Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Awe of Dali

I was supposed to go to Jakarta Exchange Building this afternoon. To get into that building one needs to leave one's ID card. Before leaving my building, I looked for my ID card, and found none. Panic! I searched my bag, thought when the last time I used my ID card until I saw this visitor badge of Mayapada building.

Yes, I went to Mayapada Building last Saturday, that was when I had to leave my ID before going to this firm upstairs. Upon returning, I completely forgotten to get my ID back because I was in awe of this Salvador Dali's statue in the lobby. It's his "Homage to Newton" statue numbered 4 out of 4 according to its placard. The real deal.

The owner of the statue is Mr.Tahir, Mayapada's boss.

I was surprised to see a Dali in public in Jakarta. Most of the time works of famous artists are not shown in public in Jakarta because they are owned by private collectors. I've heard there are Indonesians who owns/owned a Monet, a Renoir, and artists in that caliber, but that Dali was the first that I knew openly shown.

If I'm not mistaken, in Singapore they also have Homage to Newton statue numbered 5 out of 8. From the look of it, it's the same series, I dont know why they put the one in Mayapada as 4/4 instead of 4/8, perhaps the great master changed his mind?

Anyhow, I have to go back to Mayapada tomorrow to get my ID card and stare at the statue again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sang Pencerah

We went to see Sang Pencerah tonight, because 1) today is the only day that we both were kinda free this week,2) the choice was between Sang Pencerah & The Experiment, I wasnt in the mood of watching something cruel.

It's a story based on Ahmad Dahlan's life, the founder of Muhammadiyah. In the beginning the pace was pretty fast, but later on it was a bit too slow, resulting in 112minutes of movie. Since the languages of the movie are Indonesian, Javanese, Dutch and Arabic, I missed a lot when they didnt translate the Arabic part, some of the actors spoke Javanese pretty fluently, while in most actors you'll hear the non-javanese accent. There were scenes in Dutch, I wished they trained the actors to speak their dialogues in Javanese accent or for those Eurasian in more Indo accent. As I watched it at Grand Indonesia, they screened it with English subtitle, however, most of the subtitles were missing, and when there were, it contained typos or translated wrongly.

In general I like the story line, there were a lot of critiques on Moslems and leaders, which resonant with our daily problems these days. I also learnt that according to Ahmad Dahlan in the movie Muhammadiyah is not a sect of Islam but only a social organization. I found it interesting as nowadays I had this feeling that Muhammadiyah is more like a sect, just as NU because people would say that they are Muhammadiyah or NU or Salafi, etc.

The movie told the struggle that Dahlan had because he challenged the traditional norm and practice which was a mixed between Hindu and Islam. He wanted to introduce modernity to Moslems at that time. Others who refused his teaching branded him as Kafir, infidel, partly because he used modern tools in spreading his teaching. He tried to correct the direction of prayer which was toward the west, something that was still practiced in parts of Indonesia to this day. In fact, only weeks ago the newspapers were full about this matter, that most of Indonesian mosques are facing the wrong direction. When he insisted on building his own musholla with the right direction, people burned it down. He then joined Boedi Oetomo before founding Muhammadiyah.

The release of this movie was coincidence with the inter religious problems in Indonesia. I hope it can be an inspiration about religious role in the society, religious freedom and pluralism.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Devide Et Impera

Every Indonesian knows what devide et impera means. It's been drilled into our brain for ever at school, when they talk about history and in moral Pancasila study. Divide and conquer.

At school I'd been told how Dutch used this devide et impera tactic to rule Indonesian for 350 years. Come to think of it, the Dutch didnt conquer us for 350 years. It took them about 300 years to conquer all Indonesia. They came in 1552 in Banten, and it wasnt until around 1907 that they conquered all Indonesia before leaving in 1942.

That being said, we saw Dutch involvement in some of the conflicts between Indonesian kingdoms or within kingdoms. I cant really blame the Dutch for doing that, it was their opportunity to gain some allies and power. I blame Indonesians who were/are power hungry and willing to sell their land/country.

