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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Angry Without Reason? Why?

Two days ago I had a conversation with a friend. He was facing a common thing that I am sure all of us have ever faced. It is being angry for nothing.

In certain stage of our lives, we would face this. We would be angry to the people in our surrounding for no reason at all. You may think that there is no reason at all, but it is not true. THERE IS A REASON. The reason may not come clean in front of you. The reason may be hidden in your subconscious mind or deep inside your feeling.

We would be angry with our friends, our parents, our sisters or brothers, our lovers, our spouses for the mistakes that they actually do not do. WHY? Because there are certain issues in our subconscious being which make us feel insecure or vulnerable, but we do not realize what it is yet and hence, we try to put our position in a strong way by snapping at others. By being angry at others, we are showing to them that we are not vulnerable and hence, we "thought" we are establishing a solid ground for ourselves that we are at the stronger side and no one could mess with us. We do not realize that being angry for no reason has actually put us in the "messed up" situation already.

If you feel that you are in this situation, then I would say that there are three main concerns that you have to see through. First, next time you feel that you would blast at someone, please stop for one second and ask these questions to yourself. Why am I angry at this person? Am I angry for the right reason? What is the consequence if I blast now?

There are many cases in which that being angry in this "vulnerable" situation make us lose even more people in our lives than being angry for a real reason because no one wants to be blasted at all the time. Being angry at a person who deserves to be angry with and being angry at a person who is completely has nothing to do with the anger have totally different consequences. At certain point of time, people would maintain their distance from you because they do not want to get hurt and that would only make your situation worse.

Second, if you have let go your anger to the wrong people and you actually feel sorry for that, then ask for an apology. Asking for an apology would not lower your dignity at all. You have the gut to shout and snap, then you must have the gut to admit that you are sorry. It would make you feel better as you actually behave human enough and strong enough to admit that you have made mistakes and you are ready to fix it. And be careful, because you may not be forgiven right away. Remember that it always takes time to heal the wound caused by "words"; sometimes it even won't heal at all. If you are not forgiven right away, please do not snap back again. Trust me, it happens sometimes; You ask for an apology but you are not excused and you just justify yourself by shouting back just because you are not excused. Try not to do that. Just try to give some space to them and "show" them that you indeed feel sorry. Nothing speaks louder than action. And if still you are not forgiven, then maybe it is time for you to forgive yourself for damaging what was good once and accept the fact that you have done irreversible bad things. Not all in your life would turn beautiful, some things would turn out pretty nasty.

And third, the most important thing. Try to address your issue. No one know you better than yourself. What makes you feel insecure? Fear of losing something? Dislike of your job? The lost of the person you value the most? Uncomfortable family issues? Fear about how the future would turn about? Lack of faith that you could actually come forward in your life? Baseless jealousy towards your spouse? Diminishing trust towards someone? What is actually your problem?

By trying to identify the issues that you are facing and actually find out what your problem is, you are 80% on the track for fixing yourself. So what is the 20%? Well, address the issues. Knowing what the problem is without trying to solve it is just the same as sitting on amber and shout to people that your ass is on fire without an effort  to get up and spray some water on it. Try to address your issues. Make a step to change it but at the same time, do not forget that some issues are too helpless that the only thing you could do to make peace with yourself is to swallow the bitter pills and accept the situation and live your life to the best you could.

Trying to change some parts of your life to better things and give some peace to your mind & soul is not harmful at all. All you have to do is take that baby step before you run as fast as you could and make that giant leap.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Confucius Story of 3 x 8 = 23

I am not really inspired these last few days. I don’t know why. It’s like I have some ideas but then I could not expand it so as an update for today, maybe I could just share a story that I read early this morning which made me re-think about what winning actually is.

This story is a re-post of a story from Everyone is Number One, which I have tried to translate as good as I could to English.

Here it goes...

Yan Hui is a favorite disciple of Confucius. He loves studying and he has a good behavior. One day, when Yan Hui was on duty, he saw a textile store which was crowded by many people. He came closer and found that the buyer and the seller were having an argument.
The buyer shouted “3 x 8 = 23, why do you say 24?”
Yan Hui approached the buyer and said “My friend, 3 x 8 = 24, let’s not argue about that anymore.”
The buyer was not happy and rudely pointed to Yan Hui’s face and said “Who asked for your opinion. Even if I want to ask for an opinion, I would go to Confucius. Confucius is the one who has the right to say whether it is right or wrong.”
Yan Hui said “Well, fair enough. How if Confucius says that you are wrong?”
They buyer said “If Confucius says that I am wrong, I would give you my head. How if he says that you are the one who is wrong?”
Yan Hui said “If I am declared wrong, I would give you my title.”
Both Yan Hui and the buyer had the deal on the bet and off they went to find Confucius. After listening to them, Confucius understood the root of the problem and while laughing he told to Yan Hui “3 x 8 = 23 Yan Hui. You are wrong. Now, you have to give him your title.” Yan Hui would never argue with his teacher and hence, when his teacher told him that he was wrong, he took off his hat and gave it to the buyer as a sign that he was giving away his title.”
The buyer took Yan Hui’s hat and went triumphantly. Even though Yan Hui accepted Confucius’ judgment, his heart still did not agree. He felt that Confucius had become old and absent-minded that he no longer wanted to study with him. Yan Hui then asked for a vacation with the reason of some family issues. Confucius knew what Yan Hui had in his heart and gave him the vacation he requested. Before leaving, Yan Hui came to Confucius to say goodbye and Confucius asked him to return as soon as his issues were resolved. He also gave Yan Hui two pieces of advice. The first was “If it rains heavily, do not find shelter under a tree” and the second was “Do not kill.”
Yan Hui agreed and off he went to his home.
On the way home, strong wind along with lightning bolts happened, followed by rain pour-down. Yan Hui wanted to seek for shelter under a tree but suddenly he remembered Confucius’ advice and thought that he wanted to follow his teacher’s advice one more time. He left the tree and not long after he left, the tree was struck by the lighting and came into pieces. Yan Hui was taken aback for his teacher’s advice had come to reality.
 “Am I going to kill someone?” he thought. Yan Hui reached his home after midnight and he did not want to disturb his wife’s sleep. He used his sword to open his room. Once he reached in front of their bed, he saw that there were two people on the bed, one of the left and one on the right side. He was angry and wanted to stab his sword, but when he wanted to do it, he again remembered Confucius’ advice to not kill. He then backed off and lighted a candle and he found out that the person sleeping beside his wife was his sister-in-law.
The next day, Yan Hui returned to Confucius. He knelt down and asked “Teacher, how did you know what would happen?”
Confucius said “Yesterday, the day was scorching hot and it was predicted that there would be hurricane, and that is why I reminded you not to take shelter under a tree. And, yesterday, you went with anger and you took a sword with yourself, and hence, I reminded you not to kill.”
Yan Hui said “Teacher, your prediction was impeccable, I am really astonished.”
Confucius said “I knew that you asked for vacation not due to family issues. You no longer wanted to study from me. Consider yourself. Yesterday I told that 3 x 8 = 23 was right, you lost the bet and you lost your title. Imagine if I said that 3 x 8 = 24 was right. The buyer would lose and it means he had to give his head to you. One life would be the cost. Do you think your title is more important than the life of one man?”
Yun Hui realized his mistake and said “Teacher, you prioritize which one is more important; while I thought that you are already old and absent-minded. I am really ashamed of myself.”
Since then, Yan Hui always followed Confucius wherever he went.
This story reminds us:
If I bet and win the whole world, but I have to lose you, what would it mean to me?
In other words, you bet and you win what you thought was the truth, but you lose something which is more important for your heart.
Everything has the degree of importance. Don’t bet with your life for righteousness just to regret in the end. It would be too late.
There are things that need not to be bet. Just step back for one step, and you will create goodness for everyone.
We fight our buyers for not losing. We would win in the beginning, but in the end we would lose our buyers and lose.
We fight our bosses. In the beginning we would win, but we would lose in the end if we are fired.
We fight our husbands. In the beginning we would win, but in the end we would lose if it turned out that our husbands are right.
We fight our friends. In the beginning we would win, but sometimes our friends are right and we would lose in the end.
Winning is not about medals, but it mainly concerns about self-winning and heart-winning.

