Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Secret

Yesterday I finally told my mom things that made me so depressed two years ago.
She gasped upon hearing one of them over the phone.
At least she knows now why I was the way I was.
But I guess she didnt expect I was being treated like that.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

H2O2 + CHNaO3

I have a weird sense of smell. Most of the time it's not sensitive enough, so I miss out smelling subtle things. It makes me wary about using gas cooker. That being said, sometimes I smell things others do not smell. Dont know why, I just do.

Like every now and then I smell this familiar smell that I associate it with a certain someone in my life and it happens in places that had nothing to do with that person. Like in the middle of this chinese shop in NL. I used to try sniffing around to find the source of that smell, I dont do that any more because I never found it. So, when it happens I just observe it until it's gone.

Today, I just realized that it smells a wee bit like H2O2 + CHNaO3.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


There I was standing in a crowded busway when I heard this conversation between two ladies. One of them looked more well off, the other needed an orthodontist intervention badly. It seemed like they just came back from some sort of convention.

I started eavesdropping when the bad-teeth one showed the other all the souvenirs she got from Pertamina, one of them was this interesting looking USB hub which they thought at first as baby teething toy. OMG, such a stereotypical of mothers talk. She also got a t-shirt and a backpack.

Before long the one that looked more well off started to complain how her friend neglected informing her about all the souvenirs at Pertamina booth. That she was there but didnt know about it. It's amusing how she kept on complaining about that after her friend pointed out that when she got the souvenir they were on separate ways. "Why didnt you send me SMS then?" she asked. The bad-teeth one said that she didnt have any credit on her mobile. "How come you always have no credit?" The bad-teeth one said that since she knew that calling her friend's flexi number from the pay phone would only ended up in the answering machine she didnt do it.

Still annoyed, then the-more-well-off one started to complain why when they met she wasnt being told about all the goodies. I mean, obviously she could see that her friend already had her stuff from Pertamina by then, she could've asked her at that time but she didnt. She insisted that should her friend told her about it at that time, she could've gone to the Pertamina booth for the same thing. When her friend replied that by that time perhaps Pertamina already ran out of them. But madam refused to believe it and started to sulk.

I found their conversation rather interesting that one could go on and on about some stupid goodies like that. It is not your luck, get over it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who's That Girl?

Jakarta Contemporary
Harry Darsono Collection

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


According to this article I'm a titrologue these days. Well, not exactly. I mostly read the headlines,and probably only read two or three the whole articles.

Reason? Most of the news are bad/sad news any way. Reading about Gayus would only frustrate me even more about Indonesia. So quoting Lauren Cooper: I aint bovvered

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Green Politics

The funniest thing someone said last week was on politics:

Green politics are not sustainable

Gosh I need a life..

Bibit, Bobot, and Bebet

In some families people still look at your future spouse background according to the tradition Bibit (pedigree), Bobot (quality) and Bebet (rank/network).

Bebet is the part that I dont really get. Some say it means 'social rank', other says it means 'type'. Either way, I think it's about one's social standing. Perhaps this is what people look for if they are into socialites.

Bibit is something that I can understand from the point of view genetics. Let's say you are a Jew with Tay-sachs recessive gene and your other half is also a Jew. If I were you I would like to know if my other half also carries the gene, so I could think weather or not we are trying to have a child and how. I know a lot of people look at the pedigree as in blue blood or not.

I used to cringe each time my grandma said "tidak menak" when she saw someone acting un-lady or un-gentleman like. Menak is a Sundanese word meaning aristocrat. Mind you, she came from that milieu. Despite being Dutch educated, she still had to crawl in special way like tradition dictated each time she visited her grandparents. After the war, my grandfather refused to use any title because we are living in republic.

I think what's more important for my grandparents were the Bobot part, the quality as an individual. I remember grandma used to say that she'd rather that none of her descendent marrying a police or a prosecutor because according to her, most of them are corrupt. She chose honesty and integrity above wealth and I have to say I agree with her.

Although I have to say, every now and then when things went wrong 'culture' wise (if I can call it that and it can apply to any one Indonesian or not), I heard someone in the family said, "what do you expect, he/she is not from that milieu." What milieu? Bits me.

