Dear Clara


I don't know if it is your story or if it is your writing, or may be both. But, your e-mail is remarkably riveting and engaging, as evident from the passion with which it is written.

T is going through a phase which is not very different from what you are going through - strange land, huge opportunities, new relationships, uncertain future. It is natural for people in the school to see both of you and form their own understanding of where you both are in terms of your academic careers. As for you, it is important to recognise the signs of competition, and to acknowledge the feelings and frustrations that accompany them. Instead of having to score points to assert dominance within competition, one can go a long way by saying to themselves that they have nothing to lose. Your life is ahead of you, many opportunities are ahead of you, and competition can only make your life better if you are able to handle it healthily by seeing opportunities through them. I always use the analogy of the government and the opposition. You govern your life. Outside competition although, can influence your life which you govern. Whilst most governments tend to defend their point of view by justifying their views as better, a good government takes the criticisms and challenges as opportunities for shaping and expanding their vision. There is nothing here for you to prove, nothing to defend, nothing to lose and a hell of a lot to gain. So use this T episode to identify what you have learnt through this, and utilise it to shape your vision for your life. It could even include simple things like: who are my real friends? How do I learn to handle competition effectively? How can I handle situations without running away from them, denying them or sweeping them under the carpet? etc etc. I think you are learning lots through this, and I am very optimistic that you will learn more as days go by.

Coming to your questions about me. Yes, I am applying to Oxford and Cambridge for a Master’s degree which will eventually lead into a PhD. My topic of research will be to expand on the God/humanity/creation interrelation in the Old Testament scriptures, focusing on psalms, proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. I will certainly be applying for scholarship, without which, I will find it very hard. I stare at Sophie's world every day. It is on my bed, begging to be read. I have been getting 2 hours sleep each night of late, which is why Sophie continues to wait for me. The same applies to Le Petite Prince, which is why I am kind of looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the simplest things. I love to read and hear your stories, and I never see them silly. As a matter of fact I feel privileged that another person's experience can inform and influence my own life. So you and your stories are welcome as ever.

Good luck with all your preparations for Fiji. Have a blast.

The Piano Man

Dear Piano Man

Dear Piano Man,

Not sure why I write this email. Maybe because I feel guilty letting our catch up time consumed with my silly stories (and oh that good 15 mins of me crying my heart out and losing all my guards). and I do want to hear your stories. But thanks anyway

So, what's happening in your life? You told me you're applying for PhD? Where? Which universities? What's the topic of your research? Are you applying for scholarship too?Did you read all the books I gave to you? Sophie's world? Le Petite Prince? If so, how do you find them? Is there any interesting bit? Guess, for me those two fictions significantly framed my world views, my narratives (although, the narratives, of course, are constantly changing)

Hmm, alright, guess I know now why I'm writing email to you. I need to talk to someone, someone... you. Today has been of a bit of emotional turbulence. I met with my professor who helped me finding and arranging my internship in Fiji (he even arranged accommodation for me, such an ace!!)He introduced me to some members of the organisation that I'll work with. It was nice and good.

Then he told me that T came to him and asked him to endorse her internship. Guess I was a bit irritated because of that. Feel like I couldn't escape this girl. And my prof hinted something like, 'I smell you both are so in competition with each other'. Hate that!! I mean now the whole school knows. I just feel it’s inescapable now, everyone will compare us. and I am not strong enough not to resist to be consumed in this pointless comparison and competition.

I am so afraid that I would lose my track, and ability to actually 'be here' and enjoy things that I have. I guess in competition, you always look forward to score points, to affirm your advancement against others. This is so pointless and will hinder me to have a genuine interaction. It turns my 'friendship' with T into self-serving interaction to satisfy a selfish and egoistic affirmation of fragile self-definition. Maybe i don't really have a friendship with her since the very beginning. I don't know

Well, now I feel better. I've put it into words and I can observe my feelings. I feel lighter and I guess I can start building up my effort to get out of this silly frame.I just feel sad, for the fact, that what I thought was a real friendship or at least what could have been a real friendship is probably a fake one. Will there be any real friendship? how could you tell? Will there be any sincere unselfish relationship? how can you tell? All these things with T make me even more sceptical. I felt I've been fooled.