Fast forward to the present time, as the Dutch are far far away. Devide et impera is still tangible in Indonesia. There are religious, ethnic, political conflicts all over the country. Years of brainwashing about the danger of devide et impera doesnt pay off. It's still easy to divide Indonesians. I guess the need for power is stronger than the need for achievement in Indonesia. Even in the lower rank you can really feel the need for power in all aspect of life. There are plenty incidents where it could've been simpler/better, but because of the need of power of the person in charge with it, it became difficult.

Back in 1928, our forefathers managed to put their differences aside, and worked together to gain independence. We need to follow their lead and put our differences and the need for power aside, work together to create a better Indonesia.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I am used to deal with people in the State and in Europe, that I almost make a mistake about sending a document to Australia. Until minutes ago I forgot that 9am in Australia means it's still 6am in Jakarta. For some reasons, I was thinking we are ahead of Australia.

Good that I realized it on time.
Now, I have to think of what to write in that document.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Only Virgin Can Have Education

During lunch this afternoon we talked about as women we are second class citizen in this country. I think instead of focusing on educating women about emancipation, we should focus in men, after all this is a patriarchal country.

One of the persons we need to re-educate is Bambang Bayu Suseno from the Jambi chapter of political party PAN. He is an esteemed member of the local parliament in Jambi province who has this very bright idea about banning girls who are not virgin from public schools. He proposed that all the girls enrolling for public schools to be screened for their virginity. Those who are not virgin or already married are banned from public schools.

It is said that Bambang, who is a member of commision IV which deals with education, health care, religion and women's empowerment, is drafting a bylaw on virginity test. Apparently the head of the commission IV, Aswan Azhari from Democratic Party, supports the idea.

MUI welcomed this idea, with its Jambi chapter head Sulaiman Abdullah was saying that the morality of the youth must be protected. The virginity test could be implemented and the bylaw drafted so long as it didnt breach existing law.

The positive note came from the Jambi provincial secretary spokesman, Sudirman, who opposes the idea as it is breaching the basic human right and the education law.
With all this discussion is going, no one said anything about the boys and their virginity. Once again, women are punished for something that men can get away with. It would be a very sexist discriminative bylaw to penalized girls who are not virgin no matter the reason behind it.

We have enough problem getting everyone to have a descent education, which judging by this case, it is showed that not everyone have had descent education to begin with.

Widow or Widower Elderly Parents

I dont remember who asked me the question, but I was asked if I would allow my mom to remarry. Providing he's a good guy and he makes mom happy, of course I would, why wouldnt I? Although, mom said she wont.

From what I heard, some of my mom's friends who are widows or widowers, are not allowed to get remarried by their children. I dont think it's fair for them if they want it to. One of her friends is a widower who had taken care of his terminally ill wife ever since they got married. Yet, his children forbid him to remarry after their mother passed away. I can understand if the children involved are still young and after hearing horror stories about step-parents they are afraid of having one. However, his children are all married and not living at home any more. Perhaps they are worried about the inheritance, or they dont want to have a new parents, I dont know.

What would you do?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It's been raining almost all day. In fact it was stormy, thundery. It was great looking at the storm when you were inside. By the time I had to go back to the hospital and from there to go home, it wasnt that great. Parts of Jakarta were flooded, resulted to more traffic jams. I ended up hanging out at the hospital almost as long as I spent at the office because I wasnt in the mood of getting caught for hours in the traffic jam.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make Your Child Genius

As parents have bragging rights about their children, the idea that you can make your children genius is very attractive. In Indonesia it's quite common to see pushy parents trying to get their children the best education money can buy. I've met parents who even paid the teacher to let their kids pass their exam. Seriously.

