It may be a dream afraid of waking up, or it may be a dream coming to realization in the next morning.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If You Give Him a Fish, He'll Eat For a Day

I was having a conversation with one of my lecturers regarding the situation of social work in Malaysia, and one thing of what she said kind of struck me and opened my eyes on what should have been obvious but neglected by helping professionals in Malaysia. Try to imagine what is the first thing you'd give to a homeless person, poor families, or aboriginal people? The ones that usually the media have portrayed are money, money, and money. We keep hearing the news that this big person, or authority, or ministers, or any people with names and titles come to visit the houses and give a generous amounts of charity. However, very little effort has been made to realize that money is not all that these disadvantaged people need.

So, list down basic needs in human's life. There can be physical, psychological and emotional needs. Physical needs can be in forms of materials, physical health, and shelters. Psychological needs can be mental health, self-esteem, and cognitive efficiency. Emotional needs can be related to the needs of having good intra- and interpersonal relationships with others. If you visit a family whose socio-economic status is well below what is considered standard, the first thing you might think to help was to give out a certain amount of money, wishing it'd help them go by for several days perhaps. But do you honestly think it's enough?

There is a famous saying I read on a wall of my previous university's library that says, "Give a man a fish, he'll eat  for a day, and you teach him how to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life." This saying is very true. You see, teaching someone 'how to fish' can take on many forms other than teaching itself. As I mentioned above, there are other needs different than the physical ones, such as psychological and emotional needs. If money, money, and money is the only thing provided to these needy people, will it help provide for these needs as much? Maybe temporarily, maybe for a day, but I don't think it'll last longer.

As a starter, counseling services are very important too. And counseling is not just sit in front of the person and listen and give advice (although giving advice is not encouraged in professional counseling session), it is more than that. Counseling services should be able to open the eyes of the disadvantaged people the options that are available in their life that they can take to make a reformation. Counseling should be able to make them go out of the 'coconut shell' that they are stuck inside. They should be, then, taught how to 'fish' so rather than depending on charity, where they could actually provide for themselves. Therefore, this emphasizes on the importance of education. A major contribution to their condition could very well be their education level. This calls for the help from the authority that can enable them to get a decent education in terms of money, direction, and guidance counseling.

The basic point of what I'm trying to say is that provision must match needs. A person who needs shelter shall be given a shelter. A person who needs a job, shall be given the opportunity to provide for him- or herself. A person who needs psychological stability shall be psychologically stimulated by services in forms of counseling, therapy, etc. Therefore, evaluate what the real needs are then you'll know what to do next.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Movie Review 12 - Our Family Wedding

Lucia (America Ferrera) was getting married with Marcus (Lance Gross). Miguel (Carlos Mencia), Lucia's father, was trying to 'reheat' his marriage with Sonia (Diana-Maria Riva). Bradford (Forest Whitaker), Marcus' father, was juggling between the high-school girls he slept with with his ex whom he was still in love with, Angela (Regina King). When Lucia was heading back hometown, she was nervous because she had to drop a bomb, actually three bombs, because she knew her father wouldn't like the news that she dropped out of college, that she never took a chance to tell him about Marcus, and that she and her boyfriend were living together. When she was home, she only managed to tell her dad that she was getting married. The forced tie between the Black and Mexican family brought both to have some unconcealable tension and hostility, especially between the two dads.

Meanwhile, Sonia felt like her marriage with Miguel had become distant since now a car the latter was working on would be 'sexier' than her. The condition got even more disappointing when she overheard her daughters talking about how unhappy she was. She told Miguel how she felt and how it made him sad, and Miguel reacted by reliving the couple's first dates, a romantic ride. On the other hand, although she had already divorced Bradford, she was still friends with him, and took care of him. When in one night, the situation seemed to feel like when they first got married, Angela thought there was still a chance, until she walked in on Bradford with a young girl in the house. But Bradford knew that Angela was the only woman he needed in his life, so he professed his love all over again.

With all the craziness happening in the wedding planning, and the tension between both families, Lucia and Marcus had their own conflict when the secrets Lucia kept from her father affected her relationship with Marcus. Bradford said to his son that whenever things felt wrong, he needed to acknowledge it and stop before it's too late. Marcus then felt like Lucia wasn't in the relationship as much as he was, so they broke off. But, Lucia's sister said that when they were little girls, they could bicker and become best friends the next hour, but in adulthood, conflict should be resolved with genuine apology. So, Lucia went over to Marcus' and apologized, and both made amends.

This movie makes me feel bittersweet about marriage. Although I felt very annoyed with the seemingly incessant messes that occurred throughout the film, I feel like there is something we can learn from it. First, Bradford's on-and-off relationship, or sexy friendship, with Angela, which raises the question, does rushing into marriage lead to a rushed divorce? Bradford always said to his son that marriage isn't as wonderful as people might overstate, but he himself knew that if he hadn't rushed to getting divorce, he'd still have a chance to fix things in his marriage. Rushed marriage might not sound good, but as does rushed divorce. Once you get in, give your every effort to make it a wonderful thing.

Second is Miguel's cold marriage with Sonia. This might be what people have always said over and over and over again everywhere in the world, that marriage means suicide. They believe that marriage will never be as magical as when a couple is in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, which for me is because of "what's rare is valuable" thing. When we're not married to a person, we feel like it's exciting to touch him or her, to say "I love you" a lot of times, or to even sleep together, because it's not allowed. When something's not allowed, we feel like it's sweet to do those things because it's 'rare', but once we get married, and have access to the once-forbidden stuffs, then we get cold. Again, we need to make efforts to make a marriage as good as it used to feel. Be romantic everyday.

Third is Lucia's romantic relationship with Marcus that had been affected by the two families' massively different cultures and traditions. When these two cultures clashed, the couple became disheartened, which made Marcus felt like Lucia not telling her father that she was dropping out of college as a sign that the wedding wasn't a good idea. The thing is, signs might be helpful in showing us what to do to a person, but it's way not important way to decide that something as big as wedding is off. Again, I can't emphasize enough, it's about effort, effort, and effort. When you feel wrong about something, you don't run away from it, you take a moment to think about what makes it feel wrong and what you can do to make it feel right. If it can feel wrong, than it can feel right. It all comes down to dealing with decisions, rather than dropping it off of hands.

As a wise man (Betty's father in "Ugly Betty") said,
"Being an adult is not about making the right decision, it's about dealing with the decisions you make"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Review 11 - Rachel Getting Married

In this movie, Kym (Anne Hathaway) had just gone out of rehab and she was heading home with her father (Bill Irwin), with all hecticness of Rachel's, Kym's sister (Rosemary DeWitt) wedding day soon. However, although she knew she was going back home to a loving and accepting family, she knew and she could she all the little hints and signs that her family was still looking at her as an ex-addict and could snap out anytime. Kym could especially feel this when her sister made her friend, not Kym, as the maid of honor, when her father was vigilant with her whereabouts all the time, and Rachel being frustrated when Kym was trying to announce her development in getting sober in a rehearsal dinner.

The tension between the two sisters was heightened by the fact that before Kym went admitted to a rehab centre, she accidentally caused the death of her brother, Ethan, by getting high when she was taking care of him and swerving the car she drove off to a lake. Kym couldn't take it anymore and while she was so guilt-ridden, she tried to turn a bit of the blame to her mother, by arguing why her mother still let her take care of Ethan even the former knew that Kym was high. When Kym didn't return home the night before Rachel's wedding day, everyone started to get worried, but Kym came back home anyways and the two sisters made amends. Although Kym and her mother were still unreconciled, Kym understood now that the sisterhood she had with Rachel was stronger than any possible conflicts between both. Feeling bittersweet, she returned to the rehab centre.