Anyway, now I don't know whether I should hit the send button or not? (click it actually). I decided to send it, for I would like to believe, friendship can happen

Have a good day


Narratives and advocacy

It was slightly out of expectation. Policy Advocacy would not provide their devotees with practicalities of advocacy. There would not be tips and tricks in effective persuasion. Rather, it taught us different attempts to make sense advocacy, to dissect it and its assumptions, to look beyond what is seemingly an obvious matter. Before, I always thought that advocacy was straight forward. Advocacy for me was demonstrations, strikes or boycotts. Advocacy is telling the reality that your government is too blind to see! Indeed, they are examples of persuasion at play. However, advocacy is more complex and subtler than those examples. One thing for sure, advocacy is so pervasive in our lives that we are actually advocates, often unconsciously.

Yesterday, I met my boyfriend and talked about the military violence that is happening in West Papua, Indonesia. I told him how paralysed I felt for not being able to do anything. His suggestion is for me to start gathering support from Indonesian students and plan a protest. He suggested that I should write articles, to persuade the Indonesian Student Association to release an official statement to the Australian and Indonesian media. The key, he said, is to wait for the right moment, when the condition gets worse, to execute all the strategies he mentioned. Aha! That's what John Kingdon's calls 'window of opportunity'! All the strategies he formulated are perfect examples of persuasion as 'manoeuvres' of an advocate. He understood that I, an ordinary student, do not have a 'claim to a hearing', a prerequisite of Kingdon's policy entrepreneur. Organisation like the Indonesian Students Association and the media will help me to grab attention. Intelligent as he is, he never heard of Kingdon’s eloquent idea of policy entrepreneurs. But we can see how ideas and practical ways of persuasion are every day’s conversation. One grieve observation is, often to ‘sell’ your cure you must wait until your patient is about to die. Is that a justified trade-off? How can we tell the right moment to push our prescription?

Come to think of it, what he did is an advocacy in itself. He was persuading me of what he thought was the best ways to advocate my cause. He was performing an advocacy on how to execute my advocacy. The way he did it was to appeal to my reason or ‘logos’. He laid out the argumentative analysis of how those moves he suggested are the best ways I could possibly exhibit. He also has that ‘ethos’ dimension as an ex-journalist in Australia. He knows how the media works and to utilize it. Add to the ethos his charms and we can tell now whether I was convinced or not.

The question then is how to persuade the bulk of mainstream Indonesian students to support my cause to stop violence in Papua? Their ignorance frustrates me. For me, it is obvious that what happens in Papua are human rights violation, developmental failures, and structural discrimination by the state. The evidence is crystal clear. How could most people be blind to those facts?! The answer seems to lie in the narrative approach on advocacy. In fact, the concept of narrative significantly changes my understanding of policy advocacy.

Politicians often say, ‘Let me tell you a story’. Indeed, to understand the policy, we need to ask the story first. Narratives help us make sense of a problem by encompassing and interweaving disjointed ideas and values and justifying the decision and policy action (Feldman et al 2004; Fischer 2002). In doing so, narratives blur the boundaries of personal stories with grand theme of a policy and the grand narrative of identities. In narratives, we find a complex interaction between the personal, professional and the public stories. Narratives serve as lenses to filter the ingredients of our construction of 'reality' and truth; so called facts and evidence. Facts and evidence only serve as justification for our narratives; ideas of ‘reality’.

Born in an activist family, I have a different narrative from most of my Indonesian peers. My father was a labour activist during Soeharto era. He told me stories of workers who suffered under Soeharto’s policies and his military atrocities. When I was 12, my father told me that my grandfather, his father, was murdered by the military in 1967 because he joined the communist teacher’s movement. So I grew up with deep antagonism toward the government, the military and the dominant narrative of Indonesia as a national identity and a nation. My story is part of the big narrative of struggling victims of government, including Papuan rebels (or heroes?). Now we see how my narratives shape my previous understanding of advocacy. Individuals are the culmination of public and personal stories, a dynamic negotiation of many interrelated narratives.

