Sunday, December 28, 2008


Keith Harring
Untitled, 1988

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Do You Believe in Me?

A great speech by a 10 years old Dalton Sherman.

Talk about some inspirational speech! For full text visit here

Monday, November 10, 2008

I dont get it...

Each time someone pulls the 'Islam card', it seems the Indonesian (government) is so scared to do anything about it eventho what they do is immoral.

Just look at the syech Puji-Ulfa affair.

That pedophile shows up on telly with his sickening smile declaring his marriage to a 12 years old kid. No matter how mature she is, no matter how smart she is, no matter that she thinks that she loves him, and willingly marrying to him, she's still a kid. A KID. A kid who supposed to be at school learning, socializing with kids her age. A kid who supposed to worry about her tests, not about media attention.

I dont get why other adults were willingly to participate in this debacle, especially her parents and his first wife!!

Now, it is said that he returned her to her parents yesterday and is going to marry her officially by the time she's 16 years old. Why is it so easy for a sleazeball like him to carry on living like this while heading a Pesantren? A place where one supposed to learn about Islam. I could only wonder what their students are learning... and I am so scared.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Permata Bank & closing of an account

We've been dealing with a handful banks these days. My dear late father apparently had this hobby of opening an account somewhere, and never using it. So, there are plenty of accounts to be closed after his passing. All except one, accepted a notarial letter stating his passing & who are his beneficiaries. All, except Permata Bank, that is.

Once, my father opened an account at Permata Bank to transfer some money when he bought a car. He never really use that account. Now that he passed away, we want to close it.

The bank asked for a letter from Islamic Court stating that my father is already dead.

OK, I have no law background aside from taking some courses relating to Dutch laws. But I know enough & also was advised by notaries (we have several notaries in the family) that notarial letter is equal to the one of Islamic Court.

Now, in order to get that letter, there will be a court session needed involving a lawyer. From what we heard so far, it'll cost us about 10 million rupiah just for the lawyer's fee. G_D knows what's the end amount that we 'll need to pay to get that letter in order.

If my father's money is in billions, even in hundreds of million for that matter, I guess that amount of money to pay the lawyer and all is well worth spending. But since it's just an account with what is left from that car's transaction, so it's not that much, I guess by the time we get the letter and able to close his account at Permata Bank, there's no money left for us.

This is what I dont get, and hate in Indonesia: it's very pricey even when you are dead.

I understand that the bank wants to keep the money in their bank. Especially with economic downturn as this moment. Business is business for them. If they can make it difficult, why would they make it easier?

So here's my advice to you: Don't open an account with Permata Bank. It's not worth the hassle.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Love v. Distance

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But if you ask people, I am sure most will not get into a long distance relationship fearing the distance will ruin the chance of success.

Last night a dear friend told me about her love life. Basically, the guy she loves decided to be with another person because that person lives closer to him than her. He told her that if only she lived as close to him as the other person, he would have rather be with my friend. So, apparently people rather be with the wrong person in the right place, than with the right person in the wrong place.


I know nothing about love, but I'd rather be with the right person in the wrong place/time. In my experience & from my observation, I've seen relationships crumbled eventho both partners live in the same city and I've seen relationships went from strength to strength with miles apart between them.

Yes, the distance makes it more challenging and also costly, but as long as there's a good communication, trust, and of course willingness to make it works, I don't see why we have to be afraid of a long distance relationship.

As Khalil Gibran put it, “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” Just treat the distance as the true love test.

Good luck with the test!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Have a blessed Lebaran day!

Minal aidin wal faidzin

Just got back from hanging out with the OTHK, and was told that a dear niece is involved in AT&T "we" ads. Check out 0:09, the gal in front is our lovely Audrey:)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

525,600 minutes

It's been a hell of a year for me. There was always something around the corner. Sure, things were not always all bad... I met new friends, went to Bromo with mom & dad, had nice talks while playing scopa, and even more interesting talk in Bandung. But when it was bad.. let's just say I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.

All I know, I just have to be patient and thing will eventually change. Nothing lasts forever.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Obama V. Oom Bambang

Yesterday, I was talking to Dita's mother about Obama when my brother asked what we were talking about.

+ Did you see Obama's speech last night? I heard it was great
- Really?
+I didnt watch it. But it supposed to be great.
- Where was it?
+ At the convention.
-What convention?
+ Democratic party convention
-Huh??? Democratic party??? You mean Obama?? * start laughing*
+Yeah. Who did you think I was talking about?? * confused*
-I heard you said Oom Bambang *laughing out loud*
= Yes I heard Oom Bambang too...
+ I said OBAMA, not Oom Bambang. you guys...
- Hey, it's two against one

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I hate Bandung

Well, OK, I hate Bandung's McDonald.

