Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hope is Back. Jokowi - Basuki

This is it, today is the day Jakarta would elect its future governor for the next five years. It's been super exciting to see all people in Jakarta so pumped up to support one of the candidates, Jokowi - Basuki. The support has been unprecedented and the excitement for this sort of political event is unheard of.

This is a message of hope, and the people of Jakarta are desperately wanting to see transformation, not only changes, happening. There are tons of lingering issues need to be solved and we have been waiting too long for changes too happen. Slowly, at one point along the line, we stop hoping. Thus, the emergence of this candidate most surely resurrect the passion and hope we have for Jakarta again; the vision, values and dedication that they have for Jakarta are inspiring, and contagiously yet unconsciously, we start to hope, once again.

Today, we bring our hope to the ballot and put it to the test. Today, together we hope for a new Jakarta and  for leaders who are actually working for the good of the people. Today will mark a historical event, either it will be the abomination of hope, or the re-creation of one. Pilih no 3!! 


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Short Term Mission Trip to Cambodia

Here is bits and pieces of my two weeks short term mission trip to Cambodia. Although I can't say definitively that there are lots of new discovery (maybe mostly because it is pretty similar to Indonesia), it is still a great learning experience nonetheless.

Just like real missionary, being sent off to the field. 
First day, we went to this floating village. It's amazing how they manage to live in this kind of environment, I get sea-sick easily so this is not a very friendly environment to settle in. Most people stay in one places and depending on the rain level that season, they move to other places. It is basically like a small town of their own, only the roads are water. They have people going around selling produce every day (kinda like a moving market),and they also have schools for the kids. 
I still can't wrap my mind around it. There are not one, or two, but many of these kind of children, wearing a real snake like a necklace and pointing it to all the tourist, while muttering "one dollar, one dollar". Not a really good marketing strategy though, you can't make me grab a dollar and give it to you if you have that creature on your shoulder like it ready to devour me. 

We have the opportunity to have a buffet dinner at this restaurant that also showcases local dances. Some of the dances are pretty boring for me maybe because it is too traditional and we don't really get the meaning behind it. But some of the more modern dances are pretty entertaining. One dance tells the story of rice farming and the love story between the farmers. Now, that is more relate-able! 

2nd day: Temple Hopping - we visited four temple, all of which have distinct and unique characteristic of their own. We took a group picture with the renown Angkor Wat as the background. 
I just thought this is pretty awesome. Imagine having no sophisticated tools at that time, and using your hand to carve this statue. The precision level (and frustration level too) must be very high. 
After done with all the temple hopping - we took a 7 hour bus drive to Pnom Penh where we will start our work week.  I am with the construction team and our big task is to build a wall around the church's compound. This is one of the sites - digging dirt, building a gutter, putting solid foundation. Next couple of days later: mixing cement, pouring the cement, and building the poles. 

Look at their expression, really adorable. The kid on the left is my favorite, he is pretty playful although a bit spoilt. Well, what can you do, he is a kid. He forces me to put him on the wheelbarrow and push him around.  Our VBS (Vacation Bible Study) team play with them, teach the Bible, do some craft work. We are so grateful for the four kids who accept Christ. 

We also get the chance to visit two historical sites: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and The Killing Field. These were where the Khmer Rouge, led by Pot Pal tortured the Cambodia people back in 1975 - 1979 and then all the bodies were being dumped in what they called 'The Killing Field'. It is a very gruesome and bizarre pictures of human's cruelty and we all are very overwhelmed by what we've seen there. 

We all miss the good old American ice cream so we don't waste our time during our free day and quickly go to DQ to satisfy our craving. They have a green tea blizzard, so in the name of being adventurous, I try it and not regret it. 
Once we're done with our work week, we spend two wonderful days in Kep at this wonderful resort. I get to sleep on this outdoor bed complete with mosquito net, a pretty wonderful experience I should say. Back to nature!

Dinner by the beach, waiting for the sunset. The picture does not do the view justice though, the view is much more stunning if you see it by yourself. 

On our last day, we go to one of the provinces where World Vision do its work. This is a puppet play educating the children the importance of washing hands and staying healthy. We also got the chance to hear the testimony of one HIV positive patient, how she got the disease, how Jesus gave her hope again, and how the support group has been very helpful in helping her go through her struggle. Pretty impactful. 

My last picture - in front of World Relief Cambodia office. Very grateful to have these guys working for the cause of the Lord there.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update on Writing Class

Finally, after long deliberation and tons of excuses, I registered for the writing course that I have been planning to take since last year. There are many options available, but I think my heart finds its rest on the "Article That Sell" program from Christian Writers Guild, basically a six month writing course which goal is to produce 10 ready-to-publish articles by the end of the course.

So what do I exactly want to achieve from this course? Of course not to be the next John Grisham because taking one writing course does not even slightly close the one light year gap between his prowess and mine in fiction writing. I guess I have no definite and satisfactory answer to this question as well.

Part of it because  a bunch of friends have encouraged me to take one, maybe too naively thinking that I can really pull this off. Partly because I am still pretty much ambivalent about this, can't seem to put my foot down; I do enjoy writing to a certain degree, I feel I am able to express myself better in words, but it is nothing like a walk in the park, definitely nothing like spelling an ABC. I mean, c'mon, there are so many better writer out there; every time I read an intimidating column or article from Time, it always, without a fail, leave me with a sense of belittlement, think of an image of an overweight guy looking at the P90X workout guy.

And the last part, maybe I am still intrigued to find out how much I really want to do this, and how much writing capacity hidden down there I can excavate, is it a gold mine? or actually only a seasonal almost dried out well? Is this something that I need to take seriously in the end? I hope that the course can really push me out of my comfort zone, and give me the technical tools required to be a better writer - of which it has done a great job at, been scratching my head numerously to complete my first assignment, a deja-vu to my undergraduate experience.

So yeah, I have completed my first assignment, and I was about to celebrate it with a champagne when I realized there are 11 assignments to go, so as crestfallen as I was, I decided to postpone the celebration until a more significant time. The next assignment is due in two weeks, so I definitely have strong excuses to disregard the next assignment, don an invisibility cloak on the textbook, and update my blog with my recent travel to Cambodia and Indonesia. Finger-crossed!