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When the World Grows Dim

Uh no, people, this is not a philosophical entry. Just wanna drop by and say hi to the world. I’m alive and well. A little stressed, but I think that I am holding up quite well. If I drop dead, I’m quite sure there would be an announcement somewhere in my friends’ blog, so yeah, until that happens, I’m alive and well.

Moving along to the title, I figured that it is interesting to describe some of my physical conditions, especially since it seems that quite a number of people experience this.

It is called Vasovagal Syncope. (Wikipedia entry here).

Basically this is a harmless condition that seems to crop about when I have my blood drawn. Be it 1 cc or 300 cc, I seem to be experiencing a fainting (or symptoms of it). Although it is harmless (unless you faint in front of a running car, that is – that situation will probably land you on the morgue), it does give me a nuisance, especially because it happens every time I do blood tests and blood donations.

At first I thought that I have a psychological condition with syringes. After all, a lot of people reported fear of needles (sometime so extreme they can faint on the sight of something remotely similar to needle). But then again, I remember that I used to be the ‘brave’ one in the family when it comes to shots and needles (I never cry when they do immunization shots). That of course, leave me puzzled as to what causes this condition.  If it is not psychological (I have no phobias that I am aware of) then it should be physiological.

Then came the time last year (January 07) when I did my very first blood donation. I’ve always wanted to donate my blood, but the blood donation drive always coincided with something. So to cut the story short, I was taken in, passed the medical screening, had my blood pressure taken, prepped on the chair, and had my blood taken. It was probably a minute later that I first had the symptoms of fainting. Ringing sound in my ears, blackened view, and I knew that I would faint if it continued. So I did the most sensible thing, I told the nurse that I am feeling faint and they immediately stopped the donation. I was immediately put into the Trendelenburg Position (legs up on the stretcher, higher than the head) and a doctor attended to me. It took me around half an hour to stop feeling faint (I didn’t faint yet). Overall, it was quite a horrible experience.

Later on, came the blood test (July 07) . Again, the same thing happened, but this time I managed to stay sober for a longer time. The nurse got me an empty bed to lie down and left me to rest a bit. This time it was better, but I was annoyed with this condition so I asked the nurse about any medication or treatment for this. Sadly, she said that some people just had this condition. There is no treatment available. The most I can do is to drink plenty of water, enough rest, and have proper meals, and those will ‘probably’ ease the symptoms.

Riiiiiiight… *rolls eyes* You mean I’ll keep fainting for the rest of my life? -_-‘

To tell the truth, I was quite intrigued by this condition. The fact that this is not psychological condition adds to my curiosity (I can understand the loss of consciousness because of phobias, but this just leaves me puzzled), so I asked a friend of mine who is a nurse in the hospital. She handles blood sample taking and injections, so she has quite the expertise.

In short, there are a lot of things that can cause fainting. Normally a low blood pressure is the main culprit if people faint during blood donation. It can also be caused by a certain psychological conditions (which does not apply to me). She pointed me into some interesting things, and after a bit of poking my head here and there, I found that I have an extremely sensitive body that goes into Hypovolemic shock during a rapid loss of blood. Coupled with my low blood pressure when I’m not feeling very well and you get a heavy dose of fainting.

The cure? None. It just happen that my body is very sensitive to rapid blood loss. The prevention? Also none. Proper meals and plenty of water help to relieve the shock, but does not altogether eliminates it.

Oh well… I guess this is not as bad as a claustrophobia. Imagine living in Singapore with this kind of phobia where you get cramped inside the public transport EVERY single day. You’d probably have to buy a car and take the stairs to get to your office.

