Monday, January 31, 2011

The Cathedral And The Mosque In Seoul

Note from the editor: I stumbled upon other people's blogs on Seoul and had that unbearable longing to be there again. Ahh, silly me. Since there are so many photos of South Korea that I haven't posted, I just want to share some of them here:).

There are so many churches in Seoul, I even saw one near SNU campus. One of the Latinos said  he always thought Koreans as Buddhists, so it kinda surprised him to see an Episcopal church or a Presbyterian church in the vicinity. Anyway, when we asked a professor whether Christian was the majority, he said that Koreans' religion was money, because they really worked hard. I didn't make this up, he really said it. After three weeks, I really get his point, about Koreans are working hard.

It is interesting to learn that both the cathedral and the mosque are located in Seoul's hip districts. The cathedral is in Myeong-Dong, while the mosque is in Itaewon. Both districts are known to be the right place to do people-watching. 

I don't know much about the cathedral. Only the name: Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. And that's all I know. Perhaps Uncle Google knows better than I do.

Stairways (and ramp) to the cathedral

The construction of cathedral began in 1887

The bas-relief on the door caught my attention

A very Korean take on Jesus Christ

While I did go inside the cathedral, I decided not to take pictures of the interior as there was a mass at that moment, I didn't want to disturb them. 

Ok, now the mosque. Before I went to South Korea, I browsed the internet to find the grand mosque. Seoul is such a cosmopolitan city, there must be a Muslim community, no matter how small it is. And so, I found the mosque, Seoul's one and only mosque, in Itaewon.

Itaewon has a U.S. Army base Yongsan Garrison nearby, so it's no wonder the district's visitors are mostly Americans. Some of the bars are a bit 'suspicious' with girls wearing skimpy clothes coming in or going out, so wearing modest clothing like I do is a good strategy.

I really wanted to go to the mosque since the first day I landed in South Korea. I dreamed to do my tarawih prayer here during Ramadan, or the Idul Fitri prayer. Alas, due to the full schedule, I was only able to visit this area a few days before my homecoming. I went to the mosque all by myself, so no image of myself in the following photos. Too bad.

You can see the minaret, but the mosque is actually still far. It's some kind of optical illusion:)

While walking to the mosque, I saw many halal restaurants along the road. Glancing to my watch, I noticed that Magrib was still one hour to go (During September, Magrib is around 7 p.m.). So I walked into one of the restaurants and had an early dinner:). Nothing fancy, only briyani rice at an Indian/Pakistani restaurant. When I was eating, a Korean and an Uzbekistani came in and then we had a small conversation.

The Korean saw that I'm a Muslim and brown-skinned (ha!), so he guessed that I'm either a Malaysian or Indonesian. He went to Indonesia several times, so he was excited to practice some Bahasa with me. He was in the district because he loved Indian/Pakistani foods. The Uzbek girl could not speak English well, but she was excited to see me wearing a headscarf because she's a Muslim too.

The front gate

The exterior

The interior

Do you visit other religion's house of worships when you're traveling? What kind of experiences do you get? I hope the good ones. Do share with me, please:).

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's Going To Be A Busy Weekend

This weekend is going to be the days when you wish that you can have three days off, instead of only two. There are so many events! Bear with me, my darlings, here goes the list:

CCF Jakarta will hold Open House, which is basically about introduction on the French course, movie screening, music and dance, something like a door prize quiz (I'm not sure what it is, but it says undian berhadiah, hahaha) and French cuisine. I hope it's true, especially about the French cuisine.

Erasmus Huis will screen Bride Flight, a movie about three Dutch ladies who traveled to New Zealand to meet their fiances. The movie screening is a regular event that takes place on the last Saturday every month. This year, there's a catch in the movie screening. If you attend five movie screenings and get five stamps, you can participate in a quiz. I don't know what the gift is (perhaps, a flight to Amsterdam?), but I'm in!

Tangent: last week's concert in Erasmus Huis was great. I watched the concert with my friend K, and of all handsome Dutch men who were there that night, we had the same crush to the guitarist, which was 40-something and wore geeky glasses. We are two weird girls:). Ahem, back to the list.

