Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2 by Donny Dhirgantoro

Well, I guess I put my expectations for second book of Donny Dhirgantoro beyond this. The first book "5 cm", in my opinion is very genius yet motivating book. Too bad, I didn't found any of them in this second book. The theme is quite interesting, about badminton development in Indonesia. While everyone is busy talking about football, Donny tries to remind us how Indonesia had been reaching its heyday in badminton few years ago. Gusni, a main character here, has abnormality since she was born. Her weight was twice than normal baby. When she grows up, she becomes bigger and bigger, and her weight scale is never coming down. Her parents and sister, Gita, are concerned about this fact, but they never discuss it with her until she's mature enough.

When Susi Susanti won her first gold medal in World Olympic, Gusni and Gita was brazing the moment in their mind. Gita, vocally, told his father that she want to be a badminton player. After that, Gita started to exercise, joined club, competed, and won many badminton competition. Gusni, who see her sister's success, told her parents that she would like to join badminton too, in order to make them proud of her. Her parents were objected, and tried to postpone Gusni's will as long as they can. They were worried, that Gusni was not strong enough to take hard exercise, yet she didn't have good posture for a badminton player.

But, after Gusni met Harry, a man with ambitious dream, she was reminded of her postponed dream, playing badminton. She asked her parents, who had finally revealed the secret which they hidden for a long time. The secret shocked Gusni, but not stopping her to play. She didn't care what she looks like, how hard she had to try, as long as she could play badminton.

I really enjoy Gusni's fight against her parents, her weight, and people's presumption about her. Donny write the epic story about a young girl who tries to survive her life, makes her parents proud, and tries giving something to her country. But, I don't find Donny's motivating aura, as I found in first book. Maybe it's just me, but in the few chapters, I don't catch the jokes. It seems unfunny to me. I also don't feel the soul of the games. I don't found any breathtaking moments, as I found in 5 cm. As I said before, maybe I put expectation beyond, because of his first book.

But, after all, it's a good book, reminding us of how great our country is, flicking us, and encouraging us to stay focusing to things that makes us proud to this country.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Comical Time!

Who loves Comics? I love comics! Almost everyone I know like reading comics. I especially love one comes from Japan or Korea, or what they called manga. So, it must sound shallow, but in this post I’ll share you my favorite comics all time. So, ready?
 Sailor Moon – Naoko Takeuchi
The story is about a careless high school girl, named Usagi Tsukino. She is an ordinary girl with no specialties. But someday, a magical speaking cat with moon sign in its head comes, and gives her a power to change herself being a powerful and beautiful superhero. And as if that’s not tempting enough, she found that she is actually a reincarnation from Serenity, Moon Princess. All girls dream, right? Has a superhero’s power, pretty sailor custom, jewelry as weapon, a princess from the moon, and don’t forget to mention pretty ladies, who always stay around and make you safe. And the handsome prince! Superb!
What I like most is the beautiful drawing (well, I judge comics mostly from its drawing, so while you saying, the story is good, but I found no cute drawings there, and goodbye). And after that, I really like her imagination. Naoko Takeuchi uses her imagination for naming its character. Each superhero names are taken from planets name in our solar system. When she runs out planet, she begins to take some asteroid names, and other celestials.
In Indonesia, Sailor Moon ends at Chapter 18. Well, as happy ending lover, I can say it quite satisfies me, although they can make the ending much better than this.

Detective Conan – Aoyama Gosho

It’s the longest running manga series I’ve been following. It tells about a high school genius boy, who one day, suddenly transforms into an elementary school kiddo, because of a strange medicine, created by secretive organization. Shinichi Kudo, the boy, who’s now 5 years old, is able to live in Ran Mouri’s house, his childhood friend (he falls in love in Ran actually, but has not able to tell his feeling yet and the shrink accident happens. But do you think it is so lucky of him, that he could be anywhere near her, while she has no idea who he is?), whose father is Kogoro Mouri, a slow brainless detective, who rarely solves any cases. And with some tools, discovered by Professor Agasha, his former neighbor who knows his identity, Shinichi (who named himself Conan Edogawa after he changes into a kid) help Kogoro silently to solve cases, and hope that someday there will be cases involving secret organization which has turned him.
It has reached 71st volume (while in Indonesia the 63th volume is just published), and I’ve been reading it since I was elementary school! Wow, considering that now I am a working girl, it’s such as an achievement, right?

C.M.B – Motohiro Katou
C, M, and B is rings name, first given out by the British Queen in the 19th century to three men chosen to be protectors of the knowledge of the British Museum. The rings are inherited to three selected people, who are proper and suitable for their job as protectors. Shinra Sakaki, a boy with a mysterious past, was adopted by three ring holders. They all agreed to appoint Shinra as their heir, and it makes Shinra become a first person who keeps the three rings together. Although Shinra has never been to school, he is very knowledgeable. He speaks multi language, and possesses at least university-level knowledge. Shinra is the cousin of protagonist of the manga Q.E.D, Sou Toma ( I really like this manga too, but I don’t follow it, just read it randomly). Shinra often uses his knowledge to solve mystery cases related to murder, fraud, etc, along with his classmates, Tatsuki Nanase.

Gals!  - Mihona Fuji
The series revolves around the kogal subculture in Japan. The title character, Kotobuki Ran (Ran Kotobuki is the self-proclaimed "world's greatest gal." As a teenager in Shibuya, she's determined to live out the gal lifestyle for the rest of her life, and she has gained a reputation as the most respected gal in all of Shibuya. However, she comes from a family of police officers—her grandparents, her parents, and her older brother are all officers, and her younger sister is set on following in their footsteps. Ran has other dreams for her future, but as frequently shown, she has acquired the family's sense of justice and spirit.
Gals! doesn't always showcase Ran's point of view. It really consists of teenagers who live the same life as regular students and kogals in Japan. There's romance, troubles, drama and insecurities, especially Miyu and Aya's (since they take their relationships much more seriously than Ran).
This series illustrate the fun of youth life in Japan, their unique fashion, tradition, and culture. In Indonesia, the series end after 10th volume.

