Cerita Jumat : Antara Natural Hazard dan Natural Disaster

*Nemu tulisan lama, tapi kok ya ternyata masih relevan sama musim hujan extra lama dan panjang kali ini…*

Kata guru geografi saya waktu SMP (apakah ini hari mengenang kembali masa SMP? dari tadi rasanya pangkal pikiran bermuara pada waktu SMP terus), Mr. Wright, hanya beda tipis antara natural hazard ama disaster. Kalau ‘hazard’ artinya kejadian alam tanpa korban manusia sementara natural disaster artinya bencana alam dengan korban manusia.

Saat itu kami sedang membahas kejadian alam seperti gempa bumi, gunung meletus dan tsunami, persis seperti apa yang sedang terjadi di Indonesia sekarang ini. Menurut Mr. Wright, kejadian alam itu sebetulnya tidak perlu berubah menjadi alam karena semua hal itu bisa diprediksi. Sebagai contoh, kita bisa mengetahui dimana lokasi 2 lempeng bumi akan saling bertemu, geolog bisa meriset dan mengetahui dimana gempa bumi akan terjadi. Yang tidak bisa diprediksi adalah kapan gempa itu terjadi. Tapi bahwa itu akan terjadi geolog sudah bisa memastikan, tidak peduli apakah di lokasi tersebut ada populasi manusianya atau tidak.

Sehingga seharusnya dengan pengetahuan tersebut efek kejadian alam tersebut terhadap manusia bisa dikurangi. Waktu itu Mr. Wright memberi contoh Jepang dan California. Kedua tempat tersebut rawan gempa dan Jepang sering sekali mendapat badai ombak besar sehingga istilah tersebut mereka yang menamakan : Tsunami. Belajar dari pengalaman, kedua tempat tersebut menerapkan kebijakan yang efeknya bisa meminimalisir korban apabila terjadi gempa dan tsunami. Misalnya dari SD mereka dilatih tentang bahaya gempa dan apa yang harus mereka perbuat seperti mengamankan diri dibawah meja. Di Los Angeles yang juga sering gempa secara periodik ada pengumuman di tivi tentang tata cara peringatan gempa, pengamanan dan evakuasinya. Sirine pertanda gempa dibunyikan agar penduduk bisa mengenalinya. Bangunan, baik publik maupun pribadi harus dibuat tahan gempa sampai skala richter sekian, dll.

Karena ini pelajaran geografi bukan agama, apalagi Mr. Wright seorang non-muslim, maka kami sama sekali tidak menyentuh persoalan agama. Namun setelah saya pikirkan kembali, inti dari perkataan Mr. Wright adalah kita harus mengetahui dan mengurus bumi alias menjadi khalifahnya. Apabila hal itu kita jalankan maka Insya Allah apabila ada kejadian alam atau natural hazard tidak akan menjadi natural disaster yang besar.

Kalau saja kita tidak menggunduli hutan, mengubah daerah resapan air menjadi gedung belanja, buang sampah sembarangan sampai menutupi got dan kali, tentunya tidak akan terjadi banjir setiap ada hujan. Tidak seperti sekarang, di satu daerah kelelep air, sementara di daerah lain megap-megap kekurangan air. Untuk bencana seperti gempa, apabila terjadinya di lokasi berpenduduk memang jatuhnya korban tidak bisa dihindari, tetapi apakah korbannya 10 atau 1000 itulah yang seharusnya bisa diantisipasi.

Mr. Wright mungkin tidak bisa mengutip Al-Quran dan hadits, namun dari kecintaannya terhadap alam beliau memperkuat apa yang kita (saya) pelajari dari agama. Bahwa selama kita tidak menjalankan tugas kita sebagai khalifah bumi dan merawatnya dengan baik maka selama itu pulalah natural hazard akan terus menjadi natural disaster yang merugikan kita sendiri.

Baru setinggi paha orang dewasa aja kok…

Emily Was Never Being Boring

 

I’ve been in a Pet Shop Boys’s mood lately and with that came a flurry of thoughts I thought long forgotten. A kind of musical pensive so to speak. Now, because PSB are British and I started listening to them during my years in a British based school, I started to remember all things associated with my ‘Brit years’ so to speak which is really the Jeddah and the Uni years.

