Friday, June 28, 2013

Have A Peaceful Weekend

Traditional Betawi ondel-ondel were awaiting rental in Kemayoran on June 12, 2013. The giant puppets are in demand ahead of the city’s 486th anniversary, when they will enliven celebrations at malls and other public places. (Photographer: Safir Makki, link).

Hello lovelies, how was your week? This week went surprisingly quite peaceful after the fuel price hike. In the past, such event would see more demonstrations. Phew!

If you haven't gotten the slightest idea on what to do this weekend, here are some events that may interest you:

-- Musical Drama: Ariah. June 28-30. Monas. 7 p.m. Hotline: 0812 81814042, 0812 12214136
-- Musical Drama: Timun Mas. June 29-30. Istora Senayan. Tickets:
-- Movie Screening: Cool Kids Don't Cry. June 29. 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Erasmus Huis.
-- Movie Screening: Jakarta Dalam Teropong. June 28-29. Bentara Budaya Jakarta. Check the schedule here.
-- Film Festival: Korean Film Festival. Until June 30. Blitz Megaplex Pacific Place. Check schedule here 

P.S. I plan to leave Java island tonight for some sea and sun retreat and shall return Sunday night. Hope you have a good one :).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pondok Djaja

There are many Padang food restaurants in the city, but Pondok Djaja stands out because it serves Padang food with a touch of Chinese cuisine.

The restaurant has opened its doors since 1969. In the past, it was located on Jl. Hayam Wuruk. It recently moved to a new premises on Jl. Hasyim Ashari because the Jakarta administration issued a regulation that banned parking along Jl. Hayam Wuruk.

How to get there: if you take TransJakarta bus like I did, hop off at Harmoni Central Busway and take the right turn to Duta Merlin upon exiting. Then walk towards Jl. Gajah Mada, but don't worry about walking too far, on the first intersection  you will find Jl. Hasyim Ashari on the left. Turn left and walk for several dozens meters. You will find Kantor Pajak Pratama Gambir on the right, and Pondok Djaja is just across the building.

I came a few minutes before 11 a.m. (the opening hour) and the restaurant was quite vacant until 15 minutes later.  Three customers asked an elderly man (perhaps the owner?) why they were not ready yet. He said that the persons in charge were stuck in a traffic jam nearby, adding that they live in Jl. Kemakmuran. When those people arrived with the food, customers lined up and ordered dozens of packages for take aways.

Enjoying the quiet moment at the restaurant before the chaos strike

The waiter serves the foods in small bowls and it will be very hard to choose just one. They all look delicious! However, I've checked the Internet prior to my visit and many bloggers recommend rendang (beef stew) and ayam kampung goreng (fried free-range chicken), and so I picked those.

The rendang is sweet and tender with black sauce, it's very different from the usual rendang at the Padang food vendor near my office, but it may be what makes this eatery survives for decades. The chicken is quite small but the flavor makes up the size. I forgot to ask the prices of each food, but for a plate of rice, one piece of rendang, one piece of chicken and a glass of orange juice I paid Rp 56,000. It's a bit out of the budget for me, but we don't celebrate Jakarta's anniversary every day :).

This is the last post on Jakarta's surviving restaurants. Perhaps I'll make another round next year :).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Up In The Haze

Thick haze: A tourist poses for a photo in front of Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers obscured in haze in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on June 24. Malaysian authorities declared a state of emergency Sunday in a southern district where a smoky haze blamed on Indonesian forest fires has triggered one of the country's worst pollution levels in years. (AP/Vincent Thian, link)

 Blowing in the wind: Officials from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reveal a satellite view showing smoke from forest fires in Sumatra blowing eastward to southern Malaysia and Singapore on June 20. Haze from fires in Riau blanketing Singapore could persist for weeks or longer, Singapore’s prime minister has warned. (Reuters/NASA, source)

Just stop the blame game and help put out the fire, shall we?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gado-Gado Bonbin

Gado-gado, which consists of mixed boiled vegetables served with the peanut sauce, lontong (rice cake) and kerupuk (cassava chips), may be the right dish to represent the melting pot that is Jakarta. When it comes to gado-gado, one of the oldest eateries serving the dish is Gado-gado Bonbin.

Gado-gado Bonbin got its name because there used to be a kebon binatang (zoo). As I said before, we love acronyms, hence kebon binatang becomes bonbin. Located on Jl. Cikini IV No. 5, the eatery has occupied the humble place since 1960. The road is right in front of Laba-Laba bag repair shop on Jl. Cikini Raya.

