Saturday, December 31, 2011


Now, let's welcome 2012 with a bang!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season's Greetings

It's that time of year again,
may peace, love and joy
be with you now and always


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sang Penari

I went to see Sang Penari with my mom and auntie O, who are/were both dancers, a while back.

It's an old story about boy meets girl, girl's parents poison the village. Girl wants to become a ronggeng to clean the family's name, the boy is jealous of all the men sleeping with the girl.

Mom's comment: What's the big deal? The story is so-so.
Auntie O's comment: It's alright. It's funny how women wanted her hubby to sleep with the Ronggeng. It doesnt make sense.

I found the movie is interesting. First, we learnt that Ronggeng is not merely a prostitute disguised as a dancer as most of us city slickers would've thought. Apparently there is a mystical element of a true ronggeng. For example if you have trouble conceiving, you might want to have your husband sleeping with the ronggeng first before trying it out again with you. A ronggeng sleeping around brings blessing to the village. Come to think of it, if I'm not mistaken, some pagan beliefs mentioned that sexual conduct creates the biggest energy in the universe. It gets you closer to the higher being. The prayer ritual before one dances is still exist in the entertainment world. Apparently by performing such ritual the dancer's performance will mesmerized the audience. It also protects the dancer from evil spirits when they have to dance certain dance which is believed to have a spiritual meaning/significance. I've heard and seen the rituals before.

We also learnt about how the communism seeped into our villages back in the day. How illiterate villagers were promised to have a better lives and to be given a plot of land they can call their own instead of working as a worker for some landlord. The villagers' dream of a good life would one day back fired when the military use the list of those 'getting food stamp from the commie'was used to exterminate the communist party members/supporters. A genocide. The depiction of this scene is important as most of us only learn at school that the communist party (PKI) did a coup and therefore they had to be exterminated. Those of us who grew up in the 80s at one point had to watch the (propaganda) G30S movie which depicted the cruelty of commies which later on was refuted by many scholars. We had never learnt that there were innocent people fell victims during that time because someone spread rumors that they were member/supporter of PKI or other communism related parties, or just like in the movies, people who thought they will get a plot of land or was sent abroad to the eastern block to study to better their life.

On the lighter-side, it's amusing to see the appearing and disappearing of Srintil's boobs. I called it "ilmu bencong"-trannny's knowledge- since they are almost none when she wears kebaya but almost fall out of her kemben, the traditional corset. At least we know she doesnt have any boobs job. The question is how big was her 'chicken fillet'?

I've seen a tayub/ronggeng in Lampung at a wedding, at the time, there were 20 dancers dancing with the guests. When I saw Srintil dancing in the movie, she reminded me of Didik Nini Thowok, a world class cross-gender dancer who has some of his (two-faces) dances inspired by ronggeng.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Indonesian animation

Lakon Animation created it. Cool.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The sky has been as clouded as my heart.
Wished my dad was here...

Monday, December 12, 2011

2012: Outlook

I think I have an idea how next year will look health wise. The theme is 'Prevention'.
Apparently my medical results were 'clear with a future chance of C'. My job is to make it 'Clear. Period.'

I have a wonderful doctor, and plenty more wonderful friends who are doctors. I know I can make it.
I cant promise to be nice along the way.. chances are I'd be more bitchy and moody. I'll try curbing my explosions.
But, you've been warned.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rumah Saya

After all this time, I just found out Doe Maar has this song.
The funny part was, I thought they sang 'Menteng Dalam saja'... but actually this is the lyrics:

Geen berg aan de horizon
in dit land waar ik ben geboren
Geen berg aan de horizon
alleen ivoren torens
Rumah saya
dimana rumah saya?

bukan bukit di tepi-langit
di praja ini praja
bukan bukit di tepi-langit
saja benteng-benteng gading saja

en dan verlang ik naar een ander huis
in het land van mijn vader
maar ook daar zal ik een vreemde zijn
in het land van mijn vader
rumah saya,
dimana rumah saya

I need to get my ears check :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Arisan! (2)

I was bored so I went to see Arisan!2 yesterday because P wanted to see it. I didnt read any review before. I remembered back in Lowland when I saw it I didnt find Arisan! that good. I felt the story of Arisan! was 'forced', the acting was exaggerated. I didnt think it reflected Indonesian. At least, Indonesian that I knew. So, I went not expecting anything.

As it turned out, Arisan! 2 was funny. We laughed how Meimei coming back from 2-months-retreat in (Gili Trawangan) island and not that tanned, how we wished it was the same for us. I laughed how comical the way they depicted how a dermatologist works. Rio Dewanto as Octa did great and stole a lot of scenes.

And since I live in Big Durian now, I've met some people just like the ones were depicting in the movie. I've eavesdropped Jakartan socialites before and I laughed out watching similar mannerism in Arisan!2. I found the script is more natural than the first one, perhaps it is because I've heard/been part of similar conversations.

The movies tries to tackled a wide variety of issues, from LGBT to street vendors usage of plastic in the cooking oil, which I think dilutes the messages. Some tiny details escaped such as Meimei wearing sleeveless top at Borobudur during a Waisak is, to my knowledge, a faux pas.

After watching it we've decided where our next get away will be: Borobudur during Waisak, because we both had goosebumps watching the lanterns go up.

ps: I watched Arisan! again, and still like Arisan!2 better.

Friday, December 09, 2011

What A Difference A Day Make

Yesterday's The Jakarta Post headline: Jakarta is a safe city: criminologist
Today's The jakarta Post headline: Jakarta 2011: A ‘sick society’

Conclusion: Jakarta is a safe city of a sick society

Seriously, I agree with the second article. I dont feel safe in Jakarta, people are too stress about about day to day survival. All my life, each time I had sexual harassment it happened in Indonesia, most of them occured in Jakarta. I've never been angrier before I moved back to Jakarta. I've never felt more frustrated about the society I live(d) in. Like someone once said, they are my people. If I want them to change, it's better to do it within them.

One baby step at a time, as long as my sanity permits me.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Online Hunting

I've never met my paternal grandfather. He'd passed away before my parents even met.
For more than half of my life I only saw a painting of him. Not a very good one, I might add.
People says he looked a bit like one of my uncles.

Then one night in the cold low land in 2006, I googled him.
There it was, flashing on my screen, his first ever picture I'd seen.
When my dad visited me, I showed him that picture. He'd never seen it.

Tonight, I did the same thing, I googled him.
Guess what? I found another picture but I couldn't find that previous one.
This time I saw part of him in my dad.

The wonder of internet, because of it one gets to see one late grandfather 'new' picture!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Charlie Chaplin's Indonesian Adventure

Never knew Charlie Chaplin visited Indonesia before.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Dahlan Iskan & Public Transport

Years ago I saw on telly (I think it was BBC) a series where CEO's works their way from bottom to top in one week. For example, for a fast food chain the guy starts their week sweeping the floor at on of their store, then move up to making the food, etc.

I always wish that those who are high up in our public sectors would do the same in order to improve our public facilities. My biggest wish is for Foke to take a TransJakarta in incognito during rush hours without any special privileged.

My wish is partially granted today as Mr Dahlan Iskan, minister of State Own Enterprises, took KRL, the Jakarta commuter train by himself during rush hour. Apparently even those who are high up in PT KAI were not allowed to accompany him!

Now, that's my kind of minister. Let's hope he also try TransJakarta.

Update: Apparently he took TransJakarta from Dukuh atas to BI Thamrin then walked to his office at Medan Merdeka Selatan before lunch hour. At least he saw how rickety the bus on that route.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Back in NL I was asked several times how to pronounce my name, where the stress falls? Until that very moment, I'd never thought about it. In Bahasa Indonesia, unlike in Dutch, stress is not very important.

It made me think twice when I'm teaching Bahasa Indonesia to my friends.

Basically, most of the time the stress is in the penultimate syllable. All non-Malay words have unpredictable stress, which mean a lot of words have unpredictable stress.

If you think about it, since it's not important, even if you are putting the stress wrongly, people still understand what you mean. Heck, most people wont pronounce it as you learn it anyway. That's one of the easy parts of Bahasa Indonesia.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Between Euthanasia
and Bahasa Indonesia
Drop me a line
so I can pick up that line

Saturday, November 26, 2011


.. is not wasted when you are having fun!

I use Facebook as one of my email accounts.
G+ to lurk in some discussions.
Twitter to check on Jakarta traffics.

However, I'd kill for an account at Pinterest.
I've spent my whole weekend glued to it even though I'm not a member and loving every minutes!

Friday, November 25, 2011

3 Words About You

Found it over at

Monday, November 21, 2011

An Inspiration

Sung-Bong Choi is simply awesome!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wahyu Cakraningrat

Wahyu Cakraningrat is part of Mahabarata stories. It's about a revelation (wahyu) that is desired by all knights and kings as anyone who acquired it will have offsprings who have dignity and can control Java.

