Mrs Fondue

Good Swisss fondue is
Not about cheese, bread or wine.
It’s all chat and friends.

I missed one of my friends, Mrs Fondue whose face suddenly “flew around” for the past 2 months. Her number wasn’t active anymore. Called Mrs Fondue because she was the one introducing me to cheese fondue. Trying to contact people who worked around her with no result, I finally planned making cheese fondue and praying for her good.

Fondue was well served, not with the expected consistency but the taste is almost the same with my very first fondue in Cafe du Soleil.

Yet I could not enjoy this second fondue, even with air conditioner set to low temperature to bring autumn to this small living room. Still failed…. There was melancholic ambience striking me suddenly. No goosebump though 😁

The first fondue tasted greater than this. Maybe because I enjoyed it with Mrs Fondue who invited me to that “traditional” fondue cafe whose air was filled with warm laughter and greetings to the visitors.

This Mrs Fondue was an amazing yet unpopular lady, had done so much to help refugees from dangerous situation. We were amazed with what she and team did. Such a brave lady yet motherly and sweet she was!

She was a wise yet fun lady. She’s probably 15 years older than me but we could still chat like we were of the same age. Lucky to have met people like her in my life!

I’m praying for you, Mrs Fondue and family. If you are still here, I hope we still can see each other again. But if you’ve crossed the bridge, hope you’re smiling receiving my beautiful messages. Enjoy your fondue!

May all beings be happy.

You Can Read But Umm…

I can read but I
Don’t know what I read and I 
Don’t stop ‘coz I like
What I read. Sounds strange but I
Like to read hidden meaning.

Reading is fun even if you don’t know the meaning of what is read. When learning a new language with totally different structure and alphabets from what you are fluently using everyday, the excitement is there. I was so excited when first time learning writing Javanese alphabets in my childhood and I mostly knew the meaning because Javanese has been my mother tongue; while Indonesian has been second (primary) language. Then Arabic gave me the second excitement when I was around 17. And now, Japanese gives me another excitement and a taste of frustration.

Mastering language is about internalising logical thinking of a culture, the logic of a nation. Why in one particular language structure a predicate is located at the end of a sentence while in the other it is somewhere else. This frozen brain has to work hard to know how Japanese digest facts and blend them into grammar. And all the sweet apology and courtesy all over the language now make me question if they are truly kind in heart or it’s just a muscle of articulation. Forget it. Just learn and know how to use it.

The excitement is here coz I read like a kindergarten student -loud, confident but dreadfully un-melodic”. Yet I love it! Even when I had to finish the super short story Ikkyu-San in 45 minutes. I keep mixing up among ne-re-wa, i and ri, nu and me… Good heaven! (Did I mean bloody hell?) Courtesy please 😂

I also have Yotsuba! for my next. But hey, that can only be started after reading Ikkyu-San smoothly with melody. When the melody and pace are right, read more books! Then get dictionary….

My colleagues in Japan already offered their free time to chat with me in Japanese when I’m ready. When? I don’t know…. 😂

May all beings be happy.

Sharing Or Not?

At times you can share,
Others you shouldn’t. It may hurt.
Different point of view—


I haven’t shared food pics very often in Instagram since some good friends contacted and told me how hard it’s been for them to make ends meet in this pandemic.

One of them said he once had to lower down his pride by agreeing to receive a donation from Australia to feed his wife and children. Sad….

Another said to me “Oh, how nice to have time and cook whatever you wanna eat. Hope we can have that privilege.” I was shocked when she said that as what I had known she had a very good tourism business, and now I knew that she got tremendously affected by this pandemic. Tourism has been hard hit in this period of time.

Not one or two but many came to me to borrow money to survive their business. Double sad! I had to apologise and politely refused to help. Just last year I started limiting lending cash to others. Not that not trusting people but yeah I have been cheated financially by those called friends. Ya, I was stupidly generous and irresponsibly stupid 😂 It should come to an end.