On Family

When someone mentioned that his family, all workers, is nothing like mine, I didnt care, I still dont. Yes, I have member(s) of my family who are filthy rich, who are members of the establishment, who are on the magazines and telly. However, I also have members of my family who's been in jail, who was almost OD-ed, who are living below poverty line. I couldnt choose the family I was born into. I have to accept their positives and negatives and be part of it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Small Talks

Back in Lowland, when you meet a stranger and start having a small talk, it'll be about the weather.
Too cold, too windy, too hot, too wet.

In Jakarta, when you meet a stranger and start having a small talk, chances are it'll be about the traffic.

What traffic? vs Car Park

I was traveling a bit with clients, and I kept rushing them from one side of the cities to the other, trying to beat the traffic jam. Luckily, we didnt experience much traffic jam. In fact on their last day we arrived 1 hour early to all our meetings due to lack of traffic. I couldnt believe it, the places that are notorious for their traffic jams, and there were not much of traffic!

I picked them up from their hotel at 7am for a meeting schedule at 8.30am in Slipi. This was after I called up 3 different people for their opinions and a couple more of taxi drivers. So we went there, and arrived at 7.30 am!!! I had to apologize to our host for coming in way too early. Then we took the toll road to Tanah Kusir. Again, practically not much traffic, we arrived 1 hour ahead of schedule!

The funny part was, I was teaching them a bit of Bahasa Indonesia in the car on the way to the second meeting when one of my clients suddenly stopped in the middle of his sentence and asked,"Is that a car park?" "Nope, that's the opposite toll road." He was bewildered. He never saw anything like that, traffic jam so bad that it looked like a car park.

Welcome to Jakarta, Mister!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Guilty Feeling

It's been ages since I feel guilty about something I put in my mouth. Until yesterday when they presented fried chicken and I had no other choice but to eat them so I didnt insult them.

Funny thing was, I felt so guilty eating it.

I dont eat red meat & chicken out of choice. It's not because some religious teaching told me to. One day I just decided not to eat them. I still eat duck every now and then, seafood, egg and dairy product. Why I still eat duck? Because if I still eat chicken, mom would have cooked chicken almost every day. I still eat duck because it's only occasional thing. Plus, since duck is the latest trend in Jakarta, when I eat out I have more variation.

I used to be this huge carnivore, I could eat only red meat for days. I had no problem eating any sort of animals. Pork, goat, jelly fish, I ate them all. Then I stopped eating red meat and my body feels much better.

So, it's interesting that I felt guilty eating chicken while I didnt when I ate pork or beef back in the days.

Thailand vs Ireland

When I went to meditation, every day at least someone wore t-shirt with Thailand related print on it. Then beginning of this month I met this interesting Thai bloke who lives in Korea.

This January practically I have been reminded of Ireland almost on daily basis. Irish Higher Institutions, Irish clients, Irish tourism scenes.

Let's see which country is more prominent in my radar next month

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I was telling one of my bosses about my trip, especially about my room. How I wasnt supposed to have towers view, but I was thinking about how would it be lovely to see the towers from my window. I went to my room, opening the curtain, and on the left there were the towers.

Laughingly he said, "You got a lot."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, you've got a lot going for you"
"Oh, yeah"

I know I've been complaining about things. But every now and then something great happened in my life. Sometimes it's a small thing like this bloke gave me small change because I couldnt exchange my money anywhere for my locker while he scolded the next person who had the same problem as I did. Or a grand gesture of a friend who stood by me when my brother got married.

Despite all the low points in my life (and some of them were really low), I know full well that I'm blessed. I'm counting my blessings.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


When I was a kid, I had never really thought about a tap. It's just a thing we use to control the flow of water. You turn it on when you want some water, and turn it off when you are finished. In places where they have hot and cold water, you have two valves but the water comes out from the same spout. I thought every where in the world it would be like that. A given.

Then I went abroad where I've noticed peculiarity of local taps.

Take in England, a developed country but they still need 2 spouts for hot and cold water. At first I thought how could a supposedly modern country cant even use the same spout for their hot and cold water! Later I found out it's due to the difference in the pressures of hot and cold water.

In the Czech Republic the distance between the spout and the basin is great. You can put a bucket between them, come to think of it perhaps that's why they made it that way.

Nowadays each time I need to use a 'new tap', I have to think how do I use it. Do I need to turn it on? Do I need to press it? Do I need to pull it up? Do I need to activated with movement? Then after I finish do I need to turn it off?

I know innovation is supposed to make your life easier, but for crying out loud, I just want to use the tap and not do some puzzle because of it.