There I was happily remembering things from way past when cue in Being Boring. For some reason this really resonate with those wonderful 3 undergraduate years spent in that bastion of higher education in the North aka the University of Leeds. Then came that ubiquitous verse:

” all the people I was kissing, some are here and some are missing…
but I thought in spite of dreams you’d be sitting somewhere here with me…”

And immediately, without warning nor fanfare, Emily flashed into my mind…

In my third and final year, no longer wanting to share house with squabbling roommates – I’ve enough of the drama, but not really looking forward to live alone, I opt to move back to the comforts of the hall where the rent includes; food (not great but at least I don’t have to cook everyday), utilities (North of England is COLD for my tropical sensibilities) and laundry (it gets expensive and annoyingly boring to have to wait for one’s clothing lest it be stolen by those ruthless fellow students!). However, not wishing to live in the main building with rowdy, rambunctious freshers, I requested to live in the annex, a smaller 3 story building in the next street or road as it was small.

I caught a rather nasty cold just as the term about to start. Not wishing to fly when my sinuses are congested, I decided to wait and recuperate in the comfort of my parents’. Thus I was a couple of days late getting into the annex. After settling my stuff in my single room (blessedly I got the smallest one in the whole house. Great) I venture into the common lounge. I met Becky first, with her distinctive twang she said, “So you’re Sita! Your friends been looking for you! Hey Em, come here!”
Seconds later, a chocolate-brown eyes got into my view, smiled broadly and said, “Oh good, you’re here, now you can answer your door miss Popular!”

Apparently my friends been calling ever since the first day of term. Since we had to fix our final year lodging by the end of our second year, we pretty much know where everyone is going to live so no surprise that they knew where I live. Becky and Emily, while having the good fortune of getting the largest room in the house, it is also situated up front where, like it or not, they would hear every single coming and goings of the annex inhabitant, thus became the unofficial door person of the annex.

They thought I was popular, I quickly corrected, I’m merely a final year student hence the (not so rowdy) people at knocking at the door. Becky and Emily are quickly known as the Americans duo that lived in our hall. Like any good university, Leeds has exchange programs with universities around the world including Vanderbilt University. There’ll be a group of them and they’d be scattered among the various halls and student residences including the one I was in, Ellerslie Hall. Usually they would be paired with a Brit kid like Maura (the American) and Caroline (the English) and placed in the main hall. Becky and Emily are different in that they’re already BFF, shared a room, and lived in the annex.

The annex is basically a small house, so all the inhabitants pretty much see one another nearly everyday and got to know each other pretty quickly too. Since my room is the smallest and their’s the biggest, it wasn’t long before I start popping down there to chill out on their floor. We talked about nothing and everything. I’m curious about America and they would answer all my questions while I tried my best to answer theirs. I love to hear their accents, so different from the Brits. Their commentaries are amusing too; “I opened this magazine, lords and ladies start tumbling out of the pages!” was one that stuck to my head 😀

We talked, we laughed, we go out, I even helped Emily packed once. She had to go on this trip somewhere and was confused as to how to bring all the stuff she wanted to bring. With all my years of packing and unpacking I got curious and opened her suitcase. Well, no wonder. It was packed rather haphazardly. So I simply repacked it to fit everything in. Then, when summer rolled in, they decided to throw a traditional American BBQ. Or was it a picnic? I can’t remember. What they did was somehow they convinced the ruler or the annex to open the back door so we can have it in the yard. I have no idea how they managed to get a grill out. Or was it fried chicken only? It’s a while ago so details are kinda blurry. In any case, the American duo got a bucket of KFC, I made potato salad, and there were burgers, sodas, and rather stronger drinks later on. It was one of those blissful moment where everything is cool, everything is dandy, we’re all full and happy.

With summer came the end of the academic year. We had our teary goodbyes in front of the annex. The American duo returned home. I graduated, went back to my parents and potter about wondering what to do next. That wasn’t the last I saw of them actually. At some point the following year I got a chance to visit the States for the first time! And I got to see them again! This time in their home turf. So different from Leeds.

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Only Southern style cooking would do!