It started when we were watching the "panjat pinang" (Climbing Areca palm's trunk) near my place when I said McDonald sells Bubur Ayam (chicken porridge). I've been to several McDonald in Jakarta that sells bubur ayam, but I've never tried them tho. J wont believe it. So we made that bet.

Somehow we never managed to go near any McDonald in the big Durian. Then again I normally do not spend much time cruising the mall anyway.

When I told a couple of my colleagues about that bet, they told J it was true that McDonald IS selling bubur ayam. But J, skeptic as he is, still wont believe it unless he sees it.

So last Friday, when I was feeling a bit peckish we headed to a McDonald in Bandung. And there it was... on their menu: NO BUBUR AYAM in sight!!! J was smilling ear to ear when he saw it.

Oh well, a bet is a bet. Still need to pay the bloke tho:)

Monday, August 18, 2008

16 Agustus

It was around 9 in the morning when I had a phone call from one of my aunts. She told me about this event later on that day. Apparently, each year people are tracing the path of our proclamators back in 1945.

My mom, two of her sisters and I met at Museum Perumusan Naskah Proklamasi at Jl. Imam Bonjol. It's the place where on August 16th 1945 Soekarno, Hatta and some Pemuda's were gathering to drawn Indonesia's proclamation's text. Back then it was the house of Japanese Rear-Admiral Tadashi Maeda. I had goosebumps when I was alone in the room where they met Maeda the first time. There where only a set of yellow chairs & a table that reminded me of the living room of Sonneveld house in Rotterdam. From there we walked to Proclamation Monument at jl. Proklamasi, which was jl. Pegangsaan Timur back in the day when Soekarno announced our independence.

There were actually hundreds of people, young and old who participated in this 'Napak Tilas'. In front of the parade, 4 high school students were carrying pictures of Soekarno & Hatta, and 2 texts of proclamation. Then a bunch of students were carrying flags, followed by a drumband. Behind them were veterans, another group of students, and a group of people on old bicycles.

I was walking amongst these veterans, so I had a chance to chit chat a bit with some of the men. The ones I talked to were in their 80s but they were fit, so fit to the point that they complained that we were walking too slow it was as if we were walking behind a funeral procession! I said to them it's because those students are used to walk in the malls, so they walk in that pace. ;)

Upon arriving at Proclamation Monument, Halida Hatta gave a speech as a member of the family of our proclamators. After that there were entertainment from the younger generation in the form of dangdut! Ok, eventho I hate dangdut, it would probably still ok if they chose a better songs instead of some stupid cheesy love song. Some of the veterans went home because they thought that's not worth it. Too bad,that part really killed the whole thing.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

On Insensitive small talks

Once, I told my father that I am wary about interacting with fellow Indonesian. I am so out of touch of Indonesian way of small talks, it makes me wonder if I can survive socializing in Indonesia. He assured me that I have nothing to be worry about.

I guess he didnt expect that I had to deal with the conversations I had after he died.

Amongst people who came to pay their respect to him, several spent some moment talking to me about him, how good he was, how kind he was, and how he kept talking about me to them. It was nice hearing the wonderful things he did, but it also made me sadder for the fact he's not around anymore.

However, it was with people who didnt know my father/family very well that I had my most difficult conversations. Some left me speechless.

Take my conversation with one of the neighbors, after we just buried my father. Keep in mind I had never have any conversation with her before in my life. When I sat near her she asked me to help her daughter getting a job. Before asking if I regret not being home for so long. I mean, I just buried my father only hours ago, and the last thing on my mind is her daughter. Besides it is none of her business if I regret it or not.

It is insensitive people like her that I cant stand & dont know how to deal with. Unfortunately, there are plenty of such people around, and sadly enough most of the time they think they are being nice.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

on pain

There's a point in my life when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia amongst others. I soldiered through it when some people accused me of having psychosomatic pain or saying that it defines who I am. I just wish them well, hopefully they never have the pleasure of having one or god forbid, experiencing the same treatment from others.

I visited doctors all over the Netherlands, collecting hospitals IDs as I went. Practically I did what ever they suggested: pain clinic, meds, meditation, acupuncture, sport, physiotherapy, changing the way I eat, talk, move. Eventually the pain subsided. It takes ages to where I was back in April this year, just as my neurologist told me, but I could say I was almost pain free for a while, despite all the stress I was having.

The thing is, in the last month or so the pain return.

