Thursday, 17 December 2009

Mother and Son

A friend in Blogit, whose son is in the army, wrote a post that inspired me to write this post (thoughts which has been haunting my mind for a while..)

Ever since I have sons, the biggest difference that I have been feeling, compared to myself when I was their age, is their interest towards weapons... Ariq really loves arms (guns, cannon, etc.), while Aza loves swords.. I grew up as one of three girls in the family, and my parents panic (I mean, seriously worried with pale-white face) every time my sons are playing with their toy weapons.. As can be expected, my mother-in-law who has two sons, keeps saying, "It was sword and gun made of wood back in those days, now they are plastic.. but they are really just the same!"

Ariq has been changing the computer screen wallpaper every day with every nice-looking tank he can find on the internet and he always asks me questions about all the weapons he finds out about (which I usually don't have the answer for)..

He got me thinking when one day he asked me, "Mum, does a good guy handle a gun? Or are guns only for bad guys?"

I certainly didn't want to give him the wrong idea, so I took a while before answering. I could only pray that I gave him the right answer...

"No, not only bad guys. Good guys can handle guns too, only for the different reason.. Good guys will handle the guns to protect other people."

Then Ariq asked again, "Can good guys know about weapons better than the bad guys?"

I began thinking again before I answered. I wanted to find an easy way to explain to a young child, and the first thing came to my mind was Calleigh Duquesne (CSI Miami)..

I showed him a lab scene of the series and said to him, "Calleigh is a weapon speacialist. Her expertise has helped catch many bad guys."

Ariq's eyes lit up, "Wow! She's pretty and very smart and one of the good guys!"

Often I think about how I would feel if Ariq's interest doesn't fade but becomes stronger instead? What if one day he chooses to join the army or the police force to pursue what he considers the best for him and what he wants to do in life?

No mother would accept her son's decision easily, when it comes to life-risking profession, but when the decision is made based on strong passion and good intention, I always believe that it is what being a mother/a parent is really about; guiding their children to find what they want to do and who they want to be in life..

I think back to my grandfather (my mum's father). He was an army medic during the war (against Dutch and Japanese), and after we gained independence, he was posted in the Centre of Nuclear and Biochemical Research. I always feel proud looking at his photograph wearing his uniform and I still keep his last uniform on the top shelf of my cupboard to this day. I never forget either the proud feeling during his funeral at the military cemetary.

The thing that made me proud of him the most was how the way he expressed his feelings about his love for his country, loyalty to friends and his knowledge about performing medical treatments on the field. I could clearly see how passion about what we do and good intentions in life can make a difference, even in a toughest profession.

As much as I don't like the thought of war, weapons, and all those things, I do realise that someone (some people) have to do it (becoming members of the police force and armed forces), and I find peace in the thought that people who join those forces are people who love what they are doing because they believe they are doing a good thing for other people..

My friend's tears might become mine one day, but just like her, I will not stop my son from doing what he believes is right and the best for him as long as he does it with passion and good intention...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Me vs. Games Websites

I hope this is only a challenge and not a lesson that backfires at me!

Ariq, my 6-year-old son, loves computer and is very good at it (or he loves it because he is very good at it?). He finds getting around computer and the internet is a very interesting thing to do, so I have been using computer and the internet as an education tool to help him learn many things, rather than solely relying on information that I can give him.

Ever since Ariq started school, his days have been filled with questions about everything that he sees or thinks of every day; 'how does a rocket fly?', 'how many kind of snakes are there?', etc. I can always try to give him an answer in a simple way, but once he becomes intrigued to know more, I always suggest him to search for the information in Google.

Besides the 'serious knowledge', sometimes we also browse the internet for children stories or activities (drawings to be coloured, educative games, etc.). It is really amazing, the things that people share on the internet, which I'm really glad about!

Now, Ariq thinks of Google Search as the 'cleverer' and 'more knowledgeable' mother than me. When he wants to know something, he will search for it in Google, and he will mostly asks me when he doesn't understand the English (despite the fact he goes to a bilingual school, he is still in grade 1 and his primary language is Indonesian).

The challenge finally arrived last weekend, when we went to my husband's relative's home for a family function. As usual, during such function, my sons would be playing with second cousins, and that day, they were playing computer games.

In general, I don't have any problem with computer games. So far, Ariq has been fairly balanced in his gaming habit (without being told, he would leave his computer screen to play with his brother), he is also very cooperative whenever I remind him to do his reading for school.