It is now Becky and Emily’s final year at school. They were freaking out about grades. I was freaking out about live in general. They rent an apartment off campus and I marvelled at how they simply drive everywhere. Back in Leeds I only know one or two people who brought a car. Most just use public transportation. I got to eat Southern food, visit Grand Ole Opry, and had a fabulous time with the gals. The next year I was enrolled in grad school in Boston and lost touch with all my American connection. Great. My fault really. I’m pretty bad at correspondence.

Fast forward to 2008, Facebook is now available to everyone so of course I started searching these long-lost friends. Becky! Hi! Where’s Emily?

Sadly Emily is no longer with us…

For someone I haven’t seen in years this news knocked me in the solar plexus. I can’t believe Emily is gone. So soon. I’m sad for Becky too. It’s terrible to lost a friend, a best one at that. Especially since they’ve sometimes talked about the future, how fun would it be to take walk in the park as mothers pushing their babies strollers, how they’d plan to live close to one another so their kids can be best friends too. It’s not like I plan to pack my bags and move to Nashville either, but somehow I fully expect to also see their kids via social media, to wish them happy birthdays from afar.

“And we were never holding back or worried that time would come to an end”

But time does come to an end…

I cried then. I cried again now.

I won’t ever see Emily again. Those chocolate-brown hair and beautiful smile… Guess I’ll never found out what happened to that guy who followed her around back in Leeds eh? Not that it mattered anymore.

Becky, I am glad to note, is happily busy with her beautiful family and friends. I love seeing her photos, following the renovation adventure and all the daily family stuff. Forward and onward!

Someday I hope I’ll have the chance to see them again. Until then, good night Emily and good day to you Becky.

beck_Em

The Beautiful American Duo

 

In Praise of the Fish and Chips

It has come to my attention, as one entered studenthood, they would most probably encounter a situation – unless they happened to be one of those obscenely rich ones – that in the middle of a bleak winter, with with nary a penny to one’s name, while there’s an upcoming exam or an extra important essay looming ahead, they must also face the fact that at that precise moment, they are also faced with an equally alarming threat. That of the rebellious rumbling tummy to boot!

Disaster! One simply can not think on an empty stomach! That is simply not done.

Now, of course you can say; well they ought to learn money management better and perhaps to cook as well so they will never be in that dire predicament. But I would wager, as for the rest of the student body, that they would be in similar situation. I mean, we’re talking about uni years here, fresh from mommy’s home, off to fend themselves for the first time, do you really think the majority of them would behave logically?

Well… maybe you would. But, it is safe to say, at some point any student would find themselves skint and hungry. What to do?

If, like me, you were in England, the answer is fairly obvious; beans on toast! What else? Frankly, I never got the taste of that I’m afraid. I did once on a sudden bout of nostalgia, took a piece of toast and slathered a healthy serving of beans. Two mouthfuls later I remembered why I only like the idea of it as opposed to the actual partaking of the meal.

So that’s not the solution for me. What then? Am I to withered away my youth until the next bundle of coins find their way to my reticule? Why, of course, the quintessentially British cuisine of Fish and Chips!

Joy!

I adore Fish and Chips. I do. I really do. Nothing quite like braving the gust of chilly winds up a block to our wonderful Chip shop in the corner. Entering the toastily warm shop, waiting for our orders to be wrapped up, nesting the package under our coats to warm our grumbling tummy while we trek back to the hall. Then, once safe in the common kitchen, it is time to tuck in. Oh heaven! Thank you for small mercies.

In all honesty, our Chippy shop is probably not the best in the England, nor Yorkshire, heck, or even the best in the city.  But, as it is the closest from our hovel (okay okay, our equally toasty hall) it is the best Fish and Chip shop in the entire city of Leeds. So there!

How about in other places? My Australian counterpart claimed that they rely extensively on a wonderful creation called; the meat pie. Cheap and filling, this delicacy has saved countless starving students from the brink of extinction during those cold cold winter nights. Practically each and every one of these former Ozzie got glazed eyed when they’re waxing lyrical about this baked goodies.

So of course when I finally got to visit Kangaroo Land I simply must taste this invention. And I did.

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This is it baybeh!

