We Listen to Reply

Based on my previous blog post, chronologically this post should be about “How to Apply for Germany Student Visa” or “First Week in Essen” and so on, but anyway :p.  A few months ago, I found this quote from Stephen Covey somewhere in either my Facebook timeline or Tumblr dashboard


At the moment I was like “Wow, this is so freaking true”.  I personally don’t like to talk if there is nothing I want to add and I feel annoyed if in a meeting or discussion people just throwing out their opinion without a point and just reciting everything else that has been said before, just for the sake of replying.  I am not saying that I hate people expressing their opinion, but at some point at some institutions this ineffective habit of throwing pointless arguments is just, well, time-wasting.

Not until I have moved to Germany that I found this quote way way more relevant to my daily life.  FYI, I live in Essen, the 6th biggest city in Germany, the 2017 European Green Capital City with around 560.000 inhabitants.  It’s a very busy city along the Ruhr River, home to the famous steel company Thyssen Krupp and in the 19th century was a highly industrialized (and polluted) area.  People here are highly busy but not that english-speaking as another bigger cities such as Berlin or Munich, just to name a few.

Before I come here I have taken a German course in Bandung for 1,5 years.  I was thinking that “Well, I might not be able to write something in perfect German but I think I can manage that”.  Turns out I was wrong.  Yes I am able to understand some German terms, yes I can write e-mail in German but I cannot understand what the people are saying in German.  At all.  So I can start a conversation but I am not able to interpret what the response is.  Up until this time (4 months) I only manage to understand at the most 50% of what people are saying.  This is because they speak very differently with whatever it is I have learnt. Different speed and different accent.  There was a period when I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I cannot understand spoken German that I just didn’t want to go anywhere.  Even asking for toilet location at church can be overwhelming, simply because I was too afraid that I wouldn’t be able to understand the reply.  And I learnt it the hard way that to learn a language in its native land, you simply need to understand, and you should thrive to listen and understand what the question is.  (That also includes the courage to ask “Could you repeat a little bit slowly?”)

To speak about linguistics would be too far, but this is the point of communication.  How could I reply, if I don’t understand what the question is in the first place ? I have experienced this same thing with Sundanese and Javanese language back then.  But I never think of it, after all people will ask me question in Indonesian anyway, so why bother?   But here, I was given the basic, most important lesson in communication the hard way (well, according to my previously-spoiled-life-in-convenient-city). We listen not to reply, but to understand first.


A Brief Getaway

2 months ago , I was randomly looking up airline promos for cheap tickets. I and my fam decided to take a brief getaway to KL since it’s near and we have never been there 😀

Unlike Singapore, KL’s low cost airline’s airport is quite far from the downtown so we took a bus instead to the central station (KL Sentral) .  There are many bus operator providing route LCCT – KL Sentral. The journey itself took about an hour.  KL Sentral houses several transportation mode , the KTM komuter, LRT (train), and Monorail .  You can buy ticket ( token) for each single trip or you can buy a prepaid card that

Since I was travelling with my fam ( mom , dad, and sister) it is not really recommended to take adventurous journey , unless everyone is willing to take very long walk 😀 . Upon our arrival at the hotel , we took a short walk to some malls in Bukit Bintang.  There were bustling street and unparallel roads between the shopping malls .

The next day , we decided to visit the National Museum .  The KL trip guide does not give detailed route to go there (they suggested a taxi instead –‘ ) . Since at the map it looks close to the KL Sentral , we took the monorail there, then .  It turns out that the National Museum is only 10 minutes away walking from the station . It is invisible from the station because there is a tall hotel just across the road :))

The National Museum houses 4 galleries ,

1. Early History Gallery

2. The Malay Kingdoms

3. The Colonial Era

4 Malaysia Today ( is temporarily closed due to renovation)

Yes, those are Keris from old Malay kingdoms
A replica from Borobudur Temple ;)
A replica from Borobudur Temple 😉

Funny thing, is the replica of Borobudur relief we found here (errr shouldn’t that be on the Borobudur museum in Indonesia ? :)) ) . IMO , this museum provides several Indonesian artifacts based on the loose fact that long time ago Indonesia and Malaysia shared the same cultures ( back in the 1400s ) . Artifacts from the Hindu-Buddhism kingdom such as Majapahit are shown here, too .  Hello, Indonesian fellas , mind taking a brief look at our museums ? 😉

Anyway, leaving the Museum we took the train to Masjid Jamek station and walked to Merdeka Square. The Square is a huge grassfield with an enormous flagpole . There are several antique buildings surrounding the square, including Kuala Lumpur Library . There were many tourists taking photograph here as the field looks so fresh , pity the cloudy sky and the small rain 😦

Views from Merdeka Square
Views from Merdeka Square
National Library , the next building is National Children Library
National Library , the next building is National Children Library
Another view from Merdeka Square
Another view from Merdeka Square
Last view from Merdeka Square
Last view from Merdeka Square

We went back home the next day. I hope you enjoy this very brief review.  Looking forward for another getaway B-)