There were three knights who were trying to get the Wahyu Cakraningrat by meditating in Krendhawahana forrest, namely Samba, son of Kresna; Lesmana, son of Duryudana, and Abimanyu, son of Arjuna. At first, Lesmana got the revelation, but he was tempted by the wife of Wahyu Cakraningrat, Dewi Maninten, in human-form therefore he lost his revelation. Next, it was Samba who got it, again he was tempted by the goddess and lost the revelation. It was Abimanyu who got it last and able to remain centered and didnt budged by all temptations Dewi Maninten put him through. In the end, it was Abimanyu's offspring who ruled Java after the Kurusetra battle.

The story is about the power of firm will, the power of expansive wisdom and the power of right and effective action.

My mom and I had the privilege to take a very small part in the performance of Wahyu Cakraningrat last week. It was an honor to be on the same stage with some of the best Wayang Orang performers in the country.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ireland is More Islamic Than Indonesia

This is not a joke. Not only the Irish has adopted Sharia Finance but according to Scheherazade S. Rehman and Hossein Askari in their study titled 'An Economic IslamicityIndex (EI²)' Ireland is the numero uno in the world in term of EI²! The highest OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) country is Malaysia at #33. The Netherlands share #15 with the USA. Indonesia? We ranked #104 out of 208 countries, even Belarus at #94 is more Islamic than us. That's hurt. Real. Bad.

Although the methodology is not perfect, this study confirmed what I see in Indonesia in comparison to places I've lived and visited before. Indonesia might be the most populous Islamic country, but those 'evil' countries, such as the USA & The Netherlands, are more Islamic in the sense that their government cares more of their people than their Indonesian counterpart.

I remember years ago an Indonesian Imam living in the USA and work at one of their correctional facilities confessed that he found USA is more Islamic than Indonesia. Sure, Indonesians might be more Islamic when it comes to individual rituals than the Western countries. However, in their daily lives, I dont think what I see every day in both rural and urban areas are very Islamic. Take one of the pesantrens (Islamic boarding school) near my place, each time they have some kind gathering they close down the road as they pleased resulting in traffic jams for hours in the greater area, their people never bother cleaning up their trash afterward eventhough according to the Prophet cleanliness is part of the faith. I heard they also refused to give up part of their land so that the government could build a 4-lanes road that we need in stead of the two-lanes one that we have at present.

Dont get me started with how some Muslims have treated the minorities such as Ahmadyah and some Christians followers. Inhumane. I keep hearing that performing prayers five times a day and fasting, etc, should've keep people from evil deeds. Yet, they conducted such atrocities. I wonder what went wrong, how come all those rituals that they perform couldnt keep them from evil deed.

I came to conclusion that most Indonesian Muslims are more concern about their relationship with their Gawd and forgetting that according to the teaching their relationship with fellow human being are as important. That's when things starting to unraveled. Sad, really.

So, those of you who try to convinced me that if Indonesia implements Sharia we are going to be better, read and weep.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Javanese Hip Hop

In the Corner

That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with You
And I dont know if I can do it
Oh I've said too much
I havent said enough

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reward For Pain

Ages ago I was discussing the difference between Dutch and Indonesian health law with this Indonesian lawyer/PhD candidate. We touched upon euthanasia which is legal in the Netherlands but not in Indonesia, even though in reality 'euthanasia' is happening in Indonesia.

When I suggested that we need to include euthanasia in our Indonesian health law, he didnt agree citing that it's against the religious norm to do euthanasia. When he acknowledged that some sort of euthanasia is happening in Indonesia, I told him that's why we need the law so that both patients and medical workers are protected by law. The guy then cited that actually according to his religion, Islam, when one suffers in this life, one will be rewarded in the after life, and it includes suffering of sickness and pain.

The other day, after 'introducing' Hypermobility Syndrome to a couple of doctors, one of the doctors asked if I also have pain since the book that I showed them is "Hypermobility, Fibromyalgia and Chronic pain" edited by Prof. Grahame. I said yes. He said, 'Dont worry you will be rewarded later.'

Seriously, no one can give 100% assurance and proof that there will after life, let alone that there will be good reward for all the pain we suffer in this life. I know for 100% that pain in this lifetime sucks.


For years in lowland I had short hair because with the wind, having short hair is more practical. Then I started let my hair grow long enough that when I cut it short, I could donate my hair to Locks of Love, a charity giving out natural hair wig to kids with alopecia and cancer. Usually it takes at least 18 months growing my hair before I could donate them. This year, it's my third time donating.

Currently my hair is just above my shoulders' length. I want to cut it even shorter next month after my performance at GKJ.

Most (women) said I look better and fresher with my current hair. My boss just asked, 'what happened?' Both of my ojek drivers complained why I cut my beautiful long hair. It's funny seeing their reaction as I didnt expect they say anything about it. Some guys said it's better short, but the number of guys preferring the long hair is much larger than the women who prefer my hair long. Why is that?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Motherhood

I was barely 20 years old when I asked my mom how she would feel if I dont have any kids just to test the water. She thought about it before saying, 'If you cant have one, it's ok.' 'What if I dont want to have one?' I pressed her. 'If you are able to have one, why wouldnt you? There are plenty of people out there who really want to have kids but they couldnt.' she asked me back. 'What if I want to work, and I dont like the idea of some stranger takes care of my child? That child is supposed to be under my responsibility. Do you want to help me raise that child?' I responded. My mom said no but still think that I should have one if I was able. We've practically never touched that subject again.

When asked whether I want to have a child, my answer is it depends with whom. I could picture some of my ex-es as the father of my kids, but honestly, some of the others I have a bit problem picturing it. With one of the guys we discussed about it and I told him, if it was possible I would probably quit working at the office the first year and work part-time or work from home later on until they begin their school. With the other guy, we discuss the possibility of adopting and how to raise our kid since we came from different cultures. Interesting enough, it was almost always the guys who brought up the subject of having kids.

The other day I was at the hospital waiting for my appointment, when I saw this 12 days old sleeping baby on its mother's lap. I couldnt help but starring at the baby sleeping so peacefully like there's no problem in the world. I remember asking myself if I want a baby.

Faced with biological clock and some health issues, to be honest I dont put my hope high on having kids of my own. Yes, we can turn to IVF, but I dont think that's something I want. The way I see it, it'll be great to have children of our own, but it's ok if it's not. I dont want to succumb under social pressure of having kids. If one day I decided to adopt someone, I dont want to adopt for my own sake, but for the kid(s) sake because there are plenty of people out there who are not supposed to have kids yet keep having them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


In Javanese tradition Srikandi शिखंडी,is a woman who is equal to men. As one of Arjuna's wives, she fought in the great Kurukshetra battle on the side of Pandawas.

In Indian tradition, however, Srikandi was born as a girl to king Drupada of Panchala who later lived as a man. In the previous life she was Amba, daughter of the king of Kasi. Bisma won her in swayamvara (contest) for his younger brothers. Amba fell for Bisma but was rejected by him due to his oath of lifelong celibacy. Humiliated and wanting revenge, Amba prayed to be the cause of Bisma's death. She was reborn as Srikandi.

Gods asked her father to raise her as a boy. She then lived as a man, learnt how to fight and archery

During Kurukshetra Bisma knew who Srikandi was and refused to fight a woman. Arjuna hiding behind her attacked Bisma with volley of arrows. Bisma was virtually invincible until then, he died days later after witnessing Kurukshetra ended as he wished.

Srikandi is an exemplary female soldier. She was responsible for the safety and security of Madukara with everything in it.

Sheep Dash

BBC has this game to see how alert/sleepy we are. We have to tranquilize 5 running sheep, and based on our reactions they calculate our alertness.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learning Bahasa Indonesia

I used to think that Bahasa Indonesia is the easiest language, as it has no tense, no gender, no cases. When I taught D Bahasa Indonesia I started to realise how difficult Bahasa Indonesia really is. As I translate documents to Bahasa Indonesia I often struggle with specific words. I found Bahasa Indonesia needs more words to describe certain thing. As it is a new language, I noticed that certain words are spelled differently in the new KBBI dictionary which is rather confusing.

I've spent this evening re-learning proper Bahasa Indonesia and thinking how to explain it to others because I do get questions about Bahasa Indonesia's grammar from my clients.

Guess what? Bahasa Indonesia is not as easy as I thought.

Who To Trust?

I have trouble trusting doctors because I've been dealing with them all my life, privately and professionally. It is annoying not to be able to trust a doctor when he/she supposed to help you treat your ailments. I need to know that he/she did the best he/she could for my well-being. I need to trust him/her.

Sadly, I have this gut feeling that some doctors are not to be trusted that they act for our best interest or they have bad bedside manner.

I have this feeling that some (especially Indonesian) doctors have more trouble acknowledging that they have limited knowledge about certain thing. The most annoying part for me when this happened was they made it sound like I was crazy/psychosomatic, and they talked condescendingly. I have more respect when they acknowledge that they know little about it and will try to find out about it more. I feel safer to put my life in such person's hands.

