Monday, December 31, 2012

Past Present Perfect

How much we take the past for granted,
without even realize it,
each day we stand on top of yesterday,
reaching back a day, a week, years perhaps,
to pluck out memories that made us today
and foundation for tomorrow.
-Tangled Web, Judith Michael.

2012 Was The Year Of Living Gratefully:)

Running for the wave in Sempu island

Oh hello there, today is Dec. 31 which means it's time for the end-of-year long post! *Woot woot* How was 2012 for you? 

To be honest, I started this year with a feeling of disdain as the office transferred me to a division most people look down. But guess what, people? The transfer gave me some life lessons and best moments this year.

First of all, I learned to be humble. In the end, it's not where you work that counts, but it's what you do. For the first time, I work with an expatriate, to be precise: a Briton. Despite the rough first two-month adjustment period, we all got along quite well

Another thing I learned this year is to take the decision, either on professional space or personal life. Life is an adventure, don't worry about where you are, just enjoy your journey and make the most of your time.

On a lighter note, the transfer gave me the most precious thing : the time (oh the luxury of time!) to be there with my parents, take holidays, meet-up with my friends, snap more pictures and do other things I could not do in the previous years.

Here are a handful of memorable moments this year:
-- I got my Advance diver certificate. Next diving plan: Great Barrier Reef! (Dream first, go later:D)
-- I went to Kebumen to visit my maternal grandma in March. Seeing her healthy and talkative, I've never thought that it would be the last time I saw her. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there for her funeral in June. My prays and thoughts are always with you, my dear Grandma.
-- I got free tickets to Java Jazz 2012. It was a last-minute gift, but I still had good times.
-- I baked some cake :). I probably got the baking talent from my paternal grandma. She's also very talented in sewing, I should give sewing a try next year.
-- I snorkeled the northern Central Java sea in Karimun Jawa islands with Cousine Dina and her colleagues. It was a fun trip!
-- I went to the other UK in an effort to catch a glimpse of the Javan rhinoceros in Ujung Kulon National Park in late April with my journo friend Windy, my uni friend Aneen and four other new friends I met during the backpacking trip. We didn't meet any rhinos, but we did see some baby pythons.
-- I learned to take photos in low-light condition. The pictures do not always come out beautifully, but the learning process is something I would not miss.
-- Going to Ukraine to see the festivities during Euro 2012 and meeting many interesting people are definitely something that will stick in my head for quite some time.
-- I climbed Mt. Bromo and had my first whitewater rafting experience, then I camped+trekked in Sempu island
-- I took M to have her first facial experience. Haven't got a chance to blog about it, but it was both fun and hilarious:).
-- Finally got the guts to send applications for scholarships and jobs. After six years of working in the same office, going for a job interview felt a bit weird. While I didn't got the job, it's a good moment to sharpen up my job interview skills :).

Not bad for a 32-year-old, eh? I wouldn't be able to make it without my friends and you, yes you who are reading this right now. Thank you so much my dear friends and readers for visiting this space, leaving sweet comments and giving me the supports when I felt the least motivated. Here's hoping for more beautiful moments in 2013! Cheers!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The ER Episodes And The "Are You Pregnant?" Question

New Year's noise: A worker arranges New Year trumpets in Denpasar on Thursday. The trumpets, selling for between Rp 2,500 (less than 50 US Cents) and Rp 8,000, will be distributed to several parts of Bali. (JP/Agung Parameswara, found here)

So I didn't come back last Wednesday. Sorry about that. I had the worst stomach cramps on Tuesday noon. I thought it was because I was having my period. But then I started vomiting and every food I ate would go out in a few hours.

By midnight I could feel the acid climbing up the throat. So I woke M&D and asked them to take me to the ER. So off we went. I arrived at the ER with a bag of vomit and the first question the doctor asked was,"Is it possible that you are pregnant?"

I would love to say yes, doc, but I am a woman raised in Eastern mores (In Indonesia, it is still not common to see a single pregnant mother.-The Editor, which means me, of course), so the answer is no. The doctor is kinda cute, by the way. But I digress. Moving on...

The nurse gave me IV and injected the anti-vomit medicine. They also took blood samples and came back quickly to say that the leukocyte, thrombocyte and electrolyte levels were still normal. So M sped up the IV drip and we left the ER a few hours later.

I was still not sure what illness attacked me that day, but it could be maag (gastric pains). So all spicy and sour food are off my menu for the time being *looking at sambal ikan roa in the fridge longingly*.

When I fell off the stairs several weeks ago, I also went to the ER to get my feet X-rayed. Then the doctor asked,"Are you pregnant? Because if you do, we need to cover your belly."

