31 December, 2008

Farewell 2008, Welcome 2009

. 31 December, 2008

I was just back in Medan 2 days ago after together with all family member I spent 8 days of Christmas vacation at my parent’s house in Bandung. Actually my daughters wished us to stay longer in order they can celebrate a new year together with us, but my husband prefered to leave the outgoing year 2008 and to enter the incoming year 2009 at our own home in Medan

There are new year greetings from family, friends and relatives I got during these two days at my mobile phone through short message service, through email and on my wall at Face Book. Here are some of the greetings which to me are impressed and touched.

When the sky breaks into a beautiful sunrise, may God open the heaven to shower us with lots of love, joy, peace, happiness and prosperity in the future.

Ketika Tuhan membuka jendela surga, Dia melihatku dan bertanya “Apa permintaanmu anakKu?” Aku minta, Bapa jaga dan cintai keluarga yang membaca sms ini selamanya. Berikan mereka kesehatan yang prima dan hati yang penuh sukacita serta hasil usaha yang penuh kesuksesan.

Semoga akhir tahun ini menjadi awal yang membahagiakan untuk tahun 2009 yang lebih baik bagi kita semua.
Wish the end of this year is the beginning of happiness in the year 2009 which is a better year for all of us.

I wish you all the gift of : 356 days of Love, 8760 hours of Happiness, 525600 minutes of Peace, 31536000 seconds of Prosperity
Day by day was going on, and now the new day on a new year was coming. Let the day brings us the new life, new hope and new dream.
Hidup ini hanya sebentar. Sebentar senang, sebentar sedih, sebentar marah, sebentar ketawa, sebentar berduit, sebentar bokek, sebentar lagi . . . . TAHUN BARU !!!

Yesterday is history, today is a gift, tomorrow is a hope. May our Lord Jesus Christ give you happiness and bless.

Jika diibaratan langit itu adalah kertas dan lautan adalah tinta, maka langit dan air laut tak akan cukup menulis kasih Yesus kepada kita. Walau langkah tak bertemu, tangan tak berjabat, ucapan tak terdengar namun ijinkanlah hati memohon maaf yang sebesar-besarnya.

Baik buruknya di tahun 2008 menjadi tolok ukur untuk menghadapi tahun baru 2009.
Selamat Tahun Baru 2009.

Tak henti bertahan, tak henti berkreasi, tak henti untuk berbuat yang terbaik. Semoga Tuhan memberi kesempatan kepada kita untuk mampu melakukannya.
Tak selamanya hati seputih awan, tak selamanya jiwa sebening embun. Apabila mulut salah berucap, sikap dan tangan salah berbuat, terimalah maaf walau tangan tak sempat berjabat.

All those sentences are closed with a "Happy New Year" greeting.

Farewell 2008, welcome 2009.
To the world, to my country, to all my friends, to the whole family and relatives, and to all visitor of this blog with all best wishes I would greet you


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08 December, 2008

Heartbreaking Tsunami

. 08 December, 2008

In about more than 2 weeks from now, the 26 December 2008, will be the 4th year after tsunami destroyed Aceh, Nias and Padang. It means the organizations for the humanity, mostly non government organizations work for humanity including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the destroyed area will end in December 2009. The effects caused by this 2 days natural disaster needs at least 5 years for reconstruction and rehabilitations on physical facilities and infrastructure. The trauma of some victims may need longer time to be healed. The lost of hundred thousands life can not be replaced.

image by global picture

Everybody does hope tsunami will not happen again. The memories of how this tsunami killed people, separated parents from their children, destroyed future of some people remains heartbreaking.

the picture shows how tsunami destroyed land and killed people

Of course as faithful person we always believe and leave anything happen to Him, the almighty God. Many people believe it as their destiny, their fate, which is already written. However, faith solely without praising Him through our good attitude does not guarantee this natural disaster stop to happen.
there is no bufferzone to protect the area

Tsunami is just one of the natural phenomenas that can not be avoided. What we, as the residents of the earth can do is to minimize the negative effects on human, on all the living creatures and the land. If only the people in the destroyed area had maintained the mangrove along the beach for instance, the destroyed area might not be very large. What we can do in order to minimize the victims of natural disaster is to conserve and maintain the nature. The earth has been created in a balanced system which has mutual relationship among each diverse component. With the effort to keep the nature maintained, at least to not do any activities that may damage the nature, will hopefully minimize the victims whenever natural disaster happen.

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03 December, 2008


. 03 December, 2008

I am currently reading Phenomenology of Perception, philosophical thought written by Merleau Ponti.Before going far through the readings, I usually read autobiography of the author just to get the idea about on what track the discussion will be. I have heard about Greece philosopher such as Plato, Socrates etc. as well as German philosophers since I was at High School when I learned physics and science. Most of them are positivists and rationalists. I have heard about Sartre and other French philosophers as well. This time I read a book of French phenomenologist, monsieur Maurice Merleau Ponti.

