Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Creating a Future Free from Deprivation

This is an essay that I made for the GOI Foundation essay Competition this year. It didn’t win (oh well) but I would like to share it anyway. Here is my essay with the theme “creating the future we want”.


A little boy hops off the sidewalk and into the main road as the traffic light turns red. Fancy cars line up behind the white line and motorcycles struggle to be in front, crossing the boundary as if it were the finish line in a street race. The little boy quickly finds a loose spot between the vehicles and starts to sing, shaking a little tin can filled with pebbles as his accompanying music. There he stands, a queer spectacle in his tattered clothes, all dirty from the dust and pollution contaminating the air.

After finishing his song, he walks around, stopping by each vehicle and holding out an empty plastic cup. Some people drop a coin into it. Others drop a paper bill or two. Then the light turns green and he runs back to the sidewalk, smiling gleefully at his earnings.

What he will use it for, we cannot know for sure. He might be a student struggling to pay his overdue school fee. He might be another homeless orphan making sure he doesn’t fall asleep hungry that night. Or, he might be one of the unwilling slaves from a street bully, trying to avoid the beating he’d get if he came back without enough earnings.

This is a small piece of the present that can possibly shape into a sinister future. The question is: is this what we want?

If you ask me about the kind of future I want for the world, I would inevitably have to look through the windows of my own country and other similar developing countries first. Here I still see massive deprivation: deprivation of food, housing, and education. Between the majestic towers of Jakarta, the fertile soil in Java, and the thick forests of Kalimantan, I see people suffering from the deprivation of their most basic needs.

If you look long and hard enough through those windows, you will see that the root of many problems is that deprivation. It is the essence of poverty. A mother kills all of her children and then commits suicide because she is unable to provide any food for her family. Groups of families mourn as they watch their cardboard houses fall victim to government evacuation procedures as a consequence for living on illegal government-owned premises. A teenager breaks into his neighbor’s house and steals money to pay for his overdue school fee. Then there are countless anarchist demonstrations, violence, and various criminal acts, mostly out of desperation to fulfill those basic needs.

I totally agree with beauty pageant contestants when they say that what we need most is world peace. However, I believe that the first step towards it is providing our people their most basic needs.

My dream is to create a future free from deprivation. People shall have enough food and decent shelter to live in. Every individual shall receive compulsory education and guidance to harness their potential and skills in order to sustain and develop their lives.

In the past, I have worked together with extraordinary individuals to establish a foundation that aims to help underprivileged societies in our neighborhood. We conduct weekly visits to rural areas and orphanages to give them food and clothes that people have donated through us. We tutor less fortunate children basic subjects like English, Math, and Science. We hold mini concerts in the park to raise money for books and school supplies. In the end, there is nothing more rewarding, more satisfying, than seeing the faces of these individuals light up as they receive what they need. It is so touching to be welcomed with cheers of merriment from the children every time we walk into their rooms with books and the prospect of new things to learn.

In the future, I want more homeless shelters, orphanages, and free schools. I want to build community centers where people can develop their competency and life skills with the support of professional counselors. In addition, we will give them plenty of opportunities for employment so they can work and become independent individuals.

I believe that a lot of international organizations, the government, and local NGO’s have already considered this in their agenda. Therefore, I am reaching out to all the individuals out there, who have passion and care for this issue. Set an example and raise awareness. Start from simple but meaningful things like helping out a homeless kid on the street. Be kind and generous to our less fortunate neighbors. If we aren’t equipped with enough material resources, we can always help out with our energy and spirit.

They say that one person can make a difference. Together, we can be a force that can change the world. So let’s help the people. Let’s create the future we want.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crocheting for the Blues

Do you have a special activity that helps you bust the blues? Mine is crocheting… tada! The whole process of turning and twisting the thread in and out of loops helps me to calm my nerves and think straight. In the end, I not only find a solution to my bundle of problems, I get a pretty accessory or ornament I can smother my pride on (before I get fed up with it).

Anyway, I am recommending this activity for anyone out there looking for a quiet and productive means to absorb any negative energy and transform it into a positive charge. I would also like to show off (I bet you saw that one coming, didn’t you? Hahaha…) some of the things I’ve made. Unfortunately, I had a limited amount of thread. I used leftovers to make these. They’re supposed to be flower brooches, by the way, in case you hadn’t guessed (or it sadly doesn’t resemble what it’s supposed to be). What do you think? Do I have any talent? ;)


Monday, November 26, 2012

Let the Battle Begin!

On the 17th and 18th of November, I competed in the ALSA Crushbone Debating Competition held at Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM), law faculty. After two relatively long years of not debating, you can be assured that I was rusty as ever. To make matters worse, I have only competed as a debater once in my college years. That was back in 2010 and we didn’t ever break through to the finals. In addition, we received the information about the event only two weeks prior to the competition date. I felt like a balloon just waiting to be burst.

My school sent two teams as delegations for the event. Before the big day, I believe we tried our best to juggle everyone’s activities in order to have time for practice. For days we practiced almost every day between classes and work shifts with our school’s reputation and glory close at heart. On the 10th of November, a technical meeting took place at UGM. The committee announced the tongue twisting and brain tangling motions. We were faced with such a challenge, especially since most of us were newbies in the field of debating. To make matters much more concerning, most of the motions were about law and international agreements. We were students of English literature. Trust me; the decision about the UN’s military intervention in Syria has nothing to do with phonetics or phonology (now I’m talking gibberish).

Even though the motions were stained with the possibility of our dark fate, we endured. Everyone was given two motions to study about. Every day, during practice, each debater had to give a presentation about their motion. Afterwards, we tried to dissect each motion to get the big picture and figure out our arguments. I am sure that everyone tried their best to prepare themselves.

Two days before the big day, I got my senior from my old school to come and coach us. I am proud to say that he did a hell of a job. I have gotten quite used to his knowledge and methods. However, to this day, my fellow teammates are still in awe of his greatness. Thanks, Big Bro!


On the first day of ACDC, we sent our two teams to face the battle. I was in a team with two seniors who were in their 7th semester at school. We competed in four preliminary rounds and managed to win three of them. It was rather a surprise for us because the two of the motions were impromptu. At the technical meeting, the committee had announced that the motions for the preliminary rounds would be prepared. Consequently, we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked to be. Nevertheless, we kicked butt!

At the end of the day, before the announcement for the breaking teams, I was given a wonderful surprise. My mom appeared in the debate hall accompanied by my little sister and my little brother. Mom and my little brother had just arrived in Jogja from a two hour airplane trip from Kuala Lumpur. Our friends from school also came to support us, including one of our beloved lecturers. Thanks everyone!

To our great astonishment and happiness, one of our teams, team A, got 6th place which meant we broke through to the finals. Yay! We wished that both of the teams could break. Oh well, better luck next time!

