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Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Challenges

I love challenges! I have done a plenty of silly things only because I felt challenged to do them. For example, I once challenged myself to join a Chinese speech competition after attending a three-month Chinese language course (twice a week, 100 minutes each). I ended up saying nothing but introducing myself, telling the audience and the judges that Chinese is unbelievably difficult to learn, but if you try hard enough, you would be able to learn it well. That was all I could say at the moment. I didn’t win, but I have answered my own challenge!

I once helped an old lady carrying a 20-kilogram rice bag, and walked with her to her home, only because someone challenged me to do so.

Once, in a debate competition, our team (Jenny-Astrid-and-I) was totally blank about the matter being debated, and I challenged myself to give a 7-minute speech with only three or four short sentences written in my cue cards (one sentence was written in each card to make them look thick). I was lucky enough to finish my 7-minute speech without having the adjudicators fell asleep. We even won the debate! I found myself quite good with story telling instead, haha… ^^

Christmas Eve is coming, New Year is too, and I find myself facing a brand new kind of challenge. This time, it’s not about how to survive. It’s how to stay HAPPY, CONTENT, and GRATEFUL for what God has given to me.

I would be working all through the holiday season (with an exceptional day off on December 25th). If I could do my job happily, and if I could feel God’s presence and blessings while working, then I would proudly say that I have answered my own challenge, again!

It shouldn’t be so difficult, or should it? ^^

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*Little children are like angels without wings. But if twenty of them are put in a class for you to teach, it turns out that some of them do have horns*

She was only six years old. She was the prettiest little girl I’ve ever seen, with brilliant black eyes and long black eyelashes. She was a daughter every mother would dream of. Everything about her can be described in one word only. Perfect!

She was standing in front of the class, shouting to her classmates.

“Everybody!!! Please be quiet and listen to Miss S****…!!!”

It had been a chaos from the very beginning. Not really from the very beginning, though. The class was quiet when the schoolteacher was still there. When the time had come for English lessons, the schoolteacher smiled at me and left. Actually I would rather have her in the class, because once she left, there would be chaos.

A very few students remained on their seats (mostly girls). The others were running around, shouting, chasing each other, quarreling, hopping on their tables, turning chairs upside down, throwing away friend’s belongings, just mention it.

What am I supposed to do? Well, since you are the teacher, I guess you should teach them. Welcome to the real world, my friend.

I had just graduated from faculty of education, English department, and I can speak a little bit of (hopefully) good English. But I wasn’t equipped with sufficient knowledge, as how to calm the second-grade-elementary students, and how to make them sit nicely and listen to the teacher’s words.

Like a statue, I was standing near the door, busy thinking of what to do next. And there she was, doing all she could to discipline her classmates. It was her responsibility because she was appointed to be the head of the class.

Well, I was the teacher. It was actually my responsibility. I should never burden the adorable little girl. I smiled, thanked her, and suddenly I felt my spirit rise! I’m the teacher, rite? I’ll do what I have to do.

I walked to the middle of the room with the smile still on my face, shouting as loudly as possible.

“WHO WANTS TO PLAY???”

Of course everybody WANTS to play!!!

Then we sang along together.

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…

Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is just a dream… (2x)

Catch a fish, throw it away

Catch a fish, throw it away

Catch a fish… what is it?

It’s a shark!!!

The song ended, and the beautiful teacher (narsis amat seh!!! red.) suddenly grew her sharp teeth and became a vicious SHARK!!!

“Aaaaaaaa…!!!” The students ran away from the shark to save their lives. Some of them climbed the tables. Some of them stood on the chairs. But the shark managed to catch several students! Yummy…!

After 5 minutes or so, the teacher decided it was time to stop playing. She shouted once more.

“WHO’S TIRED???”

Of course, everybody was tired. The time had finally come to study.

“I have stickers for those who can sit nicely in five… four… three… two… one…!!!”

‘Sticker’ is a magic word. Everybody sat nicely in five seconds.

Thanks to the great LITTLE motivator. I should never give up.

*As rice paddy to Indonesian people, as stickers to teachers*

^^

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red-squirrel-4He sneaked into my room through the little window in the dark of the night, and crept quietly under my blanket. Only his cute little snout could be seen.

If it were a cartoon movie, I would have dropped my jaw!

He whispered to me with his heavy breath.

“We’ve lost, we’ve lost the battle!”

Well, I was ‘lost’ as well, for I didn’t know what he was talking about.

“What battle?” I asked.

“The battle, for heaven’s sake! The battle against the pox virus, of course! Where have you been?” cried the little fella, frustrated. His twinkling little black eyes examined me carefully. Suddenly he jumped out of the blanket.

“Gosh, I’ve climbed into the wrong house! I have to go!”

But he didn’t. His eyes examined me once more.

“I’m so exhausted, I may not be strong enough to travel again. Well, you’re a human, right? And you look like a nice one… you won’t hurt me… will you? ‘Cause you’re so big and I’m so small”

“I would never hurt you,” said I. “You’re so cute! I have always wanted to see you! A British Red Squirrel??? In my room??? I’m not even in Britain right now!”

He looked a bit insulted. “I don’t think ‘cute’ is the proper word. But yeah, I am the British red squirrel.” His voice was weak.

“Can I offer you a drink or something? Some hazelnuts maybe?” He only smiled and shook his head faintly.

I noticed something wrong.

“There are lesions around your eyes… and your mouth is swollen… did anything bad happen to you recently?”

