The Past Games

Twenty years back when I was a little girl, hide and seek seemed to be the most favorite game there was. My sister and I would spend hours just playing this game almost every day. Hide and seek seems to hold a certain fascination for little children. There was the suspense of looking for someone hidden followed by the inevitable squeals of laughter at being discovered. It is pure clear fun.
We used to hide under beds, behind cupboards, up on trees and even inside drains. No place seemed to dirty. Sometimes we really soiled our clothes and received a scolding from our mother, but still we persisted much to her dismay.
In those younger days, when we grew tired of playing hide and seek, we would change to catching. This was a much more energetic game where my friends usually caught the rest of us when it was their turn to do catching. The youngest one at that time would have great difficulty trying to catch us. Owing to the discrepancy in size and speed, the quicker one always won, leaving the slower one disappointed. So, this game was not very popular with me.
Other time, I and my friends would play the blind man. This game always produced hilarious moments when the blindfolded ones lost their sense of direction and became totally confused. It was not a pleasant thing to become disoriented.
As I grew older, my favorite game was rounder. With an old tennis ball and a piece of wood that served as a bat, we would play for hours on end in an empty lot near my house. This game required many participants and really developed the participant’s skills. It was not easy hitting a tennis ball coming towards one at speed.
Those were some of the outdoor games I used to play. Nowadays, the games I play are no longer those I played as a child. Hide and seek, catching, and rounder do not have the great appeal they had before. However I realize that these childhood games were necessary for me to develop my muscles and coordination before I could tackle more demanding games. For that I am thankful that I had played them.

An Incident that Changed My Life

I used to be a real spoilt kid. My parents are quite well off and I usually get what I wanted. Being the youngest of three children also guaranteed that I get the most attention. I had no lack of luxurious things much to the envy of my friends and classmates. Whenever a new product came out in the market, all I had to do was to make a hint to my parents and sooner than later the new thing would be mine. I never knew how spoilt I had become until one day I was witness to an incident that just about changed my life completely.
It began on a beautiful evening when I accompanied my mother to a shopping mall to do shopping. Shopping usually meant buying a lot of things without regard whether we really needed them or not. So, there we were buying things without caring to the world. We even got the shopkeepers to send our purchases down to our chauffeured car parked in the basement of the mall. Finally when we had enough for the day we came across a scene that really touched my heart.
Right next to the entrance to the shopping mall where throngs of people come and go was a shrunken old man. I had seen many beggars before but never took more than a cursory look at them. This one caught my attention. He had no legs! He only managed to slide along the ground with the help of his thin hands. For a long moment I stood there looking at him. Something inside me was deeply moved. Tears flowed out my eyes and I had to run into my car to avoid embarrassment.
Never in my life I had been affected so. The sight of the legless man really made me realize how fortunate some of us were while some of the rest had to suffer like the unfortunate man. While I made a fuss about what brand of shoes I wanted, the man did not even have legs. The difference between the fortunate and the unfortunate was so glaring.
The next day after the incident I returned to the shopping mall with my mother to see what we could do for the poor man. However we couldn’t find him. He seemed to have disappeared. Anyhow after the incident the previous day, I knew something inside me had changed. I haven’t longer put luxuries as my top priority in life. My eyes had been opened that little bit. My mother too seemed to have stopped her regular splurges. In fact, my father was surprised when he found out that my mother had been making donations to charity homes. I was not surprised for I knew how she felt. We knew that we were spoilt by our riches. Now that we realized that we could not continue as before. We were made that little bit wiser.

