Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Little Update On Piranhas

The project I'm working on will end in September 2017, but since we're on a budget, we will be discharged in several phases before the closing month. We will reduce the number of employees from around 300 currently to 100 as of  April. We have started doing this since December. I myself will end the contract in May, if nothing prevails.

This may sound a sad thing, but in the eyes of Piranhas, farewell equals to a feast, delicious foods and get together before departing for another project out there. Also, many of us actually looking forward to have a short break from the job. At least, I do.

Here are several conversation we had recently:

#1. On Finding Reasons To Get Fired

Situation: we were discussing on who leaves when, when DN, a next-office colleague, came and joined the conversation

DN: Oh you guys will leave in several months, while I will rot in the next office until God knows when
Me: You can make yourself get fired, if you prefer that way
DN: Oh yeah, I can circulate an email containing my nude photos. Would that make me got fired?
All: (silence for a second, before we all broke into the loudest laugh)
And as in cue, DN's boss, L, a woman in her 40s, came behind DN's back.
L: What were you laughing about?
DN: We were discussing on ways to get fired. I proposed to send an email containing my nude photos.
L: Are you going to send that email to the offices in Indonesia, or the US, too?
DN: Which has better chance of getting fired?
L: Instead of getting fired, you'll only be charged for ethics. You should come up with a better plan.
All: (did a double take on L, and then laughing hysterically)

#2. On Finding Post-Project Activities

Situation: as I said, many sees the end of project as a moment to have a career break. So here's what you possibly hear from some of us if you ask us,"What would you do after the project closing?"

PH, 70 yo: I will return to Flores and see what I can help there
PA, 55+ yo: I'm scheduled to do pilgrimage next year, so I would probably prepare the things for my departure
AH, 38 yo: I want to return to academic sector, start on my PhD
IL, 39 yo: I want to start a small business using the severance pay
Me: I want to do Ramadhan fasting at peace, so I'd be most likely postpone the job search for 1-2 months

#3. On Scheduling The Farewell

Situation: Big Boss is taking leave, while we are planning the farewell

SR: I think it's better to hold the farewell on Dec. 29, because Big Boss is taking leave until Dec. 27. However, this would mean WA, whose last day is on Dec. 23, would not be able to participate.
AH: Who will pay for the food at the farewell?
SR: Big Boss
AH: Oh that's great, the food will be abundant and delicious if the Big Boss pays. Ok, we'll hold it on Dec. 29 then.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Some Tips For First Time Hijab Wearers

January is the perfect time to make resolution to be a better self.

Recently I met two women in separate occasions. Both have just donned hijab and asked for my opinion in hijab wearing. One is a journo friend, who had just came back from a pilgrimage trip and had a thought of wearing a hijab. However, she  was wondering if she was really ready to wear it as she felt distanced from the values of Islam. Her one big question was,"Am I really ready for the hijab?"

Another is a friend's friend, who also just returned from the Holy Land, decided to wear hijab and was admonished by her friends for wearing ripped jeans (she wore opaque stocking underneath, though). She was surprised to get such treatment from people she had been hanging out with.

I told them that no matter what they did, people would always have something to say. If they didn't wear hijab after the pilgrimage, people would comment,"Hey, why don't you cover yourself after the pilgrimage?" And if they did wear hijab, people would criticize the way they wear hijab. But that's okay, because it would allow them to see who the real friends were and who would take them as they are, either with hijab or not. 

I also reminded them that as a human, we are growing, from fetus to baby to toddler to teenage to adult. We will still be growing inside, either our belief system or our fashion sense, until the day we die. Therefore, they don't need to worry about what they are doing or wearing today, because it is just a step ahead to get them to another phase in life.

Also, the last thing I told them that they need to read more, discuss more and surround themselves with Islam and people who they believe will bring them closer to Islam. A human's heart changes from time to time, we should always pray to God that our hearts stay in the right path.

Enough with the preachy stuff. I remembered wearing hijab the first time and trying to decide what to wear while maintaining to be color coordinated at once. So here are some tips:

1. Always remember the main reason you're wearing hijab. It's not for you, it's not for other people, but it's for your Creator. This should block all negativity out of your mind :).

2. For first hijab buys, stick to basic colors: black, white, gray. This will be a good investment for a lifetime.

3. Asses your current wardrobe and find ways to hijab-modify them

4. Figure out what suits you best 

Another tips is to follow hijabistas on Instagram and pick up some fashion clues from their feeds, such as this young Iranian fashion designer/illustrator Shagayegh Seyedi (@shagayegh_syd). Her style reminded me of my first hijab experience :).

Group hug to all first-time hijab wearers out there!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Farm Life In Garut

I went to Garut, West Java last weekend with several friends to start a little project (which I can not fully disclose at the moment). Garut is about four hours away from Jakarta and we did a very quick day trip there. The client owns a plot of land, where he plants vegetables, fruits as well as breeds goats, chickens, ducks and geese. I had geese as pet (I was a weird kid, lol), so it brought sweet memories of my childhood.

