I’ve moved!

To all my readers, I’ve moved! Yes, I have finally bought my own domain,www.marcellapurnama.com, and starting now I will be posting my random thoughts about life there. I’m so excited!

Only a handful of my posts from this blog is transferred to the new website, but do not fear, I will never delete this blog so you will be able to browse through my old posts anytime. But I wouldn’t post new stuffs in here, so just bear in mind that this blog would resemble a little bit of ghost town…

Remember, the website is now: www.marcellapurnama.com.

And if you’d like to, please subscribe to my new website by clicking this link (via email) or through RSS! I’m still trying to figure out how to transfer all the subscribers there, but so far it’s quite troublesome and I don’t want to be giving you any spam, so if you’d like to get in touch with me, don’t forget to subscribe, ok?

And if you haven’t, show some love and like my Facebook page! That way you can easily get up to date to what I’m publishing without really having to leave your Facebook chat!

It’s really an honour to be able to write, to entertain, and to be read by you all. I’ll be seeing you all in the new website real soon!



Some updates…


Hellow there, long time no see!

I haven’t been here for quite some time, but somehow the blog is still alive! I’m amazed!

Just some updates to get the ball rolling:

  1. I have moved my blog to marcellapurnama.com and so far, it’s been great! I have a lot of freedom to choose my the design of my blog and do the configuration, and people have been really supportive of this. Thank you! Check it out if you haven’t! (Because I wouldn’t be updating this blog anymore)
  2. I’m graduating from university soon. (whoops). Tell you the details on my new blog soon.
  3. Some popular new articles:

That’s it for today. Do check out my new blog if you haven’t: marcellapurnama.com. I can guarantee that it’s much nicer! :)

Updates, updates, updates!

It’s been two weeks since I officially moved to my new website! If you have not yet taken a look, here are some of the story updates:

1. It’s that simple: not all women love chocolate

While everybody thinks that everybody else in the world loves chocolate, I am living in denial. Because I don’t.

2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises might be the epic conclusion we all have been waiting for, but it falls short of my expectation.

3. Which superhero will you date?

Contagious superhero fever is currently possessing the whole world. Girls, who will you choose as your date?

4. Unpaid internships – unethical exploitation or a necessary evil?

WE all want them, but are unpaid internships just a form of accepted exploitation? Marcella Purnama shares her thoughts.

5. Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother (Book Review)

Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother is a story of Chinese parenting towards the extreme. And yet, it rings a bell, and I was surprised on how true this is.

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (book review)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is not your ordinary novel. Why? Because it’s written from the point of view of an Asperger’s.

Until next time!



Ps. Subscribe to my new website to keep you updated! You can also like me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @marcellapurnama.

The 3 people I adore

Let’s play a game. Name the famous people you adore, they can be alive or dead, and they can’t be someone that you know in personal basis (friends, family, mentor, or colleagues). How many do you have?

I have three.

Curious to know who my heroes are?

Jeff Goins

photo by Ashley Goins, taken from goinswriter.com

A writer on goinswriter.com, Goins has influenced my writing a lot, as he shares his life journey. While coming to his blog accidentally, I end up browsing on his site for hours, downloading his first ebook, The Writer’s Manifesto, and buying his just published book, You are a writer (so start acting like one).

While there are countless of people who blog about writing and dropping hints and tips here and there, I haven’t found someone whose tips are simple, and yet able to stir something inside my heart. He’s the crazy one who tells me that I must believe that I am a writer, a term that I’m still uncomfortable with because deep down I still think that being a writer is not self-given, but it’s earned.

Mitch Albom

A die-hard fan of Mitch Albom, I have read all his novels at least twice. While his novels are easy to read, the stories that are written are very sincere, and every holiday I crave to read at least one of his books again. Five People You Meet in Heaven is my personal favourite.

But not only a writer with best-seller novels, Mitch Albom is also a sport journalist, and he is actively involved in many charity projects.

Randy Pausch

Everyone who knows me must have heard me quoting Randy Pausch at least once. I mention his name a lot in this blog, as well as to many other people. I have always encouraged people to read his book – The Last Lecture, that I accidentally discovered while browsing in a deserted bookshop, and to watch his final lecture.

As a virtual reality professor in Carnegie Mellon, Randy Pausch has inspired many people about living. If I can have dinner with someone who has died, it would be him (not Walt Disney as I used to answer). While having lost his battle towards pancreatic cancer years ago, to this day I would still watch his lecture at least once every three months, and re-read his book regularly.

He is truly someone that I look up to.

Do you have any famous people that you adore?

Ps. Dear readers, I’m currently migrating my site to: www.marcellapurnama.com. Look out for the official web-warming invitation in the next week!

Tuesday’s Tale: For all the times

Today’s video is about one of the greatest persons in our lives: our mother. I believe we don’t need to wait for another Mother’s day to thank her for all the things she has done.

This short film is dedicated to the amazing women in our lives whom we call mom. This Mother’s Day, we want to remind you of the countless sacrifices she made for you.

– Jubilee Project

The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

mp’s rating: 6.8 /10

It’s so hard to rate this movie and to decide if whether I like it or not. Why? Because with all due respect, this film is a ‘remake’.

Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy, and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors, his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Written by Nicky Mitchell

So you see, I have a problem here. I love Tobey Maguire’s representation of Spiderman in its first trilogy. I feel Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane is perfect with Peter Parker.

I am already loyal to them.

Of course, I like Emma Stone way more than Kirsten Dunst. Andrew Garfield also plays the role well. But “Spiderman” has just lost its spideyness, for me.

He’s no longer a timid, nerdy boy who fought for survival and love his uncle dearly. He’s a teenager who instantly got the power.

I have always loved Spiderman. It’s one of my favourite superheroes, second after The Dark Night. What I like about Spiderman is that he’s human. And he makes mistakes. He’s vulnerable, and yet takes responsibility and becomes strong. He has humble beginning.

He’s not just a hero. He’s more than that.

With this movie, I didn’t really see all those characters. It’s all about Peter Parker who pities himself of having no parents and be teenager-ish. While it’s good movie, somehow it just wrecks my concept of Spiderman.

You see, I’m loyal to whatever that’s original. A nuisance, but true.

The effects and graphics are quite good, and it’s definitely one of those blockbuster movies. So go to the cinema and tell me what you think.


The Flowers of War (2011)

mp’s rating: 8.2/10
plot: 8.5
acting: 8
effects: 8

Having been a fan of war movies for as long as I can remember, The Flowers of War is an impeccable story, full of brutality that scars whoever who watches it, yet hopeful enough to remind us the things worth fighting for. If not forever, at least, people would remember that for the two hours of the movie.

In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John (Christian Bale) arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor. Written by msmith5484

“I want to make you a promise,” John (Christian Bale) said to one of the prostitutes. First captured by her beauty, and later by her warm heart, John looked at her earnestly.

“When this war’s all over. I’ll come find you. I’ll bring you home,” he said.

The prostitute, named Yu Mo, forced a smile. “After tonight, my body is not mine anymore,” she let down a tear. “Bring me home today.”

(The quotes might not be the exact words said, as it is written from my memory.)

