Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The case for Indonesia

My mom always wants me to go back and work in Jakarta. I can understand her situation. After my dad passed away, she's now alone. I'm working in Malaysia, my sister's studying in China, and while my other sister's staying with mom, she's working in shift as a nurse.

Going back is easy, but finding job that's "good fit" for me is not. I'm up in the level where it's too expensive for companies in Indonesia to employ me in my current position (Software Engineer a.k.a Techie Guy). It's not that they can't offer me high salary, but it's reserved for managerial positions. Since I'm already specialized, I might not be a good manager (and the horror of administrative tasks, oh no!).

There is another reason why I don't want to go back: the "everything else" is not getting any better—it's even worse. When I traveled from my place to a friend's, the traffic sucked. Even sucked more when it's raining. The once-adored Busway now looks slummy. Once-respected BlueBird taxis screwed me twice!

When I read the paper, it's always about corruption and disasters. When I turned on the television, the only things playing were Take Me Out (and its variations) and infotainment shows. Everything broadcasted on paper and on air were all hyped and negative. To be fair, news in Malaysia could be worse, but I don't follow them.

I love my country. My family live there. Most of my friends are there (or "stuck" there, as some of them told me). The natural attractions are beautiful and the ladies are friendlier :) I even plan to spend this year to travel around Indonesia even though my friends told me, "Why travel there if you can go somewhere else?" But the condition is hostile for my career and my sanity.

I may go back and spend a couple of months when my contract ends. But that's because of the important things I mentioned above (family and stuff). I don't plan to pursue my career there—except maybe when I start my own business (a restaurant?).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another interesting week

I'm getting lame at making blog titles. Anyway, here's a quick round up of this week. I'll obliviously think I'm a celebrity to justify the importance of this post. Readers be warned.

I was assigned the role of Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) for last Wednesday's Toastmasters meeting. It's like being Master of Ceremony (MC). I had attended meetings for dozen of times, but I'm so ignorant that I couldn't remember how the previous TMEs did their job. So I contacted Penny Chin, a fellow member, to help me prepare. She's so great at explaining it, but I was so shallow (and yes, ignorant) that during D-day I performed awfully. At least everybody laughed.

In the meeting there were some guests, all new faces, mostly cute chicks including a French girl who works as translator and has traveled all over Asia <-- if this information is not accurate then I definitely not paying attention to her talk. But the guest that interested me most was a guy named Khairul. No, I'm not gay.

Shameless plug: The club I'm a member of is quite international. We have members from Indonesia (me), Russia, Myanmar, Taiwan and Pakistan (and of course, Malaysia). If you're in Kuala Lumpur and want to sharpen your communication/leadership skill the fun way, feel free to come. Guests are most welcome, and it's free.

Back to Khairul. He's a quiet guy most of the time during the meeting. But just now I checked his website (he gave his name card), and wow I'm amazed. I never thought there is any Web 2.0 guy in Malaysia. Skimming at his blog, I can see he's passionate with Web technology. Cool. And he's the one who brought the French girl to our meeting. Even cooler.

The thing is, I'm a really Web 2.0 geek, developer type. That's why I'm enthusiastic when encountering geeks-alike. I don't just use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and numerous others, but I also longing to develop something like those. I'm currently developing a super-awesome-caffeine-induced social thingy in my secret underground lair. I'll keep you updated on that.

Apparently one French a day was not enough. After the meeting, Penny said she wanted to pick up this French guy who supposed to stay at her house. She joined a website where people can host foreigners. I thought the idea was dangerous and crazy. We followed Penny to a nice Mamak nearby KLCC and met the guy. He's nice and polite. Maybe the idea wasn't that crazy.

The day after I went to watch movie in KLCC with Penny and the gang, including the French guy whom I can't remember his name (it's French). I had some interesting conversations with him. He said he was from Australia where he worked there for some months using Working Holiday Visa.

He also shared his experience when he first arrived in Bali. He told me that some guys were "very friendly" to pickup his bags for him, but then they escorted him to money changer to claim their fee. He also thought the taxi driver took him around to increase the meter. Classic.

That's the problem in Bali (but I guess in many tourism places as well), some people are just like to take advantage of clueless tourists. I told him that I experienced the same even though I'm *Indonesian*. Either they're preposterous or I was really stupid (I think both). Next time when you plan to travel, better do your homework before you get there. Ask Google.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interesting two weeks

Here's a story: A Singaporean girl asked an Indonesian guy for a place to stay in KL. The guy recommended his property agent, a Malaysian, to help her find a room. She moved to the designated house where two guys were currently staying.

One of the guy, an Iranian, had interest in her but apparently didn't know how to make a proper move. Feeling intimidated and harassed, the girl told her Dutch boyfriend about it. The unhappy boyfriend came with his British friend and gave the Iranian a lesson—with a baseball stick. The other guy who lived in the house, a Burmese, came to tell me the story. Now that's what I call "international incident".

The past two weeks have been interesting. Apart from that movie-like incident, lots of stuff have kept me busy. I had to prepare my 2nd assignment speech in Toastmasters, and came out with a nice topic: How to get girls. I was awarded Best Assignment Speaker (got edible souvenir, nice), but the girls in the club now look at me meticulously as if I a playboy. Annoying, but worth the souvenir.

I also bought a Sennheiser, model HD 280 Pro. For RM580, the headphone performs well, but not over my expectation. It's a bit weak on the bass (e.g. not "punchy"), but superior on percussions.

And then I went to Butterworth with my colleague, assisting him installing software in client site. It was a four-day trip, and we went to Penang in Sunday. Took some pictures which you can see in my Facebook. If you can't see it, just go to deviantArt for a higher resolution version. Here's a sample:

A day after returning to KL, I went to DBKL with some fellow Toastmasters to watch Yamato Drum Concert. The concert was a wow, you can watch some of their performances in YouTube. After the show they took me to SkyBar in Traders Hotel. Finally! I was longing to go there since before New Year 2010 because my friend told me they have a good view of the Twin Tower KLCC. Indeed they have:

And tonight I'll fly to Jakarta.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Accident in front of my eyes

I always believe I'm here in this world to serve a greater purpose. I try very hard to absorb knowledge as much as I can, especially in the field of (information) technology and human interest, because I believe I can make a difference to this world with technology. I believe I must be a better man to better help others. But maybe I think too far.

Last weekend I was in Jakarta doing my regular social visit. While crossing a busy street at the heart of the city, I saw—in front of my eyes—an accident happening. A car nudged a motorbike, causing the biker to loose control and fell.

Like a computer, my brain thought fast crunching possibilities. What should I do? Should I help the biker first or stop the car? (In Jakarta, people tend to run away when they cause a traffic accident) How should I help the biker? Is it safe to raise him to the side of the road? With all those thoughts popping up, you expect that I came up with something brilliant right? But in fact, I just stood there staring blank until some guys showed up and started giving hands. I didn't know what to do!

We moved the biker aside, secured his bike, but the car escaped (I told you). Had I acted fast, the car would still be there for us to demand his responsibility. All of a sudden I shivered: What if this thing happened to someone I care so much, and no one else nearby but me, yet I know nothing about first aid!

The guy had a small injury, hopefully no broken bone. But after I left the scene, I felt regretful for not knowing what to do. I have a high IQ and high dreams, but I acted stupid and did nothing. I feel ashamed for that.

Looking for my geek side?