Friday, February 27, 2009

Impaired Exploitation

On my way home this evening, I saw an old blind man selling tissues outside Junction 8 and Bishan MRT Station. He looked damn pitiful. One hand was holding a stick and another hand was holding five packs of tissues. When I almost reached my destination, Bread Talk, I decided to walk backward and buy his tissues.

I handed him a $2 note and he said, "Thank you Miss... How many do you want?" I said "Mmm one is enough. Thank you." I took one pack from his hand then he softly and politely said, "Thank you, Miss. Thank you. God bless you." I was touched by his politeness. Then I continued my journey to Bread Talk.

When I was queuing at Bread Talk's cashier, I saw from a far that the old man was walked by a woman to move from his initial standing spot and be located to the opposite side. I thought another person claimed his spot as usually I see another blind lady sitting there and selling her tissues. But that was not the case.

Later on I saw him standing in different side of the space outside Junction 8 and the two seats behind his first standing spot were used by two women. Maybe these women were his family members or companions from a voluntary organization who were supposed to assist the blind man. A strange feeling just hit me when I saw that situation, how come these two healthy and relatively young women could do this? Just sitting there and happily chatting when the almost crouched old blind man had to stand opposite them selling tissues, for pennies.

I honestly could not be bothered by the fact of where my money would go when I bought his tissues. To his pocket or to someone else's (i.e. these women). At all. It was all pure charity. I just could not stand the fact that these days, there are a lot of people use disabled persons to make money whilst the healthy ones virtually do nothing and get to enjoy the money at the end of the day.

I am sure that a little bit of humanity would work wonders here.

Darn! I should have taken the pictures of this situation this evening.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two-Rails Life

"Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one or you are ready to go into another one."

"I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to a mountain top, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something back in your life."

"No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for."

Rick Warren

God, I hope You know what You're doing.

Because I don't!

Beauty Secret Debunked

This afternoon we had an unexpected guest. Sherry dropped by to Bharat Building as tonight she is flying back to China for a month. She wanted to say goodbye to us. She said she misses us and so do we. It's just sad when Iris and I turn our head to the right side, we now see Sherry's empty desk.

Guess what?

After one solid week, Sherry looked so radiant. Her skin was glowing. She could not stop smiling. She was overjoyed. She might be perky because she will finally see her home and family again within hours, but clearly she was too happy with her new carefree life. I guess, in her case, losing a job may not be a disaster after all but it was rather a blessing.

This is truly a new beauty secret demystified. No pills. No needles. Just quit doing the things that we can't enjoy anymore.

Back then, I did a part time job as a waitress in several restaurants in Amsterdam. Main motivation was to grow stronger character, learn how to survive in foreign land and earn extra income (5 Euros per hour was indeed not bad at all).

After several months and few different restaurants, I then realized how I despised doing this waitress job. I really despised it to the extent that I started to drag my feet to the restaurant each time I had to do my shift. I started counting the hours down before I left the house for work as I was horribly lazy to head to the restaurant.

One fine day, I just quit my job although this being said, there would be no more extra cash for me. But I did it with no regret, to date. I was completely happier and felt no more pressure from having to do this waitress job anymore. No more 5 Euros per hour was completely worth my new life. I started to enjoy the Netherlands. Amsterdam in particular.

One evening, my ex-colleague, Constantijn, asked if I was going to do the part time job after the office hours. I proudly declared to him I have quit my job. He asked, "Why?" I replied, "Mm.. I just don't like it anymore." He looked at me and then said, " Good!". Then he gave me a grin. Another affirmation.

There is no better way to look so good other than being lighthearted - no more stress and tribulation from doing the things that we don't take joy in. Suffering in silence for too long is strictly pointless. For those who of late feel the toss, let's look forward to that 'time' to come. Everyone will have their own timing.

I always dream of a time when I can just do nothing but chill, relax and savor every second that passes by. No more guilt from running out of time all the time and feeling that time just flies too fast.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday's Agenda

Today was indeed a very active Sunday.

I skipped church again as I woke up incredibly late. Last night, I was busy playing with my laptop til late and totally forgot to put my alarm on. As a result, I woke up at 9.30 this morning. The service starts at 10. I could not risk my face again, so I decided to skip it today. God, please forgive me! Clearly, I have inherited this famous Indonesian trait of always being late. I don't know why but I am always late.