The fact that I am having a nasty bout of flu at this very moment making things worst. I know this too will eventually pass. But I just want to vent a bit. I hope it's a momentary thing and not a relapse. Tho, I cant help but to feel a bit smug when I wonder what they are gonna say this time about me having psychosomatic pain?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Japanese tenants

I found out while helping a cousin refurnishing her apartment that a Japanese tenant wont have any Korean product. So, out the Korean appliances, in the Chinese ones!

As Obelix puts it: Strange people those Japanese.

On a survey

Yesterday we received a form to be completed within 3 days for a survey. We need to fill in on 30 subjects. I dont get why do we need to give out information that is already been collected such as name, ID number, education, job, religion, blood group. Those information is already in the "family card" (Kartu keluarga), and the data is already computerized. Now we need to write down everything again by hand. What a waste of time and money.

There are something interesting in that survey tho.

Apparently, we are an "applicant". Since when we are applying to fill in the survey??? We are forced to fill that in. Ok, maybe "forced" is too harsh, but we surely never asked.

As we need to fill in our gender, it only said that for male we need to write "1", but there's no mentioned about female.

If we have no idea when our date of births are, we supposed to write July 1st on the year that we think of as our year of birth. So, my father who's birthday is on July 1st, can be interpreted as someone who doesnt know his date of birth.

There are only 5 religions you can choose from, namely: Islam, Christianity (that's their way of saying Protestant), Catholics, Hindu and Buddhist. There's however a choice to put in "other".

I have no idea who created this survey, but the most interesting part is about jobs. There are only 88 kinds of jobs available that one can choose from the list, ranging from "not (yet) working", to a "president". There's a "nun" but not a "monk", only a "(catholic) priest". As a psychiatrist you are equal to a psychologist, not a doctor. I guess if you are a dentist, you put yourself as a doctor, because the other choice is as a "tukang gigi" (one who makes the false teeth), I know no self-respecting dentist would like to be known as one. There's a "(stock)trader" but not a "banker". The best is one can put down "paranormal" as a job! Only in Indonesia!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elisabeth Bishop

ps: I give you two reasons why I watched 'In Her Shoes': a) One Art by Bishop, and b) I Carry Your Heart with Me by e.e. cummings. In fact, I watched it because I knew Cummings' poem is in it, the Bishop's one is a bonus, and the rest is just filler. :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Would you help me?

It's been a week after the night Wilders released Fitna, I followed part of the parliamentary debate and opinions on this subject.

I found students in Medan ran amok at Dutch Consulate. I was rather surprised, I pictured FPI doing such act, not students who supposed to use their head in stead of their muscles. They just lowered to his level and helped Wilders to prove his point, that Islam is a religion of violence.

I found Jordan is thinking about severing diplomatic connection with Holland. Another surprise, as Jordan is traditionally one of the most Western-oriented countries in the Middle East.

I found calls of boycotting Dutch products. What kind of Dutch products? Products of Shells, Unilever, Philips, Frisian Flag, Gouda cheese, flowers, seeds? How about those companies products that are produced outside The Netherlands, such as in Indonesia?

I found that Kurt Westergaard, the Danish creator of Mohammad cartoon is suing Wilders based on copyright infringement.

I found that when people from outside insulting Islam, there are Moslem rioting somewhere. But how come when terrorists claiming as "acting" for Islam, which I think even more insulting Islam, there are no Moslems rioting.

I found that no one from Islamic community condemned those clerks whose appalling speeches were on that film. Where are the so-called moderate Moslems? Are they agreeing with those clerks, too? I thought it was a good opportunity for moderate Moslems to distance themselves from the bad elements in their community, to do introspection and self-critic, to give the world the real face of Islam that is about peace.

I need help to understand these. Please...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On Logic

Wilders = Hitler
Mohammad = Hitler

Thus, Wilders = Mohammad

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Freedom of speech & Joris Jochemsen

Joris Jochemsen is my new hero. He points out my concern about Dutch society with regards to discrimination & free speech.

Last Saturday he was arrested for giving out leaflets in Amsterdam which contained collection of what Wilders and members of his PVV Party were saying with a twist. Joris substituted "Islam" and "Moslem" with "Judaism" and "Jews" in all their saying. So one would find sentence like ‘I deny nobody family life. Not even the Jews . They can marry, they can co-habit. Only not in the Netherlands’. Doesnt it remind you of the 3rd Reich? How come he got arrested spreading 10 leaflets like this, but Wilders didn't even got a warning from the police saying the same thing about Moslem on telly?

This worker of tax office who is active for the SP party in his hometown Zutphen wanted to be prosecuted. He did it to prove how terribly racist Wilders' ideas are, and not to hurt/insult the jewish community. All these time I found most of the Dutch didnt care enough with all the racist remarks by Wilders and his gang. In fact, a lot of Dutch (about 600000 of them) are even supporting him, giving him 9 seats at the Lower House of Dutch parlement.

