Gives me goosebumps each time.

18 Jul


With a friend at Sushi Tei

15 Jul

I am devastated that she doesn’t like eating at the sushi bar. Opted for a corner table right next to the dishwashing room. Lol. How I miss you, Shirley. 

They closed down all the 711s in Indonesia

15 Jul

I flew back to Indonesia Tuesday night. Before that, I had to drop Blitzy off to the vet because she was scheduled to be spayed that evening. She had been diagnosed with pyometra days before, so it was decided that she will get fixed to prevent re-occurence of the infection.

My mom will be picking her up from the vet’s later this afternoon.

I came back one day before our two-day conference, which ended yesterday. I had booked a suite at the usual place in Menteng. I invited a friend to come with me and we will be going back to Semarang on Sunday.

This morning we went out to buy breakfast at the 711 across the street. It was closed. We went up instead and found an open Bakmi GM branch. I googled if there were other 711s close by and I was shocked to see that all the branches were listed as permanently closed. I looked it up and found a wiki entry that the 711s in Indonesia had all closed because of a failed acquisition. So sad.

So far, very relayed except for some annoyances at work. This year is going to be very interesting because of certain personalities. Lol. But anyway, I hope that this year will be much better than the last. I have a favourite class and this is their senior year. I intend to do all I can to ensure that they will get the best results for their external exams… I just hope that said personalities will not be an impediment to that. Hah.

I have more preparations this year, although I still have the same number of assigned teaching units. Somehow I am eager to start already. Somehow.


2 Jul

Past my second week here back home. It’s been relatively busy compared to other summers past. I finally got to visit this flat that I purchased, and am slowly furnishing it with my year-end bonus. Lol. I don’t want to take a loan so a real bed will have to wait. 

And then something happened early last Saturday. My sister came home half past midnight, and she noticed that our dog Blitzen was sitting among the bushes and wasn’t coming to her. She realized that she couldn’t raise herself up with her hind legs. She woke me up, then I went to see Blitzy. She came to me, struggling to get up and walk, but she did go up the patio, where she typically sleeps, and lay down. 

I woke up before six to look for her. I found her by the bushes again. I called to her but this time she couldn’t stand at all. She looked so weak and refused water. I was already freaking out because of the apparent severity of the matter. I asked my dad to go contract a jeepney (we don’t have a car) so we could take her to the vet. Then we had to struggle with how to get her to the road. Our house is about 200 meters away from the main road, and half of it is narrow and elevated. Blitzy was very heavy, and neither my dad nor I could carry her all the way, so I held a sling to support her hind legs and my dad pulled her in front. When we got to the stairs, my dad and I took turns carrying her, which was very difficult because it looked like she was trying to make herself heavy because she didn’t want to be lifted. 

The vet clinic was in the next town, and we had to wait another half hour till the vet arrived. When she got examined, the vet noticed that she had pus coming out of her vulva. I didn’t notice that at all. She had just finished menstruating and I thought that white liquid that I noticed a few days ago when she walked away was just some normal post-period discharge.

So anyway, the vet diagnosed it as pyometra, which is a secondary infection due to the hormonal changes female dogs undergo after their period of heat and they did not get pregnant. Blitzy’s is of the open variety, which means that the cervix is open and that is why she has pus leaking out. The other type, closed, is more dangerous as the pus that builds up in the uterus can rupture and cause blood poisoning, much like appendicitis in humans. 

Blitzy was admitted, hooked on an IV drip and given antibiotics. This morning I visited her and she was very pleased to see me, if her almost knocking over of the IV pole is any indication. She can stand and walk now, although she still has pus leaking out of her. I spent a couple of hours there hanging out with her at the waiting area at the confinement room while the vet attended to the other animals that were brought in. It is a Sunday and they were only open until noon, but there were a lot of patients coming in. 

Blitzy wasn’t so excited seeing the other animals and was just there on the floor by my feet, eventually sleeping while I patted her. She was even so comfortable that she assumed her favorite spread eagled position. Goes to show how she has improved overnight. 

I just felt sorry having to leave her there again. I asked the vet to just have her fixed when she is well enough for surgery. (The best treatment for pyometra is an ovariohysterectomy.) I only have a week before I fly off again. And if she is to have surgery, then at least I will be around to keep an eye on her when she recovers at home. Let’s see how it goes. 

I won’t be able to see her tomorrow as I have to go to the flat to supervise the installation of the air conditioner and the TV. Perhaps before I go home on Tuesday I will come over and visit her again, unless she is sent home earlier sans getting spayed. 

Hey, friends, fly tigerair (soon to be scoot) at your own risk. 

17 Jun

I transited at Changi Airport last night. I had a tigerair flight to Manila and I was unpleasantly surprised by the fact that they were charging me 40SGD because my carry on luggage went beyond their 10kg limit. When my backpack was being weighed, I told the staff that my heavy laptop was inside. He said it should be included and even told me have the stuff I bought at the airport be weighed as well, despite my protests. I booked my flight via Traveloka, where there was no information about such fees being applied. Today I also tried making a booking on their website and there was no info on that either. 

