From BBC Learning English
Thanks so much to Asha for her interesting and thought-provoking posts. We've all really enjoyed reading what you've written, Asha. We hope you continue to visit the blog and leave comments for our future bloggers.
And now a big hello and welcome to Shirley, our blogger for September.
posted on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 | comment on this post
Halo, Apa Kabar?
Allow me to introduce myself as the blogger of this month. The above title show how I greet people in my native language (Bahasa Indonesia), which means "Hello, how are you?". We use that to greet people, especially those we haven't met for a long time. When we meet somebody for the first time, it could also mean "Hello, how do you do?", but unlike English, we don't say "apa kabar" back to the greeter. Honestly, when I first learned English, I found that "How do you do" thing was kind of weird at first. Why -instead of answering the question- do we have to repeat the same question again. Well, I guess that's the uniqueness of a language.
All through this September, I will try my best to keep you posted about many interesting things that happen in my world. I am currently living in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, a.k.a. one of the most populated cities in the world. Over two hundred millions of people are currently living in Jakarta, and that cause unbearable traffic jam at certain areas every single day. It is very common for us to leave for work at 6 am in the morning, and reach home again at 9 pm in the evening. Is it a normal thing for you?
I am currently sitting behind my office desk now. In case you are wondering, I work as a copywriter. This is one of those jobs that may sound fancy, but actually only related to words and concepts. Don't you just love writing? *seeking approval* I feel that writing could lead to many many things. One of the result is advertising, an interesting industry that I am involved in. When I was a little girl, I loved to watch commercials on television. Whenever there was a new product being introduced, I would come up to my dad and ask for that same thing. My dad said that many advertisements told lies. Well, he might be true at some point, but don't we like being lied to sometimes? I can speak as a woman that I like being told that I have lost weight (when the fact was I just looked thinner thanks to the black dress that I wore). I think advertising sell hopes and dreams. Without those two things, we will not have motivation. What do you think? On my next post, I will share you some of my favorite commercials of all times. Please do come back and leave me a comment. Thanks!
posted on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 | comment on this post
Dog Person or Cat Person?
Wow, time flies... I just realized that today is Friday, because I didn't go home yesterday. Can you believe it... I had to stay in the office in order to finish my work for an ad competition. It is for the first Asian advertising festival, which held to recognize young talents in advertising industry. In order to win, a team (consist of 2-4 people) should solve a problem based on the given brief. After that, several chosen finalists should present their works in front of the judges, and they will decide the winner. The announcement for finalist is tomorrow, and I am a bit anxious to hear the result. Wish me luck!
As I've promised, I am going to show you some of my favorite commercials of all times. One of Creative Director in Saatchi& Saatchi used to say that two most compelling subjects on advertising are animal and children. Well, I find it quite true ya... Here is one of TVCs that had captured my attention, way before I entered the industry. I watched it during my second year in art college, and since then I felt that I wanted to join in the fun of creating commercial and entertain people.
It was a TVC for IKEA which used a dog as a star, and it was so cute! Check it out through YouTube and tell me what you think of it. Maybe I really liked this TVC cute because I am a dog person. I think dog is adorable and loyal. Some thinks that dogs are stupid, but I beg to differ. Because I like dog, I find cats are less adorable... I don't know why, but those two animals seem to always have the opposite impression. How about you? Do you think a person's favorite animal can define his/her personality? Let's discuss.
PS. One correction from my previous post: yes, I've mistakenly written the population of Jakarta. It was the entire population of Indonesia, and Jakarta was the largest population with 8.7 millions people. Thank you for all your concerns about the earthquake that happened in Indonesia...and yes, it happen near the capital, in Tasikmalaya for exact (M=7.3). During the time, I was brainstorming for ideas with my teammates and we were sitting near a swimming pool on a restaurant garden. Guess what happened? The water inside the pool was shaking hard, along with the gazebo we were sitting on! The earthquake happened in 3 minutes, and it was quite an experience. Well, I am thankful that Jakarta is still in good condition. My condolence for all the victims who lost their homes. Let's remember them in our prayers.
posted on Friday, 04 September 2009 | comment on this post
And It's Monday Again...
Thank you for all of the warm welcome and comments on my previous posts. I'm sorry if I may not be able to reply all of your comments and thoughts, but I will definitely take note on your opinions and keep you posted on my update. As I was telling you about the ad competition, I am happy to tell you that our team has gone to the Final this morning, and will hear the result on awarding night this Tuesday. I guess the prayers and support from all of you got through...