On the next day, we competed in the finals with the cheers from our wonderful supporters. We won the quarterfinal battle with a close margin – another pleasant surprise for us. However, we couldn’t beat the opposition team during the semifinals. At least we finally got to watch a debate though. The grand final was a fiery battle between UGM and Atmajaya. UGM won with a unanimous decision and a close margin which concluded the whole competition.

I am really grateful for the whole experience. We weren’t so bad, for rookies, no? Next target: Grand finals!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The KPOP Phenomena


The music industry is a bit like a first-class food buffet at a charity event for a bunch of bored millionaires. You will find so many different dishes with unique flavors all crammed into your view so it is overwhelmingly satisfying but also sickening at the same time. Since it is a high-class event, you expect that the food would be top notch. However, you find that you can’t differentiate between the premium imported steak and the satisfactory local steak under all the fancy dressings and side-dishes. It’s either that or the philanthropists have suddenly lost their senses. Or is it really just different tastes?

Currently, the music industry is serving people quite a meal. It rapidly changes in short periods of time. Fifteen to ten years ago, the main course was sweet Pop music with Pop Princess Britney Spears dominating the centerpiece, accompanied by sugary boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and Westlife. Around five years later, emo rock and punk music hit the charts; an ensemble of MCR, Avril Lavigne, and Evanesscence. Today, what is the face of the music worldwide? Justin Bieber surely has a strong influence, along with other tween stars hitting the stage. But there have been arguments in favor of another supposedly “different” type of music.

The dish that is fighting to be the centerpiece is KPOP. According to Wikipedia, KPOP is a musical genre consisting of dance, electro-pop, hip hop, and R&B music originating in South Korea. So it’s basically a genre which is made out of a lot of other genres. However, the question would be, why create another genre when it is already describable with the current vocabulary of genres? Why the exclusiveness?

Maybe because it is from Korea, people might say. But then, people from Indonesia, for example, would start calling their pop and Dangdut IndoPop. Or the country music artists in Nashville might even be pickier by labeling their music NashPop. What’s wrong with it? Nothing much – except that describing music would then be based on their origin, not based on the fundamental differences that created the elementary genres in the first place.

Next, why is KPOP so popular? The video clip of Gangnam Style from Psy has already gotten over 300 million views on youtube. In 2009, the Wonder Girls became the first K-pop artist to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Both Super Junior and Girls’ Generation have held their concerts here in Indonesia with a welcome that should make Justin Bieber’s managers run for their money.

According to a Rolling Stone author, "K-Pop is a mixture of trendy Western music and high-energy Japanese pop (J-Pop), which preys on listeners' heads with repeated hooks, sometimes in English. It embraces genre fusion with both singing and rap, and emphasizes performance and strong visuals." Meanwhile, the BBC describes the K-pop bands Super Junior and the Wonder Girls as "highly produced, sugary boy- and girl-bands with slick dance routines and catchy tunes." The fact is, many K-pop music videos have colorful visuals and a catchy beat. Dance is an integral part of K-pop. When combining multiple singers, the singers often switch their positions while singing and dancing by making prompt movements in synchrony. K-pop is also recognized for pretty-boys and girl groups that are young and considered attractive (Wikipedia).

With the above description for KPOP, we may assume that the fans would be teenagers and young adults. However, many adults also enjoy KPOP – for various reasons. A lot of grown men are such fans of the Girls’ Generation that they go to the extent of downloading their video clips, collecting all episodes of their reality shows, and going to their live concerts. The question here would be, do the reasons for doing so actually correlate with the music itself?

According to some opinions, the music itself is not the primary factor in the popularity of K-pop. A publication in New York Magazine calls K-pop "catchy but derivative" and states that Girls' Generation fans admit to liking the group for its members' looks and their personality, radiating what the magazine calls "humility" and friendliness to each and one of the fans. A fan stated to the magazine that when Girls' Generation performs on stage, you get the illusion of the girls sometimes looking right at you and interacting with you personally. New York Magazine also adds that Korean girl groups recruit members "for their looks, later augmented by plastic surgery" (Wikipedia).

Several sources claim that KPOP is a major export commodity that is endorsed by the Korean government to spread soft power all over the globe. We can see the effects of that soft power in Indonesia through the current trend of boy bands and girl bands in the local music industry. Cherry Belle has characteristic not unlike that of Girls’ Generation, even similar dance routines. Smash is currently the pioneer of boy bands, also displaying traits similar to Super Junior with a corresponding fan base. It is quite sad that what may be considered as the youth’s creativity is raising too many suspicions that it may be “just a phase”. That Indonesia is yet again another follower in the mainstream.

So what can we deduce from this KPOP phenomena? What are our impressions on the music industry as a whole? Is your taste based on the music itself or is it much affected by the “packaging” of the products?

Whatever your answer is, it will participate in determining the face of the music industry. Or, as my previous analogy suggests, which dish gets to sit on the centerpiece.

All in all, have a pleasant meal!


*this is an article I made for POINT’s bulletin at campus.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Back to School


After 3 months of holidays, I finally had to go back to school and my spirit was as lively as a codfish. The prospect of new things to learn and new people to meet should have been an adequate incentive but I guess my mind had been in its slumber for too long. It took a while to get up and stretch its limbs to face the various activities in store for it ahead. Thus, I had a case of the “back to school blues” mixed with homesickness and I couldn’t find the energy to be excited about school.

I was also plagued by the sight of my dusty room after being neglected for months. I had to do a major clean up before I could settle down and be comfortable. School was to begin on the next day. However, that activity isn’t suited for someone that had just taken a 12-hour bus trip from Bogor to Jogjakarta and arrived at 4.30 am all cold and groggy. Nevertheless, the cleaning had to be done (I have a severe case of self-diagnosed OCD).

But life goes on. Time makes things bearable and, shortly afterwards, exciting. I found so many things to like about going to school: brilliant new lecturers, nice new friends, English Club’s new projects, choir practices after class… the list goes on. I get a fresh start. My spirit is recharged.

I hope the spirit never fades. I have a hunch that many more exciting things will happen next.

Live life to the fullest! ^-^

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Goodbye, Mbah Amin


It is another time in my life when I have to witness a loss in my family – the death of a loved one. Around 3am on the 20th September, my grandfather, Mbah Amin, passed away. He had suffered a complication of illnesses due to old age. I think he is resting more peacefully now.

Unfortunately, I don’t know my grandfather as well as I would like to. I know that he was a respected member of the House of Representatives during his prime years. I concluded that he was a strict but loving father and husband based on my mother’s stories about him. But age was not so kind to him, as he lost a lot of his memory as he got older and older. He didn’t remember his own children sometimes, let alone his grandchildren. It was sometimes quite funny... in a sad and ironic kind of way.

