Sunday, December 10, 2006

Go to: Chipping In

This would be my last entry in Pilgrim for Life.

Remember when I said I was starting to be uncomfortable with the name pilgrim for life? Well, guess what, the feeling has gotten stronger and stronger. So I am changing my blog's name.

From now on, I shall write my thoughts in Chipping In .

But I shall not delete this blog, however uncomfortable I am with the name. Because this blog has been a part of my journey, and an important part as well.

Thank you for walking the journey with me. Thanks for the support. Keep reading. And let's start doing something. Anything.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The umbrella boy

I wanted to have lunch at the canteen at the back of my office building. It was raining. So I called one of those boys who rent out umbrellas for the pedestrians.

He walked beside me in the rain. Of course, I chatted with him – cannot have a living being (note: not only human) standing beside me without me chatting with him/her.

I asked him why he was not at school. He said he has graduated from the high school of economics and now he is unemployed. He wanted to enroll in a higher degree education but he has not money.

Do you know how many Indonesians have graduated from high school or higher? About 23%. More than 20% do not even graduate from elementary school. (data: Statistics Center Bureau, 2004)

So if a high school graduate can only rent out umbrella for a mere five thousand rupiah or less (about fifty cents US dollar) during rainy days, imagine those have received a lower level education.

Tell me we do not have a problem. Tell me we can continue living our lives the way we do. Tell me we can ignore the suffering of the less fortunates.

Start doing something. Anything.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Out of the comfort zone

I told my ex boss that my new office has started to cc me in some of the e-mails. I even received one at 11pm last night. I got suspicious of the working hours. He chuckled and said I might as well return to the old company and have less hassle.

I thank him for the suggestion and said, “I have gotten so used to you pushing me out of my comfort zone, that now I am pushing myself out of my own comfort zone.”

It is true though. Perhaps it is the only way for me to learn and to grow.

Refreshingly rich

I met several friends a couple of days ago. To put it bluntly, they are the daughters of rich and famous fathers.

But if you see them, you would not have guessed. One of the topics was that street-hawker snacks called kue cubit and how we often crave for it. Another topic was how we can help other people or even the country – and I tell you, they have done quite a lot.

You would say of course, it is easy for them to be like that. If we only know the emotional struggle they have to go through and if we only realize how many ignorant heart-less rich people there are, then we might be able to see them in a much more positive and less cynical light. We might even learn to appreciate them and to be thankful for them.

Some people can do something but are not willing. Others are willing but feel powerless.

They are among those who care, can, are willing and actually do something about it. They are the rich people - through and through.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Beautiful sunset

I was on my flight back home earlier today when I saw this beautiful sunset through the aircraft' window. The shades, the colors, and how they blend with one another. The dark clouds that floated around just add to the dramatic scenery.

I moved to the empty window-seat beside me and continued staring at the sunset. It was so beautiful. I almost cried. I actually did.

I don't think that the rest of the passengers noticed the gorgeous sight just outside their windows. I wanted to take a picture of it to show you. But I have left my camera at home. I tried turning on my mobile phone (flight mode, don't worry), but I forgot the PIN. It was not meant to be shared. It was for me only.

Thanks for the personal entertainment. It was a good end to an eventful day.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What’s my job got to do with my life?

That question came from a friend. She is a very special person spiritually. She more or less guided me when I had no one else to converse with, not about this particular subject. Yet she said that she is doing an ordinary job like any other layman. The job, she felt, has nothing to do with what she is spiritually. She is an architect, building lavish buildings and five star hotels.

So I told her a couple of stories from my other friends.

Friend A. She is working in a new business development division of a telecommunications company. Ordinary job. Hard work. Long hours. One day she said to me, “I had to get this project. Those people who work under me – they are paid on project basis. If I do not get this project, they will lose their job.”

Friend B & C. They set up a company. They hired young people – fresh graduates, people who have been in the industry for a short period. The company grew. But what they are always proud of – the one topic that they always brag to me about – is how the people have grown. They groom people and push them to another level. They help people grow.

