Tuesday, November 30, 2010


You give them an inch, they will take a mile..

Monday, November 29, 2010


I told several people about my being bed rest, and here are their reactions:
Boss: Mati aku... (I'm dead)
Colleague: I heard you are sick, get well soon, what can I do to help preparing for Wednesday?
Uncle: Wait, what about Wednesday?
Vice Dean: How could you and your uncle get sick at the same time? What about Wednesday?
An Auntie: Stay put in bed, dont go any where, not even for your big meeting on Wednesday. Your health is your priority!
Brother: Yeee...
A friend: .... [then change the topic]
Another Uncle: Oh, it's nothing, you can go on Wednesday, just take your meds.

The maid is missing in action that even screaming calling her name didnt work and I have to go to my niece's room asking her to get the maid upstairs in her room because the water dispenser is almost empty. So much for bed rest.

Meanwhile, I have my computer, books and dictionaries on my bed; bottles of water, meds, phones, cookies & chocolate next to my bed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Each time I see a rainbow, I remember you
Each time I see a full moon, I remember you
Each time I am in an elevator, I remember you
If only I could wrapped you, you, and you into one.

Then perhaps I'd have found my home.

Not Again..

The doc told me to bed rest for several days. As if I can do that. Well, I am on my bed, working & blogging. Does that count? I hope it does.

I've been taking my antibiotics, anti nausea, paracetamol, vitamin, and even worms. Yupe, I'm willing to eat dried worms to fight these aliens invasion of my body.

After seeing the doctor, I asked the Satpam to help me getting a taxi. He asked,"For the patient?" to which I replied, "I am the patient." I cant blame him, I went by myself to the doc. I've noticed Indonesian tend to bring the whole bunch of people to see a doc. Plus, they look like a mess. I always made a point of putting on some make-up each time I go to hospital and when I have to go somewhere eventho I was sick/in pain (even more than going to the office). Because if I didnt, I would feel even worse about going outside. You know, crappy inside and outside. The bad side is, people then thought I was just wanting the attention because I dont look sick. U used to say, "I thought you said you are in pain, but you look good."

Ok, it's almost midnight, better get some shut eyes...
and do the rest of the work tomorrow.. from bed. Hah!


I'm trying to sleep to conserve little energy I have left. There has been thunder upon thunder for the last 30minutes. It rains a bit, diagonally. I hope it'll stop by the time I have to do hospital run.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Baby Sitting

Mom is away, and she asked my cousin and her daughter to accompany me at home. Well, more to accompany my maid actually, cause mom doesnt like the idea she is home alone all day. So far, it is more like I baby sit my niece, and sometimes that including her friends.

I was thinking about staying over at my other cousin's place tomorrow night, until I remember...
I have to baby sit since my cousin who supposed to accompany me, left out of town without notice this morning until next Monday!

Grr... there goes my night of dancing.

Man, I have only one free night this week before the circus arrive next week, and I have to baby sit. Thank you. Seriously!

Verrek Zeg!

Tante O visited me this morning, and we talked heart to heart. Before the Japanese occupation, when she was less than 6 year old, Tante O used to speak Dutch with my grandparents. During and after the occupation, Dutch language was in verboden in our house because my grandfather was part of the troops. Growing up sometimes I heard my grandparents talked in Dutch between themselves.

We were talking about her ex when Tante O suddenly said, "verrek zeg!" about something. I couldnt help but to burst laughing. It's been ages since I heard that sentence. I've never expected to hear it from her! I think she still remember enough Dutch, to understand simple sentences. So I started using Dutch here and there with her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Learning By Doing

I used to built my own PC. An ex taught me how to do it. Now I am teaching my niece. There are parts that she'd never seen before. Kinda weird, considering we are just rebuilding old PC by merging working components of two PCs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a Weekend

I spent this weekend: studying, working and on the phone. With full moon, hormone, blackouts (sadly electrical, not alcoholical), bad quality of sleep, and stress combine, I was in emotional roller coaster.

Gosh I'm such a tired, nerdy, werewolf.
Cant wait for the end of this year...


I take busways, sorry Trans Jakarta or taxis daily as I refuse to drive for the sake of my sanity. Driving giving me a nervous breakdown. I know all bule have been brainwashed into taking Blue Bird or if no other choice: Express.

