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…


Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife…


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:

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.13.33 PM

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?

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.15.18 PM

The Synonym dance notation

Langit Biru Chika









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






*between Canberra-Lakes Entrance, Dec 2013*

I Love Books!

My grandfather once said that he can’t leave anything except education. That is
translated into a love of reading for my dad, which in turn is passed on to me
and my siblings. Our favourite weekend activity is going to a bookstore.
Browsing through the myriad of books on display, choose one (or two if we’re
lucky) that speaks to us,”Pick me pick me, take me home!”

I pass this habit on to my children. They know that going to a toy
store does not mean mommy will get them a toy but a visit to a book store?
Definitely will come home with a new book for tonight’s bedtime reading.

This is probably why, more than any other arts, books hold a special place in my
heart. Sure I like dances, I took lessons when I was young, have danced the
night away and enjoyed watching dances. Obviously I like music since I like
dance. Again, I took music lessons as a kid, lost my voice screaming in rock
concerts while able to sit nicely during orchestras and is an accomplished
bathroom singer. I also enjoyed plays, musical, films, painting, in short, I
like all sorts of art. But nothing, nothing quite like the written words to
really touch my soul.

I guess that’s why the first ever ayat that comes to Prophet Muhammad PBUH is,
“Iqra!” or “read!” Reading truly opens up our world. It feeds your brain and
nourish your soul. It has the power to affect your whole being. A book made you
laugh, cry, frown, it can alters your moods, soothe you and make you feel

There’s no greater book than the Quran of course since it is made by Allah. But
lesser books that are made by mere mortals, while they are no match for the
Quran, they’re doing a pretty good job in expanding our mind. You can travel
everywhere without ever leaving your house. I’ve been to Sweden with Astrid
Lindgren, to the wilderness of America with Laura Ingalls Wilder, to the British
boarding schools with Enid Blyton, to Semarang with Bung Smas, rediscovering
Jakarta with Benny and Mice (ok so they’re cartoonist but it’s in a book form
;), finding the world with Bill Bryson, re-living crazy teen years with Hilman,
delighting in a child’s world with Benny Rhamdani and of course, entangled in
other women’s mind courtesy of Asma Nadia and others.

By reading, you realise that humans everywhere are the same. Yes, we have
differences, but at the core of it we all feel and want the same thing. Whether
it is by an Indonesian, Irish, Muslim or Jewish writer, the human emotion is
universal. We cry when we lose someone important, delights upon finding love and
that a mother’s great hug is often the best medicine for all.

Sadly, sometimes we are too busy picking at our differences, we lost track of
our universalities, to marvel at our sameness. Proof that we are created by the
same entity, the one and only God. Books helped me to remind me of that. Again
and again.

Books will always be a part of my life. I hope I can pass on my love of books
and reading to my children. For there’s no greater inheritance than that.

My Dream House

It has to be big enough to accomodate all of us, but small enough so I can take care of it on my own if needs be. A house that needs an army of domestic help to run is impractical.

So, the house would have bedrooms for everyone. My room would have an en suite and a walk-in closet with floor to ceiling mirror(s). The kids can share bathroom but may put a separate sink outside.We’ll have a guest toilet of course so no one has to fight for it.Plus a spare room/work room/library with a daybed for lounging or for guests to sleep over.

Next, a lovely kitchen for me took cook, maybe an outside or ‘dirty’ kitchen if space permits. A breakfast bar with high stools sound lovely too so I don’t have to take my lunch on a big empty table when the kids are at school.

Definitely a living room with a huge tv screen, plush sofa, a quiet corner for the pc, tall wall for more bookshelves and wonderful windows to let the sun and the light in. Might have a small guest parlour or a formal living room if needed.

Since we probably still need domestic help, a decently sized staff quarter with properly sized and lighted bed and bathroom is neccessary.

Think that’s all for indoor rooms. Now the outdoor. First off, a laundry and drying area. Nothing like sun dried clothes to keep the bacteria away. Definitely a front garden and a backyard. Would love one of those English suburb type houses with massive back yard so you can put up a marquee and have a party. More importantly so my husband can garden his heart away. A bit of greeneries soothe the soul. We could have our morning tea while reading the papers at the terrace overlooking the yard and watch the cat chase birds. When the weather is right, we could spread a blanket and have a picnic. Heck, we could move the dining table and have dinner outdoor complete with candles and those fire stick thingies. Lighting fireworks would be the after dinner entertainment. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Ooh, almost forgot a garage that’s linked to the house so it can be opened up to provide extra room for indoor gatherings like say, having a Quran classes or just your extended family do.