So, with all those reducing showing food pictures in Instagram is the best I can do to help. It is to clear up the jealousy and also to look ordinary. People think you have much money when you eat well. They never know how hard you work for the food on the plate.

May all beings be happy.

Lovin’ Ma Bike

Lil knoz ‘bout a gal
Bikin’ crashin’ co’nut tree
Laughed and helped at once

Remembering what you did in childhood is like watching cartoon movies, entertaining and energizing. How painfully the bad time was brought to you, when recalled, it brings a good smile back to your face.


When I was a girl, I loved riding bike. Often time racing with no one just with my beloved red one, enjoying the wind as if I was the queen of the road. Old people knew I was one of the careless.

One day I took off hands from the handlebars to clap hands singing along. Stupidly… No… Excitedly! Thought I was good enough as a bike rider. So, the wind took control of the bike in high speed as we were sliding from a sloping edge. We crashed into a coconut tree in front of neighbour’s house. It was my first bloody accident in life and not the last for sure 😊 I was lucky to live in a community who believed that children of the neighbourhood were the responsibility of all…

By then bike and I always met our rescuers. Now I won’t, so I ride bike wisely…. 😁 So far only one mudguard wheel was gone because of one silly accident —an irresponsible electric scooter didn’t want to slow down and forced me to get stuck to the side of the bike way pushed us to a tree. Hope no accident anymore 👍🏽

Nothing happens for no reason. Always be happy how much ever life sprinkles bitter to your plate. Hope all become good memories when we see it from later time.

May all beings be happy.

Red Betel Vine

By red betel vine
She paints a poem through canvas
Message in a frame.

I’m romantically cheap as I can change all things into love message (to myself and the one that I care so much although secretly) to earn my own satisfaction and to calm inner storm. Gradation of emotions: heavy to light, colourful to dull, abrupt to flowing, all to serve equilibrium to what and who are dealing with me.

A betel vine in a small pot and my remembrance of red betel vines at my best friend’s backyard has drawn me to a flowing river of loving emotion that I realise existing constantly in heart.

All the leaves in my imagination turn to love that has lived generation to generation like leaves lining along the betel vine.

20% of the completion is here, already makes me overwhelmed with the deep love that I always have inside.

May all beings be happy.

Red Carnations

Through red carnations
She says goodnight, sleeps away
In his bright morning.

May you be happy in your bright morning.

Classes In Pandemic

What a given time!
Fluency and artistic test,
All measured and timed—

—-

This working from home has given me less travel time and automatically much shorter time for its preparation and unpacking etcetera. This should be well used, too as without it my sleeping disorder has caused a lot more trouble than before so I decided to take some online courses that have sprung like mushroom in rainy days.

I took some online courses in Udemy and some other course centres that offer more rigorous online courses during this pandemic. In Udemy I took massage class for baby, root cause analysis, project management, and so on and so forth — those are done independently, just read and listen to some lectures and do some test with or without certificates. The other two are language classes: Japanese and Arabic.

Why do I chose those courses? All that I took are all that I need.

Ayurvedic massage for baby? Don’t laugh! I am inspired by Yu Yat, my late baby sitter and “second mother”. She was the one taking care of me since I was a red baby until I reached 12 years old before I could take care of myself, while my parents were extremely busy as civil servants. In her late life my baby sitter continued her mother’s professional legacy as a baby masseuse – Javanese baby massage. I visited her everyday whenever I spent holiday in mother’s home. Seeing her handle the babies was my favourite and I told her that I wanted to be a baby masseuse like her and she said “You can but why do you have to? You have a very good job and you might not have time to do it.” She was right and it was forgotten for so many years but inspiration never dies – and so I took an online class. I plan to practice it when visiting my mother’s town after pandemic, Yu Yat’s sister in law continues the profession so I can “borrow one client baby”. Hope it is a success. Who knows I can be a baby masseuse in my retirement time. Yay!