Now, this story made me think…
How many times have we won in our lives and yet feel that we are the biggest loser by losing more important things?

Confucius
We fight that our culture is right and thrash others who do not agree without thinking the effect of that to the other people.

We fight that certain people are the most important people in our lives by losing the people who truly love us.

We fight to earn more for our family by losing the quality time that we are supposed to spend with our children.

We put our relationships in stake just to win the argument, just to hurt back.

We fight that our opinion and our prediction are the utmost right just to collapse in the end.

Fighting for righteousness, Fighting for what you believe is not a wrong thing. Indeed it is the right thing, but at what cost? At the cost of those who we love? At the cost of being alone? At the cost of being a heart-less human being? At the cost of feeling sorry for the rest of our lives? At what cost?

Sometimes the consequences of winning is not the triumphant feeling, but the things that we actually let go and the things that we lost for good in order to win in the first place.

When the urge to win comes, in relationship, in family, in friendship, in marriage… just take one deep breath, step back and ask yourself:
“Do I really need to win this? What if I lose anyway?”
Sometimes letting others win is indeed showing how dignified your soul is because you know that in the end, the battle is not worth it at all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

EARTH: Population vs Food vs Health

Today, I will be talking about the facts that we, human race, are facing without actually realizing what is happening on this earth. This post that I am writing today is inspired from a Documentary Movie I watched last night, called Food, Inc which is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner.

We often go to the supermarket seeing the frozen food which is available and somehow in the back of our mind, we know it is not exactly what we want because at least Generation X and Generation Y, like myself, have grown with the notion that food materials are supposed to be fresh from the market. I personally grew up with the notion that fish, meat, and poultry products are still fresh in the traditional market. I grew up with the notion that tomatoes are not always in uniform shape and color. I grew up in the notion that spinach did not look like plastic leaves without one single hole created by the caterpillar or whatever the bugs that might eat that spinach in the farm. Can you imagine how the food revolution could be seen so clearly and distinctly by the Baby Boomers like our parents or our grandparents?

Why is this happening? The only answer is “the speedy growth of human population who needs to be fed”. It has been predicted since centuries ago that the doomsday would actually come due to famine instead of catastrophe. One of the people who has proposed this idea was Thomas Robert Malthus (I still remember his name from a class during my Junior High School study long way ago) who said that while population grows exponentially, food grows linearly which would cause the insufficient food to feed the people which eventually would ended up in massive famine.

BUT there was another breakthrough by Gordon Moore who has created a possibility of having more number of transistors in a chip while at the same time minimizing the size of the chip for the computer which eventually increase the speed of computer system (I am trying to put it in a simple way). It's then called Moore's Law. This same law has been applied in agriculture where the exponential growth of population could be balanced with the same exponential growth of food. And this is what I believe has become the root of Food Industrialization, GMO (Genetically Modified Food) in order to keep the sustainability of Food Security to the human race.

The concern of extreme poverty and no access to food at all have been great concerns over the time. Even there was a movie in the year 1973 titled Soylent Green (I haven’t watched this movie, but I have read the review) which was based on the novel titled “Make Room! Make Room!” by Harry Harrison, which depicts human race whose culture had to turn into cannibalism by 2022 due to lack of food BUT it is an amazement that in reality, the growth of human population has decreased over the years. It is estimated that the current growth of population is 1.1% which has decreased substantially from 2.19% in 1963. Why? There is no precise reason to explain this phenomena but in my opinion, it might happen due to the increased rate of death which compensate the growth, it might happen because most human has self-realization that having many children is not an option on this compact world which makes them restrain from reproducing. Whatever the reasons, the growth is decreasing and it is a good thing.

Even though the population growth is decreasing, it is still indeed “growing”, which means world is going to be denser as the days go by. The gap of the well-fed people and the extreme poverty has become too wide.

Obesity
Now, I shall come to the common phenomenon which is happening in our surrounding. I am not a Nutritionist and that means I cannot give detailed elaboration on this issue. But from the way I was raised food-wise, there are certain things that I could share.