So, I’ve told you mine. What is your favorite comic? SHARE HERE!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tea for Two by Clara Ng

Tea for Two is Matchmaking Company, owned by Sassy. For her, there are no bigger responsibility and happiness than set up two strangers, and then bring them to most expected moment in life: MARRIAGE!
Live happily ever after. This is Tea for Two’s motto, which sounds nice.
But wait!
Is it true that marriage is the only way to be happy? Is marriage always full of happiness, flower, and romantically beautiful? The truth is, Sassy’s own marriage is facing a big problem. Secret lies, which is transforming slowly into big ones. Domestic violence. And all is started with infatuating romance, and ended with brutalism.
It could happen to you. It could happen to anybody.

This book epically tells us about bad side of marriage. Not intended to scare us of marriage, but teach us to be warned, to think logically, to be careful, because a Mr. Right is able to change into Mr. Totally Wrong.
Look Sassy. Successful career woman in her twenty something. Has her own company, which is reaching its peak. Pretty. Has four lovable, caring friends.  Smart, of course. Independent.
So, when one day, she met Alan, a young professional, handsome, wealthy, and dreamy, she thought that she’s already found her Mr. Right. What else does she look after? And after eight months, they got married.
At their honeymoon, Alan slapped Sassy.
It’s so unpredictable. How could Smart Sassy not be able to observe its sign, that Alan is violated person, freaky jealous husband? But, love conquers all. Although Alan continues his cruelty, in the name of love, Sassy hides it all. From her mother. From her best friends. From the world. Even after a baby comes between them, Alan becomes more and more aggressive. Not only physically, but also verbally. He forbids Sassy to hang out with her friends, asks her to quit from his company, and sell them.
And Sassy, who we’ve known previously, is so independent, is defeated. She is scared, not be able to leave her husband. She leaves once, but Sassy always thinks a million reasons to return.
How does Sassy solve its problem?
The best thing that we can learn is even the strongest woman needs help when they face such as domestic violence. Some women maybe could runaway easily, leave it all behind, but the rest of them are scared. Scared of loneliness, scared of reputation, scared of not to be loved. In Sassy’s case, we could see, that love is like heroine for her. And, after a while, she becomes familiar with Alan’s habit, and treats it as if it’s ordinary routine. It’s fearful, realizing how women can accept awful behavior, just because they are used to it.
This book is beautiful in its own way. It’s giving spirit, revealing some facts, which is maybe we’ve known before, but we choose to ignore it. Good way, Clara Ng.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

War carries away life luxury and revolutionizes many people’s life forever, including March family.
It requires many efforts for March sisters to live their teenage dream in the middle of war. Meg, has been living extravagance life like a lady for a long time, have to put out of sight her dignity and be a baby sitter.  Jo, second sister, always feels responsible to replace Daddy’s role, who has leaved to be a priest in war. Beth, third sister, has fragile physical condition, and often sick, even almost dying. And Amy, last sister, spoiled girl, who still expects that their life will be back like it used to be.
They prove that problems are not strong enough to break their family bonds. Little Woman is a piece of classic about four young women who always believe, that happiness will come after suffering sorrows.

Usually, I don’t read classics. For me, classic novels need patience to understand them, a lot of metaphors, long boring sentences. But, when I see this novel, I remember I had read it in comic version when I was a kid (I forget the publisher). So I decided to grab one, and ended with no regret at all.
So, as summary says, the center of story is March sisters. As classics, it has slow plot, tells every details of the sisters, their character, daily life. It starts with few days before Christmas (or was it Christmas Eve? I am not clear about it), and the sisters gather, talk about their previous life when they could easily get what they want as Christmas gift. They feel sorry, because they are so penniless in this Christmas, and their mother isn’t capable to give them any gifts. But, when they are competing who is the most inferior among them, Meg reminds them that they are so lucky, that they are able to celebrate Christmas together, with their lovely mother, jokes with each other, and have a warm foods.
Along the novel, we can recognize more of each sister’s personality. Amy often thinks that she can’t compete with her wealthy friends at school, tries to impress them one day, by buying orange sweets for her friends, but it turns to be heartbreaking. Beth, always scared of people, only hang out with her dolls and loves to play piano, one day finds the most beautiful piano she ever seen in her life. But too bad, it is belongs to Mr. Laurence, a grumpy neighbor. How does Beth solve her frightening and come to Mr. Laurence’s house?
Jo, by far is my favorite character, tries to protect her family at all time. She befriend with Laurie, Mr. Laurence’s grandson. Her tomboy personality often brings trouble for her. She is easily gets angry, and it makes Amy injured one day. Jo is persistent too, she insists that Meg should have rich husband, and doesn’t give her blessing when Meg’s in love with an ordinary man.
Finally, Meg, the older one, is the most beautiful sisters. She used to live lady-like, make harder for her to live averagely. She loves party, but often embarrassed with her own dress and accessories. But she’ll understand that all of it doesn’t matter much, as long as you have good family and love with you.
Beside them, there are other characters, like March mother, a wise mom, who always educates the sisters, and reminds them if they are doing any mistakes. Hanna, March loyal house keeper, Mr. Laurence and his grandson, Laurie, neighbor next door, and Mr. Brooke, Laurie’s private teacher. Some of them bring happiness to March sisters, and some of them bring them life-changing.
Little Women is a masterpiece novel, which tells us about love between four sisters, who have different personality, and teach us to struggle in our life, no matter how hard it is.