Once, I arrived church when the service had already finished. When I came, people were doing fellowship already so I directly joined the crowd. Then the home pastor bumped into me and asked how come he did not see me during the service. I told him I was very late and sat in the back... Then, I went back home. Bad girl.

Today's big plan was to meet up with Desy, my ex Serangoon housemate. First to have lunch in Dhoby Ghaut then accompany me to Sengkang. I have not seen her for almost two months and I missed her. It was very good to see and talk to her again. I always enjoy her bubbly disposition (to balance my 'quiet' one) and superb sense of humor (to level mine). 5 years gap means nothing here. I barely feel the generation gap. Lots of people say that we look like sisters. My own sister hardly looks like me and her sister does not look like her either. Strange huh? Tell me about it.

Desy Tako, Clarke Quay, 9 September 2008

Not long, as we both were starving and saw Cafe Cartel was in front of us; we could not bother going up and down to find other restaurants so we decided to try Cafe Cartel in Plaza Singapura.

We ordered menu number 905 and 920. After a while, no food came and our stomachs started growling. I asked the waiter, "How long more do we have to wait?" Then, still nothing. 30 minutes later we checked again, "Where is our food?". Another waiter checked with the kitchen but still nothing was served. 45 minutes later, Desy asked them if they have put the order in. Apparently not yet. I stood up and told the waiter, "It's OK. We are leaving". We burst out and decided to go somewhere else. How disappointing.

Could not find a seat at the Nasi Lemak stall in the basement, we chose to go to Pizza Hut and grabbed its set lunch. BBQ Chicken Pizza for me and Hawaiian Pizza for her. Good food and good service.

I think the waiters in Cafe Cartel need to take a Diner Dash course. Take the role of Flo and learn from her that customers have hearts that indicate their mood and different degrees of patience. The longer the customers are forced to wait, the more hearts she loses. When she loses all the customers' hearts, they will leave the restaurant!

Diner Dash

After our late lunch, we rushed to Sengkang. I needed to attend Johnny's house warming party there. It was pouring hard and we waited for a cab at the wrong taxi stands twice. Hence, when we arrived there, it was pretty late already. As a first comer to Sengkang, I hope to be tolerated. Johnny's new home is very very nice. Very homey and modern. The new interior is really like a condo's. I like it.

After a crash visit at Johnny's, we checked out the Compass Point Shopping Center, Sengkang. Nothing much to shop there but it is indeed a very crowded mall. Lots of interesting food but too bad we were full. We visited a travel agent for fun, asked about this and that budget packages. Suddenly, both of us were full of plans to having an overseas trip very soon. We are now contemplating whether we should go to Hong Kong or Malacca.

Compass Point Shopping Center, Sengkang

No more interesting place to check in that mall, so we went back to Bishan by bus 156. For me, riding bus is always relaxing (only if we manage to get a seat of course, otherwise it's kind of torturing). The long trip was good for long chat with best friend. Later on, we came out with our new resolution: To explore different places in Singapore before Desy leaves Singapore for good in May. Not much time left to do everything, huh!

We were tired but somehow still made a stop at Junction 8. Checked some boutiques. Nothing good. So, I ended up getting my groceries there.

Junction 8, Bishan

Finally, at home! I'm tired and feeling like crashing to my bed in a minute!

Shit, tomorrow is Monday again.

A Mundane, Mundane Life

This afternoon, an old friend of mine mentioned to me how empty and monotone his life is now. Life is okay but some how it is just rather meaningless. I must admit I do feel this too some times (maybe partly because I'm still single now?). However, later on a girl friend here also confirmed me that she often experiences this feeling too although she now has found her love.

I just feel the words 'empty and monotone' are just perfect to describe the feeling of some of us who are currently living routine lives even tough we are pretty much occupied with a lot of things most of the time.

Yes, we are busy and life is always hectic. We always have work that need to be sorted out from 9 am to probably 9 pm, from Monday to Friday.

Yes, we have other activities outside work, hobbies and active social lives to fill our weekends and spare times.

Yes, we have good and loyal best friends to talk to and hang out on weekends.