The Flowers of War is cruel, brutal, and yet beautiful. Your heart would cry. Bleed. When children see pain that’s reserved for a lifetime. When one readies to die not for one’s country, but for another life. When she smiled while supposed to cry. When seeing what one can do for love, honour, and dignity…

If I did not think on how I would look if my make up is smudged, I would have cried a river. Spending half of the movie biting your lips and holding on your tears was not an easy feat.

And let there be no more war.

“We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.”

All Quiet On The Western Front, Ch. 5 by Erich Maria Remarque

The second-last exam I have ever needed to take

This is the story of how I died.

No, it’s not as bizarre as it sounds, and it’s just the tale of how my bones were buried in the exam hall, collected, and resurrected after walking out of the sacred gate of every-student’s-nightmare.

No, I haven’t graduated. But next semester I only have one exam, which officially made this the second-last time I have ever had to sit down on a pain-striking experience that destroyed every mental barrier I have ever built in my twenty years of studying career.

June 16th, 2012. The comatose experience.

It was Saturday. Such a wrong day to be having a coma. While the others went to the cinema, had brunch with some friends, or went to the zoo, I woke up at 8.30am, realising that I only had two days to live.

Panicked, I took a long shower, and went to a journalism training at 10. I would feel guilty if I didn’t go. Even though I only had two days to live.

Two days.

I was agitated for the next two and a half hours, trying to console my mind for the fact that I still have two days to live. I hadn’t finished studying, heck, I hadn’t even finished 20 per cent of it.

Halfway through the training, I took my leave. Went to the city to have brunch. Wrong choice.

Drinking my too hot cup of latte made me stressed, and I totally forgot the fact that I hate excessive cheese – it made me wanted to puke. My toasted flatbread with mozzarella and meatball came. I tried hard to finish it during the next 30 minutes. Then, I desperately wanted to go home from what it seemed like food poisoning.

At about 2, I had an emotional breakdown. Instead of studying, I was on the phone with someone who desperately trying to calm my nerves. At 3, I lied when saying I wanted to go to bed, and finished reading a novel instead.

I waited.

Waited for the last minute panic to kick in and shove some sense down my throat. I needed to study. I really needed to study. And yet my brain refused to become sponge-like to absorb the lessons.

Turned on the music. Put the iPod on speaker. Maximum volume.

I spent the next 30 minutes yelling some songs and doing the crazy dance. At 4, I was desperate. I took a long shower and decluttered my study table. I gulped down Vitamin C.

65 per cent. I told to myself. I just need 65 percent to do well in this subject. I pleaded. 65.

At 5.30, I started to study. Flicked through my notes and tried to gulp a series of alien language. Nothing was retained. I made a cup of hot green tea, and tried to calm myself down again. It was 6. I tried to do the multiple choice questions, and everytime I only managed to get four rights out of 10. Totally going to be a long night.

My sister came home. Youtubed some songs. Became crazy – me from my studies and her from her work. Sang some classic songs and shook the apartment for the next three hours. Now, it was 12.

I raised a white flag and went to bed.

June 17th. The last attempt.

Woke up at 8. Went to church. Went home. Had lunch. Attempted to study. Failed. Attempted to study some more. Ended up throwing my rage at some poor friends. Attempted to study. Took a nap instead. Attempted to study. Managed to cover 40 per cent of the subject.

Took a long shower. Studied. Had dinner. Studied. Distracted by some friends who played the role of a devil. Turned on some loud music. Yelled the songs. Did some crazy dance.

At 11, I gave up, and pathetically received my destiny of dying tomorrow.

June 18th. The day I died.

I woke up as late as I could in order to not feel guilty on how I spent my last day. I washed the dishes, listened to a podcast, and did a last minute one-hour scanning of some of the subject materials.

Never in my whole life I was this unprepared for an exam. Never in my whole life I accepted defeat against studying.

I took a long shower, and began the long journey to the sacred exam hall.

Death marks. Suffocating air. Crazy winter weather. Perfect day to die.

I prayed that the professors would remember that I did my best; I prayed that all the students would know that I was in their shoes. I prayed for future exam-takers to respect my bones lying right there.

Reading time. Panic. Then, the last two hours of my life. Air was depleting; life was fading.

I fought to the last drop of my blood, answering the questions that I knew, guessing to the very best of my ability for the ones that I didn’t.

The last five minutes. I closed my eyes.

Zombie-like, I left my seats. I knew I have died together with the finished exam paper. I speedwalked through the resurrection gate, and was granted a new life.

Farewell, my brave second-last-exam-taker self. I would forever remember you as a noble companion.

Love plus Japanese dating game (NDS): when love is just a game

With the advancement of technology people do not need to work extra hard to get a girlfriend. It is just one Nintendo DS away.

Love plus Japanese dating game on Nintendo DS

Love plus Japanese dating game is “insanely popular” among the boys, both single and taken, which features virtual girlfriend that can be taken anywhere.

You can kiss her (by kissing your NDS screen), pat her, touch her (using the stick), and do everything that couples do. Heck, you can even marry her.

The Sydney Morning Herald paper says:

“I’m so happy so many people were able to witness this,” SAL9000, the man who married his virtual girlfriend, wrote in a letter to tech culture blog BoingBoing.net, calling it a milestone in his life.

“Some people have expressed doubts about my actions, but at the end of the day, this is really just about us as husband and wife. As long as the two of us can go on to create a happy household, I’m sure any misgivings about us will be resolved.

“The two of us hope to continue to let our love for each other grow as time goes on.”

While the game is said to train the boys on how to treat women, the extent on which it helps is still questionable.

For me? I am glad that the game is only released in Japanese language. I am grateful that he doesn’t own a Nintendo DS (not that he would play the game anyway). And considering the pros and cons, I would never give my consent for him to play this game, ever.


I think one needs to know where to draw the line between fantasy and real world.

And for the girlfriends who give permission for their boyfriends to play this game? Their call. I, for one, wouldn’t want to share his love with anything. Love is not for sale. It’s especially not bought by playing games.

A virtual girlfriend? Seriously?

Wouldn’t he compare? To a virtual girlfriend that’s more timid, more perfect, more beautiful, more handy – a girlfriend that’s able to be carried around on his pocket to anywhere?

Wouldn’t his eyes transfixed towards a screen? Wouldn’t half of his time taken away?

Wouldn’t the game poison his mind?

Or so I believe.

If normal video games can do harm to humans, so does a dating game. Plus, it deals with his emotional side. The damage, if present, is unimaginable. He can even marry his virtual girlfriend, go to honeymoon, and…

I know some people would say that, “It’s just a game.” But I wouldn’t want him to play with fire.

Will you allow your partner to have a virtual girlfriend?

Harry Potter: The Exhibition Singapore 2012 (review)

Die-hard Harry Potter fans may tragically undergo magic withdrawal syndrome this year, but apparently Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.’s offer to feature the props in the movies is quite a disappointment.

Before entering the Harry Potter Exhibition at ArtScience Museum. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

From now until 30 September 2012, ArtScience Museum located in Marina Bay Sands complex, Singapore hosts the exhibition as a pioneer among its Asian neighbours.

The exhibition features the “artifacts in settings inspired by the film sets”, as if allowing the audience to go on “a journey through the famous wizard’s world and experience first-hand all the wonders of Hogwarts™ such as the Gryffindor™ common room, Hagrid’s hut, and the Great Hall.”