In its early years, the warung only sold es cendol, but then owner Lanny Wijaya added gado-gado to the menu. Gado-gado Bonbin opens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

The chili on the side is seriously spicy

I made a mistake by going on the first gado-gado vendor. I tried that one because I was too hungry and didn't read the signage. It's quite delicious too but I still vote the real Gado-gado Bonbin over this one.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Dark Is Might

If you want to know the beauty standard here, just read women's magazines or watch TV and you'd find that most women featured there are fair-skinned. I was born a copper-skinned baby, as M once told me, and so after decades trying to make my skin one notch fairer (from using whitening lotion to wearing long-sleeved shirts and umbrella), I have come to terms that I'll never be Snow White. 

But hey, who says that people with darker skin tone are not beautiful? Just take a look at these Indonesian models :).

 Kimmy Jayanti. Found here

Laura Muljadi by Bona Soetirto for JAX Magazine. From here

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy 486th Anniversary, Jakarta!

A lithography work by Ken Pattern. Taken at Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta

Hello, my lovelies! Jakarta is celebrating its anniversary tomorrow. Any fun plan this weekend? If you haven't had the slightest idea, here are several events that may interest you :).

-- Exhibition: JakCloth 2013, June 20-23, Parkir Timur Senayan
-- Screening: German Cinema Film Festival. June 20-29. Blitzmegaplex Grand Indonesia. Find schedule here
-- Screening: Il Miracolo. Istituto Italiano di Cultura Cine Club. June 22, 4 p.m.
-- Music Performance: Naive New Beaters. June 22. 8 p.m. Rolling Stone Live Venue.
-- Festival: Jakarta Anniversary Festival XI. Until June 23. Gedung Kesenian Jakarta

I hope you have a good one :).

P.S. I was going to post the other long-time eateries in Jakarta, but I haven't got the time to go to the places to take the pictures. I could have posted the photos from other people's blogs (and mention the credit, of course), but the satisfaction would not be the same. I plan to do it over the weekend so please bear with me until next week. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tan Ek Tjoan

First opening its doors in 1921 in Bogor, the bakery was founded by the late Tan Ek Tjoan, a Chinese Indonesian entrepreneur. In 1953, his son Tan Kim Ham opened the second bakery on Jl. Cikini Raya No. 61. Both outlets have survived to this day.

The bakery produces around 10,000 every day, most of them are sold by vendors with bread wagons and the rest are sold on the shop. 

Roti gambang

One of the special breads in Tan Ek Tjoan is roti gambang, a sweet brownish bread sprinkled with sesame seeds, priced at Rp 5,000. Definitely a must try.

Roti nogat

The breads are priced between Rp 5,000 and Rp 5,500, the traditional snacks, such as lemper and lontong are around Rp 3,000, while the cakes are around Rp 100,000 each. If you are on a budget, the shelves near the cashier offer discounted items. The girl behind the counter said that the products were on discount because they were in a bad shape, but they were produced that day. So I bought one chocolate bread for Rp 2,000, and it was as delicious as the good-shaped ones.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When Tear Gas Was Fired

Smoked out: A student protester runs to escape tear gas fired by police to disburse a demonstration opposing the planned fuel price hike in front of the House of Representatives building in Jakarta on Monday. JP/Jerry Adiguna (link)

Yesterday was definitely not the best day to start the week. It was raining in the morning, followed by horrendous traffic congestion. But the worst had yet to come until dark.

The police had fired tear gas to disperse UKI students who were protesting the fuel price hike, but they might be forgetting the fact that there was Cawang UKI TransJakarta bus stop in front of the university, where many innocent bystanders waited for the bus.

I hopped off the bus, was aware of the police along the road but was not ready to face the tear gas. Within seconds, me and everyone else at the bus stop were literally crying our eyes out. My eyes and nose were runny and it was difficult to breathe. 

Damn, it was painful! I thought tear gas was only used in the 1990s? Has Jakarta become some kind of war zone? Please stop the use of tear gas!

Someone handed me a toothpaste tube and told me to smear it under my eyes. It cooled my eyes but didn't help much to ease the breathing difficulties. Running along the busway bridge looking like a Comanche warrior, I got on a mikrolet (public minivan) and asked the driver (I didn't know how he could survive there, waiting for passengers) to quickly drive away from the scene. Fortunately, he obliged. 

Once I arrived home, I washed my face, hand and feet with cold water. Taking the wudu (ablution) helped ease the pain in my nostrils. It took some time to feel better again and fell asleep. If you have any tips to avoid tear gas effect, feel free to share on the comment box.

Hope you guys had a safe ride to home last night.

Ragusa Italian Ice Cream

With June is the anniversary month of Jakarta, I've been thinking to make Jakarta-related posts. I don't want to make the history-loaded posts, so I'll just tell you about the eateries that have been around in the city for quite some time.

