Ohio State University

When I specifically requested Mom to bring a Balinese cloth from Indonesia, it was meant as a farewell gift for Sis S. Because I was about to relocate to another state, more likely than not I'm not going to meet her again.

Until last week.

Pulling herself over to my side, she called me with her affectionate term for me "T-A, I gotta tell you something"


"I'm moving"

Silence wrapped me as I was not prepared of how to response.

"Well...where? Why?"

She explained to me the reason behind her moving. It isn't that far. As a matter of fact it's an adjacent town, but still I wouldn't be able to meet her almost everyday like I used to anymore.

"I see", I replied curtly.

"Don't worry, we can still visit each other once in a while"

I said nothing.

Within that split second under the moonlight, she gave me a parting kiss on the cheek.


Okay, I have to admit that the last sentence above was fabricated (the entire conversation actually happened in the office). But irony is caustic.

In the past I oft hated her guts that I wished her to just disappear. Then in the end I realised that after everything that happened, I did miss her quirks and her spontaneities. Working at the office somehow feels so...lonely without her.


Memorably she went to great lengths to ensure that I, together with some of my coworkers, had a wonderful night on my 21st birthday. It was nothing of a wild party like I had expected before, but the important thing was that we had fun.

I'll always remember that.


Anyway, my apology for the title as it is misleading.

I am not enrolled in Ohio State University (which is two hours drive to the north from where I currently reside), but somewhere closer. I did wanted to enrol there though, as it had been my very first choice. But OSU would be another story.

As of today, I had done everything on the checklist: taking the college entrance test, obtaining my school transcripts from Singapore (which was the most troublesome part since that country is located half a globe away), getting registered for classes, paying tuitions, and applying for financial aid reimbursements.

None of the classes that I am registered for are that much fun actually. I started my registration process in November while the open registration actually started in October 2010, hence most of the "fun" classes with the best schedules are already full by the time I got to meet with the academic advisor.

But it's alright, since I had loved the school from the very first time I enterred its campus building.

Excited? Definitely.

However, Mom had warned me that I had to be physically prepared since I am still going to be working at my current job in a full-time status (40 hours/week), while enrolled in the college as a full-time freshman (±14 hours/week) too by the time my classes start in the first Monday of January 2011. So that would be at least 54 hours of school+work. Kinda arduous I have to say, but I have known a friend -a female friend actually- who works two jobs (40 hours of full-time+16 hours of part-time) while being enrolled as a full-time student, a minimum of 10 hours in classes every week. So that would be translate into an operose 68 hours a week (!!!!!!).

Insane, I know.

It's amazing to see how hard-working some of my American friends are (in direct contrast to that stereotype of fat-and-lazy Americans you see in TV). Which is why I am proud to be following their example.

I don't know how far I can go though. I'll just hope for the best, I guess!


How litigations affect our daily life

Being a law-abiding (read: law-fearing) country, America does have several lawsuits in the distant past that still affects its citizens until this day.

One personal example I found quaintly annoying was when I came to the next-door pharmacy.

Me: Excuse me sir, do you have any medicine for [disease undisclosed]?
Pharmacist: Let me take a look at that.
Me: [showing the pharmacist my disease, which was quite visible externally]
Pharmacist: I'm afraid you have to consult a physician, sir.
Me: But I want a self-treatment...
Pharmacist: [getting more assertive] You need to see a doctor.
Me: Alright, seeing a doctor it will be then! [BIG SIGH] So is there any first-aid self-treatment that I can use before I....consult the physician?
Pharmacist: Well, you can always use the [medicine undisclosed], but I can't guarantee if..
Me: And where can you find that medicine?
Pharmacist: It's on the bottom of the shelf on the third aisle.
Me: Okay, that's all I need to know, thanks!

When I confided in a friend on how insistent the pharmacist was in recommending me to a doctor, I thought that this annoying chap was thinking of getting some royalty off the doctor concerned (which usually happened in my previous country of residence, Indonesia). But she simply said that the pharmacist was required to insist on customers getting treated by a doctor, lest the disease gets worse, I would not litigate the pharmacy.

Worthy of note, this occured during the very last days of September this year (and Mom hadn't departed to America yet) which unfortunately ruined any dates, weekly swims, planned moviegoings, and whatever else that a 20-year-old male was supposed to do during his Summer.

But shit misfortune happens, eh?

Anyway, back to the topic.

So it came to my attention that janitors also carry a large possibility of being sued against. The logic is simple: If the floor was too slippery and someone falls on the floor, the janitor of that shift carries a large portion of the responsibility for the punitive damages that may ensue.

One of the most oft-cited examples is the Liebeck v. McDonald's case where Stella Liebeck of New Mexico burned herself after accidentally spilling coffee on her body. She suffered third-degree burn and sued McDonald's for it and won.

A moral story for McDonald's not to serve hot drinks? Not exactly.

The lesser-known result of the litigation was that the reason Liebeck spilled the cup was neither her nor McDonald's fault, but the lack of cup-holder in her car. The dashboard was slightly slanted while she had nowhere else to put her cup on, hence the spill.

Fearing similar litigations towards automobile manufacturers, the company which produced her car, together with almost all other private car manufacturers in the States, began placing cup-holders in between both the driver's and the front passenger's seat from that year onwards.

But it does not stop there.

Scald-and-burn lawsuits such as Liebeck's had become quite commonplace that most public buildings (such as libraries, churches or museums) decided to get away with hot water altogether.

Thus, instead of having two choices of "water temperature" in the restroom sink, only one remains: Cold water.

It would always be pleasant if you could rinse your hands (and soak your face) with a warm water after a gelid Winter day, but the choice is gone whenever I want to sanitize my hands on the library's Gent's.

Thank heavens most privately-owned buildings (such as hotels or restaurants) have not followed suit.


The first picture ever taken of *toshi

Being semi-anonymous, I don't normally post my own portrait on my blog.

Except for today.

If Mom was right, this was taken when I was 1 day old (November 1989).


I know I voted for Obama, but...

In retrospect, Hillary Clinton would have made a better president.

And with a lot of domestic sentiments stirring high against Obama, one could not help but wonder how he is practically worshipped once he leaves the US territory.

Barack Obama would be better off as the Secretary of State, I say.


