Saturday, October 19, 2013
"Indonesia is the country where everything is possible"
The title of this post comes from the book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson. The weird me thinks it's quite like fate how a book comes to be chosen and read by me. When I go to Kinokuniya, I try to see as much as I can and read a bit to get a feel of the book. It actually makes it really hard to settle on a book. So when a book is finally chosen and read and the book has something inside it that makes me feel good about having the chance to "get to know it", I often feel it's like fate. This book and The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern feel like one of those fateful encounters, simply because Indonesia is mentioned in it. While The Night Circus
perhaps only has 1 line about Indonesia when it's describing the wayang shadow puppet, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
, a story about exactly what the title says touches Indonesia quite a lot and in fact the story ends in Indonesia. Our current president, Yudhoyono, was even mentioned in the last page of the book. Side note: I hope hope HOPE there will be a movie based on The Night Circus
soon. Disney should really get on to do this. Back to The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
, it's such a wonderful book. I happened to watch Forest Gump
this week and the movie made me feel that the book is pretty similar in style with the movie. I'm not alone to feel that because one of the one liner reviews (that book always has to boost sale) for this book said, "Swedish black comic novel that reads like a road trip with Forest Gump at the wheel
". The book goes back and forth between what happened to the old Swedish man after he decided to leave the old folks home to telling his life story from when he was a kid to ultimately reaching his old age. The author took a liberal approach in putting this old man in some of the important events in history. It's all very amusing. The line for the title of this post was something that the old man said when he managed to bribe officials in Bali to get his plane cleared for landing. It's funny, true, and sad at the same time. It's true because by giving the "right incentive" to the right people, things can get done more efficiently in Indonesia than perhaps in the most efficient country you know. It's sad because by keeping on doing this, the people are giving chance for corruption to flourish in Indonesia :( Anyways, if you happen to want to read a book, I do recommend this book for you :)
Maybe it's me, but whenever I read a story, I just automatically picture the scenes like if it's going to be depicted in a movie. This would be one interesting movie. However, I think many of the parts will be cut because if not it will make one long movie. So I started to think if a tv series would be better, but I'm not sure if it's gonna work. Anyway, it took me just over a month to finish this book and last week I've chosen a new book. This time around, I didn't get quite a feel from the books I browsed in Kinokuniya and in the end I decided to just get a classic which I feel is essential to read and know, To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. Also because the book's cover is simple and nice. It's black with a small bird and also because it's under 10 bucks. Yes, I am cheap. I didn't know that the author is actually a woman. Now it kinda makes sense why the Beckhams named their baby girl Harper. Yes, some of the information stored in my brain are junk. Anyway, I haven't gotten far with the book, only a few pages in, but I think it's gonna be good. Already it has managed to get me grinning with this line, "Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with detachment.
" :D It's not a very thick book and though we have just a little over than 2 months left in this year, I think I should be able to finish it. It would be the 4th
book this year. It's below the goal of 5 books a year, but since last year I read more, then I guess I should be alright? I'm just making excuses for myself :|
On other news, started Italian class today. Kinda have to do it now since it's the last class of the year. I had been so lazy to put the plan into action. Well if I can make excuses, the last few terms I checked, there wasn't any advanced classes on Saturday morning. Right now I'm in advanced 2, the highest class there is. It's lower than I would like to, but perhaps it's the right class for me. The segretaria (= secretary) was telling me I should take a placement test since my last class was 5 years ago. Wow they actually have the records and check it! When we're communicating about me taking the class, I just got the impression that they don't have a lot of confidence that I can get by in this class. When I told them that I don't want to take the placement test and would like to just try this class, they told me to review the lessons from my old books. I was pretty lazy to dig them (though in the end I did), so I tried to do CELI 3 past year papers. I thought I didn't do so bad considering that my last class was 5 years ago. Going through the exams, I realize that I have lost perhaps pretty much of my writing skill and I have to admit that I was too lazy to even try. The reading comprehension and the listening part weren't a total disaster though. I'm not sure if the preparation for DELF B2 still conditions my brain to handle exams. In comparison, I have to say that CELI 3 is a more difficult challenge compared to DELF B2 exam. In CELI 3, there are 3 articles to understand, 3 writings to be written, another grammar components which is difficult even when I was studying Italian intensively, and then you have the standard listening and speaking. On top of that, they have minus point for wrong answer. That and the so so many parts really test your mental to keep it altogether.
