Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Enamel Advertising

Last Saturday, I went to Erasmus Huis to watch the movie. Then I saw that there was an exhibition on enamel advertising in the exhibition hall. I had time before the movie screening, so I snapped some photos of the exhibition. Here they are.

I'm posing there just to show you the human scale:P

The washing queen:D

 This one looks a bit familiar

Java beer ad

Warning cigarettes:)

 Can you recognize the surviving brands of the past?:)

My favorite is this one as it shows three languages: Dutch, Bahasa and Javanese

Here is information about the exhibition: Enamel advertising, is a type of advertising medium known widely in Europe in the late 19th century. This exhibition presents a number of enamel, with the uniqueness of each, which shows the efforts of manufacturers and designers to communicate with Indonesians, by trying to understand their various socio-cultural aspects. 

This presentation is a valuable material for us to see the evidence of trade, advertising, fine art and graphic design that ever existed and flourished in Indonesia. These collections of enamel ads featuring a variety of products and services are part of the hundreds of existing enamel on The Kartini Collection (Jakarta).

The exhibition will last until June 17.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Found in Getty Image

I don't always take a taxi, but when I do, I usually get life advice or a kind reminder why I should be thankful of the little things in life. It seems that taxi drivers in Jakarta are philosophers amidst all the sick people in this so-called metropolitan city. Not all of them love to talk or sometimes you got luck out and get weird taxi drivers, but when you laugh/smile/curse/shed tears with them, it means you struck gold mine!

Here is a conversation excerpts I recently had with a taxi driver.

From Lunch Plan to Retirement Plan
Situation: I noticed a black plastic bag hanging and asked the driver what was inside. He said that it belonged to the previous passenger.
Taxi Driver (TD): I got the passenger this morning. He was snacking on gorengan (fritters). He must have left this plastic bag.
Me: What time did you start working this morning?
TD: About 5.30 a.m. This morning was exceptionally a very busy one as I haven't eaten my breakfast. (Time was 8.45 a.m.) You're my third passengers this morning.
Me: Well, it's a good thing then. But don't forget to eat or you can get ill.
TD: Oh yes, I'll stop to eat nasi uduk (rice cooked in coconut milk) my wife prepared for me. Then for lunch, I will eat sop iga (rib soup) on Jl. Sumenep. It costs me Rp 13,000 but it's very delicious.

(I forgot what I said, we ended up talking about retirement plan)

TD: I'm in the middle of buying this taxi, which will be completed in the next seven years. Once I buy it, I will sell it, then buy a plot of land to do some farming. Seven years from now, my eldest child will graduate from high school, she can find a job and take care of her siblings.
Me: Wow, you already plan for your retirement. How old are you, Pak?
TD: Right now I'm 45 years old. Seven years from now, I'll be 52 years old. I'll still be considered young, but I can't stand the traffic. It's very stressful to live in Jakarta. I live a straight life: I don't smoke, gamble or go to prostitutes. That's why I can save money to buy the plot of land. Retirement plan is important, because you can't work for the rest of your life.
Me: It's so true, Pak.

Do you have a retirement plan? Do you ever have an interesting conversation with a taxi driver?

Anyway, tips on taking taxi in Jakarta:
- If budget is not a problem, take Blue Bird, Silver Bird or even Tiara Express (ha!)
- But if you're on a budget like I do, take the safe low-tariff taxis: Putra, Express, Gamya or MegaKosti. My favorite is actually the ones with TV (TransCab), really handy when we're stuck in the traffic, but they are hard to spot.
- But if you can't get any of those taxis and you're on a rush, the golden rule is pick the taxi that looks new

