It's Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood

Yesterday morning our home was visited by twenty guests! They're not just 'guests'. They're Zea's  very special guests. They're seventeen classmates, two teachers and one school guard. As usual every year Zea's kindergarten has a Home Visit program. It's a program to visit a student's home. Yesterday was our turn. Since the location of the school building and our home was not too far so they could walk hand in hand to our home. At the moment they arrived, everything seemed brighter. Kids and their magic things. They simply cheered everything up.

We did many interesting things together such as singing, drawing, coloring, cutting the papers, gluing the shapes, taking pictures and eating lunch together.  Time run so fast. Suddenly it's just  eleven sharp and they had to leave. Thank you for coming. All of you had made our day as a perfect one.

Quote of the Day

I find television to be very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room
and read a book.


Title: Amba
Author: Laksmi Pamuntjak
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2012
Pages: 494

Politik memang bukan tentang apa yang benar. Politik adalah bagaimana kita bisa salah dengan benar.

After waiting for quite sometime, finally here it is one of the best historical novel written down by Indonesian poet and writer, Laksmi Pamuntjak. She writes about a new reality to the country's 1965 tragedy. According to the author, she grew up with one-side version from school in the 1970s. It disturbed her. That's one of the reason why she wrote this novel. Although she has no intention to declare which part is right or wrong. 

In 2006, the author had the chance to visit Buru Island with ex-political prisoners and Tempo magazine senior editor Amarzan Loebis. This experience enriched her material in writing Amba. It took eight years for the author to finish this great work.

This is actually a love story. A once-in-a-lifetime love story, just like Romeo and Juliet. Let's meet Amba and Bhisma, the main characters, who bring the Mahabharata epic into a modern story. The chronicle is set against the backdrop of the bloody historical events of 1965 and the the penal colony of Buru Island, in Maluku.

The story is started in 2006 at Buru Island, when two women were found in blood. They tried to kill one another. Then we will be taken back to 1956 to Kadipura, a small village in central java where Amba was born, grew up, fell in love and disppointed. The story is told back and forth from 1956, 1965 then to 2006. 
Although this is a historical novel but it won't bore you. In fact you will fall in love with the story as the time you touch the first page. No it's not a page-turner kind of book but it's more like a book that you want to absorb it slowly and feel every word with your heart.

The author said, she fascinated with mythology. She found so much liberation and fun in reinterpreting characters from mythology. Therefore we will be touched by a smart yet poetic word in every page of the novel. Check some excerpts from the novel when the author described a drizzling rain:

Ia berjalan di bawah tirai air; ia tak sekalipun menyibak, apalagi menolaknya. Ke dalam malam itu, aku meniti turun, seakan-akan melayang, begitulah ia ingin mengenang detik-detik itu; dan sebelum cahaya muncul, ia ingat bagaimana tirai itu jatuh, begitu tipis, begitu bukan gerimis, lebih seperti sejuta benang yang merajut cermin.

(Laksmi Pamuntjak, Amba, page 168)
or this one:

Ia bercerita tentang hari-hari tertentu ketika warna laut diangkat dan ditebar ke selengkung langit dalam zat tipis yag datar, sebelum mewarnai bidang bumi. Kadang-kadang ia tumpah menyentuh ujung atap dan pucuk nyiur, dan meneduhi apa yang samar-samar kita ketahui: sudut-sudut kecil pikiran seseorang. 

(Laksmi Pamuntjak, Amba, page 433)   

The author Laksmi Pamuntjak is known for her five editions of the Jakarta Good Food Guide, poetry collections, short story collections and she's also the co-founder of Aksara bookstore.

There are not many stories with Buru Island as the setting. This book is beyond my expectation. I found so many things to fall in love with i.e. the setting, the characters, the plot, the historical facts and the poetic words. I guess I must label this book  as my all-time-favorite. Highly recommended.

It All Goes Back to Our Hearts

Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?"
Expediency asked the question, "Is it politic?"
Vanity asked the question, "Is it popular?"
Conscience asked the question, "Is it right?"

And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular,
but one must take it because
one's conscience tells one that it is right.

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--

A friend asked me to teach Business Ethics at his college. This is a new subject for me. What a challenge. Without thinking twice, I said yes. 

