Silent Reading

It was early in my elementary school year, when I first learned about silent reading.

“Now open page 27 and read the paragraph silently,” my teacher said.

Bewildered, I opened my book and paused, wondering what that meant. I looked around and saw everyone staring, silently, at their books on their tables. Seemed easy.

So I looked back at mine, I opened my mouth, tried to start reading, but my voice came out. This is not right, I thought. I tried to read it again, this time I could manage to have my voice lower. The girl sitting next to me looked at me, amused.

“Just read it with your mouth closed,” she whispered.

So I did. But damn, that was impossible! Every time I try, I couldn’t do what seemed so easy for the rest of my classmates. I felt like an idiot. It was really frustrating. I spent the hours hoping the teacher would not ask me any questions.

The next day some kind of miracle happened.

It was a lazy afternoon when I pretended to be busy with an open book on my lap. I stared at the boring text there, contemplating words by words. AT first, it was just about going though words. Then I realized I was reading those words from the beginning to the end of that page. Voila! Just like that I started to read silently with my mouth shut. It was so magical.

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Fado and Keroncong

There was a beautiful aha-moment when I first realized some vague trace of my country in Lisbon, Portugal. Well, actually it’s the other way around. It’s how the Portuguese left their trace in my country hundreds of years ago.

It’s when I noticed some words similarity such us igreja (gereja in Indonesian), which means church. Also when I first heard its most famous music: Fado.

"Fado car" in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

“Fado car” in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

It was an instant “crush”. I’m loving its sound, its soul, and later I figured out that in fact, Fado influenced the original Indonesian music genre: Keroncong, especially in its melancholic spirit through traditional acoustic instruments. Keroncong itself began in Indonesia in 16th century when the Portuguese came in the country. It evolved to the modern Keroncong when ukulele (from Hawaii) was invented and became its main instrument.

What also excites me is knowing the most famous Fado singer Amália Rodrigues, who shares my first name :).

Krontjong Toegoe is the well-known keroncong community in Jakarta which lasts for generations. I found their practice session performing the classic keroncong song “Juwita Malam” on youtube. For your entertainment :).

Second Sunday in May

ErinsPainting-5-8-10Happy Mother’s Day to most mothers all over the globe! Around 80 countries in the world is celebrating the day today. The day to honour mothers, to celebrate motherhood and the role of mothers in society. And since everyone is related to at least one mother for their whole life, then anyone could participate.

The pioneer of Mother’s Day celebration was coming from the United States where originally was a Christian mother church celebration on a Sunday. Throughout the years many countries adopted it with various background.

Socialist countries usually celebrate Women’s Day instead of the Mother’s Day.

The majority of countries celebrate the day in Spring (March to May), vary from end of March to end of May, where the mostly are in the second Sunday of May. Today! Indonesia, among around 165 countries celebrating Mother’s Day/Women’s Day, has the day officially marked in 1953 at 22 December (this is the latest mother’s day celebration of the year).

Have a great day to all mothers! Enjoy your easy (and lazy) Sunday! 🙂

For more reading, don’t click here, but click here instead :D.

Taj Mahal, the Super Symmetry

Taj Mahal 1

What amazed me the most about Taj Mahal is not the exquisite translucent marble that elegantly glow and neatly “hidden” by its gates. It’s not the extremely long construction time – 22 years – either. Nor the calligraphy as its prominent decoration. Nor the beautiful love story behind its marvelous design.

I’m amazed mostly by its symmetry. Everything is so well thought of, well calculated, well executed. I was so triggered to measure all elements, parts, distances, and sizes. But oh well, I was just coming as a tourist :D.

Taj Mahal is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, about 250km from Delhi. It took us almost four hours to reach this UNESCO world heritage site, via Yamuna Expressway which was helpful (it’s a long 190km high way covered in 2.5 hours). Renting a car costs INR 7,500 all inclusive. Taj Mahal ticket (high value) is INR 750.

There are actually two on both sides.

There are actually two on both sides.

I accidentally came across to this song from the movie “Her”. Perfect title.