Friday, October 19, 2018

Asian Para Games 2018

Not long after Asian Games, Jakarta also became the host of Asian Para Games. I was curious to see the Para Games and be a spectator again, but suddenly a media offered me a freelance job to be a writer at the Asian Para Games official tabloid. My response was definitely, a yes!

I had to complete my morning freelance work quickly, then headed to Palmerah. Anyway, if you know the media map in Jakarta, you would know which office I referred here. The work hours were until late night, so I only had time to watch APG 2018 on the weekend.

A friend had kindly bought the ticket for the last day's badminton game. However, I reached home almost midnight, woke up not feeling well and arrived at the last victorious moment of mixed double in the SU5 category Hary Susanto/Leani Ratri Oktilia, which I managed to record down below, just scroll down below. 

Here are photos of my Asian Para Games 2018 experience.

Badminton lover squad

Asian Para Games not only featured athletes with disability but also employed disabled people to provide ride for the spectators. They use this special motorcycle.

One of the tabloid's first page. You can also found the tabloid's softcopy version at

I knew that it was an official tabloid for Asian Para Games, but having to work with this keyboard made me appreciate the five senses. Notice how the letters are not visible?

The layouters are usually ignored during the day. But they will become the most wanted men as the deadlines approach :D

The victorious yell that always send shivers down the spine

Monday, October 1, 2018

I Woke Up To These Questions

Being known among friends and relatives as a "translator", many of them often ask me the English equivalents of some Bahasa Indonesia words. Most of the time, I got the questions upon waking up from night sleep or power nap. Here are some of the questions:

Port, harbour and haven
Situation: when a friend who is also a translator contacted, you need more than just a dictionary
RAS: What are the differences of port, harbour and haven?
Me: Port has the industrial activity, such as loading-unloading the cargo, and harbour is usually smaller than port. Haven...well, it is something that is secluded, often used for a hiding place such as tax haven.
RAS: Pearl Harbour is big, I think. At least, that's what I see in the movie
Me: Let me check the Internet, I just woke up from nap *quickly did a browsing on the subjects
RAS: Ok, Internet here is not good, so I thought I asked you
Me: Aha! It was all correct *sending a screenshot photo on the browsing result

Situation: when a newly married friend is composing texts for wedding photo album
ADP: What are the other words for "usefulness?" *sending a photo of her photo album
Me: Eh? It sounds off-key. Is it meant to be "berkah"? How about "blessings"?
ADP: Yes, it sounds better. I felt like a spoon if we use that word,"usefulness". So "Happiness and Blessings"
(a few minutes later, after I gained more consciousness)
Me: Wait, how about "Love and Happiness"? Or "Love Journey, Blessed Union"
ADP: Now that reminds me to Union's Red Velvet cake
Me: Yeah, yummy, isn't it?

Entitled and titled
Situation: when a metalhead boy wanted to release a new album
DP: What is the meaning of entitled? Is it the same of titled?
Me: Just use "titled"
DP: But "entitled" sounds cool
Me: What is the context again? You want to release an album?
DP: Yes, I want to share it via socmed: "the third album is entitled...", would that be correct?
Me: Ok, you can use both. And congratulations on the third album.

Sitting cross-legged or Sukhasana?
Situation: On another occurrence, that metalhead boy was writing a song
DP: What is the English word for duduk bersila?
Me: Is this a song title? What is the context? Sitting cross-legged, or if you are looking for metaphorical words, Sukhasana, a yoga pose would do
DP: Both are too long, it's for song lyrics. Do you have other words for that?
Me: Wait, I just woke up.
DP: Oops sorry. Do you use any translation website besides Google translate?
Me: Sometimes I use
DP: Ok, thanks
Me: No problems *back to sleep

Friday, August 31, 2018

Energy Of Asia At Asian Games 2018

The main stadium of Gelora Bung Karno Sport Complex

The Asian Games 2018 has been a real challenge for Indonesia. The appointment to be host country took place in 2014, because Vietnam, which was already appointed to be host, decided to withdraw from the position due to economy factor. The last time Indonesia was appointed to be host of Asian Games was in 1962, 52 years ago.

The government launched one-year campaign for Asian Games 2018, but it was only when opening ceremony of Asian Games was finally aired that many Indonesians took notice of the pan-Asian multi-sport event. The opening ceremony was a show of Indonesia's multi-ethnic culture and tradition. 

While I had wanted to contribute to this event through freelance work, it turned out that my Asian Games 2018 experience was only as a spectator, which had been quite interesting as well. Here are shots I took during the Asian Games 2018.