Yes, we have a loving family back home to ring when you miss them or to share stories with.

Yes, have chosen our own belief system to define our personal convictions.

Things already look alright and normal. But why does loneliness often attack regardless where you are, whether you are in a small town or in a lively city-state like Singapore? Why do we think life is just so empty whether you are single or attached? What is lacking here? Clearly going home is not the answer to this life hollow either (just yet).

Only time will tell I guess as we, human beings, are just to supposed live life on daily basis.

Movie Review: He's Just Not That Into You

Movie of the Week:

Just as interesting as its title, I think the movie was captivating, funny and entertaining. It was great to watch with a bunch of girlfriends on Saturday night then talk about it after wards. Rest assured, the discussions following the movie's moral could really go on and on and on, all night long.

This movie shows the reality of how complex the paths that human beings have to go through in finding the One, especially in a modern life like today. Somehow, finding love just takes a lot efforts, hopes, misreadings, failures and it certainly involves more than just a physical attraction. Men's and women's reactions to and expectations from love can vary. And, those who might have already found it, can always lose it too if it is not nurtured.

I wonder if the process of finding love was as complicated as this movie shows back in the olden days, during our grandparents times...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ladylove Tournament

It looks like the current financial crisis has taken its toll in financing concubines. Thanks to the greed and lust overload, men these days opt to keep more than one concubine when they feel the urge to do so. Once they cannot afford all of them any longer, they choose to keep the 'best' one and ditch the rests through a 'beauty' contest.
It's a crazy, crazy world indeed!

China Tycoon's Mistress Contest Ends in Tragedy: Report

AFP - Tuesday, February 17
SHANGHAI (AFP) - A married Chinese tycoon who could no longer afford to support his five mistresses during the economic slowdown held a contest to decide which one to keep, local media reported Tuesday.
The contest took a tragic turn when one of the mistresses, who was eliminated based on her looks, drove her former lover and the four other women off a mountain road in an apparent fit of anger, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The driver died in the December 6 crash while the man and four other women were hospitalized, the report said.
Initially, it was thought to be an accident, but then details of the bizarre contest emerged in a letter left by the dead woman, a 29-year-old former waitress surnamed Yu, the newspaper said.
The woman met the entrepreneur, surnamed Fan, at the restaurant where she worked in the coastal city of Qingdao in 2000 and became his lover, the report said.
Fan later introduced her to the four other mistresses -- two of his employees and two former clients -- with all given a 5,000-yuan (733-dollar) monthly allowance and rent-free apartment, the report said.
However, when Fan's business ran into tough times, he decided to lay off all but one woman, the report said.
Fan hired an instructor from a modeling agency to judge a private contest he held at a hotel in May, but he did not tell the women about his intentions.
Yu was eliminated in the first-round beauty competition and a woman surnamed Liu eventually won after dominating the drinking round, the report said.
When Fan told Yu she was dismissed and that he was selling her apartment, she decided to exact revenge during a group outing.
After the accident Fan paid Yu's parents 580,000 yuan as compensation for her death. His wife divorced him after learning of his affairs, the report said, adding the other four mistresses also left him.
The tale was reported in other Chinese media, but none gave further details about Fan, such as his age or profession.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Farewell

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends."

Richard Bach

Being one of the survivors in the company means that I have to experience a lot of farewell parties, which I hate.
Although I've trained to see people come and go, somehow it's just painful. Especially when I have to extend the goodbye parts to my close ones. To the familiar faces that I see about 8 to 10 hours/day times five days in a week. Those whom I practically see more often than I see my people at home everyday.

Today is Sherry's last day. No one expected this, but it has come.

I took the whole department to Marquee Restaurant at Far East Square and we threw Sherry a farewell lunch. We talked about the politics in the office, her feelings, her plans, etc. Sherry said she is going home to China next Friday for a month as she has not been home for two years. She wants to relax and forget everything here. Kudos for her!

She said her hometown is in Hei-Long Jiang. Never heard? Me neither. Apparently, Hei-Long Jiang is a province in the northeastern part of China. It is located way up there and near to Russia. Best part is, it's darn freezing almost for the whole year. People have to wear a lot of layers of clothes all year round. Brrr, not my thing at all.

