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December 17, 2003

holiday & the definition of happiness

in about 12 hours i'll be on a plane to honolulu for a 10-day vacation with my parents and sister... warm weather and mom's cooking, here i come!!! as to all of you guys who are stuck in the harsh coldness of wintry new england, i express my deepest sympathy and wish you a happy holiday no matter what the weather channel might say. i'll be crossing my fingers so you don't have to endure yet another snowstorm while i'm blissfully sunbathing in waikiki. *big evil grin*

ok, show-offs aside, just in case i don't have access to the internet while i'm gone, i wish you all a great holiday and a happy new year! stay warm, and behave yourselves!

since i'm practically overflowing with the christmas spirit right now, i'm gonna share some with you. a recent late-night attempt to summarize my personal definitions of happiness is below. merry christmas! :)

happiness is...

to be free from the fruitless efforts of trying to quench my never-ending thirst for momentary joy from external things (objects, people, experiences) that all this time just keep me wanting for more. to finally have the conviction that my existence is not meaningless. to know that my life is not just a string of flat lines of routines. not just a jumble of ephemeral things i do every day. not just a series of accidents, actions and reactions.

to begin to see myself in all its nakedness with a mirror that gradually becomes clearer. to finally learn to see in perspectives and position myself and things around me in their proper places.

to be free from my guilt, fears and doubts. to be taken as i am, without being judged. to learn that with all my shortcomings, weirdness and sins, i'm still miraculously loved! the comfort and wonder in knowing that i'm not required to be a squeaky clean, sin-free, righteous person to earn all this. to have the assurance that this love never goes away, even when everything else falls apart.

to know that i'm never on my own. that i always have a hope.

to find that nothing is more important than simply enjoying the love of God.

December 15, 2003

brain persuasion test

took this test (found through thalia's blog) and got the following result:

Your Brain Usage Profile:

• Auditory : 46%
• Visual : 53%
• Left : 56%
• Right : 43%


"desi, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning, although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do most things in moderation, but not always.

Your left-hemisphere dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured, detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of uncertainty and agitation. You may well suffer a feeling of continually trying to "catch up" with yourself.

Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor. You can "size up" situations and take in information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being classified and organized which causes you to "lose touch" with the immediacy of the problem.

Your logical and methodical nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to your advantage since you "learn from experience" and can go through the process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.

You remain predominantly functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only then work with the "larger whole."

With regards to your career choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach, athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician. You can "see where you want to go" and even be able to "tell yourself," but find that you are "fighting yourself" at the darndest times."

December 12, 2003

bus 174

bus 174 is a documentary about a bus hijack that took place in rio de janeiro on june 12, 2000 (on my birthday!!). it contains footage of the actual event as filmed by rio news stations and interviews with family and friends of the hijacker, a street kid named sandro nascimento, who ironically kept saying to the police and the tv cameras that, "this is not a movie, this is real," as though he's desperate in telling the audience to see him and really grasp the fact that this is reality, not just another meaningless part of a tv program. not something you watch for entertainment and then forget the next second.

he is proof of this other part of life which existence we don't want to acknowledge. when we walk on the street and see those homeless people lying or standing there on the corner or on a storefront, occasionally asking for money, we either ignore them or get irritated. but mostly we don't see them at all, as if they're some permanent fixtures of the street who are not living, breathing human beings with needs.

and yet, what separate us from these kids? just because we happen to be fortunate enough to be born into a family who don't live in the slum or under a bridge. something we totally have no control over. it certainly doesn't entitle us to think we are better than them. we could've been born into someone like sandro. so what rights do we have to condemn street kids like them, to ignore their hunger and blame them for stealing? they didn't have any choice other than to live their lives like they know how. just to survive day by day.

we might never know what it feels like not to have a home and a family. we take for granted the convenience of sleeping in a bedroom, of having our own bed, a tv set, table and chairs, a kitchen where we can cook instant noodles if we want to. these things that seem simple, and yet remain so unreachable to a lot of people out there. we don't know how it feels to sleep on cold concrete while dreaming about a shelter we can't have. we're never forced to steal because we are hungry. we don't know how it feels not to have enough money to buy food. or how it feels to be cramped with 10 other people in a small, rat-infested dirty cell in rio and got beaten up everyday. we don't have the slightest idea of how it feels to see 7 of our friends got shot to death while sleeping, or to see our mother stabbed to death in the kitchen.

we don't know how it feels to be standing there on a crowded corner and be completely ignored by passers-by as though we're not human, as though we're invisible, as though our existence don't matter, as though it's our fault that we're born in poverty.

