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Saturday’s Story: A letter to my children about marriage

Written by Kelly.
Published on Raising Homemakers.

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your church may not even tell you.

Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:

Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.

You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:

Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please ;-) only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:

If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.

Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:

If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because they won’t.

The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.

harry-potter-hunger-twilight

The Hunger Games: a curious viewer’s take to sum the reviews up

Interested in knowing more about The Hunger Games and its reviews from people, but too lazy to do actually find it out? Don’t worry, I’ve done the legwork, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

First of all, if you don’t know what The Hunger Games is, it’s a novel by Suzanne Collins that has been adapted into a movie. It’s released about a week ago, and since then the movie has gone viral. If you have no idea whatsoever and yet too lazy to Wikipedia it, read my review on The Hunger Games (2012).

Reviews are storming in, both good and bad, both critics and praise, towards the movie. What’s interesting is that the movie is reviewed from all sorts of angles: from the basic comparing it with Twilight series or Harry Potter, to racism, boy-girl relationship, and even feminism.

And as a big fan of Harry Potter (totally one of the best series I have ever read in my life), a hater of Twilight (hate is a strong word here, I might need to lower my hatred a bit), and a neutral viewer of The Hunger Games (the social discrepancy intrigues me, but to be honest I’m not even half-amazed), here’s what people are talking about:

1. The Hunger Games vs Harry Potter

First of all, my friend, Andreas Chan, made a decent point about the unfairness of comparing these two very different sets of books. Given both are fiction teenager novels doesn’t mean that we can just say that one is better than the other, or vice versa. He said:

I think it is not fair to compare Hunger Games trilogy to Harry Potter, since the story, setting and plot itself is totally different. If Hunger Games includes elements of wizardry, potions and a character like Snape then I will compare it to Harry Potter. …Basically they have their own charms, so don’t buy the idea that every book must have the same charms.

I agree on this view, however, many people say that The Hunger Games is the next Harry Potter, and I highly doubt that. Let me rephrase it, I completely reject that idea. Whether you like it or not, Harry Potter is phenomenal. It changes the society view of how good and entertaining a book can be, both on the teenager level and the adult level. You can have a heated argument with me about this, but let’s keep that for later.

Don’t believe me? Read Phelan: The Hunger Games vs. Harry Potter.

Harry Potter has seven books (eight movies), while the Hunger Games has three. Suzanne Collins is enjoying her success, but J.K. Rowling is the world’s first billionaire by books, according to http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com.

People waited at midnight for the release of the seventh Harry Potter book, and I refused to sleep until I finished it. I never finished the last Hunger Games book, and I know I wasn’t alone in my feelings about the less-than-spectacular ending.

2. The Hunger Games vs Twilight

This is even more… ehm, how should I say this? Let Andreas Chan said it for me again:

…to compare it to Twilight is like comparing European luxury cars to American muscle cars..one is built with quality and technology to ensure customer’s satisfaction while one is built with massive engines that kills polar bear every 40 miles while ensuring customers their cars are ‘green’ but yet people still buy them for reasons that are unquantifiable.

I can’t deny the fact that Twilight is not phenomenal. It is, in its own rights (we’ll have a very good heated argument about this). But seriously, I believe in every word of this infamous quote:

Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.

(ps. before you throw rocks at me, I’m not saying that Stephen King is the one who says this. There has been a heated debate about this matter, I’m not going there. I’m just saying that for me, it’s really true).

I would like to see someone trying to add one more sentence about The Hunger Games… But anyway, you get what I mean? (Twilight fans out there, I’m sorry, we just have to agree to disagree).

To get more factual rather than emotional, let me quote this from Hunger Games vs Twilight: Why Games rule, … vampires suck which is published on the Strait Times:

One does not like to compare apples with oranges but The Hunger Games versus Twilight is more a case of apples versus artificially fruit-flavoured chewing gum.

Just. love. that. sentence.

Not convinced?

Here’s another criticism from literacy point of view on The Case agaisnt Twilight:

Stephenie writes some weird sen­tences. And I don’t mean in the sense of, “Oh, Bella is expe­ri­enc­ing vam­pires for the first time; obvi­ously things are a lit­tle weird.” I’m talk­ing about sen­tences that are like run­away trains that ram­ble on and on, using semi­colons as period place­hold­ers. No, Stephenie. Finish the thought and be done with it already.

3. The Hunger Games vs Twilight vs Harry Potter

I won’t be repeating myself for the third time, but I find this article beyond hilarious: An Imagined Girls Night With Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Bella Swan And Buffy Summers.

Conversation beyond hilarious #1:

Katniss: Moving on… So, how was everyone’s week?

Hermione: Oh, same old. Quidditch match, Ron being a whiny, emotional middle-child, a few random assassination attempts by the Dark Lord, saving Potter from certain doom. Y’know, the usual stuff.

Buffy: I was saving the world.

Katniss: I was also saving the world!

Bella: I jumped off a cliff to get the attention of my ex-boyfriend.

Conversation beyond hilarious #2:

Katniss: This conversation is getting weird. Can I have some of those Doritos?

Bella: So Katniss, who are you going to choose between Peeta and Gale?

Katniss: Well, I hadn’t really thought about it. Leading that whole revolution thing has left me super busy and all.

Bella: But who will it be!! Which one makes you feel complete inside?

Katniss: Um, neither? It’s mostly just trying to decide whether I want to have a good hunting partner or a boyfriend who knows how to work the bread machine.

Bella: OMG I have no idea what I would do in your situation. …What about you, Hermione: Harry or Ron?

Hermione: Um, Harry has always only been my friend. It’s always been Ron for me. But I thought tonight wasn’t talking about boys, and that’s all you seem to want to do! I came here for a girls night, not a “bitching about boys” night!

Katniss: I only care about guys when it comes to how they can help me save the world.

Buffy: Absolutely. We have far more exciting things to talk about. Like weapons.

Bella: But boys are obviously the emotional crux of our lives! Edward practically looks at me the wrong way and I go into a helpless, emotional coma for eight days! He is my absolute everything and I can’t be a functional human being without his existence! What else could be more important in your lives than your man?!?!? What the hell else could ever be harder in your lives?!?

Conversation beyond hilarious #3:

Katniss: I’ve been kind of tied up dealing with this whole reality TV death match I’ve been forced into, that’s also turned into a full-scale rebellion against the leader of my dystopian, totalitarian society, all the while trying not to starve to death and provide for my family.

Hermione: I just had to wipe myself from the memories of my parents, as I set out on a road trip where my two best friends and I are being hunted by a band of insane fascists, working under the instructions of the wizarding equivalent of Hitler. One of them tortured me, and there is a constant fear of being hunted down and assassinated.

Buffy: I spend every single day of my life battling evil vampires, and am constantly saving the world from demons, angry Gods, and the Root of All Evil itself. My mother is dead and my sister isn’t technically a real person. I have technically died twice. You and your man troubles take the entire women’s movement back decades.

Bella: Hmmm, I think I’m going to take this moment to go to the washroom.

If you are interested in reading more about the books, a fellow blogger has done it for me: Harry Potter vs. Twilight vs. The Hunger Games. I strongly encourage you to read this post.

Okay, basically these stuffs are the meat of what I want to share, the other reviews are great, so if you’d like to take a look, please consult:

The Hunger Games is a great movie with its own charm. It talks a lot about our social issues and makes us redefine what it is to be ‘humane’. However, so does Harry Potter, and Twilight. Hard-core fans of these stuffs out there, I respect your own preferences, so please don’t throw rocks at me.