I will miss him. He always had a kind face with a slightly goofy smile worn across it. He would often tell us stories of his life from uncertain memories. I don’t know if they were completely true, but it was always fun to listen. Rather inappropriately, my siblings and I would sometimes make fun of him and his unique memory. We were rather fond of him, though we only existed in the few precious seconds of his short term memory.

I wish I could write more about him, the man who raised my wonderful mother and gave his consent and high approval to my brilliant father. Now I have only one grandparent: my step grandmother, second wife to my grandfather – the person this post is dedicated to. I hope she will be granted enough years to see me be the successful woman I want to be and to cradle my children in her arms.

Cherish your family as much as you can. Sometimes, we never know how precious something is until it’s gone…

Rest in peace, Mbah Amin… May Allah accept all your good deeds and forgive all your mistakes. Amin.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blessed Eid!

My family and I celebrated Eid on the 19th August this year. It was another year away from our beloved big family in Lombok. We miss the large gatherings, the home-made traditional food, and the joyful “noise” of our extended family. However, the Eid celebration that took place here in Malacca wasn’t so bad. In fact, I very much enjoyed the small but heart-warming gatherings with our fellow neighbors. We got invited to a couple of meals, each of them treating our taste buds to a variety of unique Malaysian-Indonesian food. Since most of our Indonesian friends here have been in Malaysia for a long time, their taste for food has undergone an interesting transformation. We had the “lemang” plus “gulai”. We tasted various versions of “sambal goreng”.  Then there were “dodol” and pudding and spring rolls and sugar buns… yum…

I love food. It may be my favorite part of gatherings (laughs).

aya makan!

Anyway, the true essence of Eid, for me, is gathering with those who are living close to us: our neighbors. They are the ones who have to cope with our presence everyday and mind our habits with inspiring patience. They are the ones who deserve our attention. So, remember to give them a warm and loving thank you.

depan masjid UTEM *after Eid Prayer at UTEM (Universiti Teknikal Malaysia) Melaka

Maybe this is a bit subjective. I know not everyone will completely agree. Since I frequently have to move homes, I have to get used to rapidly interacting with so many different people. I have to deal with the absence of my big family and sometimes lose touch with them. I cannot meet my best friends often. So when Eid comes, the neighbors and nearby acquaintances come first. We haven’t had a chance to visit Lombok in years (to send the whole family back home will cost a fortune), so only a call or text message replaces our presence in our hometown. It’s a bit sad, but we try to make the most of the moment and pray that we can visit our big family the following year.

makan2 di tante fitri *after a hearty dinner at a friend’s house

I have a lot of hopes for the new year. A new job. A good career. A smart student. A healthier lifestyle. A dutiful daughter. A responsible sister. A better me. I believe they are all achievable. Anything is possible. Miracles happen (some of the goals above do need the help of a miracle or two, hehe…). ^-^



Have a great year ahead, everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2012



I never wanted to cause trouble. I never wanted to be the product of another argument that always ends in silence. It is not the peaceful silence you would cherish if you wanted to think or simply breathe. It’s the painful silence that follows after a devastating hurricane. All that is left is the dust and debris among the ruins of memories and hope.

“You should’ve paid attention to her. You are the mother. Where were you all this time?”

“I do listen. More than you do. You’re away at work for hours and when you come home you do absolutely nothing. Where were you all this time?”

“I make a living for this family. You remember that.”

“Yes, but you can’t leave the burden of being a father on me!”

“I do my part!”

“I spend hours cooking, and cleaning sh*t, and actually being a parent!”

“But you don’t actually listen...”

This is one of the many fights this month. Three days in a row now. My brothers and sisters are away from the scene, taking refuge in their rooms, as usual. Another silence for them. A chunk of guilt from me.

I feel the feelings and emotions raging inside my chest, mixing together into a hot liquid, reeking of anger, sadness, and guilt. It quickly boils and the hot air starts to condense in the corner of my eye. But I refuse to be taken over by even the mildest traces of hysteria. I march into the scene and glare at them coldly.

“I’m going out. I’ll be back when you’re finished.”

I walk out and shut the door behind me. Then I run.

The air is cold. It soothes the burns created by the negative feelings I had kept churning inside of me. I let the wind slap my face as I continue to sprint forwards into nowhere. I pass the square houses with their neat lawns. A dog barks at me ferociously through a locked gate. But everything is a blur. I am making no effort to see. Every sound becomes a distant drone as the words from the fights echo in my ears. I try to shove them away.

Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you...

The quote from the early years of my childhood suddenly appears among the clutter inside my head. I used to believe in that. It was a shield from the bullies who teased me because of my skin color, because of my attitude... because I was different. I used to think I was special.

But today words are powerful. Some words are evil and can break you quite severely.

A porcelain plate smashes into many sharp pieces. Someone strikes. Curses fill the air. A little boy cries quietly in the corner.

Just run, I told myself. Just keep running. I run faster, hoping that the echoes and images would get left behind, like they always do.

I quicken my pace, letting the scenery become a dark streak of color. The air becomes colder, enunciating the sharp sting of the wind, resisting my attempt to gain velocity. But I conquer my senses and prevail. Distance kindly replaces the footprints behind me.

After what seems like more than an hour of running, I finally slow down to a walk. I am at a familiar street a couple of kilometers away from home. I find a bus stop nearby and sit down to catch my breath.

The street is deserted. It isn’t strange, considering the late hour. I lie down on the seat and gaze at the night sky. It is slightly clouded but I can still see hundreds of brilliant stars scattered across the dark blue background. I wish I knew more about the constellations. If I did, I could occupy the next few hours drawing in the sky.

Minutes pass by and I just stay there, lying on my back, looking into the heavens. I think about the things that make me happy. The homemade orange cake for my 9th birthday. The green rollerblades my father bought for me. The red sailor dress my mother made for me. All of the happy memories came from my childhood. Unfortunately, none came after my early years of adolescence. That’s when I made that mistake. That’s when the fights started.

A small beep interrupts my chain of thoughts. I sit down and take my phone out of my pocket. There is a message from Dad.

We are sorry. Where are you? Let us find you and bring you home.

I press the reply button and type in a few words.

I am at the bus stop at 55 North Avenue.

Then, I press the send button and wait.


Half an hour later, I am in the backseat of our car. Everyone is silent, deep in their own thoughts. I gaze out of the window. It is foggy and I can’t see the outside clearly, so I lower the glass almost all the way. The cold air rushes into the car.

“Close the window, you’ll catch a cold.”

I scroll it up about halfway in response.

“Close it properly.”

“Just let her, she’s been outside for the past couple of hours anyway.”

“I am doing it for her good.”

“You always say that without really thinking about it.”

“What do you mean…?”