It also offers the opporunity to “pull a Mandrake from its pot, toss a Quaffle in the Quidditch™ area, and encounter centaurs, Buckbeak™ the Hippogriff and a giant Acromantula spider in the Forbidden Forest.”

Yet as a die-hard fan, the exhibition was disappointing.

Purchasing the tickets (SG$24 for adult tourists, SG$20 for Singaporeans), I was hoping to fill the gap JK Rowling has made by finishing the series. Yet as I walked through the relatively small exhibit, I was taken aback by the injustice that the exhibition has done to Harry Potter.

Writings on the floor right outside the gate of exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

Entering the exhibition, we saw the Weasley’s flying car right above our head. We were then greeted by a crew member who was holding the sorting hat, and a couple of volunteers were chosen to see where they belong in the iconic Hogwart’s houses. After the mini introduction, rules, and regulation (no photography or videography of any sorts), we entered another room and watched some clips from the eight movies to refresh our memories on who Harry Potter is.

The Weasley’s flying car at Harry Potter Exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

The next set: Hogwarts Express. We saw the train in black and red, complete with its smoked-ejecting chimney and familiar Harry Potter soundtrack. So far, the exhibition has succeeded to make the visitors excited.

We entered ‘Hogwarts’. There were some pictures hung on the wall, on which only one out of five was moving. There was the iconic fat lady who sang a high-tone pitch in order to break the glass, a scene that we watched in the third movie. There was Griffindor’s common room: Harry’s bunk with the real robes and casual clothes that he wears, as well as Ron’s.

Clothes were the main props of the exhibit – I still have no idea why they think the fans would be excited to see the real pink jacket that Hermione wore in the third movie. Or Cornelius Fudge’s clothes. Or Umbridge’s. Frankly, I wasn’t that interested to see the ‘real’ clothes that they wore.

Enter the next set, and we could see Madame Sprout’s garden, Professor Trelawney’s classroom complete with the Harry Potter’s tea cup having “the grim”, Gilderoy Lockhart’s motionless photographs and books, Professor Lupin’s Jack-in-the-box boggart, Professor Snape and Slughorn’s potions, and Umbridge’s pink office – complete with the cats on the plates that (disappointingly) did not move. Each set was of two meters length.

We were then able to pull out a motion-less Mandrake from its pot, followed by not-really-disturbing cry. There was a Quidditch-ish set on which we could toss a Quaffle. To the left there was a weird-looking Buckbeak not on its finest days.

Entering Hagrid’s hut, there was an oversized cloth that Hagrid wore, with the pot and a cracked dragon’s egg. In the next set we saw the not-so-real-looking Centaurus, Horntail’s head that looks really unreal, very fake-looking acromantula, and a baby thestral.

Next, we arrived at the dark forces section, where Dementor, which was pictured with white skeletons covered with black clothings, and the Death Angel in the graveyard (featured in the fourth movie) were present. There were not-quite-broken flying key (unlike the broken half-wing in the first movie), the Wizard Chess replica (which was quite cool), and a spot featuring all Voldemort’s horcruxes. Sadly, the horcruxes are not as grandeur as I’d like them to be.

We walked to the Great Hall, on which there were flying candles. There were the Triwizard cup, Dobby and Fawkes’s replicas, and the Godric Griffindor’s sword. We saw the Deathly Hallows – the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection stone, and the Elder’s wand.

The eight movie posters at Harry Potter Exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

As we entered the souvenir’s shop, I was taken aback by the price tags. It was a total ripoff as everything becomes triple the price from the original’s. Plus, the quality of the goods are half as good as what have been sold in Universal Studio Orlando.

There were a lot of TV clips featured from the eight movies, as well as each character’s clothes and wands. However, its lack of attention to details disappointed me.

Of course, my perception on this exhibition is influenced by the fact that I’m a die-hard fan of Harry Potter, and I just went to Universal Studio Orlando – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which features everything to the last detail. Picture the perfect Hogwarts castle replica, the moving Mandrake with its piercing cry, Moaning Myrtle crying in the public bathroom, Hogsmeade and butterbeer, the flawless moving pictures on Hogwarts wall, the perfect Gargoyle replica outside Dumbledore’s office, the Dementors which presence literally give you goosebumps for suddenly everything went really cold and scary, the moving and talking Sorting Hat, and…

That said, the exhibition was quite good considering the price and the experiences it offers. Yes, it falls way behind my expectation, but overall, I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10 – not yet a failure.

For more information about the ticket prizes and and general visitor’s information, go to ArtScience Museum website. 

Still googling for more reviews? Read another review on the exhibition by Dejiki Nicholas.

Universal Studio Orlando Gallery (personal photos)

The Hogwarts Express at Universal Studio Orlando

Hogwarts castle at Universal Studio Orlando

Hogsmeade village at Universal Studio Orlando

Drinking Butterbeer

The Sorting Hat

The Gargoyle outside Dumbledore’s office

The moving and crying Mandrake

The Harry Potter merchandise – Griffindor robe and scarf, and the broomstick

Brave (2012)

mp’s rating: 8/10
plot: 8
acting: 8
effects: 8

Seriously, IMDB? 7.8 rating? Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes? 76 per cent? Well, high-five! I gave it a solid 8!

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, “Brave” features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right. Written by Walt Disney Pictures

I came to watch Brave with a lot of expectation, and once again, Disney has done it!

Great, unexpected plot, which features a love-hate relationship between Merida and her mother, is brilliantly done. While it’s equipped with a little bit of humour, it has managed to capture the most important thing – love between family.

Considering the producer has done movies that always say something meaningful – for example movies about father-son relationship (Finding Nemo), adventures after loved one dies (Up), and friendship and global warming (Wall-E), Brave is a wonderful addition towards his collection.

If you haven’t watched it, sprint to the nearest cinema, spare two hours, bring along some tissues, and watch this movie. Watch it with your Mom, if you can!

Ps. My Mom cried watching this movie. It’s that good. She rarely (or almost never) cried while watching a movie.

I have finally launched a Facebook page!

For those of you who love Facebook, this is good news.

I have launched a Facebook page. That means by liking my page, you will be able to follow my published posts easily, without needing to check out your e-mails constantly.

Here’s my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mp.writer.

And if you haven’t, become my Twitter buddy @marcellapurnama!

Thank you for all your love and support! I couldn’t possibly do this (or have the guts to do this) without you :).

60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile

Previously published on marcandangel. Written by Marc.

Here’s a selection of 60 tiny love stories recently submitted to our sister site, Makes Me Think, that not only made us think, but warmed our hearts and made us smile too.  We hope they do the same for you.