Well, that’s my dream spread out. Tread softly if you please.

Note: I wrote this a while back when owning a house was still a dream for me. Now that it has come to reality, I find it fascinating to take a look back at when it was all still in my head.

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Found this list which I did way back in 2009. Dayeem… still has lots to read…

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read. Tag other book nerds.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen- X
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien –
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling -X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – X
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott -X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy – cuma baca dikit
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller – mulai baca blum selesai
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – nonton ajah, baca kayaknya malah blum samsek
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier – X
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulkner
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger – X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – X
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen – X
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen -X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini- X thanks to bc girls 😉
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin –
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden – X
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne – X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell – started reading
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown – X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery-X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy – X
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert-
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons-oh ini buku ya?
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen -X
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon-
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – X sad sad book
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold – X
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens- X
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett – X
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson – X
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray-
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens –
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell –
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker – X
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert –
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry –
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White- X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – read some short stories
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton ini yang mana ya?
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad –
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery -X
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks –
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – X
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo – haven’t actually read it, but have acted in the musical 😉

26 books. Not bad. Maybe should finish those I started eh?

Things I Discovered During Cardio

1. Male models are generally buffed with 6 packs abs.

2. Most female models looks like they haven’t eaten in weeks and can hardly be called sexy when their pelvic bones are jutting out, except for Victoria Secret’s models.

3. Watching model’s bio is like preparing for a Trivial Pursuit game eg. What’s the capital of Austria? Vienna!

4. Britney S, Shakira and Beyonce’s latest video clips are disappointing for their lack of creativity. Girls, do you really still need to wiggle your butt in near naked costumes?

5. Music video clip decision maker must be still pimply teenaged boys that get overexcited but whose parents refused to subscribed to skinemax and playboy channels.

6. American football players look like little robots on the field.

7. Real football players looks amazingly sexy on the field. (Oh you gorgeous gorgeous Iker!)

8. Both play in any kind of weather, drizzling rain or heavy snow, but the footie players still looks better and more masculine.

9. Baseball is much more interesting when you watch it live on the field rather than on tv. (aaah… Nomar in his splendid Red Sox uniform!!!)

10. Tennis players and runners have the best figures, both male and female.

11. Lady Gaga’s costume is like geometry lesson for pubescent males. So, who can tell me what a triangle looks like?

12. Lady Gaga is actually quite pretty.

13. I really don’t like the gym rats. They’re loud and annoying.

14. My gym needs to sack its current musical director as they play really crappy music.

15. I need to invest in an iPod so as not to listen to said crappiness.

16. Running is more enjoyable when watching a series.

17. As luck would have it, the moment I have an iPod, they don’t show tv series anymore.

18. I still don’t enjoy running.

19. … but I do like the feeling after a proper cardio session.

Books That Made Me Cry

This is actually an old list but upon a re-read still holds reasonably true so hey why not move it here too. I add some new books as well. Feel free to copy the rules and make your own list!

Tumben di tag tante Dee 😉
Hmm… sebenarnya saya rada jarang menangis klo baca buku, lebih sering klo nonton pelem. Okelah here we go


Make a list of books that make you cry. Don’t think too hard. Choose books that you’ll be able to remember (10, 15, 25, or more, up to you :D). Tag friends (how many, up to you too ;), but don’t forget, tag me. I am curious to know what books my friends chose.

