Early Bird: Sunrise at Taj Mahal, Agra, India



I woke up at 4 am and take a taxi to the West Gate, waiting for the gate to be opened. At 6 it was opened and people were running to get the first, empty shot of Taj Mahal. It was beautiful.

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Why Shopping (Fast Fashion) Is Addictive


Are you shopping too much clothes or know someone who do? Here’s the scientific reason.


Do you know why lately fast fashion brand like Zara is having the time of their life? Or why those fashion week’s look-for-less is addictive? We should literally blame our brain ;)

Shopping is a tricky complex process (neurology speaking, of course!) When you see something you like, your brain’s pleasure centre (the nucleus accumbens) is activated. And when shown the price, the medial prefrontal cortex weighs the decision to buy while the other part of your brain (the insula) reacts to the cost (insula processes emotions such as anger, pain, fear, and joy). Deciding whether to buy the object puts the brain in a hedonic competition (medial prefrontal cortex) between the immediate pleasure of acquisition (nucleus accumbens) and an equally immediate pain (insula) of paying. Happiness comes from the pursuit of the object, from the sensation of wanting something. 

While pleasure kicks in just from the act of looking, there’s also…

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What To Do: When You Are About to Miss Your Flight

Okay, here’s my story that just happened to me 6 hours ago when me and my mother are going to Delhi via Singapore with Singapore Airlines. We have tickets booked for 7.05 pm from Jakarta to Singapore, a trip we have done dozens (literally) time before. I was going back home from hospital at 1 pm and as soon as I am home, I went to shower and prepare my backpack for India. We went for a tea time and snacks at a shopping mall nearby my apartment at 4.10 (the first mistake we did) and finished around 4.40 pm. We went straight to the airport afterwards.

Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, the most populated and heavily trafficked city as well. Today is Friday and people are coming home early from their office, the same time we went for the airport. From our experience living in Jakarta, the traffic usually is very bad, specially when raining and could take over 2 hours to get to our destination (from Central Jakarta to North Jakarta). When we hit the road, we realized that our driver had forgotten to remind us about the lack of gas of the car we are in. First we try to calm each other, then we had to decide between refuelling the car and take a heavily traffic way or hit the highway and gamble with the gas issue, hoping it would be sufficient to get us to the airport at least. We panicked of course, being stucked in a traffic when we had a plane to catch in less than 2 hours. An hour passed and we barely move 10 Km due to the traffic, its mission impossible. When we decide to refuel the car first, it’s 6.40 already, 25 minutes to departure. Confused, panicked and clueless of what we had to do. We had couple of hit and miss events before but we have never been this late going to the airport. I have never seen my mother as frustated as this before, and so do I. Our driver did his best in getting us as fast as possible safely.

We call our travel agent but there is no answer. Then we have an idea to reschedule our flight to the next one, one hour apart. We call the Singapore Airlines representative in the airport (there’s a number for it on the website) and had a hard time reaching them. After 10 minutes, a man name David picked up the phone. We explained that we are going to miss the flight and ask him to reschedule our flight to the next one, it was a tense condition but he managed to explain the available options to us and offer to cancel the flight we have checked in online (the flight we are going to miss). By cancelling the flight, we are able to ‘reschedule’ the flight by paying $20 instead of being charged for $100 for penalty. Our flight was rescheduled to the 8.25 pm, so we are relieved partially on the condition if the next flight have empty seats availabld.

When we arrive at 7.20 at the airport we ran to the check in counter and ask if we could get on board. The plane has leave the hangar and ready to take off, so there is no way we are going on board on that plane. But there’s a catch, it seems that the ground staff knew there’s problem about us and were told that we could board the next flight (thanks David, very much appreciated). Luckily our connecting flight to Delhi from Singapore is at 2.30, so we had a spare time in Changi Airport. As I’m writing this post, I am sitting with my mother at “The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf” cafe, feeling relieved that we manage to catch the flight to India. We don’t even pay the $20!