We are living in the world with super-speed pace. We are moving as fast as we could. We work from morning until evening with a short period of lunch and we have to chase certain deadlines and for that we have to eat fast as well. We have to eat fast but at the same time it has to make us feel satisfied and hence we have the tendency to consume food that contains more fat, more sugar, and more salt. Eating a bowl of fresh green salad will not help us survive until the evening. It would require us to keep eating again after sometime and that is not efficient for us as we have to work. We are too tired when we reach home in the late evenings to cook complicated food and we end up cooking processed food.

This kind of life style has actually led us to a lot of troubles and illness. We can’t blame it. We can’t blame the system because that is how it works and we have to adjust ourselves. But to what extent should the adjustment be done?

I grew up in a family whose food-concern is high, especially my mother. In her tight schedule of taking care of the household issues and her own job, I never find her giving up and compromise in food matters. She has always said one thing when it comes to food “Once it goes in, it will stick inside your body for good so if you love your body, then make sure you chew and swallow the food that your body would feel happy about”. I am a bit stubborn at times. I love food which content high level of sugar, salt, and preservatives, but thank God, I have a mother who keeps nagging at me which eventually made me realize that my eating pattern would determine what kind of body and what kind of health I would have in the next 20 or 30 years which would lead to the kind of life that I would have and that has led me to eat healthy as well. Risking my long-term health for short-period of tongue-bliss does not sound that catchy to us.

And for that, my mother is always trying her maximum to cook the food that we eat. She would cook food which is rich in vegetables (and the vegetables would be washed in salt water in order to minimize the pesticide level) balanced with protein intake such as fresh meat, fish, poultry product, beans, nuts. Rather than giving me factory-made juice, she would prepare natural fruit juice which would be varied from juice, smoothies, or simply fruit milk-shake. Does it mean that we would starve ourselves when we don't have access to kitchen and cook our own food? NO. We are flexible enough in that. Does it mean that we don’t enjoy the delicacy of food outside our home? NOT at all, we do enjoy, especially when we travel. When we travel to new place, we would be like unleashed dragons going for food-adventure, especially me. I always enjoy dining-out, but the frequency is very low in our family. When all members are gathering, we would cook our own chicken pie, we cook our own pizza, our own burgers and sandwiches, our own French fries, our own chips, our own cakes, our own cookies. It has been more like a tradition that we eat the food that we cook. It makes us feel more comfortable because we know at least what we put in the food.

Some of my friends know this pattern at our home and they would ask “You eat home cooked meal but still you are as thin as ply-wood. How come?” Well, eating home-made food doesn’t have to make me buxom though. It makes me feel good about my own body, isn’t that enough? It’s not that I lack nutrition.

Of course it is IMPOSSIBLE to make sure that all the things you eat are actually welcomed by your body. It is impossible to trace back every single ingredient in our kitchens that we are using in daily basis. We would go crazy if we do that but at least we could try our best to give our bodies the best they could take, right? There is no harm in trying. Having to face the worst without trying and having to face the worst after trying has a lot of difference and I opt to try my best to take care of my health so that if one day I have to face certain disease (which I definitely do not want), I could accept it better without regret because I know that I have given my best and that whatever comes beyond my control is the willing of God.

Food for Thought

What should we do to improve our health? Should we stop eating processed food? Should we stop reproducing so that we have sufficient source from Mother Nature to provide us with natural food (this option sounds ridiculous as stop reproducing means fighting against the Law of Nature)? Should we build a garden in our backyard to provide good quality vegetables (how about the people living in apartments who don’t have access to garden)? Should we workout in the gym 2 hours a day? Should we cook the food we eat or just simply buy it? With mom and dad working from 8am to 8pm, what kind of food would you provide to your children? With the myriad choices of food items in the supermarket, which should we choose to feed our bodies and our children’s bodies? Can we guarantee the Food Security for our next generation? What should we do?


Certain articles which have been the source of my today's post are as follows:
World Population Watch (this website scares me actually, from the beginning writing this post until the end which took almost 1 hour, the predicted population has increased by almost 100,000)

Source: Antimicrobial Resistance Learning Site



Monday, March 11, 2013

Stories of The Day

The flowers of the non-edible almond at the office yard have started blooming... Finally Spring has come :)
 Just now I came to a website named www.bestfbpost.com and found some interesting postings, such as:

This story reminds us to give the best in our worst, because like the hunchback says "The evil you do remains with you; The good you do comes back to you".

This story is a reminder for us that a split second anger seems very right at that moment, but once it is launched, the effects are permanent. Other people may not take our words as easily as we do because every person has his own background. The scar will remain.

This article reminds us for the small things we could do for our loved ones in order to preserve a good relationship, a good friendship, a good companionship, or any other kinds of "ship" :). Relationship requires feelings and feelings require nurturing.

This is my favorite. The tendency to look for materials without balancing the spiritual and emotional life will not get us anywhere. Fight for your life, earn well for your future, but do not forget your roots, do not forget where you belong because materialistic growth without spiritual maturity is equal to zero.

I am speechless with this story. Please read and I'm sure you agree with me that this particular Grandpa is indeed born as a gambler ;).

Save the best for the last, they said... THIS one story has made me laughing till my tears are coming out. You don't read the other stories, I will say "It's fine", but if you don't read this one "You miss one day in your life" hahahaha...

Have a nice reading folks and Have a bright week ahead!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sinbad, Xena, Hercules & Me

After around 15 years, suddenly I remember a serial movie that I used to watch when I was a young teenager, The Adventure of Sinbad, so I downloaded the series and today evening watched two episodes. Geez... I felt like I was pulled back to the time when I was 13 or 14 years old. I felt like being in the living room of my home on Sunday morning and watching this serial.

The funny thing is that I used to find Zen Gesner (the actor playing Sinbad) was too handsome. It was always a thing I used to wait to watch hahahaha, but now if I look at him again, I don't find him THAT handsome. He looks just so so, but he does look like Tom Cruise though.