Sure, for me, Twilight wrecks my mind about what I think as an ‘ideal’ boyfriend and all the stuffs that I should be doing (finding my ‘Edward’) at 18 instead of finishing my education and living my life, but so do Nicholas Sparks’ books, and so do Hollywood chick flick movies.

My own grudge against Twilight is just… I wish Stephenie Meyer does a better work in developing their characters (we don’t know much about Edward and why is he that charming and romantic, don’t we? We don’t even know much about Bella’s character development, and damn, why does she love Edward so much? To me, it’s more like infatuation and obsession instead of love…).

Okay, Kirk out. May the odds be forever in your favour.

Weekly Wraps

This week’s inspiration: life, writing, relationship, and everything else in between.

1. 1 MIN READ: If I had my life to live over | Paul Coelho’s Blog

What a fantastic read. When I read the title I thought that I would be reading something like, “I’ll laugh more. Worry less. Do things right the right time.” But you know what I read?

“If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles.
Oh, I have had my moments. But if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them – a lot more.
I would go to more circuses.
I would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and fun.”

Just. inspiring.

2. The 5 Types Of Men Who Make GREAT Husbands | Hufftington Post

Are you single, taken, or married? Well my fellow Eve’s descendants, you might want to read this. Adam’s descendants, we would actually love to have a husband like this.

The article says that there are five typical characteristics of a terrific husband: provider, supporter, critical thinker, believer, and the free spirit. The first and foremost, of course we would like a husband who can provide! Girls like to know that their future is safe and secure, and even though there will be problems ahead, they know that their husbands will not give up and they will strive together.

But I think I’ll add one more point: a great husband is a great lover. He knows how to make a girl feels secure, and and he can express his love. A lover will never have the word ‘affair’ in his dictionary, will prioritise family over anything else, and will be committed. That’s what we need, a husband who is committed towards the marriage.

3. Need to Find a Job? Stop Looking So Hard | Harvard Business Review

Oh, I desperately need this. With graduation just around the corner (nine months to be exact), I will need every inspiration and support that I can find. The application for graduate positions will be closed in a week’s time, and I need to move fast.

But even when the deadline honks frantically, I’m still not sure of what kind of job that I like to do. I’d love to become a journalist or a writer, for sure, but I’m just not sure if anyone would want to hire such a newbie like me.

And this is such a great reassurance.

“Don’t waste this time. The job search. The client search. Do it. But do it in a way that excites you. That teaches you new things. That introduces you to new people who see you at your natural, most excited, most powerful best. Use and develop your strengths. The things at which you excel. The things you love.

It’s well known that people have a harder time getting pregnant when they’re stressed about getting pregnant. And it’s unlikely you’ll get into a relationship if all you think about is getting into a relationship. The same holds true for finding a job (or, for a company, finding new business). However hard it may be, force yourself to do things you love with other people. Let the work find you.”

4. How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal) | Zenhabits

Over all pieces of advice, I think this is the one thing that I have never heard from everyone. People always tell me that I need to set goals. I need to dream higher. I need to keep myself organised and make a 100,000-word thesis, a step-to-step guide on how to I achieve my goals.

But no one ever tells me to forget making goals.

I am no planner, I have no plan to ‘aim for the star’, or ‘land among the moon’. I am goal-less, plan-less human being. I live on a day-to-day basis, and I love being impulsive.

And now, I believe in Jeff Goins’ words:

“There is an alternative to setting goals that will bring you closer to the life you want. Focus on a few practices you can enjoy doing on a regular basis. The trick here is consistency.”

Thank you for writing that!

5. 12 Life Lessons Learned in 12 Years on the Road | Marc and Angel Hack Life

This is a very great reflection on life (it’s like the author has lived a full life… e.n.v.y.). Anyway, we know most of the stuffs written there, but sometimes we just need some other people to say them straight to our face for them to make sense. My personal favourite is this one:

You’re not perfect, but you’re great at being you. – You might not be the most beautiful, the strongest, or the most talented person in the world, but that’s okay.  Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.  You’re great at being you.  You might not be proud of all the things you’ve done in the past, but that’s okay too.  The past is not today.  Be proud of who you are, how you’ve grown, and what you’ve learned along the way.

Isn’t it just beautiful?

6. Why You Should Write First for Yourself | Writetodone

And this is the second piece of advice that I love. Every blogging tip that I have encountered on the net says, “Less you. People don’t care about you. They don’t care who you are. Don’t talk about yourself. It’s boring. You write for your readers.”

So what have I done so far? I keep on writing about me.

Jeff Goins writes, “You need to write first for yourself and second for your audience.” Oh how I love that sentence.

“There is a story that only you can tell. It is your story alone. And you begin to tap into by being yourself, by writing first for you. The paradox of all this, of course, is that the truer you are to your voice and message, the more you will attract a true tribe of followers committed to you.”

Thank you, once again, for letting me know that I can write for myself.

7. What will your legacy be? | MamaMia

Do you live in Australia? You must have heard of Jim Stynes. Do you live in Australia but haven’t heard of Jim Stynes? It’s time for you to know.

His death was on every major newspaper and TV channel. He has inspired people with his battle with cancer, and he has become hope towards others who need one. It’s a bit ironic that I never heard of him before he died, but with him dying I feel like I have known one more great person in life.

Jim Stynes left a great legacy. What kind of legacy you’d like to leave behind?

good listener

The art of being a good listener

Being a listener is an art that needs to be learned. Or is it an option?

The title is a bit misleading. Those of you who know me best would doubt that sentence, for I am a lousy listener. All I do is cutting people’s speech and offering lots of words of affirmations or advices to them. All is done while they just want someone to talk to.

I like to talk; I like to give my opinions on stuffs. I don’t know if I do it unconsciously to make me look smarter, but it actually makes me look dumber. Silence is gold. Even the Bible says that those who can keep their mouths shut look like wise people. I am not one of them.

On my 17th birthday, my best friend who has known me for 14 years told me that I am not a very good listener. But some friends do talk to me about their private problems. So what kind of friend am I if I can’t offer any solution towards their problems? I would think I have failed them.

But most often I cut their speech and start telling my own personal anecdotes. Not that they want to hear anything more about me…

The other day a friend was chatting with me through WhatsApp to talk about her relationship. After a long one hour talk, I felt happy because I knew that I had been given the privilege to be trusted enough by her to talk about her problems.

But after a couple of hours, I started to reflect back.

Why did I cut her story? Why suddenly I jumped from her story to mine? She was the one having problems, why did I feel the need to talk about me? That was unfair. If I were her, I would like someone to listen, not someone to mention the things she has done to make it right!

Luckily, she didn’t scream at me, or even told me her hatred; she just thanked me for my advice and moved on, probably to find someone who can keep her mouth shut while she is telling her stories, someone who is definitely not me.

I’m a lousy listener, and to top it off, I’m a lousy friend.

I’m the type of girl who is really lazy to go socialise constantly. I like one on one interaction, I love catching up with old friends, but I don’t really crave to be social. Going out with a lot of friends in groups? Nah, it’s not my thing. I prefer spending my day reading a book in a cafe or ironing while watching the latest news.

Maybe that’s why when I am meeting someone, I tend to talk. Like, just talk. Maybe it’s done to fulfill my female’s word quota for the day.

But after being exposed to befriend my sister’s friends (the ones who are 28-year-old and above), I learn to become a listener.

And it’s fun.

In fact, I am forced to learn to become a listener. Why? Because, they are 28-year-olds, and above. While they are talking about their proposal stories and wedding preparations, I am still at the stage of listening to my peers who have found a keeper or a douche. While they are talking about professional work, I am still at the stage of not-yet-finishing-my-undergrad studies.

But it’s really fun to hear their experiences and learn more about ‘real life’ before you are reaching that age. It’s like being given a sneak preview.

