Monday, August 25, 2014

Hopping To Harapan Island, Kepulauan Seribu Regency

As I've told you before, I went to Harapan Island with several colleagues to do a site survey for the Coral Reef Adoption program. Here are some pictures that we took during the trip.

Wooden boats in Harapan Island. Photo by JHP

A bit of background: Jakarta has five municipalities (Central Jakarta, East Jakarta, West Jakarta, North Jakarta and South Jakarta) and a regency (Kepulauan Seribu). Kepulauan Seribu regency is a chain of islands located to the north of Jakarta's coast, consisting of around 110 islands. Kepulauan Seribu means Thousands Islands.

The fast boats we're using to reach Harapan Island. Photo by JHP

Getting there: You can take the wooden boat ride from Muara Angke port or the fast boat from Marina Ancol port. As a person with terrible motion sickness and seasickness problem, I'd definitely recommend the Marina Ancol port.  

Boat-makers at work.

Best time to visit: It's better to come on workdays because the island will be packed during weekends. Also, it's better to visit during the February-August because the waves will be higher and rougher after September.

Some of the homestays.

Accommodation: Don't expect fancy hotels. Most accommodations in the island are either homestay or hostel. There is no bed, mattresses are laid on the floor.

Things to Do: All kinds of water sports. Snorkeling, diving, swimming. Or you can do more island hopping:)  

This bench in Bulat Island seems waiting for a couple to sit on it :). 

Food and Drink: During our stay the homestay owners cook for us. There are small eateries near he port. We also found a fritter vendor near the port.

Cellphone signal: As a user of Indosat and Smartfren and the signal avoider, I can happily report that the signal is not well-received there. I really had a pleasant stay sans mind distraction.

Yours truly in the middle of a mangrove patch.

Have you ever visited Kepulauan Seribu? Harapan Island is not the first island in Kepulauan Seribu regency that I visited. When I was in high school, I went to Rambut Island for nature and biodiversity observation. In 2012, I took my Advance diving certificate in Sepa Island. I'd love to complete the island hopping across Kepulauan Seribu's 100+ islands one day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August Rush (Not A Movie Review)

That idea on Free Writing? It's a good one, but apparently I've picked the wrong time to do that because August is such a busy month. 

Female boss suddenly had an idea to hold an international meeting on NAMAs next month, while I still have to ensure budget disbursement for the Q3 2014. Preparation meetings have never felt this painful. We only have less than a month for the event! Yikes! 

Have I told you that this year I'm responsible to disburse a budget of around Rp 2 billion? That's right. You're looking at reading a billionaire's blogs :D.

I have to do a site survey for an event this Friday to Harapan Island, Kepulauan Seribu Regency, North Jakarta. Then I'll have a meeting from Sunday to Tuesday morning to discuss budget revision and 2015 budget plan. Wednesday-Thursday will see me on Harapan Island again for the Coral Reef Adoption event. 

I also have to take care of a media fellowship program, two batches of advertorials, several site visits and other procurements (insert Edvard Munch's Scream painting here). All these activities are very exhausting physically and mentally. But I'm trying to see this as a learning curve.

Despite the busy schedule, I'm trying to stay committed to this Free Writing program. I carry a notebook (the one made from paper, not the electronic gadget) so I can write anytime, anywhere. Even though I'm not posting on the designated days, I've amassed the materials and will soon post it when I get a chance to log on to the Internet.

So how is your August so far? :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On Saying Feelings Out Loud

If you have a crush on someone, do you convey your feelings to him/her? 

Growing up as a shy girl, I've never said them out loud. If I ever like a guy, I would just keep those feelings to myself. I would be one of those quiet girls who watch from afar, but never have the guts to make the first move. I don't think I would ever have the guts to do such bravado.

I thought this shy trait is something that only Asians have, but my trips to China and South Korea proved me wrong. Asian girls can be bold too.