I was rather annoyed when sharing my experience living with trigeminal neuralgia to a bunch of Indonesian doctors, one doctor's immediate comment was, "there are psychosomatic patients, and it's difficult because they will pilling up all symptoms." Seriously, out of all comments, he chose that! It is 180 degrees different approach when minutes later I told M about it and his reaction was genuinely wanting to help me by asking a lot of questions to figure out what to do but he couldnt because it was too late to do anything about. Why it was too late? Because my Dutch doctor refused to believe me when I said something was terribly wrong, he kept saying I had to wait for my body to heal until it was too late to reverse the damage. In the beginning the only person who was there for me was my orthodontist. He put me in contact with Prof. K. I still remember how relieved I was when Prof K said that I wasnt just acting up, I was really in pain.

A pregnant friend also had her share with doctors. She went to two doctors and was told that she also has a myoma. I told her to see a friend of my family. She went and was told that she has a myoma and due to the location she will need a caesarian. My friend called me up after her appointment and complained why the previous two doctors didnt say anything about caesarian?

I have a friend who during his medschool made a mistake of pulling a perfectly good tooth in stead of a bad one. His excuse to the patient was, "that's the procedure of getting to that bad tooth." He was lucky the patient didnt press charges. I'd have sued him if he did that to me. I get that people made mistake, but it's what you do afterward that counts.

I wish the next doctor I'll be seeing is able to say, 'well, my first impression is good, but I don't want to offer you anything that is not true.'

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hot vs Cold

I think at this moment Jakarta has 4 suns. It is that hot! Last Saturday I took 4 showers. On Sunday, before going to my dance class I took a shower with ice water, as soon as I got there (and not even started dancing) I wanted to take another shower!

M said it was 6 degrees in lowland on Friday. Sanders' status was about him needing Winter jacket.

I had never thought I'm going to say this, but I long for the coldness of lowland. So. Much.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hello Mr. Gaarder

Finally, I met Mr. Gaarder. Managed to ask some questions, get his autograph on all ten of his books that I have. I loved seeing how animated he was during his lecture.

Still planning to read his book in Norsk one day.

I got home, showed my mom his books. Then she began reading 'Through a Glass, Darkly' in Bahasa Indonesia that she finished that same day. Mom said she like it so much because she also has the same questions as in the book. It is actually my favorite book by Gaarder, most people likes Sophie's World.

It is interesting that even though he established Sophie's Prize for environment and sustainable development in 1997, he has yet to write a story with those theme. He said he is thinking about it because it's a difficult theme and he doesnt want it to become too political and too ethical.

Selective Mutism

I've heard about selective mutism ages ago. It is a condition when someone has trouble speaking at certain situation or to certain people. Apparently it's a kind of anxiety disorder.

Somehow I think I've met someone with selective mutism. Sigh... here we go...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good Things Happen To Those Who Wait

Apparently the fandom story still continues. I've been inundated with calls and texts about getting the pictures of meet and greet.

That night I was told by the promotor himself that we could get it the next day. I called first thing the next day and they werent even at the office yet. I called again, and was told it would be the next day and they will notify us. In the meantime, a certain Mrs Bakrie put up her meet and greet picture already to the annoyance of fans who won MnG competitions. Thank you! The next day there were no call or text from him, so I called, only to be told they wont be ready until Monday.

Hello Monday. Called them up again and was told it wont be ready until Wednesday. I asked for both hard- and softcopies to be sent to our office as I will be at UI most of the day. Called up the winners about it. I thought it's a done deal. Apparently other winners have their pictures already. So, I've been getting texts again. When is our picture ready? Would it be simpler to just get it by email? The thing is, other winners from other competitions had to choose between soft and hard copy. Ours get both.

Such impatience. Such attachment. Dont they realize good things happen to those who wait?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

What A Difference

Years ago, I worked with this group. One of the guys was really quiet.
So quiet I got only one or two words answers from him. After a while I sort of gave up trying to talk to him.

I saw the guys again today. To my surprise, it was him who greeted me first cheerfully.
It was a really pleasant quick reunion and as it turned out, he's funny. Dare I say he even flirted with me?
Dutch dont flirt. At least in my experience, they didnt.

What a difference five years and two continents made.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Whenever I see video's of people crying/passing out upon seeing a celebrity, I always wonder why such reaction. I dont have that. Granted I cried when I saw a video of Pavarotti's concert after he passed away. I wanted to see him perform live but had never had the chance.

Calvin said that now my god/idol is dead. I do feel sad with Steve Jobs passing to iHeaven, but I'm not a fan, nothing compared to what I witnessed the other day.

I was/am working closely with this girl on her project which allowed me to get in touch with four Indonesian Westlifers, those are Westlife loyal fans. As soon as they had gotten hold of my number I got phone calls about the event. Can we take picture? Can we give them present? you get the point. I've never seen anyone so excited about something, so passionate about people they'd never met before. It was a bit annoying at first, not to mentioned my ear was hurt from hearing the screaming in the background.

Later on after we met face to face and hearing their stories, I was touched with their dedication and tenacity toward the band. With only 12 days of annual leaves, they use up 3 days for the band. 'Why three days? The concert is only this evening.' I asked one of them. These big eyes looked at me with excitement, 'we have to buy them presents, picked them up at the airport. Today we have to prepare ourselves to meet them, and tomorrow we are going to say good bye to them at the airport.'

When we were waiting for the band to come for meet and greet she touched me, she was a bit teary, 'Thank you, thank you for this opportunity.' After she had her meet and greet I didnt see her again. One of her friends held my hands for the longest time after the concert, 'Thank you so much, you had no idea what it means to me, to us.' She is right, I still dont.

Seeing them is so endearing. I'm just happy to have a very small part in making their dreams come true.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thank You Steve Jobs

Monday, October 03, 2011

Father Figures

Once, I watched this bloke, he reminded me so much as my dad. I ended the relationship.
Once, this bloke said that he felt that in our previous lives he was my dad. He ended the relationship.

This weekend I'm going to see a guy who sees me as his daughter - and I see him as my (second) father, who some people thought as my own father. I cherish our relationship. Just like I cherished the relationship with my own father.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Entering Another Era

It used to be me going to my cousin's wedding,
Then, it was me going to my parents' friend's children's wedding,
Later on, it was me going to my friend's wedding,
Today, it was me going to my friend's children's wedding.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


We were reading the menu and discussing what to eat when the waitress suggested in Bahasa Indonesia "siput", snail, for minimum 400 grams. Since we were thinking of getting jelly fish, we both thought she meant snail.

Then when she said "we also have fish for a minimum 400grams" as if it was part of the "siput", we both started to get confused. We found out she meant to say "seafood" but pronounced it "siput". She commented, "yes, different P".

Friday, September 23, 2011

Anti Mosquito Anti Me

The bloke showed us an Iphone app that supposed to be an anti mosquitoes. He turned it on about 50 cm in front of us.
+ The guy said this app emits sound that irritates mosquitoes, but maybe I'm deaf, I dont hear it.
- It does, I hear it. peep...peep.. very high.
+ You hear it?
- Yeah. It is irritating.
* Seriously? Let me try [he put the iphone next to his ear] hmm, nothing.
-Seriously. [both looked at me surprised]

Fact: I hear high pitch sound that irritates mosquitoes, rats, and that 'silent' ringtone that kids nowadays use but I have trouble hearing low pitch sound with background noise and I have a certified audiogram result to proof it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Are You Trying To Say?

Monday: This guy told me how he proposed to his fiancee. Super sweet.
Tuesday: This other guy told us how he celebrate his 10th anniversary. Amalfi, Capri, Heli ride. Need I say more?
Wednesday: stumbled on a movie located in Ireland with a proposal ending. Crappy fake accent. super view.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time Is Up

An acquaintance of mine just lost her step-son 4 days ago. He had his general check up a few weeks ago in Singapore and was declared in perfect health. Since there was no autopsy, nobody really knows the cause of his death.

He was reading a novel when he passed away. Forty-two years young.

Meanwhile, a dear uncle of mine in his 70s is still standing despite diabetes, heart problem and kidneys failure that requires dialysis twice a week.

I guess when it's your time, it is your time.

Friday, September 16, 2011


When I grew up we were told Indonesian is very nice and polite.
The longer I live in Indonesia the more I believe it was a myth.
I've never been angrier before I moved back to Indonesia.

I'm tired of dealing with backstabbers.
I'm tired of dealing with hypocrites.
I'm tired of dealing with ungrateful people.
I'm tired of dealing with crappy people.
Especially the one with (little) power.
Dead tired.

This place drains me.

ps: I know you gonna say they are every where. Yes. It's just I've met them heaps over here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weird Conversation #5

Mom was doing crossword when this happened
+what is masturbation?
-how many letters?

I lived too long in lowland

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dont Know About You..