It’s…. interesting. Better than shepherd’s pie, more filling than ramen noodles, cheaper than beer, no wonder they fall in love with the humble meat pie. Perhaps had I gone there to school, I too would be a glazy eyed devotee. Since I didn’t, I pledge allegiance to the aforementioned dish. But since I know what it is like to hanker for something from our youth (yikes! I sound terribly old!), I got some to take back home for my friends. Got very positive reaction from most of them. Glad they do.

But you know what, they have Fish and Chips in Australia! They do! They really do!

Oh my, I am back in heaven!

Of course there are establishments here that can fry fish in a batter served with a portion of chips. But it come on a plate not wrapped up in paper and the ones in Oz does. Well, they are still part of Britain, I suppose that’s why it is so similar to the ones found over there. One bite and I’m in reverie reliving uni days. Of Ellerslie Hall, Hyde Park, Roger Stevens, Eddie Boyle, Parkinson Steps, Casa Latina, Sports Ball, the Dry Dock, the Old Bar and lest we forget the ubiquitous PolyBop! Woohoo!

Be it fish and chips or meat pie, a mighty big cheer to those wonderful creation that sustain and nourish us in our time of needs. The fact that it can turn us from (reasonably) sensible people into poets and lyricist upon a mere mention years after we left Uni… Such, is the power of food.

Now, if I can only find somewhere that serve a decent Yorkshire pudding, I’ll be one happy bunny.

Scrumptious. No?

Gambling on Ideas

lightbulb

keep on shining light!

A friend once remarked that she’s having trouble writing. Bogged for ideas? No, she said. Just the opposite. She has too many ideas she doesn’t know which one to write first. Well then, I said, why don’t you write each of the ideas down on a piece of paper, fold it, put it in a box then shake it, pull one paper out then write whatever is in that particular piece of paper. Aha! she said.

I don’t actually know whether she followed my advice, which is not mine sad to say, but is actually given to me by Michael, my high school teacher, when I was asking him for some teaching advice. I was asking about tips to enliven a class and this is one of a few that he suggested. (I wonder what he thinks, when the student he used to teach are now old enough to have students of her own) Then of course my writing class is pulled out before I can put it into practice but I have since adapted the idea box tip for other classes and it does liven up the classroom.

There’s nothing quite like playing god 😉 when you got dozens of eyes looking at you knowing full well that their fate for that particular assignment rested on one of those tiny piece of paper in the box (or sometimes, a dry glass) that are currently being shuffled. Moments from now, your name/group/number is gonna be called and you are about to find if you’ve drawn winners or losers! Ah the shrieks and the groans that ensues. Haha! 😀

Of course, not a moment too soon the whining starts. Miiiisssss….. can I chaaaangeeee??? You know, I’m pretty sure that ‘miss’ is a one syllable word. Either the rule have changed or my kids became Southerners overnight. Oh and the answer is one giant NO.

I actually did make an idea box with my daughter. She needs to work on her penmanship and was rather bored with copying chunks of texts off her books. So why not kill two birds with one stone? Why not have her work on her handwriting and writing skills at the same time?

It’s rather fun, cutting up the paper, talking about possible topics then find just the perfect box to put it all in. It worked for, oh, probably a week? Last time I checked there are still a fair few folded papers in her box. Oh well. At least her handwriting is getting better.

Now I think I may do my own idea box so that I’ve no excuse when staring at a blank computer screen. How about you?

box

Think this box is bog enough?

 

Do You Speak English Little One?

While blogwalking, I came across this post from a noted Indonesian blogger, ms. Indah Julianti. In her post she discussed the latest plan from the Education Ministry of not including English in the latest Indonesian Elementary Education Curriculum. Apparently the reasoning is so that Indonesian kiddies would have better Indonesian language skills.

Obviously this caused an uproar. Many thinks this is just the latest among the many hare-brained scheme the powers that be in Education Ministry can hatch of. Many reasoned that Indonesian kids would be left behind if they are not taught English in elementary school. “We’ll be left behind in these globalised world!!!” or so they screamed.

Drama much people?

The reason Indonesian kids are ‘left behind’ is not because they don’t know English. It is because the education system sucks. Period.