The Public Prosecution Office now has to decide if they are going to prosecute Jochemsen for discrimination. If they did, he prepares to be jailed, hoping that Wilders is also facing the same fate.

I share Jochemsen concern about Dutch double standard. I keep hearing people championing freedom of speech when it's about anti-islam movies or cartoons.

Does freedom of speech mean one can hurt/insult others as one please? Does freedom of speech mean it is ok to insult certain group but not the other? Where do you draw the line between freedom of speech and blatantly spreading hatred? How come when it comes to being insulted, the moslem are expected to grow up and able to handle 'criticism', but when it comes to Jewish community it is anti-semit and you could go to jail for that?

Dont get me wrong, I think the moslem do need to clean their house, and able to handle criticism more elegantly. Freedom of speech is a must, but I also do think that freedom of speech has its limit, and it is applicable to all not just to a certain group.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, Dutch Members of Parliament did it again. Another anti Islam movie created by one of them, this time: Geert Wilders. Founder of PVV who wants to ban the Quran.

Unlike Submission by Hirsi Ali & van Gogh, the 15 minutes film is very lame. The message Wilders tried to bring is Islam is anti-gay, anti-women, anti-liberal. He's afraid the Dutch way of life to diminish if the Moslem, 1 million strong at this moment in the country of 16 millions people getting their way. All the previous commotion of him wanting to put a scene of burning the Quran, it's all hoopla, in the film he didnt even tear it up! He practically linking all moslem with the deed that some extremists, who justified their behavior with the Quran, did. There are lots of very graphic images bearing them taken from various media outlets. By that standard, people all over the world would think of America as a society where kids go to school and start killing their school mates & teachers on regular basis, as part of their curriculum.

Just like in Submission, he put several verses from the Quran, mostly with connection with Infidels (in after life, in a battle). I haven't check it, but I heard he twisted some wording. I also heard that he used the picture of a Moroccan/Dutch hiphop singer as picture of van Gogh's killer, dont know if it was true. I dont recall both guys and I am not going to google for them.

While van Gogh did Submission artistically (the whole painting verses on the body in Submission is plagiated from Shirin Neshat's works tho), one cant say the same about Fitna. The whole thing is very bland. The quality of editing is amateurish, only good enough for Youtube.

I found the film is as scary as those lunatic fundamentalists, as it is nothing more than unoriginal, irrational propaganda of hatred, which sadly has enough believers in the western society.

Friday, March 21, 2008


It was last Sunday when I realized that today is rather special. Not only it's Good Friday for the Christian, and Purim for the Jewish faith, but also it's Gaura Purnima for the Hare Krishna, the day the Lord Krishna becomes Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Turns out, according to this article on Time Magazine, it's even more special as practically all major organized religions have something to celebrate.

Ed Reingold and Nachum Dershowitz, co-authors of the books Calendrical Calculations and Calendrical Tabulations, determined how often in the period between 1600 and 2400 A.D. Good Friday, Purim, Narouz and the Eid would occur in the same week. The answer is nine times in 800 years. Then they tackled the odds that they would converge on a two-day period. And the total is ... only once: tomorrow. And that's not even counting Magha Puja and Small Holi.
What a special day to celebrate!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

{} Very Private Make Over {}

WHO classification of female genital mutilation

I. Excision of prepuce
and part or all of clitoris
II. Excision of prepuce and clitoris together
with partial or total excision of labia minora
III. Infibulation and
excision of part or all of external genitalia
IV. Pricking, piercing,
incision, stretching, scraping or other harming procedures on clitoris and/or

In the last couple of years, more and more western women succumbed to the newest craze of having designer vagina. It can be a labiaplasty (changing the look of the labia to be more sculpted), a vaginaplasty (tightening vagina) or injecting collagen on the G-spot to make it more bouncy. Some did hymen reconstruction too, a practice that used to be done by some women from conservative background (Asian, Moslem) to re-virginized.

There are women who have legitimate reason to undergo labiaplasty. Their labia are causing them trouble on daily life. It hurts when biking for example. Some women feel that their vagina are too loose after giving birth(s), so they want it tighten up so the experience of love making becoming better, which actually doesn’t only depend on the tightness of one vagina but also on lubrication, blood flows, nerves, and also peace of mind. Remember, the biggest sexual organ is your brain.

However, a growing number of women opted for designer vagina mostly because they want to look good down there. So it looks more like what they saw from porn movies. Some said it is good for their self-esteem. They want to look "normal".

What is normal?