..But what Debora Cahn wrote ring true to me:

There’s an awful vertigo that sets in when women who were raised to be strong, and independent, and decisive, learn that they’re no longer supposed to make their decisions alone. They’re supposed to consult someone else. Hear their opinion. Consider it. And sometimes bend to it. It’s a nightmare. We were raised to do the opposite. Generations of our foremothers fought tooth and nail, so we could make our own decisions. And we’re still supposed to consult someone else?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is It Just Me, Or There Was No Wedding Scene?

Last night I was working in front of Grey's Anatomy season 7 on the telly during prime time. It's the "White Wedding" episode. For those you uninitiated, it's a drama/comedy about doctors at Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital. Basically they are all hot, screwing each other while fixing their patients.

I actually watched it before, so I knew the story.

Like I said, I was working, so not really concentrating on watching it. However, I didnt recall seeing the lesbian wedding. I saw the talk between Miranda & Callie, then I checked my emails, the next thing I knew I saw MerDer in the Justice Office, then the lesbian party. A few minutes later, the episode ended. I looked at the clock, the whole thing wasnt even 45 minutes long. I knew without any ads the whole episode is about 42 minutes. My gut feeling told me they cut the wedding scene.

Later on they replayed the episode and I made a point of watching the whole thing just to see if they cut the scene. This time they have the scene and it lasted with ads for more than 50 minutes.

Unless my mind tricked me, I really do think they cut the lesbian wedding which is shown in between MerDer Justice Office scene during prime time. Come to think of it, perhaps because it was prime time, kids are still up and the show is broadcasted in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, they cut the lesbian wedding. People are afraid seeing lesbian wedding. They even more afraid of he scene corrupting the children.

I think Miranda had a quote in her scene with Callie that voiced my sentiment in her last 3 sentences:
"Okay, first of all, you do not need the law, or a priest, or your mother to make your wedding real. And the church can be anywhere you want it to be: in a field, on a fountain, right here in this room, anywhere. Because where do you think God is? C'mon now! He's in you, he's in me, he's right here between us. Now your church hasn't caught up to God yet. Your mother, she hasn't caught up to God yet. And, by the way, she may not ever catch up, but it's okay. It's okay. If you are willing to stand up in front of your friends and family and God and commit yourself to another human being, to give of yourself in that kind of partnership, for better or worse, in sickness and health — honey, that is a marriage, that is real, and that's all that matters. Besides, girl, I got legally married to man in a church. Look how good that turned out."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Night and Day

Within a week I had the opportunity to try the internet in two of the biggest IT related company. One of them is in Singapore, where I tried their impressive teleconference. You feel like your counterparts are in the same room as you and their mic is sensitive enough that when you move while talking, you counterpart natural reaction is to turn their head to the side where you move to. Not to mention you counterpart is pictured as big as the real person. They have not only one, but at least 3 rooms for such service. Talk about using a lot of bandwidth. I was in 'teleconference heaven'.

Today, I ended up 'working' in one of Indonesia biggest internet providers' office. Let me just say this: OMG! It took me ages to open my gmail account, then after I saw the list of my emails I could not do any thing at all. Nothing. Nada. Zip. even I couldnt log out! I tried opening up this website that I need and it took ages. I tried logging in to their intranet email service and it took ages to open up their lotus, plus the email I had been waiting for wasnt there even though I could see it already on my gmail list, which of course I couldnt open.

So, now I get it why my home connection which is provided by them is so darn slow for the connection I am paying for. They couldnt even have a decent connection in their own office. Seriously. When I commented about the speed, the lady who works there said because they have to split the connection with the whole building. Again, seriously!

Two companies, in two countries. It feels like night and day.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

My "Mudik"

Someone asked if I go mudik this year. I said,"yes, to Singapore". The truth is, I have to work on Friday over there and stayed there for one night even though the office is close for a week.

It's my first proper stay in Singapore. Normally I just transit or visit my cousin for a few hours. Somehow I dont share the attraction of going there which a lot of Indonesians have. However, since I had this invitation and a meeting, I managed to visit Dali Exhibition while I was there.

After landing, this woman approached me, asking if I went to this university and if I was in her year. I did. That's the first time we met after gazillion years. We used to be in the same group because our names close to each other in the list. Small world, eh?

After checking in, I took a cab to MBS, Marina Bay Sands to see Dali. They currently also host Van Gogh and shipwrecked exhibition. Since I've been to Van Gogh museum many times before, I dont see the point of seeing his paintings projected. Besides I've never been a big fan of his anyway. In fact, the first time I saw his early painting I thought I knew better how to paint shadow when I was in elementary school than he was at his twenties. Suffice to say, that's when I lost my interest in him. But I digress.

Dali Exhibition was pretty good. There are plenty of his drawings and sculptures. Most of them are about his symbolism. I love his Lady Godiva and Space Elephant sculptures. To bad they didnt show his lobster phone while putting up his quote "I do not understand why, when I ask for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked telephone." it's like a loose end.

I think Dali exhibition at Boijmans Museum, Rotteram back in 2005 was bigger and better. Not to mention it was more fitting to his surrealism. MBS attempts to add something to his collection is by putting up funny mirrors in front of a wall of many kind of clocks. You can make your own picture of melting clock just as Dali did.

I then went to my meeting where I could try this state of the art tele conference. Apparently the Australian government use them. It's fab, you feel like you are in the same room with your counterpart and there was no delay in its connection. Too bad, we dont have the infrastructure to make it available every where in Indonesia. However, I do know there is at least one place in Jakarta using it.

From there I went to Orchad rd. and was sucked in ION for an hour. Dashed back to the hotel to change before going to this party. I met my girls at the party and had a good time with them and was introduced to a lot of people. Some are coming over in a few weeks. It was good that I saw the girls, but also sad as it was a farewell party of two great people. The host is charming as ever. I think one of the requirements of being an Irish Ambassador is being charming. The food is great. If you are ever been to the place, try the carrot pudding. It's gorgeous.

The next day, I had about two hours trying to find this Bialetti I wanted to give to a buddy of mine, but with no luck. No one but this girl ever heard of it.

On my way back, I was in the same flight with Yuni Shara & her toyboy. That's my Mudik story.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Eid days

There was a huge confusion in Indonesia in the past couple of days about when is the Eid ul Fitr, the start of the new Islamic month which signify the end of the fasting month.
There was a sect celebrating it on Monday. Then Muhammadiah, one of the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia with about 40 millions followers decided that they celebrate it on Tuesday because they use Hisab, a way of calculating the new moon. However, the government decided that we cant see the moon on Monday, so the Eid ul Fitr would be on Wednesday based on looking for 'hilal' (I think it means the new moon).

We joked, complained, panicked because of the government decision. Yes, a lot of people are panicking because we were all almost sure that it would be on Tuesday, so a lot of decisions were based on that. Offices close on Tuesday but open on Wednesday. Caterings were booked on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, Tickets were booked on Wednesday instead of Thursday. You get the idea.

Our family waited for my uncle decision. I was sure he would celebrated it on Tuesday because normally, when there was such confusion he chose the earlier of the two. So, on Monday we started cooking at our place, until my aunt, his wife, called to tell us that this year we celebrate it on Wednesday.

This morning I asked him why he didnt celebrate it yesterday. He said he sit in this Islamic scientists forum and this guy convinced him scientifically and religiously that the government is right. No one can see the moon on Monday in Indonesia. You can see the moon in the Western part of the Southern hemisphere, though. Apparently, on Tuesday there is a conjunction of moon and sun, which means it's a new moon according to the astronomy. Muhammadiah is supposed to cite a certain Koranic verse to use the conjunction as the start of a new moon. However, according to that scientist, there are more verses supporting looking for hilal. Apparently, the fact is you can only see a hilal when the moon is up about 2 degrees. On Monday, the moon is up less than 2 degree, therefore the next day couldnt be said the new month.

I then asked why Saudi celebrates it on Tuesday when the moon is up less than 1 degrees over there. He said, in Saudi no one verify the witness, so as long as someone came up and said he saw hilal then they declare it as a new month the next day. In Indonesia the government verify the witnesses. In that sense, Indonesian government did it very well for once.

That being said, I dont get why the government used the conjunction instead of the conjunction plus 2 degrees calculation in deciding when the next Eid ul Fitr to limit the confusion. Logically now we have a different Islamic calendar than Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. I also dont get why we always have this problem only about Eid ul Fitr, but not about other Islamic holidays. I feel that the organizations politicize the event so much that they have difficulty agreeing on it.

With the confusion, in some families the deciding factor is the catering. Seriously. You cant let all those food gone wasted, right? One of the positive things out of this is today the cemeteries are not as crowded as normal Eid ul Fitr as some people already visited them the day before.

I guess all I could say is Indonesia is definitely a very democratic country.

Selamat Lebaran!
Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
Lots of love, T

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where is the line of our tolerance?

I thought the whole thing about being tolerance works both ways. In Indonesia, however, it seems like when you are part of the majority you can do whatever you want.