The Post-Adolescent, Pre-Adult, Not-Quite Decided Life Stage

Such is the title of an article by Robin Marantz Henig in 22 August 2010 edition of The New York Times Magazine. Sums up what it means to be 21, methinks.

Now what have I achieved so far during the 365 days leading to my 21st year?

Frankly, not much:

1. I haven't got a girlfriend yet. Contrary to my age-old image of being the boy too shy to talk to girls, I am no longer reluctant to express my feelings upon anyone I have a crush on. If I think she's pretty or witty, I say it upfront: no poems made, no mooning around. I have not dated anybody purely due to economical reasons. To date a girl in America simply costs too much.

2. I am quite eloquent in French. Though my Japanese remains somewhat constant, if not degraded.

3. Before my mother came to USA, I spoke Indonesian only twice. The past year before my mother came, I probably spoke less Indonesian than Obama's Jakarta speech altogether. And those two occasions were the times when I had Indonesian customers coming in from Columbus, Ohio (which is the only city nearby that has a significant Indonesian community).

4. I tried having...oh well, never mind. I only did it once though!

5. I have not enrolled in any tertiary institutions. Though this is about to change soon.

Other than that, everything else remains in situ.


A year without watching TV

More than a year has gone since I last watched the television, and I must say that it was not an experience I miss.

By watching TV, I mean staring blankly at the gossip talks or reality shows or news frenzy which offer nothing else but a report and a simple exploitation of the forays of human life (with commercials every 10 minutes). Playing game consoles would not be considered as "watching television" then, since there is no outside information showing up on the screen other than my Wii game display.

I do own a TV set, albeit a used 680p one a friend sold for $20 earlier this year. In a small Midwest US town such as where I live, you need to buy at least a small dish (regardless of having a membership to any cable/satelite) in order to get any channel receptions on your 680p, because the only TVs that receive free channels these days are the HDs.

I could have easily purchased a dish for $50 at the local electronic shop, but since I only bought the TV in order to play Wii, I considered having a dish as an unnecessary expense.

So I decided to stick to playing DVDs on my laptop and Wii for my home entertainment purposes.

One of the drawbacks (or perhaps benefits - as one might see fit) of not watching TV is that I am never updated with the outside world. I did not know anything about the Haiti earthquakes or the 2010 Indonesian tsunami until I chanced upon either stories on Yahoo! News.

Some people might wonder.

How is it possible to live without the mightiest invention of the 20th century?


You only need two things: a computer set and a working internet connection.
For occasional news, browse the internet. That way, you only get to see the relevant stuff. I mean, if you are a middle-aged businessman, news about the Wall Street or Obama's economic policies are indeed relevant, but you would also waste at least some 30 minutes a day going through commercials and a heap of rubbish like Justin Bieber. But if you are a 15-year-old girl, the reverse might be true: you find Justin Bieber as the walking deity while all the foreign lingo they have about Wall Street just doesn't make sense.

For watching reality shows or TV series or 80% of movies that has ever enterred circulation in the Western world, subscribe to Netflix or rent movies from Blockbuster. I have a subscription to Netflix where I can have as much as 3 DVDs shipped to me at any time for $17 a month. Every time I am finished watching a DVD, I can mail it back to a Netflix centre in its prepaid postage envelope and receive another DVD I have pre-ordered on the next day. That way, I can rent as many as 25 DVDs in a month for that same amount of $17 (Oh and by the way, that subscription also includes unlimited Instant Streaming thru the net, where you can stream almost any movies on circulation more than 2 years old or full episodes of any informative channels such as History, National Geographic, and Discovery without commercials).
Hence, if you feel you don't need to know any new bombings in the Middle East or flood in China or the latest gossips about Sandra Bullock (which are going to be have new updates every week anyway), why would you need a TV?

P.S. The Netflix is excellent, I know, but too bad as of today they only exist in USA and Canada. I know everybody elsewhere can stream movies instantly thru websites such as Surf The Channel . However, Netflix does not redirect you through a third-party Chinese website or obliging you to watch some Korean language commercials first. And yes, Netflix does have complete seasons of True Blood, Smallville, Lost, Alias, or House from Pilot to Finale.


A conversation

Below is a conversation between two unidentified strangers I happened to overhear quite a while ago.

female: So if you don't have any family members in America, why exactly do you come to the country?
male: Because...hmm...
female: Hmm?
male: ...because I wanna meet you! *flirtatious grin*


Summer smile

I see aplenty beautiful ladies everyday
As my job is in handling customer service

But whenever you are in sight
from the very first time we met, till the night I finally asked you out
Every word supposedly said is reduced to monosyllabic vox

Barely can even look at you straight in the eye
such blonde hairs, beautiful blend, perfect match
with that hazel eyes of yours
and the insouciant gaze you have
and what a cute smile

Might fancy myself to think that I'm over heels
infatuated, attracted, in love..or whatever it is!

I don't care, I don't care what they say
I'm crazy for you, girl!

~from Toshi, for the lovely blonde lady with initial K, written on 1 September 2010


Things Americans like: American football and Pickles. Why exactly?

One of the very few things that Americans generally like (and most other UN member countries don't) are the so-called "American football" and pickles.

And on the personal side, those are the two materials in life that I don't think I would ever grow fond of anytime soon.

I have never understood why is American football called "Football". Why?

For one thing, it is crystal clear that American football is brought by the English in its original form Rugby, which was later on corrupted by those rebelling from a British way of life as to distinguish themselves on how different they play their own version of the game.

And, instead of calling it "American handball" or "American rugby", the forefathers of USA sports simply called it "football".

They don't even play it with their foot, so it is quite obvious what a misnomer it must have been.

As for brine-preserved veggie...yes, I still remove my pickles from my burgers or hot dogs.

I don't know about you readers, but my idea of a tasty food does not include having to gnaw on an super sour vegetable when you are taking a bite on your meal.

I think if the rest of the world over (read: non-Americans) make their own version of what a bizzare food reality TV show looks like, they would definitely include American pickles on the list, don't you agree?


"The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo" phenomenon

This title by the late Stieg Larsson contains the word "girl" (understandably put most men on high alert that this is another chick romance junk).

But fret not dudes, it's not another chick lit. It is purely a crime/mystery novel.

While its main protagonist is indeed a female, it has none of the teenage-girl insecurity issues embodied in Stephanie Meyer's Edward-Bella love saga.

