My life is short but it is meaningful and purposeful. How is yours?

Taking a Break

Hi there,

Just so you know, I am planning to take a break from writing in here. I’ll probably resume after a semester or two. Don’t expect anything to be written up shortly. A lot of things have been happening to me, and I just can’t really find time to sit down and write things up on my laptop. Hopefully by taking this break from writing in blog, I can focus more on other things, such as my study. I really do have a lot of commitments to handle this semester. And so, yup. That’s about all for now.

You there, good luck in whatever you do.

God bless.

-anthonykp

Home

Home – a fairly familiar word for almost everyone. “I am going home,” “Where is your home?” and others are common expressions to us, aren’t they?

A few days ago, I was in Boston. I stayed there for two nights in my friend’s house. As I walked on the streets in Boston, I could feel something was different from what I used to experience in Washington, DC, the city where I have been living for the past five months. When I was in Boston, I felt Washington, DC as my home.

Now that I am already back in DC, and in fact will be leaving the city for good tomorrow to eventually return to Singapore to continue my last year in college, I know that Singapore is “more home” than DC. I have more friends there, and I am more used to the lifestyle there to some degree. I miss some people there and I know some people in Singapore miss me too. Hang on Singapore, I am coming back next semester.

But before returning to Singapore, I will visit Jakarta for about 2-3 weeks. My family lives there. I also grew up in Jakarta, spending 16 years of my life there. I still have a lot of friends in Jakarta although I feel that the number is decreasing as I continue my stay in Singapore. But still, I have spent way more years in Jakarta than in Singapore, 16 years versus 2.5 years. Since my family is in Jakarta and I have spent majority of my life in Jakarta, Jakarta is my real home.

But wait! I was not born in Jakarta! In fact, I spent my first two years on earth living in this city in Central Java, Semarang. Both my parents were born and grew up in Semarang as well. We all moved to Jakarta when I was two years old and have ever since become Jakarta’s residents. Most of my cousins, uncles, and aunts are in Semarang. So, you know, in that sense Semarang is also my home – it was my first home and is still my home since I keep coming back to it once per year or so.

Is that it? Is that all? Do I have another place which I consider home? The answer for the latter question is a yes. As Jesus said to His disciples, “You are not from the world” and “I am going to heaven to prepare a place for you” (note: these are not exact quotations), I believe, by faith and by God’s  grace, that after I die I will come to heaven. Heaven, I think, is my last stop. It is where I belong, eventually. It is where my joy will be wholly fulfilled. It is where there is no more pain, no more tears. And as the title of this blog says, my life on earth is like a rehearsal for eternity. To have a “good” life in heaven, one should have a “good” life on earth.

God bless you!

Recently I just realized how on time of a man I am is. Again, I did this post on the last day of the month. And in fact, this semester, I submitted all my assignments on the deadline days (never before them) – which is not entirely a bad thing actually since I was not late. I think this is because I always feel I have (still) too much time when the deadlines are still relatively far away – and this, I think is a bad thing. As a result, I enjoy my life very much since I love to delay my works, but then when the deadlines are near, I often suffer from lack of sleep. And furthermore, I become emotionally less stable during those periods. Now that I have acknowledged this, let’s see if I can make myself to start doing my works even though the deadlines seem still far away.

Okay, enough of the intermezzo, and now I want to share/preserve some lessons learned from taking one of my classes in GWU (George Washington University), which is the Introduction of Hebrew Scriptures (or also known as REL1009). This class is offered by the Religion Department of the university. However, even though it is called “REL,” the professor (or rabbi, since she is a Jew) already mentioned on the very first day of class that this class is not about spiritual refreshments and that there would be a lot of readings and writings to be done, not merely spiritual tips and lessons. In fact, I feel more like I’m taking a history class now. And by the way the last class was already over by the time I am writing this post, but the final exam is coming in 7 days time. This is some background of this class.

I was so surprised by the fact that the rabbi started the last class by asking the students what could be improved from the class, how we think about the assignments given, and if the text books have served their purposes well to us. And many students voluntarily raised their hands immediately and spoke up their opinions. Some said something positives, but some critiqued some of the assignments which they thought were not so useful/too hard/irrelevant. This is something quite amazing for me, a guy coming from Asia used to be surrounded by a lot of reserved people who do not really speak up in public places (I consider classroom as a public place), especially speaking about something negative or intriguing. I think being a bit more open and vocal is good and in fact needed. But that being said, I am not 100% pro America and hate Asia. I think that every culture is unique and each culture has been shaped uniquely by its very own history until it becomes what it is right now. We can’t entirely change a culture that is already there for some time, but adding a few positive elements will definitely be a good thing. And again, to repeat myself, those few elements to be added to Asian culture, in my opinion, are to be more open and vocal in speaking up opinions in public places.