Yes, it would be better if you know English, but fostering curious, academic, scientific, and industrious mind + nurturing them and giving them due appreciation is what would elevate the kids in the global world.

We have bright minds. We have geniuses. They’re just poached to other countries because we can’t give them the environment, respect and acknowledgment they deserve. It is no secret that the best minds of Indonesia are scattered globally, their works credited to the institution that employs them rather than the country of their origin.

Putting English into the Elementary School Curriculum means jacksh*t if we can’t keep them here. Go visit Paris. Hardly anyone will speak to you in English. Oh heck just go to the neighbouring Singapore. I can hardly understand what they’re talking about with their heavy Singlish accent. Yet look where they stand globally.

It’s not that I’m against learning English. It’s just that if the goal is to make us competitive, then that’s the least of our worry. As long as we don’t change the current education system, where end-results matters more than the knowledge acquiring and understanding process, we’ll never be competitive. We’ll just end up with a bunch of youngins who has mediocre comprehension of both language, unable to think independently and creatively. We’ll continue being consumers instead of producers, totally at the mercy of others.

So yeah, I guess I’m in the tiny minority that’s not worried if English is taken out from the curriculum. I’m more concerned that Indonesian kiddies have a firm grasp of the Indonesian language. Able to string and write coherent thoughts, able to explore the language to the fullest so they are able to speak and write Indonesian, formally and informally, knows the difference between business Indonesian for work and colloquial Indonesian for friends. Can you imagine if a whole generation of Indonesian kids growing up not knowing how to do those?

And yeah, the irony is still not lost on me how I write this whole post in English…

3213693-education-is-the-key-written-on-a-chalkboard

Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife…

Cerita Jumat : Subhanallah, Inilah Rahasia Penciptaan Kucing

Artikel aslinya ada di :
http://www.republika.co.id/berita/dunia-islam/khazanah/12/05/29/m4ronx-subhanallah-inilah-rahasia-penciptaan-kucing

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, Mata kucing merupakan salah satu bukti kesempurnaan Allah dalam penciptaan. Allah telah menciptakan mata kucing dengan pengaturan dan letak yang sesuai dengan makhluknya. Di salah satu ayat, Allah berfirman tentang kesempurnaan ciptaannya.

Dia–lah Allah yang menciptakan, yang mengadakan, yang membentuk rupa, Dia memiliki nama – nama yang indah, apa yang ada di langit dan di bumi bertasbih kepada – Nya. Dan Dialah yang Maha perkasa lagi Maha bijaksana. ( QS. Al – Hasyr 24 )

Penglihatan malam kucing sangat kuat
Kucing dapat dengan mudah membedakan warna hijau, biru dan merah. Walaupun begitu, kelebihan sebenarnya dari mata kucing adalah agar dapat melihat di malam hari. Kelopak mata kucing terbuka di malam hari, ketika terkena sedikit cahaya, lapisan mata yang disebut iris membuat pupil mata membesar ( hamper 90% mata ) sehingga mereka lebih mudah melihat cahaya. Di saat mendapat cahaya yang lebih terang, system bekerja berlawanan untuk melindungi retina, pupil mengecil dan berubah menjadi garis tipis.

Ada sebuah lapisan yang tidak terdapat pada mata manusia. Lapisan ini berada di belakang retina, berfungsi sebagai penerima cahaya. Ketika cahaya jatuh di lapisan ini langsung di pantulkan kembali, cahaya lewat dua kali melalui retina. Oleh karena itu, kucing dapat melihat dengan mudah di saat cahaya hanya sedikit. Bahkan di saat gelap, di saat mata manusia tidak dapat melihat. Lapisan ini juga lah yang menyebabkan kenapa mata kucing bersinar di malam hari.

Lapisan ini disebut Kristal tapetum lucidum yang dapat memantulkan cahaya. Berkat kistal ini, cahaya yang jatuh di belakang mata di pantulkan kembali ke retina. Beberapa cahaya yang di pantulkan kembali ke lensa, sehingga mata bersinar. Berkat struktur ini, jumlah cahaya yang diterima mata meningkat sehingga bisa melihat dalam kegelapan. Oleh Karena itu, kucing bias melihat lebih baik dalam gelap. Ini bukanlah bentuk dari bio-luminescence, sebab binatang tidak menghasilkan cahanya, melainkan hasil dari pemantulan.