Parents would pay for extra classes/courses/workshop that promised to boost their children result. I heard there are even courses on how to pass an IQ test, because some elite/popular schools wont admit anyone with an IQ under 120 (normal IQ is around 100, to be admitted at Mensa you need IQ of 132 on Binet). It means who ever got admitted they are already have an above average intelligence to begin with. In such school, you can find kids with above average intelligence feeling that they are very stupid and have low self-esteem because they have to compete with even smarter peers. As soon as these kids transfered to another school, they could excelled and their result could be 180degrees from that in the previous school.

There is Kumon from Japan that supposed making kids geniuses in math. Several years ago in NL I taught math to this teenager who did Kumon, and after 6 months of graduated from it, he couldnt produce what he learnt before. He couldnt even solved a simple ABC equation. At this moment most of my nieces and nephews join Kumon, so I have the opportunity to look at their materials. It's mostly just drills, not really understanding how they reach the result. One of my cousins said the reason she put her kids on Kumon is to make her kids study, because most of the time it's not easy getting the kids to study on their own while my cousin is still at work.

Several years ago there was BrainGym, an American franchise which campaigned that by using their simple exercises children can scored a higher IQ. This pseudo science also got hold of schools in Britain. The difference between Indonesian and British media dealt with it was notable. While most of Indonesian media painted a great pictures of this expensive franchise, the BBC interviewed the founder and showed how the exercises are baseless. I wish we have someone like Paxman in Indonesian media who can say that it's just a glorified exercises..in a nice way.

Lately, the course to do for kids is Activation Middle Brain. Apparently after completing their course, kids between 5 and 15 can do things while blindfolded such as coloring and reading. These things according to their promotion means children have better memories, better school result, able to speed read, enhanced intuition, etc. However it comes with price, USD 350 for a 2 days course and the parents are not allowed to observed. It is also a pseudo science franchise, this time comes from Malaysia aiming at parents who want their children to be geniuses instantly.

I dont understand parents who wants their kids to have enhanced intuition or supersonic hear or anything like that. It is very tiring to have those abilities, especially if you cant handle 'the gift', plus people could perceived you as a nutter. I do believe such abilities could actually destabilized children mentally. I also dont get why parents want to make their kids geniuses. It's one thing to be born as genius, being made a genius, if it is possible, is a whole another story. Being genius doesnt mean things are easier at school for their kids. There are plenty genius kids out there who have trouble at schools.

However I do understand that as parents you want to provide the best for your kids, and give them plenty opportunities to find and grow their talents. I think the most important thing is parents need to make sure their kids grow up to be a happy, balance and well adjusted persons, not that their kids can read blindfolded.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Juwita Malam

Tante O was singing old song tonight, and she jumbled the text. When we told them it was wrong, she picked up her song book and sang more. All the singing reminds me this song by Ismail Marzuki from way back. By way back I mean even my granddad used to sing this song. Nowadays Slank is covering the song.
In this clip it's about Indonesian KNIL fell in love with Indonesian Pejoeang on the train to Jatinegara.

Invitation on Facebook

The only reason why I am still at Facebook is because since I am not using Blackberry, Facebook is the easier way to communicate with my family en masse. Parties, sickness, deaths, we keep each others up to date via Facebook messages or event option, so those who are not invited/ have anything to do with it wont find out.

In the last year or so, the number of Indonesians using Facebook have been increasing. I've noticed people starts using Facebook to invite people to their event. Not by using 'event' option, but just by tagging people on their invitation. The thing is, sometimes you are not being tagged for an event (meaning you are not invited), but you see that that person is having an event and inviting people.

Take a wedding invitation for example. Indonesian wedding is huge by Western standard. The number of guests can go up to thousands of people. A friend of my dad invited 10000 people to his child's wedding, hosted at two building next to each other. Wedding is more the parents' affair, than the bride and groom's. Therefore to minimized the cost of printing invitations, some bride and groom just send out sms-es or emails as invitation to friends while using the proper invitation for the parents's friends/elderly family. Because of the size of the party, most of the time you can crash an Indonesian wedding party, and if you are bule, chances are they are more than welcome to see you there.

