Monday, March 31, 2008

How Much Does It Cost to Bandung by Train?

For 3 tickets it’s Rp 325.000. Don’t raise your eye brows yet. There’s a story behind this unbelievable price. Most of it was my own fault but I’d like to put some blame to the KAI (Indonesian State Owned Train Company).

If only they have a phone in the reservation/selling counter and if only they didn’t charge Rp 10.000 per ticket for issuing a new one (I was told by someone in the call center that before April I wouldn’t be charged at all) it wouldn’t cost me that much to go to Bandung.

The original costs for Argo Gede and Parahyangan to Bandung are Rp 45.000 and Rp 35.000 consecutively. However the transportation costs + errand boy fee + costs for changing 3 tickets twice + the original tickets'price in total it was amounted to Rp 325.000.

For KAI please put a phone in your selling/reservation counter! Or let us order our tickets online so that we could correct the mistake ourselves!

For your information there’s no phone in Stasiun Gambir to cancel or change your tickets, you have to come in person to correct it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO)

I’ve read numerous raving reviews of GTO, and that’s why I decided to buy it. But since I’m not a big fan of Japanese series, it took me a long time to finally spare some time and watched it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s simply great. What ever your tastes regarding movies are you’ll like it.

Watching GTO reminds me of the stark differences between Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese series. I don’t think most Korean and Taiwanese series could reach the depth of substance touched by the Japanese series.

Most Japanese series even the light hearted ones have dark and serious side to it, while Korean and Taiwanese series are full of silliness. However, I love the very silliness in Korean movies and series. They bring out a fresh point of view of the sad and unfortunate things in one’s life and enable us to look at them with laughter.

Although Koreans rarely able to reach the depth mostly found in Japanese movies or series, they’re excelled in conveying the depth of love or hurt felt by their characters which is rather lacking in Japanese movies and series.

Back to GTO… based loosely on its manga GTO will capture and open your eyes and heart to the hypocrisy and idiosyncrasy of our world. Takashi Sorimachi plays Eikichi Onizuka to perfection. I’m a little bit surprised when I heard that “Poison” the theme song of this series is sung by Sorimachi himself.

The main character Onizuka loves being a teacher. He has his very own philosophy for teaching. Unconventional though it is, it suits him and his students. His care for their well-being supercede his non-existing concern for school politics.

Besides having an unorthodox philosophy in teaching, Onizuka also has a principal philosophy regarding his personal life which resulted in him not having a girl friend and become the last virgin available in the neighbourhood. They caused him to be at odd with his colleague Azusa Fuyutsuki.

Being female and the youngest in their school had made Fuyutsuki did things which were not included in her job description as a teacher, like, making a cup of coffee for her male colleague or do photocopying for them. She resented it but had no courage to buckle under the hierarchical order which had put her at the bottom simply because she was a female.

She disagrees and dislikes Onizuka’s methods of dealing with students but deep down she also admires his ability to stand up for what he thinks is right. Other teachers not only dislike and disagree with Onizuka’s methods, they were also plotting to kick him out of their school. While on the other hand some of the students also trying their best to humiliate and besmirch his reputation.

Just watch it. It’s worth your time.

Another surprising bit out of this series was the fact that Takashi Sorimachi (Eikichi Onizuka) and Nanako Matsushimi (Azusa Fuyutsuki) were actually become a couple in their real lives as a result of their meeting in this series. And then years latter finally tied the knot and live happily ever after....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Standing Up Against War!

1.How do you feel when you see news of people getting killed on daily basis?
2.How do you feel when you see people brimming with excitement when stating their intention to wage war on other countries?
3.How do you feel when you hear your government spent hundreds of million of your money on daily basis just to finance their beloved war while here in your own neighbourhood you could see where that money could be used more effectively?
4.How do you feel about profit making arms/guns industries?

I’ll tell you how I feel about those questions above. Concern, deep resentment, disgust, frustration and anger. Sometimes I think if I’m not such a peace loving person I would become a war monger myself and bring the war right down to the bold heads of those people who love war so much without having to face the direct consequences and the horror of their creation.

When I’m thinking about how safe and comfortable those people sit in their luxurious couches watching the news and reports on the wars they waged while millions died miserably, inhumanely and unnecessarily out there my anger increases thousands fold. When I heard the War President said that his war is just, honorable and necessary I wanted to puke and wonder about those who heard his speech and nodded their heads in agreement.

One of the ugliest and unfortunate facts about war is that it is supported by the masses. George W. Bush might be a war monger, but he wouldn’t be able to attack and annex Iraq without the support of the American people. I know not all Americans support this war, I know that some was coerced and deceived into supporting it, however, that didn’t change the fact that they supported it. There wasn’t enough opposition inside the US against the war in Iraq. That was why it happened.

