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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Life After Kids

Many around me asked, "how do you cope handling four kids and yet you still seem to have time for yourself?" My answer was simple, "one day at a time, tomorrow is a brand new day."

Yes, our kids are our everything. But, our world doesn't only revolve around them. Don't forget, even though we are their parents, we still have our own parents, friends, colleagues, spouse and even the society that revolve around us.

Time management is all about choices. You echoose to make your own daily schedule either a jam-packed one or a fruitful and rewarding one.

To Friends/colleagues:

I am an old school, I love to meet up with my friends! To me, chatting through the very much readily available texting services has no human touch. You can't really feel the emotion that the other party is currently having.

I love a good catch-up where we sit through a sumptuous dinner, just sipping through cocktails, beer or wine while chattering through the night. This does not need to be often, a monthly meet up is good enough for me.

Family / Spouse:

My husband, fortunately, is a hands-on husband. We're kind of able to divide the tasks proportionally when it comes to the matter of our kids.

Well, luckily for us too, we are able to at least have once a year "just the two of us" holiday. Being away from the kids for just a few days doesn't make us a bad parents peep. With all the advanced technology available, you can video-call your kids with just a touch of your finger away.

To me, a break from the kids equals to a couple-bonding time. Try to ask this: when was the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with your spouse? I can bet 95% of the conversation at home revolves around kids. So, yes, pack your bag and have a great getaway with your spouse. The so called "just th two of us" kind of holiday doesn't have to be an expensive or long days. Take chances of our neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam or even just a staycation in Sentosa.

Or may be, just do a date night. That is something I did quite often with my other half, too.

Family is equally important, especially as you grow older, you will realized that your parents are, too, growing old and you will understand them better and value them even more. My parents made it a point to go on yearly  holidays with us, three sisters, since we were young. I loves remembering the good times with them.

So now, I also try to do the same as what my parents had done for us. We have a yearly family holiday that includes my parents, my sisters and the kiddos, too. This is also usually the only time where us sisters meet as well (we lived in 3 different countries) to catch up and to bond.


Wellbeing and health:

Many of us parents had this tendency to use our kids as  excuses for many things. This included taking care of our own wellbeing and health.

We wpuld chide excuses such as, "my kid has projects that require me to help him/her with," or, "I need to revise with my kid as he/she has a spelling test tomorrow." Sounds familiar? That's me, too, sometimes. Should we think further, isn't taking care of our own wellbeing and health means that we love our kids, too?

Being a parent already is a hard work, both mentally and physically. It is so easy to stop caring for yourself and get overwhelmed. But when you stop caring for yourself, your ability to care for your child is impacted. Same goes for your ability to enjoy parenthood. You get mood swings easily or you're prone to illness, too.

By the way, it isn't selfish to take time to exercise. Besides, your kids are watching you and wants to be like you! Remember this phrase: "monkey see, monkey do."

A parent who is well-rested, eats a healthy diet, gets plenty of exercise, maintains close relationships with friends and gets help when he/she realizes that they are not coping well, is far more equipped to be the best parent he/she can be than those who don't do those things.

Getting the kids involved in exercising such as jogging, cycling or roller blading, also means more bonding time. Exercising also helps to stimulate their brains, therefore they can perform better. So why not?!

Another thing to remember, go for yearly health check up. No amount of money can buy back your health. Having a healthy body also means you get to spend more time with your loved ones. It also means you treasure your own wellbeing for the good of yourself, your kids, your family and friends.

Towards the Society:

We live in a world where something goes around, comes around. So why not do something good and give a little something back to the society that we live in? Many who know me, know that I like to get involved in giving back to society. The question is, why did I do it when so much time and effort were being spent? 

To me, most importantly, I want the kids to know how fortunate they are. They have a roof over their head, meals on the table and nice clothes to wear. To me, getting them involved in social works means more bonding time. Not all things are being taught within the four walls of the classroom and this is one of them. I want them to embrace empathy. 

I remember when I first started the fund raising at our church. My husband asked me why I troubled myself, waking up early to prepare the food, carry it to church, etc. His was basically saying,"you're troubling yourself unnecessarily when you can actually rest on weekend." My answer was simple. I want the kids to see that whatever we have, it's all because of God's gracious and kindness. The fund raising was like giving thanks for all His goodness towards my family and I.

So with all being said and done, having four kids is not really a big feat after all. Take it slow and avoid unnecessary stress. If things get too much on the plate, take a deep breath and take a break.

Written by: DeViLsHGaL

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Incredible India

India is probably the most fascinating country that I never visited thus far. We went a long way back. While I couldn't speak on behalf of my peers, it was safe to say that the country was influential since my childhood days. My earliest recollection was the masala films made by Bollywood. They were unbelievable. First you got people appearing out of nowhere just to dance and sing, haha. Then the fighting scenes were so bad to the extent that it felt like a joke. Some bad guys flew away even before the punches landed on them, haha.

On a more serious note, I first learnt about the Hinduism culture through a book about Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity. What I read was likely to be a Balinese version of Ganesha's origin. Not even Wikipedia mentioned the following story, but some Indonesian articles actually talked about the ancient manuscript called Ganapati Tattwa. I vaguely remember that it was about Ganesha fighting Nila Ludraka, a giant that was feared by all the gods. Eventually it was up to Ganesha to do something about it. He was this helpless baby that miraculously grew up every time the giant kicked him. Soon Ganesha was big and strong enough to fight back and won the battle, though he broke one of his tusks in the process.

For the longest time, my only source was the literature. From comics, I followed the adventure of Asterix, Obelix and Assurancetourix to India in order to save Princess Rahazade. I remember reading about Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. Michael H. Hart, in his book called the 100, told the stories about Siddhartha Gautama and Mahavira. Much later on in life, a friend introduced me to a novel titled Life of Pi. That's when I first learnt about Pondicherry. When I was in Yangon, I picked up Where China Meets India, a book that talked extensively about Assam and less known states such as Nagaland. The book also mentioned about the history of Buddhism in Bihar and Xuanzhang's journey to the West. He went alone without the Monkey King and other disciples, though.

From music perspective, the Beatles, especially George Harrison, introduced the Indian influence to their fans. The sound of sitar was first heard in Norwegian Wood. The word om, with a symbol that looks like number three, was sung by John in Across the Universe. I got to know about the maestro Ravi Shankar, the father of Norah Jones, through the Concert for Bangladesh. Then there was the repetitive My Sweet Lord, easily the biggest hit for George, that would get you chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. That's the time I realised that Vishnu was the God with many names!

Taking picture with the statue of Vishnu in Bali, 2004.

When I came to Singapore, I started having Indian colleagues and friends from various states and backgrounds. They were charming and smart people. When we had a casual conversation, I believe it was due the rich cultures that they always had things to talk about. Impressive! I grew to like Indian food as well during my stay here. The cuisines was irresistible, including sweets like gulab jamun. Tasty!