Moreover, the games that the children were playing during the family function were only simple arcade games, which I was sure Ariq would enjoy playing for sometime but wouldn't be addicted to, because at home, he prefers to play Starcraft and Warcraft (offline). Sometimes he plays Warcraft online when his dad is home, but he doesn't feel confident enough yet to play online by himself (which my husband and I are glad about, for the time being).

My worries started at home, the night after the family function, when Ariq showed me the site of the games that he played with his second cousins. I just realised that the games were free online games! Ouch!

My husband's cousins might not be too worried about their children playing online, maybe because their children are not that much into computer and the internet like Ariq is. Maybe their children would stay on the site shown by their parents. Ariq on the other hand.. would definitely be intrigued to jump from one site to another just by following the links provided on the sites!

While waiting for one game to be loaded, Ariq said to me and his brother, "Look, this girl is really sexy! She is wearing almost nothing!"

I shouted in my head, "WHATTTT???!!!!" At the same time, however, I knew that getting angry or showing strong reaction would only make things worse, instead of making things better.. so, I pretended to stay calm..

"Guys, if the pictures are not good, just leave it!" I said to the boys.

"Ah, it's only the screen picture while waiting for the game to download, Mum," Ariq replied.

"Oh, OK.. then, just play something else while you are waiting.." I pretended to keep reading a book while talking to the boys.

"Oh, you're right! Why do I have to wait anyway?" Ariq said.

Then, I heard the sounds from Warcraft started again.. :-)

Later on, I explained to Ariq that sometimes free online games are connected by links to paid internet games and other games that are not meant for children. He might like those games if he ever came across them, but they were not suitable for his age, meaning those games would not add any knowledge to young children. Those games only filled children's brain with bad memories..

I guess, as a child, Ariq decided he didn't want bad memories, so.. he decided to choose to keep just a few games that he thought were good. I actually liked one of them (for him to play, I mean), which was 'Crush the Castle'. In that game, he had to build a castle and place the soldiers on each floor carefully so that when the castle was catapult, it wouldn't crash down.

I also asked my mother-in-law to 'take a glance' at the computer screen, every time Ariq is playing on the internet in her room, although so far, we felt that there was nothing to worry about. I told her my worries, and she could see my reasons.. :-)

Now, Ariq is back to his strategy games. He likes 'Age of Empires' when he is playing by himself. When he is playing with Aza, they would have lots of fun with 'Kid Pix Deluxe 1 and 4' where they can make all sorts of imaginative art works; photo frames, moving pictures, slide shows with fun backgrounds, dancing puppets, etc. (too bad I still haven't mastered the way to upload their masterpieces to the blogs)..

One thing I'm concerned about though, the fact that free online games on the internet are not well segregated, between the ones for younger players and adult players. Parental supervision are crucial in guiding children in using the internet for educational and entertainment purposes.

I hope in the future, website builders will be more thoughtful in managing their sites because obviously, our children need the internet for their entertainment, development and educational purposes more and more every day.. :-)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Done for the day..

I'm finally done, restructuring adsense on my blogs.. I might need to check the success in a week or two, but, I'm hoping I can track the performance better now..

I'm also very happy with this Google Sidewiki. Every time I need to post something on one of my blogs, I can just start writing and decide which blog to post it later.. saving a lot of time logging in and getting to the 'New Post' page.

I really suggest everyone using blogspot to try Google Sidewiki, especially if you have more than one blog to maintain. It is a great help.

At last, have a pleasant day!

in reference to: Blogger: Dashboard (view on Google Sidewiki)

Testing my Sidewiki

I have just installed Sidewiki.. and this is my first Sidewiki entry.. I hope it works well..

in reference to: Features : Post Sidewiki entries to Blogger - Toolbar Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Endangered Languages

Following my last posting, Elinjo has forwarded to me a link to a video about languages of the world.

There are approximately 6,500 languages left in the world and one is disappearing every week (in average).. It is a very sad fact and a terrible loss for our culture (and our world).

For any of you who would like to know more, please follow this link, 'In Languages We Live'

I hope this video can be a wake-up call for all of us to start passing down any knowledge of culture and ethnic language that we have to our children and younger generations.

Every little step counts!

About Indonesian Language

I never really thought much about it, until just recently, in a comment to my last post (About Batak), Elinjo (in Blogit) mentioned that Indonesian language, as Indonesian official language is planned and relatively new. It struck my mind that it is not a common case in the world, so, there must be something interesting about it..