“For heaven’s sake, I’ll close the darn window!” I shouted. I scroll it up fully. The brief silence that follows afterwards is colder than the wind outside.

“You should watch your tongue, young lady.”

I don’t reply.

“Just leave her alone. You say worse things.”

“I wouldn’t say such things if I weren’t provoked.”

“Provoked? You have brought it upon yourself!”

“You weren’t a good enough parent! That was the problem!”

“Speak for yourself! You never listen. That’s why she did it…”

“Why do you always blame that on me? She made that mistake because you didn’t pay enough attention!”

“How can I when you’re always screaming at me!”

“Oh, grow up, you as****!”

“F*** you! You…”

I refuse to hear the rest of the words. I can’t believe they are doing this again. They said they were sorry. The thick plasma of feelings erupted inside of me, clouding my logic and senses. I could feel the burning sensation in my eyes. No, I must not be vulnerable. They can never see me weak. I have to escape.

“Shut up! Just shut up!” I yelled.

I pull the lock and open the door. Then, I jump out.

I fall hard onto the asphalt, and roll for a couple of times before coming to a halt, facing sideways in the direction of our car. I hear its tyres screech and doors open. I force myself to get up, to continue my escape from the arguments, never-ending disagreements, and violent fights. I hear them call out to me but I look away. I take my first step shakily. My vision is blurred from the coat of moisture covering my eyes. I shake my head angrily, hating myself for being weak, for succumbing to my feelings, for letting my body betray me.

“Get back in the car!”


“Grow up!”

“You two grow up! In case you have forgotten, I’m around when you are talking about me. I still remember my mistake!”

The words finally spill out. The stench of my guilt overwhelms me as I let the memories of the past fill me to the core.

“I realize it, okay? I have tried to live with it, to go on. But you are constantly fighting and arguing. It’s insane!”

I take a few steps back to steady myself.

“It’s time you two lived with it. It’s time for you to go on.”

I turn around and run. Their voices become blurred, blending with the sound of the wind, and a siren in the distance. In front of me, the road is a dark abyss ready to swallow me up, providing me a means to disappear.

I hear a car honking in the distance. Seconds later, the screech of tyres. Somebody screams. I hear a loud thud before I realize that I am flying through the air, through a beam of white light. Suddenly, time slows down.

A pretty rainbow arches through the beam of light as tiny drops of rain fall down from the sky. It feels nice on my skin; strangely warm compared to the cold air. Warm. It brings back a memory…

“Tell me a story.”

A smaller version of me snuggles under the covers in a cozy-looking bed. A happy couple sits beside me, smiling.

“What story would you like?” Asks one of them.

“A fairy tale with princesses, and fairies, and beautiful castles.”

“And rainbows?”

“And lots of rainbows. And twinkling stars”

They laugh.

“That’s quite a request.”


“All right. Let’s begin. Once upon a time…”

I instantly become very sleepy, my vision beginning to blur and darken. The soothing voice fills my body with warmth.

This is how I like them. This is how they should always be.


With that, I close my eyes.




* Drapetomania, in this context, is an uncontrollable desire to run away. You can see the full definitions in this link

Friday, August 10, 2012

Close Encounters of an Unknown Kind


Goosebumps. I am not referring to the best-selling novel series by R.L. Stine for young readers. I am referring to the peculiar bumps that appear on your skin as a chill runs down your spine. They can be caused by many things: extreme awesomeness, a spiritual awakening, a touching story. But they are more frequently associated with things that are frightening and sinisterly mysterious. Things that hide in the dark and things that live in the dark corners of the imagination...

A while ago, my friend Seagate challenged me to write about a mystical experience. I confess that I have not had the privilege of experiencing anything vividly spiritual, so I will go for the secondary meaning: mysterious and supernatural experiences.  I have decided to narrow it down to some of the mysterious and relatively scary experiences that gave me Goosebumps. Throughout my life, I have had a fair share of frightening or unexplainable occurrences.

A memorable experience is one that, as strange as it sounds, I don’t remember. I only know that it happened. My family was the witness of this event. It occurred on a warm afternoon in our old house in our hometown. I was still in Junior High School. That day, I was sick with the fever and, as usual, trying to free myself from it by copious amounts of sleep. I slept many times a day for a few hours at a time and it usually made me feel better – if I was lucky. At other times, I would be talking in my sleep (also a statement proven by my family) due to a bad dream which was annoyingly repetitive.

Anyway, my family stated that they were sitting casually on the family couch, not doing anything in particular. I suddenly came out of the room I was sleeping in, my clothes disheveled, and in tears, claiming that the TV in the room was on fire. I also claimed that a talk black figure had appeared in the room. They immediately checked the room (those who weren’t afraid, of course) and saw that there was nothing there and the TV was not on fire. Then they tried to console me. Moments later, I fell asleep while my family was reciting verses from the Qur’an by my side.

When I woke up the first thing I told them to do was shut up, haha... When I’m really sick and I have a high fever, I usually have this crazy problem with my senses. It’s like I’m suddenly Spiderman and everything is so loud and bright. The pressure of a soft touch becomes a hard nudge. So, without really comprehending what they were saying, I told them to be quiet. When I was fully awake, I asked them what they were all doing and why I was in a different room. They gave me a brief recount of what had happened and I, rather senselessly, laughed in disbelief. I actually hoped that they would give me a recount of “the black figure”, but no one saw it. My dad confirmed that it must’ve been a hallucination because of my fever and I believed him. Case closed.

Not too scary, right?

Let’s give you another story then.

This experience also occurred when I was in Junior high school. It was in my second year, if I am not mistaken. My friends and I were camping in one of the most beautiful beaches in Lombok. We had been there for a few days, enjoying the warm sunlight and cool sea in the daytime, and sleeping snugly in our tents during the night. One night, we were having a casual talk outside of our tents, enjoying cups of coffee and tea beside a small fire that had been burning pleasantly for a couple of hours. I think it was a few minutes before midnight. Suddenly, some of my friends started screaming and shouting in fright, scrambling to their feet, away from the direction they were just looking at. I looked in that direction and saw the huge tree on the far side of the beach. I didn’t see anything strange, but my friends’ frightened expressions and shouts of “Pocong” were enough to give me Goosebumps. They reported that it appeared under the tree (or was it on one of its huge branches?) and it was moving in our direction. A few seconds later, it suddenly disappeared.

Indonesian people should be very familiar with the term Pocong. I guess they believe it to be a type of ghost dressed in the “kain kaffan” (the white cloth used to wrap the body of the dead before being buried in the ground) so that only the face is visible. In the corresponding horror movies, it is usually a very scary face. It moves by jumping up and down, which is rather comical when you really think about it. Nevertheless, thank Allah I have never had a direct encounter with this frightening character.