A Police Chief with a Different

Dont think this will ever happen in Indonesia

Friday, January 14, 2011

One step closer to my dream.

One warm spring afternoon, U and I were walking on the bank of Maas River. He just showed me his special place, his contemplating nook in my city. He asked what my biggest dream was. I told him I want to open libraries across Indonesia, in places where kids need them most. He laughed at me, saying it's not a big dream, that I need to have a bigger dream than just having some libraries. He then told me his biggest dream, which I cant remember what it was.

You see, he comes from a place and a family where reading is a like breathing. Library is a given. He had, and I think he still has, no idea how things are in Indonesia. Unlike his people, as a nation, we dont have reading and writing culture. I'm lucky that my parents instilled the love of reading, and they support it. My parents has no problem spending money on books than on branded goods.

In the area where I live, most of the people are from the lower income bracket in the governmental survey. Most adults enjoyed probably just high school education. From what I heard, the schools in the area have no decent libraries.

Back in May last year, I was involved in this freelance project and I needed partners. One of my cousins' wife got me in touch with this lady who in turned introduced me to Mrs Reksodiputro the founder of Pustaka Kelana, Wandering Books. I hung out at their based in Rawamangun for hours and gave them some inputs. Several month ago, I talked to our Pak RT about it and he was very excited of a prospect introducing kids to reading. He's also a bookworm. I have my allied there.

I contacted Mrs Yeti the librarian of Pustaka Kelana, who at the time was looking for a new place for one of their slots. I proposed using my house, but since I live in a compound, Mrs Yeti concerned that kids from outside would be afraid to come by, so we visited our RW's office near by. We decided it was a better place. After getting a go ahead from AIA insurance as the backer, we started our library.

Each week a car comes by on Tuesdays and Fridays for three hours bringing hundreds of books in several boxes. Two volunteers teach those who cant read reading, origami or other artsy things. My friend I wants to read to the kids once a week. I come by once a week as much as I can.

We have books in English, Bahasa Indonesia and Japanese. We have some Japanese volunteers who translated Japanese books into Bahasa Indonesia. Most of the books are children books, but we also have books for the adults who want to become our member so they can borrow them.

Seeing how lots of kids eagerly reading books brings joy in my heart. My dream is still along way to go, but it's a start. It's one step closer to my dream.

ps: Colson, I already gave your Sinterklaas gift to Mrs. Reksodiputro, she said thank you so much, it is really appreciated.
pps: Another RW near by is asking for Pustaka Kelana to also visit them. Sadly, due to lack of resources Pustaka Kelana only visits 7 locations through out Jakarta.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Story like this..

made me believe in humanity. It brought tears to my eyes

My deep condolences to the family and a huge thank you for the pilot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Doctor's Mannerism


GP: I dont know why you have pain. Why dont you observe it and get back here in a month time.
Surgeon: It's too small, we just keep an eye on it. If you find something or have any pain just come back for a follow up.

Radiologist: It's nothing, just a cyst.
Surgeon: You'd better get married.

Radiologist: Hmm, it triggers my alarm, you'd better see consultant surgeon on the safe side. Most of the time it's not cancerous, but I want her opinion on this, I trust her hands.
Surgeon: It's fibrocystic and you have not only one cyst, but several small ones. We need to keep an eye on it because there's calcium. It's a good thing you have pain, because it mostly means it's not cancerous. I want you to come back in 3 months for follow up.

You see, now I get why most of wealthy Indonesians go abroad for their health care. It's doctor's mannerism that's really pissing me off about Indonesian doctor who you dont know personally. So far, my other Indonesian doctors were great, then again they were my dad's colleagues.

Drink & Personality

I drink every now and then. Mostly after eating something and I am sure I can go back home safe and sound. So, there I was with my boss and a client having a nightcap. When I ordered a glass of port, both of the gents reacted surprised.

Client: Classy
Boss: I told you she's Dutch!
Client looked at me in certain way... I had no idea how to make of it.

Ok, why is port = classy? Why it means I'm Dutch? What does it means if I ordered Vodka or Grappa? Though my fave is actually (Remy Martin's) Pineau des Charentes, which is so difficult to find. What does it say about me?

The View

..from my bed last weekend. Not bad, huh? I meant the view.. I know the pic sucks.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Thoughts While Waiting At Airport

They say, because I have pain, it mostly means I dont have cancer.
Which is good.
They say, they pay attention each time they find calcium.
Which is not good.

