Monday, May 31, 2010

The New Species Found In Foja Mountain, Indonesia

New species: (clockwise, from top left) The Imperial pigeon, tree mouse, gecko, blossom bat, long-nose tree frog and dwarf walla: Courtesy of Tim Laman/National Geographic and Neville Kemp

Read full story here.
See more photos here and here.

I really hope the government will take all measures needed to conserve the environment there.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hip Hop Dance For The Weekend

Photo taken from CCF Jakarta

Now that the hijab celebration is over, let's get back to those sinful post, muahahaha *evil personality on*. It's just another long weekend, and I plan to go see the showcase of  French hip hop dance group Wanted Posse on Sunday at eX Plaza at 5 p.m. It's for free and probably will not take a long time. If you want to see their full performance, you can buy tickets to their spectacle on June 2 at art center Taman Ismail Marzuki's Graha Bhakti Budaya.

Founded in the early 90s, the group first hits big on the stages of break dance competitions, winning many prizes and being the first French group to win the title of the world battle champions in 2001 at "Battle of The Year" in Germany. Members of Wanted Posse have appeared in many creations, such as creations of Bianca Li and Kamel Quali, in the musical comedy "The Ten Commandments" and next to stars like Madonna and Robbie Williams.
K already agreed to come with me to the showcase since we both share the passion of observing men with six-pack abs dancing. The poster above looks promising. I hope the showcase will be more personal than their spectacle, so that we can have a moment to talk and have a closer look on their abs about the dance.

Have a hip-hop-y weekend:)


Photo taken from The Jakarta Post's photo archive

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Islamic Fashion In Indonesia

Fashion is about what's in and what's out. But for Muslims, you can be fashionable and be modest in the same time. I've attended several fashion shows on Islamic Fashion and here are some photos taken from the runway. Enjoy!

Anne Rufaidah

Dian Pelangi

Ida Leman

Up To Date

(Note: The first three photo is courtesy of APPMI, while the last one is taken by fashion photographer Arselan Ganin.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Is (Probably) How Tifa Lockhart of Final Fantasy VII Looks Like If She Wear Hijab LOL

Found in somewhere in

Wearing Hijab In China Can Result In Funny Experiences

When I was assigned to Beijing, China, I had some worries regarding food (I love to eat out) and culture. I was also worried how they would react to my headscarf. I've been there a few years ago, but in the past I have yet to wear a headscarf.

My worries are baseless.

There are Xinjiang Muslim restaurants across Beijing. And if I am to lazy to walk to the restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain would do as they only serve chicken. MacDonald, in the other hand, serve pork. 

The funny thing was although they claimed to be Xinjiang Muslim food restaurant, I could see bottles of Chinese liquor.

The headscarf problem? Well, Beijingers stared curiously as I walked by. But as I smiled and said,"Ni hao (Chinese expression for Hello)", they would smile back or just nod. Perhaps there have been many tourists from Islamic countries because they seem to accept me.

They were also excited if I asked permission to photo them or to be taken photo with them. When my friends and I visited Great Wall, a man approached me and asked permission to be photographed with me. I was too stunned I didn't pull my camera, so I don't have the photo. I have been wondering why that man wanted to be photographed with me.

One of the most memorable moments was when my friend Bajo and I took pictures with a tire repair guy on a sidewalk. After taking photos for Bajo (a guy), I asked permission to take a photo with him with gestures and voila, he produced a camera out of his pocket (And you know what? His camera looks more expensive than mine). Bajo was a bit amused.

"Why would he take your picture anyway?" he said.
"Well, I'm a girl. Why would he keep a photo of himself and a guy?" I said.

Another funny moment was when Wallacea Foundation's director Grace and I took turns in photographing Hotel Kapok's plaque. (In Bahasa, 'kapok' means you've had enough of something) We asked permission to the bell boy and he misunderstood us wanting to take picture with him. He stood straight when Grace took position beside him. But when it was my turn, the boy made a V-sign. Grace was annoyed.

"Why does he become suddenly cheerful? He was so serious a minute ago," she wondered.
"Perhaps, because I have a friendly face," I said. Hohoho...

Sometimes, their enthusiasm went beyond me. For example, when I bought tang hu lu (candied fruits on bamboo skewer), I asked one of my friends to take the picture of us and the vendor. The vendor suddenly wrapped his arm around my shoulder! I didn't know what to say. He looked so innocent I didn't have the heart to get angry at him. My friends laughed at the incident.