In advocacy, often we need to change the narrative which neither easy nor quick. We need to persuade people to step outside their narratives in order to observe and analyse the narratives onto which they attach personal stories and public roles; to identify and question the assumptions of the plots and values embedded in the grand story. The next step is to convince them that our counter-narrative is worth adopting; that this version of reality will make sense of the problem, and solve it.

In Papuan case, this means questioning the grand narrative of Indonesia. What is Indonesia? Who are Indonesians? How did we come to this idea of Indonesia? How do ideas of Indonesia shape my personal story, my identity and political stance; my opinion on Papuan issues? What is my version of Papuan story within the story of Indonesia? The advocacy continues by offering, and convincing people to adopt the counter- narratives where Papuan rebels are the brave protagonists against cruel authorities; that current ideas of Indonesia and being Indonesian are misleading and need to be redefined.

Most people will refuse to confront their narratives, let alone change them. To question our narrative is dangerous, both at individual and collective level. At personal level, it shakes our self-definitions and construction of reality; the meaning of our personal lives and roles in public domain; our identities. At collective level, it disturbs our foundation of our imagined collective identity, collective actions and its ways of making sense of our changing environment.

At this point, I am so perplexed. If policy heavily depends on narratives, where that leaves advocacy? How to change deeply pervasive narratives? If evidence, truths, facts are instruments of our narratives, what can justify such advocacy to convince others that our narratives, thus our ‘reality’ and evidence, is better (or more real)? Policy Advocacy course leaves me incompetent in answering those provocative questions; questions that might never be answered, or maybe, should not be answered.

Home: A sanctuary of life

what is home for you?

Is it a place? For most, we associate home with a concrete building with walls and roofs, with door of which we own the key to enter in. It's stood somewhere where we can point in the map. It has address, either a geo-wise or social-wise direction (33 Antill Street, or next to the church which pastor was accused of having an affair).

Is it a person/persons? Family, friends, partners, kids? We say people at home to refer to our families. When we say, "I miss home", often what we mean is, "I miss my family, my comfort zone, people who love me and accept me the way I am, people who mean much to me".

Is it a memory? Good, sweet, comforting, securing, encouraging, warm, upsetting? childhood memories? the cute guy next door? when you and mom baked new year's cake in the middle of night? your dad planted a kiss on your forehead? that first kiss with your crush? all the giggles with your friends? maybe

What reminds you of home? A smell? of your mom's favorite perfume, of your dad's body odor, of restaurant next door spices, of cheap coffee-to-go, of minyak kayu putih, of a rose. A taste? of a tea, of beef rendang, of Indomie :D. An image? A song? A chant?

There's a sense that home should be a fixed entity, be it a place, a person, or a memory. A reservation that remains still, where we can resort, if we get tired of the ups and downs in life. It's always there, somewhere definitive of which we are all equipped with familiar maps and direction. So if Sally gets upset about something, she only needs to think of that sweet memory of her 17th birthday.

I don't know, I am not as lucky as Sally. I have bits of all those things, at the same time, none of them. I don't feel belong to any association with home. Medan, it's no longer feel home to me (come to think of it, I wonder, if I ever felt Medan my home?). Jogja, hmm, it's always there, its door always opens. Once I forced it to be my home, tried to shape it, change it, tailor it to my definition of home. I lost. Jogja doesn't feel like home yet, I always want to come back. Tokyo, I don't think it has a place for me there and vice versa. Canberra, it's comforting but don't feel belong here.

Family, friends? Well, I am an emotionally independent person. I love them, truly. I just don't feel like coming back. I miss them sometimes, but honestly, what's more important for me is for them to live a happy, fulfilling, peaceful lives without me. I'll love them from a far, sincerely.

So what's home for me? Life for me is a journey of constantly refined destination, it's about getting there not being there. I guess if home is where your heart is, it's within me all the time. The life is my heart. My home is on the road, the path, the journey I take. A moving sanctuary of life.

1 Anno Canberrae

It's one year in Canberra (2 days ago, more precisely)

So much has happened since June 3rd 2010. I think a year in Canberra has offered me many opportunities to learn so many aspects of life, not only in academic stuff, but more importantly real life lessons.

I've met so many people from different backgrounds and I cherish each of them, even the one who did some harm to me. I think, each person life has brought to me, taught me essential clues that I should learn to proceed my journey.

