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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Noe's Neck Thickness

For those of you who wondered what the previous post was all about, lemme tell you a bit about what happened this Saturday. We had our pregnancy check up, and Dr. Cheng did the Neck Thickness measurement, where we would be able to find out the likelihood of having Down's Syndrome (DS). We were sad to know that the neck thickness (of 2.8mm) was beyond normal limit, and increased the likelihood of having DS (1 : 500 likelihood). DS. Dr. Cheng then arranged for OSCAR testing the next monday to find out the risk in greater detail.

However, while waiting for the OSCAR test to take place on Monday, we were sad and panicked, and started to think of the worst case scenario. If the monday test came out positive high-risk, we may be recommended do Amniocentesis to diagnose the genetic condition, to then decide either to terminate the pregnancy or not. The possibility of being given recommendation to terminate pregnancy really upsets us, we can't believe that this little living thing should die if DS is proven to be positive. How unfair it is! Why DS baby can't be given a chance to live? Moreover, a few weeks ago, we saw the baby waving at us through the USG scanner! What can be more obvious to show that the baby is indeed a living being!

Hence we decided, to keep the baby, whatever condition he/she is in. We believe that there must be a reason for every baby being born, and all babies are a blessing in whatever condition. Perhaps there is no such thing as a bad condition for the baby. As Mas Indi elaborated, "A problem is a solution that you don't like", meaning, a supposedly bad condition of the baby is actually a blessing and there is something good in it - a purpose and a reason -, which we adult may not like.

Then I thought of other things. I have a friend who aborted her babies, just because they were conceived outside of marriage. I really cannot believe that somebody have a heart to do this. Now that we are faced with this possibility of having to choose, it becomes difficult for me to comprehend my friend's action.

Anyway, we were preparing ourselves for any possible outcome of the test over the weekend. We were "pasrah", and prepared to accept our baby in whatever condition God has given him/her.

We had the second neck thickness scan on Monday (part of the OSCAR test) and the result came out to be different from the Saturday's test. The NT was 2.5 mm, which is at the higher end but still within the normal range. This gives us a sense of relief.

The blood test result (hCG and PAPP-A) was then combined with the NT scan result, giving a combined risk factor of 1 : 8185. The smaller risk number ruled out the need of having further Amniocentesis test, and we would not have to choose either to terminate the pregnancy or not (Again, we will not terminate the pregnancy even if the OSCAR test was proven to be high-risk!). Thank you God to give clearer picture of the pregnancy condition.

The saga over the weekend really woke me up, and felt how important is the baby to our life. It taught me to take a better care of the baby. It taught me to be grateful of whatever good and "bad" thing God has given us. It taught me to "pasrah", to give every matters to the hand of the Creator.

Please pray for Noe so that he/she will be a healthy and happy baby!

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Saturday, September 18, 2004

What does it mean to have Choice?

What does it mean to have Choice? A choice for what? You might ask. A choice to put an end to a baby's life (or a baby wannabe's life).

Rani had her ultrasound scan this morning and the doctor said that today was the best time (13 weeks and 6 days) to check on the baby's neck thickness. What is it? Baby's neck thickness? This screening test (also called the nuchal fold scan) uses ultrasound to measure the clear ("translucent") space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby's neck. This measurement can help your practitioner give you an assessment of your baby's risk for Down syndrome (DS) and other chromosomal abnormalities. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their necks during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger. While it won't give you the definite diagnosis you'd get from more invasive tests like CVS and amniocentesis, it can help you decide whether you want to undergo diagnostic testing. And unlike diagnostic tests, it's painless and involves no risk to you or your baby. yada yada yada...

So, what does it mean? It means that the doctor is suggesting that we will have to make a choice. A choice? we ask... yes, a choice, to ultimately decide if you want to take a risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome or not. If you want to take the risk, go ahead and keep the fetus until birth and raise the child. BUT, if you don't want to take the risk, YOU CAN HAVE AN ABORTION. It was implied but not mentioned. Yes, that's how science works, they say...

Nevermind, we already make a choice... we will take the risk and be happy... good or bad.... a baby is a miracle and we will keep and raise and love and care until the day we die.

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

My Third Degrees of Separation

I realised that yes indeed the world is getting smaller. Why did I come into this realisation? I just realised that I am only third degree away from George W. Bush, who may be considered as world's most influential (and hated) man today.