Another seemingly trivial lesson is that reading the assigned readings for the class is actually good. How do I know this? Because I did not really read the readings of this class due to various reasons, but there were a few classes for which I read the readings beforehand. And I felt different in those classes. I felt like I know what is going on and I can actually participate in the discussion easily, since the questions that the rabbi asked are normally taken from the reading. I wish I read more readings in the past, so that I could learn even more from this class, but nonetheless, past is past. What I can do now is to apply this principle in my next semester in NUS, i.e. to be more discipline and diligent and consistent in studying. I hope by that I will be able to study more, and eventually score better grades too. Again, this seems to be a very trivial point that every body knows, but after I felt it myself, now I understand better why reading the readings is important!

To close off, I just want to say that this post is made by a guy who does not consider himself diligent, while striving to be more diligent. And I know this sounds more like a personal reflection, but if you can get something out of this, which I hope you will, that is great!

I4

Two weeks ago, on March 16 and 17, there was this interesting workshop for Indonesian students and professionals in the US, called the I4 (Ikatan Ilmuan Indonesia Internasional or International Indonesian Scientists’ Fellowship, in English). Here is the link to the event: http://wusa.i-4.or.id/

I paid $20 for it, but it was worth it. I was lucky enough that the only Indo friend that I had in DC for the first 2 months told me about this and I decided to sign up soon after I read the website. It was only a 2 full day event, but a lot of things happened there. I met a lot of new people, made some new friends, got about 15 business cards, got more info about my own country, watched some Indonesian music performances, and ate some good food.

One of the important remarks was made by the Indonesian ambassador to the US when he mentioned about the concept of Indonesian diaspora. Basically he wanted to make a kind of group that can bind the Indonesians who are living abroad to contribute to the beloved country, Indonesia. As a follow up for this idea, there is this event created on July 6-8 in Los Angeles which is called Congress of Indonesian Diaspora. That looks like a very interesting event to me because apart from the brilliant idealistic idea which is the core of this Congress, some famous Indonesian names will be there also, like Yohanes Surya, Agnes Monica, Balawan, and others. I personally would like to come to that event if I will still be in the US at that time. (we’ll see!)

Other important thing is that we (the participants) became to realize that there still exists some people who care for Indonesia (I would consider myself in this category hehehe). Not all though, but there are some who still really care about our nation. And that is positive. As I always believe, Indonesia is rich of a lot of richness. We have a lot of people, water, forest, earth resources, and cultures. Slowly (better quickly though) but surely, if the corruption mentality can be abolished and the education can be improved across the span from Sabang to Merauke, it is really possible get away with the title ‘developing country’ in the coming few decades.

There will be a meeting in Jakarta to follow up this workshop (at least it was what they said in the workshop) but I guess I can’t come since I will still be in the US by that time. But I wish them all the best. I hope that all these efforts and money that have been spent to organise such things is not to fulfil anyone’s personal ambition but the country’s alone. I hope to see some of the people I met in Los Angeles on July 6-8 too.

Wish you all the best.

Blog Status

Hi there. Let me just use this short post real quick to contemplate on this blog in general.

So, as you may be aware, I missed my February’s post. Finally, after keeping once-per-month record for some time, I lost my consistency for the first time. It was not easy though to even to keep a post per month consistently. Often times, I was aware that I hadn’t had any post for the month, and so I did it in the last day of that month! But it was not the case last month. It was actually more complicated than what I am going to say, but in short, I can say that I simply forgot last month!

Why am I so sentimental about this? If I were me years ago, I would be very upset not to keep my standard, but now I have loosened my perfectionist habit to some extent, so that I won’t be that upset that much. There are more things in life than just keeping a blog post every month. But, it does not excuse me for not being discipline. Well, what I am saying is that even though I made a mistake by not doing any post last month, it did not matter that much because I don’t need to hide my vulnerabilities/imperfections.

And looking forward, I still want to keep this blog to be updated (at least) once per month. The content will be entirely up to me to write. But whatever that is, I believe that is of something important, otherwise it won’t be here. I only have limited time, and so I must pick up the more important stuffs to write on. The aims of the blog will still be the same as the original intention, which is stated in my first post, I believe. And one of that aims is to get me practise some writing. And more importantly, is also to share some valuable experiences/thoughts with you, reader.

I have received so many blessings from The Almighty, and let me be a blessing to you!

Shalom,
Anthony Pribadi

First Month in DC

DC here refers to District of Columbia, the capital of United States of America. Yup. I am here now, for an exchange program from my home university in Singapore. I was asked by some friends to take tons of pictures while I am here, to show them what the city is like. I have uploaded some pictures on Facebook and now I just want to share some thoughts about my experience here.