From my experience, I'd rather not taking Blue Bird. First, it is more expensive. Second, most of the times I took Blue Bird, the driver had only vague idea on how to get to my destination because chances are they are just started driving a cab for several months. Therefore I try not to take Blue Bird because put two and two together, it'll be an expensive trip. Thank you very much.

My favorite taxi during any traffic jam is Transcab. Yes, John, I heard you snickering. Listen, it's cheap, the drivers are experienced and polite, plus it has a decent tv. The down side is, there are only a few hundreds Transcab in Jakarta.

Another favorite is Cipaganti with it's loud red paint job. Again, it's cheap, the drivers know Jakarta well and each has build-in mobile phone/laptop charger unit (but you still need your cables). The down side is its tv is karaoke only, well it can also be an up side for you.

I've been having interesting chat with Gamya's drivers lately. Some used to work for Banks, others worked for insurance companies. They know their way, and the car is clean inside and out. Since one of their pool is near my place, it's easy getting them. The down side is, most of the time they dont have enough change for a Rp. 100K, because most of the time I was their first client of the day.

If any of the above three cabs arent available (which is sadly more often than not), I take Express. Although their drivers are knowledgeable, most of the time their white lining is dirty and every now and then I see cockroach crawling.

Only when I am desperate I take other cabs such as Taxiku, but I steer clear of Kosti no matter what.

So, there you go, my take on Jakarta's taxis.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Want To Tell You About My Feelings

A good animation by Mamoru Itoh who superbly explained the different ways of communicating to children. It reminds me of Deborah Tannen's book.

Hat tip to Kiki by way of Yudi.

An Awesome World

I love an awesome book and an awesome book of thanks!, I think they are really awesome. Love the color, love the message, love the drawing. Probably I will print some of their pages for the kids at the free library next Friday.

Hat tip: Yudi

Today's Articles

There is an article on Jakarta Globe on @, I wrote about it back in 2004. It says that in Dutch it is called Apeklootje, monkey's testicle. I googled it up, and as early as 2000, someone wrote about Apeklootje.

I've never heard anyone called it that way in NL. To my recollection, even in 1995 they called it Apestaartje, monkey's tail. I recalled back then some people in Indonesia called it konde, a sort of chignon, which I never heard it again these days.

There is also an article of this girl who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder making her wheelchair-bound. I can only imagine her difficulties moving around in Jakarta/Indonesia. Even for normal pedestrian it is not easy to walk around Jakarta, the side walk is not always available (hawkers, manholes and motorcycles are hijacking it). Public buildings are not always equip with ramps or toilets for people on wheelchairs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sumiati and her friends

Nowadays it's not easy finding a maid in Jakarta, sometimes you have to pay a lot for getting them from the supplier and it is not guarantee that the maid is going to stay with you. It is because most prefer going abroad and work there for a much bigger salary.

One of the destinations is Saudi Arabia. They say the money is good. The down side is they work a very long hours, most of the time they are not allowed to sleep before the employers go to bed, which can be in the wee hour. If you are unlucky, you ended up impregnanted by your employer or a member of their family, or getting beat up just like Sumiati.

As it is a big business with a lot of stakes, job seekers begged and borrowed money to pay the agent a lot of money to be send abroad. Sometimes while they are waiting for their departure, they sleep with people from the agency. I heard about this from my neighbors because there are plenty of such boarding houses for them near my place. A good agency teaches these people some basic foreign language, how to work in foreign places, basic things like that. But I guess, if one pays a lot more than the rest, they can go abroad without those knowledge, as in the case of Sumiati.

In Singapore they need to pass an exam to be able to work as a maid over there. I heard this from this girl I met last year at the airport, she was sent back because she failed the test twice and nobody picked her up. I heard from an ex foreign worker I met in NL that normally an agency keep her first 9 months' salary as a payment for the training, administration fee, immigration fee, and her flight. When she worked in Singapore, after 3 months the employer turned her over to the agency, and since she couldnt get a new employer afterwards, for months she stayed in a boarding house own by the agency in Singapore and was only fed porridge once a day until they sent her back to Indonesia. She later on went to work in Hongkong and Japan where she had lovely families to work for, before working for an ambassador family in NL. Her sisters at that time were in Japan and Hongkong also working as maids.

I cant blame them for wanting to work abroad, but I wish the government give them more protection and standing up for them abroad. It's been said that Indonesia is going to stop sending its workers to Saudi Arabia because there have been plenty of documented abuse on foreign workers in that land. I think it's about time the government acts this way.