On Sundays, I would sit in front of TV watching Doraemon, Sinchan, Dragon Ball, The adventures of Sinbad, Xena the Warrior Princess, and Hercules. My favorites were Sinbad, Xena, and Hercules. And do you know WHY? Because they have sword fights and cool heroic fights.

Girls at my age that time were too busy with Barbie Dolls and girly dresses, nail polish, glittering lip gloss, etc while I was busy with my broken broom stick at home practicing my swordsmanship skill. Now I know I was weird and why my friends were almost all boys. Which girl want to show me their Barbie Dolls when all I saw was just a bunch of stupid faces and all we could do was just changing the dress, the bag, and making stupid fake conversation with stupid voices?

I remember once when I had group study in a girl-friend's house and she was wearing some glitter stickers on her calf which was a part of Barbie package. She showed me the dolls and all the accessories. Her parents bought her original Barbie that cost a fortune. While at my end, my toy was zero cost broken broom stick which was no longer could be used and I was definitely more satisfied having that stick rather than useless dolls. I still remembered that instead of taking nap, I would practice my broom-stick alias swordsmanship skill in the front yard and that hasn't led me nowhere because in the end, I may not be as good as Xena or Sinbad or Hercules in using swords, but I do could handle the stick pretty well. I could make it move like a fan vertically and horizontally without making it fall down and I could control two wooden sticks and move them in synchronize movements using both hands. My reflex system was trained quite well and I learned certain defense tactics by my own. No wonder some of my friends thought that I know Martial Arts. Most of them would not believe if I say I am not a Kung Fu Player.  I was nuts, seriously. But that made me pretty good in Sticksmanship ;).

Well... However, watching that movie today has brought my soul to the place where I was still young, innocent, without any worries about the future, and not knowing anything what life is actually about. All I knew was going to school, do my homework, study for the exam, practice my Sticksmanship, dance since I was in a cheerleading group, eat, and sleep. I didn't know what to fight for and what life is all about.
But NOW... I have gone far forward. I have responsibility that I have never imagined I would be strong enough to take up. I have grown up to a woman who is strong enough to cover my loved ones from any blow. I have seen what men are. I have felt what love is. I have felt what hatred is. I have experienced what betrayal feels like. I have seen certain black side of the world. I have grown into a woman now. I am no longer that teenage girl who did not know what lay ahead in front of her. Three things that still have not changed are that I still like extreme sports, my friends are still mostly males, and I still enjoy watching Cartoons and Classic Heroic Movies.

And the hardest part I have learn as a grown up person, as a grown up woman is Marriage. It has been a trauma. Having the willing to get married as a girl who grew up without a father is a cruel thing. Some parts of community do not accept that flaw. As long as that girl is going on her path without thinking of other things, she is safe but the moment she thinks about marriage, then not having father is a big sin and holding the responsibility to take care of her mother is a bigger sin.  People would hurt her to the extreme limit because they know that there is no man behind her to question them. They forgot that God exist no matter a girl has someone to back her up or not. They would abuse her, they would speak as far as their tongues could go, they would accuse her for things that she does not even imagine in her life, they would see her as rubbish who does not know what family is just because she does not grow up in a huge family. Some part of community would behave like the wolves which would rip her off bleeding and spit on her. That is the culture of most human beings.

Being a girl who has to take up a responsibility of a man is a taboo. This culture is funny at times. When a man has a responsibility to take care of his family members like father, mother, brothers, or sisters then the culture would allow him to be said as a Responsible  man and a hero BUT for the same culture, if a woman is the one who has to take up the same responsibility, she is said as a jinx, she would be said as over-educated, she would be said as egoist. She would also be said as a strong person, strong woman, but she is not eligible to be a bride. They will say that her mother would not be respected if she does not let go her mother after marriage. Eventually the mother would also be abused. They will ask "Which bride takes her mother along after marriage?" The culture will make her choose between her mother and the man she loves. All she has is that one person and they want to turn her into a monster in the name of marriage by asking her to let go her mother and let her mother grow old alone in her own place. That is sadistic. That is inhumane. That is the Culture.

We are in the culture where the groom would demand the bride to accept his huge families and bow to them, respect them, serve them, but we are also in the same culture where the groom's family would not accept or respect one single person from the bride's side. And if we ask, "Why?", people would say "That is the culture". I don't know what kind of culture that is. It is beyond my comprehension. Only God knows.

What is culture actually? It's human-made customs. If constantly for one year, a group of human are fed human-flesh instead of vegetable or chicken or mutton, then cannibalism would turn into a culture as well. If for a few months human are forced to be naked as there is no more place to grow cottons to make clothes, then soon that also will be a culture. Humans created the culture in which sometimes other humans become the victim. Some cultures make human beings more civilized and more humane, but some cultures make human beings become heart-less, soul-less, and more inhumane.

But I am thankful for the experience I have gone through which made me realize that I am indeed the hopeless case for the so-called "Culture". I should thank all the people out there for making me understand that I should not fly in cloud 9 and expect a Prince Charming to show me a miracle by accepting me with my load. I realized that even Prince Charming is also not that stupid to take the responsibility which is not supposed to be his. I should be grateful for all the people out there who made me realize that the miracles are in my own hands. The magic lies on my footsteps. The strength to take up the responsibility nested safely in my heart. The ways to head to my destination lies on God's hands where He/She would keep showing me through his signs. I am grateful that certain people enter my life and give me an ultimate understanding of certain things and eventually make me stand firmly on the ground once for all.

I have come forward. I have transformed to a different person. I have my own perspective in seeing things. I tried to fight the culture, but eventually I realize that it is no longer my battle. It is a never-ending battle which only will squeeze my energy for nothing. I select my battle more carefully these days, I accept my ground along with the impossibilities that exist in my life and I am indeed Xena, Sinbad, and Hercules... I am a fighter just like them, but my weapon is no longer wooden sticks or swords. My weapons are my heart, my wit, my personality. My strength is the blessing that I keep counting every single day. My faith still stands strong because I believe when there are Black and Grey, there would be Rainbow Color also somewhere!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Trip to the Encashment Center

Yesterday, the first thing in the morning, I got a call from the boss asking me to get ready for a trip towards the border for attending an opening ceremony of one Repatriation Center in which our organization is the implementer.