I arrived in DC on Jan 5 evening. That means today is my 23rd day here. It’s less than a month actually, but “First Month in DC” sounds better to me to be a title than “First 23 Days in DC”. haha. Anyway, yeah, I’ve got a lot of new experiences here that I had not experienced before. There is a saying: “There is always the first time for everything.” And I used that phrase a lot in the last couple of weeks; it was the first time I wore huge thick jacket and yet still feeling cold. First time for me to see snow here, too. First time to eat Mexican food. First time to see the White House and the Washington Monument. First time to see Bobby McFerrin (he is a very good singer!). First time to make friends coming from various countries, such as: Egypt, Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Morocco, South Africa, Ghana, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Peru, England, Germany, US (surely), and others (I’ve met some Germans and Americans in Singapore though). I have just realized when I typed those country names that I have met a lot of people for the past three weeks or so! And I met some familiar faces too, those from Singapore, India, China, and Indonesia! I consider myself as lucky (or blessed, depending on how you view it) to have this opportunity to meet people from around the world, many people even struggle for their daily meal.

I am enjoying my time here. In fact, I even started to love the winter here. But time is short, I’ll probably only have another 120 days in DC. After that I will need to move on. One challenging final year in NUS awaits me and hopefully I will be ready for it. :)

In the meantime, I am now studying in George Washington University. Not the best university, but it is a good one. I even feel that their workloads are more demanding than NUS’s. One interesting thing that will happen this semester is that I will be taking a course in Bass Guitar, and that is a private class. So I had to buy my own bass guitar which is right now on its way to my house. I am still unsure if I should keep that or sell it after the semester concludes. But yeah, I am looking forward to my lessons. The past week was the second academic week and I still have 12 more academic weeks to go before doing the final exams. This is gonna be an interesting semester!

Another weird thing is that here in DC I watch English football in the morning instead of evening. And that is better actually because I don’t have to stay up late if I want to watch some matches. But that is a minor issue actually, just saying.

Alright, I guess that is enough for this post.

Have a good day!

Cheers :)

Short Nice Animation Movie

Okay. Here the story goes. I am now having a holiday in Jakarta, until Jan 3, before my flight to Washington DC for a semester exchange program with the George Washington University. And just today, this afternoon, I was surprised (in a positive way) to see a video posted by a friend on facebook about a short animation clip. While watching it, I learnt that it was made by some Indonesians because it was very “Indonesian-ly polished”: the language, the song, the characters, the bajaj (the little red vehichle which later on transforms into a robot), and basically everything!

Thereafter, I shared that video on my profile right away since I was proud that some fellow Indonesians are capable of doing such things. Well, I actually have no idea how difficult it is to produce such a clip since it’s not my daily cup of tea, but I’m sure it’s not that easy. Some pride of being Indonesian started to arise. I always knew Indonesia is a big country and full of potential, not only natural resources but also people potential. Some quick examples: under the guidance of Yohanes Surya, Indonesia had won a lot of medals in Asian Physics Olympiad and International Physics Olympiad. I am proud to say that I have some friends who were the medallists in those competitions (will even be prouder if I was the winner myself haha, but anyway, I’m good now). And please tell me how many talented Indonesians are pursuing higher study in developed countries. I myself know some friends studying in MIT, UCB, NTU, NUS (I also am an NUS student btw), and other good universities (most of them I don’t know what their universities are but they are in good countries like US, England, Germany, Australia, China, etc).

The point that I am trying to make is, Indonesia do have a potential to become a great country, at least we should be able to become the leader of South East Asia. The biggest challenge in my opinion is to clear the corruption mentality. And again, it’s always easier said than done. And by the way, to banish corruption in Indonesia, in fact, is the dream from a friend of mine (he said it 3 years ago) who is now studying Law in the University of Indonesia. Coming back to the short animation clip, I was imagining myself as someone of authority from the Indonesian government who had watched this online. And I thought I would directly called this group of people, and I would ask them to use their talents/capability/whatever-you-call-it to do something good for the country. It’s not necessarily be something of heroic story from Indonesia history. It can be of any story with good morale (and preferably spoken in English, if not, that’s fine). I would back them up with the resources they need. And hopefully they could create a movie that can go international which would lift Indonesia’s name up! :)

Discussing about aspects of life which need to be improved in Indonesia, apart from the corruption issue, I do have some other things in mind right now, such as education, philosophy, and English as a second national language. Education: I believe we must first nurture the younger generation because they are the successors of current leaders and their journey start when they enter schools. Perhaps, I will take a closer look into the current curriculum system and see if there could be any better system. The quality of teachers need to be improved, no doubt. And the mentality of students to study for the sake of learning must be developed somehow. This education issue is a very complex huge issue which will need a lot of resources to resolve. Continuing from education, I believe students from as young as SMP (junior high school) students should be introduced to philosophy. We will need to work on the curriculum and the availability of the teachers first of course, but still, I do think that introducing philosophy to students is necessary. And lastly, English. The idea is simple. To be able to go international (learn from other countries, influence other countries, make business with other countries, etc) we need English as it still is the lingua franca for now. I didn’t intend to discuss these issues in this post initially but I was tempted to, so here they are (in smaller scale). To sum up, the point in this paragraph basically is, apart from all the problems/weaknesses the country have, this country do have a strong potential to excel.

And, lastly, here is the video I was talking about. :)

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