The other day I had to walk about 2km at 10PM to home because this madrasah close off the road for their breaking the fast event. They are going to do it again on Sunday. I wouldnt know about the Sunday event had my ojek driver not tell me. Heck, I didnt know about the event the other day (I thought it was going to be the following night) because I didnt see their posters, which they posted in the area that I had never pass by. Very convenient.

On the following day the guy at work asked me if people did me wrong the night before. He heard about the crazy traffic jam around my area. Someone asked why I didnt take an ojek. I would if there were any, or if they could pass the deadlock. It was quicker for me to just walk the 2km then getting an ojek for the last 700m. I got home at 10:30PM after stuck in the traffic for 2.5 hours. I heard people got home around 2AM because they stuck in the traffic. Good luck with that.

It happens all the time. Some madrasahs or sects (yes, they are sects. Deal with it) decided to have an event to show off that they have thousands of following, closing off streets, leaving a lot of trash afterward. It annoys the heck of me. If such event was organized by any minority those Islamic radicals would be angry. Yet, since it was 'one of their own' they tolerate the situation.

Why cant they organize their event in a way that not many people suffer from their doing? I know one church which has people directing the traffic to make it more bearable and the parking before, during and after their event. Why cant these madrasah people do the same? As they dont have any space for parking, they could've asked their people to come with public transport as much as possible. Heck, if they dont have enough space for their people, for the love of G_d use any football field or stadion or any open field. They could've worked with buildings around the area to use their parking lot instead of closing off the street for their parking lot. They could've also preached about cleanliness (pick up your trash people!) and that they need to follow the traffic rule instead of making the traffic jam even worse while not wearing any helmet for those who are riding a motorcycle.

Seriously, to the best of my knowledge Islam talks about cleanliness. However, in my experience it were always the mosque/madrasah which have more trash in their premisses. They need to work on that. Islam also talks about the importance of our relationship with G_d and also the importance of our relationship with fellow human being. Imagine someone needed to go to the hospital that night and the road was close off or stuck in traffic. He might not make it through the night because some people wanted to deepen their relationship with their G_d. Where's that leave you with your human relationship?

As we are still in the month of Ramadan, FPI has been going around closing hawkers which still operate during the day. Why? There are people who are not fasting for what ever reasons. FPI have no rights whatsoever to do that, yet they've been doing it with police 'blessing' as the police tag along some of these raids. I thought we pay the police to protect us from thugs like that. Those hawkers need to make a living, especially before Ramadan so that they can celebrate Eid ul Fitr just like everyone else.

Indonesians are very permissive. Too permissive, that it doesnt do us any favor. There are things that we cant tolerate, but yet we, as society, did. It starts with small things such as organizing an event, but ended up with 'tolerating' that you can lynch people who has a different opinion that you and the law would just slapped your wrist for that, while giving your victim a longer punishment. This troubles me. A lot.


I visited my uncle's surgery this afternoon because my mom needed some dental work. I figured while I was there I might as well do my supposedly biannual check up. The advice is to have a dental check up every six months. However, the last time I sat on a dental chair was, I think, 3 years ago. Yes, I should've known better.

My uncle said my teeth are white and clean. Yay!

Apparently my saliva has low minerals therefore there are no plaque even after 3 years. That, and I do clean my teeth very well even though I dont use electric toothbrush, almost never floss and never use plaque disclosing tablet (ever since I moved back here).

I've noticed that a lot of Indonesians have halitosis because they dont take proper care of their teeth.

We need to brush our teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride. The most important time to brush our teeth is before we go to bed to prevent tooth decay. We also need to remember not to brush our teeth directly after any meal. After a (sugary) meal our teeth environment is very acidic which weaken our enamel. If we brush our teeth straight after eating, our weaken enamel parts can be brushed away. Therefore, we need to wait about an hour after any meal before we clean our teeth.

As I stated earlier, I brush my teeth manually with a normal toothbrush. However, if your saliva has high minerals, it might be good to invest in electric tooth brush to make sure that you get all the debris. Clean your teeth for a good two minutes. Every now and then use plaque disclosing tablet to see how clean you brush your teeth. Dont brush your teeth to hard. You might think it is cleaner to brush it that way, but you hurt your gum. Once your gum is receding and your root is showing, you need to have a proper dental/gum work on it. So, remember to brush your teeth with a gentle pressure.

Flossing daily is advisable. I dont do it that often because I have permanent retainers and it's a pain to thread the floss between them unless I use a super floss one that I dont see it often being sold over here. It is said that flossing daily lengthen your life and improving the health of your gum

When you use mouthwash, please make sure you are not using one with alcohol in it. Studies suggest it might increase your risk of getting mouth cancer. Traditionally in Asia people use betel leaves to strengthen their teeth. If you want, you can boil the leaves and use the water as mouthwash as they contain an antiseptic.

I know some of you are afraid of going to a dentist, but you have to do it ideally twice a year. Why do I bother writing about teeth? My father's best friend had heart problem because he ignored his teeth problem. I also know someone who had headaches all the time because he ignored his teeth problem. It amazes me how (some wealthy) Indonesians neglect their teeth hygiene while caring so much about their brands.

Your teeth are important not only for your over all health but also for your image.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It's been almost a week witnessing an event unfolding before me in public.
I've been feeling a mix of schadenfreude, shame, curious, pity and revengeful. Most of the time it's schadenfreude, though.
Cant help it.

I need to work on this. Talk about relapse.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer
Sun Tsu

I learnt this the hard way ages ago, when a frenemy back stabbed me. I ended up reading Sun Tsu and Machiavelli to understand the situation at the time and avoiding mixing with fellow countrymen as much as I could. Too much drama.

When I was dabbling for a stint in politics, someone told me that in politics it is very normal that one day you are rivals and the next you are friends. I was naively interpreted that as you might have different point of views but can still be civilized. Boy, was I wrong. There were a lot of back stabbing going on. Care only for number one. Period.

Lately I've seen how some (seasoned) politicians made some rocky mistakes like I did back then, which surprised me, actually. It's a dirty world politics. We need to pick our battle to win the war by understanding who our enemies are, what makes them tick. When you find yourself in situation where you might have the right reasonings of what you are doing but if it was executed poorly, your enemy might chew you up. Hence, keep your enemies closer.

In politics your image is very important, do anything in your power not to jeopardized it. There are plenty people out there who are waiting for your down fall. Schadenfreude is very human. Remember that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Indonesia Independence Day

Today is Indonesia independence day. Google put up a picture of a game we normally play at Independence day called 'Panjat pinang', climbing a Pinang tree trunk to get presents. Sounds easy right? The trunk is covered with grease, and while you are climbing it, sometime people throw water at you to make it even slippery. Therefore, to win it, you work in a group and take turn with other group trying to reach the top at a given time.

Back in 2008 we had both men and women groups competing at Panjat pinang game in my area. It was fun to see. However, since it's Ramadan, there were no games to celebrate the independence day in my area. It's a pity, especially for kids, who normally compete in a lot of games.

Last night there were documentaries on Soekarno and Hatta. This afternoon, on our way to one of my cousins' place, my aunties who knew both men personally reminiscing about Soekarno. The guy was famous of being a womanizer. That being said, he could accept a rejection, unlike some of the present day so-called-leaders. Compared to his present day counterparts, Soekarno had more guts when it comes to dealing with foreigners. He had more charisma than any other Indonesian presidents after him. Despite his faults, there were things that we still need to learn from him.

Too bad, these days most people choose to forget/ignore about Indonesian history. Kids know more about celebrities from abroad and not about our own heroes and founding fathers. We could learn a lot from history so that we dont have to make the same mistake twice.

What is our weakness: our weakness is we do not believe in ourselves as a nation, therefore we become a nation of copying from abroad, distrust each other, when we originally were the people of gotong royong (joint bearing of burdens)

Soekarno's speech on Indonesia independence day 1966

Monday, August 15, 2011

Random Things

There are estimated 7.1 million people in Jakarta who are going home to rural areas/other cities at the end of this Ramadan. In the city of 12 million people, missing 7.1 million with their 4.1 million vehicles (motorcycles and cars) is going to be a bliss. Stay at your home longer, please! And, if you insist to come back, leave your vehicle over there!!

I'm not keen on Facebook. The other day while I was on it after answering a message, I stared at one of the key persons in Nazarudin case personal phone number. I dont even know the guy, but there it was on my Facebook. See, why I'd rather be at google?

Just received an invitation for a farewell party at the embassy in Singapore, but I couldnt get any (relatively decent price) flight back because it was the same time as when everyone getting back to Jakarta after the Lebaran/end of Ramadan break. One airline offers a flight for the price of a ticket to Europe. Madness.

I've decided I'm not going to follow Nazaruddin case, because it's too fishy. To be honest, I dont see why he must be in Indonesia to prove his points. It is those who he accused of who need to prove that they are innocent. Why spending that much money only on Nazar, while nothing is seemed to be done against Nunun, Anggodo and plenty others in Singapore.

