Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marry The One Who Loves You, Not The One Whom You Love?

Experienced people always make a million dollars statement of “Marry the one who loves you, not the one whom you love”. It does not mean that the person whom you love does not love and the other way round but, a dominating side is always there. If we think logically, this statement proves very true in the long run. If you marry the person whom you love, your expectations dominate and in the other way, the other’s feelings dominate. It pinches a lot when the person whom you love hurts you and the person who loved you is ditched by you.

The above discussion is not to confuse anyone but to advise everyone to move ahead in life with a wise discretion. One single decision can ruin the life forever. Yes, you can leave the person anytime and try to move ahead but, the thorn always remains. The mere suggestion here is to understand the relations and make decision with patience and after listening to both the heart and the mind. Love is blind, it is true but, do not get swayed by this blind emotion to the extent that it makes your whole life blind.

I was thinking deeply about the statement, and I would like to say that it is not a quandary about love anymore. This is a decision-making case, and in order to solve it, use all the wisdom at your disposal, and then make a decision. Here are some points to consider in order to examine your potential spouse and see if you should marry him/ her.

1. How is your prospective spouse’s faith? Do you lead each other to God? Is your relationship centered on God? Do the two of you have different faiths? Does he or she have a faith at all? The Bible advises against marrying a nonbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14) because marriage is difficult enough without having differences on an issue that should be the foundation of your life together. The Church does allow mixed marriages, but advises against them because of the difficulties they present within marriage.
A husband and wife should be able to do more for God together than they can do apart. They should form a team, and to be effective they need to have the same goal in mind. So take this all to prayer, and trust that God will guide you. Some couples make the mistake of failing to ask for the Lord’s guidance, while others overspiritualize the matter and will not move forward unless they receive numerous signs from heaven.

2. How is your friendship? It is easy to feel close to a person if you have been physically intimate, but how well can you honestly say you know this person? The more physically involved you have been, the more you will need to step back to evaluate the relationship. This is because physical intimacy clouds our judgment—which it should. One of the benefits of total physical intimacy for married couples is that it renders them less critical of each other. However, this clouding of your thinking belongs in marriage, not before.
Be honest in examining what truly unites the two of you. Is it a desire for pleasure or emotional gain? Is there an unhealthy dependency, where one or both of you has made an idol out of the other, expecting that it will solve loneliness? How do the two of you deal with differences? Can you disagree lovingly, or are there some issues of manipulation, anger, or guilt that need to be sorted out first? Lastly, is there a real romantic interest? This is not to say that you must feel constantly madly in love with each other. Those feelings have to be present, however we must discern feelings with infatuation.

3. Are the two of you on the same vision when it comes to family? Does one of you expect one child, while the other envisions two minivans full of kids? Does one of you want kids right away while the other wants to wait ten years before having any children? If you have different dreams, then now is the time to be honest about your differences. More importantly, do you think that your prospective spouse would be a good parent? Or does he or she have habits that are destructive to a marriage and family, such as drug use, excessive drinking, pornography, sarcasm, anger, self-centeredness, or infidelity?

4. Are you financially ready for a family? The book of Proverbs advises, “Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house” (Prov. 24:27). We should not jump into marriage before we are able to care for a family financially. You do not need to have college money set aside for your kids before you get married, but you should be stable enough with your career that you will be able to carry the great responsibilities that come with the blessings of parenthood.

5. What do your friends and families say? It is easy for a couple to become isolated and fail to consult the friends and families. They know your habits, your emotional health, your dreams, and plenty of things you probably wish nobody knew. But they love you nonetheless and can give some of the best guidance.

Finally, weigh all the above considerations and more, pray about them, and make a decision. You can only know a person so well before you marry. This is because coming to know another person is not so much a destination as it is a lifelong process. Within marriage you will see strengths and weaknesses more clearly than ever before. Because of this, disappointments are inevitable.
When difficulties arise—and they will come—they will test and affirm your love. Marriage is not an endless whirling romance, and there are times when the marriage will suffer. When the infatuation fades, some imagine that they must not have married Mr. or Miss Right. This is partly why so many divorces happen within the first few years of marriage.

Successful marriage is not the result of finding the perfect person but of loving the imperfect person you have chosen to marry. Therefore, do not allow yourself to be discouraged when you discover faults and annoyances that you never recognized before. It is said that after marriage, the man gets upset because the woman changes, and the woman gets upset because the man will not change. But when faults do come to the surface, we should not be set on “fixing” our spouse. We marry a human being, not an idealized image. Only when we let go of the idealized image and begin to accept and love our spouse will the deepest and most fulfilling kind of love appear. As a friend of mine once said, “I married her because I loved her. Now I love her because I married her.”

When a couple understand these principles, they are mature enough to think about marriage. We are not eleven years old anymore, fluttering from one crush to another according to how fun the feelings are. When a relationship is based on an infatuation instead of a decision, it will last only as long as the infatuation does. We must be careful about what we base our relationships on, because finding the love that everyone longs for is a serious endeavor.

Inspired by Mom's counsel, life experiences and collective wisdom.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Bucket List

When you die, what do you want to remembered as? Do you live life with joy and purpose? Does your life bring joy and meaning to others? What makes you happy; have you done that? This question is rarely posed due to its powerful reflective nature. Most people rush in life, not gaining much and leaving no marks. Life is short and the world goes on without you even when you're gone. However, you have a mission in life; what is most important is that you choose to find out and move towards the answers.

According to Urban Dictionary, bucket list is: A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket". So here, is the list of what I want to do with my one precious life. The marked ones are done.