  1. Today, my 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to me, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?” I paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.” “Sweety,” my grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more now than I used to when we were young.” MMT
  2. Today, I walked my daughter down the aisle. Ten years ago I pulled a 14 year old boy out of his mom’s fire-engulfed SUV after a serious accident. Doctors initially said he would never walk again. My daughter came with me several times to visit him at the hospital. Then she started going on her own. Today, seeing him defy the odds and smile widely, standing on his own two feet at the altar as he placed a ring on my daughter’s finger MMT.
  3. Today, I walked up to the door of my office (I’m a florist) at 7AM to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, “I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday and I don’t want to let her down when I’m away.” He then placed an order for 52 Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet. MMT
  4. Today, I told my 18 year old grandson that nobody asked me to prom when I was in high school, so I didn’t attend. He showed up at my house this evening dressed in a tuxedo and took me as his date to his prom. MMT
  5. Today, when she woke up from an eleven month coma, she kissed me and said, “Thank you for being here, and telling me those beautiful stories, and never giving up on me… And yes, I will marry you.” MMT
  6. Today, I was sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich for lunch when an elderly couple pulled their car up under a nearby oak tree. They rolled down the windows and turned up some jazz music on the radio. Then the man got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door for the woman, took her hand and helped her out of her seat, guided her about ten feet away from the car, and they slow danced for the next half hour under the oak tree. MMT
  7. Today, I operated on a little girl. She needed O- blood. We didn’t have any, but her twin brother has O- blood. I explained to him that it was a matter of life and death. He sat quietly for a moment, and then said goodbye to his parents. I didn’t think anything of it until after we took his blood and he asked, “So when will I die?” He thought he was giving his life for hers. Thankfully, they’ll both be fine. MMT
  8. Today, my dad is the best dad I could ask for. He’s a loving husband to my mom (always making her laugh), he’s been to every one of my soccer games since I was 5 (I’m 17 now), and he provides for our family as a construction foreman. This morning when I was searching through my dad’s toolbox for a pliers, I found a dirty folded up paper at the bottom. It was an old journal entry in my dad’s handwriting dated exactly one month before the day I was born. It reads, “I am eighteen years old, an alcoholic who is failing out of college, a past cutter, and a child abuse victim with a criminal record of auto theft. And next month, ‘teen father’ will be added to the list. But I swear I will make things right for my little girl. I will be the dad I never had.” And I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. MMT
  9. Today, my 8-year-old son hugged me and said, “You are the best mom in the whole entire world!” I smiled and sarcastically replied, “How do you know that? You haven’t met every mom in the whole entire world.” My son squeezed me tighter and said, “Yes I have. You are my world.” MMT
  10. Today, I have an elderly patient who is suffering from a severe case of Alzheimer’s. He can rarely remember his own name, and he often forgets where he is and what he said just a few minutes beforehand. But by the stretch of some miracle (perhaps the miracle of love), he remembers who is wife is every morning when she shows up to spend a few hours with him. He usually greets her by saying, “Hello my beautiful Kate.” MMT
  11. Today, my 21 year old Labrador can barely stand up, can’t see, can’t hear, and doesn’t have enough strength to bark. But it doesn’t stop her from wagging her tail a mile a minute every single time I walk into the room. MMT
  12. Today is our 10th anniversary, but since my husband and I are both recently unemployed we agreed not to get each other any gifts. When I woke up this morning, my husband was already up. I walked downstairs to find beautiful wild flowers brilliantly arranged all over the house. There must be 400 flowers total and he didn’t spend a dime. MMT
  13. Today, my high school boyfriend, who I thought I’d never see again, showed me the pictures of the two of us he kept in his Army helmet while he was overseas for the last 8 years. MMT
  14. Today, my 88-year-old grandmother and her 17 year old cat are both blind. My grandmother’s guide dog leads my grandmother around the house, which is normal. But lately, he’s been guiding her cat around the house too. When her cat meows, he walks up and rubs against her, and then she follows directly behind him to her food, to the litter box, to the other end of the house for a nap, etc. MMT
  15. Today, I watched in horror through the kitchen window as my 2-year-old slipped and fell head first into the pool. But before I could get to her, our Labrador Retriever, Rex, jumped in after her, grabbed her by her shirt collar and pulled her to the shallow steps where she could stand. MMT
  16. Today, my older brother has donated bone marrow 16 times to help treat my cancer. He communicates directly with my doctor and does it without me even asking or knowing when he has an appointment. And today my doctor informed me that the treatment appears to be working. “Cancer cells have been drastically reduced in the last few months.” MMT
  17. Today, I was driving home with my grandfather when he suddenly made a u-turn and said, “I forgot to get your grandmother a bouquet of flowers. I’ll pick up one from the florist at the corner down here. It’ll only take a second.” “What’s so special about today that you have to buy her flowers?” I asked. “There’s nothing specifically special about today,” my grandfather said. “Every day is special. Your grandmother loves flowers. They put a smile on her face.” MMT
  18. Today, I re-read the suicide letter I wrote on the afternoon of September 2nd 1996 about two minutes before my girlfriend showed up at my door and told me, “I’m pregnant.” Suddenly I felt I had a reason to live. Today she’s my wife. We’ve been happily married for 14 years. And my daughter, who is almost 15 now, has two younger brothers. I re-read my suicide letter from time to time as a reminder to be thankful – I am thankful I got a second chance at life and love. MMT
  19. Today, and every day for the last two months since I returned to school with burn scars on my face after being hospitalized for nearly a month for injuries I sustained in a house fire, a red rose was taped to my locker when I got to school in the morning. I have no clue who is getting to school early and leaving me these roses. I’ve even arrived early myself a few times to try to figure it out, but each time the rose was already there. MMT
  20. Today was the 10 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. When I was a kid he used to hum a short melody to me as I was going to sleep. When I was 18, as he rested in his hospital bed fighting cancer, the roles were reversed and I hummed the melody to him. I haven’t heard that melody since, until last night. My fiancé and I were turned on our sides looking at each other in bed when he started humming it to me. His mom used to hum it to him when he was a kid. MMT
  21. Today, a woman who must have her voicebox removed due to cancer is enrolled in my sign language class. Her husband, four children, two sisters, brother, mother, father, and twelve close friends are also enrolled in the same class so they can communicate with her after she loses her ability to speak aloud. MMT
  22. Today, my 11-year-old son speaks fluent sign language because his best friend, Josh, who he grew up with from the time he was an infant, is deaf. Seeing their genuine friendship evolve and grow over the years MMT.
  23. Today, due to Alzheimer’s and dementia, my grandfather usually can’t remember who my grandmother is when he wakes up in the morning. It bothered my grandmother a year ago when it first happened, but now she’s fully supportive of his condition. In fact, she plays a game every day in which she tries to get my grandfather to ask her to re-marry him before dinnertime. She hasn’t failed yet. MMT
  24. Today, my dad passed away from natural causes at the age of 92. I found his body resting peacefully in the recliner in his bedroom. In his lap, facing upright, were three framed 8×10 photographs of my mom who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the love of his life, and apparently the last thing he wanted to see before he passed. MMT
  25. Today, I am the proud mom of a blind 17-year-old boy. Although my son was born without his sense of sight, it hasn’t stopped him from being a straight A student, a guitarist (whose band just surpassed 25,000 downloads of their first album), and a loving boyfriend to his long-term girlfriend, Valerie. Just today, his younger sister asked him what he likes about Valerie, and he said, “Everything. She’s beautiful.” MMT
  26. Today, I waited on an elderly couple. The way they looked at each other… you could see they were in love. When the husband mentioned that they were celebrating their anniversary, I smiled and said, “Let me guess. You two have been together forever.” They laughed and the wife said, “Actually, no, today is our 5 year anniversary. We both outlived our spouses and then life blessed us with one more shot at love.” MMT
  27. Today, my father found my little sister alive, chained up in a barn. She was abducted near Mexico City almost 5 months ago. Authorities stopped actively searching for her a few weeks later. My mom and I laid her soul to rest. We had a funeral for her last month. All of our family and friends attended the ceremony except my father. Instead he kept looking for her. He said he “loved her too much to give up.” And she’s back home now because he never did. MMT