The other classes are all things related to my jobs, I am “sharpening my claws”. Wicked lady! Haha!

And the language classes? I need them to better the quality of life. Japanese? I do communicate with Japanese whose English is mostly not up to my par — not all but most. The way they express their idea in English has either confused or annoyed me. And when I interacted with those guys I found at times they were laughing at me – bloody hell I don’t like to be laughed, men! I checked with the people working for me yes those men were laughing at me not to underestimate me but just because they don’t feel easy with a woman being so authoritative and open. Oh my! What is a female employee supposed to do at work differently from the male? Washing their coffee mugs or polishing their shoes? So I promised that I will at least understand Japanese and know when they laugh at me so that I can scold at them. 😁 No, no, I just want to make my conversation with them at ease. Japanese men are the most insecure male creature I’ve ever met on earth so I understand why they behave like s***** people sometimes. And, who knows I can write my first haiku in its original language someday? Yay!

Arabic language? I did learn for two years when I was young and I think I still need it so I am not cheated with wrong conception of religious thought. I have to know what the book is exactly saying as the translated version of Quran (into other languages) is never pure translation, they are all interpretation that have driven the reader to a certain opinion that will lead people to irresponsible actions at times. So with one of my best friends I took an online course. We both always want to be free thinkers with basis! Not much target – intermediate level is ok.

One more to go…. I want to join Jewelry making course and Asian herb course. Maybe I can make Jewelry and herbal drinks when I retire later.

I am so thankful that I’ve got time to develop myself in such a way. I’m not happy with this pandemic though, please don’t get me wrong….

But yeah, sometimes I juggle with the homework of the language classes. The teachers are killers! 😁

May all beings be happy….

Bengawan Solo – favourite

This song is one of those in my top rack! Nothing can beat Bengawan Solo. God bless you, Pak Gesang.

When a baby is born, s/he is “accompanied” by placenta. In Javanese culture the placenta should be either buried in the home where the baby will stay in his/her first 40 days or floated to the sacred river, both with sacred small ceremony. Mine was floated (larung in local language) in Bengawan Solo, the longest river in beloved Java island. If you Google “Bengawan Solo”, you’ll find a Singaporean bakery – hell yeah! Not making me much happy as that phrase has lost its authenticity. I’m not so upset though as at least I have a favourite place to buy “traditional Javanese cakes” (some claimed as Peranakan though – never mind anyone can claim anything with power) at the same time relating it to my favourite song and where “my brother placenta” was floated.

I miss the land where I can smile to anyone without being called weird…. My dear Java island.

I found some versions hitting the mood so damn gracefully! Enjoy.

May you all be happy.

I Miss Office

Do you miss office
Where sadness is forgotten
And turned to life goal?

I was granted a 1-day access to my dear office and the feel was so great, almost like first day joining the company. The excitement was so real. I scanned the badge for the first time again since March when the circuit breaker was applied due to the pandemic. Thanks to a special task that I was allowed to work in office from 8am to 5:30pm.

Covid-19 counter measure is everywhere: notices, labels, stickers of social distancing, number of meeting participant in a room, no eating and meeting only, don’t use this seat, stand here around elevator doors and other doors where people possibly queue, temperature checking, barcode scanning, etc. It is so different as if entering a new place esp with some renovation going on and new products photos on the walls. Indeed refreshing and mood boosting after some months of distance from it.

Although I didn’t work at my work station this time, I didn’t miss the chance to visit the desk at a corner. A small desk with some small stuff, vase for flowers or plants, hello kitty to hug when it is too cold, a plaque from the leader, and a cape to wrap the body (also when it is cold).

I wish to be back to office. Early next year? Not sure but staying one day there has been a good time that gives me reasons to stay excited about humble life.

May all beings be happy.