Then I planned trips, quite a fair bit of them. Oh yes, I once thought of travelling to Sri Lanka and flew in to Tamil Nadu to see Chennai, the famous butterball of Krishna in Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. I also looked at the map and planned the trip to Kolkata, Darjeeling and Gangtok. Sometimes I checked flights to Goa, too. I even told my buddy Franky that I was keen to tag along should he have business trips to Mumbai. Sadly, none of this was ever materialised.

Still the dream to visit India never faded away, thanks to Aamir Khan's movies that I watched recently. My friend Gunawan spoke highly of PK and since it was available on Netflix, I gave it a try. Not only it was funny, it also tackled the taboo and sensitive topics brilliantly. As I dug deeper and watched more of his movies such as Dangal, Secret Superstar and of course 3 Idiots, I was again enamoured by the culture and the beauty of India. Places like Ladakh and Shimla were so beautiful!

I can't say every Chinese Indonesian would have a similar exposure on Indian cultures, but it happened that way to me. It was funny how it started with the movies and, instead of waning, the interest was reignited again by the movies. In-between, there were books and music. India had been part of my life, since the formative years till today. I just hope that I'll have a chance to visit the country one day...

Enjoying chicken lollipop with Fera at Anjappar Chettinaad Restaurant.

India Yang Menakjubkan 

India mungkin merupakan negara paling menarik yang belum pernah saya kunjungi. Ada hubungan yang tidak terpisahkan antara India dan saya, sebuah hubungan yang sudah terjalin dari dulu. Bagi saya pribadi, budaya India sudah terasa dari sejak kecil. Kenangan pertama yang saya ingat adalah film-film kategori masala yang diproduksi oleh Bollywood. Hanya film India yang memiliki adegan orang-orang yang bermunculan entah dari mana untuk menari dan menyanyi, haha. Adegan pertarungannya pun tidak kalah berkesan karena jeleknya. Sebelum tinju mendarat, terkadang yang dipukul pun sudah melayang duluan, wahaha. 

Budaya India yang kemudian saya baca adalah tentang Ganesha, dewa Hindu yang berkepala gajah. Apa yang saya baca pada masa kecil itu mungkin asal-mula Ganesha versi Bali. Bahkan di Wikipedia pun cerita ini tidak ditemukan, namun beberapa artikel berbahasa Indonesia menyinggung tentang naskah kuno bernama Ganapati Tattwa. Ceritanya, sejauh yang bisa saya ingat, adalah tentang pertarungan Ganesha dan Nila Ludraka, raksasa yang ditakuti oleh para dewa. Ganesha berwujud bayi kecil saat bertarung dan setiap kali dipukul, ia pun tumbuh secara fisik, sampai akhirnya cukup dewasa untuk menyerang balik. Nila Ludraka berhasil ditaklukkan, tapi satu gading Ganesha pun patah karenanya.

Berfoto bersama Endrico, Jimmy and Ardian di depan patung Wisnu.

Untuk jangka waktu yang panjang, pengaruh budaya India bersumber dari buku bacaan. Dari komik, saya mengikuti petualangan Asterix ke India untuk mendatangkan hujan dan menyelamatkan Putri Rahazade. Saya membaca sekilas tentang Walmiki, penggubah cerita Ramayana. Michael H. Hart, lewat bukunya yang bertajuk 100 Tokoh Yang Paling Berpengaruh Dalam Sejarah, bercerita tentang Sidarta Gautama dan Mahavira, pendiri Budhisme dan Jainisme. Bertahun-tahun kemudian, seorang teman merekomendasikan saya sebuah buku berjudul Life of Pi. Dari sinilah saya mengetahui tentang Pondicherry. Ketika saya berada di Yangon, saya membeli buku Where China Meets India yang mengisahkan tentang Asam dan negara-negara bagian lain di India yang jarang terdengar, misalnya Nagaland. Buku ini juga membahas sejarah perjalanan ke Barat yang ditempuh oleh Pendeta Tong dari Cina ke Bihar, India. 

Dari sisi musik, the Beatles, terutama George Harrison, memperkenalkan pengaruh India kepada para penggemarnya. Suara sitar pertama didengar lewat lagu Norwegian Wood.  Kata om, yang simbolnya mirip dengan angka tiga, dinyanyikan oleh John di lagu Across the Universe. Saya pertama mendengar tentang Ravi Shankar, ayah Norah Jones, Lewat Concert for Bangladesh. Selanjutnya ada lagi My Sweet Lord yang repetitif liriknya. Lagu dari George yang duduk di peringkat #1 di Amerika dan Inggris ini akan membuat anda menyenandungkan mantra Hare Krishna. Lewat lagu inilah saya menyadari bahwa Wisnu adalah Dewa dengan banyak nama.

Ravi Shankar bermain sitar di Konser untuk Bangladesh.
Foto diambil dari buklet the Concert for Bangladesh. 

Ketika saya pindah ke Singapura, saya mulai mempunyai kolega dan teman Indian dari berbagai negara bagian dan latar belakang. Rata-rata orang India itu pintar dan memiliki ketrampilan dalam berbicara. Ketika kita bercakap-cakap, kita bisa berbicara tentang banyak hal, mungkin karena kayanya budaya mereka. Sangat mengagumkan. Saya juga menjadi suka dengan makanan India setelah pindah ke sini. Masakan mereka sangat menggoda. Bahkan manisan pencuci mulut seperti gulab jamun pun sedap rasanya! 

Saya juga merencanakan beberapa perjalanan ke India. Suatu ketika saya berpikir tentang kunjungan ke Sri Lanka dan terbang dari sana ke Tamil Nadu untuk melihat kota Chennai, bola mentega Krishna dan juga Pondicherry. Selain itu, saya melihat peta dan membuat rute dari Kolkata ke Darjeeling dan Gangtok. Kadang saya pun mengecek harga tiket ke Goa. Saya bahkan sempat berbincang dengan kolega saya Franky bahwa saya berminat untuk turut serta ke Mumbai kalau dia ke sana dalam rangka bisnis. Sayang sekali sampai sejauh ini kunjungan ke India belum terwujud.

Film-film Aamir Khan di Netflix.

Meskipun demikian, mimpi untuk ke India tidak pernah padam. Teman saya Gunawan berkomentar tentang bagusnya film PK dan karena film ini ada di Netflix, akhirnya saya coba tonton. Film ini ternyata lucu dan cerdas dalam mengangkat topik yang sensitif. Saya lantas menjajaki dan menonton film Aamir Khan yang lain seperti Dangal, Secret Superstar dan tentu saja 3 Idiots. Singkat cerita, saya jadi kian terpesona dengan budaya dan keindahan India. Tempat-tempat seperti Ladakh dan Shimla sungguh memukau! 