  28. Today, there are two senior boys at my school who have an openly gay relationship. They have experienced verbal humiliation on a daily basis for the last two years, yet they continue to hold each other’s hand in the hallways. Despite threats and vandalized lockers, they showed up to prom this evening wearing matching tuxedos. Seeing them on the dance floor, smiling from ear to ear in spite of all the haters MMT.
  29. Today, my sister and I were in a bad car accident. My sister is Mrs. Popular at school – she knows everyone. I’m a bit of an introvert – I hang-out with the same 2 girls all the time. My sister immediately posted a comment on Facebook about our accident. And while all her friends were commenting, my 2 friends showed up independently at the scene of the accident before the paramedics arrived. MMT
  30. Today, my fiancé returned home from his last tour of duty overseas. Yesterday he was just my boyfriend, or so I thought. Almost a year ago, he mailed me a package. He told me I wasn’t allowed to open it until he got home in two weeks. But then his tour got extended for another 11 months. Today, when he got home, he told me to open the package, and just as I pulled the ring out of the box, he got down on one knee. MMT
  31. Today, my 12-year-old son, Sean, and I stopped by the nursing home together for the first time in several months. Usually I come alone see my mother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. When we walked into the lobby, the nurse said, “Hi, Sean!” and then buzzed us in. “How does she know your name?” I asked. “Oh, I swing by here on my walk home from school all the time to say hi to Grandma,” Sean said. I had no idea. MMT
  32. Today, I found an old hand written note my mom wrote when she was a senior in high school. On it is a list of qualities she hoped she would someday find in a boyfriend. The list is basically an exact description of my dad, who she didn’t meet until she was 27. MMT
  33. Today, I’ve been chemistry lab partners with one of the most beautiful (and popular) girls at our school since the beginning of the school year. And although I never would have had the courage to talk to her otherwise, she’s totally down to earth and sweet. We spend our time in the lab chatting, laughing, and getting A’s (she’s smart too), and just recently we started talking a little bit outside of class too. Last week when I heard that she didn’t have a date to our homecoming dance, I desperately wanted to ask her, but chickened out every time I was about to. Then this afternoon, at lunchtime, she ran up to me and formally asked me to ask her to the dance. So I did, and she kissed me on the cheek and said, “Yes!” MMT
  34. Today, on our 10th anniversary, she handed me a suicide note she wrote when she was 22, on the exact day we met. And she said, “For all these years I didn’t want you to know how foolish and unstable I was back when we met. But even though you didn’t know, you saved me. Thank you.” MMT
  35. Today, my grandpa keeps and old, candid photo on his nightstand of my grandma and him laughing together at some party in the 1960’s. My grandma passed away from cancer in 1999 when I was 7. This evening when I was at his house, my grandpa caught me staring at the photo. He walked up, hugged me from behind and said, “Remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.” MMT
  36. Today, I sat down with my two daughters, ages 4 and 6, to explain to them that we have to move out of our 4 bedroom house and into a 2 bedroom apartment for awhile until I can find another job that pays well. My daughters looked at each other for a moment and then my youngest daughter turned to me and asked, “Are we all moving into the apartment together?” “Yes,” I replied. “Oh, so no big deal then,” she said. MMT
  37. Today, I met the prettiest woman on a plane. Assuming I wouldn’t see her again after we made our connections, I told her how pretty I thought she was. She gave me the most sincere smile and said, “Nobody has said that to me in 10 years.” It turns out we’re both in our mid-30’s, never married, no kids, and we live about 5 miles away from each other. We have a date set for next Saturday after we return home. MMT
  38. Today, I’m a mother of 2 and a grandmother of 4. At 17 I got pregnant with twins. When my boyfriend and friends found out I wasn’t going to abort them, they turned a cold shoulder to me. But I pressed forward, worked full-time while attending school, graduated high school and college, and met a guy in one of my classes who has loved my children like his own for the last 50 years. MMT
  39. Today, on my 29th birthday, I returned home from my 4th and final tour of duty overseas. The little girl who lives next door to my parents (who isn’t so little any more – she’s 22 now) met me at the airport with a long stemmed rose, a bottle of my favorite vodka, and then asked me out on a date. MMT
  40. Today, my daughter accepted her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. He is 3 years older than her. They started dating when she was 14 and he was 17. I never liked the age difference when they were kids. When he turned 18 a week before she turned 15, my husband insisted they break-up. They maintained a friendship, but went on to date other people. Now at the ages of 24 and 27, I’ve never seen two people more in love. MMT
  41. Today, after I heard that my mom stayed home from work with the flu, I stopped by Wal-Mart on my way home from school to pick her up some canned soup. I ran into my dad who was already in the check-out line. He had 5 cans of soup, NyQuil, tissues, tampons, 4 romantic comedy DVDs and a bouquet of flowers. My dad makes me smile and MMT.
  42. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching 2 lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced 8 years ago. MMT
  43. Today, I’m only 17, but I’ve been with my boyfriend, Jake, for 3 years, and last night was the first time we spent the night together. We’ve never ‘done it,’ and we didn’t last night either. Instead, we baked cookies, watched two comedies, laughed, played Xbox and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Despite the warnings from my parents, he’s been nothing but a gentleman and a best friend. MMT
  44. Today, when I tapped the side of my wheelchair and told my husband, “You’re the only reason I want to be free from this contraption,” he kissed me on my forehead and said, “Honey, I don’t even see that thing.” MMT
  45. Today, my grandmother and grandfather, who were both in their early 90’s and married for 72 years, both died of natural causes approximately one hour apart from each other. MMT
  46. Today, my dad came to see me for the first time in 6 months since I told him I’m gay. When I opened the door he had tears in his eyes and he immediately gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m sorry, Jason. I love you.” MMT
  47. Today, my autistic little sister spoke her first word at the age of 6 – my name. MMT
  48. Today, at the age of 72, nearly 15 years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother remarried. And since I’m only 17, I’ve never seen her so happy in all my life. It’s inspiring to see two people so in love at their age. MMT it’s never too late.
  49. Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together.  The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been 6 feet tall.  Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor.  The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together.  They danced the rest of the night. MMT
  50. Today, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my daughter calling my name. I was sleeping in a sofa chair in her hospital room. I opened my eyes to her beautiful smile. My daughter has been in a coma for 98 days. MMT
  51. Today, exactly 10 years ago almost to the minute, I stopped at an intersection and a car rear ended me. The driver was a student at UF, just like me. He was cordial and apologetic. As we waited for the cops and the tow truck we chatted and started laughing together about all sorts of stuff. We exchanged numbers and the rest is history. We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. MMT
  52. Today, I was working in a coffee shop when 2 gay men walked in holding hands.  As you might expect, heads started turning.  Then a young girl at the table next to me asked her mom why 2 men were holding hands.  Her mom replied, “Because they love each other.” MMT
  53. Today, after 2 years of separation, my ex-wife and I resolved our differences and met for dinner.  We laughed and chatted for almost 4 hours.  Then just before she left, she handed me a large envelope.  In it were 20 love letters she wrote me over the last 2 years.  There was a post-it note on the envelope that said, “Letters I was too stubborn to send.” MMT
  54. Today, I was in an accident that left me with a gash on my forehead.  The doctors wrapped a bandage around my head and said I have to keep it on all week.  I hate wearing it.  Two minutes ago my little brother walked into my room wearing a bandage on his head.  My mom said he insisted that he didn’t want me to feel alone. MMT
  55. Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer.  My best friend lives 2000 miles away and called to comfort me.  While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?”  “I would surely smile,” I replied.  And then he rang my doorbell. MMT
  56. Today, as my 91-year-old grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospital bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was.  He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.” MMT
  57. Today, as I watched my 75-year-old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like.  I hope I find it someday. MMT
  58. Today, exactly twenty years ago to the hour, I risked my life to save a woman who was drowning in the rapids of the Colorado River.  And that’s how I met my wife – the love of my life.  MMT
  59. Today, on our 50th wedding anniversary, she smiled at me and said, “I only wish I had met you sooner.” MMT
  60. Today, my blind friend explained to me in vivid detail how beautiful his new girlfriend is. MMT