Hmm, this question has started to get on my nerves. Didn't they check on my marital status? It definitely says "single". Or perhaps I have this free-spirited attitude? Or even worse, perhaps this is a sign for me to do the crunches?  

On a lighter note, I'm feeling much better today. Both my feet and my stomach are in good condition. Alhamdulillah. 

Have a safe and healthy weekend, people :).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Have A Peaceful Holiday!

It's one day before Christmas and I go to work for a half day. Yippee! I'm not celebrating Christmas, obviously. But I love being in the city during the big holiday because traffic will be very kind. I also like being in the office while others taking leave for the quiet helps quicken my work. And that's why I can blog, hahaha.

I'll leave you with the following words and be back on Wednesday. 

Found here

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Women's Day, Not Mother's Day

Hello my lovelies!

How was your week? It was quite a slow one on my side, but I didn't post because I wanted to prepare for the so-called Mayan doomsday...Not. I just didn't have much to say I guess :).

Anyway, tomorrow is Dec. 22, which Indonesians call as Hari Ibu. In Bahasa Indonesia, hari means day and ibu means mother. So naturally you would call it Mother's Day, wouldn't you? Wrong. Check back with History, please. 

Indonesian women activist in 1928. Taken from here. On a lighter note, kebaya and sunglasses look great together :)

During the first Indonesian Women Congress. From here

On Dec. 22-25, 1928, Indonesian women activists held the first Indonesian Women Congress in Dalem Jayadipuran building in Yogyakarta. The congress was attended by 30 women organizations in Java and Sumatera and discussed many important issues, such as the involvement of women in independence movement and nation building, women and children trafficking as well as nutrition and health improvement for women. Hmm, those issues are still relevant until today.

President Soekarno and members of Indonesian Women Congress (Kowani) in this 1950 file photo. Collection of Tropenmuseum. Found here.

President Soekarno declared Dec. 22 as Hari Ibu in 1959 by issuing a decree (Dekrit Presiden No. 316/1959). As I mentioned here that in Indonesia, Ibu is a name title we use to call woman we respect/of high position, like mother or supervisor.

So the most appropriate translation for Hari Ibu is Women's Day, not Mother's Day.

Hari Ibu was initially celebrated to commemorate the spirit of Indonesian women in building the nation. Unfortunately, the message of Women's Day is lost in the passage of time and nowadays, people think it is Mother's Day. 

Now that you know the meaning of Dec. 22 for Indonesian women, you can do other things to celebrate the day.

Have a feminist weekend, girls! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Frequently Asked Question, Part 2

Updated: A photo of me interviewing Danish author Peer Holm Jorgensen in 2009, taken by FanFan.

A friend asked me a few questions regarding my job as a journalist. I thought I'd better write a post about it. So here it is, a post on questions I often get during the course of my work. I hope it helps answering the questions those who want to work as a journo.

1.  "How much do you earn as a journalist?" or "I'm thinking to apply for a reporter position in (put in a media's name). Do you think they have a good remuneration system?"
If you ask me the former question, then I'd say it's enough for me. I will not mention the number, though. If you ask me the latter, then I can go on for hours explaining about the media situation in Indonesia. But long story short, I will say this,"If you want to get bigger salary, don't work as a journalist." You have been warned :).

2. "I like traveling/fashion/(put in any subject that does not involve corruption/political party/crime). Does your office need a journalist for that particular subject?"
I work for a newspaper, which requires its journalists to be able to write anything, from a company's initial public offering to the Constitutional Court's decision on Education Law. There is a chance to be assigned for Sunday edition or the Features desk, of course, but the cubreporters will spend the first few years in three desks: National, Business and City. You will be assigned to the morgue, the slums and the Bantargebang final garbage dump. If you can only write one subject, then you'd better apply to magazines that specialize on that. Another option is to become a contributor, which I think is more profitable.

3. "I want to send an article to (put in a media's name). Can you have a look?"
I'm sorry, I may not be the right person to help. I just don't have the time. To people who want to send an article to a media, I will say,"Do your homework. Please read the media before you send an article there because each media has its own vision and mission as well as writing style." If you are able to recognize those and implement them in your articles, then I'm sure your articles will be published in short time.

4. "As a journalist, you must be traveling a lot. Where have you been?"

