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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Euphoria No More - Part 2

    Today is a holiday, well, somewhat officially. The real holidays are tomorrow, the 1st and the 2nd, officially tagged as the Eid holidays. Today is just a "mandatory" leave (together with Friday, the 3rd) instituted by the government for the general public. Mandatory leave (or cuti bersama) in this case means that the leave will be applied to our yearly paid leave, with little option to get out of it (except for those working in certain industries such as F&B or tourism). I'm not trying to get out of it, by the way, as I welcome the opportunities to unwind from the daily work routines.

    Talking about work. More than a year has passed since my promotion to the Equity Research Division. The fatigue that had set in is still there, but it is now somewhat manageable. Despite the fatigue, I gained more knowledge with each passing day. Macro stuff, sector bits, and model tricks are just some of them. However, the confusion that has enveloped me since then has not subsided. In my Friendster profile, I was wondering whether capital market is meant for me. Well, after more than two years dealing directly in a day-to-day basis with the market, I've begun to consider it as a long-term career field for me, not just a temporary aspiration.

    Finance in general, is a very wide field, with the capital market to be just a subset of it. I would very much like to explore the other subsets of finance, emphasizing investment and economics. This was not suddenly came to me, though. After encountering the confusion of a new job and struggling for keeping my own standard, I've come to realization that there are still lots to learn. And unfortunately, baptism by fire can only do so much. Proper care and continuous nurturing are called for, which has been somewhat lacking as the time goes by. So, perhaps it is the time to stay foolish?

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Astrocenter Report - Part 13

    [Shifting to career and wealth, I suppose.]

    Material Assets and Resources:

    YOGA seeks work which will engage his passions, and which makes use of his talent for exploring the hidden side of individuals or social relationships.

    Friends could be an important factor in YOGA's financial success.

    YOGA invests a great deal of energy in his work in order to provide for his needs. He tends to watch his financial assets and resources closely, because he tends to be something of a spendthrift, and has been known to run short before the next paycheck arrives. When he is in straitened circumstances, it is usually because he squandered his money, or invested in unwisely, under the influence of more or less irrational and reckless impulses. He will have to adopt a more cautious and reasonable attitude towards money if he does not want to be broke on a regular basis.

    [For some reason, I feel this time it's a bit generic. Seeking work which will engage one's passion is ideal for a lot of people. I always think of a job where I would wake up in the morning feeling energized just thinking of the work I'd be doing that day. Not there yet, close though. As for the talent of exploring the hidden side of relationships... nah, not me.

    Friends is important to one's financial success. Well, no man is an island. Whether it correlates with a tarot reader who foresaw my entrepreneurial path is yet to be confirmed. If I'm about to meddle with a start-up business, it'll take a partner or two.

    Tends to watch financial assets closely... hmm.., I suppose the report does not consider me working in a financial service industry. There were circumstances where I ran short before my next paycheck, but I've learned better.]

    ~ to be continued ~

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Market Riding

    I didn't remember exactly how I stumbled into MarketRiders website. My guess is that I saved the link when I browsed through Seeking Alpha's RSS newsfeed. I'll tell you more about Seeking Alpha some other time, let's get back to MarketRiders.

    The premise behind MarketRiders wasn't new. It was based on the idea of allocating your investment assets (asset allocation) by using ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) instruments completely (or almost completely). What make MarketRiders different is because not only it provides asset allocation recommendation to its users, but also the ETF instruments suitable for them based on the asset recommended. Sophisticated investors may customised their portfolio further, for a modest price (some 8 bucks a month).

    With the myriad types of ETF currently traded, it is highly possible to construct a 100% ETF-based portfolio (see here for an article). And since most ETFs are constructed based on a form of market index, an ETF-based porfolio is expected to mimic the market return (index investing), hence the name, MarketRiders. Mitch Tuchman, the founder of MarketRiders, has developed the idea further by enabling the general public to custom design their ETF portfolio in an inexpensive way, coupled with a user-friendly interface.

    I tried its free service and chose the 'Advisor' method to create my first porfolio. The site threw several questions such as age, investing time span, investing experience, and risk tolerance. Based on my answers (twenty-something years old, 10+ years until I need the money, extensive experience, and moderate risk tolerance), MarketRiders came up with a suggested portfolio like this:
    • 40% US Equities, represented by Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (ticker: VTI).
    • 25% World (non-US) Equities, represented by Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (ticker: VEU).
    • 12.5% Bonds, represented by 5% SPDR Lehman 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (ticker: BIL) and 7.5% Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (ticker: BND).
    • 10% Real Estate, represented by DJ Wilshire REIT ETF (ticker: RWR).
    • 7.5% Inflation-linked US Bonds, represented by iShares Lehman TIPS Bond ETF (ticker: TIP).
    • 5% Commodities, represented by 2.5% PowerShares DB Precious Metals ETF (ticker: DBP) and 2.5% iShares S&P Global Energy ETF (ticker: IXC).
    I intend to use the suggested portfolio as a benchmark against my own portfolios, real and virtual alike. The benchmark portfolio began its tracking on 23 September 2008. Started with US$ 9,984.29 of initial investment, the benchmark has lost US$ 320.56 year-to-date in 26 September 2008 (or 3.2% loss in just 3 days). For the same period, S&P 500 had gained 2.1%, although this is arguably a short-term observation and should not be considered for the 10+ years investment time span. We'll review it again in the next quarter at the earliest.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Single vs. Married - Part 4

    [Naya, a yet another colleague of mine, forwarded this excerpt on 13 August 2008 (have you wondered how we have time to send and read all these stuff during office hour? Ha ha). This essay will be the closing post on this topic for now. Although, I believe this won't be the last post on this topic, I'll end the four-day tour for now. The journey is still long and I hope to share them with you in due time.

    This article delves further to marriage and the transformative course it can offer to one's life. It is written as if a father is writting a letter to his son, relaying his sage advice on marriage. While the original posting credited this writing to Eduardo Calasanz, a student of the Ateneo Manila University in the Philippines, an inquisitive Google search uncovers the real writer. The well-written excerpt is actually the Chapter 26 of the book Letters to My Son, written by Kent Nerburn.]

    Choosing a Soulmate - Partners and Marriage

    Advice for the married, planning to get married, single but not available, single and available, no love life.


    I have never met a man who didn't want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn't fear marriage. Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

    When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.

    And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other's presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other's foibles. It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible.

    How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the other's habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?

    The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.

    Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side. This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

    The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other's laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality.

    This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility.