Anyway, some of my friends and I checked the grounds and we didn’t see any sign of it. We looked intently at the tree and we still didn’t see anything that might even look like a Pocong. We tried to console our friends who did see it but had little success. That night, we all slept together outside beside the fire.

Haha... all this ghostly talk is giving me the chills right now.

There are some other experiences I can’t really explain. Most of them happened when I was alone and, thankfully, they aren’t too scary. Actually some of them are rather beneficial. There were a few times when I fell asleep too early before doing the Isya prayer. I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night or a few hours before dawn because of a sound. I can’t explain what it is really like. The closest description would be a sigh or a whisper, like someone saying “shhh” to me. I’d immediately wake up, not necessarily afraid, but aware that I had heard something. I would always assume that it was the pipes or the wind. Then I would look at the time. Frequently, I would wake at really odd hours like exactly 3am or one minute before midnight. My first thought would be, cool time. My second thought would be about how weird it was. Then, after dismissing my active imagination, I would conclude that it was either coincidence or I had a really cool sleeping mechanism. After that, I would realize that I hadn’t prayed and a sense of gratefulness would arrive. Maybe God sent an angel to wake me up. Maybe I got a special angel just to wake me up, like a guardian angel. That would be pretty cool. Maybe the sound I had heard was the sound of its wings... etc. My mind can wander. Sorry.

There are times when I enter a new place and get the chills. Have you ever experienced that? It’s like the area has an odd and eerie vibe to it. I suddenly feel like someone, or something, is watching me. Then my imagination goes wild and creates a few scenarios about things that pop up in the dark and things that can go through walls and other solid objects. Then I’d become as twitchy as a cat and scare myself silly. In the end, after nothing strange happens (thankfully), I would conclude that I have watched too many horror movies and my mind would certainly drive me insane if I don’t hammer some sense into it.

At times I can be so logical that feelings have a hard time coming through to keep me humane. Other times, my imagination will conquer all. Meanwhile, I hate the feeling of being scared. It is consuming and prevents me from being productive and effective. I wish the logic would excel in this field.

Several sources have made me believe that ghosts aren’t real. All those frightening creatures are just forms that Jinn and Satan created to disturb humans and destroy their faith. This fact is both food for logic and a consolation for me. I hope this belief doesn’t waver.

I hope I never have any more frightening experiences, as intriguing as they are. My imagination is enough to keep me occupied.

No more horror movies for me, then.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Abduct Me, Please!

Recently, traveling by plane has been too frequent to suit my liking. Due to some important issues that needed to be tended to, I have had to fly to Jakarta and back more than once in a month, which is rather tiring for someone with my circumstances. However, because of it I have finally settled a lot of issues, which is such a blessing that does not deserve my whining and complaining. I guess it is one of the extra blessings that come with this holy month of Ramadan. Have you realized one of the extra blessings you’ve gotten this month?

The purpose of this post is to tell you about the plane ride I just had yesterday on my way back to Malaysia. It was uneventful, very little turbulence (yes, I happen to like the turbulence). The sky was clear with little clouds. It was a perfect day for flying.

Usually I try to sleep through such rides to cancel out my boredom. I often succeed in achieving a nap for an hour or so before I wake up and get ready for the landing. Yesterday, however, I didn’t get much sleep and the plane ride wasn’t exciting at all. Automatically, my mind started to wander away to faraway places.

I was fortunate enough to get a seat right next to the window. I started to imagine what it would feel like to float through those clouds. I saw two different layers of clouds in the sky: the cumulus layer and the cirrus layer. I thought back to the moment in 4th grade when my teacher taught us about the different clouds and why they were that way. Sadly, my brain is too muddled-up to recall those bits of information. I am definitely not smarter than a fifth grader.

I started to think about what could hide in those clouds. I looked long and hard at each cloud until I finally spotted another airplane flying in the other direction. White smoke was shooting out from behind it, creating a long white line in its trail. I think it was another Lion Air airplane because it had a splash of red near its tail. Or maybe it was an Air Asia airplane. I was rather disappointed that it wasn’t a UFO. That would have been so cool.

I remembered all the stories about UFO sightings by passengers of an airplane. I wonder what they saw. How did the UFO look like when people saw it from high up in the air? How did they move? How did they disappear?

My mind shifted to the tales of alien abductions that took place on an airplane. Passengers were reported to have gone missing for 1-2 hours. Then they suddenly reappeared, back in their own seats. Some of them reported that they were abducted by aliens. Others couldn’t remember where they had been. I started wishing that an alien UFO would appear and abduct me. That would be so exciting. But of course, I’d have to beg them to let me keep my memory so I could keep the knowledge of what they looked like, what the ship was like, and the technology they used. Maybe they’d even answer my questions about all the things I’m dying to know about the universe.

How big is the universe, really?

What is on the edge of the universe?

What is it like to travel inside a wormhole?

What other dimensions are there?

Are there other earths just like ours? Are there other planets with life on it?

What would it really take to warp time and move through space with ease?

So many questions. I can imagine that many more will come after answers are told.

Maybe they would let me carry the answers to a more sustainable life on earth: self-sustaining energy sources, greener advanced technology, the cure to cancer and many other diseases…

But maybe some answers are meant to be unknown until we find it out by ourselves. Who knows how long that would take, though? I might be gone already.

I really hope they abduct me before I die.

Almost an hour later, the head stewardess announced that we would be landing shortly and we have to fasten our seat belts. The typical sassy and sugar-coated female voice knocked me back to earth, away from my daydreams. I could hear the teasing voice in my head: Earth to Naya, Earth to Naya... Time to go home.


I guess earth still needs me. ;p

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quote of the Day (4)


“Beware of your tongue. You wont find any bone for breaking people to pieces, but once it lashes without care, it's venom will kill both you and your opponent.”

“When you compare yourself to others constantly, sooner or later you'll find that you're despicably shallow and ungrateful.”

“Beauty perishes without kindness, compassion, and love, which are eternal.”



Friday, July 13, 2012

My Flair for Fashion: The Fashionista in Me

A couple of days ago, I noticed my sister focusing on my laptop screen for long hours, occasionally typing and frequently clicking here and there on a colorful site. The site,, was attractive, full of collages that were mainly about fashion. I had never encountered such a site and immediately asked her what she was doing. This was our conversation:

Me: What are you doing?

My sister: making a set?

Me: A what?

My sister: A set.

Me: What is a set?

My sister: You know, like in those magazines. Fashion sets.

Me: (blank)

I had a closer look at my ten-inch screen. She gave me a tour of other creations by members of the site. I started to understand (I’m slow sometimes). Then I got curious.

My curiosity made me create my own account and follow what the other members were doing. Make sets. My first set was, I guess, okay (if not boring). I wasn’t used to all the tools yet. After a day of frustration with my lack of competence and the slow internet connection, I finally got used to most of the tools. Plus, I knew what specific area I wanted to focus on. Below are some of my creations.

