Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Resolution

The most asked question by the end of the year is probably: "What's your new year eve's resolution?" I say, what's so special about new year's eve? It's just another day where the sun shines from the east and sets in the west.

If one wants to make a resolution why wait until the very end of the year? Resolution should be made at least on daily basis to ensure that tomorrow is better than today, or at the very least not worsen.

If we want to improve ourselves why wait until a certain time? We should do it right away, right after that realization/enlightenment comes to us. It doesn't make sense to say: "I want to be good next week or next month".

There's no guarantee that you'll be given time until tomorrow let alone next month. Other reason why you should not delay in implementing your resolution to improve yourselves is that there's no guarantee that this good will shall stay. Like other good intentions they never stay for long. The most common marks they left behind in ones' lives are the remembrance that once we had had them.

It doesn't matter whether you don't have any resolution by the end of the year as long as once you have it you do it. Time is never going to wait for us, likewise, resolutions are never going to mount to anything if we keep looking for an excuse or perfect time to execute them.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The First Step

After waiting for almost a couple of months, today, I've finally got a call from ILP Pancoran which was one of the two places I registered myself in to. "The class starts on January 12th, 2008", said the secretary, "Do you still want to join in?" What a question! Of course I do. Positive thinker though I am, I started to get a bad feeling that I wouldn't be able to find a Mandarin course which open a class on Saturday.

As much as I believe in self-study, I couldn't force myself to spare a specific amount of time to study this difficult language. I've tried. But I found my attention wavering into other languages which at the time being also being the object of my obsession. I ended up switching languages between very few minutes, without getting much progress in any of them.

Other bad thing which I think is the side effect of that kind of learning process, is that I started to mutter foreign words and sentences at home whenever the mood struck me. Fortunately, I still live with my parents who seem to get used to my behaviours. I think they understand that I'm a little bit crazy when it comes to languages.

Hopefully, by joining a formal class I could stop from muttering different languages at the same time, and concentrate on just mandarin ^-^

One small step is a giant leap in learning languages

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interdepartmental Coordination: Official Headache

Who said coordination has become much easier nowadays? Nope. It wasn’t easier. It’s still as difficult as ever. Lack of personnel, lack of time, excessive workload, lack of sense of being part of something bigger, excessive pride in the power and role of one’s own department, all have conspired to put a block to a smooth, efficient and effective coordination.

How’s to make a good coordination? I don’t know how. Making numerous phone calls and meetings didn’t seem to give the expected results. And when it comes to making a common position against foreign partners the headache increases ten folds. Some departments are easy to work with, some others…well, it takes a lot of times, patience and effort.

The wheel of bureaucracy is even slower than the wheel of God.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Blessing in Disguise: AA Gym's Case

Once adored by many, AA Gym who had been enjoying star-like fame and treatments, had to experience a life of an outcast when his fan-like congregation and people at large learn of the news of his second marriage. The public outrage was such as never been seen in this Republic which is used to hearing outrageous news regarding its VIPs. The issue even went straight to the palace where it was discussed by the current administration and served as a cause to bring about a new policy.

Those who once loved him so much (mostly female members of his congregation) suddenly turned to hate him. Including my own mother who couldn't even bear to hearing his name mentioned, and she's not part of his congregation. At a different field, the current administration saw his action as a national threat worth to be discussed at the highest level.

I find it all incredibly fascinating. Love turn to hate isn't fascinating in itself but the reason behind such drastic change is. The action and decision of one man who could stir and awaken so much emotion in a country is definitely fascinating, particularly if his action and decision are regarding his own private life.

I think one of the reasons was that they loved and adored him too much. Unfortunately, they're in love with imagination. They expect too much of him. When in fact he is only an ordinary man. Just the same with any other men who love women.

They become so disillusion when they found out that their idol is exactly the same with their scandalous neighbours, colleagues or any other regular guys who have more than one wife. They felt that they had been cheated and betrayed by him. That was why they were so shocked and outraged when they heard that AA Gym had taken a second wife.

I wasn't that surprised when I heard it. He mentioned more than once on many different occasions of his desire to have another woman besides his wife. The only thing which stopped him from taking a second wife when he wanted it was that his wife couldn't accepted it.