Is it ok to invite some people and showing it to all?
Is it ok to crash the party when you found out this way?

So far, I havent heard any party broadcasted on Facebook in Indonesia that ended up like the one on the news abroad, with the house completely trashed by the gate-crashers.

Polyandry in Indonesia

Eventho it is not legal, I've heard several times about polyandry cases in Indonesia. Just as with many polygynies, they did it by performing 'nikah siri', an unregistered marriage. In Indonesia to be legally married, one has to registered their religious marriage at Civil Register for non-moslems, or at Religious Office (KUA) for moslems.

The last polyandry union I know involving a foreigner who did a nikah siri with a Javanese. After a while, the lady's parents wanted her to get married officially. I dont know why she didnt do that with her foreigner husband, instead she got married officially as a second wife of this Indonesian guy. The foreigner, the wife and Indonesian husband sort of lived together (both men are now deceased). I heard when the Indonesian husband stayed away rather long, the foreigner would asked the wife if they had a fight. At one point the foreigner even paid for the wife, the husband and his wife to go for the Haj pilgrimage.

Another unions that I know were form because the first husbands couldnt keep up with their wives' sexual urges, so he let her marries someone else. This is also a reason why some ladies letting their husband getting another wife in polygyny.

To the best of my knowledge, it is illegal to practice polyandry in Islam. Therefore it is interesting to see how these unions are possible.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Into a Cave

The other day finally a dear friend replied my message. I knew that she finally ready to talk again. She was incommunicado for a while until that day. So, I called her up.

She talked about how she was all these time. It's been a tough year for her. How she felt like she needed to go into a cave (if she could've found a real one she would've gone into one), sort things out and be grounded. She said she knew that I understood. I did. I was in that position before, and at that point I was the only one who could help myself, just as she was the only one who could help herself.

It's good to know that she's out of the wood. I've been missing our talks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Showing Moslem as Human is Offensive

Last Saturday, Portland Press Herald published a story on the celebration of the end of Ramadan on their first page. It's a positive story, showing Moslems as human. However, some of the American public reacted strongly about it, citing it's not sensitive to show peaceful Moslems on 9/11.

The PPH counteracted by publishing an apology the next day.

I think it's a huge mistake of the paper for doing that. What they did the first time was great. It showed Americans that most Moslems are good law abiding citizens, far from terrorists of 9/11. By apologizing, they made amend with one part of the community at the expense of the another. It was supposed to be a teachable moment of tolerance, but the letter undid that. The letter also imply that it should've somehow connect every day Moslems to the terrorists to make it balance.

It is sad to know just like in Indonesia, even in the land of the free, some still think that you have the rights to worship, but you have to do it somewhere else, or on another day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Be afraid

Be very afraid of Engineers for they are the terrorists.

Enjoying Jakarta

It's not often I genuinely enjoy Jakarta like today. It's already rainy season, well actually it was pretty wet dry season this year. It's La NiƱa year. The temperature was just right. That being said, it was raining hard when I was inside, but only drizzle when I was out and about. When it wasnt raining, it was cloudy but not hot nor humid.

The best part: the traffic. Oh, the traffic was great. I wish those who are mudik left their cars and motorbikes elsewhere. It took my cab 20 minutes to get to the office! Normally it takes at least one/one and a half hour.

For once, this city is livable.

On the way home, I saw traffic jam was forming again in some part of the city. Tomorrow it'll be more crowded as people are coming back to Jakarta. I'm dreading how things are next Monday as it's back to normal pace and with rainy season comes banjir, flooding, just as last night around Kemang. It means: more macet. Sigh.

Oh well, at least I had today.

