SUDDENLY MY HOMETOWN’S MORE FAMOUS THAN EVER…

It’s not a surprise to read some piece of local news on local newspapers that mentions Kudus as its background or crime scene. Today is however quite different . What a real surprise to read one of the bold printed headlines on the frontmost page of a local newspaper – wawasan-my father subscribes to. It read there “Warga Kudus dan Kendal jadi DPO Densus”. While I was dropping my jaw, I scrutinized the whole news fervently and found some shocking facts. What the hell is this???

I know now why some people say “you’ll never believe in something until it happens before your eyes”! How on earth is there a suspect of terrorist coming from this so-called religious, tranquil town like Kudus? An unbelievably bitter fact, if the police’s allegation is true.

The wanted culprit is Bagus Budi Pranoto, aged 31. Like other terrorists fugitive chase classic stories, the suspect was known as a decent man, having no flaws as a society member. Pranoto’s childhood pal, Mbarsidi, remembered Pranoto as a student with a relatively nice personality and an easy learner. There was no indication of mischief or any deviant behaviors or way of thinking. Therefore, the whole neighborhood is wondering and guessing whether the allegation is true or not.

 

Bagus was raised by his parents at a village called Mijen (which is only a few kilometers from my seat where I’m typing this post now!). He was known as a recidivist as years before he was detained for being accused of concealing Dr. Azhari and Noordin (our most frequently mentioned man in Indonesia these days).

 

Isman, Pranoto’s father was continually complaining about the accusation effect on his family members. As a parent, Isman naturally wanted the negation for his dear son’s involvement in a series of terror actions and plans thus far. He doesn’t see his son quite often as Pranoto is living somewhere out of town and married a Solo origin woman who usually wears chador.
Suddenly…I feel like I could sense and feel the breath of terror phantom nearer than I thought before. So a tickling question crossed in my mind, “Has Noordin M. Top once passed me somewhere but I wasn’t completely aware of?” Hmmm…wish I could run into him again and report his whereabout so I could win the prize the police have promised!

NAMES OF COUNTRIES

There are some differences you can notice between the Latin and Korean pronunciation and spelling. This is as the result of some sounds absence. In other words, they’re not PERFECTLY represented by any hangeul characters. Sounds like /f/, /z/ and /v/ can’t be found here, and as a surrogate we may use ㅍ, ㅈ and ㅂ.
Listed below are names of countries in Korean (나라- country):

  1. 인도네시아 (Indonesia)
  2. 싱가포르 (Singapore)
  3. 말레이시아 (Malaysia)
  4. 태국 (Thailand)
  5. 라오스 (Laos)
  6. 미얀마 (Myanmar)
  7. 브루나이 (Brunai)
  8. 필리핀 (the Philiphines)
  9. 인도 (India)
  10. 베트남 (Vietnam)
  11. 방글라데시 (Bangladesh)
  12. 중국 (China)
  13. 한국 (Korea)
  14. 일본 (Japan)
  15. 러시아 (Russia)
  16. 몽골 (Mongolia)
  17. 미국 (the US)
  18. 영국 (England)
  19. 프랑스 (France)
  20. 사우디 아라비아 (Saudi Arabia)
  21. 이집트 (Egypt)
  22. 멕시코 (Mexico)
  23. 브라질 (Brazil)
  24. 캐나다 (Canada)
  25. 호주 (Australia)
  26. 파키스탄 (Pakistan)
  27. 아프가 니스탄 (Afganistan)
  28. 이란 (Iran)
  29. 이라크 (Iraq)
  30. 이스라엘 (Israel)
  31. 팔레스타인 (Palestine)
  32. 이탈리아 (Italy)
  33. 스페인 (Spain)

These are names of continents and places other than countries:

  • 아시아 (Asia)
  • 유럽 (Europe)
  • 아메리카 (America)
  • 아프리카 (Africa)
  • 북극 (Arctic/ North Pole)
  • 남극 (Antarctic/ South Pole)
So, now you can answer the questions like what I listed below easily.
Question: 저는 어느나라사람 입니까? (Which country’s citizen are you?)
Answer : 저는 …… 사람 입니다. (I’m ….. )
Question : 어디에서 왔어요? (Where’re you from?)
Answer  : ….. 에서 왔어요.(I’m from….)


Happy practicing , guys!