Sherry has been part of the production team for about 11 months now. She was always so nice and helpful to us. I often asked her to help me translate and make phone calls to China and Japan when I had to face hopeless Chinese and Japanese secretaries. She was the supplier of sweets, Japanese snacks and coffee powder to the whole department. We will miss you, Sherry!

Sweet Sherry

We gave her a self-made farewell card and a flower bouquet. As pretty as she is. And she deserved it more than anyone.

Lauren, Chris, Sherry, Jen, Zaf, Rej, Iris and Howard

Some inheritance from Sherry before she left:

A box of Kleenex Tissue that she bought after the CNY, to everyone.

Some cute miniatures she bought in 7/11 a while ago, to me.

Happy trails to you, Sherry.
As I've mentioned many times, there is a much better place than this one waiting for you out there.
It was my pleasure to know you and I indeed enjoyed our friendship.
All the best for you and until we meet again!

Monday, February 16, 2009

One More Song To Play

The Last Waltz

I wondered should I go or should I stay,
the band had only one more song to play.
And then I saw you out the corner of my eye,
a little girl, alone and so shy.
I had the last waltz with you,
two lonely people together.
I fell in love with you,
the last waltz should last forever.
But the love we had was going strong,
through the good and bad we get along.And then the flame of love died in your eye,my heart was broke in two when you said goodbye.I had the last waltz with you...
It's all over now, nothing left to say,just my tears and the orchestra playing.
La la la la la la la la la,
la la la la la la la la la.
I had the last waltz with you...
La la la la la la la la la.

God, I miss miss miss my Yamaha EL-25 and well-nigh Stradivarius!!!!

My best friends for years.
The playgrounds for my fingers.
The arena for my fortitude.
My time machine.
My airship to travel the world.
My minuscule world of solace and peace.
My long deserted comrades.

When can I be with them again?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Fairy Tale: Gone Too Soon

This is a beautiful love story of a Russian skater, Ekaterina Gordeeva, whose true love, Sergei Grinkov, was taken away from her too quickly. Fortunately, she was able to move on and find another love. I believe what sorely missed by the whole world after the tragedy was Sergei's megawatt smiles. 

A Tribute to G & G

Daria, Sergei and Ekaterina.

Ekaterina Gordeeva was born in 1971 in the Soviet capital of Moscow. In 1982, when Gordeeva was eleven years old, she began skating with Sergei Grinkov, who was four years her senior, at the Central Army Club in Moscow. They developed a close relationship, much like that of a brother and sister. According to E. M. Swift in Sports Illustrated, they skated "lyrically, harmoniously, but without emotional tension."

Skating champion and choreographer Sandra Bezic said, "He presented her so beautifully, like a cherished little sister. They are everything pairs skating should be. After winning their fourth world championship, in 1990, the pair quit amateur competition and joined Tom Collins's Tour of World Champions, planning to skate for four or five years, make some money and then move on to separate careers. However, their plans changed when they fell in love during the Collins tour. Collins told Leigh Montville in Sports Illustrated, "You could see it happen. It was all very sweet. They were with each other all the time."

Gordeeva told Joanna Powell in Good Housekeeping, "There was something special about us. We never changed partners. I never skated with anyone else. I never touched anyone else, only Sergei. After we became lovers, our skating started to become more sensitive and more beautiful. The two skaters were married in April of 1991, in Moscow; in 1992 they had a daughter, Daria.

Sergei Grinkov
Husband, Father, Friend
February 4, 1967 - November 2
0, 1995.

Historically, professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympics, but in 1992, these rules were changed, making Gordeeva and Grinkov eligible to compete in the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Skating to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, the pair, now married and parents, won another gold medal.

On November 20, 1995, tragedy struck when the 28-year-old Grinkov died unexpectedly while he and Gordeeva were rehearsing for a Stars on Ice show at a rink in Lake Placid, New York. Gordeeva later wrote in her memoir, My Sergei, "Sergei was gliding on the ice, but he didn't do the crossovers. His hands didn't go around my waist for the lift…. He couldn't control himself. He tried to stop, but he kept gliding into the boards. He tried to hold onto the boards…. Then he bent his knees and lay down on the ice very carefully. I kept asking what was happening…. But he didn't speak at all."
Grinkov, who had appeared to be completely healthy except for a problem with high blood pressure, had suffered a massive heart attack. After his death, doctors determined that two of the arteries in his heart had been completely blocked. Heart disease ran in his family; his father had died from a heart attack in his fifties.

