Posted in life

Unlearning: Looks are not more important than leadership quality

One day at Booragoon station with my baby in the pram, I was waiting for the bus together with a lot of school kids. When the bus arrived, other school kids were rushing to enter, but one girl who were not conventionally pretty calmly and firmly said one word to them, “Guys.” Only then did other students held on and let me in first.

In Australia, when the bus opens its door, depending on the passenger, it will set up a ramp for people with wheelchair or baby in pram. They are prioritized to come in first.

I used to feel that people who are unconventionally pretty are less lucky than people who are conventionally pretty. That afternoon I changed my mind because of one school girl who were not conventionally pretty but had the most consideration and leadership quality. She’s the one whom people respect. With only one word she could make everyone else follow her lead.

Posted in life

Emergency desk

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Oh, how I wish I had my own desk!

It will be a wooden desk with rounded or curvy edges, just the right size, and minimalist. No drawers. Minimalist, not only the shape of the desk but also in terms of not having a lot of stuffs going on on top of it. This will keep it tidy and uncluttered, my mind empty but focused.

The desk will be in a room with plenty of natural light. I love natural light. I could never had enough of it. Bonus point if the room overlooks a beautiful view of crystal-clear lake and green shades to bring natural cool temperature. Perhaps there would be large windows or door that I would keep open during the day. I like to feel the wind breeze while my mind dancing with ideas.

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I want her desk and room! my favorite author, Jhumpa Lahiri. picture source: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/08/25/t-magazine/25writers-rooms.html

Definitely, an entirely separate room for books. I will only collect books that are worth reading over and over and over again. Other books have to be discarded. My collection would only be consisting of carefully selected few, my version of classic. Nothing screams “hideous” more than having chunks and piles of unread books as room decor just so you could appear and feel more intelligent.

My heart aches but there will always be a “someday”, as in “Someday, I will have my own creative space.” Until then, I am writing from an emergency desk. I have to make do with what’s available. As I’ve written in my previous post, “Why I Write“,

I am a new mum who write when my baby sleeps. I write on my bed with a portable bean-bag laptop support, under dimly lit, maximum 40 watt bedside lamp. The lights are off. My baby is sleeping beside me under the same blanket and I have around 2,5 to 4,5 hours max before his next feed.

You can see at the picture above, my emergency desk is pretty basic. You can count the items with one hand. Each item has its story but I don’t want to make you bored with elaborate details of it. Here’s a quick list instead:

  • One bedside lamp
  • One black-grey moon-shaped portable bean-bag laptop support
  • One laptop
  • One A5 binder note with pen
  • One cup of tea

It might not be a lot, but surprisingly, it’s enough. It’s not ideal, but it shouldn’t be an excuse not to write. The gap between my dream-desk and the reality is due to me having to move places often. For the last three years I usually stay in one place for only 6 months maximum (who live like that?). Considering the temporariness of my stay and the uncertainty that the future may bring, having my own creative space (or at least a sturdy desk) that I have been obsessing about is not high on the priority list right now.

So instead of having a designated place to write regularly, I am trying to plot (or squeeze) some regular daily time to write. I think dedicating specific time each day to establish a writing routine is as important as having a designated space/place/room/desk for writing.

And … that would be an entirely new post. The strategy to diversify daily writing time (gasp!). A quick hint, I went to the public library to experiment with making a new habit of writing in the morning, on top of the night shift. The place is pretty decent. It looks like this:

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What do you think? Tell me, what’s your best-kept secret of having a productive writing habit? Where do you write and at what time?

Until next time, fellas!

Posted in life

Stillness in Motion

What kind of sport are you into and why?

Yet again, I have to move to another country. This time, it will be for a couple of months before I move again next year. It’s easy to lose yourself and your sense of wonder, get bored, or feel stuck when you’re in a constant. But interestingly, it doesn’t matter if your constant means staying put in one place or moving around like there’s no tomorrow.

Out of the blue, I feel like I want something to hold on to in this constant unsettledness. Otherwise, I am afraid my life would be a random series of killing time. Though it feels nice, sometimes it’s also tiring when you got the impression that everything feels disconnected and nothing leads to another. Or is this feeling due to the expectation that one has to achieve a certain particular milestone at a certain particular time of one’s life?

