Reflections from 2019: The Sparkling Notes

A year has passed. As always, routines and business have made times moving so quickly. Again, 2019 has passed. Many things had happened and things were meant to be tests, but later they became stories to tell and share. In this post, I share a few things related to my experience throughout the year of 2019. The point of view in this post is solely constructed from my point of view; however, my intention is only to share my reflected experience through the year of 2019. Even though I am still relatively young in age compared to the elderly; still, I hope that readers everywhere can get useful and positive things from my experience and insights that I share through this post. 

Notes on Life


Imagining life without family is one thing that might feel a bit peculiar to experience for me. System of this nature shows that every living thing have their family. As times pass by, I learn that to be in a family is the true identity as a human. No single human lives his or her life in solitude. Even though someone can live their life in such a pedestal, being alone is the worst option in life. In spite of having financial freedom or being rich is such a pleasant condition of life in this material and physical world, but being wealthy within living alone fashion without anyone to share is such a difficult condition to bear and face. As a matter of fact, human is not designed to live lonely. In 2019, I learned that family is put in the first number in the list of all important things in life. Arguments, little debates, small anger, slight disappointments might happen in some other days. All these things, as I learned, were not as the bad compared to receiving those from someone or some people that you had to deal with in life socially.  


Living alone or living together with people is actually not options to be selected. It should work both ways. Sometime, it is fine to live alone, especially when we are old in order to have that reflective set of mind to think back all those things that had been done in our life. However, life also teaches that as a human, I am a social creature and so are you, dear readers. I have friends and companies in life. In terms of friends, certain things might happen when we deal with friends. We should realize that not everyone can be our friends. Oh, right, hundreds of types of friends out there! True friends indeed never harm you emotionally or physically. Throughout the year of 2019, I learned that even friends can change into foes. They grow certain hatred within themselves toward us. This hatred can only be felt and observed as times go by. If I have to choose between friends and family, I will choose family. We certainly can make good friends as family, right? Among many friends I have, few of them are considered as my family. Isn’t that beautiful? I am not trying to be idealistic at this point, however. As I had been growing up to this day, I learned that friends are easy to come and they are also easy to go if they do not stick in with you or they find as someone who is not suitable with their standards. Against all odds, I still believe that everyone can be good friends and everyone has something good within themselves. We just need to figure it out. When I got hurt throughout 2019, I kept collecting all the feelings with me. It got tiring as times passing by, but the minute I tried to ‘forgive’ them and I kept continuing my life, I understood that the hurtful feelings did not matter much than I am letting it go. The question for this upcoming year is: Will I keep hurting myself just to see people happy? Will I become a selfish person to sacrifice myself before others? Showing everyone that smiley face while deep inside you got hurt by things that some people did and said to me? Well, as Mariah Carey used to sing, “There is a hero lies in you”, so I thought that there is a hero lies in me, too.   

Notes on Work

2019 was the year when I accomplished achievement as one of the best dedicated lecturers in the college where I worked. Moving from 2018 to 2019, I actually transfer my work purposes to a more sensible goal. I no longer seek for praises or salutation from the leaders whom I committed my service to students and academia. The goal in 2019 was to seek for my personal growth at work and that leads me to total fulfillment of my achievement at work. I have learned that being competitive at work is good, but being considerate and humane at work is the sign of the best worker these days. As a lecturer, I accomplished better achievement when I could see my students learn more from me beyond the books or learning materials I taught in the classroom. I realize that these are not easy. It requires hard works. I hope then 2020 will be the year when I grow wiser as a lecturer for my students and improve myself to be a better reflective thinker for myself and everyone around me. 

Working without ethics is a must; however, working the ethics only for certain people while for you the ethics are neglected is indeed the one thing must be avoided. Throughout the year of 2015 to 2019, I witnessed that ethics play a major role on reaching outcomes for the professional working. Unfortunately, as a developing country, Indonesia needs to expand its control on how leaders in many different sectors working on making decisions regarding these ethics. One particular employer who might be accused of neglecting the ethics should be treated equally fairly so any punishment given is in line with the principle of justice and fairness as well as law transparency. Otherwise, it would not be ethical for leaders to give punishment to a certain employee without fair and legal jurisdiction. If that is the case, then it is the leaders that might conduct falsehood and mistreatment toward the employees for whatever causes and reasons. 2019 was the year when I understood that power and position would eventually create wrong decisions when these two delightful things of the world are in the hands of the wrong people.  