Rev. Deborah Lindsay's Message

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's in Your Head

On Lebaran I saw one of my cousins, a nephew and an aunt wore this neoprene wristband with hologram on it. I asked what it's all about. My cousin B said it's for balance and protecting our body's energy field. I was skeptical, so he demonstrated it on me. I had to stand and put my arms behind me like I were in handcuffs, another cousin held my hands and pulled me back and down. I leaned back and almost fell. Then I put on the wristband, and received the same treatment. I leaned back and almost fell. B said I didnt do it properly. We did it again twice. The same result. B then told me to stand on one foot and stick my arms out to both sides. I had to resist the force he put on the arm on the side my leg was up. I almost fell. He put the wristband on me and did the same thing. Guess what? I almost fell.

It was so funny. He said it worked on him, and it should've worked on me too.

I think it works on those people in the same way placebo works. It's all in your head, you believe it's going to work, so it does. While I believe each of us has an energy field, I dont believe a thing, let alone a hologram can protect/balancing our energy field.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So Much For Religious Rights

Indonesian Constitution guarantees religious freedom. Sadly, more and more people arent able to practice their religious rights due to a bylaw that is being abuse by some fanatics. The majority keeps acting as victim while they make it difficult for minority to worship in their churches/temples because the fact is there are not enough temples/churches around. It's not easy to build a place of worship when you are not moslem in Indonesia because moslems are afraid that once such place of worship is built in their area, there would be people converting from Islam to whatever religion of that place of worship, moslems had also been cited that they found the singing/chanting and the bells ringing as disturbance. As someone living almost next to a musholla which starts using their loudspeakers at 2 AM during Ramadan, I found what ever they were saying about noise disturbance is rich.

It makes me mad seeing how tugs such as FPI are free to abuse their majority position on the minority while the government looks the other way. When people are outrage about it, the government just issues a statement about how religious rights is protected by the constitution without really acting protecting that rights. What's good of just protecting the rights of majority while abusing the other? When will our government do the right thing and stand up for those who are abused? We are tired of rethoric, it's time to act before things got worse.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Note to Self

Found at : La Dolce Vita

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Having medical problem that is not visible sucks, because people thought you are just acting out or looking for attention. A German guy named Martin Kittsteiner created plush toys that are all suffer from psychiatric illnesses. A hallucinating snake, an OCD hippo, a split personality sheep, a depressed turtle and a paranoid crocodile.

These toys come with referral, its medical record and treatment plan.

I think it's a good way of introducing non visible illnesses to kids. I hope he expands his collection soon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dr H is Coming!

Dr H is my doctor, my mentor and my former boss, who supports me all these time. He wrote me a sweet email today, and told me he's coming this Nov 20-23. Too bad he's not visiting Jakarta this time. I hope I would have the time to meet him and the gang. I miss them. I wonder if the cute surgeon I had huge crush on is also coming :D


I saw this Bajaj on our way out my grandmother graveyard. There are at least 7 people in it, the driver and two kids sat in the front, 3 women and that guy in the back. I think it was the whole family of the driver. One of the kids in front had half of his bum hanging out of the Bajaj.

On the Lebaran day after Eid prayer people visit their family graves, so there are always traffic jam around any graveyards. Afterwards, people visits their families and friends' houses to celebrate Lebaran. Of course being Indonesian, food is everywhere. By tradition, most houses serve Gulai (spicy beef/lamb/goat stew), Opor (chicken stew in cocos milk with tumeric), ketupat (rice cooked in young coconut leaves) and cookies and cakes. At least in Jakarta you will most probably find Nastar (ananas cookies), Kaasstengels (cheese stick) and Lapis legit cake (layered cake).

Most people make it a point of wearing new clothes on Lebaran. Last week an uncle of mine gave me a new tunic, so I also wore a new clothes this year, normally I dont wear new clothes. Our big family gathers at one of my mom's sisters for lunch. It's a potluck. But two dishes are always be there: Rabek (Banten's goat meat & tripe dish) and Goat Gulai sans coconut milk.

Unlike in other moslem countries, in Indonesia we have Lebaran tradition to ask people forgiveness of our wrong doing. It's very Indonesian. I guess that's also the reason why we are more into Eid-ul-Fitr (we call it Lebaran) than Eid-ul-Adh, while it is the other way around in other countries.