Labels are quite a strong psychological phenomenon in human society. Especially after you've been a part of a correctional institution, it's very hard to clean off the 'ex-' stamp, such as ex-con, or ex-addict, on your forehead. When she returned from rehab, Kym knew that although her family was wonderful, she still felt discriminated against. In literature, labeling is one of the reasons why people with 'ex-' stamps return to their old lifestyle. When the society is more eager to categorize people based on their history, the ex-convicts or ex-addicts would feel that it's much easier to conform to what the society thinks of them. Then when they experience relapse, the labels become even stronger, which reinforces the 'ex-' behaviors even further.

One way to help is to instill trust. The 'ex-' people should understand that when they go back, the community is welcoming them with an open arm, and judgment is put far aside. But still, carefulness should be there too, just like when we have to be careful with everyone, regardless they are an 'ex-' or not. This might be why when an ex-convict is sent to a place where the people don't have the idea that the former is an ex-convict, he or she is more likely to not experience relapse, provided the resource and peer with access to the old lifestyle is not strong in their life. So, make efforts to help than to blame. If you refer back to my old post, Blaming and Helping, you can get some ideas of what to do to people that might challenge our values in life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Movie Review 10 - Role Models

Danny Donahue (Paul Rudd) and Anson Wheeler (Seann William Scott) were two energy drinks salesmen in "Role Models" and their career was going well until Danny was struck with the epiphany that his life was not going anywhere. While Wheeler tried to convince his friend that the job was enjoyable, Danny couldn't help but think that he was stuck at one point of life where he couldn't move. Danny became rebellious and picked a fight with everyone, including a cashier at a coffee shop that enraged his girlfriend, Beth Jones (Elizabeth Banks), and eventually to their break-up. Feeling even sucked down, Danny and Wheeler were in a hassle with authority that landed them into a community service at Sturdy Wings.

Sturdy Wings was a community service for kids who were in need with brotherly companionship. In the service, Danny was assigned with a shy and medieval-hero obsessed teenager, Augie, while Wheeler was paired with a rebellious and profane kid, Ronnie. Of course both had their own sets of problems to deal with, but one thing that the both must always look out for was their attitudes and behaviors because they were the 'role models' for the two kids. Augie already realized that Danny didn't really want to be there, but when Danny ruined his chance to be in Laire, a mock medieval kingdom, Augie sulked away that led to a nasty confrontation between Danny and Augie's parents. Wheeler and Ronnie were bonding but when the former was busy having fun and being distracted with a girl, Ronnie went away too.

The two guys were very close to being jailed up because of their not-so-favored performance in Sturdy Wings, but they were determined to fix the situations. While Wheeler begged Ronnie to take him up again as his big brother, Danny tried to find for Augie another chance to participate in a mock multinational wars at Laire. The opportunity ended up making all of them, Danny, Augie, Wheeler, and Ronnie, to be the warriors for a newly established country they just set up to defeat the cocky king. A series of fake but real war between three countries led to a final battle between Augie and the king, and after his hand being cut off, Augie stabbed the king in the heart and won.

'Role Model' is a funny and smart, although very profane, kind of movie that teaches you that being a role model isn't easy. Especially for children, because they keep looking up to their adults, because that is where they get to learn how to behave and act in various conditions. Albert Bandura, a psychologist who termed observational learning, said that not just behaviors, children observe our attitudes and expressed ideas and determine if those are viable to be followed and imitated. But sometimes, when things are too much, they can get confused.

Augie, for example, had parents who were worried sick because their son was too obsessed with the medieval stuffs, but Danny clearly had a different kind of thinking. But since Danny matched his own attitude, Augie really looked up to Danny, until Danny ruined his position in Laire, which in the same time, ruined Danny's status as a role model. Especially when he already knew Danny was forced to be a big brother, Augie felt like he was a lost cause and he didn't know where to go and what to do, since his parents were disapproval of his interest and Danny didn't have a clue of how to act in any given situation.

Ronnie really felt that Wheeler was a guy he could depend on, but when he was dumped because Wheeler had a girl to play with, Ronnie realized that his role model wasn't such a model after all. This led to confusion too. All this emphasizes on the importance of consistency and trust, because in order to be a role model, children need to be able to identify with the models, and if the models lose that, observational learning can't take place. So, if you are a big brother or a big sister and you wish you want to instill good values within your younger ones, be consistent and walk the talk. Give them the feeling that they can depend on you, and that you yourself walk the the whole big talk about what you preach.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Movie Review 9 - Ghost Town

How do you feel if you are anti to social setting but that's what you get every day and every second? A dentist, Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), had a near-death experience in a surgery and that enabled him to see ghosts who were earth-bound because they had some unfinished business to deal with. When they found out that Pincus could see them, the ghosts started following the dentist who already hated socializing with people. But a ghost businessman, Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) was determined to get to the other side, so he haunted Pincus so the latter would agree to help him cross over by telling the former's wife that she's now engaged to a guy who would take her money once married. Frank thought that was his unfinished business, but it's not quite so.

Trying to help Frank, Pincus did all he could to get Gwen (Tea Leoni), Frank's wife, away from her fiancée. It worked out well, but Pincus didn't expect it that the fallout would be that he fell in love with her in the process, but Frank didn't favor it. When tripped up by the ghost, Gwen got angry because she thought Pincus took advantage of her husband's death to get close to her, and Frank's reason of tricking him was that the latter was a jerk and she didn't deserve that because she was married to one.

Pincus finally realized that his antisocial attitude didn't get him anywhere, so he began his personality transformation by helping the lingering ghosts by resolving their unfinished business, and he felt good. He realized he had to start appreciating people more and offer an open arm if anyone would come in his way to associate. And his last mission was now to help Frank to cross over, and he did, and Gwen believed that he talked to Frank all along.

No man is an island. That's what John Donne said to infer that no human being can strive being alone and living alone. But Pincus firmly believed the opposite, that people lived alone, they died alone, and apparently they stayed alone. But as he witnessed himself, that kind of life didn't pay off. When he kept pushing people away, he also realized that people pushed him away too, in return.

There is no such thing as an ultimate individualism. Even in the most individualistic cultures such as the United States, the United Kingdom and some European countries, there is such term called as Horizontal Individualism, where some members of the culture would on occasions put the group goals ahead of his own. This is because sometimes for individualism to work, they have to be a little bit collectivistic, emphasizing the importance of living in a social setting. You might abhor birthday parties, community meeting, or students union, but they are simple ways where you can enhance your social being and actually benefit from it, if not now, someday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Movie Review 8 - Love Happens

"Love Happens" tells a story of a widower, Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart), who found himself as a motivational speaker and a writer of a book that talked about dealing with the loss of a loved one. His manager, Lane (Dan Fogler), set his next seminar in Seattle, a place where he had been avoiding to go since his wife died in a car crash. One of the reasons why he hesitated was that his wife's family lived there, and bumping into his late wife's father could be something that he wasn't sure he'd be able to do. However, out of all the reluctance, he met a florist Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), whose meeting with for the first and second time were a bit of a disaster. But warming up to him, Eloise started to get to know Burke, but she knew there was something that he hid deep in his heart.

