Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Jakarta Break

A Jakarta Break

I've been very slack in carrying out my blogging duties lately. The usual excuses: work, travel and errands. But it's good to be able to finally squeeze some time between my social and work commitments to type in these few lines from my favourite Internet cafe in Jakarta.

Yes, I've been here in Jakarta since Wednesday with two other Malaysian friends of mine. As usual whenever friends are around, the routine will consist of the mandatory visits our favourite eating places and nightspots. I also had to sacrifice my usual routine of catching up with my Indonesian friends here. But it's okay, I'll have all the time in the world to do so when I come back alone here, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Being out of touch with Indonesia for the last couple of months, I didn't realize that Dewa has already released their new album--Laskar Cinta. I happily picked up a copy at Sarinah yesterday. I'm also planning a visit to the QBWorld bookstore after this to check out the latest Indonesian publications.

After my tiring project in Sri Lanka, this semi-business trip to Jakarta is indeed a welcome break. Things seem to be bustling again here: Starbucks are sprouting up everywhere--a new one just opened at Wisma Metropolitan 1, where my former office is located. I can imagine June, Eric and Edwin smoking happily here everyday, sipping their steaming cups of latte. How I wish I'm still working here!

There's sad news too: my favourite Indomie place is closed. I later found out from June that the owner Watie passed away recently. I was shocked and devasted. We are going to miss her Indomie tremendously because she knew how to make it precisely to our specifications--not overcooked and garnished with liberal slices of raw cabe (chilli).

I'm flying back to KL this evening. I'm glad to have made this trip, even though it is a brief one. I managed to do some necessary banking that I've been putting off for quite a while. Don't know why, I feel a bit reluctant to transfer the bulk of my savings here back to Malaysia; it makes me feel like I'm slowly relinquishing my beloved Indonesian life. It's like breaking up with a lover, but I guess one has to move on. There's much to do back home...

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Energy of Life

The Energy of Life

It's difficult to blog when you are physically and mentally exhausted after a whole day out there in the city meeting up with people and running tedious errands. But then again I don't see blogging as an obbligation; it's more of a therapy--an opportunity to relax, observe my thoughts and watch them slowly subside into the subconscious.

By writing down thoughts, they reveal themselves in greater clarity, allowing me to make better decisions in life. I've learnt never to rush myself into making decisions. Nature has an organizing principle and it is good to allow thoughts time to "sink in", and to let things find its own level. A state of mental clarity is reached when we know how to let thoughts live out their lives in our heads. Every thought has a lifecycle and its effects; observe it and be cognizant of its effects. Only then does one know how to deal with its consequences wisely.

Right now my head is swimming with thoughts and ideas. But after typing a paragraph of two, my mind will be exhausted and a lot of the thoughts would have subsided because they have consumed their share of energy.

Where did the energy go? They have manifested themselves into words, which are disseminated like seeds throughout cyberspace. And now these seeds are sprouting in your mind as you read this. Sometimes they will not find a single fertile soil to flourish on but sometimes they trigger a frantic burst of life.

When you have gained a better understanding of the spiritual aspects of life, you will see everything in terms of energy. There's nothing in this universe but energy; and energy finds manifestation in a myriad of fascinating forms. We are all born with our personal store of energy. When the energy is in motion, it is manifested as thought and action.

To live is to utilize this energy in the most efficient manner, This energy can be be easily lost as random thoughts and unproductive action. Every minute, every second, this energy is dissipating away, like heat. If we do not harness it to create more possibilities (more seeds), then we are not living life to the fullest.

To master this energy is to master life, and the universe.

Killing Someone You Love

Killing Someone You Love

Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a chain-smoker in his youth, often finishing four packs a day. He started smoking young, when he was still a teenager and the habit intensified during his years as a struggling writer.

After he was married and had children, he was still smoking heavily. One day, a doctor examined his lungs and told him that at the rate that he was smoking, in two or three years time, he would not be able to breathe anymore. But still he found kicking the habit of smoking the toughest thing he could ever do. He simply couldn't work, read, eat or sleep without a puff.

Then one day he happened to ask a psychiatrist friend to explain why the addiction to tobacco was so difficult to break. The psychiatrist gave him a simple answer:

"Because for you, quitting smoking would be like killing someone you love"

The answer triggered a flash of insight in Marquez. In his own words:
It was a sudden burst of clairvoyance. I never knew why and did not want to know, but I put out the cigarette I had just lit in the ashtray, and with no anxiety or regret I never smoked another one again in my life.
It is interesting how we are only able to grasp an idea or concept only when it is framed in a paradigm that we can identify with. No one writes better about the pain of love than Marquez (read Love in the Time of Cholera). When his psychiatrist friend likened quitting smoking to the pain of giving up the person one loves, only then did he found the strength to completely walk away from his old habit.

If you have someone you love but he or she keeps on hurting you and is not deserving of your love, you have to have the courage to walk away from the relationship. And when you do, you don't turn back because the strength to do so might not come to you again.

We all have loves that we ought to kill. When the opportunity arrives, take it. Only then can one live life afresh.