and it had come to my attention that I won’t be able to satisfy you with such a small penis.
So…. Amanda, next time you date a guy, make sure you check his insides before you consider going out with him, OK?
You know, the reddened Ben Chong above is a pun in an Indonesian word (Bencong) which means something else. Don’t worry, none of the names in the suicide letter above are real, because I made them all up myself. But the suicide happened for real, though.
Let’s talk death in a more natural way.
Last month my friend told me about our old primary school friend who died in a tragic car crash three years ago. That means that I was in Singapore at the time he died.
His car was hit by a Coca-Cola truck and the car was completely wrecked. I didn’t know anything about his driver, but apparently this old friend of mine was still alive when he was brought to the hospital. He passed away as soon as he reached the hospital because he ran out of blood.
Gosh, that’s a tragic way of dying, especially at an age of 15...
Another story comes from the nephew of my Mom’s friend.
He was a reparation worker for the Metro Mini bus company in Jakarta, and on one peculiar day, he was fixing up stuff under a Metro Mini bus.
It was 5 AM that time and he had apparently fallen asleep because he was listening to his MP3 player at a full blast.
How unfortunate of him, a Metro Mini driver didn’t notice his presence and he started the engine straightaway.
Well… You could guess how bad it turned out.
Miraculously, this reparation worker survived for around a week, albeit his body was completely in a disfigured state, he could still communicate his last words to his beloved before he finally departed.
But those two death stories above aren’t very nice ways of dying, are they?
Dying in pain, whether by suicide or by illness, doesn’t sound very much favourable indeed. Nobody would like to die in such a way.
If I could choose how I would like to die, I’d want a quick death, preferably in my sleep when I’m around my 90s or 100s.
I should assume that most of you would concur with my conditional clause above, though we all know that we couldn’t choose the 5W and 1H of our death.
If you have any remaining cash in form of US$ in your piggy banks, I strongly suggest you to convert all of them into €uro or SG$ instead. The Singapore government has recently announced that over the following months, they will let their currency to continuously appreciate against US$. This is indeed a bad news for Indonesia, since the Indonesian currency is so tightly tied to the US$ that any depreciation of the latter would also bring Rupiah down.
Speaking of currency, I read in Economist’s May issue that the exchange rate for Zimbabwean dollar had reached 200 million something for every American dollar and indeed it is ironic to know that the Zimbabwean currency was once stronger than Uncle Sam’s in the 80s. They’ve definitely got an intransigent madman running the country, who is no different from the heartless generals in Burma.
Regarding the last one, do you know that Burma’s capital is no longer Yangon? The junta has relocated it to a satellite city called Naypyidaw (I’m not sure how to spell it though).
Let me get personal.
I love Indonesia so much, but I’ve realised it now: I really need to leave the country as soon as possible.
My English has been devolving and I’m well aware of it: over the last couple of days I’ve been exposing myself constantly to a barrage of English cornucopia in form of un-subtitled Western movies, Economist, TIME, Readers’ Digest, and SAT vocabularies stock on my bookshelf.
You know, it was honestly flattering for me to have all your comments such as… me being witty or smart or whatsoever-you-might’ve-thought-of-me-before-you-meet-me-in-person, but trust me; the real me is so pathetic that I couldn’t stand having it stay longer in Indonesia and let it rot here.
On yesterday’s staying out at his uncle’s home, Boon had told me how my guys have improved a lot up there in Singapore, with all their fun activities and studies and girlfriends.
College is freaking funnn!!!
And I was sort of….. like, biting myself for having withstood staying in Jakarta as a hermit for so long.
Dammit, I’m so furious at myself.
I need to practice my hands on the piano harder, I need to learn French and Japanese faster, and I need to perfect my mastery of English more effectively. There is no use moaning over freaking love problems and all anxieties I’ve had over my moving abroad in the near future, because whatever will be, will be.
And I feel like turning on “Que Sera, Sera” on my MP3 list now, haha.
Funny pics of the day:
The title above is the reason why I think that the awarding of Adipura to four of Jakarta’s municipalities was highly biased.
City wins four Adipura awards
My uncle, who teaches Humanities and Urban administration at one of the most well-known private universities in Jakarta, told me that Jakarta’s green space is actually much less than the 9% reported by the media.
What is defined as green space, actually?