I may have given you a bit wrong impression about my working schedule. Working in ad agency does have its challenge and hardship, but unlike many other job, advertising actually is quite flexible regarding working time. Many Jakarta workers are leaving home to work at 4 or 5 am and my company did say that the official working hour is from 8.30 to 17.30, but the creative team usually have more privilege. This means I can come later than usual if the previous night I was working overtime inside or outside the office. Taking this privilege, the creative team in my office usually come later than other divisions (but, yes, we rarely see the sunset on our way home).
I am so glad that I get a chance to be guided by Ms. Nuala O'Sullivan, and her input has already helped me to improve my English. When I was a kid, my parents got me enrolled in many courses to developed my skills in sport, music, and language. My most favorite class was English. I used to have several teachers from Canada and US, and I kept on practicing my conversations with them. Before the internet era in the '90s, I have always loved writing and correspondence. I remember that I had many pen pals from around the world; the idea of sending your hand writing and expecting a reply that personally posted to you is just so invaluable. From there, I keep on absorbing more and more vocabularies in my head (not just English, but also other foreign languages). I just simply love studying languages.
I am glad that most of you enjoyed the ad that I showed earlier. I was brought up in a family who loves animals. Dogs, rabbits, squirrel, parrot, turtledove, canary bird, dove, fish; I have had them all! While most of them were being a pet, I found that dogs are more like a friend to me. I think dogs understand human's feeling and emotions. Well, my mom used to have a more "extreme" observation, saying that most of the times our dogs think that they were one of us *lol*.
After showing you one of my favorite TVC about a smart dog, I would like to share another interesting commercial which use a compelling subject: kid.
Check this YouTube video and tell we what you think. This is a TVC from Japan, which won so many awards in the past. When I first saw this, I got a goose bump and could not forget it for quite a long time. The message is striking, yet heart warming. Hope you will absorb the essence as much as I have.
posted on Monday, 07 September 2009 | comment on this post
Note for Ms. O'Sullivan & All Readers: Puppies and Kitties
It is truly a nice surprise that we got to see Willow in real picture! Wow, he is a big white cat, Ms. O'Sullivan... (or would you prefer that I call you Nuala?). I am sure he is a feisty cat, and it is probably hard to hold him still. Please give him a friendly handshake from me. I also got the chance to play with cats and dogs just recently. Last Sunday I was visiting a friend of mine who held a farewell party for several friends (they are about to leave and stay abroad for a while). Apparently, my friend has one Shih Tzu dog and one Beagle, both are girls and still look super cute as puppies. I couldn't find any decent pictures of the Shih Tzu, because she had always looked away whenever I took a snapshot of her furry face. As you may guess, the result may seem similar like a ball of fur or carpet *lol*. The Beagle was a bit naughtier, but I managed to steal her pictures when she was lying on the floor; felt exhausted after accommodating several "hysterical fans" like me *lol*. Those two puppies even had almost stolen people's attention that night from the cute -actual human- twin babies who were being introduced to us for the first time by our friends (the twin's parents).
Two days after that (yesterday)... I found several cats at one spot! So, I was working on audio for a TVC in an audio production studio. Usually, the process of making TVC is like this: research- brainstorm- make concept/ media plan- presentation- get approval from client- supervise production: pre-production- shooting- post production (color grading-offline-online-final mixing). We are already in mixing process, and going to deliver the result to TV stations soon. When I entered the studio, I saw this yellow kitty sitting so comfortably on a black couch. Well, he looked like a stray cat, really, but he was clean and looked like a domesticated kind. So, I asked people who work in the studio, and they said that there is one big mama cat who used to come a lot to the studio. One day they gave her milk, and she has always come back for more. When the cat got pregnant, she delivered her babies at the studio. Since then, those kitties practically lived there, and being taken care of by the studio crews. The cat sitting on black couch was the only boy, and he's a bit like a loner. See the way his sisters sleep at night... curling up against one another! I am not a cat person, yet I found this scene so cute and memorable. Do you ever think that caressing pet is actually therapeutic? I find it true, but then again... probably that effect goes only to women.
Thanks for the Gorilla ad and "The Guardian" ad, Nuala. I found that Phil Collins' song again when I watched the trailer of "Hangover". Maybe the song is legendary now, just like Tom Cruise's dance song in Risky Business ya... Have a great day, all. Tomorrow I will greet you again with my favorite commercial from Indonesia.
posted on Thursday, 10 September 2009 | comment on this post
After All The Tension's Gone...