Indonesian and the US governments need to listen to Buffet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nunun vs Nazar

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

They finally caught Nazaruddin in Colombia. The media said that Nazar came to Colombia using chartered jet from Washington. I assumed it was Washington DC.
My questions:
1. How could Nazar be in the USA if he was using his cousin's passport? His biometric is not the same as his cousin. The Border police should've caught him there.
2. How come he didnt apply for asylum somewhere? He could've done it as soon as he arrived in the USA or Colombia or the UK for that matter, because I think he will be dead not long after he arrives back in Indonesia if whatever he said he knew is the truth.
3. It was said that because Nazar was too 'talkative', they were able to trace him. I am sure that Nunun and her family communicate, it is just that they are not making it public as Nazar did. How come we cant tap in their communication line? Is it because her hubby former position & connection?
4. How come Nunun's husband has not been arrested for harboring a fugitive? She's been on interpol red list long before Nazar was put on that list.
5. How stupid Democrat party officials can be, seriously? They still havent fired Nazar from the parliament, so while he was on the run, he was still paid by the government for at least IDR 56 million per month.
6. How hypocrite PKS party official preaching about morality but still supporting Nunun's husband?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dutch Weather

Sorry it's in Dutch

UK Riots

Although I was here when it happened, UK Riots reminds me of Jakarta's riots in 1998. The looting, the marauding people, the rampaged through shops and torched vehicles.

I do have concerned seeing pictures of the riots full of immigrants running amok and pictures of white people cleaning up the mess. I dont know if it was really the case, but I assumed there were plenty white people taking part in the riots, just as there were plenty of colored people joining the clean up.

Just as I am concerned with how the media keeps creating connection with between Moslem & terrorism, I am concerned that the media fueling the hatred towards immigrants.

Sure, there are stories about how Turkish shopkeepers fighting the mob to protect their properties, three Asian men got killed while protecting their business, but what you see is more powerful than just words.

My point is, not all immigrants/colored are bad/having bad value, just as not all white are good/having better value. But since the media keeps sending out message that there's nothing good about immigrants, if the Brits are not becoming more anti-immigration after this, I would've been surprised.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Banten Judges & Bylaw

It's been years since Banten becoming a province of its own. It used to fall under West Java province. However, more of then than not, all I've heard one incredibly stupid story after another from that province, especially with regards the law.

Years ago they arrested a female teacher because she was thought as a prostitute. According to their bylaw, females are not allowed outside the house after certain hours. Those who are outside were deemed as prostitute.

Then we have several corruption cases that ended up really laughable.

Now, they gave murders of Ahmadiah less jail sentences than their abuse victim.

Seriously, Banten judges & their law are incredible. It seems like common decency, moral and ethics are no where to be seen in the province. All of it is ironic considering they are rather famous as in of the area where people are very religious.

Oh wait, sorry for my mistake. Being religious and having common decency are two different things in this land, especially in Banten.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fighting the FPI

T called yesterday after his quarrel with FPI thugs. It was absurdly funny, yet alarming. It started with T eating biscuits in his car and a FPI thug came knocking on his door:
F You dont respect people who fast!
T I eat my biscuit in the privacy of my car.
F You.. Chinese!
T I am Chinese. Unlike you, who is Indonesian but acting Arabs.
F Anjing! (=dog; v. insulting in this part of the world)
T Your anger nullified your fasting. So, you want to fight?
*4 of FPI thugs joined in, while T was out of his car. I know he's nut*
F *hurling some abusive language*
T It's a pity, your religion is great but you act like that.

The point of fasting is to train ourselves to control ourselves (speech, emotion, craving, desire, etc). I thought by being able to control ourselves eventhough there are people eating, etc, that's when you are succeed in your fasting.
What good of fasting when everyone has to conform to us? I dont really control my desire of eating when there are no food/people eating to be seen. I control my desire of eating when there are food present and I dont eat/desire/crave of them.

It's alarming that those FPI thugs forcing their way on people. If they want respect they have to earn it in a descent way, not by force.

Indonesia's a free, secular-albeit-believing-in-god country. Unless those who are not fasting forcing their food to those who are fasting, I dont think people eating while I was fasting is rude. It is selfish to expect people not to eat just because I was fasting.

I think those who fast as a minority such as in Europe are the ones who really testing their self control, unlike those who fast as a majority and controlled environment such as in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My Day

I'm not myself today.
Come to think of it, who am I? But that's not what I'm about to write at this moment.

This morning I wanted to take a taxi to the office, but couldnt find any, so I took a motorcycle taxi known as Ojek to the Busway stop. When the first bus arrived, people stampede to get in. I stayed and waited for the next one since I'm not feeling well, I need to sit down. I entertained the thought of asking to get on the bus at the special door, but since I dont look that sick they probably would refuse my request. Five minutes later I got my bus and I sat on the normal seat as oppose to the Priority seat and began to read. Priority seat is for pregnant women, people with kids and elderly.

The traffic was practically stood still at some areas.

After about half an hour, the conductor asked me to stand as there was this lady with a kid needed to sit. I was about to protest because two people in front of me were sitting on priority seats. Then I thought, "Fine, they are fasting." So, I stood. After fifteen minutes the lady & kid left and I got my seat back. I was reading again while thinking, "Dont miss your stop."

About five minute later I then took an empty bus and read again.

Before I knew it I noticed there were fence on each side of the road. "OMG, where am I?" I missed my stop and half way to the end station! There I was, supposed to be at the meeting in five minutes and there was no Ojek to be found until we reached the station. I called up the office to tell them where I was and lucky me, it seems like the meeting was cancelled. I got to the office about half an hour later and the guys were laughing.

All day while I was composing some emails I kept typing words that I wasnt thinking of typing. It's like my fingers had mind of their owns.

On the way back I took a bus again because there were traffic jams. The bus took a different road and it stuck. Not. Moving. At. All. For almost one hour and there was again no ojek to be found. In the mean time, both of my hands were tingling and throbbing, my nose was stuffed and it made half of my face in pain. I called up my friend who knows acupuncture asking which point do I need to press to lessen the pain and tingling. She told me to get some sweet warm drink. I told her I have some tea in my bag, but everyone is fasting. I was afraid that people get offended.

I looked for a warung and asked for a hot sweet tea, but it still didnt help. My friend told me to eat. So, I ended up doing something I've never done: eating at a warung. After feeling a bit stronger, I took an ojek home.

I still feel like crap. I hate it when upper respiratory infection and allergy comes together. I just hope all the coughing wont hurt my brain like it did with one of my aunties.

TMII vs Jakarta

Please explain to me why TMII (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah) has a monorail since the 80s while Jakarta still hasnt catch up with managing its transportation in the 21st century?

Jakarta's government needs to solve the problem of "moving its people" instead of "moving the cars" as they have been trying to do. It's not working in back then, it's not working now.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Over the Counter Meds

Elsewhere in the world, it's not easy getting antibiotics. However, in Indonesia, doctors are giving out prescription with antibiotics easily, citing that in tropical country the chance of infection is greater than in developed countries. This has some merit, but still doesnt justify why some doctors prescribing antibiotics for common cold in this country. Repeat after me: Antibiotics wont work against virus.

Anyway.. I last night my ENT doc Aunt said over the phone that I needed to get some antibiotics and some saline nose spray. So, I had two options: forged my dad's prescription or just go to pharmacy for the meds. I asked our guard to get me those without any prescription. He came back bringing only one third of the antibiotics I need saying,"This is all they've got. They need a prescription for the saline nose spray."

Oh, the sheer stupidity of that sentence.

Elsewhere in the world, saline nose spray is an over-the-counter medicine and to get an antibiotics we need a prescription. Indonesia has other rule apparently.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


According to the Oxford Dictionary:
terrorist |ˈterərist|
a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.

However, judging from the media as of late, nowadays Western media uses the word 'terrorist' only when it comes to Islamist/colored person who uses terrorism. They are reluctant to apply it to blond-conservative-Christian-member-of-Freemason-killer even though he clearly terrorized not only Norway with his acts, but also the world & was also charged by the Norwegian police for acts of terrorism.

I didnt hear anything about his rampage until Saturday late morning. In the first articles I read there were notions that the perpetrator was Muslim radical(s). There were even some Islamic groups claiming it was theirs. Later on, as it turned out, it was Anders Behring Breivik, a puur blood Norwegian psycho, who has no remorse of what he had done. He even thinks that it was not against the law! The sad part was, some media still tried looking for anything to link him to radical Islam.

These atrocities remind us that terrorist comes in many colors. We need to learn not to jump into conclusion based on our own assumptions.

My heart and prayer goes out to the victims and their family.
Norge, mitt hjerte er med deg!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Elly Anita An 'Anti-Trafficking Hero'

TVOne interviewed Elly Anita, a former migrant worker & victim of human trafficking in the Middle East. She only studied at elementary school level but managed to learn English, Arabic, Cantonese and how to use internet. Her English is much better than some of university lecturers I've met in Indonesia.

