Pengalaman Kepemimpinan Prabowo sudah CUKUP

Dear all, saya masih menepati janji saya u/ gak tulis review pilpres. Tapi saya nggak mau Indonesia kembali ke zaman militerisme gaya Soeharto. Belon jadi presiden pun, sekarang pun rakyat pro Jokowi (yang saya tahu, at least di Jawa Barat) sudah diintimidasi FPI dan Babinsa. Jadi saya ingin share tulisan teman saya yang mewakili view pribadi saya.

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Beberapa pihak menganggap bahwa pengalaman panjang Prabowo di bidang militer dan sebagai pendiri partai Gerindra sudah cukup untuk membuktikan kepemimpinan Prabowo. Kata kasarnya, “Emank harus jadi walikota dulu baru boleh jadi Presiden??” Emank ga ada yang mensyaratkan begitu sih. Tapi mari kita telaah sedikit lebih dalam.

Kepemimpinan di dalam bidang Militer.

Saya ga punya background apa-apa soal ini, jadi kalau pendapat saya salah, silahkan dikoreksi. Dari apa yang saya baca, dalam dunia militer, ketaatan bawahan kepada atasan adalah mutlak, dan nyaris tidak ada ruang untuk bernegosiasi.

Kepemimpinan sebagai ketua Partai.

Seseorang hanya akan bergabung ke dalam satu partai politik jika ia entah mengagumi tokoh-tokoh yangmendirikan partai tersebut, atau ia setuju dengan cita-cita partai tersebut sehingga ingin ikut ambil bagian mewujudkannya. Sederhananya, memimpin partai politik adalah memimpin orang-orang yang kagum pada pemimpinnya (jika anda pendirinya maka orang itu kagum pada anda), atau ia setuju dengan ide-ide partai yang juga anda setujui (jika anda adalah salah seorang pendiri yang iku tmerumuskan tujuan partai, maka orang itu setuju dengan ide anda). Tentu saja ada org2 yg bergabung bukan dengan alasan itu, tapi dengan alasan supaya bisa jadi anggota DPR misalnya. Tapi secara umum, orang tidak akan bergabung dengan partai tertentu jika ia tidak setuju dengan garis besar visi misi partai tersebut.

Bagaimana dengan kepemimpinan dalam lingkungan sipil, contohnya kepemimpinan sebagai walikota atau gubernur?

Secara singkat ada 2 hal yang berbeda dengan kepemimpinan dibidang militer dan ketua partai.

Pertama, rakyat sipil TIDAK WAJIB untuk selalu setuju dan taat kepada pemimpinnya. Rakyat bisa tidak setuju dengan gagasan pemimpin,mereka bisa protes, bisa demo dan bahkan bisa menjelek-jelekkan pemimpinnya. Dalam hidup berdemokrasi, justru rakyat diberi hak untuk mengkritisi kebijakan pemerintah.

Kedua, walikota dan gubernur tidak hanya memimpin orang-orang yang setuju dan suka mereka. Tapi mereka juga memimpin orang-orang yang tidak peduli mau dipimpin siapa, dan orang-orang yang justru TIDAK INGIN dipimpin oleh walikotanya (baca : org2 yg ketika pilkada justru memilih lawan politik anda :p) Jadi kalau memimpin partai, itu mayoritas orang yang anda pimpin suka dan setuju dengan anda, maka memimpin sebuah kota bisa jadi seperempat atau bahkan sepertiga orang tidak suka dipimpin oleh anda :O Memimpin orang yang tidak suka anda itu jelas berat tantangannya. : p

Jokowi sudah berpengalaman memimpin orang2 yang suka dia plus memimpin orang-orang yang ga suka atau tidak memilih dia. Di Solo pertama kali menjabat, ia menang hanya dengan 36.62% alias 63.38 % orang soloTIDAK MEMILIH dia, itu lebih dari setengah loh. Lalu putaran kedua, ia menangdengan 90.09% nyaris 3 kali lipat dari angka perolehannya yang pertama. Jokowi berhasil membuat org2 yang tadinya tidak memilih dia, berubah memilih dia. Dia berhasil memenangkan hati rakyat.  Saya cukup yakin jika Jokowi terpilih, kalaupun ia dikritik habis-habisan, di demo ratusan kali, ia tidak akan masalah dengan itu.  Ia tetap bisa mengayomi rakyat, baik yang suka maupun yang tidak. Karena sudah ada buktinya.

