a Roma con Amore

Went to watch To Rome with Love today. How I miss Italia. This movie kinda reminded me too that Italians do speak faster than I can understand them. To Rome with Love is a Woody Allen's movie. The third one that anchored itself in a city, after Barcelona and Paris. I think it's better than Midnight in Paris but I don't think it's better than Vicky, Christina, Barcelona. Midnight in Paris was pretty brainy and so if you don't know the people introduced in the movie and their history, you will not get its charm. To Rome with Love consists of a few different stories that does not connect in the end as some this type of movie often does. One of the story happened in a course of day while the rest spanned a few days. I actually like it very much but it's because I love Italy, so perhaps I'm bias. Obviously there are some parts of Rome that I haven't seen, but for the parts that I recognized, it brought back a lot of memories. My first time in Piazza del Popolo for example. It's weird seeing those places on the screen because they just appeared in a different light or angle as I remember them to be. Story wise, I think it was pretty good, whimsical and broaching to other dimension in the way that Woody Allen usually does it. I don't have any favorite story in there because as usual the characters in Woody Allen's story always have some flaws in them. I think the casts were great. I was surprised on how fluent Penélope Cruz is in Italian. I don't know if she always speaks Italian or if it's because it's just easier to speak Italian when you speak Spanish. It was interesting to see Roberto Benigni, though the way he moved really just reminded me of La Vita è Bella. Woody Allen was interesting for me. His mannerism is always the same in every movies he put himself in that I wonder if he's really that way in real life and I wonder how much of himself is inside each of the characters.

So anyway, I got a really bad news yesterday and it clouds my mind in everything I do so I how I perceived the movie may be different if I am mentally well. I feel like it's just one thing after another, bad things are rolling my way. This is really bad. Life changing kinda bad. The irony was that I saw it coming since long ago but I didn't see it unfolding this way. I was already telling some people about my worry and what I would do if it happened. Now it finally happens but damn my life right now is rather difficult for me to execute the plan that I was envisioning. I am freaking out. I have to deal with it but when I think about it, my head starts to hurt. I know there will be bigger and more devastating situation than this in my life, but right now I'm feeling this hard. I just really really don't want to deal with this. If God can shift heaven and earth, modify the physics of the universe, and stop this from happening, I would really really really like Him to do so. However, from the conversation I have, that is not to be. Even writing this make my head hurts. I feel like crying but I haven't yet even though I can feel tears are coming. I am still holding them in. I am in denial but I should get up and really deal with this. I wish ... I wish God can just wipe this all away, or He could just wipe me away and so I don't have to deal with this. I wish for things to be easier. Why? Why is not easier for me? Why can't things just work out for me? When I was out and about and I look at people and their faces, I wonder if they have a happy life, if someone is hurting as bad as I do. I feel lonely and tired. I know that things happen and what I am facing is not that tragic at all. There are people who have their world crushed in a matter of second and I am far from that kind of suffering but right now, really, why? Why does this have to happen? Why can't things just be alright for me? Why do I have to deal with all these difficulties that I can't even figure out? Why? Am I paying bad for all the bad karma that I've accumulated? I am crying now and I am very sorry. I am sorry for complaining. I am sorry for being weak. I lied. I do want someone to save me. I'm tired of being alone. I'm tired of having to figure out everything on my own. I'm tired of having to defend for myself all the time and I am utterly lonely. I know that God will make it alright, that I'll be alright, I'll get through this but for now, it's just hard for me and I am miserable. I'm tired. Oh God, please :'(

:) eKa @ 10:54:00 PM • 0 comments

Jakarta Governor Election

It's gonna be an interesting day this coming Thursday for the people of Jakarta. This Thursday, the people of Jakarta will be voting for their governor. It is actually round 2 of the election. In round 1, there were 5 other candidates contesting the incumbent governor. Candidates applied in pairs, the governor and vice governor. The rule states that if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top 2 pairs will go to round 2. So here we are now, the incumbent governor, Fauzi Bowo, and his pair, Nara, who are natives of Jakarta versus the seemingly favorite of the people, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), a Javanese man who is the mayor of Solo (a city in Central Java) and his pair, Basuki / Ahok, a Chinese guy who is a Christian.