1. Totto Chan – Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

2. Emak Ingin Naik Haji – Asma Nadia

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowlings

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowlings

5. Oops Selingkuh – Inez Han & duh maaf saya lupa…

6. Hafalan Shalat Delisa – Tere Liye

7. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

8. Prasasti – Melvy Yendra

9. The Cat Who Went to Paris – Peter Gethers

10. Muhammad – Tasaro GK

This is my own category, not enough to shed a tear but definitely touching.
apalagi ya? Kategori Mengharukan aja ya:

1. Negeri 5 Menara – A. Fuadi

2. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

3. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

3. Astrid – klo gak salah yang terakhir. Lupa judulnya apa – Djokolelono

4. The Noodle Maker – Jian Ma

5. Derai Sunyi – Asma Nadia

6. The Girl with the Pearl Earrings – Tracy Chevalier

Shall add more as I read more books that could be in this list 🙂

Them, I Miss

As an expat child, I know that when I move there will be things I’ll miss. I will miss my friends, I usually miss the house (I’d like to say my house but it was never mine to begin with and that my room in Amsterdam is still the best bed room I ever had) and if it was available, the public transport (oh lijn 5, green line, come home with me!!!) and the public parks. That’s usually the case when I move cities.

Now, I’ve moved back home for good. Obviously I moved back to my parental home, I used to have a room there but because I moved around so much, my room been re-arranged, re-decorated, re-owned by various siblings, nephew, nieces, that by the time I moved back it doesn’t feel like my room anymore. I ended up using my sister’s room since my nephew and nieces claimed it as their weekend room. Yes I know I could kick them out, reclaimed my room and make them use my sister’s but somehow it was easier just for me to change rooms.

Then I got married and moved to our apartment. I miss my parents but I’m there so often anyway I don’t really miss it. I got a child, then another and soon our two-bedroom apt is cramped and full. We need to move.

So, in short we’ve moved from our apt to a somewhat larger, spacious house (it’s still not ours yet, so it’s still a house not a home). And yes, I miss our friends from the apt, we don’t bump into each other in the pool, the market, the lobby or the elevator anymore. Good thing we’re still in the same region so we bump into the local mall aka our local townsquare. But here’s some people that I didn’t think I miss; the people at the local grocery store. The neighbourhood Hero in this case.

Who’d thought they miss their local grocers? I didn’t miss any of the grocers in my previous cities. Ok maybe I miss some stores but I didn’t stay anywhere long enough to truly know the people in my neighbourhood. But I realise that the people that worked in the local Hero, they’ve known me almost as long as my husband. See, that Hero is also my mom’s local store. She goes there to do the weekly shopping and guess who’d accompany her or sent on such errands? Yours truly of course. If I’m not busy I would definitely go with her to the supermarket, its a childhood habit. If she’s busy and I’m not then she’d send me armed with a list and some notes to do her shopping. My apt is practically a stone throw away from her house so it’s really no brainer I’d continue shopping for my weekly groceries there too.

It’s a strange thing, this relationship with your friendly supermarket workers. I realise I may not know their names – but I know who works where. She’s in fruits and vegs, he’s at the meat, he’s a stacker, and then there’s the cashier gang. They see me going as a kid tagging along, as a young homemaker, pregnant with my first child, as a mom with a little baby, with a baby and a toddler in tow and finally with a toddler and very young girl. They’re with me in most stages of adulthood. And not only that, they know my mom too!

My friend once said that if you stay in a place long enough and keep going to the same public place or using the same public transportation you soon ‘know’ the people. I guess in 7+ years, going there once sometimes twice a week, that means I see them at least 60 odd times in a year! Wow.

Now that I moved and start shopping in a new place called Giant Supermarket (what is it with our local supermarkets, they have such funny names, Hero, Giant, Superindo, were the owners aspiring to be a comic book writer but thwarted by their parents? No sonny boy, no more drawing pretty pictures you must run the family company! But but… I wanna be Stan Lee) I started recognising and knowing the people who works there. Given that our house (yes, we finally own a house!) is in close proximity to my current rental, I’m fairly sure I’ll continue shopping at that local Giant for years to come. Maybe now I’ll actually know their names instead of just their faces.

Oh, one last note. I went back to my old haunt as I was in the area and whadaya know, the meat guy and the cashier greeted me like a long lost friend. They actually asked me, where have you been? I guess the feeling is mutual after all.

For Manino, With Love

I can remember it as if it just happened yesterday. That Saturday started as fresh as only a Saturday morning can bring, the start of a weekend full of fun and activity. Indeed we had a full agenda that day. A Quranic session to start the day, then to an open day at a neighbouring school, lunch at the in-laws then a birthday party in the afternoon. Just your typical weekend for a busy young family.