There's going to be another fashion blogger yard sale on Friday and Saturday. This week, my days off are Friday and Saturday. I hope I can make it to the event. Not that I need to buy anything, I'm just curious.

Let's see the contemporary art in Jakarta Contemporary.

Luis Figo is coming to Jakarta on Jan. 30! Yes, that Luis Figo. Click here if you want to find out how you can kick the ball with him.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Need To Bathe At Nanny's Pavillon Bathroom

It seems that restaurant owners are getting more creative in making interior concepts. After the apartment-themed restaurant, I heard about a bathroom-themed restaurant called Nanny's Pavillon. One of the owners said that her extended family often held Sunday gathering in their pavillion. During the gathering, each family bring each person's favorite dish. So the menu has the person's name. For example, argh I forgot the menu, but it sounds something like Grandma's chicken pot roast.

They already have opened several restaurants. The one in Bandung is garden-themed, and the one in CityWalk Thamrin is all about the livingroom. The owner was planning to open the barn-themed restaurant soon. But before that, let's check the bathroom:).

Cousine Dina and my friend Nanda enjoy sitting on the toilet-turned-chairs. Well, at least one of them do:)

Bath tub is turned into tables and bath robes are hanging on the walls

We kinda like this sink and want to make it in our homes one day

Before going there with my cousin and friend, I was invited by the owner to sample the food. Below are some of the meals. Unfortunately, I forgot their names. So if you know them, please write down in the comment box, it will be greatly appreciated:).

Such Pretty Foods!

I wonder if they can make a red Pentax K-x cake.

Makes me want to buy iPhone:).

Since the real thing is too expensive, I'm happy enough with the cake.

All images are found at Pretty Foods & Pretty Drinks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are Disney Princesses Good Role Models?

When attending a seminar on women and public space, I had a talk with a fellow journo, NO from JG newspaper. Below are excerpts of the conversation.

NO: Do you ever notice the pattern in Disney animation movies? They have a major theme that is basically encouraging women to stay poor, uneducated and powerless.
Me: What do you mean?
NO: Take Cinderella for example. She is poor, uneducated and powerless, while the stepmother is rich, smart and has power. In the end, it is Cinderella who wins. So it is like encouraging women to be like Cinderella, because the poor, uneducated and powerless women will win after all. It is the same case with Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, too.

Ah so it seemed that the folk tales that was made in the past wanted to keep women as the passive ones. But I've seen a revolution in recent Disney animation. For example, Belle is portrayed as a woman who loves books while Mulan is a fighter.

The latest animation movie, Rapunzel, even goes away from the traditional damsel in distress and charming prince combo. So I am optimistic that daughters of the future will have better princesses as their role models.

Anyway, why don't we start telling our children the local folklores? There are stories on strong Indonesian women, such as Cut Nyak Dhien and Keumalahayati. Anyone still remembers the folklore of Sabai Nan Aluih? That's one strong women too:). 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Have A Musical Weekend!

Hello, sweeties! It's been raining since morning and I feel very sleepy in my office. Due to the rain, the traffic jam was even more terrible today. But thank God, it's Friday! Yay!

It's been one lazy week, with me spending most of my time at the office, making phone calls to the sources. This week, I'll have Saturday and Monday as my days off, meaning that I'll be seeing my cubicle again on Sunday. But that won't stop me from having a fun laundry day and a concert tomorrow. Care to join me? See you at Erasmus Huis at 7.30 p.m. then.

I hope you have a good one:).    

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Is Java...

...according to the IT guys...
Taken from here coffee lovers brew it...

...the way I see it...
Source (from top left, then going clockwise):

So, how do you see Java?:)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Elephants Have Fun

A number of workers in the Elephant Training Center in Minas, Riau, bathe elephants Tuesday. Data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claims that the only 350 Sumatran elephants are left in Riau and the number is dwindling due to forest conversions.

Flying Over The Rainbow. Or If You Want To See The Rainbow, You Have To Put Up With The Rain *Philosophical Mode On*

Taken during the flight from Ende, Flores island to Tambolaka, West Sumba island

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten Things I Love About 46 Bus (Route: Cililitan-Grogol)

A series of 46 bus sketches made by Indonesian artist Toni Malakian, who resides in Florida, the U.S.  See more of Toni's works here.