Other tips:
- If you don't speak Bahasa or the local language, here is a tips: when I was in China, South Korea and Vietnam, I always took the hotel card bearing the address in local alphabet system because sometimes they don't understand foreigners. Anyway, just print/write the address in a card and give it to the driver. Psst, the taxis in South Korea have GPS, so the driver can find the quickest route to the address.
- Another tips would be to speak slowly, so they can catch your words. Use some strong key words, for example: "Indonesia. Embassy. Yoido." Or "LG Tower".
- Ask the hotel's receptionist to get you a taxi. Or if you have a local friend, ask him/her to inform the taxi driver about the destination.
- So you got a taxi that has a very fast meter? Or the driver take you around to make you pay higher rate? It happened to me in Hanoi when I went out with Tita, but it could happen in Jakarta and other places too. Stay calm, and say you'll call a police. See if you can open the window, so that you can scream for help to people on the road. Result: the taxi driver in Hanoi finally took us back to the training center upon hearing the word 'police'. We didn't pay him by the meter, we only paid him half of what the meter said.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dutch Film, History Tour And Kids Movies For The Weekend

A still from Here Comes Lola. Found here.

Hello, sweeties. It's going to be a long weekend with the Good Friday. Are you leaving the city for a quick getaway? If you're stuck in the city like me, fear not my dearies, for there are fun things we can do this weekend.

This month's Dutch movie All Stars, whic tells about off-side, going deep and missed chances, will be screened on April 23 in Erasmus Huis.

Or you can take the historical tour to Rengasdengklok, Banten on April 24. Organized by Ade Purnama from Sahabat Museum (Friends of the Museums), the tour will take you to the house where students took Soekarno and M. Hatta to encourage them to proclaim the independence. For more info, contact him on his email: adep (at) cbn (dot) net (dot) id.

Another event is KidsFfest, kids film festival, which will take place in Pacific Place. Let's leave our boring adult personality and be kids again even if it's only for a few hours:).

Have a great Good Friday and a looong weekend!


Kartini and husband. Found at Wikipedia

Born in April 21, 1879 in Jepara, Kartini is known a national heroine for women's rights in Indonesia. Being born into aristocratic Javanese family in a time when Java was still part of the Dutch colony, she got the privilege of going to school until she was 12 years old (education was only allowed for the rich and the aristocrats at that time). Then, she was secluded at home, a common practice among Javanese nobility, to prepare young girls for their marriage.

During the seclusion, she educated herself by reading and writing (she had several Dutch pen friends: Stella Zeehandelaar, Rosa Abendanon, Nellie Van Kol). She also opened a school for children at her home. After her marriage to the Rembang regent, she got her husband's permission to use the home terrace as teaching area. She had wanted to write a book, but she died at the age of 25, just four days after delivering her baby. Letters between her and her pen friend Rosa Abendanon was put into a book, titled Door Duisternis tot Licht (Out of Dark Comes Light). Read more in Wikipedia.

In 1964, President Soekarno declared April 21 as Kartini Day. Back then, schools usually told students to wear  traditional Javanese clothes, which I found as a weird way to celebrate the birth of an intellectual and activist.  

Have you read the book on Kartini's letters? I think I'll celebrate Kartini Day this year by reading the book:).

PS. April 21 is also M's birth date, which was why she shared Kartini's name. This year, M is 60 years old, but she still looks as beautiful as a 30-something lady. Happy birthday, M and all Kartini out there!:)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tickets To This Weekend's Movie

Dear readers,

Do you want to watch French Film Festival but missed the pre-sale ticket and now can't get any ticket at all? The committee finally managed to get another auditorium to show Des Hommes Et Des Dieux. Tickets will be sold on Friday (yes, today!) at 12 a.m. in both fX and Blitzmegaplex Grand Indonesia. Read about it here.

Bonne chance!

Unfortunately, I have to go to Depok today. I don't think I'll be able to catch the time to buy the ticket. But I already have tickets for an animation movie and a movie with Sophie Marceau

Have a fun weekend:)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Indonesian Robot Teams Win Big In The US

Robot assembly teams from Indonesia won a competition held from April 9-11 at the Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest in Hartford, Connecticut, the United States.