Being a journalist is not as fancy as anyone imagine. I posted this image on the photographer's job. And I can say that it's the same way about journalist, you just have to change the red-colored 80 percent with "Asking smart questions" ;). The travels I usually do is the daily four-hour commute round trip between Bekasi (where I live) and Jakarta (where my office is at). It sounds sad, but it's the truth.
Sometimes journalists work for years to get assignment abroad or, in my case, fellowship to another country. My colleague Peeyutz worked for 2.5 years in Jakarta before she got an assignment to Australia, while another colleague Permenkar also spent 2 years indoors as a journalist for the Online division before the office sent him to Malaysia. 
In Indonesia, where most systems run on emotion, feelings and affinity, journalists may get assignments abroad if the bosses like them. Unfortunately, I'm not one of the ass-kissers I can't pretend to be the person that I'm not. So all those assignments abroad I've got were either hard-earned (usually my kind editor stood for me in the editorial meeting so I could attend the event) or it's the kind of lame assignment that nobody desired.
The answers to the question are, if you like to know, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Kei islands in Maluku, Ende in Flores, China and Singapore (all were assignments from the office) as well as South Korea, Italy and Vietnam (fellowships that I applied on my own). Yes, the job allows me to travel, but not that much.

5. "Did you major in Journalism or English literature?" (Usually this question pops up when they know I work for TJaP)
You don't have to major in Journalism to work as a journalist in Indonesia. I majored in Architecture, a colleague took Metallurgy while another Farming. Of course, it will help you a lot in news writing if you major in Journalism. To apply to TJaP, you don't have to major in English literature, you only need to have at least 550 in TOEFL. Anyone can do it!

Do you have any questions? Fire away, my lovelies.

P.S. You can read Part 1 here, if you like 
P.P.S. Why you should or should not be a journalist.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Election Weekend For Bekasi Residents

Vehicles on the toll road and Jl. Gatot Soebroto are trapped in gridlock due to protest staged by the Indonesian Village Officials Association (PPDI) members in front of the House of Representatives in South Jakarta on Friday.(Antara/Widodo S Jusuf) Source

Does anyone survive the terrible traffic today? I went to the bank before going to office. Fortunately, I texted my boss, informing that I'll be late. He then warned me about the strike in front of the House of Representatives building. I made a detour to Tanah Abang, but then got stuck by another demonstration in front of the City Hall. Ack.
On a lighter note, Bekasi will hold its mayoralty election on Dec. 16. I should be going to the voting booth. However, until now, I haven't received the voting invitation. As a Bekasi resident who has lived there for more than two decades, I am very disappointed. My neighbors told me to come and show my ID card to the officials. Hmm, perhaps I'd do it. But I don't know who to vote.

Anyways, here are a few photos from the Bekasi election that I covered five years ago.

 During the campaign period

The campaign period is the time for motorcycle touring, in which children are also involved

No matter how chaotic the campaign period may look, this fritter vendor gains benefit from it

 A voting template for the visually impaired

An officer shows the voting ballot in a penitentiary in Bekasi while the inmates look on

Anyways, below are a few events for the weekend.

-- Movie: Alfred Hitchcock movies. Dec. 14-15. Bentara Budaya Jakarta. See schedule here

-- Music: Pater Maskroen Band. Dec. 15. 6:30 p.m. Erasmus Huis Jakarta. Also performing: Bonito and the Hus Band. Source

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Know Your Thobe. Ahem:).

As fashion develops, there is a change in how we dress up. Toga, robe and tunic used to be a man's staple outfits. Nowadays most men wear trousers, which I find as a nuisance. I think there is something sexy about men in robes (is it just me?). 

The good thing is there are men who still wear the skirt-like/robe-like garment, such as the Scots who wear kilts (knee-length garment) on formal occasion and Highland sport event. And of course, men in Gulf countries wear thobes (ankle-length garment).

Happy Arab men in thobes. From here

I thought all Arab men wear the same type of thobe, but the following illustration tells how to recognize the nationality of an Arab man through the thobe. Here's the men's version.

Found here

But wait, there's the women's version too!

From here

Do you have any favorite thobe from those enlisted above? From the men's version, I like the Saudi and Kuwaiti thobes, while from the women's version, I like the Palestinian and Turkish thobes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


A group of newlyweds participate in a parade following a mass wedding ceremony on the occasion of the distinctive date of 12/12/12 in Madukismo, Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday. The ceremony, held at 12:12 p.m., was participated in by 12 Indonesian couples and 12 foreign couples. (Antara/Regina Safri, found here)

A baby boy, born at 12 p.m., lies in an incubator in the nursery room of Bunda Hospital in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday. The hospital recorded 16 babies were born on Wednesday as many mothers chose to give birth on 12-12-12. (JP/Jerry Adiguna, taken from here)

Mix-And-Match Indonesian Fabrics

Found here. The source does not mention the name of the photographer, but I think it's by Ade Oyot.

