Monday, April 28, 2008

Review: Bones!

It’s been such a long time since I found myself in love with a TV Series. Not since La Femme Nikita and Lois and Clark ended. The first was love at the first sight. The second was love which never ends.

Now after years spending with longing to find something that could capture my passion, attention and time, I finally found Bones.

It definitely is my favourite TV series of date. But why write the review now and not before?

I guessed after finished watching the second season I kind of forget how good it was. But right after watching a few episodes of the third season, all of the old giddy feelings came back full force.

What I love most either in the movies or books is a strong female lead. Someone with intelligence, strong backbones, and high qualifications. In short, no Miss teary, dewy eyed with great body but no brain for me. And Bones is giving me my ideal female character.

Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones) is not only intelligent but also a brilliant in her field. She’s also a very famous author on the side, and therefore making more than enough money for herself. Working and excel in a rather bizarre field of work makes her quite lacking in other less than impressive skills e.g. social skills.

Her being so used to be in charge, aloof and far from being subtle has caused some problems when she has to work together with a FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. Luckily, Booth is an easy going type, the complete opposite of Bones.

Their partnership is the main reason why this Series is able to capture my attention. It’s been ages since the last time I saw such chemistry between lead characters. They are so different Bone and Booth! And their differences have been expertly exploited to create strong fascinations for the audiences.

It’s very amusing to see that when they were discussing certain topics which was introduced on purpose by Booth – it was him who ended up blushing and stuttering or got angry instead while Bones were completely ignorant of the facts.

I love seeing the relationship between Bone and Booth is built slowly. Letting the audience see how their feelings toward each other developed and grew into something deeper and stronger.

If the producer and the writers could maintain the good work that they are doing, this Series could become one of the best TV series in its genre. If they could maintain the tension and chemistry between its two leads, they will become one of the most memorable couples on TV Screen.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Do You Watch American Idol?

Should we be ashamed of admitting that we are not immune to this pop culture instant idol fever? As I already put all my favourite books (which were labeled by a friend as cheap romance novels) and films here for all the world to see, I might as well admit that I do watch and rather enjoy it.

I even used to have a strange infatuation for Ryan Seacreast! Yea, I was one of those girls who watch American Idol in order to drool over him. The strange thing was that I didn’t think Ryan was good looking at all.

What I liked about him was his sense of humor – which come to think of it, I’m not even sure really his – those amusing comments he made might be the results of a very good sense of humor of his script writer! At least now that was over. I no longer find him as amusing as before. Instead in this 7th season I found my self captured by the talent of the contestants.

I was one of those who are deeply disappointed when America decided to send Michael Johns home. He has a very special voice and really blown me away when he sang Bohemian Rhapsody (which I thought was sounded even better than the original). I thought he deserved to be at least at the top 4. Anyway….

I’m not a fan of David Cook, but now that Michael Johns was gone my attentions are turned to him. I have to admit he has almost everything. Week after week he impressed me with his stellar performances. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up become the American Idol this season.

His strongest contender David Archuletta is also very good. He has a very beautiful voice but lacked the hard edge which is owned by Cook. But being only 17, Archuletta has huge potentials to become a very big star and to win the American Idol.

I’m not that impressed with the rest.

Brooke botched her performance by forgetting her lyrics, something which should have never happened at this late stage! Jason was unimpressive. Syesha was good but her voice wasn’t distinct enough. Carly….well, she was never my favourite.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Indonesia and the Palestine vs the USA and the Israel

Indonesia has always been a strong supporter of the Palestinians’ independence. Indonesian people even feel more strongly and passionately against the Israeli’s occupation of the Palestine.

If the American politicians feel no need to hide their undying love and loyalty toward their most beloved ally regardless of any breach of agreements which has been made by it and none seems to dare to criticize the Israeli, the Indonesians feel quite the same about the Palestinians.

No government in Indonesia will ever dare sounding or showing a support for the Israeli. As long as there is no peace between the Palestinians and the Israeli, as long as there is occupation and oppression there will never be acknowledgment of the Israeli existence from Indonesia.

I don’t know why the American politicians and people love the Israeli to that extent (although some say it’s because of the power of the Israeli’s lobbyists) but I know why the Indonesians feel so strongly about the Palestinians causes. The emotions run deep when you talk to Indonesians about the Palestine and of course Iraq. The USA and Israel are not looked favourably by the Indonesians. Some even really hate these two countries with a passion. Particularly the USA, which many blame for the continuation of the conflicts between Palestine and Israel.

Indonesians are never in favour of any country which makes it their business to occupying other sovereign country. Being occupied once ourselves and having had to struggle hard to reach our independence have enabled us to be very sensitive to and empathised with the plights of other occupied nations such as Iraq and the Palestine. And there is also a religion factor. Although personally I don’t care whether the Palestinians and the Iraqis are Muslims or Christians or what ever. We all deserve to have and want the same thing.

