Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kindness is 15th Century's Vocabulary? I guess not.

If you see a stranger who looks very lost, will you bother to ask him "Hi, How can I help you?" or "Are you looking for a place?"

Everyone, this is Singapore; a place where you find people are not very comfortable talking to strangers, a place where people find it strange if someone asks for direction. Yes, I am sure some of you have experienced how difficult it is to be in one new place which you don't know, especially for someone with limited knowledge of Mandarin like me.

However, yesterday, I found one of some few exceptions. I went to NUS alone for the first time. I was supposed to be heading to Prince George's Park residences there. I took bus number 95 as suggested by the MRT passenger service officer, but the bus driver is not very familiar with places in NUS. So I basically was lost in the bus...

A lady approached me. From her accent, I can guess that she is an Indian national studying at NUS. She asked me where I will be heading, and told me the way to reach there.

I was totally impressed. I guess kindness is not 15th century's vocabulary. It still exists until now!

Today, I went to Jurong Point to eat. When I queued, I saw someone before me who looked very pale. He and his friend talked in Mandarin, and if I guessed correctly (I never say my Mandarin is up to standard), they didn't bring enough money to pay for the noodle. They asked the lady seller to reduce the serving size so it's worth $3.6 instead of $4 (as written there). However, the lady seller didn't want to and asked them to take money from ATM Machine which is at the first level (the kopitiam is at level 3). I was there, so I just told them "Hey, this is 40 cents for you."

They were sooo relieved, didn't expect there will be a kind samaritan there. I know 40 cents is nothing, but if I were in their situation, I would be quite panicked also.

Who says kindness only means giving million-dollar cheque to Charity organization? Sometimes, we can do kind act by asking people "hey, where are you going? you look lost" or just giving 40 cents to people. Yes, sometimes 40 cents is what it takes.... and some courage to help definitely.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Short Story: Rose, My Rose

I met her one month before I was 18, and she was 20. My birthday is on 6 April, and hers, 7 April.

And yes, I love older women. They are sexier and more knowledgeable.

We have a common friend whose birthday is on 5 March, and we just planned to go to the party together. I was single back then, and she had just broken up with her boyfriend.

"Do I look fat in this dress?" She asked me.

"No, you look.. ehmm... okayy..!" I told her. Yes, it's not my type to praise a girl, maybe that's why I am not popular among girls.

"What do you mean by okay?"

"Ohh... okay means, you are presentable... "

"Hmm... I see. Maybe this dress is too simple for me." She was trying to go upstair again to change her dress. Oh Shit I thought, it's going to be forever.

"NOOO... You look perfect, you are just beautiful."

Then her eyes turned SOOO BIG like she saw 1 million dollars, no, 1 billion.

"REALLY??? Thanks, you are so sweet."

GF101 Lesson number 1: Girls like to be praised.


Anyway, who cares. What I cared is ... we were late. That's all.


After the party, people started to gossip whether we were an item. Okay, she is beautiful with a bit of make-up, not the smartest person on earth but she is not going to open her mouth to say "Is Europe a country?" like Catherine McPhee or "I have been to London but never been to England" like Paris Hilton, and the best part is... she is low maintenance. You see, as a student, I don't have 2,000 dollars per-month to buy her cosmetics, to have dinner at expensive restaurant, or such. I am a student, and that word explains everything.

Yup, and finally, we were really together. No party, no expensive dinner, just signing a contract...

I, Benny Pandowo, hereby will treat Rose Edward with respect, love, care, and justice.

I, Rose Edward, hereby will treat Benny Pandowo with respect, love, care, and justice.

I know, the word "justice" seems inappropriate, but that's not my choice (so we know whose.)

We were dating like normal couple. Calling, cuddling, sitting together, eating together, giving each other a morning call, so normal, nothing special.

And as we had all predicted, we were b.o.r.e.d


GF101 Lesson number 2: In a relationship, doing the same thing all the time just won't do the job.

