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White Belt

So I have been training in karate for about 6 weeks now and it’s been an interesting and challenging experience so far (more on that later).

I wanted to do karate mainly because of Jet and Matt. They have been doing karate for about 2 years now. I slowly fell in love with karate after watching them practising and competing. I thought to myself, how nice it would be to be able train with them and enjoy karate together.
I also then started to read more about karate – its origin and history, its founders, its differing styles and philosophies, watching kata videos – I became more interested.

The next move was to find a karate dojo that I can train with. My sons’ dojo naturally is the first place that enquire. I am very happy with my sons’ senseis and dojo – but unfortunately they don’t have adult training nearby.

So I spent the next few weeks after that, searching and researching karate dojos. It wasn’t as easy as I thought initially, the problem is, I wanted to train in Goju Ryu specifically and there isn’t that many Goju Ryu dojos around (more Shotokan and Kyokushin). The training times also need to fit with my family and church commitment (means no Friday nights and earlier training time better). Finally, I found G.K.M.I – could only fit one training weekly but I think that would have to do for now.

Six weeks in, I can say that karate is challenging – physically and mentally. For me personally, being super stiff doesn’t really help. I am also struggling with some of foot movements and combinations. But good thing is, I am improving – very slowly. Practising kata unsurprisingly has been a highlight for me. It’s good being a noob all over again, being a student again.

My gym routine now has changed too, I am now looking for exercises that will benefit my karate (been reading Hojo Undo book – but probably too early for me). So I have almost stopped lifting weights altogether and focused on getting more flexible.

9 years

Nine years since he’s gone, I think about Dad less and less every year, I guess it’s just the way it is.
He still appears on my dreams once in a while, in them, he is still alive and around.

I remember our road trips during school holidays – usually to Bali.
Driving from Surabaya to Bali back in those days was around 8 hours I think. I remember the long ferry queue between Ketapang – Gilimanuk.
Mom told me that he did like driving, although as he got older (and plane tickets cheaper), those long drives eventually ceased.

Our longest road trip, was from Surabaya to Jakarta. It was just me and him, and pretty sure that’s the only road trip with just the two of us.
From memory, mum and sister had gone first by plane.
I was pretty young back then, probably 10 years old.
I remember bringing a lot of Donal Bebek and Bobo magazines – just in case I won’t have anything to do (ah, those good old days before gadgets) – didn’t end up doing much reading though.

I remember food is sweeter in Central Java – I think we had Soto in Kudus, which was sweet tasting unlike the in East Java where food tend to be salty.
We stopped and stayed overnight in Solo or Jogjakarta (which is midway between Surabaya and Jakarta).
The only memory I had about this stay is something that involved toilet – so I better stop it there.

Weird thing is, I don’t remember the trip back. Ah, all of these memories, they won’t be whole again. They will remain as fragments and sometimes I don’t even remember which fragments belong together.

What would my boys remember of our time together I wonder, what would be their treasured moments – what would be the fragments that they hold into long after I am gone.

Coffee Thoughts

Thanks to my coffee snob colleague – I have been introduced the wonderful world of coffee making. So here is some of my thoughts about coffee.

I might be stating the obvious – but the most important piece of good coffee is the beans. I enjoy tasting different single origin beans. Brazillian Bourbon is my favourite – it has light citrusy flavour – perfect for Aeropress coffee (which my preferred coffee making method). I didn’t find grind or water temperature made any difference – for Aeropress anyway.

I have been roasting my own beans for the last few weeks. I found the process is really interesting – different beans requires different roasting handling. What’s so cool about roasting is you can tailor your beans to your coffee making method – for instance: I think lighter roast is better for Aeropress. I also enjoy waiting for that first crack and second crack.

I think if I have the money, I’d rather get a roaster rather than an espresso machine.

A tale from kerusuhan Ambon

I am holidaying in Ambon at the moment and I thought of sharing a story (a tale?) from kerusuhan Ambon year ago. I cannot say whether this is a true story or just a hearsay – probably something in between?

During this time of kerusuhan – the local army requested reinforcement to help with the situation. A reinforcement battalion was then sent from Bali. This is a good move since the soldiers wouldn’t take side with conflicting parties, the Moslems and the Christians (most Balinese are Hindus).

And so when this Bali battalion came in – they did well, they upheld the justice by punishing the wrongdoers regardless of the sides – not showing favour to either sides. A lot of Jihadists got killed during this time. Unfortunately this didn’t last long, the leader of this Bali battalion was then assassinated (allegedly by the Moslems or the Jihadists – another point of distinction which probably warrants another story). The Balinese troops were outraged and they joined arms with the Christians and dealt a considerable damage to the Moslems. They were no longer able to maintain their neutrality.

Hearing this, rightly the central command withdrew this leaderless Balinese battalion from Ambon. And sent a battalion from Java to replace them. However this reinforcement from Java were not neutral (majority of Javanese people are moslems) and sided with the Moslems in Ambon – they carried out retaliation to the Christians for what they’ve done previously. And so the cycle of hatred lived on.

Again can’t vouch for the truthfulness of the story. And I heard more stories – most of them seems to point to the fact that there were forces outside Ambon that prolonged the conflict in Ambon. Such a sad history on otherwise a beautiful place and very nice people irrespective of their beliefs.

7 Years

Today seven years ago my dad went with the Lord.

We talked about it today (me, Lina and the kids). Jet and Matt told me that they were a bit sad that they don’t get to know their grandpa, yeah indeed it is a sad thing. I am actually don’t feel that sad anymore, I used to regret about those words/conversations that I didn’t have to have with him – but nowadays my main regret is, that he doesn’t get to see Jet and Matt growing.

I took Jet to my office last Friday as he was on his school holiday. He was very enthusiastic when I told him about the idea. Lina wasn’t keen as she thought he’d be bored there. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. He stayed with me from the morning until 3pm – he busied himself with his readings, homeworks and of course playing iPhone games. It was a good time for us, he got to see how I work, got to relate to Chuck, had a good lunch together.

I remember this one day dad took me to his work, this when his office was very close to our house. I was very excited because he had a computer at the office – computer was a rarity back in the days. And he had games on the computer – can’t remember what though, could be digger or some space shooting game. But nonetheless exciting time for me. I don’t remember what he did on the office, I only remember playing computer.

I look forward taking Jet and Matt to work again one day, I am hoping that they will know a bit more about me and hopefully will have more memory about me than me and my dad.