Saya tidak bisa mengatakan bahwa setiap orang Tionghoa memiliki pengalaman yang sama akan pengaruh budaya India, tapi cerita di atas adalah apa yang saya alami. Lucu rasanya bahwa semua ini bermula dari film dan kembali membara karena film juga. Budaya India secara tidak langsung membentuk saya lewat buku dan musik dari sejak dini. Saya berharap bisa berkelana di India suatu hari nanti... 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Unlabel The Label

We love all our four kids equally. So why are we spending extra and more time on our firstborn then? Well, our firstborn, let’s call him D, he is just like any ordinary kids around. He loves to play, goof around and eat his favourite food, which is fried rice and spaghetti. He can easily have more than one serving when it comes to his favourite. 

Being a first time parents to D, we did not suspect anything different on his development. My parents were the ones that suggested us to take him to the doctor for a further examination. Well, I mean, there was no harm knowing what was affecting his development. So, we went to the polyclinic to get a referral to KK Hospital. 

When D first went to the hospital, he was only about 2.5 years old. At that age, the doctor was unable to give an affirmative diagnosis, so she suggested speech and occupational therapy. The doctor also said he should go to school that provided therapy such as AWWA, Metta and Rainbow Centre, preferably the one which was near to our home. As we knew nothing of what was happening, we followed what the doctor had suggested. All we wanted as parents was for him to be better. 

D attended both Rainbow Centre and childcare. We were proud to say we saw the improvement in him, from being unable to mutter a sensible word to making sentences. From not acknowledging when we called his name to responding. Not forgetting being able to follow a two-step instructions. All these might be small achievements, but for D, every little small achievement was big. 

When D was 4 years old, the doctor gave her diagnosis. D was diagnosed in a category of an autism spectrum. When we first came to know, I personally did not feel surprised, but it was emotional and I had mixed feelings on how to go from here. 

Luckily, we lived in Singapore. At least, there are avenues to help D. Besides attending Rainbow Centre, the childcare that he attended was very much an encouraging place for him to be. His teachers were supportive. They care for and love D. 

But how about the society out there? Awareness in Singapore is relatively okay, but more can be done to create this. 

Kudos to TV documentaries such as Uniquely Me and Love, unconditionally. Also, kudos to LTA for making the awareness on public transport in MRT trains. There are those special people around in our society, whom are part of the society and would also like to be included in the society.

People like D are likely to be labelled. For instance, he is special, so we need to give him "special" attention and he may not be able participate in some activities as he is perceived of not being able to. How much do you know about people with special needs and how much are you willing to know about these group of people like D? 

Among the 4 kids, D is the most compassionate. He cares about people around him. Many achievements have been unlocked. He had performed twice on stage and remembered all the dance steps. He knows how to read better than his siblings. He rides a two-wheel unassisted bicycle and he does roller blade. He attended normal school and is able to do his homework. Yes, of course with assistance from us, the parents and his tuition teacher. 

It was never easy to take care for someone like  D. A lot of patience, encouragement, support, love and of course time are required. Imagine this: doing his schoolwork requires more than three hours in one sitting. However, people like D can sense emotions. They know when you are angry, sad or happy, therefore we as parents need to provide that encouragement, love and support to ensure that people like D aren't neglected.

Our children are viewed as God’s trust and gift to us. Taking care of them is indeed meaningful and rewarding. Our motto is to take one day at a time. We make plans and hold them tentatively. In crisis situations, learn to expect nothing, and anything else you get can be seen as a bonus and a cause for rejoicing.

So with all D’s achievements, I hope the society will break the barriers and do not view them differently. The achievements that these special kids done are not less achieving than those of normal kids. 

Let’s unlabel the label! Being special is not a disease. Autism is not a disease. 

Written by: DeViLsHGaL

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Wake Up Call

Two years had past. It was time for my medical check up. Now this is something that most people don't like to do, especially when you aren't so young anymore. Some people are afraid to do it because they'd rather avoid the truth, haha. However, in my opinion, that's not the right thing. If there is some sort of illness going on in our body, it is likely to be easier to cure it early. Hence go for your routine medical check up and don't be afraid. After all the truth will reveal itself.

In the past, my medical check up result were always perfect. Not this time, though. The nurse told me that my body fat exceeded the normal range. Oh, no!! Even though my weight and BMI were still in normal range, this was still like a wake up call for me.

It's time to exercise!! It's time to burn the body body fat. But it's easier to say than getting it done though, haha. To get started is the most difficult thing to do, am I right? But everyone needs to start somewhere.

I bought my exercise outfit about three months ago. Even the clothing label was still there. I never touched the outfit. I kept delaying to do it day by day. Why? Because I was never a sporty person. There are two things I hate to do the most in life. One is ironing clothes and second is exercise. There is always a reason behind what we hate. I hate ironing my clothes because the iron kept accidentally burning my hand, so I gave up! As for exercise, there were few times when I tried jogging but I always ended up going home using becak, bus or other public transport. My heart couldn't stand it. So I gave up. The only sport I do is swimming, but I am just a social swimmer, haha.

Anyway, back to my check up result. It was a wake up call for me. I had to start exercise, whether I liked it or not. I gathered my courage and told myself, I must lower the body fat and increase the muscle mass. While the motivation was there, I went home, quickly took out my exercise outfit and headed to the gym immediately, much to the surprise of my husband. Prior to that, he had been asking me to exercise with him but I always rejected him, saying I better slept because I didn't see the need of me to do so. One of my friends even said, "no wonder it is raining today," when I told her I couldn't answer her call earlier as I just finished my exercise.

Start slow. I started with a treadmill walk about 30 minutes and continued with short exercise from YouTube to loose tummy fat. Dont force yourself, don't be intimidated by others, especially when you were in the gym and your neighbours were doing much better than you. Rest or drink water to stay hydrated. Just do what you are comfortable at so you don't feel discouraged. Practice makes perfect. I am getting better day by day and indeed I enjoy it.

That's how I got started. It had been two weeks and it is still going strong. If you manage to find moments to spare and a slight motivation, quickly go for it. Don't hesitate and don't listen to your own excuses.

I felt good after doing a routine exercise. I could feel immediately my metabolism was better and I felt fresh everyday. Best of all, I managed to reduce my body fat to normal range after two weeks of routine exercise.

Health is not something that money can buy. Don't wait too long. Hope this writing gives you a bit of motivation to start exercise. If somebody who hated exercise like me could do it, so could you!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Breath Of The Wild

As much as I loved the Legend of Zelda, when I bought Nintendo Switch, I started with Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario instead. Yes, of course I'd heard about Breath of the Wild before, but for some strange reason, the good review felt rather overwhelming. I was simply nervous and wasn't ready for what I knew would be a grand adventure, so I chose to get acclimatised with Switch by playing something else first.

Six months down the road, after I completed Mario Odyssey and Yoshi's Crafted World (the latter was literally a child's play, suitable for kids), I finally got myself a copy of Breath of the Wild. I didn't like the title and still don't, especially when it was compared with brilliant ones from Zelda series such as A Link Between Worlds, Twilight Princess or Phantom Hourglass. Those three examples had a certain quality that it was about something colossal.