Just like Christmas, kids get something on Lebaran. By something I mean: money. In our family, aunties and uncles collected the money and distributed equally, no ageism or sexism. It's funny seeing how different they acted around the prospect of getting money. As you can see on their faces, some are indifferent, the other are so excited about it.

Happy Lebaran.
Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Home Home

During lunch, after commenting that I have a little American twang, which was disputed by the rest of us, the bloke said that I am home now. I told him I still am undecided about the notion of home. Hours later, he again said to me that for me this is home 'home'. Well, this is where my family live, yes. Home? That's still to be decided.

If any thing, I've learnt that love and attachment are two separate things. I dont attach myself to this place eventho I love some people who live here, just as I try not to attach myself to those I love.

Monday, September 06, 2010


I thought I'd be able to pull it off until this Wednesday. Alas, my body has another agenda. Body dearest, just give me until Wednesday, and then you are free for five days. I let you have it your way today, and work from home. But please pretty please... with cherry on top.. let me do my business tomorrow and Wednesday, ok dear?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

New DPR Building & New Capital

I just had an idea, how about we let DPR has their new luxurious building, but not in Jakarta. There is an ongoing idea about moving the capital city since Sukarno's era. Why dont we start with the new DPR building. I dont care where they are going to located: Makassar or Palangka Raya. Let's see if they are still adamant in pursuing having luxurious building over there.

It'll free up some traffic jams in Jakarta, increase economy outside Jakarta. More infrastructure for the new capital means more project, which also can (sadly) translate into more opportunities for corruptions. Win-Win, right? ;)

Country of Beggars?

It's the last week of Ramadan. I've seen more beggars on the streets during this month than any other months. Around my area, there is this 'tradition' of some houses or business places to give alms every Fridays. You see plenty of (elderly) ladies with baby or kids in tow going from houses to houses, mushollas to mosques, shops to shops begging for money or food.

They are milking people who is following the religious teaching of 'getting more rewards doing good during Ramadan'.

Our neighborhood's chief (Pak RT) once told me a story how those beggars were welcome to take rest at his yard. He served them drinks. It went on until one day Pak RT saw that the so-called beggars had an arisan for pricey cellphones at his yard. Since then, they are not welcome any more to rest at his yard.

I've also been getting texts from Lampung lately from those I met during my stint over there. It all were innocent, asking how I was, or congratulated me relating about the job I did back then. I still havent replied any of them. Part of me wanting to reconnect, another part of me being cynical and prejudice. The thing is, it happened often last year that those who seemed nice and helpful ended up asking for money or cellphone credits. The fact that these people texted me all of the sudden, made me question their motives. Based on my experience, if I answered their text, they would be asking for 'Lebaran gift' aka THR next.

It even happened last year that a failed candidate of the local parliament, called me asking for a new cellphone. I didnt get it. I still dont. How come someone who has acres of rubber plantation and a great house, asking me for such a thing while he saw I use an old cellphone myself. He might've thought I was more well off. Even if I was, which I am not, the guy had a lot of nerves asking me like that. I've never had a nerve asking people for money eventho they had offer me to give some before, not even to my own uncles, let alone someone I met just once.

The other day someone asked me if begging is some kind of cultural part of Indonesia.

As much as I hate to say it, I think it is part of culture for some people. There are villages whose most of its residents work as beggars in the big cities. They have decent houses and plot of lands in their villages due to their begging activities in the big cities. Some would do anything to get government help eventho they are actually not eligible. Some people take it for granted that their families and friends are going to help them. Come to think of it, it is similar to people on welfare in developed countries, except it's the family who provide safety net in stead of the government.

That being said, I know some people who are rather not having 3 meals a day than beg others for money. Some refused to ask for government's help because they thought they could still make it on their own, and they would rather the money is used for others who are even less fortunate.