Bagaimana dengan Prabowo? Nah kita belum tau. Selama ini Prabowo jika dilihat dari track recordnya, ia baru berpengalaman memimpin orang-orang yang memang harus taat sama dia (militer) dan orang-orang yang setuju dengan dia (parpol) . Bagaimana jika nanti ia harus memimpin orang-orang yang tidak ingin dipimpin oleh dia? Akankah Prabowo bisa lapang dada ketika didemo habis-habisan, dikritik pedas, fotonya mungkin dibakar, bahkan mungkin diejek seperti cara sebagian orang mengejek SBY? (Kita tau, sebagian orang keterlaluan sekali mengejek SBY -.- ) Bisakah ia memenangkan hati orang-orang yang tidak sukadengan dia?  Bisakah ia sabar dan tetapmengayomi rakyat yang ‘bandel’ dan susah diatur seperti orang Indonesia?Bisakah ia memenangkan hati rakyat tanpa kekerasan?  Semua rakyat Korut, TAAT sama presidennya,tapi kita tau itu ketaatan yang lahir dari ketakutan bukan dari kecintaan. Nah akan bisakah Prabowo melakukan itu, memenangkan hati rakyat tanpa kekerasan?

Buat saya itu masih misteri, masih sebuah tanda tanya. Saya tidak bilang Prabowo pasti tidak bisa, pasti mereka semua akan ‘hilang’. No, saya tidak bilang itu. Yang saya bilang, saya tidak tahu karena saya belum melihat ada track record Prabowo di bagian ini (kalau ternyata ada, TOLONG kasih tau saya 🙂 

Jadi ketika harus memilih sesuatu yang masih belum saya ketahui atau memilih sesuatu yang sudah ada track recordnya, jelas saya lebihmemilih yang punya track record. : ) Jika ada teman-teman yang tau mengenai track record prabowo memimpin rakyat ‘sipil’ termasuk org2 yg mungkin ga suka sama dia, silahkan dishare ya.

I Delay Sending My Daughter To Pre-School. Here’s Why.

In kiasu Singapore, some parents send their kids to pre-school as young as 18 months, supposedly for them to learn languages, arts and crafts, music, etc., as well as social skills. Unless you’re a Singaporean citizen or enroll in a pre-school run by a religious organization, these schools can charge around SG$1,000 for half day programs and $2,000 for full day programs.

I can understand dropping off the kids at pre-schools when both parents are working and there are no alternative child care arrangement.

But if you do, OR if you’re a stay-at-home parent like me, how much value are you getting from these expensive pre-schools? I’m convinced that you don’t get value for money. Here’s why.

1. You can teach the same skills at home.

By now I have seen more than 10 early education centers, from church-run kindergartens, name-brand schools, Montessori schools to full-scale international schools. They do pretty much the same arts and craft projects that I give my daughter at home. Story telling was pretty much the same as what I do at home. They spend half hour a day doing it, while my daughter and I do this all day! They do excursions. Guess what? I do that too! They do music and movement, and I do a whole lot more of those at home than the daily allocated time at any pre-schools. They do puzzles and building blocks. Yeah … we do that everyday too, by the way.

There is NOTHING that these schools do that I can’t do at home, with the exception of teaching Mandarin by immersion plus REGULAR social interaction with other kids. Not to say that my daughter doesn’t interact with other kids … just not as long or as often.

Anyhow, in one particular school visit today, the program director of the center observed my daughter throughout the one-hour tour -where he allowed my daughter to join the Nursery 1 classrooms (supposedly for kids turning three years). My daughter is the youngest of the lot, having only turned 2 a few weeks ago. And the director said, “Her skills are very well developed for kids her age. Good manners too.”

I tried not to smirk in pride. We have obviously done some things right, and it’s good to have that feedback from a seasoned educator 🙂 His feedback convinced us that our daughter doesn’t need pre-school until at least another year.

2. The cost is prohibitive.

Seriously … $1-2K a month for stuff that you can mostly teach at home?  By doing casual home-schooling using online or DIY materials, organizing play dates plus sending her to weekly sessions of play that I can’t give at home, I spend on average $350 instead of $1-2K a month on her education. She goes to a weekly gym class where she does tumbling, swinging on monkey bars, and obstacle courses. She’s now about to start a weekly music and movement class. Now … to some people, even $350 a month can be a lot. Don’t worry – your kids won’t be scarred for life if they don’t have these state-of-the-art gym classes. Just as long as you take them to public playgrounds every now and then. And sing with them!

3. Once starting school, they get sick a lot

I’m not saying this from experience, but EVERY mom tells me so. I’m not overly worried about it … my kid is super healthy, but for some parents this may be a consideration for delaying enrolling in a school.