When I was in Lampung, I visited many villages where a lot of their women are abroad working as a maid. They send home money to renovate their house, send their kids to school, or buy a plot of land. I also noticed that the men were just living off what their wives send. Some even have the audacity to take another wife or girlfriend because their wives are away too long!

Currently at Soekarno Hatta they separate the terminal for foreign workers from the 'normal travelers'. I heard stories how some low lives would ask them for money one way or another. The seasoned workers would send most of their money via bank to anticipate these practices.

These women want to improve their lives, but so many people around them act like vultures trying to get something out of them. I hope things improve soon enough for them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


For some Indonesian Moslems, just as for those who are in the Saudi Arabia, today is the Eid-ul Adha, Festival of sacrifice. Indonesian government rules that according to their calculation, the celebration is not until tomorrow. Since some of our experts and staffs celebrate it today, our office decided that today is also a day off.

I've been thinking about the ritual of Eid-ul Adha. To the best of my knowledge, according to the teaching, those who can afford it sacrifice (at least) a goat or a cow. Later, I heard these animals would be our vehicle in after life. I dont know about that. I know that it's to commemorate Abraham's act of sacrificing his son, Isaac according to the Judaism and Christianity and Ishmael according to Islam.

What I perceive from the story, we need to learn to be ikhlas, sincere, with what we are giving. I dont think it's about the goat or the cow, but more about our heart. With disasters all over Indonesia, I thought instead of buying a goat the money is much better spend on helping the victims. I think Islamic scholar Quraish Shihab even said that making sacrifice is recommended. Meanwhile helping people who desperately in need in this disaster is an obligation. However, plenty people still think that making sacrifice is more important. Perhaps they still need their vehicle in after life. Each for their own. I was talking about it with an aunt, she commented that if all those goats and cows are donated instead of being slaughtered, it helps the victims to rebuild their lives. True.

The difference between slaughtering an animal and helping the disaster victims is the giver has the right to one third of the meat and he/she can give the rest to their friends/family or those who are asking for it. When we give to the disaster victims we give it all to them, and we are giving it to those who are really needed. Since I'm still living in this world, I think I know what is more important to me at this moment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Have Female Brain Now

Years ago I did BBC's brain test before, and the result was I had a male brain. Today I tried it again and these are my results:
Part 1
This task tested your ability to identify the angle of a line by matching it with its twin. This is a spatial task, which looks at how you picture space.
Your score: 16 out of 20
Average score for men: 15.1 out of 20
Average score for women: 13.3 out of 20
If you scored 13 - 17: You found this test neither hard nor easy. This suggests your brain has male and female traits when it comes to spatial ability.

Spot the difference:
This task tested your ability to identify which objects changed position. You lost points, if you incorrectly identified objects.
Your score: 93%
Average score for men: 39%
Average score for women: 46%
If you scored between 67 - 100%: Those with a female-type brain generally score in this range. Your ability to remember where objects are may serve as an advantage to you when you're trying to find your way around places. You're more capable of recalling landmarks to get from one place to another.

-> Ok, my mom and I are good in reading maps, and dont tend to get lost, unlike some GUYS I know. You know who you are. So how come people say that women cant read maps?

Part 2
You said your left thumb was on top when you clasped your hands together.
Left thumb on top: This suggests the right half of your brain is dominant. Some studies theorise that as a right brain dominant person, you may excel in visual, spatial and intuitive processes.

Emotions and systems
This task looked at whether you prefer to empathise or systemise.

Your empathy score is: 7 out of 20
Average score for men: 7.9 out of 20
Average score for women: 10.6 out of 20

Your systemising score is: 19 out of 20
Average score for men: 12.5 out of 20
Average score for women: 8.0 out of 20

Systemisers prefer to investigate how systems work. A system can be a road map, flat pack furniture, or a mathematical equation – anything that follows a set of rules. A score of 15 and above suggests you're good at analysing or building systems. Men in general are better at systemising.

This task tested your ability to judge people's emotions.
Your score: 7 out of 10
Average score for men: 6.6 out of 10
Average score for women: 6.6 out of 10
If you scored 7 - 10: Your result suggests you are a good empathiser, sensitive to other people's emotions. Women generally fall into this category.

