Saturday, October 15, 2016

You Never Know

I would never have thought, not in a million years, that I, just a poor boy from Oregon, would one day be living on a tropical island with nothing in particular to do other than sip coffee, read books, write stories and float around at the beach. Life is full of fantastic surprises. And all I had to do to get here was to become old and unwell 😂. Totally worth it, in my book.

Crazy Rich Asians

[A review of Crazy Rich Asians. I read the book in Indonesian, so I wanted to do the review in Indonesian too 😅. If interested, just copy and paste in Google Translate.]

Seorang wanita menemukan sms di ponsel suaminya. RINDU KAU DI DLMKU. Kemudian, dia menemukan nota dari restoran mewah di Hong Kong. Dia bertanya-tanya kalau suaminya beselingkuh. Siapa wanita itu (dasar pelacur!). Seperti apa dia?

"Dia membayangkan Michael duduk ruang bercahaya lilin di puncak Hotel Island Shangri-La, menatap keluar ke kilau cahaya pelabuhan Victoria Harbour, menikmati makan malam romantis dengan wanita yang mengirimkan pesan itu. Mereka mulai dengan Burgundy kualitas tinggi dari Cote d'Or dan ditutup dengan souffle cokelat pahit hangat untuk berdua (dengan krim kemon beku)."


Detail-detail bisa sangat penting! Tempat, suasana, jenis anggur!

Orang laki-laki charters pesawat pribadi temanya untuk tiga penerbangan terpisah ke Taiwan karena dia nggak mau semua orang dari keluarga mati pada saat yang sama jika ada kecelakaan. Seorang harus bertahan hidup untuk mewarisi kekayaan keluarga.

Di Paris, Astrid berbelanja di boutique 1st class. Nggak ada biaya dengan baju manapun, kalau perlu tahu harganya, jelas nggak punya uang yang cukup. Pramuniaga di toko itu belum pernah lihat wanita Cina ini, jadi dia mengabaikanya. Kapan Charlie, pacar baru Astrid, cari tahu, mereka kembali ke toko itu.

"Memilih sepuluh gaun," ujar Charlie. "Nunggu - ambil dua puluh! Aku menelpon bankir-ku sekarang juga!"

Menghabiskan uang dengan cara Charlie Wu, pikir Astrid, benar-benar mengasyikkan--jujur saja, rasanya lebih nikmat daripada bercinta.

Ini adalah gaya hidup Cina yang super kaya - yang tinggal di Singapora, di Malaysia, di Taiwan, di New York, di Paris - di seluruh dunia - dicat dengan humor dan persepsi dalam novel ini dari Michael Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians. Ini adalah cerita tentang kekayaan yang tak terhitung, tata krama, tradisi, budaya, dari dunia lama dan dunia baru, kekayaan lama dan kekayaan baru, tentang kesederhanaan  ekses dan ekses kesederhanaan, dan tentang hal-hal yang kekal dan hal-hal yang hanya sementara.

Lucu, menarik, informatif dan mengejutkan, aku benar-benar menikmati buku ini.

"Ku-katakan padamu, yang disebut 'kekayaan' ini akan menjadi kejatuhan Asia. Setiap generasi baru menjadi lebih malas daripada yang sebelumnya. Mereka pikir mereka bisa membuat keuntungan dalam semalam hanya dengan menjual properti dan mendapatkan tip-tip terbaru di bursa saham. Ha! Tidak ada yang abadi, dan ketika ledakan ini berakhir, anak-anak muda ini tidak akan tahu apa yang menjatuhkan mereka."

Ayat favorit saya.


An opportunity to learn about MS management (Nutrition, Stress Management, Exercise)
US workshops Oct 30, Nov 5 and 6, 2016; big discount for our followers
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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Above the World

Yesterday, we drove up into the hills above the south Bali coast and into the rice tiers which cascade down from the high slopes. As you gain altitude, the air cools and the humidity relinquishes its hold. A stark greeness fills the world, spreading out like a plush carpet, dotted with stone dwellings which hug the edges of narrow roads. It seems the passtime of women and children to sit at the edge of their properties and watch the traffic come and go. They are simple and open and as much a part of the land as the rice and the grass and the stones. One has the impression that many of these folks have never been more than a few miles from their homes. Theirs is a world of tradition and labor and ceremony and family. The outside world is a rumor, a tale, a matter of conjecture which pales in importance compared to the life of the community, the latest gossip, the weather, the stage of the moon. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not exist. Iran and Afghanistan do not exist. The fields, the water, the sky, the temple, the ceremonies, the gods - these exist.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Chaos on Yeh Aya

Another comedic evening journey to Sanur along the ever hilarious Yeh Aya. One lane of the road is closed for resurfacing, but this means nothing. Everyone figures that the closed lane is closed only to the other guys. So it's every man, woman and child for him or herself. Utter chaos. Not to be left out of the fray, a truck driver decides that he will also use this road, come hell or high water. Hell cones first, as the truck instantly gets wedged against the high curb, such that we now have even less than half a road. I turn off as soon as possible, make it to JCO  Sanur, only to find that the coffee machine is broken. 🙄 Oh well, pulang dulu.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


I seem to have trouble with the Indonesian word for blue, biru. Bee-roo. But given that my wife smokes Marlboro Blue, I will be asked often enough to purchase a pack for her and thus employ the word.

So I go up to the neighborhood Circle K and tell the guy behind the counter that I want Marlboro Biru.

He reaches for a pack that is white.

No, biru.

He reaches for the menthols.

Bukan Pak, itu hijau. Aku mau yang biru.

He reaches for a pack of kreteks.

Biru, Pak! Marlboro Blue!

Oh, blooo!


Pakai bahasa inggris aja, ya.

Friday, September 23, 2016


I've been meaning for a while now to write about my sufferings with cervical radiculopathy, but I haven't been able to do so because ... well, because of my sufferings with cervical radiculopathy. It has been just too painful to raise my right arm in order to type. CR happens when your spine (in this case, the upper, or cervical, spine) shifts in a sudden, unexpected manner, pinching a nerve root between bones. This sends the muscles into panic mode such that they freeze up in order to immobilize and protect the skeleton. This in turn is very painful indeed. The pain spreads from the neck to the upper back and shoulder and down the arm to the elbow and wrist, turning then to numbness in the fingers. For at least a week, I slept no more than two hours a night. The pain was just too intense and constant, like a knife in the back. Honestly. I was about to shoot myself, though, luckily, I don't own a gun. This pain persisted at maximum level for about two weeks, and then, finally, began to diminish somewhat. At almost six weeks from the outset now, the pain has turned to a dull ache, a general stiffness of the neck, and occasional electrical shock sensations that shoot down the arm if one moves his neck too suddenly. My research of this on the internet shows that the condition can persist for weeks to months! Curiously, whilst suffering with this, I recalled that I've had it before some time in the past - perhaps in the mid 90's. I remembered the symptoms and sensations as they occurred in the present. I guess it was horrible enough back then that I kind of erased it from my mind 😅. One also wonders along the way how involved MS becomes with this problem. How much has MS interfered with the healing process? Which responses of the nerves have been normal and which are responses of MS? And, of course, will there be any sequelae of MS effects after the injury itself resolves?  One never knows until he knows, I guess.