Merleau Ponti is a French philosopher who introduced phenomenological thought to France. He combined a new way of thinking about the basic structure of human life with reflections on art, literature and politics. Grew up as a French, he spent most of his childhood in Paris with his brothers, sisters, and his widowed mother. He devotes most of his writings to explorations of this perceived world, in order to enable reader to ‘rediscover’ it for him/herself. His background knowledge which was psychology influenced him in discovering this perceived world from the point of view of a psychologist. This can be seen from his dissertation “Structure of Behavior”, a critical survey of psychological theory with special emphasis on Gestalt theory, inspired him to work on phenomenology. He is one of a few modern phenomenologist in the world. His first thesis in philosophy is Phenomenology of Perception which was first published in 1945. His other famous published articles on philosophy are: ‘The World of Perception’ (1948), ‘Sense and Nonsense’ (1948), ‘An Adventure of Dialectic’ (1955) and ‘Signs’ (1960). ‘Visible and Invisible’ (1964)

Unlike logical positivist philosopher of the 1930’s who affirmed the ‘verification principle’ that the meaning of a proposition given by its method of verification, i.e. by a way in which its truth or falsity can be settled on the basis of observation, Merleau Ponti rejects the emphasis solely on ‘scientific’ observation as well as the forms of empiricism which aim to restrict or reduce the contents of thought to possible contents of experience. Attempted to overcome the problems of empiricism and rationalism in the Cartesian tradition of modern philosophy, he takes that the relationship between perception and all other modes of thought, including science as one of foundation which involves a kind of rootedness that does not restrict the capacity for more sophisticated articulations of experience in the light of deeper understanding of the world. During the German occupation of France, he joined Jean-Paul Sartre the writer of “Being and Nothingness” to constitute an intellectual resistant movement (Socialism and Freedom). The experience of the German occupation forced him to think much harder about politics than he had previously done.

After his death (1961), his former students somewhere else, especially in United States preserved his reputation and ensured the translation into English of all his major works. His discussion of the ‘intentionality’ of consciousness, especially the way in which things are presented in perception, and the role of the body in perception are recognized as important contributions to the understanding of the phenomenology of perception.

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19 November, 2008

A Village Lack of Youngster

. 19 November, 2008

One of the things I have always concerned about every time I visit villages in Tapanuli Utara is its lack of youngster. Tapanuli Utara is located at the southern part of North Sumatera. Youngsters here are young adults. The scene seen are elderly or young children working at rice field, shepherding sheep and buffalo, or relaxing in the coffee shop. It seems that no youngster remains living in the village.

Most probably all youngsters has been moved to the city for education or earn money. In general, the people from Tapanuli Utara Bataknese strongly hold their principle of life that they must send their children/descendants to school. The awareness that education is the main road to a better future is so strong among Bataknese. To get their children educated is a pride and is of family main target. No matter how poor the family is, they will do anything to send their children to school. Their relatives usually help each other to support one’s family in making this possible. The support could be financial, material or providing facility. Parents would do anything, borrow money, sell their field, sell their property, work harder, etc. for sending their children to a good school. The success of a family is measured by the level of education the family can afford for their children. These matters encourage parents to send their children to get the good education in the big city. This mainly happens to the youth at the time they have to continue their study to a higher level or university. So, all youngsters of villagers will be sent to the big city to attend college or university. The problem is after completing their study at university, these graduated youngsters usually find a job in the city as well, to get well paid of course. Again, no youths will back to their village and settle their life there. Unless the local authority develops economic activities in a village - for the youth particularly, the village will remain lack of youngsters.

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29 October, 2008

A Tomb at the House Yard

. 29 October, 2008

It has been more than 15 years since I have been living in Medan. At least once in every year, most often on Easter holiday, I and my family used to visit a village of Tampahan, about 11 km further from Balige, the capital of Toba Samosir district. It takes about 5 hours drive from Medan to Tampahan.

There is a house of my husband’s late grannies located uphill off the road, facing the street of inter province. The cemetery, - I prefer to say a tomb - of my late parents in law is located at the right side yard of the house.
It is common for the people of North Tapanuli to bury down the corpse of family member at their house yard or their private yard somewhere else within the village. They assume they have the right to reserve part of their own house yard for the burial ground or cemetery of the family member when passed away. It is usually at either the front or side yard, but not at back yard, as to honor the soul of the person being buried there. There are still a lot of Bataknese people who prefer to bury the corpse of their parents or grandparents especially of the aged ones at the land of their parent home village. Even if they have to take the corpse across the ocean, they would do it.

The tombs of King Sidabutar
and his family at Samosir island

Cemetery of Nommensen and his family.
Nommensen is a missionary from
Germany who introduced
Christianity to the people

of north Tapanuli in the 19th century

There are many reasons to do so. It can be a wish or request from their parents or grannies when being alive, to ensure that the cemetery will be cared by a member of their family living in the village or at least by someone they may hire. Another reason is as a way for their descendants come to visit their fore father home village. This is what was requested by my father in law before he departed. He was a former member of police officer, and he has the facility to be buried in National Cemetery, but long time before his death, he told his wishes to his sons that his corpse is to be buried at his parents’ home village.

The tombs of my father's grannies
at Butar - Siborong-borong
which is surrounded by rice fields

The tomb of Siahaan's (my husband's clan)
forefather - Somba Debata in Balige

For current generation living in a city, taking corpse of the family member to the village is not practical, wasting time and costs a lot. They don’t care too much about where to be buried when died. However, as a matter of fact, to buy or even to rent the small burial ground at local cemetery costs a lot. The family of the departed has to pay a lot besides must pay for the rent every year including taxes.

Last month when a father of my friend passed away, the family paid 11 million rupiah (=USD11,000) for 2x1.5 square meter of land for burial ground of the death. That is at Simalingkar, which has been the second best cemetery in Medan in this few years. The best one is at Taman Eden, which cost more expensive, 25 million rupiah (=USD 25,000) per corpse to be buried there. This makes the people of Tapanuli Utara, particularly who live in North Sumatera choose to utilize the land at their father home village as burial ground for the family member. So on the way back to Medan from north Tapanuli, it is a common view to see ambulance delivering corpse to certain village at north Tapanuli followed by family of the departed.