Burke kept telling his audience that the only reason why they couldn't seem to move on was because they stopped dealing with the loss. So, he encouraged them to face the fear that resulted from the death. Feeling touched by his performance, Eloise, however, learnt that Burke didn't follow his own advice, he didn't deal with the death of his own wife when she found out that Burke didn't go to the funeral. Eloise felt that she had to do something, so while Burke became a mentor to his audience, she became a mentor to him. And the first step was that to release a parrot that Burke's wife made him promise if anything should happen to her. But the effort by Eloise wasn't taken well by Burke.

Burke finally couldn't take it anymore, and he decided that he had to tell his audience the truth. He told the world everything that happened in the car accident, but one thing he omitted from the knowledge of the audience. It was that he was the one who drove the car, and he blamed himself all this while for his wife's death. Revealing this secret to the world was Burke's important coping process so he finally could let his wife go this time.

In psychological literature, there is a model of grief introduced by Kubler-Ross, that contained five stages: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Kubler-Ross said that these stages occurred to people who are diagnosed with uncurable disease and will face death very soon, but later this model was applied to losing a job or a marriage, or even losing a loved one. Denial is when the individual does not accept that the destiny has called, and when he can't deny anymore, he feels rage, or anger. Then, he tries to bargain with destiny, but usually bargaining does not work out, so he feels depressed.

You see, all these stages might come off naturally in a person's process of dealing with grief, but one tricky thing to do is to accept the destiny. Kubler-Ross said that these stages might not be in order, but it seems like Burke's block-stone to acceptance is his anger. All this while, he couldn't keep away from the idea that he killed his wife, so because of that, he cut ties from anything that reminded him of his wife; her family, her friends, her stuffs in the house, etc. This caused his late wife's father to be angry at him, because all the father wanted to do was to mourn with him but he couldn't find Burke.

Acceptance might be very tricky, so a lot of us are stuck at a stage prior to acceptance. Perhaps mostly because we feel like there must be something to do to correct the situation (bargaining), or that it's easier to not face the destiny (denial). But we have to keep in mind that we can't never move forward until we accept. A guy in Burke's audience whose son was killed when falling off the scaffold couldn't go on being a contractor, or Burke himself couldn't open himself up for a new possible romance because he kept feeling hung up on his guilt upon his wife's death. The fear is the huge impediment in the process of accepting. Therefore, it is a good idea to face rather to escape, and soon you'll find an easy way to see things in a whole new perspective.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Movie Review 7 - Leap Year

What is the first thing you'd grab in 60 seconds before you go out of a burning house? We all might have different thing in mind, but Anna Brady (Amy Adams) didn't really have the answer, and Declan O'Callaghan (Matthew Goode) rather just kept it a secret. Bummed when her boyfriend, Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott), and her just celebrated another anniversary without a wedding proposal, she decided that she had to just pop the question on her own. Jeremy was leaving to Dublin for a conference, and Amy was trying to surprise him a visit, so she could pop the question on 29th February, where she thought it was an Irish tradition that on a day that made a year a leap year, a girl could be the one to just pop the question.

Departing to Ireland, that was when she met Declan, who'd drive her to Dublin for €500. Her journey to meet her boyfriend was not easy, from a greatly stormy weather that delayed the flight, to a non-cooperative ship captain, to a less than friendly Irish bar owner who was Declan himself, to a crowding cows that blocked the only road, and missing a train, Anna vowed to herself that she'd never stop and give up. In the journey, Anna and Brady went through together the ups and downs of the journey, but one that made them realize that their encounter was more than just an encounter was when they were believed to be married and asked to kiss.

Finally meeting Jeremy, Anna started to doubt her decision, but he surprised her by proposing, and she said yes. But her doubt lingered even stronger when she realized that one of the reasons he had to propose was that they couldn't be in the same room unless they were married. So, she set the alarm of the new apartment they were getting and tried to see what Jeremy would take in 60 seconds, and sadly it wasn't her. So, she rushed back Ireland and saw if she had any chance with Declan, and Declan accepted her.

So, back to the question, what would you take in 60 seconds before you rush out of a burning house? This question is more than just it seems, because it challenges us to think about what should be our top priorities in life. Sometimes this is just the one problem people seem to be having: Priorities. Cognitive view of learning asserts that the first stage of learning people must have before moving on is discriminative learning. Discriminative learning is the type that requires people to be able to discriminate information. People with this skill can differentiate important and unimportant ideas, what is good and what is bad, and can pay attention to details. Sometimes things just happen without us knowing what really has happened, so this type of learning is important.

When asked why Jeremy was so special, Anna seemed to have a difficulty in answering and resorted to "Because he's a cardiologist." Anna didn't understand why she had to stay in the relationship, because all that was in her mind was that, she needed to be with him and get married. But when struck with the "60 seconds" question and struck with the one detail of her life that she never thought was significant, she realized that in reality, what she had with Jeremy was not real. So, the lesson to learn was that try to be purposeful, and don't do something mostly because you have to. Although it's an obligation like feeding your children, or the five daily prayers, find a purpose of the acts and pay attention tot he detail of why it might become of such a dull routine rather than a joyful thing to do everyday. This might help.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Review 6 - Flash of Genius

"Flash of Genius" tells a story about how a man, Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), invented Blinking Wiper that could go on wiping even without the engine of the car running, in an intermittent pattern. He got this idea after an incident with a popping of the cork of a wine bottle to his eyes on his wedding night with Phyllis (Lauren Graham). Feeling lucky, Robert thought that he could make his own manufacturing company of his owns, with the board of directors consisting of his own family, and sell the Blinking Wipers throughout the world. However, seeing this as a very great invention, Ford Motor Company showed an interest in buying the invention so they could start installing it in their later car productions.

Damned be Robert, when Ford Motor Company suddenly pulled out from the deal and said that they were not sure to buy the Blinking Wipers just yet. It bummed Robert, but it bummed him more when he realized that Ford Motor Company actually used his idea and "reinvented" it on their own terms. Things started going downhill from that moment. Against everybody's wishes including his own wife, Robert was determined to fight for it, to fight for his invention. The company didn't want to bring this case to the court and offered Robert a generous $250000, but they wouldn't admit that they had infringed Robert's invention. More to Robert's sadness, Phyllis left him.

Robert went to the court, representing himself, and this time he was even more determined. Ford Motor Company offered him another generous sum of money to stop him from concluding in the court, $5 millions so he would back down but still, they wouldn't admit that they stole the idea. Asking his children, who finally came around and helped their father in this legal case, Robert decided that they would not stop. Finally, Robert, with the delights of everyone who supported him, won the case and was offered with $18.7 millions. He knew his battle was over.

The issue of intellectual property has been on the heat since long ago, and it is a serious infringement. That is why every university in this world has a strong rule against plagiarism, the act of "stealing" an idea without crediting the original source. You might be a big company, or a person who believes that you might get away this time, or the next time, or the next, but words are stronger and you are very likely to get caught. If you are, you'll be in trouble.

So, what did constitute 'original ideas'? Does it have to be perfectly new? or can it be a new invention if the inventor uses up components that already exist? One of the arguments of the lawyer of Ford Motor Company was that Robert didn't exactly invent something new because he did not invent the transistor, the variable resistor, or the capacitor. He just "arranged them into a new pattern." Well, this is how Robert answered them: Charles Dickens did not invent 'it,' 'or,' or 'the,' he just arranged the words to into a new pattern, but why was his "A Tale Of Two Cities" an original masterpiece? And he got that right.