4. I value individualized learning experience

I believe I know best how to motivate my child to love learning. I use the principle of “muchness” with her … whatever she happens to be interested in, I use that A LOT to engage her in learning experiences. She’s now obsessed with scribbling. I use that to introduce different drawing mediums, colors, shapes, opposites, animals, etc. She likes seeing me cooking, so we use that to introduce different fruits and vegetables, different movements like chopping, peeling, stirring, sprinkling; and the names of utensils we use. With me, she progresses at her own pace, learning new things using familiar tools that she has already found fascinating. If I can’t get her to engage in 5-10 minutes, I use another tool to introduce the same concept, or let her learn other things first. Simple as that. In a pre-school, unless it’s fully Montessori, she has to follow the class schedule, move on at the same pace as others, using tools that she may not totally find interesting. Would you pay $1-2K a month for such a thing? 🙂

5. What my child lacks in regular social interaction, I can make up through other means.

My daughter is more clingy than other kids, the typical fallout of not sending her to pre-school early. But is this issue worth spending $1,200 a month for daily half-day pre-school program?  I think not. There are ways around it …  play dates, signing up for church’s kids programs, or invite more visitors to the house! The interaction may not be as regular or extensive as spending 3-8 hours a day with the same teacher and groups of friends everyday, but I’m a firm believer that when a kid is ready for school, they will be over the separation anxiety in a few weeks. Max. Regardless of how clingy they originally were.

I’m not a proponent of lifelong homeschooling. We’re definitely going to do 2 years of kindergarten (4-6yo).   I just don’t believe there are significant benefits in spending $$$$$ for a level of education that you can otherwise provide yourselves.

Notre Dame de Paris: Is It Worth the Money You Spend on It?

Back in the day when it was just the Esplanade plus a few smaller theatres (like DBS, Kallang Theater, etc.), my husband and I – both performing art lovers – watched just about every major show. Shakespeare play. Harry Connick Jr. Phantom of the Opera. Cats. Rock of Ages. Stomp. Chicago. Then came the theatres at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World, which more than tripled the number of performances we could watch. At first, I thought this was great! A bit of competition between venues will motivate them to bring in better performances, right?

No. What I have seen instead is that these theatres probably settle on rather mediocre plays to keep their venues operational year round. Notre Dame de Paris, which we just watched last week, was probably a good example of this.

Now … Notre Dame de Paris, the story of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, was a headliner when it first started. It was the best-selling musical play of all time in its first year of performance. So we thought it can’t be bad. And to be brutally honest, it wasn’t bad. We still enjoyed it.

However, my husband and I are lyrical listeners. We want the songs to tell a story instead of being a compilation of songs concert-style. We enjoy strong, good plot and script. Worse, we are seasoned watchers of Broadway and West End musicals. And to us, Notre Dame de Paris lacks a few major items:

Live orchestra / band. The music was pre-recorded (probably the background vocals too!) and it lacks dynamic. In parts the music overpowered the vocals and my husband and I were left whispering to each other, “Whaaat? What was that about???”

A strong story and script. We did not read the play synopsis but kinda know the story of Quasimodo from the book. We thought we’ll figure out the rest from the song lyrics and dialogs. But alas … we couldn’t comprehend half the lyrics (other than the super repetitive  “Torn Apaaaaaarrtttt ….”), let alone figure out the story! And it was confusing at certain points. The scene of street protest looked more like a bunch of teenagers break dancing. We did not figure out that Frollo the priest was lusting over Esmeralda, thanks to the super loud background music plus the nondescript lyric. Phoebus, the keeper of public order, looked out of place dressed in white tunic top and glittery silver trousers that makes him look like a runway model. All the refugees looked like slum people yet Esmeralda, one of them, looked ravishing in emerald green dress. I understand they need to differentiate Esmeralda as the main character. But really, making her look like a rich princess in the midst of hobos?

Distracting choreography. The dancers were brilliant. The acrobatic choreography was something I have not seen before. For someone who is not a seasoned musical play audience, Notre Dame de Paris is definitely entertaining and out-of-this world wonderful. But to us, there were just TOO MUCH going on on the stage at any given moment. There would be 3-4 dancers climbing the wall of Notre Dame while the priest walking up and down the staircase of the monastery with a leading character singing a solo and 3 more dancers showing off their acrobatic skills. What do you focus on? Obviously the action, not the lyrics. The dancers appeared spasmic, almost epileptic, in many scenes. What was that about???? Then you lost sight of the story and wondered. To us, the best scene in the whole play was the Quasimodo solo when he confessed his love for Esmeralda yet knew that she won’t love him back. No choreography. Just Quasimodo with the follow spot on him, with Esmeralda sleeping a few meters behind. It was heartfelt, heart-breaking, emotional. Something that was missing in the whole first half.