One of the festival areas where visitors could rest and relax between the games.

Inside the main stadium, taken during the day.

The pan-Asian multi-sport event unites athletes across Asia, even when the night has fallen.

Thanks to Asian Games 2018, the sport complex was fully revamped and now has many supporting facilities, such as this potable water station.

What I really love about Asian Games, it gave me opportunities to meet with friends, colleagues and relatives. 

With colleagues of former workplace

With high school friend at Senayan Aquatic Stadium

With Master friends and professor

With my cousin and his family, and we did not make any arrangement. I updated my WhatsApp status about going to Senayan and he replied that he was too in Senayan. Funny how technology could bring people together, eh?

We met with Tajikistan runner, Davron Atabaev, who had just competed and kindly asked for a photo. He obliged to these aunties. Whatever you see in the picture should be left uncommented ;P

Let's wrap this post with a video of Korean diver Woo Haram (well, it was aimed to be a pun, if you get what I mean) 

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Short Trip to Solo: 8-11 August 2018

Hello from Solo!

As I have mentioned in previous post, Singapore does not have many national holidays, so when there is one on the horizon (August 9 is Singapore National Day), I quickly submit my one-day leave request two weeks in advance. 

Although the leave was only for one day, I could get 4 days off, weekend included. Where to go? What should I do? I decided to visit my uni friend, Aneen, who has given birth to a cute baby girl with an even cuter name: Jantung Hati (Heart Liver).  I also wanted to visit Mbak Whied, another uni friend in Solo.

I booked my flight in Wednesday afternoon, just after finishing the day's work. I chose a Citilink flight that departed from Halim Perdanakusuma aiport, which is closer to home, so I did not need to rush. I had completed all the week's reports but one, because I can only analyze the data on Thursday, so I still brought my laptop. After struggling to put my laptop to my backpack, I gave up and decided to use Delsey cabin luggage. I placed my laptop inside and booked a Go-Car to the airport.

First time using a cabin luggage :)

I arrived in Solo on Aug. 8 afternoon and got picked up by Aneen and Jantung. I have decided to take things slow with a breastfeeding baby, so this trip's highlight is just culinary tour and catching up with my friends.

Nasi liwet (rice cooked with coconut milk, topped with shredded omelette, chicken and other options)

The next day,  Aneen took me to nDalem Kopi, a restaurant serving traditional dishes with a photo studio on the side. The photo studio uses a retro concept, in which customers could wear traditional garb. I just went there for the food.

Breakfast at nDalem Kopi. Left: rice with buntil and mangut, right: rice with buntil, gereh (salted fish) and egg.

After that, I met with Mbak Whied because Aneen should go back to work in Pasar Gedhe Solo. Mbak Whied took me to a small stall serving es dawet inside the market.

Es dawet selasih inside Pasar Gedhe Solo

Timlo Sastro near Pasar Gedhe Solo. This one has been around  since 1952.

Mbak Whied also took me to a klenteng nearby the market. When I visited, the klenteng was having a night show of wayang potehi. Although I was excited to go and see, I knew that it would be difficult to go out at night. So I just took pictures of the klenteng.


I told Mbak Whied that I needed to work for a few hours, so a restaurant with a strong Wi-Fi was compulsory. She directed me to Nini Thowong ice depot. So I worked there for around two hours, waiting for her picking up her daughter from school. The Wi-Fi is exceptionally great for work.

Es Nini Thowong, fruits topped with ice and chocolate sauce. This is also a legendary culinary spot, established since 1980.

On Friday, I met up with Mbak Whied again and we sampled iced coffee in Toko Kopi Podjok, which is located in one of the corners of Pasar Gedhe Solo. Seriously, this traditional market has some of the city's legendary culinary spots. I also bought 250gram of coffee (Rp 16.000).

Ground coffee and iced coffee to go. I forgot to bring a tumbler, but I did bring my stainless straw.

A short video on coffee grinding process in the shop

Toko Kopi Podjok's signature brand for sachet coffee is Angkring, but this one is already mixed with sugar. The one I bought (pictured next to iced coffee) was sugar-free.

Mie Pangsit Notosuman. This one is specifically labelled 'halal' by the owner.

It's noodle time! The eatery offers two sizes: the small portion and the regular. Pictured here is the small portion, because I was still full. 

On the last day in Solo, I wanted to buy lurik (traditional vertical striped fabric) in Pasar Gedhe (hahaha yes, again!). A piece of lurik is Rp 40,000, but then I found kebaya kutubaru (sold only Rp 45.000). It's too cheap to resist and I like the color. So I bought them both.