The reason why nobody seemed to hear what he was saying was, I think, was that they loved him too much they chose to ignore it, and took it as a joke. They chose to listen only to what they wanted to hear. Perhaps the reason why I could hear his earnest intention was that I have no strong feelings about him like other people.

The first time I heard about AA Gym was when I studied overseas, when one of my fellow Indonesian students brought his cassette during one of our fast-breaking dinners in Ramadan. Then, I didn't understand what was it about him which made him so famous. Even after I came back to Indonesia, I still couldn't comprehend it. Not until, purely by chance, I visited his base in West Java. Where I saw first hand how people, mostly females, flocked to see him. How he dealt with people and how he delivered his sermons. Well, that was when I finally understood.

I still have no strong feelings about AA Gym, for I think his sermons lack substance. Important and pertinent substances or arguments from hadith and al-qur'an which are needed to support them, some of which could be seen as inflammatory and contradictory. He shied away from those ayat and hadith. And that was why his sermons are not my cup of tea. They were too bland and generic, designed to suit everybody's taste.

But at least I finally understood why they liked him so. They liked him so because of the very thing that I didn't like about his sermons. They loved him because he presented a 'moderate' picture -what ever moderate means. Because he delivered his sermons with easy language and examples. He didn't bring out heavy issues needed to be thought about and discussed deeply and carefully. The results was astonishing.

His style was accepted by the masses. He became incredibly famous and loved by many. Even those who were not muslim also had a favourable opinion of him. With fame, came influence. With love and adoration came fanaticism. Fanaticism bars one from thinking clearly and objectively. It makes people listen, follow and strive to please who ever happens to be the object of their fanaticism, regardless of right or wrong, which is frowned upon in Islam. Islam doesn't recognise the concept of intermediaries e.g. saints. There is no possibility for any cleric or imam to become saints. Therefore blind devotion is prohibited.

Islam is very strict in guarding the believe of its believers. Love and devotion of its believers is commanded to be solely directed to Allah and nobody else. One may love who ever he/she chooses but those love should come second to his/her love to Allah. One should only follows al-qur'an and sunah and not putting their adored clerics above those two.

I was quite grateful when the news of AA Gym caused so much waves. I wasn't grateful because some people turn to hate him, what I was grateful for was the fact that it had opened peoples' eyes that he is only a regular guy. I'm hopeful that this incident will amend some of the unislamic believe or feelings started to be nurtured by some of his congregation back into the right path. I'm hopeful that it could serve as a reminder for them that they shouldn't forget that their guidance in this treacherous life is not a role model/idol, but al-qur'an and sunnah.

Because of AA Gym's second marriage, some of those who seldom or even never opened al-qur'an and hadith and only relying on his sermons, started to open al-qur'an and see for themselves the ayat regarding the possibility and requirements to have more than wife. They start to see the importance of learning al-qur'an themselves. Yes, I'm really grateful for that. It was a blessing from Allah to all of them.

Back to AA Gym, I happened to see AA Gym first talk show during Kick Andy on Metro TV -this was also by chance, as I rarely watched Kick Andy, and I wasn't even in Jakarta at that time- when he was questioned whether he regretted his action (his second marriage). His answer was very interesting, he said 3 years prior to his second marriage, he felt that his hectic life style was no longer felt right. He no longer had time to see his parents and his own family. That it couldn't continue the way it was, but he didn't know how to put a stop to it, how to change the pace which had become his routine.

That, I think, was another blessing in disguise for AA Gym, in a way, his second marriage had become a new beginning, a chance to reflect. Perhaps, he had become too used to all privileges he got, perhaps he had become too absorb in his own sense of power, influence, and affluence. I'm not saying that he had become arrogant or something like that, but if one is experiencing that kind of excessive adoration from the masses for quite sometimes, one might forget that the honor was from Allah, and in the eyes of Allah all his creation are just the same. Allah could raise the position of whoever he chooses and he could take it back when he feels like it.

Through AA Gym's second marriage, Allah brings back all the believers who almost forget that they are not supposed to look up to someone (idolising someone) in the matter of religion as a guidance, as their only guidance is al- quran and sunnah.

