Saturday, 16 July 2011

The price of a dream

Everyone has dreams. I have dreams, you have dreams. Most of us are excited not only to nurture those beautiful images in our minds that are called dreams, but also to make them actually happen. We are all trying to transform dreams into reality.

For the most part, the process of dreaming is easy. We just close our eyes, and pop!---there come pretty balloons and smiling rainbows and a majestic castle on a foreign wonderland. Dreaming can be as simple as picturing oneself in a new dress, driving a new car, standing in front of a new house. It can also be as complex as dreaming about oneself studying in a certain college to get so and so degrees and to work here and then there. Walt Disney reportedly said, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"

I believe that no dreams are ever too big and no dreamers are ever too small. But---there's a but in this---there are prices to pay. Dare to dream means dare to change. A change from comfort to uncertainty. A change from laid-back life to hard work. A change from familiar relationships to strange bonds. A lot of people are not aware of this fact. They go running after the sun without being prepared for the brewing storm behind them.

I started to think about such a price when psychiatry rotation came to an end just last week. 99% of the patients in the psych ward are female domestic workers. They are women, young and senior, who have left their homes to search for some fortune in foreign countries. They are not well-educated, and they are of limited means, but their dreams are higher than the sky. So if they're good dreamers, then why do they end up in a psych ward?

The types of mental breakdown these women experience are quite similar: paranoia and depression. The trigger is an old classic: domestic tortures by their masters. To put it simply, they are treated like a bunch of Old Testament slaves, and it's obvious that they are not prepared for it. They don't think things through; all they see are: 1) they are Muslims, 2) their prospective masters are also Muslims, and 3) their prospective masters live in Muslim countries. Ergo, it must be convenient to live in a familiar environment with a familiar faith among familiar believers. Simple logic. Right?

Sadly, reality speaks otherwise. Sameness of faith does not equal automatic warm welcome. And so these soft-spoken naive ladies must learn about the price of their dreams the hard way. It is literal that they have lost themselves in the effort of seeking and finding. Instead of gaining some cash to help with the family's economy, they lose more than just happiness; they lose their minds. Some have also lost their lives.

Dream is a great temptress. It pulls, invites, seduces, attracts everyone. Dream is also elusive. It takes the sharpest mind and the most valiant heart to win it. While dream keeps the wheels of life turning, it may also become a cancerous growth. One must treat it with cautions and great respect. Even dream is not free.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

A world all its own

This is by far the most comprehensive tourism promotional video about Indonesia. It's a bit long for an ad, and the music, although very nice, is not as epic-sounding as we might expect from ambitious tourism videos. But what can I say--a standard several seconds ad is really not enough to describe this glittering archipelago. There is definitely more to Indonesia than Bali.

So, enjoy this video (don't forget to full view), and see you in Indonesia!