Robots sent by Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and Unikom snatched awards.

Three robots assembled by students of Unikom, who represented Indonesia for the RoboWaiter category, were victorious on the first day. In this competition, RoboWaiter was a robot category designed to run simulation activities to help humans.

Two robots, named Zargun and ASA, scored victories on the second day, respectively the first and second ranking, in the walking robot category. The two were created by ITB students to represent legged robots. 

— News source: The Jakarta Post, photos by me as I passed the auditorium of National Education Ministry to catch an appointment with Vice Minister Fasli Jalal. It's nice to read something positive amidst all those corruption cases, eh?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hello, May I Speak To Wrong Number?

The funny thing about cellphone is it can both connect and separate people. I've seen couples sitting next to each other, but they were busy with their gadgets, either BlackBerry or iPhone. I've heard friends complaining that the gadgets were distracting. Owning a cellphone is one thing reporters must do, but being addicted to the gadget is something I don't want to experience. 

That's one of the reasons why I stick to my first generation cellphone. Another reason is I've got so many people mistakenly phoned me for someone they thought their relatives, I began to gain some suspicions that they just wanted to get to know me. Below is something I posted in my old blogs, but sometimes it still happens to me.

Case #1. Hello, Daughter.
Old Lady (OL) : Hello
Me : Hello
OL : Hello
Me : Hello
OL : Hello
Me : (loosing my patience) Yes, who are you, Ma'am?
OL : Aren't you my daughter?
Me : Nope. You've dialed the wrong number. Bye.
OL : This is Momma.
Me : I'm not your daughter. You've dialed the wrong number.
OL : How are you, dear?
Me : (hang up the phone)

And guess what, she still called me almost everyday for the next one month! Someone shouldn't let their mother to have their cellphone number. Or, if their mothers should have it, make sure someone assist them while they're calling.

Case #2. Is it an old flame trying to contact me? Or just some maniac?
Maniac Man (MM) : Is this Tifa?
Me : Yes, who is this?
MM : You've forgotten me?
Me : As a matter of fact, yes. I'm sorry. I'm not good at memorizing voices and phone numbers.
MM : I'm your friend.
Me : I have a lot of friend. Are you a high school friend? A college friend? A profession friend? A friend from the language course?
MM : You really have forgotten me?
Me : Look, I'm sorry, OK. Who are you? If you don't answer me right now, I have to hang up.
MM : I'm really disappointed to know that you have forgotten me.
Me : (hang up the phone)
Note to reader : NEVER try to mess up with a girl who's working under deadline regime, hadn't have dinner and suffered from sleep deprivation.

Case #3. I'm not a husband stealer
Me : (picking up the phone) Hello
Young Lady (YL) : Who are you?
Me : Well, who do you want to talk to?
YL : I want to talk to my husband. Where is he?
Me : I think you've dialed the wrong number.
YL : Who are you? I want to talk to my husband (hysteric tone)
Me : (hang up the phone)

Sorry for being rude, but I refuse to talk to a maniac, people with hearing problem, people without manner and especially, people who never used the phone and doesn't know that they could have made a mistake during the dial up. 

Somehow, maybe those people aren't so happy with my way of dealing their calls. Every once in a while I received some strange SMS from anonymous numbers. I hadn't take those seriously though.

Have you ever got any strange calls like those?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friends And Flats

Hello, sweeties! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I've been having weird days off composition, with Thursday as a day off, then went to office on Friday, Saturday was also a day off, then I went to work on Sunday, and today...is my day off.

I love this particular Monday!

While the days off have been random, I had great time. On Thursday, I went to CCF Salemba, read magazines, bought tickets to the French Film Festival and found that the cafetaria's food was tasting quite good. Perhaps they changed the chef. Saturday saw me having fun with my CCF friends, Tika and Nanda. We watched two romantic comedy films: Ensemble, C'est Trop and L'Arnacoeur, both are very entertaining!