I lost some good connections. The distance between me and some people were widened for better. It's a difficult lesson to understand that, sometimes, things are better left abandoned. I guess, it's a part of knowing when to let go, when to fight for maintaining the relationship, and when to change the relationship. Knowing that sometimes things and relationships take on their nature courses, and there's completely nothing wrong with that.

Nevertheless, I also have been trying to maintain good relations and to connect and interact more genuinely, less selfishly, with many once-strangers: a lovely perfectionist lady in Islamabad, a skeptic yet hopeful Vietnamese girl, a sarcastic yet encouraging academic adviser, a patience atheist-biologist, an arrogant yet gentle musical theologists, an enthusiast Chinese faith-seeker, a coffee-addict Egyptian girl, an ex journalist who is obsessed in Indonesia, a friendly yet muscly Pakistan, a helpful Bhutanese guy, and an Afghan boy who couldn't stop laughing. These are the people that Canberra has kindly introduced me and I hope the list will keep on going. Interacting with people and listening to their stories are, for me, the way to celebrate life that I am forever grateful for.

For these people, the lessons they've been teaching me, for many other reasons, and for people and lessons to come:

to Canberra, I say thank you
to God, I say thank you

and to these once-strangers, I say thank you, friends :))

The Pain of Silence

Pain comes in silent, and we suffer silently.

It was an usual sunday morning. Some new faces at church except the fact that there were tw0 young people who would re-affirm their faith, and one guy -the piano player- who would become the member of Australian Uniting Church. I personally, don't really understand the implication of being a member and don't really see the points of reaffirming your faith in public.

In the beginning of the sermon, I went outside, gathered couple of kids to play with. Oh well, we weren't actually playing. I didn't have any plan for them. So it was kind of impromptu things. I decided to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. I am not a bad story teller, if I should say so, :D. I asked them to imagine the case where they passed a street, found this half-naked-tortured man while they were in a rush to meet a beautiful lady (note: the kids were all male, note: please don't allege me suggesting sexual attraction too early). They gave quite honest and logical answer. One said he didn't know what to do, while the other said that he would call his waiting friend and explained the situation. Well done boys!!!

As we were about to wrap up, a man came out of the church and talked to one of my boys. I listened something like, 'I'll meet you soon, don't worry'. I interrupted and asked the man of what was happening. He said that he needed to go to hospital or called an ambulance as he had this pain in his chest. So I asked to sit and called 000. To sum up, in less than 10 minutes, an ambulance came. The man was examined and monitored and he had arranged his relatives to take care of his son (some people who were in the church as well at that time). The kid was a bit disoriented after that. He was quiet during our sunday school but I could tell that he was a bit confused of what happened at that time. After the worship finished, the ambulance took off and brought the man to the hospital.

All these things happened pretty quick and calmly, almost inaudible by those in church. No one in the church noticed, let alone asked what the hell was an ambulance doing in front of the church. We called an ambulance, the kids were a bit terrified, ambulance came, paramedics diagnosed him, monitored him, took him off. And within the same place, about 80 people prayed, listened to the sermon, reaffirmed their faith, sang hymns, chatted, exchanged news, and felt refreshed.

For me it feels like, each of us suffers our own pain and we are suffering in silence. Quietly the pain seeps into our life, sometimes not by our own choosing. In some contexts, those who are close to us, might feel our torments to certain degree, but no matter how close they are, our miseries are properties of our isolated being.

In contrast, happiness is most of the times louder than misery. Look at the celebration of royal wedding. We shout, we sing, we scream, we laugh, we clap sharing the joy. Maybe, just maybe, outvoiced by our celebrating sound, some people or even the supposedly happy bride and groom, were crying in their heart.

The sound of our joy has successfully covered the quiet voice of crying people in Syria, Libya, the silent agony shared by those who lost their loved ones in Alabama. It's always the case that those who win the battle will roar, and those who lose will surrender in the inexpressible and unspoken state of defeat.

As the world keeps on moving, the earth keeps on rotating in silent, undisturbed by the fact that each of us suffers the unpronounced, inarticulate, aphonic grieve and anguish, in silent.