Spending last week with the Palestinians and hearing firsthand about the experiences and hardships which they have to face on daily basis because of the occupation made me realize that all the things that I’ve seen on the news pale to comparison.

I was also aghast at finding out that the foreign donors apparently have completely different tenets when they are dealing with the Palestinians. The number one jargon in the development world today ‘the sustainability’ has a completely different meaning there.

I don’t know why nobody realize that the chaos and destructions we are witnessing in our world come from the practice of double standards which are perpetuated by selective implementations of justice. We use different set of rules and principles when we are dealing with different group of people/nations/organizations, depending on their races, religions, political orientations, etc.

Prophet Muhammad once got angry and chastised one of his beloved companions for his suggestion to be lenient and forgiving the mistake made by one of the members of the ruling class and the strongest ally they had. He said that one of the reasons why the past great nations came to destruction and crumbled to pieces was that their rulers applied a different standard of justice for their own class. When one of their own made mistake they looked the other way.

Why don’t we learn from the past and take their lessons to heart?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Wake Up Call from SBY

A wise person once mentioned that it’s better if we don’t hate or love excessively because those whom we love today could be the one we hate tomorrow and vice versa.

I don’t love nor hate SBY. I just don’t like him. The reason for my dislike wasn’t even personal. It was his military background. I believe that since this country was run by military people most of the mistakes made in the past were their responsibilities. But it’s going to be very difficult to bring those people to justice if the President is their comrade.

I know some people who really hate SBY’s style and policies. I just don’t care. I’m only curious to see whether he will run for the second time, as he mentioned once during his campaign that once is enough.

I told a friend that although I don’t like him, if he raises the salary of the civil servants to Rp 5,000,000 (less than $ 600) I’ll vote for him and do his campaign freely. I’m convinced that SBY will never be able do that. It takes a very tough and corruption free oriented President to raise the civil servants’ salary to that level.

To cleanse this country of corruption, the government must clean its employees first. The main reason which is often used as a justification for bad public services is low salary. Based on personal experience with people from the Ministry of Finance who got exorbitant income I disagree with this assumption, but it does have a merit. Low salary is one of the factors which has caused bad services and lack of enthusiasm to give a good performance.

Good governance could be started with the improvement of the salary of the civil servants. I really hate government’s excuses when they refuse to raise civil servants’ salary. The standardize excuse was that the government doesn’t have enough money at the moment. Ordinary people might buy that one. But we government employees know better.

There’s money a plenty. Money which goes to the pockets of small percentage of fortunate government employees – instead of being use to increase the salary of every lowly level employee who had the bad luck not being placed in the ‘lucrative’ Ministries or positions. Those lucky people could earn at least from 5 – 10 times of the average salary of the average civil servants.

I don’t mind if some people are making more than other based on their qualification and job specification. But to let a few people enjoy that kind of income simply because they are lucky enough to be there is unreasonable. To let that kind of practice continue is unfair and irresponsible. To let people’s money being used and taken like that is tantamount to corruption.

And there is something else which is conveniently forgotten by the government when they raised the salary and benefit for some people in selective Ministries: the fact that the living costs are the same for everyone! No matter who you are, regardless of your Ministries or positions, everyone needs to have a decent salary which could cover the standard basic living costs.

Will SBY be able to handle this problem? I doubt it. It takes a revolutionary approach to cleanse a systematic corruption in the government bodies. A band aid is not going to help.
Despite his military background SBY is very soft. To me he looks like he is afraid of creating displeasure and discontentment.

Just the other day, I told a friend that one of the qualities needed to be had by a leader is a readiness to be hate by others. When a necessary policy is needed to be implemented for the greater good of the people he must have the courage to offend and be on the opposite side of those few who’ll stand to lose if it was implemented.

A leader needs to have courage to correct a wrong when he sees it. I don’t think SBY has it. Until last night.

I was stunned. I was amazed. And quite suddenly my opinion of him changed. It improved significantly. It was like love at the first sight. I’m not saying that I love him all of a sudden. But I do start to like him. I started to see there’s hope for him after all.

What he did might not seem incredible or extraordinary for foreigners. But for us Indonesians or even Asians, it was a very great deal. What did he do?

He chastised one of the attendees in his meeting for sleeping. He also ordered him out by saying that it’s highly inappropriate for government employees to fall asleep in the middle of the discussion to better the lot of their people. Marvelous!

I often saw that some people were closing their eyes during a meeting – perhaps as a sign of boredom – and some even pretending to be sleeping regardless of the number of attendees, regardless of the fact that they were sitting in the front row. And no body dares to say anything. Not even the chairman.

It’s not an easy task to talk directly to people about their mistakes. It’s hard to point it out to them why what they’re doing is wrong. It’s even harder to punish them for what is already accepted as a norm.

My highest respect and admiration for SBY for doing what he did. I hope that he will be able to extend that kind of approach to other areas as well. This country is in desperate need for someone who could wake it up and shake it off of its bad habits if it wants to catch up with its neighbours.