-> I'm visual. Apparently face to face I am more sensitive to other people's emotions. It's funny that I can match the eyes to the emotion better than the whole face to the emotion in another test I did for autism/asperger.

Part 4
We asked you to measure your ring and index fingers. Your ratios came to:
Right Hand: 1.04
Left Hand: 1.04

Average ratio for men: 0.982
Average ratio for women: 0.991
It's thought that your ratio is governed by the amount of testosterone you were exposed to in your mother's womb. The ratio of the length of your index finger to the length of your ring finger is set for life by as early as three months after conception. Even during puberty, when we experience intensive hormonal changes, the ratio stays the same.

Men generally have a ring finger that is longer than their index finger, which gives them a lower ratio than women, whose ring and index fingers are usually of equal length.

-> With that ratio, I'm a freak of nature. Then again, it's nothing new.

Part 5
This task looked at how you rate the attractiveness of a series of faces. The images you looked at were digitally altered to create slight differences in masculinity.
Your choices suggest you prefer more masculine faces.
Interestingly, women's preferences are said to vary across the menstrual phase. A more masculine face is preferred during the 9 days prior to ovulation, when conception is most likely.

-> I am not ovulating and prefer the brain actually.

Part 6
3D Shapes
This task tested your ability to mentally rotate 3D shapes.
Your score: 10 out of 12 

Average score for men: 8.2 out of 12

Average score for women: 7.1 out of 12
If you scored 10 - 12: Are you an engineer or do you have a science background? People with these skills tend to score in this range. Past studies have concluded that people in this range have a more male brain.

This task looked at your verbal fluency.
Your score: you associated 7 word(s) with grey and you named 7 word(s) that mean happy. We are assuming that all the words you entered are correct.
Average score for men: 11.4 words total
Average score for women: 12.4 words total
If you produced 6 - 10 words: Most people in this range have a female-type brain.
Women are said to use both sides of the brain when doing verbal tasks while men mainly use their left side. Studies have shown that girls develop vocabulary faster than boys. This difference in brain power is caused by levels of pre-natal testosterone.

This task asked you how you would divide money.
If you had to split £50 with someone, you said you would demand £25
So far on the Sex ID test, men have demanded 51.6% (£25.80) of the pot and women have demanded 51.0% (£25.50), on average.
Scientists believe that people with lower testosterone levels tend to take fewer risks so they are probably more willing to keep less for themselves. Those with higher testosterone levels tend to drive a harder bargain and are less compromising.

The new result suggests that I have a female, almost balance with male brain. I demand less than average and tongue-tied about it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's not Easy Doing Good

I was discussing with pak RT about hosting a children library in the neighborhood the other day. I've been wanting to start this project and luckily he supports my idea. Most of people in the neighborhood are not well off and reading is not their priority. I would love to see that change, one kid at the time.

I know even if we dont charge them anything, chances are the interest wont be that high. In order to instill reading habit, it must be a free library, meaning we need sponsors. This is where potential problems rise. I'm not concern about not finding any sponsors. I'm more concern about close-minded people in the neighborhood who will object the scheme. Mind you, indigenous people of this neighborhood are mostly only having a secondary level of education and rather religious. I wont be surprise if some Imam would object the library and branded it as part of proselytize movement. It happened before in other area that utilizing the same scheme for its free library.

Proselytizing is a big deal in this neck of the woods. One word of it and parents wont let kids coming to the library. Therefore, pak RT is lobbying the imam and we are planning to use the community hall, located opposite the musholla, to house it twice a week.

Should every things run smoothly, we are hoping to start our library next week with about 300 books. Wish us luck:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

More HD than HD

This is why I love visiting museum.

Obama Visit

Surprise, surprise, Obama finally visited Indonesia. He cut short his trip into less than 24 hours. Officially it is said that it was due to Mount Merapi ashes, but I think it was because Obama didnt want to report his stay after 24 hours to Pak RT (neighbourhood chief) as regulated in Indonesia.

Another surprise and lesson learned was Megawati's attendance at the state dinner. She hasnt been seen at the Palace ever since SBY took office in 2004. Then the Palace cooked Bakso and Nasi Goreng for a State Dinner, and there she was sitting pretty at the top table. Note to self: serve Bakso and Nasi Goreng when inviting Mega.