Sahabat - Prolog


Saya memutuskan untuk menulis blog dalam bahasa Indonesia lagi karena topik yang satu ini, sahabat. Sulit sekali menemukan padanan kata sahabat dalam bahasa Inggris. Mungkin saja karena bahasa Inggris saya masih amburadul dan saya belum sepenuhnya mengerti makna yang terkandung dalam kata-kata seperti friends, buddy, mate, pal, dan sebagainya. Sahabat, hanya satu kata, tujuh fonem yang menangkap begitu banyak adegan dalam perjalanan hidup saya.

Bagaimana persahabatan dimulai? Apa yang membuat saya memutuskan untuk memanggil teman saya ini sahabat? Mungkinkah persahabatan berakhir? Kapan dan bagaimana? Ah teman, saya pun tidak mengerti. Apa yang saya mengerti, saya adalah orang yang berbahagia setiap kali saya menghitung sahabat saya. Sahabat saya tak banyak, tak perlu banyak, cukup untuk berbagi kesedihan, dan melipatgandakan kebahagiaan bersama.

The Social Solitaire

How do we got from here to there?

Some people walk, some drive cars, some ride bikes, some, like me, take buses

Bus, a means of transportation, a public transportation, more precisely. This is a mode of mass transportation that I use here in Canberra, or even back then in Indonesia. Although, the buses here are ten times better than those in Indonesia. Cleaner, more punctual, safer, and more comfortable.

It is times that I spend getting on the bus, sitting alone especially by window, looking outside, watching the road, people and things, passing by when I usually contemplate on my days and my life in general. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without my favorite songs played like soundtrack of a movie; like I am in sort 0f clip with glimpses of my past appearing and dissolving.

But it is that very damn songs that I would curse today (I have to curse at least one thing in a day, otherwise I can't sleep). So, what makes me get agitated by these songs in our iPods??

Because it eases solitary, it creates distance, it alienates us from the rest of passengers in the bus!! Each of us, lonely passenger get on the bus, greet the driver (hi, how's it going? good thanks), take the most comfortable seat where no one sits next to us, put our baggage beside us so that no one will try to sit next to us, plug in those two tiny speakers into our ears, and ignore the rest of the bus. I say we since it's not only me, but most of the passengers.

I imagine, like 100 years ago, there was no public transportation. Every one of us, at least every family might have had their own horses or carts, or whatever. How about poor families? I reckon either they had to walk, or they had to ask for rich neighbour's favour to pick them up, to drop them off, preferably those who are going to roughly the same direction. They must've know each other so during the journey, they were most likely to talk to each other. You know, who will get married, how's your grandson, that the priest had an affair, etc. They didn't mind talking, maybe because they had not invented iPod back then, or even Sony Walkman. They had to talk, to make the journey bearable.

However, as people get smarter, get more fragmented and things are commodified, we invented our own talking friend, our own comfort in the journey. Cell phones, books, iPods.

If bus is going to take us through the same journey, even the same destination, why would we not want to know who are those people taking the same path. Hey, you're listening to music too, maybe we're actually listening to the same singer? Do you like Jamie Cullum? Or maybe, we've been to the same place? Have you been to Tokyo? Or maybe, we want to do the same things in the future? Sky diving, anyone? Or maybe, we just had a crappy trashy day? Ah, same here!

But no, instead of changing our seat to sit next to our fellow passenger, we change our mp3. Instead of listening to their stories, we raise our mp3 volumes. Instead of talking to them, we sing to our songs (worse, we just do lypsinc). Sometimes, it really looks pathetic!!

How do we got from there to here?

We are human, we are wired to interact, we can't stand silence for too long, we need sound!! But we are also built to seek control, to manipulate environment for our own satisfaction. That's why, we find that sound from other human being are, most of the times, annoying (probably because they just talk about themselves, silly stuff, inessential and insignificant). We are not able to know what kind of 'music' will we hear from them in advance. Not like iPod where you can customize 'your talking friends' and skip, delete, remove some of the songs when we feel they don't serve our interest. With human, we can't really control their voices, the volumes, the pitch, the pace. We can't mute them whenever we are tired of them, we can't fast forward or rewind, we can't skip, we can't stop them as we like. Hence, the iPod and those two tiny wicked speakers.

