Thursday, January 31, 2013

Caricatures On Floods

The floods have receded (again), but a look at the caricature archives show that they have always been a part of the city. Below are several caricatures from Kompas daily, the biggest newspapers in Indonesia, each caricature is taken from different year.  

This is a twist from the Welcome Statue that is located in Hotel Indonesia traffic circle

Gong Xi Fa Chai (Happy Chinese New Year). Visit Jakarta Waterfront City

The man with the conical straw hat says: Relax, we're used to living without direction

The man says: Where is he taking Jakarta to?

You can find more caricatures here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chili-ed Ribs Served On Train-like Restaurants

Iga penyet (Ribs crushed with chili)

My colleague Fith and I were very curious about the Trick Art exhibition, which will last until Feb. 3, in Grand Indonesia. But when we arrived at the exhibition ground, we saw that the entrance ticket was expensive (Rp 75,000 for >23 year old on the weekend and it's a bit cheaper on the work days). 

Both of us decided to come again on work days and spent the money to eat (hahaha!), so we looked around and saw a cute restaurant with train-like interior Warung Leko, which specializes iga penyet (ribs crushed with chili).

Iga cabe ijo (green chili-ed ribs)

Teh tarik cincau and my colleague Fith

We're on our way to Brooklyn!

The ribs are very tasty and spicy. The rice portion was small, so we ordered another portion and divided it. We may be petite but we eat like a horse :D. Another minus point is the lack of wi-fi (Why Warung Leko? Why?).

It's always nice to try out restaurants:).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Photos Of Jakarta And Floods In The Past

Last Saturday, I went to Erasmus Huis to see the Mapping History exhibition, which showcases old photographs of Indonesia, either the infrastructure or daily life.

I was looking at the photos when lo and behold, I saw photos of Jakarta under the flood. The photos were probably taken between 1872 and early 1900, so floods has been a part of Jakarta for more than a century. 

Note that the Dutch people stand while the so-called inlanders sit on the boat. Even if the Indonesians stand next to the Dutch, they are of high class background. Maybe the Indonesians must sit to prevent the boat from capsizing, but why should the Dutch stand? :P

Unfortunately, I totally forgot to write down the credit and the information of the photos. But the exhibition is organized by KITLV and it will last until Feb. 15. You can still see them there:).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Les Miserables - A Hollywood Movie

A still of Les Miserables showing Valjean and Fantine

US | 2012 | 158 minutes | Director: Tom Hooper | Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and many more

I was not in my cheerful mood lately that I went and watched this Hollywood movie last weekend. I read some parts of this Victor Hugo's novel, so I knew that this 158-minute movie could be a great place to cry and weep in a dark room with other people.

The film tells the live of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man who serves 20 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. He breaks his parole and is chased by a determined police officer Javert (Russell Crowe).

He tries to steal silver from a kind bishop who gives him supper and shelter, but when the police catches him, the bishop defends him, making Valjean realize that he still has a second chance in life. And so he changes his name and manages to become a factory owner and a major. 

With the wealth he gains, he helps the poor, including taking Cosette (played by Isabel Allen and Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway) under his wing. Unfortunately, Javert is still on his tail. So Valjean and Cosette have to move from one town to another. And one day, they land in Paris, amidst the French Revolution Insurgent Barricade, where Cosette meets and falls in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a young rebel.

Updated: French Revolution took place in 1789, while this novel-adaptation film is set in 1832. Read more about the event that claimed hundreds of lives here.

A still of Les Miserables showing the insurgents during the rebellion

Will Javert be able to catch Valjean? Will Marius and Cosette be together? If you have read the book, then you'd know the answer. But if you, like me, haven't got a chance to read it, then this movie can save your time.

The movie won three Golden Globes and already pocketed eight nominations for Oscar, so there is no doubt of its qualities. However, I personally think that this movie is not for everybody.

Only those who are either history buffs, a fan of the book and musical fans (it's a sung-through film, with the actors singing all dialogs, just like opera) can survive the 158 minutes without sleeping. While I love the lyrics of I Dreamed A Dream, which Anne Hathaway sings, my favorite actor in this movie is Samantha Barks who plays Eponine. I think she really nails her role as a girl with unrequited love.

Eponine and Marius

Have you watched the movie? What do you think? For those who haven't watched it, don't forget your tissue/handkerchief.

Credit: photo top and middle are found at DailyMail and the bottom is from here

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Kind Of Süskind

Courtesy of Erasmus Huis

Hello, lovelies! This week flew fast, eh? Any plans for this weekend?

For those needing some entertainment, Erasmus Huis will hold a film screening for a Dutch film titled Süskind.