The Quranic session went well, I think I made little error and there were illuminating discussion with my teacher as always. The open day was interesting, Laras got on well with the teachers, we liked the education concept and the actual school, then off to lunch. My husband’s family was out in full force so the house was full of little children screaming and laughing their hearts out. It’s good to be able to reconnect after a week of busy working, to catch up with the family gossip, marveling at how big our kids got. Lunch was delicious as always. Then, as we were watching the kids play while having dessert, came the call. Actually it wa an sms saying simply, “Please call home,” and so I did.

It blew my mind.

Receiving bad news is never fun. Receiving news of the passing of a loved ones especially so. Thus, I learned that my uncle passed away. My uncle, whom I affectionately called Manino, a naval officer, nay, an Admiral, finally lost his battle with the hereditary cardio vascular condition. My gentle loving uncle. I just couldn’t believe that I would no longer see his smiles, hear his laughs or listen to his stories and jokes about naval life both at sea and in land.

My uncle is such a fixture in my life. He’s there in every life celebration, birthdays, Eids, anniversaries or just general family gatherings of which there were plenty. Manino also came to visit us in all of our houses, in Jeddah and in Amsterdam, back when we were expatriates. Though it coincide with work, still, it is nice to have family coming over, to check whether you’re doing ok over there. He also send some of his kids to visit us in Amsterdam. That makes for a great summer!

Obviously he was not my only uncle but because has a daughter who’s just a little bit older than me, I spend loads of time at their house, more so than with any of my other cousins. My cousin and I, we are very close, we grew up together, we’ve holiday together, heck we even went clubbing together. It is a little known fact that my debut in the club circuit was more like a family outing. How could it not? There were 12 of us, my parents, my uncle and aunts, and all the children. Each had 4 kids so a party of 12 it was. At one point all 12 of us were on the dance floor boogeying the night away! An excellent time was had by all. By me at the very least 🙂

Manino and his wife was also responsible for picking up the groom for my wedding ceremony. A task they did wonderfully; the groom came on time with no chance of escaping 😉 So he is known not only by me, but by my husband’s family as well.

To say I was devastated to hear the news of his passing was an understatement. Our weekend plan had to be cut short. Going to the birthday party was no longer an option. I left the children with their cousins to go to my uncle’s house. I need to see the news for myself. When I got there, it felt surreal. The house still looks the same, yet preparation is clearly on the way. At a glance it looks like party prep except no one is laughing. Everyone carries a mask of sadness, traces of tears can be found on their faces. Only the very young ones continues to be merry.

Then the moment of truth. The sound of siren. A commotion. A bed set in the middle of the room. A body, laid ever so gently on it. There he was. So peaceful as if in a deep slumber. As if, any moment, those kindly eyes are going to open and say, “Hey, have you eaten? Let’s eat!”

The funeral was set for Sunday. I debated whether to attend or not since I was pregnant with my second child. I decided to go. Anyone else I might not. But this is Manino. I couldn’t not go. Besides, it was still early in the pregnancy, I will be among families, I will be just fine.

It was a full military funeral, full of officer in white uniform complete with swords. Lots of people came to pay their respect. The service ran a little long but beautiful. Though to be honest, all I can think was the last time I saw him, which was in the hospital. I didn’t talk much to him as he was rather weak then so my mom did most of the talking while I chatted with my cousin instead. When my mom called to leave, I had an inkling I may not see him again, but at that time I pushed away such thought. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and wish him speedy recovery. Before I left the room, I turned to see him one last time. As I waved goodbye, Manino looked at me, smiled and winked like only he could.

I doubt what I felt come even remotely close to what his children felt. Still, I guess the pain is real that he came to visit me in a dream some time later. In my dream Manino was wearing what look like his white short-sleeved naval uniform minus the brass and medals. He looked as tall and as handsome as ever. We were at yet another family gathering, he went round making sure everyone is attended to. Satisfied that everyone is comfortable, he smiled and left the room.

And that is the real last time I saw him.

Note: It wasn’t until I read my cousin bb messenger status that I realised that I started this note 5 years ago. I keep trying to finish it and I find I need to stop to keep myself from bawling over. After 5 years, I don’t think the pain will ever go away. I’ll just have to work through it as I promised my cousin I’ll finish it. So here it is. I hope to see you again one day. Until then, Manino.

*for Etta 140311*