I am back in my regular flow. My life is quite simple, actually. All of my family is living in another city, so I am basically on my own. Today is Friday, and the working rhythm is often slowing down at the end of the week. During the lunch hour, many employees are doing Friday prayer (especially this is the fasting month). I find the office is quiet and relaxed. Tomorrow should be a weekend, but since there is a photo shoot for Eid print ad commercial, I think I have to stop by at the location. Thank goodness the photo shoot location is near my place; I can even walk there. By the way, the result of the ad competition had been announced; my team didn't win the prize. The good news was the other team from my company made it through as the winner. The team members will be sent to the Asia Pacific ad competition in Singapore next week. I wish them luck.
I hope you are not already bored of my postings. Here is my next favorite commercial when I was growing up. This is a very old commercial, which had been aired for years. Since the product was a cigarette (from a local company), they couldn't show the actual packaging. Therefore, they are emphasizing on the richness unique flavor which reflecting the rich heritage of Indonesia. I think I was still in Junior high when they aired this, but I can still remember all the scenes and the song. I loved the majestic feel that they created, and they remind people about the color of the packaging with the song (yes, at that time, it was the only cigarette brand that used blue color. Most of the competitors used red as their color identity). All of the scenes were taken from across Indonesia, and I was so proud of my beautiful country when I saw this commercial.
So, what do you do for fun on weekends, Nuala? I personally love to go to karaoke. Karaoke is an activity of singing along with the instrumental of a song. In Jakarta, there are many karaoke place for family. Usually, such places would be equipped with huge TV screen, a computer device, and a percussion. Some places even have mini drums, and disco ball (which gives a colorful effect to the surrounding). At the end of every song, there will be an automatic scoring, depending on the singer's performance. Although I am a shy person, I find singing is quite therapeutic and fun (especially if you are accompanied by a bunch of lively people). In my next post, I will share some of my favorite albums of all time.
My other hobby is quite common like everybody else. I like watching movies. When I watch a movie (or reading a book) that I like, I would put myself inside the storyline and become one of the characters in the story. Even after I finish the story, I would rethink about the plot and expect more. I don't always like happy endings; I find them unrealistic and too good to be true. Maybe that is why I don't think Hollywood movies are as great as everyone think. If you judge the movies from the visual effects and high-budget settings, no one can beat Hollywood, of course. On the other hand, if you judge the movies from the originality of scriptwriting, and the casts, I think Hollywood still have so many competitors. Indie film makers, for example. Sometimes, due to lack of budget and effect, these film makers depend their execution on the power of story itself. I find European and Japanese movies are interesting, that is why I keep my eye on them. In my next post, I will also share some of my favorite movies of all time. I would love to know about your favorite movie, too.
Until then, have a great weekend!
posted on Friday, 11 September 2009 | comment on this post
Third Week in the House
This is my third week writing as student blogger of the month. How are you, Nuala? I have to admit, apparently this is not as easy as it looked. When I blog in my personal site, I usually write a journal about my weekly activities, wriet reviews and basically everything that comes through my head. Writing for a corporate or community is another thing, I feel it is more formal (like this). I feel that I have to be very careful in mentioning any details. Therefore, I would like to apologize for haven't been able to write as much as I wanted. I will try to write about anything everyday from now on. I also wanted to apologize if I haven't been answering all of your questions. For the last two weeks I have been writing replies on the comment box, and that made it difficult (especially for my teacher) to keep track of them.
So, what do you think about the pet pictures that I shared earlier, Nuala? I hope it had brighten up your day. Anyways, my city is slowly going to its hibernate state this week. The peak will be during the Eid holiday, when almost everybody is going back to his/her hometown. This also shows that Jakarta is actually full of immigrants. I am not not originally from this city myself, but since I do not celebrate Eid, I would prefer to stay in Jakarta this month and save my annual leave for Christmas holiday (which has always been my favorite time of the year, considering my birthday also happen during the festive week). I guess I am just going to spend the full-week holiday by watching tons of DVD and walking around the quiet city with my friends.
Speaking of movies, have I told you that I am kind of a movie freak? How about you? Do you feel the urge to keep updating the movie "library" in your head? Well, some ad people (including myself) often feel that way. Maybe it is because we use a lot of references for our work ya... So, when someone tells you, "Oh, it's going to be somewhat similar like the scene in 'Fight Club'," or "Have you seen '300'? That's how the color is going to be..." Well, we cannot keep saying "no" whenever people ask, right? That's why we keep updating our "knowledge" about movies, music, and commercials; hoping that we will find them useful or insightful one day... And I don't mind, actually, because I love watching different movies from different genres. Some of my favorite movies including "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Primal Fear", "Pretty Woman" (yes, I am a fan of Mr. Gere), L' Appartement, and "Finding Nemo". Hey, what is your favorite movie?