Alasan lain kenapa kucing bisa melihat dalam gelap juga karena adanya sel–sel batang yang lebih banyak di bandingkang sel–sel kerucut di retina mereka. Sebagaimana kita ketahui, sel – sel batang hanya sensitive pada cahaya. Mereka membentuk bayangan hitam atau putih tergantung dari cahaya yang datang dari objek, tetapi mereka sangat sensitive walau hanya dengan sedikit cahaya.

Berkat sel–sel batang ini, kucing dapat berburu dengan mudah di malam hari. Seperti kita lihat, Allah menciptakan struktur mata yang sesuai dengan kondisi dan nutrisi yang mereka butuhkan. Mata kucing memiliki struktur dan karakteristik yang berbeda sesuai dengan kebutuhan mereka. Ini adalah salah satu contoh dari hasil ciptaan Allah. Hasil ciptaan Allah yang unik ini terbukti dalam salah satu ayat:

Pencipta langit dan bumi, ketika Dia ingin menciptakan sesuatu, maka Dia hanya berkata “jadilah”, maka jadilah ia. ( QS. Al – Baqara 117 )

Bola mata kucing lebih besar
Selain kemampuan melihat di malam hari, bola mata kucing juga lebih besar di bandingkan yang dimiliki manusia. Jika bidang penglihatan manusia hanya sampai 160 derajat, kucing dapat dengan mudah hingga 187 derajat. Dengan karakteristik ini, mereka dapat dengan mudah melihat ancaman yang ada. Ini adalah contoh karakteistik lain dari hasil ciptaan Allah dengan bentuk yang berbeda. Sebagaimana di katakana di dalam Al – Qur’an, kaakteristik ini adalah pelajaran bagi orang – orang yang beriman ;

Dan sungguh, pada hewan ternak itu terdapat pelajaran bagimu…( QS. An – Nahl 66 )

Struktur mata kucing berbeda dengan manusia
Pada mata kucing, terdapat membran ketiga yang disebut “nictitating membrane”. Membran ini transparan, dan bergerak dari satu bagian mata ke bagian yang lainnya. Sebagai contoh, kucing dapat mengedipkan mata mereka tanpa harus menutup semuanya. Membran ketiga ini memungkinkan mata kucing terlindungi ketika berburu. Selain itu, benda – benda lain seperti debu tidak mengenai mata mereka, sehingga mata mereka tetap bersih dan lembab; sehingga kucing tidak perlu sering mengedipkan matanya seperti manusia. Jika kucing mengedipkan mata mereka sepanjang waktu seperti manusia agar matanya tetap bersih dan lembab, hal ini akan menimbulkan kesulitan bagi mereka di saat berburu. Tidak mengedipkan mata merupakan salah satu kesempurnaan ciptaan Allah untuk makhluk ini.

Apakah mata kucing sensitif pada gerakan
Kucing tidak dapat melihat dalam jarak dekat dengan baik sebagaimana halnya manusia dan tidak bisa focus pada objek yang dekat dengan mereka. Tetapi Allah telah menciptakan rambut sensoris dengan mekanisme sensoris yang kuat buat kucing. Berkat penciuman dan rambut sensoris, kucing dapat dengan mudah mendeteksi dalam jarak dekat. Walau makhluk indah ini sulit melihat dalam jarak dekat, mereka dapat dengan mudah merasakan dengan jarak dua sampai enam meter. Jarak ini cukup bagi kucing agar dapat berburu.

Karakteristik lain pada mata kucing adalah mereka sensitive pada gerakan, keindahan dan yang sesuai dengan jarak penglihatan mereka. Mata kucing dan otaknya memisahkan setiap gerakan bingkai demi bingkai. Otak kucing bisa merasakan lebih banyak gambar daripada kita. Sebagai contoh, mereka dapat dengan mudah melihat tanda – tanda elektronika pada layar televise di bandingkan manusia. Ini adalah bakat khusus yang di berikan oleh Allah yang Mahakuasa kepada semua kucing. Hal ini dikarenakan kucing menangkap mangsa mereka berdasarkan objek yang bergerak.