Story line: Walter Süskind was the head of the Dutch Theater, which the Nazis had designated a deportation center. However Süskind managed, in collaboration with the Amsterdam student resistance, to use this responsible position to prevent the deportation of a great number of people, among them hundreds of children.

For those wanting to learn more about the city, there is a discussion: Water Sensitive City,  Jan. 26, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Institut Francais Indonesia, Jl. Salemba Raya No. 25 Jakarta
Have a wonderful weekend:).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Would This Be The Future Means Of Transportation In Jakarta?

Not a jolly ride: A man evacuates his family from his flooded house in the upscale neighborhood of Pluit area of North Jakarta on Sunday using a jet ski. Flood waters in the area were up to one meter. (JP/Nurhayati, link)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 2013 Vacation Plan

This years has just run for about three weeks, and we'll have our first national holiday this Thursday! Do you plan to take a leave on Friday and have a long weekend? I don't. *panic*

But I have nothing to worry about. February will mark my fifth year with this organization, which means that apart from the 12 days of annual leave I'll be entitled to get 30 days of leave, or also known as the sabbatical leave. Muahahaha *devilish laugh*

Most companies in Indonesia give 12 days of leave, because that's what the Labor Law says. With 14 days of national holiday, most Indonesians only have 26 days of holiday in one year! If anyone ever dare to say Indonesians are lazy, they must be seeing things upside down.

A journo friend in Ghana says he has 60 days of leave in a year. If I'm not mistaken most European countries have around 3 months of holiday (and they usually take it during summer, CMIIW). Twelve days of leave is definitely not enough.

This is why most Indonesians take leave on the days between the weekend and the national holidays. We call it as Harpitnas or Hari Kejepit Nasional, a corrupted form from Harkitnas (National Awakening Day), which means the caught-in-between national day.

Don't even think of taking a road trip or book a train or flight a day before the Harpitnas, because the roads will be congested and tickets will be most likely sold out. This really shows how badly Indonesians need vacation time (Yes, Labor and Transmigration Minister, I'm looking at you now).

As you can see in the above picture, it's this year's calendar. The Harpitnas days are March 11, May 10, June 7, October 14 and November 4. Have you planned your vacation this year?

On the other hand, if you have a plan to visit Jakarta, one of the most congested cities on Earth, those will be the right time to visit, beside during Idul Fitri and Christmas, of course.

Happy vacation planning :).

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's Your MBTI Personality Type?

Hello, kind souls!

Just for fun, let's kick off this week by trying Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test. Click here for the mini version online.

According to the result, I'm an INFJ personality (whatever that means, hmm).

So you think I'm an INFJ, dear tree?

What's yours?

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Weekend To Stay Safe And Dry

Hey everyone, how were things going yesterday? I hope you managed to reach your destination safe and dry, because things got very wet and dirty in Jakarta yesterday.

Floodwaters inundate the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle area in Central Jakarta on Thursday. Several thoroughfares across the city were paralyzed by flooding. (Antara/Widodo S Jusuf, source)

The flood also reached the Presidential Palace.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa inspected parts of the Palace that got inundated on Thursday. Courtesy of Setpres/Anung, source. I wonder how Minister Marty would look like without his tie:).

The TransJakarta and KRL (electric train) had to stop operation due to the flooding. I could not leave home because the road outside my home was inundated, so I texted my boss and asked for a leave. Fith's home was inundated for 15 centimeter. Png, a new kid in the desk, could not reach office because the KRL from his home in Depok was halted. So my office was quite empty yesterday.

Hundreds of commuters are stranded at the Pasar Minggu station, South Jakarta, due to heavy rains pounding Jakarta on Thursday morning. Several stations like Sudirman in Central Jakarta and Tebet in South Jakarta and Kampung Bandan in the border of North Jakarta and Central Jakarta were inundated, causing the trains from Bogor to the city to stop at the Pasar Minggu station. 
(JP/Aries Saputra, source)

The National Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicted that the heavy rain would continue for at least the next few days. Stay dry, people.

If weather permits, here are several events that may interest you this weekend:

-- Festival: @Ameri-Con 2013. Jan 18-20. Comics, comic books, superheroes, movies, toys, seminars and cosplay contest. @america, level 3, Pacific Place. Free entrance, no registration.

-- Music performance: Salihara Jazz Buzz. Shadu rasjidi Band. Jan. 19. Teater Salihara, Jl. Salihara 16 Pasar Minggu at 8 p.m.

-- Exhibition: Mapping Jakarta. Until Feb. 15 at Erasmus Huis.

-- Art exhibition: A Melange of Vibrant, contemporary art from India. Jan 19-25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Center, Jl. Pandeglang 44 Menteng.