In round 1, it was already predicted that the election would go to round 2. However noone predicted that the pair Jokowi and Ahok would come on top. It wasn't indicated in any of the pre surveys. So the result of round 1 seems like a blindside by the Jakartans, the kind you relish in Survivor. I had a grin in my face when I followed the news at that time. I did wonder if it was simply a case of surveys not properly done, which is not surprising if you know how things work in Indonesia. I wasn't actually surprised with the result. Simply because noone in my Facebook friends post anything about the incumbent, while there are a few who post links or declare support for Jokowi. So it seems to me that there are just more people who support Jokowi and they really try to rally support for him. That is also the reason why this election captured my attention.

Since I live in Singapore, I cannot participate in the election even though I am registered in Jakarta. Since I don't live in Jakarta, I have tried to refrain from putting my opinion into this. I probably only spend at most 1 month in a year in Jakarta. I do not experience the daily torture of things like traffic jam, pollution, and bigger issue like flood. I cannot make a proper judgement if the incumbent governor is really ineffective. At the same time, I think noone can really guarantee that Jokowi and Ahok will be better and Jakarta will go into its golden era. They do have a very good track record in their jobs and have been very transparent in how they use their budget. However I think it's really an issue of a small towner coming to manage a chaotic big city. Will all their experience which are not relatively that long prove enough to handle the big Jakarta with all its problems which were accumulated from many years of mismanagements?

There are many reasons why people make their decision. On the eve of the first round, my mother sent me a text to tell me that she's voting for Jokowi because his pair is a Christian Chinese guy. She's voting based on racial line. Ahok happens to be from an island nearby to where my parents come from, so I think they perhaps feel a certain affinity that there is this person who comes from perhaps similar background with ours, who are putting himself forward to contribute himself to the country. You can see in the history of Indonesia, there are not many Indonesian Chinese who have taken major position in the country. So I guess my parents feel he needs all the support we can give. I have a feeling all the little Chinese kids will be told by their parents over and over to try and be as successful as Ahok :P

When my brother was here, he surprisingly told me that he voted for independent candidates in the first round. It's surprising because our family never really talk about our thoughts in politics. Independent candidates are candidates which are not backed up by any political party, unlike the incumbent and Jokowi. Candidates who are backed by political parties may need to return the favor in the future and in what ways it will happen is worrying. My brother and I share the same sentiment that we're uneasy with the fact that Jokowi is supported by Prabowo Subianto, an ex-general who is linked to human rights abuses during his military days. Prabowo himself has declared his intention to run for presidential election 2 years from now. To borrow Singapore's lingo, he brings kiasu-ness to a new level. I actually have to say that I think his attempt this early to get the people to know him is actually a really good idea. It seems he has also been backing up other governor candidates all over Indonesia, which I think can be beneficial if he really becomes the president of Indonesia, it will be like he has all his people placed in important places. Is he good enough to be the next president? I'm not feeling it.

Back to Jakarta governor election, the point was my brother did not vote for the incumbent. I do not know if he will give his vote to Jokowi for the second round. I hope he will. I came from a place in which I felt that I have no right to make a choice, having not lived in Jakarta currently, the stake is not high for me. However seeing how the campaigns progressed, I really hope that Jokowi + Ahok will win. The worse part about the campaign was when the religion and racial issue of Ahok was being brought up. There was an Indonesian celebrity who gave a talk during the muslim's friday prayer, telling them that a muslim cannot chose a leader who's not a muslim. I googled that Al Quran verse. It seemed to me that the line was more that muslims cannot choose a leader over them who's not a muslim without good moral character and integrity. That statement from that celebrity which happened to be backed up by many people have garnered many criticism from many people, many muslims themselves. There were arguments that our country is not an Islamic country so to use Islamic teachings purely never fits the concept of Indonesia. Some also says that if we only have 2 choices between a muslim without much integrity and capability and a non-muslim with better character and track record, should people stay with the muslim who will not bring them to better days? That is just illogical, right? There were also who say that Jakarta has enough of "leaders", now we just need people who will just serve instead of flaunting their power over the people.