“It’s the pox.” Again he whispered as if unable to speak. Then he sat, with his back leaning on my pillow, and told me his sad story.

“There used to be a plenty of us in Britain. We were simply everywhere! Until the gray squirrels arrived from America over a century ago. They brought along something called pox virus. A virus that does no harm to them, yet threatens the lives of my kin! Once we are infected by that virus, a will must be prepared, a grave must be dug.”

The black eyes of his were then full of tears.

“The virus doesn’t kill us instantly. But it affects our health, causes lesions around our eyes and mouth. We cannot eat or drink. Thus we would starve to death in fifteen days.”

He forced a smile upon his face.

“You know something? It has been fifteen days since I got infected. Yea, fifteen. And I’m so tired.”

He closed his eyes.

“Where am I?”

“At a safe place,” said I. “Just go to sleep now, little dear.”

“Well, it’s a bit cold.”

“I’ll hold you.”

There I was, spending the night with the adorable little fella sleeping peacefully in my arms.

In the morning he had gone. What a strange dream. Maybe I’ve read too much Beatrix Potter.

May God help the scientists to develop a vaccine against the squirrel pox virus, and save the lives of the British red squirrels.

NB: The picture is taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Squirrel

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Rain, Rain Go Away

Brain, brain go away

Think again another day

^^

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Ngeyel

“You, the third speaker, act as the surgeon of the team. Thou art the one who hold the scalpel, and thou art going to (please tell me if the following part needs to be censored) cut your opponents into small pieces!”

It wasn’t the utterance of a psychopath. It was that of a debate coach.

Typically Javanese, I didn’t feel too good about arguing, rebutting what other people say. The urge to do so, I have long felt its existence inside me. Yet I hadn’t found the right, appropriate way to unleash it. Until the day came.

If you find yourself very much interested in arguing, rebutting, or proving that your opinion is right and others’ are wrong, there’s an appropriate way to enhance your talent. Join a debate club!!! Take part in debate competitions!!!

In a debates (and debates only) you would be trained, encouraged, stimulated to argue. No hurt feeling or whatsoever. You would even be highly praised if you can do it well.

But there’s a danger in it, though. It is addictive.

Once you experience the triumphant glory of successfully rebutting arguments, realize how the combination of your brain and tongue could produce such a mighty sword to crush your opponents with, believe me, you will be addicted to it. You would keep rebutting, arguing, and attacking other people’s opinion, even when you don’t have to. Even long after the competition is over.

If you have reached this level, then be careful. For it’s a double-edged sword. It can also cause you damages. Damages in relationship with family, relatives, friends, bosses, colleagues, just name it. I’ve been through it.

Well, it’s not that bad, actually. It’s just something you have to deal with. You have to control the urge, so that it would only come up when needed. Letting go the urge at the right time and in an appropriate manner can make you (at least) look smart. Just don’t go over the limit.

Well, many a word I wish I never have said, many a thing I wish I never have done. But I never regret having rebutting and arguing as a hobby. It’s called ngeyel (Javanese).

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Better turn it off

Words without meaning

Fury without anger

Tears without sadness

Laughter without joy

Memorizing without comprehending

Embellished by make-ups

and empty smile

Hell, they don’t even shoot one scene at the same time and place

Forget art, ignore cinematography

Only lousy acting exists

Along with unbearable, unbelievably moron, never-ending, extended storyline

It’s the Indonesia drama series (known as ‘sinetron‘)

You can watch them every day and be as moron (achtung! achtung!)

Or switch the channel to news programs

Talk shows, documentaries, news features, cartoons

basically anything but that one

If sinetron is all you can find

Better turn off the TV

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Questions to help you write

The easiest task in the world, probably, is to ask questions.

In relation with writing, a simple question can be a start for a good article.

Agatha Christie stepped further. She managed to write a bestseller mystery novel based on a very simple question uttered by a friend, “Why didn’t they ask Evans?” But since she’s a genius, let’s not make any comparison (maksudnya biar ga minder, hehe…:p)

Lately, I found that free writing is extremely hard to do. The wangsit (Javanese, similar to inspiration) simply won’t come across my mind. Since it is the 15th day of this month (September), and I haven’t written anything new for this blog (shame on me), I decided (in state of desperation) to write something anyway. Let’s see if these questions could work.

What do you want to achieve in life?

No need to think, for I find this question easy to answer. Happiness! I only want to be happy.

OK, good. Now, what makes you happy?

Well, a plenty, of course. A single scoop of vanilla ice cream makes me happy, so does a new mystery novel, a hot cup of coffee, tempting durians, invitations to parties, finding my old stickers (thought I’ve lost them)…

Stop right there! Those are the things that would please you. But what makes you happy?

Errr… I’m not sure… the upcoming THR, maybe…? (THR is some kind of allowance a company gives to its employees during Idul Fitri).

The same mistake, you’ve made. Even a donkey won’t fall into the same hole twice. What makes you happy?

This time, I have to think hard. I couldn’t be worse than a donkey, could I?

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Time goes by, but I still couldn’t find the answer. I don’t know, I said. I give up.

Let me tell you. To be happy, you only need to open your eyes! And realize that the life God gives you is a blessing. Of course the vanilla ice cream and the mystery novels count, but the most essential would be to realize their beings and thank God for creating them. Open your eyes! Blessings are all around you.

Last question…what advantage can you get from this article? (I mean if we can call this an article)

Well, at least I have written something for my own blog and I’m happy for it :p

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