Sunday, 21 September 2008

LION .. The King of The Dessert..

And.. here is the other one of my favorite animals..

They are proud, they are strong and they are organised as a team.

If you want to know more about them, please follow one of these links:

Have another fun.. with the King of The Dessert..

ORCA.. The Killer Whale..

One of my favorite animals.. The Killer Whale..

Apart from the gorgeous look (black with white spots on them).. I love them for being a social creatures. They always move in pods and they have specific dialects for each pods. These are only 2 out of many reasons why I am fascinated with The Killer Whales.

If you want to know a little bit about these Killer Whales, please follow one of these links:

Have fun meeting the Giant of The Sea..



Up so high that you touch the sky

Straight to the widest edge of the horizon

Reaching the farthest stars of your dreams


As the wind carries you up

And the sun leads your path

And the stars brightens your way

Harsh weather will build your strength

Rocks and mountains will shape your agility

Time and distance will increase your speed


And you will rise so high that you touch the sky

And you will be so fast that you complete the full-circle of the horizon

And you will reach so far that you hold the stars of your dreams..

-21 March 2008-

(on the flight back to Jakarta)

Computer Games..

To some parents, computer games are the 'worst enemies' .. they can't stop trying to get their kids away from the computer!!

Well.. my husband and I have been using a different approach, and so far, it has been working well.

To start with, we keep in mind that the game creators created games to be stress-relievers or hobbies to spend free time. So, we should not be stressed out by them. At the same time, we need to make our kids understand that games are not meant to be 'The Main Thing' in life either! However, without the right approach, we may be more afraid of the games, as the kids are more stressed out by our screams and shouts (which will lead them to play more games!)

If any of you want to try.. (for parents who have been 'anti-games' might take a while to change the 'war-zone' feel..)

Step 1: Parents Should Try Playing Computer Games
Before we shout around telling our kids to shut those games off, try playing a game or two that suits our style.. (something more relax eg. Big Kahuna Reef or Boggle). The purpose is to understand how our kids feel when they are playing their games.

Step 2: Watch While Our Kids Playing Their Games
For a few minutes (at least), we should try to watch while our kids playing their computer games. At the same time, ask them what the objectives of the games (how to win, what to do, the bonuses, the characters, etc.), and get the feel of what makes our kids excited in playing it. Once we understand the games, we will be more involved (feel the suspense, etc.)

Step 3: Figure Out The Best Time to Ask Our Kids To Pause Playing
When we understand the rhythm/phases of computer games, it will be easier to ask our kids to pause/stop playing (ask them to stop/pause during level change, pit stop, etc.)

Step 4: Make A Timetable
Once the kids understand that we understand their feelings and excitement, we can set up a timetable on when they can play their games, or even.. when we can play together! When this happens, computer games may be one alternative of family entertainment, especially when budget does not allow for traveling or dining out..

Our kids may feel strange seeing their 'anti-games' parents sitting in front of the computer trying to play computer games, but very soon, they will appreciate it and even get comfortable laughing at our 'funny' moves that repeatedly killing our characters in the game.

Before long, both sides (parents and kids) can see the games in the same way.. as leisure, entertainment and stress-reliever. Once this happens, kids' need for the way out of pressures from parents will be reduced, as their stress are almost completely relieved during the time they play their games and interacting in a relax situation with their parents (it may be one of the healthy times for kids to laugh at their parents!)

Games are created to be stress-relievers and entertainment. We should think of them as the game-creators do. So, we should use the games as stress-relievers (and not stress-triggers!). Once we successfully do this, we can teach our kids to do the same.

My 5-year-old tells me when he is tired of playing games, or when he just wants to watch me playing games, while he is trying to get some sleep. There are also times when he chooses to listen to music, or play the drum, or just running around with his little brother. The bottom line is that he knows that playing computer games is ONLY one out of many relaxing activities that he can choose from.. and NOT the only one..

I hope this can help any parents who are stressed out by computer games..

Friday, 19 September 2008

Culture and Patent

Ever since I was introduced to the concept of being a citizen, I was always told that my country, Indonesia, was beautiful, loved and even admired by a lot of people in the world. Those thoughts became my 'seed' of love for my country.

During school time, we were introduced to various Indonesian culture, such as folk songs, dances, food, traditional houses, etc. We were also told that many people from overseas always loved to learn our songs, dances, local cultures, ethnic languages, etc. And those knowledge made me proud of my country.

Lately, this reality, somehow became a worry which leads to a problem.. Some people (maybe out of love, maybe out of business consideration) have patented some of Indonesian cultural heritage. At the beginning, this reality only made Indonesians sad, knowing that our native culture, which we were brought up with, are now 'possessions' of other people. But later on, it started to be a big problem, because a lot of craftsmen who originally 'owned' the culture (in form of designs, paintings, dances, etc.) from birth, could no longer produce or export their products, because they are not the 'owner' of the patent!

How saddening..