1. Master 8 languages: Indonesian, Malay, English, Mandarin, German, French, Dutch, Italian
2. Swim with dolphins
3. Go to real service of Lakewood Church with Ps Joel Osteen in Houston, Texas
4. Go on a helicopter ride
5. Own a Porsche
6. Go on a cruise
7. ✓ Own a property investment
8. ✓ See an angel
9. ✓ Tell my Dad I love him
10. Have my picture published in a newspaper
11. ✓ Tutor someone
12. Make paper
13. ✓ Play the stock/ forex market
14. ✓ Try out lame pickup lines, and make it work
15. Design a website
16. ✓ Adopt a child
17. ✓ Make a significant change in someone’s life
18. Speak in front of 10,000 people
19. Move to Germany and live there
20. ✓ Make an origami animal
21. ✓ Witness an eclipse
22. Be a member of the audience of a TV show
23. ✓ Make soap
24. Solve a rubiks cube
25. Be interviewed in BBC Radio
26. Shake hands with a President
27. ✓ Volunteer
28. Learn to surf
29. ✓ Be published
30. ✓ Teach a class
31. ✓ Tour a vineyard
32. Feed a koala bear
33. ✓ Throw a party
34. Stand under a waterfall
35. Be a world renowned expert for my field
36. Participate in a 10k race
37. ✓ Ride in a gondola
38. Write a New York Times bestseller
39. Ride an elephant
40. Save a life, literally
41. Attend school reunion
42. Be a discipler
43. Honeymoon in a private beach
44. ✓ Tour a factory
45. Test drive a race car
46. Find my best friend from high school
47. ✓ Surprise someone
48. ✓ Get a bikini wax
49. New Year countdown at Times’ Square
50. ✓ Donate toys to needy kids
51. Be a game show contestant
52. Start a home garden
53. Write an article for The Economist
54. Have a second home
55. Stay in an igloo
56. Cook every dish for one week
57. Meet Zig Ziglar in person
58. Being admitted to Harvard Business School
59. Earn 6 figures per year
60. Dive the great barrier reef
61. Go on a spontaneous road trip
62. Help someone else achieve their dreams
63. ✓ Touch a famous piece of art
64. Attend one of Anthony Robbins’ talk
65. Have my blog featured in magazine
66. Take a mud bath
67 ✓ Knit a scarf
68. Be the youngest CEO of Unilever
69. Make a time capsule and bury it
70. Put my handprint into wet concrete
71. Stomp grapes
72. Build Indonesia’s largest social enterprise developing woman and children
73. Set a Guinness Book of World Record
74. Stand in the Sistine Chapel
75. ✓ See a volcano
76. Swing from a rope to a lake
77. Take a trip with mom, just two of us
78. See a Broadway play
79. Touch pyramid in Egypt
80. Sign up to donate organs
81. ✓ Create a room I love
82. Go to School of Theology
83. ✓ Walking on a rope 10 m above the ground
84. ✓ Try a new food
85. ✓ Take a makeup lesson
86. ✓ Write a Wikipedia article
87. Try working full-time in church
88. Learn CPR
89. Enter a food-related competition
90. Learn to play Canon in D on guitar
91. ✓ Drink 12-year-old whisky
92. Fire a gun
93. ✓ Be on a TV show
94. Hike every trail at a state park
95. Make my own perfume
96. Be in same weight or less until I'm 60 years old
97. Dress in super sexy lingerie
98. ✓ Try a pole dancing class
99. ✓ Read 10 books on the NY Best Sellers list
100. ✓ Learn to play guitar
101. ✓ List 10 things I'm grateful for every day for 1 month
102. ✓ Drink Absynth
103. Bring my family for a trip to Paris/ Jerusalem
104. Smoke a shisha
105. Die with a big smile on my face
106. ✓ Try smoke a cigar
107. ✓ Meet someone famous and get an autograph
108. Own an award winning healthy vegetarian restaurant
109. ✓ Start a blog
110. Play guitar in cellgroup
111. ✓ Visit a castle
112. ✓ Buy from second hand store
113. ✓ Wear fake eyelashes
114. Climb an indoor rock wall
115. ✓ Create my own recipe
116. Blow glass
117. Learn how to sing
118. Take a dancing class
119. ✓ Try flying fox
120. Be an extra in a movie
121. Milk a cow
122. Watch turtles hatch & run to the ocean
123. ✓ Create something useful & sell it
124. ✓ Finish a crossword puzzle
125. ✓ Invent something
126. ✓ Paragliding
127. Make a candle
128. ✓ Feed the homeless
129. ✓ Have a meaningful conversation with a stranger
130. Find the end of the rainbow
131. Get a patent for something
132. Look 10 years younger than I am (in future)
133. ✓ Lead someone to Christ
134. ✓ Eat alone at a fancy restaurant
135. ✓ Study abroad
136. Dance in the streets at Carnival in Rio
137. ✓ Sleep on a beach
138. Attend a random free seminar
139. Buy a diamond for myself
140. Walk the Hollywood Boulevard
141. Pick fruit from the tree & make a pie
142. ✓ Relax in a natural hot spring
143. ✓ Hitchhike
144. Build a water purifying plant in Indo
145. Read at least one book every month
146. Visit Barcelona
147. Visit Miami Beach
148. ✓ See a foreign film in foreign language
149. Write a cookbook
150. ✓ Write a letter to myself that i'll read in 5 years
151. Ride in a limousine
152. Journey on the Trans-Siberian railway
153. Start fire without matches
154. See Biblical sites in and around Jerusalem
155. ✓ Sew something wearable
156. Create a family logo
157. ✓ Pay the bridge toll for the person behind me
158. Visit a butterfly sanctuary
159. Be a wife of a servant of God
160. ✓ Create my own cocktail
161. ✓ Go kayaking
162. ✓ Go to the movies by myself
163. Visit the Parthenon in Greece
164. ✓ Always think before I speak
165. Live a life of faithfulness to the end
166. Live a life of meekness, humility and service to others
167. ✓ Vacation solo
168. Bring internet to an isolated community
169. ✓ Dance on a bar stage
170. Walk the red carpet
171. ✓ Learn a new software program
172. Own an original piece of artwork
173. ✓ Write letters and send via snail mail
174. Wear colored contacts
175. Sit front row at Victoria’s Secret fashion show
176. Being headhunted for job
177. Fly first class
178. Always go extra mile and find solutions
179. ✓ Have my own website
180. ✓ Receive a fan letter
181. Lead my family in prayer and devotion
182. Be able to pay all my expenses from passive source of income
183. ✓ Whitewater raft
184. Have a net worth of 10 million dollars
185. Parasail
186. Go to Oktoberfest in Munich
187. Skydive
188. ✓ Eat a raw diet for 3 days
189. ✓ See a 4-D movie
190. Plant a tree
191. ✓ Talk to bus drivers and listen to their concerns
192. Give blood
193. Visit Petra, Jordan
194. Own a fabulous pair of designer shoes
195. ✓ Visit Red Light District, Amsterdam
196. ✓ Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
197. Build a sand castle
198. Be a self-made millionaire
199. Have my own children
200. Hold a 1-kg gold bar
201. ✓ Babysit newborn babies
202. Wrap a snake around my neck
203. Make a handmade gift
204. Swim in Maldives and Seychelles
205. ✓ Write a song
206. Kiss under the mistletoe
207. ✓ Ride a gondola in Venice
208. Jump off a cliff
209. Passionately kiss in the rain
210. Visit the Great Wall of China
211. ✓ Write a love letter
212. Get hypnotized
213. See Niagara Falls lit up at night
214. Create a family tree
215. Go to Rome, Italy and meet him again
216. Take a trip in a hot air balloon
217. Go whale watching
218. Inspire people to have purpose and goals
219. Build a blanket fort with someone then watch movies in it all day
220. Sail on a yacht
221. Spend the entire day by myself
222. ✓ Sleep in an overnight train
223. Attend an art gallery opening
224. ✓ Drive a 4 Wheeler
225. Given a Merit for contribution to society
226. ✓ Make a homemade beauty product
227. ✓ Get a Fish Spa
228. Be on the cover of a magazine
229. Go on a mission trip
230. ✓ Try acupuncture
231. Perform a Magic Trick
232. Go to a German Christmas Market
233. ✓ Try oysters
234. ✓ Climb all 272 steps to the top of Batu Caves
235. Go bungee jumping
236. Climb Mount Everest as far as my body will allow
237. ✓ Visit Prague
238. Be kissed on top of a ferris wheel
239. ✓ Go to a Drive-In restaurant
240. Dedicate a part of my house as free public library
241. Find a way to decompose plastic and styrofoam
242. Partake in La Tomatina Food Fight
243. Visit Buckingham Palace
244. See the Taj Mahal
245. ✓ Sleep under the stars
246. ✓ See a double rainbow
247. Ride a camel
248. ✓ Visit Disneyland
249. ✓ Drive a bus

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. - Henry David Thoreau”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Year End Reflection- What Have I Learned

This year, one of my personal achievement was to travel to 8 European countries by myself and mw own money, before the age of 20. I strongly believe that in order to achieve something in reality, we must first conceive it in mind, and make necessary actions towards it. I made it a target in my 19th birthday that I would be able to speak fluent German. I saved my scholarship money and work part-time more often, so that I managed to have more than SGD 9,000 in my bank account, within a year and no contribution from my parents at all. This had let me proof to myself that when I want something badly enough, I can achieve it. Not a really huge sum, I know, but to earn it in a year while studying full time and holding leadership position in school, I believe it is an accomplishment. And yes, opportunities come to those who are ready.

In early 2011, there was an opening for summerschool in Darmstadt, Germany for a month to study German language. The course fee itself was SGD 1,800. I then applied to my school to be considered for an exchange, which was magically accepted. I said this because during the 3 years of programme, there were only 2 international students sent, as Singaporeans are always given priority for such type of international exposure. The programme started in 21 May 2011, 2 days after my last exam. After a long and complex process of visa application, cheap ticket search, and travelling plan, I went alone by Lufthansa with EUR 2,500 cash and a Visa debit card. Had studied German language for 2 years in high school, I arrived in Frankfurt completely perplexed about what the people were talking.

I was picked up by the host allocated by Technical University of Darmstadt; her name is Jutta, works as a local judge and luckily, she speaks English. We quickly became in good relationship, while we have common interest in gardening and cooking. I gladly bought some flowers every week to replace the old ones in the living-room, helped her with laundry and cooked "nasi goreng", "mee goreng" which she really liked. Well, she offered to be my step-mother, which could make me a German national and bear her family name; but the requirement was that I need to legally erase my current parent-child relationship, I could not do that. However, I find it interesting, the little things I did makes a respected German woman want to adopt me.

Lastly, after the summerschool finished, I went to travel to 7 more countries in Europe, including Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Austria. I am not going to tell the amazing travel experience and beautiful sights I saw at each place. Getting lost, some flings, bar-hopping and communications breakdown, I would expect all that to happen. My experience can be best described as, er, traumatizing. I had my passport, all identity cards and debit cards stolen, with EUR300 i put in my sling-bag pouch.

So there I was, in front of Place St Michel, really shocked. A friend travelled with me, CWK, accompanied me to quickly went back to our hotel, and ask the receptionist if I had left it in the room. She does not speak English, so my friend managed to find a guy on the street to translate for me. This experience compelled me to learn French, which I'm currently doing. Since the pouch was not in the room, we went to nearest police office to report for lost.

This was getting better.

Out of 12 officers, there was only one who speaks good English. After struggling to get the police report, we went to Indonesian Embassy in Rue Cortambert, just to speak to the Counsellor to make me a temporary passport. There was no councellor, it was SUNDAY. I spoke to the security guard, who tried to call him and explain to me that i am the 6th case in the last 3 days. The moments were terrifying. His calm expression suggested that a lot of people have actually lost their passports.

With the police documents at hand, we went to Gare de l'Est to ask for train ticket replacement. I had to persuade and debate until the TGV officer reprinted the ticket for free, this was because I only left with few hundred euros to be spent on next destinations. We also managed to get my plane e-ticket printed in one of the hotel. He just hanged around waiting for me and comforted me. It was Sunday and we did not had any meal for 12 hours after I lost my pouch. Finally, he lent me EUR50 and I went back to Germany in evening. That was the day I learned about what "pressure" was. And I am truly grateful and thankful to you, CWK.