My Simple Luxuries

My simple luxuries are the luxuries I get from doing pleasurable things. I do not have many expensive things but I do have a good bike that gives me a good time for riding it every time I feel low.
Lying in bed on the weekend is one luxury I allow myself to indulge in. It is one of the few inexpensive pleasures of life. It is so beautiful just to lie down and watch the sun rays come in through the open window while listening to the birds singing on the tree outside. The feeling is just great. It gives me even greater pleasure if it rains. I am sure everyone would agree that it is so nice and warm in bed when it is cold and wet outside.
The way of my parents pampered me with so many things is my another simple luxuries. It is not that they give me so many expensive things, but their love and their quality time is the one that I always thanking to God.
So, there they are my luxuries. Of course they are pretty ordinary and simple things. I cannot afford anything better like Lamborghini. Perhaps these will come in the future, but for the time being, what luxuries I have are pleasurable enough for me.

I gave up my frustrations

I got up on Monday morning to find my mobile was full of messages. Who was the heck sent me so many work instructions when I was sleeping? I washed my face and got ready in front of my notebook. I tried to sort some important messages among them while organizing them in my brain. Then, I pressed the start button and nothing happened. My notebook was still off.

Maybe the battery…I plugged the battery cable and waited for a while. Once I tried to switch on my notebook again, still nothing happened. Since I am not so techie, I worried there is something wrong with my notebook.

I breathed deep and checked everything. Oh, the notebook’s lamp is off. Maybe there is something wrong with the electricity. Then, I asked to my mother who has got up earlier than me. And yes, the electricity is off as my mother replied.

I cursed inside my heart since there are many messages and instructions to follow up. How come this thing is happened to me?

Finally, I called one of my staffs to check if they got the same messages, but in the middle of our conversation over the phone, my mobile was off. Great! I forgot to refill recharge the battery and now it is off. The only way out is I have to take a bath outside-somewhere but not in my house since the electricity is off. Then I have to go to office as soon as possible so I can work from there.

So many things to do that day, but there were so many obstacles for preventing me to make the work done at the right time. What frustrations.

What I had can happen to anyone. I am sure things like this have already happened to everyone many times and the possibility of these things happening again in the future is a certainty.

I learn from my frustrating experiences that things often do not happen in our way. In learning this I also learn to reduce or avoid more frustrations whenever I can.

The problem lies in our daily needs, hope, and expectation. This is the normal way human beings live and it is the cause of frustrations. Things happen and they are not subject to what we want, hope, expect, or look forward to. The electricity does not care whether we have to work or not and it is our needs that insist that things should be what they are not and we suffer for it.

I have discovered that if we give up our needs, hopes, and expectations as much as possible, then we will not be frustrated. How can I be frustrated when I do not expect anything? Anything can happen and it does not bother me. But if I do not want the thing is happening and then want something else, then I feel frustrated and upset. Is this not being foolish?

So I give up as much as possible my all related to expectations. In that way, I give up frustrations too.

Progress

Progress normally means continues improvement, that is, a movement towards something better than what is. It is undoubted that progress does make living easier for mankind. It is also undoubted that we have to pay a price for progress. Thus progress has its benefits as well as its undesirable companion, consequences.
The town I live in is undergoing great changes. A few years back there were so many padi fields all round the town. Now those fields are quickly removed for building houses. I admit that the houses are urgently required for the ever expanding population and the building of these houses certainly have the benefit to the residents. If these houses are not built then the result will be that illegal squatters will spring up and make matters worse.
However progress for us has to be paid with a terrible price. The price of this is the degradation of farmers as well as the padi fields, and this country will not be a rice self-supporting country in the next five years if the government has not done a quick and effective strategy to overcome the issue. So, a benefit for some people results some consequences in this life or to another group of people. Which one is more important? I really cannot answer that.
The trend of progress whereby is beneficial to a man but brings so many consequences to other is evident everywhere. The likelihood is that this trend will continue and probably get more intense.
For instance, the construction of super highways is definitely necessary for the old system of roads which cannot simply cater for the number of vehicles using them. These highways bring benefit and convenience to people who are using transportation or owning vehicles. To others, no one is allowed to cross from one side of the road to the other. It means physical contact between both sides of the road is restricted.
The factories and other human inventions that produce goods for our convenience and health are also another example. We grow in wealth and power. Our living becomes easier.
However, the consequences continue to bring unwanted problems to our live. Crime, violence, and new diseases are ready to face the human race from getting the benefits of the progress. A man who cannot overcome all of the problems will be left behind even lost in the name of nature law. A man who can adapt with all of the problems will continue to keep their pace with the progress.
So, the progress whatever it is brings so many choices for us from good to bad which carries the benefits and the consequences. Which one do you choose? It depends on how you act towards the progress. The only hope that is we live with the progress with full of conscience so we can prevent the negative consequences of the progress.

