Not-So-Ethical Science

“Clinical trials in developing countries often don’t include ethicists.”

Us Indonesians are so smart and creative that we’re capable of manipulating such complicated rules and regulations that corruption still run smooth up until now. If we can use others, why not use them? After we’re done with our needs and interests, just get rid of them.

“Diperlukan manis yang berguna bagi orang lain hanya untuk diserap habis dan dibuang sepahnya.” (Immitating Dewi Lestari on Filosofi Kopi)

So you pursue studies to developed countries, learn morals and ethics of being a decent and useful scientist. Then you go home to your beloved country only to have all your standards and idealisms smashed into pieces of “What? Dear, nobody cares about that here.”

Moral of the whining: move far away and never come back, be ignorant because our poor president has gotten too much burden on his shoulder already to even think about how to fund proper scientific researches. Just give up on Indonesia now.

PS: I’m (micro)blogging during lectures now because it keeps me awake & entertained. Viva blackberry! 😀

Friendly Reminder

Have you done anything useful for anyone today?


The picture was taken during my trip to Banjarmasin a few months ago. It was at Pulau Kembang, at the delta of Barito River which is also known for its floating market. See unique pictures of it here and here. The activity of the floating market only occurs for 1-2 hours right after sunrise (until around 7). It was the funniest breakfast experience I ever had, where we try to “catch” our foods and drinks from the “floating cafe”, altogether with people from other boats around us.

Anyway, one of the monkeys grabbed my Nikon lens cap (with string!) and until now my camera lens is still unprotected… Oh well.. Monkeys.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Pendet Dance, and Noordin M. Top

Here in Indonesia, we are familiar with the saying “tetangga adalah keluarga terdekat” (“our neighbors are our closest family”). When we run out of salt or pepper, sugar or spice, the first people we seek help from are our neighbors.

We were taught to help our neighbors when they get in trouble or undergo some sorts of difficulty and crisis (of course without crossing the line between being helpful and being a complete busybody :mrgreen:)

I guess I am glad that we still have such proverb to teach to our children. Thanks to our ancestors’ wisdom and our country’s highly rich culture; not only don’t we feel the necessity to claim other’s belonging to declare our national identity, we also still have enough shame not to do such despicable thing.

Which THANK GOD did not happen again recently =)

A firestorm of Internet outrage over the supposed theft of the Balinese pendet dance for a Malaysian tourism ad turned out to be just hot air on Monday, when the Discovery TV network owned up and said that the dancers had appeared in one of its own TV promotions, and it was all a mistake anyway.

Pendet is ours! Noordin M. Top is yours!” said one popular Twitter message, referring to the Malaysia-born terrorist suspect wanted in connection with the July 17 bombings in Jakarta.

Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific regrets that the image of a Balinese dancer, sourced from an independent third party, was used in the promotion of the series ‘Enigmatic Malaysia.’ The promotional clip has been removed from all feeds.


Because even though we were taught to always help our neighbors and share with them, I don’t think sharingnational treasures and a country’s territory is one of them. Innit that correct guvnah?


UPDATED 23 September 2009:

Noordin is dead, Alhamdulillah. Pendet is still Balinese, and I agree with some comments here saying all this can only be nonsense created to break us apart (Southeast Asian countries, particularly the ones with Muslim majority).

The truth is, Malaysia is the only country (other than Indonesia and Saudi Arabia) that provides washing up at the toilets. Shouldn’t that be telling a lot about who we are, how we live and respect ourselves? (sounds silly I know, but I mean this, people!) At least we clean ourselves up, so we must also remember to clear our hearts and minds, all the time.

It’s true that Indonesian media is open and very transparent-sometimes-provoking (especially after Soeharto era), which brings good and also bad. And yes it is our responsibility to be more careful in processing the informations given.

But referring to what is written above… we’re neighbors. We should love and respect and support each other. Neighbors shouldn’t steal from each other or call each other names. When some stranger from a faraway land visits your home and try to ruin your neighborhood, shouldn’t you unite with your neighbors and kick their sorry ass altogether?

And despite all these conflict, issue, name calling, and everything, most Indonesian girls still love VINCCI and Charles & Keith products anyway *wink*

So, peace please?

The True Male Beauty



“Oooh peacock feather earrings! Look how gorgeous they are!”