I continued to travel, this time with much more care, to my remaining destinations. During those days, I forged friendship and exchange contacts with some other travellers. Lastly, on my flight date, which was on 5.30pm from Paris to Jakarta, I was stranded in Brussels-Midi train station. They were having problem with electricity, and it was around 1pm that I got a train to Gare du Nord. I rushed to the airport with 30kg luggage and there were so many people queuing at check-in desk, due to baggage belt failure. I remember the feeling of blood rushing through my body. Pushed my way through the huge crowd, I caught my flight just on time. Needless to say, I fell asleep most of the journey, until I met an Indonesian cruise-ship worker who sat beside me in plane, glaring on the untouched super-early breakfast on my table. Well I had no palate at all to the strawberry yogurt, stale hard bread, and ricotta-garnished spinach ravioli. He finished them.

To my surprise, after i arrived in Jakarta, my luggage was not there. I came out from airport in tears, hugged my parents and felt bad about losing all souvenirs. Luckily, it was found to be still in Paris, which then delivered to me 4 days later. PT JAS had done it well. I wrote a compliment letter to Kompas for that.

So these are some of the things I learned about, the ability to deal with adversity and problems, from language, money, communication, time and emotion management; all this were tested during my memorable travelling experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Packing List to Europe

Well, this was what I packed last time. Keep in mind this is not a definitive list – everyone has individual fashion tastes, preferences, opinions, and styles in terms of what they want to wear and bring along! This is meant to be a guide to help you in packing for your Europe vacation.

1 rainproof jacket/small umbrella
2 shorts/skirts. But remember that shorts are’t allowed in major cathedrals.
1 thick sweater
1 light jacket for layering
Shawl. Black or white colour is versatile; in cold weather it would help warm your body too.
1 or 2 swimwear and beach towel
2 pairs of jeans/ jeggings/ khakis. Khakis actually faster to dry.
3 T-shirts
Underwear. Silk, lace, or micro-fiber dries quickest.
3 pairs of socks
3 casual shirts
Dresses (depend on what your activities will be, 2 should suffice)
1 set of nice clothes (eg going out dress, tie, blazer, jacket or suit for evenings out on tour)
1 nice hat (rattan for summer, beanie hat for winter)

Comfortable walking shoes. It should be usable in rain; no pretty Steve Madden leather-suede flat.
‘Going out’ shoes (this translates to a comfortable heels for me)

Toiletry bag and contents: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, comb
Make up (just the essential ones, they should fit in a small case)
Aspirins/medications, plasters for blister or minor cuts.
Few packets of wet and dry tissues, hand sanitizer. Dettol’s anti-bacterial wet tissue is good.
Insect repellent. Especially if you're staying in tent or outdoor.
Nail clippers & tweezers.
Sanitary pad, feminine hygiene products.

Moneybelt is a MUST. Prevention is much better. You can put passport, plane ticket, debit and credit cards, railpass, and money inside.
Clock/ watch. Water-resistant if possible.
Plastic bags
Washing powder
Sewing kit (optional)
Pens and notebooks (optional)
Rechargeable phone card (optional, but suggested if you’re travelling to many countries). Check topdeck’s SIM card.
Power adapters. Check first the power-points type in your destination countries.
Day bag. Sling-bag/ postman-bag will be good as both of your hands are free. Just make sure you put your bag on the front-side of your body, otherwise you would not know if pickpockets take something out of it.
Overnight bag. I used a medium-sized backpack. This bag should be able to carry your one-day supply.

Label your suitcase inside and out with your name and your home address and perhaps attach a sticker, ribbon, patch or other unique identifier to your luggage to make it easier to spot.
Carry a copy of your passport, visas, travel and other important documents as well as your travellers cheque numbers (if you use them) with you in your luggage. You should also leave a copy of all this information at home with someone trusted and contactable while you are away. I was lucky that I had the copy of these as my passport, visa, and identity cards were stolen. At least I had a proof to be given to the polica and embassy.
Don’t pack your travel documents and passport in your luggage, rather take it with you in your carry luggage. This I learned because my luggage was left in my departure country and arrive only 4 days later. If I do not have any documents or money on-hand, I can’t imagine what would’ve happened.
Remember to bring more than enough of any medication you might need along with you and carry prescriptions for any medications that you carry with you.

That should be all and have a safe trip :)

Why Do I Tweet

I was not very interested in Twitter until recently. I saw it as a platform for people to just make status-es; non sense and pointless. But now, I can admit I am enchanted by it. Like an idiom in Indonesian “Tak kenal maka tak sayang”, I disliked Twitter because I didn’t understand it. Now that I know, I would like to propose on why in the world you should consider tweeting, here are the reasons:

1. It will help you stay connected to people you care about. Twitter actually contributes to community-building. In today’s world, it’s difficult to keep up with others. Especially if you are far from your family and friends, you can know what is happening to them and care about them.
2. It will make you a better writer. Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters at a time. As a result, you are forced to be concise yet get the message across.
3. It will help you see a new side of your friends. In an odd sort of way, Twitter “humanizes” people and provides a context for better understanding them. For example, you’ll quickly see that people get excited, bored, frustrated, anxious and happy—sometimes all in the same day. You’ll also learn what is important to them and what drives them crazy.
4. It will introduce you to new friends. I have now met several new people via Twitter. These have contributed to my life in small but significant ways.
5. It is faster than text-messaging. In a sense Twitter is a universal text messaging system. You can broadcast to all of your “followers” (i.e., people who subscribe to your Twitter feed) or send a direct message to just one. If you notice a friend is very active on Twitter, just send them message there, not on text-message.
6. It will make you think about your life. As you answer the question, “What am I doing?”. “What I want to share?” you start to see your life through the lens of the people following you. Interestingly, it will make you more intentional and thoughtful about life.
7. It will keep you up-to-date with what people are talking about. Via Twitter, I have learned about hot K-pop singers coming to town, new books, cool applications, breaking news, and even local as well as international trends. This is useful for our knowledge.
8. It can create traffic for your site. This is another tool of publicity, whenever you have something controversial or interesting to share. Your followers get to know it real-time. Moreover, when they like it, they retweet it, publicizing further to their followers. This can create a viral effect.
9. It requires a very small investment. Twitter itself is a free service. In terms of time, you probably need to invest some 20 minutes a day, or merely checking when you are idle in bus stop or traffic jam. Since every tweets are limited to 140 characters, you can skim them in a second. Writing a tweet takes less than 30 seconds.
10. It can help build your personal “brand”. When people hear your name, what comes to mind? What is your reputation? What is the “brand promise”? Brands are built incrementally, one interaction at a time. Twitter gives you one more way to build your brand, one tweet at a time.

A lot of them, isn’t it? However, I’m sure there are some downsides to Twitter as well. Hence, let’s go on the journey and shape the future of social networks rather than sit on the sidelines and throw stones.

P.S: Follow me @keziagusmawan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My 20th Birthday Gifts

On November 4, I flew back to Jakarta to meet my dear family. We went to church together, then had an early lunch at Bandar Djakarta. Celebrated a little with some 12-yr-old whisky, Johnny Walker. Well, all of us only managed to taste it before deciding it's way too strong.. (I had this old whisky thingy wishlist on my last year birthday, checked!)

The exterior, it's one of my favourite restaurant. Really, if you visit Jakarta, this is something you should not miss. Fresh seafood, wide ranges, you can get a bucket and pick them up yourself! Then, the weighing staff will weigh your picks and note your preferred sauce/ cooking style. This means you only pay for whatever you pick and eat, no fixed portion.

Being affordable, it has drawn many loyal customers with its really good outdoor ambience and excellent service. Lucky we arrive around 11am, coz the place was jam-packed during meal hours. We ordered some 4 fishes each cooked with different styles, "gurita goreng tepung", "kepiting soka telur asin", "kangkung belacan", and "karedok". The server even commented, "Seems like the table is too small,ya". Haha.

My dearest parents

My lovely bro

My cute lil sis

Fun-time with mom and sis

Quality time with family is indeed my best gift this year :)

November 7 night, my bro and mom prayed for me. They had waited for me to finish some works just to pray. How lucky I am to have such godly family :)

Before my flight, November 8 morning, a friend came by, brought "Bolu Meranti" he bought in Medan the previous night. It was crowded when he got there and he almost missed the flight for queuing. Oh boy, I really appreciate that :)

After we ate some cake, my grandpa and dad prayed for me.
And ah, my dad was so sweet. After queueing around 30 minutes for check-in, suddenly I saw my dad running towards me. It turned out that I had forgotten to ask for rupiah to pay for airport tax, so he went back to airport to give me some rupiah notes, though he had to reason with some security guard outside. I know that he knows that I can actually exchange currency inside the airport, so I take his act as a form of showing care and love. I love you daddy!

Here is another cake from a friend in Singapore, green tea flavour.