Through AA Gym's second marriage, Allah has given the biggest opportunities to his first wife to get the most rewards among the three of them. Through his second marriage, Allah has brought AA Gym back to earth, to reflect, and hopefully to learn how to be a much better person, which he is desperately needed to be now.

Because contrary to his first wife who had shown her big and open heart and given an indication that she is a strong person, AA Gym on the contrary has shown the world his weaknesses. And from the religious perspective, he has embarked on a very difficult spiritual journey, which caused by physical desire, whereby Allah has specifically warned all men who wanted to have more than one wife that they could never be fair.

AA Gym is going to need all the good deeds he could make to compensate for any injustices he's bound to make towards his first wife, he's going to need all his good deeds to compensate for every heartache his first wife is going to experience during their lives together.

I shudder just to think about the consequences he has to shoulder when he fails. May Allah have mercy. And may his experience serves as a good lesson to others.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Rights, Your Rights, What Right?

People are very adamant in exerting and exercising their rights. Particularly concerning the right to speak their minds. It's even been given a fearsome name: freedom of speech. Translated: you're welcomed to say what ever you want to say, often with the assumption you'll get immunity from the consequences of what you said. That no body is allowed to be offended let alone angered by what you say. You feel that you have full right to speak your mind.

I don't want to dispute it, since it's true. What I want to point out though is that others also have as much right to be offended and angered by what you say.

Our world is a political showcase of many injustices and hypocricies. Some of us have been telling others that they don't have the rights to do what they themselves do. The limitation they impose on others is naturally accompanied by various arguments to justify their imposition. However, the ugly fact remains: "I have the right to do what I want to do, you don't".

The current example is the efforts taken by some countries to bar Iran from developing their nuclear technology while on the other hand giving that very right to some others. The argument given is that it's not safe to give Iran the right to build its nuclear technology. If you don't want to have World War III, do everything in your power to stop Iran from developing their nuclear technology. I find this argument not only lame but incredibly unjust.

I hate weapons be it mass destruction or not. In fact my biggest dream is to wipe out all weapon industries in our planet. And the military forces. I couldn't stop thinking and dreaming what this world would be like without those two. But of course that's only a dream that will never materialise in reality at least not in this still uncivilise millennium where we still have wars in our planet.

Back to nuclear technology, regardless whether Iran will use it to build weapons of mass destruction or just using it for harmless purposes e.g. energy sources(though personally, I don't think we could ever put nuclear and harmless in the same sentence), they have the rights to do what others do. Is Iran a danger to the world peace? Maybe according to some. But from the other point of view, those countries who viewed Iran as a danger are also viewed as a danger by Iran and some others who couldn't stop looking back to their tract records of attacking other countries they viewed as threats.

It's like seeing children fighting. The first kid says to the other: "You can't have a weapon because you're dangerous. You cannot be trusted. Only I have the right to carry a weapon". Well, naturally the other kid disagrees.

Sadly, our rights are given to us by those who have power, more powerful and influential than us. We won't have any right at all if those who are more powerful than us abuse their power to serve their own causes and decide that giving us our full rights will harm or hamper their causes.

As long as there are prejudices, discriminations, distrusts, power hunger politicians, phobias, and injustices in the world talks about rights will never be right. As long as one group decides what is right for others there's no rights. Rights are about compromising our rights with others'.

Understanding that as we live together, what is right for us might not be right for others. Understanding that justice and fairness are the only keys to implementing human/nation rights. And the most important of all is finding trustworthy people to govern, people who know how to be just despite the fact that it will bring harm to themselves, their families, their causes, and their allies. Only then we will be given our full rights which are naturally ours.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What are Your Strongest Points?

If you asked this question to Indonesians, you might get blank looks for a few seconds, than stammers and stutters for a few sentences, before finally getting a completely wrong answer.

You might wonder whether they don't know what their strongest points are. It is hard to know what we really good at. But it's even harder to enunciating it to someone else let alone a complete stranger.