First of all, this ice cream fan wants to scream about Ragusa :).

Ragusa is an Italian ice cream shop located at Jl. Veteran I No. 20. It was established in 1932 by Italian brothers Luigi and Vincenzo Ragusa, who first came to Indonesia to learn tailoring skills. One day they visited a cattle farm in Bandung, which produced high quality milk.

They offered the farm owner to process the milk to ice cream and the farm owner agreed. The ice cream shop, which was located at Bandung's Postway Boulevard (now Jl. Naripan) was a success that the brothers decided to open a booth during Jakarta Fair between 1932 and 1946. In 1947, they opened the shop on Jl. Veteran I.

In 1972, the brothers wanted to return to Italy for good. So they gave the shop to Sias Mawarni, the wife of a Ragusa employee, for free. Whoa!

Opens from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day, Ragusa only has ice creams on the menu. I went to this ice cream shop several times and ordered different kinds of ice cream on each visit (talking about dedication :) ).

Spaghetti Ice Cream

Cassata Siciliana

There are food vendors outside of this shop selling otak-otak, sate ayam and asinan. And the best thing is we can eat them in the shop and close the meal with a bowl of ice cream.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fragments Of Djarum Indonesia Open 2013

We bought the tickets via and traded the e-mail confirmation with the real tickets at Istora Senayan badminton stadium.

The ticket price was Rp 75,000 for a seat on the second class for the semifinal, and we got to watch 10 matches. We chose to watch the semifinal as it had more matches than the final, hohoho.

Outside the entrance

Men's Single semifinal: Indonesian shuttler Tommy Sugiarto vs Marc Zwiebler of Germany.

As I said last week, I watched the semifinal of Djarum Indonesia Open. I brought Merah to the stadium and was quite impressed with the result despite using only the kit lens and sitting on the second class row. I'm sure the photos would come out better had I used the telephoto lens and bought the VIP tickets :P.

Badminton has become a part of Indonesian culture. You can go to the small villages and see Indonesians, from kids to the seniors or from elementary students to professors, playing this sport. It's the people's game and the best part of watching a live game is we can make loud noises to support the players, unlike tennis that should be watched quietly.   

Women's Single semifinal: German shuttler Juliane Schenk vs. Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal

This Women's Single was probably the most dramatic match that day. On the first game, world no. 2 Nehwal was behind Schenk with 4-11, but then she managed to catch up and even beat Schenk with 21-12. However, the German did not give up easily and won the next two games with 21-13 and 21-14.

That's what I call the champion's spirit. The audience could feel Schenk's spirit too, so they yelled her name to support her. 

All Korean semifinal for Men's Double: Lee Yong-dae/Ko Sung Hyun vs Shin Baek Choel/Yoo Yeon Seong

All matches featuring Indonesian shuttlers were scheduled earlier on the afternoon. But we stayed until the end because we wanted to watch Korean shuttler Lee Yong-dae (said the fangirl). We're not the only one. Many female spectators already yelled his name during the Women's Single match between Chinese Li Xierui and Chinese Hongkong Yip Pui Yin.

Several years ago in this competition, Lee Yong-dae played for Men's Double and Mixed Double on the same day and there was no match in between them. So while waiting for the next match, he should be getting massage and other health booster treatment, shouldn't he? Wrong. He pulled out a DSLR camera and shot the audience with it. What kind of ginseng does he eat?

He was not famous yet back then. But there is one thing about Indonesian spectators he didn't know: we remember good athlete and appreciate good match. If the athlete does some antics, then we'll remember him/her even more. 

I think Lee Yong-dae was a bit shy with the Indonesian fans. He did not dare to face the audience and only showed us his back *gives a back hug* During the match, a man yelled,"Lee Yong-dae, saranghae!" Hahaha, that was even more awkward. If a woman yelled those words, he could have yelled back,"Nado!" #eaa.

Anyway, how was your weekend?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Badminton, Ballet And Betawi Folktale On Theater

Doing the Danes: Tontowi Ahmad (left) high-fives his partner Liliyana Natsir in their match against Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark at Djarum Indonesia Open badminton championship in Jakarta on Tuesday. The Indonesian pair advanced to second round. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama, source)

What are you up to this weekend? I plan to go watch Djarum Indonesia Open with Cousin Dina and friends (already bought the tickets few weeks ago).

Other interesting events this weekend are:
-- Theater: Nyai Dasima. June 15. 8 p.m. Gedung Kesenian Jakarta.
-- Ballet Performance: Delighted Moment with Ade Rayanti. June 15.  8 p.m. Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki.