Link on the hill of the Great Plateau, when he first came out from the Shrine of Resurrection.

Nevertheless, the gameplay felt right from the start. The moment it began, you couldn't help feeling that you were in the midst of some unfinished business, but yet you couldn't really tell what it was. Link was in a shrine, trying to figure out what actually happened, and by the time he made his way out, the camera zoomed out and the whole wide world was unfolded right in front of Link. Classy!

Then the adventure finally began. As a player, we were given time to learn what it took to survive in the kingdom of Hyrule (or what's left of it). The way it was done was sort of like a hand-holding experience, but yet very intuitive. By the time this ended, we'd have picked up the necessary skills to venture out into the wilderness. The calamity that happened 100 years ago was then revealed to Link, but this is nothing compared with the details you were going to discover later on. There were memories scattered around and once you obtained all, you'd have a full picture of what happened in the past.

A happier moment, the only photo of Princess Zelda and the Champions.
From left, clockwise: Revali, Urbosa, Daruk, Link and Mipha. 

Yes, apart from the almost logical and lifelike gameplay (it was slippery when it rained, for instance), Breath of the Wild also had the most impressive story ever! It was so epic, worthy of a legend. Like most of its predecessors, it started with a prophecy that Ganon would return and the kingdom of Hyrule was preparing for it. The Hylian managed to discover the four Divine Beasts, the enormous animalistic machines that were built by the Sheikah 10,000 years ago. Princess Zelda then travelled across the land to recruit four elite warriors to pilot the Divine Beasts. Revali of the Rito joined and commanded Vah Medoh, the great eagle. Daruk of the Goron tribe was selected as the Champion and he piloted Vah Rudania, the giant salamander. Princess Mipha of the Zora was in charge of Vah Ruta, the mighty elephant. Urbosa, the chieftain of Gerudo, controlled Vah Naboris, the mechanical camel.

Now, it wouldn't be really interesting if they just had background stories. The people behind the game clearly knew this, therefore each Champion was given a strong personality, too. The interaction became very appealing that as a player, one would end up caring about them. We'd learn what happened one century ago as the flashbacks came together: Revali's pride and arrogance, Mipha's unrequited love for Link, Princess Zelda's frustration of being unable to awaken her innate power and the tears she shed when they lost the battle, you'd feel sorry for her and sympathise those fallen Champions.

When Calamity Ganon returned.

And that brought us to the day when the game started. As Link, we resumed the good fight and the result was going to be different this time. We conquered the sky of Tabantha, climbed up the coldest mountains of Hebra, and crossed the driest desert of Gerudo. We journeyed through the melting heat of Eldin and the never-ending rain of Lanayru. We went where the four winds blew, to the highest peaks, to the waterfalls and seas, solving mysteries, helping people and even saving a majestic dragon along the way. The game adopted the open-world concept, which meant we were free to roam the land. 

Instead of the traditional dungeons, we explored the Divine Beasts and wrestled the control back from the Scourges of Ganon. By doing so, Link freed the spirits of the Champions that were imprisoned inside the Divine Beasts when they met their heroic demise 100 years ago. Each of them would then bestow their unique abilities to Link. Together with the Divine Beasts, they were instrumental in defeating Calamity Canon. Eventually it was up to Link and Princess Zelda to finish the job.

Divine Beast Vah Rudania.

Much to the delight of long time fans like me, Breath of the Wild also paid tribute to the previous entries. I'd been puzzled by how familiar the names Vah Ruta, Vah Rudania and Vah Naboris were, but only when Urbosa spoke of Nabooru that I realised the story was linked back to Ocarina of Time. The earlier games were acknowledged as events that happened long before Breath of the Wild. There were relics such as Majora's Mask (that was cleverly described as an eerie mask passed down from ancient times), Island Lobster Shirt from the Wind Waker (it was stated that the Hero of the Winds once wore this shirt on the quaint island he called home) and many more. Even Epona returned as a legendary horse.

And of course there was music we knew and loved. You couldn't have a Zelda game without good music. The Overworld theme song were used time and again but in a way it wasn't done before. It was melancholic and subdued in flashbacks and you could also listen to a different arrangement of it when you stormed into the dangerous Hyrule Castle. Epona's song was playing as you approached any stables. If Kass the Rito was there, you'd hear the accordion version of it. Then of course there was Zelda's Lullaby, too. I remember hearing it when Zelda was praying at the Spring of Power.

When Princess Zelda finally sealed Ganon with the power of Tri Force.

With the exception of Tri Force Heroes, the Legend of Zelda series had been consistently good for the past 30 years, but never before it came up with something like Breath of the Wild. With such gameplay, story and songs, it was simply the best game ever. It'd be very hard to top this one, therefore the response to the news of Breath of the Wild 2 was overwhelmingly positive. The expectation is all-time high! Can't hardly wait!

The sequel!

Breath Of The Wild

Saya adalah penggemar berat the Legend of Zelda, namun ketika saya membeli Nintendo Switch, saya justru mulai dulu dengan game Sonic the Hedgehog dan Super Mario. Ya, tentu saja saya sudah mendengar tentang Breath of the Wild yang fenomenal, tapi semua ulasan bagus yang saya baca membuat saya gugup. Saya belum siap untuk melibatkan diri dalam sebuah petualangan yang luar biasa, jadi saya bermain game lain dulu untuk membiasakan diri dengan Switch.

Enam bulan kemudian, setelah saya menamatkan Mario Odyssey dan Yoshi's Crafted World (yang satu ini benar-benar game yang cocok untuk anak-anak), barulah saya membeli Breath of the Wild. Saya tidak suka judulnya, terutama karena bila dibandingkan dengan judul-judul lain seperti A Link Between WorldsTwilight Princess atau Phantom Hourglass, Breath of the Wild tidaklah terkesan kolosal.

Link melindungi Zelda dari para Yiga.

Kendati begitu, pola permainannya terasa menarik dari sejak awal. Begitu mulai, anda akan merasa seperti berada di tengah-tengah suatu peristiwa yang sedang berlangsung, tapi tidak jelas apa yang telah terjadi. Link berada di dalam kuil dan begitu dia berhasil keluar, kamera sudut pandang pun menjauh dan dunia luas terbentang di hadapannya. Adegan yang sungguh berkelas!

Kemudian petualangan yang sesungguhnya pun dimulai. Sebagai pemain, kita diberikan waktu untuk mempelajari apa yang kita butuhkan untuk bisa bertahan di reruntuhan kerajaan Hyrule. Pada awalnya kita seperti dituntun oleh seorang pengelana tua, namun prosesnya sangat intuitif sehingga kita kian terbiasa dengan apa yang harus dilakukan. Ketika kita berhasil menyelesaikan misi yang diberikan, keahlian yang dibutuhkan untuk berkelana pun kurang-lebih sudah dipahami. Bencana yang terjadi 100 tahun silam akhirnya diceritakan pada Link, tapi detilnya akan kita dapatkan di dalam perjalanan kita nanti. Ada 18 kenangan yang tersebar di seantero Hyrule dan begitu anda mengumpulkan semuanya, anda akan mengerti rentetan peristiwa yang terjadi di masa lalu.