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28 October, 2008

Education of Homeless

. 28 October, 2008

Poverty, economic condition in which people lack sufficient income to obtain certain minimal levels of health services, food, housing, clothing, and education generally recognized as necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living. What is considered adequate, however, depends on the average standard of living in a particular society. People without access to education or health services should be considered poor even if they have adequate food. One of the main sources of poverty is lack of educational opportunity.

To break the cycle of poverty in their family, the children must properly be educated. Being aware of this, the government of my country opens an opportunity for all children to have free primary education. The government has put education as compulsory and in state schools is free. Primary education lasts six years. There is no tuition fee; most text book is subsidized by government, and the children can borrow text books from school library. Its aim is to give the children opportunity for a better future and hence to reduce the amount of people living in poverty in the future.

In fact, there are still a lot of children hanging on the road at school time. Some of them stand as beggars, some others sell newspapers on the street, work as street-singers etc. There are many reasons for these children choosing to leave school. As a part of poverty, one of the reasons is their being homeless. A large percentage of the poor people are homeless. A big number of families in a poor live in houses that are literally made out of other people’s rubbish. They rig up some old corrugated iron, some plastic sheeting – and that’s home. The whole families live in just one or two rooms. There is no privacy. There is no indoor toilet either. The whole families often have to eat, work and sleep in the same room. Poverty and bad housing is a problem for the children.

There are lots children live in homes which are on or below the poverty line. Parents are often put under great stress as a result of poverty and unemployment. This can make home life very difficult and full of tension from time to time. Homelessness is just as hard on kids as it is on adults. As a consequence, the children’s education, if in fact they are in school at all, suffers severely. As a result, children often suffer.

School age children indeed spend a lot of time in school. But after school, they come home to do their homework and in school holidays they also stay at home. Besides, school is not the only place where children learn things. In many ways, home is a more important place for learning and developing, where children find out many vital things about themselves. Homeless youth become heavily concerned with stress regarding such issues as staying healthy and enduring small living spaces. They become acutely aware of their basic physiological and safety needs. With all these things going on in these students’ lives, we can not expect them to achieve to the same level as other more advantaged students.

There are major problems with the education of homeless youth today. Besides free education, there is a big homework : How to help homeless people can leave in a house.

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23 September, 2008

The long forgotten hobby

. 23 September, 2008

When I filled out the information ‘about me’ at Goodreads.com recently, I recalled all titles of the books I had read since I was in primary school, and those I had read when I was in my teens. These all reminded me to the good old days, particularly regarding my hobby when I was in my teens. Besides reading, my hobby was to correspond with anybody in the world. It was called pen friendship or commonly known as ‘pen pal.’
I had about 10 pen friends from out-of-country namely Austria, Denmark, Australia, Ghana, Greece, Tonga and there were also some from other cities in Indonesia, such as Pontianak, Aceh, Atambua (West Timorese) and Manado.

At the same time, I loved to collect stamps (philately hobby) as well. There were lots of stamps from many different countries I had collected and put them in stamp collecting albums. I used to exchange stamps also with my ‘pen friends’. Some of my pen friends kindly sent me their currency notes, and in exchange I sent them Indonesian currency notes. Now since it has been more than 30 years ago, I was reminded of this long forgotten hobby. I missed my stamp collecting album that I had not taken care of for years. I don’t know exactly when I started to neglect all this stuff. Most probably since I attended the university, when I didn’t have enough time nor was attention to keep collecting stamps or most probably my interest was completely switched to something else.

Moreover after I got married, I followed my husband to move from Bandung (my hometown) and stayed in Medan until now. All my stamp collecting albums were left at my parents’ house, and they have been neglected for years. I found some of them were badly damaged; most of the stamps were not in the album anymore. Last month when I visited my parents, I did not even see those albums anymore; maybe hidden somewhere, misplaced, or they have been given away to someone, or taken away by my siblings. I indeed did not take care, did not even think neither desire to see those stamp collecting albums I had so much treasured in the past. In fact I have neglected and forgotten them. The same fate happened to my pen friendships. I cannot remember the last time I received letters from my pen friends, neither remember when I started not replying to their letters. I am grateful and fortunate that I still kept all the letters I had received from my pen friends until now. I have tried to find them out on the internet, but I have not succeeded in finding any of them yet. However, I have to keep on searching so I can reconnect with them somehow.

Now I feel that I really miss my long forgotten hobby, miss my pen friends and my stamp collecting albums that I had treasured in my teens. I recalled the memory of how every day after school; I always expected to have letters from my pen friends waiting for me at home. How I was proud to have collected stamps from Israel, Greece, Iran etc. I want to share this experience with my grown up kids; telling them that having pen friendship and collecting stamps are something joyful and a fascinating hobby. However, I realize they will not be interested in making pen friend since now in this internet era, they could make friends with anybody instantly through internet. They do not have to go to the post office, to buy stamps and mail their letters. They can do this all anytime, anywhere, from home, school, or campus. I wonder in this internet era, where people can connect with each other through cable - are there still anybody making pen friend, send their letters via post office and, collect stamps? I need to research more on this long forgotten hobby – philately!

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03 September, 2008

Philosophical view about life

. 03 September, 2008

In the past I wasn't keen on reading or knowing about philosophy. Early this year, once when I was free, I read a book about philosophy, just to kill my time. ....well, I found it is interesting and I started to love it. It such a wise and objective view about life aspects. I really like it. Then when I blog walked recently, I hit blog of Ashis Vyas which contain philosophical view about life. I quoted part of nice writing from Ashis' blog and put it here to share.

Your attitude in life always determines your altitude in life.
Whatever you do, Do it as WORSHIP.
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

What should be the ultimate goal of life? -BE HAPPY-

There is a solution for making your life more happy,
Laugh, laugh and laugh
No matter how odd circumstances are
No matter how bitter our experiences are
But once you learn to laugh on circumstances
You have won the battle my dear Friend!

"Essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.."

No man / woman is worth your tears and the only one who is, will never make you cry.

Quoted from: Ashish Vyas

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31 August, 2008

Boli Boli Hot Spring Water

. 31 August, 2008

Between Siborong-borong and Tarutung, southern part of North Sumatera, there is a small village called Sipoholon, a popular place known its baths and sulphide hot spring water. It takes about 30 minutes drive from Siborong-borong to get to the location.

There are many restaurant at Sipoholon provide place set for visitors to bathe hot water. Everyone may take a bath for free in any of the bath rooms supplied with running water and equipped with bath tubs. The restaurant owners expect visitors to take a rest after bathing and, buy some food and beverage from their restaurant in return.

One of the restaurants called Boli-Boli, provides 6m x 10m hot water pool, and a bathroom with a large tub and Jacuzzi, a whirpool bath with a system of underwater jets that deliver water under pressure in order to massage an invigorate the body. Water flows through column to the tub dense clouds of steam, in which the bathers sweated. Finally bathers can be splash or shower with cold water.
Entrance fee to the pool is Rp. 3000,- ; and Rp. 60.000,- per 1 hour spa bathing. Like other restaurants around, there are also many bathrooms with hot water tub can be used for free. The restaurant provide various foods and drinks at reasonable price.

Whenever you take a trip around Sipoholon, the hot spring water bath is a good place to get your body relaxed. Especially when the journey is long and exhausting, spa bathing and Jacuzzi might heal you backbreaking.

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17 August, 2008

Indonesia Raya rocks my mood

. 17 August, 2008

Listen to the national anthem of Indonesia, click HERE

The national anthem of Indonesia, “Indonesia Raya” is again sung today on the celebration of the 63rd Indonesian Independence day. Even in the church this morning before the service, the congregation stood up to sing Indonesia Raya followed by ‘hening cipta’ conferring respect in memorizing national late heroes and ended with praying. I don’t know why every time I sing Indonesia Raya at the national ceremony, I always go moody, plunged into miserable feeling and could burst into tears that I had to fight keeping my tears to not flow out of my eyes.

This has happened for years, since I attended the Indonesian independence ceremony in Sydney nearly two decades ago. In fact, following the national ceremony abroad made my feel even more miserable. Feel of missing my country so much, moreover when the red-white flag was being raised gradually and we gave respect to the flag. I could not keep my tears. It was on the 17 August 1990, when I was even involved in the raising flag regiment.

This might be caused by being far away from my country. The atmosphere flew my heart away to my home country, reminding me the reality concerning lots of people in my country living in poverty, lack of education, lack of proper public service, malnutrition, lack of proper medical service, etc. ,etc. Longing for better conditions over all aspects of life in my country particularly prosperity and equity will soon be realized, … and a number of desperate questions about what has gone wrong with my country that it takes too long to become a prosperous country compared to other country which has just got their independence a few years ago.

Last year, at the graduation ceremony in October, it was opened with national ceremony. Again I could not keep my tears when all audience sang Indonesia Raya. This time I imagine most of the graduates who were very proud to accept his/her certificate will experience unemployment. Except this morning, when singing Indonesia Raya, I was a bit surprised that I didn’t feel like to cry. It was just flat, no such miserable feeling as usual. I don’t know why .

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05 August, 2008

One of the best story ever told

. 05 August, 2008

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review eachchild's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. Hetries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken.
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from agrocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarterfull of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs.Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him,his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster heresponded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartestchildren in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her thatshe was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrotethat he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still thebest teacher he ever had in life.Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs.Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go alittle further. The letter explained that she was still the best andfavorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs.Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear,"Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy,you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you." (For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)
Warm someone's heart today.... pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? just "do it".
Random acts of kindness, I think they call it! "Believe in Angels, then return the favor"

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29 July, 2008

Key of success

. 29 July, 2008

  • Winners make things to happen ; losers merely wait things to happen
  • Winners are achievers ; losers are sustainers
  • Winners never make any comparison with others but losers always do
  • Winners thinks and act ; losers act and think
  • Winners are self disciplined ; losers are self indulgent

  • Winners are far-sighted ; losers are short-sighted
  • Winners see problem as a challenge ; losers as a burden
  • Winners always say : "I can" ; losers say : "I can't"
  • Winners hardly complain ; losers always poin their finger at other failure
  • Winners solve problem ; losers are dissolved by problem.
  • Read more.... »»

    28 July, 2008

    How To Be A Better Couple

    . 28 July, 2008

    10 steps to enjoying each other better...

    1. Be realistic about each other.Don't try to turn your partner into something he or she is not. Let's face it, guys-there's only one Pamela Anderson in the world, and even she has had her implants removed! Give your gal a break and understand that her physical appearance is NOT going to change overnight with the help of a few facials or treatments. And ladies, Brad Pitt has already been taken, so u're gonna have to do with what your guy is like! Chill out, love each other for what u are. There is more to your partner than what meets the eye.

    2. Always talk things out.Now guys, I know this is not your fave pastime or mode of resolving issues, but u know what? This works with the gals. Don't make assumptions about each other's feelings. Learn to xpress urself better so that your partner understands what u're angry about, or hurt about, or even happy about! When u stop talking to each other from the heart, it's the beginning of the end.

    3. Do stuff together.Make an effort to do things together. Do some sports or involve urselves in some shared activities; something both of u enjoy or are interested in. It could be as simple as watching movies together, or jus strolling hand-in-hand down PI Mall. Watch F-1 or soccer with him once in a while though the green patch on TV puts u to sleep in 3 seconds. And guys, do give in if your gal asks for another day at window-shopping, rather than suggest that she go out with her girlfriends for "that sort of activities" instead. If u're spending more time with your friends rather than with your partner, it's a warning sign that u're drifting apart!!!