    One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each other's company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new. Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

    After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can't accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

    Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance doesn't become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

    There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

    So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word. There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe. Marriage is a transformation we choose to make.

    Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed. We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger.

    It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter. But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presence, two separate consciousnesses come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one.

    There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains.

    But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex. So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation.

    If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom... endlessly.

    [It is beautiful, I know. Nerburn write it so eloquently. He points to the overarching theme of transformation in his writing. He immediately grabs the readers' attention by acknowledging public fears of marital commitment. Although he soon dispel that perception by arguing how choosing well can make for a successful relationship based on fundamental compatibility; he also constantly caution on the potential dangers that a wrong choice can make.

    While he admits on the difficulty of making the right choice, three keys are readily observable for a person to ascertain the quality of his relationship. First, good and healthy laughter, for it is 'the child of surprise,' indicating long-lasting freshness to a relationship. Second, respectful outside interaction; since maturing relationship shifts external obscurity to external awareness, creating a sense of respect (or lack of it) between the two individuals. Third, compatible internal sensitivity, for different people may 'confront the mysteries of life' differently and the resulting incompatibility may bring gaping distance in the relationship. Other keys differ between couples, but all revolve in the ability to nourish that 'unchangeable parts of one's hearts that one will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that one will not deny' (is it one's value and ambition?).

    Nerburn use the word 'miracle' in describing the resulting effect of the transformation that marriage can bring; when 'two separate consciousnesses come together and share a view of life that passes before them.' While marriage should not be feared, it also should not be rushed into (again, for the wrong reasons). The miracle is reserved for those who 'have sufficient faith on one's ability to resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen' (a difficult feat, yes, but not an impossible one).

    So, how's the four-day tour add to our understanding of the topic? Let's recap a bit. Solitude is a period to be cherished. Enjoy it while it last and only let it go for the RIGHT REASONS. There is higher purpose(s) in life other than marriage. Marriage is only one mean to achieve that. And for those who are ready for marriage, choose your spouse well. Observe the keys for making relationship long-lasting before moving to the next level. And when you decide to get married, value equality in your marriage and actualize it in your family life.

    I hope my friend read these posts, and perhaps reconsider his view on marriage, especially after reading Nerburn's writing. Unconditional love do exist, it depend on the choices we made. As for me? well, marriage may no longer be a distant concept. However, I'll need to take the time in developing my newly-build relationship and then decide when progression to the next level is warranted.]

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Single vs. Married - Part 3

    [Okay, how about seeing it from the other camp. Why people marry? And what's in it for them? This article, written as a short guide to marriage, is meant for the guy, the husband in the household.

    This guide, also written in Bahasa Indonesia, is forwarded by a colleague of mine, Bayu, on 6 November 2006. I often refer him as cartoony, but I guess there's a reason to his behaviour. This article confirms what he had trying to explain to me.]


    CHAPTER I – Having a Marriage

    Dua sisi

    Generasi ayah kita, banyak sekali di mana mereka membanting tulang bekerja dengan istrinya menjadi ibu rumah tangga yang baik. Tidak ada yang salah dengan itu. Mereka semua membesarkan kita menjadi kita sekarang. Ada dua sisi yang jelas dari perkawinan modern:

    1. Saya melihat bahwa wanita itu butuh juga kebanggaan terhadap dirinya ‘Saya bekerja, saya juga mencari nafkah’.

    Di sini peran mereka juga lebih berat karena ganda. Siang mereka bekerja meski gajinya belum tentu sebesar kita (terkadang lebih), celakanya bagi istri yg suaminya 'dablek', mereka masih dipaksa melayani suamilah atau mengurusi anaklah. Di sinilah yang saya lihat bagus untuk diubah.

    2. Dengan tingkat inflasi sekarang, wah susah juga jika kita hanya mengandalkan suami untuk bekerja, maka sisi pertama tadi, berhubungan dengan sisi ini.

    Dari keduanya, lahir pemikiran dari saya, bahwa alangkah baiknya jika zaman sekarang suami lebih sensitif terhadap perasaan istri. Alangkah baiknya jika sang suami, juga berperan sebagai sedikit ibu karena istrinya telah berperan sebagai suami juga dengan ikut mencari nafkah. Ga salah jika kita sepulang kerja stop by di pasar buah dan nelpon istri ‘Ok, ini mungkin pertanyaan tolol, tapi, anggur itu cuman 2 warna kan? ’Atau ke Hero ‘Susu si kecil itu merknya apa ya? Aku berdiri depan lot susu buanyak buanget tapi lupa namanya...’ Atau bergantian ngelonin si kecil di kala dia rewel dan membiarkan istri istirahat. Semua itu adalah peran ibu yang memang baik untuk kita ambil alih sebagai tanda respek kita terhadap istri kita yang telah berperan ganda.

    Lagian, malu juga dong masak sih istri bisa kerja, masak, ngasuh anak dan great in bed… tapi kitanya cuman bisa kerja doang? Ya ngga? Apa yang salah kaprah dengan dunia ini? Penyelesaian yang mereka ambil adalah baby sitter. Bego kan? Sering ga sih kita lihat pasangan bawa baby sitter, padahal mereka ga gendong apa-apa? Duh padahal, bayi itu menangis karena dia kangen sama degup jantung ibu di kala dia di dalam kandungan. Itu sebabnya dia diem kalau kita gendong. Eh, ini malah baby sitter yang gendong.

    Lapis bawang

    Pernikahan itu, seperti yang nenek saya pernah bilang, tidak lebih dari sekedar sebutir bawang (merah, putih, bombay, optional). Katanya, ‘Dit, pernikahan itu tidak lebih dari seperti bawang.’ ‘Sebenarnya tidak ada intinya. Kita hanya menjalani hari demi hari bersama orang yang kita sayangi. Ada kalanya kita menangis sedih. Pedihnya rumah tangga dirasa sama dengan kita mengupas bawang itu lapis demi lapis. Dan ada kalanya kita tertawa bahagia.’ ‘Nek, gimana kok bisa ngupas bawang tuh kok ya sampe ketawa? ‘Oh ya bisa, soalnya abis nangis, ngeliat ke baskom, bawang lain masih banyak.’ Saya ketawa terbahak-bahak hari itu.

    Tapi intinya benar. Pernikahan itu seperti mengupas bawang lapis demi lapis. Pedih, dan membuat mata berair. Moral dari cerita nenek saya ini adalah, please make sure when she cries, you are there, crying with her. Feel what she feels and see what she sees. You don’t have to agree, but you do need to understand.