She was awarded by the US government the 'Anti-Trafficking Hero' award and was invited to the UN to talk in their Geneve HQ.

What did she get from the Indonesian government? Nothing. Nada. Null.

In the midst of her struggle in the Middle East she managed to contact one of Indonesian Embassy for help and was sort of being told off that it's her own fault why she ended up in Iraq. It was IOM (International Organization of Migration) who helped her & 16 of her friends.

Nowadays she work for Migrant Care helping fellow migrant workers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I ♥ Prof. Rodney Grahame

Back in 2006 after years of dealing with chronic pain and was diagnosed Fibromyalgia in the previous year, the RSI on my right wrist/thumb was at the worst, I needed weekly physiotherapy on my hand and I couldnt type/write for a long period. At that time my RSI therapist said there was nothing more he could do because I was too mobile. My joints are abnormally mobile.

So I turned to GoogleGod. He told me about Hypermobility Syndrome Association, Ehler-Danlos syndrome (EDS), and the likes. I learnt about Prof Grahame in those forums. I started reading his papers and articles. He talked about Hypermobility Syndrome aka. Hypermobility-EDS.

Nothing confirmed yet, but things started to fall into its places.

Somehow I got hold of his email address and I emailed him, asking his opinions and suggestions. He basically agreed with my hypothesis of what I have based on the fact that I scored 6 out of 9 in Brighton Criteria. He told me that there is only one expert in the Netherlands and gave me his name & house address which was in the same city as mine.

After getting a referral letter from my GP, I went to see the guy in Gouda where he worked. I went there twice before he sent his diagnosis to both my GP and a specialist physiotherapist he referred me to. I have Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS).

All these time, people said I was hypochondriac, that it was between my ears. Those people need to read this paper:

Patients with HMS often have complaints that are frequently diffuse, chronic, and inconsistent with observed pathology. These individuals may be improperly identified as having hypochondria, as malingering, or as having nonspecific chronic pain, without further investigation into the source of their complaints. Individuals with HMS may not get a diagnosis, or they might be misdiagnosed. Failure to recognize the underlying HMS may lead to unnecessary or inappropriate diagnostic studies, surgical procedures, and patient management, especially for children.

I am forever indebted to Prof G. Even though I've never met him in person, he showed me the light in the end of the tunnel. Following my diagnosis, I did what ever I need to do to 'cure' the RSI, and made peace with Hypermobility. I still have the occasional dislocations. But now I know that during that time of the month where I am even more prone to dislocating myself, I need to take my time moving my limbs.

The sad thing about having this syndrome in Indonesia is nobody really understand and bother to learn about it. There is no HMS expert in ASEAN Region! Part of it because most Asian are more flexible than European, plus HMS is not a life threatening syndrome therefore, I guess, it's not 'sexy enough'. After I bought & read Prof G's book for my dad, he told me that in his career he only saw less than 10 cases of Ehler-Danlos and none of them the Hypermobility type. After he read the book, he agreed with me that I have it from my mom's side. My brother also has dislocating problem with his jaw, but he's not as flexible in his limb as I am. However, I remember flexing his flexible outer ears when we were kids.

I was hoping that my dad could teach his students back then. Now I cant even find that book in his office/home. I wonder if he lent it to someone? Seems like I need to get another book of Prof Grahame to teach my doctors over here about HMS.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Four Chords Songs

Australia has Axis of Awesome with their four chords songs:

Indonesian Kuburan band came up with "Lupa lupa Song" about forgetting singing a song with 4 chords.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Darsem is Free

Darsem is a former Indonesian domestic worker in Saudi who killed her employer when he tried to rape her. Saudi's court sent her to beheading. Lucky for Darsem, the family of his employer decided to forgive her in exchange of some money, around IDR 4.7Billion.

After Ruyati's faith, the government decided to pay Darsem blood money. Now Darsem is free and just got home in Indonesia.

While I'm happy that she is now free and empathized with her ordeal, I dont agree with the fact that the Government is paying the blood money. I think from all the money we collect from the migrant workers we could find a fund for blood money. After all part of it is to pay for their security, why not using that fund instead?

As the Government paid the blood money, my question is: from which fund? Who/what are we sacrificing in order to safe one person? More often than not, the first fund the government use for things like this or that of Sport games is Education or health fund. I know we cant really put a price on a human being, but IDR 4.7 Billion is plenty money to educate a lot of people such as Darsem so they have better skills. These skills might've safe her from working as domestic worker in Saudi, or at least prepare domestic workers to work abroad so stories such as Ruyati wont happened any more.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dance Dance Evolution

One of my earliest memories is going to a dance class at one of my neighbors' house when I was around 3 year old. I did Balinese dance back then. Mom said I learnt ballet at kindergarten but I have no recollection about it. I remember competing dancing at provincial level a year later, it was a modern dance.

At elementary school I did a lot of dancing, at one point I danced 5 days a week. Some Balinese, Banyuwanginese and Modern dances. I then practically stopped dancing through out high school years. After moving to NL I took up Ballroom dancing, until my dance partner decided he rather spent his time at church then at dancing hall. Having no partner-in-crime, I then took up Flamenco and Tap dancing. Since both arent exactly social dances, I decided to exchange my tap & flamenco shoes to Latin shoes and learnt how to dance Argentine Tango. I found a partner that I was comfortable to dance with. I need to feel comfortable with my Tango partner because it's a very intimate dance with a lot of close embrace. Afterward I also took up Salsa because it is more accessible to the mass, plus you can dance salsa by yourself if you want.

I tried going to Argentine Tango class in Jakarta but it is not as good as in lowland, and I ended up helping the teacher teaching the beginner guys, which in turn hurting my lower back by doing too much of repetition & abrupt stops. Until I find a decent class & partner, sadly I have to stop doing the Tango.

My latest adventure is learning how to do Javanese dance. It is one of the hardest dances I've ever learnt. The way the teacher teaches is to do all at once which proved to be too much information for me. In the beginning it didnt add up in my head. When do I need to put my weight on my right leg, when to switch weight, where to put my left foot, how to turn my right hand? I had to do all at once: learning and doing. It's very different than the way how 'European/Latin' dances are being taught. They break down teaching the hand and the feet movements. After we know what to do with the feet, the teacher adds the hand movement. With Javanese, you have to learn them in one go. There are parts when I said I feel like it misses something/a step. Later on the teacher told us that she deliberately skipped one step because we didnt wear 'jarik', a traditional Javanese clothe that you wear closely around your lower body. Now, let see if I could get the hang of it by October.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Google+ Got My Vote

I've been toying with Google+ and I like it. It feels more secure than Facebook. By secure I mean I'm in control about things that I share. The fact that my family is still not in it is a bonus *grin*.

As Google+ can be used for multiple video conference is whooping Facebook with its one-to-one video call via Skype. I also love the fact nobody asked me to join their stupid games. Seriously, I dont care if your farm is harvesting or your mafia needs a new blood.

I think Google+ is a mash-up between Facebook and Twitter, luckily only the 'good parts' of both (if there's such a thing). Just like on Twitter we dont need to follow who ever following us. We could put our contact in to circles to differentiate what we could share with them. My friend said it's much faster than Facebook to share video's on Google+, I didnt really notice that though. It's also possible in Google+ to download what ever information you've put up online.

There are some bugs though, I opened up someone's profile and in the 'About' area it showed up my own. At first I thought "what was the odd?", but as I refreshed the page, the real input was loaded up.

Anyway, so far G+ got my vote.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Fun Connections

Since the swelling went down, I met up an 'old' friend of mine at this event I attended for work. We've 'known' each other since 2005, consulted each other, talked on the phone every now and then, but had never met until today. Some guys thought the two of us work together. I showed him a picture of mine at the exhibition (I had nothing to do with the exhibition, I just found out that my pic was there just as surprised as I found out about my pic on a while back). He teased, but I told him because he's a friend I could give him my signature for free. It was fun hanging out with him. We bought some chocolates on the way out. I made him tasted chocolate chilli. We need to meet up again!

Then I went along with my family to find some food for my nephew. By food I mean olives and gherkin. I had such a good laugh in the car with my nephew.
him: how old are you?
me: 10
him: no, you'are not.
me: why not?
him: you are taller for a 10 y.o.
me: how old am I then?
him: 17!
me: yay!

Got home, I chatted with this Balinese guy to wish him 'Happy Galungan' and was told about Balinese names that always confuse me. It feels like every 4th person is a Nyoman or Made. He told me that in order to differentiate him to the others, in his village they know him as Made Jakarta (it used to be Made Jerman when he lived in Germany). As he now has kids, they call him Pan Dhava (father of Dhava-his first born), his dad is now known as Pekak Pandu (grandfather of Pandu -his first grandkid). Funny thing was, when I asked what about calling someone who has great grandchildren, he couldnt recalled what to call great grandfather. It is interesting as I heard in Arabic culture the father is also called as the father of his kid such as Abu Abdul (father of Abdul), I wonder if they also change his nickname after having a grandchild. Yes @Hning, you'd better correct me in this one.