…I am not sure, but I just suddenly felt the urge to commit to do something. Regularly. Day in day out. I try to convince myself that a routine wouldn’t harm me anyway, and there’s no such thing as too late. There’s no such thing as too late. After all, your life is made of what you commit doing every single day, day in, day out, notwithstanding the absence of acknowledgement from other people.

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pretending …

Then it boiled down to this: I attended my first yoga class yesterday, something that I wish I could commit doing on a regular basis. The class is every Tuesday, but participants are expected to practice at home on their own every other day. I used to assume that yoga is full of nonsense, but surprisingly it felt nice. It’s absolutely basic, no intricate sanskrit words, no bla-bla-bla, nothing fancy, only nine of us and two instructors in a no nonsense yoga studio with mirror covering one side of the wall, sleepy music, a little sound of dripping water and plain yoga mat for each.

As it was my first yoga ever, I don’t get the philosophy of mind-body-soul connection or whatnot. For me, it was purely physical. Being someone that has never been exceptionally good at any sport (but still consider myself quite fit, nevertheless!), I really enjoyed the one and a half hour session. I was not too bad and doing that first session had already made me complacent as it felt like a real sport, real sweat, real muscle stretch, etc. No wonder, just starting out felt that amazing, like a gold star, coming from me who has not done any sport (including swimming–my all-time favorite) for a long long time and whose work out routine only includes regular walking, doing chores, or cycling short-distance.

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cycling, used to be my only work out routine

During that first session, I learnt some new things about myself:

  • My right hand is not as flexible as my left as it failed to reach my head down from my back while the left one managed to do it at ease. Needs more practice and someone to slowly pull it on a regular basis. Sounds like a feasible target, isn’t it?
  • Yoga suits me because it is slow and not competitive. I was quite good at gymnastic or running, perhaps just because I have the endurance to go on, but it’s not something that appeals me to do on a regular basis. Yoga seems to be a completely personal sport. Of course it could be done together or as a social event, but essentially I just need to close my eyes and concentrate to feel my own body doing the right movement. The more I trust my own body, the more it could do what I thought impossible. It’s all about the balance between control and letting go.
  • I completely have no idea of breathing techniques, and as a living being I thought it was a no-brainer! This is crucial, I should really do something about it.
  • I really don’t get how to make my body tensed and relaxed again. Not as crucial as breathing techniques, but I suppose regular yoga would help me in better controlling the tension and relaxation.
  • I lost my balance a couple of times (funny to look at!). It’s not as urgent, nonetheless being still is an art that I wouldn’t mind to get myself familiar with.
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she’s absolutely sporty while i am just someone who’s trying to “hang in there”

It hits me now that mind and body could be in a completely different world. I thought I was stronger, fitter, I could do anything. I thought I was ready for unmentionable physical hardships that will definitely be coming in the next couple of months, but now I honestly realize that all that thoughts are absolute overestimation of myself.

Well, at least I found out the real state of my being. I know what I have to do, and I hope it’s not too late. Of course I can try my best but I cannot control the result. I need better preparation. Nothing is instant. I should instill deep into my mantra that no effort goes to waste because the process should be more important that the result. Otherwise I will end up doing nothing for the lack of guaranteed result or acknowledgement.

What about you? Are you into any sports? Why do you enjoy it? What makes you committed in doing it?

Posted in life

Israel: The Logic of a Settler State

Tulisan Matthijs Krul:

Notes & Commentaries

Let us not today fling accusations at the murderers. Who are we that we should argue against their hatred? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza and, before their very eyes we turn into our homestead the land and the villages in which they and their forefathers have lived. We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and the cannon we cannot plant a tree and build a home. Let us not shrink back when we see the hatred fermenting and filling the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, who sit all around us. Let us not avert our gaze, so that our hand shall not slip. This is the fate of our generation, the choice of our life – to be prepared and armed, strong and tough – or otherwise, the sword will slip from our fist, and our life…

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“Don’t apologize for believing the world’s in better shape then it is, just fight to make it true.”

O.S. Gordon, The Dark Knight Rises