(taken from here):

The new documentary BUS 174 unravels the gripping true-life drama of a June 12, 2000 bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro – from the events that shaped the hijacker’s life, to the unprecedented, close-up press coverage that occurred at the time, to the aftermath of the way the police handled the incident. This unnerving event unfolded for four and a half hours, as a dozen people were held at gunpoint, police surrounded the bus, and local news crews swarmed the area. Most of the incident was broadcast live over network TV and the country ground to a halt as people watched, terrified and enthralled.

At first, the reports characterized the hijacker, Sandro, as a drugged-out punk, but after the police hopelessly botched the situation, a deeper investigation revealed some startling facts about this troubled youth. Not only had he been one of Rio’s infamous street kids (fictionally portrayed this year in the acclaimed film, City of God) but, as a young child, he had witnessed his mother’s murder and gone on to be one of the few survivors of a notorious police-led massacre of homeless kids in 1992. Filled with confusion and rage, Sandro tried to find his way in life but was repeatedly brought down by a system that couldn’t understand him.

BUS 174 tells two parallel stories as it interweaves the unbelievable news footage with current interviews with the police, hostages, social workers, academics, and friends and family of Sandro. Not only does it explain the dramatic events that unfolded as the police tried, and failed, to handle the hijack situation; but it also tells the amazing life story of the hijacker, revealing how a typical Rio de Janeiro street kid was transformed into a violent criminal because society systematically denied him any kind of social existence. It seems callous to call this documentary a thriller because it involves a very real-life situation and real victims but it certainly could hold its own against anything the minds of a David Fincher or even an Alfred Hitchcock could dish out.

December 08, 2003

yucky monday

why did the snow have to stop today? why can't it continue at least until mid afternoon or something, so that i don't have to go to work today? why... why??? x(

here's what i have to put up with. yucky dirty slippery paths in the middle of the snow... and check out this car (can you see it?) — i wonder how long it's gonna take the owner to get it out.

snowypath.jpg   car_snow2.jpg

December 07, 2003

crazy snowstorm

it still hasn't stopped yet. 20 inches(!!!) of snow and counting... the snow in front of my apartment building is above my knee already. simple things like walking up to the building door become quite challenging but kinda fun (as long as you can manage not to stay out in the cold for too long).

charles river is all white and frozen, streets are not walkable or drivable unless it's been plowed, and all the cars parked on the street look like this (some are even worse — completely invisible except for the sideview mirrors sticking out):


look at all that snow!

snow3.jpg   snow2.jpg

quite a few people turned up for the xmas celebration — maybe about 100 total(?), which is not bad at all considering this winter insanity. everything went very well, especially the drama! everybody's performance was so awesome! too bad no one brought a video camera to film it. it's hilarious and yet really touching, too...

December 06, 2003

white all over

the snow hasn't stopped since last night, and will continue through tomorrow...

last night in front of my apt...

this morning from my window...

the neighbor across is trying to shovel his car out of the snow...

December 05, 2003

winter is here

the forecast says there's gonna be a huge snowstorm coming tomorrow. yikesss... what bad timing. we're gonna have the annual indo-bostonian xmas celebration tomorrow. i hope people will still try to make it despite of the weather.

*humming to self*

...i'm dreaamiiiing... of a whiiiiite... christmassss...
just like the ones i used to know...
with the tree tops glisten and children listen..
to heaar... sleighbells in the snow...

well, have a great weekend everyone! stay warm, and whatever you do, please do yourself a favor and do not watch love, actually (pardon my indonesian — doohhhh pokoknya rugiii deh nonton tuh film. asli dangdut abissss!!! untungnya at least cowo2nya cakep2)