So, in conclusion, cherish your health and be thankful that you have your body safe and sound. But if you are one of the people out there who are just like me, do remember that when the world grows dim, you are probably fainting. Do lie down or put your head between your knees and bear with it. It won’t kill you. Trust me, I’m not dead yet =P

This Tiny Little Red Dot

I’ve been living in Singapore for the past 4.5 years now. Count together the 6 months I spent during my junior high here (riot time mah… All Indons who can make it, run to either Malaysia or Singapore) makes it around 5 years. I was wondering to myself what 5 years in Singapore can do to your sanity =P

In short, there isn’t really much you can do in Singapore (this tiny little red dot being this TINY little red dot), but living here for the past few years has changed me somewhat and left a bittersweet impression on me. To tell you the truth, I have a love-hate relationship with this island =P

A few things I don’t like about Singapore are :

First, the people in Singapore are the epitome of rudeness. After living in Indonesia for most of my life, I’m used to the great service they usually provide. It is a common sight to find people going trough the extra mile to serve you. All services are delivered with a smile, and it is not uncommon to find people trying their hardest to please the customers. Even strangers on the street are more open, relaxed, and full of smiles. Singapore, on the other hand, is full with aunties jabbing my ribs to beat me two steps into the MRT, teenagers listening to the bombastic sounds coming from the mp3 earphones (which can still be heard from three seats away), hawker stall owners who shouted at me, sulky shop assistants, and of course the ever so annoying insurance agents on the street. Nuff said.

Second, the pace of life in Singapore is CRAZY with a super big capital. It is quite normal for people to work 50 hours a week. Sometimes even clocking at 60 regularly. Not that I don’t like people who are hardworking, but I don’t prefer myself to be wrung out until I die out of exhaustion. Of course it also makes it harder to have good relations with friends since they are also very busy with their work. Gatherings are always forever postponed. It is very hard to synchronize everyone’s schedule. And guess what, I don’t like it when I don’t get enough dose of friendship.

Third, the high living cost in Singapore. Forget maids and chauffeur, I can’t even afford to buy things on impulse. I must save up for my Master program fee in NTU, my life insurance, my rent, and my meals. I do have a budget to buy books, but impulsive buying will send me to a month long of skipping meals (Reminder to self : must pay the utilities bill tomorrow >.<)

Of course it will not be fair to talk about Singapore on its bad terms alone. There are a few good things I love from Singapore.

First is of course one of the most efficient public transport system in the world. Anywhere you want to go, there are public transport that will cater you. And Singapore being one of the countries with the lowest crime rate means going out until late at night is not a problem (a big no no in Jakarta where I am not even allowed to take the public transport). And that means I can do a lot of ministry works after my working hours.

Second is the wonderful art appreciation level in Singapore. I have always been a fan of musicals and opera. And Singapore is one of the most advanced in this area among South East Asian countries. I’m not only talking (or rather writing) about the metal Durian, but also about the number of shows and performances given in Singapore. The Phantom of the Opera (my personal favorite), Mama Mia, Madame Butterfly, The Marriage of Figaro, and La Boheme to name a few. Not stopping there, the art museums here are also marvelous. Add in great photography exhibitions and you get yourself a great art heaven. True, it is still a far cry from the Western countries, but Singapore is still one of the most advanced Asian countries in art appreciation.

Third is the development rate of technologies. I know this sounds nerdy, but I need my gadgets and I need them to be working properly. I also need my internet connections to work. Not only does it support my interests (Internet being one of the finest resource to learn about something), but it connects me to what is happening to the world. The connection speed in Indonesia is so hopeless I gave up trying to check my mail when I was on holidays.

Fourth, I love the food. Which explains why I try my best to bear the frustration of talking monkey language to hawker stall owners who can not speak English (yeah, they DO have people who can’t speak English here on Singapore). And if you have me pick up the top reason why I love Singapore, this has got to be it. Hm… Food… *sighs dreamily*

Once I sorted out my love-hate relationship with this island, I realized that for all the good and bad, God has placed me in this tiny little red dot. And be as it may, I have the responsibilities to use my time here wisely. Who knows where God is going to land me on in the future (New York? =P) My days in Singapore are counted and day by day I keep reminding myself that I will not be here forever. I know one day I will leave this island, and I want to make the best of my time here. Learning, making friends, equipping myself, and as always, strife to be a blessing to others.

Have I been a blessing to you? I hope so🙂

We are pilgrims of the world.
We long for a kingdom that is not of the earth.
But we are here still to point the way.
So that others may also come and stay.