Especially when you're a student, and you're still adjusting to the world of original ideas, or invention, or jumbling of words, it is very good to always remember that you have to be careful with using other people's ideas in your own works. If you have to, then credit them and do what's appropriate to make sure that you acknowledge that you're getting it from somewhere else, not from your own mind. It's good not just for your own student life, but your intellectual dignity.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Movie Review 5 - Thank You for Smoking

"There is no conclusive evidence that links smoking to lung cancer." This had been incessantly promoted by a cigarette lobbyist, Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), as a way to advertise and brainwash people into smoking as a response to the world's increasing campaign on anti-smoking environment. Nick first tried to put back smoking behavior into the society by using the celebrity in their sexy scenes in the movies. His theory was that the celebrities in the past were made famous by continuous indirect message that invited people to smoke, by their visual imagery in pictures, with them holding smokes and posing. This penetrated smoking practice into the society without even it knowing, but too bad, the world, or specifically a senator in the United States who did a strong campaigning against smoking.

Nick counteracted by bribing the original Marlboro guy into not lashing cigarettes (because he himself was diagnosed with lung cancer), meeting the Hollywood entertainment placer to persuade the smoking in the movies suggestion, or even went public with his ideas of the greatness of smoking. While seeing how the world almost a bit bought what he had to say, a seductive journalist used him to gather all the informations that could be used against him.

The report in the article by the journalist included how Nick compared and prided how cigarettes topped the account of the most deaths in the world, how he bribed the Marlboro man to stop using his lung cancer diagnosis against smoking, how he brought his son together in the lobbying in a business trip, and that all his lobbying was all for paying his mortgage. After this article, and his near-death condition, when kidnapped by a hater who kidnapped him and overdosed him with a lot of nicotine-patches, Nick knew he had to do something. He went to the Subcommittee Hearing on Tobacco and campaigned for smoking for the last time before he quit his job for good, but this time, in different way.

His speech in the hearing raised a certain important issue about how smoking was promoted against all these years. He pointed out that, in response to the senator's question whether or not he believed that smoking could cause serious health repercussions, he himself did. He asked the audience and asked to raise their hands if they did not know if smoking would be bad. It's a common knowledge, it's something everybody knew, thus why all this brutal and relentless campaign against smoking anymore?

Nick's point furthered to the fact that it was how people were educated. It was all how about children were raised and educated. It was all grownups were socialized and educated. In a family system, it was the parents who should take responsibility to educate (note: the word is educate, not force) their children of the importance of making the right decision. Although in smoking situation, this could be partially true because government would be responsible too, but he raised a very significant point in here. When parents, teachers, the community, or even the government kept on promoting against smoking, did they actually stop to think that they might be partly in fault when their loved ones started to smoke?

We were diverting the focus of blame onto someone else because we were too lazy and clueless into admitting that we might contribute themselves to falling into the smoking habit. Smoking children might have smoking parents, or smoking peers. Smoking children might have indifferent parents who did not care much about what their children were doing. Smoking children might be so because their parents were mostly into cure rather than prevention. All of these and a lot of other factors as well that go beyond blaming and campaigning against smoking, and putting a lame scary image at the side of a cigarette smoke as well, should be considered in treating, and more important, preventing the society from becoming even more and more desensitized towards smoking.

I hope we consider our roles and contributions we could make as parents and siblings and friends in the prevention of smoking behaviors. Well, unless we couldn't care less...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movie Review 4 - Welcome

"Welcome" is a foreign movie about an Iraqi-Kurdish young man, Bilal Kayani (Firat Ayverdi) who was determined to travel across the world just to see the love of his life, Mina (Derya Ayverdi), in the United Kingdom. Bilal was very determined that he actually could make a risky decision by migrating illegally to France, because that was the point he could go from to see Mina. After getting to France with some legal and court struggles, he began to realize that going to the United Kingdom might be trickier than he initially thought. He had to swim across English Channel, a wide ocean that connected France to the United Kingdom.

Bilal didn't know how to swim, so he registered for two swimming class with a French instructor, Simon Calmat (Vincent Lindon), but the latter could smell what Bilal's agenda was to learn how to swim. Still teaching how to swim, Simon was beginning to form a bond with his student, from where he learnt that Bilal's motive was to reunite with Mina. Feeling emphatic towards the young man since he was about to go through a divorce process himself, Simon aided Bilal's efforts and helped more than just that, he even gave temporary shelters. In France, there was this law that prohibited the local people from helping the illegal immigrants in any ways, because it would reinforce the latter to keep coming to the country. However, Simon couldn't care less and kept sheltering Bilal, taught him how to swim, and even generously gave him a swimming suit and a ring from his ex-wife so Bilal could present it to Mina.

Simon was in a lot of troubles because of that. He even was jailed because of his insistence that there was nothing wrong with helping illegal immigrants with a place to sleep, though he initially lied about that. Simon's ex-wife even warned him that what he did might be very kind, but was not worth it because it could cause a lot of problems. But Simon deafened his ears, until when reality struck, when Bilal really did decide to swim across English Channel. Panicking over his safety, Simon called the coast guards to save him. Bilal was brokenhearted when his attempt failed, and decided to go for a second time, and this time, he said to himself, he'd make it, especially when Mina called to rush him over because her father was arranging a marriage for her.

The second time did not side on Bilal. Unfortunately, the guards from the United Kingdom noticed a human figure floating around in the sea and wanted to catch him. Bilal panicked and he tried hard to hide from them, by diving into the water. However, his own determination killed him when the guards realized that the figure did not come back to the surface. Simon was called by the authority to be informed that Bilal died. Simon came to the United Kingdom by himself to give the ring to Mina, and to inform Mina that her love died while crossing the water.

Love can make us blind. And not just that, it can make us do brave and risky and, well, stupid things. But this movie teaches us about something. It teaches us the value of determination. It teaches us the value of never giving up. Even if Bilal didn't make it to see his girlfriend, but his efforts were so valuable that Simon was touched by them and decided to make it forever and memorable by giving the ring to the girl. If Bilal didn't risk his life illegally migrating to France, didn't have the guts to ask Simon to be his teacher, didn't have the courage to swim across a wide sea, none of it would happen. 

Simon said, "the boy could swim to meet his girl, but I can't cross the road to get you," referring to his regret over having to divorce his wife, whom he was still in love with. It's true, sometimes it's as small as a simple road, or as massive as a huge ocean, but it all comes down to our own perception whether or not we want to start taking our first step, and go on and go on and go on. Kelly Clarkson sang in her single "Breakaway," that she'll spread her wings and she'll learn how to fly, and she'll do what it takes until she touches the sky. So, my message to everyone and me too, do what it takes until we have a grasp of what we want to achieve, until we touch the sky.

"It's better to die fighting than to live in fear..."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Movie Review 3 - My Name Is Khan

The idea and debate about Islam and terrorism have been incessantly ongoing, especially after the tragedy of September 11, where Muslims were the targets of blames. Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) was not an exception. After marrying Mandira (Kajol), Rizwan lived his life as a married man with Asperger's syndromes happily, because his wife and his stepson accepted him for who he was. All the wonders ended when the towers in New York were attacked by militant extremists, and Rizwan's life started going downhill. When the son of the family, Sameer, got killed because of his recent change of last name to 'Khan,' Mandira began to feel that marrying Rizwan was the biggest mistake of her life. A sobbing scene at the boy's murder place, Mandira pecked that if she didn't marry him, nothing would turn out like this and swore that she'd never accept her husband back in her life until he went to the president of the US and said, "My name is Khan, and I'm not a terrorist." Rizwan, being autistic, took it literally.