    4. Meet each other halfway.If he agrees to throw out that rotten T-shirt with the "The_Rock" print, u shouldn't kick up much of a fuss if he asks u to keep your room tidy. There's gotta be a little giving and taking in a relationship, so learn to meet each other halfway.

    5.Show your loveBuy her flowers or candy or perfume every now and then, even if u have been together for 5 years. It's wonderful to continue showing someone that u care for him or her. Cook him a special meal, paint him a Valentine's Day card. Knit him mini-socks he can't wear ( like for decoration purposes), buy him a packet of milk for breakfast, or pack his wardrobe for him...so he knows u can still be romantic and loving despite having been together for quite a while.

    6. Respect each other.Stop making jokes about her hair or skin, or whatever it is u love to laugh at. Ask urself if she thinks if its funny. And if he has an inferiority complex about his height, stop ogling at tall guys and make him feel worse! Love is about respecting each other's feelings and being sensitive to each other at all times.

    7. Bury the past.Stop bringing up the past. Gals..don't bring up the happy things about u and your ex to your guy, it would jus make him jealous or unhappy. And guys, don't talk about the happy times that u had with your ex or mention about her in your every other sentence as it would make your gal feel un-happy and she might think that u saying all this b'cos u are gonna get back with your ex or not interested in her anymore.

    8. Sit on your jealousy.All of us go thru' spells of insecurity at the beginning of the relationship, but don't translate that insecurity into jealousy. If u're gonna go through your partner's mail and cupboard, and eavesdropping on conversations, u know something is wrong - with u!!! Jealousy is like a poison that slowly spreads thru' the relationship before finally killing it. Trust your partner; love has to have trust in it.

    9. Keep your commitments to each other.If your partner is standing u up all the time and cancelling dates and breaking promises, u need to talk! If u're in a relationship, make your partner your priority and don't disappoint them if u can help it. It's really terrible when someone promises to take u to dinner, and then calls to cancel it. Don't make promises u can't keep. If your partner starts to feel that he/she is not important enough to u, u may jus lose him/her.

    10. Be honest.Honesty is not scowling at how awful she looks first thing in the morning, or telling him that he has the biceps of a fly! When we say "be honest", we mean expressing your feelings clearly, not being bitingly cruel. When u're hurt, say so, and when u're angry, tell him/her, w/o getting hysterical. If u can't be honest with your partner, who can u be honest with? Love is also about honesty, and a relationship where no honesty exists probably isn't worth it!

    Read more.... »»

    Generating New Ideas


    Think Differently and Spark Creativity

    "We need to think differently!"
    "This needs some fresh ideas!"
    "We have got to be more creative around here!"

    Are messages like these popping up more often in your workplace?
    Faced with complex, open-ended, ever-changing challenges, organizations realize that constant, ongoing innovation is critical if they want to stay ahead of the competition. This is why we need to be on the lookout for new ideas that can drive innovation. It's why the ability to think differently, generate new ideas, and spark creativity within a team becomes an important skill. You need to work actively on building and cultivating this skill, and it can be done!
    Often, though, we make the mistake of assuming that good ideas just happen. Or worse still, we get caught in the mind trap of believing that creativity is an aptitude: some people have it, others don't. Then there is the other self-defeating belief - "I am not intelligent enough to come up with good ideas." These assumptions just aren't true: Anyone can come up with fresh, radical ideas - you just need to learn to open your mind and think differently. This article shows you how to do so.

    How to Generate New Ideas
    Standard idea-generation techniques concentrate on combining or adapting existing ideas. This can certainly generate results. But here, our focus is on equipping you with tools that help you leap onto a totally different plane. These approaches push your mind to forge new connections, think differently, and consider new perspectives.
    A word of caution - while these techniques are extremely effective, they will only succeed if they are backed by rich knowledge of the area you're working on. This means that if you don't have enough information about the issue, you are unlikely to come up with a great idea, even by using the techniques listed here. Incidentally, these techniques can be applied to spark creativity in group settings and brainstorming sessions as well.

    Breaking Thought Patterns
    Any of us can get stuck in established thinking patterns. To get unstuck, you need to break out of these, if you're going to have any chance of generating fresh, new ideas. There are several techniques you can use to do this:

    • Challenge assumptions: For every situation, you have a set of key assumptions. Challenging these assumptions gives you a whole new spin on possibilities.You want to buy a house but can't since you assume you don't have the money to make a down payment on the loan. Challenge the assumption. Sure, you don't have cash in the bank but couldn't you sell some of your other assets to raise the money? Could you dip into your retirement fund? Could you work overtime and build up the kitty in six months? Suddenly the picture starts looking brighter.
    • Reword the problem: Stating the problem differently often leads to different ideas. To reword the problem look at the issue from different angles. "Why do we need to solve the problem?", "What's the roadblock here?", "What will happen if we don't solve the problem?" These questions will give you new insights. You might come up with new ideas to solve your new problem. In the mid 1950s, shipping companies were losing money on freighters. They decided they needed to focus on building faster and more efficient ships. However, the problem persisted. Then one consultant defined the problem differently. He said the problem the industry should consider was "how can we reduce cost?" The new problem statement generated new ideas. All aspects of shipping, including storage of cargo and loading time, were considered. The outcome of this shift in focus resulted in the container ship and the roll-on/roll-off freighter.
    • Think in reverse: If you feel you cannot think of anything new, try turning things upside-down. Instead of focusing on how you could solve a problem/improve operations/enhance a product, consider how could you create the problem/worsen operations/downgrade the product. The reverse ideas will come flowing in. Consider these ideas – once you've reversed them again - as possible solutions for the original challenge.
    • Express yourself through different media: We have multiple intelligences but somehow, when faced with workplace challenges we just tend to use our verbal reasoning ability. How about expressing the challenge through different media? Clay, music, word association games, paint, there are several ways you can express the challenge. Don't bother about solving the challenge at this point. Just express it. Different expression might spark off different thought patterns. And these new thought patterns may yield new ideas.