Anyway, I was quite nervous about today's class. Not sure how I can manage getting up early after living it like a lazy bum throughout the year and I was nervous about the classmates. If they're good, then it'll be hard for me, but then I have a feeling that they may not be as good as they should be, just like how me and my friends were when we were in advanced. I have to say they're okay. First of all, I'm quite surprised that there are many of them. Normally the higher the level goes, the less the students are. Today there were 7 in the class including me. Some didn't come. They all know each other and I am the odd one out without any friend to do correction and that made me miss my Italian classmates :'( One of the classmate, Andreas, was pretty nice this morning. We were the first to arrive and he was very friendly, introducing himself in english :) That put me at ease. I know we should be using the language we are learning, but often time those kinda people are such a put off. Anyway, they all seem to be pretty good, but it was okay. I wasn't intimidated. I feel today's class didn't go bad for me. Our teacher is still in vacation so we had Anna Maria for today. She remembers me :) perhaps forgets my name but remembers my face. During break, she told me that my Italian is still good considering that I haven't been taking classes for so long. However, after the break I made mistakes during exercises, so maybe she spoke too soon. That's the thing, I didn't get all the answers correct today and that's a bit sad. We had 2 listening exercises. All felt okay. I didn't feel like a tornado just passed by and smacked me in the face, but still on the second listening part I didn't get all the answers correct. The classmates said the book we're using is a bit difficult. They had gone through 3 chapters, which I am planning to pour over this week. The topic in Chapter 4 is rather annoying, the ever difficult congiuntivo, and it's the imperfetto one! Aarrrggghh!!! Congiuntivo makes me hate subjonctif in french and darn it congiuntivo is actually really important in Italian :( It's a real torture. I seriously have a lot of work to do. I realize I've forgotten most of the conjugation and not just the Italian, but the french too :'( I'm actually planning to pick up a new language next year. Based on experience it takes 3 years to complete all the classes from beginner to advanced. So if I start next year, I figure by 35, I'll know 5 languages and it seems like a cool goal to have. However, maybe the time should better be used to strengthen my Italian and French so that I can really speak well rather than just getting by :( Also because I haven't chosen the 5th
language yet. I do think to finally concede and learn chinese as my dad would like me to do and as he informed my mother to tell me when she texted me just now :| You would think it's easy peasy to find a place to learn Chinese in Singapore, but I haven't found any place I am comfortable with and actually, to be honest, I am more intrigued with Arabic.
Moving on, after class, I met with la Gioia for the all important catch up. She found her next step and she's moving on to the next chapter of her life. Her leaving the place where I spent 6 long years and was very formative in my life feels like that chapter in my life is finally closed for real. You see, it's like she's the last connection to that place. With her moving on, I'll get no story, no gossip, so it's like a different entity that I don't know of. Everything will change and everyone has to move, we can only hope that the movement is forward. So anyway, we watched Prisoners
today. I didn't have any intention to watch this movie, because I wasn't interested in the theme and story, but there aren't many nice movies this week and since I really don't want to accompany her to watch Insidious 2
, I guess at the very least I can compromise with Prisoners
. It wasn't a bad movie. I didn't understand one part which I thought was important. I actually cowered and covered my eyes during that part. Paul Dano of course excels being weird and creepy. Overall, I didn't enjoy it much. Then we had dinner, at Tim Ho Wan
! Didn't know la Gioia was into dim sum. There was a queue, but it wasn't bad for us. Around 10-15 minutes or so. Was surprised that the menu was pretty short and yet we still managed to order too much. Some I love, some not so much. I have to say, the queue forming outside, the speed your food arrive, and the small place kinda pressurize you to just eat quickly and that's not a good ambience for me. Glad that I finally tried it though :)
So that is life so far. Hope your life is much better. Bonne nuit / buonanotte / night night / malam :)
:) eKa @ 9:53:00 PM •
Sunday, October 06, 2013
New Doctors, True Love, Movies, and TV
Went to see 2 doctors this week. New doctors, not my usual one :( It started last Sunday when I had sharp pain in my neck and shoulder and my left side felt a bit weird that 4 panadols for pain couldn't quite help. I practically didn't sleep Sunday night because of the pain. By Monday morning, the pain subsided but I was feeling lazy and thought I deserved the break so I went to see the nearest doctor to me. I had to wait for around 1 hour before I finally met the doctor, all along feeling uncomfortable. The nearest doctor is a guy and he was nice. He gave me muscle relaxant and pain killers, but the pain still comes and goes now though to a lot less extend than at the beginning of this week. The experience of having to deal with this new doctor makes me miss my old doctor a lot, but darn in the case when I really need a doctor, I don't think I can make the substantial walk to her :( I had it so easy last time, I only had to take the lift down back then.
