Monday, 30 August 2010

updates to my bucket list...

I've added a few items to my bucket list - think of it as my long-term "New Year's Resolution":

•Learn a new language.
I've been thinking - I know English, I know Chinese, and I know Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia. And since Bahasa is based on a latin pronunciation, how hard can it be for me to learn an additional language, like Spanish, or Italian? Then again, what's stopping me from learning German? or French?

•Visit Nuremberg.
Home of the Nurbergring, and apparently, there's a nice Christmas Market there, too. I love the European Christmas markets, and since I'm actually in Europe, I might as well go and check this one out.

•and Berlin.
•and France.
Never been to France. and I want to check out the German capital on one of my one-man Lonely Planet tours...

•and a Spanish-speaking country.
Spain? a Latin-American country? Ibiza (technically not a country, but still...)?

•Go to a music festival.
And I'm talking about one of those major festivals - Glastonbury, V Festival, Download Festival, BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend, or even iTunes Festival.

Oh, and I've also taken one item off the list:
•Go to Antarctica.
heh. Didn't really think it through when I put this in the list in the first place.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

family issues...

I've just been thinking...

I have something like an 11 or 12 years age gap between me and my brothers.

And I have a 36 and 40 years age gap with my mum and dad respectively.

And add to that, the fact that I only see them for only 1 to 3 months a year for the last decade.

It's no wonder I'm not getting along so well with anyone in my family. I mean, there's always miscommunication.


My dad doesn't seem to know when I'm asking a question or making a statement. And he seems to think I'm an idiot. Probably because I do tend to act quite clumsily in front of him.

My mum has no understanding of the world, and talking to her is like talking to a granny with amnesia - they forgot what year it is, and hence, they think you're 6, even if you are 18. And she doesn't trust me at all when it comes to driving. Even though I did drive in the dark with no street lights from Jakarta to Sukabumi along the smaller roads, and even though I "chauffeur" my bro when he goes out with his gf.

My eldest bro and I are fine, since we do share quite a lot of interests - music, tech, cars. Just that his jokes can get annoying. And that he's a married man with his own house and family, so I don't really chat with him that much.

My 2nd bro just ignores me because he thinks I'm an attention seeker. And maybe it's because I'm sensitive (I am, actually, quite aware of this), but I feel that he treats me as some sort of a second-rate failed person. Sure, I'm a book-smart guy, whereas he's a street-smart person. And yes, a street-smart person has better survival instinct in Indonesia than a person who just reads the textbooks. But you don't have to bring my ego down to the level of a servant.

And then there's the fact that I can't get my voice heard in a family conversation. Maybe it's my accent (or lack of it). Maybe it's my intonation. Or maybe my language is just too abstruse or esoteric, if not senseless and amateurish. Maybe it's my youth; my naivety; my ignorance; my lack of knowledge; my (perceived) stupidity; my attention-seeking tendency; my strange humour; whatever. I just wished that what I say don't fall to deaf ears. I just wished they get picked up by someone and debated about when there's a conversation. And don't say it's rude - if it's a family conversation, am I not part of the family? Sure, I'm a bit odd compared to everyone else in the family - a misfit. But who cares? Family is family!

Before I end this post, I just wanted to point out something ironic. The people with whom I spend less time with - my eldest bro, my sis-in-law, my bro's girlfriend - seem to be more attentive to me than everyone else in the family.

Sorry, just had to blurp that out - can't suppress my family issues any longer.

Check your fridge. And your cabinets.

This is one of my public service announcements. Normally, when I make one of these things, it's tech related. But this time, it's more food & safety related.

Check your fridge. Check your cabinets. Check the quality of the stuff that you have - have they gone bad / expired? What about your sauces? Fruits and vegetables? Poultry / dairy products? Anything dodgy that you think should be thrown out, like that coffee grind that expired 4 years ago? Or chocolate that you bought from that trip to Belgium 2 years ago? Or that piece of chocolate that's like an elephant in your fridge (i.e.: nobody seems to take any notice of it)?