As a matter of fact, the original Swedish title "Män som hatar kvinnor" means "Man who hates women", which would definitely make most feminists cry foul over its misogynistic-sounding title.

But thank heavens it isn't. The original Swedish title has 'Spoiler' written all over it.

In libraries across Northern Kentucky, hundreds of people are putting the books of the mystery Millenium saga (of which The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is the first) on hold.

As a comparison, there was hardly more than five persons putting Dan Brown's or John Grisham's books on hold when they first came in the libraries.

I have watched the movie in its original Swedish, and I would give it 8 stars out of 10.

Now that I have got a grasp on the book myself, I can finally devour it for the remaining days left of my summer...


on Internet privacy

It is a much-missed wonder of how just 10 years ago, life used to have much more privacy. We basically check our e-mail, open some websites of interest, and that's it. No social networking sites, no instant messenger, no Wikipedia.

Because now with practically (almost) everybody whom we know either have a Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or LinkedIn account (or all of them), privacy on the internet is a nonexistent thing.

On this regard, I specifically refer to Facebook. No matter how much seclusion you impose on your privacy settings, there is always a loophole that sooner or later can fall into malefic hands.

You may think that your recent picture of you and your girlfriend being intimate by the shores of Malibu as totally harmless. Well, wait until one day you apply for a job at Microsoft or run as a mayor (who knows?). Potential employers do trawl the virtual world for such tripes, and the matter of how much information you disclose in the internet may well be regarded as a threat, since it also means that you may also disclose company's confidential informations.

But oh well, internet privacy is dead, isn't it?

Even my blog is still alive.


A new bet

Oops...wrong flag!

Glorie voor Nederland!

I have made a new bet in favour of Netherlands.

If Netherlands win this Sunday's final match, my sister Melody can come with me to watch team France or team Japan's matches on World Cup Brazil 2014 (that is, provided that the next Cup's events don't interfere with my college schedule).

If Netherlands lose, then I'm not taking her with me.

The Oberhausen octopus seems to be alive and well. Let's just hope that his prediction is inaccurate this time.

This is a female Dutch octopus, don't mistake it for the Oberhausen oracle!

'post~script. I only make bets that involve my sister since it involves my own money, and a large sum at that. My own money stays in my own family. I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a friend...that would be too much, ain't it?



My TV has no channel reception (since I only purchased the TV to play the Wii). I could only watch football at my friends' place or at the bar.

And since Japan lost its quarter-final match to Paraguay, I kinda lost my appetite to watch any more football.

Also, I literally lost my eating appetite for two days. It was a real drag.

I ignored any news about who advanced to the semifinals.

Until yesterday. Germany vs Spain.

As I had written previously, Germany is my 3rd most favourite football team (after Japan and France).

Hence out of curiosity, I went to Les français' home to watch the game on their ESPN.

A disappointing game by the Germans, I say. It was the only German match I had the chance to watch, and it was obvious how demoralised the Germans were in their defence...the ball possession and goal shots have been dominated mostly by the Spaniards!

It would have been much better if the final was Germany against Netherlands. Because I would definitely root for Germany.

But it's Spain vs Netherlands, unfortunately.

Curse the octopus.

Now I know this is an ad hominem attack, but I really do not wish to see Spain crowned as the victor of World Cup 2010.

No particular reason, other than I've always had a certain penchant against Spain, Italy, and all South American football teams.

May the glory belong to the Netherlands.


on Vuvuzela, Brazilian boredom, and Japanese joy

Do you know that Indonesia was the first country from Asia to enter the FIFA World Cup?

It was in World Cup 1938 in France, and Indonesia participated in the tournament with the old naming East Indies (since it was still a Dutch colony).

"The French left early, USA come in late, and England is left to fight the Germans" ~ Quote I found in Twitter.

Sounds very much like World War 2, except that it is the World Cup 2010 that we're talking about here.

So Brazil has passed to the Round of 16, as expected. Don't you think it's kinda boring to see Brazil clinching the glory all the time? But history tells that Brazil is the only country that has attended every single World Cup without fail.

Now that is something.

(I still wish Brazil gets knocked out early though)

South Americans aside, my favourite team (Japan) has advanced to the Round of 16, and it was their final Group E match against Denmark that had gotten me all bathed in excitement.

Honda made a goal from a free kick, Endo made another from a similar free (though more of a banana-curved) kick, while Okazaki (who came in as a substitute early at the 2nd half) made a goal from Honda's assist during the last few minutes of the game.

The way I describe Japan's passing onto the Round of 16 is..blissful, and it truly made my day. Though it is yet to be known whether they are able to make it to the Quarter-finals (the Japanese team is to play a match on 29 June against Paraguay), I may as well make it known here that if Japan can get to the final match on 11 July:

1. I will shave my head bald
2. I will buy my sister Melody a brand new Blackberry

The idea of Japan getting to the final match is kinda far-fetched, I know. But hey, there's no harm in sharing my bliss with others!

Regarding the prophecy I had posted yesterday, I need to remind you that it is not a personal prophecy by me. It was by Deddy Corbuzier, in form of a code, and I merely shared my own version of what the decrypted code looks like.

At the time of writing, I am 18 hours away from knowing before knowing the result of USA vs Ghana match.

Therefore it should not sound like an anomaly here if I am wishing that Ghana is going to lose their next match (which is against USA). Oh yes, I wish my decrypted code was wrong.

On the USA side, I must admit that I didn't favour them quite much until I saw them playing against Slovenia and Algeria. Watching USA on the field looks just like a Hollywood thriller: you don't get to see much attacking (let alone Goals!) until the last 15 minutes of the play.

And it was Donovan's goal at the 91st minute that saved USA to the Round of 16. There remains more to see from them.

Now that we have been talking about the winners, let's take a look at the losers.

First, North Korea.

The first time they participate since their last one in 1966 ends in much of a blood bath, with the most goals conceded in this tournament (even exceeding the Australians). Such a shame, but one should not be fooled into thinking that Kim Jong-il is going to be able to get his hands on them, because most of the North Korean players actually reside in Japan!

Now for France...

Total tragedy. I couldn't even believe that this is the same coach Domeneck that has brought them to the final match in 2006. The Captain Anelka was sent home, and one could even see that there is too poor of coordination when the French are on field. When there is hardly any form of unity (except for when they had a strike during the last training) in between them.