My transition from 19 to 20 was accompanied by a worship song called "Sampai Putih Rambutku" by the book given by a friend, played using my guitar. The lyric says something like this:
Bapa, ajarku bersyukur buat hari- hari yang kau bri di s'panjang hidupku
(Father, teach me to be thankful for the days that you give in all my life)

Bapa, buatku kan mengerti arti panggilanMu Tuhan di dalam hidupku
(Father, make me understand the meaning of vocation of God in my life)

Ajarku tetap setia mengiring Engkau sampai putih rambutku
Bawaku jadi kepunyaan Mu yang berkenan di hati Mu
(Jesus ....
Teach me to remain faithful to follow you till my hair turns white
Take me as Thy belonging, pleasing to Thine heart)

It's so beautiful. Let this be my prayer and wish.
Thank you God!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hearing God's Voice

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.(John 10:27)

Does God really speaks? If so, will He speak personally to us? Even if I listen to Him, will I understand? Thank God, the answer is yes! And believe it or not, God really wants us to hear what He is saying-more than any of us do.

If we yearn for an intimate relationship with the lover of our souls, hearing His voice is a must. We cannot grow perfectly unless we draw near to Him, trusting that He wants to speak to us personally. Communion with God is more than just a ritual or “information” time. It’s a Spirit-to-Spirit time. As for me, it is possibly the sweetest moment ever in my life, very peaceful and transcends all understanding. Until just now, I didn’t realize many believers cannot point a single instance of hearing God’s voice for themselves. I would like to share and tell you, we need to hear His voice. Let’s cultivate a heart and life that responds when He speaks.

We each have a desperate need. Many people in Bible can be our example on how to maintain personal relationship with God. From Moses, Abraham, Mary, Paul, and David, each has a need and longing to hear God’s voice. They are all friends of God. I too want to be a friend of God. In fact, that is what I think being in God’s presence and hearing Him is all about.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13)

Our father in Heaven has sent us a very special gift, a gift that gives us gifts! Can you imagine that? It is our Comforter, our Guide, our Helper- the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit allows us to sense our Father’s personal touch. Maybe to get close to Him, you need to push through misconceptions, spiritual warfare, religious theories, and a bunch of opposition, until you come to a place where you and Him are related with one another and become close companions.

For those who has the gift already, the key is this: Give much quality time to commune with the Holy Spirit. He will not speak to those in a hurry. Wait patiently, seek the Lord and praise Him. Be willing to set your heart on Him and believe in the great Spirit that will not let you be deceived.

Holy Spirit is like a personal tutor and guide. He coaches us in life, and as we end our days in earth, He prepares us for the postgraduate course thereafter. He instructs us what life lessons we need to learn, and compelling us to take them. The quality time we are spending with Him has to do with hearing God’s voice. I love asking Him questions. Yes dear, go ahead, ask Him questions. The more specific our questions are, the more detailed His answers will be. Even sometimes, He might turn around and ask us questions. Some of the subjects He will teach are about Purity, Humility, Honesty, Compassion, Faith, studying the Word of God, and speaking in tongues. Ohya, one more thing, sacrificial giving, but I wil discuss about this topic later. All these will hone our skill in hearing God’s voice.

Okay, so now that you have a big picture of Him, can you imagine a real lesson with professor who literally knows it all, the past, and the future?? The Holy Spirit does. He gives us cheat sheets by illuminating bible passages, imparting dreams, visions, and so forth. He gives us vignettes of things that are about to take place while preparing us. He doesn’t tell us everything, if so, we would not need any faith or trust. It is all amazing.

The Holy Spirit not only gives us revelation, but also truthfulness in our personality. We will become more like Him as we spend time with Him. God has promised us that He will never leave nor forsake us. He knew that when it comes to walking into shadow of the unknown, we pretty much prefer to hold someone’s hand and be led by the voice of a guide. That’s why He gives us the Holy Spirit! As Isaiah declared “ Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left”.

Have you ever needed to be refreshed by the Lord? Have you lost some of your zeal? Need to return to your first love? Then God’s voice is the cure. Well, sometimes the voice of God will shake the foundation of our lives. God shakes everything that can be shaken so that which cannot be shaken will remain.

There are many tools the Holy Spirit uses to speak to people:
1. A dream or vision (Job 33:14-18)
2. A voice in trance (Acts 10:9-16)
3. Audible voice of God (Exodus 3:4)
4. God’s written Word (Psalms 119:105)
5. Voice of many angels (Revelation 5:11)
6. Wonders in the sky and earth (Joel 2:30-31)
7. Words to the prophets (Jeremiah 18:1-6)
8. Sound of ‘many waters’ (Revelation 1:15)
9. Moving people to declare God’s voice (2 Peter 1:21)
The list is non-exhaustive, which implies He has the right to say what He wants, how He does it and what method to use.

Here’s another hint: If we don’t make time, He will help us make time. He knows how to get our attention. For example, I have been awakened in the middle of the night many times. I simply get out of bed, sit and just be there. For a while, I thought I was just wasting both God’s time and mine. But eventually I learned the lesson: All He wanted was me. He simply wanted a friend, a companion, with whom He can share His heart. I have heard His voice more in the wee hours of morning than any other time. Now I truly love being on call to be with Him. One of the most common way I hear from the Lord is simply by hearing quiet peaceful inner voice communing with my heart.
We need to make the effort, take time to be with Him, and we will hear what the Lord is speaking.

Some people may have a hard time trying to hear God's voice in their life. Common obstacles that make barriers for people to receive are:
1. Lack of faith and commitment to Jesus
2. Sin
3. Ignorance of Scripture
4. Fear of being deceived
5. Guilty feelings
6. Fear of what other people think and being rejected
There is healing for all these. Love of God has healed you. Ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse our soul with stream of healing love; that will melt our hearts, remove the log in our eye, and lead us to the truth.

Even after we hear voices, there is a need for believers to discern these voices. Only the Holy Spirit is the true source. Ideas and thoughts can also be voiced by our human soul, which is an unsanctified portion of our emotions. Another source of voice is the evil spirits, who speak lies, because Satan is the father of lies, he loves mixing truth with lies to trick people. To be assured of receiving accurate and valid revelation, we can apply some tests:
1. Is it in agreement with God’s word? Because God and Holy Spirit will never contradict each other.
2. Does it have good fruit? As it is written in the Bible, there can be wolves come with sheep clothing, and we will know them by their fruits. So the result of our revelation should be useful to the building up and goodness of God’s people.
3. Does it exalt Jesus and turn you or people toward God?

Do you hear Him speaking to you now? He’s waiting for a moment with you. You will hear the sound of love beating in His heart.
May we experience the fullness of Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened (Isaiah 50:4)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pengalaman & Tips Mendapat Beasiswa S1 di NTU Singapura

Updated 9 April 2013
Post ini saya dedikasikan untuk teman- teman SMA yang berusaha mencari dan meng'google' mengenai admission dan beasiswa di Nanyang Technological University Singapore.
Saya akan sharing pengalaman dan tips yang hopefully berguna buat kalian. Maaf jika saya menggunakan bahasa Inggris dan Indonesia, karena saya sebenarnya ingin membuat post ini mudah dimengerti, namun kosakata bahasa Indonesia saya memang kurang lengkap. And please, if you are interested to study abroad, you really have to learn English.

Sedikit introduction, Nanyang Technological University adalah satu dari 3 universitas negeri yang dimiliki Singapura, dengan dua lainnya adalah National University of Singapore (NUS) dan Singapore Management University (SMU). Di Singapura juga terdapat banyak sekali universitas swasta lainnya, seperti La Salle, Curtin, SIM, MDIS, James Cook, PSB Academy, etc. Menurut saya pribadi, being enrolled in public university is much better, karena selain lebih diakui dari sisi akademik, kita mempunyai kesempatan untuk bekerja part-time di luar selama bersekolah. Employer disini banyak yang mencari pekerja paruh waktu, baik di industri F&B, hospitality, tourism, packers, SPG event, hingga guru les privat. Biasanya mereka mensyaratkan applicant yang berkewarganegaraan Singapura, Permanent Resident di Singapura, atau student yang bersekolah di sekolah negeri Singapura. Gaji rata-rata lulusan juga umumnya lebih tinggi dibandingkan universitas swasta.

Posisi NTU di QS World ranking saat ini adalah 58. Dibandingkan dengan NUS di posisi 28 bersebelahan dengan University of Manchester, jelas NTU lebih mudah dari sisi admission maupun beban akademiknya. Namun, jika kita bandingkan dengan universitas negeri di negara kita, seperti Universitas Indonesia, ITB dan Universitas Gajah Mada yang tidak dapat saya temukan dalam 200 besar, jelaslah NTU lebih unggul.
Memang soal kualitas pendidikan saya tidak bisa bicara banyak, banyak sekali lulusan universitas di Indonesia yang sukses dan hebat. Karena perlu saya tekankan pada teman- teman, formal education will make you a living, but only self-education will make you a fortune. Apa artinya? Artinya, jika kita ingin mencapai sukses yang kita impikan, pendidikan formal bukanlah satu-satunya kunci, melainkan juga adalah banyak belajar berbagai hal dari berbagai sumber dan pengalaman.