We also went to a factory outlet owned by Sritex fabric factory. The factory is known to make camouflage pattern fabric for the country's military force. So it features some clothing bearing the pattern. In fact, I found a cute knee-length hoodie coat with pixellated camo pattern, priced at Rp 125,000.   

Did I buy it? Wait, is that even a question?

The last meal before flight was Sate Kambing Pak Kasdi, whose the specialty menu was Sate Buntel (marinated minced meat put on skewer).

Lunch is served!

A few other stops before going to airport was the herbal drink vendor near Aneen's home and Serabi Notosuman. 

I bought tamarind juice at a herbal drink vendor near Aneen's home.

One of Solo's must-eat culinary is made fresh from the 'anglo'

See you again, Solo! The Javanese sentence means 'please don't forget me'.

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Work Wear In Retrospect

I've never really work in a serious workplace that required a business suit. I was a journo for almost 10 years, with workdays spent on the road. Then five years ago, I became a communications person for not-for-profit organizations or projects, which sometimes required me doing field visits to remote villages.

When working at the office as a communications person, I usually wear casual and comfortable outfit combo, such as shirts or T-shirts, wide-leg pants or straight-leg jeans, and sneakers or boots. Sometimes I wear knee-length dress paired with cardigans and pants. If I have meeting outside of office, I put more efforts, such as wearing batik shirts or skirts. Meeting with high-level officials (or work interview) would result in me wearing a blazer.

To make my week goes easy, I have several basic rules for the work wear:
(1) Wear blacks and dark colored outfit on Mondays
(2) Set one color as the week's theme
(3) Wear skirt on Wednesday
(4) Prepare and plan all of those by Sunday night

Sounds complicated, you say? On the contrary, with those rules, I have cut down the morning's decision-making process by 50 percent. I have posted the Wednesday skirt outfit previously.

Now that I am in my freelance period, I work from home and the work wear becomes even more simpler. Sometimes I work in my PJs, other times I work in a T-shirt and shorts/midi skirt combo. Sometimes I put on mask while working, which would feel refreshing as my work hours start earlier than other people because I work in the Singapore time zone (+1 hour than Jakarta time).

When I'm feeling bored working at home, I wear the casual outfit and lugged my laptop to the nearest cafe. But this situation only take place twice a week, because hanging out in cafe needs extra budget, and I want to keep my balance stable until the end of month.

The following are sketches of freelancer outfits, which really resonate with me. Are you a freelancer? Do you know any freelancer who does not dress like these?

Source: @foxville_art

Source: @tylerfeder

Source: @tylerfeder

The Skype conference look is a spot on! Source: @tylerfeder

Monday, July 30, 2018

Seven Books To Read Anytime

A few months ago, a friend tagged me to post photos of seven favorite books without any explanation on FB. I did it on IG, but then I thought, I would like to keep them in one post here in Blogspot. Also, a week ago was National Children Day, and in my humble opinion, these books are perfect for every kids. Without further ado, here they are.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The story follows Stargirl, a new girl in Mica High School, as told by Leo Borlock who is fascinated by her. Things that make Stargirl different from the other girls: (1) she doesn't wear make up, and (2) she cares about other people in her own ways. She drops coins because she knows there are people who will be happy to find coins. She reads obituary columns in newspaper and comes to the funeral to offer condolences and moral supports. She dreams of running a food truck because food makes people happy. 

The students in Mica High School are starstruck by Stargirl in the first place, but things soon change as they are not ready for her genuinity. How does Stargirl face the situation? You can read the book to find out😉.

I bought the book around 10 years ago, so I was already in the working force. But I think the book remains relevant for people of all ages, that one should always be kind and have courage.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

To welcome the first day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which falls on June 21, here is another favorite reading material of mine, book #2: A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. 

The comedy brings together humans and fairies, noblemen and commoners, as well as love and rejection into the play. There is also a play within this play, which never fails to make me laugh everytime I read the dialogs of Nick Bottom and his fellows.

My favorite character is Puck, the jester of Fairy King Oberon. But if I have to choose between the two female characters, my heart goes to Hermia. She is the girl described as a "gypsy", an "Ethiope", a "raven" and a "tawny tartar", due to her dark skin tone, but also the girl with "lode-stars eyes" and "tongue's sweet air" that is "more tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear". Hermia also refuses to marry Demetrius, and chooses Lysander. When Lysander is under the influence of Puck's love juice and chases after Helena, she tries to bring him back into his senses. Ok, let me stop here before this post becomes too personal. 