Come to thing of it.. now I realise why it is often difficult to translate an expression from other languages to Indonesian. Also, the grammar is so technical that there is almost no irregularity.

To make sense of what I'm trying to say here, I will start from the beginning..

The different languages and culture of each ethnic group made the inhabitants of the archipelago, although living side-by-side, were always staying at their own localities (at that time, were still in forms of Kingdoms) and sticking to their own people. Only tradesmen and scholars would travel around to other Kingdoms (these people would even travel to Middle East and India).

The Dutch came and applied the perfect strategy in conquering the multi-ethnic archipelago. Their strategy was called 'Devide et Impera' (Divide and conquer). With that strategy, the Dutch was successful in ruling archipelago for 350 years (the exception were Malaysia and Singapore, which were taken over by the British).

As always, military occupation was never necessarily meant a nation's intention. Throughout the time, there were always scholars who made it to do their higher education in Holland. There, they met scholars from other archipelago kingdoms and realised that to be able to overthrow Dutch ruling, they needed to unite, and to be able to unite, they needed a common ground.

They communicated it to their people back in their localities and the idea was well-reciprocated. They tried to gather all youth from around the archipelago.

The first congress was not successful as not many representatives came and they could not came up with a plan. They didn't give up though, on the 28th of October 1928, they held the 2nd youth congress and finally they came up with the common grounds they were looking for: One Land, One Nation and One Language.. Indonesia!

That was how Indonesian language was agreed to be the national language. Along with that agreement, there were no more little kingdoms in the archipelago. Everyone, every nationality was dissolved into one. Each person must put aside their differences, their pride of their background, to be able to become one part of the big future.. one united country.. one freedom.

What is Indonesian language anyway?

Well, it was originally taken from the language of the Malay ethnic group (another ethnic group from North Sumatra apart from Batak). These ethnic group is closely related with the people around the Malacca Strait (Singapore and Malaysia area around the Strait). Their language came from the same root and can easily be associated with/translated to other archipelago languages.

The downside, however, the newly-born language, definitely lack attachment to cultural development, as it was never really attached to any particular culture. The expressions are forms of grammatically correct sentences. It is a good language to teach as it has been made simple (no tenses and verbs are completed by suffixes), but it bears no deep cultural identity, apart from the spirit of united Indonesia.

The fast development of Indonesia language happened during Japanese occupation, between 1942-1945 (when the Dutch surrendered their position in Indonesia to the Japanese). The Japanese banned Dutch language from being used in Indonesia and encouraged Indonesian to use Indonesian language.

The development of communication finally led Indonesian people to the full-scale of unity, where finally, they successfully proclaimed their independence on the 17th of August 1945.

How are ethnic groups and ethnic languages in Indonesia nowadays?

For families which marriages are still within their own ethnic group (not necessarily arranged marriage, just by personal preference), they usually still speak their ethnic language at home. Indonesian language is learned and spoken mostly at school and at work. Whenever people enrol their children to school, the form always asks, 'Mother Tongue' or 'Home Language' .. so, ethnic languages are still recognised and practiced.

For families which marriages are of mixed culture, usually the mother's ethnic language is more strongly used (although not always), if the family practices the use of ethnic language at home. In a lot of cases though, these mix families use Indonesian at home.

The good thing about this, Indonesian language is beginning to be attach to cultural development as it is being used as a family/every day language.

The downside though, ethnic language in these families are disappearing (by being replaced with Indonesian).

It is a sad reality, but the truth is.. natural disappearance and extinction are inevitable in a lot of aspects in life. The only thing we can try is to avoid it from happening by force.

During the time I lived in Melbourne, I met Australians who spoke perfect Javanese in perfect Jogjakarta accent. I also met Australians who knew more of Indonesian culture than I did (I actually met a Pencak Silat -Indonesian traditional martial arts- teacher, who had travelled around Indonesia to learn all the original branches of the traditional martial arts).

I have also heard from people who have travelled to Holland that finding Indonesian food or culture there was easy. A lot of people know about it and a lot of people speak Indonesian or Indonesian ethnic languages.

Reading the news and watching TV, I've come to learn that nowadays, even the most hidden culture and language can be deciphered by experts!

I think this is really amazing..

Culture and language might extinct from being practiced, but they never really disappeared from the face of the earth.

Curiosity and Unity have brought us all closer together..

The world has become so big but also so small at the same time.. Our culture have become the world's culture.. Our knowledge has become the world's knowledge..

