Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Money


About a week ago I was sitting on the front seat of my eldest brother's car. I was with him, who was beside me, driving through Jakarta, a city with a slew of problems but a host of addictive foods. En route to some place that I already forget, we talked about a topic that I'm sure has always been in the 'heart' of anyone, anytime, anywhere—since the system was adopted worldwide.

We discussed our parents, which were (and are) sick. We had (and have) to spend sums of money coming from our bread and butter. To be honest, it had been as if I was an obese sauropod when I went to the cashier in a hospital in Sunter, North Jakarta, and swipe my bank card to pay for my father's treatment. It had been quite difficult for me to visit my bank website, do some Internet banking, and let those rupiahs 'fly' from my bank account to pay for my mother's. But the fruit that came from that not very long conversation kind of 'widened my eyes'.

Money. This five-letter word is enough to be the source of most problems in the world. I'm not a statistics expert but I believe there are a great number of spouses that have gotten divorced and/or had affairs because of money, not to mention high crime rates brought about by this static thing. Have you read a newspaper today? If yes, I'm pretty sure that at least some of the bad news articles you've read have money as the culprit.

But the problem is not money itself. As the Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10, it is our desire that is to blame. In Matthew 6:33, God 'slaps' us so that we don't focus on other things; we have to free ourselves from angst and lead our lives to only one thing: His reign.

Here are some points to end this article:

  • Be wise with your money since God lends it to you for His glory. Remember: You are chosen. If it is for good, why don't you let it go?
  • Destroy your feeling of insecurity. Rely on God; He is the True Protector.
  • People who are winners are those who know that money is only a medium and strive to put as much effort as they can for the good of the world.
Credit: David Hinjaya
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Inheritance

I'm not talking about that popular novel. In fact, I don't read many novels; I've only read several novels, including, of course, those related to dinosaurs, like Jurassic Park and The Lost World. (Pssst: I've just ordered two other dinosaur novels, The Dinosaur Four and Jurassic Dead. I'm dying for them!!! XD)



Okay, getting back to the subject, so, this word (and the concept) went through my mind sometime in the past. But the intriguing point that impelled me to sit in my quiet workplace and write this hopefully thought-provoking article was its relationship with another word: death.

How many people are alive in the world now? 6 billion? 7 billion? Yeah, just a ballpark figure (I'm not a geographer). But the thing is, most humans that have lived in this worldthat means an unthinkably huge numberhave died. Male and female, black and white, Asian and European. They are gone. People that were once alive, just like us, are gone. What does this life mean for them?

The value of someone is determined by what they do throughout their life, which will eventually become what they have left, what they have inherited, or, in other words, what other people remember about them.

Out of the myriad people, there is only a super tiny fraction that is extremely well-known for their 'remains'. There is no doubt that the name "Albert Einstein" most likely makes people conjure up physics-related stuff. The image of Thomas Alva Edison would lead us to picture his monumental invention, the bulb. These two examples have something that still 'ignites' in today's people's minds. Now I imagine if Jay Chou had passed away now, the first thing that I'd use to describe him is music.

What is 'tickling' me right here right now is the question "Do I want to be an 'ordinary' person, who just entered this realm and will leave without any impressions left for the current and upcoming generations?"

No, I don't. Nonavian dinosaurs already had their days and I want to make my own 'footprints'.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Practical English Usage – Book Review


Practical English Usage
by Michael Swan

I feel 'sinful' if I don't let people know this book. So here it is, one of the best English language books I've ever read: Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. I'd call this book a 'super problem solver'. Why? This book discusses the English language extensively. The content ranges from grammar and pronunciation, through differences between American and British English, to how to correspond in English. Swan writes the content clearly; it is easy to understand and won't baffle the readers. Finding a topic is effortless as there is a very useful index at the back of the book which clearly directs the readers to what they are looking for (the contents are arranged in alphabetical order and numbered). This book is a must-have not only for English learners, but also for English teachers, as, I believe, in someone's teaching career, they sometimes come across questions that they don't have the answers to. In addition, the 3rd edition includes Don't say it!, a section that covers 130 common English mistakes at various levels. I think the remark that Practical English Usage is the 'Bible' of English is not something exaggerated. Continue reading..

