Sunday Morning With The Brother

I spent this morning with my brother. He was here for a short getaway with his friends. I think he's already in Changi now, on his way back. I asked a few things from mom but a few things let to many things including a jar of pineapple tarts :P I don't speak much or often to my brother so today is like really catching up on life. I always think that my brother's job is really glamourous but of course there's a lot of hardwork being put into it. I may not see it but I see the time he arrives home after a day work, which is very late. I don't know how he does it day after day. I do not know how we get our work ethics. I do not believe it is something that we get from our parents. Somehow though I think we have this something that I call the "moral shit kinda thing" (I used this term during the dinner talk with Starfish and the gank some weeks ago) that kinda forces us to do certain things just because it's the right thing. Anyway I think he's very very cool in his achievement recently. I understand how what he got could make some people feel unhappy or disappointed but I couldn't quite understand the unhappiness some of his colleagues have voiced out openly. I attributed it to the Indonesian mentality. In which he said that when I come back to Indonesia for good, I will die or feel crazy about it :P Somehow he feels my anti-social tendency is the achilles heel for me to work in an Indonesian environment. He said chemistry is the most important thing there and it's being put first before making profit :P I do not know if chemistry is the right english word because the Indonesian word I will use for it is "semangat kekeluargaan" and I know how deep this is in an Indonesian culture. It's not about my work, your work, everyone do their job and all will be well. It's about my work, your work should make everyone happy doing it and that harmony is very important. One may argue it makes Indonesians to be less professional but it's just really a cultural thing and I do not know if it's really a wrong thing to be keeping that much importance in harmony. However even in the example he gave me, I found that I'll screw harmony for what I think is right. If I do good and some people do not think I deserve certain things yet, I wouldn't care what they think and this kind of mentality of mine is what my brother thinks is bad in the Indonesian working environment :P

Harmony aside, it turns out my brother is also the type who voices his opinion. Listening to him, I was thinking, damn there's gotta be something in the genes. The only cousin I talk quite frequently to is cousin Marlisa and the way she, my brother, and me have the courage to say what we think really make me think that perhaps it's something in the genes. I wonder how visible this trait is in other cousins. I have to say though that I feel my brother and my cousin can be snappier and harsher than me :D However, I feel that they are more forgiving afterwards than me. Again perhaps it's the Indonesian thing, that being in Indonesia, you can't just not greet or not talk to people you dislike. I wonder if I am in Indonesia, will I be forced to shed my iceberg mode. I am happy though that my cousin and my brother are like that. That means I am not crazy and also I think it takes guts for people to say what they think or feel because with saying something, we are ready for the consequences of what we say. I think instead of being less straightforward like how my mother would have liked me to be, we should train the way we think and perceive things. Even listening to my brother's story, I was telling him, well you could see it in a different way or I don't see it the way you see it. Of course who's to say it's me or my brother who has formed the right understanding of the situation. Everyone is different so everyone will undoubtedly has different opinion on things. We can only hope that we just can be wiser.

On other news, I finished reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Well, there's an essay on Fables that William Golding wrote but I don't feel like reading it. Lord of the Flies tells the story of a bunch of 12-year old boys and younger who got stranded on an island after a plane crash. With no adult around, they were left to survive on their own and it involved some kids getting killed because of their stupidity and games. My favorite character, Piggy, was killed and I was quite sad about it. I think I always like the underdog. As I was reading it, I was thinking of how kids really don't know what they are doing. It got me thinking of the time when I was in a place of authority over kids like these, it brought back memory of the times I have to get them in line :P So that's me as an adult reading it. I wonder how I would have felt if I had been reading it as a 12-year old. Would I have felt terribly disturbed with how the story progresses? Would I even had the courage to continue on with the pages. Anyway, yesterday I decided to get a new book and I settled on Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I went from a book about a bunch of castaways that I didn't really enjoy to another book about a castaway. It was an odd choice. I've been seeing this book for many years now and I finally decided to get it because this week I happened to see the trailer for the movie by Ang Lee. The trailer was beautiful, I will even watch it in 3D well because it's Ang Lee's first attempt in 3D. There was no dialog in the trailer though so I wondered if it's gonna be like Tom Hanks' Castaway. Well I think at least it's gonna be more beautiful. It turns out though that my dear cousin, Marlisa, sent me Pramoedya Ananta Toer's Bumi Manusia through my brother. Surprise! I really didn't expect it because I already told her not to take the trouble and I will get it when I get back but she did and I'm pretty happy. I've seen his books before in the beloved Borders (whose death is a tragedy indeed) but they were in english. Though the cover arts were great, I just feel it's super wrong if I read his books not in Indonesian. So I'm kinda glad that I have this to get me going. I will only read it after Life of Pi though, which is my 5th book this year, which will complete my goal of 5 books this year. If I can finish Bumi Manusia this year too, I think it'll be better because I would have started and ended this challenge to myself with an Indonesian book. I love this reading habit that I have sadly forgotten for many years but then when I see how the books are competing with my clothes for space, I feel sad that the space issue will be a major issue for me :( Oh well. It's been a nice Sunday meeting my brother. This coming week is a 4-day week for me. Then it's off to a new beginning. I don't want to think about it because I am already not sleeping on most nights so I shouldn't add more things that will prevent me from actually sleeping. Hope everything goes well in your universe peeps. Ciao!