Each of us is a little part of the big world of culture and knowledge..

-20 October 2009-

Friday, 28 August 2009

Hidden Worries

As my boys are growing bigger, I'm starting to see the chance of them seeking adventures in the future, which I'm sure will happen before I know it!

I never thought much about how my parents coped with my interest in outdoor activities (since neither of them was much of an outdoor person), but now as I think back, I know it must be something that was not totally easy to face as parents.

Since Ariq was 4, he started to be fascinated watching people doing wall climbing on a wall behind a shopping centre near where we lived. He kept asking me if he could go, but the guy there told him that he needed to be at least 5 to try it.

Ariq is quite tall for his age, so when he was 4.5 (and had been coming up to the wall climbing guy every time we went to the mall), the guy finally allowed him to give it a try. I wasn't too worried since I've done abseiling (rappelling) many times myself and I would be able to tell when the safety gear was properly attached to him or not. The wall climbing went well and Ariq was having a great time.

While Aza, since he was 2, every time we took him swimming, his favourite move was to stand on the edge of the pool and jump high into the water (he loves the 1.2m depth instead the shallow children pool) just to have the feeling of being under water.

I'm sure that all of you here, just as I do, believe that curiousity and interest will not stop there. There will be one day when they want to experience various things..

Being a girl, even though I had great interest in outdoor activities, I consider myself pretty tame. Bush-walking up the mountain, horseback riding, abseiling (rappelling) and camping were enough for my adrenaline.

Even so, I remember that to be sure of being able to go on trips, I used to make a note to ask my parents' permission at least 2 days before going. Not because they told me so, but I knew for a fact that my parents would need time to consult my uncle (my mother's younger brother who was truly an outdoor person) about my trip (which my uncle would interview me in detail).

Now, every time Ariq asks me to play with my equipment or walk into an outdoor shop at the mall and starts asking about the name and purposes of equipment there, I realise that outdoor is his interest too, and as a boy, he might want more than I did!

Now, I've started imagining how should I feel and react when one day, Ariq tells me that he is going caving, rock climbing or rafting.. and if Aza tells me that he is going diving, parachuting or sky diving???

Now I understand that letting me go on my trips to places unknown and unfamiliar to my parents, must be hard for them, but their trust has given me the chance to grow more than some other girls.. but, I wouldn't lie to myself, I have secrets from my parents; I fell off a cliff during a bush walk, which I was glad that a group of boys were behind my group and they pulled me up.

I never told my parents either that my reason going abseiling was to overcome my fear of heights, and I slammed onto the board on my first attempt, because I did not realise that my right hand was not able to work as a break (I'm a lefty abseiler).. that's how I found out that I could only use my right hand to do things that I have learned to do with it, otherwise, my strong hand is my left.

During those times, if things had gone terribly wrong, I could've been badly injured, to say the least.. My parents wouldn't be able to imagine the risks, since they never went on an outdoor advanture, but me? I know exactly what my sons would be doing and the risks they would be facing..

Despite my effort to start teaching them that risky activities need triple care and caution to ensure safety, I still wonder, will I ever be ready to let them go?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Very Short Children Stories

For non-English speaking parents, introducing children to English can be a tricky thing. Teaching proper English can be even more challenging.

Parents should always remember that the world these days is not the same with the one we were in ten to twenty years ago. Children these days are more observant and critical towards everything they witness and analyse everyday.

The first and most important step that every parent needs to do is just 'introducing' all kinds of knowledge and skills needed by children. The rest of the development and improvement will be happening much faster and better than we could ever anticipate. With the independent and active learning methods that are applied in schools these days, children have better self-confidence in searching for the knowledge and skills they need and applying those knowledge and skills once they have acquired them.

Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of making mistakes when teaching our children. Just keep the positive attitude to show that what we are doing is sharing and introducing them to parts of the world that we know to let them explore and develop in the ways that they need those worlds to be.

To start the introduction process to English, I have written three short stories (very short, in fact), to let parents have a feel of sharing their knowledge in English with their children. These stories can be found in my blog 'Orcalion's Story Land'.

I am waiting (hoping) for someone who can make these stories more interesting by adding some pictures/illustrations. However, if you would like to use the stories with your own creativity to share with your children, you are very welcome to do so (you are welcome to share it here too, if you like).

I hope your experience in introducing English and reading to your children is a enjoyable one.