Rizwan, then, swore off that he'd never return to the lap of his wife until he did what she asked him to do, leading him to a series of terrorism-suspicion related events, such as being investigated in the airport, witnessing an Indian hotel being thrown with a rock, and being looked at prejudicially when he perform Islamic prayer in the public. But nothing compared to what happened when he finally got to meet the president, but being arrested after yelling, "I'm not a terrorist! I'm not a terrorist!", and people, having the tendency of negativity bias, only focused on the last word of his sentence.

He was put in jail, being beaten up by an inspector, and frozen just because he was thought of having the information on some terrorist groups. However, destiny sided on him when two dedicated journalists actually recorded everything when Rizwan cried the "I'm not a terrorist" and it could be a proof that Rizwan was actually not. Trying to find an agency who could make a story about Rizwan, the journalists were finally helped by a scared Sikh journalist, who opened the eyes of the American authority that Rizwan was not a terrorist.

Rizwan journey turned from religious to humanity issue when he met a poor family in a poor town, Wilhemina. When flood struck the town, Rizwan was the first one to help the people in the town build back what had been damaged, inspiring many people in the country to come and lend a hand. After an eye-opening revelation, Rizwan finally got to meet the president and tell him what Mandira had inadvertently implanted in her husband's mind. The both finally got back together.

This is, for me, a very good representation of how Islam and Muslims have been perceived since the tragedy in September, which actually still goes on until now. Some people in this world are still terrified whenever they hear the name Islam. What pops into their mind when this religion is mentioned is bomb, explosion, or murder. Luckily, a lot of sides of people now realize the true nature of Islam and start to advocate for it.

As how this movie has shown, the perception of Islam and how it goes on from teasing, to insulting, to unnecessary war, has been an issue of religion turning to an issue of humanity. Looking at how people in Palestine suffer, not just the militants, but the public, as in the women, and the old people, and children. I do not want to blame anyone, but a war that does not follow ethical guidelines will never turn out good. A war that is based on generalization of the perception of a small bad group to the people in general is always disastrous.

Rizwan Khan was just another Muslim, suffering from the prejudice that stemmed out from this kind of generalization, and this kind of war. There are other Muslims just like Rizwan, with or without the Asperger's syndromes, who might be suffering from the same too. It's important that the people are educated about issues like this, because illiteracy is what actually starts out prejudice that can result in many other hazardous events, like war. Educate yourself, and when you're capable, try to educate others. Hope this condition might better soon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Movie Review 2 - The Experiment

Have you guys heard of a classic unethical experiment called as the Stanford Prison Experiment? This field experiment sought out to see the attribution to the behaviors manifested by guards and prisoners in a prison that lead to abusive treatments. This is the base of this 2010 thriller movie, "The Experiment" where chosen male participants would be acting as the guards and the prisoners in a mock prison. Much of the motivation these guys decided to participate in the first place was the handsome amount of money offered if the experiment was successful, about $1000 perday, and the experiment was intended to go on for two weeks.

Travis (Adrien Brody) and Barris (Forest Whitaker) were basically the main pro- and antagonist of the movie. Travis was located among the prisoners and the Barris among the guards. The first day went on normally, with ever participant still adjusted to the role that had been given to each one of them. However, as the days went by, they started to take their role seriously, actually too seriously.

Travis quickly became the unofficial leader of the inmates since he was with all the courage and bravery to protest, and Barris quickly assumed as the leader of the guards when his initiatives to shut down Travis' rebellion was respected by the prisoners and the guards altogether. However, being too deeply invested in his role, Barris started to act authoritarian, where every rule, or his rule, broken would be responded with aggression until it flamed a serious anger when Barris killed a diabetic inmate, who also was a friend of Travis'. Starting from there, and the drowning-of-head-in-the-toilet-bowl, the prisoners, led by Travis, became uncontrollable and ran amok to take down of the violent guards. Until when it was too aggressive, the  participants were finally let go, and the experimenter was arrested for manslaughter.

A lot of psychological phenomena can be observed from this movie. First, role theory asserts that every individual carries a set of roles within him or her. Somehow, when we're given a role, we're more likely to conform to it, because there are a certain expectations that we do not want to violate (like not wanting to mess up their role as prisoners and guards because they're expected to finish the experiment or else, they wouldn't get paid). These roles, and the way we try to uphold them, influence our behaviors and personality traits. This might be why Barris who was a shy and homebody man, became very aggressive and violent once he was very uptight about his role as a guard.

Second, do you remember Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment? He found from his experiment that people have the tendency to obey to an authoritative figure to a frightening and threatening level, up to the willingness to end a life. The experimenter in "The Experiment" and in the original Stanford Prison Experiment (the experimenter acted as the superintendent) became the authority and the guards obeyed to them. Without the guards realizing, a man died and bloods were spilled. That is how dangerous obedience can be.

Third, you can see from this experiment how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs can be seen very significantly. The prisoners were secured with the biological needs, but their safety need was the one that was threatened. You can see how true it is that we could go to an unexpected length to make sure that we're safe. When the prisoners in the Stanford experiment felt unsafe with the guards taking control, they started to rebel, and in the movie, the rebellion caused a bloody war.

This movie, although only partly represented the experiment, actually gave good ideas how dangerous a certain psychological phenomenon can be. Which is why some experiments are unethical in the first place, because lives could be at stake. Watch it if you're a fan of psychology. This might inspire you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Movie Review 1 - Dinner for Schmucks

This month December, I will dedicate my blog posts to reviewing movies I missed before, that I'm catching up now, and I feel it's worth it to be reviewed. Maybe the movie has some good qualities, and is worth to watch. The first review will be Dinner for Schmucks. I know, I know, this movie has been ages but deep down I really feel like I need to watch it, and it seemed like I made the right choice.

Dinner for Schmucks is about how an employee was trying hard to impress his boss to get promoted, was in a dilemma when he was invited to a dinner where every guest should bring an "idiot" for them to make fun at. Tim (Paul Rudd) found Barry (Steve Carell) trying to save a dead mouse on the street, and texting while driving, Tim bumped into Barry with his car but he was lucky that Barry was safe and an idiot enough to think the latter was the one who should pay for any damage caused by the accident.

Barry's presence in Tim's life had been collateral. Barry did not just bring back a violent stalker of Tim's three years back, but he also caused Tim's girlfriend to leave him, his house to be in a huge mess, and his car to be so massively damaged by the psychotic stalker. Barry also almost put Tim's career in jeopardy but being a good friend, Barry attempted to get Tim his promotion by attending the dinner (while Barry did not know at all that the dinner was for "schmucks"). Tim, finally following his conscience, standing up to Barry and lost his job.

Something intriguing that I observed while watching this movie. You see, this movie teaches about dreaming and daring to dream. Do you notice that successful people are people who dare to dream and who dare to actually step forward in achieving their dreams? They do stop sometimes and pause and think what might happen, but the difference between these people and stuck-at-life people is that, they don't turn back. Barry understood this, so that was why he tried so hard to make sure that nothing stopped Tim from achieving what he wanted, what he dreamt of.

Barry was excited and looking forward to the dinner, which was why too that he never let anything to stop him from going. Although he learnt how Tim actually felt about him, that he was an idiot and friendless, Barry still went to the dinner to see people (although part of it too was that he hoped Barry got the promotion). This teaches us that, people will always try to put us down, and if we want to be successful, what they should not do good enough to make us stop. We should keep going, and going, and going.

