Laughing Man

laughing-man

Laughing Man, one of my most favourite character of all time.

He is a character who played major role in the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

The character’s name is taken from the title of J. D. Salinger‘s short story, The Laughing Man.

Anton’s note: originally written in March 8th, 2009. Still one of my favourite characters, though.

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Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Pot calling the kettle black, an interesting idiom. Let me give some brief examples to describe what this idiom trying to express.

There was once upon a time a boy, let’s call him Nes, who sulked and complained about how his subordinate left a very important task for a trivial reason, a weekend holiday, and eventually forced him to do the burdensome task himself. A couple of months later, this very same boy, abandon a task coming from his superior for a different kind, but with similar ridiculousness, trivial reason; he’s in shortage of penny, while the task requires not more than will and energy. He, in my perspective, showed even more impoliteness to his superior in his rejection of the task compared to what his subordinate had done before. This is pot calling the kettle black.

There was also this different boy, let’s call him Fiveio, who complained about his superior was lazy and did not do his duty properly. And guess what, he, also in my perspective, neglect his duty. This is pot calling the kettle black.

The latter especially, brought me a degree of rage. He told me to read a religious book. He complained over and over about his superior’s laziness. He blamed pretty much every setbacks at his superior. Well, I guess I have a look of a kindergarten teacher, so that every kid in the class come to me complaining and sulking for every unwanted deed coming from their friends.

And my dear reader, I am not different so much from these two characters. Just another “pot calling the kettle black”. My friend told me to tell my feeling, my story, to somebody to make me feel better, and here it is. This is my refuge and I hope you understand how much anger I’m pouring to this world, my world.

Kings and Queens to be

Termites have an interesting class system; the commoners: worker, soldier, and the aristocrats: prince, princess, king, queen. It pretty much resembles ant’s. It all starts from her royal highness, the queen, who give birth to all termites on the colony. She also decided which class they will get into, with some kind of pheromone given while feeding, to be the strong and scary soldiers, protecting the homeland and her royal highness, the queen, from any threat, or to be the humble servant, the worker class, taking the most compulsory role, providing food and maintaining the nest for the survival of the colony, as Napoleon put it: An army marches on its stomach. Or when they are seen as fit, to be the princes and princess of the kingdom, the heir and heiress of the great termite kingdom. They are “laron”-s in my language, or you can call it alate, the ones with royal wings and imperial eyes, educated in aristocratic manner for a noble purpose; expanding the great kingdom, claiming lands rightfully owned by her royal highness, which are every land, and preserving the royal blood.

These princes and princesses will be properly prepared until the day they have to quit the nest to carry out their royal duty, their purpose of life, to be the new kings and queens of the new colonies. In areas with a distinct dry season, like Indonesia, these royal children leave the nest in large swarms after the first good soaking rain of the rainy season, with the rain of sadness and love from people they will leave forever, a very sad goodbye indeed, but their destiny requires this farewell.

They will fly, as strong as their body could, as long as their flesh can sustain, as far as their wings can get them, and they will fall. Their wings will be taken afterwards and they will mate. And we have the new heralded Kings and Queens of the new colony of termites.

The new queen can live up to forty-five years, mating and laying eggs for life. And the king, unlike ants, will mate and continues to mate with the queen for life. That’s a very long time of mating, I must admit. Only death will do them part, what a noble family!

But let us see a better look of their life as princes and princesses. They are told all their life that they are the hope of the colony, that they are nobles, they are the chosen few, and that they will fulfil their royal destiny. But little did they know that their life survival chance are low out of the nest, or at least that’s how I see. I see them fly and fly relentlessly around my residence, to the light, all night long, and in the morning, their corpses will be abundant on the floor. A flight of doom. A sad flight. And as I compare the swarm I saw the previous night with the corpses on the floor, survivors, if there’s any, are not much. If only they were workers or soldiers, they would have lived a longer life, in the calm nest, and to die in the care of their brothers, not destined to have this kind of remorseful slumber far from home.