Have a nice day :-)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Steamed Fish (kerapu/grouper)

This is a recipe that I haven't made since we were in Oman. This steamed fish was a 'chef suggestion' in a well-known Chinese restaurant in Muscat, Oman.

This recipe turned out very nice when I made it today. So, please try it, it's not hard to make, and I'm really happy that I still could make it.



2 x 150-200 gr. grouper (kerapu)

3 cloves of garlic (coarsely sliced)

3 sticks small lemongrass (beaten and cut into 5 cm pieces)

5-7 cm fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)

5-7 cm fresh galangal (peeled and sliced)

1 bay leaf (sliced)

1 fresh red chilli (cut diagonally into 2 cm pieces)

2 tablespoons chinese soy sauce

1 beef maggie block (or fresh thick stock approximately 50 cc.)

1 lime (squeezed)


To make:

1. Make a long cut on the fish, to clean the inside and to make a space to stuff the spices into.

2. Clean the fish using half of the lime juice and rinse with water, then rub and marinate the fish with the remaining lime juice and salt. Leave the marinated fish in the fridge for a few hours (if you clean and marinate the fish in the morning, you can leave them until about 30 minutes before lunch time).

3. About 30 minutes before serving time, prepare a steamer and a dish to put the fish in during steaming (aluminum foil sheet or banana leaves can also be used instead, just remember to arrange the foil or the leaves so that they sit nicely inside the steamer to contain the liquid without letting it seep through).

4. Pour about 50 cc. hot water to dissolve the maggie block, then mix it with the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, chilli, bay leaf and soy sauce. Give the mixture a stir.

5. Pour the mixture onto the fish and rub them for 1-2 minutes. Then stuff a little of each spice inside the fish, then place the fish in the dish/aluminum foil/banana leaves prepared.

6. Pour the remaining soy sauce onto the fish.

7. Put cover on the fish (can be with aluminum foil or banana leaf), and steam for approximately 15 minutes. Turn the fish over and continue steaming for another 5 minutes.

8. Serve while hot.

Baked Macaroni


500 gr. long macaroni (half-boiled with a spoonful of olive oil or vegetable oil, then drained)

600 gr. regular minced meat

600 gr. cheddar/tasty cheese (grated), 500 gr. to be mixed and 100 gr. to sprinkle on top

2 l. full cream milk (I use UHT milk)

3 eggs



To make:

1. Pre-heat the oven to medium-high heat.

2. Put the minced meat in a wok on a medium heat and stir fry until fully cooked, add a little salt and pepper.

3. Mix the milk, 500 gr. grated cheese, stirred fry meat and half-boiled macaroni together in a big bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Once you can taste the salt and pepper in the mix, add in the eggs and mix everything thoroughly.

5. Put the mixture into 1 large and 1 medium baking dish. Start by putting the macaroni first until it fills half of each baking dish, then pour in the liquid.

6. Sprinkle the 100 gr. grated cheese on top of the mixture

7. Bake for approximately 60 - 90 minutes, until the cheese topping is slightly orange-yellowish.

8. Turn the oven off, and if the bottom part of the baked macaroni still looks slightly runny, leave it in the turned off oven, with the door slightly open. Take the macaroni out once it looks set.

9. Let it cool for approximately 30 minutes. Then serve. Put the remaining (completely cooled down) baked macaroni in the refrigerator. It can stay for a few days.

Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce

I am doing this the wrong way around.. I promise just for this one time.. :-)

I was meaning to post my bolognese sauce recipe here in this blog and put a link in 'Orcalion's World' blog, but, I was rushing (I don't think clearly when I'm rushing).. so, I ended up putting the recipe in the other blog, and putting the link here..

Oh well, readers of both blogs can have access the recipe anyway, so it should be alright. Problem solved.. Enjoy the sauce!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Scary Saturday

We were staying at my parents’ for weekend, as we do on most weekends. My husband and our 6-year-old son, Ariq went to see Star Trek. We knew that he wouldn’t fully understand the movie, but he loved spaceships, lasers, and everything else that we would expect to see in a Star Trek movie ;-) .. so, there he went to the mall with his dad.

Around lunch time, my husband called. He told me that Ariq enjoyed the movie (the lightning-speed spaceship, phasers and the spaceships’ weapons), and they were having lunch.

Anyway.. My parents came home from lunch with my auntie and uncle as I was just about to make a cup of coffee when my mobile phone rang. It was about an hour from when my husband called. I looked at the number displayed on the screen and I was certain that I didn’t recognise it. However, something deep in my heart told me to pick it up. So I picked it up.