I never know listening is a fun activity to do. You get to laugh, you get to know more stuffs, you get to enhance your knowledge, and basically, you are not spending that much energy to keep thinking on what to say.

I’m still not that good at being a listener, but I have improved my skills. I am still struggling to not dominate a chat, or to see the need to keep coming up with new topics to talk about, but I’m trying.

Everyone can talk, but I think only a few can master the art of being a good listener.

thinking what to write

The world has migrated to typewriters, but I’m still craving for a pen

When people use pen for writing, I use pen for thinking. Here’s how.

Last week I went to try a famous cafe in Brunswick, bringing my brand new Walt Disney’s memoir book, my notebook, my iPad, my sunglasses, and my iPhone. But I forgot to bring a pen.

As soon as I sat down and ordered my latte, I opened my bag to take search for a pen. To my horror, I changed my bag yesterday night, and completely forgot to chuck in one.

But I already have an iPad, so why do I need a pen?

Ironically, I don’t use a pen for writing, I use a pen for thinking.

How?

By turning it.

I learned the art of turning pen by the time I was 8. My older sister came home with a new skill she has gotten from the boys at her school, and I envied her. I sat on my bed, frantically trying to copy her skills of turning pen. After three hours of struggle and countless times of dropping my pen, I gained success.

Soon, I was learning new tricks, and now I have mastered quite a few for them. When I was younger I used to brag about my pen turning skill, and to teach my friends who were keen to learn. Then it became a habit.

In high school, I bet everyone knew that I love turning pen. Teachers got angry at my class because the constant sound of pens dropped, as it was very distracting.

When I receive a pamphlet in shopping malls, I would curl it into a small pipe and start turning it.

Until now, I am almost never seen without a pen, even when I am typing on my Mac. I will type, and during those brief moments between finishing one sentence and starting the next, I would grab a pen, turn it, and go back to typing.

So why am I so obsessed with turning pen?

For one, I believe it makes me think better.

I don’t know if it’s just a habit, or a fact that my right hand feels incredibly itchy, craving to hold a pen right now because I have none to be turned in between my typing. But I believe turning a pen makes me think. It helps me formulate my words and gives me enough time to arrange them before I start to write the next sentence.

If people used to say that we need to stop for a while and think before we speak, turning a pen forces me to stop for three seconds and think before I write.

And to type without one is a very big mistake.

Do you have any habit that enables you to write better? Share your story below.

Tuesday’s Tale: Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti

Here’s another way to be entertained even more with our differences as Adam and Eve’s descendants. Yes, we are programmed differently.

Bill and Pam Farrel wrote a book, Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti (my sister is reading it at the moment), and she has told me this important truth:

Men are wired to think about stuffs in boxes. These boxes in the waffles are separated by walls. They can’t multitask, why? Because they spend one box at one time, and one box only. When men do multitask, they are not multitasking. They just jump from one box to the other quicker than they used to.

Women, on the other hand, are like spaghetti. We are great at multitasking. Why? Because we are used to touch everything at once (spaghetti touch each other all the time). Every problem in our lives are tangled with everything else. If we are thinking about the problem at work, we will still be thinking about that problem even when we are at home with our family.

Interested? Watch this video.

we write to taste life twice

Why we write

To write is to create art.
To write is to reflect on the past, to retell the present, and to recreate the future.
To write is to experience, to imagine, to dream.
To write is to fly, to let yourself consume you for a moment, to believe, and to fall in love once more.

To write is to fear, to be challenged and yet be rewarded.
To write is to learn seeing the mirror, to be honest of who you are, whoever you are.
To write is to smile, to cry, to laugh, to kiss.
To write is an act of loyalty, to not cheat on the game of solitaire.

To write is to taste the beauty of life.
To write is to stay silent in the solitude of a few words, and to speak countless stories for those who don’t have a voice.
To write, is to keep sanity.

And we writers, write.

We write to freeze the moment, and to create a time machine of our own.
We write to to tell a tale in words where no melody can sing.
We write to remember, to revive the memories that unless would be long forgotten.
We write to travel to the places unknown, to the places that do not exist.
We write to make a world of our own, where dragons and unicorns live.

We write to create magic.
We write to gain a sense of eternity.
We write to live forever.
We write to live, and yet we do not live to write.

We write to understand life, and most of all, we write to give life a second chance.

Marcella Purnama ’12.

versatileblogger11

The Versatile Blogger Award

As a blogger, March 25th 2012 is one of the happiest days of my life.

A fellow blogger, Adromache Wilde, who runs the if i die before i sleep blog, just nominated me for this award. (Check No Duck Sauce post for more details).

So what is a Versatile Blogger Award? Basically it’s a blog award that is given by another blogger. The rules are: to thank your nominator, nominate other bloggers, and tell seven truths about yourself.

First of all, let me thank Adromache Wilde for the nomination! I feel truly honoured for receiving this award, and I hope you will enjoy the coming posts as much as you enjoy the previous ones.

Now, I’d like to nominate other bloggers. Some of them may have received the award twice, but it just means that their blogs are so good!

(the blogs are listed not in any particular order)

1. Doctor Quack
I came across Doctor Quack’s blog when I read his post Is childhood innocence a lie? and I have loved his writing ever since. His posts are highly critical and logical, and it is written in a very beautiful way that leaves you wondering about your own values after reading his.

2. Gaasedal’s Weblog
I first read his post titled, Anyone over the age of 35 should read this, as I copied this from a friends status, and it totally blew me away. Saving the planet? Going green? There are many ways to do so, not only by using the recycle-friendly plastic bags…

3. The Naked Listener’s Weblog
It has so many intriguing posts, and they are interesting stuffs. What most amazes me is its About page.

4. Loonyliterature
Like its name, loonlyliterature blogs everything about literature. The posts about Frankenstein are very interesting indeed. Her recent post, How Drama Classes Give Teenagers Work Experience, is a very great read, and I totally agree!

5. Light Touch
This is a photoblog, and I am highly inspired by the beautiful photos that have been taken – it’s like each of them is telling a story! Don’t believe me? See it for yourself: Sunrise Walk.

6. The Tousled Apostle
Her English is just superb. Really. I know English is my second language, and as a result I often use the wrong words and grammar. Her thoughts about life are also fascinating! Especially the ones about her life with Christ. Check this out: love letters of God.

7. Duck’s Formation Blog
I first came across her blog from her post on Mamamia (an online magazine which is based in Sydney). Her thoughts are random, but very entertaining. Check her recent post: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

8. Hear. Think. See. Write
I didn’t come to know his blog by some random encounter, in fact he is one of my best friends’ boyfriend. But anyway, his posts are always honest and sincere, and I really enjoy reading his opinions and everything in between. Check his post on Multitaksing.

9. Alice Radwell
She is a writer, and a good one. She reads more books than I will ever read in my life (I truly believe so). One of my favourite posts is this: Letter to Santa (Requested Repost).

10. I was just thinking…
Great posts. Period. Click this to go to her blog.

11. b for bel
Belinda just has the talent to find the most random stuffs, which odds are, they are hilarious and interesting as well. Check out her blog here.

12. Life to the full
This is my editor in Meld’s husband’s blog, and I totally love his writing. He can make me laugh without even trying to. He’s a doctor, and his trilogy of his bucks’ night is just hilarious. Love it!

13. My Prognosis
My older sister’s blog. She is a doctor, but if she chooses to become a writer, I really believe she can. But anyway, she, too, can write in a humorous way without even attempting it, and her views are more… scientific. Check out her story of no, it’s not domestic violence. (I was standing beside her when this incident happened. Imagine how hard I laughed. *bad sister).