 We were queueing for the movies

I was supposed to work on Sunday, but since I could not contact anybody since morning, I accompanied my college friend Ben, who was in Jakarta to attend a seminar. He flew back to Pekanbaru, Riau in the evening.

Since we took the same major, we knew the same jokes and the drills. The last time we met was when during assignment to Riau and when Ai and I met him in Senayan City. He didn't change much, saying that he preferred lontong sayur to pancake and that Atiqah Hasiholan was not on the same level as Luna Maya (he had a crush on all Lux icons). It was a fun day:).

Clockwise from top left to bottom left: "Hey, we're on the screen", "So how should I pose?", "Ahh, I see" and "I think I know the trick now"

I'm not a social butterfly, and as I grow older, I find it very hard to keep friends around. Some friends have to relocate to other place, others get married and busy with the married life, but sometimes it was me who preferred being alone to being accompanied by someone I'm not comfortable with. In the past, it was more about being spotted with the cool kids. Now, it's more about having a quality conversation with people I care about and who care for me too (Ahh, the wisdom that time gives).

It's probably the same about accepting my self. Standing at 1.57-meter tall, I often wish that I were 1.60 meter. Gaining the remaining three centimeter is quite easy actually, just slip on high heels. But I'm such a grounded person, love to stay close to Mother Earth and have a fear of heights (Ignore that sentence as it was written by my drama queen personality).

Of all shoes on my shoes pile (I need to buy a shoe rack*sigh*), three are chucks, two sport shoes (for hiking and running), two high heels and one  pair of flats. Those high heels were bought during the Buy One Get One promotion (I couldn't resist the temptation). The heels were quite low: three-centimeter and five-centimeter, definitely not stilettos.

But on a day when I wore the five-centimeter ones, I fell off a bus. It was partially the bus driver's fault, because he told me to jump, while the bus was still rolling slowly. I slipped on the left side, screamed frantically, but managed to hold out my hand to prevent myself crashing on the hard asphalt.

The bus driver was panic (I guess my scream sounded very dramatic). He stopped the bus immediately and asked me if I was okay. I was not okay, damn it, my knees and palms bled (and my self-esteem was severely bruised). Other than that, no bone fracture, alhamdulillah. The bus driver seemed to learn his lesson, he was driving quite slowly afterwards. Surprisingly, my shoes survived without a scratch!

If you think that I would stop wearing high heels, you don't know me yet:). Yes, I wear high heels, but not everyday and not when I go to cover an event. I always put comfort before fashion.

Anyway, I'm so happy that flats made a comeback into fashion scene. Fashion comes and goes, but comfortable items last forever. So allow me to interrupt this supposed-to-be intelligent blogs to post my recent buy.

Please ignore the ugly socks and the bad photo quality


Dear people, meet my new ballerina flats:).

These are made by Wondershoe, local brand that has exported its products to Spain. I've been wanting to buy their products for years, but since their store is far and I never tried shopping in an online store, I've been putting off this desire.

Last week, I went to Grand Indonesia's Level One and found a new store titled Foot Republic that sell Wondershoe and its partner brand Robinet. So I put them on, and they feel so good! In their foot size system, I'm in the 38 size. They are Rp 155,000 (or 10,000 more expensive than the online store price). But the good thing is I get a voucher worth Rp 45,000, which I can use for online shopping. Hurray!

I've been wearing these flats for a week, and so far my feet are happy. Now, I'm checking the online store to decide which shoes I should buy with the voucher. Currently I'm thinking to buy this one. Hmm *chin scratching*.

Taken from Wondershoe catalog

Have a magnificent Monday:)

Friday, April 8, 2011

This Weekend

This weekend, I don't care what other people are doing because I'm going to watch French Film Festival with my friends at fX Platinum. Hahaha. Just kidding! What are you doing this weekend? Let's watch the movies together. Read the schedules here.