-- Film screening: Alfred Hitchcock's film screening on Jan. 18-19 at Bentara Budaya Jakarta.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Raptor Is Released

A Javan hawk-eagle perches on a branch of a tree after being released by the East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) near Alas Purwo National Park in East Java on Tuesday. The raptor's release is aimed at preserving the population of the endangered bird. (Antara/Seno S, source)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Seasonal Beauty On Postcards

Since we are currently in the rainy season, until at least April, here are several postcards from Postcrossing friends that brighten up the gray-skied days (The sun still makes an appearance for several hours, though. Oh, the joy of living in the tropics!).

Michelle from Vermont, the US sent me this lovely postcard on autumn.

A shot of Porto during (most likely) summer on a postcard mailed by Leticia from Portugal

 A postcard of a wooden bridge in Nha Trang, Vietnam from Chau in Saigon (or also known as Ho Chi Minh City) brings my memories close to home.

Muhammed, a student of a primary school near Paris, who writes that his favorite color is red (just like me!), picked this all-snowy postcard for me

A warm greeting with a snowy mountain postcard comes from Marlene in Detmold, Germany

 This cute bird postcard flies from the harsh winter in Darima's Russia to the warmth of my tropical country. 

And it comes with cute stamps! Now, I need to find the right method to peel the stamps from the postcards, because I had ruined two postcards from the Netherlands. If you know a good method, let me know please.

Thank you for the lovely postcards, my dearies. I love them all:).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five Centimeters Per Second - A Japanese Animation Movie

Japan | 2007 | 65 minutes | Director : Makoto Shinkai

Since I've posted 5cm yesterday, I figure I'll continue with another movie with similar centimeter size:). It's not playing in the major cinema chain, but a full HD version is available on YouTube.

The same question applies here: Why 'five centimeters'? Why not 'twenty-five'?

Five centimeters per second is the speed of a cherry blossom falling to the ground as the movie is opened with two friends, Takaki Tohno and Akari Shinohara, watching the cherry blossom. The movie consists of three parts: Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut and Five Centimeters Per Second, with each part centers on Takaki Tohno.

The first part tells about how Takaki and Akari met in elementary school. Both are transferred students and have allergies, so they spend time together in the library. Upon graduation, Akari moves to Tochigi, due to his parents' job. They still keep contact through letters (this part takes place when internet and cellphone have yet to become part of our lives).

Found at

But when Takaki learns that his family will move to Kagoshima, he decides to personally go see her. He also prepares a letter (most likely love letter) for her. Takaki has the train journey to Tochigi all planned down to the minutest detail. Unfortunately, a snowstorm delays his journey.

Tangent: State-owned commuter train operator in Jakarta and its greater areas (PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek) buys the Japanese used cars. If you ever use the electric train (KRL) in Jakarta, you can see the same cars in this animation movie.

The second part is narrated by Kanae Sumida, a friend of Takaki in senior high. She has a crush on him, but unfortunately he is not aware of her feelings. She often finds Takaki typing emails in his cellphone and decides to keep her feelings to herself.

The final part shows Takaki on the verge of breakdown while Akari prepares for her wedding. One day, Takaki and Akari pass each other at a train crossing, where they used to watch cherry blossom. Do they recognize the other one? Will Takaki marry Akari? Will I be able to try the Japanese train system one day? #ehh? #galaupangkattujuh

If there is a lesson I learned from this movie, it is about moving on.

Have a terrific Tuesday, people!

Monday, January 14, 2013

5cm - An Indonesian Movie

Indonesia | 2012 | 126 minutes | Director: Rizal Mantovani | Cast: Herjunot Ali, Fedi Nuril, Denny Sumargo, Raline Shah, Igor Saykoji

This movie is an adaptation from a book of the same title. I haven't read the book, which is probably a blessing in disguise because many Goodreads people review it as a boring book, and so I came to the cinema thinking that the movie is about Mt. Semeru.
Why did I think of that? Because of this...

The film poster is a bit misleading because 
(1) according to the film, you can't bring backpack to the summit because you need to have a good balance, and carrying a backpack is definitely not advised;
(2) there is no climbing rope in the film

Anyway, back to 5cm. What is 5cm about? Why 5cm? Why not 25cm?

It's titled 5cm because Donny Dhirgantoro, the book's author, wants everyone to hang our dreams five centimeters in front of our forehead. So we will always read the dreams and strive to achieve them.

The movie tells the friendship of five people: the leader Genta (played by Fedi Nuril), the poet Zafran (Herjunot Ali), the jock Arial (Denny Sumargo), the big guy Ian (Igor Saykoji) and the pretty Riani (Raline Shah). 

They have been friends for seven years and spend each weekend together. Most of the time, they hang out at Arial's place, eating singkong keju (cassava with cheese) while Zafran tries making a move on Arial's little sister Arinda (Pevita Pearce). Just like Zafran who keeps his love for Arinda inside of him, Genta also has a feeling for Riani.