“Hello.” I greeted whoever was on the other side as I pressed the ‘talk’ button.

There was no reply, only distant buzzing noises, like in a busy place. It’s very possible the caller couldn’t hear my voice clearly, so I repeated myself.


Still, there was no reply, but after a few seconds there was a distant voice, “Go on, talk.”

Then, I heard a soft growl. A very familiar voice, which made my heart stopped for a few seconds and I couldn’t feel my knees anymore. It was Ariq who made the soft growling sound, just like every time he refused to do something that I asked him to do.

I could sense panic rising in my heart. Why is Ariq using someone else’s phone? Where is my husband? Are they alright? Who was the man talking to Ariq on the background? My mind was already all over the place, but I knew I had to stay calm to be able to talk properly to Ariq.

“Ariq.. are you still at the mall? Whose phone are you using?”

“Mum.. I got separated from Dad. I can’t see him anywhere.”

Ouch! I knew exactly how the mall always was on Saturday night, my husband could just look away for a second, at the wrong time (as Ariq was interested in something else in, say, one metre away), they would easily be separated, and unable to find each other again..

“Alright, honey.. who are you with now? Whose phone are you using?”

“Mr. Security Guard, Mum. Would you quickly come, please?”

I hadn’t completely come back to earth, but at least I had started breathing.

“Is Mr. Security Guard with you?”


“Can I please speak with him?”

“Yes.” Then I heard distant voices, “It’s my mum.”

“Hello, Ma’am.”

“Hello. Thank you for watching my son, Sir. Where can I find you?”

“It’s alright, Ma’am. We’re in front of the chemist on 1st floor.”

“Alright. I’ll be there shortly.”

After I hang up, I called my husband’s mobile phone for so many times as I was getting changed, but the endless calling tone would only meant two things; he forgot to un-‘silent’ the phone or, he had lost the phone in the mall.

I kept thinking about what I should do, as I ran out of the house towards the row of bajajs (motorised rickshaw –exactly the same with the ones you find in India, where they originally came from before Indonesians started making them).

As I sat myself in one of the bajajs, I made up my mind. First, I decided to send a message to my parents.

Then, after weighing between the probability of the phone being in ‘silent’ mode or lost/stolen, I decided that it was more likely to be the earlier and I should leave a message to my husband about where Ariq was, so that he could get to him as soon as possible. I kept my message short and sound non-urgent. I only said, “Ariq is in front of the chemist on 1st floor.”

I thought that even if the phone was lost or stolen and the thief read the message, he/she would only think that the owner of the phone was supposed to meet someone at the mall.

Finally, the bajaj I was on reached the mall, right after my mum called to tell me that my dad had gone after me by car and I sent him the same message I sent my husband. I got off the bajaj and quickly ran to the entrance door where a security guard was standing. I asked her the direction to the chemist, which turned out to be pretty much right across the escalator which I went on.

Right away I saw Ariq with a stressed face next to a security guard, who was talking on his mobile phone. I ran to Ariq as I was calling him. When he saw me, he ran to me and gave me a big hug.

Then I greeted the security guard who had been staying with him.

“Had you gone far when I called you, Ma’am?”

“No, Sir. My son was actually here with his father. I was at home.”

“Oh.. That’s what your son meant. He was panicked and stressed. He only said he couldn’t see his dad and he didn’t know where his mum was. I asked if he knew his dad’s number, he said he only remembered his mum’s.”

I thanked the security guard many times before we finally went downstairs to meet my dad. Then we tried to find my husband. Which we did short after and, his phone was still on ‘silent’ mode.

The rest of the afternoon, I kept asking my son (little bit each time) about how he lost his dad and ended up with the security guard.

“I walked too fast ahead of Dad (my husband was putting his belongings at the deposit counter -we are not allowed to bring bags into bookshops in Indonesia). I went around the bookshop many times, but I couldn’t see him.”

“Then, what did you do?”

“Then, I remembered Dad said he wanted to go to the toilet, so I went to look there, but there was noone there. So I went back to the bookshop, but he was still nowhere to find.”

“Was that when you decided to go to the security guard?”

“No. Someone took me to security guard. In fact, I was taken to THREE security guards.” Despite his fear, he felt proud of being attended by that many security guards.

“Was the person taking you also a security guard?”


Then I teased him a little, “Did you cry?”

He grinned, “Yes, I cried. That’s why the man took me to the security guards.”

“What did the security guard asked you? Did they asked you name?”