The Ills of Modern Cities

The most glaring ill of modern cities is that the people in it are always in a hurry. Business people, workers, students, youngsters, street walkers, crooks, and assorted characters all are busy in their activities. It is rush, rush, and more rush. City folks rush to work, rush to get their work done, rush to have lunch, and rush home. Then perhaps they rush to have dinner or rush to party. Finally in the early hours of the morning it is a rush to, as they say, grab some sleep before they start rushing in the next morning.
I was in Tokyo, Japan, for further study. As I took a leisurely stroll along the city streets, I was amazed at how everyone seems to be walking very quickly past me. This is the same with Sydney, Australia, or Mumbai, India. Even old people with the age of seventy simply overtook me without any difficulties. Some younger people were actually running towards God knows where. To cross the busy roads, everyone crowded near the traffic lights. The moment the lights changed to green for the pedestrians, they took off unlike sprinters off the blocks. That was a rushing indeed. I was forced to walk quickly too, otherwise I was likely to be trampled on by the crowd.
No wonder modern city–dwellers suffer from all sorts of stress-related diseases. Some of these stressed people are probably rushing towards hospitals for their health care.
In a city like Jakarta, after the workers have gone home, the uglier side of the city emerges. The night spots open up attracting all sorts of people.
However, compared to other cities like New York, Jakarta is relatively tame. In New York, everyone knows that it is dangerous to go for a walk in some areas after 5 pm. The likelihood of getting mugged or even killed is very high. The street gangs rule and no sane person would go out to tempt them. Still robberies, murders, and all manner of human perversion continue. Certainly there is great ill in this city. This trend of lawlessness is spreading in other cities as well and there is no indication that things will get better.
While skyscrapers dominate the skyline in a city, one could say squatters and shanties dominate the baseline. In some cities, it is estimated that these shanties occupy more than half of the city space. On one side, the wealthy ones rush around in their posh cars, while on the other side, the less fortunate ones rush around stealing them. The imbalance of wealth is glaring and nothing is done about it. This is another ill of modern cities.
What are the remedies for these ills of modern cities? It would seem that nobody knows. Nobody seems to care too, which is another typical cities illness. At the rate the cities are progressing, it certainly looks like they are headed for some sort of social disaster. Already the inner areas of some huge cities are experiencing a breakdown of law and order. The authorities simply cannot cope. There is not much an ordinary person can do to alleviate these ills. All he can do is to hope they will do better for social balance, which seem very unlikely.

My Experience with the Flood

I don’t like it, if one says the flood is better than a drought. Natural disaster can’t be compared one to another. It’s a traumatic experience for the victims. And, it’s not something to be proud of that one writes in the blog. Somehow, I just want to share my experience about facing flood so there is something good that we can learn from the flood, whether it’s important to keep the river clean or the neighborhood in your area free from garbage. And I pray for those who are facing flood these days to be safe.
It was the day when the neighborhood I live in was devastated by a flood. It all began at 2 pm. I was inside my house playing a game when the dark clouds that had been gathering all morning gave way to thunderous roars of rain.
I thought it was just a thunderstorm that would stop in an hour or so. But, it rained and rained with undiminished intensity all that afternoon. By dusk, my mother and I knew that if the rain didn’t stop we were going to face the possibility of flood.
Just after dusk, our fears became reality. The swollen river two hundred meters from my house overflowed its banks and the water swept quickly through the neighborhood. Within ten minutes the water was already knee-high outside my house. Thanks God that the water just reached my ankle inside my house because my house is higher than any houses in the neighborhood.
Even though the water was not so high, we worked to put our belongings onto a higher place.
Soon, it became obvious that my neighbors had to leave their houses. Some of them stayed at my house. My house became a shelter. We tried to help our neighbors as many as possible. We spent the night with our neighbors and had dinner together. There were so many worried faces and babies were crying. We heard that another area was worst than our area. The people there had to leave their houses because of the water had already arisen up to the windows.
Late that night the rain stopped. When morning came, everyone returned to their houses. When we checked in front our house, everything was covered with mud.
Fortunately, the mud did not go into my house. But, some of my neighbor’s houses were in a dirty muddy mess. The flood has wrecked some of their gates and windows. Some motorbikes were covered with mud. And the garbage was everywhere. We helped our neighbors bringing their houses back to reasonable condition a good week.
Things are back to normal now. But, every time it rains, we are reminded of the flood. We pray silently that it will not happen again.