Idiots do not think about consequences, which may be why they are more daring than us, but we have to know, it's their redeeming quality. And that is something we should learn from them. At the end of the movie, Barry finally fixed everything, his heart triumphed over his head when he knew if Tim's girlfriend knew what Tim felt about her, how madly in love he was with her, she'd be back to him, which was why Barry let Tim ranted about his feelings while she was at the back, listening.

And Barry said, the evolving monkey, the Wright brothers, Sir Francis Bacon, Vincent van Gogh, Louis Pasteur, Benjamin Franklin, Evo Kanevo, and his best-friend-to-be, Tim Comrad that they were dreamers and without their dreams, they couldn't even achieve what they did now.

Watch it. It's worth your money and time.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blaming and Helping

If you notice, our world has gone so obsessed with blaming that it blinds their way out from something that matters more, which is helping. There are a lot of social problems in society that seem to be so deplorable that society just lessens their understanding capacity by just resorting to labeling and organizing information on the basis of those labels. It's easier for us to stamp people with a certain mark on their forehead, and keep calling and seeing them as that rather than taking time to actually understand and help.

Consider the cases of homosexuality. Have you ever considered, Muslims worldwide especially, they spend their every waking moment in their lives trying to search for a proof in Al-Qur'an and Hadis or any other reliable sources that homosexuality is forbidden? Even after proving it, they can't get enough, they have to talk in a public discussion about how haraam it is, they have to make sure that the message is delivered loud and clear. But do you notice, that none of these "good" Muslims ever try to stop for awhile and really think, "how can we help this guy?"

To make it worse, they use a lot of common-sense nonsense to cover up what they are lacking in the intelligence area, so they keep making these suggestions as if they were really effective and supported so in scientific research. Suggestions like getting married, having sex with a woman, or even as horrible as aversion therapy (which only serves as a punishment rather than nurturer, so a gay guy's most likely be asexual rather than straight), are strictly based on simplistic perspectives.

So, my point is, there is no effective way yet, so rather than encouraging the homosexuals to get wild with being homosexual, why don't you absorb them into the society and give them a purpose? Why don't you, rather than making a harsh and cruel rejection, give them a platform for them to express their feelings and perspectives on life? Why don't you, rather than making quick and baseless judgments, try to stop and put yourself in their shoes for a while?

I know I might get flamed for posting this. But I hope you would stop to think and do the right thing, though it's hard.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forgiver and Forgiven

I am human just like you, and you, and you. And while it's no excuse to doing mistakes and all, it's still true that humans err. Being a human like you, you, and you, I have wronged some people and there's nothing I have wished bigger than them offering their forgiveness to me. But all my life apologizing, I have seen two kinds of people when it comes to conflict resolution.

1) The kind that feels superior and somehow victorious in the little "battle". This kind usually just feels that he or she just wins and is reinforced by the triumphant feelings, the person wouldn't just stop there yet, s/he has to create more drama by not accepting the apology, just to secretly want the person to blame to be on the knee and begging for mercy. A way for this kind to extend the conflict period is as little as not replying an apology text or message in a Facebook, or as big as yelling the person back to his guilt.

2) The kind that knows that extended conflict period can never do anyone any good. So, they handle the apology maturely by replying politely and forgive. And no, when I say forgiving, I do not equalize it with forgetting. You see, forgetting is tricky, and we should actually NOT forget, so the similar pattern of mistakes wouldn't happen again. But when they receive an invitation of truce in someway, they knew better than making a fuss out of it.

You see, the classifications are not exactly black and white, of course there are other ways people manifest their forgiving and apologizing behaviors, and they are ways for people to have a mixture of those classifications too. But let me tell you one thing, whatever their reaction is, do know that you have done your part in apologizing and expect nothing more from the person. If you become resentful of his or her reaction towards your apology, you'd just do nothing but make it worse. Sometimes the first kind of people are just to confused of what's the forgiveness is really for, so you just pray that the person would find out soon.

As usual, I need to remind that to myself too...

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free, only to discover the prisoner is you..."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Professionalism Is Overrated

In the world going toward corporate dimension and academic emphasis, professionalism cannot be stressed enough. Professionalism means that the matters involving personal issues, interests, and desires should not intervene with the performance at the institution or workplace. Which is why to protect from things like fraud and biasness, some ethical guidelines are introduced by bodies who guard professional issues. For example, psychologically, in a therapy session, the counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, or any helping professionals, are prevented from having personal involvement with the clients, because obviously it's not helping. When you're in love with the client, as an extreme example, the way you see him or her can never be the same as when you see a person as the one you want to professionally help. There's biasness involved. Even some research supported the idea that lie detection is very hard to do when we're doing it to the one we're close to.

Well, I'm not against the idea of professionalism, I'm even in agreement with some of the concepts that are linked with the practice of professionalism. But does this issue have boundaries? Or is an extreme form of professionalism can still do any good? What do I mean by extreme professionalism? It is when, an aspect of it, the authority or people of higher position like bosses, lecturers, or managers can't be the least involved with their subordinates emotionally (and don't you dare equalize 'emotionally' with 'romantic'). It is like, the bosses do not bother if their employees have a hard time at home, or the lecturers frown upon the students having a small talk with them, or the managers can't sit in the same table with their workers at lunch.

My point being is, when you're completely detached from the personal life at work, some problems might ensue. Bosses out there, if you can't even be friends with your subordinates, how would you figure out how to understand them personally that can lead to figuring out how to make them perform even better? Lecturers out there, why do you have to shush a student if he asks about your family? You don't have to tell the gross intimate details, but a small talk can actually motivate the student into working harder (you'll be surprised how it works!).

Think of the time of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. Did he detach himself from the personal lives of his Companions and people? The way he was a leader at that time was by knowing intimately who the people in his lives were. By that knowledge of his people, he'd know appropriate response to give everytime they consulted him with something, or to give out advice that's relevant to their life background.

Professionalism, in my opinion, was initially something that protects an institution from being a circus society. It was intended to maintain efficiency and promote healthy climate, and I believe it still is. But some professionals use it as a "guard" to protect them from having to do ''extra works'' not listed in their job scope, like being vigilant and friendly and not detached and emotionless to their people's personal life, as well as professional life. It makes it so much easier for them to do their works.

So, what I'm trying to say, get involved with each other (and please don't misunderstand it, you know you get the point after all this gibberish), and get to know each other personally. Bosses, lecturers, and managers, don't stick out your ego just because you're higher. I end my rant.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Coffee is such a delicate drink. It's drank cold, hot, with or without milk. Coffee helps me go through the day. And it certainly is a great company when I'm revising my studies on this particular table where I'm blogging right now. Many people believe that the caffeine in that cup of coffee can help them stay awake and energetic in doing their chores and works. Or if not, coffee can be just a delicious kind of routine contained in a cup. These are some random psychological facts on coffee and its effect.

1) The caffeine in the coffee will only work if you don't take it regularly. Just like drug, the more you take it, the more your system is craving for it, so the sensitivity for its amount in the body is decreasing, which makes another cup of coffee the next morning doesn't do anything to you. Wait, no, you still feel the effect, you still feel awake. But how? The arousal effect is resulted from your body returning to a state where it finally gets the fix, where it no longer experiences withdrawal symptom.


2) The effect of caffeine and how body craves for it can extend to the association of drinking the cup of coffee itself. This may explain why the body subconsciously feel the coffee tastes nice when we drink it out of the same mug, or the favorite mug. Since no formal research has been done to confirm this, maybe I can relate this to Mere Exposure Effect?