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Birds Are Dinosaurs, so...

Really? Are you crazy? What are you talking about?

You might have come out with these kinds of expression, and you might now be frowning as well. If you think the title seems peculiar, I suggest that you buy (or borrow) a copy of Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages by Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. and Luis V. Rey, and read the chapter Birds (Avialae). (To read my review on the book, click here.)

To true dinosaur enthusiasts, this is not something strange or new. As bats are mammals, birds (including chickens) are dinosaurs. Dinosaurs did NOT go extinct; they are still alive today, with us. So what are the implications? What are the consequences? Here are some that I can think of:

1. Dinosaur pets

A parrot

Do you have a bird pet? Parrot? Cockatoo? Canary? Pigeon? Finch?  If yes, you have a dinosaur. :)

2. Dinosaurs in the zoo

An emu in a zoo

In a sense, we actually have Jurassic Parks. Now you can point to a bird in a zoo and say, "Look! That's a dinosaur!"

3. You might have eaten dinosaur.

Thai chicken satay

Unless you have been a vegetarian all your life, is is very likely that you have eaten dinosaur.

4. Jay Chou's favorite food is fried dinosaur.

Me with Jay Chou wax statue at Madame Tussauds Singapore

Is this the reason why you compose music amazingly, Jay?

5. Fast-food chains provide dinosaur.

Fried chicken

McDonald's, KFC, Lotteria, Burger King, A&W, and many more. They provide dinosaur!

6. Bird lovers are dinosaur lovers.

Feeding gulls

Are you a bird lover? Congratulations! You are a dinosaur lover! :)

7. Alarm dinosaurs

A crowing rooster

Thanks to those dinosaurs, you don't get to work late. :)

8. The Twitter logo is a dinosaur.

The Twitter logo
TWITTER, TWEET, RETWEET and the Twitter logo are trademarks of Twitter, Inc. or its affiliates

Don't forget to Tweet this article. ;)

9. Donald Duck and Tweety are dinosaurs.

Donald Duck

Tweety

Quick-tempered dino and cute dino!

10. Dinosaurs for weddings

Two white pigeons

Dinosaurs represent purity, fidelity, and many things. So sweet... <3

That's all! Actually, you can find countless others. Now I am kind of hungry... Should I eat some dinosaur..?
Continue reading..

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Discounts

Imagine you are in a mall. You go to a department store. You see many kinds of things. Some of them are interesting but the others not. But, what is "really interesting"  is that there are eye-catching signs. "25%", "30% discount", "up to 80% off", and many others; those are what the signs show.


Discounts are a way to attract people to buy products or services. You can save some money and spend it on anything else. (That's what I know. Please forgive me, I'm not marketeer.)

Item: Watch
Normal Price: $50.50
Discount: 30%
Price After Discount: $35.35

Yeah, cool! You can save $15.15. You can buy two copies of Raptor Red, one for you and one for your mischievous brother. Is it good? Yes, it is. Is it always good? The abrupt answer is NO.

Why? The answer is related to my article Need and Greed. The mistake that people sometimes (or often?) make is that they are tempted to buy discounted things because there are discounts. If you think about it, it makes no sense. The fact that there are discounts is not a good reason why you buy things. We buy things
because we think those will be useful for us, because we will use them for our good, because they will affect our lives well, because they will bring about good effects to us.

If you buy a thing with an original price of $10 at a reduced price of $8 without the right reason, actually you do not save $2; you throw away $8 instead.

