Muse: Building’s Silhouette from My Room

This is the view I get to see every morning (if I wake up early), the sun rising behind the building’s creating a beautiful silhouette with glorious sky. Muse

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Muse: Daily and Spectacular Cityscape

This is my muse, every time I woke up in the morning until I sleep at night I watch the city that never sleep. The view of Jakarta cityscape on the morning and once on a thunderstorm.

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How to Prepare an Emergency Medical Contact Card Before You Go Abroad

agent909:

A very informative and useful article for frequent traveler, a must have items before trip!

Originally posted on The Anxious Traveler :

If you’ve ever had to visit an ER or doctor in another country, you know how critical it is to have an emergency medical card, and several supplemental documents, with you at all times (or at least in your hotel room).   Some of this medical and personal information seems pointless to write down since you can reel it off the top of your head, but most of it isn’t — and you don’t want to be kicking yourself for not having the contact info you need when you’re ill or injured so far from home.

Your emergency medical card (or page, printout, etc.) and supplemental info should include your critical health and personal data, and definitely not be left to the last minute since it can take surprisingly long (as in, upwards of eight hours!) to gather and list all the information.  Sound boring and tedious to put together?  It…

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ROY G. BIV: Parrot at Bali Bird Park

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ROY G. BIV: Colourful Sunrise Over Horizon, Bali

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Off Season: India in April

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Chartered elephant for tourist ride uphill in Amber Fort, Jaipur. When I went to India in April tourist season was off, it means that there were fewer tourist around. However it make my trip more pleasurable, less queueing, less people to compete with taking photographic spots. It’s not good for the local’s working in entertainment sector though.

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Off Season: South Africa

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Who have thought that South Africa in July looks very much like Spring? The landscape of the recently voted “most beautiful country” never stop to amaze me

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Evolution and The False Believe of Growth in Today Society

Humans are programmed to survive and to thrive in life, from generation to generation these trait is transferred from parents to their children. In our progress to thrive we develops technology, technique, tools, and doing everything we can to move forward. In the past, our ancestor use stones, sharpen it and put it in front of a spear to hunt animals. Then they stumbled into crops and that marks the start of agrarian era, our ancestor stop wandering through the land and stay to cultivate farms and cattle. Thousand years after we have the knowledge, skills, and capability of making machines to help our life.

With numerous invention being made, goods that was scarce in the past could be produced in very short of time and with better quality. Buildings were constructed faster, clothes were produced within hours, even automobiles. It can’t be denied that along with time and evolution, our quality of life increases dramatically. What was once scarce now available to the mass, what once was hard to made and expensive now faster to produce with lower cost. Imagine if we have to sew our clothing without machine, it would take days and much effort, in turn making it expensive shall we decide to sell it. Without application of genetically modified seeds, crops would be fewer and have lower quality, making it less available to the mass and drive the price upward.

Our thriving progress won’t stop there, in the last two decades we have entered the information age. Information is now the most valuable commodity, people who could apply their knowledge are needed in every sector. A man could become rich if he knew which currency will go up or down before it does, even weather forecaster could become rich had he understand little about commodity. Today, it doesn’t take a formal education to be a leader in various sector of job. A young man sitting in his pyjamas at home everyday could be richer than a man working at the office for years. The rule has changed, those who adapt will prosper and those do don’t will be left behind. Just like an industrialist became richer than farmer, and a farmer became richer than hunter, today’s inventor become richer than industrialist.

But there seems to be a misconception in the word “surviving” and “thriving” today. For many of us surviving is no longer a problem. Most of us have house we live in everyday, foods are served in our table everyday, and we are living free from danger. The problem middle class and higher society have today come from the word “thriving”. Thriving means “grow or develop well or vigorously”, for human this mean we are capable of growing without pressure or danger. Innovation has always been important  for a society to move into better shape, with invention in healthcare sector more diseases could be treated optimally, invention of CCTV camera make police officer respond faster to a crime, even the invention of social media make communication easier and arguably more interesting.

Everyone in this world want to have a better quality of life from time to time, they hope to be able to enjoy their life in the future when they are working hard today. On the same side, we also want to move up our rank in society just like sales person want to move up in career into manager, and manager want to be director. When we did move to a higher position in our career, we want our life to move higher as well. We want to buy a house instead of renting, or even a bigger house even if our house now is sufficient, we want better and more expensive car, the one we could be proud of driving. We want a Rolex after the promotion, or even Patek Philippe when we retired.

That’s what we know as the “Rat Race”. Most people living in the city does live in it, yet nobody want to admit it.  I myself live in such family, we are living comfortably in our one hundred square meter apartment at the heart of the city, we have no problem buying groceries or even eating out everyday. Surviving is not the main concern in our life, but growth is. We could simply sell every assets we have and move to a house on a beach, living from the interest of Certificate of Deposit or Bond. None of us would have to work to live, but that means we couldn’t travel offshore or buy luxury goods.

