Stories from Home + The First Week

Hello people. I'm back. Landed at 11 plus last Sunday night and it has been quite a first week. Before I get to that, let's talk about home. This is going to be a very very long post.

Home was okay, I suppose. My brother has moved permanently back to the house so that was unexpected for me. Met the new niece, Mikaela, and she's small. I think I haven't been around babies for a long time, especially newborns that I didn't realize how small and fragile they are. She was most of the time asleep of all the times I saw her. Can't wait to see her bigger and moving instead of lying down.

Met with the girls of course, though it was only 1 dinner with Emilia. Went with Marlisa and Dewi to a few places which were new to me. I felt how different things are now that all are working. We got to eat in restaurants instead of the usual cheaper places. Of all the places we went, I was delightfully satisfied with 2 places, Death by Chocolate and another one which I think its name was The Honeymoon Dessert. We also went to watch a movie, which we don't normally do. Actually the term watching a movie didn't really apply because we ended up watching different movies. We went to the Blitz Megaplex at Grand Indonesia, which reminded me of The Cathay in Singapore. I'm glad that they took my ideas. It was on a Monday so it was so much cheaper at Rp25.000, which is around S$4. On any other day, it costs Rp 40.000, which is I think less than S$7. I kinda think it was expensive for an Indonesian standard. Sometime I think things in Jakarta are expensive, comparable to Singapore, a sentiment that Osh also shares. It's worse because you don't actually earn much in Jakarta.

Anyways, back to the movies. I wanted to watch I Am Legend and Dewi wasn't leaning towards that, so she and Marlisa watched National Treasure. I thought I Am Legend was okay. It didn't make much impression for me, I wonder if it's because of the noisy other audiences which at one point I had to tell off. I thought Will Smith was cool though. In then end I did watch National Treasure again with my brother (yes, I think everyone was shocked hearing that) and my cousin, Lisa. I finally understood part of the movie. I finally heard that Nicholas Cage actually exclaimed, "The debt that all men pay is: DEATH". Things made sense then. I still loved that movie. Why I ended up watching it was because the options were that, I Am Legend, Mr. Magorium, and Bee Movie. Somehow I couldn't bring myself to watch Bee Movie so I chose National Treasure instead.

I also had a haircut, which was shorter and surprising for many people. My first 2 days back in Singapore was all about the hair *sigh* Everyone was looking at me. The funniest comment was me being so different, like another person, and yet I sounded the same, and the guy felt totally weird about it. I didn't really like it a first, because it was short and weird for me, totally out of the ordinary. At one point, I felt like an indie boy. Surprisingly mom loved it and my cousin, Marlisa, thought it was cool. The haircut was quite expensive for my Indonesian standard at Rp150.000 but it was only 23.80 in singapore dollars. I have to mention that I really think things in Jakarta are not all cheap. It feels strange how my friends back home can manage their lifestyle. They carry 2 mobile phones, several credit cards, in which I pointed to Dewi, doesn't it feel like it's encouraging consumerism? My mom pointed that they don't have rent to pay, hence they can manage that lifestyle. I don't know, maybe things can be cheap there, it's just it feels expensive for me at the surface. Dewi did point out that she didn't carry that lifestyle of eating out in restaurant much, only on occasions like when I'm in town. We did have grown as she pointed out, from our teenagers day of not having much money and having to save pocket money to eat at KFC to now, being able to eat at more expensive places. I hope all of us will continue to be prosperous.

Other than with the girls, I didn't really go out much. Love the food at home. Mom and dad seemed to be doing okay. I actually did a medical check, and it was scary when the result came. Like I was waiting for an exam result and I never got nervous about that except in my university days. I was scared because if something was wrong with me, my mom and dad were sure to scold me. Being 20 something, I suppose to be healthy. It was nerve wrecking when my dad went through the result. Surprisingly my sugar level is normal and my cholesterol level is desirable However I may have a kidney problem and my thrombocytes count was above normal, so it was kinda worrying. The doctor I went to asked for a follow up check but I didn't go through with it. I will do it again, but I just didn't feel like doing it anytime soon. I just want to ignore it for now.