14. Jeff Goins Writer
A professional blogger who write about writing and everything else in between. If you’re stuck with your writing and just in need of good advice or support, his is the blog that I recommend you all to go. Check out his post on Why should you tell the ugly parts of your story, and don’t forget to download his free e-book, The Writer’s Manifesto!

And lastly, let me close with referring back to the one who gave me this award,

15. if i die before i sleep
Honest and provoking blog, some posts talk about the hard issues in life. Go read them.

Okay, so here are seven truths about myself:

1. I am a fan of movies, and I can go all day (literally all day) sitting on my sofa, drinking my hot tea, covered by my comfortable red throw, and watching countless movies in my hard disc. If only I have the time…

2. Not only a fan of movies, I’m a BIG fan of movies. Why? Because I would watch a movie again and again and again, and again. I can almost remember all the scenes, the lines of the actors and actresses before they even speak of them. Because of this, my older sister used to tease me as a movie maniac.

3. I have diagnosed myself as having sister complex obsession. I love my sister too much, I guess, and a few years ago I am so dependent upon her. However, today’s situation is a little bit different. I am not that obsessed anymore, but I am still so dependent on her, having that extreme jealousy when she got in a relationship around six months ago. Oh, boy!

4. I have never set a foot in a club, and never been drunk (and not intending to). My favourite alcoholic drink is port, and no one that I know fancies that (sad…).

5. I am an emotional human being who cries in watching every movie (well, not all). I cried when watching Up, Titanic, The Notebook, and almost all chick flick movies… I sobbed like a little girl when Severus Snape died (yes, you read that right).

6. I’m an outdoor person. I love theme parks. Disneyland, Universal Studio, Everland, Neverland, Anyland, odds are that I will love it. I’m also a fan of museums, seaworlds, and zoos. My perfect date will include going to all of them.

7. I have halux valgus. Not a severe one, of course, but it is a condition whereby your big toe (called the hallux) starts to deviate inward in the direction of the baby toe. So instead of growing straight, your toe bends. This has caused me to feel great pain when I’m walking too long, good amount of blisters when I’m walking with the wrong shoes (closed shoes and ordinary flat shoes count), and it also disables me to wear high-heels for more than 30 minutes.

Ps. Thank you to my readers who keep reading my blog! I really appreciate each one of you guys! You brighten up my dark days =D.

childhood

The youngest child syndrome

Published on Meld Magazine on Friday, 16 March 2012.

THE sister of two very talented and successful women, Marcella Purnama tells us why being the youngest child isn’t always as fantastic as everyone says it is.

Most people say the youngest child has it the easiest. They’re the spoiled ones who can’t do anything wrong, after all. But if you’re the youngest, like me, you’ll know that’s not true. Often it’s actually the opposite. We’re the ones who have it the hardest.

Generally speaking, the oldest child is usually the boss, the planner, the leader. They’re born with that natural instinct to lead and to find out about stuff, whether it be organising a holiday trip or asking a stranger how to get to the supermarket.

They’re the ones the parents turn to when they need something done. They’re usually more confident, more responsible, more stubborn and more opinionated. This is called the Oldest Child Syndrome, and my older sister is a perfect example.

The middle child is usually referred to as the “odd” one. Well, the theory is that the middle child can’t beat their older sibling in authority and they can’t beat their younger sibling at getting their parents’ attention, so they’re stuck in the middle.

Middle children are usually introverts who keep things to themselves. If the oldest child and youngest child have similar personalities, the middle child is usually at the other end of the rope by themselves. At least, my second sister is and she definitely has the Middle Child Syndrome.

The youngest child, as many of you know, is spoiled and more of a follower. They’re forever referred to as the baby – it’s a name that’s stuck with them for life. Even when they’ve grown up, their parents never really understand they’re no longer children.

The youngest child usually demands more attention from their parents and are a bit of a rebel. They’re too used to walking in the footsteps of their older siblings and that makes them want to break free and prove to the world that they’re different. At the very least, I do. This is the Youngest Child Syndrome.

Of course, there are plenty other syndromes, the Single Child Syndrome, Oldest Child being Male Syndrome, Youngest Child being Female Syndrome and whatever other combination you can think of, but in my family, we’re perfect examples of the Older, Middle and Youngest Child Syndromes.

When you have siblings, it’s hard to run away from the inevitable comparisons. I know, I’ve been there, and it’s not that my parents and teachers and friends want to do it, they just do it unconsciously.

When my parents try to correct my mistakes, they start their lectures by saying, “When she was your age, your older sister never…” and it goes on.

When you go to school, you go to the school your older siblings went to years ago. Usually you’re taught by the teachers who taught them earlier and they’ll inevitably make comments like, “Ah, you’re her little sister”. Immediately, deep down, you begin to question whether you’re on the same level as your older sibling. It’s inevitable.

Looking back, I took triple science and extension maths in senior high school because my sister took those same subjects before me. I chose to major in psychology and media and communication when I had the slightest freedom at university partly because I wanted to prove to the world that I was different. I wanted to shout that I was me and not my sister.

My parents know that, for sure. They love each of us for our distinct abilities and talents, but sometimes the unconscious comparison is still there, and when your older siblings are the closest living people to perfection, it gets even harder.

My oldest sister is the multi-talented one. She can sing well, dance well, perform well, play the piano and guitar and be the MC at any event. She is a natural leader, able to organise every party, every holiday trip without a single mistake. She is clever and is currently on her way to completing a PhD in Bioscience in Singapore.

When people look at her, they know she is the soul of the party. With her bubbly personality and her beautiful looks, it was little wonder she was prom queen and the boys worshipped at her feet. She is taken now, married to a wonderful guy a little more than a year ago.

My middle sister is the smart one. Have I told you that her UAI (Universities Admission Index, now called ATAR – Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) was 99.95? She was a science student and is now a doctor in Melbourne. Her friends love her and she always has the right values and morals.

She is a very good writer, and if she chose to be one, I believe her book would be the next number one international bestseller. Not to mention she has a very good eye for fashion and I trust my sister’s opinions even more than my own. She is a very good listener and a philosopher. She is kind, loving and gentle.

In summary, they’re the most perfect people I have ever known and I love them (I’ve also self-diagnosed myself as having a “sister complex obsession”).

But their perfection does nothing for my self esteem.

As far as people are concerned, I will always be someone’s “little sister”, especially when it comes to my middle sister. In high school, my teachers had the highest expectations of me because she held the unbeatable record of having the best UAI in the school’s history.

At home, my parents hope I’ll be more like her – easy to teach and someone who will adopt the right morals in life.

In church, it’s the same thing. I am her shadow. Coming to Melbourne four years after her made me “her little sister” all over again. On Sundays after church I never get asked to go to lunch if my sister isn’t there. Sadly, they never really think of welcoming me as a separate being. They just think of me as “her little sister”.

And maybe that’s why I’m trying so hard to be someone so different to my siblings.

Don’t get me wrong, I am immensely proud to be their little sister, they are everything an older sister can be.

But maybe, a part of me wants to be known as who I really am, without comparison to those who are very dear to me.

Sometimes, people forget that part.

The Hunger Games (2012)

mp’s rating: 3.5/5

The Hunger Games: this is the movie that everyone talks about.

Set up sometime in the future, the government, aka ‘the capitol’ rules over 12 districts. To make these districts tremble in fear and respect the capitol, each year two teenagers (a boy and a girl) aged between 12 to 18 must participate in a brutal killing, where only one winner could live, named ‘The Hunger Games’.

Katniss, upon knowing that her little sister is chosen for the upcoming game, volunteers herself and becomes the female candidate for the district 12. And a boy, Peeta, who has a crush on Katniss since forever, is chosen too.

