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In response to: “Kami Cinta Indonesia. Tapi Buat Apa Kami Pulang Ke Indonesia?”

Indonesia, Asia’s sleeping giant, has recently been woken up by a man on a quest to clean up Jakarta with his straight-talk and no-corruption movement. What he is doing is unheard of in Indonesia where corruption has become part of our cultural identity, one that I abhor but at the same time benefit from.

This man, Pak Ahok, truly has the heart for the nation. He should be hailed as National Hero because he is unafraid of the “elite” gangsters and working his best to help the citizens who are unable to return him any favour. But instead he is put behind bars for deliberate blasphemy. While I can see why a Muslim can take offence of what he said but anyone should be able to tell the context of what he said was that voters should not be deceived by politicians hiding behind the religious veil and using that to manipulate people. It wasn’t a deliberate blasphemy. Besides, if someone said something negative about the bible I would defend it but I wouldn’t demand that person be locked up or cry for blood. We can have differing opinion and still co-exist that’s the whole point of democracy. Anyone with clarity of mind should be able to tell Pak Ahok has no ill-intention to the Muslim community. It’s just unfortunate that he was a marked man and his opponents were looking for reason to throw a grenade and they did.

For Ahok’s supporter, I can understand your disappointment, anger, or sadness. His sentencing to 2 years in prison is clearly a political play. How could the sentence be harsher than what the prosecutor demand for? I find the whole case just ridiculous. After the verdict, my Facebook timeline was flooded with posts expressing my friends’ disappointment and how some of them are ready to abandon their Indonesian passport or move to another country. Then I read an article of a letter by a student in Australia asking “Kami Cinta Indonesia, Tapi Buat Apa Kami Pulang Ke Indonesia?” (translate: We love Indonesia, but what for we come back to Indonesia?)

I grew up in Singapore and I’ve spent most of my life abroad. Every time someone asked if I have any intention to come back, I would say “what for?” or “not really”. I’m much more comfortable living in Singapore where rules are observed and values are sustained. In Indonesia everything is malleable. My friends say that what makes Indonesia creative and filled with opportunities but I find it just too much hassle. I like to keep my hands clean and enjoy the advantages of earning dollars, spending rupiah. Yes, I’m one of those hypocrites but if there’s anything that Ahok has stirred within me is the desire to come back to Jakarta.

Since Ahok came along I see how the nationalism towards Jakarta has improved among Indonesians around me. He brings glimmer of hope that Jakarta can be improved and become a city we are proud of, or willing to come back to. I always thought the slogan for Indonesia should be “Money is Power” but Ahok has a vision to help the less fortunate. As an idealist, I think that’s more important than thinking of how I can earn more for myself while watching the depressing news everyday and reading about the poor dying because they are denied of basic health care.

Now that Ahok is locked behind bars, the first thing that came to my mind was “Man. Jakarta need more people like Ahok to continue the fight!” We have an obligation to come back if we truly love the country. Honestly I don’t know if I love the country enough to leave the comfort of Singapore and if that’s what my calling at this point. Even if I come back I don’t know what good can I do to the country. Will I be joining a political party? If yes I need to be active? Am I willing to be active? Okay, this indecisiveness is my problem. Let’s leave it at that but I’m considering returning for good.

Ahok said “Kalian semua bisa memenjarakan Ahok, tapi kalian tidak bisa memenjarakan ide-ide saya.” (translate: You can put Ahok behind bars, but you can’t put my ideas behind bars.) Ahok may be in jail but we still have more people with his ideas. We need to rise up. We need to continue the fight. It’s time to stop mourning for Ahok’s sentence. The war is not lost. It has only started.

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X,
Mel.

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Filed under Culture, Life Series

Failed to open page

This error message is pretty much an allegory for me;screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-47-34-pm

I’ve been trying my best very hard to open a new page of my life but it just keeps failing. There’s nothing wrong with the landing page, but somehow I keep getting disconnected while trying to load the pages. It’s as if I’ve disconnected from the source or my sense of purpose and can’t move forward. Then again, maybe I’m being too dramatic.