Then I applied, attended the interview and presented a teaching demo. To my surprise I was accepted. Since then on I prepared myself with everything related to 'Business Ethics'. I browsed here and there and did book hunting, too (my favorite part). The subject turned out to be interesting. If in the old days people thought that business and ethics were two different things but now looking at several financial scandals such as: Enron, WorldCom,Tyco, Arthur Andersen, etc, people begin to consider that business ethics is definitely important. Ehm I sound too serious now? Okay, let me stop here :D     

Although most business' objective is making big profit but doing the ethical business will never hurt you. Whenever you are placed in a confusing condition to choose which one is right or wrong, just listen to your conscience.  And last but not least, follow your heart. 

To put the world right in order,
we must first put the nation in order,
to put the nation in order,
we must first put the family in order,
to put the family in order,
we must first cultivate our personal life,
we must first set our hearts right.


The Naked Traveler 4

Author: Trinity
Publisher: Penerbit B-First (PT Bentang Pustaka)
Publication Date: September 2012
Pages: 262

Trinity as dubbed by The Jakarta Post as Heroine for Indonesia Tourism is back with her fourth sequel of Naked Traveler. The book is still written down with Trinity's usual style, light and humorous.  This time she tells about her experiences in Africa, her Live on Board (LOB) at Raja Ampat and other unique places. She also shares some tips such as: how to travel with affordable budget and other important tips is how to watch a concert in a peaceful way in Tua Nonton Konser Band Tua, this last tips is intended for elder people who can't stand the crazy crowd that usually happens at every concert, yes it's me, hahaha...  

If you read Trinity's blog regularly perhaps you won't find any new things. But for me who reads her blog rarely, I find the book is enjoyable. Trinity with her lines Worrying gets you nowhere, has inspired many Indonesian to travel. She's Indonesia's leading travel writer. She's also one of the good example of someone who dares to follow her passion. Started with a blog in 2005 and less than two years the blog has already nominated as Finalist in Indonesia's Best Blog Award at Pesta Blogger. This led her to switch her corporate career to a full-time traveler and a freelance travel writer.  

Many people will envy her life. Nothing compares to the opportunity to do something you like and gets payment for that. As Confucius says, Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. But life doesn't stop there. After knowing our passion, it's time to explore it and do our best. Travel books are mushrooming now but the Naked Traveler's series are still the Indonesia's best selling travel book to date. Of course there is hard work there. If you check Trinity's blog, you will find out that she's on One Year Around-the-World Trip. This is one of the way to maintain her product. She must tells new things not only common destination. Around the World trip will need big budget but instead of just waiting for sponsor, she does it herself. She's using her own money. She said let's consider this as an investment. New investment needs capital but the return usually beyond that. No pain, no gain. Just do our best and let's God do the rest. 

Klik, Sepuluh suara, satu cerita!

Title: Click
Authors: Eoin Colfer, Linda Sue Park, Ruth Ozeki, Nick Hornby, Tim Wynne-Jones, David Almond, Gregory Maguire, Deborah Ellis, Margo Lanagan, Roddy Doyle
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: September 2012
Page: 228

This is a unique work. Ten award winning authors collaborate together to create one story.

Ten of the most beloved authors, each contribute a chapter in the life of the mysterious George 'Gee' Keane, a photographer, a soldier, an adventurer and an enigma. When Gee passed away, he inherited his camera and his great photos collection to his grandson, Jason and a box with seashells inside to his granddaughter, Maggie. These inheritances bring both of them to an unbelievable  journey, reveal many secrets and change many lives.

Now get ready to explore the art and craft storytelling with ten masters who show how tools like 'voice', 'perspective' and 'character' work in the hand of the expert. Each story is unique, surprising, a small gift, standing alone but somehow believably connected to the first one. The authors were free to pick up the characters and place them at any part of the globe. Therefore we will enjoy ten beautiful stories with different style of writing but somehow all those stories are related. This book also introduces us to some amazing and strong characters, some individual stories that stick in our head and a feeling that everyone on this huge, messy planet is somehow interrelated.   

All the royalties from the book will be donated to Amnesty International, an organization which serves to protect human rights.

One things I regret is there is no special page that tells about how these ten authors can get together and how the process of making this story. Do they have to write it together?  Do they already know the ending since the beginning? Are there any 'conflict' between those ten authors while they work to finish the story? I am sure the process of making this book is as engaging as this novel itself.  All in all I highly recommend this book. A must read.    