 From here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yuna - Terukir di Bintang

The lyrics is in Melayu, but the music is universal. A perfect song for the rainy season :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snappy Come-Backs For The Unwanted "Where Do You Work?" Question

My friend @alfianidris does not like to give away detailed answers to strangers or judgmental snobby people. So when one of those people asked him,"Where do you work?", he came up with the following snappy come-backs.

Where do you work? | I don't work, I spend my parent's fortunes. #RichKidVersion

Where do you work? | A rich woman pays my bills. #GigoloVersion 

Where do you work? | Give me 10 minutes and I will explain it to you. No, it's not that kind of system that requires downliners. #MLMVersion

Where do you work? | I'm a dancer, sometimes wearing clothes, but other times...not #StripperVersion

Where do you work? | I'm sorry, I can't talk about that #SecretAgentVersion

If you meet a man who gives those answers for the "Where do you work?" question, then it must be him :P.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Have A Bright Weekend :)

Players in a Wayang Orang (Javanese traditional opera) perform at the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) theater on Tuesday night. The opera combines traditional themes, music played on traditional instruments and modern theatrical effects. (Antara/Zabur Karuru, source)

Hello friends, any plans for the weekend? I had two wedding events are on my agenda this weekend. Not really sure if I can attend both, though. But if that annoying question comes up, I'm ready with the witty answer :P.

Here are a few ideas for this weekend: 

-- Music Concert: Shah Rukh Khan Temptation Reloaded Live In Concert. Dec. 8. Sentul International Convention Center. Ticket prices start from Rp 500,000, available on (Yes, I'm a fan, but Rp 500,000 is too expensive! *sobbing in the corner and watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai on DVD instead*)

--  Music Festival: Until Dec. 14 at Jakarta Playhouse. This weekend>> Trio Sophie Alour on Dec. 7 and Shadow Puppet Quartet on Dec. 8.

-- Creative Industry Event: Indonesia Creative Week. Until Dec. 9. Epiwalk Rasuna Kuningan. Check the Facebook page here.

Have a lovely weekend, guys!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Let What Happened To My Grandma Happen To Yours

After posting the photos of me and my grandmas, I thought I'd share this story with you. My maternal grandma passed away last June. She was 90. Ok, so may be some of you who have been following this blog for quite some time have known the fact.

I haven't been able to talk about it because it still pains me to recount the reasons of her passing, which I find ridiculous. My parents and M's siblings have no knowledge on medical terms, so they let the doctors did everything without realizing that things could have been prevented. So I'm writing this post because what happened to Grandma should not happen to anyone's grandmother. 

Here's the story: Grandma fell off a becak (tricycle pedicab) and hurt her arm. On June 20, my uncle who lived with her admitted her to a hospital (I would not mention the name of the hospital, although anyone would have guessed it because Kebumen is a small city and does not have many hospitals). Grandma was hospitalized between June 20 and June 25. 

During her stay, the doctors found that she broke the bone between her wrist and elbow. The doctors decided to wrap her arm in cast, scheduled on June 25. Grandma was doing well during the hospital stay as she talked and cracked jokes with M and my uncles and aunties. Seeing that Grandma was well, M returned to Jakarta and left everything to her brothers.

On June 25 noon, the doctors rolled her to the operation room. Grandma was also told to fast 12 hours before the casting. I already felt suspicious when I heard it from M.Why did you put on the cast in an operation room and tell Grandma to fast? Casting is not some kind of operation or surgery that require fasting.

Three hours later, the hospital told my uncles that Grandma was in the ICU room and went into coma. It turned out that they gave her a total anesthetic to put the cast on! And nobody told M or her brothers that they would sedate her!

M went to Kebumen as soon as the news broke. And so did other uncles. I was going to depart for Kebumen on Friday night, but Grandma passed away on Wednesday, June 27 at around 9:45 a.m.

I told the story to BEE and he said,"I don't think you should give a total anesthetic to the elderly people because their heart may not be strong enough to hold the effect. It will look like euthanasia."

He also told me about his grandmother who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 60 years old. Considering her age, the doctor was against the operation and advised the family to let her have peaceful moments for her last days. 

I told M&D about BEE's comment and they both realized that they could prevent it. I mean we understand that life and death are already in Allah's plans for us so if Grandma should passed away on June 27 it would happen without the total anesthetic. But we regretted that Grandma lost her conscious before she passed away. She only broke her arm, she could have spend her last moments reciting Al Qur'an or at least talking to my uncles.

