Wednesday, January 27, 2016

7 "Little" Things You Can Do to Make the World a Better Place

No-one can deny that we live in one big world called Earth. The globe is the place where we entirely spend every single day – unless you are an astronaut. And I think it makes sense to think that it is highly demanded that our dwelling place increase in quality so that every Homo sapiens living here can take full advantage of it.

I know that this post might not change your behavior in an instant, but I am glad that you have read this article up to this point so far, making my hope go up. The last mass extinction event happened around 66 million years ago, wiping out the non-avian dinosaurs and other groups of animals, and I am sure you don't want humankind to vanish soon. So, here they are: some things that you can do to make the earth a more enjoyable place to live in.

1. Give up smoking
This is probably a 'rusty' topic. But, let's give it one more try. I am pretty sure there are smokers in each country existing today. To the best of my knowledge, there is no single advantage of consuming this 'small killer', except for escapism. Some points to highlight:

• Smoking kills you and people around you
You already know so many diseases can be caused by smoking: cancer and those with believably Latin-derived names. And the thing is, you don't only kill yourself – yes, literally kill – but also take out your loved ones. And the unique thing is I have never heard of people put into jail because of this horrendous act.

• Smoking is a waste of money
In my country, Indonesia, a pack of cigarettes costs around USD 1. Let's say, you buy one pack a day: this means it swallows USD 30 per month or USD 360 per year. You could spend that sum of money on something useful such as the education of your children or high-quality dinosaur books such as Dinosaurs: The Most Complete Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers or All Ages.

Smoking is probably one of the most terrible ideas ever in the history of the human race. Sometimes I imagine what would the world be if all smokers just quit it simultaneously. Ahh.....

2. Stop getting drunk
Well, yeah, you know the health implications of drinking too much, not to mention the family quarrels that it has contributed to. You might throw some plates or knives, which might lead to injury or even death of your spouse and/or children. And think of what you would get if you spent that amount of money on dihydrogen monoxide. Yes, children in Africa could have drunk it.

3. Put trash in the proper place
Hmm... This relates to an 'excruciating' disposition of some humans. Actually, if you think about it, it is pretty simple. You buy a package of Keripik Karuhun in a convenience store and finish it up. Then, you realize there is no garbage can around. You just need to keep it until you find one along your way home. In addition to musty smells that sting everybody's nose nearby, huge accumulations of trash can trigger major floods, which affect people's lives in a not-so-good way. And sadly, sometimes it can switch them off as well. The problem is people often do something without thinking about any harmful effects it may cause. I hope you are not one of those. Remember our existence depends on us.

4. Say thanks and sorry
This seems to be a petty thing but I consider this "of huge importance". I often experience this kind of thing, people benefiting from a good favor without saying thanks and doing something unpleasant without saying sorry. From my personal viewpoint, saying thanks and sorry is an honorable act that makes people people. I base this on my experience: the feelings that I had when I received sorry and thanks, even though the objects concerned were of little importance, were 'overwhelming'. I smiled and it seemed as if there were flowers growing in my heart. I am not trying to be poetic or whatever else but this is an honest confession. In contrast, annoyance coming out from the opposite situation is surely irritating, bringing about a bit of a bad day. Saying thanks and sorry can bring happiness to the world and cause a domino effect. Yes! Let's do it – say them sincerely, though!

5. Avoid speeding
You are not a great driver if you do this. Instead, people might call you "the Grim Reaper" or something. The speeding case of Abdul Qodir Jaelani a.k.a. Dul, the third son of famous Indonesian musician Ahmad Dhani, in which he caused many people to die, has gotten many people to deem him evil. Speeding is only for those who want put their and others' lives at stake. Why don't you just sit at home, reading blog posts by Brian Switek?

6. Stop talking garbage and that sort of thing on social media
Technology has made almost everything easier. Communicating with people 1,000 miles apart is a piece of cake, nowadays, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and the like. However, unfortunately, not everything produced there is satisfying. Many people use this advancement to express things that are not for the good of society. Often, they insult each other and boast about themselves, acting as if they are the most important people on the planet. They exhibit something that they shouldn't and the list goes on and on. The principle is simple: before you write or post something, think about why you should do that. Will it make you and others happy? Will it be helpful for the readers in some way? Will it contribute to humanity?