Laura: "Brian, look at the T-shirt!"
Brian: "Oh, what's wrong with it?"
Laura: "It's so cheap! There's a 75% discount! It's just $10 now! Get it!"
Brian: "Oh. Thanks, Laura, but I have plenty of clothes at home. :) Laura, you look thirsty. Why not drink an orange juice? I'll treat you. :)"
Laura: "Ah.. Sure.. Thanks, Brian. :)"
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jay Chou's Songs for Weddings

Again! I am writing this article while listening to his songs. :)


Maybe some people think that it is a crazy or enigmatic idea. And I'm sure others think this is a brilliant idea—as I do. Weddings are once-in-a-life-time events. Why not use Jay Chou's heavenly, romantic music to embellish one of the unforgettable moments in your life? Your beloved one would definitely be touched and pleased! If I marry, I'd like to sing at least some of these songs for my 'sugar cube'. :) Okay, here they are! Enjoy! ^^

Note:
• For translations click here.
• If you want to sing, changing or adjusting the lyrics so that they will suit you and your honey would be a good idea.

1. 可愛女人 (Ke Ai Nü Ren) → Lovable Woman
2. 簡單愛 (Jian Dan Ai) → Simple Love
3. 星晴 (Xing Qing) → Clear Stars
4. 七里香 (Qi Li Xiang) → Common Jasmin Orange
5. 園遊會 (Yuan You Hui) → Garden Party
6. 浪漫手機 (Lang Man Shou Ji) → Romantic Handphone
7. 麥芽糖 (Mai Ya Tang) → Maltose
8. 甜甜的 (Tian Tian De) → Sweetly
9. 愛的飛行日記 (Ai De Fei Xing Ri Ji) → Love's Flight Diary
10. 手語 (Shou Yu) → Sign Language
11. 手寫的從前 (Shou Xie De Cong Qian) → The Handwritten Past
12. 告白氣球 (Gao Bai Qi Qiu) → Love Confession

Bonus: Jay Chou's Wedding Music



Source: http://www.jaychoustudio.com/jay-chou-discography (title translations)
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dinosaurs:The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages – Book Review


Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages
by Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. and Luis V. Rey

To be honest, Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages is one of the best dinosaur books I've ever read. The title suggests that this book is suitable for dinophiles of all generations and I must say that I couldn't agree more. Dinosaurs will also definitely rivet those who want to delve into the world of dinosaurs from scratch. Tom Holtz did a great job as he explains the content of this book in a very simple and often funny way, making this book easy to understand and entertaining. In addition to that, Dinosaurs is very well structured so you won't get perplexed. The scope of this book is so vast; it covers history of dinosaur discoveries, rocks and environment, taxonomy, cladistics, types of dinosaurs, dinosaur behaviour and biology, and many more. Finally, with magnificent and vibrant illustrations by Luis Rey, articles written by thirty-three of the world's leading fossil experts, and a comprehensive dinosaur genus list at the back of the book, Dinosaurs is a wonderful paleontology treasure and one that every person mustn't miss when considering buying a high-quality dinosaur book. Continue reading..

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fake

The first article on the first of May. Okay. Now think of someone who you think lives a happy life.


You may have more than one person in your mind now. One of them might be your brother, sister, cousin, uncle, friend, idol, or your boss. They might be someone else. And, yeah, they seem to be always happy. They seem to have everything. Maybe you always smile every time you see them. They seem not to have any problems in their life.

However, one day I was thinking about the same kind of thing. Do what I see is what really is? Well, that was more or less the question. And, I came up with an answer.

No. No. No. Fake. They are fake.

We might judge someone by looking at the impressions they give. We don't see the real thing that is happening or exists at that time. We might also generalize it. We think that they stay the same all their life. Every day, every second, every time. But what is the fact? Do we really know? No, we don't.

In fact, they might be sad but hide it behind their smiles. They seem to have been happy all their lives, but do we know how it began? Do we know how many liters of tears were shed? How many sacrifices did they make and and how great were they?

An example to end this article is my favorite musician, Jay Chou. He is very successful. He is popular and so many people like him. In my opinion, he is the best musician ever. But how did he become such a superstar? I can't imagine the effort he made. I can't.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Value

The world we live in is determined by value. It is formed by value. It is shaped by value. How come?