To live rained with all the motivation and hope from others, convinced that we are special and that we are the chosen few, that our destiny is greatness and glory, aren’t many of us lead that life? Aren’t many of us all then fly to the sun with our wings, and found out that, like Icarus, our wings are fake and they melt as the heat of sun demands them to? Or aren’t many of us then, like Phaeton, dare ourselves to ride the sun chariot, and found out later that we are unfit for the great task as Zeus’ thunderbolt is set to strike us?

A very pessimistic view on life, you might say about this post. A story of false hope, of those who doom themselves. But you can see it in a more positive tone with a little help from a simple phrase: what if. What if you are the survivor of the swarm? What if you are the King or Queen to be? I guess that chance, even at its slightest, worth the risk have to be paid when it is found that we are unfit for the prize. We don’t know what is waiting in our path, we do know that some things are inevitable, death, for example, but much else are covered in mystery, and the outcome of this shot, a rise-or-fall shot, which will only come in rarity, is also unknown to us. Maybe that’s why these alate-s keep flying anyway; this shot worth their life.

 “In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”—Anton Ego (Ratatouille, 2007)

Anton’s note: Sorry for the long hiatus, my dear reader! Please be nice to me and leave some comments, with critics and advises, for I know a long vacuum has rendered my post creation ability weaker, grammatically, vocabulary, style, or anything else. And you can always tell me your opinion regarding the topic of this post. I will greatly appreciate them. Danke!

Are You on Your Rock?

Archimedes used to demand just one firm and immovable point in order to shift the entire earth; so I too can hope for great things if I manage to find just one thing, however slight, that is certain and unshakable. (AT VII 24; CSM II 16)

Just a little note before you continue, this post doesn’t really relate to rock in reference to a music genre. And it doesn’t come from the idiom “on the rocks”.

Not so long ago, I spent my day with a couple of friends. They were Jeremiah, Benny, and Vina (Benny’s girlfriend) [Lord, we lost another single in our group!]. Come to think of it, it was quite an unusual combination. We went to SMAK 1, watched Kung Fu Panda 2, browsing some musical instruments, and spent our last hours for the day at a cafe, playing cards.

One of the interesting parts in our day-wasting-activity is the last Chapsa game we had (a kind of poker without bets and the aim is to make sure your hands are free from cards). On the moment of truth, the round when almost everyone had the chance to be victor or loser after the present round, Jeremiah, a student of FHUI (a prestigious law faculty on Indonesian soil), spit out double two (a two card and another two card, so we have two cards now, get it?), and smiled innocently thinking he had the highest card on the table. And we just know how to thwarted this little boy with his foul imaginary hope. We told him that in a one-to-one fight, card number two is the mightiest of all, but in any other fight, that card is pretty much a loser kind. So, he protested a little, but eventually accepted it, since the three of us agreed that the rule was universal, and he lost that game.

That incident reminded me of a movie titled “Flightplan” starring Jodie Foster about a woman who lost her daughter in a plane and all the passengers tried to convinced her that she had none. In the end, she found her daughter. If she had believed all the passengers and stopped looking for her daughter, her daughter might’ve been found dead. And, in the same sense, what if we had lied to Jeremiah to win the game, knowing he was quite a rookie on this card game and had no full knowledge on the rule, and he believed us?! He would’ve been conned easily by his foxy friends and lost bitterly because of his friends cunning wits. Or what if there was different rules from different region or high school?

I believe such condition is applicable to almost every aspect in our life where decision has to be made and external influence exists. “What to believe? Should I believe them? I don’t think so, but they told me that… Everybody does it anyway. Nah, maybe it’s just me. It’s just my imagination.” Frequently, we comply to society demands without trying to figure out the truth of it, or we do and we found out that it is wrong but we do it anyway, choosing what is convenient for people around us than what is right and proper, questioning ourselves more than questioning others. If you put it that way, then the truth and fact are what majority or the side with stronger influence decides. I don’t think it is always good. Just like the quotation mentioned above,”one firm and immoveable point” is enough “in order to shift the entire earth”,but yet not easily found.