And, of course, be sure to check out Makes Me Think for more thought-provoking love stories like these.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012)

Mp’s rating: (barely) 6/10
Plot: 5
Effects: 7

Seriously, IMDB? 7.2 rating? Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes? 76 per cent? I barely scored a pass for this one.

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still trying to get back to the Big Apple and their beloved Central Park zoo, but first they need to find the penguins. When they travel to Monte Carlo, they attract the attention of Animal Control after gate crashing a party and are joined by the penguins, King Julian and Co., and the monkeys. How do a lion, zebra, hippo, giraffe, four penguins, two monkeys, three lemurs travel through Europe without attracting attention and get back to New York? They join a traveling circus. Their attempts to get back to New York are consistently hampered by the Captain of Animal Control who wants to make Alex part of her collection. Once they make it back to New York Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman realize that they want to be part of the traveling circus.

by Anonymous

The movie should be funny, and on some occasions it did succeed to be funny, and yet a lot of times it overdid it.

While anticipating another witty, hilarious movie, I was given raw in some, overcooked in the other parts. It was unreal. It had too much colour and sound effects that instead of complimenting my watching experience, it shut down my excitement.

The plot was half-baked. I didn’t see enough conflict, didn’t witness enough story. Just. too. unreal. to. be. true.

The effects, although cool at first, gave me headaches. During one scene I even closed my eyes because I couldn’t stand the absurdity of the comedy.

Nevertheless, I know some people who would actually love this movie. It’s just not my cup of tea.

In sum, the movie’s quite okay for entertainment and watching-another-Madagascar-movie-sake, if there’s no other movie to watch. Going to watch Brave (2012) this weekend. Stay tuned for more reviews!

Man on a Ledge (2012)

Mp’s rating: 7.2/10
Plot: 7.5
Acting: 7.5
Effects: 7

An ex-cop turned con threatens to jump to his death from a Manhattan hotel rooftop. The nearest New York Police officer immediately responds to a screaming woman and calls dispatch. More Officers arrive with SWAT and tactical command along with fire-fighters. The police then dispatches a female police psychologist personally requested to talk him down from the ledge. However, things aren’t as straightforward and clearcut as they appear to be.

by unknown.

Brilliant. Great plot, great action, great twist. In sum? Great movie.

Watching Man on a Ledge feels like watching Source Code all over again. Not as good as the latter, but still, it was still a fantastic watch. It’s been quite some time since I last watched a great movie.

While presenting the usual type of action movie – cops, deceptions, and uncovered truths, this movie is also equipped with some twisted plots – the one that leaves you guessing.

Sam Worthington is flawless in his acting. Definitely makes it to my anticipated-actors list.

Watch it. You won’t be sorry.

Year three, Semester one reflection

After another long and hard semester, I have finally come to the final leg of my journey. My last semester. Here in university.

For starter, graduating in six months seems like quite a bizarre concept – what should I do next? Go to Honours? Take a year off to travel? Find work? Do Master in journalism? Or what? Yet as nervous as I am, I am excited of the possibility of living my life – not only to dream big but to actually have the time and resources to pursue it, and leave a dent in this crazy, hectic world.

But first let’s review these past six months.

I spent the last six months trying new things. Meeting David Choi (Youtube artist). Interviewing Glenn Fredly (Indonesian singer). Changing my blog’s design. Buying the new iPad. Reading more news. Subscribing even more.

That said, this semester is unmistakably the worst semester in my whole university career. Not only I have taken too many activities, the subjects are much way harder compared to first and second year’s. I did not anticipate that. I had 14 hours of uni and 16 hours of internship at Royal Children’s Hospital every week. That said, I was also a blogger at Farrago and a journalist/columnist at Meld Magazine. Life’s never been more hectic.

image by Mike Flanagan at cartoonstock.com

Food for Healthy Planet 3 (breadth)

If there are University of Melbourne students among you who are thinking to take this subject as a breadth, a word of caution – it’s a super expensive subject (with subject fee cost higher than any of my other subjects).

In this course I learned about water scarcity, protein diet, food security, animal welfare, and much more. Every week the subject required us to attend the two-hour lecture preached by guest lecturers in their own expertise – including Peter Singer.

Yet starting from the first week there were some hiccups happening. During the first five weeks, my official tutor did not come (and replaced by some random guy for the last four) due to sickness, and the last six weeks’ tutorials did little to help us understand about the course. Frankly saying, the tutorials were super boring. In the end only five (out of more than twenty) students came to the tute.

The materials, although interesting, were not well-structured. In my opinion, there were some weird assignments (e.g. the media requirement of writing a discourse analysis and a news article – which actually came to my advantage as I am a media student) that did not really help us learn about the food for healthy planet.

In sum, for what this subject offers and what we are paying – this subject is not worth it. I did get good marks in the end, though.

My attendance throughout this course: two lectures out of 12, eight tutes out of 12.

Writing Journalism (Media and Communication)

This is the hardest subject I have ever taken in my whole university life (or second after Creative Writing subject that I took in my first year). My tutor is a well-known journalist in Australia, and she is a very harsh marker. (I end up scoring quite low for this subject).

That said, I didn’t really learn much about journalism compared to what I’ve gained during second year’s Introduction to Media Writing subject and my work experience at Meld. This subject emphasised what I already know and yet failed to actually teach me how to write. I felt like making the same mistakes again and again, without really knowing how to fix them.

Maybe I’m not a journalist after all?

My attendance throughout this course: four lectures out of 12, ten tutes out of 12.

Research Methods for Human Inquiry (Psychology)

This is the subject that I hate the most. From every bone and every drop of my blood, I hate it. Really, really, hate it.

It’s the statistics subject requirement for Psychology, and in sum, I hate it. I have always hated statistics. I know I wouldn’t be able to become a psychologist if I don’t understand how to do statistics, but this truth can’t easily erase my hatred towards statistics. I have been forced to learn about p-value, one-way ANOVA, regression analysis, correlation, and some other words in the statistic dictionary. Not only that, the lecturer was super boring and made everything ten times harder than it actually was. Oh how I hate it.

This subject’s exam was my last, and for the whole weekend (the exam was on Monday) I underwent a total mental breakdown. On Saturday I ended up yelling some songs while turning on my speaker to the max, Youtubing some classic songs such as I don’t wanna miss a thing – Aerosmith, When you say nothing at all – Ronan Keating, Art of love – Guy Sebastian, I will always love you -Whitney Houston, and much more.