What else there is to say. There are things about Jakarta that I do not like. I hate that it's not feasible to travel around but people may argue it's because I haven't tried busway. I hate that it worried me when it rained because we were all waiting for flood. I hate it that running water in my house is difficult, but I guess it's just my house. Dad finally got the pump (I think that's what it's called) fixed, but on my last day! I hate what's on tv, I think the majority of it are junk. Infotainment still rules. The newspaper wrote that there are 210 episodes of infotainment programmes a week and I think that's correct, with around 10 tv stations and 3 infotainment programmes a day, every day of the week, well you got those unnecessary news of who's getting a divorce, who broke up, as if they are so important. Over and over again. It's stupid but I actually watched them *sigh* Since we are in the point of unimportance, can I say that I really don't like Ahmad Dhani. I think he's actually exploiting his kids to portray how good he is. I also felt that one of his music video with his band The Rock was pretty pedophiliac. It's just sick. Indonesia has a really weird censorship system.

However I did enjoy Supermama Seleb Show in Indosiar though I also say that this show is brainless. It's a live show which featured non-singer celebrities competing in a singing contest with the support of their moms. They started with 5 contestants and that 5 contestant can get an hour of airtime though they only sung for 5 minutes or so. The crazy comment from the commentators and the funny brainless interaction with the hosts are what made me glued to it. I told mom the fact that we can get an hour of content without commercials also made it a good watch. So with each contestant getting around 1 hour, that programme actually lasted around 4-5 hours. Starting at 6 pm and finishing sometime after 11 pm. Yes it is nuts. It's a live show, mind you. I haven't really watched it from start to finish myself. Regardless of it not being of much quality (my brother rolled his eyes when my mom and I were watching it), I had a really good laugh and I liked it. Yes, Indonesia's tv stations are a thing of their own. You have all those things on tv, you have shows that made fun of our political figures, I wonder if those shows really help the country and yet at the same time you can watch english premier league and italian serie A matches and NBA games freely on tv. I think you can watch live football matches almost everyday. With Euro 2008 coming, the Indonesians will have a good time watching the matches.

The new year was a surprisingly nice one. Didn't have anything special planned. Dinner was at our front neighbour's house which started and finished early. I left earlier to watch some Indonesian movies on tv. Then suddenly I realized all the noisy sounds of fireworks and firecrackers. I peeked through the window, you can actually see the fireworks, so I went up to the balcony and you could see them lighting up the sky, left, right and center. I went up again to the balcony at around 11:30 pm and enjoyed it while trying to take some pictures. The rest of the family were already asleep though mom said she did see it through her windows. I was there alone with the oh so many mosquitoes, but I didn't mind, I was glad I got to enjoy it alone. I will put the pictures, but mind you it was difficult for me to take the pictures. I didn't know when and where they were going to appear. I thought it was pretty cool and awesome that I could see such view in the uninteresting (perhaps dull) Tomang that I live in. The only unfortunate thing was perhaps the tall houses around me that obstructed the view. We are all tall houses actually. At one point my mind actually wondered and thought that the fireworks sounds sounded like explosion. I wondered if that how it felt living in war zone and hearing explosion after explosion and how weird it was to be feeling safe from where you are. Yes, my mind is weird.