“Be the Best or Try to be the Best” is what my lecturer taught me to do when I was still a student at Andalas University. Today, I see this statement as a triggering point to achieve a better life. The questions that I have in mind in relation to this statement are: “Best in what aspect?” and “Best compared to Who?” as well as “Best in Where?”  Though I may not have that much expectations at work, I would still have a bigger hope that everyone does their own works and they stop being busy on spying everyone. As long as the job done, that is the matter. I have learned to concentrate to my own works, while certainly in a communal atmosphere like in here, this mental capacity might be seen as being so individualistic. Well, does it sound bad to be individualistic at work? I always believe that if I can do it alone, then I can do it more when I do it together with peers. However, not all peers are worthy of cooperation. Analogically, it looks like this: some peers might consume your kindness while some peers might pretend that you are needed only for matters that they too can do it. As my religion told me, Islam, that being nice and kind to fellow human beings is the sign that Allah SWT loves you. It may sound easy to say; in fact, it is so challenging. Sincerity is dealing with kindness, but kindness being used for gaining salutation from people is never a form of sincerity. Then, what do I expect? The basics: good working atmosphere, nice colleagues, wide opportunity to improve myself as a worker in order to provide the best work performances to the college where I work, and indeed, a very nice payment or salary to feed my child and stay balanced as a human being. Do all these things exist by 2019? The answer is: “I smile” in rhetorical and cultural forms, while saying, “Please don’t ask me further with hurtful questions”      

One thing that I am certain for 2020 is expressed within this phrase: “Best Thing will come and it certainly will come every day”

Notes on Social Media

Being creative in terms of writing and reflective thinking is a good way to avoid the lack of exercises to connect the mind and spirits. I had been using WordPress as a site to publish my writings. WordPress is such a powerful for me to let go my voice ever since I was a teenager. Today, the day when I write this post, I am already a man in my thirty five years of age. I find this blog is growing as I grow myself. When I reflected this blog and learned what I did throughout 2019, I figured out that I might not post that much within this 2019 year. Such a hectic life situation, indeed, but I learned how to spare a time and sit to think of what writing I should write to public in this globe through this blog. Sparkling Silent Silhouette, to me, is a brand of my creativity that represents me and all muses I have. Will 2020 sign the year of ever more sparkling thoughts? We will see.  

To be useful for everyone does not always need to be ‘that’ exaggerating. It can be done in simple ways. In 2019, I noticed that sharing good things to people through social media, such as YouTube, is beneficial not only for my personal pleasure to share but also for everyone who might find it useful. I observe that the use of YouTube is interesting. It gets professional and more professional. It has YouTube kids and it helps my son to learn interesting things from watching cartoons. Different from the blog, I named my YouTube channel as Mr. Syayid’s Vlog. I name it similar to my name because I want to keep it real and authentic for anyone in the world. In my blog, I tend to be more reflective and persuasive sometimes, so I might use an interesting phrase to represent my thoughts expressed in writings or words. YouTube channel is a different. It has videos and audios, so I should be the one who shows in the video or my voice. The point is that I would like make my YouTube channel is real and authentic. Monetize? Well, I am not that much into it, but if YouTube can activate it within this year, I would not mind with that. The most important thing is that I should never post videos that are not originally my creation. Perhaps, I might use audios from free-license websites and I will mention them in the video caption for credits. At first, I was a bit shy to appear on YouTube and to be watched by many people. After several years I think about appearing on YouTube, I thought, “Why not? I don’t share useless contents. In fact, I share knowledge and information about places and some important stuff. I also did not intend to promote products, but if they will be beneficial to my explanation later on, why not?” Will 2020 sign the moment where my YouTube channel grows even more? We will wait and see.