How long does it take for an average person to move on completely from a relationship that does not work out? Accordingly to Carrie Bradshaw “It takes half the total time you went out with someone to get over them”. Based on past history, I took twice the amount of time and that’s not gonna work this time.

I guess I’m gonna get myself a better router and try to stay connected this time. Whatever that means/ it takes.

x,
Mel.

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Filed under Life Series, Love

Based on true story.

People watching is one of my hobbies. I love observing people live, how they tell their stories, and when they speak I’d analyze their thought process. I’m constantly fascinated by how each person has their own traits and are wired differently.

While I think this is a generally good hobby because it keeps your mind open to new cultures and ideas, I’m beginning to see a downside for myself. People watching is like going to the movie. I come to this Earth watching a film played out by everyone around me while I sit back and observe. Some days I feel emotionally attached to the movie but most days I’m detached because I’m not part of the story.

I can’t quite put my finger on when exactly I started drifting away from life, but somewhere along the way I got used to being a watcher and analyzer, and keeping all in. But we’re all called to be the salt and light.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

– Matthew 5:13-16

Life is not a cinema. It is the movie. You’re not an audience, you’re the character. There’s a story you need to tell, action you need to take. Sitting and taking all in is not the way to go. We need to give back because life begins when your purpose gets bigger than yourself.

At least that’s what I think.

X,
Mel.

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Filed under Life Series, Spiritual Journey

Destruction at Your Fingertips

This morning I left house with 67% phone battery. I estimated that I would be out for about 7 hours and if I keep my phone usage to minimum it would last till I’m back. It did last, but not without pain. I was fine not using my phone most of the time because I was occupied with Sunday church service, lunch with friends, and meeting few people after that. But I started to panic when I had to make my way back home with 5% of battery left.

I live in the suburb and it takes about an hour to get home from anywhere. I’ve picked up the habit of keeping myself entertained by reading ebook, scrolling through social media, browsing the news with my phone throughout my train ride. Basically I have to feed my mind with something.

The thought of having no phone for the 1-hour ride home made me uneasy, so I scrambled to look for a magazine that should keep me occupied for the ride. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted to get and I didn’t want to waste money buying other magazine that I wasn’t interested in so I thought Alright, I’m gonna brace through the ride with no entertainment. How hard can it be?

The moment I stepped into the train I was bored. I stood awkwardly in the middle of the crowd not knowing what to do or where to look. Then I realized that I have a serious addiction to outside noises. I was so accustomed to being fed and entertained with what the world offers that I haven’t spent the time to just be with myself and my inner thoughts. I started thinking deeper and that 1 hour journey of self-reflection became the best part of my day.

Constantly having to be entertained is a serious addiction. We live in the World that tries to get our attention 24/7 and it’s easy to fall into its trap. I think that’s how people started become lethargic.

Image from: psychologytoday.com

Image from: psychologytoday.com

My conclusion after today’s train ride is that it’s time for me to pick up a new habit; to shut down outside noises during my train ride so that I can hear my inner thoughts. Hopefully, that will help me reset my brain appetite. Tomorrow is Monday which means I’ll be taking the train ride to work again (boo!). I’ll start off the week with the brain detox. Pretty sure it’s not gonna be easy but it has to start before I fall deeper into the addiction.

Wish me luck.

x,
Mel.

Well, at least I'm not like them. Image from: Christian Post.

A common sight. Image from: Christian Post.

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[#spiritualsunday] Where does God fit in?

Recently I’ve been grousing a lot. I groused so much that I hardly see the blessings that I have around me. It’s like when you’re focusing on a speck of dust on the table, you forget how beautiful the table is.

How often have we been so busy with life that we forget to set aside time for God? Sometimes I even negotiate with God, telling myself I’m sure He’d understand my situation. I’d choose sleeping over spending time with Him when the truth is I could have spent time with Him if I hadn’t been surfing the net. It all comes down to priorities.

I thank God for weekend because it’s a chance for me to reflect. I’m not proud of how I’ve spent my week, neglecting my time alone with God and wallowing in my tiredness. Now, I thank Him for allowing me to recalibrate and refocus my mind on Him; to look up to Him and not get distracted with the difficulties I have.