    CHAPTER II – On Being a Husband

    Okay, perfectly aware of the fact that I'm not married yet, and here we are sitting together, telling you all this. Apologies for that, I just think these kinds of things are good to know. I may not have enough maturity to do it when my time comes. But sure as hell, would like to try them.


    Ada satu kunci yang ingin saya sampaikan untuk bisa menjadi suami yang sempurna di mata istri, hanya satu kata. Sahabat. Ada banyak peran yang kita harus bisa mainkan dalam rumah tangga. Sebagai suami karena kita menikahi dia. Sebagai kepala rumah tangga dan sebagai kuli, karena kita tulang punggung keluarga. Ada satu peran yang saya lihat jarang suami atau istri mainkan, yaitu sebagai sahabat.


    Dari pandangan gua nih, orang cerai karena mereka tidak cocok. Kenapa mereka tidak cocok? Karena mereka gagal menjadi sahabat satu sama lain. Ingat juga bahwa temen tidak ada bekas teman, namun istri, ada bekas istri. Iya kan? Merinding bombay ga sih melihat logikanya?

    Menyelesaikan masalah

    Ketika kita mampu memandang istri kita sebagai sahabat, kita bisa masuk ke dalam berbagai macam lapisan hidup dia. Saya melihat beberapa teman saya yang berhasil dalam hal ini, dan mereka bener-bener berumah tangga dengan baik. Mereka tidak butuh orang penengah jika bertengkar, karena mereka tahu, bahwa sahabat itu, bisa menyelesaikan masalah sendiri dengan baik.

    Sahabat can keep secret better. Saya lihat juga bahwa rumah tangga seperti itu, mereka tidak butuh untuk cerita ke orang lain tentang masalah yang mereka miliki. Mereka bisa langsung ngomong ‘Saya ga suka kamu kayak gini.’ Ada lagi yang memiliki tahapan lebih aneh, di mana mereka benar-benar keluar dari box-nya ‘OK, sekarang kamu bukan istri saya, kamu sahabat saya. Saya mau komplen tentang istri saya.’

    Berbagi luka

    Ini misalnya saja ya. Jika kita suatu hari salah langkah dalam bisnis, kemudian semua tabungan kita 70 juta, amblas habis. Ada suatu sakit tak terhingga di hati kita di sana, pasti. Jika kita hanya mampu memandang istri sebagai istri, kita ga bakal tega bilang ‘Sayang, maaf ya, tabungan kita hilang.’ Potong jari sama saya, kamu setidaknya mikir 5 kali sebelum bilang ke istri. Di sana ada faktor malu karena gagal sebagai suami, gagal sebagai kepala rumah tangga, dan sejuta rasa gagal lainnya yang menumpuk.

    Namun, semuanya akan lebih gampang, jika istri kita adalah sahabat kita juga. Jika kita mampu memandang dia sebagai sahabat kita ‘Say, kita kehilangan uang banyak.’ Kenapa ini mungkin? Karena dengan sahabat, kamu tidak perlu ada pride sebagai suami. Kamu bahkan tidak perlu mahar atau apply untuk jadi sahabat. Justru dengan sahabatlah kita bisa sesantai-santainya kita. Yang kamu butuh adalah kecocokan. Menjadi sahabat adalah hal termurah dalam dunia ini. Itulah sebabnya, amat penting bagi kita untuk mampu menganggap istri kita, sebagai sahabat. Of course you can disagree with that.

    The comparing game

    This is the game we hate the most, yet, the one we play all the time. Common sense can tell us bahwa jangan kita lakukan ini. Di saat kita have a fight. This is what you should avoid. 'Why can't you be more like her? Why can’t we be like them? Why can't... bla bla bla?' Rest assured there will come a time when we say this to her/him if we don't grow up enough.

    Di kala kita merasa kurang puas dengan dia (dalam hal apa pun), ada baiknya kita mengingat kembali, that we chose to be with her and that when we kissed her forehead setelah ijab kabul, we chose to spend the rest of our life with her, and her only. We chose. We are what we are today, because of the choices we made yesterday. Jadi, jangan pernah sekali-kali membandingkan dia dengan orang lain karena we chose to be with her when we got married. So there is no more need to compare with other people, starting from that point.

    The only healthy comparing games adalah seperti ini: ‘Why are we like this today?’ ‘Why can’t we be like we were before?’ Itu lebih sehat, karena kita tidak keluar dari konteks diri kita sendiri. Dan itu pun, sebelum kita melakukannya, kita harus bertanya dahulu ke diri sendiri ‘Apakah saya ada kontribusi terhadap memburuknya keadaan menjadi sekarang?’ Jika ya, berusahalah dulu memperbaiki diri karena mungkin saja kita yang salah, atau setidaknya kita yang salah dalam melihat. Atau malah, istri kita jadi nyebelin karena sebenernya kitanya yang ada salah... She was just reacting towards how we have been acting. Contoh yang jelek tentunya jika membanding-bandingkan dengan kondisi yang dimiliki orang lain atau dengan orang lain itu sendiri.

    Mendukung dan mengalah

    There is a twisted paradox towards these two things that we need to do in marriage. Terkadang, there's a clear cut between those two, but sometimes, kita mesti mendukung dengan cara mengalah, dan mengalah dengan cara mendukung. Kasusnya jelas banget. Misalkan suami ada tugas 5 tahun di Singapura, tapi istri juga lagi kencengnya ngembangin bisnis dia yang udah lama dirintis. What would you do? What would you choose? Apakah kita mau, expat sendirian? Apakah dia mau ninggalin impian dia yang udah lama dia rintis, demi nemenin suami 5 tahun doang? Terlebih lagi begini: Siapa yang harus mendukung siapa? Siapa yang harus nurut ke siapa? Siapa yang harus ngalah?

    Saya pernah menanyakan hal itu pada pacar saya, dan kita setuju akan penyelesaian di bawah. Saya ga tau kamu, tapi kalo saya jadi suami, saya mending milih pergi sendiri. Why? My wife didn't go to university to serve me. Yes, I am the most important thing in her world. But remember, I am NOT the ONLY thing in her world. Saya yakin dia punya impian sendiri, ambisi sendiri yang dia ingin capai dan puaskan (see chapter one). As husbands, we need to respect that and support that at any cost.

    Further, saya ga mau 30 tahun ke depan, pecahlah sebuah pertengkaran dan salah satu dari kita berkata 'I gave up MY career for you, for us, what did YOU do?' 'I made the sacrifice for us. You are what you are now because I buried myself.' 'You had your dream. I can never get mine back.' Okay, so maybe those examples are very extreme, and unlikely to be heard. But regardless, do we really want to hear that? I don't.