And we call it civilization. well, well....

Garden State

Right, I'll write it down while it's still floating on the stream in my brain.

Garden State

Oh God, where have I been for so long??? I knew this movie for so long but never really sat and watched it. I was lured by other movies with great reviews, huge ads, sensational trailers, top actors, bombastic plot and such and such. I put it aside, later on...later on.

So, last night I finally got to watch Garden State. It's a gem, a small and simple one. Not a big and sparkling diamond. It's a small deeply glowing onyx. Like when you are out fighting for Louis Vuitton sale and your eyes catch a glimpse of lonely small handbag sitting on the corner of the shop. Fall in love, you move away from the crowd and slowly approach the lonely fellow. You take it, 60 percent discount of Louis Vuitton doesn't matter anymore, go to the counter, pay for it, and walk out of the store. Your steps feel so light. That kind of feeling!!

I'm bad at giving summary of a movie. I think you'd better go to or rotten tomatoes to get a good synopsis. Here's the link

The movie is full of quirky and exaggerating stuff but to my surprise I don't find it weird or bizarre. You feel like, hang on a sec, that thing could really happen. In fact, I did fantasised about a shirt made from wall paper. Or yeah I did random tap dancing in front of some people.

There is one scene that I really love. The spin bottle scene, where Andrew (the protagonist) sits on the couch and watches all his friends moving, dancing, kissing, drinking, like a martian. Everything was so normal yet so out of place. He is part of the space and story (it's his life, after all) yet it feels like taking a sneak peek into someone's life. Ever feel like you find all the routine normal things sound/look/smell/unfamiliar?

I think it encapsulates the whole movie. A martian who is originally coming from earth. Andrew came back home, it should feel like home, but it doesn't, but it's still home. It should feel like a funeral, I should feel sad, but I don't, but it's still a funeral. I should feel like me, but who is me?

Garden State for me is about being 20 something human; a lost one, lonely and disoriented. It's about redefining home, be it place, people, memory or just feeling. It's about comfortably sinking oneself in feeling, be it pain, love, happiness, fear or anger. It's about embracing your present life, whatever it means, whatever constitute it, whatever there is to it. This is it!

Andrew Largeman is lost, lonely, and disoriented in his mid 20s. However, he chose to feel whatever life brings (even if it's pain), and chose to move on (to wherever it may be), and be at peace at home (whatever form it takes).

For me it resonates to what I have been thinking and feeling about my life. If life is a road, I feel like living in a detour. But hell, yeah, I will eventually get to wherever I have to arrive, it might take a while and yes, detour is a beautiful sidetrack of life :))

For Clara

Allow me to write about thing that might sounds a bit bragging. It really is nothing. I mean this is the thing that some people post in their walls, write in their statuses, and you wish that there is a 'Like I Care' button to click!!! I am fully aware of this. But, trust me dear readers, I just feel happy, simply that's what i feel now. And I just want to jot this moment and freeze it in words. So, in times where I find everything is bleak, this simple kind of happiness might sip back into my heart and light the days!! So please bear with me!

Well, recently my days has been so gloomy and lonely. I think I can blame the changing weather partly for my misery. Canberra has decided to test my mood and I, so far, lost points. It's really cold, windy (strong, freezy, and dry), and cloudy as well. Like 3 days ago, the temperature plunged into 5 degree. Hello, I thought we're still in the beginning of autumn here!! And along with falling leaves, falls does my mood. I have a terrible SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) or winter blues (only it's fall, not yet winter). That's why a lot of suicide attempts are done in winter.

So, you can imagine how it feels to find a small package addressed to you at 9 am in the morning. You haven't had any breakfast, still in that pyjama where you can hide yourself in, a thick and long socks, bedhead hair, unwashed face and you opened your door and looked down at your feet, found this small box with your name written on it!! Trust me, it feels like summer in June (we're talking about southern hemisphere here).

It was a thank you gift from my professor in ANU. She is so damn sweet and considerate!! Like three days ago I emailed her (she is by the way, in Norway now on sabbatical leave) to ask about internship opportunity. She replied and gave me some contact numbers (I've contacted them, no reply yet, finger crossed!!). She then asked my address for a completely different things. I didn't ask for what but I gave her. So, the thank you gift is the 'completely different thing' she mentioned before.

