A contemplation for New Year

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

The Paradox of Our Time in History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

George Carlin


Toshi's wrap up of year 2008

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

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

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

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

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

The best part of it?

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

1. Going to Menado and Sangihe

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

2. Foreign Prophecies goes famous

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

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


Indo-lyric: Melupakanmu (Jikustik)

English translation:

Forget you

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

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

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

repeat Reff 2x

Original lyric in Indonesian:

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

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

pandang lah malam bintang
menjadi teman perjalanan
saat mencari menunggu lama

ulangi Reff 2x


on Pencil case and washing the dishes

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

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

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


Nothing is for certain except death

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

~Compiled from various sources~

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


With freckles and mascara, no wonder puss is cute

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

~Compiled from various sources~

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pathetic, don't you think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because they are not even inherently correlated.

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

Girls out there, take note:

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

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

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

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

No, not at all.

But they're still bound to produce heirs notwithstanding.

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

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

It sure is hard to disagree to this one.


People who don't read my blog

This is really a blogger's thing.

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

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

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

Well let me say... Hello!


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

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


The first SMS

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

What a trivial tripe. Haha


Indo-lyric: Demi Cinta (Kerispatih)

English translation:

For the sake of love

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

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

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

Original lyric in Indonesian:

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

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

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


Jack hits the jackpot and Hitler disappears

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

~Compiled from various sources~

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yep, Mom saved the day, methinks. Big Grin

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

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

I smiled knowing that.

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

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

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

"So where did you buy the presents?"


"Where were you this afternoon again?"

"McD in Pondok Indah"

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

"Nah, somewhere else"

"Poins Square?"

"Nope. Somewhere closer"

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

And we laughed.

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

"Ah!" and her guess was correct.

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

Yes, right.

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

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

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


I should've fixed it

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

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

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

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


Indo-lyric: Melepasmu (Drive)

English translation:

To let you go

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

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

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

repeat reff

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

repeat reff

Original lyric in Indonesian:

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

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

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

ulangi reff

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

ulangi reff


They're breathing the same air as we do

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

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

Where are they now?

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

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

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

Have they regretted their actions?

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

I doubt so.

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


Flying in the face of it all

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

~Compiled from various sources~

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


Demise of an uncle

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

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

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

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

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

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


on Benford's law and my own coin tosses

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

For it was said there:

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

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

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


on helping the poor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My allergy to Sate Padang

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

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

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

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

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

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


Indo-lyric: Tiada akhir (Audy)

English translation:

Without end

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

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

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

repeat *

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

Original lyric in Indonesian:

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

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

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

repeat *

tiada batas tiada akhir
aku mencintaimu


Between nuclear, education, and terrorism

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

Take Pakistan for example.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

And the names aren't arranged alphabetically at that.

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

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

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

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

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


The JLPT questions themselves were hellish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But nah, I answered it.

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

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

Unfortunately, yes.

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

So I slept.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh well...


Leaving no stone unturned

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

~Compiled from various sources~

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


No posts on birthdays

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

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

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

Why is it so?

It's for this simple reason:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Afblijven: my fave movie ending scene of the year

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

This scene is from Afblijven, a Dutch youth movie.


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

He simply walked away.

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

He glanced back, "Yea?"

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

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

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

She ran after him, and he smiled at her.

They hugged and they kissed.


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

English translation:


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

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

only you
whom I like


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

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

Original lyric in Indonesian:

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

akupun tak kuasa
tuk menahan gejolak ini
ingin kukatakan 
aku menyukaimu

hanya dirimu 
yang aku suka


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

kini kurasakan
getaran cinta di dalam dada
kuingin bersamamu 
untuk selamanya


Let us all transfer our money to Nigeria!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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