:) eKa @ 8:32:00 PM • 0 comments

MasterChef Indonesia & The Dark Knight Rises

Hello peeps, how are you doing? I'm writing this in the middle of watching MasterChef Indonesia. It's kinda on a half an hour break now (I'm not so sure how long) in anticipation of the breaking of fast in Indonesia west timezone. I am currently in love with MasterChef Indonesia. I found out about it coincidentally actually. It's the second season now and I didn't watch the first season and I didn't even know that it exists. So 2 weeks ago, I happened to be going through the Indonesian tv channels and as I tuned in to RCTI, I saw MasterChef Indonesia and what got me attracted straight away was one of the judges, Chef Juna. Coincidentally also, I happened to read an article about him some day before so I kinda had heard of him. He was seriously handsome and I think he's the hottest Indonesian man alive now! I can even get over the fact of the tattoos all over his body :P I remember texting my mom straight away telling her that he's so handsome and to tune in to RCTI :P I couldn't believe I only know this guy exists now :P I think his criticism is as deadly as his smile, but today I think I've decided that his smile is deadlier. So as I jumped half way into that first episode, I realized that the show was pretty good. Last week episodes were good as well for a tv programme but then I have to say that the cooking was bad. Last week some of the things that they had to make were gado-gado and kue lapis. They were to be judged on presentation skills. All the presentations sucks but one person. More disappointing than that, looking at their gado-gado, I may not even want to eat it, they didn't look nice :( I have high expectation as gado-gado is the only way I would ever eat vegetables whole heartedly. Then the kue lapis challenge was rather a disappointment as well. I know it's not easy to do it but I think most of them performed terribly. The example was around 3 cm high and some of them came out with like half of that height. It was so bad that I think if they bring it to the sellers in the traditional market where these would be in abundant, noone would want to sell it. So the cooking was bad, I think they did worse than MasterChef Australia Kids. However I think the show was pretty good, even though I was pretty turned off with the first elimination of the top 20 yesterday. The girls were so drama mama and they cried like mad. They are pretty young but still ... I would have expected more maturity.

The way the show feels to me is totally Indonesian, which made realize how wonderful and strange it is that just by watching these characters you just feel a certain bond, you just feel like you can relate with them or the situation, like you know certain people in your world that behave or think that way or share certain characters like the contestants. I don't know if I am describing this well. Simply put, I feel Indonesia watching it and it's great to feel that way :) So the cooking was not so good, I seriously hope it will get better. We are only in week 3, so hopefully they will get better and better. I am already kinda love and somewhat don't care about certain contestants and it's one of the main ingredient for a good reality tv programme - the contestants should captivate the audience and make them care for them. I still wonder though why most of them are in the 20s, because this makes for many emotional, not level-headed youngsters. On the other side of the contestant are the judges. Now, Chef Juna has kinda been marked as the mean one. He's not as screamy as Gordon Ramsay and thank God he's way hotter but still it's such a turn off that my dear cousin dislikes him despite of me being absolutely sure that this is the type of guy my cousin likes :P Comparing to the early days of American Idol, when you have Simon Cowell as the mean one and then you have the nice Paula Abdul and the middle ground Randy Jackson, apparently there's a better formula for that. That is when all the judges can be snappy as well. We have Chef Juna whom so far I felt has been strict and playful at the same time. He has this evil laugh when he feels like the contestants gonna screw up. Then we have the pretty Chef Marinka who can dish some pretty ouch comment, so don't get fooled by her cuteness. Then we have Chef Degan who's more like the silent killer. He looks fatherly, soft spoken, but darn he's also a no bullshit kinda person. This also makes me need to comment on the God damn brainless contestants. They've been told many times that unnecessary garnish are food cost and week after week, some of them still do that mistake. It's amazing that the chefs didn't just scream at them :P Overall though, I think all the judges are actually pretty nice. Yes the comments can cut but if you see them as teachers and bosses, they're actually pretty normal. They're not doing it for the show or for kinda showing up their authority, they're doing it because they want all of them to do right, more in a teacher role. Anyway it's so interesting that I wonder how the first season was like. Chef Degan is replacing one of the judges in season 1, so I really wonder how the dynamic was like back then. I am loving it a lot and though it's not easy keeping up with its schedule every Saturday and Sunday and with my time difference, I do try to do it and when the Sunday episode ends, I cannot wait for next weekend :P It's heartening that there's something with a quality kind of entertainment in Indonesian tv. My only criticism are on the quality of the contestant and the cooking and hopefully as this season continues and as this programme continues, it will get better and better :) Also hopefully future contestants will be ones with more bones and less drama :P