This one is called “dressing up for summer”.


This one is called “being feminine”.


This one is called “let’s go”.


You might notice that every set has the text “modesty is beautiful…”. That is the motto for my collection on the site, Modesty. It is a collection dedicated to Muslim women so I have tried to create outfits that are appropriate for wearing the hijab.

It isn’t easy to find appropriate items. The clothes in the database are mostly for non-hijabers, of course. However, it is possible to upload our own photos on the site and use them for our collages. I haven’t tried that though since I am still familiarizing myself with the tools and gadgets on the site.

I have five sets so far. If you would like to see them, your very welcome visit my profile at I am planning to make many more sets. I really enjoy doing it. I confess that fashion has always fascinated me. When I was little, I used to make my own paper dolls and make various types of clothes for them. I even made hand-sewn clothes for my Barbie dolls. After a while, I grew out of it as I developed a strange dislike for dolls (that’s another story). Then, after I decided to wear the hijab, I thought that fashion for Muslim women had very little grounds. I decided not to pursue my interest in fashion. Lately, however, there are more possibilities thanks to many young designers of today’s world. I give many thanks to Miss Hana Tajima and Dian Pelangi for opening many doors.

I would like to develop a style that is modest, in accordance with the requirements for hijab in Islam, and beautiful, of course. Currently, I have been sketching a lot. I have made designs for daywear, parties, and also weddings. Soon I’ll be learning to sew with my mom’s new sewing machine (yay!). I’m really looking forward to it. It seems like a good addition to the various activities I can do during my long holidays, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Maybe, when I’m confident enough, I’ll post a design I’ve made. Maybe I’ll be able to sew my own outfit by the end of the holidays. Maybe I can make some for other people. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

I am such a dreamer. I can’t help it when life offers so many wonderful possibilities.

I better start executing. There’s nothing more terrifying than being stuck in Dream World.

Let’s chase those dreams!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wedding Blues


Kau dan aku sedang duduk manis di atas sebuah bangku kayu di pinggir danau. Keranjang piknik berisi sandwich, muffin coklat, dan teh hangat ditengah bangku. Aku di ujung kiri, kau di ujung kanan. Sesekali kau melirik, mencuri pandang.



Kau menyapa aku dengan gaya khasmu. Aku menoleh.



Hm… Nikah yuk, hehe..


Aku membisu. Lalu tersipu malu. Lalu kesal karena tawa kecil yang kau sisipkan di akhir kalimat.


Yang bener ah…


Aku manyun. Kau tersenyum, menikmati warna merah jambu di pipiku.




Kutunggu tawa kecil yang cenderung datang. Hening.



Ya iyalah…

Tapi bagaimana dengan ini. Bagaimana dengan itu.

Bisa diatur.

Tapi aku masih ingin begini. Kau juga harus mencapai itu.

Sambil jalan aja.

Emang bisa?


Terus bagaimana dengan persiapan ini itu. Kan butuh ini, butuh itu. Butuh waktu…

Kan selama ini sudah berusaha menyiapkan. Persiapan intinya yang kita segerakan.


Kenapa harus bingung?

Kita siap nggak?

Pertanyaannya seharusnya: kamu siap nggak?

Nggak tau.

Hayo… udah kepala dua lho. Teman-temanmu yang lain sudah lho. Bukannya orang tuamu juga mendukung agar kau segera menikah?




Kamu belum jawab.


Nikah yuk…

Mau nggak?




Kau tersenyum bahagia. Aku juga tersenyum. Sedikit tertahan.

Hatiku masih belum puas bertanya “tapi ini, tapi itu”.

Semoga terjawab setelah renungan nanti malam.


~ inspired by Amela ;) No more wedding blues…

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tapestry of Colors, the Pieces of My Childhood

I’ve always loved the book “Toto Chan” because it recounts stories of someone’s childhood in a simple but special way. I can always relate to the stories and it gives me flashbacks of my own childhood. It has given me the initiative to try to recollect some pieces of those early years. You know those memories that make you smile in spite of yourself…

I had been thinking of ways to do this for a long time. I came up with ideas and dead ends simultaneously until I wondered if I should abandon the project altogether. Then, out of the blue, the opportunity just came up.

One night, dad asked me to find the driver for our HP DeskJet F2480 all in one printer. He had lost the driver and told me to download it from the internet. So I went to the site and had no trouble downloading it. The thing that took a long time was installing it. I guess being the family technician isn’t the best job for me. After several frustrating ordeals, I succeeded in making the printer work with our PC. We can now print, scan, and photocopy with no trouble.

The next task I had was scanning some old family photos. So, as soon as the printer was installed, my siblings and I started the task. It was a moment of nostalgia. Between the processes of arranging the photos on the scanner, scanning, saving, organizing, and cropping the images into individual photos, we came across some funny, cute, and heartwarming photos from our past. It was this occurrence that provided me the means to start working on that almost forgotten project.

So now I have so many photos to choose from. Each photo has a story of its own. Thus, I have so many stories to share and I hope that they will make readers relate to some special memories of their own childhood. Let’s finally begin, shall we? ;)

un, deux, trois…


The beginning should start with… the beginning, right? I have been looking for a photo of myself when I was a baby. This is the best I could get.

As you can see, in the photo above is my mom holding a slightly-confused-looking me. It is my birthday – a statement easily deduced from the balloons, streamers, and “Selamat Ulang-Tahun, Naya” poster on the wall. There seems to be quite a few people there to celebrate that day but, unfortunately, I have no memory about this day at all (I didn’t expect to have any). Well, the picture is almost as old as me. It’s practically an artifact (laughs).

At least I can comment upon a few details in this picture.

Firstly, my expression hasn’t changed. Judging from various candid photos over the years that follow this one, this expression is one that shows up often.

Secondly, It is so special that my mom and dad could actually manage to hold a birthday party for me at that time. Mom has told me plenty of stories about their struggle in the first few years of marriage. We weren’t exactly millionaires. However, with the help of friends and family, they could hold a simple gathering to celebrate their daughter’s first year.

I think Mom is wearing the golden dress that she made herself. Mom is so good at sewing. And cooking… and cleaning, and singing, and plenty of cool skills I can’t seem to get a hold on to. Anyway, I wish she would start sewing again. She used to make us (me and my sister) a lot of pretty dresses (I’ll save that for another post). But after a while, she became busier. We moved around a lot too and we haven’t acquired another sewing machine.

Lastly, I remember there was a time when I was petrified of balloons. I wonder if it started that year. Who knows if one of the balloons popped into a million pieces that day and became the starting point for my fear of explosions. ;)


Here is another picture someone took that day. This time, Dad is holding me, wearing a batik shirt that matches my mom’s dress. I like the goofy smile on his face.