Detail dan ragam yang mengagumkan di ciptakan Allah bagi kucing
Mata kucing di ciptakan dengan kaakteristik luar biasa seperti makhluk lainnya. Ketika struktur dan karakteristik mata di uji secara individual, maka akan di lihat fungsi yang berbeda dan ini merupakan bukti dari beragamnya hasil penciptaan Allah. Variasi ini tidak dapat di katakana sebagai hasil dari mutasi ataupun seleksi alam. Allah telah memberikan mata yang sesuai dengan kebutuhan hidup dan nutrisi makhluknya.

Memiliki pengetahuan tentang system yang menakjubkan ini merupakan kesempatan bagi setiap orang untuk melihat kekuasaan dan pengetahuan Allah yang telah menciptakan makhluknya. Kita harus berterima kasih kepada Allah yang telah menciptakan alam semesta ini. Adapun bagi orang – orang yang yang menolak ayat – Nya, Allah menjulukinya “pendusta”, seperti di dalam ayat ;

Siapakah yang lebih zhalim daripada orang – orang yang telah di peringatkan dengan ayat – ayat Tuhannya, lalu dia berpaling darinya dan melupakan apa yang telah di kerjakan oleh kedua tangannya? ( QS. Al – Kahfi 57 )

Kucing di ciptakan dalam bentuk yang ideal sesuai dengan lingkungan mereka, mereka perlu bernafas, makan, berburu dan mempertahankan diri agar tetap hidup. Oleh karena itu, mereka harus mengenal dunia mereka, dan membedakan antara musuh dan mangsa mereka. Dengan demikian, mereka memerlukan penglihatan khusus untuk melihat lingkungan mereka.

Bagaimanapun, Allah yang Mahakuasa, Tuhan dari semua dunia, telah memberikan karakteristik yang mengagumkan seperti mata yang memiliki struktur khusus, bentuk dan ketajaman penglihatan untuk kucing. Penciptaan mata yang memiliki kekhususan bagi kucing merupakan pelajaran bagi orang – orang yang beriman sebagaimana di sebutkan di dalam Al – Qur’an ;

Dan disana terdapat pelajaran bagimu…( QS. Al – Mu’miniin 21 )

Karakteristik mata kucing berfungsi sesuai dengan hukum yang di tetapkan Allah. Allah menciptakan mata ini dan setiap detilnya tanpa contoh sama sekali. Hal ini terungkap dalam ayat – ayat bahwa Allah adalah pencipta semuanya ;

Allah menciptakan semua jenis hewan dari air, maka sebagian ada yang berjalan di atas perutnya dan sebagian lagi berjalan dengan dua kaki, sedang sebagian berjalan dengan empat kaki. Allah menciptakan apa yang Dia kehendaki. Sungguh, Allah Mahakuasa atas segala sesuatu. ( QS. An – Nuur 45 )

Sumber: Dikutip dari Yahyaharun.com

Redaktur: Heri Ruslan

Visualising Word Relations

When I got a smart phone, one of the first apps I installed – after the all important games and chat programmes – is the dictionary app. Years of being an ESL student, I can’t shake the habit of having it close by. Even now I still have 4 dictionaries and 1 thesaurus on the shelve above my desk. So of course I just have to install it on my phone. It won’t be my phone otherwise 😉

It’s very handy having a dictionary on your phone. Anytime I came across a new word I could just type it up and there you have it.  I used to also install thesaurus, synonym game, etc but since my newest phone has less storage space than the old one I had to streamline and just have the one dictionary since it also has the synonym and antonym feature on it.

Now that I am venturing back towards blogging, I started looking words up on a new tab instead of on my phone and I noticed a new feature, particularly when looking up synonyms; word visualisation!

It started pretty normal, you type the word you’re looking, press enter and it’ll spew the answers. But, as a scroll down, it now gives a visual description how closely those other words are related to the one I’m looking at. Like this:

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This is so COOL!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s very geeky I know. but hey, I’m a student of words. I used to live and breathe words throughout my student years. I get excited to see these things 😀

Now, it is not the most fascinating thing you see? I wish they had this feature back then as it would definitely make these words easier to understand. But you know, you never stop learning even if you’re out of school and have been for a looong time like me. Better now than never eh?