What is third degrees of separation means? Each degree of separation represents a connection between two people who know one another. Based on the theory of "Six degree of separation" all the people in the world are connected via six degree of separation. This theory is currently being tested by Small World Experiment Project. In my case, my connection with George W. Bush is only Third Degrees away, less than six degrees! How does this happen?
  • The first degree is my connection to my Aunt Paula Wirjawan.
  • The second degree is Aunt Paula connection to Paul Wolfowitz. They know each other quite closely when Mr. Wolfowitz was U.S. ambassador in Indonesia. Mr. W gave Aunt Paula a dog as a present. This dog stays in Aunt Paula's home until it passed away.
  • The third degree is Paul Wolfowitz's connection to George W. Bush. Of course, they know each other closely.
This does not mean I know George W. Bush, or even Paul Wolfowitz. But third degree of separation is actually closer than I expected.

Maybe we now can think about a game. Think of somebody famous, and think how would you get connected to him. How many degrees can it be? The result may be surprising!

Anyways, this is how we commemorate September 11th. We went to have seafood lunch at Hwa Zhu Seafood Restaurant in Farrer HDB. Mas Gita and family treated us for this lunch, to celebrate Indi's birthday. Shown in the picture below is Mbak Sita, who was stranded on her way to Manchester. Her plane broke down the previous night and she had to stay overnight in Singapore to take the next flight to Manchester. Her disappointment of lousy experience with the delayed flight disappears after we had this great lunch. She thought being stranded was a blessing in disguise! We had Chili Crab and Pepper Crab with Deep Fried Mantou. It was fabulous, and the service was quite good.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Our Second Anniversary

Today's our second anniversary! Since we had to work late today, we romantically celebrated it by having the best Laksa in the whole west of Singapore: Katong Laksa in Holland Village. The Otah is also the best that I have ever tasted! Great taste, good service, and kind to your wallet.

Happy anniversary my dear husband, and look forward to growing old together with you, plus I pray that little Noe will come out fine and dandy.

BTW photo is taken using my new XDA2 (well, not really new, it's actually a secondhand stuff which I got from Pocket PC User Group Singapore). Not bad ey, at least now I can be trigger happy anytime anywhere. So far I'm very happy with my new gadget, and it's now time to say goodbye to my old loyal Palm m505.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Munir Passed Away

I received a shocking and unexpected news from Jeremy this afternoon. Munir passed away on the plane en-route to the Netherlands. He was supposed to do his Master's degree on human rights law. He was only 38 year old. So very young.

My crazy mind immediately composed a conspiracy theory, that he might be arsenic poisoned (constantly vomiting is one of the symptom), by people who do not like him. But as news in shows, death of natural cause is also possible, because he has been dealing with liver problems these past few years.

I was a bit disappointed by his decision to become Amien Rais campaign manager, since I do not really trust Amien's political moves ( a lot of inconsistency in Amien's statements). But I guess his point is acceptable, that Amien Rais + Siswono is the 'cleanest' candidate among others.

Anyway, this news triggered me to dig out my past chat archives with Munir (for those who hasn't known me, I kept all my chatting archives since 1996). I knew Munir since I interviewed him about the missing activists who are kidnapped by Suharto Regime, when I was working for Jeremy. Too bad, since then, I never met him again in person, only twice I did chat with him in 2001 and 2002.

This is some of what Munir shared with me on 17 Nov 2001:

mau ambil master ? dimana ? dan bidang apa?

bukan master.. hanya short course enam bulan.. studi asia pasific gitu di east west center Uni of hawaii

wah boleh juga itu. Tapi lebih mantap kalau berupaya ambil master. Mumpung masih muda. Muda ngak pernah datang dua kali

iya nih insya allah juga, short course ini selesai tepat sebelon fall 2002, mungkin bisa langsung (kalo bisa ya beasiswa)waaaaaa kapan kawinnya nih sekolah mulu

kawin itu bukan cita-cita, tapi sesuatu yang datang sendiri dan nggak bisa dihindari. Dia bagian tertua dari peradapan, ia bagian dari seni, dan biarlah dia datang menurut alurnya.

jadi sekolah dan kawin itu bukan dua rencana berbeda, tapi kawin sendiri udah integrated sebagai alur hidup yang gak usah terlalu di-ngoyo-in tapi juga gak dihindari?