Notes on Arts

The works of arts always provide media to relate imagination to the real life. Movies, for me, are the spaces and objects to grow my imagination, while at the same time; movies can be used to construct critical thinking on the notion of cross-culture understanding. I watched movies for the first time at home after my father bought us a TV with Sony brand in 1996. I liked to watch Justice League cartoon movie. They were so special. I liked Aquaman and Flash as well as Thor. Their combination created Superman who later became the character I adored as a child. In 2019, I watched different kind of movies. Recently, I watched ‘The Help’ movie, which was so liberating for me to understand how slavery happened during the 1950s up to 1960s in the United States of America. I watched ‘King Cobra’ movie that displayed the story of a young man who ended up being a gay porn movie. It showed different perspectives to understand how someone came into something bad or good in their life. Another movie I watched was ‘Big Friendly Giant’ movie that shows how a friend can turn into a blessing of life, in spite of barriers that might exist between the two friends. Many other movies that I had watched throughout the year of 2019, so you may subscribe to this blog to keep continuing what I write later on about movies.    

To tell you the truth, I am not a musician, but I always love to listen to music, but not all kind of music. Just as movies, I am quite picky in terms of which music that I like. As always, I like listening to almost all English classic songs, while for modern ones I like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Westlife, Boyzone, Beyonce, and many others. Their songs were interesting to hear and the meaning was there, but I would rather be a bit selective to choose which songs I would love to hear all the time. 2019 was the year when I learned that arts did not represent their creator. Arts were more the medium to express messages from the artists and how the message was delivered through a piece of an art.

Notes on Religion and Faith

Islam – Leveling Up the Faith

There are times when I feel up and there are times when I feel down in terms of faith and believing to the Superpower of this universe; nevertheless, my faith to Allah SWT is beyond measureable. I may not be that too serious in faith and I would rather call myself as a Muslim living on diverse world on earth. I may not be represented by another Muslim. What he or she does in life is theirs. My Muslim identity is within myself and all I do in life. I may also not represent another Muslim. I am all what I am. However, of course, it is saddening to hear some people who have painful life just because they were born as Muslims. If I bring it to political issues in the global stage, I would state it by saying one word, “confusing” My faith as a Muslim firstly lies in my responsibility to my family (child, wife, siblings, parents, and extended family).   

In 2017, I got a motorbike accident. In 2019, I began to feel better physically. When I thought about the accident, I learned that the accident happened beyond my ways of thinking. I might have been died after the accident. Allah SWT decided for me to keep living and I really thanked Allah SWT for that.

Notes on the World

Expectations & No Expectations

A common phrase that I heard since I was a teenager was: “Live your life to the fullest.” This phrase was true in a sense of gaining more in life, though at some other times I find a significant fulfilment when I can give to life. I may not be able to give a lot in the form of money, but at least, I can share knowledge to people who need my explanation. In 2019, I learned that to live our life to the fullest means more than just gaining what we could gain in life. It reflects to me that the perfect life is to feel such contentment. When I think of the moment when I got sick, I learned that to have a life is indeed a blessing. Many people out there live their life in such miserable situations and conditions. The complexities in life of the world have shown to me that the way I looked at the world defines my attitude toward this world. Am I going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Every individual person has life circumstances that might be seen and discovered but such circumstances might not be understandable. When I looked at the globe and listened as well as watched much news on diverse social situations emerging in many different places in the world, I slowly learn that what happen in the world had been designed by God as they should be, but I still have a bigger hope that the world can be a better place when we have efforts to put our ego behind. Eventually, peaceful life everywhere can be obtained successfully forever: making this earth paradise before the actual paradise. Can we?        

I welcome you 2020 and hopefully, the big thing will come soon.

Life and its color

Writing Thesis for Indonesian EFL Students

I had been working as an English lecturer at a private college in Indonesia since 2009. Working as an English lecturer provides me lots of opportunities to gain more understanding of what I had learned so far not only as a lecturer but a reflective practitioner as well. It’s a bit different when you compared what you know as a student to what you know as a lecturer. Because my students are classified as Indonesian EFL Students, so one thing that I noticed from them is the struggle they faced when they composed their thesis. In this post, I am sharing what I know about Writing Thesis for Indonesian EFL Students.