As much as I love taking busway to and from office, I also love taking the 46 buses (Route: Cililitan-Grogol).  Below are some of the things I love about the ex-Japan bus.

1. It has low step
2. It has wide space for standing passengers
3. It has hand grips on the seats, easy to grab for people with certain height
4. It has good lighting, compared to the half-dark and gloomy P6 buses
5. It has slide up-down windows. Therefore, standing passengers can also feel the wind breezing in.
6. Some of the 46 buses have more than two doors
7. The seats are more comfortable
8. There are 30 units of this 46 bus, so I don't have to wait for too long
9. Sometimes, the buskers playing in the 46 buses have good voices:)
10. After 10 p.m., the 46 buses with C letter go to their pool in Cakung, East Jakarta, which is near my home.

Unfortunately, with Corridor 9 and 10 in operation, the administration sees that the traffic is getting worse and decides to stop the operation of the several buses, including the 46 buses that run on the same road as Corridor 9 does, starting February. 

On the Corridor 9, the administration will stop PPD AC 13 (Kampung Rambutan-Muara Angke), PPD P37 (Blok M-Muara Angke), Mayasari Bhakti P6B (Kampung Rambutan-Muara Angke), P6A (Kampung Rambutan-Kalideres), P6 (Kampung Rambutan-Grogol), P39 (Grogol-Bekasi), AC26 (Grogol-Bekasi), and AC74 (Kampung Rambutan-Tangerang)

On Corridor 10, the administration will stop PPD 43 (Cililitan-Tanjung Priok), PPD 41 (Kampung Rambutan-Senen), AC18 (Pulogadung-Depok). Mayasari Bhakti P8 and 8A (Kampung Rambutan-Tanjung Priok), AC07 (Kampung Rambutan-Tanjung Priok), AC82 (Tanjung Priok-Depok), AC-25 (Tanjung Priok-Bekasi), AC-04 (Kampung Rambutan-Kota), P17A (Kampung Rambutan-Mangga Dua), and P50 (Pulogadung-Tanjung Priok).

Steady Safe 948 bus (Kampung Melayu-Tanjugpriok), AC67 (Kampung Rambutan-Kota), dan AC65 (Tanjung Priok-Blok M). Agung Bakti AC120 (Blok M-Tanjung Priok), P89 (Blok M- Tanjung Priok), dan P 954 (Blok M-Tanjung Priok).

I am worried now because my work schedule can last until 10 p.m., while the busway operates until 9.30 p.m. Dear Governor Fauzi Bowo, if you read this, please consider the night transportation for workers who have unfixed working schedules like I do.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dewi Sri And A Day In A Rice Mill

Everytime I see a paddy field, I can't help remembering the folktale of rice goddess Dewi Sri. There are many folktales circulating across Indonesia on her. A version says that she was a princess who is cursed by the gods, while another version says that she is born out of a snake's tear. Whichever legend you hear, Dewi Sri is always pictured as the mother deity, since she controls rice, the staple food of Indonesia. While Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population, there are communities who still practice the animist-era beliefs, including holding festivities for Dewi Sri to have a successful harvest.

This nation is pretty much attached to rice as its staple food. Indonesia's rice consumption stands at 139 kilograms per capita per year, according to the National  Survey on Social Economics. The survey showed Indonesia produces 38 million tons of rice per year and consumes 33 million tons of rice annually. 

The consumption rate is high compared to Thailand, which produces 20 million tons of rice per year, but only consumes 10 million tons, with an average annual per capita consumption of 70 kilograms. So, Indonesia produces more rice compared to Thailand, but this country only has a surplus of 5 million tons while Thailand can save 10 million tons of rice. (If the last two paragraphs sound very serious, it is because I take them from my article, hehehe.)

In the past, only Sumatrans, Javanese and Balinese who ate rice as staple food, while people living in Indonesia's eastern region ate other foods, such as corn, cassava or sagu. However, when the second president Soeharto came to power, he changed how Indonesians ate by applying the rice policy. Rice was perceived as the status symbol (you are not rich when you don't eat rice), yada yada yada. As a result, we are now so dependent to rice, we have to import if the great harvest does not yield enough for the whole nation.