The mourning wife.

The funeral.

Gordeeva took Grinkov's body home to Moscow for the funeral and spent three months in Russia. Although she considered giving up skating forever, she realized that she was not trained to do anything else. In addition, she missed the feel and flow of skating, and she decided to return to the ice.
In early 1996, three months after Grinkov's death, she skated again, solo, at a tribute to Grinkov in Hartford, Connecticut. The transition from pairs skating to solo skating was difficult, but Gordeeva told Lopez, "You can't lock yourself inside yourself or you'll die. My mother told me you have to get up now. You have a daughter to live for." When Gordeeva returned as a single skater, observers were impressed by what Powell called her "elegant fusion of raw emotion and gentle, ballerina-style grace."

According to Mark Starr in Newsweek, Gordeeva said after that performance, "I want you to know I skated tonight not alone. I skated with Sergei. That's why it was so good."

However, she also said, "My life of great skating, and skating with him, is over.", according to Steve Lopez in Time. "I don't try to go now for Olympics. I take skating for a job."
In 1996, Gordeeva published My Sergei, a tribute to her late husband and partner. By 1998, the book had sold more than one million copies in both hardcover and paperback, testifying both to Gordeeva's popularity and to the public's fascination with the intensely romantic relationship between the two skaters. For Gordeeva, writing the book helped her express her love and her grief, but it also reminded her of his death; she quit her book tour early because she found it too difficult to be constantly reminded of the tragedy.

In that same year, Gordeeva met Ilia Kulik, who had won a gold medal in Men's figure skating at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Eventually, they became romantically involved.

Daria Grinkova, the daughter of the famous pairs skaters Sergei Grinkov and Ekaterina Gordeeva follows her parents' paths as a professional ice skater.

Gordeeva and Kulik had a daughter, Elizaveta, born in June of 2001, and Gordeeva cut back her skating in order to spend more time with Elizaveta and Daria.

Adopted from Source:

Movie Review: Valkyrie

Each time I watch a movie, I try to pick up something out of it. After struggling for quite sometime trying to decipher the gist of the movie, I finally found something to pick out of this movie.

Valkyrie was the object today. A historical thriller film set in Nazi Germany during the World War II.

Many saw evil. They dared to stop it.

This movie was based on actual events. It highlights the plot of a military-based conspiracy, known as the July 20 Plot, that attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the World War II.

I found this movie was quite hard to comprehend especially for those who don't know much about World War II and Adolf Hitler. This was a real story where brave men sacrificed their lives to fight the truth.

Overall, it was a good movie. I'd give 4/5 stars to this movie for the valuable lessons that it conveys.

At the beginning, I was struggling to understand the first parts of the show, which mainly involved the complex stratagem of the famous coup d'├ętat against Hitler. I only managed to follow the 'right' story when Colonel Claus Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) set a bomb below Hitler's meeting table. Then I learned that from that point on, all the "seem-to-be-perfect" plans were faulted, mistakes happened and resulted to doom. The root of this failure operations was all because of his assumption. A proposition that was taken for granted, as if it were known to be true.

Col. Stauffenberg thought he had successfully killed Hitler. He assumed he had done it. He made the others believed that the target was dead, ran the rests of the plan whilst all along, the target was unhurt. This ill-fated thought finally resulted in the executions of all the revolution actors. Had only he made sure that Hitler was really already dead instead of just assuming the fact, all his plans would run smoothly and he might not have to sacrifice his life and the rests of his fellows.

This is what happen when people assume. The end results can be so fatal. A lot of people are on stake. Never assume, but go check and make sure or you're screwed, big time!

This movie also featured the value of loyalty and the importance of trusts among the conspirators. No plan would work out if there is no trust within the troupe. The loyalty that showed by Oberleutenant von Haeften towards Col. Stauffenberg was heartbreaking. When Col. Stauffenberg was about to be shot, in a last dramatic gesture of defiance, Haeften threw himself into the path of the bullets before Col. Stauffenberg. He always accompanied Col. Stauffenberg completing every malignant assignment, until his death.