PS. Patrick Swayze RIP. He is quite a charming actor, isn't he...
posted on Tuesday, 15 September 2009 | comment on this post
Comments for Errors
As I am trying to be more organized and become a better student, I will separate between the reply for Nuala/readers and my blog. Thank you for visiting this blog, it's super nice because I feel like I'm having lots of friends from around the world :)
I will send your regards to the kittens when I get the chance to meet them again, Nuala. I don't know why you want to have them in English Learning office; I'm guessing that they might brighten up the room? I know that office can be a cold environment with lack of natural surrounding. The idea of having people sitting on their own computer is making the room even colder.
The Caledonia ad you sent is nice, Nuala... Thanks to that, I know now that it refers to Scotland. I honestly don't know much about your country, except that a friend of mine got married to a-quite-handsome-Scottish and it was interesting to attend their wedding ceremony and reception. All of the Scottish gents were wearing tartan clothes (the name is kilt, right?) at the wedding ceremony, and later that day they were having a reception in an exotic Asian restaurant. Do most of people in Europe like to drink? Maybe in Europe it's because of the weather ya, but the habit might still linger on wherever they go. What does "tennent" mean? You're right, emotional ads are often made for things that bad for us. Even though I've promised myself not to make a cigarette commercials, but you make me feel a bit guilty there.
Wow, you ride bike to work. It's such a rare thing in Jakarta, but I had always wanted to do that. Maybe one day I would actually have the nerve to do it... I personally think that I am a city girl. Living in the city has its own challenge and dynamic that I would definitely miss when I am in a smaller city. However, I'm still curious whether I would survive living in Tokyo or New York, knowing that Jakarta is still nothing compared to those big metropolitan.
I have made some revisions as a response to your advice:
Every Friday … many employees conduct/ do Friday prayer.
The good news is that the other team from my company come through as the winner.
I love the majestic feeling that they have created and how the song had reminded people of the packaging color.
When I watch a movie or read a book...
Since then, those kittens practically have been living there and taking care by the studio crews.
Patrick Swayze RIP. He was quite a charming actor, wasn't he?
I hope I have fixed some "damages" in my writing *smile*.
Reply for reader's comment:
Thanks for sharing your favorite movie list, Queen, Vladimir, and Celine. I'll definitely write down ''Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'' and "Interstate 60" on my next-to-watch list. Of course, "Gone with the Wind" and "Casablanca" are legends that we should always pass on to next generation. I also like "Slumdog Millionaire" (thanks to the OST by A.R. Rahman), although I feel the movie is kind of portraying Mumbai erratically. If you ever visited the city, you would understand what I mean.
posted on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 | comment on this post
Let's Play with Quatrain!
Quatrain. A stanza of poetry consisting of four lines. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome continues into the 21st century where it is seen in works published in several languages (as quoted from Wikipedia). In my mother tongue (which is similar with Malaysia, but actually different), there is something similar called Pantun. In its most basic form, Pantun consists of a quatrain which employs an a-b-a-b rhyme scheme. It goes something like this (forgive me if I made it in Bahasa Indonesia first, then translate it as close as possible in English)...
sumur tenang dari batu
jatuh ke dalam tenggelam juga
umur orang siapa yang tahu
sia-sia cinta dipendam saja
quiet well which made of stone
falls inside one could get drown
mortal age is God's alone
what good comes out a love's unknown
Well, that was just a random thought in my head, and I put it as an example because I'm not sure if I'm allowed to quote someone's work here. But, I believe that most countries in the world have their own style of quatrain, and I would looove to hear the one from your country, friends! Some cultures in Indonesia also use the poems as song and greeting for a traditional wedding. The groom would come to the bride's house and greet her with a quatrain, and the family members of the bride shall reply with a quatrain, and so on. I think that's definitely a culture worth to keep.
