Sunday, June 15, 2014

Pre Exam Ramblings #1

I really shouldn't write all these when my exam is about to start in less than 48 24 hours... Oh well...

If you're the sort of person who has troubles finding discussion materials, you're in for a treat! We are currently facing two colossal events that most people can relate to: Indonesia Presidential Election and World Cup 2014. You will never run out of topics to talk about! It will be enough until next long holiday, which is Idul Fitri in July, where relatives and extended families normally gather and discuss all ranges of possible topics, from science, business, to numerology (clearly I'm speaking from experience here).

Anyway, this post will not discuss politics (the number of Kompasiana articles posted in Facebook about this topic is too damn high!) nor football (cannot say I'm a fan myself). Let's proceed with something lighter, yes?

Crimea, anyone?
As I promised in my previous post, this time I'll write about the follow up of my 'No Excuse Week'.

In a nutshell, the project was a big success. It was a great week actually. Some of the things that I managed to pull:

- Finally ride my bike along the bike trail nearby my house. I've been meaning to do it since ages ago but kept postponing it.
- Finish my assignments for the week earlier than due date.
- Bought a yearly planner and actually using it for my schedule.
- Auditioned for a theatrical play (and actually got the supporting role for that)

Funny thing happened at that time. The day after I posted the article, just after I finished my lunch in my campus Union House (a place for food stalls + common rooms for clubs + etc), a gym instructor started gathering people for a session of Zumba. I never had a Zumba session before, and it seemed interesting at that moment. And just like that, once the thought of joining them for the session pops in my mind, I realized I cannot back down from it due to my own restriction. Argh, darn it Universe! Why did you bring the class in this exact moment!? So yes, I joined the class, and it was not the end of the story. We did the routines, in front of the watching crowds, and at the end, the instructor asked for 3 volunteers to join him on the platform... Well you can guess the rest of the story. No excuses were made that day, and with that, no regrets.

"No regrets", he said to himself as he performs some weirdly-
choreographed dance moves in front of the watching audience...
Maybe I need to explain a little bit on why I do all of this. By default, I'm someone who doesn't enjoy being under the spotlight. I fear a lot of things: meeting new people, talking in front of the class, having different opinions with others. To have fears is ok, but dictated by it is not. It hinders your growth, and is something that I don't want to ponder in my deathbed. This realization is what drives me to do these sorts of seemingly trivial things.

I was extremely happy with my result, but it's not easy maintaining a state of no excuse for more than a week. I haven't reached that stage yet, and it's fine. Still have 1.5 years to practice it while I'm still in Australia. Who knows what I'll get at the end of this journey? 

Well then, with all that being said, time to go back to my study.
See you next time, folks!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Have you ever wondered why we can feel pain?

In our body, lies an overarching system called the nervous system. It consists of two parts: central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system (sensory, motor neurons, etc). This complex system controls how the body operates: whenever we encounter external stimuli, the sensory neurons throughout our body will send signals to the central nervous system, the central nervous system determines which action the body will take, then it sends another signal to corresponding motor neurons to execute the action. 

Of course it's more complicated than that, but who wants to learn this much in single blog post?

It turns out "pain" is how the brain interprets many of the external stimuli that pose danger to us. Sharp thorns, flaming torch, chilling ice, they all possess harmful quality to humans. Thorns could pierce through our skin, damaging the tissue and exposing it to infectious agent; Pain that we feels when we touch one is the way of our body saying, "Stop whatever you're doing and Ctrl+Z to previous position!" Not only beneficial, this "warning" system is very important for our survival. A person with high tolerance for pain might be stronger, but he will probably hurt himself a lot more in the process. This reason, along with some others, is probably why nervous system become prevalent in most of the multicellular organism. 

Apparently, survival of this plant rooted in humanity's masochistic
tendency to consume substance that triggers pain

The source of pain that we're having don't have to be physical pain, there's also emotional ones. Loosing something so dear to us, such as death of loved ones, can give real emotional pain. Emotional pain is even linked with the physical ones. According to Professor Martin Cowie from Brompton Hospital, "There is an increased risk of dying in the six months after bereavement and it's particularly marked amongst men." Men, do take care of your loved ones if you don't want to die early.

