Hi, Readers… !!

While I enjoyed a nice time here, I wholeheartedly embraced the chance of having my blog in my own site.  Oh, it’s been a while since I want one.. 🙂  I will more and more post in my new blog starting from today.  Bit by bit, I am planning to leave this one as a keepsake only.

I can’t thank you enough for your supports in whatever ways in this blog.  But it’s not farewell, isn’t it ?  Please do come and color my world in my site at http://fajarjasmin.com , you are more than welcome ! 🙂

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Some of you may already knew that I started a Facebook Group called Indonesia 1.5.  In this post I am going to share my philosophy behind it.

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You surely have heard of a well-known myth that human only uses 10 % of his brain, haven’t you ?  This is what inspired me.  Although recently this myth has been increasingly challenged, even the skeptics admit that at most of the time only 5 % of the brain neurons are active.

Now, translated into an equation this would look something like this :

1 h = 5 % of b,

where h = human being,

and b = brain

What I mused about is if we somehow to refuse to abide by the 5 % limit, and look to transcend it instead, we would end up being something more than just an ordinary human.  In fact, a logician will tell you that derived from the above equation, it then follows that :

7.5 % of b = 1.5 h

Now, of course real life is not mathematics.  Otherwise, the richest person in the world will be a mathematician and not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.  However, if you look beyond it, you’ll get my point, which is : You will end up to be a better person than population on average, IF you constantly challenge yourself in thinking and doing something out of the box.  What better way, indeed, to do yourself a favor ?

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In fact, I believe that at least in Indonesia, this laziness to think is the demon that keeps a lot of potentially great minds on a leash.  Most of the people are very easy to surrender to difficult circumstances, – sometimes without even a second of brainstorming or pondering the alternatives.  I don’t know about you, but I’m saddened by thisNOT because I’m better than them, but because I believe that we could do a lot more if we’re willing to think.  Please be noticed that I refer to "thinking" as a deliberate activity that can be trained, not just your usual unconscious daily process.  A good authority on this would be Edward de Bono, – renowned for his Lateral Thinking.

Just how exactly I’m going to achieve such lofty goal ?  I could almost hear some of you skeptically ask that question… :)  Simple.  I am going to propose we do it by giving back to society in unusual methods.  In the process, I hope that we’re going to engage in a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, – and thus grow to be better persons.  Nothing easy, but start small, and before long, together we can move mountains.

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For those of you in Indonesia who shares the same opinion and would like to help the unfortunate part of society, you are very much welcome to join our humble group here.  Looking forward to see you…!! 🙂

<WRITER’S UPDATE>

First of all, I’m terribly sorry for my long absence from blogging.  As you can see, my last post was written shortly after my son was diagnosed with autism, and real life’s frantic business had sort of taken over ever since.  I won’t bore you with my trials and tribulations, so without further ado, here’s my newest post.

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When I first heard that I have HIV, my mind inevitably explored the questions of death and dying.  Oh, I had my time of grief and anger, believe me, but after a month or so, I just decided to move on.  After all, I am still alive, which means there’s nothing to cry about just yet.

As months go by, I got increasingly fascinated by the idea of legacy.  I just keep on pondering about what values am I passing on to my closest ones.  What sparked my brain into this issue is the unlikeliest source of all : a noir, bloody comic book.  Sin City, to be precise.

Sin City is a black and white comic book telling a story of a fictional city in West America, complete with its hero and villains.  A brainchild of Frank Miller, I enjoyed reading this masterpiece which was adapted into a movie by the same title at 2005 by none other than Quentin Tarantino.  It was when I was reading this comic series that my eyes got stuck into an eulogy written by Miller for Jack Kirby, – a juggernaut and virtuoso in comic book industry and Miller’s personal mentor, who passed away in 1994.  One sentence just refused to leave my mind until this day, "I have a little bit of warning to St. Peter.  Watch out, Jack is coming, heaven is gonna be a lot more exciting !" ( I might have paraphrased a bit here )

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Now I feel that while I refuse to entertain the idea that I will leave this earth soon, I still think that I need to leave some important legacy for my family.  What are the things that should be passed on ?  I doubt that they are money, cash, riches or other tangible inheritances.  Instead, I believe positive values are what should be imprinted deep enough to inspire our next generation.  And no, don’t think that I’m being grandiose here.  Everybody has their own "next generation", so to speak.  For me, it’s going to be my children.