Last but not least, I only managed to feel the dramatic effects of this movie when all the military leaders defeated by Hitler were executed. One plotter realized that he did a terrible mistake, then took his own life. Then, the rests of the ringleaders were executed one by one by a firing squad, witnessed by the other fellow revolution luminaries.

During my school days I often dreaded the 'waiting times', times when I had to do wait for my turns to do something unnerving or I despised, such as singing in front of the class, answering questions in front of the class, sprinting, playing balls, doing gymnastics, etc. What was best pictured in this movie was the dreadfulness of those who waited to be called one by one for public execution. To be killed. The look at their eyes when death seemed like seconds away from this very moment. The expressions that they showed really reflected the ultimate fear that any human being could imagine when they had to face death. All were clearly pictured.

I was stirred to watch the part that portrayed the bravery of General Olbrich, who possessed the sympathetic quality, before he was executed. A man who used to be so careful, hesitant and fearful, became incredibly strong for few seconds right before the bullets hit his chest and sent him to death. He, like the other notable officers, died with honor.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baby-Faced Father

In the midst of the deep discussions and heavy debates, both online and face-to-face, among my Indonesian fellows in Singapore ( on 'Why there are growing numbers of 'old-enough-to-get-married' single populations in big cities' and 'How to find the One'; this article shows a totally reversed situation where love and lust happened way too early, with fatal consequences.


U.K. Boy Becomes Father at 13, Newspaper Says
Baby-faced and only 4 feet tall, he was 12 when he impregnated girl, 14Updated 3:57 p.m. ET Feb. 13, 2009

LONDON - He's 13. He scarcely looks 10. And according to a British tabloid, he's a father.
Baby-faced and only 4 feet tall, the boy, Alfie Patten, was just 12 when he impregnated Chantelle, now 15, The Sun reported Friday. Shown in a video posted Friday on the tabloid's Web site, the diminutive Alfie takes the newborn girl in his arms.
Asked what he would do to support the child financially, Alfie asks in a small, high-pitched voice, "What's financially?"
The girl was taking birth control pills but missed one, the newspaper reported. Friends and relatives left the family home near Eastbourne, about 70 miles southeast of London, Friday without speaking to reporters gathered outside. The teenagers could not immediately be contacted.
The Sun did not say whether any tests were conducted to prove the boy's paternity. The paper did not offer any immediate comment when asked whether it had paid the family for the story.
Police and child services in Eastbourne, in southeast England, said in a statement that they were "aware of a 14-year-old girl that had become pregnant as the result of a relationship with a 12-year-old boy," adding that they were offering support to both young people.
In 1999 then-Prime Minister Tony Blair described Britain's record on pregnancies as shameful and vowed to turn it around.
"Put simply, you are still a child when you are 14 and, in a civilized society, children should not be having children," he said at the time. The government has since poured millions of pounds (dollars) into advertising and educational campaigns.
'We made a mistake'
Chantelle and Alfie have reportedly pledged to raise the child as best they can.
"We know we made a mistake but I wouldn't change it now," Chantelle was quoted by The Sun as saying.
Alfie's father, Dennis — who reportedly has nine children — said his son told him it was the first time he had sex. He was reportedly allowed to sleep over at the girl's house.
"It hasn't really dawned on him," Patten, 45, was quoted as saying in the paper.
"I will talk to him again and it will be the birds and bees talk," he said. "Some may say it's too late but he needs to understand so there is not another baby."
Britain's youngest-known father was said to be a 12-year-old boy in a suburb north of London who impregnated a young neighbor in 1998.
Isn't this scary? Kids who don't know much about life already know how to ruin their lives at such a young age. These days, children, not even yet eligible to be referred as teenagers, already know how to make children exactly when they have just hit the legal age of puberty. Children are not supposed to have children, just yet. They don't know what they are doing.

One example, this story shows how the responsible person who doesn't even know anything about finance, now has to raise a baby, which involves heck lots of money. This boy is still struggling with his algebra and calculus home works and exams on daily basis, and now he is supposed to finance a baby. How can this be? And this is only the beginning, he has no idea how complex it is to raise a human being where he himself is still raised by his parents.