“No they didn’t ask my name. He asked where Dad and you were. I said I was lost and I didn’t kow where you were. Then he asked if I wanted to call Dad or you. So I told him I didn’t remember Dad’s number, I only remembered yours. Then, he let me use his phone to call you.”

I also asked him, “Whenever you were going to places with me, and you couldn’t see me, you always shouted my name (He calls me ‘Ibu Indri’ – Ibu means Mum). Why didn’t you do the same with Dad when you realised for the first time you couldn’t see him?”

He want silent for a second, then answered with a cushion on his forehead, “I was embarrassed.”

I was a little surprised with his answer. I’m guessing it’s a guy thing, but I didn’t pursue further, as embarrassment for a 6-year-old wouldn’t be something easy to explain (I might have assumed wrong, but I think I can wait a while until he could figure out what he meant by that).

There are some things that I keep thinking about this incident..

I remembered how he was always calling me on my mobile phone, every time he was at home and he thought I had gone out too long, just because he knew my mobile phone numbers by heart. I used to think that his calls could be really annoying sometimes. Now, I’m glad he called me so often that those numbers stayed in his mind even in his most confused moments.

I also remembered that I often left unfamiliar incoming calls unanswered. Now, I’m glad that I decided to answer that one call that was made by my son using the security guard’s mobile phone.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Indonesian Folklores and Legends

Indonesia consists of more than 250 ethnic groups, which speak more than 500 different languages.

From all these ethnic groups, a lot of folklores and legends have arisen. Many books have been published to spread the knowledge of these stories to the young generations, and now, there are also blogs that attempt to collect those stories for people to read.

I believe that there are a lot of people who would like to read these stories, so I put a link to a good blog that I recently found while looking for folklores to tell my son, Ariq.

This particular blog is written in Indonesian, and I am thinking (I'm trying not to disappoint anyone by saying 'seriously planning') to translate these stories to English. I am also still trying to find if there is any blog for Indonesian folklores and legends that is written in English.

Here is the link.. .

Wish me luck, and enjoy the stories

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Learning History from Extraordinary Books

For a few days, I have been reading two books about history. First is, Dee Brown's book, 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'. It is a very good book. Even though the book is about history, it is not boring at all. Some reviews stated that the book was based a lot on the Native Americans' memory and comments, but since I came from a country who suffered colonialisation, I can understand the story. Some statements might have been exaggerated (as the author stated), but the idea of two completely different cultures that clashed in the worst possible way, when their contradicting needs collided, made the same sense with Indonesian history.

From reading this book, I begin to understand that Indonesia did not suffer the worst of the world's conquest story, in a way. The culture clash between Indonesian and Portuguese, English and Dutch was not as extreme as the clash that happened between the Native Americans with the Spanish and English

Before the Europeans came to Indonesia, Indonesians were already living as kingdoms (there were a lot of small kingdoms around archipelago), with the structure of a country, only in small areas. There were tribal groups, but these tribes were considerably untouched by the Europeanse anyway, since they live far from the shores. Some of these tribes are still living very traditionally to this day.

More than that, Indonesians at that time were already aware of outsiders as we were in the end of 'Silk Road' trading route which went from Middle East to India, to China and to the archipelago (several different kingdoms at that time, around Sulawesi, Java and Sumatra).

The arrival of Europeans who at first intended to buy spices took Indonesians off guard. Trading was not a new thing for them, plus the distinguished features of the Europeans (compared to Indians and Middle Eastern traders who were reasonably physically similar) awed the local people. Once the trade started to turn into something else completely different (like land transferring, etc.), then it was already too late for Indonesians to defend themselves.

Yes, we were colonialised, but the previous encounters with outsiders gave Indonesians a different way of fighting (to combine with the physical fight). In the old days, great kingdoms of Sriwijaya (Sumatra) and Majapahit (Java), had their golden times of being the centre of Hindu and Budha learning of the world after their elders came back from India to learn from the sources of the religion. Many students from other parts of the world had come to learn in the two kingdoms. So, having visitors was not a new thing for the local peole.

Some other people had also gone to India and Middle East, to learn about Islam. So, going overseas to study was not a new thing either for the people of the archipelago.

This is the way that was taken by some of financially-able Indonesians during the Dutch ruling too. They went to Holland to study (not kidnapped), then they brought back their knowledge and motivation to strengthen their fight towards independence.