3) Coffee can be related to how capable you are in accessing your memory. State-Dependent Memory asserts that the state where you memorize something or encode an information, is a state where your memory will be more efficient in decoding or accessing it. To put it in layman's words, for example, if you study in a caffeinated condition, you'd recall better in examination if you're caffeinated too.

So, now you know a little tidbits on coffee and its psychology, so take advantage of it, especially on #3. Now, I got to have my fix of coffee for the day...

Monday, October 25, 2010

There Are More Realities Out There

Perhaps, before reading down what I have got to say, you can enjoy this one song by Jordin Sparks, "God Loves Ugly." Why I introduce this song first? Because it has the essence of what's reality is, of what confidence is. In the beginning of the song, she said that everyone is looking down upon her because of what she, and others apparently, considered "ugly." The blemishes, the weight problem, and the dirt that spiflicated her appearance made her feel so inferior, and probably one less of a woman. Then, towards the end of the songs (and some parts of the middle), she was starting to believe that she's beautiful, she's "apparently" beautiful.

You see, it's her reality. She believed that she's ugly, she knew that, she knew that confidently. Sometimes when people tell you one of their realities, you should know that it's not helping to just deny what they are saying. Saying, "No, you're beautiful..." or, "You're wrong!" even if it's true in your reality, it's not true in the person's own reality. It may work sometimes, aided by a couple other factors. This is also why comparing problem, "my problem is much worse than yours," will only make the person feel bad about him- or herself. So, if you want someone to believe in something, to believe in him- or herself, to be believe that it's his or her reality, then make one. Make what you say a reality to the person, by strengthening the reasoning with something that she feels important and powerful.

In this song, she was finally able to have altered her reality in which she now believed that she's beautiful. Why? Because God was an important figure in her life, and she learnt that God never discriminated anybody, for God, everyone was beautiful. If God was down here on earth, she knew she'd be able to face Him feeling strong, without the feeling that she might get judged by her own appearance, like other people did on her.

Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, believed that people get their realities by experiencing them in the past. the experiences are deeply rooted in their system that they become, well, their realities. Rogers asserted that helping professionals should hold to the first cardinal rule, which is to accept the perception of the person unconditionally, which is why when you want to listen to other people's problem, empathizing is something you should do. How can a person feel better when all you do is, "You're being a crybaby. Move on already. Come on, your problem is so small compared to mine! You think it's hard to lose a friend? Try me, I might marry a jerk out of my family's force..."

Having to marry someone you don't love is not worse than losing a friend, and vice versa. The problem is a problem according to your own book, according to your reality. This is very important to remember if you want to be a good friend, a good spouse, a good family member, or even a good helping professional. What you have to do is to accept the perception of that person. Then, without being directive and suggestive, you can help the person realize that there is another reality in his or her life. A reality that helps the person build a better life. Remember this your whole life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You'll Be Happier When You Realize It's Your Fault

Self-serving bias is a social cognitive error in which you most likely attribute your successes to your own personal factors and your failures to other factors that you can't control. Try to imagine what a person would most probably say why he got an A in a subject, and why he slumped his grade for another. And you also might think that you're exempted from having this error, but think again, harder (Halvorson, 2010). 

This kind of thinking might protect you from having a downfall of your own esteem. You might feel better when you think you're not the one who screws up the whole thing. But, there is an unfortunate dark side of self-serving bias, where it leads and teaches you how to be powerless and in no control of your own life. A lot of what has been found in research showed that happiness can be stemmed from our own perception on whether we have control on our life (e.g. Myers, 1992; Cook & Chater, 2010). Cook and Chater concluded from their research that people who are happier and with higher perceived control on their life and have a healthier eating behavior.

Can you see the relationship between all these things I've been babbling about? Why do you think people become so incessantly sad and depressed over the their own misfortune? Society, environment, their own family members, their friends, or even God are most likely the target of blame because these saddies think these targets are the ones responsible (i.e. self-serving bias) for their bad events.

What I'm trying to point out is that, once you realize that you also have an equal share of the blame, that it might easily be your own fault, you will see that you have a higher chance to make it right in the future. Try to ponder what you did wrong, what made it go the way you didn't hope it to. By doing this, you heighten your perceived control in life and you'll more likely feel happier. Seriously try it.
And this entry is inspired by my own experience when God used to be my target of blame. Forgive me Allah.


Cook, E. & Chater, A. (2010). Are happier people, healthier people? The relationship between perceived happiness, personal control, BMI and health preventive behaviours. International Journal of Health Promotion & Education, 48, 58-64.

Halvorson, H. G. (2010). In failure, we are all Alan Greenspan. Extracted from Psychology Today from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-success/201004/in-failure-we-are-all-alan-greenspan

Myers, D. G. (1992). The Secrets of Happiness. Extracted from Psychology Today from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/the-secrets-happiness?page=2

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Life Is On Pause (A.K.A. The Art of Saying Goodbye)

Losing something significant, especially the ones you really care about, is a tragedy. Be it a dear friend, a beloved family member, an attached pet, or your loving spouse - it is never easy. What is worse is when you are very desperate to move forward, to go on with your life, you feel like there is this giant person with a giant remote who presses the 'pause' button on your life. You're not the one holding the remote, so you can't do anything but be frozen in the screen and wait.

There is a reason, well, two, two reasons why you're on pause, in my opinion. First, you need time to heal. They say that time heals and time doesn't certainly rush in doing its job. If you suddenly move forward, you never have time to think everything through. It's time to feel sad, to accept that you have experienced a tragic loss. It is the time when you have to accept that there might be no other kind of ending for that event. I don't mean to mourn and lock yourself inside the room, but give yourself a break. You have gone through a lot.

Second, this is the time when you have to properly say goodbye. Sometimes what hangs us up is the improper way things end and we don't like that. We keep wondering if things ended differently. So, rather than moving forward, we busy our mind with all the happy endings that could have happened. There's no time to regret! It's time to say goodbye, and for what's it's worth, you can do by your own. Admit that there's nothing between you anymore and that it's time to go. Say goodbye.

Moving on is tricky but it's not impossible. As I said, time heals, and time is your best friend that you don't want to lose here. It'll help you move forward, when you're ready.

I have to say goodbye too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Are You?

How are you?

That's what people usually say to each other when they meet. It's a sign of caring and friendship, where it's the simplest way to find what's going on with our friends. It's the simplest way to know if our friend is happy or sad, up or down. What's the better way to ask your friend that you want to know what is up with him or her.

Unfortunately, 'how are you?' has been much of a ritual question rather than an actual question. Paradoxically, 'how are you?' can be a sign that we're bumping into a person whose closeness to us is just so-so, and the safest way to look like you even care meeting with him is by asking, "How are you?" And what's worse is you don't even stop to wait for the person to answer the question and you don't even accompany the question with the appropriate body gesture and and facial expression.

This question has been very imbedded in our mindset as a way to start and quickly finish off unnecessary encounter, that we even just ritualize the answer by setting it to an automatic, "I'm fine..."

You see, especially when we're a close friend to someone and he or she is struck with a big trouble. It could be tricky what to answer when we ask that person 'how are you?'. It's like, he or she wants to just answer, "I'm fine." but we're his or her close friend, so s/he really wants to tell you what's going on, what's really happening. But then, we are asking, 'how are you?' which is not so elaborate for a person who really wants to know what's going on with him or her. So, at the end, the most likely option of answer would be the over-ritualized, "I'm fine..."

So, who should we blame? The way people treat a redundancy in everyday communication to avoid having a cognitive overloading (humans are naturally constantly trying to reduce workload in their cognition)? The way our creativity dies whenever it comes the time to do or say things differently than the normalcy? Or is it that we're unconsciously obsessed with friendship status with everyone in our lives that who doesn't make it to the 'significant' list does not deserve our undivided attention?

