Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

The End of Study


You know what? This week will officially be my last week of study at the UTS. Yes, it’ll be the end, since I’ve spent a complete 1.5 years here studying the post-grad journalism course. Well, the results for this semester won’t come out yet until next month actually, but still, I can consider it’s done here.

So, what’s next? Going back to my home country, Indonesia, that’s for sure. And that’ll be right at the end of next month as well, or to be precise, exactly three days before the New Years Eve.

Now talking about study, I might need to write down a bit on how it’s been quite tricky for me since the very beginning last year. It’s not that the course is so tough or what. (more…)


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Image of a common cold virus (from Docruppel.com).

Image of a common cold virus (from Docruppel.com).

I’m sick. Unwell. And it’s the second day.

I’m not very sure whether it’s a cold or the flu. But it must be one of them. I sneezes a lot, I have runny nose, sore throat, I always feel tired, and so on and so on.

Well, it’s not that this is something uncommon for people, or that I myself haven’t been in this situation before. It’s just this isn’t really a “good time” for being sick (well, of course there’ll never be a good time).

I mean, I actually have a lot of tasks to finish this week; some writings and editing stuffs. Including interviewing a source for a story today (though a bit awkward, thank God it went OK), a class presentation tomorrow, and some discussions on next Saturday’s classes. Not to mention our web project, and a plan for a short spring-break vacation next Sunday.

So, of course, it really sucks being sick these kind of days. That’s it. And I hate the virus who gives me this. But I won’t let it happily transfer itself to other people either.

Yes. Stay away from me; I’ll handle this ugly little creature alone – as if I’m a knight fighting the dragon.

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I found a note. A one piece of paper hand-written note. There’s no name on it, so I think it’s just OK if I publish it here. After all, I won’t mention anyone either if there’s any name.

So, here’s basically what on it: (more…)

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Great. Now this blog looks like has been abandoned for years, or at least for months. I almost doesn’t realise it’s been nearly four weeks since my last post (on July 4). And now, to be honest, I still don’t really know what I’m going to write here at all – right on the day when the new semester of my study is starting.

So, as some friends who regularly check out my blog would ask: what happened? Been busy working? Or enjoying holiday perhaps? Or maybe I’ve been on some kind of special duty, or winter-course? Nah! None of those actually.

The one that’s right is: I’ve been really having trouble to write anything on this blog, or to do any other writing, because I’ve been distracted by some matters. Not just writing any post, I sometimes didn’t even have the chance to check out WordPress site for a couple of days. How ‘pathetic’… (especially for a guy who claims he likes writing).

But anyway, no time for whining, or self-reflecting like this. Who cares anyway, right?

On the other hand, well, perhaps I just need to spell out what mostly was the distraction I’ve been through in the last few weeks. And what I can tell here is: there were three main ‘mind-occupier’ that I had at the same time.

First, it was the obligation to finish one of my final study assignments from last semester. It’s an investigative story about Indonesian illegal logging, to be exact. And it was kind of hard for me – at least regarding my ‘style of work’ – and guess what, I’m still not done with it yet until now.

The second thing is this idea we call “Project Eyes” – the code name. Now, about this one, I’ll probably write something more detailed in the near future. So, just stay tuned if any of you really like to know.

But perhaps, the most time-consuming, energy-sucking and mind-distracting of all the three matters, was my personal agenda to move out from my previous place, to another place (still in Sydney though). And it was just yesterday, when finally the new place where I’d live for the next couple of months was settled.

For me personally, this kind of ‘nest-seeking’ activity (especially in Sydney) is a new experience. Lucky you who has experienced this, but for those who hasn’t, don’t under-estimate the complexity.

I was a bit lucky when I settled my self the first time in Sydney, in a 2-bedroom flat in Surry Hills, about a year ago (I’ve written before about the place … I mean the balcony). I didn’t even have to search for other options, because after I contacted this friend who lived in the flat that time, and checked it out on the same day, I simply moved in the next day.

But now, I mean, in the last few weeks, I had to search for room or share-house ads, contact the owner or people who placed the ads, check it out if it’s available for viewing (inspection), or look for other options if the answers are “Sorry, the room is taken!”, “It’s gone.” or “Sorry, it’s not available anymore…”. And that would just make it become more stressing.

Well, anyhow, enough about my personal business I guess. Just to put some kind of reference for my point here, this problem probably has become a similar problem for a lot of people in Sydney lately. It’s a typical metropolitan city problem, like the one mentioned in this Sydney Morning Herald’s report.