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The Synonym dance notation

Changes and Challenges

Nothing jumps starts a new year like fresh new looks and challenges. After reading the handy-dandy report WordPress freely provided about our blogging year, it is sadly rather lacking. Apparently I only post 6. Yes, only 6 new stuff!!! What was I doing? On twitter mostly.

It is extremely easy to just flash off a sentence or two on twitter. So very easy. Although sometimes one found that one starts to write series of tweets since one’s thought on the matter is actually longer than a sentence (or two). And why am I insisting in writing in third person like this? Oh and I’ve been reading too. Crazy amount of time reading.

I got an iPad mini last year. Then I started discovering the bookstore and that there are free, FREE ebooks abound!!! Of course most of these free books were part of trilogies or more. So before I realise it, I started reading, and reading, and reading, and I’ve surpassed the challenge I set for myself on Goodreads! I set out to read 40 books and I think I read closer to 60. Some books were rather crap so I don’t bother putting it on the list. But then I also realised I’ve been feeling somewhat restless…

I’ve read and now it is time to create something. Since I’m not very good at arts and crafts, I’ll resort to writing. I’m no Rowling, but I don’t think my writing is too bad. I can craft words or two and what better way to start than giving myself a challenge?

The challenge actually one of those Facebook tag thingy but instead of the usual list of 10 things I like about Cats or something, you’re challenge to create a small works of art for friends who replied and forward the challenge too. Initially I wasn’t going to do it but then my friend assured me that writing does constitute a work or art. So I plunge forward, says I’m in and copy the status. It looks like this :

I, Sita Sidharta, hereby promise to make a small work of art for the first ten people who comment on this post and say “YES, I want in”. A ‘like’ alone is not enough of a commitment, nor is a comment about thinking Pay It Forward is a great idea.

You must in turn post this as your status update and make something for the first ten who comment on your status.

* The rules are simple: it has to be your work, made by you, and the recipient must receive it before 2014 ends… *

(Thanks to Sara A Chaudhary)

Seems simple but to write 10 things for people you know puts it to another level – at least to someone who only manage 6 posts last year 😉 So far only 5 friends is up for the challenge. It’ll probably stay that way since by tomorrow that post will be a goner, replaced by steady stream of updates from others. That’s ok. That’s still 5 piece of writing to think about. I’m excited about it actually 😀

As for the change, I change my blog theme again. This time I went for something more streamlined, less clutter. Sadly my cats don’t make an appearance despite the blog being called ‘Metro Kitmom’. I guess I’ll just have to post photos about them then. ha!

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tile_cat1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep, those are the Bebels; Bella, Joyyo, and Lila, respectively.

Oh and feel free to take up the challenge. There are still 5 spots left so do leave a comment here and copy paste it onto your blog. I’ll write something for you. It may be a prose, a poem, flash fiction… I don’t know yet but I can promise it will come from the heart.

Have a good and productive year!

Langit Biru Chika

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Di bawah langit biru Australia
tetiba teringat aku padamu, Chika
bercerita tentang berjuta cita-citamu

Tentang keinginanmu
untuk bepergian ke berbagai negara
termasuk Amerika, tuk bekerja disana

Dan aku, sangat bisa membayangkanmu
bekerja dan tinggal disana
mungkin di Williamsburg, Queens, atau TriBeCa

Aku bisa melihatmu,
dengan boots dan scarf berwarna
berjalan dari blok ke blok bersama para warga

Commuters, New Yorkers, Manhattanites,
you’ll blend right in!
Of that I’m sure  😉

Ah, aku rasa
tempatmu saat ini lebih ok ya?
lebih keren dari penthouse di Upper East Side

Hanya saja,
sangat jauh dari kita semua

Tuhan menentukan, sementara manusia
hanya bisa berencana…

Sangat jelas langit di Australia
gumpalan awan putih dan langit biru
sejelas daftar cita-citamu

Dalam naungan cakrawala biru
secerah lebarnya senyummu
apa kabarmu disana?

Doa pelipur duka
bahagia di nirwana ya

 

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*between Canberra-Lakes Entrance, Dec 2013*