'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' was written and published about 200 years after the war. Now, a lot of the native tribes have vanished forever without any descendant. The culture clash was too extreme to overcome when it was happening.. It was a very sad reality..

The second book I have been reading is Langit Kresna Hariadi's book, 'Gajah Mada' (the first of 4-series novel). This book is a fiction based on true events and timeline of Majapahit Kingdom, where Gajah Mada was an advisor (position of Prime Minister and War Advisor of the Kingdom). He was famous for his pledge to bring the archipelago together under one nation. He started off his career as a soldier but because of his personality, skills and wisdom, he became a well-respected person in the entire Indonesian history, even better known than some kings.

The series told the stories of the culture, politics and strategies in Majapahit Kingdom, including the rebellions and treacheries occurred. Even though the additional characters are fictional, the timeline of occurring events, characters of history and overall plots were based on known real history. Additional details were added to fill in the holes, based on best estimates putting local cultures and viewpoints into considerations. These made the whole story told was as close as possible to the real history.

Indonesia has only been a free country for 60 years (after the declaration of independence from colonialisation).. so, it might take more than a century for something similar to this book to surface from people's memories and comments. A lot of parts of the culture and traditions would probably have vanished by that time too (although the population is nowhere near extinction).

Indonesians are taught Indonesian History as a compulsory subject at school, from Primary to Senior High School. However, they way history is introduced to students is not in the way which can motivate young generations to keep fighting for growth and development.

Moreover, the way World History is taught to students is as if the world is a completely separate place to where we are (that's probably how most history books are written).

In general, I believe that if history teachers (and students) read these two books (and other books written in similar manner), they will be able to give students a better chance to relate to Indonesian and world's history, to learn better from the history.

In the case of education in Indonesia, I believe that this approach will have a good chance to bring back the greatness of the old kingdoms, learn from the mistakes that people did and create a better future for Indonesia.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Pembelajaran di Rumah (Home Learning)

Baru-baru ini, saya diminta untuk meriset dan menulis sebuah artikel tentang pembelajaran anak di rumah.

Dari proses penulisan artikel tersebut, saya mengetahui bahwa ternyata jumlah orang tua yang menyelenggarakan pembelajaran anak di rumah di masa sekarang ini cukup banyak dan terus bertambah.

Meskipun saya bukan/belum menjadi salah satu orang tua yang menyelenggarakan pembelajaran anak di rumah secara penuh, tapi saya merasa bahwa sistem pembelajaran ini banyak sisi positifnya.

Sebagian dari orang tua yang menyelenggarakan pembelajaran anak di rumah tidak menyekolahkan anak-anak mereka di sekolah formal sama sekali. Saya menyebut sistem ini sebagai full-time home learning.

Sebagian lain, menyelenggarakan pembelajaran di rumah sebagai pelengkap dari kurikulum yang sudah didapat anak di sekolah formal. Saya menyebut sistem ini sebagai part-time home learning.

Masing-masing sistem memiliki metode dan struktur sendiri, namun tujuannya adalah untuk menyempurnakan pembinaan dan pendidikan anak untuk menjadikannya satu pribadi yang utuh dan menyeluruh, serta mampu secara mandiri memotivasi dirinya dalam rangka berusaha menjadi manusia yang lebih baik.

Yang menarik bagi saya, saat saya melakukan riset tentang pembelajaran di rumah ini adalah bahwa di beberapa negara sistem pembelajaran di rumah ini adalah sesuatu yang ilegal.

Menurut saya, pembelajaran di rumah justru merupakan sesuatu yang sangat penting untuk dilakukan oleh setiap keluarga dengan porsi dan metode yang tepat untuk mendukung perkembangan anak.

Dari berbagai sumber yang saya dapatkan dalam riset saya di internet, banyak sekali yang dapat kita gunakan untuk membantu dalam meningkatkan motivasi dan kualitas belajar anak-anak kita di rumah.

Sumber-sumber ini sifatnya tidak berusaha untuk mengajak para orang tua untuk mulai menyelenggarakan pembelajaran di rumah, namun lebih bertujuan untuk saling bertukar informasi dan pendapat tentang pembelajaran anak di rumah.

Para orang tua pemilik website-website ini juga tidak menyatakan keberatan yang berlebihan atas kurikulum sekolah pada umumnya. Mereka hanya mengharapkan yang lebih baik untuk anak-anak mereka.

Di blog ini, saya tampilkan beberapa link yang saya anggap menarik dan dapat bermanfaat bagi pembaca sekalian.

Terima kasih.