Then the brutal killing starts.

Twenty-four teenagers from the 12 districts take their parts on the battle, only one would come home alive.

I sat there in the cinema with no less than 300 other people. I was on the third row from the screen.

And like all theaters, the first couple of minutes were filled with commercials and trailers, but because 98 per cent of the seats were filled, they extended the commercial and trailer time to 30 minutes – and when you started watching at 9pm, the movie went for quite a while.

Receiving good ratings, great even, I watched the movie with high hope, fingers crossed on my neck that became sore right after the movie was finished.

It was good. It deserved its good rating. It was just… Dark.

A friend told me that the novel was written for teenagers aged 12-18 years old. Impossible.

Like critics used to say, Harry Potter stopped being a teenager book starting book 5. The Hunger Games, I believed, stopped being a teenager book right from the very beginning.

But only a great story could make me still be awake at 12.36am, trying to decipher the story and Wikipedia-ing the second and third book. And a great story it was.

Actors and actresses were great. Cinematography? Could have been done better with less moving hand-held camera that is a bit disturbing because it is used every time the contestants got into a fight, but overall it was ok. Plot? Interesting, fascinating, striking. But it’s dark.

It is very dark.

It tells us of every flaw of human, of our basic instinct that has been woven since the time of the gladiators.

It tells us what will happen, if humankind fails.

But there’s still hope, no matter how small it is.

If you are looking for some fancy science fiction like The Chronicles of Narnia, or a heroic movie like Harry Potter, this is not it. I really doubt that this movie can be the next Harry Potter (well, who knows, but in my humblest opinion, I am not sure). However, it is still quite a good watch.

Read other reviews:

4 Things The Hunger Games Can Teach Us About the War on Women | Good News

Hunger Games vs Twilight: Why Games rule, … vampires suck | Straits Times

aspergers-love

Saturday’s Story: A letter to my future wife: what I undeserve

Written by Joey Shadel when he was 18, dedicated to his future wife
Published by goodwomenproject

To My Wife,

You’re beautiful. You’re stunning. You’re absolutely perfect in more ways than you know.

I know you’re out there; I know you’re living life just as I am mine. If not now, then someday you will read this letter and gain some insight into who I was before we married. That being said, it might be the only aspect of my life before we met to make you proud.

I say you won’t be proud because frankly I’m not proud either. My heart breaks knowing how I betrayed you with those other women. I regret every touch, every kiss, and every fake “I love you.” I was so consumed with lust that I had mistaken it for love, when you are the only woman I want to ever truly love. For everything, I want to apologize.

Whether it was teenage drunkenness, images on a computer screen, or fantasies in my mind, I defiled the essence of who a woman was. I deliberately turned my back on my calling from God and chose immediate satisfaction. Satisfaction that withered as soon as my pants were back on; satisfaction that left a bowling ball-sized guilt in my chest. She was a physical means to a lustful end, and I had taken advantage of a sinful opportunity. I didn’t see her as a daughter of Christ, and I was becoming her future husband’s greatest enemy. I didn’t treat her body as a temple and took from her what only one man deserved. At the end of the day, my heart was broken for this woman and shattered for you.

If you were in the room, I can only imagine your reaction. You probably wouldn’t watch, you certainly would not want to. Youd probably feel betrayed, like I was cheating on you in front of your eyes. You’d probably be angry, ready to slap me and kick her out of the room for stealing my affection. You’d probably feel your heart being ripped from your body, dropped to the floor, and spat on. You’d probably cry out to God for mercy not to watch, forgiveness for me, and the strength to move on. You’d probably feel broken, expecting more than just an apology. It may never be enough, but it’s all I can say – I’m sorry.

I can see the tears knowing I took from you what only you deserve. You deserve a husband that honors you in his words, thoughts, and actions. I have not been that, and I have begged God for his forgiveness. As promised, he has forgiven me, and I hope you can forgive me, too.

This is a poem I wrote to you, titled What I Undeserve.

What I Undeserve

as i watch the sun rise and the weary sun set,
it reminds me of your eyes all dressed in regret.
not regretful of your past, but regretful of mine,
knowing that it’s been all but divine.

He has chosen to forgive me long long ago,
with a heart of compassion that i see you bestow.
its one of many reasons i get lost in your soul,
trying to save the heart you’ve inadvertently stole.

i can’t wait til the day i see your shining face
all dressed in white at a methodical pace.
walking toward me to begin our life as one,
blessed by the Father, Spirit, and Son.

You are what I don’t deserve. God’s grace will bring us together when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Yet I suppose it wouldn’t be grace if I did.

My prayer, at this present time, is that each day God is preparing my heart for you. Marriage is for life, so may what we’ll have last forever. I pray that Christ is not only your Lord, but that He is also your Savior, blessing you with the fruits of His Spirit. My worry is that if you’re in love with Him, then I will be such a disappointment. So I pray that each and everyday I will become less like myself and more like Christ, and that the fruits of His Spirit will also grow in me to naturally honor both Him and you, his daughter.

I know you’re not perfect either. I know you’ve made your mistakes too, perhaps with sins very similar to mine. If your heart is broken, I pray God will repair it. If you’re burdened from sin, I pray He will take away the guilt. Someday I want to look you in the eyes, forgiven, forgiving, and sharing with you a love the past cannot hinder.

I can’t wait to know you inside and out. I want to hear all your favorite stories, music, and movies. I can’t wait to meet your family and learn who you were before we met. I praise God for your beautiful soul and the blessings He will pour into my life through you. Someday we will share a life together. We’ll move on from the past, love every moment of the present, and gratefully await all the memories of the future.

“Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique.” Song of Songs 6:8-9.

Love Your Future Husband,

JPS

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D (2011)

mp’s rating: 2/5

As a fan of Chinese war movies, I have to say that I am disappointed.

The movie was shot in 3D (which is a bit weird, Avatar in 3D was understandable, but a Chinese action movie in 3D? My first reaction was “it’s ridiculous”), and not being a fan of 3D (in fact I kind of hate it), it was quite a let-down (I would have watched the 2D version if there’s any).

The plot of the movie was vague and frankly, it had no story at all. I didn’t understand about the ‘Dragon Gate’, the legend and myth that it had buried a city of gold, and the flying swords. Even the protagonist (the one who was played by Jet Li) didn’t have any background whatsoever. He just suddenly the master of martial arts who was going against the bad guys. Ehm.

However, the movie is saved by the cinematography. The techniques are quite good (too good, perhaps, it looks very unreal). By the end of the movie, I find myself longing of the next Chinese war movies like 14 Blades, Three Kingdoms, or Warlords. It’s been quite a long time since I last watched a really good Chinese war movie.

If you like Chinese action movies, it was quite good, but if you don’t like a good plotted movie, it might let you down.

Weekly Wraps

Today, I would introduce the new notion for this blog: The Weekly Wraps. It’s basically about the best posts or articles that I’ve read throughout the week (because, I know, lately I browsed and read a lot), so I might as well share the inspirational stuffs that I have read.

Not a new idea, I know, but it’s fun to experiment stuffs!

1. A letter to my sister on the birthday she never had | MamaMia

This is such a heartbreaking story because, well, who would want to be looking forward to an eventful day when you know that the person who should be celebrating is no longer here? Such a lovely, honest letter from an older sister.

2. Singapore, I love you. Here’s why. | Hufftington Post

I have always had a love-hate relationship with Singapore. First of all, my oldest sister lives there, so it’s for my own good sake that I don’t say anything defaming Singapore, and second, it’s… Singapore. It’s clean, it’s fine, and it’s a ‘fine’ city, but it’s also small, small, and small city. It has everything, but offers so little. I don’t even know if those contradicting statements can make sense.