What makes it so hard for Indonesians I think is because most of us are raised to be modest at all time about our accomplishments, talents, achievements and so on. So when the time comes to pointing out their strongest points, e.g. in the job interviews, it becomes their weakest point instead.

Being modest is also one of our strongest points, however pointing out all our strongest points modestly, needs to be learned by those who cannot simply say it. Instead of using I, we could say, 'most people think I am...'

But in the interview, the interviewers are more likely to be impressed by the interviewees who could say directly what they are good at compare to those who tried to say it modestly. Sometimes their very directness in answering tough questions scores higher than the answers they're giving.

Your ability to judge when to be direct and diplomatic is also one of your strongest points. If you're good with people or simply blessed with pleasant personalities it is also one of your strongest points.

Your educational background might help you to stand out among other potential candidates for a coveted job, but if you don't have that don't be discouraged, you still have chance to win that job by pointing out your strongest points.

So make sure to start taking stock of what you're good at.

Divine Privileges

I've noticed several things related to praying. Naturally I'm talking about muslim's praying, namely shalat. First and foremost, it gives privilege to those who come first to fill the first row. There is no reservation for those with the highest rank among men/women. God doesn't care about your rank or status among human being. That's the message which I really like. Secondly, the choice of imam to lead the praying is based on mutual consent among those who come first. They are supposed to choose the best among them. Once the praying start, everybody else just follow the imam, regardless of his/her position.

Today, our imam was one of our colleagues who is unfortunately always become the butt of joke and teasing. I wonder whether my other colleagues who followed behind him see the irony or to be precise the error of their way in treating him thus. By making him the butt of their jokes, they feel more superior than him. When in fact it's only their own feelings and imaginations. The one who really knows who's superior than who is only God.

Joking and teasing are fine. But we should be able to differentiate when those jokes have crossed the line into insulting and offending someone else.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dearest Jakarta

The biggest portion of my life has been spent in Jakarta. I grew up in this densely populated city. With over 13 million people during day time Jakarta is infamous for its traffics. New initiatives have been taken by each newly elected local government with the high hopes to overcome its chronic conjunctions.

However, if I were asked what do I think about the traffics in Jakarta, I must say I didn't see any significant improvement. It seems that they just getting worse by day. The highways or tolls are just as bad as other roads, except on very few rare occasions.

The newest initiative which was taken by the former governor, more well-known as bus-way, only becomes the newest source of frustration of others who don't use it and have to drive their own cars to their offices.

The bus-way didn't build its own way, instead it took over others' ways to be their own. The normally pact streets become narrower and more pact if that even possible. As if that's not enough, Jakarta has the highest record of housing demonstrations compare to other big cities. Now you could imagine how's life for commuters in Jakarta.

If I were asked how do I measure the success of the local government in managing Jakarta. My answer is quite simple, if they could make commuting a pleasant or at the very least, a less frustrating experience for commuters, then, that's a success for me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review: The Spring of Oh Dal Ja




This Kdrama is really funny. It tells a story of Oh Dal Ja, a 33 year-old career woman. She's quite successful at her career but completely at lost at social life. Her experience and understanding of men are zip.

She found her self falling for a flirtatious guy. Few years later, they start a relationship in which she's still as clueless as before. Their incompatible relationship finally comes to an end when she finally found out that he's cheating on her with their female co-worker which she had hated at the first sight.

The outraged Oh Dal Ja then hired a 26 year-old, out-spoken, free-spirit, hunk Kang Tae-Bong to pretend as her boyfriend. Through Kang Tae-Bong, she starts to learn the nature of the relationship between men and women.

One day she met Uhm Gi Joong, who is not only wealthy and successful but also very gallant and kind at heart. Naturally, she falls for him. Uhm Gi Joong accepts a relationship with Oh Dal Ja because he has no intention to become emotionally involved.

But as time passes he found out that he really likes her. While on the other hand Kang Tae-Bong also finally realising that his feelings for Oh Dal Ja are more than just business. I don't want to spoil it for those who want to see it, just go and watch if you want to know more about it.

A few friends of mine said that younger guys are off limit. I have to disagree. They are fun to be with. Perhaps that's why I love any movies with older women and younger guys themes ^-^

Monday, November 26, 2007

Overworked, Underpaid!