Tomorrow, I will discuss about other thing which is still related to literature. May you have a wonderful day, everybody.
posted on Thursday, 17 September 2009 | comment on this post
Midnight Sale: The Joy of Consumerism
Yesterday was my last working day before the Ramadhan holiday. In Indonesia, Eid ul Fitr means a week holiday... Almost the same like Chinese New Year holiday in some countries (xin cia), when family gather and spend quality time together. Our office building was so empty, that it felt a bit weird to come inside. The management finally released us after 3 pm. Horaay! But wait... Since I'm not celebrating Eid, what should I do then? I decided to go to one of the biggest mall in Jakarta, and stayed the to check out the "Late Night Shopping" offers with my friends.
Midnight shopping has become a popular thing in Jakarta this year. With more than 10 big malls across the city (and counting!), people are really being pampered by those "discount war" and "sale invasion". Whenever you drive home late night and see line of cars at one street lane, you would know that there is a consumerism seduction at particular spot. Call it the year of recession, but when you notice those crazy cashier lines and shopping bags, it's kind of unbelievable to agree with that term. Sometimes, it's even unbelievable to say that this is the picture of a developing country. Well, maybe the gap between the capital and other cities are too just wide. Jakarta (and most of the people who live there) surely doesn't want to be left behind.
Nothing's special (really) about late night shopping. Sometimes, several stores might give additional discount to the customers, but often it is just about closing the parking lot later than usual :p I strolled with my friends to a shoe store (ladies are ladies!) and disappointed to know that my favorite boot was still standing snob on its original prize. I was waiting for more discount! Oh, well, anyways.. We ended up buying some women stuff at Mark & Spencer and the Body Shop. Do you find those stores in your country, too?
Last but not least, we stopped at Kinokuniya book store and spent like hours there. Apparently, my friends and I are all book lovers :) As I've promised, I am going to share the list of my favorit books. I think some of them would actually be in your favorite list, too. When I was 5 or 6, my parents gave me a Holy Bible, and that became my favorit book until now. After that, I begun to read the Sherlock Holmes series, Enid Bylton, and Arabian nights (tales of 1001 night). During high school, I read all Khalil Gibran's book and tried to understand a more 'sophisticated' piece like Moby Dick,The Great Gatsby, Saman, and Pramudya Ananta Toer's. The reading habit got crazier during college, but suprisingly slowed down once I finally working as professional. I guess now it's not easy to find spare time to read like I used to. My favorit books in my "adult era" are including "Life of Pi", "the Little Prince", "the Alchemist", and other works by Paulo Coelho. Does any of you enjoy his work, too? I have to apologize to him, since I've bought most of his books, yet still trying to make time to read them. Three of his latest books are still laying peacefully in my cupboard until God knows when. If you have any advice on how to motivate oneself to read book, please do let me know! Thank you, and have a great weekend.
PS. I'm still waiting for any of your poem. The one reply from Ukraine was so nice, thank you for sharing it with me. Thanks Nuala for making a limerick of me. I find the lyrics were cute and quite amusing. I hope I could think of some lines to reply it. Oh, and Willow is handsome ya! He's such a poser :) Hopefully one day we'd get our own pet. When I do, I'd show the picture to you.
posted on Saturday, 19 September 2009 | comment on this post
Time VS Relativism
Do you ever think that we are all living in a world full of relativism today? People living in their own rules, using their own terms, and viewing the world according their own standards. Nothing is absolute anymore.
When you're hanging out with your friends in a café, and you see a really cute guy sitting alone... In the old(er) days, a woman would be able to give him signs saying that she is interested after seeing he has no ring on his finger. But today, you have to think and read the sign whether the guy is actually interested in woman or guy. If finding a partner isn't hard enough, now we have to 'compete' with guys too :p
When we see some books or new comer introducing another theory about the after life or the key of eternal happiness, we could easily consider it as the new spiritual movement.. All they have to do is take some respected celebrities as endorser and suddenly they will have followers.
When we see a group of scientist trying to make a new breathing live form out of a creation's cell, we would say it is a cool invention. We are not even afraid of the chance of living in mars anymore!
Sometimes it is scary to think what kind of live (and confusion) that our children and grand children are going to have. Is it just me?
posted on Monday, 21 September 2009 | comment on this post
I never truly understand that term. What is a melting pot? Maybe you can help me, Nuala? I think I know the meaning of it, but am not sure if a pot is made of different colors or types of clay. Oh well, the thought just went through my head just now..
One day, my boy friend and I made an "observation"... Why are there so many beautiful people come out of mixed couple? Ever wonder why? :)
Well, I simply think maybe that is because we are meant to spread and be a melting pot. When Dove commercial said that "we are beautiful just as we are", it's actually true. A blond guy might look average in australia, but looks extraordinary in asia. So is a chinese girl in africa. Every one of us is uniquely created. If that means anything, for me it's about perspective. As human, it's normal that we value rare things in life.