    Ok, mungkin mereka ikhlas... tapi, kita juga harus mendukung dia. Dia harus mendukung kita. Dia adalah separuh nyawa kita, iya benar bahwa kita tidak bisa hidup tanpa dia. Tapi, apakah dia bisa hidup dengan penyesalan? Apakah penyesalan dia, bisa kita, suami, kompensasi? Syukur kalo bisa. Syukur kalo dia kita larang kerja tapi kita bisa provide everything she needs, lahir batin, uang love and respect for her. Kalo ngga? gimana? itu berarti, in a sense, kita minta dia untuk berkorban dua kali. Don't make her do that.

    I don't know about you, but I don't want to be with someone yang memiliki penyesalan dalam hidupnya... kita bakalan capek seumur hidup trying to cheer her up and compensate her. Mereka sebagai istri, di kebanyakan kasus ga ambil masalah. Mereka mungkin ikhlas, karena memang basically istri kudu nurut ama suami. But do we really want to do that to her? I sure as hell, don't. Tapi, inget, bahwa ini juga bisa terjadi kebalikannya.

    CHAPTER III – Being a Father

    Ok, ini rada berat nih. Saya belum pernah jadi ayah, tapi kamu dan saya, pernah jadi anak, so, bear with me and here we go.

    Spend time with them

    Saya pernah baca di Intisari edisi psikologi anak, bahwa penelitian memperlihatkan anak-anak yang menghabiskan waktu dengan ayahnya lebih banyak, lebih berprestasi di sekolah, anaknya cenderung lebih pintar. Hal in sangat logis. Bayangin aja. Dia main Lego sendiri. Dia bingung dong mau bikin apa. Tapi kalau kamu mau sediain waktu buat actually asik-asikan ikut main. Dia di usia muda udah bisa membaca pola pikir kamu. Of course kita tidak memaksa dia berpikir rumus regresi linier, itu akan mematikan kreativitas anak. Tapi kita bisa contohkan sedikit agar kreativitas itu tumbuh. Jadilah katalis, bukan fasis.

    Di sini ada sesuatu yang simple yang banyak orang lewatkan. Si ibu udah kerja. pulang kerja, masak abis itu ngasuh anak, manage rumah tangga, bla bla bla, capek. Jadinya sesempurnanya ibu, adalah wajar dan bukan salah dia kalo beberapa kali dia kelewat mengajari anak padahal constant teaching and sampling sangat penting di anak balita. Di situlah wajib adanya peran ayah. Ayah menutup lubang-lubang, di mana sang ibu terlalu capek atau tidak memperhatikan. Sehabis makan malam, ya ketimbang gettin’ jiggy with mommy ada baiknya kita ngobrol-ngobrol dengan anak, meski pun obrolan itu ngaco seperti ‘Guru di sekolah kamu bau kelek yah?’ Ok mungkin itu bukan contoh yang baik, tapi you get the point kan? Spend time with them.

    Good cop, Bad cop

    Misalnya dimarahi ayah atau ibu. Sehabis dimarahi salah satu (ayah atau ibu), yang lainnya sebaiknya datang dan menjelaskan ‘Gini loh nak, maksud si ibu/ayah itu…’ to make sure bahwa they get the point dan mereka sadar bahwa mereka dimarahi karena kita sayang, bukan sumpalan amarah saja. Tapi di sini juga hati-hati karena terkadang jika baru dimarahin banget, sang anak akan capek mendengar hal yang sama meski disampaikan dengan halus, so be careful on this one.

    Build their confidence

    Sebagai manusia, tonggak momen terpenting dalam sebuah usaha bukanlah di saat kita sukses dan berkata ‘Ya, saya berhasil.’ Yang paling krusial adalah di saat semua masih nol dan berani berkata ‘Ya, saya pasti bisa.’ Tak pelak lagi bahwa kita perlu sekali membangun PD (percaya diri) dalam anak-anak kita agar dia bisa yakin dengan dirinya sendiri bahwa dia bisa survive di dunia ketika dewasa nanti. Membangun ini tidak mudah. Ada paradoksnya:

    Pertama, kita harus ada di samping dia di saat-saat sangat muda dan menyemangati dia ‘Ayo ganteng, kamu bisa!’ Dia jatuh ‘Ah ga papa, presiden juga pernah jatuh, ayo coba lagi.’ ‘Ayo sini ayah ajarin manjat pohon, ayah pegangin.’

    Kemudian, as time goes by ‘Kamu berani kan manjat pohon sendiri, ayah ga megangin… oh by the way, jambunya dua tolong ya,’ (ok, that’s not a good dad, that’s me).

    Kemudian di kala dia dewasa, kita justru yang harus berani melepas mereka sendiri ke dunia. ‘Ayo sana usaha sendiri, be tough kamu pasti bisa.’ Jika dia habis menggambar, meski jelek, tolong dipigura dan dipajang. Itu sudah terbukti, bisa menumbuhkan percaya diri ke dia. Tapi jangan jelek-jelek amat yang dipajang. Kalau dia ga bisa gambar ya jangan dipajang. Kenapa? Takutnya nanti bisa misleading dia. Inti dari memasang gambar itu adalah bahwa kita sebagai orang tua berusaha membuat sang anak merasa ‘Wah, karya gua dianggap penting loh sama ayah… sure dad, I will draw even better than that one.’

    Ever walk in a park where there are a lot of kids playing with their parents? I do that almost all the time. The one thing I heard all the time is 'Mommy mommy look at me,' when they do something. At hat moment, they need appreciation, they need boosting. They need someone to say 'There u go, that’s my girl.' 'You are so brave.' 'Keep at it kid,' make sure you say that to them, when the time comes. Semua itu adalah proses seumur hidup yang kita bangun ke diri anak kita dari dia mulai bayi sampai pergi ke Copenhagen and get kissed by a Dutch girl.


    Tentunya sebagai ayah yang bijak, kamu tahu sendiri bahwa membandingkan anak kita dengan anak lain adalah destruktif. Intinya, memang kita sebaiknya menghindari membandingkan dengan individu lain. Setiap manusia terlahir unik. Tidak ada duanya. Tidak ada kembaran identiknya kecuali dikloning.