Putri Zelda mengambil foto dengan Sheikah Slate yang berfungsi seperti telepon genggam.

Ya, selain pola permainan yang nyaris realistis dan logis (sebagai contoh, tebing menjadi licin saat hujan), Breath of the Wild juga memiliki jalan cerita yang paling mengesankan, persis seperti sebuah legenda. Seperti cerita-cerita sebelumnya, kisah kali ini juga dimulai dengan ramalan bahwa Ganon akan kembali dan kerajaan Hyrule pun mempersiapkan diri. Para Hylian berhasil menemukan empat Divine Beasts, mesin raksasa berbentuk binatang yang diciptakan oleh orang-orang Sheikah 10.000 tahun yang lampau. Putri Zelda lantas berkelana untuk mencari empat pahlawan yang akan mengemudikan Divine Beasts. Revali dari suku Rito bergabung dan mengontrol Vah Medoh, sang elang raksasa. Daruk dari Goron terpilih untuk mengontrol Vah Rudania yang berbentuk salamander. Mipha, putri sulung raja Zora, bertanggung jawab atas Vah Ruta, sang gajah perkasa. Urbosa, pemimpin para Gerudo, mendapatkan unta mesin Vah Naboris.

Nah, kalau saja semua ini hanya sebatas cerita masa silam, tentunya tidak begitu menarik. Orang-orang yang terlibat dalam pembuatan game mengerti akan hal ini, jadi para pahlawan pun diberikan karakter yang kuat. Interaksi mereka sangat menarik sehingga sebagai pemain, kita akan jadi terbuai oleh ceritanya dan peduli dengan setiap tokoh cerita. Lewat cuplikan kenangan masa lalu Link, kita jadi mengetahui tentang keangkuhan Revali, cinta Mipha pada Link yang tulus namun tidak kesampaian, frustrasinya Putri Zelda terhadap kemampuannya yang terpendam serta rasa bersalah yang ditanggungnya ketika mereka kalah dan lari dari pertempuran. Ada rasa simpati saat melihat Zelda meneteskan air mata.

Berpose untuk foto bersama.
Dari kiri: Revali, Urbosa, Putri Zelda, Mipha dan Daruk di belakang mereka.

Dan semua itu membawa kita pada hari dimana game ini bermula. Sebagai Link, kita kembali meneruskan pertarungan yang tertunda. Langit Tabantha ditaklukkan, gunung es di Hebra didaki, gurun Gerudo yang kering pun dijelajahi. Panas membara di Eldin dan hujan tiada henti di Lanayru juga dilewati. Kita melanglang ke empat penjuru mata angin, ke puncak tertinggi, air terjun dan laut, memecahkan misteri dan membantu berbagai orang di sepanjang jalan. Game ini mengadopsi konsep dunia terbuka, jadi kita bisa mengembara ke mana pun kita suka.

Berbeda dengan game sebelumnya dimana Link selalu menjelajahi istana atau penjara bawah tanah yang berliku-liku, di episode ini kita mengeksplorasi bagian dalam Divine Beasts dan mengambil alih binatang mesin raksasa ini dari momok ciptaan Ganon. Setelah mengalahkan musuh, Link pun membebaskan jiwa para pahlawan yang terperangkap di dalam Divine Beasts ketika mereka gugur 100 tahun silam. Masin-masing pahlawan ini lantas memberikan kemampuan mereka yang unik kepada Link. Bersama-sama dengan Divine Beasts, mereka nantinya akan membantu Link dalam menaklukkan Ganon di pertarungan terakhir. Setelah itu semuanya tergantung pada Link dan Putri Zelda.

Link dan Zelda, ketika mereka kalah dalam pertempuran 100 tahun silam.

Satu hal yang membuat para penggemar seperti saya bersorak gembira adalah bagaimana Breath of the Wild memasukkan berbagai elemen para pendahulunya sebagai bagian dari cerita. Saya sempat merasa entah kenapa Vah Ruta, Vah Rudania dan Vah Naboris itu sepertinya terasa tidak asing, namun ketika Urbosa berbicara tentang Nabooru, tahulah saya bahwa nama-nama itu berasal dari Ocarina of Time. Selain itu, masih banyak lagi peninggalan kuno seperti Majora's Mask (yang dideskripsikan sebagai topeng menyeramkan dari masa silam), kaos Island Lobster dari the Wind Waker (di keterangannya dikatakan bahwa Pahlawan Angin memakai kaos ini saat ia tinggal dI sebuah pulau yang misterius) dan masih banyak lagi. Bahkan Epona pun kembali sebagai kuda legendaris.

Tidak hanya itu, musik yang kita kenal baik tentu saja tidak diabaikan di sini. Tema Zelda yang tidak asing lagi dipakai di berbagai adegan, misalnya memori masa lalu dan Istana Hyrule, tapi dengan aransemen yang melankolis dan berbeda dengan sebelumnya. Lagu Epona juga terdengar saat kita memasuki kandang kuda. Jika Kass dari suku Rito kebetulan ada di sana, dia akan memainkan lagu yang sama dengan akordionnya. Tentu saja lagu Zelda's Lullaby pun tidak terlewatkan. Seingat saya, lagu ini terdengar saat Zelda berdoa di Mata Air Kekuatan.

Putri Zelda, sesaat sebelum ia menaklukkan Ganon dalam pertarungan terakhir.

Terkecuali Tri Force Heroes, the Legend of Zelda sangat konsisten kualitasnya selama 30 terakhir, tapi belum pernah menelurkan game sedahsyat Breath of the Wild. Dengan pola permainan, cerita dan musiknya, game terbaru dari serial ini adalah yang terbaik sampai sejauh ini. Tidak akan gampang melampaui prestasi yang satu ini, oleh karena itu respon terhadap berita Breath of the Wild 2 sangatlah positif. Harapan penggemar teramat sangat tinggi! Rasanya tak sabar menantikan tanggal rilisnya!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ga' Heran!!!

Ada kehebohan di berita Minggu ini. 33 perusahaan yang keluar dari Cina tidak pindah ke Indonesia tetapi ke negara tetangga. Banyak yang mengatakan ijin susah (bisa juga betul), ada pula yang mengatakan lahan mahal dan susah (bisa juga betul). Ini aneh, padahal paparan dari World Bank menyebutkan bahwa Indonesia negara produktif.

Selain alasan-alasan yang dikemukakan di atas, saya melihat adanya masalah lain, yakni kepastian hukum. Kita tau kejadian penistaan agama dimana minoritas selalu jadi korban, sedangkan mayoritas bebas mengatakan apa pun. Sentimen anti asing juga semakin mencuat belakangan ini. 