"This photo is an exhibit of your bad attitude," they said.

Fortunately, the photo was not that obvious, although you can see how enthusiast the vendor's expression is.

The headscarf also helped me in finding Muslim sisters. When I was standing on Tiananmen square, trying to find a way to cross the street, a woman wearing headscarf approached me with the universal greeting,"Assalamualaikum". I replied,"Waalaikumsalam." She said,"Photo me?" I nodded and held out my hand to receive her camera, because I thought she needed my help to photo her and her friends. But she quickly grabbed my arm and her friends took our pictures. I quickly pulled out my camera. And here's our photo.

"You're so beautiful," she said.

What? She is the one who is beautiful. Zhu Men Sha (I don't know how to write her name, but the way she pronounces her name sounded like that) has almond-shaped eyes and freckles on her nose. At first glance, I could have mistaken her as a Russian Muslim because of her fair complexion, but her eyes tells her Chinese identity.

We had a small conversation. She spoke in broken English. I could only catch that she studied in Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication (BUPT) and that she came from Xinjiang Uighur. I really regretted that I didn't ask for her email. I want to know how are she and her family because I heard about riots in Xinjiang after I reached Jakarta. I hope she and all Uighur sisters and brothers can have peaceful lives in China.

I can't wait for another abroad assignment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Hijab, My Choice

This May I am celebrating the fifth anniversary of my hijab. I still remember the date. It was May 20, 2005. I didn't go outside of the house but deep inside I was determined to wear hijab should I go for errands. I was unemployed at that time, I had just resigned from Merdeka newspaper without having an exit strategy. 

It was a moment of respite for I knew I had to start the arduous process of getting a job. Reading ads, typing letters, sending them, waiting anxiously, getting phonecalls, going to interviews, waiting anxiously (again), getting phonecalls (again), etc.

Then an idea struck me like a lightning in the middle of a bright noon: 'why don't I wearing a hijab to celebrate a brand new start, a brand new me?' 

I've been toying with the idea since I was 15 years old. But my parents had been asking me to put off the idea until I was ready. I brought up the issue again after I graduated university in 2003, but at that time M&D asked me to reconsider the condition (read: they were afraid I wouldn't be able to land myself on a job had I been wearing hijab).

When I told my parents about it, M gave the same reply, that I needed to get a job first. "But this time, it would be different. Because I already had work experience at Merdeka," I said. 

Seeing my determination, M pulled out her scarves off the shelves and asked me to pick the ones I like. Then she suggested that we go scarves shopping. I laughed. "Oh please, M. These scarves I get from you can last for years. I don't need new ones," I said. 

And it's true, I haven't bought many scarves since then. I didn't need to buy many long sleeved shirts too, because I had been buying long-sleeved shirts since I graduated. Wearing hijab has been in the back of my head for years and I just got the moment then, when I was 25 years old and ready. At the age of 15, my reason was religious requirement. But as a 25 year old, I wear hijab because I need it.

It's a free country and I'm a free human. It's a decision I take in my freedom.
It was not easy to wear hijab on the first few days. I kept fumbling with the pins and the fabrics. But once I know what I want to make out of the fabric, I can wear it without standing in front of the mirror. Another tricky part that comes with the hijab is to mix and match the clothes. Since all my headscarves are of M's choices, they all have patterns and not of block colors. This is where my education at Diponegoro University's Architecture department comes handy. I'm doing very good at matching colors that M now relies on my fashion judgement.

Wearing hijab doesn't mean I have to change my old-self. In the past, I wore what other people might dub as 10-year-old boy style: straight-legged jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. I still wear them now, but modestly. I still do sport activities, such as jogging and biking, well except for swimming because I have to find a women-only swimming pool.

One of the many good sides of wearing hijab is people would notify me if the food I'm about to take contain non-halal ingredients. For me, it's a big help because I work as a lifestyle reporter and the job requires me to sample foods at restaurants. 

Although I've had five years with my hijab, I'm still learning to be a good Muslimah on a daily basis. A good person is not determined by appearance, but what lies in your heart.

It's been a wonderful five years with my hijab. I can't wait to see what awaits ahead.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Do you have a favorite columnist? In the past, I only thought that columnists were only a bunch of people ranting about politics or sport, until Sex and The City introduces Carrie Bradshaw, who writes a column on sex and relationships in a New York-based newspaper.
Each columnist has his/her own opinion, and through their columns we get to see their point of views and characters. Once you recognize their writing style, you can choose to continue reading their columns or leave them. In some ways, it's like blogging. Perhaps, it's one of the reasons I started blogging:) I want to be a columnist one day.