One day, they decide to take a three-month break from each other and finish their own dreams and projects. For example, Ian works hard to graduate (he's the last among five who is still in the uni), while Arial shed his shyness and brave himself to ask a girl on a date.


After three months, they meet at Pasar Senen train station and hop on a train as Genta takes them to a Destination Unknown. Arial brings his little sister Arinda on the journey.
It turns out to be a trip to Mahameru summit of Mt. Semeru. At 3,676 meters above the sea level, Mt. Semeru is the highest peak in Java.

Several movie trivia:
(1) The director, Rizal Mantovani hiked Mt. Semeru four times in one year for the film. The first trip was to do small survey, the second was with a bigger team, then the shooting and last, getting more shot stocks.
(2) The crew spent 17 days to shoot on Mt. Semeru.
(3) All the actors were put under health insurance
(4) Actor and basketball athlete Denny Sumargo does push-up everyday in front of the tent during the shooting on Mt. Semeru (according to Pevita Peace's tweets)

It is a difficult trip for everyone in the group. After all, it is an active volcano. But each people learn something from the hike. So what about the relationship between them? Will Genta be able to express his feelings to Riani? Will Zafran and Arinda be a couple? Will I get married by the end of the year? #ehh? #galaupangkatlima

Apart from depicting the relationship between the five people, the film does a good work at portraying the beauty of Mt. Semeru. The views are majestically breathtaking. Expect to see green peaks, yellowish savanna, blue lakes and cloud-like fog that wraps the mountain.

Mt. Semeru is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. I've been to Mt. Bromo, but never been to Mt. Semeu (I am aware of my own limits). So watching the film gives the Mt. Semeru virgins like me on how to reach the summit.

While the film has a standard theme, mediocre acting and sometimes over-dramatized dialogs, it sure reminds me that Indonesia is a beautiful country.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have A Colorful Weekend!

Source: National Geographic

We may be having a rainy day, but it's not a reason to be lacking from cultural events. Here are several events you may find interesting this weekend:

-- Salihara Jazz Buzz. Balawan & Didiet. Jan 12 at 8 p.m. For more info, check
-- Shadow puppets plays Duke Ellington. Jan 13 at 5-7 p.m. at @america, level 3 Pacific Place.
-- Animal Instinct. Until Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Galeri Cipta III Taman Ismail Marzuki
-- Book Fair. Until Jan. 13 at Istora Senayan

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Playing Tangram

I cleaned up my room and threw away things I didn't use when I found this tangram. I've forgotten that I had it! Have you ever played tangram?

Tangram is a kind of geometric puzzle, usually consisting of seven flat pieces (but mine has eight pieces). It was originally invented in China, and then trading ships from Europe carried it to the blue continent in the 19 century.

The purpose of the game is to form a shape/figure made from all the pieces.

Numero uno!

Then I decided to make Little Red Riding Hood story with tangram. Here are my interpretation of the European fairy tale:).

Once upon a time there is a girl called Little Red Riding Hood, who delivers food for her sick grandmother.

She has to walk through woods, peaks and trough to reach her grandmother's house

A big bad wolf approaches the girl and advises her to pick flowers for the grandmother.

So she picks some flowers.

In the meantime, the wolf goes to the grandmother.

And the wolf swallows her whole. He waits for the girl to come and swallows her up too. Then he falls asleep.

A lumberjack hears the screaming and comes to the rescue (In case you can't see it, I mean to make a man on a horse).

He runs into the house

And cuts open the wolf to save grandmother and the girl

And then the lumberjack, the grandmother and the girl all have afternoon tea in the house. The end:).

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fun Feasts With Friends

Hello, kind people!

I looked into my camera's memory card and found several photos of last year that I haven't posted yet. So while waiting for more exciting food-related event, I want to replay these happy moments here.

-- I got a dinner invitation from Turkuaz Turkish restaurant under the "Turkey Christmas Dinner a la Turkey" theme. When I first read it, I did a double take and thought: wait a minute? so the turkey cooks its own kind? but how? :P

Anyway, the dinner went great. Here are several photos I took.

Chef Sezai Zorlu cut the turkey

Turkish dinner. I couldn't photo all of the food because everyone already crammed around the table.



Belly dance after the dinner

-- Then I got myself several vouchers on Sushi Groove and invited my high school friend and sushi enthusiast Diana to help me with the sushi. The lunch took place on Dec. 22, it's definitely a Women's Day treat for both of us:)

Happiness is seeing a sushi spread before you:)

 And sharing it with your sushi-eating friend:))

Now that I've posted the photos, I need to have a proper lunch. Hmm.