Having three major shortcomings, I can’t fault the singers or the dancers. They’ve done their best bringing out a mediocre script, out-of-context choreography and less-than-stellar translated lyrics into something that is entertaining. Worth watching? Yes if you have not watched Phantom, Les Mis, Chicago, West Side Story and the like. If you have, you may still enjoy it for its art direction (the set is WONDERFUL!), lighting and almost Cirque du Soleil choreography. But don’t go because you want the story of Quasimodo brilliantly told in a musical. Because Les Mis it ain’t.

Terapi Kehamilan dan Fertilitas di Singapura

Karena banyak yang nanya soal dokter kandungan dan assisted fertility di Singapur, akhirnya saya memutuskan u/ share pengalaman saya inseminasi supaya semua komen tentang fertility difokuskan di sini aja, jangan dijadikan satu dengan komen2 tentang Mt. E 🙂

Saya skrg hamil 6 bulan setelah 4 tahun lebih menikah. Saya dan suami mulai cek ke dokter setelah 3 tahun mencoba hamil normal. Berikut tes-tes yang dokter kandungan (dokter pertama kami: Prof. Yong Eu Leong, NUH, ahli bayi tabung) berikan pada kami:

1. Tes darah dan hormon suami / istri. Dari tes ini, ketauan kalau progesteron saya rendah, jadi badan saya tidak merespon ovulasi dengan baik.

2. Tes andrologi / kondisi sperma suami.

3. USG u/ istri – untuk melihat apakah ada massa atau kista di dalam rahim yang bisa menyebabkan embrio sulit bertumbuh.

4. Pap smear dan swab test – sebenernya cek rutin aja, tapi sekalian dilihat apakah ada infeksi di vagina yang bisa mematikan sperma, dan apakah ada tanda2 abnormalitas di cervix.

5. HSG – tes ini u/ melihat kondisi falopian tube atau saluran indung telur. Cairan berwarna dimasukkan ke dalam rahim, lalu kita disuruh gerak2 supaya cairannya menyebar, lalu dilihat apakah cairan itu nembus sampai ke indung telur kiri-kanan. Bila saluran indung telur tersumbat, akan diusulkan untuk laparaskopi untuk membuka sumbatannya, atau langsung menjalankan proses IVF. HSG saya normal.

Semua tes di atas seingat saya biayanya nggak lebih dari S$1000 di NUH.

Tahap pertama: Pil hormon

Dari semua tes itu, kondisi kami berdua dianggap sehat dan karenanya saya hanya perlu menormalkan level progesteron. Saya disuruh minum Serophene / Clomid selama 5 hari setiap bulannya, lalu disuruh nyatet BBT (suhu badan basal, yaitu suhu badan ketika pertama kali melek pagi hari, sebelum bangun dari tempat tidur. Harus menggunakan termometer BBT khusus) tiap hari, dan ngecek ovulasi via urine test di rumah mulai hari ke-11.

Pil hormon berhasil membuat saya ovulasi normal, tapi jadwal business trip suami saya membuat kami sulit ngepasin jadwal, karenanya setelah 8 bulan mencoba pil hormon dan nggak hamil, kami mulai berpikir u/ inseminasi saja. Kami di-refer ke dr. Stephen Chew, spesialis IUI di NUH.

Tahap Kedua: Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI adalah prosedur inseminasi paling sederhana yang hanya bisa dilakukan bila saluran indung telur tidak tersumbat, produksi sel telur dan sperma normal, dsb. Biasanya IUI dilakukan bagi mereka yang mengalami “unexplained infertility” – tidak ada masalah medis tapi nggak hamil-hamil, seperti saya. Prosesnya demikian:

– Saya melanjutkan minum Serophene (bisa juga diresepkan Femara) 5 hari per bulan

– Di hari ke-11 kalender mens saya, saya datang ke dokter u/ USG, dilihat apakah ukuran follicle dalam rahim saya sudah “mencapai target”. Kalau belum, saya disuruh datang besoknya (karena IUI bergantung pada jadwal ovulasi normal) sampai ukuran follicle mencapai target di USG. Setelah mencapai target, saya akan disuntik egg-releasing hormone 1x, lalu harus kembali u/ prosedur IUI dalam waktu antara (CMIIW) 18-24 jam setelah disuntik.