Oke, kita kembali ke keunggulan kuliah di NTU , khususnya Singapura. Pertama, ranking yang diakui dunia, dimana hal ini merupakan bahan consideration tim admission atau scholarship ketika kita hendak melanjutkan ke jenjang pendidikan selanjutnya. Kedua, lokasi, dimana Singapura terletak sangat dekat dengan Indonesia. Hanya 1,5 jam perjalanan dari Jakarta; frekuensi penerbangan yang sangat sering, sehingga harga tiketnya pun terjangkau. Saya pribadi bolak-balik Jakarta-Singapura lebih dari 4 kali setahun, biaya per flight tidak pernah lebih dari 1 juta rupiah. Ketiga, mempertimbangkan Cost Benefit Analysis, kuliah di Singapura relatif lebih murah dibandingkan kuliah di Australia, Eropa, maupun Amerika. Saya mengambil angka pada umumnya, dimana siswa membayar full tuition fee dan hidup sewajarnya, berdasarkan info dari teman-teman yang kuliah di ketiga benua tersebut, Australia (Sydney): 35 juta rupiah per bulan, Eropa (Belanda): 20 juta rupiah per bulan, Amerika (San Fransisco): 60 juta rupiah per bulan.

Sedangkan untuk kuliah di NTU Singapura, biaya per bulan sekitar 25 juta rupiah jika membayar full, tapi kebanyakan siswa disini mengambil skema "tuition grant" sehingga orangtua cukup merogoh kocek sekitar 10 juta per bulan. Tuition grant adalah skema pemerintah yang mensubsidi 70% dari biaya sekolah, sebagai gantinya, siswa diwajibkan ikatan kerja selama 3 tahun di Singapura. Biaya yang relatif murah ini tidak berarti kualitas dan pengalaman yang ditawarkan lebih buruk dibanding benua lain. Singapura adalah negara yang sangat multikultural, di NTU sendiri, kita bisa berteman dan mengenal banyak sekali orang dari negara dan kultur yang berbeda. Mulai dari China yang jumlahnya mendominasi, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Jepang, Amerika, Kanada, Swedia, Belanda, Jerman, Swiss, Inggris, Perancis, Mexico hingga Afrika Selatan. Situasi yang sangat kondusif untuk belajar langsung beradaptasi dan bergaul dengan global citizens. Keempat, penggunaan bahasa Inggris dan Mandarin sehari-hari. Saya sendiri mau tidak mau jadi belajar dan akhirnya bisa mengerti bahasa Mandarin. Untuk semakin melengkapi, saya pun belajar bahasa Jerman dan Prancis, dan untungnya, disini pun bisa langsung kita praktekkan ke native speaker, seperti teman atau profesor kita.

Pendaftaran masuk NTU umunya dibuka sekitar bulan Oktober, dimana teman-teman harus mengirimkan aplikasi berupa form dan fotokopi raport yang dilegalisir. Pendaftarannya online melalui internet, bisa dilihat disini . Untuk tahun ini, aplikasi dapat dikirimkan mulai 1 Oktober 2013 sampai 15 Desember 2013. Link aplikasi adalah sebagai berikut: Teman- teman bisa menempatkan 5 pilihan jurusan yang ingin diambil, setahu saya murid Indonesia tidak ada yang masuk jurusan Chinese Medicine dan Maritime Studies, sedangkan untuk jurusan Bisnis dan Chemical Biomedical Engineering cenderung sedikit karena kriterianya sulit. Hasil seleksi raport akan menentukan apa teman-teman bisa mengikuti ujian seleksi masuk. Dari yang saya tahu, raport dengan rata-rata nilai 8 keatas hampir pasti mendapat kesempatan. Untuk menambah kemungkinan lolos seleksi berkas, boleh diikutsertakan sertifikat kompetisi yang pernah diikuti selama SMP & SMA. Surat bukti OSIS atau kegiatan siswa lainnya juga boleh dilampirkan. Ohya, UAN tidak perlu dilampirkan dulu, secara teman-teman masih kelas XII semester 1, rapor kelas X dan XII sudah cukup jadi bukti kemampuan akademis.

Ujian seleksi masuk akan diadakan sekitar Februari di beberapa kota besar, seperti Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, dan Jogjakarta. Bahkan di Jakarta, karena banyaknya peserta, NTU mengadakan ujian di 2 tempat, yaitu SMAK 1 Penabur dan SMA Kanisius. Tidak perlu ke Singapura untuk ikut tes masuknya. Dalam ujian ini,mata pelajaran yang diujikan tergantung dari pilihan jurusan kalian; untuk Engineering & Sciences: A-Level Math, English, A-Level Physics/Chemistry (tergantung jurusannya, eg. Chemical Engineering boleh memilih salah satu, namun Electrical Engineering wajib mengambil fisika), untuk Bisnis: O-Level Math, English, untuk Art, Design, Media: English, portfolio berupa 10 gambar karya pribadi. Info lengkap dapat dilihat disini

Untuk preparation ujian masuk, banyak siswa mengambil kursus A-Level Math, karena jujur saja, lebih sulit dan berbeda dari kurikulum yang diajarkan di Indonesia. Saya dan teman-teman dari Jakarta dulu mengambil les di St. Ignatius. Pengajarnya berpengalaman dan soal try-out yang diberikan sulit-sulit, sehingga kita jadi terbiasa dan merasa soal ujian masuk jadi mudah. St. Ignatius memiliki 2 cabang di Greenville dan Kelapa Gading, ada juga cabangnya di Palembang dan Bandung. Walaupun banyak juga teman- teman yang masuk NTU tanpa belajar A-Level secara khusus, menurut saya akan jauh lebih baik jika kalian ikut kursus; karena tujuan saya dulu bukan cuma diterima, tapi masuk dengan gratis, sehingga saya perlu menginvestasikan extra di awal. Kira-kira Agustus awal, teman-teman sebaiknya mulai belajar dan berlatih supaya mendapat nilai bagus di ujian masuk, terutama untuk subjek matematika. Nah, untuk apa mendapat nilai sebagus mungkin?

Beberapa lama setelah tes masuk, kalian akan menerima surat penerimaan atau penolakan. Sifatnya final alias tidak bisa diganggu gugat. Surat penerimaan dibagi menjadi 3 macam yaitu penerimaan dengan biaya studi full (sekitar SGD 30,000 per tahun), penerimaan dengan tuition grant (sekitar SGD 10,000 per tahun, ikatan kerja 3 tahun), dan penerimaan dengan interview beasiswa (dimana siswa berkesempatan mendapatkan beasiswa full, jika gagal, maka dapat masuk dengan skema tuition grant). Email yang kalian terima harus dibalas dalam jangka waktu yang ditentukan, karena jika tidak, kalian dianggap menolak dan posisinya akan diberikan untuk orang lain. Ohya, jika kalian diterima dengan tuition grant tapi masih keberatan secara finansial, ada skema Tuition Fee Loan dimana biaya sekolah bisa dibayarkan dahulu dan kita bisa membayar kembali setelah lulus, dengan bunga yang rendah. Untuk jelasnya bisa dilihat disini

Jika kalian mendapat nilai bagus untuk tes masuk, kalian akan dipanggil untuk interview beasiswa. Pada 2 tahun yang lalu, interview dilaksanakan di Kedutaan Singapura, dekat Ritz Carlton. Interviewer nya antara lain Dean of Admissions, Dean of Scholarship & Financial Aid, Dean of School of Sciences (jurusan pilihan saya), dan satu lagi saya tidak ingat. Supaya sukses dalam interview, berikan impresi yang baik pada interviewer, caranya antara lain: berdoa, berpakaian yang rapi dan formal (blazer dan pantofel termasuk, tunjukkan keseriusan dan profesionalitas walaupun kalian masih SMA), persiapan yang baik sehingga kita bisa menjawab semua pertanyaan yang diajukan tanpa berpikir lama atu bergumam karena bahasa inggris yang kurang lancar, banyak tersenyum, jangan tegang dan be yourself!

Pertanyaan yang diajukan pada umumnya mirip, yang saya rasa teman-teman bisa tebak, seperti "Why do you apply to NTU? Do you apply to any other university?", "Why do you choose this major?", "Who is your personal hero and why?", "What are your experiences regarding leadership or organization?", "What are your strengths and weaknesses?", " How do you handle conflicts?", "Have you ever live in foreign country? If not, how do you think you will do that?", "What are your plans after graduation from university?" -> Kalian bisa lihat bahwa mereka mau orang yang visioner dan punya tujuan hidup, apapun bentuknya, dan " What scholarship do you want and why do you think we should give you the scholarship?". These are some questions I tackled, there may be different ones, you should prepare to answer more. Untuk interview beasiswa, pastikan interviewer mengerti poin apa saja yang ingin kalian sampaikan. Tampilkan kesan bahwa kalian membutuhkan beasiswa tersebut, tapi dengan didukung oleh pribadi kalian yang hebat dan bercita-cita tinggi sehingga mereka ingin menginvestasikan uangnya untuk biaya sekolah kalian.