In contrast, if you look at the FlyBagEat option, you only need to add 44 SGD to have more legroom, 30kg checked in baggage, 15kg hand carried baggage, and a meal. But of course it is not in their best interest to let their customers know that. There were also many angry and frustrated passengers who were caught unaware last night. Most of them just paid up. Some were even trying to bargain. One guy started layering his clothes. I just sulked with a very angry face. 

So yeah, I have already made complaints to Traveloka and also Changi Aiport (I mean come on, I buy stuff at the airport and it has to be weighed, too?). Not gonna complain to tigerair, but I told all of my friends to avoid it. 

Anyway, if you’re flying tigerair (or scoot, since they have already merged and tigerair will no longer be known by that name), here are some tips to not let them screw you over:

1. Ask a friend to hold your bags for you while you check in. 

2. If you don’t have a friend, left luggage is a cheaper option to letting a stranger watch your luggage for you (and in this day and age, no one will agree to that anyway). 

3. Do your shopping after checking in. 

You can have better use for 40SGD at the airport instead of losing it to these scammers. 

Whispers on the crack that will shatter that wall

21 May

I just finished binge-watching The Keepers on Netflix. It only has seven episodes, but it made for a slow, uncomfortable torturous viewing. (Spoilers hereafter.) The story starts with the disappearance and murder of a nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik in 1969. A captivating whodunnit all of a sudden morphs into something more sinister in the next episodes. And from here on out it becomes very painful to watch. Sister Cathy’s murder is still unsolved to this day, but it becomes apparent that it is only one piece of a puzzle, one that leads to a dark web of abuse within and protected by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, apparently aided and abetted by at least the Baltimore Police and the State Attorney’s Office (that interview with Sharon May was one of several instances where one is tempted to punch the screen). The abuse was perpetrated by the counselor of the all-girls Catholic school Keough, Father Joseph Maskell. The details provided in the interviews were spare, but enough to make one’s hairs stand on end: Father Maskell kept an eye out for troubled girls, especially those who experienced sexual abuse previously, so that he could snare them. And he didn’t work alone. Jean Wehner, who later on tried to sue, said that she was marked by a different priest, Father Magnus, when she confessed about being abused by her uncle when she was younger. After getting the attention of Maskell, she experienced horrific and unspeakable violence in the hands of these priests and other men. Sister Cathy must have noticed that something was happening, and she assured Jean that she would do something about it and that things would be alright. It didn’t, because Sister Cathy ended up dead. And in Jean’s recovered memories, decades later, she recalled that Maskell himself took her to Sister Cathy’s body in the woods to warn her about speaking out against him.

Despite the many numbers of victims that reached out after Jean and another victim, Teresa Lancaster, decided to sue in the early 90s, and other evidence such as the documents that Maskell asked to be buried and was later recovered by police, and the incessant coverage of local media, Maskell was never brought to court. There apparently was no paper trail, evidence were destroyed or lost, and the words of 35 to 100 women were not enough to move it forward. For the viewer, this is where the intense feeling of helplessness and anger just builds up. And it wasn’t even the worst of it: it turned out that Maskell had an earlier victim: an eight grade boy whose mother went to the office of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and reported the abuse in 1967. The Archdiocese knew about Maskell, and instead of punishing him or turning him over to the police, transferred him to Keough where he went on to abuse dozens of young girls for years. Had they taken action, these young women would not have had their lives and futures taken away from them. And perhaps Sister Cathy would not have died.

The most disturbing thing about this entire series is not just the role of the Church in the cover up and the lies to make Jean think that she was the only victim and no one can corroborate her story: it is also the possibility that the Church colluded with the authorities to keep things hush-hush. I think Maskell was ultimately running a pedophile ring, and the reason for the apparent incompetent investigations and the lack of legal action against him was because he had too many friends in high places. People who have a lot to lose if the atrocities were brought to light.

I think The Keepers will cause much more of an outrage than Making a Murderer did. Ultimately there were many lives which were destroyed, real people died, and the injustice continues on (interestingly, the Church had apparently made a way to stop a bill regarding the extension of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases to be passed). I read somewhere that the city of Baltimore is actually bracing itself from the public reaction from this series. It only got released this week, so the uproar will only get louder in the coming days and weeks.

Seeking a friend for the end of the world

19 May

My brother sent me a text last night, “Chris Cornell is dead.”

Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t thought of Chris Cornell or Soundgarden or Audioslave in years, but the information didn’t really shock me. The news was just breaking, and my brother suggested it could have been an overdose. I was thinking it was suicide.

I have a cassette copy of his solo album Euphoria Morning, from when I either just graduated high school or just started college. Back in those days money was really scarce, and even if there was Limewire I didn’t have the funds to buy a cheap MP3 player. So it is one of the few records that I bought during my lean years, and it was one of the albums I often listened to on our old karaoke/cassette player.

I was struck with how melancholy his songs were. The cheeky lines: “I only love you when I’m down… I’m down all the time.” The lonely hopefulness of “Preaching the End of the World”. I listened to it again just now (on YouTube), and as with feelings long hidden and forgotten, it suddenly came to the surface. When I first listened to that song, it was years before a major depressive episode, but somehow the words were prescient, like a person I was bound to meet later on. Okay, maybe I was just an angsty teenager like most teenagers were then, but the words evoked a familiarity akin to a stranger that you somehow felt like a friend.

Wave goodbye, now. Before I uglycry. Lol.