Jadi, misalnya, katakanlah saya disuntik jam 4 sore hari Kamis, saya sudah harus di-IUI  antara jam 10 pagi sampai 4 sore hari Jumat karena suntikan itu akan membuat saya ovulasi dalam 18-24 jam, timing nggak boleh meleset 🙂

Kembali ke contoh diatas, anggaplah kemudian saya dijadwal u/ IUI jam 12 siang di hari Jumat (20 jam sesudah disuntik). Suami saya akan dijadwalkan datang 2 jam sebelumnya (jam 10 pagi) u/ nyumbang sperma, lalu spermanya langsung di-wash, dan ketika saya datang jam 12 siang, sperma itu langsung dimasukkan ke rahim saya via kateter. Prosedur ini makan waktu hanya 5 menit, tidak sakit dan tidak pakai anestesi. Setelah itu saya pulang terserah mau ngapain – nggak perlu bed rest, nggak perlu diet, nggak perlu tiduran karena takut spermanya keluar lagi 🙂

Kalau, misalnya, suami nggak bisa nyumbang sperma yang fresh karena di luar kota atau sperm count-nya rendah, suami bisa “nyumbang” beberapa hari sebelumnya lalu di-freeze. Kalau sperm count rendah, mereka bisa “nyumbang” beberapa kali (jangan nyumbang lebih dari 1x per 3-4 hari u/ memastikan sperm count tiap kali nyumbang maksimal) lalu beberapa sampel sperma itu dijadikan satu pas proses inseminasinya.

KANS SUKSES IUI

Ketika pasangan tidak memiliki masalah medis apapun (seperti saya dan suami), chance IUI cukup tinggi – sekitar 30%. Selama pil hormon (Clomid/Serophene/Femara) yang diresepkan dosisnya pas (tidak terlalu tinggi), kemungkinan u/ dapat bayi multiples juga hanya 1% lebih besar dari kehamilan normal. Saya punya saudara yang dapat anak kembar 3 dari IUI, tapi itu kemungkinan besar karena dia minum pil progesteron dengan dosis terlalu tinggi (sebenernya ini bisa dihindari kalau rahim di-USG setelah obat diresepkan, u/ melihat reaksinya), atau dia disuntik egg-releasing hormone lebih dari 1x padahal sebetulnya nggak perlu.

IUI pertama saya gagal karena kombinasi sperm count yang termasuk normal tapi rendah (cuma 4 juta kalo ga salah, karena kita nggak “puasa” dulu sebelum suami nyumbang he he he …) plus timing inseminasi-nya agak meleset karena saya ovulasi di hari Minggu, ketika kliniknya tutup 😦

IUI kedua sukses karena kali ini kami puasa 2 minggu, jadi sekali nyumbang suami saya bisa setor 30 juta sperma 🙂 dan timing inseminasi-nya juga pas.

Kalau IUI sudah dilakukan selama 3-4 cycle dan belum hamil juga, pasangan akan dianjurkan u/ consider opsi lain seperti IVF.

COST / BENEFIT IUI

Banyak orang lebih aware tentang IVF daripada IUI, padahal kami melihat IUI jauh lebih menguntungkan daripada IVF:

– Cost lebih rendah. Satu cycle IUI kami harganya sekitar S$550 di NUH, sementara IVF bisa sekitar S$7000-10,000 per cycle di RS pemerintah, bisa sampai 2-3 kalinya di RS swasta.

– Prosedur jauh lebih sederhana. Nggak pake inseminasi di cawan petri lalu dimasukkan lewat laparaskopi ke rahim. Nggak bed rest, nggak diet, nggak bius. Nggak pake nyuntik hormon tiap hari di rumah. Nggak pake mood swings. Dan proses ini menggunakan cycle mens / ovulasi normal kita. Paling ya puasa seks seminggu gitu supaya sperm count suami tinggi pas nyumbang he he he 😀

– Proses ini lebih natural. Keraguan kami yang terbesar terhadap IVF adalah karena kami akan “membuang” sel telur (mis: yang di-extract 8 sel telur, tapi yang dibuahi cuma 5, lalu yang dimasukkan ke rahim cuma 3). Secara agama dan psikologis, kami nggak mau dihadapkan pada pilihan ini. Lalu kalau misalnya bayinya ternyata jadi semua (mis: jadi kembar 4), kami sekali lagi akan dihadapkan pada pilihan u/ selective abortion u/ mengurangi resiko kehamilan terhadap Ibu dan meningkatkan harapan hidup bayi yang lain. Kalau sampai hal ini kejadian, kami nggak siap u/ “memilih” bayi mana yang “dimatikan”, tapi kami juga nggak mau dihadapkan pada resiko medis dari membesarkan 3-4 janin dengan kondisi badan saya yang kecil ini (saya sebelum hamil 155cm/46kg).