I was totally surprised because since I reached here, that was the first time I was finally taken out of the office to the site. It was thrilling.

We passed through the industrial area, seeing the series of factories on the endless dry-land which is surrounded by rock mountain range. The view was something I have never seen before but unfortunately getting off the car for a photo-shoot was not allowed.

Halfway through the center, the boss told me that I had to speak representing the organization. It was like a lightning struck my head. I thought I was taken just as the mascot since I was a woman. UN organizations always encourage for female employees and being the female in the organization, I was chosen to be taken along. I had never been more nervous. In such short notice where I had less than one hour, I had to compose my brain and decide what to say in front of the people I have never met and in the place which is totally new for me.

It was not a small thing at all and I was not prepared to speak on behalf of the organization in front of the senior representative of UNHCR as well as the other elders. On the top of that, I had an interpreter to translate my English to the local language. That was the first time I had an interpreter and that feeling was very weird. However, I tried to make my speech as concise as I could and by the grace of God, the boss felt happy, which means it turned out well enough.

The other interesting experience was to visit directly the repatriation center where all the returnees would be attended. They would be assisted with cash, health assistance like vaccination and other check up, mine-awareness education, and other assistance.

I had been reading these kinds of approaches from many organizations across the planet, I have written certain proposals, and prepared certain reports, but seeing how it works in up-close and having a hands-on understanding about the procedure has expanded my horizon even wider.

I know I am not the one who initiate this program, but knowing that I am at least one extremely tiny part of this program and realizing that indirectly, I am a minute part of the people helping these returnees to repatriate to their homeland and helping them in sustaining their livelihood and improve their welfare has made me feel good about myself. It feels good to do something back for the community where we live. It may not be a big one from my side, but I do hope that it is a baby-step of other huge things that could be done, especially for the children's welfare.

Thank you for all the people out there who still care about the people of our planet as well as the people who had taken initiative to protect the sustainability of this planet. God bless you!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Are Women Materialistic & What’s So Sexy About Men?

Today I got a question from someone. That person asked me “Are Women Materialistic?” and that question has led to other different topics. So my answer to his question was a HUGE YES. YES, women are materialistic BUT… What kind of Materialistic?

To be frank, we, women had been stereotyped by men since the time immemorial that we are materialistic. YES, we are. BUT some men are too narrow-minded that they do not understand the reasons behind it. ALL they know is that “Women are materialistic”. It is indeed True but to what extent and in which context?

Since we were talking things regarding relationship, I will be talking about this Stereotyping issue in Relationship Context. As far as I am concern, there are two kinds of Woman when we talk in terms of being Materialistic.

FIRST
The first kind is the woman who loves luxury for herself. She would appear as extravagant as she could, branded outfit and accessories and when it comes to relationship, she would be the kind of person who demands the same luxury for HERSELF.

SECOND
The second kind is the woman who would appear to be simple and appear as the girl next door but demands certain things from you like a house, or good place to live, and other things which are NOT for HERSELF.

Maybe you ask now “What is the difference between those two then?

Well, it goes like this:
Since I am a woman, I think I have certain views regarding this issue. Most women who are expecting a serious relationship with men have the tendency to demand certain serious issues. In the beginning of relationship, of course we do not talk about serious issues. We would be busy floating on the flower-bed, talking with honey-coated words, and do other silly things that we do when we are in love. But once the relationship get serious and the couple decide to take a step further to marriage, certain serious issues would arise. 

For example, we, women would want a good place to live. WHY? It’s NOT for us to have the luxury, but it is a Woman Instinct to create a good nesting for her family. We want our children to grow up in a stable place where we are confident enough to raise them as per our and our husband’s terms.It is a Primal Instinct, just like a sexual desire which is a Primal Instinct; this is also a Primal Instinct. Women want Alpha Male whom she finds strong enough to take the responsibility of household. Getting married and building a family is not as easy as it is imagined. It is not all about making babies and sleeping together.

Women look far beyond and have a wish inside that they would be able to establish a good foundation for their future life. By “their”, I mean her, her husband, and their future children. A woman needs to be convinced that her man would be able to stand on his own feet without being attached to hundreds of ropes towards others. Of course, we, women do not run away the moment we find that our men are a bit skeptical. We are not that stupid. We would try to prop our men and see if he could go for it. We would try to hang on and shape our men, but some men are too stubborn, or too scared to venture out. We call it as “the hopeless case”.

You may ask “Why don’t you accept your man the way he is? Why do you want to change him if you love him?”
My answer is simple. We accept our men as they are, BUT if there is a chance to improve to a better person, WHY NOT? Don’t the men also want the same thing? Doesn't a man want a wife whose cooking skill is getting better day by day? A wife who is trying to control her nagging? Because in the end, Marriage or Relationship is about polishing each other, right? About making each other a better human being.

Which human being wants to die at his/her old age with the same mentality as he/she was when he/she was still in the 20s? Don’t we want to polish ourselves to a better human being? Don’t we want to stand in a better financial condition as we get older? Don’t we want to have our own house to live our retirement life? Improvement towards a betterment is never bad, folks. It’s a good thing.

One simple example. If you are a woman and your man is a kind of person who never washes his hands when he touches food. In the beginning you would accept the way he is, but eventually won’t you try to fix that because you do not want your children to imitate their father who is not aware of hygiene? Once again I would say that we accept our men as they are, but we will be as stubborn as a buffalo in trying to bring better changes to improve our family life. And to be frank, we often get a shout because of that. We would be told as “Nagger”. We don't mind if it is for the good things.

There are certain views that women have on men and it is not all financial aspect. We find certain man truly sexy despite the physical appearance or age. What kind of man is that? A man who is individually has charisma to lead his life without anyone’s attachment, A man who is individually brave enough to take a step about his own life no matter what other people say, A man who is individually grown-up enough to be capable in taking a decision for himself without having to keep getting approvals from others, A man who has the gut to do what he has to do and to say things he believes, A man who understands what he is fighting for in his life, A man who  let us take dumb decision and yet back us up when we failed instead of laughing at us and mock us that we have our lesson, A man who would polish his wisdom to understand what is right and what is not.