While many ads provider, including website such as the Gumtree, might help in terms of finding available accommodation, some other factors would still make it hard. Let’s say for example, the price (main factor), the quality of housing, or the good location to have while the city becomes ‘wider and wider’, etc.

Still, lucky for me, finally I found the most suitable place – at least for now on until a few months ahead. It’s in Ultimo, and it’s just a room, a single room to be exact. Not a big house, not even a spacious shared flat. But it’s good enough for me, and the most important thing is: I like it.

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Well, it’s simply the lyric of an old popular country song that I just found a few moments ago.

But why I put it here? Maybe because I consider it as a “reflection” on my birthday (within the next few hours)? Umm… maybe not.

One thing for sure, when Hayes released this song in 1995, he was at the “appropriate age” for the song. And I am definitely older than he was… (but yes, I don’t care).


Old Enough To Know Better

(by Wade Hayes)

Neon lights draw me like a moth to a flame

Mama raised me right that just leaves me to blame

When I get a little sideways on a honky-tonk tear

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

Cowgirls with an attitude boots and tight blue jeans

Take my mind off doing right and doing other things

When the weekend’s gone I won’t have a dime to spare

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

Monday morning I wake up with a hammer in my hand

The boss-man yelling something at me that I don’t understand

I don’t know how I got to work but I sure know I’m there

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

When the eagle flies on Friday well he barely leaves the ground

I’ve got just enough left to get dressed up and head back to town

Boss says, ‘Son having all that fun won’t get you anywhere.’

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

Monday morning I wake up with a hammer in my hand

The boss-man yelling something at me that I don’t understand

I don’t know how I got to work but I sure know I’m there

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

I’m old enough to know better but I’m still too young to care…

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Just another story of my days – or you may just call it an “announcement”. 🙂


And so, in case people don’t’ know, besides the ‘obligation’ of being a journalist and a student of UTS Journalism, I really like to write. I like it even though I’m not very good at it (especially in English). One of the consequences then is, whenever I have the chance to take part on writing job or a competition for example, I would be interested to try.

And that last one was what happened a few weeks ago, when I was still right in the middle of several assignments. I entered two interesting competitions, which required just some samples of short writings, with of course a hope to win. However, no luck for me, I didn’t get selected.

Well, of course “luck” was not the main thing here. Actually, what I wrote were not good enough (yeah, that’s the problem). It’s a bit shameful though, because for the World Nomads Travel Scholarship for example, one of my friends already knew that I participated. 😀 Yet, the winner (Susannah Palk) and the three runner-ups (Lynette Willoughby, Mark Bailey and Emily Sim) are truly really good. Have a look, check their story entries here.

The second one, with just about one-paragraph of writing entry, was the SMH call for their “unofficial reviewers” of the Sydney Film Festival. And finally, here are the five chosen reviewers: Lee Winters, Veronica Holmes, Sneha Balakrishnan, Emma Rugg and Sevana Ohandjanian (the last two are UTS Journalism students). So far, they’ve been working great. You may check their interesting pieces of work here.

Another “no luck” thing I discovered just a few days ago is on my story for one of the UTS Journalism publications, the Precinct. Published in a new format, the current issue of this magazine has a range of interesting news and articles, mainly from around Sydney. However, the story I did – about an exhibition called “Dockside” at the NSW State Library – was probably not interesting or important enough to be included in this edition of Precinct, or maybe it was just lack in quality.

Well, hey, I still gotta cheer up, you know! 😀 Because luckily, there is one small thing I managed to get recently, in term of “competition”: winning the Rolling Stone’s trivia quiz. And the prize is a Cloverfield DVD (though I’m still wondering, why doesn’t it come yet?).

Finally, still like to talk about my writing, for those who might also have an interest on some easy journalism topics, I’d love to share here a couple of my blog entries, which I completed as a requirement for one of the class this semester. This task is quite interesting for me, as we may talk broadly about anything in relation to newspapers editing, designing and publishing. Here’s the link for the PDF file of those blog notes I made.