Semoga membantu, info lebih lengkap mengenai terapi hormon dan IUI bisa didapat di sini.

Kapan Anda Sebaiknya Menggunakan Jasa RS Swasta Singapur

Salah satu artikel paling populer di blog ini adalah komen saya tentang RS Mount Elizabeth Singapur, yg sampe sekarang masih dibanjiri komen. Artikel ini bisa dibilang lanjutan dari artikel tersebut walaupun nggak spesifik tentang Mount Elizabeth.

Anyhow, ceritanya begini. Kemarin saya operasi u/ angkat benjolan di leher. Operasi ini sederhana, cuma 30-40 menit, tapi saya mau benjolan ini diangkat secepatnya karena saya mulai bulan depan akan sering travel. Saya telpon Alexandra Hospital dan NUH – dua RS pemerintah yang biasanya saya satroni, dan saya baru bisa konsultasi dokter bedah umum 2 minggu, lalu u/ jadwal operasinya sendiri harus nunggu 2-3 minggu lagi. Saya nggak punya waktu segitu lamanya …

Well, anyhow, saya memutuskan u/ telpon Novena Surgery.  Saya bisa ketemu dokternya hari itu, mau dioperasi hari itu pun sebenernya bisa, kalo mau.

Di klinik ini layanannya bintang lima: staf-nya sangat helpful dan ramah, dokternya friendly, dan kamarnya sangat bersih dan mewah. Saya masuk kamar istirahat jam 12 siang, lalu dioperasi jam 12:30, jam 2 saya sadar dan sudah ada di kamar istirahat, lalu saya makan dan jam 4 saya pulang. Tagihan yang harus saya bayar u/ layanan selama 4 jam ini? S$4,200! Ini belum termasuk konsultasi follow up, buka jahitan, painkiller, dan biopsi.

Bandingkan ini dengan anak saya yang tahun lalu lengannya patah lalu saya bawa ke RS pemerintah (ke NUH). Dia di-xray sampai 4x, rawat inap semalam, diinfus, konsultasi dokter ortopedis 3x dalam 1 malam, dioperasi, digips, dikasi obat anti muntah dan painkiller. Biayanya? S$1200 saja, u/ prosedur yang jauh lebih rumit.

Dari kisah saya ini, saya menyimpulkan bahwa Anda sebaiknya menggunakan jasa RS Swasta Singapur HANYA BILA:

– Anda kelebihan duit 🙂

– Anda tidak punya waktu u/ menunggu beberapa hari/minggu untuk bisa konsultasi dokter di RS pemerintah

– Anda hanya ingin konsultasi dokter, tapi tindakannya tidak di Singapura (jadi cuma minta second opinion doang). Biaya konsultasi dokter swasta dan pemerintah tidak jauh berbeda. Misalnya: dokter kandungan saya di NUH biayanya $60-96, sementara di di RS swasta sekitar $70-110. Harga obat juga nggak beda jauh. Yang membuat biaya di RS swasta jauh lebih mahal adalah rawat inap dan tindakan medis seperti operasi, tes2 seperti x-ray atau biopsi, chemotherapy, dll.

Monitoring your kids’ online activities

While my previous article “Parenting Teenage Children Don’t Have to Always be Difficult” (click here) focuses on general rules in disciplining your teenage kids in age-appropriate ways, this one focuses on having a grasp on their online activities.

Many parents find this an uncharted territory because they don’t grow up in the digital age. We didn’t either, but communication technology actually comes with measures to prevent inappropriate use, if we only know how to find and use them. So here’s some of the measures we have put in place for our child:

1. Check history on your child’s web browser. You can go to Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer (or any other browser), click “history” and see the list of websites your child visited. This is easiest, but at the same time also the simplest “footprints” for your child to erase. As well you can see which sites they have visited, but you cannot restrict their access to inappropriate or offensive content. Which brings me to my next two points:

2. Use parental control in the computer. Since I am a Mac user, I can say that all Mac computers come with built-in parental control that we can enable and customize depending on needs. For example, I block access to the computer during my son’s bed time, restrict access to inappropriate sites, and keep a log of all the websites my son visits, with an option to restrict or allow each one of them. He cannot trick this because the computer will continue to keep a log of the websites he visits even after his browser history is already cleared up.