Ordinary people like you and me define it as:
“Any open urban space that exhibits plant life, which could help reduce the number of existing pollutants in the city into healthier air for the citizens to breathe”
The Jakarta city administration however, has a wider scope of definition:
“All living and non-living things that occur naturally on an urban space”
Yes, the so-called ‘non-living natural things’ include the unsown lands used for the kids’ football fields and the notoriously dump haven Ciliwung River that run thru many parts of the city.
Well the river water may look GREEN enough to the government, especially with all the GREEN algaes and other floating GREEN wastes excreted by the slum dwellers on the riverbank. But we don’t suppose that the rivers exhale any healthy air for us Jakartans, do they?
Perhaps the governor himself should try doing some yoga or Tai Chi by the Ciliwung river bank and we’ll see how long could he last inhaling in and out the oxygen with all the “Whoooo---shaaaahhh!!” chants.
Just wondering, how many of you people out there believe that Armstrong and friends actually landed on the moon? There is a conspiracy theory that says human might have not landed there at all, supported by some scientific facts that flags couldn’t possibly wave there and other bunches of stuff you could look up yourself. There are always pros and cons to that theory indeed, but I choose to side with the theory. 30 years plus without another landing on the moon has been a bit too long, don’t you think?
As the topic today, out of curiosity I did a test on what element do I belong to, and here’s the result:
Of course, I wasn’t the least surprised knowing that I am a Water. Though my Chinese astrology says that I belong to the Earth element (as also for all Snakes born in 1989), I know exactly well how moody I am and the same characteristic is found in water: I flow according to the receptacle surrounding me.
Meanwhile, just in case some of you might like to refute my yesterday’s statement that “I am the most famous teenage blogger in Indonesia”, let me get the things straight here:
Raditya Dika is now on his 20s and hence, no longer a teenager.
So…. Who’s “the most famous teenage blogger in Indonesia” here?
Still undisputably ME!
Haha, A lil bit of playing vain once in a while doesn't hurt does it?
And so last week I read in the paper of how “The Jakarta Post recorded that 13 people died and 16 suffered severe injuries after being hit by [Transjakarta] buses between March 2006 and May 2008”
13 deaths, what a waste! I wonder if the city administration also bothers to take note of casualties caused by the reckless F1-like drivers speeding on their notorious Metro Mini, Kopaja, or the ilks.
In Indonesia we also have got the idiot in town opening up his mouth on the issue of flag colour standardisation. For Goodness freaking sake, doesn't that so-called expert has anything better to say to the public?
What a dim-wit.
On the other side of the globe we have Grant Achatz, a well-renowned American chef who suffers from tongue cancer (and hence, lost his ability to taste the food he cooks himself). He is apparently still able to sense his food thru other means, as was quoted that “Tasting is more than what happens on the tongue. It is about emotion, translating a feeling, a memory, an experience.”
It is exactly this kind of people, together with the likes of Beethoven who could continue advancing his composing despite his deafness, that should makes us strive more in whatever kind of lives we are leading.
Here are today's pics to brighten up your day:
After visiting hundreds of Indonesian blogs with higher page ranks than mine, I have recently come to realise that I am the most famous teenage blogger in Indonesia.
Whoa… an achievement! Cheers!
*wine glasses clinked*
It’s still not a pretext for me to be complacent though, because I know from now on I must produce much better writings with this awareness in mind.
Regarding the ongoing football games on TV, please do me a favour by not mentioning it at all in my blog comments, ever. It’s quite disappointing enough for me to see the only European team I like (England) didn’t qualify for the games.
On the main topic today.
Two days ago (10/6) I went swimming to the pool nearby my house, when –out of luck or just pure coincidence— I was greeted with blues and oldies songs like those belonging to Frank Sinatra and some other singers whose name I didn’t know of.
Gosh, they reminded me of my old residence in Sanur!
The most interesting part was saved for last though.
I had tanned for half an hour on my chaise lounge accompanied with some tropical-infused songs when the speaker played Daniel Bedingfield’s “If You’re Not The One”.
If there is any other song in the world that could invoke as much memories as Hoobastank’s “The Reason”, it is this Daniel Bedingfield’s song. Listening it on the poolside chaise lounge, my mind immediately conjured up a fragment of my swims and walks in Seminyak and Kuta together with my Jakarta kins when they came to visit my old villa in Bali.