We finally asked each other, do you still love me. Of course I DID. She has been my other half for so long and I can't imagine having to live without her, like the song "Can't live without you!" ... I mean, I can live without you of course, but that just doesn't seem to be very nice. Got it?

She started to write in her blog... "Am I with the wrong person." and "I am getting tired. This relationship is going nowhere." And we started to think that calling each other is a waste of time, money, effort, and energy.

Until one day, we made a consensus, we were gonna take a break for... 15 minutes. No, I mean 15 days. If nothing seems to be different during those days, it means, there's no point to continue this relationship, and we promised to each other that we were going to be very honest with our feeling.

Day 3: I wrote in my MSN nick "No girl, no problem!" and she said "I am FREEEEEEEEEE..."

Day 5: I wrote a joke in my blog "7 reasons why having cats is better than having a girlfriend." and she wrote in her blog "I used to think that lesbians are hopeless, but now I can understand why. "

I MISSED her like crazy, but I am a guy, and guys have high pride. So I remained silent.

Day 9: She wrote in her MSN nick "6 days to go for real happiness" and I wrote in mine "whatever..."

I was getting mad... She is too much! I can't afford to lose her!

Day 14: She wrote in her friendster shoutbox "I was lying" and I wrote in mine "God has forgiven you. Go and don't sin anymore."

Day 15: ...

I was on the way to go to my class, but I felt a very strong urge to open my mailbox.... and I found a letter.

Dear Benny,
I am dying. I used to think we are not meant to be a couple. But just to let you know, I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU. Not a single day. I love you so much.

Love, kiss, hug
Rose

And I saw the date... 25 March 2006, means, just 5 days after our break period! I called her and we burst on tears... on the phone.

It was 6 April 2006. That's the best birthday present I have ever received in my whole life. I was 22 back then, and she was 24, minus 1 day.


GF101 Lesson number 3: Girls can be noisy, demanding, irritating, unreasonable, or anything... but we guys still love them anyway.

It has been 5 years after our marriage, and every time I told her "I need a break.", She said "Let's see how long can it be.. " and she is right, I absolutely can't live without her.

- The End -




Disclaimer:
In real life, the author is not married, yet. He is going to be 22 soon, more handsome than ever, (sadly) still single and sometimes available :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Be Obedient - What a story!

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Hmm.. sound familiar? Read more please.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the devil decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man's weary mind "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn't budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it." This gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough." And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

"Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?

Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants is just simple obedience and faith in Him.... By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves the mountains. You just P.U.S.H.!



When everything seems to go wrong,... P.U.S.H.!

When the job gets you down,... P.U.S.H.!

When people don't react the way you think they should,... P.U.S.H.!

When you want to curse them out for whatever the reason,... P.U.S.H.!

When people just don't understand you,... P.U.S.H.!



P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jokes.. jokes.. and more jokes!!!


Jokes of Teacher and Student

Teacher: “Where were u born?”

Student: “Singapore, Sir.”

Teacher: “Which part?”

Student: “All of me, Sir.”

*****

A teacher was asking her class: “What is the difference between ‘unlawful’ and ‘illegal’?”

Only one hand shot up.

“Ok, answer, Joan,” said the teacher.

“‘unlawful’ is when u do something the law doesn’t allow and ‘ill-egal’ is a sick eagle… Sir.”

*****

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.

MARIA: Here it is!

TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?

CLASS: Maria!

*****

TEACHER: Why are you late, Frank?

FRANK: Because of the sign.

TEACHER: What sign?

FRANK: The one that says, “School Ahead, Go Slow.”

*****

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?

JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables!

*****

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell “crocodile?”

GLENN: K-R-O-K-O-D-A-I-L”

TEACHER: No, that’s wrong

GLENN: Maybe it s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it!

*****

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?

DONALD: H I J K L M N O!!

TEACHER: What are you talking about?

DONALD: Yesterday you said it’s H to O!

*****

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago.

WINNIE: Me!

*****

TEACHER: Goss, why do you always get so dirty?