    Atas dasar itu, kita lebih baik memotivasi dia dengan membandingkan dia dengan dia sendiri. ‘Are you a better person now than you were yesterday?’ ‘Ayo, kemaren kan udah hafal perkalian, berarti sekarang harus bisa pembagian.’ Atau, jika dia IQ-nya 245, ‘Ayo, kemarin kan sudah multiple regression sekarang bisa dong logit biner,’ sorry, that was just a joke.

    Inti dari sub-bab ini adalah, compare them with themselves sebelumnya. Tanamkan ke dalam diri mereka (sejalan dengan kedewasaan mereka tentunya) bahwa pribadi yang baik adalah pribadi yang berkembang dan bertambah baik sejalan dengan waktu.

    The Peter Pan syndrome

    Peter Pan adalah seorang anak yang hidup di Neverland. Di sana dia tidak mengalami proses penuaan. Dia tidak mau turun ke Bumi karena dia tahu bahwa jika dia tinggal di Bumi, dia akan dewasa dan menua. Setiap manusia memiliki sifat ini. Sejalan dengan tumbuh dan dewasanya anak sebaiknya kita kikis sifat ini.

    Adalah hal yang penting untuk kita tanamkan ke mereka bahwa hal terbaik untuk mengatasi masalah adalah dengan menghadapinya, meski itu pahit. OK, kita jangan berpikir agunan rumah dulu. Contoh kecil, sehabis puas bermain Lego yang berserakan, kita harus tanamkan ke dia bahwa main Lego bisa seru, tapi afterwards, kita harus membereskannya.

    Every action has consequences and we should face it, deal with it, and solve it. Itu yang kita sebaiknya tanamkan ke mereka dari kecil, dengan skala yang sesuai juga tentunya.

    Setting example

    At the break of a dawn, just before a great battle, a great commander said to his army, ‘What we do in life, echoes in eternity.’ In a way, hal yang sama juga terjadi pada anak kita. The things we do, the words we say and the way that we are, as a father, echoes in their minds, carved in their memories and reflected on their future. Mark those words, they are for real.

    Kenapa bisa begitu? Karena bagi kita, orang tua, anak kita memang penting, tapi anak bukanlah satu-satunya hal yg kita urus. Cicilan, kerjaan, istri, rumah, de el and el. Itulah dunia kita. Apa dunia anak-anak kita? Dunia anak kita, hanyalah kita. Their universe, DOES evolve around us, parents. To them we are their everything. We are the first people they learn about life from.

    So how do we act as parents? Do we have to be perfect? No. Do we have to tell them things? Not always. What then? We set examples. Be a role model to them. Don’t just tell them to do things, tapi biasakan diri kita untuk melakukannya. “Kamu harus olahraga biar tinggi” (tapi ngomongnya sambil ngerokok). That’s not setting an example. Jangan suruh mereka sholat jika kita sendiri sholatnya suka pas injury time. Jangan ceramahin mereka untuk bersabar jika sekali aja kita disalip bajaj, ngumpat-ngumpatnya 2 malem. Jangan suruh anak makan bayem kalo kita sendiri ga suka sayur. Set example.

    To them, we are their everything. They will at first, do the things we do. So, before becoming a father, make sure bahwa kita siap memberi contoh.


    Yes, terhadap anak kita, justru kita bagusnya menjadi sahabat selain menjadi ayah. Jangan coba-coba memasukkan logika kita ke pemikiran dia. “Kok kamu maen sapu sih? Ga bener tuh ayo taro sapunya ntar cacingan lagi.’ Percaya atau ngga, itu bahaya. Kita memasukkan logika orang dewasa kita, ke anak umur 4 tahun. They are kids, let them stay as kids. Mereka memang seharusnya menghayal. That’s normal and healthy (defensive banget ya gua?). Bukannya mau ngajarin nih, (gua juga belum punya anak), tapi hal yang tepat menyikapinya adalah ‘kamu lagi ngehayal apa hari ini? kok pake sapu?’ ‘Jadi nenek sihir yah,’ ‘Wah ayah jadi jin kadut deh, bentar ayah make sarung yah.’ Ambil tuh sarung, bikin deh tuh rumah ribut dengan tawa canda kita dan anak kita. Potong jari sama saya, suara mesin Mercedez Class C, kalah indah sama suara tawa itu.

    Ada banyak sekali di dunia anak yang kita sudah lupa untuk mengerti sejalan dengan kita makin dewasa. Itu yang bahaya. Jangan kamu buang sifat anak kecilmu itu demi kedewasaan karena kamu akan membutuhkan sifat kekanak-kanakan kamu, untuk berteman dengan anakmu sendiri. Ini adalah yang paling penting dari semua hal yang gua share sekarang.

    Jujur, gua pernah bilang ke temen, ‘Gua menolak to grow up more at this point,’ ‘Why?’ ‘Karena gua pengen masih bisa nyambung ngomong sama anak gua nanti.’


    [Phew, that was a bit long. Lots of themes and messages in this guide, despite its abrupt ending. Though, that's probably why Bayu loves it so much. It ends on his favorite part. But, let's talk about the themes.

    This article assumes its readers have made the decision to marry or have married. The writer is sharing his view and experience to his buddies, all married or about to get married. He starts early in addressing the importance of equality in marital relationship and expands on that theme in various parts of his essay. According to him, marriage does not demand total compromise from the wife's part. On the contrary, it acknowledges the wife's dream, ambition, and sense of self-purpose. Healthy relationship occurs when both sides view each other as equal and communications can go two-way.

    Piggy-backing on the equality theme, comes the second major theme, that is of sharing. Because both sides are equal, it calls for equal access to and from each side (or in other word, sharing). Again, the relationship does not demand compromising one's value over that of his spouse's, but the act of sharing and understanding the other side is paramount, according to the writer. These, naturally, encompass a whole gamut of aspects in a relationship including (but not limited to) feelings, experience, household duties, marital commitment, finance, success, failure, opinions, personal and religious values, children care, and familial obligations. Wow, quite a lot, huh, when you think about it.

    The third theme is to value the uniqueness, in your spouse and in your offspring. Despite valuing highly of relationship equality, the relationship itself still consist of unique individuals with their own differences. The writer points out in two instances to never compare your wife and your kid to other people. If you must, compare them within the context of themselves, on their development and previous experience. Each of us is unique in our own way. Compare them with other people is unfair. You choose to be with your spouse, and you are entrusted for the care for your offspring. Take the responsibility and do not put yourself out from the picture.