Anyhow, Singapore is the country that I have been countless times (okay, perhaps more than 10), and since my oldest sister and her family, as well as my special friend works there, I have been confronted to love Singapore even more. Well, I guess, I’m trying. The food is great, the Hokkien Mie is to-die-for, but I just can’t simply imagine myself living in Singapore – yet. Will this attitude change? Who knows.

3. 4 Principles to Survive Adulthood | Relevant

This is a very powerful message. Like, seriously, I should have known those principles, they are common sense, but seriously, I think I need someone to tell it to my face for them to really sink it. Curious? Read the article.

4. How old should you be to marry? | Relevant

I grew up reading Detective Conan comics. One character was married at the age of 20. I wanted that too.

But how old should you be when you are married? According to the Economist, more women flee from marriage because: a) they have better jobs and education, and b) there are a shortage of sperms, like, decent guys. Women are marrying later and later in life, if ever they are going to marry.

The today’s ideal age to be married is around 28 for men, and 26 for women (based on my personal survey to some friends). Me? I am thinking of 23, or 24, but…

5. ‘Before I Die…’ | Hufftington Post

This is the most random post ever, but it is a nice twist. I retweeted Huff’s post, saying, “Considering that it’s 2012, I would like to get married before I die.” How about you?

6. The Secret to Effortless Writing | Jeff Goins Writer

I have been a huge fan of Jeff Goins. He is such an inspirational writer, and I keep on coming back again and again towards his website. If you’re a writer or a blogger, he has a hundred tips to help you improve your writing.

7. 50 Quotes from Jim Rohn for a better life | Janet Callaway

I’m a fan of quotes, and to emphasise that enough, I will let you soak Jim Rohn’s wisdom on living your life.

dean's list

She’s a dean’s list student, and I’m proud of her

To my best friend that I have just found, thank you for being such a great inspiration and supporter.

I was 16 when I was first met her. We went to the same high school and got stuck in the same class in the 11th grade. Like all typical Chinese Indonesians, she has black hair and small eyes, and she was genius, still is.

Her sweet seventeenth birthday was the grandest of us all, and until today I still can remember her in her magnificent purple dress. She was stunning.

During high school we were quite good friends. We were in the same drama group. We served in the school’s chapel together, and we were both the pianists. We took Mathematics Extension 2. And she aced the subject.

She always has a brilliant brain for Maths, and today, she got in.

She got into Dean’s list.

She’s one of the top 3 percent.

Coming to the same university as her has taken me by surprise, because clearly, Melbourne was not her first choice.

But she ended up being here, and I’m really grateful that she did.

To some extent, her story is a lot like mine. Well, for romantic stories anyway. Over the years of friendship we have found striking similarities we often joked about, making her one person that knows exactly how I feel and what I’m going through.

But before that, let me tell you what I know about Livia Benedict.

Livia and I, at her sweet seventeenth birthday party

Livia is an Indonesian-born-Chinese who grew up in the busy metropolitan city, Jakarta. She has two older brothers, one of which will soon tie the knot. She came from an upper class family.

Even though she is one of the Eve’s descendant, to me she always is the more rationalist compared to all of us.

But before uni, I never really get to know her that well.

What I adore about Livia is her values. We share a lot in common, in terms on how we think and see life.

And unlike most of Indonesian international students, she has a part time job even though she never needs it, and keeps on striving for work experience.

My editor in Meld once told me that I have become Westernised in my idealism, which makes me unable to connect fully with my typical Indonesian peers. But I am happy to say that Livia understands me. She really does.

The first time I got an interview for an internship in the Royal Children’s Hospital, she gave me words of encouragement and asked me how it was right after the interview ended.

We traveled to places, mostly venturing new cafes, and we talked, a lot.

Odd enough, we both are not the type that crave for each other constantly. I think it’s fair enough to say that we are both individualists; we don’t mind not talking to each other everyday but having a good quality catchup once in a month.

And she is such a great listener, and supporter.

A couple of times she reads my writing, even though I know that she doesn’t really like to read. She told me once that the only novel she reads is chick flick, and resents the others.

Two years ago, we were both enrolled in the best university in Australia. She is a Commerce student, majoring in economics and finance, while I’m taking arts.

She teaches the little children. That’s no easy task.

She is fond of denim and shoes, and always dresses nicely.

Over the past two years, I have seen her grow, and become even more mature. She has flourished in her Christianity, and I can see that portrayed on her words.

She has become a fine young lady.

And today, as I sit on one of those benches, seeing you receiving the honour of the prestigious dean’s list, I have nothing more to say than I am proud of you. As a friend, I’m so, immensely proud.

I know that your name will be forever listed in the university’s history, and this is just another babbling on a mere blog post of mine, but I hope one day when life gets tough, you’ll remember how awesome you are today, combating those ‘kiasu’ Asian students for a place in the award.

You’re a fine young lady, and I know you will always be no less than being great.

Photo by Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy/Getty

Watching at cinema alone. Yay or nay?

The world is filled with the socialist and the individualist. Tell me if you ever watch at the cinema alone, and I’ll tell you which one are you.

A friend of mine said “WHAAAAAAAT” out loud to his computer screen when I told him I wanted to watch The Hunger Games alone.

“It is just sad,” he said.

While thinking that watching alone at the cinema is a perfectly normal thing to do, it turns out that not everyone shares my thought.

Even worse, I’m the Eve’s descendant, and he’s the Adam’s.

Watching alone . Photo by Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy/Getty

I have always believed that guys are perfectly comfortable in watching a movie alone. If no one wants to join him for a movie, he will happily get his fix quickly just by himself.

Girls, on the other hand, will love someone to accompany her to do something, from shopping, window shopping, grocery, and yes, to watching movies.

“Watching a movie at the cinema is something to do with other people,” my friend said. “Because when you do it alone, you can just do it at home.”

But we go to the cinema for the movies that we can’t watch at home, right?

At this second, I still don’t see why watching at the cinema alone is such a wrong thing to do.

It’s not like people who go to the movies together are actually interacting with each other. They watch the movie, not talking to their neighbours.

Sure, you can go have lunch beforehand, or go talk about the movie over coffee afterwards, but some alone time with yourself is not wrong, right?

“Why don’t you wait until Sunday? I’m sure the others also want to watch the same movie. If you have watched it first, it is like you are ahead all of us, which is not fun,” he added.

Now, I’m really confused why watching alone at the cinema has a really bad stigma.

It’s like, “Look at her, she can’t find anyone to watch with, thus she watches alone,” or “I don’t think she has any friends, if not, she will not come alone.”

I think going for a trip by yourself is too underrated. I, for one, love to travel and have some quiet moments by myself. Going for coffee with friends is great, and it’s essential, but having a date with my book over coffee is equally great, and essential.

In the post Why writing can be dangerous, Jeff Goins said that every writer is an individualist. Writing requires solitude. It’s all about being alone. It creates a sense of hyper-individualism.

Writers are so used to do everything alone, and to some extent I highly agree on this.

Don’t get me wrong, we are still in need of social interaction, and we still crave socialism, but we need more time to be alone compared to our non-writer friends. Maybe that’s why I love going to go to a cafe by myself, and my peers think that I’m a pathetic, lonely human being.

And watching a movie alone is something that we are used to do. When we are asked to go to a pre-screening and write 700 words about it, we almost never get a double pass ticket. Let me rephrase it, we never get a double pass ticket. It’s just another job to be done, alone, and we enjoy it. Why not, we get the privilege to watch a movie even before it’s available to the public, for free.

In the end, my friend and I just need to agree to disagree. After all, there’s no life at stake.