What we want today is growth, an increase in quality of life (although more wealth doesn’t always increase life’s quality), and climb our way to higher rank in society. We want to travel more often, dine in fancy restaurant, and buying the best goods there are. Arguably none of it will lead to true happiness or growth as we want it. It’s strange, isn’t it? I know that none of it lead to long-term happiness, however we still do and enjoy these. People who bought luxury goods are mostly vain and have low self-esteem, which they try to compensate with the status of their goods. There have been many research about materialism and happiness, every research shows that materialism leads to anxiety, while less materialistic people are happier.

Well, of course there is nothing wrong with enjoying luxury goods, but it may be useful to remember that materialism doesn’t lead to happiness when you are about to pay that $2000 bag and $ 10000 watch. It does feel good when we shop, but the jolt of happiness are diminished quickly after we have we acquired the goods. Buying experience actually lead to longer happiness, like traveling, doing sports, having time with friends.

The last thing I want to emphasise is growth. Growth doesn’t come from outside, it has to come from our realisation of the need to be better in every way we can day by day. Growth takes time to develop, it need planning and daily progress. In conclusion, we are wired to grow and strive in life, but the same thinking often mislead to the false sense of growth. The reason people want to acquire more money is the believe that money will lead to growth (financially this is correct) in life, but having more money only means that we could afford a better lifestyle. Money doesn’t translate to better character, personality, and self satisfaction. True growth comes from our desire to be a better human and train ourself , equipping our physical, mental, and spiritual with the necessary skills to be the person we want to be.

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Mere Christianity: A Logical Approach to Christian Belief

Last week I read a book titled “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis (the author of Narnia), it is a good introduction for people who want to adopt Christianity but sceptic about it. To give an objective point of view, let me tell you a little about my belief’s background so you can judge the book yourself. I, myself is a Christian since I was born but I never really participate in Church or call myself a good Christian. I went to Church at elementary school and stopped going there routinely ever since, in the past five years I went to Church less than five times a year. But I do read the Bible, I have read it for over 4 times since junior high school trying to revive the belief I had.

I do however belief in God as Creator of the Universe but there are so many unanswered questions that made me sceptical about my beliefs, questions such as “if God knows it all, then surely He knows where we’ll end up afterlife in Heaven or hell. Then what’s the point of living if our future is known already? It made me feel like a lamb going to slaughter or paradise.” I have been searching for the answer to that question, hoping to find it somewhere for years. Many times I have doubt and conflicting belief about Christianity and I still do now, but in a different way of thinking.

In his book, Lewis guide us to think deeper into Christianity from fundamental to applicative thinking. He elaborate what Christianity is and isn’t in a logical point of view to find the truth. He start with the Law of Human Nature where there is right and wrong, not from social perspective but because it is the fundamental to all of our belief and action, however we are breaking them in life. He also explain Christian’s many way of worshipping God, but he rather think it as a variety instead of one being wrong and the other right.

The first two book (more like chapters actually) he discuss the basic thinking about Christianity, the law of nature and what Christian believe. It require some time for me to think about his explanation and come into conclusion, but it is logically accepted. As you read to book three, Lewis explained about Christian behaviour in daily life, he is talking about how Christianity apply to our life. He talks about psychoanalysis, sexual morality, marriage, forgiveness, faith, hope, charity, and the great sin (pride). He explained that pride is the most evil among other, how it correlate with competitiveness.

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others.”

In book four, Lewis talks about the different of making and begetting, God made man and beget Christ, just like man made a statue and beget a son. He explained why we owe everything we have to our Creator, just like a child asking his mother money to buy her a birthday present. Of course the mother is pleased by her child action, but the resources actually comes from her. He also talk about pretending to be a good man could turn us into a real good man, the price of being a Christian, etc.

And to answer to my long-unanswered question, he explain that God is not limited by a time frame like us. He doesn’t see past, present, and future like we do because He is able to see anywhere He want to. This might be a hard concept for me to rephrase, but think of us like a two dimensional object trying to understand three dimensional world. God is present in our past, present, and future all in one time. So He is not intervening our action and future, but perhaps I could say that He is able to observe them, and know what will happen to us in the future even when we are limited by our time frame to see our own future. You might want to read Lewis’ word in Mere Christianity where he explain it better than I do here.

C.S. Lewis bring a fresh and logical perspective in approaching Christianity and I would recommend anyone from any religion to read this book, not merely to understand about Christianity but to understand the fundamental truth of life.

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Enveloped: Coconut on the Beach

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