    Connect the Unconnected
    Some of the best ideas seem to occur just by chance. You see something or you hear someone, often totally unconnected to the situation you are trying to resolve, and the penny drops in place. Newton and the apple, Archimedes in the bath tub: examples abound.
    Why does this happen? The random element provides a new stimulus and gets our brain cells ticking. You can capitalize on this knowledge by consciously trying to connect the unconnected.
    Actively seek stimuli from unexpected places and then see if you can use these stimuli to build a connection with your situation. Some techniques you could use are:

    • Use random input: Choose a word from the dictionary and look for novel connections between the word and your problem.
    • Mind map possible ideas: Put a key word or phrase in the middle of the page. Write whatever else comes in your mind on the same page. See if you can make any connections.
    • Pick up a picture. Consider how you can relate it to your situation.
    • Take an item. Ask yourself questions such as "How could this item help in addressing the challenge?", or "What attributes of this item could help us solve our challenge?"

    Shift Perspective
    Over the years we all build a certain type of perspective and this perspective yields a certain type of idea. If you want different ideas, you have to shift your perspective. To do so:

    • Get someone else's input: Ask different people what they would do if faced with your challenge. You could approach friends engaged in different kind of work, your spouse, a nine-year old child, customers, suppliers, senior citizens, someone from a different culture; in essence, anyone who might see things differently.
    • Play the "If I were" game: Ask yourself "If I were ………" how would I address this challenge? You could be anyone: a millionaire, Tiger Woods, anyone. The idea is the person you decide to be has certain identifiable traits. And you have to use these traits to address the challenge. For instance, if you decide to play the millionaire, you might want to bring traits such as flamboyance, big thinking and risk-taking when formulating an idea. If you are Tiger Woods you would focus on things such as perfection, persistence and execution detail.

    Employ Enablers
    Enablers are activities and actions that assist with, rather than directly provoke, idea generation. They create a positive atmosphere. Some of the enablers that can help you get your creative juices flowing are:

    • Belief in yourself: Believe that you are creative, believe that ideas will come to you; positive reinforcement helps you perform better.
    • Creative loafing time: Nap, go for a walk, listen to music, play with your child, take a break from formal idea-generating. Your mind needs the rest, and will often come up with connections precisely when it isn't trying to make them.
    • Change of environment: Sometimes changing the setting changes your thought process. Go to a nearby coffee shop instead of the conference room in your office, or hold your discussion while walking together round a local park.
    • Shutting out distractions: Keep your thinking space both literally and mentally clutter-free. Shut off the Blackberry, close the door, divert your phone calls and then think.
    • Fun and humor: These are essential ingredients, especially in team settings.

    Key Points:
    The ability to generate new ideas is an essential work skill today. You can acquire this skill by consciously practicing techniques that force your mind to forge new connections, break old thought patterns and consider new perspectives.
    Along with practicing these techniques, you need to adopt enabling strategies too. These enabling strategies help in creating a positive atmosphere that boosts creativity.

    Have a productive day always and enjoy the life...because life if too short to enjoy !

    Read more.... »»

    27 July, 2008

    Does jealousy signify one's love?

    . 27 July, 2008

    It tends to be widely believed that if jealousy never occur between husband and wife, the relationship is plain. In addition, if you are not jealous means that you don’t care enough, and to a certain degree some jealous is healthy. Jealousy can sometimes ensure a partner about his/her love and faith. Is this true? To some degree it might be, but it is not always true. Especially when one rarely or never experience jealous. Let us see what jealousy is and what trigger the reason for jealousy.

    Jealousy is a natural reaction that happens to all of us weather we admit to it or not. When you love someone and someone seems to threaten that relationship, jealousy may occur. Some may choose to hide it though. Hence to say it is a sign or rather a sign someone does not love you, is irrelevant because some do hide things better than others, and act out in other ways. I believe jealousy has to do with the amount of insecurity one posses. What triggers the reason is usually insecurity. Your response to jealousy has to do with how secure you are with yourself.

    Jealousy signifies love if that jealousy is something small and doesn't cause major problems in a relationship, but beyond this, if jealousy is applied in every aspect, then it doesn't signify love anymore. If a couple has jealousy in their marriage they had better find out why and remove it. Jealousy can also be about power and control. It is best to be avoided.
    One’s response to jealousy has nothing to do with how much that person care for the other. True love is unconditional and sacrificial. If both parties love each other, there should be no jealousy but trust and loyalty. I wouldn't determine my husband’s love for me by his jealousy. Love is measured by ones actions and not by the amount of jealousy that one displays. When one really loves his/her spouse, he/she will trust each other 100%. As a result, there will be no jealousy. Jealousy does not signify ones love, jealousy doesn't measure love. It signals immaturity and lack of trust.