This boy probably has not even reached the chapter that discusses Human Reproduction in his Biology class and now he has found 'barely' a woman and already procreated. Who is it to blame then? Parents or the surrounding environments? Both, I guess.

The parents should have raised the kids in a more strict and conventional ways. They should have not exposed the kids to or at least limit their exposures to any sexual materials, which may suggest and lead to actual sexual behaviors. They should have not let the boy to sleep over at the girl's, in the first place. In this case, schools indeed play key roles in educating young students about sex and its consequences, if done carelessly.

This is exactly what happens when parents start to overlook their children's circle of friends and well-beings; they are jeopardizing their children's lives, for good.

Today's pop culture is indeed scary.

Coffee, Tea and I Love You

When I was in the Netherlands, I was very lucky to be accepted as an intern in a multinational company, AMS, whereby all my colleagues consisted of many nationalities from all over Europe. Half of them were Dutch and the other half were British, Danish, Finnish, German, Swedish, Spanish, Serbian and Swiss. Six months with them flew fast. I enjoyed every bit of my time working with them.

It was really thrilling to work with them back then. They were all great people, very kind and helpful. They respected the fact that there are so many nationalities in the office. One of the company rules that reflected this value was the requirement to speak English whenever there were two different nationalities in one room. It was not advised to talk in mother tongue when there was someone who did not speak that language around. Otherwise, it was considered very rude.

Carita Viklund, Charles Kay, Christian Andersen, Tom Nchinda, Aldo Breed, Jacqueline Willert, Tine Wallis, Jan Willem de Beaufort and John Arends at Jan Willem's farewell dinner.

Anthony Lim, Antti Hakala, Magnus Bergendahl and Pablo Garcia.

One of the memorable things that I still remember being in an international work setting was the cultural sharing that we did almost everyday. The most favorite topics during lunch or break would be: "Tell me about your home country." "How is the weather there?" "What is the famous food over there?" and so on. Lastly, we all were so keen to learn each other's national language.

John Arends, Christian Andersen and a new Serbian colleague at the Panorama Room (For my farewell party).

Gemma Adelaar, Jacqueline Willert, a new Dutch colleague and Elles Roordink at the Panorama Room (For my farewell party).

Pablo, my Spanish ex-colleague used to write many daily vocabularies in Spanish on his whiteboard in his office room. Each time I dropped by his office, he would happily teach me how to say a little bit of Spanish, which I have already forgotten except Gracias, Hola and Buenos Dias. His cute nickname was: Super Toro. Pablo is now married to a Swedish lady with a baby girl. They have left Amsterdam and currently reside in Barcelona, his hometown.

Pablo, Elles, Gemma and Andre.

Pablo shared his office with a super kind and funny Korean-Dutch colleague, Andre Krijgsman. Andre was only few years older than me. He was from the same school as me and used to be an intern too before he was employed permanently. He spoke fluent English, Dutch and French. It's always amazing hearing him talking the beautiful French. Since he used to pick samples all the way to Lille, in northern France on some weekends, we gave him a nickname: Super Sample. Andre used to date a beautiful petite French girl. She a very pretty lady with porcelain skin, brunette hair and beautiful hazel eyes. I heard they are not together anymore.

Later on they gave me nickname too: Super Indo. I think it's because of my nationality.

I shared office with two Dutch managers, Constantijn and Elles. I was supposed to assist them, but back then I was often needed to assist other managers from other departments too. Constantijn, Pablo, Elles and Andre often got mad when I had to split my attention and help the other team. How sweet.

My work station.

Stack of cordial and wine samples.

Constantijn was the type of a very funny and bubbly guy. His jokes could make your stomach ache, especially when paired with Pablo and Andre. I didn't know why he had this hilarious nickname: Super Tulip. I teased him with that nickname a lot. Constantijn is happily married with two baby girls, Emily and Barbara. He loves cooking and has this pink cheeks each time he feels warm, angry or shy. In his old pictures, he looked like Prince William (when he was younger and thinner). Now he looks quite far from Prince William. Cons has moved from AMS and now works for one of the partners.