All that said, I want to be remembered as a man who lived life to the fullest.  I want my children to remember me as someone who got beaten, but did not give up.  I want them to learn perseverance.  I want my life to inspire them in such a way that they will take that one more step when the road get foggiest.  I want them to have a profound faith that someone up there is taking a good care of them.

Oh, before any of you will protest, I know that I’m not a best person to illustrate this concept of tenacity. :)  Don’t get me wrong, I want to leave a legacy of perseverance not because I’m the best person in the world who embodies this idea, but rather because I want to continue to strive to persevere on life’s troubles.  In the process, I hope that I’ll do enough to illustrate my point that when you refuse to give in, the light in the end of the tunnel is indeed reachable.

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I am reluctant to talk about my personal troubles, but I’m going to close the post by a couple of news from my life which I hope will stress my point. 

  • On August 2008, I needed to find a new roof for my family because the old place’s rent ran out.  I had no money and resources whatsoever to do that, but when I threw away my pride and asked a long-lost friend for a help, the help did come.
  • On September 2008, we still have some excess obligations from the move, and my wife received an extra blessing which happened to be precisely in the amount we need, down to the last penny.
  • I am very aware that to prepare for my family’s future, I have to start my own business soon, no matter how small.  Nothing definite yet, but at the time when I wrote this, another long-lost friend suddenly popped out of the blue and asked to meet me to discuss the idea of starting our own business.

Those examples may spell divine providence at the first glance.  But one thing I learnt is, divine providence will come for those who persevere.  As they say, "God will help those who help themselves"…

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So remember this, – Indigo, Imogen and Illarion -, don’t you ever, ever give up in everything.  Not once, not always.  Life is only as bleak as you permit it to be.  Heaven never is.  The sun will continually shine in its perpetual warmthYou all just move on, it is in dawn where night is the darkest…..

What, my reader, will you pass on ??

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This post is dedicated to Feliciano Rahardjo, a dear friend with a big heart.  You know who you are, Pal…!!

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Dear Indigo,

It’s lousy, isn’t it ?  This thing we call life.

Somebody once said, “Life’s a bitch, because if it’s a slut, then it would be easy..”  I laughed at that time, but now I am finding it hard to understand what’s so funny about it.

It all began when earlier this year I, – your father, was positively confirmed beyond doubt that I have HIV.  Courtesy of some bad choices that I made in the past, my body had finally succumbed to the harsh realities.

You know what’s hard about it, Son ?  It’s not the fact that I am suffering.  Or even dying, for that matter.  No.  It’s because I may not be there on your graduation day.  It’s because I may not sit there on the couch, waiting for you to introduce me to your first girlfriend.  And it’s because I may not stand beside your mother, posing for some family picture, carrying your first-born child on my hand.

At that time, I thought I passed it.  I mistakenly believed that my grief is over, safely sealed, so I can get on with life and prepare to what I can do to make our family’s circumstances better before my time comes.  And boy, was I wrong.

For one day before my birthday, at the 11th of July, you were confirmed to have autism.  Why so, in the name of the God that I worship ?  Why you ? How many more blows have I to take ?  And why should my family bear the legacy of my sins ?

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As I write this, Son; my eyes are filled with tears. Your condition hit me much harder than my disease.  Come to think about it, I just can’t comprehend the hard realities you’ll have to face, the confusion you’ll have to bear and the wounds that will inevitably come your way.

