Back to Work

All good holiday must come to an end.

After twelve days in Bali, finally we are back to work.

But this holiday I managed to accomplish two things that I set out to do.

First is to catch up with my crocheting. I managed to create two hats. Well they were too small so I will use them as baskets.

Secondly, I managed to blog more. First only several sentences. But as soon as I started rolling, all the posts come naturally. I wrote about Bali countryside and our experience at Blangsinga and Tegenungan Waterfall.

Then I realized that I have lots of unfinished posts. When I started writing again about a week a go, I have over 30 drafts!! Some are nearly completed just need some finishing touches i.e. adding pictures such as this post about Surabaya. So, in no time I add some pictures and post it 😁

Some ideas in the draft also overlap. This means that I really want to write about them but it was a tough subject so I could not finish it the first time. I left it but instead of finish it I ended up writing another draft. For example, I have two drafts about lecturing. I deleted one draft and tried to put all the ideas that I can to post this one. Its not perfect, but I think I better get it posted rather than leaving it as a draft.

I think that is one of the reason I have so many unfinished stuffs. I wanna make it perfect but I dont have enough perseverence and time to get it to my own standard.

Some drafts are as far back as 2011. Sometimes I started writing a post when I experience something important that I wanna share it. But, since it was so long a go it is really difficult to recall what I think or feel back then. Take this post about my struggle to feed medicine to a toddler. It was such a traumatic experience for me. I dont know why I did not finish the post at that time, most probably because I got tied up with something else. This time I really really forced myself just to post it. Maybe not as detailed as it would have been if I posted it right at that time, but the main message still the same.

Then, I also have many posts related with work that I wrote during my time as administrator. Again, these are tough topic to write in comparison with travelling experiences. But, I managed to finish these posts too. I think it is better to get it posted, rather than writing a great post. The first post about my experience of being an event organizer. There were so many little details that I left out because I just cant recall them.

There were also experiences that I really really wish I had written. That is my experience during IVLP trip to US. I managed to write about Washington during the trip. But then I left it out for too long. Then I posted about Chicago followed by Boston.

So all in all, I came out with these tips to write a blog post:

  • If you want to write about your experience write it as soon as you experience it. If you dont have time to write a full length post at the time just write the key points then save it in a draft.
  • As soon as you have time finish the draft.
  • Set a specific amount of time for you to write say about 30 minutes. Force yourself to finish it within the set time.
  • Aim to finish rather than the quality

Happy blogging!!!


Why do you need to write?

These days it takes something quite extraordinary to bring myself to post to this blog. As always I promised myself to write more often. But, something always came up…

But today…that extraordinary thing came in the form of inspiration from a famous writer.

It all happened without any planning whatsoever.

This Sunday morning, just like many other Saturday or Sunday I accompanied Ratih my eldest daughter take part in story telling competition. It was held by students from University of Airlangga. Though I am not totally fit (just recovering from a bad cough), I found myself actually having a good time listening to these kids tell stories from Indonesian heros including Sukarno, Bung Tomo, and Raden Ajeng Kartini. Ratih chose to tell about Dr. Sutomo. She performs really well considering that she only have 1 week to prepare for it…and in the end she got third place! Yay, I so am happy for her. But, the organizer said that the awarding ceremony will be done 2.30 in the afternoon after a seminar. So, we went back home first…

Later, as instructed we came back at 2.30 sharp. We joined many other participants in a big auditorium. Apparently the seminar is about encouraging literacy culture. Ha! It was spot on. The audience were all listening to a man, who is a famous writer in Indonesia, Tere Liye. I have never read his books. Well, I hardly give any time to read books these days…But, I came across his name several times because someone that I follow retweet his tweets :”>

The first thing that I heard from him are several facts about Indonesian literacy culture. He said that Indonesia literacy is far behind developed countries like America and Singapore. Singapore, a country with a population of a little over 5Millions, but its national library recorded far more visits compared to Indonesian national library in Jakarta (I could not remember the exact number). He then asked the audience…how many books have we read in the last couple of weeks, months or years? “There is no way that you can be a good writer if you do not read,” he said.

From there, he moves on to writing.