I hope this help others who are going to miss their flight or miss their flight already. Please, please, please do go to airport earlier and wait there, it’s worth avoiding the hassle and frustration of missing your flight.

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Afloat on the Calmness of Water



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Afloat Above the Clouds



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Exploration of Passionate and Meaningful Life

Exploration is the heart of humanity since the beginning of mankind. Our great ancestors travel across Africa to the rest of the world long time ago, before they understand language or become aware of themselves. Human have been trying to explore the uncharted area then and now, to the once-unimagineable moon, to the deepest ocean, among other exploration in the world. Not only places, we also study on molecules and atom, technological advances, and the human mind. Perhaps the latter was the most abstract concept we’ve ever encountered, the uncharted human mind which consist of awareness, thoughts, and capacity to think beyond other living things.

People think about exploration as something challenging, a lifelong mission to be contributed to the world and marked our existence in the universe. Exploration exist in spirit of every human, whether we realise it or not, we do have the spirit. It is said that happiness comes from engagement of activities we love that contribute to the larger society, something meaningful to ourselves and the world. Then exploration may be the answer related to happiness, by deeper exploration in science, technology, medicine, archeology, and various other studies we are contributing a knowledge. These accumulation of knowledge could be synthetised and applied to daily life, to improve the quality of society.

If only every person know what he/she want from their life and what they want to contribute to the world, this world would be full of happy people. Imagine every person in the world doing what they love to do and they could do it everyday! And I believe having a job we are passionate in is one way to fulfil a meaningful and happy life. Not only for the joy of living, doing a job we love will make us study harder and deeper in our field of interest simply because of our curiosity.

Today, we do have the freedom to choose our own path in life. Perhaps not everybody has the support to study in university or college, but today the internet is the biggest source of knowledge. Anything you want to know is there, if you where to search it. There are experts online publishing their works and sharing it with people in the same field of interest. But simply the question we have to ask is, “what is my passion?”

For a simple question, many people are lost in the process of answering it for themselves. I, myself think I’m a “Jack of All Trades”, good at everything but master of nothing. But from all of the thing I could do, I must be slightly better in one fields than another. And it has to be the field I’m passionate in, something I could do everyday with joy, something feel more like play rather than work. What comes to your mind when reading the line above? That might be your passion.

Two words come straight to my mind when I’m writing this, “travel” and “photography”. Few people travel to five continents in their life or even leave their hometown, but when I heard exotic places and trip to part of world I’ve never been to my heart beats faster and adrenaline rushes my bloodstream. I could talk about places I’ve been to and want to go for all day long, but I could barely found someone that resonates with me nearby. I also study photography so I could record a scene I’ve see and rejoice the memory once more. Photography becomes a medium for me to share experiences and beautiful scenery I’ve been to.

I do occasionally travel and usually I do photograph thing along the way, but in reality I’m more often in a hospital as a medical student. Don’t get me wrong, I do like working as a doctor helping people (although drugs and therapist do most of the job) but it doesn’t give me the same thrill as if I’m hiking the stairs in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. But to traveling do cost money, and yet I didn’t acquire enough money from photography and travel itself. I simply think my future work as a doctor is part of my contribution to the world around me and to give meaning to my life, a selfless thing I did when I could. While traveling is for myself, to live a life the way I wanted. I haven’t figured all this thing completely though, but I surely make some progress everyday.

What about you? What do you want to do in this life as a contribution to the society and live a meaningful life?


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Ephemeral: Sunrise at Mulia Bali

I woke up early and went down to the main pool near the beach, the best spot to watch sunrise in Mulia Bali Resort, Nusa Dua. When the light break through the cloud I set my tripod to attain a symmetry. The sunrise last about 10 minutes before it’s fully bright and people swarming the poolside. It was one from many best sunrise I’ve seen and recently Mulia Bali is awarded as the best resort in the world by Conde Nast Traveler.