I simply wish on Brazil 2014 they would play better (that is if, they qualify at all).

What about for the incumbent Cup holder Italy?

I didn't see any of Italy's matches in 2010 (I believe there are a lot of better things to do than watching a game filled with deceits), but it is with satisfaction that I read the news of how Italy was eliminated. If there is one team that so repulses me for its constant protests of the referee and for a lot of their theatrical divings, it's Italy. Their way of playing is too contrary to the sportsmanship that football players are supposed to carry.

Fresh memory still lingers on how the France vs Italy final ended in 2006 (re: Materazzi).

And also the quarter-final of World Cup 2002, where Italy played against South Korea.

Ahn Jung-Hwan from South Korea struck the goal that knocked Italy out of the World Cup 2002. Too bad for Ahn, he played for the Italian team Perugia, whose president was so enraged that he terminated the South Korean midfielder's contract.

And yeah, the Ecuadorian referee on that quarter-final was also banned for life from enterring Italian borders, ever.

By the way, Vuvuzela.

Vuvuzela does find a way to create a new nuance this time round, with the FIFA president Sepp Blatter ignoring calls to ban the instrument, saying that it is a part of the traditional African culture.

We just hope that the tradition isn't carried elsewhere though, because it does drown out the supporters' cheers (which usually gives some sort of a 'background music' for the matches). Such as, the South Korea and Japanese supporters' drums, or the English fans with their national hymns.


Unwavering loyalty for Japan in the South Africa 2010 World Cup

In around 10 hours from now, the match between Japan and Cameroon will commence. And this is the first of several games I had been waiting for months.

I had specially requested vacation days from office just in order to watch Japan's matches on this South African 2010 World Cup. I have been a loyal supporter of the Japanese soccer team since I watched their play in 2002 (where they were halted by the Turks), and in the unfortunate 2006 Cup in Germany (where they couldn't advance from the first round simply because they were on the same group with Brazil that time).

My support this time? It will be for Japan, as always was, and as always will. It is an unwavering support, and I don't care if people say that Japan is not really a strong team or that the Japanese players are relatively shorter than their European counterparts.

I do love to watch France, Germany and England matches too though, as they always deliver superb performances.

What about South America?

I'm not entirely a big fan of any of the players in this continent, so I'll reserve my comment on this one.

Regarding the USA team (the team of my country of residence), I do hope they lose their matches and do not advance at all to the next round. A draw with England of 1-1 was quite a disappointing one, England should have won the match.

Now don't get me wrong.

It's not that I don't love America. I do love the country I'm residing in, because this is where I really belong.

But in America, the World Cup fever is less than noticeable. It barely exists, at all!

If you people in Asia are all talking about the match between England and USA yesterday, in America nobody I knew were even aware that USA is playing on TV!

So I guess it does fit the logic if I prefer other teams that generates much more enthusiasm and fan support from its own citizens.

Again, don't get me wrong, I love America though. I really do. I'm just not a big fan of its soccer team.


The Odd Prime Minister

Do you know?

"Ganjil" is (possibly) the only word in Indonesian language that means the same thing in English for both homonyms of "Odd".

The first ganjil (odd) means "the opposite of even number". The second ganjil (odd) means "strange".

And by the way, Perdana Menteri is the only acronym in Indonesian language that has exactly the same acronym in English (= Prime Minister)


A seemingly vulgar conversation in French

Femme: Aïee!
Homme: Pourquoi, chèrie? Tes bras?
Femme: Non, c'est pas mes bras. C'est ma tête!

For an Indonesian native speaker who does not understand French, the conversation above may sound vulgar.

Translation in English:

Lady: Ouch!
Man: What's wrong, dear? Your arms?
Lady: No, it's not my arms. It's my head!


Modernity and TV

Flicking by TV channels
nasty news and talent tripes
modernity's way of imparting idiocy

by toshi


Delights of Spring

Air conditioners whirr
as heat settles in
delights of Spring

by toshi


on Chinese spammers and How to penetrate Japanese readership

Due to the multitude of Chinese Mandarin spammers who comment in my blog lately, I am obliged to put comment moderation on all my posts (while it was previously confined to those which are at least eight days old).

I was reluctant to do so, but I have no other choice. These half-wits seem to think that my blog is a dumping haven for all their nonsensicalities. I hope this sends a clear message to them.

Let me digress.

It comes to my satisfaction to see that my French-language blog has started to penetrate Francophone readership. Both my Japanese and Indonesian ones do not succeed as well though, perhaps attributed to the fact that there are less people who use the latter two, apart from them being newly-founded blogs.

As somebody raised in Indonesia, I am well attuned to what Indonesians like and what they are used to read. However, it will be quite a while until I finally find a "Japanese soul" that is well-suited to my writing style, as I had discussed briefly in this post.


The birth of Toshi's Japanese language blog

After years of studying Japanese (on and off), I've finally released a blog in Japanese. Partially inspired by my friend Boon (who in turn was inspired by my French blog, as he told me), and coupled with the fact that this may be a good opportunity for me to practise the language, I decided to open that new blog.

Regarding the naming of the blog...

Firstly I looked for a more cheerful name associated with nature such as Natsu Yasumi (Summer Holiday), Kawasemi (Kingfisher) or Take no Ko (Bamboo Shoot). But they were all taken.

Then the choice came down to two available names. Both start with "Bamboo". I don't know why I like it. Perhaps having the name "Bamboo" on my new blog gives it a more subtle, Japanese touch to it.

It was either Take Zao (Bamboo Pole) or Take no Izumi (Bamboo Springs). In the end, I eliminated the name Take Zao from my option because of:

  1. I want to have the kana No (の) which enables readers to differentiate my blog from thinking that it is written in Mandarin.
  2. "Take no Izumi" has a nicer ring to the ears than "Take Zao".
  3. The name "Take Zao" itself has an initial of TZ which, if used as a blog title, would seem too deliberated (if you understand whom what I'm referring to..hehe)
So now I have four blogs in four languages (the other one, Jakarta Hijau is not really an individually authored blog). Under the danger of being one of those bloggers who have created too many blogs in the blogosphere (but rarely write any post at all), I promise I would do my best to ensure that there will be at least one post every month for all four of them.

