Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas

I just want to share my Christmas service.

Christmas at United Christian Church of Dubai (UCCD).
No decoration at all.

And the sermon went something like this:

Christmas is to remind us of the deeply disturbing, the ugly: our sins.
No one deserves Christmas.
If we realize we are sinners, then indeed, merry is the news of Christmas. The one who we should be saved from is the one who saves us: Christ.

My effort to hold my tears almost would not let me sing "Amazing Grace" after the sermon. Why can't Christmas be celebrated like this every year, in the whole world?

Lord, have mercy on us. Kyrie, Eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us. Christe, Eleison.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My HG Facial Wash

Because this is a blog belongs to an acne prone wife, I think it's about time I talk about acne :)

I had to say goodbye to clear skin since the last year of senior high school. My acne started to run havoc on my face since I was around 17. Since then, I have tried to get rid of those bumps by getting drugstore products, seeing the doctor, going to skin clinic, etc. They sometimes got better, they sometimes got worse. But I would consider my acne mild. It's nothing a little powder cannot cover ;)

Anyway, in these last couple of years, I have found an HG (holy grail) facial wash that has kept my acne at bay. May I present: Himalaya Herbals Neem & Turmeric Soap.

Image is from the website
Gently cleanses. Keeps skin soft & smooth.
Fortified with Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Curcuma longa (Turmeric) that remove problem causing bacteria and protect your skin keeping it refreshed and healthy.

It is not specifically designed for facial wash, but when I first bought it in Singapore, I did not realize that. I used up a bar of it last year and it worked well to control excess oil and acne on my face. However, because I used it with other products for acne, I thought this soap bar was not the cause my acne cleared up.

Besides, Himalaya Herbals Neem & Turmeric Soap is not sold in Indonesia (Himalaya Herbals are sold in Indonesia, but not this product). After my first soap bar was used up, I did ask a friend to buy 2 more bars in Singapore, but then I stored them and completely forgot about them.

A couple of months later my sister used this soap bar and commented how it cleared up her skin. I got curious and started to use it again. And hey, it did clear up my skin. My husband jumped in the bandwagon and he liked it, too, to control oil and acne on his skin.

Pros:
  • controls excess oil
  • keeps acne at bay
  • leaves skin feel really fresh and clean
  • smells herbal -- nice

Cons:

  • can sometimes leave skin feeling dry and squeaky
Luckily, it is very easy now to find Himalaya Herbals products in Dubai. My other facial washes (from a skin clinic, La Roche Posay, Tamagohada, Lush) are now sitting lonely in my shower. I still use them, though, sometimes, when my face feels really dry.

I still now have some acne now and then, here and there, but I have to say it is so much better now that I religiously use Himalaya Herbal Neem and Turmeric Soap.

Next time I'll share about my other HG product for blackheads (and possibly acne): my beloved Paula's Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) Gel!

Retirement Fund

I know that in Money Talks I said I wanted to talk about Emergency Fund first. But after thinking it through, I think I'm comfortable with first talking about Retirement Fund.

Note: This post will talk about money in IDR currency.

Everyone plans to retire someday, right? To be able to enjoy your senior years without struggling about work and money anymore. Now, let's do some math with the help of http://tujuanloapa.qmfinancial.com

Please click it for bigger image.

So if I am now 28 years old, and I want to retire working at 55 years old, and I expect to live until 80 years old, that means I have 25 years of enjoying my retirement life. The problem is I will still have expenses, right? And because I will have retired, I will no longer have income.

25 years of having to spend for expenses without income. Oh no.

Perhaps you will say that it will be easy because by then we will already have saving. So now, let's calculate how much we need for that 25 years of my retirement life, still using the help of http://tujuanloapa.qmfinancial.com

Please click it for bigger image.

My expense is now around 4 millions a month (husband and wife living a simple life), and it will be around 52 millions in my retirement years (because of inflation). I will need 12 billion (12,000,000,000) to enjoy a simple life.

Gosh.

But I still have 28 years to accumulate my saving, right? Let's see. Twelve billion in 28 years, it means I have to save around 35 million a month.

Haha. Mission impossible.

So, what to do? If you are like me, dreaded by this truth, I urge you to start reading blogs and following twitters of good financial planners.

From months of reading and researching (which I'm still doing now), I am now investing only 500,000 a month in mutual funds (reksadana) and precious metals, crossing my fingers that they will grow at least 15-20% a year. A worse scenario would be that it will not grow that well, or if they will grow downward. (That's where we need Emergency Fund, baby! I will talk about that in another post).

But the worst scenario would be if I don't invest because I know I will not have enough to enjoy my retirement years, and I will have to burden my children.

You can count how much money you should invest per month, according to your retirement needs and the growth expectation in www.portalreksadana.com. You should login first and bla bla bla, but I know you will go through all the hassles if you care about yourself. And I believe you can browse and find the growth expectation percentage of precious metals, mutual funds, stocks and bonds, etc. yourself ;)

And remember: the earlier you start, the better!

Customer Service WHAT?

Have you ever been disappointed by how a company/store serves customers? In the past I had some complaints about this and that, here and there. Especially in Dubai, everyone seems to have a bad temper. Store keepers are usually very snappy and rarely say thank you. I had disappointments, but never bitterness, until yesterday.

Yesterday I went to a branch of HSBC in Deira, Dubai to cash my hard-earned-first-ever check (from my first freelance job - I will talk more about that in another post).

That's the building. But I grabbed the image from here.

I walked in the big building, confused which counter to go, then asked the receptionist. The beautiful receptionist did not so much as look at me while answering my question with mumbled words. I grasped only a part of what she said, and decided to look for the counter myself.

I found the counter, got a queuing ticket. A man behind a counter was available and he called me. I showed him my check, and he mumbled something, pointing at the back of the check. I asked what, and he looked at me with that are-you-stupid-or-what look. And so on, and so on. And oh, he did all that while talking to his colleague, hardly paying any attention to me, his customer.

It was quick actually, and finally he kinda slammed my money at the counter, and said "Kalas, kalas" (which means finish), waving his hand to kinda shoo me away. I was so flabbergasted by how he treated me that I forgot to count the money (but it's correct, anyway).

Maybe it's just the culture here, but I could not help feeling hatred and bitterness. Luckily it's only for a while. The husband calmed me down and said that I shouldn't take it seriously.

No wonder Indonesian people are well known as being friendly. We ARE friendly, dear fellow Indonesians :)

And I have made a promise in my heart, that I shall always evaluate how I treat people. I shall not look down on other people, whoever they are.

Note: In fact, if you google "Dubai bad customer service" you will find lots of other instances.

To cheer things up, here is how Mr. Bean handles bad customer service :D