FOR that, a man must not have a yacht or a private jet, or own a villa at Waikiki Beach, or drive the latest Aston Martin. NO. Even a simple daily wager could be found as sexy and admirable for us women. It is indeed funny, but YES, that’s what I call primal instinct. That’s why certain men with middle level income could be seen happier in their marriage life or relationship life. WHY? Because they know how to stand their stance.

Have you ever heard about how most wild animals mate? Take a buffalo for example; the male buffalos would fight and the female buffalo would select the winner in the fight? WHY? The strongest male is sexy.

You may ask “That’s animal, why do you compare it with us?” Well, we are Homo Sapiens and that means we are under Primate and that means we are in the category of Animal Kingdom. Human Beings are civilized animal with an additional sense. If you think I am crazy for saying this, please open Wikipedia, type “HUMAN” and see the scientific classification ;).

Fine, so now let’s get back to where I was. Women expect strong men. NOT physically like that of buffalos, but MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY. That is the foundation, and if he has a good capacity to earn for his family, then it is a plus point.

We do not expect a man with a bank account with 100 zeros, we expect a man who has the capacity to be responsible to the welfare of his family. Does it mean that we would leave them if they do not have that capacity? We would be stupid if we judge men only by that capacity. There are many women who back up her husband after fatal accidents that make their husbands disable to earn. Why? Because even though financially they are not capable at certain points, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually they are strong enough. If we expect to marry only men who are like Ambani or George Soros or Warren Buffet or Mark Zuckerberg, then HELL will break loose for the Love of God.

Now, I want to ask a question for the women out there. “How many times have you ever been in a place and you spot a male who carries himself confidently and speaks his own mind and deep inside you already flirt with him?”

And, I want to ask a question for men out there. “How many times have you ever been in a place and you spot another man and despite not knowing who he is, you know he is a gentleman whom you do not want to mess up with?”

That is the atmosphere an alpha male would create. He knows how to take care of himself. He knows how to survive. He has the capacity to admit when he is vulnerable and need assistance. He respects himself. He respects his own words. He respects his surroundings. All of those things come together and emits certain aura that made him the alpha male.

Now, you may ask me. “Do you expect that all men should be completely independent and kick all the relatives and stand alone like a lone ranger?”
My answer would be: No man is sexier than a man who values the elders, who values his family, but at the same time stands his opinion, has his words be considered, and keeps his words when he believes that he is in the right path.

To be frank, for us women, our men are our first babies, we accept them when they are vulnerable because the proverb “boys don’t cry” is not acceptable for us. We love sensitive men at times (remember: not always). They would be our babies only inside the four walls but if they truly “behave” like babies in all aspects, we would lose the feelings because to be realistic, feelings need nurturing.

For the conclusion, there are two things I want to mention to end this posting.

First, for the boys, if you find your woman is “money-minded”, do not just barge in and asked her to stuff the money in her vital organ, do not just barge in and ask her to tell her parents that she is a rich-dick seeker (pardon my language), do not just barge in and say on her face that all in her mind is just “money”. Consider her opinion - what made her demand certain things and if you truly think that all she wants is just “money” (in which certain women actually do), then back off. No need to make yourself ugly by saying things that gentleman do not say. Even if we, women, speak like a bitch, please remain a “gentleman” because no matter we show it or not, we do look up to gentlemen.

Second, a reminder for all Men who feel intimidated by Women’s demand. We do feel that Men are more superior to women, no matter how hard we shout on “Women Emancipation”. That is the jungle rule. We may stand on the top of the corporate ladder, we may fly to the moon, we may be mechanical enough to fix a truck or a plane, we may earn more than our men, we may have boxing as our career, we may seem that we are the one who controls all, but inside we know that our men will always be our alpha male – the male whom we believe to be strong enough to guide us for a better life quality. All you have to do is KEEP YOUR INTEGRITY, SHOW US THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY THE CONTROL IS IN YOUR HANDS.

One last message for all of us…
For the men, be a gentleman when your woman behaves like a bitch (sometimes it happens)
and
For the women, be a lady when your man behaves like a jerk (sometimes it happens too),
by the grace of God all will end up well without any fatal damage.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Doraisamy Renggayya - My Grandpa, My Hero


My posting today would be very very long... I will talk about my grandpa's death and his personality. Whoever sees me as what I am today is mostly because of him.

Thatha was not a person who regularly needed to go to hospital. He was a healthy person whom at the age of 74 still could travel from Indonesia to India to drop me off for my study. The only problem that he had that we knew was Arthritis. At times he would say that his legs or his arms or his back would feel uncomfortable and since I am the only person at home who could give good massage (I am the masseuse of the house), I would do that for him. It was quite often at night when he felt uncomfortable, I would massage his back and legs before he slept. As an old man his body was as hard as steel. I would sweat a river massaging him.

Thatha was not a demanding person as a man. He would not ask us to make coffee or bring this or bring that. He would do all his chores by himself even though we had maid at home. He loved coffee and he would serve his own coffee throughout the day. Only once in a while when he was maybe not in the mood, he would ask me or mom to make him coffee.

He would drop his own dirty laundry to the laundry basket after his bath. He never let us take it. He would polish his own shoes and if he felt not so well due to flu or stomach ache, he never complained. Even on his death bed also the pain he was going through was much but he did not complain.

He was a man who never stayed in a hospital for this sickness or that sickness, he hated hospital, he hated injections. If he got a fever and we wanted to bring him to hospital, he would behave like a kid who was scared of needle and told us that he would be ready to drink all the medicated tea but he would not agree to the hospital. If there is one person I knew perfectly well who never complain, it would be Thatha. He never complained.