Having said that, I don’t know if all computers come with built-in parental control, so the next solution is:

3. Install parental control software on the computer. Out of necessity (our kid is starting to show early signs of computer/game addiction), we decided to install a parental control software. His computer already comes with it, but there are additional features in the software (we use Content Barrier X5 from http://www.intego.com) that are not available in the computer itself. For example allows me to determine when he can use the computer each day (e.g. 2 hours max between 5pm to 9pm on weekdays – but the computer will log off between 7-8pm so he doesn’t forget to eat dinner. And the computer can’t be accessed on Tuesdays until 6pm because that’s his tennis day).

Content Barrier also keeps a screen shot at regular interval so I could see the look of the websites he visits. Other than that, it keeps track of keyboard movement so I could see if he is using appropriate language in his chats, or if he is being abused online.

Oh, come on … You don’t really have to be that strict!

I bet I started sounding too draconian by now. However, we do this out of necessity. Twelve months ago, there was no parental control whatsoever on his computer. We didn’t need to use it back then! We had the software, but told him that we will only install it if he gave us reasons to. After a string of game access while he was supposed to be in bed, dwindling grades, tendency to become anti-social, absolutely zero interest in anything but computer and games, plus a couple of visits to porn sites – plus many hard talks to no avail,  he really gave us no option but to put all the above measures to prevent him from being addicted to online activities, especially games and porn.

Other than that, would you rather sound a bit too draconian, or see your kid become a game addict or a victim of an online predator? I would prefer to monitor my kid’s online activities just like I ensure that he does his school work and chores, rather than see my kid not knowing the risk of addiction, predator and digital abuse, and then falling victim to one of those.

Research also proved that children who were given directions and boundaries on their online and computer use became much more responsible user of the internet once they’ve become an adult.

But when my children can’t access internet from their computer, they steal my computer!

Another thing you need to be alert for is when you have more than one computer in the house. We are a family of 3 with three laptops. The trick here is to enable parental control in every computer in the house. You don’t have to restrict access to any sites, but at least it will keep track of the web visits so you could see any irregularities. Through this we found out that just last night my son used my husband’s computer to play games while we were out.

These all sound good, but I don’t even know how to turn on the computer!

If the above measures sound too complicated to you, there are actually simple ways that you can implement in the house without being computer savvy:

  • Keep the computer in an open space where parents can see the screen. Insist that the computer (esp. if it’s a laptop) should not be moved.
  • Use shared computer instead of giving each kid a computer. This way they learn to share and won’t be able to hog the computer when their siblings need to do homework on it. There are downsides to this though, e.g. a lot of assignments may require typing, printing and online research … this may not be finished in 30-60 minutes and when you have more than 1 kid, this can be a challenge
  • Tell to your kid that they need to add you in their Facebook / Twitter / whatever social networking site and chat programs they’re on. This way you can go to their Profile and check their online updates. What if they don’t want to add you? Oh, well, too bad … then they can’t go on Facebook from home. However, note that this is not a tamper-proof arrangement. The kids can have more than one Facebook account and only add you on the one they don’t use. You can curb this by doing name search on Facebook from time to time, who knows the exact same name in the exact same location with the exact same face appears 🙂
  • Apply an open door policy. We have an open door policy at home, whereby the only time when door must be closed is when we are in the bathroom, changing or sleeping. Other than that .. be it we are doing homework, working from home, whatever … doors are open. Several months ago we started noticing that our son always closed his door when he was in his room (his computer is in his room, with the screen facing the door so we could monitor), which to us was a weird change. And, true enough, not long after that we found out that instead of doing homework, he was chatting with friends all evening and occasionally accessing internet porn. A serious chat about “open door policy”, being a responsible internet user, or losing his computer for good settled the matter.

I hope this helps … I can’t even start counting how many parents have shared with us their frustration on their inability to control their children when it comes to their online world. It doesn’t have to be like this, if you follow the above and all the general rules in my previous article. Happy trying! 🙂

When Technology Makes You Dumb, Lazy and Frail

Excuse my choice of words. But it’s true 🙂

For the past two and a half years I have been driving a car with GPS, 360-degree proximity sensor (so the car makes a maddening noise when I’m close to hitting anything …). Thirty months of driving in Singapore, and I still don’t know how to drive around without turning on the GPS. The proximity sensor has numbed my natural instinct for proximity with other objects … I’m fully counting on this maddening beeping sound to determine whether or not I am keeping a safe distance.  This is a BIG regress from my previous ability to drive around in Jakarta without a GPS – I simply looked at the map and memorized the routing. I used to be able to instinctively know when I should stop backing up by just looking at the car next to me. I used to be able to determine how fast a car / motorcycle is approaching and whether or not I’d be able to steal a turn in that mili-second.