Friend D. He wants to set up a coffee shop. Another big city thing, we thought, but not for him. He wants the coffee shop to be a place where people can get together, talk freely and discuss just about anything. He said, “If I cannot be those people, at least I provide the place where they can hang out and exchange ideas.”

You. I said to my friend. Do you realize how many people you employee when building one hotel? About 500-600 people, she said. Do you realize that you have secured jobs for those 500-600 people for the next several months? Not to mention those that will be employed to run the hotel. Not to mention how building good infrastructure will be good for the business or tourism industry in the local area.

I rest my case. What about your job?

Back in the game

I am back to my full time mode. I have just signed a one-year contract to be a communications manager for a project to develop small and medium enterprises (SME) in Indonesia. There goes my being a freelancer for the time being.

The process was strangely smooth. It took less than two weeks from the first time I heard about it to the time I signed the contract. The interview, the background check, the talk about administrative stuffs – all flowed very smoothly.

All I can make of it is that it was meant to be.

Out of the blue this friend called. She was offered the job but she did not want to do it. Then as she put it, she had a eureka moment – she thought of me. Who would be more excited about an SME project more than I? She was right. So I contacted the guy.

When I spoke to the guy (my current employer) for the first time over the phone, it was obvious that I was unsure about the “full time” part. He gave me until Friday to tell him whether I want to be interviewed.

On Friday I had made up my mind: to say no. Then I had a small chat with another friend. It was such a brief and small chat – I was sitting on the couch while she was doing her make up. I told her I would say no and she said “why not? Bla bla..” then I changed my mind. Ok, I will do it. Just like that. I felt like I was not even thinking. It was an automatic decision. (It’s the coffee, I had not had one that morning, therefore I could not think straight. Good timing. (or was it the durians?))

The rest is history.

I would like to thank those two friends in particular – one who told me about this job opening and the other who told me to forge ahead just when I had decided not to. You know who you are. Thank you. I owe you a big one.

Pray for me that whatever I will be doing will benefit the people who matter most in the project – the small medium enterprises of Indonesia.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Who bothers whom?

My family has this monthly gathering every month, where we pray and recite Al Qur’an together for about one hour. During the recital, my nieces and nephews expectedly run around, shout and laugh – in other words, having the usual good time. Then one of us so called adult would tell them to play somewhere else, away from us.

I wonder what goes on in their mind.

“Hey, what is wrong with you? This is how we always are. How is now different?”

“Why should we be the ones who go away, why not you?”

“Why should we be the ones who keep quiet, why not you?”

“You are saying we are noisy. What about you? At least we are laughing and having a good time. Are you?”

“What is wrong with having a good time?”

“We were here first. We have been playing here for hours. And suddenly you come and tell us to go away?”

And we say they are egocentric. And we say we know better.

I don't want to miss a thing

A classic by Aerosmith

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing,
Watch you smile while you are sleeping,
While you are far away and dreaming,
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender,
I could stay lost in this moment forever,
Where a moment spent with you is a moment I treasure,

I don't want to close my eyes, I don't want to fall asleep,
Cause I miss you baby, And I don't want to miss a thing,
Cause even when I dream of you, the sweetest dream will never do,
I still miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing

Lying close to you feeling your heart beating,
And I wondering what you are dreaming,
Wondering if it's me you are seeing,
Then I kiss your eyes and thank god we're together,
I just want to stay with you in this moment forever and forever forever


And I don't want to miss one smile,
I don't want to miss one kiss,
I just want to be with you right here with you,
Just like this, I just want to hold you close,
I feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment,
For all of the rest of time


It has been one of those days.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A welcomed distraction

This is one reason why not to have a webcam.

Playing around with the webcam of my sis's new notebook.

Oh well, fine, back to work.

(in the pic: sis, mom, me and nephew)