I do believe that patenting our culture to avoid it from extinction is important, and I do know that most Indonesian's craftsmen DO NOT have the financial ability to patent their family/traditional heritage.

If people from other parts of this world are thinking about patenting a part of Indonesian culture, please consider the implications on the 'original' owner of the culture.. These craftsmen have lived and brought their children up for generations using their family culture (designs, dances, paintings, wood crafts, etc.), if now they cannot even sell their products to the world again, just because someone else 'own' the patent to their family heritage.. HOW WOULD THEY LIVE???

To the 'financially-able' people, a patent is an investment, or even a trade material.. but for these craftsmen, their ideas, their designs, their paintings, their wood crafts, are the very things that they live by all their lives. Their grandparents taught their parents, their parents taught them, and they will teach their children..

Consider this deeply in our thought and look for that little inner voice within ourselves.. we might love a product so much that we want to keep it and patent it.. but actually.. how can we patent something that was created and nurtured tens or even hundreds years ago, by other families?? HOW CAN WE ACTUALLY PATENT AN IDEA THAT IS NOT OUR OWN???

Can we live with ourselves, if we know that we have taken another family's 'priceless possession' as our own and let the other family lose their future??

If you have any ideas or suggestions about saving Indonesian culture from patent abuse, or how to preserve Indonesian culture, please write to:

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Salad Paria

2 pieces of fresh white paria
2 red chillies
2 cloves of shallots
1 spoonful of small prawns
a little bit of salt

How to Make:
1. Wash paria and slice them really thin. Sprinkle some salt on the sliced paria and repeatedly mash/squeeze the salted paria for about minutes to let the sap out.

2. Throw the extracted sap out and wash the paria with clean water again, while mashing/squeezing them again with hand. Then, rinse the paria with water.

3. Cut the chillies and shallots in thin slices (a bit thicker than the paria slices).

4. Mix paria, shallots, chillies and little prawns together.

5. Salad paria is ready to serve.

Note: I found this dish when I visited Sandakan (Sabah, Malaysia), during my brother in law's wedding. The bride's mother prepared it for us on our arrival and I loved it so much that I asked for the recipe.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Kids Are Fast Learners

Ever since my first son was born, I kept hearing people saying, "Let children learn as early as possible, because they can learn many things very fast!"

Ariq started asking to have drum lesson when he was 3 years old, but I was not sure whether he really wanted it, or it was just something he THOUGHT he wanted! However, I did realise that every time he was tapping his hands on solid surface, the beat he made was very rhythmic.

When he was still asking until he was 4 years old, I was finally convinced that he really meant it (that he wanted drum lesson). So, I started asking around where he could start drum lesson. At that time, people told me that music school would accept children as early as 5 years old, so I told Ariq that he could start when he turned 5.

One day, when Ariq got out of school, I decided to check out a music school nearby his school, and it turned out that the place accepted children as early as 3.5 years old! Well, we quickly decided to enroll Ariq there.

Well, being kids.. there were times that he was late to class, or getting sick and was unable to attend class at all, or he was just too tired to open his eyes after school... I did not push him too much whenever one of these things happened..

However, this is him after 6 months of drum lesson, and I am often lulled by his drum playing..

The Long-Awaited Trip to Borneo..

For years.. I have always wondering if I could step my feet on Borneo land and see the native people.. I finally had my chance when I least expect it!

Last May, Ahmad's brother was getting married to a girl from Sabah (Malaysian state in North Borneo). So, I caught up with Ahmad in KL (where he is working for the time being), and we flew together to Sandakan (a little town in Sabah, where the wedding ceremony and procession was going to take place).

Borneo (even after the big fire in late 90's) is still a very green island. The weather is humid but not as hot or polluted as big cities such as Jakarta.

The rivers were really wide that I first thought they were the ocean.. (silly me!)

Unfortunately, the tight schedule of the wedding procession did not allow us to do any leisure trip this time round, but I'd like to think of this as an 'excuse' to make a return trip one day in future to see the rain forest, orangutan reserve and crocodile farm.

I did see some native people during the wedding reception, however I did not really have a chance to actually meet or being introduced to them. I'd also like to think of this as another excuse to go back one day..

Anyway.. here are some photos from the trip.

Being Welcome by The Great Orangutan Statue

The Scenery Behind The Bride's Family House

The Happy Bride and Groom

Waiting for The Bride and Groom Getting Ready for The Reception

Little Becak Driver

For most of Indonesian at my age, the sight of a becak is part of history and childhood excitement. However, for kids at Ariq's age, it is a rare thing to see one.

Fortunately, during Ariq's school Arts Performance (Pentas Seni Al-Ikhlas 2008), they incorporated a becak into the play, so that Ariq did his best to experience driving one..

I hope he will remember this experience later in his life..

Family Photo

Talking about doing something different.... Well.. Here we are making a sudden decision to have a photo session in a photo studio, after the kids have changed into their pyjamas!

They were happy to do it, though!

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