There are a handful of Indonesian columnists, but my favorite is Gunawan Muhammad of Tempo magazine and his Catatan Pinggir (Side Notes). When I joined TJaP in 2007, I had to undergo three-month in-house training, during which I had to read newspapers, including International Herald Tribune and I fell in love with Nicholas D. Kristof's columns

My office also allocates several columns, such as in City page's Out and About and Sunday Post's By The Way. There are some columns by Eric Musa Piliang that really knocked me off my feet, for example this, this and this.

Unfortunately, Eric doesn't write every week (raising eyebrow at his room, while screaming 'why Eric, why?' in my head). So I find solace in Nury Vittachi's column. Happy column reading, guys!

(Photo: George Orwell with his Remington typewriter, found here)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bubur Ayam Kebumen

Since I like street food, I want to give roadside eateries a space here in my blogs. For the first review, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite breakfast places: Bubur Ayam Kebumen (Kebumen-style Chicken Porridge).


Located near the Caman tollgate, you can find the chicken porridge stall near Taman Bougenville  and Prima Lingkar Asri real estates.When it was opened in early 2000s, D would take me there for breakfast. A bowl of chicken porridge was Rp 3,500 (around US$ 3 cents). Now, its price is Rp 8,000 (less than a dollar) and it is me who takes D to breakfast there:)

It is made from porridge, chicken, emping crackers (made from melinjo nuts), fried chopped shallot and poured with soto ayam soup. I just love it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Serene Dufan

The family outing went great. What I really like about the office's event is that it allows employees to get to know each other and meet the husbands/wives/children of our colleagues. Who knows? Perhaps we will meet again on the way to office or other places. 

Dufan always has the hustle and bustle of city life, but somehow I managed to take some serene sides of the amusement park, as shown on the photos above.

Considering my age, I opted the safe rides, such as the Ferris wheel Bianglala, the little roller coaster Alap-alap, the swinging chair Ontang-anting, the bumper car Baku Toki and the whitewater rafting Arung Jeram. I feel like a grandma, but hey, I don't need to take those adrenaline-pumping rides to prove that I'm a tough girl:)

 (The last photo is taken by colleague Niken Prathivi, thank you dear)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Have A Looong Weekend

Photo taken from here

The traffic was amazingly quite empty today. Perhaps the others have left Jakarta on Wednesday and skip work today? Whatever the reasons, I'm grateful for the quick commute I had this morning.

Today I plan to go to Mall Kelapa Gading to cover Jakarta Food and Fashion Festival, which will last until May 23. There will be good food and beautiful dresses, and I think it will be great to spend weekend there. But my office will hold a family outing in Dufan amusement park. Hurray!
If you don't like the city's hustle and bustle in JFFF and Dufan, you can go to Ayodya Park (formerly known as Barito park) and enjoy the photo exhibition CCF Jakarta is holding there. The exhibition will move to Suropati Park on Jl. Imam Bonjol starting from May 17 to May 31. I think I will go to Suropati Park next week, insya Allah.

Have a looong weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Forget Them Not

Via The Jakarta Post

Families of the May 12, 1998 Trisakti shooting victims strew flowers at a memorial in Trisakti University, West Jakarta, during a commemoration ceremony on Wednesday. Law and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said Wednesday the the government has given up investigating who was behind the the May 1998 riots. Antara/Paramayuda

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hobbit House

If you like J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings, you will love this hobbit house in Wales. A guy built it with his father-in-law, passers-by and visiting friends. As a result, it only costs about 1000-1500 man hours and £3000. 

It must be wonderful to sit there at night, sip a cup of hot chocolate and look into the sky. I wonder if it is do-able in Indonesia. 

For more information on the house, click here

Home-Like Sensation At The Apartment

I got the invitation to review The Apartment last year. I thought the restaurant is interesting enough, so I just want to share. Located in Menara Gracia, Kuningan, the restaurant has a unique ambiance as each dining room is designed like a room in an apartment (hence, the restaurant's name).