Anyway, where am I going with all these? Well, I'm discussing about pain because around this month, 16 years ago, Indonesia faced a very painful chapter in its history: May 1998 Riots. During these times, violent riots broke off in several big cities in Indonesia. Numerous buildings were burned, thousand civilians were killed, hundreds woman (mainly from Indonesian' Chinese ethnic) were raped, while the fully equipped armed and police forces were "unable" to contain the situation. Fast forward 16 years, and here we are: still stuck in square one. No apology from the government for their failure of protecting their citizens, no legal inquiry were made by the Attorney General Office, and still no justice for the victims. I would love to share more, but sadly my knowledge goes only as far as this below clip shows.

Remembering this painful tragedy is not pleasant, even for someone who wasn't affected directly like me. I cannot start to imagine how the survivors would feel, having to continue their lives with that big of emotional burden. How it affects their lives, and their future. 

Maybe it is easier to just forget about all of these things and live like nothing has ever happened. And maybe that's what's happening in our country: people choose to forget bad things that happened in the past. The way some people regard Soeharto era as better than current regime reflects this tendency. But it is important to always remind ourselves about the tragedy, particularly like this one. Remembering our past won't guarantee a better future, but forgetting it will only lead to disasters. If we cannot reverse what had already happened, the least we can do is prevent another tragedy to happen ever again. If we don't remember our own history, then who will?

PS: Reflections for my previous post will have to wait for next time! Stay tune for that :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Hey, long time no see. It took quite a while for me to start writing again in this blog. But hey, I’m back now, so let’s get going.

First of all, summary of my life story so far: I got a scholarship from AusAID last year, I’ve resigned from my lab in Kalbe, I’ve taken the mandatory 6-week English class in IALF Kuningan as part of my scholarship, and BAM! Now I’m Australia, (supposedly) studying for my Master’s degree. I know, those will need at least several posts, but patience my friend. Everything in its due time.

Let's open today's little story with this video. It's a long one, but I think one worth to watch.

The video is quite infuriating. If there's one thing that I learned from the video, it's the fact that the members of our House of Representatives are very good at making excuses. Just look for yourselves, as they maneuvers through the facts that:
  • they have a bad attendance level (ranging from 80% to 0% attendance)
  • their law completion rate are very bad (from 2010 to 2013, they have 40%, 25%, 43%, and 26% law completion rate).
  • the quality of laws that they passed are questionable 
In the video, they would blame the lack of special staff that they have, that attendance list doesn't reflect the actual performance, and that their jobs are "different" compared to normal jobs so normal measurements like attendance list cannot be used. It's funny how they can whine and make excuses when their salaries are as high as 1million IDR per year! Yeah, you basically lost your right to whine when your salary is that high.

It's pretty sad, but you know what's the worse part? That we are not much different from them. We make excuses all the time. I know I did: The traffic was jammed, therefore I'm late. The assignment was too hard, therefore I got bad score. The time wasn't enough, that's why I couldn't finish on time. The classes was boring anyway, might as well just skip it. I got too busy, I don't have time to write anymore.

By making excuses, we are removing ourselves from the burden. And yes, sometimes that's the right thing to do, especially when the problem is actually not you. Bad things do happen all the time, and we have to acknowledge that. But we humans just get so good at making excuses, we use it all the time, even when we're not supposed to.

So, I'm  going to throw this idea to you guys: 

No-Excuse Week 

One whole week, dedicated to having no excuses. 
No more canceling plans because you're lazy, no more being too afraid to do something that you know you wanted to do, no more blaming external factors when you know it's your fault. Just commit to the idea for a week, and check again next week whether you still want to commit to it.

Im doing it myself starting today. Let's see how it goes.
Until then, see ya!

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it.” ― Jordan Belfort

There is this cool article that I forgot to mention. Read the top answer and get pumped!