What other things to comment about? Indonesian movies? There are a lot of them and I also think that many of them are brainless. One of them which was showing in cinema had a title like Giving Birth in a Grave in English. Does it even sound interesting? If I move back to Indonesia for good, I would definitely miss Singapore cinemas. So many movies to watch here. There were some indonesian movies which were showing on tv and as much as I think as a whole they lack many things, but perhaps the good news was that there were parts of the movie which were amusing and nice, and some of the actors did give quite a good performance considering the weak stories that some of these movies carry. Let me share my experience watching this particular movie on tv. It's called I Love You, Om. With title like that, I seriously didn't expect much. I thought it was some cheesy love stories. I actually was a bit late watching it on tv. What caught my attention was when one of the character, a 12-year-old girl said "Om Gaza". A name which was familiar to me. So I watched the movie, which was about this girl falling in love with this guy, Gaza, who is around 25+, hence he was called Om and how this guy was also in the end falling for this little girl. How silly is that! Oh God, I was actually laughing and rolling my eyes when I was watching this movie. It was perhaps could have been a good one, if the story about this guy falling for the little girl had been elaborated more and the development of those feeling and relationship had been explored more. Being the typical Indonesian movie, there should be drama and there were many silly ones, but let's focused on the fact that Om Gaza finally died because he was hit by a car who was trying to avoid Gaza's ex-girlfriend's car. I was actually laughing on his dying scene despite of the little girl screaming "I love you, Om" It should had been a moving one, but with all the silliness, I was seriously laughing away So yes, that's one movie that they actually bothered to make. No offense to the actors, though I think that they could be better. I did think that the guy who played Gaza was interesting

*sigh* I really think my country is dysfunctional. It has so many problems and issues. When I'm here, I miss it, I want to be at home but that sentiments are so bias because when I'm at home, I am always on a holiday. So I do not have the stress that I have here. When I was there, I realize how frustrating it can be for me there, with the systems and all the dysfunctional things that they have but perhaps I can adjust. I am after all an Indonesian. With the many internal issues that Indonesia has, I think sometime it is so out of tune with the outside world. Many things are happening in this world and Indonesians are oblivious about that, and keep on being the Indonesians that they are. The same sentiments is comparable to being here and being in tune with things like the arts, advancement of technology, books, movies and such and yet these things are so unimportant with many social issues happening in the world, happening in countries like mine. The other day I was talking to Osh about how Singapore had made us too soft to face the streets of Jakarta and I also wondered if all the convenience here has made us such an easy complainer. Life in Jakarta is so much tougher but people do not complain about the long journey they have to take to work, about working overtime and getting the money that they get, about the buses being ugly, about the dust and pollution, about many things. They take it as part of their life and I feel I am not as tough as I thought I was.

Okay, I think I have said much about home. I will be back in less than a month for Chinese New Year. After that, it seems life as per normal here in Singapore. I seriously hope not so. Something has to change.

My first week back had been hell. For the first time on Friday, I stayed until 10:30+ at the park. It was really good to have Vinny and La Gioia with me. I had a good dinner with them and I think we deserved to be treated. Yesterday I went to the park again and actually spent a whole day there. Vinny came for a while. Then I sent my 2 helpers off at around 3 pm. I felt a bit bad for keeping them so long. After they were gone, I was alone and waiting for stuff, so I wandered around the space. Then I saw a picture of Astley on Ms.3L's desk. He was laughing happily with Ms.3L and somehow I got so sad and tears were actually forming. I saw the collage that Jean made and I wanted to cry. For the first time, I realized I miss him. I miss how the last time I was at the park on a Saturday, he was there. I had wished that he could be there yesterday. All this time I just wondered how he is, but now I do miss seeing him, talking to him, and hearing his nonsense. I had to get out of the room because I didn't want to end up sobbing and not focusing on the tasks at hand. However when I was at my desk, tears didn't stop to form. At that moment, Eric came. So I had to wipe my eyes and pulled myself together. I wondered if Astley knew about this and sent someone there, so that I stopped all this crying nonsense. I don't know, I was really tired yesterday and obviously mentally I'm not so well with all the things that I have to endure this week. I had a feeling that something is still wrong but what can I do about it. I hope this coming week is a better one.

Okay let me leave you with fireworks pictures. They actually came up small, but I cropped it to focus on the nice explosion and they also received some colour treatment. Ciao!

PS: I do hope ex president Soeharto can die in peace. I think his time is soon though I hope not so soon. I wonder if what MM Lee said on tv would soften and remind Soeharto's many critics that our ex president wasn't all that bad. I kinda pity him, to be so sick like this and being mocked by people. I think people should acknowledge him more and give him the proper respect.

:) eKa @ 7:30:00 PM •


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