So, what am I trying to say? I don’t know how to put it clearly, believe me, I’m even confused with the message I’m sending here to you, my dear reader. I think you got to find your rock. A stance where you belong, which is “firm and immoveable”, so that no tide or storm may swept it and you altogether. You have to make sure that you and the rock you’re standing on have the strongest influence on yourself, and decisions you made are in certainty, not in doubt, because you know for sure what is right and what is wrong.

Does the voice of the people represents the voice of God? Not always, I suppose. You can always tell vox populi to shut up when you’re certain.

Confused? Welcome to Anton World!

We can have more confusing conversation about this topic through the comment box.

Little note:

  • Adam, Charles, and Paul Tannery. 1964–1976. Oeuvres de Descartes, vols. I-XII, revised edition. Paris: J. Vrin/C.N.R.S. [references to this work (abbreviated as AT) are by volume and page, separated by a colon.]
  • Cottingham, John, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, and (for vol. 3) Anthony Kenny, eds. and trans. 1984. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vols. 1–3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [All quotations are taken from this edition (abbreviated as CSM); any deviations from it are the author’s own. References to this work are by volume and page, separated by a colon.]

Soldiers Who Build Road

Not long ago, when I was a lot younger, that’s quite long actually, my teacher at CNN International asked me:  “Does gun has any purpose but to hurt?” He unintentionally resound Homer’s words that “the blade itself incites to violence” which I have seen on my Rome: Total War game. I didn’t have any answer to that question.

But not so long ago, I saw a  war-zone-report program and they were talking about Indonesian Garuda contingent. They were stationed at Congo, but guess what, they were not there to ensure security, to fight rebels, or any “Black Hawk Down” action you saw on TV. I heard they didn’t even allowed to open fire. They were on a special mission, a very special one, to build a highway from Dungu to Faradje. And that highway was not for a troop mobilization purpose, it was meant for the welfare of the people around there. It was new for me.

So, it gave me a glimmer of light. Maybe what was meant to hurt, can one day be transformed.

For a better world, it is worth a try.

Indonesian’s Eleven

Indonesian’s Eleven, you are the eleven finest players we got. You are the hope of this people, of us. We, who have lost everything, living in a hopeless life, frightened by the future, choked by our present condition. We have nothing to live for. But you give us hope. You give us a reason to live, to yell, to cry, to jump in euphoria!

When you cry, we cry. When you’re hurt, we feel it too. When somebody do something wrong to you, like a cub parents, we’ll make sure they won’t go home in piece. When you’re happy, we have a big party in our heart.

You carry a very heavy burden, our hope, our expectation, and we’re sorry for that. But what can we do about it? You are the embodiment of glory we’ve never had in reality. Even if it’s just a glimpse, or even an illusion, it’s enough, it’s even more than enough!

Thank you for everything! Thank you for uniting us here, crossing borders and difference. Thank you for burning our heart! Thank you for this hope!

Whatever the outcome today, we know you’ve won!!!

 

My Umbrella

yellow umbrella
Image by solidether via Flickr

I have an umbrella, a big one, it gives a larger protection from water drops because of its size, and it is strong, a lot stronger than average compact umbrella. And I just love it when rain falls and I have my umbrella on my hand. But in the same time, it is troublesome when it is not raining ’cause I have to carry it everywhere. Remember I mentioned “big”? It is like carrying a longsword of a medieval knight.

They say one must prepare an umbrella before rain pours, and that means I have to carry my umbrella everywhere all the time. That’s not practical at all. And the funny thing is when I carry my umbrella, although I know I will get wet, I expect some heavy rain to fall, so that my umbrella won’t be useless.

Remember the quote: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” by John A. Shedd ?

So, there are unfortunate events in life that we dislike, and we prepared ourselves very well for that events, but somehow, because of that preparations, we expect those unfortunate events to happen.

Now let’s take that little bizarre theory into another example. Consider an armed force, an element that almost every nation has, don’t you think they would wish a clash will happen? Do you think a soldier would go through all the long and harsh training without hoping that one day his honed skill will be utilized? Or a police man, without a thief to catch?

It makes wonder, is it possible that some unfortunate events, are propagated by the very people designated to face them?