Have a spectacular weekend, guys!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

You Only Live Once

Found here

Got a kind reminder that Ramadan is coming, so I thought I'd pass the message here. Have a terrific Thursday :).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Leap Of Faith

Man in the sky: A Malaysian soldier jumps out of a plane above Medan, North Sumatra, on Monday during a joint Malaysia-Indonesia military exercise. Indonesian soldiers and their Malaysian counterparts took part in the exercise, which was designed to help fight against terrorism and maintain stability in the region. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi, source)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Currently Reading This...

Png, a colleague, lent me this book when he heard I like biology and all that geeks (ha!). It is actually a compilation of essays on natural history. The topics range from  the sexual cannibalism to Prophet Adam's navel (it is seriously scientific, trust me!), written in a casual style so it's not Latin term-loaded stuff. I have yet to finish the book (because I'm still glued on to the final five episodes of Faith K-drama, hahaha), but so far I'm hooked. Thank you, Png!

Do you have any good book recommendation?

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Latest K-Drama Addiction

Have you ever experienced some kind of addiction that leave you with bleary eyes and zombie-like state? Mine is the K-drama DVD marathon event I held every weekend.

Once I watch the first episode, there's no stopping it until I go through all the episodes. The good thing is most K-dramas are between 16 and 26 episodes. If they ramble for hundreds of episodes like Indonesian soap operas, I don't think I could survive for long.

I get the K-drama DVD supplies from Cousin Dina, who also gets them from her friend. Since one K-drama can be quite long (between 16 and 24 episodes), strong sisterhood is needed to ensure the K-drama supply continues while the bank account has the healthy balance at the end of t the month. K-drama fans unite!

Here are three K-dramas that I've been and am currently watching at the moment:

-- 49 Days
Photo found here

This 2011 K-drama by SBS tells about the gullible Shin Ji-hyun (Nam Gyu-ri) who experiences a car accident a week before her wedding to Kang Min Ho (Bae Soo-bin). When she regains consciousness, she sees her body being wheeled into the hospital and she can not enter her own body. 

She makes a deal with Scheduler aka Reaper (Jung Il-woo) to undergo a 49-day period to collect three drops of genuine tears from people who do not have blood relation to her. She innocently said,"How hard is it to collect three tears? Kang Min Ho will definitely cry for me and so do Shin In Jung (Seo Ji-hye) and Park Seo Woo (Bae Geu Rin)." 

Little did she know that the 49 days will show that her life is not perfect and that it is difficult to find people who truly love her. One thing for sure, have your tissue at hand because this is one drama that will make the waterworks going. Also, be ready for the unexpected ending.

My favorite character in this K-drama is the Scheduler. Jung Il-woo is not that handsome (this is just my opinion, peace out for all JIW fans out there), but he has that cool attitude for a Scheduler who rides racing motorcycles, plays angst-loaded songs on his guitar and wear Beats by Dr. Dre headphones:).

While this fantasy-soul theme is not my cup of tea, this K-drama gets me wondering if there are three people apart from my parents and extended families out there who will cry genuine tears if I die one day. Have I made myself useful for others that they will feel a great loss after my passing? Hmm, I must be getting old that I think too much about this drama :P.

-- I Do, I Do
Found here

The 2012 drama plot goes like this: successful shoe designer Hwang Ji-an (Kim Sun-ah), who is in her late 30s, has to re-set her priorities when she accidentally gets knocked up by 20-something Park Tae-kang (Lee Jang-woo).

While she tries to cope with her situation, she must deal with the fact that she can't marry Jo Eun Sung (Park Gun Hyung), the guy that her parents set up to meet on a blind date (also the first guy she ever likes) and face the opposition from rival Yeom Na-ri (Im Soo Hyang) who wants to overthrow her.

I've watched My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, also starred by Kim Sun-ah, so I know that the actress will give great acting. She manages to portray the level-headed Ji-an, while Lee Jang-woo is cute to play the spontaneous guy. Oh well, I may be a bit bias here for I always have a soft spot for drama that applies the younger guy-older girl formula :).

-- Faith (The Great Doctor)
Photo from here

This 2012 drama mixes history-fantasy-medical into one. It's about 29-year-old Choi Young (Lee Min-ho), the king's bodyguard, who goes through the Heaven's Door to find the Great Doctor Eui Seon/Yoo Eun Soo (Kim Hee Sun) to cure the queen. The door is actually a time portal that connects the Goryeo period and the modern day Korea.