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Well, while struggling with lots and lots of study tasks, I also try to gather again what imagination can I turn into words of poem. And this is what I finally got. It’s in Bahasa Indonesia though – and this is one promise I try to ‘keep’ to some of my fellow Indonesians – but I think non-Indonesian speakers here wouldn’t mind at all. Would you, friends? 🙂

Note: as the watermark shows, the great image is taken from a photography site – Danheller.Com.

kereta api super cepat itu bernama waktu

ia berlalu sangat cepat…

sangat, sangaaat cepat!

tak hendak berhenti di stasiun ini agaknya. mungkin tidak juga di stasiun manapun.. karena ia memang selalu bergerak.

tapi ia sudah melewati semua stasiun. dan sebaliknya, semua orang di semua stasiun sudah tahu akan keberadaannya.

kereta api super cepat itu… bernama ‘waktu’.

kereta api yang teramat panjang… gerbongnya nyaris tak pernah kelihatan; apalagi karena memang ia melintas sangat teramat cepat…

gerbong-gerbong terdepan bahkan kukira tak seorang pun bisa mengenali bentuknya.

apalah lagi kepala gerbongnya…

mungkin tak ada manusia yang bahkan bisa sekadar membayangkan bagaimana rupanya.

tapi walaupun berlalu sedemikian rupa, aku kadang bisa ingat bagaimana rupa sejumlah gerbongnya… setidaknya mungkin, gerbong-gerbong yang masih belum berjarak terlalu jauh.

dan kukira banyak orang lain juga barangkali masih bisa mengenali.

satu gerbong misalnya, baru saja rasanya berlalu… menghadirkan pemandangan mengharukan dari sahabat-sahabat manusia yang menderita di Burma sana.

yang terbaring tak berdaya. yang meringis kesakitan. yang hanya bisa menangis pilu dalam penderitaan.

dan aku hampir tak percaya… ketika bak dejavu, selintas kemudian ada lagi gerbong yang kurang lebih serupa.

apa ini bukan sama sekali gerbong yang sama? [begitu pikirku ketika ia melintas]

tapi tentu saja, yang ini sama sekali berbeda… walaupun yang kulihat di dalamnya adalah gambaran yang nyaris sama.

gerbong dengan ribuan manusia yang tergeletak dalam penderitaan di China. terkapar tak berdaya. meraung kesakitan. merintih di tengah pedihnya penderitaan.

lalu kuingat-ingat lagi… [sembari duduk tenang di bangku stasiun membaca lembaran koranku ditemani secangkir kopi]

aku sebelumnya mungkin juga pernah melihat gerbong yang identik lainnya.

ya, ketika badai Katrina menerpa USA.

juga ketika tsunami menghajar sejumlah pesisir berpenghuni manusia.

ketika gempa meluluhlantakkan Yogya dan sekitarnya.

saat longsor menimpa, banjir melanda, topan dan puting beliung memporak-porandakan apa saja, gunung memuntahkan lava, sungai meluap dan sebagainya… di mana-mana.

juga di kala kereta tumbang, pesawat jatuh, kapal tenggelam, bom meledak, perang meluluhlantakkan, pemberontakan, kekacauan, amarah, meledak, membakar, memusnahkan… hingga punah ranah segala yang ada.

dan kupikir-pikir lagi… [sambil santai menghisap rokokku]

agaknya gerbong-gerbong yang hampir sama itu silih-berganti melintas dengan frekuensi yang semakin tinggi di hadapanku sejak beberapa saat lalu.

dan aku hampir yakin kalau masih bakal ada banyak… mungkin amat banyak… gerbong lainnya yang serupa yang akan kembali melintas.

ataukah aku duduk di stasiun yang salah? [pikirku sambil melongok kiri-kanan]

tidak juga…

tidak, tentu saja tidak.

karena ini memang satu-satunya jalur yang dilewati oleh kereta api super cepat bernama ‘waktu’ itu.

kereta yang masih terus bergerak, melintas sangat teramat cepat di hadapanku… di hadapan semua orang lainnya yang berada di stasiun yang sama, yang kadang sembari menatap penuh takjub ke gerbong yang melintas di depannya, mengurut dada atau merasa bersyukur karena tak ikut menjadi penumpang di sana.

dan sebagian masih dengan tenang tetap membaca korannya, meminum kopi hangatnya, sama seperti diriku.

sementara kereta api super cepat itu dan gerbong-gerbong tragisnya tak hendak berhenti berlalu…

// sydney – 17 may 2008 – 4.45am //

A short abstract in English:

It’s about an express train [I] called ‘time’. A train that lately seems most of its carriages are full of human being in misery. From China, Burma, the USA, Indonesia; from all over the world basically. And it’s still moving… probably will continue to show the same view.

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