Female genital comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. Just take a look at this site. (Warning: it's explicit and not something you want to see at the office) Those are pictures of normal genitals.

I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that women want to undergo surgery which is most of the time unnecessary, not to mention risky for the sake of "fitting in" into the image that is projected to them by the (porn) media.

There are no peer-reviewed studies on the long term outcomes of these procedures to date. The risks involved in these surgeries are: pain from scarring by lasers used on the vaginal wall, decreased lubrication or incontinence, asymmetrical appearance, infection, bleeding, and psychological trauma. A tighter vagina doesn’t mean a better sex experience; some could even be very painful if it is too tight. There's such a thing as too much of a good thing! Just as with any surgeries, these procedures could damaged your nerves, which means you could probably loss the sensation or becoming hypersensitive down there. Definitely not the effect you are looking for after paying between $1500 and $8000 to have it done!

I also have trouble understanding how come women in the West who mostly, if not all, are against FGM in the developing countries, can put their selves into a FGM procedure voluntarily. Yes, I see these surgeries as FGM based on WHO classification. How could they condemned women in developing countries who were also trying to "fit in" to an image projected to them by their culture, while subjecting themselves to the same thing. It's the pot calling the kettle black!

There are other ways to increase one self-esteem, to have better body image. Do your homework. Do kegel exercise!

"[B]ad things are happening to women's vagina's everywhere"
Eve Ensler- The Vagina Monologues

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

{} Cutting it {}

I found the subject of circumcision interesting, especially female circumcision. I've never heard of it before I came to Europe. I guess I was oblivious to what happen under my nose.
Turns out, there are also female circumcision (type I or type IV) in Indonesia, albeit it is not as drastic as in Africa, just as the NYTimes reported it several weeks ago.

WHO classification of female genital mutilation

I. Excision of prepuce and part or all of clitoris
II. Excision of prepuce and clitoris together with partial or total excision of labia minora
III. Infibulation and excision of part or all of external genitalia
IV. Pricking, piercing, incision, stretching, scraping or other harming procedures on clitoris and/or labia

If you read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's account, you would have thought that female circumcision is part of Islamic culture. But from what I can gather so far, this practice goes back even before christianity.

I wont go into long discussion on the Islamic teaching, I just know that there are several school of thoughts regarding this matter. The Shi'ite has never practiced this procedure, it is even outlawed by all leading Shi'ite Marjas. However, the Shafi'i school (predominant in East Africa & South East Asia) rules that clitoridectomy is mandatory. If you look at the primary source of Islamic teaching, namely Quran & Hadeeth, one can find nothing on female circumcision in the Quran. However there's one weak hadeeth mentioning of cutting only the prepuce and not the clitoris. Most of the scholars view this hadeeth doesnt require anyone to perform or to undergo a circumcision, while some Pro-FGM view it as to do the procedure but not so far as to threaten health.

In Indonesia, the Ministry of Health has issued a decree forbidding medical personnel to practice female circumcision, but in the practice it is mostly done by traditional circumcisers and birth attendants who has little knowledge of modern medicine. How do they do it? Some do it ritualistic- rubbing tumeric on the genital or prick the clitoris with a needle or scalpel, others do what is known as type I, cutting prepuce and with of without part of clitoris.

I asked several doctors on their experiences on this matter, all of them did it ritualistically. So I wonder why did the MoH issued that decree? I found it safer for the girls to have it done by medical personels than by traditional circumcisers who can go as far as FGM type I. Dont get me wrong, I am against such a thing as FGM, but I agree with Dr. Guarenti of WHO, if we judge this practice harshly, they will be isolated, and if we banned it all together, it will only be done underground. It makes it more difficult to change it. Meanwhile, we need to educate people, men and women that female circumcision has no medical merit what so ever, even can lead into health and probably sexual problems in the future and that practice is better be stop as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bob's House

I think PepsiCo created the first deaf-focused advertisement ever for its Super Bowl ads based on a joke from the deaf community. And it's very funny. For once they include hearing world into the deaf world. Kudos for PepsiCo!!

FYI, the door bell at the deaf person's house is using light in the US. They get discount in their electricity bills because they use a lot of applications with lights, they also get free TDD (special phone that looks a bit like typewriter where you type and read your conversation). If only Indonesian government gave such care of its deaf community.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Intention v. Action

Supposed you were on the way home, and saw what you thought as your jacket, oblivious with the fact that you didnt even bring your jacket at the first place. You took that jacket home with you.

Now, the intention of stealing never even entered your mind. You just innocently took what you thought it was yours.

Was it stealing, what you did? What make an act of taking something that is not yours is stealing , the intention of it, or the act of it?