My expression is still the same: wide-eyed and confused. But it seems that I know what to do when a camera is near. Look.

I like that there are a lot of little kids around. I wish I recognized one of them though. I could then look him/her up on Facebook and say “Thanks for coming to my first birthday!” Maybe it’s 22 years too late but oh well.

Behind Dad there is a stack of pink boxes. It is probably filled with yummy food that the guests can take home. I wonder if Mom made them herself. For as long as I can remember, Mom always made the food for our parties, with the help of a couple of friends and family.

I wish I could tell you more about this picture. I’m sure my parents have a lot to say about it but I haven’t interviewed them yet. I don’t know if I will since they might have some objections about me uploading these pictures in the first place. One of them might be an embarrassing photo for them. (laughs)

But I like that the photos look old and antique. As I have said, they are images that are almost as old as I am. I am so lucky to have it and preserve it like this. Later, when I have my own kids, I can show them this picture and tell them tales about the early years of their mother’s life. My mom likes to do that often. It is a shame that she doesn’t have any pictures to show me while she recounts everything.

Do you have pictures of your childhood? Keep them and treasure them. Preserve them anyway you can. They are pieces of your history.

That’s why I’m labeling this type of post “Tapestry of Colors”. The photos are pieces of my childhood, my life, and my history. Together, those pieces form a tapestry with so many different patterns and designs. Just like the aspects and events in life, as God’s grand design. As we live on, we keep weaving that tapestry with new patterns and designs.

And life is full of colors. As I walk through the past, I am discovering colors that I never knew existed

I want to continue painting with pretty colors today… Who knows what colors I’ll discover tomorrow.

Keep weaving your tapestry. Cherish your life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Recollection of Thoughts About My Birthday

More than a week ago, on the 18th of June, precisely, was my birthday. The special, or rather extraordinary occasion that took place, was not in relation to the day. I had no party. No treats. No outings. I have no resentment towards the absence of any form of celebration. I had every intention of treating it just like any other day and it wasn’t as if I never held any celebrations on normal days. Everyday could be a birthday if the main criteria were the fulfillment of any of the occasions above.

The special thing about this year’s birthday was that I totally forgot it. I would have never thought such a state of mind would ever be possible in my case.

When I was little, my birthday was always a big deal. I guess it’s one of the blessings as well as curses that come to you if you were a first child to parents like mine. My birthday was always celebrated with the typical cake-and-candy scenario until I was about 11 years old. After that, as I became supposedly more “grown-up”, the fun and games transformed into outings and treats with family and friends.

As I got into senior high school, the occasions became less festive but more religious (in search of a better word). My family and I prepared gatherings at home for our close friends and neighbors. We would serve traditional food and drinks for the guests and ask one of my friends or neighbors to lead us into a prayer to Allah to thank Him for His blessings. It was a nice change.

When I got into college, the occasions became a lot simpler. It was usually in the form of treating my friends to food we all like. One of the great things at that time was, my friends liked to make birthday surprises for me. I remember the times when my dorm friends pretended to forget all day and surprised me with cake and presents at night. I remember when my friends from STAN EC came to my dorm at 1 am, also with cake and presents. I remember when my class mate and also class captain poured a bottle of water on my head on my 19th birthday.

After college, there were no more celebrations. The occasions that signaled it was my birthday were the Happy Birthday wishes through calls, text messages, and Facebook. I still got some presents too. It’s not that I did not like treating my friends and holding gatherings, but the change suited my condition. I have been living far away from my friends and family during the last two years. Distance makes some things difficult to do. Among them, celebrating my birthday.

Anyway, the most important thing these days is celebrating every day that I can be with my family and friends. Those times don’t come easy anymore. So whether it is my birthday or not, when I am together with them, it is worth celebrating. Consequently, I don’t feel like celebrating my birthday when they aren’t with me. That was the case this year. I guess the feeling kept building until my mind decided that the memory wasn’t worth keeping. Other than that, I got busier so I always had a lot of things on my mind. My focus was divided as it was.

I wonder what birthdays are like for other people. Is it the non-stop occurrence of festive celebrations? Or does it slowly transform as time goes on? Do some people not celebrate it at all?

I don’t know what my birthdays would be like in the future, but I regard them as checkpoints – like in those video games. It is a parameter for evaluation and introspection. So I can be in a mood for celebration or mourning depending on the results.


In this self-indulgent quest, sometimes failures might seem more evident than achievements. Sometimes age might seem more of a curse than blessing. But I think time itself, as the dimension given, is a blessing and a test. A test itself is a chance, a challenge, and an opportunity.

So let’s just try our best, shall we? “,

Good luck!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Home Again!

home sweet home

It feels so great to be home!

I can never get tired of saying that.

It feels so great to be home after days of exams, weeks of projects, and months of lessons.

It feels so great to be home after scurrying after the most affordable ticket, 12 hours on the bus to reach Soekarno-Hatta Airport, 2 hours on an airplane, and a 1-hour-queue for the immigration check.

It feels so great to be home after months of being so far away without daily communication and being jealous for all the family outings spent without me.

Nonetheless, this blog still comes to mind amidst all the joy and overwhelming relief. I have neglected it again, due to the exams, projects, and tasks that have to be tended to before I could go home with a good conscience. Consequently, now I am safe at home but with a guilty conscience caused by this blog.

Thus, on my second day at home, I thought I could spare some time away from the inhabitants of my home to conjure up some words for my beloved blog which, to my astonishment and bewilderment, has managed quite well on its own in socializing with readers.

A couple of weeks ago I was very surprised to see the amount of views gained, even though I haven’t posted anything in such a while. Obviously, I am glad for this because more people are visiting and it is likely that more people are reading my stuff (no matter how nonsensical the contents may sometimes be). Many thanks to all the visitors, especially the readers, for this lovely surprise! Keep visiting! ^-^

I promised to myself that I would write a couple of interesting posts during my stay here. You can expect a recount of mystical experiences from a writing challenge by Seagate (keep ‘em coming, guys!). After that, a few of my slightly obnoxious and intentionally sarcastic articles about some interesting issues. Then, maybe a story and some poems just for fun.

For the meantime, before that… I’ll enjoy my holiday.

Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Do you remember that movie based on Lemony Snicket’s books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? I had the opportunity to relate with the Baudelaire children, although my misfortunes were not as extreme or fantastical (thankfully).


During the couple of weeks, I have had two singular misfortunes which lead to other unlucky consequences:

1. My laptop’s keyboard is broken. It started being broken about two weeks ago. The person at the service center said that it might take while to fix because the parts weren’t available yet. I couldn’t go on without my laptop for too long because I had tasks and projects pending. I couldn’t write a post for this blog in a long time because of this. So, in the end, I bought a flexible external keyboard to use for the meantime.