Seller: “Yeah, well, they are genuine feather…”


Response 1: “What? That’s so cool! And it’s not even expensive!”

Response 2: “WHAT?! You sick murderer! And you value their lives with such low price!”


Why it’s that self conflict created for the sake of the thrill.

The image of a male peacock holocaust where they get plucked to death was just too horrifying that I passed on buying them. But then I can’t stop thinking about those earrings that I had to do some very important research.

Apparently, “every year, toward the end of summer, peacocks finish shaking their tail feathers, and their stunning plumage gradually falls off”(source).  
These feathers are shed annually during the molt and gathered as a valuable “crop” in many countries through its range”(source).

Hm… the concept of using male’s “dignity tool” to attract females as accessories really is intriguing. I just hope that that really is how they obtain so many pairs of them in exact same sizes…














These fellas really do understand chicks don’t they? Shiny things confuse us! 😆 
Go get’em boys!

Indonesia Unite: Let’s Prove That It’s Not Just Nonsense

Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. What you feel only matters to you. It’s what you do to the people you say you love, that’s what matters. It’s the only thing that counts.
The Last Kiss



People of Indonesia – Indonesian youngsters in particular, many are being skeptical watching this Indonesia Unite movement. They say that this is just temporary, and that it does not mean anything that we change our avatars into red and white, become a fan of a facebook page, et cetera et cetera…

Personally, I love seeing our country coming together into one like this. Cynics may say “Blah, what’s the point?”

But I say, if you love something, and you support (or fight against) something, then it’s good to let people know. But this is only a very tiny step, a baby step, that frankly, could mean nothing after all.

Imagine having someone who claims that they love you so much. You believe in their words, you trust them, and you enjoy hearing them say, whisper, or even shamelessly yell out loud:


Then one day you got hit by a car, or an insane-coward murderer tried to shoot you in the head. You got injured, you’re running out of blood and dying. But all that so-called “significant other” do is keep on yelling at everyone, claiming how much they love you.


The T-shirt has a picture of your face on it. But does it stop you from bleeding to death?

Indonesia is now crying, we are being humiliated by a group of irresponsible people (are they locals? our neighbour? is this an international scandal just to throw us back to square one? are they simply a bunch of Satan escaped from the lowest Hell trying to give us more trial to learn?). Wallahualam, God knows best.

After our peaceful, open, and democratic President election (mind you, non-voters, I’m ignoring your existence) last July 8th, a certain party feels like they need to make a scene, a coward scene where they don’t even have the balls to unveil their group’s identity. Travel warnings are being sent here and there (and we sadly can’t give any rational argumentation to convince them that they’re wrong and it is safe here). Sports and musical events and performances are being cancelled (and we can only hold grudges having our money being refunded). –Is any of you laughing out there? If so, maybe you should have your hearts and brains checked, are they functioning or just lumps of useless organs?

God I am so angry that I just want to scream and cry. And so are the rest of Indonesia.


You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Reality check. Kalau mau heboh membela negara sambil memproklamirkan rasa cinta kita, mungkin ada baiknya kita bersama-sama introspeksi diri dari hal-hal paling sepele.

Masih buang sampah sembarangan? Lempar-lempar sampah kaya orang udik ke jalanan/selokan?

Masih suka diskriminasi saudara satu negara? Menghina suku, agama, ras orang lain?

Masih gak mau dateng pas Pemilu? Beranggapan gak ada gunanya karena toh hidup di negara kita susah-susah juga (terus kalo gak make hak suara, menurut lo hak suara lo gak bakal disalahgunakan dan makin memperparah kondisi, gitu?)

Masih lebih seneng belanja ke luar negeri yang mengharuskan bayar fiskal yang bikin negara orang makin kaya?

Masih malu traveling ke daerah-daerah di Indonesia dan bangga berlebihan kalo bisa ke luar negeri?

Masih meremehkan hasil karya anak bangsa? Malu baca buku made in Indonesia?

Masih egois (walau manusia memang pada dasarnya egois) dan suka memerkosa, menyiksa, dan menindas hak orang lain? Nyamber-nyamber antrian atau melanggar peraturan?

Masih hobi nyakitin manusia, hewan, tumbuhan, atau ngerusak lingkungan?