Setelah interview selesai, mereka akan bertanya apa kita punya pertanyaan. Jika tidak, we can be dismissed. Jangan lupa mengucapkan terima kasih dan tersenyum. Dan akhirnya, setelah menunggu beberapa hari, kita akan menerima email hasil dari interview tersebut, dan admission package akan dikirimkan ke rumah kita. Isinya berupa surat penerimaan, buku panduan, dan beberapa lembar brosur aktivitas yang disediakan untuk mahasiswa baru sesampainya kita di Singapura. Dibaca baik-baik dan catat tanggal- tanggal penting, supaya kalian tidak miss deadline.

Wah, kalau sudah sampai tahap ini, kalian akan mengalami babak baru dari hidup kalian. Banyak senior dari Pelajar Indonesia NTU (PINTU) yang akan menyambut dan membimbing disini. Banyak hal baru yang akan memungkinkan kalian bertumbuh jadi orang yang lebih hebat dan dewasa. See you in NTU!

Insights from Minor in Entrepreneurship

About Marriage
From what I heard from the lecturers, some of the most innovative and aspiring young men, they seemed to be skeptical about marriage. There are few disadvantages of marriage for entrepreneur such as lack of freedom to be a risk-taker (since he/she has a family to support financially), difficulties in finding time (since the first priority should be the family), and no room for failure (once the business fail, the house may be sold, the children may postpone school, or even worse, the wife may leave). I must admit this is quite true. However, there are more good sides than bad sides of it, in case we marry a right person. Imagine we were tired after negotiation for a huge tender, and not sure about the result; it would be great to have spouse who hugged, saying everything will happen according to God’s plan, and pray for us. Imagine we were super-excited after doing a great presentation and winning a million-dollar-project; it would be great to call someone who will shout and be even more excited than us. They are people we share our life with, our journey, and our destiny. They will not forbid or prevent us from achieving our visions and dreams, but they will support and help us achieving those. For me, this is the purpose of marriage, being together forever with the one from God who are excited about your visions and dreams, vice versa. From what I learned in a Psychology class, married men are fairly healthier and live longer than those who choose not to marry. For women, this is not the case, the health and life expectation is about the same.
I am sure you’ll find a good one for yourself, if you ask God. God has given one for each of us :)

About Being Nice
One quote that I remembered is “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.” I strongly agree with this. This is quite similar to another quote I’ve heard: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. By being nice and caring, people will remember us and count us as a friend. This is important because someday, they might have a project and offered us to help, since they trust us. If we need their help, assistance, or information, we can also approach them, and they will regard us as a friend rather than a competitor. However, being nice does not mean being a yes-man. We must be assertive and able to voice out our opinion, without offending others. I really respect nice people, those that hold the door for a person behind, those who pick up garbage (not theirs) and throw it away, those who greet their friends cheerfully, those who offer seats for older people, those who buy tissues from old men at MRTs and streets, those who donate for disaster, the long list goes on... I believe in karma; whatever we do, it will goes back to us.
This somehow relates to entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs seek to change the world, doing innovations here and there, improving lives by their products and services. In this sense, entrepreneurs do help people. And through the profits, it goes back to them. By being customer-oriented, they do better and consequently, their sales increase. In any areas, whether good areas like logistics, tuition, school, or “bad” areas like casino and prostitution, they all provide their best service for users, they be “nice”. This “niceness” is going to make them important. One example could be TATA; it is trying to raise a generation of young leaders through its programmes and competitions. As a result, the company become renowned and gain trust from communities as well as youth.

About Friendship
I fostered good friendship with my minor in entre teammates. Since this module encouraged learning, I purposely find things to learn from my teammates. One of my teammate is very straightforward, she speak whatever she has in mind. From her, I learn to be more communicative. I voiced out my opinions and make sure the decisions taken are logical and well-calculated. The other one is funny and friendly, he throws jokes. There is one really good and fast in calculation, I always ask him to sum up the market size and everything. And there's a very nice girl, she constantly asks “What can I help?”. I really appreciate that. Though I have not worked with them before, I enjoyed the module together with them. This taught me not to judge a book by its cover, not to decide and make assumptions before really understand a person. When we don’t know a person, it is impossible to like or love them. Vice versa, we should not dislike or hate a person we don’t know.

About Motivation
Lots of seniors said that certain module is very tough; there will be lack of sleep and more conflict. Less slack, more crack. I personally feels it is not as stressful as it was described. Yet to go through the difficulties, such as preparing for VC fair and presentation, reading through the extensive manual, we all need motivation. There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is from outside of ourselves, such as grades, money, fame, and position. Intrinsic motivation is from inside, such as personal satisfaction, autonomy, purpose fulfillment, and mastery of skills. I am very sure that intrinsic motivation is the key to survive, persevere, and finally succeed. It is true that grades and money will make people work hard day and night, there is not much difference in the process of achieving; they all seem to be striving. Yet from what I learn, those whose motivation is extrinsic, tend not to be as happy and contented when the goal is achieved. For a while, maybe, but not for a long time. Once we get the grades, money, and fame, that’s it. So what? In this situation, people start being stressful. They’ll finally know that all those things are not everything. They are not happy. Even worse, they start doing illogical things, buying handphone made of gold and diamonds, having 10 sport cars in the garage while only 3 people staying in the house, etc. This is what I saw. In the contrary, people who achieve success based on intrinsic motivation, they continues. Once they become very skillful in what they do, they seek to fulfill their purpose even more, There is happiness in whatever they do, and they inspire others along the way.
One example could be Jamie Oliver, a celebrity cook from England. He is very famous in England, he has the skills, fame, money, everything he need. Yet he seek success based on his intrinsic motivation of helping people in America to fight obesity through cooking from scratch. He does it to save lifes. He survive, persevere, and started Food Revolution Movement from Huntington, West Virginia. His journey has not finished. By being successful in doing that, he is very satisfied. But his journey never end, he need actions from all American schools, homes, and regulators to continue what he started. This brings me to share about destiny.

I strongly believe in destiny. Everyone has a reason of being made. That reason is special, given by the creator, and unique. To know why we are here on earth, we must ask our creator. We may also look at our strength, abilities, interests, and environment; everything is there for a purpose. Based on any motivation book, having clear, written, and confessed goals will enhance probability of achieving that goal. Hence, when we know our purpose, we should write, speak, and develop a plan for achieving it. All these are also related to other people. This purpose will benefit other people in the end.
I have a purpose in life: Bringing glory to God by benefiting others in need through my money, organization, and skills. However, this ‘vague’ purpose does not state what I want to be. It can be entrepreneur, doctor, chemist, social worker, HR manager, sales executive, anything. I have been thinking along the way of entrepreneurship and social worker, in area of language, including foreign language, writing, reading, and entrepreneurship skills. This is how I prepare myself; I joined NTU SIFE (Student In Free Enterprise) to overseas project, I registered as SGCares volunteer, I donate a part of my earning to Soup Kitchen, I learned German language and went for an exchange, I study hard to see more of the world through getting scholarship overseas, I do research project in school about Book and Paper preservation using chemicals, I work part time in library to see how it works, I also work freelance as ghostwriter, I was Head of Media and IT in NTU Indonesian Student Organization and I am saving money specifically for this social thing I am going to do. Through this Minor in Entrepreneurship, I confirm that I will be an entrepreneur; having good products, improve lives, and enjoy doing it. I really enjoy my time in this course.

About Planning
Fail to plan = plan to fail. All success is intended. Big success are never accidental.
These sentences are TRUE. I don’t know which one is true. It is either the demand followed my scratch on tactical plan, or my tactical plan just magically accurate. The projected demand differs less than 10%, which made me kind of wondering about the power of written goals. The tactical plan was developed in quarter 5, after VC Fair, edited here and there. And we achieved it! We even exceeded it by a bit.
From this experience, I learn that written goals, plans, and projections have supernatural powers. It somehow comes true. I guess there is a book called “The Secret” by Rhonda Bryne talking about this. The book mainly focuses on the secret of having positive mindset and thoughts, which will attracts positive things to ourselves. This whole idea of detailed planning and positive thinking related to our business and success in life excites me. I will continue planning and executing things in my life. Big plans, small plans, other people’s plans. Specifically in the field of entrepreneurship, there is business plan. I want to be adept in tailoring business plans. Though I was not born a good planner, I know it is very important and hence, I will strive to have a mental map of my life and plan it well.

Success is when opportunity meets preparation. All people want to be successful, but not many are willing to pay the price. Oh please, my dear friend, get off your lazy ass and prepare.
All the best!!!