GOSS: Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.

*****

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with “I”.

MILLIE: I is…

TEACHER: No, Millie… Always say, “I am.”

MILLIE: All right… “I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.”

*****

TEACHER: Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?

TINO: Sir, my Mother and Father got married on the same day, same time.”

*****

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree, but also admitted doing it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?”

LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand.

*****

TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?

SIMON: No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook.

*****

TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on “My Dog” is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?

CLYDE: No, teacher, it’s the same dog!

*****

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?

HAROLD: A teacher.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Reflection

This post is available in bahasa Indonesia as well.

I have just come back from Easter Vigil mass. The choir was awesome and whole mass was just amazing. That's not the point of Easter though.

In this year's Easter, I reflect on 2 things:

1. Why do I attend mass every week?

A catholic mass usually is a 1-hour mass, and the format is always the same every time. So, we can say that the only thing that varies from one mass with the other is the content of the homily (sermon).

So, sometimes I ask myself, why should I bother to attend mass, and not just reading bible at home, or listening to some sermon in youtube or such?

I know this is not the most ideal answer, but I come to a reflection like this.
There's a story when a rich landlord has 2 children. Unlike other landlord's children who usually can enjoy their childhood in a luxurious lifestyle, those 2 children have to work hard in the landlord's corn field every single day. When his neighbours asked him, why he can be so cruel with his children, because he definitely doesn't need the corn that much. He answered... "Friend, I am not raising corn. I am raising children." He doesn't really need the corn, but he still does the process so as to educate the children the importance of hardwork, resilience, etc.

Same with Sunday mass, God wants us to be faithful. God wants us to be very clear with our priority. He wants to be the number one in our life. Every Sunday morning, we can choose to laze around. We can choose to do unfinished office work. However, God wants us to choose the most important of all, to unite ourselves with our creator, God. If we can't even have discipline to attend 1-hour mass every Sunday, I don't think we can we trusted with bigger responsibilities.


2. Baptism

I don't have privilege to be born in a Catholic family. So, I get my catholic education from school, and by choice, decided to be baptized when I was 13. Sometimes I envy my friends who can go to church every Sunday with their whole family, something that I have never experienced, even on the day when I was baptized (none of my parents attended my baptism).

In the mass I attended just now, I saw some parents who were very happy to see their children to be baptized. I can see the joy in their eyes.

I pray to God everyday that my parents can be baptized before they die. I long to the day when I smile while congratulating my mom and dad "Mom, Dad, congratz for the baptism. God bless you." I have faith that day will come.

Happy Easter everyone!! I pray that this year's Easter can be a great blessing to all of you. God bless you always.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

We Are The World (best song ever)

What masterpiece would be created if some of the greatest voices of all time sing together in a song? I would say this song is the best song I've ever heard in my entire life.

Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, and many more. Be ENTERTAINED. BE BLOWN AWAY. This song deserves a 10 out of 10.


Feeling gloomy? Watch this.

Good Friday Reflection


For the Indonesian version, please click here

Today, we Christians celebrate Good Friday, a day when Jesus died on the cross. Everytime I reflect on the scriptures, I am reminded that I am indeed very lucky. Jesus died because of our sins, so we sinners can be saved.

Sometimes I commit sin; so often that I am too ashamed to face God. I am afraid that God will be too angry with me and He will not forgive my sin. I am not saying that God is alright with our sins. He is angry, and disappointed if we, His children commit sin, no matter how small it is. However, He asked us to CONFESS our sins honestly (why must we lie, He knows every single detail of them). And He wants us to move on, and don't sin anymore. No matter how terrible our sin is, He will forgive us.

If you're not convinced with that, you can look at Luke 23:43. When two criminals who have sinned A LOT were crucified together with sinless Jesus, one of the criminals said to his friend who mocked Jesus "we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." and said to Jesus "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

Do you know what Jesus said to him? He said "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

I have encountered that sentence so many times before, but that saying by Jesus never fails to amaze me. Jesus never said to the repenting criminal "Hmm... I think you have repented. BUT too bad!! You have done too much sins, so I can't help you." or "Well, you maybe go to heaven, but I am not very sure." Instead, He ASSURES the criminal that he will be going to paradise with Him.