I can go on and on about this.  Yet I know that I have to worry hurry and get to my point.  For I really do not know when will you read this.  Will I still be around then ?  I simply can not predict what happens.

Here’s my message.  Your father was a scoundrel.  My life was a blatant embodiment of the word “joyride”, marked by  short, thrilling bursts of brilliance, but followed by  sharp and sickening downward turns.  Hence the consequences that I have to bear afterwards.

I want you to understand, Son, that I’m sorry it happened that wayI apologize that I’m not the man I can potentially be.  I beg your forgiveness that I do not have even half of the life that I previously planned for you and the family.

But am I implying that not for one moment you should live recklessly like that ?  Not at all.  Because by now, you should have some idea that I am not your unusual next-door-dad.  On the contrary, I want you to live life to the fullest and inhale its exhilarating draughts.  The only difference I want you to strive for is Victory.  In the end, I want you to overcome the world and whatever life has in store for you.  Oh, you may need to bear your battle scars, but they will be like some shining badges of courage that are there for you to be proud of.

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It’s sickening how grief can break you.  That’s why I want to close this short letter in a positive tone.

Don’t be afraid, my dear Indigo.  I do not have any plan to leave this world soon.  I know that I have no idea when will I depart to answer His call ; – but to combine Bon Jovi and The Psalms -,  “until I’m 6-feet under, I’m gonna live while I’m alive”, for “this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it”

And when finally I’m not beside you at whatever point in your life, just take a look around, and find me in every bright rays of sunlight, every unusual forms of cloud, every extraordinarily shiny flowers, and every summer rain.  If you look hard enough, perhaps I’ll even be there in some lousy notes of Debbie Gibson’s songs ( your mom hates her, by the way ).

Whatever it is, rest assured that I will not abandon you.  Alive or not, I’ll slay whatever dragons come your way.  Come what may…..

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( On January 2008, the writer was confirmed to have HIV.  His son, to whom this post is addressed and dedicated, is declared to have autism 7 months afterwards )

Being a writer who spends a lot of his time in front of the computer, I make a heavy use of Internet for research purpose.  Lately, with the genesis of so-called Web 2.0, I enthusiastically made a plunge into it with networking as a goal in mind.

One of the newest social network that I joined is Plurk.  This post is not meant to explain what Plurk is, but rather to elaborate my personal experience in using it, – and yes, my strange, incoherent ramblings about it.

Assuming that you as the readers are already familiar with Plurk and its concept, let me first state that so far I’ve been involved in a love/hate relationship with it.  What started out as an ordinary but excellent way to network with people suddenly soured when some “buddies” made jokes about HIV.  Oh, I know that some of them didn’t actually meant it, because they didn’t made jokes directly about HIV itself, but rather what the acronym stands for.  Still, for me it showed a lack of respect to other people who may have it.  This is described best by the following arguments of one of the people when I stated my objection ( Note : I paraphrased, and names are omitted ) :

( Me ) :  Please respect other people. By making a joke of the HIV acronym, you are making light of other people’s trouble.  How would you feel if somebody said a joke about what C.I.N.A. stands for ?

( X ) : CINA ! If I’m a Javanese, should I be offended if somebody said a Javanese jokes.  Will I be that retarded ? Sheesh !!

At this point, I was really angry. But that’s all in the past.  All I said was that : No, Mr. X, you don’t have to be offended …  But I’ll be damned if that means that I can tell Javanese jokes as much as I like.  You may not be angry, but I have to think about million other Javanese others who may well have finer feelings than you do.

But I digress.  It’s just an illustration of how Plurk made me feel.  Good potential, but also comes with considerable shortcomings in the same package.  I blame it on their Karma system.  While understandably it’s an excellent way to induce traffic to their site; at some points it may excite some otherwise-idle users to gain Karma by making meaningless and disturbing plurks.

The way is now paved.  Following are what I muse about Plurk.