What do you think? What is the one thing that you consider as rare?
PS. Thanks so much for your replies and encouraging words! I'm glad that you are still reading my blog. Please forgive me for the lack of images, because sometimes I'm posting blog through my mobile device. I'm taking notes on all the books you've recommended, and will try to read before I go to bed every night. By the way, I read most of Paulo Coelho's books.. But right now i'm placing "the Winner Stands Alone" on my priority list.
posted on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 | comment on this post
Do You Tweet? :)
Thank you Nuala for the useful tips. You always seem to find a way to explain things in simple way. I bet a lot of the readers wish to have an English teacher like you. You were right guessing about the boot. I apologize if some of my previous posts might sound offensive, but that wasn't my intention at all. I am just viewing things according to my Asian background (although the history had recorded fact about same sex attraction centuries ago) . As for political view, I don't really get myself thinking about it much (although I would prefer to vote for a neutral party that value women and children equally).
If blogging isn't enough, there is something called microblogging. One of the rising stars is Twitter, a kind of social network where you can share what you are doing at the moment. Unlike You Tube, Twitter needed longer time to be accepted and embraced by people. Several years ago, the idea of sharing "status" through the web just didn't seem like a big deal. One day, some celebrities like Ashton Kutcher joined in and grabbed the world's attention. I once followed his tweets when he was trying to be "the King", but somehow I couldn't relate to what he was saying... Today, I only follow like 20 people, and also join other similar network, such as Plurk. With Plurk, it is a lot more informal, and you can play with emoticons and try to reach "Nirvana" by adding more karma. Fun!
Well, there is funny news that became a trending topic in my country recently. The news became a headline, and there will be a "behind the scene" movie about it, too. There is this talented Indonesian director/ screenwriter who joined Twitter. One day, out of nowhere, he posted something like this:
As you noticed the highlighted sentence at the bottom, the guy promised to walk naked inside the mini market because he didn't have thousand of followers at that time. He didn't think that he was going to reach 3000 (or did he?) Apparently the news spread in an hour, and guess what??! His followers became more than 3000! It was so funny because everybody put comments after comments on him (#jokoanwar) and applaud him for his bravery that night. He did walk inside Circle K naked. While some said that the politicians should keep their promises like Joko Anwar, the guy himself said, "It's so hard to get people to watch my movies, yet so easy to get them to see me naked!!"... *lols*
Do you join the micro blog world, too?
posted on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 | comment on this post
Holiday in My Head
A typical Friday for me consists of 6-7 working hours, 1-2 lunch hours, vocal practice, and occasional hang out time with friends. Today is not different, except that it was the first working day after a week off. The office was still in oh-so-quiet mode. I guess Jakarta will still be sleeping until Monday. Did you get any day off for Eid holiday?
Talk about holiday, all of us must have kept at least one unforgettable memory about it. Some of us treasure the excitement or contentment that we felt during a particular trip. I have had that unforgettable experience exactly one year ago in Bali. This "Island of Gods" is one of the world's favorite holiday destinations, and I am not the exception.
There are many romance stories rooted in this place, and I completely understand why.
Since Jakarta to Bali is just less than two hour flight, it is always tempting to go to Bali every year. I love the weather, the wave, the atmosphere, and... the food! Last year, I was planning to go to visit some friends who live and work there. There was a new guy in town who wanted to know more about Bali, and decided to go there with me when he knew I was going there to meet my friends. It was a traveling a la backpacker, where we went to three different parts of Bali and stayed from one hotel to another. We explored a bit of Jimbaran, Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud, Bedugul, Lovina... Admiring GWK, exploring Beratan lake (you can see the praying temple in the mid of the lake is printed on Indonesian money), art galleries and all those morning dolphins at Lovina beach.
They were all fun, but what I remember most was that one rainy evening when my friend and I got lost inside the car. The streets were dark, nearly flooded, and sparing us nobody to ask for direction.. yet both of us were enjoying every minute of it worry-free! That was my experience of traveling with my boy friend for the first time. Tomorrow is going to be our first anniversary!