I personally feel very sad about this racial and religion issue. This guy is only running as a vice governor and he is attacked this badly. What does this say about the possibility of a Chinese running for bigger position, will there ever be a Chinese vice president or president? Or non-muslim for that matter? I do wonder if Ahok was not a Chinese, if he was a Batak Christian or from Manado, would he still get attacked badly? Indonesian Chinese are always accused of not contributing to the country and here it is when one wants to do so, he is attacked on a very personal issue instead of on his ability and vision. For this reason, I think the vote should be for Jokowi + Ahok. It may be more of a symbolical vote than anything else but it will be a vote that says we should be an open and tolerant society, where people has equal chance regardless of their race and religion. The past few years in Indonesia and in Jakarta have shown how muslim extremists are doing their best to enforce their beliefs in all aspects and often time with violence. So I also think a vote for Jokowi is bigger than just about managing Jakarta, it's symbolical in telling these groups that it's more than just belief. It's doing the right thing, it's about practising religion with logic, respect, and tolerance for other. I think a vote for Jokowi is a vote for hope, hope for a better change. I find their message of change is really similar to President Obama's campaign 4 years ago and I think if they win, it will also be similar to how President Obama won 4 years ago. It would be about a wave of change that many people crave for and also the step forward of putting someone who is racially different in office. I don't know how the result will turn out. I will be shocked if the incumbent wins but maybe there will be a blindside again. Until we find out, I really hope that it's Jokowi + Ahok who win :)

:) eKa @ 10:35:00 PM • 0 comments

The Life of Pi, Mine, Ted ... And Other Things

I finished reading Life of Pi. While it would be quite a stretch comparing my life currently to the struggle of Pi when he was stranded in the Pacific, I couldn't help feeling that I could relate to the misery and desolate feeling that he was having. While he had every right to be feeling miserable, for me to compare my situation to his, is rather dramatic of me and I'm basically just being ungrateful and such a complainer. I think Life of Pi was pretty good and uplifting except for the last part where he was giving an alternative story of what happened to him. I think for the younger reader, it could be quite traumatic to be going through that part. I wonder why the writer wrote that. He wanted a dark twist in his story to make it appear more intelligent with deeper underlying content? I think it totally ruined the whole hopeful, never-give-up theme going on throughout the story. I am looking forward for the movie and I wondered if it would include this part. The story carries the theme of God throughout but I'm not sure if I am somewhat strengthened in my belief in God or if it would be successful to get the atheists or agnostics to be thinking differently for example. Maybe if the story really happened, it would carry some weight. However there are many people who have survived terrible horrible things and they have attributed God as the reason they are alive, and all these inspiring stories have never really shaken the belief or the lack of of all the atheists and the agnostics.