TIPS ON PURCHASING NETBOOKS

I happened to watch a talkshow on Metro TV. Some men were fervently discussing about how to purchase a good netbook.  “Hmmm, think I gotta watch this…”. Then I texted someone to watch it, as I know he’s longed for a notebook since forever but his budget doesn’t permit. He writes a lot  and pursues a dream of being an accomplished and wealthy author like J. K. Rowling. So I think buying a netbook is the best solution for him. It was Monday morning and he replied my text saying, “You know I love my bulky desktop, coz I can’t afford to buy a notebook. desktop isn’t portable but at the very least it’s financially friendly to me….” I was wondering whether he had hangover that morning or heavily drunk or just woke up and texted me back while regaining consciousness. I replied patiently, ” Netbook…not notebook. They’re different, dude”.

Onto business, let’s take a look at its specifications:

  • smaller size, lighter weight
  • armed with Intel Atom processor
  • no optical drive (external DVD writer sold separately; approx. costs IDR 700,000)
  • 3G built-in modem
  • slots: USB ports, bluetooth
  • webcam (resolution ranging from 0.3 to 1.3 MP)
  • screen diagonal: 7′-10′
  • office softwares ready
  • Wi-Fi
  • more affordable prices (starting from IDR 3 million)
  • battery (3 cells-3hours/ 6 cells-6 hours)

Some say the down economy we’re experiencing now has triggered the skyrocketing fame of netbooks among users. Forget the space consuming desktop, or the unaffordable, wide and heavy laptop, since netbooks provide you the ease of mobility. The competitive pricing of netbooks positively contributes to the potential buyers’ shift of opinion. The second notebook market is gradually losing its edge simply because buying a brand new gadget is easier than selecting second hand notebooks. Unlike buying a new good, you have to sweat just to compare one to another, and maybe make a little, not-so-profound research about the specs. It’s time consuming! With IDR 3 million ready in your hand, you can grab a netbook produced by local manufacturers.
Some flaws we must be aware of are the less user friendly recovery method (with the absence of DVD writer, inserting driver CD is impossible), lower quality and non-upgradable feature of VGA (which makes gaming is less convenient), separately sold hardwares (modem and DVD writer, which means more burden on budget!).
The invited experts also suggested some tips to maintain netbook performance and lengthen its durability.
  • avoid over-charging: never leave your netbook (and notebook or any electronic devices you have) recharged and connected to the power supply longer than necessary. Unplug as soon as the battery is fully recharged. You save earth by saving energy and save your dear device too, at the same time.
  • buy a thicker softcase: in case you drop your netbook, the thick softcase may absorb the shock that may result in netbook’s failure to work properly.
  • make sure it’s turned off: always make sure your netbook is off when you keep it in the softcase because the heat resulted by the netbook may destruct the components.

TIPS ON PURCHASING NETBOOKS

I happened to watch a talkshow on Metro TV. Some men were fervently discussing about how to purchase a good netbook.  “Hmmm, think I gotta watch this…”. Then I texted someone to watch it, as I know he’s longed for a notebook since forever but his budget doesn’t permit. He writes a lot  and pursues a dream of being an accomplished and wealthy author like J. K. Rowling. So I think buying a netbook is the best solution for him. It was Monday morning and he replied my text saying, “You know I love my bulky desktop, coz I can’t afford to buy a notebook. desktop isn’t portable but at the very least it’s financially friendly to me….” I was wondering whether he had hangover that morning or heavily drunk or just woke up and texted me back while regaining consciousness. I replied patiently, ” Netbook…not notebook. They’re different, dude”.

Onto business, let’s take a look at its specifications:

  • smaller size, lighter weight
  • armed with Intel Atom processor
  • no optical drive (external DVD writer sold separately; approx. costs IDR 700,000)
  • 3G built-in modem
  • slots: USB ports, bluetooth
  • webcam (resolution ranging from 0.3 to 1.3 MP)
  • screen diagonal: 7′-10′
  • office softwares ready
  • Wi-Fi
  • more affordable prices (starting from IDR 3 million)
  • battery (3 cells-3hours/ 6 cells-6 hours)