Have a blessed day🙂

The Facebook Song

For those who are unfamiliar with Facebook (Wikipedia article of it can be found here), you might not have heard that there is this super popular social networking website full of silly activities. You can add in your friends, poke them, send gifts to them, and even raise pets (which you can feed, nonetheless).

It has become such a popular phenomenon that 55 million people are its registered members. Homemaking moms to geeks who become popular dudes in front of the LCD screen, Facebook has them all.

But the proof of its popularity is probably the silly songs people sing as a tribute to this website. A personal favorite of mine is this :

And to really proof that Facebook really waste your life away, I did a transcript on the Facebook song lyric :

Facebook… 6x
When i want you as my friend I emailed to you
They will send saying that you have a friend request on facebook, facebook
When i want you to confirm my friend request
And determine if you ever see me, then you will say : yes!
On facebook, facebook
I can then poke you; you can poke me too
Anytime, night or day
Only trouble is : facebook
I’m wasting my life away
I need you so…
Facebook…
I want you so…
That’s why I look whenever I stalk you, sorry girls it’s true
On facebook
Facebook 5x
Won’t you be my friend…

Now what someone can really do is to make a Youtube video for this song… Karaoke version so that people can sing along. LOL. And that will be the true epitome that someone is really wasting their life away with Facebook. Hahaha.

For those interested with the a cappella group (they are good, those great guys), you can find more about them here.

And for those trapped in the evil web of Facebook, all the best and good luck getting out *evil grin* =P

A Healthy Dose of Reality

I watched Enchanted on Monday together with my sis and Cindy. It was wonderful and thoroughly entertaining for me. I kept laughing on all the silly things the characters did (and having Patrick Dempsey didn’t hurt. He’s gorgeous in the movie *swoon*). I especially loved the squirrel. Funny how I love the animals in the movie (someone mentioned to me that my favorite character in The Legend of Zorro must have been the drunk horse -_-”).

Anyway, the plot itself was pretty much thought-provoking with a good healthy dose of reality. Funny how we find the concept of love in fairy tale and long for it when it is so far away from reality. True, in a certain sense Love is everlasting (God is love), and thus Love does makes the world go round. But happily ever after is a concept that is delusional at best, and impossible at worst.

Spam me if you like, but the fact is, people has so many differences they have to settle when they get married that a happy ever after can only exist in dreams. Of course we do long for a happy ever after (deep down, we do long for heaven and His glory). But really, expecting it from one’s spouse is only courting disappointment. No one is perfect. And with an imperfect spouse, what can one expect?

Certainly not to live happily ever after.

As an English Literature professor had aptly put it in words :
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. – C.S. Lewis

That does not mean that we should shun marriages as a doomed institution though. Trust me, that is not my intention at all. I only hope to bring some enlightenment that sometimes, fairy tale deceives. And a healthy slap of reality on our cheeks (like this movie) can be good from time to time.

Dedicated to : my other half out there, whom God has not reveal to me =P So that you know that I fully realize that you are imperfect and yet I’ll accept you as who you are, as we made the journey together to attain that perfection. I hope that you will do the same🙂

Rainbow

Decided to call today’s post rainbow. Not because I’ve seen one (though today being a very VERY wet day), but because I’m longing to see one. But well, I’m not going to write about rainbows. Go ahead and read the subject on Wikipedia on your own if you are interested.

I’m gonna write about languages today.

Ah, yes… This is one of my favorite topic to talk and write about. Talking about the history of languages (the Babel tower), the language groups, the semiotics, the philosophy of language, and of course the good old topic of linguistics.

Ever since I was little I had been awed by people who are multi linguists. In fact, I was raised in a house where the people speak multiple languages. My dad can speak Indonesia, Chinese, English, Hokkienese, and Cantonese. The greatest thing is that he learnt all the language (with the exception of Indonesian language) all by himself. My mom can write better in Chinese though (she studied in a Chinese-curricula school back when Indonesia still have one).

How about me?

Well, Indonesian is my native language and speak it rather well. My English is a bit less fluent (but since I’m living in Singapore, naturally my English became Singlish -_-‘). My Hokkienese is basically passive (Only listening. You do NOT want to hear me speak Hokkienese. My pronunciation can give someone a heart attack). I understand a bit of Chinese (hawker vocabs and monkey language being the main communication medium to buy food from the stalls). My japanese is still in primary level, although I can understand some of day-to-day conversation. My Italian can be shot to death. ‘Nuff said.