My suggestions would be to make an effort in showing that you care. Just asking 'how are you?' might just backfire in the friendship itself. Couple the question with the right body movement and facial expression. Stop for awhile when meeting to really catch up with the friends.

I also need to do the same ~ ~

Friday, October 1, 2010

Departure Prayer


I know that you'll read this when you arrive there. I want to dedicate this entry to you. Today is your departure to Japan and you're living in your dreams coming to realization. You're making efforts that are so amazing that dreams have to listen to you. I'm learning a lot about determination and persistence from our friendships. It's so valuable a knowledge that I never forget to be determined and persistent myself, because I know if I spend even half of my time making efforts like you did, I'd see my dreams coming true too.

So, this is my hope and prayers for you. I pray to Allah that you're one day, a big and successful man who makes a difference to the world. You inspire people and make people realize that their dream, each one of them, is worth fighting for. Please be safe at Japan, and please have fun over there. If Allah helps you realize your dream, He'll help you make a fun and beneficial living over there. He'll help you face any enjoyment and problems. He'll help you continue being the person, the brilliant man, you were in your studies and in your friendship.



Monday, September 27, 2010

Places Where Hungry Hearts Have Nothing to Eat (A.K.A. Chasers of Beauty)

They say that the food of mind is knowledge, and the food of heart is love. I don't know if I am actually well-phrased to talk about it but you see, beautiful people, men or women, they have an endless queue in front of them who is more than eager to have a connection with them. Before, when I was quite naive, I always thought it was a very superficial nature of humans, longing for the things that look good in the eyes. But, no, though we're always taught with the value of what's inside is more important than what's outside, we still feel that it's more enjoyable to be in a company of beautiful people. Why?

This is a list of answer of such question. It kind of gives a shed of light of why beautiful people always seem to have chasers of friends or lovers. Some answers are worth mentioned.

1) post #3 - the poster says that when you hang around beautiful people, it makes you feel beautiful too. It makes you happy. But what about the case of post #2 where the poster says that hanging around beautiful people shakes his self-confidence. Being around ugly people makes the person looks good.

2) post #4 speculates that hanging around beautiful people gives you a share of what is given to your beautiful company. If they're getting attention, you'll too. Is it true? Don't you even feel more lonely hanging around them?

3) post #6 says that pretty people have an awesome personality. Is it a case of "what's beautiful is good" myth? And it's countered by post #7 who claims that ugly people have nicer personality. Well, then, isn't this a case of "what's beautiful isn't good" myth?

4) Post #9, 10, and 14 make a direct statement by saying that ugly people are ugly. Well, there's no more further comment of these ones, isn't there?

Among all these, and the more sensible answer is given by,

5) post #1, 5, and the best answer chosen by the asker that we have been engineered in our genes to chase after people of beauty. They symbolize health, give refreshments to the eyes, and possess symmetry in their physiques. They chase beautiful people because well then, they want to have some "love" from them, which eventually satisfies their social life, which philosophically we can say, their hearts have been fed.

Beautiful people possess some evolutionary "mysteries" that maybe psychologists can attempt to understand, but in a meanwhile, us non-psychologists, please don't ever repeat what posters #9, 10, and 14 said, average Joes, me especially don't feel good when you say that. So, even if you hate us so much, keep it inside, answering in a public platform like Yahoo! Answers is very hurtful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friendship Is NOT Given, It Is Earned

What is friendship? It is a non-sexual relationship, can be deep or superficial, shared by two people who find that there is something that connects them together. Friends can be someone who shares the same workplace and knows you, or someone who is in the same study group with you, or your neighbor who knows your routine. Someone who you meet at the bakery several times and exchange smiles.

No, that's not my version of friendship. That is NOT my definition of friendship. Friendship never is without being deep. Someone who bumps into you at the workplace, someone who happens to live next door, or even someone who has a conversation with you, that is not a friendship. That may be an acquaintance. That may be someone, just someone.

If there's anything I learn these past few days, it is that friendship is not something that you find on the street and wear on your necklace, or something your mother gives you and you use it to buy something at the shop, or something you borrow from another person and then you give it back when you don't need it. 

Friendship is earned.

You can't just be someone's friend and expect to be close to that person. You have to earn to be close to him, or her. It's so much work, it's so much and you might get tired but at the end, it's worth it. You have to work for it. You have to show and give your effort. And you might or might not get the friendship but it's the way it is. According to Karbo (2006), for acquaintanceship to transition to friendship, it should be based on reciprocity, and understanding of give-and-take of intimacy. But what's most important is that the two friends can relate with each other, meaning to say that they share, or understand the same social identity.

And any of you who are reading this, please take a moment to pray for me so this one friendship I have with this one person (you can refer to him as AM in your prayer) will be taken care of by Allah. 


Karbo, K. (2006). Friendship: The laws of attraction. Extracted from Psychology Today: Relationships Blog at http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200611/friendship-the-laws-attraction?page=2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a Shame

Somehow, OneRepublic's It's a Shame is very much describing what I am going through now. You see, I applied for Turkish scholarship and though has been reassured acceptance by the authority, I still can't bear the waiting, unemployment sucked. I tried to get to the scholarship, but unfortunately the authority itself didn't know when the result would be released, but he assumed it to be in August.

"Now I tried to get to you
Pushing in vain to break me through
And I tried with all I had
You left me standing empty-handed
Well time has past nothing ever lasts

Yesterday, the authority called me and told me I am accepted to further my studies in Turkey under the scholarship by the Turkish government. I don't know whether to call it a good news or bad news, since now I have signed a contract with my government, and I can't back out now. Even if I am accepted, the circumstance is not the same anymore.

"So now you confess that you need me
And now you release what you're feeling
But how is this suppose to ever be the same
Oh it's a shame
It's a shame

Wow, this is more reason why OneRepublic is the best! And, oh, the circumstance is not good now, I have to choose between the two, maybe thinking of a compromise. I don't know.

Listen to the song:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do You Enjoy or Suffer Being Infatuated?

In an entry in Psychology Today blogroll, infatuation is defined as "idealization of the new love, often followed by deflation and feelings of loss. Intense longing and yearning - especially when the person is unattainable or elusive." (para. 4).

But the same author also asserted that infatuation is a normal developmental process of a teenager, though people in their older age can experience infatuation every now and then. In another writing I can't remember where the source is, infatuation should be enjoyed, rather than seen as a suffering.

Well, this is my experience and feelings every time I am attacked by one of these infatuation monsters. I know that the people I'm infatuated with are unattainable, so it only gives depression rather than the high feeling as if you're on drugs. Well, I feel aroused and high some of the times, except that whenever the thought that I won't get the person pops up in mind, I become so tired and moody, and depressed of course. 

I want reassurance by the person and my life is more likely revolving around the person where changes might happen. The person is in my mind 24/7 and I am in a 'great' dilemma whether or not just say 'hi' in a message or just call or just do nothing. I have to force my life to do other activities in order to put that person to the back of mind, which is only working if I'm interested in the activities, or otherwise it'll only become a case of Pink Elephant Effect.

So, now you judge, whether being infatuated is an enjoyment, or well, a suffering. It's the latter obviously to me...


LaBier, D. (2010). Why your love life is a version of adolescent romance. Retrieved from Psychology Today: The New Resilience from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-resilience/201004/why-your-love-life-is-version-adolescent-romance