Tuesday, June 30, 2009

going down

owh... so this is the day. the thirtieth of june. 

the day when all my bags are packed, and when i am ready to go again. 

it is interesting to notice, while i wait here for a friend to come and travel together, that the sum of nine months of living here can fit into two suitcases, and one backpack. hoho!

my shoes are still the same. my haircut doesn't change that much, except from that which is shaped by the hat i like to wear recently. 

i'll be going down soon. well, someone once said that a journey back is better than the outward one. going nowhere or somewhere cannot compare with the joy of travelling down a familiar path that has no need of a signpost. the joy of going home. i think that's true.

but my trip this time is not exactly homeward bound as yet. true that i will not comeback here and occupy the same place in the wellington square. not anymore. i have come to the conclusion of my days in oxford. they keys will be returned. but i am not leaving for jakarta. my next host will be the streets of london. cikini street will certainly have to wait a little longer before we can hug each other again.

in this house, almost everyone is already leaving. only some remain to finish their business.

i know that i am going to miss a lot of things from this place and absolutely from the experience we've got from these extraordinary days. maxim, gillian, john, helen, smitha, nicola, cassy, sandra, see you guys! all the best with your future plans!

Monday, June 22, 2009

fsp lastly

in less than twelve hours i will be sitting in an examination room in keble college. all of us, eighteen students from more than ten countries, are expected to be there fifteen minutes before the test begins. 

this one, on diplomatic practice, will be the first of four tests that we have to take in this coming week. 

we are required to wear oxford's traditional exam dress and follow the rule of how they conduct the exams here. and so for that today i have made sure that my white bow tie, black suit, gown and cap are ready. also if i am lucky, someone will give me a white flower tomorrow to complete the dress code. 

i also have prepared myself with some reading materials related to the topics i plan to answer tomorrow. it is my hope that the questions will correspond to what i have learned and memorised, such as international organisations, us' foreign policy, public diplomacy, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. these are among the topics i try to elaborate tomorrow.

and then, in the following day, i should look into the debates in international relations theories, touch the fundamental idea of the 'english school' and constructivism, revisit the main causes of the end of the cold war seen from what was going on in both the soviet union and the united states, and perhaps anticipate to write something about the cosmopolitan democracy too.

furthermore, on the economics exam, hmm... perhaps i have to read more on the current account deficit, regionalism versus multilateral trade, foreign direct investment, and washington consensus... 

and last but not least, on international law, i should cover the topics from the legality of the use of force, the law of the sea, immunity of state and its officials, to states' responsibility. 

and i hope that will be all. 

now i wish to say to all my classmates this: friends, we all have studied hard all these terms. we have read all the journals, chapters of books, articles, international treaties, and pages of key readings for our dissertation; we have written over twenty essays during the entire programme; we have sat for countless hours in our tutorial sessions - with antonios too, in our lectures, in the bus that took us to the study tour; we have dined and played together too. well, now, we can see the gate that will take us to the end all of these labour is looming on the horizon. four doors, guys. in just one week. and then that's it. the last lap of the fsp.

so i wish you all the best with these exams! good luck! shine oooon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the old cat and his kitten

the first time i heard to this song was in ifrane, morocco, nearly six years ago. then in rabat, in the house of mr. bachtiar, a colleague of mine, i happened to find a cd containing a collection of songs, including this same track. essentially, these conversations are based on cat steven's classic hit. a dialogue between a father and his son, which he composed into a beautiful song, called 'father and son'. recently i heard this tune again, played live by the same person who has now taken the name of yusuf islam. so the story goes like this...

the old cat:

"it's not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy. you're still young, thats your fault, there's so much you have to know. find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry. look at me, i am old, but i'm happy.

i was once like you are now, and i know that its not easy,
to be calm when you've found something going on.
but take your time, think a lot, think of everything youve got. for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not..."

the kitten, meowing in higher tone:

"how can i try to explain, when i do he turns away again.
its always been the same, same old story. from the moment i could talk i was ordered to listen. now there's a way and i know that i have to go away. i know i have to go."

again, the old cat: 

"it's not time to make a change, just sit down, take it slowly. you're still young, thats your fault, there's so much you have to go through. find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry. look at me, i am old, but i'm happy.

(the kitten: away away away, i know i have to make this decision alone - no)

the kitten again, in high tone:

all the times that i cried, keeping all the things i knew inside, it's hard, but its harder to ignore it. if they were right, i'd agree, but its them you know not me. now there's a way and i know that i have to go away. i know i have to go...

(the old cat-- stay stay stay, why must you go and make this decision alone...)"

finish. that's the end of the song and the conversation. enough meowing for tonight... the cats then went to eat their fish dinner.

Friday, June 12, 2009

midsummer night

on days like these, butterflies glinting white across the skies, telling us a secret that the year has been good to them. on nights like these, the moon and the stars come out to play silently, like dancing lights in the sky. as if it was an invitation for today's van gogh to recast another 'starry night' spell on a canvas of a midsummer night's dream, in this city of the dreaming spires...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

apple of summer

"tic, toc, tic, toc, tic, toc..." the time is ticking into the month called june. everyone and everything are marching in with it. a season named summer is out therew. outside my window. it keeps the sun up high until late. the stars and the moon must hasten back disappear to allow mr. sunlight come sooner. little animals rejoice under its shower of sunshine. birds are back into this little town. atop the roof and on the branches they sing. 

the huge pine tree in front of saint john's gate, which was once decorated with colourful lamps for christmas, must admit that now it is less colourful compared to the bushes and their wild flowers. 

i'm sitting here with my apple. seems like we're trying to understand each other, without saying any word.