Perusahaan asing itu tentu bukan kumpulan orang gaptek yang tidak baca berita di Indonesia. Mereka pasti sudah dapat gambaran mendirikan perusahaan di indonesia yang terjadi di monokwari di mana diisukan terus menerus dan di curigai.

Sebagai orang usahawan pasti mereka punya timbangan sendiri. Mereka tidak mau sudah invest setengah kena hoax dll sehinga terhenti. Tentu mereka akan rugi waktu dan rugi materi.

Ini ibarat seorang laki-laki, lebih baik menikah dengan yang mencintainya daripada menikah dengan cewek yang membencinya...

Investasi di Indonesia. Berani?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Online Shopping

My friend Budiman often said that online shopping killed the retail business. As I was no businessman, I could only tell from what I saw. Shops did close down in Orchards. Even giants such as Borders and HMV were among the first to go. If these were any indicators, then he was right.

Online shopping had gone a long way since I first knew it. I remember the time when the internet first appeared in Pontianak. This was easily two decades ago. Not long after that, I found I immediately loved it, so much in love that in my college days, I actually wrote a paper about it for mid-term submission.

But the timing wasn't quite right then. Imagine the days when internet connection was so slow that you had to sit back and wait for each page to be loaded. It took almost one hour to search, add the items to shopping cart and check out. Still I was so happy, partly thinking that I was going to be the first online shopper in my hometown. It was not meant to be, though. declined the transaction, citing the reason that credit cards issued by Indonesia was banned due to numerous fraud cases. To think that I went a long way to obtain my first credit cards! It was heartbreaking!

Fast forward to today, the online shopping experience had been vastly improved. Browsing through your computer was one of the options, no longer the only way to go. The world is at your fingertips was not just a saying anymore, it was a dream came true! Literally! In order to shop, you just had to keep tapping on the mobile app. The purchase would be seamlessly done if you had saved your credit card details before. It was that easy and convenient these days.

I still shopped at Amazon thanks to CDs and books it was selling. I'd go to Qoo10 for unusual items such as Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Rakuten was used for Japanese goods like spirulina. I preferred Lazada for stuff available locally in Singapore. For groceries, there were honestbee and RedMart. While I didn't use the last two, my wife was quite familiar with those.

The beauty of these Singapore-based apps were how competitive the prices were. Sometimes it came with discounts and promos. On top of that, it might also offer a free delivery. How attractive! Why would one bother to shop at the supermarket and carry back a 5kg pack of rice when we could have it delivered right at our doorstep? It was equally safe to purchase electronic goods, especially from the official stores such as Mi Store at Lazada. It came with the same one year warranty. To make it more comfortable, refund was almost hassle-free. Had a smooth experience in getting refund for my recent Amazon purchase.

Fun though it was, online shopping wasn't without its risks. Before my trip to Myanmar, I bought a backpack from Lazada. Much to my surprise, what I received was a tiny sized backpack. It looked exactly the same as the picture I saw, but it was so small that it couldn't be used for travelling purpose. This, I partly suspected, was likely to be a customer's problem, haha. It was either I failed to understand the bag dimensions stated on the page or the info was simply misleading. After the last fiasco, I avoided buying things that came in sizes such as bags, shoes, clothes, etc. because what I saw might not be what I got. As a conclusion, it was suffice to say that when we did online shopping, we bought only things we were sure of.

Anyway, back to Budiman's assessment, he was probably right. Online shopping was not only game-changing, but could also be addictive, especially when it had tons of promos on the days like Black Friday. Those retail shops might be nice for us to look at, but I couldn't be too sure if shopping spree still happened. I sincerely hoped that the retail business would somehow survive. Otherwise what would we see when we went to the malls? I still love walking in Orchard, especially when Christmas is just around the corner!

Proceed to checkout?

Belanja Online

Teman saya Budiman sering berkata bahwa bisnis belanja online merusak bisnis ritel. Karena saya bukan seorang pengusaha, saya hanya bisa mengamati apa yang terlihat. Memang betul ada toko-toko yang tutup di Orchard. Bahkan perusahaan raksasa seperti Borders dan HMV juga tutup dan angkat kaki. Jika ini adalah indikasi, maka pendapat Budiman tidaklah keliru. 

Bisnis belanja online sudah berubah drastis. Saya ingat saat internet pertama muncul di Pontianak 20 tahun silam. Tidak lama setelah saya menggunakan internet, saya menemukan Saya langsung menyukai situs belanja ini. Begitu terpesonanya saya sehingga saya menulis tentang Amazon dan mengumpulkannya sebagai tugas kuliah di pertengahan semester. 

Akan tetapi kondisi saat itu masih belum menunjang bisnis belanja online. Bayangkan masa ketika koneksi internet masih begitu pelan sehingga anda harus duduk dan menanti halaman situs terunduh secara lengkap. Dibutuhkan waktu hampir satu jam untuk mencari barang dan menyelesaikan pembayaran. Meskipun demikian, saya masih tetap bersemangat, mungkin karena saya menyangka bahwa saya akan menjadi orang pertama di Pontianak yang berbelanja online. Tidak pernah terpikirkan oleh saya kalau akan menolak transaksi tersebut dengan alasan kartu kredit Indonesia termasuk kategori bermasalah karena banyaknya kasus penipuan. Sedihnya rasanya, apalagi saya telah bersusah-payah mendapatkan kartu kredit pertama saya. 

Kembali ke masa kini, fitur berbelanja online sudah kian canggih. Melihat-lihat lewat komputer adalah salah satu cara untuk berbelanja, bukan lagi satu-satunya cara. Dunia berada di ujung jari anda bukan lagi sekedar pepatah, tetapi mimpi yang menjadi kenyataan. Untuk berbelanja, anda cukup menggunakan satu jempol di layar telepon genggam anda. Transaksi akan semakin lancar jika anda sudah menyimpan data kartu kredit di app. Begitu mudah dan nyaman sekarang. 

Saya masih berbelanja di Amazon terutama karena buku dan CD lagu yang dijualnya. Saya mengunjungi Qoo10 untuk barang-barang tidak lazim seperti Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Rakuten saya pakai untuk produk Jepang seperti spirulina. Saya memilih Lazada untuk barang-barang yang dijual secara lokal di Singapura. Untuk sembako, ada lagi yang namanya honestbee dan RedMart. Saya tidak memakai dua app ini, tapi istri saya terkadang berbelanja lewat dua situs ini. 

Keuntungan dari penggunaan app lokal ini adalah harganya yang kompetitif. Terkadang ada diskon dan promo juga. Selain itu pengirimannya pun bisa saja gratis. Menarik, bukan? Daripada berbelanja di supermarket dan membawa pulang satu karung beras, tentunya lebih praktis kalau belanjaan kita diantarkan sampai ke depan rumah. Sama halnya juga dengan membeli barang elektronik, terutama dari toko-toko resmi seperti Mi Store di Lazada. Barangnya sama, garansi pun juga sama-sama setahun. Bahkan retur pun tidaklah begitu sulit. Baru-baru ini saya mengembalikan satu barang ke Amazon dan prosesnya cukup mudah. 