    Read more.... »»

    16 July, 2008

    Prevention of Wearing Eye Glasses

    . 16 July, 2008

    Wearing eye glasses is sometimes disruptive and weary. Unlike sunglasses which are worn to protect eyes from sunlight, fun and fashionable to put on; wearing lenses as medicated glasses feels somewhat boring. This is what I have been going through since I started to wear reading glasses about 5 months ago. Unlike most of my friends who wear reading glasses at their early 40’s, I believe this delayed wearing glasses is the effect of yoga for eyes I’ve been practicing regularly since I wore cylindrical lenses 17 years ago when I was studying abroad. . At the first time I wore eye glasses, I felt uncomfortable that I tried to find a way to cure my eyesight in order to stop wearing glasses. I found a book “Teach Yourself Yoga” in the book store nearby campus, and fortunately, one chapter of the book was about yoga for eyes.

    There was a series of eye exercises for better vision. It took no more than 5 minutes at a time. I could always practice yoga for eyes anytime, anywhere I wanted to; behind my desk in the middle of my reading activities or on the bed before going to sleep. I practiced yoga for eyes at least once daily. In less than 2 months I started to feel uncomfortable with my glasses because every object was seen too sharp. Every time I took off my glasses I felt more comfortable. To ensure whether my eyes were getting either better or worse, I went to optometrist to have my eyes tested. The result was my eye vision went normal, and I did not need cylindrical lenses any longer. Ever since, for about 17 years later I never wear eye glasses. Although my job requires me to read and work with computer a lot, I have never had computer related eye problem. Now at this internet era, there are many videos as well as writings about yoga for eyes that can be downloaded for free. The one very similar to what I’ve been practicing can be read here.

    Remembering this fruitful experience, I am sure there is a way to be out of reading glasses too. Therefore, in addition to practicing yoga for eyes, I read articles about eye vision and ways for better vision. In his article, Dr. Martin Sussman’s from Cambridge Institute for Eye Vision reveals how vision relates to our mind, our emotion and our body. He states that there is a link between vision and emotion on a certain level. One’s mood can be seen from one’s eyesight which also reflects our mind, our attitudes and our perspective. Whether somebody’s being happy, or sad or angry, can be seen from eye vision. Regarding links between vision, emotion, mind and body, there are many ways to improve and to cure one's vision. Essentially, unresolved emotional issues, particularly those involving loss, fear and misunderstanding, coupled with acceptance, compassion and forgiveness, are also key elements of the transitional time. There are also Dr. Martin Sussman's 10 keys to Better Vision that can be accessed here, which I found some of them are matched with yoga for eyes. You can also test your vision online here.

    By applying these tips along with practicing yoga for eyes regularly, hopefully your eyes will feel more relaxed and your vision will become clearer. Hence, wearing eye glasses might be suspended , or even might not be necessary.

    Read more.... »»

    06 July, 2008

    The Royal Palace Chatomuk Mongkul

    . 06 July, 2008

    The Royal Palace at Phnom Penh was the last place I visited in Cambodia on April’s vacation. It was the 18th April 2008. We visited the Royal Palace which in local language is called Preah Borom Reach Veang. The name of the palace is Chatomuk Mongkul, because it is located adjacent to the intersection of four-faced rivers “Chatomuk” including the Upper Mékong, the Lower Mékong, the Tonlé Bassak and the Tonlé Sap. Entrance fee was 25,000 Riel (local currency) or US$6.5 per person. To enter the palace, visitors must wear proper outfits.

    Visitors in short pants, short skirts, tank top or the like are not allowed to enter the palace, and strictly no hat neither cap on head inside any of the pavilion within the palace complex

    This palace was erected firstly in the reign of King Ponhea Yat in the year 1434, and secondly it was erected in the reign of King Norodom in 1866. This palace is the principal residence of their Majesties the King and the Queen and the royal family; it is like a small town of royal dynasties. This palace compound is 435 meters long by 421 meters wide and a high wall. The Royal Palace includes magnificent temples built in the traditional style. The whole complex wall is decorated with what is called “Seima”-shapes. Most of the buildings include magnificent sculptures are characterized by many tiered roofs and topped by towers which are symbol of prosperity. The Royal Palace is regarded as symbol of the whole nation and all the pavilions are adorned and painted yellow and white. The yellow represents Buddhism and the white represents Brahmanism . The stairway is guarded with Naga figures having many heads, and all pillars are decorated with Kinnoris and Garudas supporting the ceilings.

    French pavillion

    The picture was taken from the balcony of the throne hall

    The Royal Palace consists of seven pavilions with different function. The Throne Hall is used for various purposes including the royal coronation ceremony ; audiences granted by His Majesty and the King on national and religious day, and the presentation of credentials by foreign envoys and formal receptions to distinguished guests both national and international. In the middle of the hall there is a throne symbolizing Phnom Penh as a hill in the center of continents where divinities live – fitting the hall. About half of the hall floors are made of pure silver. No wonder why visitors are banned to enter certain areas in the hall. Taking a photograph of scene inside any pavilion is strongly prohibited , otherwise our camera would be grasped by the hall guard.
    Ho Samran Phrum, is another pavilion which is used to keep the royal musical instruments and utensils for the use in the royal coronary procession. The first floor was the waiting room in which their Majesty could take a rest before mounting the elephant that had awaited them in front of this pavilion. Now this pavilion is used as His Majesty King Sihanouk’s museum.

    The throne hall

    Erna - in front of the throne temple

    Another pavilion which amazed me was the Emerald pagoda. A lot of artistic objects are exhibited there. Some of them are Emerald Buddha which is made of emerald. The Buddha sits on a gold throne and wears a gold sash set with diamonds across his both shoulders. The Standing Buddha which was called “Preah Chin Reangsei Reachika Norodom” in the reign of King Sisowath in 1904, is the statue including the pedestal and parasol made of 90kg of gold, and adorned with 2,086 diamonds, rubies and emeralds. There was also marble Buddha stands in a gesture of walking across a river. There were many more Buddha’s statues which were set with diamonds; some were made of gold and some were made of bronze. There were many more magnificent artistic objects on exhibition made of gold, silver, copper, copper alloy, marble, glass and ivory.

