Fighting Restlessness

Sunday.

Started writing this on Sunday night. I should be brushing my teeth and lie down, but as it often happens, I feel restless and so I am writing now. I thought I would be super relaxed because Monday is a public holiday and I am thankful about it, but the restlessness still comes, even yesterday on Saturday night. Perhaps because I am so alone :( My mom has been telling me to come home more often, like just go home for 2-3 days. For the 14 years since I left home, I think this is the first time that she's telling me this. Perhaps she's right, I should. However this holiday season, no one is really at home. My parents have holiday plans, mom will even be travelling quite a bit in the next 2 weeks. So even if I were to be at home, it will still be very lonely.

Anyways, I have finished reading number9dream by David Mitchell. He's a very talented writer and this book is very imaginative. There are 8 chapters and I think they would make a good tv series. Each of the chapter can take 1 episode and each episode will be so different from the others. There are usually 2 plots or what I would call layers in each of the chapter and the story can be so different, like in one chapter it's about characters in another story. It is beautiful the way it's written. It doesn't make it easy to read sometime and to imagine the scene. Even now I am still rather confused about when the story was set, like is it in present day? I'm not in love with it, but I have to say that David Mitchell is a very good writer. This book and Cloud Atlas are so rich in the story, so what's inside his brain must be interesting. I think what's inside the brain of very imaginative writers must be real amazing or it could be dark too and that wouldn't be so fun. I learn something new from this book, which is about kaiten, which is an underwater vessel which can fit just one soldier and the soldier inside it would go into a suicide mission by aiming their vessel to enemy's ship. It is beyond words how brave these soldier were to be willing to go on this mission. I am seriously in awe of the sacrifice that the Japanese would be willing to make for pride and honor.

So it turns out, that's my 5th book this year! So far, I have read:
  1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan
  2. Si Cacing dan Kotoran Kesayangannya - Ajahn Brahm
  3. Everything Is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer - the movie is not as rich as the book.
  4. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
  5. number9dream - David Mitchell
It took me like 1 month to finish number9dream. That's what solitary can do to me. Book number 4 was also finished fast because of the same reason. So right now, I am reading The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson because Oshie said it's the best book he's ever read, like ever! I actually saw this book before when I was browsing for book number 4, but I didn't buy it, I guess because it's thick so it makes it hard to bring around. The font size is bigger. If it's smaller, I think the book can be 25% lighter. Anyway with such recommendation from Oshie, I decided to see what the hype is about. Felt in a way it's destined to be read by me because in the early pages of this book, it mentioned the Japanese island Kagoshima, which is mentioned a lot in number9dream. I am strange for thinking this way. I'm confident that I can finish The Orphan Master's Son before year end and even make room for book number 7 which I actually already bought together with this book. We're exceeding the goal, which is a good thing, maybe next year I wouldn't be able to fill my target, so we're stocking ahead :P

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Monday.

I am finally back to the cinema. Watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Chose this because the reviews are really good and I myself thought it was really good. It felt a bit slow moving at times but I like how the story is not that straightforward. The characters were actually trying ways other than violence, they're not that purely bad or evil. It's amazing how fear can make one be ruthless. I felt the main character is actually Caesar, the ape, rather than the humans. It was quite touching at parts that I did shed some tears. Kinda good to be back into the movies.

That's pretty much it about life. Tomorrow is Tuesday, but I have a feeling Monday wouldn't let you off just like that. It's strange that I talk about being alone and lonely and yet I hate the idea of having to be around people. Hope you guys have better days ... I'm not sure how sincere I am in saying that.

:) eKa @ 4:44:00 PM • 0 comments

Slower Brain

Hello guys! I have started my Japanese classes and today is lesson 2. After 2 weeks of lessons, I wonder if my brain is slower because I am older. It's hard to accept that so I thought perhaps it's because it's been awhile since I conditioned myself to learn something and study, so my brain is just slow because it hasn't been used for a long time. It has been more than 1 year since I quit french class. However, today I just felt that perhaps it's really because I am older. I'm not the oldest in the class. Last week there was a couple, husband and wife, but today they didn't come. I wonder if they quit. The rest of the classmates are like in their 20s which reminded me of me when I learned Italian. I was pretty much the youngest and my brain worked really well. With this Japanese lesson, I practically forget everything taught in class when I leave the class and somehow nothing stuck. I remember during my student days, sometime I didn't have to force myself to learn because I could just remember information like I remember a picture, for example I could remember what the page of the book looked like and where the information was written. This time around, I have none of that and I do feel like the stupid one in class which is even more frustrating with me because people who knows me back when I was a young student would say that I'm pretty smart. I just feel really slow. Then there's the whole writing thing. We're learning hiragana now, which I'm not sure why it's hiragana, I wonder if we'll learn kanji too. The teacher doesn't really speak English and there's no explanation on the different writing systems in Japanese and why we're focusing on hiragana. I thought my writing is bad and not as correct as the examples, but when I saw the writing of my classmates on the board today, I felt better. Though it's perhaps because they're writing on the board, it's looking rather ugly. So far in each of the week, we're only learning 10 syllables and as I told you before, I pretty much forget what I learn in class today. The only way I could manage the dictation this week was by spending last week rote learning the 10 syllables, writing over and over. With more things coming, I'm not sure how I am going to cope. You perhaps can notice I'm so pessimistic. I am rather demoralized just because this is not easy for me :( Pronunciation wise, initially I felt like it's rather easy, but it turned out it's not so easy after all. I am bad at discerning sounds. It was a problem when I was learning English and a major problem when learning French. Perhaps the only time it was pretty easy for me was when I was learning Italians. All in all, classes haven't been something that make me bounce out of bed on a Saturday morning. In fact, I think I was dreading class yesterday. I don't think I should quit, but I begin to question how long I can do this.