So today, I am back to the cinema. It's been awhile. I went to watch The Dark Knight Rises. I am never a fan of the Batman movies because I feel they are very heavy and serious. However I also feel that many superheroes movies can be pretty shallow and I guess that's the reason I gave The Amazing Spider-Man a miss and chose The Dark Knight Rises. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I think it's the best of the trilogy and I love it a lot. Its long running time was really testing on my bladder though. In fact there were so many people running in and out during the movie and they annoyed me a lot. Watching it in light of the shooting in America did kinda make me feel rather uneasy at the beginning. Not that I was afraid that the same thing would happen in Singapore, it's just I felt retrospective on the incident. It's reported that shooting began around 20 minutes into the movie, coinciding with a shooting scene in the movie and for the early part of the movie, I did kinda pay attention to where roughly it happened. Sigh, crazy people in America. It's always mind boggling for me that people in America can get guns easily. I guess that's the price of liberty. Anyways as the movie progressed, one of the good sign was that I found myself liking Christian Bale. He didn't come across as pretty likable for me in the previous Batman movies. Then there was Michael Caine, the butler, who got me teary eyed even from the beginning of the movie. He's a really good actor. Overall the story did make me wonder and got pretty confused on the logic of the bad guy, Bane. I had some questions that kinda got answered immediately after I thought of it. As the movie was reaching its climax, I was thinking that Marion Cotillard's character was so unnecessary and I did wonder that how come she had time to change her clothes when she was a hostage. Apparently she was part of the twist of the movie. A twist that made this movie great because I totally didn't expect it. Then coming into this movie, I was actually kinda expecting that Batman would die because of an interview Anne Hathaway did with David Letterman recently. So watching the supposedly death scene, I was thinking, well that doesn't mean he's dead, he could well be alive. Well let's just say that I am glad that the movie ends the way it is :) It's a really good one, at least that's what I think. I do not know what the hard core fans will say :)

:) eKa @ 8:43:00 PM • 0 comments


Jodoh is the Indonesian word which means soulmate or "the one". However in Indonesian, this word can be used to say something is fated to be and this word is also used for other things not related to love and even for trivial things. At least that's what I, my family, and friends do. I think other Indonesians use the word the same way too. Example of things that Indonesians may use "jodoh" for are things like house, work, car, friends and for trivial things like when you went early to the nasi lemak stall before the queue was long and you saw that there were many fried eggs but when you got there you were not allowed to buy it even though the person before you could buy it, because what were left were already reserved by someone who called for it. So in this case, we could say the fried egg is nggak jodoh (not fated) with you. Yes, even in english to use the word fate in relation to a fried egg is overly dramatic. I remember one time Gascoigne was stunned that I used that word when we were just a few minutes late to a book store and it's already closed. For the malay-speaking him, the word "jodoh" is strictly for soulmate.