On Sunday I flicked through my notes, confused on what to learn as there were lectures, lecture problem sets, lecture review questions, multiple choice review questions, and lab review questions for each of the two-hour 12 lectures. Too many things to learn for a 60-multiple-choice-question exam.

That night I uttered my desperate prayer, and went to bed. On Monday I had headaches.

Then I survived.

I haven’t gotten my results yet, but I’m hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

My attendance throughout this course: three lectures out of 12, ten tutes out of 12.

Developing Persons in Social World (Psychology)

I love this subject. I have the best lecturers in the world. Professor Jeannete Lawrence and Professor Agness Dodds – you guys are gems, really. I have learned a lot about how humans interact with the environment and how the environment affects our own development. Fascinating.

I know I’ve done well for the case study assignment, but I’m not too sure about my exam. I’m hoping to get good marks on this (because I really like this subject), but we’ll see in the next couple of days. Will inform you as soon as I know the results.

My attendance throughout this course: nine lectures out of 12, six tutes out of six.

Preparing for the last semester

This winter holiday I have so many things to do – searching jobs and internships, updating blog to become more professional-like, editing resume, launching Facebook page (yes, finally! Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks!), deciding whether to pursue further studies or work, writing more, and having fun along the way. Life’s too short to be lived otherwise.

“I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left.”

Randy Pausch

Internship at Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital

Last week, I have officially finished my three-month internship at Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. As a final year undergrad Psychology student, I have been given the privilege to see the Psychology field before I decide to do a full sprint towards it. It was a fantastic experience.

Let me update you with the background story.

Last year, as an ambitious second-year student at the University of Melbourne, I did something that everyone else is doing throughout their university career – searching for internship. As I have limited Psychology colleagues to ask about internship experiences, I began to google “Psychology internship in Melbourne”. A couple of websites come out, but most of require their interns to have PR. Clicking through some pages, I finally arrived at the Center of Community Child Health (CCCH) internship page.

I immediately decided to apply for an internship here. First reason, because it’s THE Royal Children’s Hospital. The best hospital in Oceanic area. Ranked number 1.

Second reason, because it’s five minutes away from my apartment.

Third reason, because I have always loved developmental psychology and learning the way environment influences a child’s development.

The only flip side is, I need to be in my final year undergrad to apply.

So earlier this year (in January), I was having my holiday in Indonesia and I remembered about the internship. I applied, eager to be accepted, but modest enough to not break apart in tears if declined. The call came, but my Australian number was off. An e-mail came, and I panicked, thinking that they might not want to accept me if I was not yet back in Australia.

A week later I came back to Australia and just hours after I reached home the call came. Scheduled for interview next week. Went to the interview. Met my lovely mentor. Got accepted.

My CCCH / MCRI intern badge at Royal Children’s Hospital

Throughout these three months, I have learned a lot about Psychology which lessons I have never been exposed to before. In uni I am always thought of the theories, on the basics of research and essentials stuffs such as learning how to read the tables and applying statistical methods correctly. But there, I saw the practical stuffs in front of my own eyes.

I attended countless clinics. I sat down with doctors and speech pathologists when they were assessing a child’s behaviour problems. I observed psychologists running some tests to see if whether the little boy got ADHD. I visited public schools and saw some interventions going on.


I learned how researchers plan their projects and commence towards them. I mailed out at least 400 questionnaires, checked half of them, rang participants about some missing questions and their changed addresses. I learned how hard it is for researchers to do a research.

I made friends. The people who work there were very supportive and friendly towards me, I almost didn’t want to leave when I came for my last day. They even threw an afternoon party for my 20th birthday.

Of course, I’m not going to lie. There were days when you felt like you didn’t want to come. Winter mornings, piling assignments, sleepless nights – they did occur. And since my internship’s unpaid, these reasons sound justifiable. Coming there to work nine to five, two days per week, for three months without getting paid is not easy feat.

But I’m glad, and extremely grateful that I have this internship. It’s truly an eye-opener for me and invaluable asset for my future. And one that I would keep in mind when choosing whether to do Honours, Master’s, or work, in whatever field, next year.

So to all my mentors and colleagues in CCCH, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for giving me such a lovely time there.

Tuesday’s Tale: I will wait for you

When this video was posted by a friend on Facebook, I was reminded of my own writing a couple of months back (or maybe a year?) about how important it is for single women to actually wait for the right one, instead to settling down with any-decent-or-not-so-decent-guy (read my article Single Woman? You need to settle with the right guy, at the right time).

Here’s my article on ‘waiting’ for single women out there, on a ‘imagined’ interview with myself.

Single Woman? You need to settle with the right guy, at the right time
by Marcella Purnama

Not married and want to be? The world proposed a solution of having a backup plan: making a pact of marrying your best mate at the age of 30, just in case you haven’t found the Mr Right.

But according to a second-year Psychology student at the University of Melbourne, “backup plan is not the answer”.

The 19-year-old grows up with fairy tale in mind, that someday every woman will meet their own Mr. Right, and they will grow old together. It might not be easy, but she emphasised that it’s the risk that every woman should be ready to take.

Marcella Purnama said that women shouldn’t be settling down with their ‘last options’ in marriage, but should be settling down with the right one.

“I think it’s a sad situation that we live in,” she said. “The ugly truth is, if you’re not finding someone by the age of 30, it is possible that you might not find someone after all. And the social stigma says ‘that woman will never get married’. Yet having a backup plan with marrying someone you don’t love is not the answer.”

A believer in the philosophy of Eve is created for Adam, so there will be one right Adam for every Eve in the world, she said having a back-up plan simply means that women are settling down with the guys they don’t even love. She argued when lovers find it hard to sustain their relationships, those who don’t even love each other will find it even harder.

“Humans only have one life,” she said. “A life partner is not for gamble if you only have one life. Call me a perfectionist, but it’s the only life that we all will be able to have. Choosing a life partner is not ‘I can settle with B if I don’t get an A’. It’s either A or not A at all.”

While people say that there is a second chance of making it right, which is through divorce and re-marriage if the situation demands, Miss Purnama is against the idea. She said that the oath taken is “for better, for worse”, and people should be taking that seriously.

“If a person is getting married and thinking of divorce as his emergency exit, then he is a very good liar. Having these ‘backup plans’ prevent people from truly trying to work out their relationships, as they believe that ‘if all else fails, I can get away with it’. This is what lacking from the generation nowadays: respect for own relationship, and commitment.”

Miss Purnama disagreed that women should not wait for Mr Right and settling for Mr Not-Too-Bad instead. Yet she stressed the point that it is not for the intention of having a 1395 checklist for the perfect guy, but with the intention of choosing wisely.

“I believe that we cannot be picky in choosing a partner. Oh, he’s too tall, too fat, too skinny, too quiet, too talkative, and yada yada yada. No, but I believe we can afford to be choosy. It’s not waiting for Mr Perfect, but waiting for Mr Right. Besides if we give up, there are always those ‘what if’ questions.”

When asked about the important checklist to choose the right partner, she told that the key is the 4Cs.

“There is this 4Cs that I grab dearly in choosing a partner. The first C is his Character. What about his self-esteem? His personal growth? How does he deal with success and failure? Can he take care of himself? If he can’t take care of himself, how can he take care of you?”