2. I have had a blistering cold for more than a week and my voice is still funny. It’s the worst one ever with its combination of headaches, fevers, and a consistent runny nose. Not to mention the thunderous sneezes in between. I’m a mess. Because of this flu, I had to miss a couple of classes, meetings, and even a job interview (could you imagine answering interview questions with a croaky voice and disgusting sniffs every couple of seconds?).

Anyway, people say, one bad thing can lead to another. This is so true. I felt so unlucky for two weeks, missing all the important classes, meetings, opportunities, and projects. It took a while to catch up. But the storm has started to subside. I can feel my cold disappearing slowly. The last classes for the semester are approaching and I can organize my time better, finally. I knew I could catch up in the end. Most of us always do.

I have also had my share of really good luck. I breezed through a couple of tests. I got accepted as one of the adjudicators for NUEDC (National Universities English Debating Championship) in Yogyakarta (yay!). I got to have a great weekend eating and watching movies with my best friend. I get to share my knowledge and practice with the debaters at my school for the upcoming NUEDC. And I have so many exciting events to look forward to this week.

So, I will be pleased to report to you that I will be back to normal and catch up with the posts I owe some of you for the writing challenge. (Cheers! Haha…)

Keep spirited and cherish your luck, everyone!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Breaking Point 2#

Exasperation is when you try to talk to someone logically and reasonably but they won’t try to understand. Frustration is when they keep going back to a point that has been resolved and answered. Annoyance is when they harass you and bully you without a good reason. Anger is when they won’t listen at all.

Just when you’re sure there is something good in everyone and start to be extra positive, you meet this kind of person.


God will test you if you’re worthy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

24green on the Elevator Pitch!

24greenThe title above may be ambiguous or simply nonsensical to those who don’t really know (or have never heard of) such words or phrases. I’ll explain them one by one.

24green is the name of my team which consists of 3 people: Ria, Hining, and I. We were one of the teams competing in the very first elevator pitch competition in Indonesia which was held by UGM (Universitas Gadjah Mada). The theme for the competition was “Elevating the Benefits of the Green Industry”. This competition was one of the many events held by the Faculty of Industrial Engineering to promote the green industry.

The name 24green was derived from two elements: 24 and green. We basically wanted people to implement the green ways of living in the 24 hours of their lives each day. So this became the name of our team as well as the name of our main project for our elevator pitch.

Now what exactly is an elevator pitch? It is quite a new thing in Indonesia. Meanwhile, students in the US have been participating in this type of competition for years. So I was rather curious as to what it was – that curiosity being the reason for me joining this competition in the first place.

Wikipedia says that an elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition. The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. So I understood it as a kind of speech plus presentation plus advertisement combined into one which consequently turns it into none of those things in the end (laughs). Anyway, after seeing further information and examples from my buddy YouTube and the internet, it became clear what an elevator pitch was supposed to be like. My teammates and I discussed it frequently to reach our conclusions about it. After all the basics were clear between us, we did our research, brainstormed for all the possible projects, and practiced giving our pitches in public.

I really enjoyed our meetings and practices. I think we understood each other and had a good sense of loyalty for the team. We had great chemistry so it was always fun for me, even when we were studying hard and burying our minds in the research material. Sometimes we reached a lull because we couldn’t think of any ideas for a certain topic, but we always had a laugh about it afterwards.

Anyway, we tried hard through and through. I was the leader of the team so I was in charge of the meetings and practices. Ria was the research manager, so she kept track of all our material, discussion notes, and reports (tough job, I’ll say). Hining was our administrator, so she had to manage our registration process and keep in touch with the committee for information about the competition.

We gave our best at the competition. Sadly, it wasn’t our time to win it. However, Allah always gives hikmah. Every cloud has a silver lining. We achieved a lot of things in the process. We acquired knowledge about the green industry. We gained deeper understanding about how important it was to save the environment. We thought of so many great ideas for future projects. We upgraded our cooperation skills. And best of all, we became closer as friends.

As a team leader, I have to say that I am so proud of my friends. They say that they have never followed such a competition that required them to speak in English in front of so many people. I realize that their courage isn’t something to be thought little of. I admire them for their perseverance and efforts (and also their willingness to work with such a leader as me, hehe…) all this time. I am sure they worked really hard to prepare for this competition and with that hard work they gained their own personal achievements.

I thank Allah so much for this chance and this experience. I hope we use every bit of knowledge we got from it to achieve our best in the future.

Keep reaching for the stars, 24green!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My First Concert: IL DIVO at Ritz Carlton, Jakarta

I have loved IL DIVO since I was in High School. My family and I used to watch their DVD every week, while enjoying a meal or a snack. Their music blazed through our house in high-quality stereo (we managed to get the original DVD). I wonder what the neighbors said.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to live to see them – in flesh. Thanks to my good friend Harvin, I got a chance to watch their live concert in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jakarta on the 25th of February 2012. I was so excited. It was my first concert ever! So, this post is dedicated to the event. It is also a reply to Harvin’s writing challenge, which is to write about watching IL DIVO. Thanks again for the request, Vin!

Here is the picture of the concert tickets. I shall treasure this picture forever so that I can tell my children about my first concert (LOL).

tiket IL DIVO

Harvin got us great seats. We got quite a good view of the stage without having too many heads block the way. He said that he almost always got good seats in a concert. It was something he always made sure of when he booked tickets. This is an idea of the view you’d get from our seats.


We were very fortunate to meet a new friend. She was sitting beside me. Her family was crazy about IL DIVO. She attended the concert with her mom and dad. I wish I could’ve brought my parents along. Maybe next time…


Finally, the concert began. I was so excited I could barely sit still! They entered the stage so elegantly and, as usual, sang an opening number. I don’t remember what the song was (LOL) so don’t expect me to remember the song list. I’m not much of a fan, aren’t I? But I bet Harvin would remember so you can ask him for the details.

But I can tell you this: they were perfect. They sung marvelously and I don’t think there was any mistake. Their voices were flawless. It was like watching their DVD. In comparison to other concerts, you could always agree that the studio version was better because of all the editing and stuff. But IL DIVO really is the real deal.

I had goose bumps at almost every song. I almost cried when I listened to them singing my favorite songs, Regresa A Mi and Si Tu Me Amas. I wished my mom was present when they sang Mama. It was her birthday that day and it would’ve been such a great birthday present. They sang it for you, Mom…

Well, at least mom can see some pics I took (sorry for the bad quality!) and view some of the videos I had recorded. Here they are:




Greetings from IL DIVO!

IL DIVO singing my favorite song, Si Tu Me Amas:

I have many others but I’m afraid my site won’t be able to handle so many pictures and videos at the moment. So I’ll end this by giving many thanks for my parents and Harvin for giving me the chance to go to my first concert! You guys are the best.