Anyway, as I was finishing the pages of Life of Pi this week, and he's safe and sound, ready for a new life, I wonder if my life's too gonna change. I wonder and wonder. Right now I'm not seeing land appearing in my horizon so I don't know, but God can just change things around in a blink of an eye. It doesn't help to talk about all the unperfect things in my world but sometime it just seems worse things come my way, like last week. I had some sort of health annoyance that turned into a health scare. Luckily my doctor had some good medicine around and I got better. Obviously I was pretty down with all that, but it made me think that just when you think things are awful in your life, another bigger bad thing happens and it makes all the previous problems seem little and you feel rather amazed that you somewhat don't break apart from all that and is there to face the new problem. I am weird that way. Anyway so look at that, I completed my goal of finishing 5 books this year. It's the most number of books that I have read in a year since even before I came to Singapore and we're only in September now! There are 3 months left in the year and maybe I'll finish reading Bumi Manusia from Pramoedya Ananta Toer that I just started before the year ends. I've only gone through a few pages and so far I like it. The flow of the language is old Indonesian though. It's perhaps the equivalent of reading a Jane Austen's novel or like watching the movie True Grit (as I was reminded when I was reading the book), it's like people don't speak or write that way anymore. It made me stumble a few times, rereading the lines again to understand it more. I wonder if it's because I've been using English more than Indonesian for many years. As I was reading the book, I was curious how the story gets to where it is now. If I'm not mistaken, it started when P.A Toer was telling the story orally to other inmates when he was politically imprisoned. I'm not sure if those story got out and someone wrote it down or if it was written after he got out. Someone should make a movie out of his life, properly though.

I've also started to learn how to crochet. I remember an assignment in my french class with Mr. F where I think we had to write what we want to learn if we have a free time. I wrote knitting or crocheting and baking. So I've finally started to learn how to crochet. I am one who's sceptical on how learning from youtube can really be engaging but I found myself really getting more help in youtube in my crochet attempt. I guess in this case, words and still pictures don't work for me. I'm not sure, maybe I just have trouble following instructions. When I read the instructions for some patterns, I just couldn't get it. Maybe because I'm still in such an early stage. I'm doing the simple granny square now and I think I still suck in changing colors and ending my stitches and overall I don't crochet neatly. I tried to get some yarns today but the store which I thought would have it doesn't have it, so I can't really practice with the changing colors part. I have high hopes to try more things but I have to say I get overwhelmed a lot with the complexity of the patterns :( Also my DELF preparation class took a sharp turn yesterday. We are having 2 teachers now, each for 1 hour and they gave us pages and pages of reading material and exercises. So all the free time that I picture I will have to relax and watch things are substantically cut. I'm not sure how to juggle all this since September also means all the American TV shows that I watch will start again soon. Days with Glee, Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy and I think even Downton Abbey is starting soon. So it seems I will start to be really busy in my personal free time.

Now for movies which I managed to watch since the last time I wrote but was lazy to write about. I watch The Expendables 2 with La Gioia some weeks back. I remember the first one was rather boring that I think some of the people I watched it with slept in the middle of it. However when I watched the trailer for the sequel with Van Damme looking pretty cool there, I was interested to watch it and I think La Gioia was the perfect person to watch it with since well she's kinda perhaps grew up with these stars. I think it was actually pretty good and I like it. Too bad they killed Van Damme's character, so he won't get to appear again. Jet Li only appeared for a really short time and yet at the closing credit, he got third billing. I wondered why he was pretty much written out in the adventure, was he getting too expensive? Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis got more screen time and they did have some funny lines. I think Jason Statham was less cool in this one. I guess I'm just drawn to Jean Claude Van Damme.

Then I also watched The Campaign, a comedy with Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell. It told the story of the campaign of the republican and democrat candidates to be a congressman. Obviously it's a satire for all the campaigns going on for the USA presidential election. It was funny and entertaining, but the comedy was over the top sometime, not quite intelligent and was rather slapstick, which of course can be expected when you put those people in a movie together. Then today I went to watch Ted which was as outrageous as the idea. It was also funny, but I'm just not into guys who love to get wasted. I was thinking of how a boy who grows up with a living teddy bear can turn out to be quite a loser. It's just not possible for him to grow up as a doctor or something like that because there's already something disturbing in having a living teddy bear be your forever and ever best friend and be around in your life all the time? :P I'm not sure how I feel about the ending but when the ending turned into a happy one, I was thinking it was perhaps one of those things they do to ensure there's a possibility for a sequel. So I guess that's that peeps. As usual, I hope things are glorious in your days!

:) eKa @ 10:21:00 PM • 2 comments

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