What do you think of people who watch at the cinema alone? Is it okay, or pathetic?

Why customers are the best marketers

If you read my post on Tuesday about Simon Sinek’s talk on Ted, I AM the perfect example of buying a company’s belief, and not what they are offering. Man, I bought a brand new iPad 3 without even bother to look at the specifications!

Apple will be very rich with people like me. I’m not a tech savvy, I have no idea how to, ehm, what’s the term… for..mat…ting? formatting your computer? Anyway, I’m very bad with technology. I used to have a Toshiba Portege laptop, and I have not even the slightest idea about how to use antivirus. Luckily, my nightmare with Windows ended when I decided to pack my loyalty and migrate to Apple.

Currently, I have an iPod Nano (2nd generation) that is still functioning very well despite its old age (eight years old for technology stuffs are considered old, right?), a MacBook White whose age is around two to three years old, an iPhone whose age is two years old, and a brand new iPad 3 whose age is… four days? Oh, I’m a big Apple fan.

my brand new iPad 3

Why? I have no idea. Maybe because it makes my life so much easier. My MacBook can be turned off and turned on in 10 seconds time. Do you know how long does it take for my Toshiba Portege to load? 10 minutes. No joke. And now with the invention of iTunes, iCloud, FaceTime, Apps, and everything else, life is good.

I have seen writers and journos bring their iPads everywhere, and to be honest I quite envy them. They use Kindle (whatever that is, I still haven’t played much with each of the apps that I have downloaded), they read in public transports, they don’t need to bring their heavy laptop to write; well, an iPad is enough.

And you know what? Zite is the best app ever. Like. the. best. It enables you to make your own personalised magazine and just read what you want to read. You don’t need to browse through every newspaper or magazine to get your daily reading fix, you just need to go to one app and BAM, everything is done for you so that you can scroll through your favourite blogger’s website and CNN news stories at the same time. How cool is that.

Yet I don’t know anything about iPad. I have no idea about its resolution, or in what ways it differs with iPad 2. I don’t know how good it is, and I don’t even know what to do with an iPad (like, iPhone is a mobile phone, iPod is an MP3 player. But, iPad?)

But I trust Apple, and that’s enough for me. I believe Apple has done its best to satisfy its customers’ needs, and yes, I am a very satisfied customer, even though at the moment I’m just using 10 per cent of iPad’s full capability. Apple should be very happy having me on board their train.

I don’t know about you, but, I believe in Simon Sinek’s words. Before you promote your products, first of all you need to sell what you believe. Those who have the same beliefs will follow you. Not for you, though, but for themselves.

And that’s the best marketing ever. Because when you follow someone for yourself, you are willing to promote what you believe in with blood, sweat, and tears.

Figuratively speaking, I just did.

Tuesday’s Tale: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire actions

This is 18 minutes that will change your life. I believe it has changed mine.

An email was sent to me regarding the link towards this video, and thinking that it’s another long talk, I procrastinated a bit until I finally clicked the play button. Oh boy, I have watched this video three times in one week.

So what is so powerful about this video?

It challenges how you see life, and, in a sense, how you would you live your life.

I have always believed in the what-you-offer-on-the-table is-only-as-good-as-it-is theory. I have always believed that when I have given my loyalty towards something (e.g. Apple; I have iPod Nano, MacBook white, iPhone 3GS, and just yesterday, I bought iPad 3) or someone, I follow them for the sake of them. But no, I just realised that I have followed them, not for them, but for myself.

The first thing to do is not bombarding people with your products and what you will offer, the first thing to do is share what you believe, and those who believe the same things as you do will follow you. It’s that simple.

What’s more, “it is not based on psychology, it is based on biology.”

Go watch the video, I promise you won’t regret it.

“We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”
Simon Sinek

“Now let me give you a successful example of the law of diffusion of innovation. In the summer of 1963, 250,000 people showed up on the mall in Washington to hear Dr. King speak. They sent out no invitations, and there was no website to check the date. How do you do that? Well, Dr. King wasn’t the only man in America who was a great orator. He wasn’t the only man in America who suffered in a pre-civil rights America. In fact, some of his ideas were bad. But he had a gift. He didn’t go around telling people what needed to change in America. He went around and told people what he believed. “I believe, I believe, I believe,” he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause, and they made it their own, and they told people. And some of those people created structures to get the word out to even more people. And lo and behold, 250,000 people showed up on the right day at the right time to hear him speak.

How many of them showed up for him? Zero. They showed up for themselves. It’s what they believed about America that got them to travel in a bus for eight hours to stand in the sun in Washington in the middle of August. It’s what they believed, and it wasn’t about black versus white: 25 percent of the audience was white. Dr. King believed that there are two types of laws in this world: those that are made by a higher authority and those that are made by man. And not until all the laws that are made by man are consistent with the laws that are made by the higher authority will we live in a just world. It just so happened that the Civil Rights Movement was the perfect thing to help him bring his cause to life. We followed, not for him, but for ourselves. And, by the way, he gave the “I have a dream” speech, not the “I have a plan” speech.”
Simon Sinek

“Most people don’t know about Samuel Pierpont Langley. And back in the early 20th century, the pursuit of powered man flight was like the dot com of the day. Everybody was trying it. And Samuel Pierpont Langley had, what we assume, to be the recipe for success. I mean, even now, you ask people, “Why did your product or why did your company fail?” and people always give you the same permutation of the same three things: under-capitalized, the wrong people, bad market conditions. It’s always the same three things, so let’s explore that. Samuel Pierpont Langley was given 50,000 dollars by the War Department to figure out this flying machine. Money was no problem. He held a seat at Harvard and worked at the Smithsonian and was extremely well-connected; he knew all the big minds of the day. He hired the best minds money could find and the market conditions were fantastic. The New York Times followed him around everywhere, and everyone was rooting for Langley. Then how come we’ve never heard of Samuel Pierpont Langley?

A few hundred miles away in Dayton Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright, they had none of what we consider to be the recipe for success. They had no money; they paid for their dream with the proceeds from their bicycle shop; not a single person on the Wright brothers’ team had a college education, not even Orville or Wilbur; and The New York Times followed them around nowhere. The difference was, Orville and Wilbur were driven by a cause, by a purpose, by a belief. They believed that if they could figure out this flying machine, it’ll change the course of the world. Samuel Pierpont Langley was different. He wanted to be rich, and he wanted to be famous. He was in pursuit of the result. He was in pursuit of the riches. And lo and behold, look what happened. The people who believed in the Wright brothers’ dream worked with them with blood and sweat and tears. The others just worked for the paycheck. And they tell stories of how every time the Wright brothers went out, they would have to take five sets of parts, because that’s how many times they would crash before they came in for supper.

And, eventually, on December 17th, 1903, the Wright brothers took flight, and no one was there to even experience it. We found out about it a few days later. And further proof that Langley was motivated by the wrong thing: The day the Wright brothers took flight, he quit. He could have said, “That’s an amazing discovery, guys, and I will improve upon your technology,” but he didn’t. He wasn’t first, he didn’t get rich, he didn’t get famous so he quit.”
Simon Sinek

drawing by Tjokro Aminoto, given randomly last year

one year

People are usually crazy about anniversaries. Japan’s first memorial. 9/11′s tenth year remembrance. Birthdays. Wedding anniversaries.

Having lived another year after that eventful date is yet another event, and the cycle goes on. For some people, anniversaries are used as an excuse to love their partners and do some gigantic things on that one day, and not caring them for the other 364 days. It’s the same as Valentine’s day, basically. When the day comes, everyone talks about it, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

And on this day, one year ago, someone asks me a special question.

drawing by Tjokro Aminoto

I’ve been counting days, and months, and suddenly it’s been a year. It’s funny how short a year may be, and how long it is when we are actually looking towards it.