    There are more, I believe, but I'll end this up with the fourth theme, that of friendship. In a lot of circumstances, the writer argues that we view ourselves strictly to the role we played as husband and father, and failed to consider the role we can play with much more empathy, that as a friend. By assuming the role of a friend, you can communicate better with your wife. You tell stuff to your friend, joke and laugh together, and be there when your friend needs you. Being a friend to your kid allows you to relate better, have more fun, and realize what you would have missed from your life. The point is that by being their friend, you can actualize the equality you value from your marriage and in your family.]

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Single vs. Married - Part 2

    [Why do I decide to suddenly write about a topic of being single and being married? Well, a very dear friend of mine has lost his confidence in that sacred institution known as marriage. He is not the first person, that I know of, who holds that view. What made him different was that only awhile ago, he was talking about marriage and having kids of his own, before changing his view only very recently.

    He becomes skeptic that unconditional love exists and that many people do want to share the rest of their life with their spouses because of that love. I am not trying to prove one way or the other. Similar to him, I am too in the process of learning about the state of singleness and matrimony. So, I dig in my archive inbox to find old emails that perhaps may shed some lights to this aspect of life's purpose.

    The following is an article, written in Bahasa Indonesia, forwarded by another colleague, Neda, on 15 July 2008. A fellow marriage skeptic at one point in time, but let's discuss about that some other time.]

    Membebaskan Diri dari Obsesi Menikah

    Setelah menyelesaikan kuliah S2-nya di Australia , Becky (29) memutuskan untuk bekerja di Indonesia dan melanjutkan salah satu "tujuan hidupnya" yaitu mencari suami. Namun pencariannya ternyata tidak mudah, akhirnya ia menerima cinta teman sekantornya meski sebenarnya tidak ada kecocokan di antara mereka.

    Tidak mengherankan kalau hubungan mereka dipenuhi pertengkaran, tapi Becky tetap bertahan sambil berharap kekasihnya itu segera melamar. Sang kekasih akhirnya melamar, tapi bukan ke Becky, melainkan wanita lain yang selama ini juga dikencaninya.

    Mungkin kita akan bertanya-tanya, mengapa seorang wanita berpendidikan tinggi seperti Becky mau melakukan hal bodoh dengan menghabiskan waktu dengan seseorang yang salah.

    Masih banyak Becky lain di sekitar kita, meski dunia semakin canggih, tetap saja menikah masih menjadi tujuan hidup banyak orang. Sebenarnya apa yang menjadi motivasi orang-orang yang terobsesi untuk menikah?

    Yuk, simak uraian berikut:

    1. Sindrom "Tidak Bisa Hidup Sendiri"
    Banyak orang yang memutuskan menikah dengan pasangannya karena merasa tidak bisa hidup tanpa pasangannya. Akibatnya terjadi semacam shock di awal pernikahan. Menurut Mary Jo Fay, konsultan di situs, jika Anda memiliki sindrom tersebut, ingatlah bahwa orang tua Anda telah mengurus Anda dengan baik, berpikirlah dua kali karena berada di bawah "asuhan" pasangan yang sebenarnya tidak cocok hanya akan membawa Anda dalam hubungan yang tidak sehat.

    2. Target Hidup
    Biasanya orang, khususnya perempuan, selalu menetapkan target pencapaian berdasarkan umur, dan dibuat sangat spesifik. Misalnya menikah di usia 25, punya anak paling lambat 27 tahun. Menurut penelitian yang dilakukan oleh beberapa psikolog, sebenarnya perempuan, sama halnya dengan pria juga takut untuk berkomitmen, tetapi "target-target" tadi menekan mereka. Semakin dewasa dan makin luasnya wawasan, biasanya mereka akan melupakan target tadi. Bukankah lebih baik menunda pernikahan daripada terperangkap dengan orang yang salah?

    3. Lingkungan dan Keluarga
    Hidup dalam masyarakat yang ikatan kekeluargaannya masih kuat seperti di Indonesia tidak selalu enak. Salah satunya adalah tuntutan dan desakan dari keluarga besar jika ada salah satu anggota keluarga yang belum menikah. Ada sebagian keluarga yang menganggap bercerai masih lebih baik "ketimbang" tidak menikah sama sekali. Usia 30 tahun adalah angka keramat, jika sampai usia tersebut seseorang belum menikah dan tidak ada tanda-tanda menjalin hubungan serius, orang akan berpikir apakah ada yang salah dengan orang tersebut.

    4. Uang
    Biasanya terjadi pada wanita. Desakan ekonomi ternyata menjadi salah satu alasan sebagian perempuan untuk menikah. Memiliki suami kaya raya, hidup enak tanpa perlu bekerja keras masih menjadi impian. Banyak pula yang akhirnya bercerai ketika usia perkawinan mereka belum berjalan 5 tahun.

    Pati (35), seorang ibu satu anak dan sudah bercerai di usia 29 tahun, membagi pengalamannya: "Meski mantan suami saya berasal dari keluarga kaya, tetapi sejak tahun lalu ia berhenti memberi tunjangan pada anak kami. Sekarang saya melanjutkan kuliah dan bekerja keras membesarkan anak saya, kelak ketika ia akan menikah saya akan memastikan ia menikah karena cinta, bukan uang."

    5. Membuat Deadline Kapan Menikah
    Membuat deadline kapan kita akan menikah sah-sah saja, tergantung apa motivasi yang melatar belakanginya. Dengan adanya deadline kita akan bekerja keras untuk mencapai tujuan, asalkan bukan menikah hanya untuk melengkapi tujuan.


    Tahu apa yang dicari
    Tanyalah pada diri sendiri: bagaimana kita ingin menjalani hidup? dengan siapa? di mana? Setelah semua pertanyaan itu terjawab, siapa tahu Anda akan sadar kalau selama ini hanya membuang waktu karena berhubungan dengan orang yang salah.

    Hargai target pasangan
    Jika sekarang Anda sudah menemukan the right person tetapi ia belum ingin menikah, bersabarlah. Pernikahan bisa terjadi jika dua belah pihak sudah siap bukan ?


    Menjadikan menikah sebagai tujuan hidup
    Lebih baik menunda atau bahkan menolak lamaran jika hati kecil kita mengatakan tidak, daripada menghabiskan hidup tanpa rasa bahagia. Masih ingat kisah Becky di atas bukan? karena obsesinya untuk menikah ia jadi "gelap mata" dengan menjalin hubungan dengan pria yang salah.