Yes, that's us! A handful of hardworking, capable, efficient, creative and full of initiative civil servants in this administration. The stereotyping of the old days that government employees come to the office at 11 a.m., read some newspapers/gossiping, go to lunch and then go back home by 2 or 3 p.m. is very far off today's reality. Admittedly, we do still have some left over of the older generation who might fit that stereotyping quite nicely. However, that's not what I'd like to talk about. I'd like to talk about those who are overworked and underpaid.

Until quite recently I thought only Indonesian civil servants have the honor to use the term overworked and underpaid. I was quite surprised and pleased to find out that our counterparts in Vietnam were also in the same boat.

Previously, I always had this inferiority complex while attending international events overseas when the informal conversation started to digress to salaries. As far as I know, other fellow participants from neighboring countries e.g. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore enjoy a much higher salaries than us Indonesians. No self-respecting Indonesian could preserve their dignities when mentioning to others that he/she earned a meager US$ 100/month. While every foreigners they met continuously praising their country as a rich one.

Now I'm pleased to learn that while our salaries has increased substantially to US$ 200, our Vietnamese counterparts still earn around US$ 130. However, US $ 200 is not enough to live in Jakarta which has become the 11th most expensive city in the Asia Pacific.

I'm hopeful that the government will take serious efforts to amending this shameful fact. One dignity isn't determined by one's salary, however, a country's dignity shall be undermined if she doesn't pay close attention to her precious workforces' salaries.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Love Generation

I spent few hours in the weekend watching Japanese series Love Generation. It's not a new series. Quite ancient actually. It was produced in 1997, and I've had it in my possession for quite sometimes too. Just haven't got the time to see it.

I don't really like Japanese series compare to Korean or Taiwanese series. But eventhough I haven't finished Love Generation yet, I really like it. Kimura Takuya shows an excellent acting skills as Katagiri Teppei. The storyline is also excellent. For those who want to start watching Japanese series, I recommend Love Generation as your first trial.

I've seen Hana Yori Dango, which was also good, but seeing it after watching the Taiwanese version Meteor Garden made the whole experience lost its bites. The Taiwanese version was better in many ways. It's funnier with more memorable scenes.

I don't know whether my appreciation for Love Generation was borne out of the fact that I haven't seen a Taiwanese version of it.
Anyway it's worth seeing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

God is not Christian

"God is not Christian", said Desmond Tutu. Intriguing. And true. God doesn't need religions. We, on the other hand, need it. We need it as a guidance, particularly on the contentious morale issues of right and wrong. We need it as assurances that this life we lead is not meaningless. There's a purpose to it. That every little thing we do count.

So why so many people like using words like: God's religion? These very words give the wrong impression and sometimes inflammatory. We should stop using and bringing God down for our own cause. Be honest, it's our religion! Regardless of the fact that God himself chose and designated that religion for us, it's still our religion not God's.

Most of us use religion as a weapon. And it is a very mighty one. Most of us use religion as an excuse to do things they want to do. They use religion to gather support from the masses.

What they don't do is using it as it main purposes intended it to be used: a guidance to the right path (to goodness), a reference for justice, a reminder that we're all brothers and sisters.

That this world with all its worldly jewels, pleasures and enticements -which has been coveted by some with such desire, is only temporary. It might seem very precious at this moment so that those people are willing to do anything to get it. But in the end....it means really nothing. One has to leave it all behind. Even if he owns the world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Review: Mike He's Weekend

Spending the weekend by watching Mike He's movies gave me a new appreciation of his talent. He's not just another model turned into movie star. Besides having the good looks, surprise surprise, he could actually act.

I started the the journey with Love Contract in which he plays a quiet, hard working, swimming team leader. Then continued with Devil Beside You, where he was casted as the most scariest student in the university, with harsh devil may care manner. The contrasts between these two characters showcased his abilities to act.

Despite his good looks, and his ability to act, I don't think he's succeeded in turning me into one of his fans. I'm not saying I don't like him. Because I do.