Berbelanja online memang seru, tapi tidak berarti bebas resiko. Sebelum perjalanan saya ke Myanmar, saya membeli tas ransel dari Lazada. Di luar dugaan, yang saya terima itu tas ransel berukuran mungil. Bentuknya seperti yang saya lihat di foto, tapi ukurannya kecil sehingga tidak cocok untuk dipakai berkelana. Saya tidak tahu pasti apakah saya yang tidak mengerti ukuran tas yang tertera atau memang informasinya tidak sesuai dengan barangnya, haha. Setelah kasus ini, saya tidak lagi membeli barang yang memiliki berbagai ukuran, misalnya tas, kaos, sepatu dan sebagainya, sebab apa yang saya lihat mungkin bukan apa yang akan saya dapatkan. Sebagai kesimpulan, mungkin kita sebaiknya membeli barang yang kita tahu pasti kalau kita memilih untuk berbelanja online. 

Sebagai penutup, kembali lagi ke komentar Budiman, saya cenderung sepakat dengannya. Belanja online tidak saja mengubah gaya hidup, tapi juga bisa membuat orang kalap, terlebih lagi ketika sedang promosi besar-besaran, misalnya pas Black Friday. Toko-toko ritel mungkin sedap dipandang mata, tapi saya tidak begitu yakin kalau bisnisnya seramai dulu. Saya hanya bisa berharap kalau mereka bisa bertahan, sebab tanpa toko-toko ini, apa jadinya pusat perbelanjaan yang biasa kita kunjungi? Saya masih suka berjalan di Orchard, apalagi di saat menjelang Natal!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Photographer

The name Endrico Richard should be familiar for long time readers of Roadblog101. He is a great friend and a travel buddy that appeared in many stories I wrote. Even when he wasn't featured, photos taken by him would still grace the blog sometimes. He is good, I love his work and I often said we could just leave the photo-taking to Endrico when we travelled. Yes, the man was that reliable! Then it hit me that Endrico was easily the most underrated photographer that I knew! A good talent must be appreciated and, as far as I am concerned, I am more than happy to be the one that shout it out loud!

I remember the trip to Bali that we had 14 years ago. We both had digital cameras at that time and he was using a black coloured Canon IXUS. I happened to keep photos taken by the two of us and when I compared our results, I could confidently say that even then he did a brilliant job. His perfect timing, his passion for the right moments, his interests in exploring the camera features such as macro (I remember him muttering the word and took some flower pictures), Endrico simply had the makings of a good photographer.

The flower photo taken with macro feature in Bali. 

When Endrico was a little kid, he loved flipping through his parents' photo albums. His Dad introduced a camera to him when he was in Junior High School, triggering his lifelong interest in photography. He purchased his first camera, the aforementioned Canon IXUS, at Jim Col Enterprise (the shop still can be found at Lucky Plaza, Orchard). The life span of the trusted camera was surprisingly long. Used until early 2010s, the camera was retired only after her first daughter was born and it's still in good condition!

Browsing the baby's photos made him realise that he couldn't do much with the existing camera. That's when he started reading about DSLR. He was contemplating for one, but like any good boy from Pontianak, he was unsure about spending so much money. Photography was an expensive hobby and the price of DSLR Nikon he wanted to buy was two times his salary then! The wife understood what it meant for Endrico to have the camera and finally encouraged him to get one.

Smile, baby. Smile.

Endrico bought just the camera and no additional accessories were purchased. That was partly why he didn't really take landscape photos. Apart from that, he personally preferred to capture emotions and candid moments. While some people might not find flattering, some would either love it or just simply laugh about it. That reaction was the appreciation that Endrico treasured the most.

He'd been using the DSLR camera since then. It was hanging proudly on his neck when we travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia and that was 10 years ago! Throughout the decade, he upgraded his camera once, took a couple of freelance jobs, participated in some competitions (only God knows if he ever won, but hey, even the Beatles never won any!) and he also had a chance to help a professional photographer that went by the name @tristonyeo.

Endrico in action.
Photo by Anthony.

Now that the camera on the phone was so advanced, I was curious about what he got to say about it. Much to my surprise, he wasn't exactly a fan. He agreed that it was much more portable and therefore convenient, but it wasn't as good as DSLR. If the photos were just to be shared for social media consumption, then yes, the smartphone was indeed sufficient. However, as a hobbyist, he still opined that DSLR had so much more to offer. Endrico didn't have any preference for smartphone when it came to photo-taking, but just like those days when he used Canon IXUS, he did an admirable job with whatever smartphone he had in hand.

I could only conclude that for some talented people, the equipment they used only enhanced what they could do. The skill and experience were all along there, which explained the good result. I always thought highly of his natural instinct, but when I asked him to elaborate about it, he humbly said he couldn't explain it. He told me that the so-called instinct was like how I knew how to write and choose the right words. I could relate with the answer. It got to do with the feeling. You just knew it when it felt right.

The laughter, perfectly captured and immortalised in black and white.

Talk about results, it could get better with a little help of touch up. Endrico didn't do heavy editing. He did only what was necessary. He'd use Photoscape on desktop and Snapseed on his phone. Whenever he felt that the color tone was suitable, he'd go for sepia or B/W. It brilliantly brought the classical feeling out of the pictures! By the way, you can check out his work at @endrico.richard on Instagram. 

Now, up until here, you had read a lot of good things about what the man could do, but like I said earlier, photography was an expensive hobby. To make a living out of it was something that he wasn't ready for. It was probably an easier decision to make when you were single, but not when you were a father of three. Due to budget and time constraint, he didn't pursue it any further. He also cited the same reason in explaining why he didn't participate in any photography trip, at least for now. Still, things may change in the future, so never say never!

And that left me with last question that I actually forgot to ask. Endrico had gone through the era of digital camera, DSLR and smartphones. Now that drones with camera are quite common, I wonder if he will buy one, too! Aerial photography with a flying camera, how sexy does that sound? Be tempted and get one already, Mr. Richard!

A night in Singapore.

Sang Fotografer 

Nama Endrico Richard harusnya tidak asing lagi bagi para pembaca Roadblog101. Dia adalah seorang teman yang baik dan juga sesama pengelana di berbagai cerita yang saya tulis. Foto-foto hasil jepretannya kadang masih dipakai sebagai ilustrasi meskipun ia tidak tampil di dalam cerita. Ya, karyanya bagus dan saya termasuk seorang penggemarnya. Saya sering berkata bahwa kita senantiasa bisa berlibur dengan santai dan menyerahkan dokumentasi foto kepada Endrico karena dia selalu beraksi dengan kameranya. Belakangan ini saya menyadari, bakatnya sebagai fotografer belum pernah dibahas sama sekali. Orang yang bertalenta patut dihargai dan saya dengan senang hati menjadi orang yang bercerita tentang kemampuannya.