The peace loving people, peace loving by nature, didn’t show enough strength in their opposition. They hate confrontation in any form, and that’s why the war mongers got their way easily. I come to the conclusion that if we want to maintain peace in our planet, we have to have enough strength and determination to wage our own war against those war mongers and whoever got it in their genes the tendency to support war. If we don’t stand up against them, they would walk all over us and use our resources to satisfy their lust for blood, power and create destruction to unprecedented level that would surpass our wildest imagination.

I have no objection what so ever if those war mongers want to wage war and follow it through by going to the war zone themselves. It wouldn’t sadden, angered nor frustrated me. I’d say good riddance. It served them right to be injured or even killed by their own war.

However, sadly, in our current wars, those war mongers wouldn’t even get a scratch. Other people will die in their war. Other people will become refugees because of their war. Innocent people who didn’t even want it in the first place and would get nothing out of and after the war is finished had to suffer the consequences of it. And had they been asked: “Would you be willingly forfeiting your life for this cause?” might give a resounding no as their answer.

What might be a surprise to some of us or perhaps not, is that if the same question were asked to the war mongers in Washington – if they think their lives is worth losing just to topple Suddam Hussein or to bring in the so called democracy which they profess to love so much for the Iraqi people, and saying how eager we are to see them off as soon as possible to fight this war themselves – is that we might also hear the same resounding no.

The war mongers might have no concept of lives. But if it is their own lives they understood it completely. They valued and priced it quite highly. The difference between us and them is that we understood and treasure life. Period.

People mattered to us regardless of their colours and origins. Death and destruction saddens us regardless where they happened. We see huge differences between the means and the ends. The war mongers don’t. Collateral damage horrified us. For them it just collateral damage. It happens.

I was completely chagrined and appalled when I heard one of Bush’s speech writers said that this generation (Iraqi) might not be looking kindly toward the war in Iraq, but the future generation might feel quite differently about it.

Would the future generation ever going to look kindly toward Hitler’s policy I wonder? Would the Jews ever thank Hitler for having conducted such – I’d like to used the term used by the War President – honorable, just and necessary war against their ancestors which has resulted in giving them their very own state. Yeah, let’s hope that our future generation will congratulate, honor and worship our war mongers for the results of their crimes.

War should be avoided at all costs. War should never be an option. There’s always other ways. Ways which have never been given a chance to be fully explored and taken because the war mongers run our world together with the powerful people connected to the arms industries which will get huge profit from war.

War kills not only people it kills our humanity. It kills us. Let’s not let the war mongers determine our world. Let’s not let them shape our lives and world to their liking which is only profit making regardless of its means. Let’s not let them bringing us down to their level. Fighting against war is a fight against good and evil and we should take our part in it by saying no loud and clear to their agenda. By voting against the war mongers and beware of them and their ilk.

The top priority of MDGs should be alleviation and eradication of war! Otherwise we would never be civilized and humane enough to realizing and bringing prosperity for all inhabitants of our beloved planet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer's: Another Sex Scandal

Watching Spitzer’s faithful, brilliant, and beautiful wife stood beside him to face the public with grim face and gritted teeth once again I felt very disappointed and sadden, not with Spitzer for I don’t know him at all – and I don’t think many American knows who he is before this latest scandal regarding the shady side of their male political figure’s love lives – but with the ugly reality of how utterly untrustworthy, hypocritical, and deceitful the men who are chosen to run the country by their constituents. I’m purposefully didn’t choose ‘most men’ as I believe it’s more difficult to find good, honorable and decent guys in the political arenas than finding gold in the rivers or sewage for that matter.

Eliot Spitzer who was the attorney general before he becomes the Governor of New York had built his career by destroying ring of call girls, while apparently at the same time he’d been enjoying the same service himself.

He knows the in and out of the operation like the back of his hand. He knows the procedures used by the government to trace anybody with connection to this prostitution business.

I wonder whether because he is so expert in this matter he thinks he’ll be caught by no one and nobody could trace his tail. Some source says that Spitzer has very likely spent about US$ 80,000 for his pleasure or downfall, depending how one looks at it I guess.

My disgust for politicians has increased by unprecedented leaps. My respect for men has plummeted farther below zero. My believe in the intelligence of constituents has eroded with alarming speed. And my heart aches when I saw those betrayed wives standing besides their cheating and deceitful husbands.

No women deserved that kind of public humiliation. Those husbands had no rights what so ever to demand their wives to show her public support and endure the results of his infidelity. It’s like putting salt over the wounds. There should be law written against it.

Those men had selfishly loved and enjoyed their affairs so at the very least they should be man enough to shoulder the results of their happy hours. And unlike the betrayed wives who have no choice but to helplessly stand besides these deceitful men, the public should not forgive them!

I long to hear news about someone who could inspire respect and trust in the hearts of his supporters and opponents alike. I sometimes wonder whether that person really exists or whether is it because they’re so honorable all their actions and lives deemed as not news worthy by the media and therefore we don’t know about their existence.

What we’re witnessing on our daily news diet are depressing, disappointing, degenerated and violent news around the world. No wonder we become depressed, stressful, degenerate and violent lot ourselves.