It was almost end of October 2011 and my third semester exam was also getting near. I got a call from grandma on Saturday 22nd October. She said that thatha is hospitalized. I could not be more shocked as it never happened. I said I wanted to talk to him, but he could not talk properly as he got breathing problem. The doctor said that he got liquid in his lungs which made him difficult to breathe. I never heard him speak that way. His voice was a tenor voice with clear pronunciation. He had excellent pronunciation. When he speaks English, he would sound exactly like British. When he speaks Tamil, he would sound exactly as if he was Native Tamil Nadu. BUT when he spoke Indonesian, it would sound funny as he would use the formal language. He grew up in Tamil and English medium. His words are always clear and easily understood. He was not a person who murmur or blabber. But that Saturday on phone, he lisp. My heart truly broke that day. I could not stop crying the whole day. Mom was blank. I kept calling home to check on him.

He did not want to stay in the hospital for long so by evening time, they have brought him back home. He talked to me and mom. I remembered asking him.
“Why are you sick?” while crying.
“The sickness has come. What could I do?” he could still manage a silly answer at such situation.
“Do you want us to come back home?” I asked again and he said “NO. It’s okay. I will be fine soon. Don’t worry.”
Then he spoke briefly with mom but then it seemed he could not speak for a long time as for the breathing problem. I could not sleep properly for the night. I could not stop thinking of him. I prayed that he would be fine soon as I want to see him again, cheerful as always. When first I got an announcement that I got the scholarship to Mysore, he said to me in Tamil “Nalla padichithu va” which means “Study well and return”. I was so confident that he would not leave me before I return but God was willing a different thing.

The next day, on Sunday, I called again. In the morning he was okay and I was happy. I thought the crisis was over, but in the afternoon, again he was suffering that he had to be admitted again. That Sunday was the last time he set foot on his own home alive. He was hospitalized. I could not stay in India anymore. I went to college but my mind was not there at all. I felt that my body was on fire. I could not be in India AT ALL. I HAVE TO GO HOME. On Monday morning we called and my aunt said that he is not in a very good shape. He talked to me but I could not understand what he said properly. I HAVE TO GO HOME. I was praying to God that I got a ticket immediately. I booked a ticket on Monday evening to fly on Wednesday. I was booking it online with complete help of Nath. I am sure I would not be able to fly on Wednesday if not because of her. I needed to get an Exit Permit from the Commissioner office to leave the country. That exit permit usually issued after one week but due to emergency I was given that in 4 hour-time on that Tuesday. I thank the department for that. Bless them.

One friend booked the taxi for me as it was not possible for us to get on a bus at such mood and Alfred accompanied me and mom until we reached Bangalore. Poor him. He was not in a very good shape either but he managed to sit in the car for that long hours. I do not know how to thank those people who had given me all the hands they had when I was totally in panic and not able to think straightly.

I embark from Mysore at 11am on Wednesday. I had to wait for 8 hours in Malaysia to get the first flight to Medan on the next day. Finally I reached home around 9am. My uncle was there and he said “He is waiting for you. You both have to go to hospital immediately”. To be honest, I felt like slapping him for saying such words. He was not waiting for us. He had to live longer. He has to keep his promise. He has to welcome me when I finished my education and returned home safely. He must not leave me. HE MUST NOT.

I went to hospital immediately. I went there with mom and grandma. I could not stop crying even on the way. I never thought such thing would happen. In my mind he was always a healthy man who will live forever. I forgot that he was also human being. I forgot that he was old. Maybe in my subconscious mind I know this day would come, but I never wanted to accept that.

When I reached hospital at 10am, he was sleeping. They said last night he did not sleep as he found so much trouble in breathing. The pain was too much. When we reached to his room, I saw him lying on the bed with the oxygen mask on his face. Mom touched him and he was awake. He was smiling broadly after he saw us. He blessed me as usual. He put his hand on my head when I tried to hug him. He smells good as usual. That’s funny but that day in the hospital I realized that no matter how hot the day was, how sweaty his body was, he never smelled bad. No bad body odor. He always smells good and that day in the hospital, it was no different. He had been in hospital for almost 5 days and I am sure he did not take proper bath either, and I still could smell his Drakkar Noir. That was one his favorite perfumes.

Around 12pm, his breathing started to give him so much trouble again. But in the middle he was running his fingers on his head and he said “My hair is too long already. The first thing I want to do after reaching home is to have a haircut”. I did not know whether I should laugh or cry for that.

He was perfectly aware of what was going on around him. He was in hospital for 5 days that day and he said that he could not see properly either. Until his age of 75, he did not have any cataract problem. All he had was glasses for reading. When we were asking “What day is tomorrow?” in our conversation around him, he could just pop in and say “It’s Friday”. I did not know how he got the trace of days so quickly in such a critical condition.

The doctor suggested that he required to be admitted to the ICU and we did so at 2pm. His condition was hopeless that time. We wanted the water to be sucked out from his lungs but the doctors said that his condition was too weak and it was not possible to make such incision to insert the pipe to his lungs. But after he was admitted to the ICU, his breathing was somehow stable. He was no longer suffering in pain. I wish I could share his pain.

I know how difficult it was not to be able to breathe because when I was 3 or 4 years old, I experienced that. I could neither breathe through my nose nor my mouth because my respiration system was blocked with liquid. I know what he was going through, but maybe what he was going through was 100 fold compared to what I went through.

My feeling that day was empty. I wanted him to go. I could not watch him suffer. I was sitting outside the ICU room and subconsciously I was saying a prayer. I still remember that prayer.
“God, I know everyone has an expiration date. If today is thatha’s, then please take him soon without making him suffer that way. I have never seen him on a hospital bed being sick like that my entire life. Give me 80% of the pain so that he did not feel that way. I can’t see him like that. If it is no longer possible to heal him, please take him.”
I did not know what else to do. I have been trying to make him happy since I was aware what life is. I had tried to be a good grandchild and not ruining his good name. I had tried to follow his advice. I had tried not to do things which I knew he could not take. At that time, I wanted to share his pain, but I could not.

I was totally tired that day but I did not feel like leaving him. For almost 2 days I was at airports, roads, and flights. At 3pm that day, grandma asked me to go home, eat something, take bath and come back to hospital. I did. I went home along with mom. I took my bath. I ate. We planned to go back to hospital at 6pm, but at 5pm, we got a call from grandma that he was no longer there.