In 2008 I was visiting Beijing, China, with a group of journalists, three women and three men. One of the journalists was a tall, a bit muscular, dark-skinned, moustachioed man. During the trip, we joked about the type of man/woman we like. Upon hearing the conversation topic, the tour guide, a tall Chinese lady, said loudly,"I like the man sitting in the back of this bus."

We all looked at the man. The man, who was already married, was surprised with the declaration. Trying to hide his shock, he looked to his back, as if there was another person sitting behind him. The tour guide shouted and pointed at him,"It's you that I'm talking about. You!" #Eaaa

Similar situation happened in South Korea. I went to this cafe, which only had male waitstaffs. One of the waiters was a tall bespectacled Korean guy. He's not really that good looking, but eyeglasses are my kryptonite (ha!). I jokingly said to Seul-ki, a Korean friend, that the waiter was cute. 

Guess what? She approached the waiter and asked if he would like to take a picture with me because I thought he was cute. I just wanted to die right there. The guy was kind enough to take a picture with me (said picture would not be published, at least not now), but the situation got a bit awkward afterwards.

Now that I'm already in my 30s, I've been trying to thicken my skin a bit. I composed pick up lines (you can read those failed attempts here). Then I practiced to drop the lines without batting an eyelash (it was even more difficult). Perhaps it would take another 30 years for me to become bolder, but one thing for sure: I would try to be the voice that I am.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Think I Need A Smartphone Detox

I've just owned a smartphone in less than a year, but I must say that it does me more harm than good. There are a lot of benefits in smartphone ownership, but this post will only focus on the negative sides.

First of all, now I could access Internet, colleagues and bosses would send me text messages and emails (read: work) even in the weekends. Gaaahhh. Gone are my peaceful weekends and happy idle moments in the public transportation.

Then there is this constant mind distraction. Every time the phone rings I would fish it from the abyss that is my bag, thinking that it is an important email from the office, only to find that it's just another newsletter from a random company. Cousin Dina told me to assign different ringtone for different apps, but I don't think my brain can remember which ringtone is for which apps.

There were moments when I got lost in the socmed and then forgot to hop off the train or the elevator. That was annoying, I had to go back one station or, in the case of elevator, I went straight back to the ground floor and then waited again to be transported to the 20th floor.

Last week, I just noticed that the woman standing nearby was my former colleague only a few minutes before I hopped off the TransJakarta. I didn't see her because of the obvious reason: I kept looking at my smartphone. But then, she was too.

I don't remember what it was like to just board the public transport, chat with other fellow passenger or secretly observe other passengers, instead of looking at the smartphone. Life was a lot simpler before the smartphone.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monkey Selfie Revisited

Photographer David Slater (center) tried to coax the monkeys to return his camera. Source

Remember this monkey selfie? David Slater, the photographer (or perhaps, in this case, the camera owner) had asked web-based encyclopaedia Wikipedia to remove the photos from the web's page on Macaca nigra (the crested black macaque).

Slater had set up the camera and timer when the monkeys snatched the camera. One of the monkeys pressed the shutter button and the whirring sound of the timer attracted their attention.

Wikipedia said that although the photos were taken on the photographer's camera, Slater did not own the copyrights because he did not take the photos.

Can a monkey own copyrights or can a human claim copyrights on the selfie? What do you think?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Have A Lovely Weekend

Cultural heritage: A group of Dani youngsters perform a traditional dance during the opening ceremony of the 25th Baliem Valley Cultural Festival in Wosilimo District, Jayawijaya, Papua, on Thursday. The annual festival, which will run until Saturday, is aimed at preserving the rich local culture. (Antara/Iwan Adisaputra, link)
I think this August will be a month of social functions and activities as I've already received three invitations to weddings and at least two requests for halal bi halal (post-Idul Fitri gathering). I could just imagine the question flying above my extended family's heads.
If you don't have any schedule this week, then consider you're lucky to have a quiet weekend. You can take time to explore the new restaurants J-town has to offer, some are featured here. Except this event at @america, I don't find a lot of events on the cultural centers, it is very likely that they are still in holiday.