Which Bard of Avon's work do you like?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I read The Alchemist for the first time in 2005, when my colleague Defa lent me her book. It took me more than 10 years later to finally buy a copy for myself. There are many reviews on the book, so just go google them. Not helping, I know, hahaha.

A bit of random fact: after reading this book, I recommended it to a friend. A few months later, we hiked Mt. Gede with a hiking group and then she resigned from her office job to work for a non profit organisation. This book is quite a life changer, I'd say.

While the storyline is quite simple, Paulo Coelho's path to reach his dream as a writer is quite complicated. He had wanted to be a writer since young age and was put in mental health institutions twice by his parents, who wanted him to be 'normal'. He tried many kinds of jobs, before going back to his passion: writing. And even then, this book was not that successful, not until an English language publisher showed interest on the book.

The Book of Forbidden Feeling by Lala Bohang

I saw this book for the first time two years ago, because the title is intriguing. The author-illustrator was an Architect graduate of Parahyangan University, which was another reason behind the book purchase. Apart from the#ArchitectureBabesCoalition (ha!), I had heard about the artist and just wanted to own one of her works. 

All illustrations are made in black and white, while the texts mostly explore feelings, relationships, and other philosophical ideas. On this book, Lala said,"This book is meant to be a good friend, the one you can keep by your side, the one you can be honest with."

By the way, I notice that currently, there are many illustration books in the bookstores.

The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

I can't pick just one. I read the comic books since elementary school. D would give me one every semester if my school report was good. I had always wanted to have at least one of Tintin comic books in the world's most used languages. But the German one, bought in 1995, has been the only non-Indonesian language Tintin book in my possession so far.

Totto Chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

The best gift we can give to children is the interest to pursue life-long learning, and this book on Totto's daily activities in Tomoe School is all about that. 

As a product of Indonesian education system, I wish there were more Indonesian schools taking example from Tomoe School, which embraces all children, including the difables, and allows them to explore interests. If you work with children or in Children/Inclusive Education sector, then this book is a must.

I read the book the first time when I was in elementary-junior high school, and have been re-reading it over the years. That copy was probably missing during the house moving processes (please note the plural noun) between 2008-2010. This book on the photo is a birthday gift, and the person thought I would like it because the spine was pink.

Around The World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Anything by Jules Verne will definitely take your mind away. But this one has been a favorite. If money and time were not an issue, I would try to walk the route that Phileas Fogg walk on, just to prove that it is feasible to complete the journey within that timeframe.

I have many hard copies of this book, but since it's #PlasticFreeJuly, why not featuring an e-book? And this classic book, along with many others, can be downloaded for free.

Do you have any favorite books? 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Seven Years Of Living With A Parent With Pneumothorax

The reason I don't have proper family photos: both M and D do not like being photographed :P

After seven years, I thought I need to share our journey at home after my asthmatic-diabetic father was diagnosed with pneumothorax in June 2011. I have mentioned about it in passing several times in the past years, but this post would explain from the start. Perhaps there are people out there who need some information on how to handle this health problem, so I hope this post can be of good use.

The Beginning

Back in May 2011, D had short breaths for almost one week. At first, he didn't pay much attention because he has asthma, until he had to be hospitalized when I was at the office. D has never liked hospital, so when he was hospitalized, I just knew it was something serious. To help them reach the hospital, my parents asked a cousin. Oh, the trauma of hearing the news via cellphone and having to rush to hospital after finishing all my works quickly.

The doctors at first also thought it was an asthmatic episode, but after all asthmatic solutions (inhaler, pills, and inhalation session at the hospital) proved to be not working, they ran an X-ray on him and found that one of his lungs had collapsed at 50%. The doctors explained that it happened because a large amount of air was trapped in the chest cavity and press the lung. 

On a general set up, the doctors would perform chest drain or water sealed drainage, in which they would insert needle and pipe to the affected areas to allow draining of pleural space of air, blood and fluid, allowing expansion of lungs and restoration of negative pressure in the thoracic cavity. However, as D has diabetes, he was against the plan and we understood his concerns because people with diabetes need longer time to recover from open scars/wounds.

The doctors finally gave him medicines that he should drink everyday for 6 months to strengthen his lungs. It was probably one of the medicines for tuberculosis cases, but he decided to take it. Also, D had to come for health monitoring once a month. Six months later, the doctors declared that although the pneumothorax was still in his chest, it had been stopped to cause more damage. 