Aware or not, we move, act, and do things because we are triggered by the value we place on things. For example, why are there buildings in the world? Because people think that buildings are good for them, or, in other words, their value is high. People gets protection from buildings. In buildings they are safe from dangerous animals—and humans too. People don't get wet in buildings because the rain can't reach them. Buildings provide shelter; they live in buildings. And so on and so forth. Why do people eat and drink? Because eating and drinking are good for them. Again, their value is high. If people don't eat or drink, they will die soon. There are a lot more examples: education, spouses, books, God, etc.

Value differs between one and another. For instance, paleontologists are people who are passionate about ancient creatures. They are keen on fossils. They place a high value on them. However, there are other people who really don't care about what ancient creatures and fossils are. These people place a low value—or even no value—on them. Here is another example. I don't mind soccer. I don't think that it is worth watching. However, most Indonesians, as far as I know, are soccer lovers. They talk about soccer matches, players, and so on and so forth. My value on soccer is different from theirs. People have different interests and I think it's okay. It doesn't cause trouble, generally.

It seems that everything is all right. But problems turn up everywhere and every time.

I'm writing this article because of a moment.I had a task and I wanted finish it off as soon as possible. However, my motivation was not to learn and improve my knowledge and skills but to get a high score so that I could get a certificate. That was so dangerous. Why? Because I was not focusing on the true value. Tasks are given so that people can learn and do something well. So that we can contribute to the world. So that we can build a better world. If we learn a lot, in earnest, and with the motivation to improve ourselves, we will certainly get a good score, right? So people should place a high value on learning, not on getting a high score. Scores are just signs that show that we have learned well. Placing a high value on something wrong can lead to bad things. For example, people might find "the shortest path" to get a high grade on exams or tests. Cheating and bribing are two examples I can think of. They might pass the exams; nevertheless, they have no capabilities, which is no use.

Do you do your job only to stay alive or to dedicate yourself to serving God?  Do you want to be in a relationship because you don't want to be mocked by your friends or because you really love him/her and want to build a happy family together with him/her? Do you buy things for prestige or to benefit humanity? Be careful! Your value determines your future!
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oxford Picture Dictionary – Book Review


Oxford Picture Dictionary
by Jayme Adelson-Goldstein and Norma Saphiro

Oxford Picture Dictionary is a great means of enriching your English vocabulary. With a wide range of topics, from everyday language to transportation to recreation, it certainly will make you a more knowledgeable user of the English language. The pictures are clearly presented, making it easy for the readers to identify what they refer to. You might expect that this pictionary includes only nouns, but no! It also comprises verbs as well as grammar points, which would be perfect companions to the nouns, and provides the readers with additional, helpful expressions that they can use in certain contexts. What about pronunciation? Don't worry as there's a guide along with the pronunciations of all the words featured in this book. Note that the kind of English used in this book is American English, so it might not be really suitable for those who want to enlarge their British English vocabulary. For your information, Oxford Picture Dictionary is also available in bilingual editions. Continue reading..

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Understanding and Using English Grammar & Fundamentals of English Grammar – Book Review


Understanding and Using English Grammar
by Betty Schrampfer Azar
&
Fundamentals of English Grammar
by Betty Schrampfer Azar

Do you want to learn English? If so, Understanding and Using English Grammar and Fundamentals of English Grammar are definitely for you. To be honest, in terms of English, these books are my "first love"; they are "the alpha" of my English journey. I learned A LOT from these books. Betty explains every language point simply and clearly, with lovable tables and drawings. These books are also comprehensible, making them remarkable references. I didn't read much of Basic English Grammar, which is intended for lower-level learners, but it must be as good as these incredible books. Highly recommended for those who really want to learn English! Continue reading..

Monday, February 10, 2014

We Are Killers



"We?" "Do you mean 'you and your friends'?" This is what might be in your head now. But "we" here means "you and I". Yeah, YOU and I. How come? Okay, let's go to the explanation.

You might think kill means "to make someone die by stabbing them with a knife, shooting their head with a gun, pushing them from the top of a fourteen-story building, twisting their head powerfully, etc." BUT if you think more deeply, you'll find out something else.