For some background, this lecturer named Sharon Bessell is the main reason I chose Crawford School ANU. She has done an extensive work on children in Indonesia (and also in Fiji and Australia). She teaches Children and Youth Policy in Crawford (but not this year, hopefully next year when I'm eligible to take elective courses, children and youth policy will be offered once again). I think, Crawford School is the only school of public policy that has particular course in children, other university has that under department of social work which kind of far from my background in politics. So, yeah I chose Crawford and got to meet and know this amazing lady.

She is really friendly and approachable. Her lecture is really interesting and engaging (she was one the guest lecturer in one of my current courses). She is the kind of person who enters a room of indifferent people and can melt the ice, people just feel her warmth and radiant. Trust me, it's not only me who says this. My academic advisor actually adores her! And it's hard to get a genuine compliment for this academic advisor of mine, even if you're a professor (he likes to mock our director and some professors =P)

The reason for this thank you gift is that I helped her as an interpreter in her workshop about a month ago. She asked me to help her and hell yes, I immediately grabbed that offer. It was a very rewarding activity. I actually the one who should thank her for giving me that opportunity. I did learnt a looooot!! I'll write another post on that workshop. And moreover, I am paid for that, so this gift is a personal appreciation.

I am happy.

So, let me for the first time ( it feels like a first time) embrace this small, simple happiness and feel genuinely happy without thinking,'ok, so what is exactly you want from me?'. It's not grand, it's not overwhelming like a big wave crashes the rock. It's just a simple act of kindness that seeps into your heart like a small river flow :))

Economic for Lover-1

My Economic Way of Thinking Exam's Question

1. Give an example of sunk cost and show how it should be used in decision making

Sunk cost is retrospective cost in the past that has been incurred and cannot be recovered or traded. In making decision, one should not take sunk cost into account (it should be ignored).

All the time, energy, and resources that you've spent in building relationship with your partner should not be considered in making decision whether or not you break up with your partner. All gone is gone. Don't cry over the spill milk

p.s : I did wrote that as my answer. My lecturer must be proud of me; applying economic concept to relationship issue.

The Piano Man

I have this urgency to write at the time when I should revisit all the tutorials for tomorrow's exam. But who cares! The best feeling in life comes when you do things you shouldn't do *grinn. The worst, though, is regretting as the consequences roll back to you, but it's not for now, so why bother ?!

Have you ever watched the eyes of a piano player when her/his fingers are dancing on the tuts? Well, for me, most of the times my puppy eyes will be closed. It's something I can't help, just automatically. For sure, I can't close my eyes when I still learn the notes. But I can guarantee you, the minute I got the tune and melody in my head, my eyes retreat and wander around in other realm, the world of that particular music.

Music, for me, encapsulates most -if not all- of things that happened in my life.

I lost my mom when I was 8. She's the one who first taught me how to play. I would play the song from hymns as she gently wept and withered in her bed. I played, my eyes were closed.

I met my mentor in life when my father was searching for someone to continue to teach me play. He did not only teach me Mozart and Bach (of course Chopin and Beethoven), but he taught me how to believe in something that I put away along with my grieve. He taught me how to play God, a minuscule part of the Providence and I closed my eyes.

I met my life I knew now when I was playing an organ in a church. A man came and praised my playing. He offered me a place in Uncle Sam's big house to play music there. My heart pounded, my eyes were open big. My father said no, it has to be medicine or engineering. My heart broke, my eyes dimmed, I played alone.

I keep on playing, people keep on showering with compliments. None of them know, each tuts I press, it brought me a glimpse of memory, of things that continue to stay with me, forever. Like the changing of one tone to another, the melody continues, I know in my journey of life, as one phase fade sout and the other unfolds, my eyes will be closed,
but my heart will remain open.

That was very beautiful. Did you just make it up while you were playing? with those closed eyes?