Prayer For Ancestors – ranting

I’ve been told to pray for the ancestors, overall those in the family tree who have been deceased. We will trace back from my late father to his parents to his parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not and trace back from my mother’s parents to her parents’ parents, up above to the very first regardless traceable or not.

In old Javanese tradition people will do the prayer for ancestors in a simple yet sacred ritual – while some people will go to the graveyard or monument to do it, many are doing it at home. No altar, put thing on your table and pray.

However, four components shall be thoughtfully prepared: the day, the prayer, the food, drink, and (sometimes) cigarettes, and the flowers. Each of those has meaning.

As a reminder, here is the meaning. Please don’t quote me as my knowledge is the result of my personal contemplation mixed with very limited knowledge that I read and hear from many sources.

Chosen Days
All days are good, all time is precious. We are the one giving them meaning by putting some more attention and creating the moment on particular days. So choosing the day is a decision to give meaning to particular time so that it becomes a beautiful moment that boost our mood to connect with our beloved and respected members “above”. The day you are born must be your favourite day.

People will do it at night; many choose to do it at Thursday night before Friday morning breaks, others choose to do it on the day they are born (Sunday to Saturday combined with one of the Javanese 5 days. which is Paing, Pon, Wage, Kliwon and Legi — so if you combine, it can be Thursday Kliwon, Tuesday Legi, etc which are astrologically calculated in a very complicated system. Don’t ask me further about Javanese astrology – I’m zero!

By the way, people traditionally do the ritual ancestor prayer once in 35-40 days or on special dates/occasions but nowadays most people do it twice in a year: around Ramadan and in Javanese new year (lunar calendar). Me? Don’t ask…. 😂

Prayers
To me chanted prayer is a set of (poetic and romantic) line to synchronise the emotions through all senses with the inner self by focusing on what are uttered or sung. Chanted prayer improves concentration. It helps achieve the oneness within self. So, make sure you understand what you are saying in the prayer. Otherwise, you become a talking parrot.

In Javanese old tradition people recite some “tembang” the Javanese songs which reflect wishes and philosophical thought. Young Javanese used to be taught how to sing those songs in elementary school but now that lesson has gone from the formal education and replaced by popular music lesson as a result of modern culture massively affecting and marginalising the local potential.

While Dhandhanggula verses are commonly chosen to be sung softly by those who are good enough to be heard by the wind and human beings — oh please excuse my out of tune; other Javanese songs (Mocopat) can be the alternatives. People can only use the tembang’s tones or tones and verses. There is no rigid rule for that.

Some others will use Quranic verses containing universal prayers — Javanese culture has been merged and amalgamated with many different religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and strongly with Islam) and so Quranic verses are inserted or substituting some items in the culture. Many will choose QS Yaasiin allegedly the “heart of Quran” or QS Arrahman that contains a lot of heavenly joy to reflect our prayers that all ancestors’ souls are living in heaven. Many people also use QS Alfatihah allegedly the “mother of the Book” or the “mother of Quran” which is much shorter than the other two.

Why Quran is used in many aspects of Javanese? There is a lot of synchronicity between Javanese thinking tradition (Kejawen) with the Islam spirituality (Sufi) and that has developed mutual functionality between those traditions.

If you live in Java island especially central to eastern part of the island for just a while (one week maybe), ou will shift understanding about the Islam which you might have perceived as a rigid teaching originated from Arab land. Islam in Java is different at an almost extreme level of characteristics from Arabian culture. No, no I don’t hate Arab or the “Arabian Islam”, I just don’t want people to wrongly think that all muslims are rigid and narrow minded just by some wrongly-defined teaching or hatred-based perception made by some irresponsible Orientalists. Please don’t judge my language. I don’t mean anything but “Islam isn’t like what you think it is, You should travel more to know more.” Ok, I rest my case.

The other group will just say nothing at all, their prayers are uttered silently in the secret language that can only be understood by those praying.