This post is divided into a few sections. They are:

  1. (PART 1) A general overview to Writing Thesis
  2. (PART 2) Writing Chapter 1 – Introduction
  3. (PART 3) Writing Chapter 2 – Literature Review
  4. (PART 4) Writing Chapter 3 – Research Methodology
  5. (PART 5) Writing Chapter 4 – Findings and Discussion
  6. (PART 6) Writing Chapter 5 – Conclusion and Discussion
  7. (PART 7) Writing the References section

Each of the above list provides you with a video. Please find videos for each item above as in the following list.

(PART 1) A general overview to Writing Thesis

(PART 2) Writing Chapter 1 – Introduction

(PART 3) Writing Chapter 2 – Literature Review

(PART 4) Writing Chapter 3 – Research Methodology

(PART 5) Writing Chapter 4 – Findings and Discussion

(PART 6) Writing Chapter 5 – Conclusion and Discussion

Note: Explanation on Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 is on the same video.

(PART 7) Writing the References section

You can SUBSCRIBE to listen and watch all of my videos in this YouTube channel: Mr. Syayid’s Vlog

Have a great day! I hope all of my videos above are of great help for you as Indonesian EFL students wherever you are on this earth… 😊

Life and its color

Reflection on Ramadhan 1440 H

Dan sesungguhnya telah Kami berikan hikmat kepada Luqman, yaitu: “Bersyukurlah kepada Allah. Dan barangsiapa yang bersyukur (kepada Allah) maka sesungguhnya ia bersyukur untuk dirinya sendiri; dan barangsiapa yang tidak bersyukur, maka sesungguhnya Allah Maha Kaya lagi Maha Terpuji”.

Al-Qur’an, Surat Luqmaan, ayat 12

‘Change’, a word that is common to everyone’s ears. Things change, situation change, and people change, though in fact, they do not change a lot. Almost all circumstances change, only if we change.

When I think about my Ramadhan this year, yes, things change. Although things might change, but I feel that such changes bring me to become a better person, a better human with all of its well-being. In Ramadhan 1439 H, the previous one, I learned the notion of Sabar (patience). To grow patience in your soul and mind is not easy. However, I am sure that it gives more peace than harms to oneself.

Unlike previous year, as I mentioned above, in this year I learned the notion of thankfulness to Life that God had trusted me to live this life. Islam teaches me how to represent this attitude with a word: Bersyukur. The word is a word of Bahasa Indonesia and it means that sincerely praising Allah SWT for all blessings that He directly and indirectly provides to all humans.

The way I cam to the word Bersyukur is interesting to me. It came through different directions, internally and externally.

Internally, of course, the word Bersyukur exists in my mind as a reflection of everyday experience. Day by day, I see things in different perspectives, no longer in a personal level, but I had tried to learn to think beyond my comfort zone. I began to raise questions to myself, such as “What would I think and feel if I was that person in that life circumstance?” The answer might be personal and different for each and everyone of us.

From the internal changes, then I projected my mind to see how things going on around me and beyond my presence. I began to learn more how to care for my country, Indonesia, and the world where I live in to this day I type this post. When I was a young person, a teenager to be precise, I did not pay attention that much about my country including its politics and social circumstances. Well, no, I did. I cared, but such care was left unknown. Who was I? Only a teenager at that time.

People might say that it was not their business to care for others, although they might live on the same country.

During Ramadhan 1440 H, exactly on May 22, 2019, for example, a riot happened in front of KPU and Bawaslu building in Jakarta. A number of people protested about the results of 2019 General election, which for some parties the election had fraud and mischievous attitude on the voting process. After the riot took place, six people died, as the DKI Jakarta Governor mentioned publicly. Up to the day I publish this post, Indonesian Constitutional Court still examine the documents submitted about the fraud and mischievous conduct by one of presidential candidate’s parties. Nobody can predict what the outcome of the court decision will be. Should we assume it constitutionally, politically, or socially? God knows. Wallahua’lam bi shawab.

Another shocking news that happened in Ramadhan 1440 H was the attack on Masjid Al-Aqsa in Palestine. I myself wonder a lot about the answer of the following question in mind: “In this year and age, where technology speaks beyond border and truth revealed through everyone’s eyes, why does Israel keep ‘hurting’ Palestinians? Up to now, I could not find the answer. I only can assume the answers would be: Greedy? Power?