    Semua dijadikan beban
    Mari kita andaikan deadline Anda telah lewat dan Anda masih juga melajang. Atau misalnya Anda telah menjalin hubungan dengan seorang pria/wanita yang baik tetapi he or she's not the one, dan Anda merasa kesal karena merasa membuang waktu dengannya. Sebenarnya tidak ada yang sia-sia, jadikan pengalaman itu sebagai pelajaran. Itu yang disebut dewasa. Tidak ada yang bisa menggantikan pengalaman hidup dari kesalahan yang pernah kita buat, karena dari situ kita justru bisa memilih orang yang lebih baik.

    Lupa bersyukur
    Seringkali kita jadi kecewa dan merasa jadi orang yang paling tidak berbahagia dan hidupnya tidak lengkap karena masih melajang. Kita jadi lupa kalau kita dikelilingi orang-orang yang sayang dan perhatian: keluarga, sahabat, teman-teman. Ibarat pepatah, karena nila setitik rusak susu sebelangga.

    Seseorang yang percaya bahwa dirinya tetap manusia yang utuh meski belum memiliki pasangan, serta menikmati hidup dan membaginya dengan orang lain telah terbukti akan memiliki perasaan yang kuat dan biasanya kelak memiliki hubungan yang sehat dan menyenangkan dengan pasangannya.

    Biarkan semua mengalir dengan wajar, tak ada yang perlu dikejar. Selama kita tetap membuka diri untuk bertemu banyak orang, seseorang yang tepat & istimewa akan datang pada saat yang tepat.

    [The same theme appears again, never marry for the wrong reasons. Plus, a stronger theme also appears here, DO NOT let marriage ALL AND BE ALL. In another word, do not let it be your sole life's goal and do it just for the sake of it. There is higher purpose(s) of life and marriage is just one mean to achieve that.

    Sometimes, we forgot of life's other blessings and being respectful of our own being. Let's try not to make that same mistake again. Get more out of yourself and out of life.]

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Single vs. Married - Part 1

    [There is this not too small an argument whether it's better to be single or to be married. Let's have both side present their case, and see their view. Well, it is so happened that all cases presented were received via email. Let's start from the single camp, with their "inspiring" prayer. It was originally posted in Bahasa with English mixed-in, so I just re-post it with minimal changes. My colleague, Celly, was the one responsible for forwarding this "prayer".]

    Mari berdoa bersama,

    Thank God, untuk...

    Kemerdekaan menjalani hidup,
    Keleluasaan mengejar karier,
    Waktu melimpah untuk hang-out,
    Masa yang panjang untuk bersenang-senang,
    Tidur yang nyenyak tanpa dengkuran,
    Kemewahan untuk menikmati kesendirian,
    dan banyak lagi yang terlalu panjang untuk kami sebut semua dalam doa kami.

    Beri kami kesabaran untuk...
    Tidak kurang ajar menghadapi tuntutan orang tua,
    Selalu tersenyum bila ditanya mengapa keenakan melajang,
    Tidak tertawa atas curhat tentang urusan rumah tangga.

    Beri kami kekuatan untuk...
    Tidak melepas masa lajang karena everybody does,
    Tidak melepas masa lajang karena takut stigma perawan/perjaka tua,

    Tidak melepas masa lajang karena dianggap menghalangi jalan adik kami,

    Tidak melepas masa lajang karena terlanjur berbadan dua,

    Tidak melepas masa lajang untuk bayar utang.

    Dear God,

    Biarkan kami menikmati kesendirian kami,
    Dan merelakannya pergi pada waktunya,
    Atau bila kau anggap kami terlalu egois bersenang-senang sendiri,

    Tolong berikan kami teman hidup terbaik untuk berbagi kesenangan,

    Secepatnya juga boleh kalau Engkau berkenan,
    The good one, of course, if You don't mind...


    [The message I got from this prayer is to cherish your life of being single. Live it full and savor the moment. And most importantly, DO NOT let it go for the WRONG REASONS. Far too many have relented to peer pressure only to regret it later in life. Not every one is meant for marriage, despite what the religion says otherwise. God has His own plan. Ask Him and seek it out. You live only once, find your purpose.]

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Astrocenter Report - Part 12

    [Hmm.. if you thought I had forgotten about this report, you are sorely mistaken, hohoho..]

    YOGA is trying to integrate himself. This purpose in life sometimes makes him aware of the futility of some of his behavior. Something drives him to wish to change his lifestyle. However, he tarries, feeling as though the time is not yet ripe for change. Angered by his inner contradictions, he is sometimes peremptory, uncompromising, and imperious with other people. At other times, he feels empty. But he will learn that the less he hides about himself, the happier he will be. In terms of his emotional relationships, YOGA is open to life and love, although he remains aware that relationships are sometimes subject to unseen influences. As a result, his approach to love is sometimes more psychological than emotional, and he may sometimes feel somewhat misunderstood. A certain anxiety compels him to look for the meaning of things, which necessitates emotional detachment. But his detachment hides a complex and extremely sensitive inner nature.

    Although YOGA sometimes seems aloof from contact with others and reveals little of his inner world, it is due to a need for protection. Nevertheless, he can be fairly manipulative and he enjoys wielding power over others. He often makes his life far more complicated than need be, and love relationships are his weak point, because the prospect of abandoning himself frightens him sometimes. Thus, in a love relationship, he controls as much as he is controlled. Generally speaking, his uncompromising opinions and his "all or nothing" policy can create some difficulties for him, when it comes to falling in love, or finding the perfect match. Fortunately, YOGA is quite amenable to solitude, and will be able to bide his time patiently until his soul mate appears. He should not forget that love is one of the major means of self-transformation, and that if he manages to shed his unreasonable fear of abandoning himself, he will progress more quickly. His need for control may come from an unconscious anxiety about death.

    [I'm not really sure the form of my anxiety over death, perhaps it goes back to a more fundamental anxiety of finding my purpose in life. Hence, the anxiety of death without knowing my purpose in life. As I am trying to figure that out, my inner world bring about contradictions between myself and my attempt to understand life's purpose.

    I do have unexplainable inner contradictions, although I'm unsure if that is the cause of my complicated life, or if that is my own creation to hide my "extremely sensitive inner nature".

    Maybe that what make me seems aloof from outside contacts, and I do keep a large part of my inner world to myself. Perhaps, it is a protection, from the prospect of abandoning myself. Strange, huh? Well, not really. I am quite a self-conscious person, and I have this perception that I would be abandoned if I share more of my inner world to others. I have tried to share them, and indeed, it freed some of my anxiety and in turns, made me happier. But, that perception is still there and probably not so easily dismissed.