Now that the introduction to "Take no Izumi" is done, please drop by for a visit in my Japanese blog!


Indo-lyric: Takkan Terganti (Marcell)

English translation:

Can never be replaced

Been alone for a long time
In these quiet steps
I'd never have guessed that in the end
You're no longer by my side

Reff 1
As time comes and goes
Even if you're no longer there
Nothing could ever change me
You're the only one in these corners of my heart

Reff 2
Only you
Who can make me fall and love
You're more than merely beautiful
Bcoz you can never be replaced

I'd never have guessed that in the end
Your promises and mine would cross each other

Back to Reff 1, Reff 2 2x

You can never be replaced

Original lyric in Indonesian:

Telah lama sendiri
Dalam langkah sepi
Tak pernah kukira bahwa akhirnya
Tiada dirimu di sisiku

Reff 1
Meski waktu datang dan berlalu
Sampai kau tiada bertahan
Semua takkan mampu mengubahku
Hanyalah kau yang ada di relungku

Reff 2
Hanyalah dirimu
Mampu membuatku jatuh dan mencinta
Kau bukan hanya sekedar indah
Kau tak akan terganti

Tak pernah ku duga bahwa akhirnya
Tergugat janjimu dan janjiku

Kembali Reff 1, Reff 2 2x

Kau tak akan terganti

*(as requested by a friend)


illusion never dies!

What do you say....how do I look now, darling?


Indo-Lesson 4: Defining "alay", "lebay" and other Indonesian argots

It has been more than two years since I last wrote a post on Indonesian language lessons. Today I'm reviving it. I'll be having it on occassions, so you could expect to read on Indonesian language every once in a while.

What is "alay"?

Today I will discuss four new Indonesian argots that has sprung up for the last eight years in Indonesia. I doubt it that these four words would ever appear in the Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia or any Indonesian-English dictionaries.

For the Indonesian diaspora abroad (who either live among expatriate communities or have naturalised themselves into a citizen of their new country), this could also act as a refresher of what new terms are there in Indonesian.

Before I start, I would like to note that all these four Indonesian words had their birth in Jakarta (mostly among Jakartan youths), before they spread throughout the country through the influence of soap operas or internet.

adj. has the quality of being corny or not funny, usu. refers to a joke

I honestly could not recall when it first sprung, but I remember using the word as early as primary school.

Hence it would be around year 2000-2001.

Example sentence:

Jayus banget sih lo (least formal usage)
Tidak lucu sekali anda (most formal usage)
How corny you are (definition in English)

n. female prostitute

When I was a part of the Indonesian diaspora in Singapore, we spoke Indonesian everyday, but without any influence of new street talks that appeared in Jakarta. I myself came to knew this word after I asked a girl friend I just met when I got back from Singapore in year 2007.

I knew, I should've asked somebody else, that was too bloody naïve of me...haha.

Hence I could recall exactly when this word first appeared: Year 2006.

I don't think that I would need an example sentence for this one (just figure it out yourself), but one thing for sure, this vulgarity is not a euphemism. It carries a softer connotation than its synonym perek, but a harder one than its standard Indonesian term pelacur. For a proper euphemism, it would be PSK or Pekerja Seks Komersial.

adj. has the quality of being excessive, usu. refers to a story, personality or personal appearance

This word first sprung around year 2007 or 2008. Can either refer to a drama queen, someone who is constantly jayus, or anyone else who has the habit of taking things to an excessive effect. Usually used in a humourous context.

Example sentence:

Gue enggak pernah ketemu orang selebay lo (least formal usage)
Aku tidak pernah ketemu orang yang terlalu berlebihan seperti kamu (most formal usage)
I've never met anyone as excessive as you are (definition in English)

adj. describes the kind language that is too informal that is disdained by even most Indonesians nowadays, usu. refers to written language;
n. a person with shabby appearance and of uneducated impression, mostly refers to male who fits the description

This word first appeared in year 2008.

Now it is a well-known fact that Indonesians use slangs much more than speakers of other languages. For example, there are tons of variants of how Indonesians say "you" in daily basis. While in English it's either "You" or "U" in SMS language; Indonesians can say anda, kamu, lo, elo, lu, elu, mu and each regions also carry a different word while they mix it with the standard Indonesian (such as ngana in Northern Sulawesi or ci in Bali).

So what is defined as an alay language? It usually refers to the daily Indonesian slangs that have deformed into such a way that even most Indonesians themselves could not bear reading.

Back to the word "you", which in the most common occurence is used as kamu. In an acceptable form, it can only be contracted into kmu or km.

But writers of alay language does not care about contraction. They only want to "embellish" their language by carrying it to the excess. From kamu, they deform it into kmoh or kmuh or cmo.

Barely understandable, eh?

Now if that does not seem bad enough to you, wait till it gets combined together with other similarly deformed words within a sentence.

The acceptable slang for sayang would be a contracted one, such as syg or syng.

But an alay never dies. They embellish it into...guess what? Chayank.

Hence because of those alays, there are now "castes" in Indonesian language, with them being on the bottom caste:

ak chayank bgt dech ma kmoh (alay version)
ak syg bgt dh ma km (ordinary SMS usage)
aku sayang banget deh sama kamu (standard everyday usage)
aku sayang sekali padamu (most formal usage)
I really love you (definition in English)

An alay sentence does not even has to be exactly the same sentence like the one above. For an excessively alay usage, it can go as far as the alay creativity goes, sometimes with a mixture between small and large fonts:

aK chAyank bangGetz dech ama kmohh!
ak Synk bgtz dech ma kMuww!
etc. etc. The list goes on...

Pardon me if those examples above may not be totally representative of an alay language, because they are examples that I had invented myself (despite me never having used such a lingo).

They should consider creating an Indonesian alay-ness contest, seeing how far those alays could go in making those so-called creative sentences.

Nowadays there has been a purge regarding an alay language in Facebook and Twitter, with people --young and old alike-- deleting their friends who regularly use alay terminologies when posting their status.

I reserve my comment on this ongoing purge.

For the second definition of alay as a noun, it refers to a person who does not appear well in public and/or does not communicate in a way of an educated urbanite. A slightly politer euphemism than kampungan, but not a good description to use notwithstanding.