Saya ingat dengan liburan ke Bali 14 tahun yang lalu. Saat itu kita masing-masing membawa kamera digital dan Endrico menggunakan kamera Canon IXUS berwarna hitam. Kebetulan saya menyimpan foto-foto karya kami berdua dan kalau saya bandingkan, saya merasa bahwa hasil jepretannya lebih bagus. Kesabarannya dalam menunggu saat yang tepat, instingnya dan juga minatnya dalam mengeksplorasi kemampuan kamera (saya ingat dia sering menyebut kata makro dan memotret bunga) menunjukkan bahwa Endrico memang memiliki potensi sebagai fotografer dari sejak dulu.

Foto makro.

Ketika masih bocah, Endrico suka melihat-lihat album foto orang tuanya. Sewaktu dia berada di jenjang SMP, ayahnya memperkenalkan kamera padanya, tanpa sadar memicu minatnya terhadap bidang fotografi. Bertahun-tahun kemudian, Endrico membeli kamera pertamanya, Canon IXUS, di Jim Col Enterprise (toko ini masih bisa ditemukan di Lucky Plaza, Orchard). Umur kamera ini luar biasa panjang, digunakan sampai awal tahun 2010an dan baru dipensiunkan dalam kondisi masih berfungsi setelah kelahiran putri pertamanya. 

Sewaktu melihat hasil pemotretan bayi, Endrico jadi sadar kalau kamera Canon yang dimilikinya tidak bisa berbuat banyak. Ia lantas mulai membaca tentang DSLR dan tertarik untuk mencobanya. Akan tetapi fotografi adalah hobi yang mahal dan harga kamera Nikon yang ingin ia beli itu dua kali lipat gajinya pada saat itu! Endrico jadi tidak yakin, namun istrinya mengerti pentingnya kamera itu bagi suaminya dan memberikan dukungan.

Momen yang terabadikan.

Endrico akhirnya membeli kamera, tapi tidak disertai dengan berbagai aksesori seperti lensa bersudut lebar dan lainnya. Inilah alasannya kenapa Endrico jarang memotret pemandangan. Secara pribadi, dia juga lebih senang berfokus pada emosi yang terpancar saat orang yang difoto sedang tidak berpose untuk kamera. Beberapa orang mungkin tidak suka difoto dalam keadaan tidak siap, namun tidak sedikit juga mereka yang tertawa melihat hasilnya. Reaksi-reaksi seperti inilah yang merupakan bentuk apresiasi yang paling disukai oleh Endrico. 

Kamera DSLR pun menjadi andalannya semenjak itu. Ketika kita berlibur ke Vietnam dan Kamboja 10 tahun yang lalu, sepanjang perjalanan kamera itu tergantung di lehernya. Selama satu dekade terakhir ini, dia telah mengganti kamera DSLR dengan yang lebih baru, menerima pesanan fotografi untuk acara ulang tahun dan pra-nikah, berpartisipasi dalam beberapa lomba (hanya Tuhan yang tahu apakah dia pernah menjadi pemenang, tapi the Beatles juga tidak pernah memenangkan kompetisi apa pun, jadi tidak apa-apa kalau tidak juara). Selain itu, dia juga pernah mendapat kesempatan untuk membantu fotografer profesional yang menggunakan akun @tristonyeo.

Foto pra-nikah di Singapura. 

Mengingat kecanggihan kamera pada telepon genggam zaman sekarang, saya jadi penasaran dengan pendapatnya. Saya tertegun ketika mengetahui bahwa Endrico bukanlah penggemar fotografi dengan menggunakan telepon genggam. Dia tidak menyangkal bahwa telepon genggam memang lebih praktis, tapi fungsinya masih belum bisa menyaingi kamera DSLR. Jika hasil fotonya hanya dipakai untuk diunggah di media sosial, maka kamera telepon genggam pun sudah cukup memadai. Tidak demikian halnya jika fotografi ini ditekuni sebagai hobi. Kamera DSLR tentu saja memiliki lebih banyak fitur dan kelebihan. Meski Endrico tidak memiliki pilihan khusus dalam hal ini, dia tetap menghasilkan foto-foto yang bagus dengan kamera di telepon genggam yang dimilikinya. 

Saya hanya bisa menyimpulkan bahwa bagi orang-orang berbakat, peralatan yang dipakai itu hanya sekedar meningkatkan kualitas karyanya.  Dari sejak awal, kemampuan dan pengalaman itu ada pada orangnya, bukan peralatannya. Saya senantiasa percaya bahwa dia memiliki naluri yang luar biasa, namun ketika saya minta dia untuk menjelaskan lebih lanjut, Endrico mengaku tidak bisa. Dia memberikan perbandingan bahwa apa yang saya sebut sebagai naluri fotografi itu tidak berbeda dengan bagaimana saya menulis. Semuanya tergantung perasaan dan seperti halnya saya, dia tahu dengan sendirinya bahwa saat yang tepat telah tiba baginya untuk memotret.

Foto di Bali. Ada kesan damai yang membuat saya menyukai karyanya ini. 

Bicara soal hasil, kualitas foto bisa menjadi lebih baik lagi jika diedit sedikit. Endrico juga sering memberikan sentuhan seperlunya. Dia menggunakan Photoscape di komputer dan Snapseed di telepon genggamnya. Terkadang dia juga menggunakan nuansa sepia dan hitam-putih untuk foto-foto tertentu yang memang cocok untuk warna tersebut. Bila anda berminat untuk melihat lebih lanjut, anda bisa mengikutinya di akun @endrico.richard di media sosial Instagram. 

Sampai di sini, anda telah membaca banyak tentang kemampuannya, akan tetapi seperti yang saya sebutkan sebelumnya, fotografi adalah hobi yang mahal. Keputusan untuk menjadi seorang fotografer profesional mungkin lebih mudah dijalankan ketika masih muda dan beda halnya ketika seseorang telah menjadi ayah dari tiga orang anak. Karena masalah waktu dan biaya, fotografi pun hanya menjadi sekedar hobi baginya. Endrico juga menyebutkan alasan yang sama ketika ditanya kenapa dia tidak mengikuti liburan wisata fotografi. Walaupun demikian, tidak tertutup kemungkinan masih ada kesempatan di lain waktu. 

Dan saya masih memiliki satu pertanyaan yang tidak sempat saya tanyakan tempo hari. Endrico sudah melewati masa-masa kamera digital dan telepon genggam. Sekarang ada lagi yang namanya kamera dengan drone, pesawat berbaling-baling tanpa awak yang bisa dikontrol dari jarak jauh. Kamera terbang ini bisa digunakan untuk memotret dari ketinggian. Seru, bukan? Mari, Endrico, cepat beli!

Foto pemandangan.