However, among Taiwanese young stars, I think I still like Jerry Yan the most. There are so many memorable scenes (with his memorable facial expressions) from Meteor Garden which have been in printed in my mind - and many others- I guess, which would be hard to replace by other actors.

Anyway, if you like Mike He, go and watch Devil Beside You, it's worth your time. I'm not so sure about Love Contract, but if you like Ariel Lin, then of course you need to see it. They make an interesting couple.

Review: Fantasy Couple & Get Karl! Oh Suh Jang



I've finished watching Fantasy Couple (FC) with Oh Ji Ho (OJH)as the male lead. A couple of days prior to FC, I just finished watching Get Karl, Oh Su Jang (GKOSJ) also with OJH as the male lead.

There are slight similarities between the female lead characters in Fantasy Couple and the lead in the Get Karl, Oh Su Jang. Both of them are considered as superficial, self-centered girls, without sensitive bones/heart in their bodies.

When in fact they are misunderstood by most people around them. In their own ways they are quite good, honest, responsible and caring, though perhaps with a touch or more pride than their ordinary counterparts.

On the other hand, there are, thanks God, no similarities between OJH's roles in both FC and GKOSJ.

I'm not impressed with OJH's acting as Karl, in Get Karl, Oh Su Jang. He doesn't look very convincing there. His looks and his incredible body help a lot to distract his female fans from scrutinizing his acting. But his performance improved significantly in Fantasy Couple. But I need to tell you that I love him.

For those who want to see a rude, hateful but lonely heiress, who doesn't know a thing besides giving orders and buying things she wants, including her husband with her money, learning the meaning of love, happiness and purpose in life, fantasy couple might suit you.

For my many sister old maids out there, you could relate to Oh Su Jang experiences in GKOSJ and get your hopes up again and renew your belief that your waiting for Mr. Right is not going to be wasted away... you'll get Oh Ji Ho in the end ^-^

ps:
what I love most about Korean movies is its very silliness, its portrayal of people's weaknesses and strengths and its optimistic outlook at life.

MY TWO CENT:
Hope is a very important thing in one's life. If there's no hope there's no point in living.

Review: Thank You

It's one of the newest Korean series I watched.

The storyline is quite good. The story makes you cry and laugh at the same time. However, there's no sudden death of the main characters as common in the old Korean movies/drama series. And I love the fact that even the kid with the HIV still lives and leading a happy life at the end of the series.

But what really strikes me as memorable is the theme song with the same title by Hun (Kumapsumida/Thank You). It's really sweet,touching and full of feelings. It portrays the conflicts between the main characters quite nicely. It's definitely one of the best theme songs I've heard in a long time.

Here's the text for you who are also crazy about it (you could hear the song in youtube):

Tangsinun paboneyo.
Chongmal kumapsumnida.
Nahana bakke murugo.
Akimob shita chun saram.
(A fool you are. Really...thank you. You who only see me, who give. Everything to me..without sparing).

Tangsinun chonsaneyo.
Terolhimdelgo chitchiltende.
Amugotomul kodomun saramu.
Pyonhamob shimido chuneyo.
(An angel you are. It must be hard and tiring for you at times. But you believe in me, without wavering. When I have nothing to show).

Isanghajo kudennumul semi.
Omnapayo.
Apado nalwiye.
Nurusojuneyo.
(Isn't it strange, it seems. You have no tears. Even when you are in pains. You smile for me)

Kudekyote chongmal.
Hemuke sho-u-neyo.
Mokkute chainun kumal.
Chongmal sarang hamnida
(I smile because I'm happy by your side. These words I've kept at the bottom of my throat. I really love you...)

Puyondo.
Motharun monane sarang.
Ijesoya marane yongmal.
Kudeisso sarang kaju.
(My foolish love.Which cannot be expressed. Now I finally said this. I live because you exist)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thick Skin, a Necessity ?

A friend just told me an embarrassing incident which happened to her. Come to think of it, this is not the first time I heard she encounters such 'please don't let that ever happens to me' situation. Come to think of it so did I. Thanks God, I seem to have lost the propensity to have it.

The incident she told me was work related with one of her clients, I told her 'If I were you I would dig my own grave and jump voluntarily'. She said, so would she, except that she just couldn't.