Learning by Doing

It was a lovely evening when Budi arrived at his uncle Manto’s fish farm. Uncle Manto had promised to take Budi fishing in a boat. Budi was very excited at the prospect for he had never been in a boat before.
Budi found Uncle Manto sitting on the bank of large fish pond. His uncle was preparing some fishing rods. Budi greeted him, “Hi, Uncle.”
“Oh, Budi, so you are here already,” his uncle replied. “Let’s get going. We will catch a big fish today.”
“Okay,” replied Budi. He picked up the fishing rod and walked towards the boat.
The boat was floating gently on the water and Budi didn’t have the slightest clue how to hop in. He put one foot in the boat and the boat started sliding away from him. Startled he withdrew his foot and nearly fell into the water. “How do I get in?” he asked.
In reply Uncle Manto grabbed the boat with one hand and motioned Budi to get in. Carefully Budi stepped into the boat and sat down. He felt strange sitting in a boat that kept bouncing.
In the meantime, Uncle Manto untied the mooring rope and stepped into the boat. He took an oar and expertly steered the boat out into the middle of the lake.
Budi felt both excitement and fear. It was indeed exciting to be in a boat for the first time. It was also fearful because he was afraid he might fall into the water. The view of the pond from the boat was beautiful.
After a minute, Uncle Manto stopped the boat and dropped a brick tied to a rope over the side of the boat. This was his make-shift anchor and it did its job pretty good. “Let’s fish,” Uncle Manto said to Budi.
So, the two of them got the joyful task of casting their lines in the calm waters of the pond. Suddenly, Budi saw his float jiggle a bit before it disappeared straight into water. There must a big fish on his line!
In his excitement Budi stood up in the boat to pull his line in. That was his undoing. He didn’t know it was a bad idea to stand in a boat for the boat would be very unstable. Since he had never been in a boat, he didn’t know it. As soon as he stood up, the boat gave a mighty heave and capsized dumping both of them into the pond with a big splash.
The next moment is Budi was grabbing frantically in the water for something to hold on to. He forgot his line and the fish. It seemed like eternity before his hands found something solid. It was part of the boat. He was still underwater and his lungs ached for air. Instinctively he moved upwards still clutching the boat. Just as his lungs seemed like they would burst, Budi emerged above the water. What a relief it was. He sucked in the cool sweet air. Never before had he realized that the air was so sweet.
When Budi could breathe normally again, he heard laughter behind him. Is that his uncle? Yes, his uncle laughing his head off. “You look so funny, you know?” Uncle Manto mocked him.
“What do you mean, Uncle?”
“Do you know you gave such a horrible yell when you fell into the water and was spluttering and puffing when you emerged from it. You looked like a crab which can’t swim.”
Budi realized that he must presented quite a sight to his uncle. He laughed in return.
“Well, that will teach you not to stand up suddenly in a boat, won’t it? Come, let’s push the boat to the bank.” His uncle ordered Budi.
Well, it was a day in Budi’s life that he learning how to ride a boat and what kind of action he can’t do when riding a boat.