    I am okay being in a solitude, and so far have managed to ward off that feeling of wanting to fall in love, until recently. As my match came unexpectedly, the barriers fall gradually and the layers is shed piece by piece. Is this a reminder that love is one of major means to self-transform? At this time, I began to feel more religious and spiritual. Maybe it is because of Ramadan, or maybe it is that process of self-transformation at work.]

    ~ to be continued ~

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Hari Ulang Tahun

    Well, sebenernya sih hari ultah gue tuh kemaren (13 Sept). Cuman, berhubung ga ada di tempat ya ga bisa lah nulis blognya kemaren (hoho.. kemana aja ya sampe ga ada di rumah seharian?)

    Berkaca ke masa lalu bentar: empat tahun yang lalu gue pernah nulis posting juga mengenai ultah (liat sini). Di mana pada saat itu gue melaluinya di tengah sakit pilek dan perburuan kerjaan. Pokonya ga terasa istimewa deh, tanpa mengecilkan keluarga dan teman yang sudah memberikan ucapan selamat, lho.

    Tapi, balik ke masa kini: empat tahun berlalu dari saat itu dan banyak sekali perubahan yang terjadi. Alhamdulillah, sebagian besar perubahan positif. Tapi yang berkesan banget buat gue adalah ultah gue di 2008 ini dilalui bersama dengan seseorang yang gue sayangi (ntar gue bilang 'cintai' diprotes gombal lagi, halah).

    Mulai dari detik-detik pergantian hari dari 12 September ke 13 September yang dilalui bersama di telepon, sampe makan malam bersama (yes, it's a candlelight dinner), dan diakhiri dengan nonton bareng. Pokonya mesra deh (eheuheu), terutama tentunya di bagian dinner-nya, karena kita berdua sampe ngebela-belain dressing up (padahal tamu-tamu lain biasa aja sih, ah bodo', kan mereka yang rugi ga manfaatin suasana tempatnya).

    Overall, it was a memorable experience. Makasih ya, sayang, mau nemenin aku di hari yang spesial itu [kiss].

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Hadiah Ramadan

    Hadiah Ramadan itu hadir sebulan yang lalu.

    Saat itu, kupenuhi ajakan sahabat lamaku untuk menonton sebuah film indie di suatu institut kesenian asing di Jakarta. Hadiah itu hadir bersama sahabatku, namun belumlah kusadari saat itu.

    Seperti yang diungkapkan temanku, Ririe, dalam blognya:

    Ketika kita bertemu orang yang tepat untuk dicintai,
    Ketika kita berada di tempat pada saat yang tepat,
    Itulah kesempatan.

    Ketika kita bertemu dengan seseorang yang membuat tertarik,
    Itu bukan pilihan, itu kesempatan.
    Bahkan bertemu dalam suatu peristiwa bukanlah pilihan...
    Tapi itupun adalah kesempatan.

    Bila kita memutuskan untuk mencintai seseorang,
    bahkan dengan segala kekurangannya,
    hal itu bukan kesempatan, tapi adalah pilihan...

    Ketika kita memilih bersama dengan seseorang,
    walaupun apapun yang terjadi, itu adalah pilihan...

    Bahkan ketika kita menyadari bahwa masih banyak orang
    lain yang lebih menarik, pandai, ataupun kaya daripada
    pasangan kita dan kita memilih untuk tetap mencintainya,
    Itupun tetap sebuah pilihan...

    Beruntunglah, kusadari kehadirannya tidak berapa lama kemudian. Dan kutetapkan pilihanku itu padanya.

    Ramadan 1429 H membawa kenangan tersendiri dibandingkan tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Pada Ramadan ini, kurasakan kembali cinta dan kasih yang telah lama hampa dari hati. Terima kasih, Tuhan, atas hadiah dari-Mu pada Ramadan ini.

    Kita ada di dunia bukan untuk mencari seseorang yang sempurna untuk dicintai,
    Tetapi untuk belajar mencintai orang yang tidak sempurna dengan cara yang sempurna.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    The Creation (Microsoft Style)

    [This is just too funny, so I got to post it. Dedicated for the geek inside all of us.]

    The Creation (Microsoft Style)
    1. In the beginning GOD created the Bit and the Byte. And from those He created the Word.
    2. And there were two Bytes in the Word; and nothing else existed. And God separated the One from the Zero; and He saw it was good.
    3. And God said - Let the Data be; And so it happened. And God said - Let the Data go to their proper places. And He created floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks.
    4. And God said - Let the computers be, so there would be a place to put floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks. Thus God created computers and called them hardware.
    5. And there was no Software yet. But God created programs; small and big. And told them - Go and multiply yourselves and fill all the Memory.
    6. And God said - I will create the Programmer; And the Programmer will make new programs and govern over the computers and programs and Data.
    7. And God created the Programmer; and put him at Data Center; And God showed the Programmer the Catalog Tree and said - you can use all the volumes and sub-volumes but DO NOT USE Windows.
    8. And God said - It is not Good for the programmer to be alone. He took a bone from the Programmer's body and created a creature that would look up at the Programmer; and admire the Programmer; and love the things the Programmer does; And God called the creature: the User.
    9. And the Programmer and the User were left under the naked DOS and it was Good.
    10. But Bill was smarter than all the other creatures of God. And Bill said to the User - Did God really tell you not to run any programs?
    11. And the User answered - God told us that we can use every program and every piece of Data but told us not to run Windows or we will die.
    12. And Bill said to the User - How can you talk about something you did not even try. The moment you run Windows you will become equal to God. You will be able to create anything you like by a simple click of your mouse.
    13. And the User saw that the fruits of the Windows were nicer and easier to use. And the User saw that any knowledge was useless - since Windows could replace it.
    14. So the User installed the Windows on his computer; and said to the Programmers that it was good.
    15. And the Programmer immediately started to look for new drivers. And God asked him - What are you looking for? And the Programmer answered - I am looking for new drivers because I can not find them in the DOS. And God said - Who said you need drivers? Did you run Windows? And the Programmer said - It was Bill who told us to!
    16. And God said to Bill - Because of what you did you will be hated by all the creatures. And the User will always be unhappy with you. And you will always sell Windows.
    17. And God said to the User - Because of what you did, the Windows will disappoint you and eat up all your Resources; and you will have to use lousy programs; and you will always rely on the Programmer's help.
    18. And God said to the Programmer - Because you listened to the User you will never be happy. All your programs will have errors and you will have to fix them and fix them to the end of time.
    19. And God threw them out of the Data Center and locked the door and secured it with a password.
    Curse the devil Bill!!