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Ephemeral: Knysna at Sunset

I was sitting restless inside a bus, waiting to get on the ground as soon as possible. I was looking at perhaps the most magical landscape in my life after a day touring Southern part of Africa. The moon, the transition of colour in the sky, the boats on water, everything looks perfect. As soon as the bus parked, I rushed with my camera attached to a tripod ready to be used. I took only two shots before it went completely dark.



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Ephemeral: Dusk at Knysna Harbour, South Africa

Ephemeral: something that doesn’t last for long time, just like this picture I took one year ago. I was in the harbour bridge for an hour, but only one shot creates a beautiful combination between the water and sky, the one you are looking at now.



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Medical Student View on Medicine and Death

-I kept the ultrasound. Someone I never met.-

It was a usual morning in the neurology ward I studied at, beginning with patient’s morning assessment and completed with morning report. Suddenly we hear a man shouting outside the room, he was rambling and I couldn’t hear clearly what he said but it was full of negativity. There were thirteen of us inside the room, having a daily report of each patient’s condition with a neurologist. Shortly after, a friend of mine from other department opened the door and in a panic tone said, “ISO1 is having an apnea.” Apnea is a medical term for patient who couldn’t breath spontaneously, it is an emergency condition which could be fatal to the brain and life if not treated adequately. Nearly all of us looked in shocked, although this is not the first time we are in such situation. But this time it is different to me, because it is my patient. The same patient I had in my last post.

I rushed outside and went to the isolation room, the same room I was at just two hours ago for my routine assessment. Six doctors were inside the room already, two people doing electrocardiogram (ECG), one trying to install an ETT tube to ensure patent airway for the patient to breath, one squeezing a bottle of NaCL 0.9% to give fluid and prevent hypovolemic shock, one injecting an epinephrine, and one person doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. I was assessing the patient ECG and blood pressure, then replace my friend in doing CPR. I did 15 cycle before we transferred the patient together to the ICU room while ventilating the patient.

Doing CPR for 2-3 minutes to the patient let me observe and be aware of what happening during the emergency phase. While counting the rate and depth of the CPR, I could saw her eyes opened not symmetrically and unresponsive. We were concerned about the patient, but we were more concerned about the baby inside her. She was treated 5 days before going into semi-coma state, but because of her pregnancy doctors couldn’t do procedures she should has if she hadn’t been pregnant. We have to wait for MRI from other hospital and couldn’t use CT-scan to detect cerebral edema in her head. Many drugs couldn’t be administered either. It was a hard case even for senior doctors.

In two weeks of routine care, I have become familiar with her husband who’s waiting for her in the hospital. They were both still young in their twenty’s, and they were waiting for their second child to be born. We met at least three times everyday for assessment, discussing the prognoses and next step of care with neurologist, but there was nothing much we could do. In the next two days after being administered to ICU she needs two other CPR, she was still alive but in the morning when we were about count the baby’s heart rate, we couldn’t find any. IUFD, intra-uterine fetal death, that’s the medical term for it. Her husband were told about the condition and he has accept it, a spark of happiness he had just a month ago was now gone. It wasn’t easy to watch senior doctor talking to the patient’s family for such loss.

When I was on a night shift last Tuesday, her family ask to chant an approaching death prayer for her outside the time permitted. Of course we allow it, that was the least thing we could do other than comforting the family. Sunday morning she passed away, her heart rates keep on going down and unresponsive to any drugs. But we all know it will happen sooner or later, her family knew it as well. There’s nothing much doctors could do but to treat her symptoms. Two lives enter the hospital, none goes out. So if we, doctors couldn’t cure patient, what do we do? Perhaps this was the meaning of a saying from the father of medicine:

“Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” – Hippocrates dp

A lot of times, doctor and science couldn’t help to save life. But we do try our best to alleviate pain and give a proper way to death.

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