Someone also used to croon that song beautifully in my class during my secondary school days in my lovely SLTP Cipta Dharma campus (which was located a mere 5 minutes of walking from the Padang Galak Beach).
Haha… too much memories.
I’m considering to write several of my most memorable fragments from my two years of stay in Bali over the next few days (or weeks), so you could expect to see more of Bali here in my blog!
PS: I took note of the day I first left Jakarta for Bali, which was 3rd of July 2002. My family finally moved back to Jakarta on 31st of July 2004.
Around two months ago, I had this conversation with my buddy PK:
PK: Dude, I’ve been thinking…
PK: You can ride motorbike, right?
PK: But do you normally take them to the street by yourself?
Me: Nope. I’m honestly scared of all the traffic and stuff.
PK: Well, so do I. I hate taking motorcycles by myself too… So then…
PK: Have you ever pondered, if both of us finally get to date our dream girls; you with X and me with Y, what kind of vehicles would we take to pick them up?
Me: Hmm… Bus? *laughs*
PK: *laughs* That sounds ridiculous, dummy!
Me: *smiles grimly* I know.
PK: Taking angkot to her house to pick her up and then taking Metro Mini together? Gee, that sucks Man.
Me: Yep, that sucks indeed. Hey now that I think of it, don’t you find it ironic that in Singapore, taking bus or MRT with your girlfriend could sound quite romantic?
PK: That’s my point dude! Just imagine, taking those bloody musty and hot Metro Mini buses with your girlfriend here in Jakarta! What kind of romantic memory could that create?
Me: Haha.. that just sounds damn pathetic Man. Let’s not talk about it
As PK had told me, oftentimes we find it ironic that in order to date a girl in Jakarta (and also other urban areas in Indonesia), a guy MUST bring his own private vehicle.
A private vehicle is necessary so that he could pick up his girlfriend at her home or whatever rendezvous point they have agreed upon.
While the middle-class guys in Indonesia prefer riding a motorcycle, those who are more fortunate could have a driver standby for them or sometimes, they are even allowed by their parents to drive the car themselves!
What about those who are able to ride motorcycle or car, but hate taking it to the street by themselves? They have no other choice but to wait for the right time.
And just like what PK had told me; taking a public transportation together with your date in Jakarta, and a similar scene imagined in Singapore; sounds completely different.
Below are two case studies to consider.
Taking a bus ride in Singapore, Seoul, or Tokyo:
1. Air-conditioned (with the exception of certain double deckers)
2. Exceptionally clean and comfortable inside the bus
3. Additional enjoyable entertainment with an LCD TV inside
4. The bus don’t get that packed because the drivers enforce a strict discipline on limiting the number of passengers
5. Passengers don’t suffer when it rains
6. The driver drives safely
Taking a bus ride in Jakarta or Surabaya:
1. Non-airconditioned (Don’t mention Transjakarta here, because they only serve limited routes!)
2. Very hot, dirty, and musty inside the bus
3. Additional uninvited entertainment by the buskers (pengamen)
4. On certain hours, the bus could get very packed that you could feel like being inside a sardine tin
5. Passengers suffer when it rains because all the windows are shut and hence, the air inside gets mustier
6. The driver could drive as fast as the F1 Racers
While the first case study (in the developed cities) could sound “Oh-So-Romantic!” for a bus ride together, the second one….. uhmmmm..... I don’t think so.
Here are funny pics of the day (click on them to generate larger images):
The most precious time was with you
It was so sound that I was lulled
Honestly I had wished
to make you mine forever
My entire heart is crushed to pieces
Accompanying the sorrow I feel missing you
I really could not muffle
The pain in my heart to let go off you
I wanna assure this love isn't gonna end
But the destiny has written it to end
Back to Reff
I just couldn't let go off you
Original lyric in Indonesian:
Saat terindah saat bersamamu
Begitu lelapnya aku pun terbuai
Sebenarnya aku tlah berharap
Ku kan memiliki dirimu selamanya
Segenap hatiku luluh lantak
Mengiringi dukaku yang kehilangan dirimu
Sungguh ku tak mampu tuk meredam
Kepedihan hatiku untuk merelakan kepergianmu
Ingin kuyakini cinta tak kan berakhir
Namun takdir menuliskan kita harus berakhir
Kembali ke Reff
Ku tak sanggup tuk merelakanmu