Have a nice weekend:)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Behind A City's Name

Photo taken outside Bekasi stadion during the 2008 mayoralty election

There's a lot of things you can learn from just the name of a place as it gives a hint of its history or local character. 

For example, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil means River of January because it was first seen by Europeans in January 1, 1502. Hanoi consists of two words: Ha (river) and Noi (within) so Hanoi means Within the River, which is quite proper given the city's location is near Mekong Delta. Tokyo means the Eastern Capital, while Beijing means the Northern Capital. Singapore consists of two words: Singa (lion) and pura (city), so it means The Lion City.

How about in Indonesia? Jakarta is a short version of Jayakarta, which means Victory City, a name given by Fatahillah after he took over the Sunda Kelapa harbor from Demak sultanate. Bandung (the capital of West Java province) in Sundanese has the same meaning as "appeal" in Bahasa. 

Semarang (the capital of Central Java province) is believed to come from Asam (tamarind) and Arang (rare), while another version says it comes from Chinese words San Bao Loong (The City Of Sam Po). Sam Po (also known as Zheng He/Cheng Ho) was a Muslim Chinese admiral. Surabaya (the capital of East Java province) consists of two words: Sura (shark) and Baya (a short from Buaya or crocodile). Legend has it that a shark and a crocodile fought in that place.

And now, let's talk about Bekasi, a city where I live:).
In 2007, my then mentors assigned me (and other TJaP cubreporters) to write an article, which include a bit of history about the district or city where I reside. At that time, I was a bit shocked because I thought there was nothing interesting in Bekasi, until I remembered about the Clash I massacre mentioned in Chairil Anwar's poem Antara Karawang dan Bekasi (Between Karawang and Bekasi). 

Just a quick history flashback: although Indonesia proclaimed independence in August 17, 1945, the Dutch colonial government never approved it. There were two military aggressions between 1945 and 1948/1949, also called as The Clash I and II. One of the clashes took place between Karawang and Bekasi, where the Dutch troops killed - without reason or trial - hundreds of residents fleeing the villages. The Dutch finally acknowledged Indonesia's freedom after the Round Table Conference in December 1949.

Then I found another interesting fact about Bekasi. The history of Bekasi dated back to the Tarumanagara kingdom in the fifth century! An artifact found in Cilincing, Bekasi (Cilincing became part of Jakarta in 1970s) mentioned about the construction of a big canal from the Chandrabhaga river by King Purnawarman.  Chandra is moon, bhaga is river, so it's Moon River.

Another name for "chandra" is "sasi", so the name is actually Sasibhaga, but it was interpreted backwards into Bhagasasi, which later experienced different spelling and pronunciation. Archives made in the 19th century had several versions of Bhagasasi, such as Backassie, Bakassie, and the latest one Bekasi.

How about your city's name? What is the story (or history) behind it?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bacang, Where Art Thou?

Do you have emotional food? You know, the kind of food that brings back memories of good old days, or someone dear to you?

Source (and the recipe!) is found here

I have a lot of such foods! And one of them is bacang, a kind of snack made from glutinous rice, stuffed with different fillings (chicken, beef and sometimes pork, so fellow Muslims, you should always ask what's in the inside) and wrapped in bamboo leaves. It's actually a traditional Chinese food, eaten on the fifth month. But now we can eat it anytime.

I forgot when exactly I had bacang for the first time. But I remembered what happened then. M&D and I were on a train (we had yet to have a car). It must be a journey to Kebumen, because it was such a long train ride. And since we were in the economy car, there was no air condition, it was very hot and I got tired and hungry quickly.

All of our lunchboxes were already empty. So M bought bacang from a vendor who passed by our window during a stop at a station. Perhaps I was very hungry at that time, but for me it was the most delicious food ever!

The last time I ate bacang was a few months ago. Just a few days before I was rotated to National desk, Hotel JW Marriott (heretofore to be called as JWM) invited me to cover the Street Food Festival. And there it was, amidst all the expensive foods on display, the humble bacang stared back at me. It was delicious, indeed.