Now what do I mean by "a person who does not appear well in public"? It is usually a combination of having a lanky appearance, dressed in shabby or gang clothes and having tattoes piercings like preman or other street vagabonds do.. Or it can also refer to a person whose body is of a sturdy built, yet constantly perspire and have unpleasant body odours.


That's all for today. I hope this post has enlightened you all (who might have come here after typing "define alay" in Google), and if you have any questions, feel free to post it here on the Comments section below.


The day she and I died together

by Toshi

And so we kissed. We kissed like we never had before...I saw her tear ducts overflowing until she finally pulled herself away from me.

"I have always loved you", she whispered half-gaspingly.

"And I you" I started getting teary-eyed on my own, "I'm sorry it has to end like this, my love..."

Then she took one of those pills on the plate she prepared herself and swallowed the cyanide capsule. Within seconds she vomited blood and dropped to the floor, a scene I could not bear to see.

It took me full ten minutes before I finally regained composure of myself. The heavy artillery was still booming outside the walls.

It had been decades since I last cried like this...since the day my mother died.

With heavy sobbing, I took her body and laid her neatly on the sofa.

It didn't took me any longer than a minute before I reached my own .9 mm on the small table next to me, pointed it towards my mouth, and pulled the trigger.


I fell onto a large hall that seems like a vast court with white tiles, with my head hitting the floor first. Strangely enough it didn't hurt.

Everything was white: the tiles and the walls I can see from yonder.

I looked up and saw a cypress desk with a huge Swastika engraving right in front of me..is that my desk?

There is a blonde-haired woman in red tuxedo behind it, sitting on my chair, writing on notebooks with a lightning speed. As she finished one notebook, she piled it up with a piling mound of notebooks she dumped on the floor.

She didn't even seem to notice me, despite us being the only two human beings in the room.

I stood up and realized that I was wearing my own uniform. Hey, that's pretty neat.

"Excuse me, young lady", as I spoke to her nicely, "but where is the restroom?"

She glanced up from one of the notebooks she was writing on.

"Restroom?" she frowned, "you really think you have a need for that anymore, huh?"

I ignored her sarcasm, "so what place is this? And why are you on my desk, young lady?"

"I only conjure up images with whatever stuff you are familiar with. And this is the gate of heaven"

"Heaven? So you guys actually exist, eh? The God and the angels and all those hogwash?"

"We are not hogwash"

"I mean, yes you do exist, but I've always thought you were invented by the Vatican so they can control the world"

"Regardless of what you think of us, we are who we are", she responded tersely. She does not seem happy with my last statement.

I wanted to say another word but she held her hands to hush my word, "Okay Adolf, you are...outstanding. I haven't seen like you before...well, at least not under my assessment"

She spoke in a matter-of-factly tone and called me with my first name, Adolf. How disparaging of her, how dare she! Not even my wife Eva has ever called me in such a way!

I wanted to slam the table and strangle her but I don't think there is much point of doing that now.

"Where is Eva?"

"She is being assessed by another angel as we speak"

"So you're an angel? I thought you had wings"

"As I said, I can conjure up whatever imagery that my assessed subjects are comfortable with"

"So is she gonna make it too?"

"What do you mean, make it too?"

"You know..across the gates"

Then she laughed. How annoying, if only I can order one of my subordinates to shoot her.

"As you see, Adolf... When I said that you're outstanding, I meant your sins" she explained while the residue of her laugh still remained on her face.

"But I'm a hero for my fatherland Germany"

"You're a hero? You killed a multitude of civilians without any sort of mercy"

"They loved me"

"They don't. A small portion does love you, but most of the rest, they're only afraid of you"

"But they're Jews and Gypsies and crippled and homosexuals, surely they have no right to live?"

"Whether or not they have the right to live is not yours to decide"

This angel's voice was calm, much calmer than the voice of Eva when she was in my embrace. Ah, the old glory days...

"Anyway, you're going back to the earth, being reborn one hundred times as some randomly-picked subjects of your egregious treatment. Then you will be reasessed after your one-hundredth death whether or not you deserve hell"

"So...there is a chance I can make it to heaven, too?"


"What do you mean by deserving hell, then?"

"Your soul is too corrupted to even pass through. It would be lucky for you to even go to hell. But before that, you have to experience some of the worst hells you created yourself on earth. If you don't pass these assessments, we will simply let you perish"

I said nothing, silenced by the heavy air she was bringing with her tone.

"Your first rebirth would be as a male named Yishak Goldberg, born in November 1929 at Gdansk, Poland" as she wrote the statement down in one of the opened notebooks lying on her desk. And by her desk, I meant my desk.

That name sounds filthy enough.

"I don't want to be born as a Jew"

"I'm sorry Mein Führer" she spoke to me softly in a sarcastic tone as she stood up from my chair and walked towards me with her red stiletto tapping heavily on the floor, "but you have no authority here"

She was about to raise her left hand and tap me on my shoulder but I wanted to ask one more question.



"Does my wife Eva make it to the heaven?"

"She will be having some long assessments too with rebirths, but yes, she has the possibility of entering paradise"

Ah. At least she's okay. Watch for me when you're up there, my love...

"Get ready now", she smiled.

Then she clapped and everything went black.


Which languages show my mood...

Little did I realise that my language preference in writing shows my mood.

I tend to use English solely for two reasons: I want my writings to be understood by the widest audience as possible or I am too lazy to use any other languages.

I relate Indonesian to my childhood and my past, especially since most of the latter part of my life is dominated with English, both in speaking and writing. Hence the childlike way of thinking that most readers can associate when reading.

I write in French when I am being highly emotional, sentimental, or dramatic.

When "love is in the air" or I am simply being filled with nostalgia, I use French.

My Mom (who is a good conversant of French herself) pointed this out to me how my French blog tends to be much more expressive and has less inhibitions.

Now... what about my newly picked language...German?

I haven't been studying the language long enough to say anything about its association with my mood. But a coarse language it is. Most of these days, when I am in a bad mood and just want to say "F*** off, world", I use German.

Not necessarily swearing in the language, but simple everyday sentences in German are enough to show how much I am feeling apathetic and indifferent to the outside world.

Which probably explains why am I so crazed up about German these days.


February as the coldest month

Indeed, February is the coldest month of the year for us in the Northern hemisphere. It did get below -15 C several days ago.

