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Raising Good Adults

Another gem found on Reddit:

[…] parents raise good children but should instead be raising good adults. The thought blew my mind and really got me thinking.

Let kids be kids. Let them screw up occasionally and let them be sad every now and then. They’re only preparing themselves for the real world and will be ready to face it when the time comes. Most parents do a great job raising good children and when those kids grow up, they’re clueless how to handle real world problems.

There are nuances on that line of thought, of course, and I am not even sure if I know how to be a good adult, but it’s still a good thing to keep in mind.

The Need for Speed

Yesterday was an interesting day.

I was working as usual when a couple of guys arrived at our house bearing new internet. High speed internet.

For a couple of months we have been trying to register to a new, fiber optic internet service that’s been available in our neighborhood. Our efforts were met with a brickwall, it seemed, because the company behind it was highly known to be slow and inefficient to the core. I really did not expect much, as my existing internet (provided by the same company) was pretty usable and dependable despite being relatively slow at 2 Mbps.

And then unannounced they came, and after a quick hour of pulling cables to our house and setting up the hardwares, we now have a faster 10 Mbps internet at home. This also includes some features that come with the package like cable TV (awesome, although we don’t watch TVs a lot) and landline phone (for real).

I understand that 10 Mbps is slow for some. But here in Indonesia, it’s a dream. It’s the type of internet that I’ve been yearning about for 15 years. In the meanwhile I (and many people in this country) had been using various different technologies to connect to the internet: dial up, 3G, EVDO, HSDPA, broadband, and finally this one.

Our internet used to be so slow that we never stream videos: instead we download them and watch them offline minutes or hours later.

Our internet used to be so slow that whenever we had to download something big, we queued that in a download manager before we went to sleep, and in the morning we hurriedly check our computers hoping that it all worked out successfully with no interruption.

Our internet used to be so slow that I bought GTA IV on Steam back in 2012, and I could only download and install it now, three years later.

Our internet used to be so slow that my daughter could watch videos on the iPad, or I can work; but not both at the same time.

Yesterday I downloaded a 1.6 GB file less than fifteen minutes. This is mindbogglingly fast for me. “It’s done?” I hear myself asking, “but I still want to do something else!”

Of course, this being Indonesia, you always have to expect and prepare for inexplicable issues to arise. This means I’m keeping the old broadband internet active as a backup, and so now we have two available internet connections at home. It’s now for my daughter to watch Youtube with, and we will open it up for guests and families too.

This new internet service can go up to 100 Mbps, but for that you have to pay about 250 USD a month. Not an affordable price, but as time goes by I’m sure it will go down further. I’ve waited fifteen years for this. I know I can wait a little bit more.

On Blogging

I used to blog frequently. I don’t know if nowadays I don’t blog as much because I do not have the time. I do have some free time every now and then, it’s just that there are higher priority items to be done.

I used to think about random, slice-of-life posts in my personal blogs as something that’s fun to do. A hobby. But now that I have not been blogging for a while, I begin to see some values that I’ve been missing before.

Blogging is an examination of my thoughts. Writing about something usually means replaying events, conversations, as well as my thoughts and reactions about them. This is very valuable because nowadays it feels that life goes by so fast, it can be difficult to understand what’s going on and where I’m going. I feel that writing about it will help me make more sense of it.

Blogging regularly also gives me a rough history of my growth as a human being. I have blog posts from 6 or 7 years ago where I was complaining about the silliest little things, things I wouldn’t even notice nowadays. In my archives I also have found some well-researched posts, or short posts with unexpectedly brilliant piece of thoughts that make me go, “I used to be able to come up with these before?” These are inspiring

What all this means is that I plan to write some more.

Shy Kid

From “Follow the Shy Kid”:

When you don’t fit within the social norm, you’re free to find your own way.

Unmournable Bodies

From Teju Cole:

The scale, intensity, and manner of the solidarity that we are seeing for the victims of the Paris killings, encouraging as it may be, indicates how easy it is in Western societies to focus on radical Islamism as the real, or the only, enemy. This focus is part of the consensus about mournable bodies, and it often keeps us from paying proper attention to other, ongoing, instances of horrific carnage around the world: abductions and killings in Mexico, hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year, internecine massacres in the Central African Republic, and so on. And even when we rightly condemn criminals who claim to act in the name of Islam, little of our grief is extended to the numerous Muslim victims of their attacks, whether in Yemen or Nigeria—in both of which there were deadly massacres this week—or in Saudi Arabia, where, among many violations of human rights, the punishment for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging. We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others.

Between Being Brave and Being Funny

I have never once seen a cartoon of Mohammed that has made me laugh. Not one.

Thus starts Hugo Rifkin’s excellent article, “There is a difference between being brave and being funny“.

It is easy to mock the Saudis, because they are savages who live in palaces. Iran exists in totalitarianism, and the Islamic State are murderous fascists. All — obviously, obviously — are ripe for it. To mock Islam itself, though, is to accept that all bar a small, statistical anomaly among those whom your barbs are stabbing will not be comfortable at all.

So, it seems to me that the solution to the fear, equivocation and confusion that any liberal satirist might feel right now is not, necessarily, to keep on grinding. Rather, it is ponder why it should be that offending Muslims, actually, isn’t funny. It is to look at their marginalisation in the West; their near invisibility in politics, media, comedy and all the rest of it, and recognise that this is a problem that makes mockery, which is vital for everyone, far more complex.

No Different Than A Blank Piece of Paper

Why blogging is not dead, according to Kit Stansley:

So, I’m just going to say a thing about this right now… “blogs dying” is not real. It’s not a thing. It’s like saying “cantaloupes running” or “light-bulbs laughing”. Those are definitely two real words that someone put together in a phrase, but they fail as a concept, and here’s why: Cantaloupes do not have legs. Also, a “blog” is no different than a blank piece of paper. It’s a piece of paper that a lot of people can see, if they’d like to, or, alternatively, a lot of people can ignore. Maybe you put something really personal on that paper and fold it into a pretty little origami crane and no one gets to see it but you. Maybe you write jokes on that paper and pass it to your best friend in the back of study hall. Maybe you pick up a pen and write a novel on that paper, or draw a picture of something you’re really proud of. Maybe you whisper a secret to it and then set it on fire and make a wish on the ashes.

Discard Everything That Does Not Spark Joy

Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.

Obsessive, gently self-mocking and tender toward the life cycle of, say, a pair of socks, Ms. Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic.

“Don’t just open up your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill,” she writes. “You must take each outfit in your hand.”

Advice from decluttering expert Marie Kondo.

The good fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams. When we’re young and our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to fight. With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result of our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight.

From “The Pilgrimage”, Paulo Coelho.