Obama delivered a good speech the other day at the University of Indonesia. He talked about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, unity in diversity, which is similar to American's E pluribus unum. It's ironic that a foreigner talked about and praising something that even Indonesian students nowadays dont really learn about. I have this feeling that these days, Indonesians see themselves more as part of certain religion or tribe or even sect instead of Indonesian first.

Another thing that I noticed, Obama used Bahasa Indonesia sentences in his speech. More and more Indonesian children these days have trouble speaking Bahasa Indonesia because they use mostly English in their daily lives. I have yet to find any expert to comment on this matter in Indonesian media after Obama's speech.

While a lot of people complained about the road blockages while Obama was here, I would love to have him all the time. There were actually less traffic on the road because everyone expecting a huge traffic jams. I was also praying hard that it was flooded around his hotel area so that Foke finally does something real about flooding in Big Durian.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ketelbinkie-Frans van Schaik

I remember being taught this song on a boat along the river Maas in my other life by 3 Corpsballen

Merapi in Pictures

Great pics. Reading this article makes me worry.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


As soon as I met my cousin who lives in Jogja, we talked about Merapi, scientifically and metaphysically. How vulcanologists baffled by Merapi's behaviour which is not according to it's pattern and how some paranormals predicted about Merapi would split Java. He told me about people were waiting for a bigger eruption today/tomorrow. By midnight, we started receiving texts and calls from Jogja.

Merapi erupted again. Bigger than yesterday.

With the new development, my cousin's place is becoming a refugee camp for his friends. There was sand shower. According to the news, the last eruption was 8km high. My heart goes out for those affected.

ps: I read somewhere that the ash cloud could reach Jakarta, at the moment it's already reaching Ciamis. It reminds me of Galunggung eruption back in the 80's (which I think was not as big as last night's eruption). We lived about 800km away from it, but almost the whole period of its eruption my brother and I were coughing for months that my dad thought we had whooping cough. Just realized, I started to cough yesterday, perhaps the ash is already reaching Jakarta. Better stock up with some masks

Kicking Myself

I havent been taking any pictures for sometimes. I thought I was going to take pictures of my cousin's labour, but she didnt call me before the baby is born. Tonight, I had a chance to take some pictures. So, this morning before I left for the office, I just took my camera with me. By the time I checked it at the office, turned out the battery is empty. Man, I am still kicking myself for that!

There were: Rumingkang, Funky Papua, Didi Nini Thowok, Glenn, Idol Divo and Anggun. Plus, I got backstage pass!

Oh well.. let's hope I can make up for that on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I heart Calvin & Hobbes

Earthquake and Durian

Apparently indigenous people of Mentawai doesnt have a word for Tsunami. As they are living in the middle of the island or in the banks of rivers, they dont have the concept of tsunami. They have a word for an earthquake, which is Sigeguegue. In their culture, when there's an earthquake, they are taught to take a refuge under the banana tree. They also believe, when a sigeguegue happens in the morning, which they call it sipananduk, the durian season is coming. When an earthquake happens in the afternoon, it's time for them to look for induat, a type of fungi.

The closest thing to tsunami for them is oju, it's when the river's flooding from the direction of the estuary.

Since those who lives/d in the coast of Mentawai are non-indigenous people of Mentawai, it isnt a wonder that Mentawai people oppose the notion of relocating that is mentioned by Marzuki Alie after the tsunami.

Monday, November 01, 2010

McClintock Effect

I got home to my cousin complaining about me to my mom. I was laughing so hard while she did that. The reason of her complain was my period affecting hers. Seriously.

The last time she visited us, I told her I had period cramp. That day she was already complaining about me telling her that, because every time I mention to her I have my period (I dont even have to see her in person), she immediately gets her period that same day or the next day. I am not kidding. It happens all the time, even though we have different cycle (different starting date and length of cycle), so I caused her having two periods in a month. This time, as I found out tonight, her daughter who was skeptical about it was also affected, as she had her period as soon as they got home. Apparently I'm like a magnet for periods.

I guess we are going to have synchronize periods when they are staying with me starting next week. *grin*

This is not the first time something like thing happened. Back in NL it was me who was affected by my flatmate Sisca's cycle. Not as severe as my cousin's tho, it took several months to get our period synchronized to Sisca's cycle. I also remember working at an office with 90% of the employees were women, our cycle were only days apart. Imagine the bitchiness during PMS period.

This synchronization of women who live together is known as McClintock effect.