Sunday, January 31, 2010

Working On A Sunday

A boy on his bicycle watches the egrang show (bamboo stilts) in front of the Jakarta History Museum in Kota, West Jakarta, on Sunday. The show is part of the Car-Free Day in the area known for its heritage sites.(Source: The Jakarta Post)
Sunday morning saw me walking along Jl. Sudirman to find sources for my bike trend article. It was a Car Free Day and everyone celebrated the cars' non-existence by biking, playing futsal or simply walking around. Should you want to join the crowd, please note that Jl. Sudirman - Jl. Thamrin would be car-free on the last Sunday every month.

I met a man riding a mountain bike and his two sons (the sons happen to be good looking, LOL, but I swear I didn't notice their face before I approached them), a man who has passion for antique bike and a boy who likes to do extreme stunts with his BMX. It was fun to meet and talk with nice people.

Although I did meet a man, who refused to be quoted and directed me to talk to the bike community's leader. Oh dear. Was he afraid of me? I was sure I had put my innocent face on.

I like writing in solitude, so I quickly went back to office and typed away the words. (Hm, if it is solitude I need, perhaps it's time to buy a laptop?) 

I'm typing this while listening to The Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition. It's an Australia-based band, but the vocalist Dougy Mandagi is Indonesian. The song is featured in (500) Days of Summer, one of my favorite films. Hope you'll like it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Have You Any Centenarian Relative?

If you have any centenarian friends or relative, it is time to reconnect. I just found out the other day that during this year, Hotel Shangri-La Jakarta offers discount to people celebrating birthday at some of their restaurants (Was it Shang Palace or Rosso? I forgot. Just ask them.) The amount of the discount depends on the age of the birthday person.

So if you bring a 101-year-old grandfather, you will get a cash back. Wow!

I'm thinking to bring my grandma (she's in the middle of her sisters on the photo above), but she lives in Kebumen and doesn't like going to Jakarta. Miss you, Grandma!
PS. I'm working this weekend. Hence, it explains the post availability on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bridging Islands


Indonesia has thousands of islands, but so far only Java and Madura are connected by a bridge.

Inaugurated in 2009, the Suramadu bridge (as it connects Surabaya and Madura) was designed in 1993. The initial design used pre-stressed box girder with a maximum span of 150 meters. The bridge length was planned to stretch at  5,438 meters, while the width was 2 x 10.75 meter, comprising 2 x 2 x 3.5 meter of vehicle lanes and 2 x 2 meter of emergency lane.

The bridge also provides 150 x 35 meter free column space for the ships to go through.

The bridge structure consists of three parts: Causeway, Approach Bridge and Main Bridge to accommodate shipping lanes in Madura strait. The Causeway part uses Pre-Cast Pre-Stress U-Girder with a 35-meter span, steel pile cap foundation pondasi with 60 cm diameter. The total length of causeway is 1,400 meters, on Surabaya side and 1,840 meters on Madura side.

The Approach bridge part uses Cast-in-Situ Box Girder with 70 meter in width. The foundation uses steel pile cap with 100 cm in diameter.

I hope there will be more bridges to connect islands in the future. There had been plans to make a bridge between Java and Bali as well as Sumatra and Java. Well, the bridge between Sumatra and Java sounds a bit risky considering the active volcano there, but I think the Java-Bali bridge is feasible enough.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back To The Future

After a week into the past, going back to the future sounds like a good idea today. While we are on the subject of future, I stumbled on a New York City plan for 2030. Er, come again? Yup. Forget 2012, NYC already sets goals for 2030.

The plan covers aspects of urban living, such as housing and open space, water, transportation, energy, air and climate change. Wow, how I wish I could live in New York when the time comes. You can read more about the plan here. Or here for the civil society version.

What about Jakarta? Well, we have a plan for the 2030 Jakarta in, but it doesn't look so good.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What A Hectic Week

Gosh, this week passed without me posting anything. There were so many things to do. I wish I could take vacation to visit my grandma and the beautiful beaches in Kebumen, Central Java.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Talking about Golden Memories...

Talking about history reminds me of good old days and those golden memories. While we are on the subject of gold, these photos are French dessert mille feuilles that has gold papers. I found them at Italian restaurant Casa D'Oro, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta.