Have a lovely weekend, y'all :).

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Brouhaha On Indonesian Election. Is It Over Yet?

I didin't have time to blog much about the presidential election that took place on July 9, but boy, what a divisive election it had been!

This year, there were only two presidential candidates and both tried their best to win over the people's hearts. Each had their own strategies; one was more about 'if you choose me, I'll make Indonesia number #1 in all sectors', while the other one was a bit like 'help me and together we can build Indonesia'. The first was like a superhero/panacea, while the second was more about empowerment.

This year, the media bravely put their hearts on the sleeves. And I'm not only talking about TVs, which have always been gravitating to their favorite candidate. The newspaper also jumped into the band wagon! I was shocked when I read this editorial.

Let's not forget how much social media played major roles in this year's election. Both candidates had their fair share of supporters in Facebook, Twitter or Path. Almost everyone I know showed their preference toward their favorite candidates. There was a period when I just didn't open social media because there were too much news/black campaign/rumors.

I may be not opening social media, but I couldn't escape from the topic. Everywhere, either on the way to office, in the market or during reunion (!), I could hear conversations about the election. The opening line would go like this: "So, who are you rooting for? Prabowo or Jokowi?"  

One month of campaign was certainly too long because people already knew which candidate they would vote. Families and friends got into heated argument just because they had different opinion on the candidates. At some point, the situation was a bit tense because both candidates suspected the other of cheating the election process. It was a good thing that the process happened during Ramadhan, at least people kinda hold their emotion. It is so relieving that the election was over in a peaceful manner.

However, the losing candidate was still not happy about the result and decided to file the case to the Constitutional Court. I hope everything ends well for everybody. I just want to be able to work and live peacefully, regardless of the president.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Let's Start The Free Writing

Wow, it's already August! A year ago on this month I started working for this climate change trust fund, how fast does time fly. Now that I've been working for almost a year in this office (the one year celebration will be on 19 August), I can say that I'm feeling comfortable enough with the tasks and responsibilities at hand.

I love the regular work hour, the regular days off every Saturday-Sunday-other national holidays and the working atmosphere in this organization.  It's a whole new world for me, compared to journalism. But I must confess, while I don't miss the news room, I do miss writing.

Now that I don't have to write news in English every day, I kinda worry that I would forget how to write and express ideas in English. After all, English is not my mother language, not a national language of Indonesia and obviously, not a language that I use in the office.

Then I remember a trick. When I got accepted in TJaP, I got three months in house training to boost the English writing ability. One of the sessions was Free Writing, during which we were told to write every thing that passed our mind in one hour.

Pak Harry, our English mentor, says that the writing does not have to be structured like news, but it should really follow the train of thoughts. He says that the writing may seem odd at first, with one sentence and the next having no connection, jumping from one idea to another and that is normal, because that is how the mind works for most people. But, he added, once we got the hang of it, our brain would know how to organize the sentences coherently.

This will be of great help during the news writing, of course. I'm thinking to apply it to retain my English writing. I'd try this Free Writing twice a week this month, every Tuesday and Thursday. If I still like it after one month, then perhaps I'll extend the time period. Besides, this will force me to write posts for this blogs, something that is different from the 30 days of blogging challenge. 

Wish me luck!

Tokyo Belly

Now that Ramadhan has left us, let's resume to food posting :). Since my office is nearby Setiabudi One, I often frequent the small mall for lunch or dinner. One of the restaurants that I've visited a couple of times is Tokyo Belly.

It serves mostly Japanese food, but there is also Korean bibimbap and curry rice. My favorite so far is the tempura ramen.

If you want to come to the outlet in Setiabudi One, it's best to arrive at 11.30 a.m. because once the clock strikes 12 p.m., the mall will be flooded with hungry wolves workers.

 A cute cup of ocha

Tempura ramen

 Seafood bibimbap

Tokyo Belly ramen


Salmon mentai sushi

 Curry rice