Mbak Ina of JWM said that her hotel would hold Bacang Festival sometime in June/July. But the price of bacang will definitely use the hotel's pricing (read: expensive). It's very ironic that the traditional cheap food that people consumed in the past is now made and sold by luxurious hotels. I want my cheap and delicious bacang, please.

Last week, M&D suddenly craved for bacang after watching a drama series in Daai TV, the Buddha Tzu Chi channel.  D said that he would take bacang when he traveled Bandung-Jakarta to drop his articles. So it is D's emotional food too.

Since it's a traditional food, not many people sell the food. So off they went to Jatinegara on Sunday, with the hope of getting bacang there. Well, they got the food. 

"But it isn't as good as it should," D said.

This morning, when D rode me to the spot of omprengan (private cars used as public transport) near Caman tollgate, we saw a motorbiker with a big box written bacang all over it. We went ballistic! We chase the motorbike, waved our hands to stop him while yelling,"Do you still have bacang?" (Now that I think it over, we were not very careful this morning) 

Alas, he united his thumb and index finger together, a sign that all bacang had gone away. Ahh, we were so disappointed. And to add salt to the wound, I didn't get the omprengan I need.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Boy Woos Girl

A friend and I during the visit to Beijing, China. He didn't woo me, but the situation looked like it, no?:P

A man suddenly approached Peeyutz and I when we went to the exhibition on diving gears in Jakarta Convention Center. He offered us surfing courses and surfing gears, including inflatable surf board (hmm, it's a bit interesting actually). 

We declined the offer politely, saying that we were more into diving. We exchanged some more conversation, he revealed that he was from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but he had lived in Bali for years (which explains his good conduct of Bahasa). Then he gave Peeyutz a business card and asked if she was married.

I'm a bit slow on this kind of thing, but I think he made a pass on her. What do you think? Is there a fix rule on how to approach the opposite sex? 

A friend from South Korea said that the guys there usually gave a business card to the girls they like and said,"This is my name card. I would be very happy to get to know you more. Please contact me." I think it's very nice, but I may be bias since I'm an Asian and that polite gesture is very Asian:).

The Latinos (I'm referring to the three guys - Wharrysson, Hugo and Santiago - I met in SK) said that SK guys were boring and that Latinos had a macho way (hahaha). They said that when a guy likes a girl, he would turn his head to observe her and exclaimed words of admiration ("Beautiful!" "Hey, Pretty!" or something like that).

"It's a compliment for the girls," one of them said.

My SK friend said that the Latinos way was similar to the Egyptian way (her parents are in Egypt and she visited them at least once a year). Hmm, interesting.

When I was in Saudi Arabia for umrah (minor haj), a taxi driver stared at me, then he turned his head to M and said in a pleading tone,"Mamaaa." Yikes! I ran to the hotel, while M&D tried to suppress their laughter. Not so funny though because there are stories about girls being kidnapped in Saudi.

I don't really know about the wooing style in Indonesia, as I'm a bit slow when it comes to reading love signals. I guess it's a combination of intensive phone calls and text messages, attention to details and compliments ("Wow, you look fantastic with the dress" or something like that) as well as asking for dates (go to movies, concert or just dinners).

Anyway, back to the scene between my friend and the man. I think the man should take it slowly with my friend. She was a bit afraid of his bold approach and said that she did not bring her business cards. Ouch, sorry, dude.

And now, let's think about this weekend, a perfect time to woo the one you love:). What are you planning to do? 

A bazaar to be held in Jl. Mampang Prapatan XVI no. 28, South Jakarta, will feature various items: handmade, homemade or antique. I'm thinking of going there. And perhaps I'll drop by to the diving gear exhibition again, only this time I'll steer away from the man's stall.

Hope you have a romantic weekend:)