God bless you all!

Note: this writing is the author's understanding of the bible passage. Because the author does not have any theology background, he might slightly misinterpret the passage. If you understand the bible better than him, please feel free to correct or comment it. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Thank God You're Here" Rocks!!!

Want to know how well someone can act in an impromptu scene, without any script whatsoever?
This TV show just made my day (fine, my night)! Some people are just blessed with fantastic acting skill.







This show is SOOO good that even non-English speaking countries like Indonesia copy that. Watch it if you understand Indonesian!

I have a new blog, in Indonesian :)

YUP!!!! Check it out http://bennypandowo.blogspot.com/

That blog is written in informal Indonesian (well, if you refer "formal" as the language for legislation purpose or such, then it IS informal then), but using proper words. I can write and speak in perfect Indonesian (or English) if I want to ... but again, it's back to the purpose of my writing, which is unfortunately, there is something called - too much.

Thanks for visiting the blog. Terima Kasih :)

This is MY blog, this is MY LEGACY.

As some of you might have noticed, I have quited from one of the leading Singapore bloggers' forums, and I don't visit that website anymore.

Looking back, the reason why I joined that website is bcoz I wanted to share my thoughts, my little knowledge (if you want to call it knowledge), or whatever inside my brain to people outside.

HOWEVER, as soon as I joined that website, I changed my style of writing a lot. In the past, I used to write just-about-everything in my mind, without the need to ask "will anyone be interested to read this??". BUT, after joined that website, I become like a professional writer, in the sense, I must keep asking myself about that question... which I must say, very sad.

Now, I can write freely, and I don't care whether people will read or not (But I believe, some of you will still read it even though it's getting boring.)

This is MY blog, this is MY LEGACY.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

bursting in tears..

.. and here I am, bursting in tears.
As fragile as leaves...
I used to think that I am very strong, and I refuse to cry no matter how painful it is. In my pray, I told God, "God, thank you for making me so strong. I am alright God" but God told me, "No Benny, you are not alright, Cry.. Cry it out. I am here."
And I am crying... "God, sorry, I am a failure..." but God answered me "Everybody fails, my son. Nevertheless, I still love you."
I cry... and cry... this is me Lord, with all my pride, and weakness. With all my sins and failures.
Here I am my Lord, Jesus Christ. Thanks for not judging me like everybody, thanks for accepting me as I am, and thanks for being with me when I feel that life is hopeless, that I am useless.
Forgive me Lord whenever I feel like suiciding.. I promise Lord, I will live and die according to your will, and I will serve you Lord.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I finally WIN a lucky draw !!!! After TEN YEARS!! =)

I finally win a BMW 7-Series......... NO LAH! A pair of NTU CAC Impresario tickets worth a cool $24! *WHOAA SO COOL AH!!!!* Fine. That's not much, but still... please congratulate this super unlucky person for (finally) win something after 10 years (!!!)

The last time I won something was when I was 12 years old, just 5 days before my birthday, and I got a... birthday cake!

The funny thing is... to get those tickets, I never send any contest whatsoever. Suddenly, an Email reached my Inbox saying that I win that contest... ehemm.

And the worst part is, I couldn't go bcoz I have more important thing to attend which is my HEAVENLY 2-HOUR NAP SESSION!!! I think if you can take nap 2 hours a day, you are among 2% of luckiest persons on earth! (no statistics to prove that though =P)

Very lazy lah to go there to watch Impresario or what... I can easily watch American Idol, only about 20 steps away from my cosy room. I have also asked around to give away those pity tickets, but noone wants them! Maybe they will watch if I were among the finalists of that impresario. With this voice quality of mine, I think they will need to wait at least 50 years before that happens if I practise 6 hours a day with Josh Groban as my teacher.