I'm currently on episode 19 of 24 and am still not really sure if I like it. The Korean history is already interesting, why would they add time-traveling issue into it? Anyway, I watch sageuk (Korean historical drama) because I like the costumes :). I'm not a fan of Lee Min-ho, but with the long hair, the sword and the robe (be still my heart), he looks much better.

What's your current addiction? Do you have any favorite K-drama that you follow at the moment? May I borrow them? :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have A Sporty Weekend :)

Photo from twicsy
After having Thursday off, what can be more annoying than going to the office on Friday? Hmm, the thoughts of facing traffic this evening due to the Garuda vs Oranje football match? Oh yes, it's happening tonight! But wait, why don't I give you the list of events for the weekend since it's Friday anyway :).

-- Sport Event:  Garuda vs Oranje. FIFA International Match Day. June 7. Gelora Bung Karno Jakarta.
-- Contemporary Circus: Chabatz d'Entrar, June 7, 7 p.m., Festival Monas, Silang Monas Central Jakarta. Free.
--Music Concert: Richard Clayderman. June 7. Nusa Indah Theatre, Balai Kartini.
-- Culture Festival: Festival Palang Pintu VIII & Gelar Budaya 2013. June 8-9. Jl. Kemang Raya, South Jakarta
Have a sporty weekend, my lovelies!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Orangutan Baby on The Block

New kid on the block: A female orangutan named Ucok, 13, carries her 2-week-old baby,  Mungil, at the Wildlife Rescue Center in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, on May 30. Mungil has been adopted by an unnamed donor who will bear her livingcosts at the center. (Antara/Regina Safri, source)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Is This A Small Step To Integrated E-Tickets?

Passengers show their new electronic tickets at Tanah Abang station in Central Jakarta. Jakarta train operator PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek started electronic ticketing on May 31. The new system should decrease the number of fare dodgers. (Warta Kota/Angga Bhagya Nugraha, link)

I love it when transportation companies race against each other to catch up with the latest technology and provide better services for its customers. After TransJakarta introduced the e-ticketing system, PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek released its new e-tickets.

While there are many glitches in the new system, such as it being a single trip ticket (why PT KAI? WHY???), it's already a good sign that the company is switching to e-ticket (just think about those used paper tickets that people throw away). 

Train is the means of transportation with the largest customers and they come from various background, from students to office workers to homemakers to the elderly. Therefore, the familiarization process faces more resistance and takes longer time than TransJakarta, whose main users are students and office workers.

I hope PT KAI will fix the problems soon, and who knows perhaps we can have one card that can be used for the train and TransJakarta in a not-so-distant future. Meanwhile, I need to find a bigger wallet to keep these cards.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Another Reunion Event

Last Friday, I went to a small reunion gathering with former colleagues of the first media I worked at. The newspapers in question was re-launched in 2004 (it was an old time newspapers that was given a new life, I don't think I need to mention the name here) and then had to be closed down again in June 2005.

Many of us has worked in other media, while some have moved on to work in other fields, such as university lecturers, insurance company employees or lawyers. We have been having this kind of reunion since three years ago, thanks to one of the successful colleagues who is willing to pay the bill :).

After all these years, we still like to joke around and tease each others just like the old times. Here are several snippets from the event:

#1. Just to Make Sure, part 1
Situation: on the way to the meeting point (a restaurant on Jl. Sabang).
Len:  Tif, this event is a treat from Pak Agung, right?
Tif: Well, he's the main sponsor of the last two reunions. And you know that there would never be a gathering without a sponsor.
Len: Oh that's true.

#2. Just To Make Sure, part 2
Situation: The men had yet to order any food when we (read: the women) arrived
Mcd: Why haven't you guys order something?
Iam: Oh, we're waiting for Mat to come first. It's on him, right?
Mcd:  Nothing changes, really
#3. Health Matters
Situation: a waiter approached our table
Waiter: Are you ready to order?
Drb: Yes, I'd like to have one starfruit juice, please.
Tif: Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol level? (They say starfruit juice is good for those ailments. -Ed)
Drb: Errr, not really. I just want to take care of my health in general.
Tif: Hmm, okay. I'd like one strawberry smoothies.
Waiter: And for the dish?
Drb: Grilled squid
Tif: *face to palm, forehead to table*

#4. The Kids Are Alright (What About Us?)
Situation: I was talking to Drb about his family, Tem and Mcd were sitting nearby
Tif: How is Badai (his son, the name means Rainstorm, because he was born during a rainstorm) doing?
Drb: Oh he's good, I'm about to be a father-in-law soon.
Tem: Oh no, what about us? We haven't even married yet!
Tif, Drb and Mcd: -_-

I'm so glad I worked with these funny people for every reunion meeting always brings smiles to my face :).