He was gone. They said he was breathing very slowly in the end until finally at 5pm sharp, he let go his last breath. I was not there. Sometimes I am glad that I was not there at his last breath. I would not be strong enough to see that. All I needed to know was that he went peacefully without suffering any pain in the last minute. He did not die in pain. That was all which was important.

After I heard the news, I remembered I went to the prayer room and said “Thank you to let him die in peace”.

His life-less body came home in an ambulance at 8pm that night. He went out that house alive; he came back life-less, motion-less. I opened the gate and stood near the garage which was 10m from the ambulance when they opened the door and I saw him covered with Hospital light blue blanket from head to leg. I could not accept that he was gone.

He was laid at home for the night. I slept on his lap that night. His cheeks were rigid and cold, but he was smiling a bit. The next day around 10am he was bathed and shaved, but he did not have the hair cut that he wished. His hair was fine. He looked so handsome in the silk ivory color dhoti and matching top. He looked a lot younger. He looked like when he was in his late 50s even though he was 75 that time.

Finally sometime after noon that day, he had his final round when he was taken in the hearse to the cremation site. There was a big bus in which his picture was placed in front of the car, the same picture was placed in front of the hearse. I was sitting beside his coffin, expecting that somehow he would wake up and ask “What happened? Why are you people putting me inside here?” but he never did. He came silently, no breath, no words, no motions.

As the oldest grandchild, I had the honor to say final words at the funeral before the cremation started. Now, I could not remember properly what I said. The only thing I remember is that I asked forgiveness in case he ever felt that I did not show the love that I have on him. I wanted him to know that I do love him in all ways and that I promised to continue his legacy as best as I could. Inside my heart I prayed that he would keep coming to my dreams, which he does. He often comes in my dreams. He would walk with me at the park letting me hold his hand. He would hug me. He would bless me. I also ever dreamed that he called me on the phone telling that he got a post as Director of a University. That was funny dream, but I know he is happy up there and that is enough.

I never had the chance to show my marks card to him. He would be the first to see any of my exam result during my study time, but that time he did not see them. My marks cards remained in my suitcase.

He asked me to study and return, but he did not wait for me. He left me in the middle.

I always wanted him to speak on my wedding as he had mostly done that. He was one of the community elders and some good friends or relatives would want him to give a blessing and speak some words for the bride and groom. I always wanted him to do that on my wedding, but I did not have the chance. One person told me that I was the one who killed my grandpa for not getting married when I was supposed to. I did not expect that person could be happy on my misery, but NOW… IF there is one thing I know for sure, I did not kill him. No one killed him. He went because the time had come for him to go. No one is responsible for that except the God itself.

Thatha will be present on my wedding one day. He will speak in my heart and he will bless me all during the ceremony just as he always did.

Losing him is the hardest part of my life. The only man figure I had in my life who has been man enough to guide me, protect me and wise enough to make me understand certain things had gone permanently out of my life. It felt like losing one leg.

However, life goes on with one destination… Death. Yes, Death is my destination. I will be with thatha again someday. I no longer have the zest to live but as long as I’m still breathing, the only thing I could do is to be thankful to still be able to live and share some good things to my surrounding, to enjoy every single moment I have on this earth, to help as much as I could, to laugh as loud as I could… because I know if I keep walking, one day I will reach my destination. And at the gate, I know that thatha would pick me up.
D. Renggayya - My Hero, The Strongest Man Figure I Ever Had in My Life

Profile of Thatha That Came Into My Mind Now

Born in Medan, Indonesia on 12 June 1936
Died in Medan, Indonesia (after travelling all over the world) on 27 October 2011

Favorite Color : Brown

Favorite Flower : Jasmine (he said the smell is gentle and the flowers look cute as they are white and tiny)

Favorite Dish : Mutton Curry with Dosa, Tuna Fish or King Fish or Prawn Sambal with Rice, Chapati with Daal, Lamb Chop with Black Pepper Cream Gravy

Favorite Evening Snacks : Peanut (we would ask him to stop eating that as it's high in cholesterol, but he would grab handful, put them in his pocket, and keep eating), French Fries, Black Glutinous Rice Porridge with Fresh Coconut Milk, Vada, and Chocolate (if I opened one bar, took a bite, and put in the fridge, the next day it would be gone)

Favorite Beverage : Black Coffee (his favorite brand is Maxwell House and Brazilian Nescafe), Teh Tarik (Milk Tea with Spice), Scotch on the rocks, Dry Gin, Fruit Cocktail, and Punch (he is a decent drinker - I've never seen him drunk and blabber. Perfect Gentleman)

Cigarette Brand : Ardath (For short period of time when he was in his 50s, I remember he smoked Indonesian Cigar called Adipati. I remember this because the empty box of the cigars has become the box to keep my marbles)

Favorite Fruits : Papaya, Mango, Boiled Kepok Banana (he likes the fruits sweet. If they are not sweet, he would say that the farmers forgot to put some sugar on them and pour honey or whatever syrup we have in the fridge before eating them hahahaha)

Perfumes : Drakkar Noir, Tabac Original, Polo Black, and Hugo Boss

Hair Product : Gatsby Cream (I remember when I was a kid, I put that on my hair and my hair looked darn ridiculous)

Last Car Driven : Maroon colored Toyota Land Cruiser Hardtop (Imagine an old man at his 70s driving an Off-Road Jeep. He's the coolest grandpa ever hahahaha)

Last Two-wheeler Ridden : Pale Green colored Piaggio Vespa (he owned it since 1972 and the condition is still A1 till the end. I tried to ride it but it was too heavy. The engine is truly heavy)

Favorite Reading Material : Newspaper (he loved Politics), Tamil Magazines (Chembaruti from Malaysian Edition was his favorite), Thirukkural, Books by Irving Fisher, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Jeffrey Archer.

Favorite Singers : Jim Reeves and Kannadasan

Early Education : Khalsa School (English Medium School in Medan which now no longer exist)

Higher Education : Edinburgh University, Scotland

Career : Started his career as a Teacher in Khalsa and ended up a Trainer and Purchasing Manager in Mobil Oil Indonesia (now Exxon Mobil).