Francesco Greco, the chef, said that he made the gold papers from real gold. And it's edible too! I felt rich after eating it. LOL. Mille feuilles with ice cream, raspberry, strawberry and edible gold papers can be a good dessert to close this weekend. Have a Happy Golden Weekend!

The Asia-Africa Conference

Source: LIFE

On April 18-24, 1955, twenty nine country leaders came to Bandung, West Java to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism or neocolonialism by the United States, the Soviet Union, or any other imperialistic nation. It was an important step toward Non-Aligned Movement.

The U.S. initially viewed the Bandung Conference, and the nonaligned movement that emerged from it, with caution. But in the end, the Bandung Conference did not lead to a general denunciation of the West as U.S. observers had feared.

Nevertheless, the meeting was sort of inspiring other nations to demonstrate that they could be a force in future world politics, with several nations gained independence not long afterward. For example, Cuba became independent in 1959, while Algerians gained theirs in 1961.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Russia With Love

Indonesia and Russia have had a long history in diplomatic relation, back when it was still U.S.S.R. Russia was one of the several countries that acknowledged Indonesia's independence. In 1955, President Soekarno visited Russia and Russia's Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev returned the visit in 1960. Russia helped Indonesia building Senayan sport stadium and the faculty of technic in Ambon, as well as giving statues for landmark (Tugu Pak Tani is just one of them).

Soekarno and Nikita Khrushchev (right) shared cigarette during a dinner in Bali.
 Source: LIFE

The relation was intensified in 1961, with the signing of Russia's aid contract to build two nuclear plant in Indonesia and the taking of Papua from the Dutch government. However, the relation cool down after the 1965 tragedy, as it was suspected that Russia was supporting the communist movement. As a result, many Indonesian students taking scholarship in Russia were not able to come home.

The relation improved in 1989 with President Soeharto's official visit. The fourth president, Abdurrachman Wahid, later opened the chance for former scholarship recipient to come home. Indonesia has also bought Russia's military equipment, such as Sukhoi.

I've always been curious about Russia. I wish I knew how to read Russian Cyrillic so that I can understand  Tolstoy better. I personally think the Russia's Bolshoi Ballet Academy is better than England's Royal Ballet School. I dream of riding Trans Siberia that connects Moscow-Vladivostok. I want to pray at St. Petersburg Mosque (yes, there is a Muslim community there). Sigh.      

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Dutch Indonesians

Last week, I wrote a piece about Dutch Indonesians in the U.S.

Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for 350 years, and later by the Japanese for 2 years, before we finally gained the independence in 1945. During the long period of colonization, the Dutch married Indonesians, resulting a new social class called as Dutch Indonesians, or Dutch Indos.

Courtesy of Dutch Indo community (Facebook)

What happened to the Dutch Indos after the independence? Some said they went back to Holland. But did you know that after arriving in Holland, some of them decided to immigrate to the U.S.?

It seemed the Dutch society was not ready for an influx of postwar Eurasians hailing from the former Dutch East Indies colony, competing for housing and employment.

There was also racial slurs.

Despite being Eurasians, the Dutch Indos have a vast range of colors, from the blond hair-blue eyes to dark complexion-black eyes.  According to my source, most of them learned to do martial arts when they reached Holland, because they often got beaten. Please note that it happened between 1945 and 1960s. If racial issue is a still problem now, imagine what it felt like 40 years ago.

The first generation could speak Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia.  But the second and third generation have given up Dutch and taken English. They have also assimilating into America's multi cultural society, by marrying people outside their community. The elders is now afraid that the younger generation will forget their roots.

P.S. I think I will post more about Indonesia's history this week. This assignment makes me falling in love again with history and black and white photos
P.P.S.You can see more on LIFE.


Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Friday. Yay!

Photo courtesy of Hotel Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place Jakarta

How about a glass of mojito to close this weekend? I don't drink alcohol. But a bartender I know once make me a non-alcoholic Virgin Mojito. It's a refreshing drink. Here's how to make it (taken from here).