He shared another facts…China published over 400 thousand books in 2013. Indonesia only published around there is only 1 writer among 10.000 Indonesian 😦 Interestingly, Indonesia scores highly in terms of number of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram posts. Does this mean that Indonesian spend more times tweeting, chatting and posting on Facebook?? Well, can reading Facebook posts considered as reading? He said, yes, but of lower quality than reading books.

He asked how many in the audience have written a report, an article in mass media or write a blog. Just like many in the audience, I answered yes to the first and the last 🙂 But, to my dismay, he continued ,”how many of you wrote regularly on your blog? did you write only one or twice a year?” HA, you got me there Mr. Liye :((

He said that during his talks many people ask him, how to be a good writer, how to score a book deals and how to make money from writing. He said that with this kind of attitude you are not going to be a good writer.

He then tell a story about one of his acquaintance, “a high school students from a broken home family. His parents are divorced, and he was so angry about his situation. Mr. Liye convinced him to write all his feelings in a blog. In the beginning, it was hard for him…but then he gave it a try…at first his writings are all about anger…then after a while his writing improve until he finally write about hope and inspirations. He never get a lot of likes on his posts. But, little did he know that in another part of Indonesia, another high school kid who is also having the same problem, broken home, and even considering suicide…at one of his lowest point, came across the blog…the kid feel that he is not alone in this world and finally got inspired to pick himself from misery”

Mr. Liye concluded “A good writer is a productive one…you must write because you enjoy writing…getting a lot of readers, money and fame are bonuses. The point is to write because your writing may inspire others”

Thank you so much Mr. Tere Liye…I am taking one baby step today, by sharing your inspirations 🙂


Why Change is So Hard?

As a human we don’t live in an empty space…We live in our environment. Unless you are an exceptional human being, most people tend to conform with their environment. It does not mean that we are happy with it. Most of us just don’t wanna face the hardship of changing. We fear the unknown. Its a natural trait.

Last year I had an opportunity to teach Change Management course. One of the book that I used is  Cadle and Yates. One of the things that they proposed is a Change Equation that goes as follow:

D x V x F must be greater than R

This equation means that for a change to happen the Dissatisfaction (D) of current situation times the Vision of what could happen (V) times the achievable First Step (F) must be greater than the Resistance to Change.

Lets take an example. Say that you are unhappy with your current job. But, you would not change to another job if the level of your dissatisfaction of your current situation is great enough, or if you don’t have ideas whether other jobs would be better (more beneficial) for you, or if you do not think that the first steps on the way to get the new job is easy enough.

Now, that is only you against yourself. Consider if the change involve several people, an entire organization or even an entire country. We can now see, why Change in a certain environment would be difficult. Some people may be dissatisfied with the current situation, but then again some might not. Some may have different visions. Finally, some may willing to go the extra miles to get to their vision. Some may not.

But should we do nothing?

One of my lecturer once said, you probably cannot build an entire wall by yourself. But you can certainly help by putting one brick.

I guess, if we cannot change others, at least we can change ourselves. For the better of course.

Stay positive!


Turning 39!

Yup, i am now just one year shy from the next milestone in my life.

I am grateful with all that I have so far.

In a few more weeks I will also enter the next chapter in my life. Really wish that I can be a better person day by day!

Oh, it happens that I got invited to one of my former student’s wedding in Pandaan right on my Birthday. It was quite a drive from Surabaya. So, we decided to have a weekend getaway.

We went to Tretes and stay at Pines Garden. The hotel perched high up in the hill. The girls enjoyed swimming in the pool. Not me, too cold brrrr…Then, we enjoyed a night out at the local Chinese Restaurant. The next morning we went to Kakek Bodo waterfall which is located very close to the Hotel. The staff said it was 600m, so I thought…hmm not that far…but, the road was steep so it felt harder than I thought. Its even harder because I didnt exercise regularly. But, I managed to get to the waterfall…So, there it was, when I suddenly felt, yup, mentally I may not feel old, but my body is certainly getting older! Gotta exercise more!

My dream of a Lavender Field

Ever since high school my favorite color is Purple/Magenta/Lilac/Violet..I know that there’s a good explanation to differentiate Purple with Magenta, Lilac or Violet…but, I don’t really mind, I just love it 🙂 Every time I buy something my choice will automatically go for the purple one. First example is the background of this blog 😉

I love orchids because it has a range of purple colors. Then, when I studied in England I love to see Lavender, not only because of the color but also because it distinct smell.