Monday evening, I started to developed an itch in my throat. I'm not sure how perhaps it could be that guy sitting at the corner in the doctor's waiting room who seemed like he was about to collapse. He obviously had the cold. It was another night when I didn't really sleep because of pain :( Tuesday came, I felt I had to go about my day as usual. It was painful, but I survived it. By Wednesday, the sore throat was improving a bit, but then I started dispensing thick yellowish mucus :( So I decided to end the day early and go see the doctor, the nearest one to me which was different to the Monday doctor. He gave me flu and cough med and some lozenges for the throat. Coincidentally the flu med was the one that I had been taking and I told him it wasn't helping but he said it's the strongest there is :( No antibiotic and it's quite a bummer. I finished the cough med yesterday. No more sore throat but my nose is still pretty much blocked with the thick yellowish mucus, so conclusion is I'm still not well :( I felt pretty down having to visit the doctor twice in a week. The only good thing about it was that it allowed me to kinda sleep and since I often don't sleep, being able to sleep is precious.
On the visit to the second doctor, the lady at the counter was preparing my document or whatnot and asked me if I still weighed the same. I said I was around 55.5 kg ish. Maybe it was her experience or she couldn't believe I'm that light, she asked me to weigh myself in the machine. It turned out, I'm 57.6 kg now. That was disappointing!!! What the hell? How does that happened? I'm like 5 kg heavier than the weight I was in when I first came to Singapore. I feel like I have to lose 5 kg and I don't know how that could be possible. Do I feel fat? Not really but am I fooling myself? My wrists do seem to be not as small as they used to and my arms are big. I met Whiskey some weeks back and I told her to tell me if I'm getting big huge, like 2-persons-in-1-person-body kind. She said she would tell me that when that happens, but for now I think she thinks I'm the same. The thing is, I don't know how I can lose the weight. I don't eat a lot. Most days, I eat 3 meals a day, but I don't snack. So the amount I take in are pretty necessary to help me get through the day. I know I should exercise but I'm too lazy for that, shouldn't my walking suffice? I know it's futile of me complaining of getting heavier without wanting to exercise. It's just, it's very depressing to know how much I have ballooned.
So that's the health story. Now let's go to the movie stories. On Friday I had the opportunity to watch Habibie & Ainun
. I was still feeling weak and having to go alone did make me question myself if I really wanted to do it, but since the ex-president of Indonesia, B. J Habibie was going to be there, I thought I should really go. While waiting at the bus stop, I met Margie who was on her way there as well and she was alone too so we kinda paired up. I lost her after the movie was done though, so I went home alone. There was food but since I was still kinda sick and most importantly because I was not super early when I was there, the food was disappearing, so I didn't eat much of the glorious Indonesian food :( As promised Pak Habibie was there and I guess everyone is there for him. As he walked quietly into the hall (there wasn't any announcement), the crowd just started clapping at the sight of him. There were some words to be given. The second one on stage was the chair of the Mayapada Group who is the sponsor for the event. His name is Dato Sri Tahir and with name like that, me and Margie weren't sure he was Indonesian and I did feel super curious since Mayapada seems to be an Indonesian company. After a quick google, I found out he is Indonesian. He spoke about how he admired Pak Habibie a lot and how he saw true love in the way Pak Habibie talked about his wife. After him, it was Pak Habibie's turn on stage. I was surprised I didn't start crying here. He talked about his wife and it's obvious he's really devoted to her. It seemed he fell into depression after the wife died that the doctors who treated him thought one of the possible outcomes of this would be that he would follow his wife and died soon. He decided to follow the doctor's advice to just write, write whatever he's feeling and he said there were many nights he wrote and cried thinking of his wife. Eventually he finished writing and people encouraged him to publish their love story and eventually a movie was made. The movie itself was okay. I'm not sure how true it was to the book. Now I feel a bit of regret that I didn't buy the book which was signed by him which was sold there. Anyway, if there's anything I hate about the movie, it's the product placement which were done shamelessly. I did shed some tears in the movie. The end scene which was concluded with Pak Habibie's voice sharing how he thanks God for the opportunity of having met and having had a life with Ainun was really really touching. He truly believes that she was made for him and he thanks God for that. I don't know if from now until the end of his life, Pak Habibie will do something extraordinary again, but if one of the last thing people remember him about was his way to tell the world how wonderful his wife was, I think it's quite an amazing tribute for his wife :)