In a motion

In the middle of nowhere
find traces of milky way
out there, somewhere in nowhere

it is the loudest silence
so dim, it shines,
so wide, it confines

even a dog's bark
suddenly has a profound meaning
it adds something to the nothingness
yet, it remains empty

What can be contained in half of a second
of a reality and of a memory?
a falling star, probably?

and how does it end? or does it end?
does the end sacrifice itself to the beginning?
does it matter anyway?

the road ahead keeps unfolding itself
as the ahead molds into the passing
it keeps on fading out

and we, in a motion, always in between
the has and the shall
never arriving, never ever leaving

the destination is the ground beneath
to where we are attached,
yet forever moving.

what can be contained in half of a second
of a reality and of a memory?

Ending is the New Beginning. Is it?

Move on, or maybe it will pass eventually???

There are certain things and times in life where we can draw clear line between ending and beginning. When is your semester kicking in? When is it ended? When did you meet your partner? When were you born? When did your grandpa die? and so on.

As human being, we live through uncountable phases. We may, with the help of logics (or method of thinking, knowledge, whatever you may call it) simplify the phases. Early birth, infant, toddler, childhood, teenage, adolescent,adulthood, senior, -and of course ends with death (well, unless you believe in life after death). It depends on your perspective, you can end up with hundreds way of dividing life in stages.

But life (and here you can replace with reality) is never as simple as we want it to be. There are phases of life that are blurry, hazy, and indescribable. There are stages that we aware of after we grow out of them. There are even, some of us, or some of the stages, who would never realize that we've been through some episodes of life.

Maybe that's the point. How can we realize an episode, a stage, a level, a step, a room, a boundary, without start and end point? Maybe, not realizing it is the best attitude toward life maturity process. Blessed ignorance, the other saying goes.

I am no blessed ignorance (somethings that I really need to learn!). Call it thoughtful, reflective, or just absurd complex, I am 'it'.

So this year 2011, is the beginning of my new semester for sure (oh think about thousands of words that I should write d'oh!), and also new kind of life. Not totally different with what I had before, but still they're not the same.

To begin with, I broke up (yeah, I can hear sound of protest in my head, some even yell ungrateful bit*h). Well, blame me! I take my responsibility. Yep, it's me who ended it. I'm a selfish, arrogant, prideful, egoist, snob girl. I am lousy, not the kind of girl who you should consider if you are contemplating serious relationship. The credits for our four years something relationship should all go to him. I spiced the journey, he drove and struggled with the road, no one dealt with the destination: we got lost. Then we rushed to our maps and look, we have different ones now. How come? I don't have any idea. So, thank you it has been a nice trip, but I'm sorry, I'm heading somewhere else and so are you. I gently got off the car.

We' re cool, we try to be as grown up as we can be (sometimes being adult not equal to being rational). We still share whatever happens in life, still chatting, still texting, not much of a difference. Of course, we cut off those sweet words, or public display of affection. However, since we rarely had them before, it doesn't feel different, like there is nothing really change (so fundamentally what we had is just a deep care for each other with some sparks of physical attraction to legitimately call it 'relationship'). I still care for him, that's one thing for sure!

I moved from previous house, that 's something I should consider as part of new life. Things didn't go very well, not as well as I expected. The need to belong to a piece of shelter is so damn crucial that I had to leave despite all the consequences and emotional turbulence incurred. My new house I share with two aussie guys. One is doing PhD in art, the other is a public servant who like to watch Charlie Sheen's Two and a Half Men (I can be the half man :-) ). They are clean and simple. There's no constant 'what-will-they-think' kind of tension in my mind. Life with guys, if you don't like the way they do things, just spit it out in a civil way. No offense, no talking behind your back. No drama

Talking about drama, I recently saved myself from two of them. Well, they hadn't been developed into drama yet, but close. I managed to pass. I don't need this, and I stopped them there. I'll elaborate it other posts (if I can force myself to =p ).

So, in the end of this writing, I just want to say, as a human sometimes you need to stop and say to yourself, this it what I call an end (be it relationship, be it activity, be it addiction, be it status quo, or life as a whole) and move to the new beginning. The new start might constitute a small part of your cosmic life, while the other parts keep moving on, not arriving to their own ends yet, or it can be your whole life, it really depends on the way you see it. The point is to move on by renewing things or maybe you don't have to. Don't read my blog for advices in life :D.