On, and on, and on…so many social disputes and judicial abandonment on the name of humanity. The social case on Rohingya in Myanmar and Uyghur in Xinjiang, China, and Syria…. I sighed deeply. 😩 How could all those things happen?

Anyhow, what are all those things above related to me?

The point is that I am thankful to God at least I am not in the position of the leaders involved in Indonesian politics. From what they did, as politicians or leaders in their sector, I learn many more things on how to speak responsibly on public (not just silent), be responsible, be wise on making political decisions, and on top of all is to be honest and fair in all affairs, nationally and internationally.

In short, this Ramadhan 1440 H brought me insight on how to express the feeling of bersyukur (thankfulness to God). People cannot live alone themselves. The air that I breath and the body that I have are the creations of Who? I am one, so God must be one, too. Allah SWT as Tuhan Yang Maha Esa. Esa means One and Only. Therefore, there is only between me and God directly.

What does Ramadhan 1440 H mean to you?

Life and its color

The Grand Masjid in West Sumatera, Indonesia

One of the interesting places to see in the province of West Sumatera in Indonesia is Masjid Raya Sumatera Barat, known as The Greatest Mosque in the province of West Sumatera. The mosque itself was started to be built in 2016 and the construction was completed in 2019, together with its tower. From the outside, the mosque has beautiful ornaments with a soft red color.

Besides, the building has two floors. Most people visit the Masjid not only for daily prayers but also for Holy Islamic Days, such as Idul Fitri and Idul Adha.

The unique thing of this Masjid is the combination between Minangkabau culture and Islam. The roof of its kind and the crafted Arabic letters on its walls create additional artistic values toward the building.

Anyway, if you need to know a short description on this aspect, please watch my explanation in the following video:

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Life and its color

Fulbright in the World Indonesia Scholarship Festival Padang (UNP) 2019

On April 27, 2019, I was invited to be a speaker an event about scholarships in Indonesia. The event name was World Indonesia Festival, as the committee called it as WISH Padang 2019. I presented about Fulbright scholarship.

Berikut video presentasinya (Click the following link to see the presentation video):

The opening session of WISH Padang 2019 was filled out by the Rector of Univeritas Negeri Padang (UNP) who had been represented by the assistant of the third vice dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the university. Besides, the governor of West Sumatera province also attended to open the event formally.

Mata Garuda Sumbar and LPDP Awardee also attended the event to share the views and tips as well as tricks on how to win and get LPDP scholarship. The chair of Indonesian Scholarship Network (ISN) from Jakarta also attended the event. Thus, it provided good values for students and visitors to know more about scholarship that is available in Indonesia or overseas and open for Indonesian students.

In the session of Inspiring Talk, the committee invited Prof. Saldi Isra and Prof. Mestika Zed. These two public figures increase the worthy of the event.

IELTS Coaching Clinic by IDP, IELTS Simulation by TIME Language Center, and also provided information on Tips and Trick of scholarship application.

Additionally, the event also has Stand and Expo that display various types of scholarship available for students who are interested to study overseas, such as Japan, Ireland, United Kingdom, USA, and Australia.

In short, the WISH Padang 2019 event was successful because many students and visitors came to the event. Almost 3000 students came to see the scholarship event. The event itself was sponsored by W-DANK LOKALATE, a product of Nutrifood in Indonesia.

This picture shows my support for Nutrifood W-DANK with Indonesian traditional taste (Kopi Gula Aren and Kopi Durian)

Standing with Ibu Akhriani in W-DANK Nutrifood Stand (Kopi Gula Aren and Kopi Durian) So Tasty!! 🙂

Endorsement: Just to let you know, the taste of Kopi Gula Aren and Kopi Durian of W-DANK have added extra variant of taste of soft drinks in Indonesia. Ms. Akhiarni (Ani) gave me a glass of coffee with ice and it was rich of taste. I recommend drinking W-DANK Kopi Gula Aren and W-DANK Kopi Durian to enrich your taste on Indonesian traditional soft drinks but with modern packaging.

Have a great weekend!

Cross Cultural Understanding (CCU) Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Post-Fulbright scholarship (after 2013) Social Involvement as an Academician