On another movie. I went to watch The Hobbit
last week. Again it's because of the cheaper imax offer. It's one dollar more expensive though because of the higher frame rate which I don't know if it makes any difference. I felt slightly dizzy after the movie, I think it's because the cinema was smaller that even though I wasn't sitting near the screen, it was still too near. Point taken to choose the back seat in this imax cinema in the future. It was still quite a bargain at 13 bucks. You see there were just 3 people including me in the cinema. It's like a private screening though the couple behind did still manage to annoy me with their whisperings, aarrrghhh!!! Perhaps they too felt that I ruined their private screening by being there. Overall I thought the movie wasn't bad. The scenes were beautiful and it's an adventure so I should have loved this kinda thing, but somehow I'm just not that into it. I think I can wait for the sequel to appear in cheaper imax than to watch it immediately when it comes out. That way, I'll get my private screening at half the price.
Yesterday, I watched Gravity
. Stupid me didn't know that sneak preview means no discount. The movie is really distressing for me. Again the possibility of getting lost in space is impossible, but I really felt stressed out with the whole situation. The movie actually centers on Sandra Bullock's character and I think she was amazing. There was one scene that made me think how on earth she was still alive after that and I was thinking don't tell me it's another Hollywood treatment that disregards the law of physics and such, luckily it wasn't the case. I did wonder about the scene in the water though. After being in space for so long, will she has enough strength to swim? The end scene was interesting because it kinda shows how astronauts have to deal with gravity after days of weightlessness.
Let's now talk a bit about tv. The fall tv series began last week. Breaking Bad
ended and I was quite okay with the ending :) I then found out that Downton Abbey
started. Wow Mary was kinda a bitch again in the first episode, reminded me of how she was in the early episodes of season 1. I guess she was right when she said that, "It's like all my softness are gone as Matthew died". Eventually with the help of grandma (of course) and Tom Branson, she snapped out of it and got out of the black dresses into purple. At least it's a different color. Other story development that I didn't like was that the maid that had her eyes on Tom Branson is back :( and how strange that after 6 months, nothing really progressed downstairs between Alfred, Jimmy, Ivy, and Daisy. Goodness me! Glee
also started. First scene in the first episode of this season saw Lea Michelle's character smiling broadly and being all hopeful and my heart just got squeezed a bit :( Next week's episode is gonna be tough. Modern Family
has a new opening sequence. Everyone's so grown up. Luke and Manny are in high school, oh my God!!! Phil is still like the ideal husband that I want to have :P Oh yeah, I also didn't know that Homeland
has also started. This week was all consumed with Breaking Bad
finale or felina as it would call itself. I actually really look forward for Homeland
, but episode 1 was a downer for me. The only part which got my heart jump a bit was the first scene when Quinn seemed to be making a bomb, I was like, "say it isn't so!!!". It isn't so. He doesn't seem to be a traitor. Anyway, I'm still looking forward for how Homeland
is going to develop. Hopefully things are picking up speed and getting more interesting soon. Other than that, things that I have watched include How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory
, and Grey's Anatomy
(yes, I still watch it). Local tv is showing the latest season of Survivor
but I have a feeling that things get cut a lot because a gay contestant is competing with his fiancee and I don't get why the tv decided to show something if they're going to cut parts of it :( It's always the case here in Singapore. If they're going to cut stuff might as well they choose other programme to show, right? right?!!!
Lastly, I have to admit that sometime I am jealous of people. People who seem to be living the life that I want to have or the dream that I have. This week I am jealous of my brother. I know he deserves what he's getting and perhaps even more. Sigh. Anyway, he kinda make me think of making plan B for next year. We'll see. My life has been rather rough this week. I hope yours is much better. Ciao!
:) eKa @ 1:16:00 PM •