Trivia: Did you know that actor Charlie Chaplin went to Garut twice? Yep, it was such a lovely place to visit.

Anyway, here are some pictures of my day trip to Garut.

View from the farm. I'd love to wake up to this every morning.

Water hyacinths fill up one corner of the fish ponds

Garut is known for its rams. Such beautiful horns sometimes bend into the animal's neck, putting the rams in a life-threatening situation, so there are horn-bending saloons for the rams. Yes, I am serious.

The flock of geese is as effective as a guard dog :)

These babies huddle in the pen. So cute :)

A worker tending to strawberries in plastic bags

Friday, January 13, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Gift

Photo: doc of GDH, found here

Thailand | 2016 | 144 minutes | Director: Chanayop Boonprakob

I didn't plan to watch this movie. I was just going to meet up at a shopping center with a former editor of previous workplace. She's going to watch the movie and invited me to join her. I jumped at the opportunity, before having second thoughts,"Wait a minute? Thailand movie? Is it a horror movie?" Because guys, Thailand does the horror movies seriously, and I'd rather not watching or I'd be jumpy everytime I hear sounds at night for the whole month (or possibly more). Fortunately, it is not a horror movie. In fact, it's the perfect movie to open a new year. So here it is, a review and a lot of spoiler alert. Don't say I didn't warn you :).

The movie's title A Gift, with its tagline "because music is the best gift you can give", gives an initial guess at what it offers. Oh, it's a musical, I thought. 

The film opens with late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's speech on a new year celebration and also shots of the king visiting the paddy fields, giving instruction on development and meeting the people. After about five minutes, the screen goes black and the audience are asked to stand up to honor the late king. We all obliged, and there was an aerial shot of people mourning on the passing of the king.

At this point, I thought that the movie would be a documentary of the king, and was a bit disappointed. Then the three-piece omnibus movie unravels beautifully.

The first piece begins with Beam (Nine Naphat Siangsomboon) practicing hand clapping before a vacant stage when a girl asks him to become a stand-in for the Russian Ambassador. He falls for the stand-in of Ambassador's wife, Pang (Violetta Wautier), who rejects him directly and violently on his first attempt of wooing. As the day progresses, the 'Ambassador couple' learn about each other and develop good relationship. The piece features Love at Sundown.

The second piece ties in with the first as the girl who asks Beam to be a stand-in, Fa (Mew Nittha), gets a phonecall from mother, asking her to come home and see father. Fa later resigns from her job to take care of her ailing father following the death of mother. With father having Alzheimer, Fa faces difficulty to keep things normal. She then realizes that father can remember things when she plays Still On My Mind on her mother's piano, so she decides to learn playing the song. She asks Aey (Sunny Suwanmethanont), a piano tuner, to tune the piano. Unlike Fa who tries to bring normalcy into the ailing father, Aey goes along with the flow. This second piece hits home as it reminds me of D, and although his condition has been going up and down in the past five years, at least he still remembers that I am his daughter.

The handsome guys and pretty girls in the movie. Photo: doc of GDH, found here

The last piece brings audience to the former office of Fah, Fa's mother. The colleagues are missing the musical Aunt Fah, but they find solace when Llong (Ter Chantavit), a metal musician-turned-financial analyst, arrives in the office. Kim (Noona Nuengthida) asks him to help establish a band to cheer up the colleagues. They have to face supervisor Ms Supakin, who hates Thaumatrope (Llong's former metal band) because her son has been playing the band's song since he was in Grade 9. Guess who is Ms Supakin's son? It's Beam! So the movie goes in a perfect circle. The last piece ends with New Year's Greeting, a song about new year's wishes.

As the movie comes to a close, the audience are told that the New Year's Greeting is a song composed by the late king, as his gift to the people of Thai. That's when all the pieces come to one with the speech featured in the beginning of the movie.

Thank you, King. Music is definitely the best gift you can give.

Photo: found here

Friday, January 6, 2017

One Of The Best Advices On Relationship

My friend Vissia and her husband Untung during the trip to Takabonerate

I was walking into the office's praying room, and then bumped into two female colleagues having a conversation on relationship. One of the women, SP, who is younger, had just poured her heart to the older one, PA. I didn't hear what the problem was, but I think the advice is universal and applicable for all types of relationships.

"Respect him, but respect yourself first. If he does not respect you, leave him. You should not compromise your values for anyone."

"Anyway, you are young, and you will meet another guy who will respect you," she added.

"What if the woman is not young anymore? Should she compromise her values?" I chimed in.

PA looked me in my eyes, and said,"No woman should ever compromise her values. Mutual respect is important."

I'm definitely taking notes :).

Update: Respect is listed as number #3 in this list of successful relationship tips

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Learn To Cope

Found here

Rose is Rose comic always knows what lies within. Not exactly a resolution, but yeah, this year I'll learn to cope with everything. Wish me luck :).