But one thing I realized when I’m pursuing my passion to learn languages. Simply that learning more is equivalent to having more keys to open more doors. With more languages, I can interact with more people, read more books, watch more movies, understand the opera (*sigh* I should brush up my Italian again). And it is beautiful to understand writings and movies in their original language. Translation can be good, but they will never convey the exact meaning the author want to deliver.

Language is beautiful. It conveys the depths of its speaker or writer. It is the basic thing that keeps a communication going. And like a stroke of the brush, can create ideas that come to life. The more languages we can understand, the more we can see the different colors of the same fabric of humanity. Languages is the key to many locked doors without which we can’t open.

So yeah, current project : study Chinese language. After that I’ll think of another thing to master. Dateline will be one year from now. Let’s see if I can make it🙂

The Smaller Miracles

Yeah, decided that a hiatus is no fun. I’ve decided long ago when I first started this blog that I will strive to be a blessing to others, and busy or not busy, that is what I should do. So heck with my job. This blog has been neglected too long. (And I miss the opportunity to be a narcissistic person on my blog =P)

Anyway, the thing I am going to write is this : the smaller miracles.

Note : Beware of a long philosophical entry… You have been warned😄

I was listening to a short sermon during last week’s prayer meeting when I was jolted by this thought. The sermon was basically about the miracles that had happened during 40 years of Israel’s wandering in the dessert. 40 years without famine (because God fed them with manna). 40 years without their clothes being torn. And 40 years without their footwear being worn out. Funny how Israel needed a reminder like this to strengthened their faith in God. After all… Hello? This is the nation that saw how God divided the sea and this is the same nation that has seen God’s greatness through the Ten Plagues. What bigger proof would they need?

However, this is the one thing that Israel needed to be reminded of at that time : that He is forever faithful.

Reflecting back to my own life, I realize that I am in this hard hearted state, much like Israel at that period. Though I have seen His work on the cross (the Ten Plagues does not even comes to this), sometimes I need ‘miracles’ to ensure that He is still the same great God that redeemed me with His blood. Sometimes I would look up to the sky (or the ceiling if I’m indoors =P) and prayed silently, please God, send me a sign. Something miraculous and great so that I know.

It is always easier to concentrate on the ‘big’ things to see the greatness of God, forgetting all the while the ‘smaller little miracles’ He does continuously every day in our live. Like Israel, somewhere along the way I forgot the steadfast work of His hand through the things I turned up took for granted. The food on the table. The clothes that I wear. The shoes I walk with. Those are only a small part of His providence without which I can’t do my activities. The small things like my hot shower in the morning, the late dinner I usually have when I am doing over time work, the blows of wind trough my bedroom window, and the chocolate milk I drink. His providence is there and everywhere. Small though they are to us, we never realize how great His sustenance in our life is until these things are taken away.

So friends… It was never the question of the big miracles in our lives. Sure thing, if God saves you from a fatal accident, He is faithful. But so is He when you can wake up in the morning, when you can reach your office/school safely, when you can get the chance to be evaluated (exam! *gasp*), when you can still talk to your parents, when you have friends, when you can still have a roof over your head. Sometimes it doesn’t take an A on our exam result or a pay rise to make us understand that.

Sometimes we can simply see that from the fact the we still have clothes to wear tomorrow.

1 to 23

Yep… Officially 1 more hour to my birthday at 00.00, 26th September this year. People has been asking what things I’d like to have for my birthday, so yeah, i thought, my not? I’ll just post it here.

So yeah people, I’ve updated my wish list on the Tidbits page so those of you who want to give birthday presents can take your pick from the list =P

Anyway, I’m not dead yet. For those wondering where I’ve been, I have only one answer. Work.

Yep. I’ll try to blog again sometime in the future, but if I can’t, relax people, I’m not dead. Yet.

Huahahahaha *evil laugh*

But, ehem, yeah, I’ll try to blog more often. That’s a promise🙂