  1. Fibonacci numerical sequence never fails to fascinate and frustrate me at the same time. Fascinating in its beauty, but frustrating in its complexity.  This is also exactly the way Plurk makes me feel now.  It’s pretty, in the sense of quality contents scattered here and there, the neat way of timeline presentation and also the greater intimacy you get in the conversational thread ( rather than just replying in the generic timeline a la Twitter ).  It’s also frustrating because all that appealing benefits are sometimes so rare and clouded by the junks.  In fact, from time to time I do feel that searching for good plurks is akin to looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack.
  2. That being said, I think Plurk is an excellent portrayal of our society condition.  When I protested about some aforementioned offensive plurks, I couldn’t help but think : maybe this is just the way our society is….  Maybe, just maybe, our world ( read : country ) has indeed grown so selfish and shameless to gain self-indulgence ( read : karma ) at the expense of other people’s feelings.  And if it indeed is a good place where I can stare at the most graphic and descriptive ( however brutal ) picture of our culture, then I have a really excellent tool for research.. !
  3. But the ultimate reason why I still love Plurk until now is that for me, Plurk is a honest and actual manifestation of deconstructionism.  You see, as I man, I am not perfect and never will be.  Plurk forces me to consider some issues and values I would not even think to challenge otherwise.  For instance, this question popped out in my mind :  Does it really matter what other people think about your condition ?  Does it really matter if for them, it’s nothing serious ?.  And I have to say that, in answering them, indeed I am pushed to think hard and grope deep inside myself.  In the end, similar to the greatest appeal of Deconstructionism as a school of thought; Plurk holds a potential of making a person a better man… !

So there you go… Rather incoherent, isn’t it ? I told you… But I really am till struggling to understand this weird animal.  All I can say is, if you roll Fibonacci, social portrayal and deconstructionism into one; you’ll surely end up with a creature that is ( as Mr. Joe Satriani likes to put it ) strange / beautiful.  I don’t know about you, but I surely am enjoying myself watching and playing with it… ! 🙂

EURO 2008 PREDICTION : France v. Romania

 

This post was mainly made because one of my online friend, snydez, challenged me to publish my precictions for Euro 2008 matches.  OK, fair enough, I call your challenge, buddy :).

 

Without further ado, this is my prediction for France v. Romania match tonight :  France will win, but Romania will score a goal.  Let me elaborate.  This will mean that France will win at least by 2-1 score.

 

Now for the reasons.  I always have a love affair with the French national team.  As per today, I think they’re the most complete and balanced team.  They have high football techniques of France and strong physical stance of Germany.  Let’s admit it, not many football teams manage to achieve such balance. 

 

For tonight match, I think they will utilize what they have in beating Romania.  I am aware that Romania is very dangerous, particularly in left wing with Adrian Mutu; but as long as Sagnol is ready to play in the right side of French defense, then life will be hard for him.  Arguably, if football is all about techniques, Romania may win tonight.  But I think France will simply cancel Romania’s creativity by uncompromising pressing and physical battle with the likes of Makalele and maybe, – who knows ?, Viera.

 

Which bring us to the interesting point.  When Romania’s initiative to attack ( because they are the underdogs of the group ) is cancelled, what would happen then ?  This is the spot where Ribery will capitalize.  If all happens like I predicted, this will serve as a pedestal where he can capitalize fully with his vision and flair.  When he does, no matter who play up front for France, be it Benzema, Henry or Anelka may actually score for fun. Hungrily.

Let’s see, what should I blog today ?  Life wasn’t so special lately, excepting that new PC I got as an early birthday present ( I can’t thank you enough, dear Wife.. 🙂 ).

I was bored, actually.  Bored to write, bored to do anything.  In fact, if I can concede to you my readers, I feel that there’s just nothing exciting enough in life anymore.  No, I am not intentionally being morbid.  It’s just that bland taste you got in the tip of your tongue when you just ate something tasteless.

But last week, I was suddenly yanked awake by several strange things happening in Indonesia, our country with which I am engaged in a love/hate relationship.  One of those things, sadly, involved a person closely related to me.