So what's with all this "jodoh" talk. This was the post that I had been thinking and wanting to write for sometime but I couldn't. Remember of the wait I mentioned in the last post? Well due to that, I wasn't sure how things were going. However this week, I finally got answers. Let's just say that I am ending a chapter of my life and opening a new one. It feels like it's fated or as the Indonesians would say that despite all the processes and steps which felt uncertain at times, this finally comes back to me, so it's really "jodoh". I mentioned before that I've been in Singapore for 12 years now, I went from a dragon year to a dragon year again. I'm completing a cycle of the chinese calendar and I don't know what fate brings me, but as I go to the beginning of a new cycle or ending the previous one, I am also coming back to the place where I started here in Singapore. As usual, I am filled with fear and anxiety about what will come to me. People around me are excited for me and I guess many are relieved that it works out for me. I, myself, have to admit that I feel pretty relieved 'cause feeling rejected is perhaps the second worst feeling after worry or being afraid for me. I really hope that all will work out well. I guess I will be reading a lot the words of encouragement that my cousin, Marlisa, penned for me. Also, I guess I will be playing Jesus Takes The Wheel (Danny Gokey's version) and Buka Semangat Baru a lot. Also I think I will be praying a lot. I think or I hope all the fear which I am having right now will just tire me out and when the time comes, I will just feel numb. Please God help me.

This is also different from the last time I did this and I guess it's a good thing it's this way. I do wish I could have some time for myself but alas it's not to be, which makes me think maybe it's time to stop asking and just accept things as it is now. It's time to pay my due for all the blessing I have been receiving without working much for it ... perhaps. Speaking of the last time I did this and also perhaps in relation to the last post when I kinda talked about how some things need to happen so that other things can happen, well not much relation actually but I couldn't help thinking that perhaps things need to be aligned for me in some way for things to happen. Yeah it still doesn't make sense as I wrote that. It's just my random brain got me thinking that the last time I did this, Mr. N was my french teacher. He's my teacher again now. However the past few weeks, he was away on a holiday and that's when I had to endure the excruciating wait. Then last week, we finally had class with him again and this Monday I got my news. I remembered telling LM, he's like my lucky star :P which made me wonder how this gonna play out in the future because I am planning to stop attending class regularly this year. Well, I guess he'll be the first to say, "yay! I'm lucky for you but I'm sure you gonna do fine in the future" :)

Speaking of french class. Today me and XF and Phil signed up for DELF preparatory class which gonna takes place every friday evening starting 17 August. I don't know how my brain gonna work from 7 to 9 pm but since I am fearful about the exam, I think I really have to take this class. Phil failed his and he's redoing it, so it's pretty scary. It seemed we'll be getting Mr. V. I was actually kinda hoping it would be Mr. C (well perhaps a tiny bit). As discussed with XF, it's a love and hate relationship with Mr. C but I know he would whip us good. Oh well, let's just take things one step at a time. On other news, this coming week seem to gonna be pretty social. It's weird that when I am social, it becomes very social and when I'm not, it's like I'm always in my cave. Oshie is coming to town for something and we planned to meet for lunch sometime earlier next week. Then Starfish chatted with me a bit yesterday. Man! perhaps it's been 4 years since I last talked or saw him and so we're planning dinner with some of the peeps on Friday in people's favourite place Tambuah Mas. I am so glad of my achievement in making all of them like this place :D We do miss tahu telor :P Hope people will come, seriously why do they have to be so difficult? Anyway the fasting month will start soon, so it may get difficult to meet with Starfish and Gascoigne. So yeah, it'll be nice to meet all of them.

Nothing much else to say about life, same old same old. Watching Opera Van Java Awards now but the connection is not so good :( after which I think I'll be watching Indonesian Idol finale. I got hooked into it last week but I didn't watch it from beginning to end. Watching it, I have to say that the production of it is pretty awesome, especially when I think of Singapore Idol. The finale is between these 2 girls, 10 years apart from each other. Like American idol, most of the winner have been boys. In fact I think this is the first girls final. I think I am rooting for Regina, the older of the 2. I think she's very likable and no doubt the girl has some pipes :) I don't know what time result will be out though. The thing about Indonesian, it's like now people don't even try to be on time and hide the "jam karet" (rubber time) mentality. TV programmes often don't start on the time they supposed to and it changes every day, it could be 8 pm one day, and 8:15, 8:05, 8:10 the next day and so on. As for Indonesian idol last week, that live show ran pretty long, I don't know how they did it and how they had the energy to do it (was it 4 hours?). I have a 1 hour difference so it's hard for me when they end pretty late but I think even for Indonesian standard the late ending can be hard too especially since Indonesians generally start the day super early. Alright then, hope you guys have a great weekend and a great week ahead. Oh yeah, Jakarta is having a governor election next week. It seems to be pretty exciting. Too bad Jakartans living oversea don't get to vote. Okay peeps, take care! Ciao!

:) eKa @ 10:00:00 PM • 0 comments