Some say the down economy we’re experiencing now has triggered the skyrocketing fame of netbooks among users. Forget the space consuming desktop, or the unaffordable, wide and heavy laptop, since netbooks provide you the ease of mobility. The competitive pricing of netbooks positively contributes to the potential buyers’ shift of opinion. The second notebook market is gradually losing its edge simply because buying a brand new gadget is easier than selecting second hand notebooks. Unlike buying a new good, you have to sweat just to compare one to another, and maybe make a little, not-so-profound research about the specs. It’s time consuming! With IDR 3 million ready in your hand, you can grab a netbook produced by local manufacturers.
Some flaws we must be aware of are the less user friendly recovery method (with the absence of DVD writer, inserting driver CD is impossible), lower quality and non-upgradable feature of VGA (which makes gaming is less convenient), separately sold hardwares (modem and DVD writer, which means more burden on budget!).
The invited experts also suggested some tips to maintain netbook performance and lengthen its durability.
  • avoid over-charging: never leave your netbook (and notebook or any electronic devices you have) recharged and connected to the power supply longer than necessary. Unplug as soon as the battery is fully recharged. You save earth by saving energy and save your dear device too, at the same time.
  • buy a thicker softcase: in case you drop your netbook, the thick softcase may absorb the shock that may result in netbook’s failure to work properly.
  • make sure it’s turned off: always make sure your netbook is off when you keep it in the softcase because the heat resulted by the netbook may destruct the components.

Expressions: Introduction and Describing Ourselves

It’s so hilarious to watch the scene when Han Ji-Eun is introducing herself to Lee Yeong-Jae’s grandmom. The old lady is so demanding and ,like any other elderly parents, looks intimidating to our timid heroine. Hahaha…The grandma complains when Ji-Eun only nods her head when greeting the elderly, so she wanted Ji-Eun to take a bow (called “chol”). Ji-Eun says, “안녕 하세요, 한지은 이라고 합니다” (Good morning, my name’s Han Ji-Eun).Han Ji-Eun does this in a very awkward way and makes me laugh at once.
There are some phrases or gambits Korean natives use to use introduce themselves. Here you can see there are two alternatives that we may use according to level of politeness and formality. If you ask using a sentence with -까, it means you ask in a formal and polite way. Ending -다 is used in the end of formal statement/ positive sentence. Next, 요 indicates a closer relationship between speakers, and may be used both in interrogatives and positive sentences.



이름이 뭐십니까?/이름이 뭐예요?
(i-reum-i mweo-sim-ni-ka?/i-reum-i mweo-ye-yo?)
What’s your name?


제 이름은 ……… 입니다/ ……(이) 라고 합니다.
(je i-reum-eun ….im-ni-da/….(i) ra-go ham-ni-da)
My name’s …..


예(formal)/네(common)/녜(less common)
(ye/ne/nye)
Yes


아니요/아니오/아니야/이니
(a-ni-yo/a-ni-o/a-ni-ya/a-ni)
No


어디서 왔어요?
(eo-di-seo wass-eo-yo?)
Where’re you from?


…… 에서 왔어요.
(…..e-seo wass-eo-yo)
I’m from ….


한국 에 계신지 얼마나 되셨어요?
(Han-guk-e gye-sin-ji eol-ma-na dwe-syeoss-eo-yo?)
How long have you been in Korea?


한국 에 온지 2 년 됐습니다.
(han-guk-e on-ji i-nyeon dwaess-seum-ni-da)
I’ve been in Korea for 2 years.


한국에 이번이 처음이서요?
(Han-guk-e i-beon-i cheo-eumi-seo-yo?)
Is it your first time in Korea?


이번이 두번째입니다.
(i-beon-i du-beon-cae-im-ni-da)
This is my 2nd time here.


나이가 어떻게 되세요?/ 나이가 몇 살이예요?
(na-i-ga eo-teo-ke dwe-se-yo?/ na-i-ga myeot-sal-i-ye-yo?)
How old are you?


저는 스물다섯살 입니다/저는 스물다섯살 이예요.
(Jeo-neun seu-mul-da-seot-sal im-ni-da/jeo-neun seu-mul-da-seot-sal i-ye-yo)
I’m 25 years old.

"THREE BEARS" NURSERY RHYME

Learning a foreign language may be made fun, and singing a song is unbeatably helpful to loosen up a bit the tense nerve we have after memorizing the theoretical discussion.
As I told you before, I once took a Korean course and had a native Korean called Kang Song Hoon as my tutor. At the same time, there was Full House (풀하우스), a Korean drama hit almost everyone knows, aired on Indosiar (2005). I found this drama entertaining and got addicted to watching it daily.