My Life as Film Director

Author: Haqi Achmad
Publisher: PlotPoint Publishing (PT Bentang Pustaka)
Publication Date: August 2012

"Movies are my religion and God is my patron. When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it."

--Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastard)

Film is one of my favorite things beside books and music. The profession as a film director is of course one thing I adore very much. I always amaze to see a great movie and wonder how the film director can create such a beautiful thing and haunt his/her viewers for days.

Let's flash back to 1998, it's one important moment for Indonesian films, four film directors, Riri Riza, Mira Lesmana, Nan T. Achnas and Rizal Mantovani launched their omnibus movie Kuldesak. This movie was their debut as a film director. This movie also means as the awakening of Indonesian films.

Nowadays the profession as a film director is getting more popular. Making a short movie or becoming a film maker at a young age is not strange anymore. But still some people are still confused, how to start? How can we convince our parents that we can live a proper life by becoming a film director?

Instead of only learning the theories of how to become a great film director, we'd better take a look and drown in the life stories of these four film directors, Hanung Bramantyo, Ifa Isfansyah, Joko Anwar and Sammaria Simanjuntak. The start is never easy. Let's find out how they fell in love with film, how they decided to pursue their dreams and how they're finally sure that they would  dedicate their life only for making film. 
It's so interesting to learn other people's life. Especially knowing how they start their struggle in becoming a film maker. It's a long and winding road. Like Hanung, since his father was a businessman, it's so hard to convince him that he could survive by doing what he liked. At that time he's active in playing theater in his high school and his father as a business man kept asking him, What will you get from theater?

If you have a dream of becoming a film maker, this small book can give lots of new insights about the profession of film director. The book  also shares certain important tips such as: how to convince your parents, where to study if you want to be a film maker, how the process of making a film, what things to prepare if we want to be a film director, and many other interesting issues. 

A Heart won't Lie

Rainy October finally comes. I feel a deep grateful. First, I am happy to see pouring rain almost every evening and second I never thought that my decision to leave my 9-to-5 work as I posted here could inspire some of my friends. I know leaving a comfortable zone is a hard thing to do. Starting a new life with totally different activities also not easy. 

After having a long intimate conversation with my friends, I come to a conclusion that almost all of them  actually don't enjoy their job anymore. They're like a robot. Leaving home early in the morning, trapped in a crazy traffic jam, doing routine jobs and back home in the evening with the same horrible traffic jam. But they're still not sure to leave the job. Most of them still keep thinking about, what will I do? What is my actual passion? How will I survive without any monthly fixed income? Another interesting issue is for some female friends, they worry about changing their status from a career woman into a housewife or some people use the term a 'full-time-mom' or 'a stay-at-home mom', and the like. It seems that being the career woman is more prestigious that just sitting at home.   
If I flashed back a little bit to April 2010 (gosh, it's been more than 2 years a go), the moment when I made the decision to leave my job, almost all people around me were shocked including my parents. In fact my parents weren't quite happy with my decision. They still think that working in a big company and get a monthly salary is the best way to live your life. I know it's not easy to tell my parents that I quit the job because I want to follow my passion (in fact I still didn't know what to do at that time). Instead of explaining and excusing, I chose to show them that I would survive. I am sure that there are lots of things to do beside being an employee.

I always remember what Confucius  said, choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. I resigned without knowing what to do next. At that time I just thought I need to take a break for a while. Having my own personal moment with myself. And suddenly the idea of having my own batik business hit me, continued with an offer from a friend to assist his law firm with a friendly working hour, an offer from my hubby to teach at his campus, accepted as an English teacher at one of well-known English courses in Indonesia, an idea to write a book with a friend, and I believe wholeheartedly that the list will go on and on. Life is a mystery. There are just too many miracles. You just need to believe.

To wrap it up, I just want to say that it's not fair to compare one job to another, take an example of a working  mom versus a stay-at-home mom. All job is good as long as you do it with all your heart. No body has right to judge other people job or said this job is better than that one. This is our own lives we talk about. We the one who live the life. Just contemplate for a moment. Talk with your heart. Is this the kind of life that you dream about? It's good to ask other people opinion but the decision is yours. Just listen to your heart. A heart will never lie.