What do we pray for? We pray for the joy of ancestors’ soul — I myself like to whisper in English “Dear beloved and respected Ancestors, may you be living peacefully in the heart of green birds in heaven. May you be blessed with good sight of seeing us remembering and praying for you. May you be greeting us too when we realise that we exist after and through you.” Then we pray for our own selves — whatever good prayer we want to chant. What is good prayer? My goodness, any prayer for your happiness and success! 😊

Semar – a character in Javanese shadow puppet whose prayer is always “thank you” for all given by Life. Many Javanese idolise him for his humble yet respected life.

Preparation of Drink and Food
If you know ancestors’ favourite drink and food, prepare them. If not, take your most favourite and remember to always prepare the best ones.

I never know what my ancestors’ favourite food but I know my father loved “kue lapis” – that with layers of coloured rice cake. So kue lapis is always there accompanied by others.

And the beverage is always kopi tubruk and teh tubruk because those two types are the favourite of all in Javanese tradition. Kopi tubruk is plain brewed ground coffee – we don’t filter it, no strainer no no, some people let the coffee powder settle at the bottom of the cup but some will drink the black black coffee with some coffee paste in it, and don’t forget sugar! Teh tubruk is the other one: you just throw dried tea leaves into a cup, pour boiled water, let the leaves drown down, then sip it up with or no sugar!

Cigarettes? I am sorry, dear Ancestors. Smoking isn’t healthy as cigarettes nowadays are made of those hazardous chemicals that will harm your health. So, please excuse this decision. 😁

Yummy! My mother said I am not supposed to eat it after the prayer, but I do….
Good “kopi tubruk” and “teh tubruk” for the beloved and respected ancestors

Flowers
What flowers are used? The key is always “what’s you ancestors’ favourite?” As I am not sure what my ancestors’ favourite flowers, I just refer to what flowers are commonly used in the tradition. Jasmine, rose, ylangylang and magnolia alba are the ones. As I could only find rose then rose it is! I plan to use sunflower, lily or orchid next time as they re my fave!

Why flower? Flower is always associated with fragrance. Fragrance symbolises the good deeds that were dedicated by our ancestors in their life time that will be eternally carved as a sacred key to connect with their bloodline. It also symbolises our good deeds to connect with ancestors. Only when we do our good deed and preserve ancestors’ good deeds, will we connect strongly with the powerful blessings from ancestors.

Being a modern human being should not stop me from remembering that I can only exist with “the good heart and help” of those up above the branches and trunk in a family tree. Hey, we might be a part of a giant family tree – Homo Sapiens whose ancestors are the same. So, next time I’ll probably pray for everyone’s ancestors.

May all beings be happy.

Temasek, Oct. 29, 2020 / 00:44

Remember Her

Relationship pattern changes over time and so does the way children relate with their parents. Although we are far away from each other, always remember the precious role of our parents especially mother. Oh anyway, I was closer to father. As he passed away, I become close to mother.

Dear Self, at least say hi through online chat or video call. Sending her the picture of our lunch would be a good sign that we are ok. Never let her worry about us, no matter what.

Self Love Or Selfish?

Self love or selfish?
A striking question to me
From me about me.
The answer hangs up the call
Coming from behind my head.


—


Singapore, October 26, 2020 - 9:45pm

Arid Land, His Heart

I never want to hurt myself, I just didn’t know who you are.
I got hurt by a cactus in a desert
Who pricks little fingers,
Who just want to touch this life softly,
Not hurting, not taking anything away.


Wounded, I decided to blame stupidity:
Why did I have to have to have to have to have to just touch cacti? I should have left that arid land long before I touched a prickly spirit.


A delayed regret is less important than a lesson learned but it always gives a story the most significant pivot.


Now
I’ll just admire from here
From where I stand
With millions of prayers
For a secret journey.
Yet I know you are a ghost days and nights.


Someday when I pour down the rain,
You’ll know.
Love is as sweet as water in drought—
Maybe—
If it is not late....

May all beings be happy.

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