Therefore, when it comes at helping people, I am rather picky. I wont spend Rp 500 on beggars on the street, if I want to help them with any thing, I usually just get them some food. However, I'd be more than happy giving more to those who are really needed, especially when it involves giving out books.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Public Bank Customer Service II

This morning I called their customer service asking the normal procedure on getting a Bank card, and if there's any option for me to activate the card without going back to the bank. There is none, and I was told the bank should've called me about my card problem.

I went there, waited for half an hour, before it was my turn. Fine, I took my work with me. As soon as I sat, The gal said I should've came by yesterday as their device was, yes, you guess it: OFFLINE. She told me I could only activate my card at that branch. The only solution she could give me was for her to open my pin-code, and I let someone else activate my card if I couldnt be there.

OK, it was my 5th visit in 2 months.

So, I closed the account. It's just too much hassle. When I asked the manager name, she told me I could see him right away. I told her I didnt need to see him, it wont change my mind about the bank and its terrible service. Some how this time he came out of his office to see me. He said they already called me about activation. I told him last week, the only time I am able to visit their branch is on Fridays, and how I never heard a word from them before I was upset last week. Apparently, for some people you need to make a lot of noise before their treat you right.

Before I left, I asked her about this particular transaction I had, I need to know who transfered the money to my account. She said they couldnt see the sender on their computer, all they could see was if it was a transfer or it was cash transaction. Hearing that I was so glad I closed that account.

And oh, it was BANK BRI

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Not Always Right

I went home late yesterday and was dizzy despite we just had dinner. I took the busway and paid with Jakcard. It's a smart card by Bank DKI that you can use to pay for Busway and some other transactions. I bought it on Monday and only using it when I take Busway from Sudirman area.

When I bought my ticket, I saw I had IDR 9500 left. Somehow I thought I should've had more than that. I went to the Jakcard sales girl after the Busway cashier ignored me.

I asked the girl how come I got only that much left after only using it three times. She looked at the balance and told me she had no idea how to check all the transaction I did. She couldnt tell me how to check to make sure all my transactions were correct and how to get my money back should some mistake happened. All she did was saying, 'I'm sorry, bu.' with out giving me any option.

Things like this gets my nerves. In the beginning of introduction of smart card in Dutch public transport back in 2007, I experienced the card was charging me more than it should. When it happened I just had to go to one of their office down town and they could print out all my transaction and returned my money. So yes, in my delusion I was a bit paranoid last night.

I left the girl as soon as the bus arrived. Between Setiabudi and Dukuh Atas I realized my stupid mistake. It was the correct amount after all. I simply couldnt do simple subtraction. I guess I made the girl confused with all my questioning her. Next time I see her I have to apologize to her.

Private Bank Customer Service

I wrote about our problem with Permata Bank before. To be fair, last week I visited their Menara Jamsostek branch and their customer service was very helpful about my problem. I still need to go to my dad's branch and settle it with them, but based on what she told me, it wouldnt be a problem to use Notary's deed and not Islamic court's ruling which will cost a lot. I just need to find the time to get the paper works ready.

Last month I had a problem with Danamon ATM. I was at Ambassador Mall trying to get some money to pay this store, and there were no money coming out from the ATM. I freaked out. Luckily, the gal from the store was with me, and she reminded me to ask for my report number and the guy's name when I called the customer service. It was on Saturday afternoon, I was told that I am getting my money back within 5 working days. The following Friday morning I happened to visit one of the branch, and was told that the money still hasnt been transfered. In the afternoon someone from the customer service called and told me it's been transfered. And it did. It is not the only time their customer service called me to make sure that my problem has been resolved. When I told them I couldnt pay my internet provider using their ATM, they called me back as soon as they found the solution, at that time it was the morning after I called.

We also have a good experience at Bank Liman. It's a small bank, however I like the way they treat their costumers. My dad's banker came to our place as soon as he found out about my dad passing, and help us the whole process of handling my dad's estate at his bank.

Given my experience with a public bank, I think I am sticking with Danamon as my main bank.