We also questioned the hospital's SOP that did not tell us about the total anesthetic and that it took them three hours to tell us that Grandma went into coma in the operation room. We have asked the hospital and even sent letter to newspapers about the incident. We didn't get the explanation we needed. Is it some kind of malpractice?

If you have relatives aged above 50-60 years old and should undergo treatments that include operation and anesthetic, I think you should look for second opinion and medication alternative.

Childhood Moments With My Grandmothers

With the topic of family and the elderly keep coming back to me for the last week, I thought I'd post photos of the much younger me with my grandmothers.

Me and my paternal grandma in her humble bedroom in Bandung

Ta-daa! A never-before-seen naked photo of myself. I was only a few days old and my maternal grandma came all the way from Kebumen to Jakarta to help taking care of me. I hope the FPI won't ban my blog due to this pornographic content :P

I miss you, Grandmas :')

P.S. Old photos of my grandparents, if you like to see.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Super Slow Me

My feet have been recovering quite fast, considering that I didn't take any foot massage and that I went to work two days after the incident. I couldn't walk without leaning on a wheeled chair on Day 1 (I felt like a baby holding onto a baby walker) and the next day I could walk by leaning on the wall. 

Last Wednesday, I decided to go to work because I got bored just staying at home. Besides, I could walk on my own, albeit in a slow motion mode. To be able to reach the office was a real milestone.

My left ankle is still a bit swollen so I've been walking very slowly with a limp. The pace has been improving from day to day. But for someone who is used to walking quickly, having to walk slowly is really a test of patience.

Below are some funny conversation I had with my colleagues, regarding the slow walking.

#1. Energy-Saving Mode
Daim: Hey, what happened to your feet?
Me: I fell from the stairs.
Daim: Look at the bright side, now you can go into an energy-saving mode. You can even gain more weight.
Me: -_-

#2. Full Steam Ahead!
Fith: Where do you keep the XXX file?
Me: It's there in your XXX folder.
Fith: Could you come over here and show it?
Me: Ok.
Five minutes later...(FYI, my cubicle and Fith's are facing each other, so in a normal walking speed, I'd be there in less than one minute)
Fith: (glancing over her shoulders) Are you here yet?
Me: I'm coming, I'm coming. I'm going full steam ahead!

#3. Slow Motion
Fem: I'm going out to buy lunch. Do you want to buy something?
Me: Let's go out together. I need to go to the ATM.
Fem: Ok, I need to go to toilet first.
Me: Perhaps I should leave now. With my current speed, you can still find me before the front door even if you're going to the toilet now.
Fem: I feel like I'm going with a grandma
Me: -_-

Monday, December 3, 2012

Indonesian Tea Diegesis

Hello my darlings! How was your weekend? Hope you had a great one. 

Last Sunday I went to another Underground Secret Dining event. This time it's about tea, to be precise the Indonesian tea.

The event took place at Dapur Solo restaurant on Jl. Panglima Polim I. There were 25 participants. We had lunch and could choose one dish out of five options. I chose Nasi Langgi and a new friend whom I shared table with had Nasi Pecel.

Nasi Langgi at Dapur Solo

Nasi Pecel

After lunch, we moved to the terrace, where a group of tables and chairs had waited with the souvenirs: a framed tea package and the samples of the tea. Since not everyone came, I peeked into each souvenir bag and picked Kepala Djenggot tea package souvenir. Kepala Djenggot means the bearded head, and since D has grown his beard I think he would love it:).

The souvenirs

   A tea addict photographs the tea samples

Preparing the tea

As we sat and had our cup of tea, Pak Bambang from Kedai Teh Laresolo (Laresolo tea shop) explained about the tea tradition, especially in Java island. He advised us to put the sugar rock into the cup before pouring in the tea, let it sit for a while and told us not to stir the tea.

"If the sugar has melted, you can drink the tea slowly. At first it will taste bitter, but when you reach the bottom of the tea cup you can taste the sugar. That's the life philosophy: the sweet result will come after the hard work," he said.

Then we had tuber-based snacks to accompany the tea. Ibu Ambar who is very passionate to develop cuisines and cakes from tubers came to the event and explained the good side of consuming tuber-based food.  


Cassava rainbow cake, it's 100 percent natural colors 

 Everything is made from the tubers

After enjoying the snack, we had the second round of tea tasting (yes, it's a very long event, but very fun, indeed). With Oza from Oza Premium Tea, we tried 16 samples of Indonesia's premium tea.

I found a few favorites from the tea tasting, but since I didn't plan to shop I only brought a few rupiahs. So no tea shopping (boohoo). Oh well, I already had so much for the day.