How about you? I hope I will get the privilege to know some of your unforgettable holiday (romance? spiritual? horror? You tell me). Have a great weekend, friends.
posted on Friday, 25 September 2009 | comment on this post
Fourth Week in the House (Comments Reply)
Mizan from Dubai- I can tell you personally that even though I am an Indonesian, I still can't get enough of Bali. As soon as you enter the island, the atmosphere and the smell are just different. Well, about the flood and rain, it showed me about my boy friend's character in times of trouble. He (who is not a native, by the way) managed to stay calm and made us laugh about it. I'm still hoping you would share your unforgettable holiday with us :)
Hieu from Vietnam- Thanks for reading. I'm super glad that many readers from different parts of the world take time to greet me.
Ramilton from São Paulo- I've visited the site that you're reffering to; the beaches look blue and really beautiful. About english speaking people in Indonesia, the numbers are increasing. The younger generations are now studying English and (usually one) additional foreign language at a very early age. If you come and visit the island of Bali, Jakarta, or several big cities in Indonesia, there would be no problem at all, because most taxi drivers, hoteliers, shop keepers know how to communicate using basic English.
happy man from hk- Thanks. I'm back at the office now. Have a great day to you, too.
Gustavo Litwin from Argentina- Wow, that's wonderful! Do you ever think of having more kids? :) I hope you and your wife would visit Bali soon, and it's easy because you can book everything via internet. Plane ticket, hotel, spa, etc. Look forward to have your family in our country.
Feel free to ask me if you're having difficulties.
Ana Paula from Brazil- Hi Ana Paula, thanks for keep on reading my blog. I saw you on the previous bloggers list. Do you like to read Coelho, too? I guess Coelho is a down-to-earth writer ya... He keeps his readers close (via Plurk, his website, recorded video, providing ebooks, etc), and use their opinions as insight for his writing. I want to learn that from him (yes, I have a plan to write a book). What I like from his writing is his ability to deliver something (no matter how bizzare or vague) very natural and believable all through the end.
Sobah from Malaysia- Yes, I think you're right. Thanks for your revision. I also know that holiday can spoil us so much, today was my first day to work and I had difficulty to wake up early in the morning... *lols*. Thanks for visiting!
Naheed from Pakistan
Thanks. I took the pic while we were strolling at GWK. This gigantic hands are one of many sculptures that spread around the area. They kind of remind us of how small humans are compared to the universe.
Lucy from China
Hi Lucy, thanks for sharing your story with us. I felt touched reading your rain story, I guess we will always love the rainy days ya :) About why I can understand that Bali is a romantic gateway, well, I've heard so many love stories (between different races) started in Bali. I guess when we're on a holiday, we'd wear your most comfortable clothes, do whatever we want, laugh as much as we could, and let your "guard" down... and that makes our aura/ personality shines through! I guess that's why we definitely need holiday to break out from routines, especially if we're living in a hectic city.
Ellison from Shanghai
Thanks. One day I'd like to visit Shanghai too, and try to dine at the highest hotel in the world :)
Andre from Brazil
I'm glad that you enjoy this blog. Thx. I've enjoyed writing here so much too, that it's kind of sad when it's time for me to go.
I'll keep on updating comments through this posts..
posted on Monday, 28 September 2009 | comment on this post
Between Dream Big and 'Que Sera Sera'
There is a song that might be familiar for some of us. It's about someone who asks her loved ones and being told to appreciate live as it is. Even her parent can't say if she would become a pretty lady! :) What do you think about that song if you relate it with your lives now? I personally think that there's no such advice like the song in reality. The fact is, we constantly have to strive for many things all of our lives; strive to get good marks/ achievements in school, strive to get good jobs/positions, strive to maintain relationships, etc. There is no easy life for people who want success.
Although the universal standard would define "success" as having certain (tangible) things in life, like money, position, and fame, I think that's not always the case. Of course we can dream big, but we shall remember that there is always a higher sky above us. Sometimes success means you feel content of what you have, and happy for who you are. Not what you wish to be, or what others wish you to be. For example: I want to become a doctor when I was a little kid. The reality is I wasn't born for that, and I am terrified of blood and dead corps. So I found out other things that I was good at (and satisfy my curiosity simply by watching "Grey's Anatomy" on TV) and live to the fullest.
If we have to choose between Mother Teresa and Elvis, which one do you think was more successful?
No matter how uneasy life is, especially if you compare it with others (and it's really easy to envy), let's find the source that makes us happy. We shall treasure and nurture it. Like a quote that said, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings", it is the end that matters.