They say, it looks not normal.
which is not good.
They say, we need this observe it in case it's cancerous
which is not good.

Am I hypochondriac if I am a bit worried hearing and seeing their findings?
Would thinking it not cancerous makes it not cancerous?
Have to go back in 3 months time.
Not looking forward to that one.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

In Out

For ten days I spent hours in a tiny room as big as an Islamic grave: 2m*1m*2.5m. I sat there in the dark, breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Observing my body's sensations.

Every now and then my monkey mind jumped from one branch to the next. Angry, painful, dark, and dirty thoughts. In. Out. In. Out. Back to the breathing & sensations it brings.

On the 6th day I started to see the brighter side of things again. In. Out. In. Out. My smile is back. Genuine smile.

On the 9th day my body felt so light and full of energy. I felt like skipping and jumping all the time. I sat there, breathing in the dark. In. Out. In. Out. Every single cell in me is smiling widely. Happily.

I came out with a heart full of love, ready to face to world one breath at a time. In. Out.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Everything is Going to be OK

Back in 2009, someone I used to admire broke me. Amongst other things according to her, I had to accept being treated like a door mat and my late father (who was anything but helpful to her and her whole family) was a monster.

It still hurts, but much less than before. At first I chose not to say anything and swallowed the consequences of my choice of helping her, but after so much abuse in the end it put me lower and lower into this place where I lost myself.

Each time I heard something negative about me, I reminded myself that warm afternoon back in NL when this stranger stopped and told me that she had this message for me: Everything is going to be OK. It seems like an ordinary event. However, to me it was surreal.

That morning I got my one way ticket to Jakarta for the next week. The sheer finality of it panicked me. I wasnt sure I would survived Jakarta. On the way back to the house I thought to myself: If a perfect stranger told me that everything is going to be ok, I'll believe it.

In that afternoon, on my way back from visiting a friend I saw this lady biking rather fast with her toddler to the opposite direction of where I was heading. About 5 minutes later I heard someone called from behind me, "Mevrouw! Ma'am!" I was alone so I stopped and turned around. That biking lady was approaching me looking a bit flushed. She said she was already far away when she got a message for me, so she started to turn around and looking for me. I found it strange. What message? From whom?

"I dont know what's going on with you, but I have to tell you that everything is going to be ok." said the lady. I was shocked. I actually got even more panic than I was in the morning!

Sensing that I was panicking, she asked if I have g_d in my heart. I said I did. She proceeded, "So, you know that He loves you, just remember that and sterkte, be strong." Then she left, just as quick as she came.

Yes, everything is going to be OK.
And it started to look even great.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

For a Season, a Reason and a Lifetime.

When I was fortunate enough to have an audience with Bhante Uttamo he mentioned that we had enough good karma for us to finally meet that day. Come to think of it, I agree with him. I wanted to see him ever since I moved back here, and last month was the first time it happened.

I guess somewhere along the way, I must've done something good that I met some interesting people. As with any thing in this life, I know each relationship will end sooner or later. The question is how will it end. Some people were there for a brief moment in my life just enough to teach me something (eventho at times, when something bad happened I had trouble seeing it as a teachable moment), some people lingered for a bit longer, and I can feel some will be there for a long time in my life.

Some were there supporting me during my bad patches, and I thank them for it. Some were there sharing my good times, and I thank them for it, for not all people are happy for us when we have good fortune. Honestly, sometimes when someone had difficulty accepting my good fortune, while the same person had no trouble hanging out with me during my rough period, I wonder if that person is a real friend. I know some wise person said that a friend in need is a friend indeed. However, I found that for some, it's easier for them to be around someone less fortunate than them because it makes them feel better, than to be around someone more fortunate than them because it makes them feel worse about themselves. Around losers you feel like a prince.

I am not always be a good friend, sometimes I get caught up in my own little world and forgetting to keep in touch. Depending on the person, sometimes I let them be during their rough patches and just observing from a far in case they want to communicate. With others I try being present through out their ordeal, eventho it means only via internet. All I can do is to give to the best of my limited ability at that time. Perhaps my way is not good enough for them, but it's ok, each has their own needs. And if in order to fulfill that need from other person we grew apart, it's just life.

When that happen, just remember this: What ever I've given you, I gave it with love and you can keep it. What ever you've given me, I will treasure it.