And now? Last month I braved myself to drive again in Jakarta. I have lost my bearings and my ability to detect motorcycles roaming around me. A couple of times my wheel almost got ditched into the waste water canal (got / selokan, they call it in Indonesian) while turning. Several times cars and motorcycles honked violently at me for hitting the break all of a sudden, or turning without warning, because I almost missed turns or wasn’t aware that the car / motorcycle slightly on my side or front is stopping.

I used to memorize everyone’s birthday, address and phone number. Now I only remember my immediate family members’. Some people are worse off. They may not even remember their own phone number, address and post code 🙂

And then there’s home entertainment … remote controls make us too lazy to walk to the TV stand to turn on any game consoles, DVD player, CD player, or the TV. Everything is just one click away … but we end up with back pain or headache because we sit on the sofa for too long without moving around. On top of that, we could end up being obese because of lack of exercise and too much snacking on the sofa.

In addition, there’s “food technology” … frozen vegetables. Frozen pizza. Frozen pies. Frozen chicken nuggets. Instant soup. Frozen lasagna. Instant marinades and sauces. While I am not anti frozen food, I am now mindful of all the chemicals that these frozen and instant food may contain (MSG in particular), and the germs that may grow on food that you thaw and re-freeze. The only frozen food I buy is preservative-free fresh food that is instantly sealed and frozen, and the only instant food I buy is those without MSG or preservatives.

And how can we talk about this without talking about telecommunication gadgets? The smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, O2 and the like) and personal computers (or laptop). We can answer our e-mails 24/7. We can do “management by SMS” (which I used to do regularly). You can divorce your wife upon sending a text message (what???? This really happens though!!!). It comes  complete with calendar, currency exchange rates, measurement converters, dictionaries, games, etc. etc. How many times have we heard grieves from parents that their children are engrossed in their games and have no connection with reality, or prefer to “communicate” with their online friends rather than having face-to-face interaction with their real friends? For this reason, we limit our son’s computer and game console use to only weekends, where we stop him every 60-90 minutes to do other stuff (shower, biking, lunch, grocery shopping, swim, etc.) to make sure he moves around and stays alert to what’s happening around him.

I use an iPhone and loving it. But I also realize that playing games on that tiny screen will give me a neck and shoulder pain over time. Turning on my 3G means that I will constantly be checking my e-mails. Turning my sound on loudly means that I will occasionally disturb my husband’s sleep (and my own) because some people do text and e-mail me at odd hours. And that listening to my iTunes song collection has made me missed my bus or train stops. For this reason, I don’t bring my earphones (I never use earphones anymore. Full stop).  I consciously do not turn on any alarm for my calendar – I don’t want to be reminded by an alarm that today is my son’s birthday or my wedding anniversary – that’s one of the many important things that I want to remember without any help.

At 31 years old, I have suffered from neck and shoulder pain from bad posture in front of the computer and now I have to constantly remind myself to sit upright, maintain my posture, and exercise my shoulder and neck muscles to prevent similar stiffness and pain. My shoulder and neck pain have costed me thousands or dollar to pay my physiotherapists, orthopaedics and neurologists, plus many sick leave because of migraine and inability to move – something that could have been easily avoided had I disciplined myself to limit my technology use. I have had lower back pain because of accumulated slouching on the sofa. And I have had my fair share of food poisoning because of rotten instant food (those instant sauces and marinades that are way over their expiry dates).

Should we shun these technologies and live like the Amish? Your choice. As for my family, we choose to keep most of these technologies, but we make a concerted effort to limit the use of it to what is necessary. This means not turning on the GPS unless we’re driving to a new place. It means limiting our game and TV use to one hour at a time, with time-outs to go to the toilet, stretch, or do other things during commercial breaks. It means making an effort to remember our credit card numbers, FIN number, phone numbers of those we would call the most often, and other details that are just too easy to forget if we rely on technology. It means buying ergonomic chairs for our study desks and only use the computer and any writing work there, even though that means isolation from the TV when we’re doing work from home (my oh my … qué horror! 😀 ). This means turning our phone on silent when we’re sleeping. I’ve even gone a step further … turn my phone silent most of the time, so that I would only pick it up when it is convenient – no more running to my phone when my shower or cooking isn’t finished! After all, if that call is really that important, the person will call back, or can leave me a text message.

Just don’t allow technology makes you dumb, lazy and frail … I was halfway there, and got a wake up call from all my spinal problems.