Friday, June 24, 2005

Enschede station

come and go,
watching the number and observing the clock
still and moving, static and dynamic
m o m e n t a r i l y b l u r r e d
i n a r e a l m o f m o t i o n
o f o n e s t a t i o n.

sketched by mer, enschede, 16 june 2005

Thursday, June 23, 2005

30 days after the D-day

It's been 30 days since I submitted my dissertation. It had been approved by my promotor and co-promotors, but the dissertation still has to be assessed by examining committe members. The examiners are the ones who decide whether my dissertation meets the academic standard for Ph.D dissertation or not (then allowing me to go for public defense in September). I have 5 examiners in my committee: one from the same faculty (with my faculty) in Twente, two from different faculties in Twente, and two external ones (from Canada and United States). I personally know two of these 5 examiners, yet didn't interact with them in relation to my dissertation. Three out of the five met me only once and only in passing by. I am kinda nervous about the result.... The examiners are scheduled to give the final result before the 1st of July.

Up til now, only two examiners (from Canada and US) have given the result. Seems that 'far away' examiners are faster than the 'near by' ones. They said 'yes' -- with no correction. That's a good news. I'm a bit relief, but still nervous. The rule says that only one 'NO' is allowed to go for public defense. So since there are still three out there.... I am not yet relaxed.

Despite this 'waiting for YES' tension, my rhythm of life now is definitely 180 degrees totally different than all of those months before 23rd of May 2005. Something is missing. It feels so strange that I am no longer struggling with writing the dissertation, I am no longer having dreams about some theories, I am no longer trying to solve my D problems in my dream, I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night and automatically turning on my computer, I am no longer having some imaginary conversations with Castells, Foucault, Illich, and many other 'guys'... Ja, so many things are suddenly missing.

I miss those crazy times... but surely I don't want to go back to those times. Writing a second dissertation? No way, Jose!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


"For as long as I can remember, I've been searching for some reason why we're here -- what are we doing here, who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer, I think it's worth a human life, don't you?"

Ellie Arroway

Today I watched Contact again, for the second time. I don't remember when I watched it for the first time, perhaps 5 years ago. Eventhough I knew the plot so well, I still enjoyed watching it.

Contact is a movie, made in 1997, that tells about a scientific attempt to investigate life beyond the earth. I really think it is a very good (or even great) movie, which offers an inspiring close encounter with the ineffable mystery that lies at the heart of each individual and at the core of the majestic universe.

Things in Holywood sci-fi movies that usually really bother me are some cop-outs that film makers usually put in order to lower the intelligence level of the script. However, this is not the case of Contact. I, in fact, am impressed of its technical accuracy. Time-space concepts used in this movie, for example, are accurate enough to me, at least based on what I have learned. The movie is believable partly because it does not try to replace true science with vague terms and gobbledygook. Robert Zemeckis's (the producer) persistence to really follow Carl Sagan, the writer of the novel this movie is based on, really helps this. Sagan is famous of being so accurate, details, and empirical in crafting his stories.

The best star in this movie is of course Jodie Foster (as Ellie Arroway) who, as always, plays very well. She is one of my favorite actresses. She plays brilliantly, almost convinces me that she really is a great scientist.

While it rightfully being classified as the story of humanity's first encounter with an extraterrestrial life form, at its heart, Contact is really more about a human being (Ellie Arroway) and a question for meaning in life. The questions Ellie poses (as quoted above) are really the core of this movie and, for me at least, the core of human's life. Her trajectory places Elly on a certain pathway with answers to these questions. From the nexus of this trajectory, her character development, and the resolution of this particular aspect of the story, a satisfying conclusion emerges. In the end, the science fiction elements become subordinate to the personal ones.

For those who desire both emotional and intellectual stimulations at the same time, Contact should definitely be in your menu.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

BBQ 2: The B, D, and J day of M

On 29 May 2005, I had a barbecue party with friends of mine. It was a party of my B, D, and J day.

27 people came. They ranged from 1 to (+/-) 50 years old. Originated from 11 countries!

From left to right:
Standing: Flor, Jonald, Isjel (Philippines), Rupa (Nepal), Zahabu (Tanzania), Helena (Indonesia), Arun (India), Nour (Sudan), Bhaskar (Nepal), Pamerdi, Susy, Daniel, Irawan (Indonesia)
Sitting down: Anurag (India), Yosep (Indonesia), J-zyf (Philippines), Robby (China), Andrew (Indonesia), Ajin (Holland/Nepal), Rihard (Indonesia), TJeerd (Holland), Mer (Indonesia), Coby (Holland), Thongchai (Thailand), Anne-Sofie (Sweden), Saut (Indonesia).

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cellar Door

"A famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words, that cellar door was the most beautiful."
(Ms. Pomeroy at Donnie Darko, 2001).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Dutch market

sketched by mer, enschede, june 2005

As we come to the market-square
welcomed by a busy fair
we hear music and voices
and so many choices

There're veggies, meat, and fishes
and old lady selling ceramic dishes
there are jonge and oud cheese
whose smell makes you sneeze

You can also sit and relax
with koffie and some snacks
or just make some knacks
in the Enschede's Oude Markt

BBQ 3: The 'preliminary' farewell

Yesterday evening I had my third BBQ party of the year of 2005. My group at the university, TSD, had a BBQ party at my professor's house in Reutum. Actually, my professor (advisor or promotor), Nico, held the party for me! What an honor! He called it a preliminary farewell party as well as a preliminary celebration for the end of my PhD study. It's preliminary because yet I have submitted my dissertation, I haven't actually defended it, so I'll be back to the Netherlands sometimes later this year.

Almost everybody from my group attended the party. My group is small in number (about 15 people) but very international. There are Dutch, British, Tanzanian, Nepalese, Sudanese, Indian, and of course Indonesian (we also have someone from Malawi, but he is currently not in the Netherlands). Two PhD students (from Thailand and Lybia) from the other group also joined. So, it was a truly international gathering.

In that occasion, my friends (other PhD students) took an opportunity to give me a farewell gift. I got a wonderful set of 'music related' gifts! A violin case (backpack), a folded compact music stand and a Dutch children songs book. Wow... they are superb! I love them. I also took an opportunity to say my thank you words and gave everybody who attended the party a thank you card that I made by myself (published in the Netherlands by Merlyna Lim Inc., ..hehe).

It was a wonderful evening. I really enjoyed the party. Great party. Good food, nice people, enjoyable chats, a wonderful atmosphere. I realize more that my friends and colleagues here are great. I'm going to really miss them all.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The window

sketched by mer, bed f305, medisch spectrum twente, 12 june 2004

As the wind breeze is knocking my pane
and the branch is tapping with its twain
I know that the earth is not on the wane
and my hope should not be in vain

I see my life is reclaimed
through the window frame.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


[this perhaps should be posted in my travelnotes, however, well, for now I just post it here]

sketched by mer, enschede, 24 feb 2005

sturdy houses, row by row
are speaking of stories from the past
quiet neighbourhoods, feet by feet
are whispering of songs from the future

in enschede
my home.

mer, feb 27, 2005.