Life Codecs Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

January 12, 2009

My Change Please, Yes All of It

Filed under: general,gripe — Tags: , , , , , — Kamal Advani @ 16:24

So, the Jakarta Post doesn’t seem to like my letters (or me) very much, after my last unaccepted letter, I sent this little gem:

Dear Editor(s),

I’ve noticed a trend here. I visited a couple of large and famous cafe chains (names coming up) in our many malls. I purchase some food and drink and I pay cash, and they don’t always have small change available. In some instances the cashiers have half-heartedly, very quickly apologised while handing me back partial change. It is clear that they’re not really sorry, and would not have made any effort to get all my change. In other instances, they just give me back partial change! No fake apologies, no effort to explain, nothing, as if they committed no mistake – to quote the Brits, “How Rude!”.

It is small change, I’m talking usually between Rp. 100 to Rp. 500 or so, so my gripe is not so much the money as it is the principle. I can tolerate this behavior if I were buying nasi pecel from a warteg in the streets, heck I would even consider it charity. But from multinational and large joints like Dunkin Donuts and Cafe Oh La La (ooh la la, names!), er no way! I wonder, if I went to Dunkin Donuts, where a donut costs about Rp. 6000, and I had Rp. 5900, would they allow me to have the donut if I apologised for my lack of cash? Or perhaps I had an Rp. 25 candy to supplement my insufficient cash, would Oh La La give me my hot chocolate? Or perhaps, even better, were I to hand in insufficient cash and glibly walk away with my donuts, would they let me? Or would donut guards be called in? Oh, does this also mean that if all the small change adds up, they make hidden profits? Perhaps something the tax department might want to look into, heh.

I want my change, yes, all of it.

Oh well, their loss, they just ignored a very valid opinion, and some A-Class gripe material. For foreign readers, warteg or Warung Tegal is a street side food tent, and nasi pecel is a delicacy: rice and vegetables (optionally with catfish – pecel lele), spicy peanut sauce and sambal (== chilli sauce), yum yum.

— Kamal

November 29, 2008

Malaysian Council Attempted Ban on Yoga

Filed under: gripe,politics — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 03:52

People may have heard about this, it caused a fair bit of controversy within Malaysia, and Indonesia (because the Indonesian Ulema Council decided to consider the notion too… speak about aping). Anyway, all looks well, reason has been victorious, and the ban has been lifted since there was no unanimous agreement. I actually first became interested in the matter reading this article in the Jakarta Post, an English-language Indonesian newspaper. Since the topic of spirituality is dear to my heart, I wrote a letter to the editor which unfortunately did not get published (though I can see why… but I rock regardless ;-)). I thought I’d share the letter on my blog – ah the joys and power of self-publishing – sit back and enjoy the ride.. er read.

Dear Editor(s),

This is to comment on: November 23, p. 2, News Highlights: Malaysian Council bans yoga

Malaysian Council Ban on Yoga?

I read that article, and fell to my knees (metaphorically), thanking the Divine/Ishwar/Allah, that I live in Indonesia, where until great poverty struck, we had a very sensible, very moderate form of Islam (we still do for the most part). A place where people are united by intrinsic values such as respect and tolerance. The article reminded of the silly porn bill passed recently – amid the various things we have to deal with – what’s on our mind? Sex. Truly it is a strong primordial drive – mad as Freud was, he got stuff right – for or against, we can’t ignore it. But I digress. On this ban, a couple of points:

1. Hindu prayers: Actually they’re mostly mantras which have subtle effects on the body and psyche, much in the same way recitation of verses from the Quran do. By the way, the prayers develop love for God and the Divine’s various aspects, they’re not packages sent to the Great Jinn of Mount KinabaluTM. The prayers – like prayers from all religions – promote compassion, not division and hatred.

2. Blasphemous God Union: Gosh, that’s a mouthful. I am no expert on Islam, but I have spent time reading esoteric material, including Islamic texts (perhaps they were blasphemous?), at their very core religions do not disagree. Humans and their often half-baked (read: shallow) interpretations do. Discovery and realisation of the Self as being part of the Whole (== Yoga) is a theme and a goal common to all major religions. The relationship between a human – an emanation of the Divine – and the Divine, is a very personal one. So long as that emanation has not caused harm to others, what right does a council of just-as-fallible humans have to call that relationship blasphemous?

A plea perhaps to the hearts of those in the council who see the absurdity of this ban to lift it. In the long term it will do more harm than good for Malaysia as a member of a diverse World. Malaysia – Truly Asia. Last I checked India and it’s culture was very much a part of Asia. As was the notion of unity in diversity.

— Kamal

PS. Checked again, yep, still there folks.
PPS. Dear Editor(s), besides grammatical errors, or redundant sentences, if you intend to cut parts out, please either discuss it with me, or don’t bother printing it. I will understand – thanks to my oh-so-great degree of tolerance, even if our religions may differ :-).
PPPS. “==” is a bit of a computer programming thing, let it be an obscure joke.

When I wrote that, I did not realise that the ban was only applicable to Muslims, so perhaps I kind of understand the problem with Hindu prayers – anyway, still pretty silly overall.

— Kamal

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