7. Reduce the use of plastics, paper, etc.
I am quite sure you have heard or been given this advice at some point in your life. It might appear to be a hard thing to do, but thankfully it's not. Three things that you can start doing tomorrow – or now:

• Going shopping? Use your own bags!
Whenever you want to go to supermarkets, remember to carry your own bags. I myself try to use my own backpack to keep the things I buy from minimarkets and stuff, and often I consume them as soon as the transactions are finished.

• Do not order takeout
Yes! Why not? You don't have to eat at home: just enjoy the food in the eatery like what I do whenever possible – perhaps you will meet your future spouse; who knows?

• In the restaurant, ask for reusable items (for example, stainless steel spoons) instead of disposable ones (for example, wooden spoons)

Bonus: Eat (and drink) all of what you have bought and ordered.
It's pretty simple and actually will help you save more money. Remember that we all are connected and make up the human race. Isn't it wise to share with our fellow humans by not wasting food and drink? Bear in mind that we all must be responsible for the resources that are available on our planet, including sustenance.

Let's unite and make the world a better place!
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

A List of Jay Chou's Chinese Style Songs (Zhong Guo Feng)

Jay Chou, who is arguably (for many people) and surely (at least for me) the best musician in the world, is so talented that he can play a tapestry of musical instruments, including those of Chinese origin, such as the guzheng and erhu. This, with his superb musical ability, has resulted in him producing pleasant-sounding music of "Chinese taste", and among his true fans, I believe, this sort of music has its own place in their hearts. Here is a list of Jay's zhong guo feng songs, which I hope will color your life on a day-to-day basis!

• Personally, I think Jay Chou's songs can be loosely categorized since they are so rich in musical elements! So, this list is what I think can be strictly put into the zhong guo feng genre.
• For translations click here.

1. 東風破 (Dong Feng Po) → East Wind Breaks
2. 髮如雪 (Fa Ru Xue) → Hair Like Snow
3. 千里之外 (Qian Li Zhi Wai) → Faraway
4. 菊花台 (Ju Hua Tai) → Chrysanthemum Flower Bed
5. 青花瓷 (Qing Hua Ci) → Blue and White Porcelain
6. 蘭亭序 (Lan Ting Xu) → Lan Ting Preface
7. 煙花易冷 (Yan Hua Yi Leng) → Fireworks Cool Easily
8. 雨下一整晚 (Yu Xia Yi Zheng Wan) → It Rains All Night
9. 紅塵客棧 (Hong Zhen Ke Chan) → Worldly Tavern
10. 天涯過客 (Tian Ya Guo Ke) → Ends Of The Earth Passing Traveler

Please do share this article so that more people can enjoy this treasure trove!

Source: (title translations)
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Thursday, January 21, 2016


Actually, I should've written this article a long time ago. However, better late than never. Thankfully, I had that experience just now.

As you might already know, I am crazy about Vietnam. This Indo-China country has drawn my attention and, as a result, I have stepped my foot on its land twice.

One thing that always reminds me of Vietnam is Lotteria. For those who don't know it yet, it is a Korean fast-food chain, like KFC and McDonald's. In Ho Chi Minh City a.k.a. Saigon there are countless Lotteria restaurants. By contrast, in Jakarta, the place where I live, Lotteria is not that popular: it's opened possibly around 10 outlets – I'm not so sure, but I can guarantee there are many more in Saigon.

A few hours ago, I answered a labyrinth question posed by Lotteria Vietnam Facebook Page – but this article is not really about it. On top of that, I commented on the post, thanking Lotteria Vietnam, writing a bit about myself and my Vietnamese experience, expressing my liking for its products, as well as promising that I would eat there again on my third trip to Vietnam. What surprised me was what happened next.

The admin said thanks to me and, in a nice and friendly way, asked me to inform them when I stop by Lotteria Vietnam . Personally, this made me so glad! I was touched by the great service. Then, in an excited mood, I replied that I will do it and also take a photo there!

This might seem petty stuff but the effect is profound. I will definitely go back to Lotteria Vietnam, not only because of the quality of its products, but also its heartwarming service. In comparison, I have had a few terrible experiences regarding service (if I'm not mistaken, all of them are related to food), and I convinced myself that they were the first and last times I'd bought their products. What is more, I only remember one of them, since he does his business near my office. What a pity!

In short, a product can have greater value if excellent service is "packed" with it (even if the product itself is not really wow, according to my experience): it will always be remembered by its customers and, of course, ensure their loyalty.
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