Masih suka terlambat dan nunjukin etos kerja yang buruk dan males-malesan?*

*menohok diri sendiri

Kalau sudah punya kemampuan untuk benar-benar membuat negara kita lebih baik (buka lapangan usaha, bikin sekolah untuk anak-anak jalanan, dan lain sebagainya), ya lakukan saja tanpa harus gembar-gembor di dunia maya. Yang parah kan orang-orang yang cuma bisa sinis, skeptis, menganggap usaha orang itu sia-sia, padahal mereka sendiri tidak memberikan kontribusi apa-apa!

It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that give meaning to our lives.
-Tony Robbins

First Things First!

The best thing about having your birthday in June is, everything new starts after it… New energy from summer holiday (but here the mosquitos are being just perfect buzz killer -_-), new term, new academic year, and a new age with new resolutions! And no, I don’t believe in “New Year’s Resolutions”…

Okay, so it’s July already, and yes I’m still waiting for another crucial phase of life to start… But in the meantime, I’ve succeeded to use time productively. And by “productive”, I mean focusing on the 4th quadrant of Covey’s four quadrant matrix. Well, 2nd quadrant as well when sanity is kindly hitting me.

4 quadrant

Before things from quadrant 1 start to torture, quadrant 3 start to become annoyingly distracting, quadrant 2 start to feel like heavy duty, and quadrant 4 become overly precious, I guess it is best to just enjoy this temporary extended leisure time.

So first things first! Have fun and enjoy doing stuff in quadrant 2 peacefully and quadrant 4 guiltlessly.

And I proudly introduce to you, the new blog theme & header… with an updated “About the blog“! *wink

The choices in life…

With no intentions of underestimating the profession of doctors (particularly in Indonesia), I would like to share a bit of my experience which leads me to this gratitude that I failed the National Test (SPMB) for Unpad Med School back in 2003 (and I never even wanted to move to Bandung!) and UI School of Dentistry in 2004 (and I never even wanted to be a dentist!) — clearly I didn’t know what I really want back then.

Maybe God is finally showing the answers to my questions back then: WHY did I fail to escape this mad scientist world? After being such a good and nice and religious girl all this time… Why, God? Whyyyy?

Well, to answer questions with questions: why settle being a doctor when you’re capable of something “better”? :mrgreen:



I caught the most unimportant yet most irritating disease ever: INFLUENZA. And no I’m not being a drama queen, but when you can’t breathe for weeks and your head is all heavy while you must keep working 24/7, you don’t have many options but to visit your nearest doctor. Even if he’s young, just graduated, and sees you as one of his experimental rabbits.

Doctor: “If this condition persists, you may want to have your blood checked.”

Me : *shrieks* “Is it really that bad, Doc?”

Doctor: “We can’t tell yet, but if the level of your eosinophil increases, then we’ll know that there must be an infection.”

Me: (excited because the word “eosinophil” totally rang a bell from years of studying Physiology + Histology) “Oh, it’s my white blood cells, isn’t it?”

Doctor: … (thinks for a second) “Oh no, it’s not…”

Me: huh? *frowning, starting to doubt the competency of this dude* “What is it then?”

Doctor: “It’s some tissue, that can indicate whether you are infected by bacteria…blablabla….” *smiles convincingly*

Me (monologues inside my head): Oh my, WHERE ON EARTH DID HE GO TO SCHOOL?



Being a female, society has obliged me to at least care about looks and beauty. So when my zits went out of control, I just had to try this dermatologist my friend suggested. He looked old, anxious, very restless… and reckless.

Doctor: “Oh sweet Lord, look at that!”

Me: “err.. yes, look at me” (surprised by the over-enthusiasm he showed)

Doctor: “What have you been eating? Are you taking any vitamins??”

Me: “Well, there is this supplement I’m taking, but it should be reducing skin problems really…”

Doctor: “What is it? What is it? Let me see…”

Me: (hands over my Primrose Herbals)

Doctor: “OH NOOO! You shouldn’t be consuming this, it contains flavonoids and all…”

Me: “What’s wrong with that?” (recalling that flavonoid is one of the chemicals I studied for my thesis and as far as I read, it acts as antioxidant, anti-cancer, and even anti-acne)

Doctor: “It will worsen your acne!”

Me: “Really? Aren’t those chemicals supposed to be good for our body?”