While watching it, I found  a very interesting song (which was sung by Lee Yeong Jae for sad Han Ji Eun). The actor Rain (Bi) had improvized the lyrics of the rhyme but here is the original version my tutor Kang Song Hon wrote for my Korean class. Grab your microphone now and let’s sing!!!




곰스마리
(gom-se-ma-ri)
곰스마리가  한집예있어
(gom-se-ma-ri-ga  han-jib-ye-iss-o)
아빠곰 엄마곰 애기곰
(a-pa-gom eom-ma-gom  ae-gi-gom)
아빠곰은 뚱뚱해 엄마곰은 날씬해
(a-pa-gom-eun tung-tung-ae  eom-ma-gom-eun  nal-ssin-ae)
애기곰은 너무귀여워 으쓱으쓱잘한다
(ae-gi-gom-eun neo-mu-gwi-yeo-weo  eu-ssek-eu-ssek-jal-han-da)



Free translation:
“Three Bears”
There’re 3 bears in a house
Daddy bear, mommy bear, and baby bear
Daddy bear’s fat, mommy bear’s thin
Baby bear’s too cute, shrug shrug, good!

WRITING: TALENT OR SKILL?

I used to think some folks are lucky enough to be born with writing skill. To me, what I feel when seeing people writing lots of short stories,  thick novels, superb blogs is like what an ugly dwarf feels when gazing at a slender, tall, gorgeous figure of Italian model. It’s sad but true, but then it dawned on me that the wretched dwarf can get some adept cosmetic surgeons to make a major, massive, total and thorough change of look! Weird analogy, haha..But the point I’m trying to make here is that writing ability is NOT a rare innate skill. It’s in fact a craft anyone can acquire, learn, study. At least that’s what I read in The Oxford Guide to Writing.

Here, in Indonesia, where anyone is more familiar with oral and audio-visual cultural products like songs, TV series, movies, etc; writing and reading tend to be less prioritized. Not many Indonesians intend to be a writer, author, or blogger, as far as I know. Writing is not taught in Indonesian schools, simply because (in my humble opinion) writing isn’t a skill going to be assessed in the National Examinations or UAN. Why must we sweat for something “unnecessary” to learn? Probably that’s what those elementary and high school students have on mind. The technology development is even aggravating the situation. People don’t write letters anymore, they prefer calling, have a chat/ IM on cell phone, etc.
But apart from what has been said, writing is worth learning. I’m not saying I’m an accomplished writer with lots of successfully published best-seller novels or books. Rather, I take this as  a chance to encourage other people and especially myself, to keep learning how to write well. So? Let’s write, shall we?

KOREAN CONSONANTS (자음:JA EUM) – part2

This second part will mainly discuss the double consonant group. There’re five double consonants we need to know:
  1. ㄲ : ssang giyeuk (pronounced as /k/)
  2. ㄸ : ssang digeut (pronounced as /t/)
  3. ㅃ : ssang bieup (pronounced as /p/)
  4. ㅆ : ssang sieut (pronounced as /S/)
  5. ㅉ : ssang jieut (pronounced as /c/ or /ts/)
I know how confusing it is to find out some sounds may be represented by more than one alphabets, such as /k/ which might be represented by ㄱ or ㄲ or ㅋ. But why don’t we enjoy the confusion rather than complain about it? Let’s say  this is the art of learning Korean. My Korean tutor even admitted that he sometimes finds writing Korean words trickier than speaking them. And you may not believe it, but it’s true that he several times makes misspelling while writing on whiteboard for us. So don’t worry too much about it..It’s about the travel, rather than the destination 🙂

THE RETURN OF INDONESIA: ARE WE READY ENOUGH TO BE THE NEXT DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD?(PART 2)