And why do we always commemorate anniversaries and do something special on this day? Partly, because it’s quite costly to do gigantic things every day, but secondly, I believe, we all have been setting that date in our mind and waiting for it to come.

We have the anticipation. We have the urge to go to that day. We wait. We wait with all our hope for that day to become magical. It’s something to look forward to.

People have no idea about the future, and the notion, that feeling of certainty that the date of our next anniversary will soon come approaching, that makes us keep on going towards the future. It makes us hope more, it keeps us strong when we are going through bad things. In some sense, you are waiting for that special day to come when everything will be better, even though you are going through some difficult situations.

It gives us hope.

As a little child, I was always so excited the day before my birthday. Would people send me messages at 12am? Would they give me birthday presents? Would there be a surprise party waiting for me tomorrow? And after I have my birthday, I would be looking forward for my next birthday. Why? Because it gives me hope about the future, and it makes me happy.

And for couples, it is such a lovely thing when they say, “We have been together for six years, and tomorrow is our seventh year anniversary,” or “We are going to go to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary.” You know, it’s lovely.

When I hear my friends telling their love stories, I always ask, “How long have you guys been together?” If they break up in less than a year, I would probably think that they are not committed (even though in some circumstances there are quite some issues). If they are together for more than a year, good, you guys are working on your relationships, and if they’re together for more than three years, I would probably assume that they are going to get married.

Plus, anniversaries are there to remind you that you have been able to go through all these 365 days of craziness, you will be able to go through another 365 days to your next anniversary.

It gives you reassurance; it gives you memories, experience, gratitude; it gives you the right to rejoice and celebrate, because you have kept holding on for another year.

Many more years will come when we will celebrate our next and next anniversaries, but let’s look back a while see what we have been fighting and accomplished so far.

Going through 365 days are not easy, and we still have so many thousands of days ahead of us.

But in the mean time, let’s just smile and enjoy the moment.

Gen (wh)Y: saving the lost generation

Published on Upstart Magazine on 15 March 2012, many thanks to the editors there who think this article is worth to be published!

As Gen Y kids will soon become adults; they will either be saviours of the world, or the lost generation. Marcella Purnama reflects on life as a Gen Y-er.

This is the great Gen Y: those who are born during 1984-2002. We are the target of marketing, the pioneers of embracing new technologies, and according to Dr. Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders, we are the ‘Millennial’ generation.

We are the ones who do not hold onto the idealism of our parents. Instead, we make our own life paradigm, setting our own value systems, and imposing them on our working style. These features make us unique, but they are either destroying us or being our trump cards.

And here is why.

Life Paradigm: ‘I will change the world’.

Being born right in the middle of the Gen Y period, I grew up with the paradigm that something will always be wrong with the world. We have learned our history: about Hitler and racism, about the apartheid politics in the West, about poverty in India, about September 11 and terrorism.

We are taught this simple idealism that the world is broken, and we can fix it. In fact, we should fix it.

Countless times we are reminded that ‘one man can make a difference’, that we should ‘be the change we want to see in this world’.

And we believe it, for we grew up witnessing the success tales: from Thomas Alpha Edison who failed 999 times, to Steve Jobs who is said to be the father of the ‘third apple that changes the world’. We are told that Mark ‘Facebook’ Zuckerberg and Bill ‘Microsoft’ Gates used to be nobodies, and that nobodies like us, can one day be somebody.

Value Systems: ‘See what works for me’.

What I know of myself is this: we do not adjust ourselves to go out into the world; we adjust the world to fit to ourselves.

We want our lectures and tutorial hours to be flexible; we want to call in sick for work because it’s raining.

Why?

Because we have been taught that we are number one; we grew up with the constant praise from teachers and parents that say that we are.

Instead of, ‘It’s good, but I know you can do better’, people will say, ‘That is great, I am so proud of you!’.

It’s a double-edged sword.

Career / Working Style: ‘Must suit / interest me’.

We believe that our passion can make us rich overnight by watching too many talent shows, from American Idol to Britain’s Got Talent and MasterChef Australia. We also believe that instant stardom on YouTube will make us famous – think about Justin Bieber.

But we are not taught that sometimes passion wears out, that passion alone is not enough. We are not taught of the real working life, and we demand instant success.

Sometimes, we change jobs as often as we change clothes.

Of course, every generation before us might have held the same life paradigm. Youth are always the ones who can undo unresolved tensions of the past, to make the world better. But with Gen Y’s values, attitudes, and lifestyles, we still have our own pros and cons.

We are the visionaries; we grasp new changes, new ideas quickly, and we will think out of the box.

We are exceptionally good at multitasking, for we have been trained well: doing homework while watching television, or opening multiple tabs of Facebook, Twitter, university schedules, and Microsoft Word to finish our essays.

We are the high achievers – instead of doing our best, we are taught to be the best: why come second, if we can be first?

Unfortunately, we are thought of as spoiled and conceited; and we think of our generation too highly, think of ourselves too greatly.

We are cliquish; we may have seven hundred Facebook friends and a thousand Twitter followers, but we have little true friends.

We can change the world, but sometimes it’s not for the sake of the world. It’s for the sake of our pride, our good names, and our thirst of being someone.

We are unstable; we are too used to changes, and at times we do not have the commitment in jobs, or worse, relationships.

And sadly, I am perfect living proof that Gen Y pressures work to the extreme. Without realising it, I have been influenced by every paradigm.

Our upbringing might make us believe in these values, however, the choice to keep holding onto them or not, still lies entirely in our hand.

Marcella Purnama is journalist at Meld Magazine, and a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Media and Communication) student at Melbourne University. You can read more of her writing on her blog, and follow her on Twitter: @MarcellaPurnama.

Read the original version on http://www.upstart.net.au/2012/03/15/gen-why-saving-the-lost-generation/.

photo by Tjokro Aminoto

Saturday’s Story: The last ‘I love you’

Written by: Debbi Smoot

This photo was by Tjokro Aminoto on our trip to Daylesford one fine Saturday. There was an old couple whose husband was holding the umbrella because it rained, and the wife unpacked their lunch. They didn't utter a word, but it was such a beautiful event to watch.

Carol’s husband was killed in an accident last year. Jim, only fifty-two years old, was driving home from work, the other driver was a teenager with a very high blood alcohol level. Jim died instantly. The teenager was in the emergency room for less than two hours.

There were other ironic twists: It was Carol’s fiftieth birthday, and Jim had two plane tickets to Hawaii in his pocket. He was going to surprise her. Instead, he was killed by a drunk driver.

“How have you survived this?” I finally asked Carol, a year later.

Her eyes welled up with tears. I thought I had said the wrong thing, but she gently took my hand and said, “It’s all right; I want to tell you. The day I married Jim, I promised I would never let him leave the house in the morning without telling him I loved him. He made the same promise. It got to be a joke between us, and as babies came along, it got to be a hard promise to keep. I remember running down the driveway, saying ‘I love you’ through clenched teeth when I was mad, or driving to the office to put a note in his car. It was a funny challenge.

“We made a lot of memories trying to say “I love you” before noon every day of our married life.

“The morning Jim died, he left a birthday card in the kitchen and slipped out to the car. I heard the engine starting. Oh, no, you don’t, buster, I thought. I raced out and banged on the car window until he rolled it down.

“Here on my fiftieth birthday, Mr. James E. Garret, I Carol Garret, want to go on record as saying I love you!”

“That’s how I’ve survived. Knowing that the last words I said to Jim were ‘I love you!’