1. In the bottom of the pitcher or mixing glass, add the sugar, mint leaves, and juice from lime. Use a muddler, or the back of a spoon to crush and mix the ingredients together. At this point, what it looks like is not important - the more you muddle, the more the flavors will mix, and the better it will taste!

2. Add club soda to taste. You don't want to dilute the flavor too much, but you can do this step to your own taste preferences.

3.Pour over ice and enjoy! Other options are to use ginger ale or Sprite instead of club soda. It all depends on what you like. Experimenting with these flavors yields yummy rewards.

Meanwhile, if you don't have any plan for this weekend, I highly recommend Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. Ok, so maybe you never like Bollywood movies, but I guarantee you that this movie will change your perspective. It's funny, touching, romantic, and PG-13, so you can bring along your spouse and children, especially when the movie is about education and friendship.

Have a refeshing family weekend:)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Been There, Done That

I should have posted this list last December, but I was busy. It's better late than never, though. Here's a list of things I did in the last year of my twenties.

January: I was rolled to the Sunday edition.
February: nothing exciting happened, I was still finding a way to fit in my new desk, but so far so good.
March: I was assigned to Singapore, met a Malaysian journo and we figured our way to Mustafa market at 9 p.m. Hahaha. It was fun.     
April: It's spring in France and we celebrate it with Printemps Francaise. The French Film Festival was great. I love non-mainstream movies (read: non Hollywood), so it's like a treat for me.
May: I covered Jakarta Food and Fashion Festival in Kelapa Gading. I loved the food, and the fashion week was just awesome! I hope I could go there again this year.
June: I was assigned to Beijing, China and had a blast. I climbed Great Wall, strolled in 798 Art District and wandered into Beijing's narrow alleys (hutong). I also experienced funny things, such as meeting an Uygur girl in Tiananmen Square and taking a photo with her.
July: I won a writing competition and won iPod nano.
August: My travel piece on hutong was published in Asia News Network magazine. Wow!
September: I visited my grandma in Kebumen, Central Java during Idul Fitri holiday. She can always bring smiles to my face. Love you, Gran.
October:  There were Japanese Cultural Week and Korean Cultural Week. I was assigned to write a profile of Korea alumni association chairman. However, it turned out I was invited to the whole events. I got to see, hear and eat Korean dance, music, movies and food, oh glorious food. 
November: I went to European Film Festival. Love it!
December: It's my favorite month because there's Jakarta International Film Festival. My boss gave me invitations for the opening and closing films (Sang Pemimpi and New York, I Love You). It's an early birthday gift!

Of course, Jakarta (and Indonesia) has other cultural schedules besides the film festivals. I regularly check on Goethe Haus, Erasmus Huis, Istituto Italiano and CCF.

Love jazz? There's the jazz festival.

If you're planning to visit Indonesia, here is an annual calendar event to give you ideas on what you can see and do here. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The First Monday

A man put his hand print to support the 2010 anti corruption movement.
Source: here

Hello darlings,
I'm back in the Cubeland. Working becomes a very exhausting activity now, especially after the three-day holiday. To tell you the truth, I didn't do anything exciting then. I did household chores and then went to meet my uni friends, Ditta and Ai. We had lunch together, followed by catching up news (and gossip, LOL) at Ditta's place. It is always fun to meet friends. I should do this more often this year.

Ok, back to today. It's very bright and sunny outside, which is quite odd for January is supposed to be cloudy and rainy. Before coming to office, I went to the East Jakarta immigration office to renew my passport. Besides the usual documents, I also brought along a letter from my office. You know what? The letter helped boost the immigration officer's work. It's my third passport renewal, so I know how arduous the procedure can be. But I was told to come again for the photo and interview session tomorrow. Wow, so I guess there are perks of being a journalist after all.

When I reached office, Peeyutz told me that she saw a flower bouquet and a teddybear for one of the new cubreporters. Those were sent by a proud uncle living abroad. It's kind of funny but touching too. Gee, I wish I had an uncle who sent me gifts. Nah, it would be too embarassing, LOL. The HRD head came in the afternoon with a group of innocent-looking people and I tried to guess which is the happy niece, LOL.      

The year started in such a comical way, I hope it lasts for the whole year.