Tropical earthlings conjure up the image of December being the coldest...but what a foolery. Only the later part of December actually belongs to the Winter season.

Most of the time, it does not even snow during Christmas.


When Western celebs speak non-English language fluently

Trivial Fact of The Day: Nelly Furtado speaks fluent Hindi.

Surprising, ain't it?

I stumbled on a clip on Youtube where Sandra Bullock performs a speech in a nigh flawless German when it suddenly occurs to me:

Hey, which other West celebs can speak non-English language fluently?

The only language we ever heard them speaking on TV and news and theatres is English, de facto the only legal language allowed in Hollywood.


If you see Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking German, it won't be much of a surprise, considering his Austrian background.

But Kobe Bryant speaking Italian? Now that's one to ponder.

So my OCD took me into a bit of a google researching.

And found out some more multilingual Western celebs and the other language(s) they are fluent in:

Al Gore – Spanish
Alanis Morissette – French
Ashley Judd – French
Bill Clinton – German
Charlize Theron – Afrikaans
Christiane Amanpour – Farsi
Claudia Schiffer – French
Clint Eastwood – Italian
Colin Powell – some Yiddish
Condoleezza Rice – Russian
Emma Watson – some French
Hugh Grant – French
Jane Fonda – French
Jennifer Connelly – Italian and French
Jodie Foster – French
Johnny Depp – French
Kelly Clarkson – Greek
Leonardo diCaprio - German
Monica Bellucci – Italian, French, Spanish
Morgan Freeman – French
Mother Teresa – Albanian, Serbo-Croat, Bengali, Hindi
Natalie Portman – Hebrew, some French, German, Japanese and Spanish
Nelly Furtado – Portuguese, Hindi
Pope Benedict XVI – German, Italian, French, Spanish, Latin
Queen Elizabeth II – French
Renée Zellweger – German
Roger Federer – German, French
Salma Hayek – Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese
Shakira – Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic
Sidney Poitier – Russian
Tony Blair – French
Will Smith – Spanish


I'm 16

Very young, ay?

But it's true.

Whenever I'm asked my age and I tell them that I'm 20, they always put a questioning face, "Really?"

Once I even jokingly showed my ID to an Army guy whom I just met at the mall, just to prove to him that I really am not lying that I am 20.

I would love to think this is one sort of compensation that God is giving me for the years I spent in idle...because in America, I'm always thought of by people as being several years younger than I really am.

Is it my voice?

Nope, my voice doesn't sound childlike.

Perhaps it is due to the Asian features on my face.

Some of you in Indonesia might think that I'm thought of as being younger due to my body size.

But nah.

In American standards, my body may be categorised as thin, but I definitely am not short.

As I don't have a measuring tape, I don't know how tall I am now. But rarely do I actually meet any boy between 18 to 22 years of age who is significantly taller than I am.

Especially when in church, when the attendees stand up, I can clearly see and count how many people who are taller than me.

Not many, I say.

A friend at work told me about my advantages of looking younger. She said, "When you reach 30, it will be easier for you to get a much younger wife".

I only laughed it off.


A rainy winter

The concept may sound incompatible to some of you tropical beings..but yes, it does not always snow on Winter.

It rains too.

[Physics 101 here: Snow is what you get when it rains while the outside temperature is constantly below 0 C for several hours]

Depending on the outside temperature (which can rise from -5 to 5 C in a matter of hours), you can see all snow on your garden in the morning and see all of them completely gone melted by noon.

It didn't even snow on Christmas here, since the temperature barely goes below 1 C.

So now that I can have either rain or snow during winter, which one do I prefer?

I'd rather have snow.

When it snows, it can get very cold to -11 C, but at least you don't get wet while walking outside in the cold.

While having a milder temperature of 8 C is a trite if you consider how the rain can get your feet and denim soaking wet, thus increasing your body's vulnerability to outside chill.

Sleet (partially frozen rain) is what they call it.

Yikes. I'd rather hear the word "guillotine".


Explaining radicalism: it's not really about religion after all

Whenever I mention my Indonesian heritage to the folks here, questions pop out.

Of course, they're curious. Unfortunately, the Indonesia they know are indeed the Indonesia they see on CNN..which is the 'hellish' Indonesia.

Some softened version of Indonesia is also known...the Indonesia they see drowning by the tsunami.


I even remember someone asking me if I ever have to live in fear because of the bombings on Jakarta streets. To which I laughed.

One question comes out often, and I felt that it deserved a good explanation.

"Those fanatics you have there...why do they have so much hatred towards the West? How can they be so blinded by their religious doctrines?"

So I explained to them.

That when it comes down to the basics, it's not really about religion after all. And definitely not about hating the West in the first place.

It's about poverty.

Of the 240 million people in Indonesia, around 85% is Muslim and only less than 1% of that number is actually composed of radicals.

And from those 1% so-called "radicals", only from a very small number can we find the ""radicals" who truly believe in their cause. Like those with more gifted brains such as Amrozi or Imam Samudra.

A huge proportion of the rest do not even believe in the radicalised ideology. I daresay that even if one day the European Union or USA decided to give scholarship to all of their children, they would gladly accept it without questioning.


That huge proportion, who formed a majority of the so-called "radicals", live in poverty. They have family, live in small villages or earn mediocre wages working odd jobs or harvesting during these unpredictable seasons, and there isn't much glory to live for.

They just earn money today in order to bring that sesuap nasi (spoonful of rice) to the dinner table by dusk.

Just like them, their sons don't even finish the mandatory first nine years of schooling, and their descendants are doomed to live the lives like they had.

Until the day when the "recruiters" come...asking them to join a cause to fight for. A cause to die for.

Bombing malls and Western embassies or help the insurgents in Afghanistan, why not?

After all, there isn't much to thank the Western culture. They don't own a Toyota and their childrens don't have a Nike or a Blackberry or an iPod like their city counterparts do. If anything, the portrayal of Hollywood glamours only enhance what the "recruiters" say about how corrupted the West can be...while they have to struggle to live day by day.

Furthermore, by dying for that cause, they can become a martyr. Possibly bringing more spotlight to their impoverished villages and get the attention they are seeking.

Ironic, ain't it?

So it has always been the religion that gets the blame.