PS. Nuala, your explanations had helped me to improve my English a lot. I'd never get enough of your tips. By the way, I'm still wondering about "melting pot". Thanks for sharing your holiday pics with us; they are hilarious! Tick office... :) About GWK, it's an abbreviation of this cultural park: Garuda Wisnu Kencana. It's devoted to Hindu god, Wisnu (Vishnu or god of wisdom). Garuda is a mythical bird and Vishnu's companion (our national symbol is also Garuda), Kencana could mean gold or carriage. I'm not really sure which one is it, since the statue isn't done yet. The plan is to make a 150 meter statue of Vishnu riding Garuda, and put it above this massive entertainment area. However, the statue is still in its pieces now because of the unresolved controversy about it.
posted on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 | comment on this post
Feel Free to Visit Me (A Thank You Note from Indonesia)
September is almost come to an end. I hope I could stay longer, but I am pretty sure there are plenty of students who are lining up to be "blogger of the month". I just want to say thank you for visiting this blog and leaving all the encouraging comments on for me. It has been such a wonderful experience, and I have learned so much (thanks to Nuala. You're an awesome teacher!)
Well, if one day you decide to visit South East Asia, please don't hesitate to stop by in Indonesia. I have to say that there are many perspectives about my country; you can say it is the world's biggest Moslem country (although there are 5 acknowledged religions), you can say it is a dangerous country (true, there were several bomb terrors in Bali and Jakarta), you can say it is an exotic tropical country (amongst the top 10 destinations for divers and surfers), you can also say it is a friendly country (everyone would try to speak in English with tourists). Here is the list of some destinations that you should go to (there might be more, but the list is based on my personal experience alone- I wouldn't recommend things that I haven't tried myself):
1. Bromo mountain, East Java
This site is probably the most convenient and well-known mountain area in Indonesia (especially for photographers). No need to backpack or camp at the area, because there will be hotels and decent cement stairs all the way to the top.
2. Ijen crater, East Java
The best hiking experience I've ever had. The beauty of the crater was captured in one Indonesian movie, "King". It's kind of tricky to get there, but it is definitely worth the hike. Enjoy the quiet and simple life (with limited access to electricity).
3. Ubud, Bali
Needless to say, it is a beautiful place to unwind and relax, because the environment is just different. You can find so many art galleries, rice fields, and good places to eat. The book "Eat, Pray, Love" had described the spiritual benefit that the writer experienced from this place.
4. Pelabuhan Ratu (Queen's Harbor), West Java
This is the closest beach area that is worth to visit if you are looking for a weekend getaway from the hectic capital. Always keep in mind not to swim carelessly at the beach, because the wave is dangerous and has its own urban legend.
5. Borobudur, Central Java
One of the greatest Buddhist temples that got nominated as 7 Wonders of the World. It's about 2 hours drive from Yogyakarta, and especially great at dawn.
6. Yogyakarta, Central Java
The only province in Indonesia that is still governed by that area's precolonial monarchy. The Sultan of Yogyakarta serves as the elected governor of the province. Visit Malioboro, the traditional open market, by taking a traditional three-cycle vehicle called "Becak"
7. Jakarta, the capital
Need I say more? This is a metropolitan city that provide almost everything. You have to spend months to explore all 5 districts of Jakarta to be able to get the grasp of the uniqueness. But for a start, you can just call me when you're in town :)
On that note, I would like to take off and say "Sampai jumpa" ("untill we meet again"). I will still come back and give comments on this community blog from time to time. Please don't hesitate to visit me at anytime. Have fun, October blogger!
The Last Comments Reply:
Cristina from Italy- I couldn't agree more. The catchy lyrics, however, tend to linger in our head. A clever way to make children remember, I guess :) Thx for your comment.
Mateja from Slovenia- Thanks. I am still far from wise, but I always try to see things in different perspectives. Elvis and Mother Teresa are probably not such a good example, but my point is they both are well-known for their contributions. But, personally, I think someone who often needs anti-depressant or sleeping pills must be restless or feeling somewhat less content about his life. What do you think?
Ramilton from Brazil- True. I personally would like to be known as someone who is thoughtful, rather than wealthy. There is so much you can give to others (and that's not just money). But we do need money to survive and live decent.
Mizan from Dubai- Thx. God bless you, too.
James Wu from Taiwan- Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to hear your opinion. Sometimes it is best not to choose, ya? I can understand that. This is a report about Elvis, and how he died. So sad that such an inspiration like him had to end like that, don't you think? At one point, we should ask ourselves what makes us content, and stop thinking about what the world think about us. Take care, everybody. God bless.
posted on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 | comment on this post