Despite a bit of itchiness & dizzyness, it was a good fun day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Red Lobster

I've been walking around like a red lobster since yesterday due to an allergy. Red. Swollen. Itchy. Decided to stay home today, and just get knock out by meds. sigh.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

How To Start A Movement

When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in. @sivers

Saturday, July 02, 2011


I had great morning with a friend, shooting some pictures. Around noon, we went to Ambassador mall for lunch and my friend needed to get a new flash disk. We ended up at this small shop selling Dell because my friend said his friend managed to get a Snow Leopard running on Dell.

Me: Could you tell me in which Dell I can install a MacOs?
The guy at the store: Oh, It's an old one, probably two years ago.
Me: Hmm.. do you remember which type?
The guy: P
Me: P?
The guy: Yes, Piktor *he put his fingers into V*
Me: Ok, Piktor *tried to keep a straight face*

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

World Class University

Indonesian universities are aiming to be a 'world class university' these days. Some put more effort in achieving it than the others which of course translated into more successful in meeting the target.

I wonder how a university can achieve their goal if they didnt pick up their phone, their website is only in Bahasa Indonesia, the staff barely understand English, and most importantly the staff are nowhere to be found at a scheduled meeting with foreign counterpart which was agreed weeks before. Buildings and huge campus alone wont get you the title 'world class university'.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to The Club, Honey!

New York voted to legalize Gay marriage. It's nothing new in Lowland, but it's a big deal in USA. I support gay marriage because as it is legal to get married for them, they are now also under pressure to get married. After this they are also gonna get the "when are you going to have any kid" Hah! Enjoy...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dear nephew

My 6-years-old half-American nephew was visiting yesterday with his grandparents. His dad passed away last month from cancer. We tried not to mentioned about it to him fearing he would break down. He was so happy and smiley yesterday.

At one point, he sat at his grandma's lap, and whispered: Do they know that my dad passed away?
Me & mom: yes, we do dear..
Him: How?
Me: internet..
He looked relieved that we knew.
his grandpa trying to divert the intention: they also know you are naughty
him: *sheepishly* they do?
I then teased him about being a sore loser, to which he replied: What is a sore loser?
There we went

Is Moratorium of Sending Migrant Workers The Way?

Once again our government is solving the wrong problem. So, we have problem with our migrant workers abroad. Some of them are barely able to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia, let alone in foreign language. This, of course, creates frustration between the employer and employee. Trust me, I've had my share of frustration with my maids and I speak their language! Coupled that, with the fact that some of them had never seen any modern equipments including a sitting closet before they get to their crash-course facility prior going abroad. In short, these people, who, lets face it, are not all geniuses, had to cramp a lot of new information and suffers culture shocks in a short time before stationed somewhere abroad. Not a good start.

Eventhough some came back successfully building a brick house or two in their village, sending their kids to school. Some had a miserable fate abroad: got raped, unpaid salaries, working long hours (22 hours for example), got beaten up. These negative experiences could lead to depression in both employee and employer, which could lead to murder in some extreme cases such as Ruyati.

Ruyati went back for the 3rd time to Saudi in 2008. The company that sent her put her in a different employer than the one stated in her contract. According to her kids, they heard from another servant in the same house Ruyati started getting abuse on her 3rd day in that house. By 2009, according to the newspapers, Ruyati begged her employer for a permission to go home, but she didnt get it. In December 2009, according to her kids, she called and told them that she was just hospitalized for a broken bone and crushed leg that needed surgery due to being pushed from a stairs by her employer. She wasnt paid for 3 months in 2009 according to the government. The ending of her story in that house was tragic as we've heard: it was in mid January 2010 Ruyati killed the very employer who pushed her by stabbing her head & neck.

In accordance to Saudi's law, Ruyati was sentenced to death by beheading. The official story was: Indonesian government knew nothing until after the execution. Everyone is angry in Indonesia and not a single twit in Saudi on this. There's something fishy about the whole thing. G_d knows what happened.

As a result, our dear president announced a moratorium of sending migrant workers to Saudi.

Now, I am not sure I agree with that policy. We cant deny that for some, going to places like Saudi means increase of welfare for their family. With moratorium being forced this year, there are at least tens of thousands people cant go abroad to work. This means tens of thousands families is losing their remittance prospect and not to mentioned still have to pay for the loan they took to pay for the preparation for going abroad.

I'd rather we tighten the permit of sending people abroad. Since most who got into trouble work as domestic workers, perhaps for the time being we give them more education, especially in foreign language and about their rights and how to deal with stress. We could also work together with the destination countries so that our workers could get random visits to check up on their well-being, that their employer was screened before hand, that they have dedicated lawyers & interpreters working on their side should it be needed. Meanwhile we also need to open up more jobs in Indonesia with a better condition & money, so that less and less people need to go abroad and subjected to abuse to earn money.

We cant just send them off and not bother about them once they got to their destination like it's been all these time. We need to take care and protect our own people. Especially the very people who help us getting money from abroad to educate our kids, to better our future.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chill To The Bone

Reading this report on migrant workers in Saudi made me speechless. It's beyond words.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Robbing $1 To Get Health Care

I thought Obama's health care means everyone gets some sort of health insurance. But reading this article, I guess I was wrong.

The guy robbed a bank for $1 so that he is sentenced to jail. It was his logical way to get health care he couldnt afford outside jail. The world's gone mad. A prisoner gets a roof above his/her head, 3 meals a day and a decent health care, while a free man cant afford any of them.

Perhaps it is much better if he gets jailed in Norwegia rather than in the USA: better facilities.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We've heard that China can copy a lot of things: ipad, crocs, camera, village. Yes, you heard me: a village. An Austrian village called Hallstatt, which is part of UNESCO world heritage.

The Chinese did it by acting as tourists visiting the place, taking tons of pictures and measurements before starting the construction in Guandong province back in April. Some of the drawings are mirrored, probably to avoid copyright issues. I suppose you cant stop people taking pictures and copying your village, but a more upfront approach would be nice.

There are plenty of people felt Big Brother is watching because of what the Chinese did, something that is probably rather normal in China but not in Hallstatt.

Now I am curious what else would the Chinese copy


iLOL is Indonesian President ILO's speech followed by a beheaded of Indonesian migrant worker in Saudi 4 days later. Of course afterward there were plenty of President's condolences and the government blaming Saudis. In short: pass-the-bucket

Interestingly, each time something like this happened we almost hear nothing about the company who sent the person to that employer. Their hands are also covered in blood by not helping the very people they put in such situation.

note to self: reincarnate as Australian cattle is 'better' protected by its government than as Indonesian migrant worker.

Math Is Confusing

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Magic of Washing Machine

Hans Rosling's environmentalist students remind me of some of my Western friends talked about 3rd world countries need to curb their pollution while they didnt say anything about US'. There was this guy who couldnt understand why in Maldives according to the survey some family has all day electricity, some has several hours, others has none. He said it's either you have it or you dont. The guy used to live somewhere in Africa while his diplomat father was stationed there.. imagine how westerners who never once set their foot in 3rd world country think and give us advice on how we lead our live: out of touch.

Space Weather

Nowadays, if I have difficulty with my cellphone or modem, I check : for information of solar & geophysical activities. More often than not, when there's such activities, I have problem in my electronic communication devices.

After reading an article (which I cant relocate) I think I will check that website before flying. Apparently, solar activity influences airplane. I'm not saying that we are doom if we fly on the day of solar storm, but we need to be cautious, as it means more radiation up in the sky. As our polar area affected more by the solar storm, airplane flying in the area might experience radio trouble, navigation errors.

On the bright side, the more solar storm, the more Aurora's, or so they say... more info in here

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Have The Key To Eternal Life!

Yupe, I can lick my elbow if I want to...

Please leave a comment if you tried licking your elbow :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


One day some time last year Tante O told me about her maid's son's health problem. He worked as an admin at a hospital somewhere. He's seen a lot of doctors, some of them are specialist but nobody knew what's wrong with him. His fingers are numb.
I remember what my dad told me & what I've read about leprosy. I told aunty O to tell him to look for a doctor specializing in leprosy, or go to leprosy hospital in Tangerang. So, she did.

Months later, Tante O told me that it was good that I told her about leprosy because the guy went to see a doctor about it, just as I suggested, and the good doctor confirmed he has leprosy. He is now under treatment, so hopefully he wont have to miss any part of his body.

Tante O was surprised that all of these time, the other doctors couldnt figure it out what was wrong, and I, who is not a doctor came up with leprosy. I think I was lucky and the previous doctors didnt think they came across leprosy when they see him. I'm just happy to give my 2 cents.