And I tell people, that it's not really about the religion after all.


The yearning to speak Indonesian

I miss speaking the language.

If only at least, I could speak Indonesian with someone here.

And by saying "someone", I mean someone I can meet in real life, not online where I can only chat thru the monitor. Or thru phone call where I have to pay a hefty sum for my call balance.

"Someone" I can meet face-to-face and have a cup of tea with.

You know, as do all most newcomers to America who come from elsewhere, there is always a part of their heritage that they can still link to.

The Japanese newcomers in San Fransisco and Seattle can always find fellow Japanese there.

Italian speakers can always find anyone who speaks Italian when they come to New York City.

Pakistanis and Indians can always find their fellow people working in a grocery store or a minimart in all cities throughout the country.

And Mexicans...ah, don't ask. They're scattered everywhere in all industries, just like the Filipinos.

While it is a known fact that there is no Indonesian community here (except that one in Philadelphia), Indonesians have one common attribute when they come to the country:

A large proportion of them come to live in a big city and bring their family or come in to live close by to a friend.

While me?

Nope, no family. Unfair, I am one rare specimen. I just heard the news that Uncle R most likely won't be coming back to the USA too.

Gee. I thought he and I could live together once he's done with his business over there, if not close by.

No Indonesian friend nor family.

I believe that there is even not a single person who can understand Indonesian within a radius of 200 kilometres from Florence, because in order to find an Indonesian interpreter, one has to go to the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

What about an Indonesian restaurant?

There was one in Cincinnati, Ohio (where a plate of nasi goreng was sold for $17). Until last September, when the owner decided to relocate to Bali for good.

There is absolutely nothing in the region to link me with my Indonesian heritage, save for the internet.

Sad, ay?

I know..I'm exiled from any Indonesian links.

So I have made it a habit that when I send my prayers to God, I pray in Indonesian. I used to pray in English all the time when I was in Indonesia, but now that I can only speak English (or sometimes French) on a daily basis, I realised that God is perhaps the only single being left who can understand my native tongue.

And I also sing in Indonesian every now and then. Just sing out loud the known popular songs by Chrisye, Bunga Citra Lestari, Nidji, Letto, Gita Gutawa, Sheila on 7, Audy...


kinda lonely

picture courtesy of http://onherway.tumblr.com
I am waiting here
feeling kinda lonely..so will you..
accompany me?


100 things to do before I die

Ambitions, desires, dreams, obsessions, you name it. I'll be visiting this post from time to time, to cross out which items I have completed with the completion date next to it. I wish God would grant me a life long enough to achieve all these (^_^)

1. Travel by Eurail
2. Continue learning piano
3. Obtain Master's degree
4. Visit New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland
5. Taste a Swiss wine from its local vineyards
6. Be entirely fluent in six languages
7. Watch Czech Philharmonic Orchestra live
8. Author a book
9. Participate in a Shinto pilgrimage
10. Have an American road trip from coast to coast
11. Date a French (or French-speaking) girl
12. Take kendo lessons
13. Have an audience with the Pope (or at least attend his Vatican mass)
14. Watch a FIFA World Cup match live
15. Live in a European country for at least two years
16. Ride a camel in a Middle eastern country
17. Exile myself to a Tibetan monastery in Mongolia
18. Lower my handicap in golf
19. Go on a cruise
20. Master the art of solving Rubik's cube
21. Obtain a deep diver's certificate
22. Ride a gondola in Venice
23. Milk a cow
24. Have read at least 1,000 books during entire lifetime
25. Have watched at least 3,000 movies during entire lifetime
26. Have visited at least 50 countries during entire lifetime
27. Ski in the alps
28. Go without watching TV for 90 days straight
29. Have a passive-income job
30. Stay in a Tokyo capsule hotel with my girlfriend/wife
31. Take ice-skating lessons
32. Try fencing
33. Take salsa lessons
34. Go on a helicopter ride
35. See the fjords of Norway
36. Work for a travel magazine
37. Swim in the largest swimming pool in the world in Chile
38. Get married
39. Be a regular blood donor
40. Audition for Amazing Race
41. Stay with a jungle tribe
42. Create a trust fund
43. Swim with dolphins
44. Be a groomsman at a friend's wedding
45. Become a vegetarian for a week
46. Grow bonsai tree
47. Join a bowling league
48. Stay in an Indian ashram
49. Go to a St. Patrick's Day parade
50. Learn how to make sushi
51. Sleep under the stars for three nights straight
52. Adopt an accent for an entire week
53. Own a gun
54. (...will jot down more as soon as I get new ideas to fill in)


How's Friendster?

I was bored and I opened my Friendster account. Check it out, they have a funky layout today.

It's just that there ain't much difference in its features, no wonder most people's Friendster accounts are mostly dead these days.

Anyway, I happened to sift thru some of my old comments (or "testimonials", as they used to call them in the early days) and it indeed brings back some nostalgia.

And that old lingo I use with her. It used to be what my girl friends call "normal" but hey, since when did it actually change to its present state?


on Writing in French

In an unusual way, I find writing in French in my other blog to have a meditative effect.

Relaxing, I say.

Writing in English (which is primarily for this blog) is only done when I want to be understood by the outside world. When I want my voice heard.

Or perhaps I'm just feeling too lazy to write in any other languages.

But writing in French gives me the freedom to "write as if nobody's reading", because it's true...none of my peers and folks in Indonesia reads it anyway. Other than the obvious fact that I need to practice my mediocre French too.

Which is the reason why I did not lock it for outsiders.


Signs that communism is flourishing in Indonesia (or is it Neo-nazism?)

It has been making quite a news lately of how the Indonesian Attorney General office just announced a fresh ban list of five titles. One of them has something to do with the leader and his scandal in a bank.


The populace by large claims that communism is incompatible with Indonesia — what with the religious shit they have and all — but they're not mature in implementing values of democracy themselves.

Or perhaps it is neo-Nazism.

One need not look far to ask for an evidence...what do Indonesians think of the Jews? Surprisingly, you'll find that they agree with Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele much more than the Germans do nowadays.

Indonesians "love" the Jews.

Because even today, most Indonesians tend to see Holocaust as a mere exaggeration by Israel in order to rouse sympathy. They even shut down the sole synagogue that exists in Indonesia.

Heil Hitler, then.


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