Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What would you do to keep your man?

The latest scandal in the Jakarta social scene is this banker who swindled money from her clients. The amount is said to be significant and she works for an international bank, not one of those local banks whom we deem to have weaker control.

What makes this news scandalous is the fact that this lady banker in her late 40s looks should I say well-preserved. She has done a lot of work on her face giving her the look of someone much younger. And she is well-endowed beyond natural. The pictures circulating shows someone happy to flaunt her "asset".

The story behind her is rumored to be a husband who likes a trophy wife. She is said to undergo extreme efforts to keep herself youthful and attractive. That includes frequent vitamin drips amongst others.

But all the effort does not prevent a divorce. I have no insights into her marriage but the main cause of failure in marriage is usually a third party. And it tend to be a much younger third person.

Question to all the women out there, how much are we willing to undergo to maintain our beauty in order to keep our man? Is it a sign of insecurity when we try to stay youthful for our man? Whatever happens to inner beauty and true love?

These are questions worth pondering as we age. And the answers will force us to confront the true nature of our marriage.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Does yoga make you sleep better?

One of my yoga teachers said he needs only four hours of sleep because he is re-energized from his yoga practice. For me, yoga makes me feel so relaxed I always feel sleepy after class.

When I was in my early 20s which was ages ago, I used to think sleep is a waste of time. There was so much to life (friends, school, parties, learning new stuff) that sleep was not a priority then.

More than a decade has passed and now I treasure any opportunity to sleep. With the responsibilities of a full-time job and a family, I crave for uninterrupted sleep. The one where your head hit the pillow and you open your eyes to a new day.  I hate the kind of sleep where I wake up in cold sweat in the middle of the night, I end up feeling lethargic the next day.

Since I started yoga, I sleep better. I still need at least eight hours of sleep to get me to fully function the next day. But gone are those nights where I  toss in bed counting sheep. And I tend to sleep through the night. On evenings where work or social obligations take the lead, I compensate the following night with a good sleep. The best nights are those when I come home fully relaxed after yoga practice. Those are the nights I sleep like a baby.

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Vacation is my best remedy to release stress

In need of another vacation.  Going on holidays is one of my best remedy to release stress.  I do undergo the usual traveller's stress which includes packing, delayed flights, unforeseen circumstances that change the plans amongst others, but they are manageable stress.  And they are worthwhile for the opportunity to see a new place, experience new culture and meet new people.

Wonder if you would feel the exhilaration of traveling if you do it full time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Work for money...or listen to your gut?

An interesting job offer is in the horizon. Interesting because the compensation can be big. Of course, the rest of the offer sounds good. But honestly, the money is going to be attractive.

Yet somehow it doesn't feel right. Can't put my fingers around what exactly is bugging me. Is it my instinct talking to me? Or is it fear that is whispering into my ears? Am I so at ease in my comfort zone I am scared to make changes?

Need time to think this through. And being sleep deprived doesn't help me to think clearly. Gosh, need an undisrupted "thinking time" set aside this week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nyepi day

Whole day gone by without TV. I've never been a TV fan so not missing it. Rather enjoy the absence of noise from TV.

I napped a lot. Caught up on all the sleep I needed. Finally started reading a book (then got distracted by tweeting). So half finished book waiting.

Since it was so quiet, I heard the rustling of the leaves. And since I was staring into space a lot, I actually saw puffy clouds moving which was a pretty sight and which reminded me when I was a kid.

So this Day of Silence actually went well. The fun part is tonight when there will be complete darkness.

Ungasan, Bali

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Having no "to do" list freaks me out

One of the nagging concerns I had about spending Nyepi in Bali was what do I do? I mean seriously, as much as I bitch and moan about my hectic work life and cry for a break, having nothing to do is a scary thought.

Ok, I can catch up on sleep for one. But how much can one sleep? I can read books and finish the half finished books I have stacked up. And I can tweet and blog. But knowing you are confined to the hotel and not allowed to go out kind of spook me. It means no jogging and no yoga class which are my weekend routine. Did I mention the lights will be off at 6 pm tonight with no activities allowed at all. What do you do in complete darkness for 12 hours?

This is definitely a sign I am not living in the present and that I am a worrier.

As I breathe in the sweetness of the Bali air looking over the ocean, I decided to just let go and enjoy. To simply embrace the beauty of the tranquility. As I was typing this away in the bale (pavilion) by the pool, I saw two dragonflies flew across and a few birds flying in the horizon. Such is the beauty I am surrounded by.

Instead if fretting over what to do, I decided to do nothing and just enjoy what nature has prepared for me, its beauty crafted in perfection.

Evening before Nyepi

Bali was dressed with a sense of tranquility when the plane was touching down. Wooden boats lined next to one another bopping gently in the sea. There was no sight of activities on the beach. A flock of birds glided in the sky above the calm sea. Even nature takes its cue that it's Nyepi and is peaceful.

The Balinese take Nyepi seriously. The hotel car had to turn back at the junction a stone away from the hotel and find an alternative route much longer as the access road was blocked by preparation for the night's activities. Villagers were out on the street watching the Ongoh Ongoh; scary looking huge statues meant to be burnt at the end of the night. It was a party scene and you are allowed to make as much noise as you want.

Tomorrow would be totally different where everyone is expected to stay quiet. Activities come to a still. It would be interesting to experience such peacefulness for once.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jakarta life

I love my maids. I really do. Last night, I came home from work to a nice dinner cooked by my maid. I am referring to wholesome meal that is warmed up nicely along with fruits and coconut juice for dessert. It was welcoming after a long day at work. I love coming home to a clean home where things are in place, all thanks to my maids. Such are the perks of life in Jakarta.

On the downside, it takes me 90 min to travel 10 km to work. So that is three hours wasted on commute daily. Well, with my blackberry and iPad, I get productive in the car. But still, it is frustrating. Not go mention another 2.5 hour if I want to have lunch outside the office. Of course, the driver is the perk. And having a driver is very much part of life in Jakarta for the middle class. It costs less than $200 for the monthly wage of a driver.

So there is upside and downside to life in this city. We don't have parks but instead of lots of huge, glitzy malls with more malls to come. We lack public transportation but we get by stuck for hours in the car chauffeured by a driver. Jakarta is as safe or as dangerous as most cities in South East Asia (excluding Singapore which probably has close to zero crime rate). Practice basic common sense and safety precaution and you will be fine.

It's a shame Jakarta is under-rated as a tourist destination and usually not the preferred posting for expats. Give Jakarta a chance and in time you will be charmed by this place and its people who are probably one of friendliest you can find in any cosmopolitan cities. You can always spot a smiling face in Jakarta.