Friday, May 29, 2015

The Curse Of Living Longer

Indonesian poet Chairil Anwar says in one of his poems ("Aku"/"I"),"I want to live for one thousand years..." He definitely did not know that as time goes by, health problems will knock on your door.

Take example of M&D.

D has been battling asthma and other illnesses throughout his life. Last year he underwent an operation for his hernia. This year, his doctor told him to inject insulin to treat his diabetes. That's the physical problems. But there is also another problem

While D is a humorous man and always attract the crowd, he is actually a private and melancholic person. He only had four-five friends as his confidantes, all of them were his high school friends. Whenever they met, I could see D's eyes lit up. They would speak in Sundanese and laughed like little boys. They really got his jokes, emotions, and points of view on life.

Sadly, all of them have passed away, mostly due to stroke.

It was not easy for D to grasp the reality at first. His friends had been the healthy and sporty types, while D was the skinny one. D has always thought that he'd die first.

When the last friend died, he would sit in the living room and had this 100-yard stare. Sometimes he would hold a book in his hands, but he did not really read it. It was painful to see longing that would not be fulfilled.

M told D to find new friends, make new circle of friends. After his health recovery, he has been going to the mosque on almost every prayer time. Now he has friends from the mosque. Most of the new friends are in their 70s. The friendship made when you are in the 70s is different than the one made in the teenage and 20s. But at least he now has new friends.

M is healthy physically. But her hearing has been deteriorating. Sometimes we called her, but she did not hear us. Sometimes she would jump in surprise when she saw me, although I've been calling her before showing up in front of her.

Hearing loss is a genetic thing in my maternal family. My maternal grandparents lost their hearing ability in their mid 40s. Two of M's big brothers are now using hearing aids. The dear uncle who used to chat with me now stayed silent when I came to visit. When I asked M whether Uncle Dayat was ill, she told me,"He is not ill. But for him, the world is dead calm now."

Sometimes, when M was absorbed in her work, whether cooking or sewing, I would look at her and wondered how much time I had until she lost her hearing.

What happened to M&D is relatively mild compared to the health problems my friends' parents face. But still, whenever I look/remember them, I can't help praying: Oh, The Time Owner, please be gentle with me.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Trip To Geothermal Field

We all know that Indonesia is located in the Ring of Fire, but did you know that due to its volcanic geology, Indonesia has 40% of the world's potential geothermal resources?

I didn't then, but now I know.

I got the chance to visit two geothermal fields in West Java -- one is managed by a state-owned enterprise and the other one is managed by a cooperative.

Geo Dipa Energy

Geo Dipa is a state-owned enterprise, which manages several geothermal wells across Indonesia. One of them is in Patuha, West Java. I guess you can find the information on the Internet (too tired to write about all the technical information). Anyway, here's some photos 

The other geothermal site we visited was the Kopjasa Cibuni Geothermal Field. The unique thing about it is the fact that it is managed by a cooperative. Most geothermal fields are managed by state-owned enterprises or the big companies, so we're really interested to see what it looks like.

Later that day, we soaked our body in a local hot spring. It was a nice respite after the visit to the power plants and received so many information on geothermal.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Campus Life

Now that I've told you about the post-grad school life, I'd like to share some banters with my university friends. 

#1. The Young Forgetful Lecturer
Situation: it's Friday night, we're having a night class.
Young Lecturer: Ok, class. Let's wrap it up in 30 minutes. Oh, on second thought, let's wrap it now
Student#1: Why so soon?
YL: I forgot to bring my laptop charger cable, and it's already out of power now.
Students: Oh ok

#2. Traveling With The Boys Be Like...
Situation: we were going on a field trip to a geothermal energy plant, everything has been planned a week before. But a few hours into departure time, this conversation took place.
YL: Has anyone prepared the safety shoes and helmets?
Student#1: No. But do we really need those?
YL: Yes, the plant manager told me.
Student#2: Why didn't you tell us about it?
YL: Errr *suddenly losing phone signal*
PS. We managed to get the shoes and helmets before leaving.

#3. Which Canteen?
Situation: we often had dinner at campus on Friday nights and lunch on Saturday noons
Student#1: So where are we going to eat today?
Student#2: How about trying the foods at the Literary Canteen?
Student#1: It's so far away from the Engineering Canteen.
Student#2: But there are more girls there.
Student#1: So where is this Literary Canteen?