Iya dong, sekolah itu sesuatu yang ada dalam perencanaan bagi ujud diri sebagai manusia dalam peradapan. Pendidikan adalah upaya membangun peradapan. Ia harus direncanakan dan diperjuangkan. Soal kawin lain lagi, dia ada dalam realitas yang berbeda. Dia datang ketika cinta dan kontraktual untuk bersama ditemukan. Jadi ia akan datang sendiri dan kita temukan dimana dunia peradapan yang terencana itu dijalankan.

Kata-kata Gandi tentang cinta : "kalau orang mesih berhasil menulis lewat huruf hiroglif, maka cinta akan menulis dalam pilihan ruang kebenaran yang tidak terjamah". Nah jadi cinta dan perkawinan itu bukan soal fisik (jamah) tapi kebenaran dalam kejujuran menmukan kesesuaian. Ok jangan berdoa untuk dapat jodoh, tapi berdoalah untuk kebenaran. Karena disitu cinta akan ditemukan

saya pernah jatuh cinta pada seorang gadis yang secara rasional nggak mungkin saya dapat bertemu dia, karena kami hidup dalam latar belakang yang sama sekali berbeda. Kini dia jadi istri tercinta, dan dia adalah kekuatan bagi kehidupan saya yang jauh lebih kuat dibanding jatuh bangun saya untuk belajar ilmu pengtahuan atau lainnya. Cinta itu hebat, bahkan lebih hebat dari dunia perkawinan itu

Doa adalah bagian penuturan cinta pada sebuah cita-cita yang belum kita capai. Dia bukan urusan tuhan, tapi urusan manusia. Dan tuhan ada pada berapa besar rasa cinta kita akan kebenaran itu. nah berdoalah dengan cinta, tapi jangan berdoa untuk cinta

bagaimana cinta bisa mengalahkan rasionalitas?

Cinta itu dalam dirinya mengandung sebagian kecil rasionalitas, tapi penuh dengan benih rasa yang tidak perlu dihitung secara matematik mengapa dia ada. Meskipun cinta kadang harus diterima secara rasional, kapan ya kita lihat nanti dalam kehidupan individual kita

Dalam kultur tua manusia, ada semacam budaya manipulatif yang meniadakan cinta. Lebih saja cerita siti nurbaya atau Gadis pantai, atau dalam novel pengakuan pariyem. Dalam dunia itu, seolah cinta dibatasi kelas sosial, agama, ras, etnis dst. Itulah manipulasi yang saya maksud dari kalimat umum tentang memilih cinta dengan rasionalitas.

Rasionalitas umum tentang cinta, seolah harus dipenjara oleh ukuran ideal tentang perkawinan. Idealitas itu sering terkait dengan ukuran fisik (positifis), mungkin ekonomi, kemapanan, ketaatan agama dst.

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Indi's Birthday with Green Duck Curry

Today is Mas Indi's birthday! He's at the verge of the beginning of his third decade. We started the day with watching TV interview of Bhumi Band about their new album and last night's performance.

As we wanted to share our happiness, we invited our few close friends to enjoy spicy Indonesian lunch, imported straight from Indonesia by our beloved Ibu Tuti. As you can see in the picture, mas Judhi was taking photo of the lunch menu, consisting: Green Duck Curry, Roast Lamb, Cow Lung Rendang, Boiled Tapioca Leaves, Red Rice. Mas Iwan at the background couldn't wait to finish the whole tabletop.

As you can see, all guests are bringing their kids with them. A total of seven toddlers and babies roamed around the house the whole afternoon. It was hilarious and noisy! What an experience :> We got plenty of lesson on how to prepare ourselves as parents, including lesson on how to make a kid-friendly house from Wicak. BTW In the picture below is Andrew, and at the background are Aily and Brian.

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Bhumi's Performance in Orchard Road

Tonight Indi performed in the President's Charity on Filipino Hill in Orchard Road as guest trumpetist for Bhumi Band. I must admit that it has been a great show, especially with the two lead vocalist who are really good in bringing out the enthusiasm of the audience. Success for Bhumi Band, and we all are behind you!

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Bhumi's Rehearsal @ Beat Merchant, Bugis

After work, Indi practised with the Band at Beat Merchant, near Bugis. I picked him up after finished the gathering with Unpar Gang in Rendezvous hotel. I got assigned to be his session photographer. This is the favorite photo that I took that night, of one of the lead female vocalist.

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