Yesterday as I sat down, my mind start to wonder…Wouldn’t be really nice to have a field or a garden full of flower. Especially Lavender. So I started to Googled for “Lavender Field”…I was so amazed with the lovely pictures…but not all of them are free for use.

I found this one, from wikimedia. Simply stunning. Somehow I felt so peaceful looking at it.Thank you to Mr. Andy Blind for putting this lovely picture 🙂

I put it here and hope someday I can either visit such site or..who knows, perhaps I can own one 🙂


Great Words of Wisdom

The social media has brought us a lot of things…it brings us big data, sorry for the jargons :D, with all its positive and negatives. News, Gossips, humor, inspirations, you name it. Around a week a go, one of my friends shared me a very inspiring piece of conversation between Ramkrishna Paramahansa & Swami Vivekananda. I was really inspired so I thought I will put it here to constantly remind and motivate me.
Here it goes..
——————————————————————————————————————————————————1. 1. Swami Vivekananda:- I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic.
Ramkrishna Paramahansa:- Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you free.
Note to myself: be more productive and you’ll get more free time
2.Vivekananda:- Why has life become complicated now?
Ramkrishna:- Stop analyzing life.. It makes it complicated. Just live it.
Note to myself: yes, over thinking things, does make it more complicated and makes me forget to enjoy life!
3.Vivekananda:- Why are we then constantly unhappy?
Ramkrishna:- Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.
 Note to myself: worry less and be happy
4. Vivekananda:- Why do good people always suffer?
Ramkrishna:- Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.
Note to myself: shine bright like a diamond, diamond in the sky…wait that’s a song 😀 Seriously, love the “becomes better, not bitter”. Noted. Dont wanna be bitter. 
5.Vivekananda:- You mean to say such experience is useful?
Ramkrishna:- Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons .
Note to myself: Experience and learn
6.Vivekananda:- Because of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…
Ramkrishna:- If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides the way.
Note to myself: Listen to your heart, your own that is. 
7.Vivekananda:- Does failure hurt more than moving in the right direction?
Ramkrishna:- Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you.
Note to myself: So true! You may not succeed, but if you are satisfied then it’s okay? No excuses please. 8.Vivekananda:- In tough times, how do you stay motivated?
Ramkrishna:- Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go.Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Note to myself: count my blessings!
9.Vivekananda:- What surprises you about people?
Ramkrishna:- When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?”
Note to myself: never consider myself as a victim…
10.Vivekananda:- How can I get the best out of life?
Ramkrishna:- Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence.
Prepare for the future without fear.
Note to myself: Remember it, no regret, be confidence and pursue without fear.

 11.Vivekananda:- One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

Ramkrishna Paramhansa:- There are no unanswered prayers. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve.Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

 Note to myself: Don’t try to solve your live, just live it!

Learning Leadership from Watching Lincoln

Ahead of Oscar 2014 which will be held in a few hours, the cable TV showed some of the Best Movies from the Oscar last year. This has enabled me to watch Lincoln for the second time. What? Only the second? Considering how I love Daniel Day-Lewis, it is a surprise to me too 😀

If on the first viewing I focused more on how DD-L totally immersed into the role (as always!) this time around I enjoyed the movie as a whole. The story itself is quite heavy for me because obviously I am not familiar with the history of that period. But, the fact that the movie can turn such heavy subject into something interesting was really good. The movie can make the politics and lobbying for votes as gripping as an action movie is really awesome.

Of course nothing is more central than the man himself. Watching this movie I really got to see the characters of a great leader.

Here are some that I noted:


Clearly some of the great leaders of our time will envision great things beyond their time.

Great Communicator and Mover

Lincoln can articulate his idea well and thus moved people to follow him.

I got to see his visionary thinking and some of his ideas written in Lincoln memorial.

I also visited a house where Lincoln slept in 1856 in Sterling Illinois.



Great sense of humor

The movie also portray Lincoln as someone with a great sense of humor. I particularly loved the scene where he told a story of why the British like to hang a picture of George Washington in their bathroom.