NATION’S LITERACY IGNORED?
Indonesian celebrated poet, Mr. Taufik Ismail, pointed out the other vital issue this nation is encountering. Ismail regretted the government’s feeble and wavering political will to strengthen Indonesian young generation literacy level. Most Indonesian students are now losing their ability to write as they are seldom exposed to reading activity. Ismail surprisingly compared our current literature way of teaching to the one that we adopted during the Dutch Collonialism era. At that time, Ismail went on, students were required to read more literary works and then to write compositions related to the works they just read.
The moderator reasoned this must be caused by Indonesian tendency to be an oral-cultured nation. The reason, however, was instantly rebutted by Ismail by stating that our literacy during Dutch colonialization was even better than now.
Ismail also lamented the government’s complete ignorance towards the development of literature publication in Indonesia. Indonesian one and only literature magazine is now trying hard to survive but the government isn’t even aware of that..
SCHOOLS LEASH CREATIVITY?
Another amazing aspiring figure invited by Metro TV to the stage was Rheynald Kassali. He was eloquently conveying his message about Indonesian inappropriately-designed education system. Kassali stated that Indonesia is a big nation with leashed creativity. He gave an example that Indonesian children have no option but being controlled by the authority (parents, babysitters, teachers, etc). Schools and teachers give boundaries to their students. Similarly, the government also employs a set of curricula that seem inconsistent unfriendly to students.
To overcome this, Kassali suggested a massive and thorough  educational reform which involves the teachers quality improvement. The unsuitable teaching methods Indonesian teachers are using are allegedly to be the culprit.
Other than that, Kassali mentioned this nation should start to learn how to compete fairly. Thus far, Indonesians have been so much acquainted with solidarity values. Solidarity is above all, that’s what they believe. What makes Indonesians fail to compete with other nations is that they tend to think  based on solidarity values, that togetherness is good, without exception. That’s why we easily find a group of students cheating during exams. They’re never told that some cases of togetherness/ solidarity are exceptionally destructive, unethical and improper.


SPEAKING ENGLISH FLUENTLY: CAN WE?

I started learning English since my early childhood, but I couldn’t recall what actually I learned the first time I was attracted to it. As my memory can serve, my grandfather and aunts used to watch some Western TV series aired on the first and only state-owned TV station in Indonesia. It was damn fun to watch Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan was playing detective there), Little House on the Prairie ( the most inspiring American dream story to me), Full House (when the Olsen twin sisters were infants), O’Hara (a story about an Asian martial art guru named O’Hara living in the US), Bonanza (typically-cowboy story with lots of the Indians vs European first settlers conflicts), Silk Stalking , Melrose Place, Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks and a lot more. Most of the series above were broadcast late at night, because you know..some of the scenes were romantic. Kissing, seducing scenes were at times found and they were thus not very appropriate for kindegarten kids like me to watch. But who cares, I did watch. I remember one night I had to stay up late only because I wanted to see Pierce Brosnan with his dashing blonde hair. And I benefited..much, yes much by watching them. Without taking English course before, I could articulate some short phrases frequently used by the actors and actreeses, like “What’s the matter?”, and “What happened?”. The way they spoke the phrases was also unique, quite different from my native tongue, Indonesian. So I promised by heart that someday I’d be able to speak just like those American actors and actreeses did. Based on my own past experience I just told, a foreign language lesson is best given for kids at their early stage of brain development, especially brain part that takes control of their linguistic skill.
So back onto business, I encountered some people who keep asking “what should I do to be able to speak fluently in English?”. Many of us face the same problem and never manage to tackle that. Some make excuse that they simply lack vocabulary, fail to dispel shyness, pay too much attention to their sentences grammatical accuracy, and so on. However, one thing I could take conclusion from is the fear of making mistakes, the mistakes can be mispronunciation, ungrammatical sentences, or any other mistakes which can’t be enumerated here.
Recognizing the key cause may set us free from the unpleasant domino effect in the future. For instance, a huge number of English learners failing to tackle their fear of making mistakes are likely to fail not only in speaking, but other subjects, such as writing, vocabulary, etc.
So why did I tell you my childhood English learning experience ? Simply to remind us that learning a foreign language (not only English) like a child is the best way here. What I’m trying to say here is that most kids are carefree, they don’t have a concept of failure on their mind. To adults, a failure or mistake is something to avoid, something they dread for good. To fail is a sin, to fail is embarrasing and humiliating. But to kids or young learners, making mistakes or failing is not something to mind. Maintaining pride or self-esteem is definitely the least thing they think of. What they know is that they have to enjoy what they do. Whatever they play, they must enjoy that. So can we learn how to be kids again to drive away that unnecessary fear?? Only time can tell.