Me (shocked): “Okay, okay! ….Geez!”

Some mental institution must be missing one of their patients. 


It kinda tickled me though. At times like that, it does seem obvious that KNOWLEDGE DOESN’T MAKE MONEY. That’s perhaps the reason why some people see academicians as “unsuccessful”. That earning high degrees and doing a bunch of researches or becoming a scientist means nothing — if not embarrassing — to most people. When the parameter is money, then sadly, it does make sense. After all, we live in this cruel world to survive. And to survive, owning enough (or plenty) money is fundamental.

I have met many who prioritize career and money, even if that means putting aside the other life aspects (in this case I learned from one of my students’ parent).

Her: “I don’t want my child to study too hard. My classmates back in highschool (she went to the best highschool in Jakarta)… I can finger-count those who succeeded!”

Us (me & partner): “Oh really?”

Her: “Yeah, the rest only became… you know… academicians…”

Me: *feeling somewhat attacked & offended

Her: “My cousin is the worst case… He is super smart, but he can’t work with people. Do you know what he does now? He sells these hiking equipments because hiking is his hobby! I mean, can you believe it?!”

Me: *Yikes.. strike two! (this time not for me though)

Her: “That is why, I realized that life skill is more important than knowledge… Of course academics is important for cognition, reasoning and all… But it’s not the only thing we need to succeed.”

It was great to finally meet a sane and smart parent. She knows exactly what she’s doing, she knows exactly what she’s saying. Because later on she adds:

Her: “I understand that my children need extra attention from me (she came that day because her daughter got into trouble at school). No matter how much her Dad helps, in the end as the mother I end up taking care of every little things. The only solution would be me stop working, wouldn’t it? *laughs*

Us: *laughs politely, can’t wait to hear more

Her: But you know, we have to make choices in life. And I can’t just leave my business I have worked on for years, can I?”

Well there is the answer, smart lady.

It is your choice to put career and money above your family. It is your classmates’ choice to get high educations and become academicians. It is your cousin’s choice to convert his hobby into a job. And referring to previous stories, it is also those doctors’ choice to earn as much money for a living, even if it takes some lying and fooling people around (and our choice to actually pay them to fool us!).

Who are we to say which is successful, which is not? We all have our own values, perspectives, and life missions, don’t we?

And when we speak about thinking “out of the box”, whose and which box are we referring to?

Who are we to say that something is entirely right or wrong?

Even a dead clock will be right twice a day.


(I know that I’m still green and barely know anything… But hey, even I can’t be completely wrong :D)

Bilingualism, Cognitive Development, and The Alays in Indonesia

Recently we finally had a very useful and applicable seminar. It talked about being bilingual and how it affects a child’s brain development. Apparently, limited bilingualism in a child (not fluent in any language – as in reading, writing, speaking: semantic meaning, grammar, vocabularies, pronunciation) shows negative effects on its cognitive development; partial bilingualism (native in only one language) shows neither positive nor negative effects; while proficient bilingualism (high level in both languages) shows positive cognitive effects.

Here’s a diagram I tried to create based on my note:


Let’s leave the scientific studies to the experts (do read it, it’s interesting). But as for me, I’d like to have my real life samples as proof of how higher level of bilingualism does show higher level of thinking. And that includes better judgements, reasoning, deeper analytical skills, broader knowledge, and even more wisdom.


People with edge and a sense of wit usually belong to the upper level of bilingualism/cognition. I have known people who are fluent in more than one language and they do appear to have a more interesting outlook on life. One of my students is Spanish native, but she is forced to strengthen both her English and Bahasa in order to follow the lessons. I’ve had a lot of fun talking and discussing about so many things with her.

She once asked me: “Miss, do you believe in God? And that the world will end someday?”

or “Do you believe in Big Bang? How do you know that it really happened? Science is stupid!” But then I find her reading all the books about the creation of the Universe provided in class.

And after I explained to them about the possibility of a huge asteroid hitting the Earth on April 2029, she came to me looking somewhat annoyed,

“I was fine before, but now because of you, I am going to die!”

Now isn’t she hilarious 😆

Companies really should realize this and appreciate their bilingual local employees instead of worshipping those with blue eyes and blond hair just because they “sell”. Those British, Americans, Australians, Canadians; they don’t master bilingualism, therefore there is no reason to underestimate, undervalue, and underpay those who actually speak two languages, those with better brain development. Okay, I’ll shut up before they read this and sue me. But I hope you get the point, big boss.