    Elly with Ben and Naya

    The pictures decorated a whole corridor walls of the complex

    Walking towards the exit door, we stopped by a room which walls were occupied by many pictures and photographs of Khmer’s traditional costumes , cultural ceremony and other historical pictures of Khmer. Adjacent to this was a museum where we could see the miniature of imagery of the royal coronation procession of his majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the new King of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Before leaving the Royal Palace we wrote briefly about our impression over the royal palace in the guest book. Last but not least, I found people of Cambodia and Vietnamese are very kind and friendly. I hope one day I will revisit Phnom Penh and HCMC.

    Read more.... »»

    05 July, 2008

    One day tour in Ho Chi Minh City

    . 05 July, 2008

    It was the morning of 15th April. Tour de Vietnam. We left the house at 8. The trip to Mekhong river bridge took about an hour. We had to cross the Mekong river by ferry.The gate to the ferry was still closed. The ferry hadn’t arrived yet. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait for too long because it came 20 minutes afterwards. On the deck of the ferry, a few women were selling either green grass jelly, fried crickets, or stewed lotus seeds. Fried crickets are placed on the wide plate made from bamboo skin.

    Stewed lotus seeds. It tasted like stewed peanuts
    About an hour and a half later, we reached the borders of Vietnam. We stopped at the nearest restaurant to have lunch first. While we were eating, the driver and staff of the travel agent helped fill in the forms needed to exit Cambodia and enter Vietnam. To enter Vietnam, nothing was charged on us, Vietnam and Indonesia are both members of ASEAN. On the other hand, though Cambodia is also member of ASEAN, we had to pay Visa on Arrival to enter it. This is because one of the main incomes of Cambodia comes from tourism.

    Since the first time we entered Vietnam until approaching Ho Chi Minh City which was known as Saigon, the streets environment were neat and clean. Unlike in Cambodia, where all letter written in Sanskrit inscriptions, in Vietnam all is written in Latin inscriptions with diacritic marks over some vowels .

    A monument in the city hall of HCMC
    There were a lot of parks in the city and the pedestrians were quite large. It reminded me of Singapore’s Orchard Road.

    We stayed at Thanh Long T@n Hotel. 19-21-23 Truong Dnh St. It was strategically located near the shopping center Bien Tanh, touristic spots and food market. After taking a rest for a while in the hotel, we went down to eat.We ate at Pong restaurant, where Bill Clinton had had his lunch a few years ago on his visit to HCMC. In the afternoon, we bought souvenirs at Bien Tanh. Here you can shop using USD. Local currency is called Dong. 1 USD = 16000 Dong.

    On the next day, 16 April 2008, everyone got on the city tour. It costed $10 per person. Our first destination was the War Remnant museum, where there is a historical collection from the Vietnam war. On a half way to the museum we stopped by to take picture at the city hall. The city hall was surrounded by St. Mary Catholic church, the oldest church in HCMC, the Central Post Office and the Jamiul Muslimin mosque. At the main office we saw the collection of telecommunication devices from the first world war era. Here we could buy souvenirs which is much cheaper than the price on souvenir shops we visited last night. This had caused everyone madly spent more time to choose and buy some more souvenirs until being screamed by the tour guide to get back on the bus.

    St. Mary Catedral

    The central post office

    Jamiul Muslimin mosque
    It took about 20 minutes from the city hall to reach the War Remnant Museum.

    Naya and Ben (my nephews)
    In the main room of the museum there are collection of pictures of war victims and disabled persons as an impact of dioxin war spreaded by Agent Orange on the Vietnam War. Besides pictures, there are also collection of rifles, revolvers, mortars and handguns used during Vietnam War.

    At the right side of the museum were prisons. They were dark rooms no more than 1 x 1.5 m2 with steel doors and a small divan made of cement.
    Marida (my youngest sister) in front of the prison
    One of the rooms that made me shiver was where the guillotine was kept. The guillotine was used to cut the heads of the prisoners. I’d always imagined the sharp side of the guillotine was horizontal. In fact, it was diagonal, 45 degrees. Under the place where the head to be cut is placed, was a container. My mood was mixed up with anger, fear and sadness imagining what the container was put for.
    The guillotine
    Most of the war victims who suffer from disability work in craft houses making crafts / unique souvenirs of Vietnam out of egg shell and sea shell.
    War victims (mostly disabled) are making carved crafts
    Some of the craft works
    Afterwards, we headed for the palace of the President of Vietnam. The building is quite old, but has a contemporary style. Entrance fee is USD6 per person. Children under 5 are free of charge.

    The President's palace
    One of the palace's guest rooms
    Last the tour guide took us to the basement. There were a lot of old communication devices there. Some of the rooms were divided by long and narrow corridors. It was said that they were used for hiding from enemies.

    Then we went to visit the oldest pagoda in the HCMC.

    The main entrance gate of the pagoda

    L-R : Erna, Naya, Marida, Elly
    The last place we visited was the central market. At the first level of the market most vendor sells Vietnamese traditional woven and imitation branded goods such as leather bags, belts and purses. I did not go to the second level to see what people was selling there but I guessed they were selling the same kind of goods.
    Erna and Pricilla in front of the main door of the central market

    The central market
    In the evening we went to Saigon Square, a shopping center in HCMC. It was only 2 km away from the hotel where we stayed. But because we weren’t aware of it, we took a taxi there and had to pay 25000 Dong.

    We went back to Phnom Penh on the 17th April 2008.

    Read more.... »»

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