Guests can dine in one of the rooms, from the semi private spaces, such as library, living room, and pantry, to the private spaces, such as bedroom (with a bed!) and bathroom (yep, there is a bathtub). For the outdoor spaces, there are terrace and jacuzzi (without the water, of course). What's even cuter, the waiter's uniform is pajamas!
 The library room
 The bathroom

 Pantry (sorry, can't help to pose there, the pantry is just so cute!)

The bedroom. I'm holding the menu, which resembles a newspaper. How cool is that!
I went there before December, and the menu had Christmas-y feel. The general feel of the menu is Western food. The restaurant changes some of their menu every one-two or even three months, so you will always experience something new every time you go there. 
Berry Christmas
 Lobster Cappuccino. Well, it's actually crab bisque, but the foam sure gives it the cappuccino look:)

Gracia Tower Lasagna, one of the must-try menus. I think this one is a regular menu.
(Note: the first three photos and the last one is courtesy of The Apartment.)

Cat Person

Are you a cat person? I am more about animal person. However, I am always intrigued by the cats' expressions, which vary between sleepy, arrogant and observant. To find out their characters, I usually nudge their tails with my foot and I have seen different responses. Some cats snarl, some run and some other are just too ignorant to do anything. Animals do have personality.  

Last week, I read comic strip on cat. It looks similar with the picture I found in NY Times last year. Enjoy!

 (Source: here)

(Source: here)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Have A Pictorial Weekend

Hello sweet peeps, how has this week been for you? As a good and faithful labor, I worked super hard this week. I mean, four invitations to review restaurants definitely need a lot of work out in the gym, right? Hohoho...

Anyway, to honor the struggle of labors, I will suggest you to go and see the photo exhibition at Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara (GFJA). Dubbed as The Kawah Ijen's Warriors, the exhibition features 87 frames on the work and lives of the sulfur labors there. 

Located in East Java, Ijen Crater stands at 2,368 meters above the sea level. The area is rich with sulfur and beautiful scenery, but the lives of the sulfur porter labors are not. Looking at the photos makes me feeling grateful of the work I am doing. My job has high stress level but at least I don't have to go 4.5 kilometer on foot with 70 kilograms of sulfur on my shoulders every day. The exhibition will last until May 17. 

I went there on Monday and fortunately met Budi Chandra, one of the photographers. He gave me a CD containing, among others, these following photos taken by Andi Ari Setiadi, his colleague (I really like the expressions in these photos).

The good thing, GFJA is just a stonethrow's away from Pasar Baru, famous for the cheap and good shoes. If the photos are too depressing, you can always get a dose of retail therapy at Pasar Baru. 

Another idea to fill this weekend is going to Turkish Film Festival in Grand Indonesia's Blitz Megaplex. There are four movies to be screened: Vizontele, My Father and Son, Bliss, and I Saw The Sun. 
  Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Words Around The Cities

(Found here)

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I like to overhear what people are talking in the buses, on the road or at a cafe. It sounds creepy, but hey, New Yorkers and Chicagoers are doing it too!

I also find happiness in reading the Metropolitan Diary, the New York Times' weekly column about the vibrant life of New York and its residents. It's just so interesting to learn about the city from the simple daily lives.

When I googled the word "overhead+blog" I found immense sources across the world, including London. Whoa! Either it's contagious, or overhearing is actually human's basic trait.
For Jakarta's snippets of conversation, I usually check Nguping Jakarta. It's in Bahasa, so I guess there is another reason for you to learn Bahasa:)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Some Wedding Dress Ideas

Hello lovelies, I'm digging my folders and found several photos that may cheer us up in the first work day of the week.

A few weeks ago, I went to a wedding expo. There was a fashion show that showcased designers' creations on traditional wedding dresses. Indonesian wedding dresses are usually heavily embellished with gold threads and all. But the ones displayed there already got a modern touch.

Balinese-style wedding dress

The flowers in the headdress are roses, not frangipani, flowers Balinese commonly use. I guess that's one element that gives the modern look.

Majapahit-style wedding dress

No one can really tell whether people in Majapahit era really wore this wedding dress. However, it is a fresh idea for a wedding dress. I'm sure I can modify the woman's outfit into a modest Muslim style.

Bugis-style wedding dress

Bugis wedding dress baju bodo is usually big and reveal no clue of the woman's body, but this one is made of transparent lace and the sarung is layered with white skirt. Hmm, I'm not sure about the shirt, but I like the layered sarung look.
Photos in this post are provided by the talented fashion photographer Arselan Ganin. Thank you, Arselan!