Genuinely, I found these from my parents' cabinets and fridge:

HP Barbacue Sauce, expired 2009
A1 Barbacue sauce, also expired 2009
Butter, expired May 2010 - already, there's mould forming.
Cocoa Crunch Breakfast cereal, expired May 2010.
A jar of Skippy peanut butter, only used once, and with an expiry date of 25 August 2010 (3 days from the time of post)
"illy" Coffee grind, expired 2006.
Olive Oil and Rosemary vinegar that I bought from Italy in 2007, expired in the last one year.
Milk, expired 3 days ago. Oh wait, I ate Honey Stars with milk this morning... 

Check your cabinets and fridges. 
Just because it has preservatives, doesn't mean it will definitely last longer than you.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


Sunday, 8 Aug:
Morning: Help parents pack - they leave for Jakarta around noon. Might meet with Zachary Foo. (Yeah, not going to shoot the YOG stuff - seems like security's going to be tight, and I doubt I can get up early enough)

Afternoon: I was planning on going to Toa Payoh to get some stuff that my sis-in-law requested (Chinese Workbooks for her kids/my nephews). If I have time thereafter, I'd go to City Hall to (possibly) buy 2 much-needed new HDDs - both internal and external.

Evening: Nothing planned - may go to Sands to check it out.

Monday, 9 Aug:
Morning: I'd probably be a bit desperate for clothes (think I didn't pack enough)

Afternoon: Forgot if I had anything on.

Evening: Apparently, Vermonster Challenge.

Tuesday, 10 Aug:

Morning: B'fast, pack

Afternoon: Check out, Transfer stuff to Emmy's, then possibly tea with Daniel & Miss Gan (tbc).

Evening: Fly-bye!

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Ok, here's the plan (I marked my empty spots in my diary with green):

Friday, 6 Aug
Morning: My dad has an appointment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, so I'll bring them there first (after breakfast). I'll get a mobile number after that, and then leave for SAV. Meet up with oh-I-don't-really-know-who'll-be-there-because-everyone's-a-bit-busy.

Afternoon: If nobody's around, I'd probably get down to clearing the list of items to get for my nephews and my bro.

Evening: Dinner, probably with parents.

Saturday, 7 Aug: 
Morning: Breakfast with the folks, then I'm thinking maybe go around City Hall...

Afternoon: City Hall cont'd

Evening: Dinner around City Hall (tbc)

Sunday, 8 Aug:
Morning: Thinking of shooting the YOG Torchbearing (if I'm allowed)

Afternoon: My parents are going back to Jakarta, but I'll still be in SG - alone!

Evening: Oh, whatever.

Monday, 9 Aug:
Morning: whatever

Afternoon-Evening: Thinking of finding a good spot to shoot NDP-stuff.

Tuesday, 10 Aug:

Morning: B'fast, pack

Afternoon: Check out, Leave for airport.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


Gone are the days when you could point to something worthless and say "That thing's only worth one Rupiah". Well, it will disappear over the next ten years.

Bank Indonesia, the central bank of Indonesia, has recently announced plans for redenomination of the Rupiah - in other words, to erase off the last two or three (probably 3) zeroes on the currency over the next 5-10 years. The main reason for doing so is because lots of transactions today involve a lot of zeroes - buying a house cost literally billions of rupiah. Computers don't work well with too many zeroes. To improve efficiency when working with spreadsheets, and to bring the Rupiah closer in line with its ASEAN counterparts, the Bank sees a rationale for chopping off the zeroes in the Rupiah.

As you can imagine, redenomination might be a complicated process which will take some time - 5 to 10 years, if approved by the House of Representatives. According to the Bank Indonesia Governor Darmin Nasution, it would be carried out in 4 phases:

Phase 1: 2011-2012: 
Information campaign to alert the public.

Phase 2: 2013-2015: 
Transition Phase, in which the country will have 2 notes in circulation - the 'Old' Rupiah and the 'New Rupiah'. All prices will have to show prices in 'Old' and 'New' Rupiah. Transactions can be carried out in either currencies.