To kill is to reduce someone's lifespan. It does NOT matter what means you use. In other words, When you are making someone's life shorter, actually you are killing them.

When you are smoking beside someone, you are producing gas that is destroying some of their cells. Maybe 200.000 or 300.005 cells. Numbers don't matter. You are killing them.

When you are running a red light, you are probably making someone (more) emotional. They probably just got a problem at the office, so you are adding insult to injury. When they arrive at home, they will probably wreak their anger on their spouse or children or anyone else. They will probably do harm to them. You are probably reducing one-billionth of their life. You are killing them.

When you are littering, you are probably contributing to flood that kisses off people. You are killing them.

When you are not giving an old man your seat on a bus... Okay, you know it.

I believe you can find many more examples. And yes, we are killers.
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Me, Me, and Me!


I had some experience some time ago and it triggered me to share it here. I can't remember the details of the experience, but the point is I focused on myself and didn't pay attention to anyone around me. In other words, I regarded myself as the "king of the universe". What's the result? Unhappiness, stress, dissatisfaction.

Ego. Everyone has it. Don't deny that.

So, is it bad to have an ego? The simple answer is "no".

Ego is important. If you didn't have an ego, you would probably die soon because you wouldn't eat and would give all of your food to other people instead. You would be stressful too because you would spend your spare time to work and work and, therefore, drain yourself.

However, if you have an enormous ego, you must be careful. If now you are not contented, if you are feeling there is something missing, if you think you have everything but it is not "enough", perhaps you ego is beyond the limit.

Then, what should you do? You could follow the steps below as a start:
1. Look at someone around you.
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
3. Think about something that you can do for them to improve their life quality.
4. Do it.

Note: If you don't know what you can do for them, give your best smile, which you certainly can do, to them.

Caring is a good medicine. No side effects. Believe me.

To end this article, here is an utterance from my friend: "If you care for other people, you don't need to care for yourself." Agree?
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Little Love


Why do you often—or always?—buy things only for yourself? Because you have little love.

Why are you so furious that someone pokes you by accident on a bus? Because you have little love.

Why do you eat anything you want and not take care of your body? Because you have little love.

Why do you cheat when doing tests and say that it is okay because you are still a student? Because you have little love.

Why do you arrive late at the office and do your job frivolously? Because you have little love.

Why do you say bad things about your boss or your colleagues? Because you have little love.

Why do you spend five hours playing DotA but become angry when your mother interrupts and asks you to buy something for her? Because you have little love.

Why do you flirt with another girl while your girlfriend is in the restroom of a mall? Because you have little love.

Why are you so excited about going to Plaza Indonesia to buy branded bags and shoes but mad at your boyfriend when he says he can't take you home? Because you have little love.

Why do you cheat on your wife, who you married several years ago and who thought you were her Mr. Right—and thinks you are? Because you have little love.

Why do you frown when you see your husband coming home but smile when you watch Lee Min-ho acting in a Korean drama? Because you have little love.

Why did you abort your baby and say that it was your choice? Because you have little love.

Why do you prefer hanging out all day with your friends to accompanying and talking with your lonely grandparents for a short period of time? Because you have little love.

Why do you bully your juniors and say that it is a way to educate them? Because you have little love.

Why do you run a red light and not feel guilty? Because you have little love.

Why do you prefer to spend your money on five bottles of beer rather than using it to buy forty bottles of water for the poor? Because you have little love.

Why do you not say sorry if you hurt your friend's heart but slap your brother for messing up your room? Because you have little love.

Why do you not say thanks when you are helped out but grumble when your friend doesn't offer cookies to you? Because you have little love.

Why is it easy to read a comic book in half an hour but so hard to read a few Bible pericopes in an hour? Because you have little love.

Why is it very hard to go to church and spend one hour praying but so easy to go to the disco and spend seven hours dancing? Because you have little love.

Why do you not pray every day although each day is given free by God? Because you have little love.

Why do you not want to do good things and become a better person after reading this article? Because you have little love.
Continue reading..

Friday, January 3, 2014