“Bilinguals look at problems at different ways.”

“Competent bilinguals feel good about themselves and have pride in their culture.”

The downside is, people with this level of competency have the potential to be arrogant, if not balanced with a sense of modesty and humbleness. Trust me, I’ve met people who are proficient in three (or maybe four) languages who are completely heartless and shameless. And I have to say, that is not impressive *shakes head disappointedly*


Then there is the “second class” in this version of human classification. Some students who I thought are pretty smart with good understandings, show that they still struggle on one of the languages. Some of the Indonesian students speak English all the time, but they don’t read, write, or speak Bahasa appropriately. Some others read, write, and speak Bahasa in good manners, only they neglect the importance to train their English.

These students still have hope to improve their potentials, if they are encouraged to keep on trying. The thing to worry about is the adults who already feel satisfied with their skill of language, who assume that their brains are so superior that they need not learn anything anymore. Being shallowjudgy, petty, and tend to prioritize the insignificant are some of the characteristics of these people. For your own research, the next time you meet people who show those symptoms, try to find out whether they are bilingual or not.

The last, the lowest class (I am not discriminating, note that I am referring to the chart :D). Some people (and sadly, some of my students as well) show very poor linguistic skills. Let alone second language, they don’t even master their mother tongue proficiently. As in they don’t respect the need to use language appropriately, be it written, read, or spoken. Those in this level tend to write and speak thoughtlessly. And to me, that starts with the spelling.

yes, I understand your confusionclick here and have fun making your own twisted sentence!

I believe more studies are required to really conclude that people who write absurdly like the one on the second box do have negative cognitive development. But the idea of brutally ruining our language like this, really is such a big concern about the future of this country. Oh my!

Related links:

Benefits of being bilingual.
Bilingualism strengthens cognitive development.
Bilingual language acquisition.

Surat Untuk Pemfitnah

di tempat 

Mulutmu harimaumu. Itu yang saya pelajari dari interaksi dengan orang tidak berhati nurani seperti Anda. Setelah Anda melakukan tindakan kotor mencoreng moral dan pendidikan, berani-beraninya Anda memutarbalikkan fakta seolah-olah saya yang salah. Apa tidak cukup fitnah dan kejahatan yang Anda perbuat terhadap teman-teman saya? Apa memang perlu Anda hasut sekelompok yang tidak tahu apa-apa, hanya untuk mati-matian membersihkan nama Anda? Tidakkah cukup sogokan hina yang Anda terima? Tidak cukupkah uang haram yang Anda telan selama ini?

Anda tampil sebagai sosok yang taat beragama, bahkan saya sendiri terkecoh ketika pertama kenal dengan Anda. Saya memaklumi dan menganggap segala pelecehan verbal dan fisik yang Anda lakukan itu hanya lelucon semata. Tapi sekarang Anda tak lebih dari seonggok tahi berjamur yang tampil pura-pura. Biarlah waktu yang akan mengungkap kebenaran. Saya tidak perlu berkoar-koar menghasut orang seperti apa yang Anda lakukan. Seharusnya Anda malu dengan teriakan Anda menyuruh-nyuruh orang untuk sholat. Kalau Anda memang baik dan pantas dijadikan teladan, orang akan melihatnya tanpa perlu Anda teriakkan suara sumbang Anda.

Saya tidak punya keperluan untuk dekat-dekat atau pura-pura baik dengan Anda. Mereka yang telah Anda hasut untuk berbuat jahat pada sayalah yang akan tetap saya perlakukan dengan baik. Jalani saja hidup Anda yang kotor itu, tanpa perlu menyeret-nyeret saya ke dalamnya. Buktikan saja kalau Anda waras dan berpendidikan. Tidak usah teriak-teriak sembari menyemburkan ludah nista Anda ke semua orang. Karena tanpa melakukan itu semua, Anda sudah terlalu rendah dan menjijikan sebagai orang yang mengakui dirinya seorang guru. Apa yang akan Anda ajar jika otak saja Anda tidak punya? Apa yang akan Anda didik jika hati Anda sudah cacat dan rusak dimana-mana?