Now that there is this climate change issue that causes failed harvests across the region, one may think to start diversifying menu, just in case there is food crisis. I start to eat pasta (exclude instant noodle, LOL), bread and cassava. By the way, I love sagu! As an Indonesian saying states 'belum kenyang kalau belum ketemu nasi' (I am not sated yet if I have yet to eat rice), I still feel hungry as if I haven't eaten, but I'm determined to put a stop to my dependency on rice.

Recently I visited a rice mill in Karawang, West Java. Then I realized why Indonesians have this strong attachment to the white grains: they are as beautiful as Dewi Sri. And here are the photos I snapped there. 

The before and after:)

Unhulled rice grains (Gabah)

Pouring the rice into a sack

Sealing the sack

Ready to sell

Looking down from the stairs that led to the milling machine

Friday, January 14, 2011

Have A Sunny Weekend:)

Taken from here

Szia! That means "hello" in Hungary. Let's go there this weekend by watching "Sunshine", which will be screened in Erasmus Huis, this Saturday at 7.30 p.m.

"Sunshine" is a 1999 historical film that was directed, written and produced by Istvan Szabo. Wikipedia says that the movie follows three generation of a Jewish family during the changes in Hungary, from the beginning of the 20th century to the period of 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Talking about "Sunshine", how is the weather in your place? It's been cloudy and raining here. I really hope there's going to be some sun this weekend. 

Happy weekend, guys!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lukman And Rika's Wedding

Lukman and Rika's love story was unique, well at least for me (Lukman is my cousin). They joined a seminar around four years ago, but they didn't really meet face to face. After the seminar was over, Lukman went to Batam, Riau island, while Rika was in Jakarta, Java island. The seminar's committee shared the participants' contact numbers to the participants. Lukman added Rika in his YahooMessenger, they chatted online and found something in common. 

When Lukman went to Jakarta (for holiday and visit his parents), they finally met. On that very same day they met, Lukman went to Rika's house and met her parents. Two months later, he proposed. And several months later they got married! Here are the photos I took on their wedding day, which was on Dec. 5, 2010. Congratulation, Lukman and Rika!

They look nervous:)

Ijab kabul (wedding vow): I wed you with this dowry, paid in cash

The man put the wedding ring on his wife's finger

The marriage papers

The wedding venue was Omah Sendok


The dress code said: "wear white and be relaxed":)

Lukman and Rika have a blogs, but mostly written in Bahasa Indonesia. Click here to visit their blogs, and here for more wedding day photos.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Home Is Where Sparrows Chirp, Frogs Croak And Cats Confer

Dear friends, do you ever have a pet? I used to have rabbits (but stray cats ate them) and gooses (no, you don't need eyeglasses, I really had gooses as my pets, but then my neighbor's dog ate them, only one goose survived). After I went to high school I got very busy and had to stop having pets. So I gave the only surviving goose to my uncle who had a farm. I hope the goose had a wonderful life there.

M&D and I never take birds as pets because we believe they are born to fly freely. But guess what we always find in our house despite the fact that, thanks to D (I secretly believe that D is of Gypsy descent), we have been moving in and out of several houses in the last couple of years? 

Source: here

Hello, sparrows! There is nothing more beautiful than being awoken by their chirps. These small birds are always on the run, either building their nests, playing with their mates or simply flying around like some intoxicated animals. Where do these small birds get the energy?

Recently, D built fish ponds and put several fishes, such as ikan mas (gold fish), ikan lele (catfish), and ikan patin (also a kind of catfish, but larger than lele). However, instead of finding baby fishes, we have been finding tadpoles and frogs in the ponds. Now we can have an orchestra of frogs every time the rain falls:).

Since D and I have asthma, we never consider taking cats as our pets. But we always have stray cats around. Let me show you exhibit A: a photo of a cat's conference I recently took:). Somehow I imagine hearing the three cats on the right say,"Yes, Sir!" LOL.