Phase 3: 2016-2018: 
Gradual Withdrawal of the 'Old Rupiah'.

Phase 4: 2019-2020: 
Completion of Transition - 'Old' Rupiah will be completely out of circulation, 'New' Rupiah will be printed without the 'New' word.

Not exactly. Past governors have tried to manipulate both the money supply and the exchange rate in desperate attempts to maintain the value of the Rupiah. In the 60 years of existence, the currency has been affected by inflation, financial crises, as well as political instability. In fact, rampant Inflation in the 1960s (up to 600% in 1965) lead to revaluation of the currency and the introduction of a 'new' Rupiah at a rate of Rp 1 (new) = Rp 1000 (old). In other words, we have been hiding 3 zeroes from our currency all these years.

Arguably, the reason past currency revaluations didn't really work was because of people's sentiments at the time when the moves were carried out. In the 1965 revaluation of the Rupiah, goods prices did not drop in line with the currency revaluation - they rose in real terms. People just weren't as confident. Now, though, the economy is much more robust, inflation is much lower from the 600% of that time (albeit still a bit high at 5.5% CPI Y-o-Y). And because the money printing is done by the Central Bank, not the government, there is less risk of printing money to reduce the real value of debts.


I guess that's it, then. No more of those "I ran out of Rp200 coins for your change, so here's some sweets instead". 
No more "That piece of stuff is only worth Rp1, not $1". 
No more "I gave the money changer US$100*, now I'm a millionaire!".

Well, no more after the next decade. So, take the mick out of our currency, while you still can.  Because come 2020, Rp1 might be worth US$0.11 or S$0.15, subject to exchange rate fluctuations.

*- US$111.95 = Rp 1.000.000,- as of time of posting. So, actually, that statement is no longer valid - you need US$12 more.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Forget S.o.a.P., Here's C.o.a.T.!

NOT from the people who brought you "Snakes on a Plane", here's "Cockroach on a Toilet-roll"!


Ronald's toilet, First day of August 2010, Close to midnight.

Ronald walks into the toilet because he needed a wee; sees Cockroach on the toilet roll. 

Ronald: Wha...? (slightly surprised, but still composed.)
Cockroach: OMG!

Startled, Cockroach was on all six feet, wriggling frantically in random directions on the toilet paper before finally hiding in the tube section of the toilet paper.

Ronald ignored the Cockroach momentarily. Still somewhat shell-shocked, he unzipped and carried on with what he wanted to do, whilst devising a plan to get rid of Cockroach.

After flushing the toilet, Ronald left the toilet, grabbed his worn socks, put (only) one on his right hand, and with a belt on his left hand just in case, went in again, prepared to bring Cockroach to its untimely end.

Ronald carefully removed the toilet roll from its holder, saw Cockroach's antennas twitch slightly.

Ronald: Easy does it, now...
Cockroach: Whoa, this thing's tilting. I better make a move.

Cockroach moved, Ronald drops toilet roll on floor.

Cockroach: Oh crap, it's that guy again!
Ronald: Mr/Mrs Cockroach, we meet again! (Best done in a Russian spy accent)

Clearly, Ronald didn't know what was Cockroach's gender. Anyway, Cockroach ran as fast as it could away from the toilet roll, Ronald instantly smacked his right hands (still with the socks on) over the cockroach.

Ronald: Gotcha.
Cockroach: Ouch.

Ron lifts the cockroach, clenched in his right fist, and tosses it in the toilet bowl. Cockroach is flushed away.

Ronald: Goodbye!

Ron removes socks, now with yellow stains on it, into the washing bin.

... The End ... 

(Or to be continued, if this story gets picked up by a major studio. Or if something else enters Ronald's toilet. Or if Ronald gets a 'kick', in which case,)

Ronald wakes up in reality. Someone has gone into his subconscious with a spy cockroach and extracted valuable information from Ronald's toilet and the drainage system underneath it. Now, Ronald wants to fix the leak. He must find out who the person was, and silence him/her by returning the favour to gain leverage.

(Thanks to Zexun for 'catalysing' the "Inception" idea.)