“The second C is Chemistry. Yes, you hear that right, chemistry. You name it: your heart suddenly beats faster, time slows down… that kind of stuff.”

“The third one will be Compatibility. Do you share the same hobbies and interests? How about your values and his values? Spiritual convictions?”

“And the last one is Commitment. Why commit? Commitment gives security and assurance of where the relationship is leading, instead of just playing with fire. Commitment makes all the effort you put in a relationship to be ‘worth it’.”

Upon parting, Miss Purnama said that her intention is not to convert others’ believes into hers. She simply wants to share her believes in what a relationship should be like.

“Well, guess what? I’m not the expert in relationship, but I believe in what I believe in. I believe that yes, relationship is not a bed of roses. It needs a lot of compromising, a lot of learning, and a lot of trying to tolerate each other – of trying not to kill each other, but to love each other.”

“And this is the oath that I’ll be taking when I walk down the aisle one day, and that oath will be the same oath that I’ll be holding for the rest of my life:

“I, Marcella Purnama take you, [insert the name of future husband here] to be my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward. For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health. To love and to cherish, till death us do part. According to God’s holy law, and this is my solemn vow.”

Why gaming can make you a better person

MELD columnist and ex-gamer Marcella Purnama shares her thoughts on why video games might actually be making you a better person.

When I say I was a gamer, I really was, and not just a mild one. Was I hardcore? Perhaps. You be the judge.

I once finished Final Fantasy VIII five times just to have all the limit breaks, get all the characters’ level to 100, have all the Guardian Forces, finish all the side missions, collect all the cards, download the four different walkthroughs and fall in love with the main character, without ever touching a thing called a gameshark. After all, my dignity and pride would never allow me to cheat.

Sounds extreme? Well, I’ve done the exact same thing with Legend of Mana, Legend of Dragoon and Final Fantasy VII, to name a few. And I’ve tried to marry five different girls in Harvest Moon. … okay, that sounded a bit wrong.

I’ve also perfected the art of Chocobo Racing. I’ve played a bit of Gran Turismo, Tekken and Final Fantasy IX (because disc two keeps freezing and no stores sell Play Station 1 games anymore…).

I’ve gone weeks with minimum sleep. Snapped at anyone, and I mean, anyone, who dared disturb me when I was battling the bosses. Endured my mum’s wrath when I skipped dinner… yet again.

When Nintendo DS came along, I (humbly) self-proclaimed myself a good Mario Kart player, even though I didn’t actually own a DS. I even battled my (male) peers in high school and gained a respectable (if not questionable) reputation for my skills. There was only one person who I couldn’t beat. But I still kicked ass without spending hours playing the game and without drift.

Yes… you read that right. I am a Mario Kart player who doesn’t do drift.

While I didn’t think I had a problem, my parents obviously did because they refused to give into my pleas and buy me a Play Station 2. I never did get to play Final Fantasy X, but once in a while, a friend would come to my house with her PS2 in tow and we’d play Fatal Frame and Devil May Cry.

If you’ve never played Fatal Frame, you won’t know how scary it is, especially when we vowed to turn off all the lights while playing it. Dang, that game was so scary, we usually wanted to just be an observer, not a player.

I am (or was) a good Dance Dance Revolution player, both with feet and the stick, and I took pride in becoming one.

There were benefits to being a gaming addict outside of simply finding something to fill the hours with. Socialising with the guys was easier because I knew their vocab.

Clearly, non-gamers would never understand limit breaks, cross-square-triangle-circle or some other combination, boost, magic, attack, heal, potion, junction, etc.

Most girls wouldn’t even care, which put me at an obvious advantage when I was looking for a prom date.

I played Time Crisis and Initial D at the arcade, although I never become good at them (too much money would be spent playing those).

And then, somewhere during my senior high years, I just stopped playing… everything.

Age caught up with me too soon, I guess. Since that day I haven’t played a single game. At least, none that requires serious effort and brain power.

Still, I am proud to call myself an ex-gamer. Those years spent gaming taught me perseverance and the importance of trying again and again, even if you’ve been defeated by the boss 20 times already.

These games forced me to think outside the box, to complete a mission and not give up because I needed to finish in order to go to the next level. They taught me to look at the details, to master the art of perfection.

Or at least, that’s what I believe.

Not to say that it’s cool to be ex-gamer. How many girls out there are, or were, gamers? Not many I bet.

Somehow with the creation of iPad and iTouch, games have lost their spark. When children become bored of one game, they switch easily. When they’re stuck, they never want to try more than twice to overcome the bosses. Of course, this is just a theory, but wouldn’t these actions then manifest in your ideologies and attitudes towards the rest of your life?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Of course, now I have become one of those girls who can’t stand guys who play excessive video games. Not at this age. If they play and still function at a normal level, good. But if they neglect everything else to just finish a game, then there’s clearly a problem.

When I look back at my youth, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. Those hours spent gaming, contradictory to what you might think, were not lost at all. As Randy Paush once said, “Head fakes exist”.

I believe that I wouldn’t be who I am now if it weren’t for all those hours spent trying to beat the bosses.

And you know what? I had fun. I can share my gaming stories with others instead of recapping vague memories about studying and extra tutoring outside school. And if that doesn’t make it all worth it, I don’t know what does.

Do you agree with Marcella? Do video games teach us important life skills? Share in the comments box below!

Love-hate relationship with timetabling

When uni says that the class registration button would be active from 10am today, it lied.

Stupidly enough I woke up at 6am, Indonesia time only to realise that due to daylight savings, Melbourne is only three hours difference instead of four. I went back to my room, took shower, and packed my luggage.

Oh, I was in Batam for a friend’s wedding, staying at a hotel at this point.

At 6.45 I came back down (because the wifi internet access was only available in the lobby). I clicked refresh again and again for 15 minutes so that when the timetabling portal opened, I would be one of the first lucky people to arrange their timetable and be done with it. Done and dusted.

At 6.59am, the site crashed.

At 7.01, the server couldn’t load at all.

And for the next five minutes, I was still frantically trying to refresh, re-load, and try all different tactics to get me to the student portal. Gee, what a pain.

7.06, I got in, with a speed that even a match with tortoise would be shameful…

After panicking for the next fifteen minutes, I managed to do everything done. By 7.20, I was really one of the first people who are lucky enough to secure a half-handsome looking timetable.

At 7.45, Facebook was still buzzing with students trying to log in and secure their tutorial times. Time for coffee.

The love-hate relationship

Last semester I had the best and worst timetable ever. Best because I only had three days of uni with no gaps in between the subjects. Worst because there is one 8am lecture (which I only came on 3 lectures out of 12 last semester). Just because the portal crashed right when I tried to log in.

And because I was doing my timetabling in Indonesia which Internet was super retarded, it took me two hours to arrange my timetable last semester. Uh-oh.

The same happened during my second year. During first year I was not yet a snob who tried to get the best timetabling in order to have some days off (to do internship, go work, or have brunch).

Hopefully, today would be last of my timetabling nightmare, ever.

Marcella’s out. Time to have a feast at the hotel’s breakfast! Would be going back to Singapore in a couple of hours, and possibly visiting Universal Studio Singapore or Harry Potter exhibition. Oh I love holiday :).