Learning from NTU Entrepreneurship Module

For those who wonder about Minor in Entrepreneurship programme in NTU, there are 5 modules in total, spread over 8 months period, with the last one involving starting our own company. It is a highly sought-after program, with proper application and interview for admission. You can find out more here:

I would like to share what I learn from the 4th module, namely Managing New Venture & Business Plan. In order not to spoil the market by sharing tips and trick to win this Marketplace simulation game with my experience along the way, I would just share key-points we all can learn from and take note of.
From every quarter, we have problems of all kind, all sizes and coming from all sort of circumstances. When we face troubles or questions that can’t be solved by our team, we must be bold to ask for help. This is not shameful as everyone needs help and guidance. Although the solutions may turn out to be all bad, we must be able to choose the best among the worst. This is the art of making decision, especially business decisions which have monetary value impact. Like for our case, if the production cost is realy higher than price willing to pay (due to low production volume), I personally think we should sell according to price willing to pay. Customer is the king, and since we know the key is in increasing volume to achieve economies of scale, we must direct our efforts to increase volume, even if the only way to do it is by making losses in the first quarters. High risk, high investment, high return. Bearish or bullish, we will find out later.

A major problem we faced was the lack of cash; we actually planned to expand our production capacity, yet we did not have enough cash to do that. After calculated the projected demand, we were even more surprised that our current capacity would not be able to serve the expected demand at certain quarter.
We were not able to solve this, which could be seen in more than 20% stockout result. From this, I learn that there are many many factors that potentially reduce company’s performance. It is just overwhelming when we overlook one of them, and suddenly, disaster happen. From brand, price, ads, competitors, sales offices, sales people, production capacity, leftover inventories, and market research data; all are important. Our brand, price, and ad judgement should be the highest. If it’s not, improve or learn from competitor. As our main selling point was the sales people, we should have more of them in various places to sell our products. Market research data should be studied carefully to forecast demand which affects production scheduling. Leftover inventories can be salvaged or sold at higher price than competitors, the latter is to avoid further stockout on these unwanted products.

Again; we must learn from past mistakes, find present help and cooperation from VC’s and competitor, as well as do planning for future. Cash is super crucial in a company, though income looks high, without cash at hand we cannot do anything. That’s why we fell into loanshark who lend us so that we have at least $1 in our cashflow. Another thing I learned was not to be afraid of loan. I have always avoided loan, because I know that I’ll be paying more than I should. Now, I understand that it only applies to consumer loans. For business loans, if there’s an opportunity to expand and make more money than the sum of loan with interest, this loan is HEALTHY for the business.

In terms of seeking cooperation with competitors, a guy in our team liaised with 3 other teams. We agreed to share R&D facilities to all members of alliances. This agreement was verbally made; there were no signature or any form of legal documents involved. Here I spot a mistake. In real life, every agreement and contract must be written and signed, thus there is a proof in case anyone breach the clauses. Although we are friends, our business is a separate entity, all things shall be clear and formal.

From VC Fair, I learned that in meeting VC, it boils down to our communication skill, how we negotiate etc. It is one thing to have a profitable and sustainable business; it is another thing to let the VCs know and believe it. As for my personal growth, I commit to make time for watching TED talks and pitches, and repeat or retell them. Our team get moderate score in this exercise, which I believe; if we’re in the real world, there is minute probability these VCs will inject fund to our company. If we were to restart, our team will be more prepared, do more accurate and optimistic projections, and make sure everyone in the team have the business and financial knowledge needed to convince VCs.

After getting enough funds and data, we move forward with logics and careful measures. But to our experience, no matter how calculative and research-based we operate, there is always a risk of not meeting projection or even exceeding projection. Indra and I spent quite a long time looking into market research data, summed the total market size for a year, divide them by 4, put in pessimistic projections since quarter 6 is ‘not so good’, and divide them by number of competitors in the segment. This turned out to be wrong, as we were the market leader with higher percentage of market share compared to our competitiors. What we can do is to project as realistic as possible based on market research data, put in a bit optimistic view according to our targeted market share (not just divided it by number of competitors), and work it out by improving marketing efforts and sales channels.

Last but not least, our production capacity was smaller than our projected total demand. Problem, again! There is no way for us to quickly enlarge capacity, as reselling is not permitted. So we just maximized that capacity to produce our main best-seller product. And use the rest to produce Traveller product. We agreed on cutting the production of Traveller, considering number of players in the market. Other strategies we incorporated was to pay back all loans, to make our financial performance better, which is a right way to go. Our balanced scorecard was the best among all teams! Market share was not our main target anymore. Now I understand the importance of being balance. All aspects of business must be well taken care of. It is useless if our market share is 100%, but our asset management is bad, for example. We either stockout often, which harm company’s reputation in the long-run; or we overestimate demand and have countless unwanted inventories.

From this very last quarter, I learn that business is all about balance. Every single detail is important. Someone who is careless and not perfectionist, will not be able to compete well. To avoid making mistakes or overlooking details, there are few ways. We can have a mentor or advisor to oversee, a good assistant or colleague to remind, a manual or list of things that we often forget, a good communication between team members and last but not the least, enough sleep. Why enough sleep? Enough sleep allows our brain to rest and works better the next day. Too much work is not good for physical and mental health. We all know that, keep the balance in check. Listen to our loved ones; they may complain and give us advises which we should listen to, because they care about us. Be spiritual, do prayer, meditation, yoga, or anything, to help balancing ourselves. Friendship is also important. Win or lose, friendship is not affected. We all became more bonded and close to each other, ready for the next journey ahead.

One more thing, if I am to re-do the last quarter, I would expand more production capacity. That was our team’s biggest mistakes. If only we had enough capacity, I am very sure we could get at least 50 % of total overall market share. We have the product, price, and sales people ready, it was only the capacity, or else we could go to all five segments and spoil the market with low price in this last quarter. Yup, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk. We experience, we learn, and we will share.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Heal Broken Heart

God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.

It is bad enough when a stranger or foe betrays you, but when it is someone you believed to be a close and trusted friend or partner, it is especially hurtful. You would not expect to be hurt so badly from someone you thought you could trust. So you are left in disbelief and unbelievable pain.

Anyone who has experienced betrayal in a relationship knows how difficult it is to recover from such an experience. The person you thought you could trust and count on is no longer the person you believed them to be. You may wonder what had happened.

There are many reasons that cause people to betray one another. Sometimes they are very deliberate and intended to hurt the other person. And sometimes they are consequences of choices that are made with no intention of doing any harm to anyone. Looking out for one’s own best interests can cause some people to disregard relationships they once valued. They may feel the relationship is in the way or not as important anymore. Feelings change. And as feelings change so do one’s actions and choices. An individual that feels their needs are not being met in a relationship might feel that the relationship is no longer important or worth investing in. Therefore, they might seek to get their needs met elsewhere. This changes the relationship. Eventually, it grows apart and opportunities for betrayal emerge.

In emotional trauma, we try to make sense of our pain. We can be tempted to respond to this rejection in unhealthy ways. We can develop a contempt for ourselves, a contempt for others, a contempt for God, or a combination of these three.

In self-contempt, we take full responsibility of the failure of the relationship. We wonder, what is it about me that makes my loved one to leave me? Doubts of our own beliefs, appeareance, personality, or ability start to emerge. We might think that there is something so repulsive in us that no one can love us. In the long run, this will decrease self esteem and confidence. Contempt for others is another response we use to make sense of our pain. It holds the other party as fully responsible for the dynamics in relationship. We view them as evil and when people asked us, we’ll say “ It’s all their fault”. We might put distance to others and avoid close relationship as we believe that no one can be trusted. Contempt for God blames Him for our pain. We reason that if He is in control of our lives and He loves us, why didn’t He protect us from such hurtful experience? Those who have been rejected or abused by parents as children, may tend to blame the sovereign God for their sufferings. Feeling of rejection, discouragement and loss may cause us to doubt that God loves us.

At first, these contempts for ourselves, others, and God works. It helps maintain the fa├žade that we have everything under control because we assume we know the “reason” of the pain. We then go on with our lives, fixing what we can about ourselves and keeping everyone (including God) at a distance. We refuse to believe that we are not in control and we may be hurt again.
We are afraid, because to love again we must risk being vulnerable and admit that we do care and admire, no matter how hard we try to numb our hearts. When we are at this end of the rope, contempt no longer works for us.

Instead, we can choose a better way to deal with life, letting others get close to us and learning to trust again. For me, the first step is through the process of grieving. Grief will lead us down the path to restore our faith, hope, and opening ourselves to love. Grieving is important because it provokes us to cry out to God, and thereby to open ourselves to His healing. Psalm 34:17 says” The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”. Jesus is the ultimate source of comfort and protection. He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 61:3).

When we grieve, we face the truth that we have been deeply hurt and there is something lacking, a hole in our hearts. It may not feel like it at first, but healing begins when we face the disappointment of the loss of our hopes and dreams. We usually tend to avoid our feeling of sadness because we afraid it will consume us, and we will never find comfort. But the truth is this, openness is the start of healing process. If we act in faith and throw ourselves on the Lord in full dependence and cry out to Him, He will be the rock that saves us from overwhelming waves of pain (Psalm 34:18). God’s comfort gives us hope- a renewed hope for brighter future and for love.