When we are so busy our lives, how do we fit God into our life? I’m troubled that I’m posing this question to myself because God should have been in our lives right from the start. He is not a person that recently joined my life and now I have to think of how do I fit Him in. He has been there throughout my ups and downs. He has given me a wonderful job, and now that I’m working hard on my job, suddenly I forgotten about Him. Note to self: Learn to appreciate The Giver more than the gift.

If you’re like me, in a situation where you’re aren’t too satisfied in but you know God is teaching you something although you can’t exactly pinpoint what it is at the moment, I wish to share this wall art that I happened to pass by yesterday.

It's like God speaking to me through wall art. #mindblown

It’s like God speaking to me through wall art. #mindblown

Recognise Your Purpose. Always remember that God has a purpose for your life. I am not a 100% sure of what it is but I know He is working in me and that I’m made for more for His glory. So I’m walking this road with pride and confidence, knowing that He is with me and in my weakness, there I’ll find His strength. Amen.

Cheers,
Mel.

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[#SpiritualSunday] A Lesson in a Season

Why did I choose Sunday to be #SpiritualSunday?

Yes, Sunday is the day where Christians go to church and Spiritual Sunday makes a nice alliteration, but more than that I think it’s important to take time at the end of the week to reflect on what we’ve done for that week.

I am at the point in life where Monday is a struggle. Even right now knowing Monday is just one night away, I wish I could sleep right through the weekdays. I’m not enjoying my life and this has been affecting my walk with God.

Few days ago, I read a devotion from Our Daily Bread that quoted C.S Lewis;

“Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

Growing up I’ve had it pretty good. My parents, the baby boomers, work long hours for survival so the next generation can have better lives and they accomplished that. I am financially supported, got to travel with friends, study abroad, experience different cultures, etc. I got my first job pretty easily and the colleagues were superb. Basically life had been a bed of roses and I was led to believe, as C.S Lewis stated, that this World might be intended for my happiness.

I think right now God is teaching me to go after things that I’m seeking instead of waiting for them to be handed to me. I’m not used to being unguided and unsupported, but to move on to greater heights I need to learn to take charge. This is the kind of struggles/challenges I need to face to prepare me for His purpose. It is definitely not an easy period for me but I believe He is in control and I am in good hands.

When faced with struggles and tribulations, we sometimes become like Jesus’ disciple who worries and asks, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Matthew 4:38) We need to learn trust that God has a bigger plan for our lives. Every season in life is meant for a purpose and we need to rely more on God than our own strength. For me that means setting aside time to hear His words, study the Word, just spending time with God and to obey Him. I know when I’m ready, He’ll reveal the next step to the destination He has for me.

Amen.

Cheers,
Mel.

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[#wwwednesday] Talking ’bout my generation

There’s something about my generation that is seemingly unconcerned about the current affairs. It’s almost seem like we live in a bubble and isn’t affected by whatever is happening across the ocean, or the even the road next door. Basically if it doesn’t impact us directly then we have no qualms about it.

They say ignorant is bliss and I believe so, but is it really the way forward?

I’m sure I’m not talking about the whole of my generation. There are people who are still strongly stirred by the news of the World. I was one of them, until I got busy with work and my own life. I often pray for God to give me the heart for others because it is alarming how the society we live in, the dog eat dog world (doggy dog world according to Sofia Vergara), is turning humans into robots. We feel nothing when we see other people suffer. We are only concerned if something is to our disadvantage or causes discomfort. Why are we becoming so nonchalant? Why am I?

Sometimes in the midst of our busyness we start to lose focus. Why does a child who dreamed of becoming a doctor gave up on it and never look back? Alright, bad example. Let me restate, why do we forego things that used to matter so much to us? Watching films used to be a ritual for me. No matter how tired I was, I would spare some time over the weekend to just watch a movie. Yet now, I’d be out dating Le Boy or staring at the computer screen for hours without realizing how fast time has flown.

Today’s #wwwednesday post may not be about a Worldwide news, but I guess this is something that people of my generation (late 80s to early 90s) can ponder about. Have we stopped caring?

Let’s hope as we pursue our lives and futures, we won’t stop paying attention to the World around us.

Cheers,
Mel.

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