Sometimes, we don't have that easy escape. Sometimes we just have to face it and pretend that it never happens. We need to grow a thick skin if we don't have one. Sometimes the situation is such that we couldn't run away and hide, regardless of how much we want to avoid someone. Life is about taking responsibilities and being responsible about them.

Humiliations and embarrassments are parts of our lives, they shouldn't stop us from doing what we should do, they shouldn't stop us from being the best that we could. They should be taken as lessons learned and not breaks and walls to imprison ourselves.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trust and the People We Interact With

Trust is invaluable. It's hard to find. It's hard to give. It's hard to maintain. It's so hard because it's not just about you. If you're entrusted by someone to do something or with something, you might have every intention in the world to do it right. But, I found it myself two days ago, I failed to do what was expected of me, not because I didn't do it right, but because someone else decided not to do what was expected of her.

Here's the story:

I was asked to take a credit card out of a safety box, then give it to our tour guide to be used to pay for all our expenses during the day. By the end of the day I was supposed to take the credit card back with all the receipts, keep it in the deposit box, and on the next day give it back to the person who entrusted me to do it.

I did exactly what I was asked to. I gave the credit card to our tour guide, told her to return it to me later with all the receipts. By the time we get back to our hotel, and I was inquiring about the credit card, I was told that the card had been returned to our host who unexpectedly decided to join us for dinner.

I wasn't alarmed. Truth be told, I was glad I didn't have to return the credit card to the safety box and kept the key. I didn't think it was strange at all that our tour guide didn't return the credit card back to me despite the fact that I had asked her to do exactly that. I thought one of the purposes of our host by coming for dinner with his wife was to take the credit card back. That's another lesson: we shouldn't make any assumption, particularly not in foreign countries.

The alarm and guilt came the next day when I met the person who entrusted me with the credit card. It never crossed my mind that he didn't know the credit card had been returned to his superior. And I didn't know either he needed that credit card now to settle all our expenses.

I felt guilty instantly. I felt that it was all my fault. That I had done something wrong. Until a couple of friends pointed out that it wasn't my fault. But still...even now I'm still thinking of what I could do differently.

What I know for sure is that, if I were our tour guide, before returning the credit card to its real owner I would inform the person who told me to return the credit card with all its receipts that instead of returning the credit card to her, I prefer to give it directly back to its owner. That way, the person who gave me the credit card could talk with its real owner to avoid any misinformation and misunderstanding.

But a friend who had lived in Korea for three years told me her candid observation about Koreans: there's no explanation. In this case I think she's right.

The lesson I've learned:

It's difficult to keep a trust given to you. Not because you're not a trustworthy person, but simply because in our daily lives we interact with other people. Sometimes, even though we did and tried our best to be trustworthy, the results were not as expected. Because our actions need to be supported by other people's actions before it becomes fruitful. It's a process. And we could only be responsible for our part.

Knowing that, somehow, I still feel guilty...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dress for success?

What determines you've dressed for success? I'm not going to ponder the politically correct answer for this one. Since our lives are a learning experience.

I've managed to learn one small lesson regarding dressing: Dressing correctly is actually very important! Not that I didn't know it before but we rarely practice what we know don't we?

I fail to dress successfully this morning. Thinking that this is just another ordinary day to be spent comfortably behind my desk in my office, I chose to wear a suit. A really formal one. Translation: Thick one.

As soon as I arrived I found out that I need to go out for a field visit with a Japanese counterpart. With Indonesia's weather...it's a disaster. Not to mention no body going to the field wearing a suit!

Perhaps I should keep a few outfits in the office just in case. Been thinking about doing exactly that for quite sometimes, but there's never been a very strong case to prompt me to act.

Perhaps this is the time?

First Day to Start Blogging

I've been thinking about creating my own blog for quite sometimes. Now, I've finally done it. There's no particular reason why I did it. Except perhaps that today I've nothing better to do.

It's not that my work-loads have been reduced or something. I think it's just the results of a sheer boredom and the need to do something new. Anyway, here it is...

I can hardly wait to see how it'll progress.