Life without hope is not worth living. Romans 15:13 says that God will fill us with hope. The process of growth is difficult because it engages us in agonizing choice between faith and doubt. When doubt comes, we will be tempted to give up. Our previous comtempt will seduce us as we fight through intense emotion of hope and love for the future. As ironic as it may seems, resisting contempt and entering into this dark valley of emotion is the way we see our faith deepen.

When we see our faith deepen and we are reminded of how God is working in our lives, hope grows. Hope motivates us to love, which is the most important element of a Christian (1 Cor 13:13). Love will open our hearts to hear the truth about our strengths and shortcomings (1 Cor 13:6). Love will soften our hearts for others, cultivate forgiveness, and help us face the beams in our eyes before we look at the specks in the eyes of our brothers or sisters (Mat 7:3-5).

We can’t fight this battle alone. We need to talk to strong Christian family or friends who keep reminding us of God’s love for us. It is important to have friends who will give us freedom and support as we grapple with doubts and emotion. Fill our minds with the truth and promises of God that will strenfthen us. Unhealthy responses to pain inhibit a life of joy, peace, and love. But responding to pain in a healthy manner, by honestly crying out to God, can strengthen our character, deepen our faith, and allow God to change and heal our hearts. And let’s embrace the truth that God is up to something good in our lives, even in the midst of heartbreak (Romans 8:2)
Col 3:13 says "Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."
Bitterness comes when you forget God’s grace, which is showered on you each day. This kind of situation can make you bitter, but instead, be joyful because it is also an opportunity. Our plans are broken because God, together with us, will build a bigger and better ones. The heavens open wide for the man that makes God’s word his guiding light.(Psalms 119:130)

Promise of God: Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

This post is dedicated for HR.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are You Happy with Your Life?

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, gathered for a visit with their old university professor. The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee...

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering. "You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves - that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems..."

"Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups... Then you began eyeing each other's cups...."

"Now consider this. Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us... God brews the coffee, but He does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!''

The happiest people don't HAVE the best of everything; they just MAKE the best of everything...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Post-Exam Entertainment

So this was my list of what-to-do after exam and before my departure to Germany (20 n 21 May):

1. Clean-up my room and pack-up my stuffs. I have lots of stuffs,they are now in 3 huge bags, like 80x60x30 cm size! Books,paper and stationaries are in 2 medium cardboard boxes. I separate them because I dont want those heavy books damage my lovely bags.
2. Watch the movie: HOME and JESUS . Both are super great, impactful! The Jesus film is classic 2-hour movie and offered in more than 1,000 languages. I found it accidentaly when I googled for Jesus. Yeah; nowadays, when you wanna know about someone or something, you google it, as simple as that. Just try to find the right keyword to express what you want.
3. Study in ALISON. What is it?! I was surfing the net for writing jobs when I found these courses on writing. As I am interested in taking such courses, I browse deeper and the fees was like 400 GBP! For an online course, that's expensive. Hence I googled for Free Online Writing Course, which reflected this ads, Alison free online course . Few minutes after looking through, I bookmarked it. It is simply good resource for those who want to learn, you don't even have to pay. And the quality of teaching is good as well. I am proud to say that I just acquired Diploma in Social Media Marketing :D
4. Purchase a digital camera and backpack for my Eurotrip. I bought this camera for S$160!
It is a Canon Ixus 100 IS, bought from a seller in, and with recommendation of my friend, Agus. The dimension is very tiny, only about 8x5 cm; with gold hued body, it is perfect for travel purpose. For the backpack, I bought this Billabong backpack at Raffles City. Billabong bags are of good quality, extremely strong and durable. That's why I like it. This new design is enhanced with laptop cushion, pockets inside, and waterproof material.
5. Last but not least, I plan to write for this blog. I'm writing 3 posts today, though I feel it's still not enough. I always want to post more, yet no time to write. I wanna write about my God and his mighty works, about my work and supervisor in library, about Schengen visa application, about my struggles, about my exams, and the list goes on. I love writing, and it was my first career option result in the Harrisson Assesment. Yeah, I am not going to pursue it full-time, but I just want to give more focus into it and polish my skills so it can be better used for His kingdom.

Have a nice and fruitful holiday everyone!

Choosing The Right Partner For Life

In this sermon, Ps Kong Hee explains what makes a relationship work and what should we look for when choosing a life partner. The key to choosing the right partner is to look for a person with good character, not simply good personality. A relationship may be likened to a cake, where personality is the icing, and the character, the substance.
When you are deciding whether a person is right for you, instead of asking: "Does my partner love me?" You need to ask, "How capable is my partner of loving?". If he has anger problem, hasn't "grown up", can't be firm with overbearing parents or hasn't recovered from previous relationships, he is incapable of loving you. Period.

Quality #1: Commitment to personal growth.
This comes first because it is the most important trait. If you can find someone who is committed to his personal growth, you are already halfway to a great, happy marriage. Commitment to personal growth means:
a) your partner is committed to God's Word and a godly lifestyle. You want a partner who is on-fire and sold-out to Jesus, growing steadily in spiritual maturity on a daily basis. The Word of God is the answer for all life's problems. You don't want to be unequally yoked with a potential spouse who doesn't share your dedication to the Lord.
b) your partner is willing to receive help and guidance. Help in the form of books, tapes, sermons, and if necessary, counseling. Proverbs 12:1 says that you must want to be taught in order to learn. Because by the time you face a crisis in your marriage, and you realize that your mate is too lazy to learn how make it works, it is often too late.
c) your partner is conscious of his blind spots and emotional handicaps. It is dangerous to become involved with someone who is oblivious to his own weaknesses. James 5:16 says that to see healing of painful wounds, we need to admit our faults to one another and pray for each other.
d) your partner is setting personal goals for real change. In other words, you can see, specific, positive changes in him over time. It is important to find someone who is not only interested in growing, but is doing something about it.

Quality #2: Emotional openness.
Emotional openness is a vital trait because it gives you access to his soul. If your partner can't identify and share his feelings with you, he's not ready to be in an intimate relationship. Staying in a relationship with a person who cannot share feelings is a form of self-punishment. You need to believe God for someone who can show you love and appreciation on a consistent basis.

Qaulity #3: Integrity.
This means consistency of character. Your actions match your words. Your choices match your vision. Your behaviours match your beliefs.
a) Honest with himself: he is not self-deceptive.
b) Honest with others: he is not cheating, evading taxes, hiring illegal workers, stealing office supplies, run across the road when the light is red, litter when no one is watching, etc.
c) Honest with you: he is not playing games with your feelings.

Quality #4: Maturity and responsibilty. There are people who just aren't ready to be in a committed relationship. They may be very loveable, but if they haven't reach a certain level of maturity, you will feel you have adopted a child rather than a lover.
a) He can take care of himself. If your partner has grown up sufficiently, he should be able to earn enough money to support himself, keep his bedroom relatively clean, know basic personal hygiene, etc. Our outward life is a reflection of our inward life.
b) He is responsible. Maturity doesn't come with age; it comes with the acceptance of responsibility. Your word is your bond-paying bills on time, keeping promises, punctuality, etc.
c) He is respectful. Men don't behave badly in public places. See how respectful is he of your boundaries, time, possessions, and other people's feelings.

Quality #5: Healthy self-esteem. Your partner can only love you as much as he loves himself. The healthier your partner's self-esteem, the stronger your relationship will be.
a) He knows who he is in Christ.
b) He doesn't abuse himself, but takes good care of himself. You can tell how someone feels about himself by observing how he treats himself, the way he takes care of his body, his clothes, his car, and his possessions. If he mistreats himself, he won't mind mistreating you either.
c) He doesn't allow others to abuse him. Christian meekness doesn't mean you purposely let others take advantage of you continually.
d) He takes action in his life. A person with low self-esteem is usually a procrastinator, because he is scared of failing and feeling worse about himself.

Quality #6: Positive attitude toward life. Positive people create positive relationships. That is why falling in love with a negative person is as much fun as listening to someone slowly scratching his fingernails across a blackboard! Love is positive. It shrinks in negative atmosphere. When you are with positive person, relationship is much easier, more love, less blame, and more cooperation.

Quality #7: Personal chemistry. How does one define personal chemistry? It is very hard. You either feel it or you don't. But one thing is certain: personal chemistry is needed in order to distinguish your relationship from a friendship. A word of caution: personal chemistry doesn't have to be instant. Gradual attraction is usually more genuine because you are not just focusing on the physical looks, but the whole person. You can't have a healthy, lasting, romantic relationship with someone you aren't attracted to. In this case, you are setting yourself to cheat on that person eventually.
You can't create personal chemistry. The lost spark can be regained by the grace of God, through counseling or books. However, if you never felt personal chemistry to your partner even after reasonable period of seeing each other, don't proceed! Personal chemistry is vital, but must be balanced by the first six qualities earlier.