Public Bank Customer Service

I've been complaining a lot about customer service in Indonesia. Wait, what customer service? Silly me. Anyway, even my mom told me to chill because I complain as soon as I think the service is not up to par.

Back in June I opened an account at this bank near my place. According to its website, they won a lot of award as 'best bank' among others, including best customer service. Again, what customer service? Like I said I open the account back in June 22nd. At that time I was told that it took 2 weeks to get a bank card. To my understanding they are going to send it or at least let me know if it was ready. Fine. While I was there I asked their Swift code. No one, I mean not a single person there knew what a swift code is. So I had to explain to them what it was. They say they are going to find out for me, and I have to call them. A week later I went back to transfer some money, and asked about the swift code. They still hadnt find out. I went to another branch, and again I had to explain to the guy what it was. Yes, I hear you, look at their website. Well, their website is difficult to navigate, which is typical Indonesian site, and they didnt have that information. I just need to make sure the code that I found elsewhere on the net is the right one.

By late July, I called their customer service, and was told to call my branch because they didnt have any information about my bank card. So, I did. I was told there were some 2 weeks delay, but if I want I could get an instant card, what ever that is. Last week, I finally have the time to pay a visit. I got there, and there was this sign at the door: We are offline. Not something I want to see. I got in, and I waited for my turn. This gal was looking around doing nothing, waiting for god knows what. After a while she asked if I needed any help. I told her I want to know about my card as it's been 2 months since I opened my account. The first thing she said was, 'Ibu, there was 2 weeks delay in making bank card.' I mean come on, by that account, I should've got my card a month ago. I told her they should've told me how things are, and it is not acceptable to wait for two month for a simple bank card. At my other bank I got it as soon as I sign on the paper. She then found out that my card is already there, but.. Yes, ladies and gentlemen there was still a big BUT in this story. Since they were offline, they couldnt activated my card, not even able to give me a temporary pin code. Swell.

So, I told her I want to complain. She tried to refuse my lodging any complain. Then I demanded to see her manager. Her manager refused to see me 3 times. I kept telling her I wanted to see her manager. Finally he reluctantly met me. I told him the whole stupid things about the card and the swift code. He asked me for my phone number and promised to call me personally as soon as I can activate my bank card. That was last Friday.

Yesterday I got home and was told that this gal from the bank called and said that I can FINALLY activate my card. Seriously, this is crazy. Two months and 4 visits just to be told I can activate my card!

On DPR Building

There's this big fuss about the new planned Parliament (DPR) building that costs IDR 1.6 trillion. Actually it costs less than the upcoming SEAGAMES in Palembang. It is said that the old building was built for 800 people, and currently there about 2000 people working there. It is also said that the MPs' office at the moment is not big enough for them and their experts.

I think it's a fair plan to build a new building.

That being said, I dont think an MP needs a 120m² office with a bed room. They already get a house. Why dont they use that when they are not napping at work? As for having a spa as part of the public facilities, to be fair if I remember correctly, at the Pentagon there are facilities such as: hairdresser, gym, supermarket, post office, laundry, restaurants and fast food, pharmacy, health clinics, gift shop, and child care. Then again there are 24000 people working at the Pentagon. Plus, from what I saw back in 2000/2001, their facilities are not luxurious, just normal facilities like in other places. Granted, I didnt see all of their facilities. I remember taking a peek at some of the generals/admirals offices while we were passing by, they were not as big as 120m² eventho some of their officers/secretary were working there.

I've also noticed, when it comes to MPs facilities, they really are working on getting it approve quickly. However, when it comes to those who are needed, it seems like it takes ages to approve anything. Perhaps if those esteemed MPs showed a great job, there wouldnt be any fuss about it. It's just it doesnt feel like they deserve all the luxuries.

Honestly, I wonder why they are stubbornly push this plan, and if it is really what all the MPs want or it is just a project of some of the MPs. Why cant they choose a middle ground of a less luxurious building and use the rest of the money for a more important matter such as better health care for the needed or a better public transport.

Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg! Just act normally, then you act crazily enough!