Some of the doctors' advices for D were: (1) enough rest, nutrition and proper breathing exercise; (2) no more physical exertion, such as walking upstairs and downstairs, or running, and (3) no emotional outburst, no more getting angry, as it would tire him out. I wanted to hug the doctors for advice #3 as D has always been an emotional man.

The Journey

It is not easy for D to accept that his body was never going to be the same again as it used to be. It is not also easy for M as she has to be with him for every health check up because he may need her to help her walk in and out of the car. 

The first year was tough and M often asked me to spend more time at home to give moral support to D. After a thorough thinking process, I decided that I need a job with regular work hours that allow me to be with them as much as I can. This was one of the reasons I gave up my permanent job in journalism.

For D's meals, the doctors require him to eat egg, drink milk and any other nutritious food. Along the way, M found that D developed a minor allergy against egg. So D could not have egg every day, three times a week is suffice. Then we also discovered that D was allergic to seafood. Perhaps the allergies were the results of his declining immunity. But when asked to drink virgin coconut oil, which was suggested by the doctors to increase the immune system, D refused because he disliked the smell. 

So what kind of food does D eat? Well, he usually have red meat, freshwater fish and chicken, but for the chicken, he prefers free-range chicken, which is more expensive than broiler. Sometimes D also refuses to eat, because his taste bud just felt bland. When that happens, and this often happens, milk is the only food he will take.

M can not go to supermarket everyday, so whenever I go to a supermarket, the dairy product shelf will be the first I check for promotion. My friends are always amazed to see me hauling two, sometimes up to four, bottles of milk when there is promo. I really hope that D would not develop a case of lactose intolerance, because both M and I would not know what to feed D if such thing happens.

Our extended family have given various health suggestions from propolis, habbatussauda (Nigella sativa) to other items, and D has tried everything. Unfortunately, he was not a patient patient (ha!). So if he has taken something for one week and felt nothing happened, he would stop having it. I told him that herbal medication might need more than one week to take effect, but he just would not listen.

When D has fever episodes, we give him boiled binahong leaves, which grow in the garden. Or lemon juice mixed with water. He already takes so many medication, so we try natural medicine whenever possible.

Also, around two years ago, the doctor finally told D to take insulin injection, instead of pills. D was very sad to receive the verdict, but it's mostly his fault that he did not take care of sugar blood level. The first few weeks of insulin injection had been a drama, but now he does it calmly while watching the TV show.

The ironic thing about D was: he refused to take minor surgery for pneumothorax, but he underwent a minor surgery for hernia in 2014. He did that when I was going abroad for work for almost three weeks, because he did not want me to be worried.

D sees the doctors every month for regular check ups. I am not talking about one visit a month, but three visits because he usually has three doctors: a pulmonologist for his lung problem, an internist for his diabetic problem and a general practitioner for any health problem, including allergies. The pneumothorax is still in his lung, and the regular check up is important to see whether it makes a nasty comeback or not. Sometimes he needs to see a dentist too. I am very grateful for the National Health Insurance (JKN-KIS) and BPJS Kesehatan as it has helped me so much on free health services.   

On emotional outburst, D still has it. He gets angry at anything, such as when M was slow to help him out of the car, when M held his hand to make sure he did not fall, when M told him to eat, when M forgot to remind him to take medicine, etc. I understand that the emotion is the result of him feeling helpless. When those outburst happens, the best way to handle it is to be silent and leave the room. How does M take it? Sometimes she just comes to my room and just checks to see what I do, and when I look at her face I just know she needs to vent. 

Both M and I realized that D needed to have fun, so we let him to meet his best friends. Although he is such a charming person, D only has four best friends that he could confide in. And all four of them have passed away in the past seven years. It was a huge blow for D, as he was always the sick person among his buddies. He always thought that he would die first, and he had told me since I was a very young child to be independent as he could die anytime. Witnessing the passing of his best friends has taught D that a person can be ill in the whole lifetime but no one knows their final day on earth. 

Where We Are At The Moment 

Nowadays D's activities are mosque-centered. He drives the car to mosque five times a day, sleeps and eats in between pray times, and just does small activities around the house. If anyone asks how is D, I can only say that he is just the way he is. He's not that ill that he can not move, but he's not that fit to walk to mosque, as I mention above "he drives the car".    

Also, by going to the mosque, he meets other men in their 60s-70s and has made new friends. His new friends have their own health problems and they would share information on health tips, medicine, etc. At least he now has another support system.

We have never wanted pneumothorax to come to our home. But since it has been here, I'm simply grateful that we have passed the past seven years quite successfully. I hope that everything goes smooth and according to Allah's will.