Elles was a super kind and warm-hearted lady. My first impression of her was her being a little bit macho and very athletic. She was a national field hockey player who practiced regularly every Thursday night after work. She used to ride bicycle from her house to the office in Schiphol. It took her about 45 mins to get to the office when she rode her bicycle. She said she rode fast. I never doubted her. She was dating a Dutch restaurante, Ricardo, when I was there. Elles and Ricardo now has a super cute baby girl named Jip, born last year.

Elles and Jip.

Constantijn was a coffee addict. He could drink 7 cups a day only in the office and Elles was a tea addict. Lucky us, coffee, tea and hot chocolate were free-flow from the machine in the guest room. Constantijn and Elles used to asked me to write some Bahasa Indonesia on the whiteboard in our office. We hardly used the board for meetings so it was often used as a platform to teach Bahasa Indonesia or Dutch instead.

The famous whiteboard.

We wrote:

Good morning.
Goeie Morgen.
Selamat pagi.

Good night.
Goeie Night.
Selamat Malam.

Do you want to drink coffee of tea?
Will je koffie or thee drinken?
Kamu mau kopi atau teh?

One cup of tea/coffee.
Een kop thee/koffie.
Satu cangkir tea/kopi.

What do you want to eat?
Wat wil je eten?
Kamu mau makan apa?

I love you.
Aku cinta kamu.

One day, chirpy Constantijn came into the office, turned his head to the white board, read something and loudly said to me "AKU CINTA KAMU". Lucky there was no one around. Elles was not there and I was working on something with my computer. I was so shocked and almost jumped out of my seat when I heard him saying that and replied him back, "Cons, I think that is a little bit too much."

He was surprised then asked me, "Oh, what does Aku Cinta Kamu mean?". I said, "It means I love you and I don't think you love me that way." He was blushing and said, "Haha.. OK. I have take it back then. Sorry". I replied back, "Cool. Don't worry!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Glass Analogy

A Professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, "How much do you think this glass weighs"?

"50 gr!" ... "100 gr!" ... "125 gr!" ... the students answered.

"I really don't know unless I weigh it", said the Professor, "But my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?"

"Nothing", the students said.

"OK. What would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?", asked the Professor.

"Your arm would begin to ache", said one of the students.

"You're right. Now what would happen if I held it for a day?"

"Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress and paralysis and have to go to hospital for sure!", ventured another students. And all the students laughed.

"Very good!"

"But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?"

"No.", was the answer.

"Then what caused the arm ached and the muscle stress?"

The students were puzzled.

"What should I do now to come out of pain?" asked Professor again.

"Put the glass down.", said one of the students.

"Exactly!", said the Professor.

Life's problems are something like this.

Hold it for a few minutes in your head and they seem OK.

Think of them for a long time and they begin to ache.

Hold it even longer and they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.

It is important to think of the challenges or problems in your life. But even important is to 'PUT THEM DOWN' at the end of everyday before you go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up everyday fresh and strong and can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way!

So, when you leave office today, remember to 'PUT THE GLASS DOWN TODAY!'.


This analogy reminds me of what my ex-colleague back in the Netherlands, Constantijn, once said to me one afternoon. I couldn't remember what I've said or shown to him that day, but he gave me an advice that instantly stroke me and stayed strong in my head from the moment the words came out from his mouth. "It's fine. Just don't worry over the things you can't control, OK!" Then he smiled.

How true that can be? What's the point of worrying thing when you are hardly able to change even a bit of the problem?

Then this was reassured again by a colleague here in Singapore first time I joined the company. "Christine, detach yourself from work on weekends."

Yeah man! I am so doing it though work does often flash few times during weekends. It is my work in progress, given the "thinker" nature that I was blessed with.

We Cannot Love and Be Limited

This is another amazing love story received from a forwarded email again. I believe I had seen this story on TV few years back but I couldn't remember when and where. I saw it once on Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Too bad I couldn't find the real names. Anyway, I'm glad to have found it again.

When Love Conquers All Things

This is a story of a young handsome man and a physically disabled woman which has amazed millions of people around the world. The wife has no lower limbs at all. It is very difficult for her to sit as she has nothing below her hips. They were blessed with two perfect adorable kids.

Look how this 'almost perfect' man could be so in love with this woman. And look how cute this small family is.

"You call it madness, but I call it love."
Don Byas

"Do you love me because I am beautiful,
or am I beautiful because you love me?"
Oscar Hammerstein II