So since I have class now, I haven't been going to the movies. Nothing to update there. I did complete watching the first season of True Detective and I thought it is as good as the critics say. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey both are awesome in it. Woody Harrelson with hair and a cleaned up Matthew McConaughey are handsome. Matthew McConaughey was still looking rather skinny in this series, I really really hope he's putting more weight so he'll look healthier. I have also fallen in love with the korean reality tv series Dad! Where Are We Going?. I'm not one who watches Korean things. The only korean tv drama that I have ever watched was Princess Hours and I did love it a lot and I really do want to visit the teddy bear museum featured in this tv series. It is perhaps really addictive these Korean things. I love Dad! Where Are We Going? because the kids are cute :D

On Indonesian news, it's reckoning day on Tuesday, 22 July. I feel we're all waiting in bated breath who our next president will be. It's all because Prabowo Subianto, one of the candidates, is ruining it all for our nation by not accepting reality. So what happened was for you guys non-Indonesians who's not following the news, after the election, many organizations were doing a quick count. The credible organizations who's been doing this for past elections released results at around 47% - 52% in favor of presidential candidate number 2, Joko Widodo, whom I voted for. These organizations have around 1-2% margin error. He declared victory I think around 3 pm. I do have to say that the announcement kinda made me disappointed a bit. It was a group announcement and I think he didn't even speak first, so he didn't seem to be fully in charge for me, which is one of the criticism people have of him that he'll just be a puppet president. Anyway after that, Prabowo, presidential candidate number 1, also declared his victory because based on the organizations he followed, he's winning. Mind you the organizations he's basing his information are not credible. The tv station that's obviously on his side and published this result had been ridiculed by many people. They're seriously in denial and I am getting embarrassed watching news about this in Channel News Asia and reading articles from oversea newspapers. 2 candidates declaring victory make it sound like Indonesian don't know how to count. So that's why we're in limbo now. What supposed to be a happy occasion is now making people on the edge. Prabowo seems adamant he's winning and that make people worry that when official result is announced this Tuesday there'll be riots from his disappointed supporters. I actually had a dream a few days back that Jakarta is having a riot again like 1998 and I felt scared in my dream. I saw black smoke plume in my dream. When I googled the 1998 Indonesian riot this week, the rape cases of Indonesian Chinese was really so traumatic and I thank God that He kept our family safe at that time. Anyway, the way Prabowo has been reacting in this past 1.5 weeks should be eye opening for people supporting him, unless they're all as delusional and in denial as him. It's seriously embarrassing for our nation. I read a newspaper that the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called our president asking if Indonesia is alright. Embarrassing no? Just because of one person who couldn't let go. I admire his commitment to fight until the end, but to be a good leader you should put the nation first before yourself and right now he's putting himself first.

Come 22 July, I am expecting that the result is the same as what the independent organizations have been declaring, that Jokowi is the winner. Seriously if it's not, I will be shocked. Due to this quick count saga, Indonesian is like educated on what quick count is. My first understanding of it was wrong. I thought quick count results are the results from all the polling stations after the on the spot counting. Yes in Indonesia and I am very proud of this, after the polling station is closed, the votes are counted immediately and everyone can just come to watch the counting and make sure it's okay. Anyway, apparently a quick count is not from all the polling stations, but it's just a sample and this is where I am so amazed that it can be accurate with only 1-2% margin of error. I thought you would need a big sample size to be accurate, but apparently the sample size is small. You see, there are more than half a million polling stations in all over Indonesia, in places far and remote. The sample size these organization used are about 2000-4000 polling stations which is very small compared to the total numbers, not even 1%, but if you put it into perspective that these organizations needed 2000-4000 people to be watching the vote counting and reporting the result, it's still quite an effort to do this. I am seriously curious how the statistic works that they can accurately predict the result. Googling so far just told me that as long as the random sampling is done correctly, the result should be representative of the actual result. Another thing I learn was that, I always thought after the result is counted on the spot, these boxes of votes would just be brought to Jakarta to be re-counted again, apparently it's not so. It's being brought to a district and then a bigger district to be re-counted and again this is an open event, so if you're free you could just come to the election office and watch the counting, which is what all the supporters and volunteers have been doing. They're making sure that the result is the same since it's counted on the polling station. I am also very proud that our election committee is very transparent that they're posting all the scanned voting reports from all the polling stations online. Even though many people have reported that some of these reports had been altered, the election committee is putting this out openly and this should be applauded. Anyone who want to see it and compare it and use it to count can do so. In fact there's already a site done by just common citizens who pulled these scanned reports and tabulate the results. This site also shows similar results, around 47%-52% in favor of Jokowi. Despite everything, I am proud with the election process, I am very proud that everyone can vote and that the results have been transparent and open. Yes there's irregularity, but such things also happen in country like USA. Also while many people including me are worried waiting for July 22, no conflicts have broken out so far and so I am thankful for supporters who are restraining themselves and all the military and police who are guarding the situation. Oshie said it's a good thing this election is during Ramadhan and I do hope next week people would just be busy with their holiday travel back to celebrate the end of Ramadhan that they wouldn't have the time and energy to incite riots.

:) eKa @ 6:05:00 PM • 0 comments

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