First, there’s this man Joko Susilo Suprapto from Nganjuk, a small town in East Java.  Apparently, he made an outrageous claim to our President that he has the proverbial Midas Touch necessary to turn water into fuel.  Strangely, the President seemed to buy it.  He sent the man away with an order to report back within an agreed-upon period of time.  This came to the news when the man failed to keep the appointment with the President and reportedly went missing, only to be found up lying sick on a hospital bed by ( here comes the interesting part ) Densus 88 : a special counter-terrorism squad of Indonesian army.

Don’t you all agree with me and find it strange ?  No matter how hard I tried, I got a big contradiction in my head.  If this man really can do what he claimed, how come nobody in the world ever heard of him ?  Why did he got dismissed as a con-man when he made a presentation of his “invention” to a prominent, authoritative university in Indonesia ?

On the other hand, if he’s nothing but a complete hoax; how could the First Man of our country buy it at all ?  What made him so important that the President sent a special counter-terrorism squad to guard him ?  For once, I really could not guess at this answer.  By the time I write this, he is still in the recovery process of whatever mysterious disease he is suffering now.  I am waiting in anticipation for the continuation of this story.

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Second thing is the rather more stupid, blatant lie from a man named Achmad Zaini from I-don’t-know-where.  This man claimed that he has fund as much as 18,000 trillion of IDR ( I don’t even bother to calculate the currency conversion to USD ), which would mean 35 times of Indonesia’s country yearly budget !!  He told the media that he gained possession of the fund when he received inheritance from his deceased parents, in the form of bulk gold stored abroad, complete with collateral advantages and all.

This second man did not impress me as much as the first one I mentioned above.  He just disgusted me.  Had what he said is true, he will be richer than Mr. Bill Gates itself !!  He will be the richest man in the whole damn world !!  Are you trying to tell me that you’re that rich, yet somehow keep yourself off from the attention of international media, government and other powerful parties ?  Mr. AZ, you have to invent better lie than that even just to fool a 10-year-old kid !!

But he, indeed, made me angrier.  One of the things he planned to convince people is by staging this so-called press conference in Bandung.  One of the vendors for the said event is my Father-in-law.  I honestly didn’t know when he told me and my wife that he was going to Bandung for some business; that he was dealing with this man.  To cut a long story short, AZ and his cronies just flatly refused to pay his bills due with a lot of excuses.  I don’t care how plausible his excuses may seem to be ( My father-in-law told me that it was because there’s some “technical difficulties” ); if you are that fuckin’ rich, you just don’t hold back any payment that you have to make !!

( Wheew, that was the first time I use a swear word in this blog 🙂 ).  I am so DAMN ANGRY !!  See, another story has it that when the event got dismissed by the police for failing to produce a permit, the person-in-charge ( one of AZ’s team ) was put behind the bars for a while.  Now, my Father-in-law heard that he could buy his way out by paying IDR 10 M ( 10 juta ) in hard cash.  Even THAT was not being taken care of Achmad Zaini, the self-proclaimed Godfather.  How could you let your trusted man suffer like that if you have some money, hey mister ? Don’t let me catch you in the street, I am DAMN INDIGNANT !!

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Thirdly, a well-known successful motivator threw away some crisp bills of money out of a lightweight-airplane in Serang, last Sunday.  There’s really nothing wrong with this.  But I do protest.  As a motivator, he surely understood that there’s nothing motivating in giving people money easily like that.  If our government’s BLT program was being asked by so many people because “it is not educational to give them fish.  Teach them how to fish instead”; then how could you do something like that ?  When I heard this story, my respect for Mr. TDW just fell flat on the ground.  He instantly lost his credibility, I personally reckon.

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That’s about it.  This may not be a nice post to read for some people.  I didn’t even try to make it coherent.  This once, just this once, please allow me to use this blog as a media to vent my frustrations of what happening in Indonesia.  Underline how true is this : Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction !!