Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are You Size Zero? Really?

When you read chick mags, you'll see that celebrities are dieting and sporting like mad to be size 0, zero. I always wonder how tiny they are in real life. I'm blessed of having high metabolism & small frame, so I'm rather thin. However, as thin as I might be, I still wear size 4 (for the top: 4 petite) in the USA. Let me rephrase that: I wear what it used to be size 4. Last month mom bought me a wonderful size 4 petite red dress in the USA, and I found it is a bit loose on the top, but it is ok around my hip. My other, older, size 4 dress are all fit well on top and around my hip. The same goes for my new size 0 petite(!) shirt which is rather big for me.

I found out that there is vanity sizes going in our retail shops. What used to be size 12 it is now size 8 or 10 depending on the shop you go to. We are deluding ourself thinking that we are still the same size even though we are not. And it goes both ways: men & women.

For women sizes it's even more complicated than for men sizes. Apparently top designers have different sizes for the same measurement depending on which line they are selling. The more expensive the line, the smaller is the measurement for the same size.

From both charts we could see that H&M is one of brands that has truer size compare to others. I guess it means I cant just ask my cousin to bring me certain clothing in the USA in size 4 anymore. Sigh.

How things are easier back then when size 4 IS size 4.

hat tip: new york times & Flowing data

Friday, April 29, 2011


Two artists, Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, collaborate to create moving still pictures. Sounds like oxymoron, right? They let a small part of the still picture move. The idea is simple, using stop motion technique, but the execution and rendering process takes ages. I like the subtleness that they did. It reminds me of Harry Potter pictures. What do you know, with a bit of photoshop magic, we can have our own Potteresque picture.

Pregnancy & Test

There's a chance that come Monday a pregnant 11-years-old kid from Mojokerto is banned from taking her elementary school exam due to her 2 months pregnancy by the local authority.

I dont see the problem of her taking her exam at all. If anything, we need to encourage her taking her exam despite being pregnant. It is bad enough for being pregnant at that age, and presumably without a husband. Dont punish her even more by discriminating her. I applaud that Mr Suyanto is defending her rights to take her exam, which I think the first time ever a public official is taking this step.

As always there's no mentioned of the father of the baby.

This is another nudge toward the direction of putting teenage pregnancy in the agenda of our education. We need to give a proper sex education to our children. Saying that they have to stay chaste before marriage is not enough. Just look at the example of USA vs. The Netherlands for their approach and result on sex education.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Radioactive Contamination

Back in 1986 when Chernobyl blew up I remember asking my dad and reading a lot about radioactive contamination. Then I moved to Europe, never really thinking about it until I met kids from the affected area from Belarus. Chernobyl is in Ukraine, near the border of Belarus, therefore some part of Belarus is badly affected due to its location. It's sad to see how kids who were born years after the accident still affected by it.

I used to joke that now that I've consumed some Belorussian delicacy (I miss their chocolate and pine nuts) I'm now radioactive.

After the beginning of Japanese nuclear accident, I thought about radioactive particles and contamination for a while. However, I've noticed it doesnt seem such a concern for Indonesians about the possibility of radioactive particles getting to Indonesia. The other day, one of my clients from Europe asked me if Indonesians are scared about radioactive contamination. I told him, I guess the fact that in Jakarta getting from your house to your work is already dangerous and polluted enough by European standard, people are more concerned about their day to day living than about radioactive particles that might cause cancer some times in the future.

Karen Armstrong on Golden Rule

One of my fave authors. If only everyone subscribes to the same 'religion' of compassion.. because that's the common thread whether you are a believer or a non-believer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Was This Close To an Actual Bomb

On my way home I saw several tv camera's not far from my transit near our place. Someone said that on the other side of the road they found a bomb and also near our transit.

I took the usual ojek (a sort of motorcycle taxi) and asked him about the bombs. He said that this morning around 9 o'clock a scavenger found a suspicious package near the sluice that I passed by around that time. The scavenger told one of the ojek guys and they inspected before calling the bomb squad. Around 12 PM they blew the bomb up. And this afternoon they found another bomb and was trying to detonate it when I went home.

I think it the closest I've been near an actual bomb. You cant get bored living in big Durian.

PS: The first bomb was located close to a gas pipe. Arent we lucky, that it didnt set off when we passed by.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Indonesian Egypt Link

Apparently the link between Indonesia and Egypt is getting stronger. From what I gather, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is the 'source' of inspiration of Indonesian PKS, Prosperous Justice Party, the one whose member Arifinto recently busted for watching porn during a session in the parliament.

Since to the best of my knowledge Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt wasnt allowed to become a political party, ever since the revolution to topple Mubarak, I heard nowaday some members of PKS are acting as advisors to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to set up a political party. Let's hope they dont transfer their hypocrisy as well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Women, Easter & Church

To the best of my knowledge, Jesus died on the cross on Friday, witnessed by the Maria's: his mom, his sister and Maria Magdalena. His 12 (?male) disciples were AWOL during his ordeal, I guess they were saving their own arses. Except for Judas Iscariot who killed himself.

On Sunday, when (depending which part of bible you read) the women/Maria Magdalena went to his tomb and found it empty. Not long afterward Jesus appeared to these women/Maria Magdalena. Now, this part is very important, it's the based of the whole Christianity: Jesus rose from dead.

Think about it, the two most significant parts of the Christianity were witnessed by women. Not men. WOMEN.

I always wonder about why Jesus appeared to these women, instead of his male disciples. After all back in the days, women practically had no rights, they couldnt bear witness, they didnt have the rights to inheritance (If I'm not mistaken, in Europe this practice went on well until 1800s). Yes, it was the women who didnt forsaken him, but they still couldnt bear witness to his rising from death. It must've meant something.

Therefore I am naively think that given the importance of the events for the church, the position of women, especially that of Maria Magdalena, in the church should've been much better than in the last 2000 years. Yet, I read somewhere that some church writings for years depicted Maria Magdalena as a former prostitute and women are, in most churches, only allowed to be a nun.

With all the trouble in the churches (I'm thinking of Anglican and Catholic church) regarding their (male) priests, perhaps it's time to ordain (more) women in the church. Who said women cant be a better priest than men? After all it was the women who were by his side during his last hours and it was also to the women he appeared for the first time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Unboxing Samsung Galaxy SII

Gray's Anatomy

I so want this tattoo
if I ever got any, that is.
via in web we trust

Random Question

In a typical high rise office somewhere in Jakarta. It was all quiet. Everyone is busy with their thing. All of the sudden:

+ What's the name of Asterix' druid?
- Panoramix. But in English it's Getafix.
+ Thanks, hehehe...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I dont get when people said: I give 110%. What are they talking about? Sorry, but I think it's crap. Even if you give 100%, it means you give all and there's no room for any thing else, which is of course impossible in reality. Plus, it sounds like you are trying too hard.

Kartini Day

It seems to me that Kartini Day, a day remembering Kartini's struggles for emancipation is now reduced to a day of wearing Kebaya, a traditional dress.

It's a good thing that Kartini was a Javanese aristocrat who wore a kebaya, had she been a Balinese peasant, we might've been celebrating it topless.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When Copying is Sacred

There's a new religion waiting for an official recognition in Sweden. The Missionary Church of Kopimism, with its holy symbols of CTRL+C and CTRL+V. They believe of all access to all information for all as a boosting for knowledge for humanity. The Act of copying is sacred in this church.

Of course, like any new religion, the followers are expected to be prosecuted for their beliefs. I wonder praying to the "torrent who art in the Cloud" will offer any protection to its followers practicing their beliefs. What would copyright warriors say about this new religion? Are Mac worshipers welcome to join, since it's COMMAND+C and COMMAND+V?

The Benefit of Knowing Other Cultures

On the way to my place, there is this small place selling all kinds of food from South Sumatra. Mom and I have been wanting to try but since it not that easy to park we havent been stopping by until tonight.

I stopped by to buy some Pempek, it's a kind of fish cake made from fish paste, plain flour, eggs and sago flour which is eaten with cuko (vinegar and palm sugar mixed). I wanted pistel, a kind of pempek with young papaya but they ran out of it. So I settled on mixed pempek, which consists of pempek keriting (curly pempek), pempek kulit (fish skin pempek), kapal selam (literally means 'submarine', it's pempek with egg inside), and ada'an (pempek with fried shallot inside). I also bought Tunu, which is a grilled pempek that I had never tasted before.

As I was paying, the owner who manned the till was asking his employee what and how many my order was in Palembang dialect. I chimed in Palembang dialect, "pempek mixed duo, tunu tigo". He thought I dined in, but I wanted to bring it home and commented, "I dont think a girl like you can eat two portions of mixed pempek." Obviously he never saw me around pempek at my aunt's place.

While waiting we chatted, and I asked him about Tempoyak, it's a fermented durian, a delicacy in South Sumatra that my mom never tried. He asked if I wanted raw or cooked. I said I was just curious, I tried it before with sambal. He told me if I befriended him on facebook, he'll give me the recipe for making a Brengkes Tempoyak (in Java we called it Pepes, a dish cooked wrapped in banana leaf which normally is fish). He then went to the back, got out a 500gr frozen tempoyak and gave it to me for free on top of the discount he gave earlier for my order. He said, "no Javanese would asked about tempoyak, only Sumatran".

Not bad for knowing a bit of one's culture, huh?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thank You Jakarta!

I had to help my cousin getting a visa appointment at the US embassy so I couldnt go home early. I left the office at 6 PM and took the busway home. Seems normal right? Wait until you hear about my journey:

Since the queue was rather long, I took a bus to the opposite of my actual direction. Two stops further, I got a seat toward my actual direction. I transited around Semanggi and met a friend of mine from NL. He said the direction toward our place was so packed that we'd better take a long way to get there. So, I'm back to the stop I was at and took a bus to Harmony. He was convinced that in Harmony there would be much of a queue. Well, guess again dear.

We took a bus to Pulo Gadung because the queue was shorter, and we could get a seat.

He got a text from his dad that around our area the traffic was almost stand still and was told to go to their other house. So, there I was, transited again in an area which was not that safe according to my mom, on my own and waited for a good one hour to get a full bus. And yes, the traffic was pushing. My boss who left the office later than me arrived in Bandung before I got home!

It took me only 4.25hours to get home. Thank you Jakarta!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1000 Days

It's been a 1000 days and counting
I carry you in my heart of heart
and I miss you each and every day
But I know you are in a better place now
till we meet again someday, dad.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cover Up And Nuclear

The Japanese nuclear power plant trouble is said started early on back in the 70's. It is really scary to think that even in Japan, where people still queued in the midst of disaster such a thing could happen. Even scarier to think that Indonesian government is flirting with the notion of having a nuclear power plant somewhere in Java. First, we are also in the ring of fire, which since the big Aceh earthquake is experiencing more earthquakes. Second, We are infamous for our corruption. I sure dont want to live near any nuclear power plant which is built according to the lowest bidder with g_d knows what kind of budget cutting trick.Third, and this is from personal observation, I dont think Indonesia is big in maintaining anything. Look at the roads in Jakarta: full of big holes. The Busway: some already have trouble in closing their doors. And the list goes on and on. If they cant even take care of the small things, I only wonder how would've been with some thing such as a nuclear power plant.

So, yes, I refuse the plan of having nuclear power plant. There are other alternatives that we could explore.

The Sound of The Earth Moves

It was recorded 900miles from the epicenter of the big Japanese earthquake but the sound's still terrifying.

Biologisch vs Biologis

I was telling my cousin that a friend of mine has an organic coffee plantation. But I told her "kopi biologis" instead of "kopi organik". Bahasa Indonesia prefers it's English translation than Dutch eventho we have 'biologis' for anything related to biology. The thing is people normally use that word with 'kebutuhan' as in kebutuhan biologis meaning libido. So, using 'biologis' with 'kopi' sounds weird indeed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I didnt go to work yesterday because of cramps. I was supposed to be at this meeting with a big client, the one with possibilities of going to papua regularly for the next several years. So, I miss that, which means somebody else's taking care that account. Oh well, not my luck.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Les Plages d'Agnes

The other day we went to see Les Plages d'Agnes, The Beaches of Agnes, and fell in love with it. It's a recollection of the life of the film maker Agnes Varda. It's funny, charming, idiosyncratic and also touching. It reminds me of spending hours listening to my grandmother's life.

She took us from Belgian seaside, to French's Sete and Nantes, all the way to LA. Retracing her path in her 80 years journey on this earth in a mixed of photographs, old movies and new reenactment of her life.

Despite it's an autobiography, the movie didnt feel like full of her, or her giving out her wisdom. It's more a like opening a time capsule with her, sharing her memories. And boy, she has a lot of interesting things to share!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Batak Music

I was listening to this medley of Batak songs by Elfa's singers. You know, Batak are forward thinkers, I mean they talk about 'hape' (Indonesian colloquial for cellphone) from way back when :) They rap way before Tupac was born. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Internet Is For Porn

But dont tell that to PKS (the Prosperous Justice Party). They still insist that porn corrupts our nation. Here I thought that corruption came before porn in this country, but what do I know?

Imagine my happiness when the news broke out last Friday that one of PKS founder, Arifinto was caught watching porn during a session in the parliament. Not only he was the founder of a party that was the biggest supporter of antiporn law in Indonesia, he is the founder of Sabili, a conservative islamic magazine, plus he has link to several other conservative media outlet.

Let me tell you this, karma has finally made her way around and bitchslapped him. Dont tempt karma. Ever.

Arifinto lied about his porn viewing, citing that he was clicking a link from an email and ended up there. Lucky the jurno took enough pictures that said otherwise. He was clicking a folder in his galaxy. What happened next was really sealed the title of the most hypocrite party in Indonesia goes to PKS.

Tifatul Sembiring, also from PKS, said that according to Indonesian Information Technology Law, Arifinto cant be charged because he downloaded instead of distributed porn. People note that down: it's legal to download porn. However, to the best of my knowledge according to antiporn law, Arifinto can be charged because he stores porn. So, it's interesting that the fierce supporter of antiporn law didnt mentioned about antiporn law when it comes to his people.

Today Arifinto resigned from the parliament. It's and easy way out for him. By resigning we still need to pay his pension and medical insurance. I'd rather he was fired from the parliament so that he wont be entitled to those perks. I do hope that other ex-PKS, Yusuf Supendi, will go through with his plan to report Arifinto to the police for defamation and the police has gut to follow up with case. I'd like to see him behind the bars and get a taste of his own medicine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

U2 in Indonesia

The running subject with one of my clients is U2. The Irish Band. Last year there was a rumor about impending concert by U2 in Indonesia. I think the promotor working on it is Tommy Pratama of Original Production. The thing is, Bono has once said that he's not going to come to any country with human rights problem.

So, the problem is not that we dont have a venue for 100,000 people, because we have Istora Senayan. The problem is getting our government to give more attention on human rights.

Last night I read that according to Washington, Indonesia's human rights is rated positively. Does that mean U2 is finally coming to town?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

German VS Ireland

So I met this guy a while back, an elderly Indonesian who is now holding German passport after living there since he was a kid. We chit-chatted while waiting. From the start he refused to speak or hear English, citing that he hates everything about English.

Upon knowing about my link to Ireland he said that he cant stand Ireland/Irish. Of course I asked why. He said, and I kid you not, Irish are into wars. They fight all the time. I mean seriously, coming from a 'German' guy that's rich. I pointed out who started both world wars and how Republic of Ireland is different than Northern Ireland which is part of the Great Britan. He insisted that German learned from it and decided to make love not war. He said Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are the same Irish people. He's not even 65 years old but boasting that he experienced WWII in Germany that's why he hates war.

Yeah right.

Translating & Rewriting

I'm supposed to translate this chapter of a book for an International Organization. I was warned about the 'weirdness' of its content. Let's just say it's not up to standard for a publish book nor a scientific report even though it was written by a Ph.D. (I need to know where did he get his Ph.D. from) and was presented at a meeting somewhere.

At the moment I question myself: am I translating or rewriting the chapter? It's becoming more and more the latter, because some sentences are so jumbled up I cant even be sure what the author is trying to say. And I thought Bahasa Indonesia is my mother tongue! I guess it is not the authors' mother tongue.

BTW, there is this Indonesian saying 'tak kenal maka tak sayang' literally means 'if you dont know, you dont care', I have this feeling there's an English equivalent proverb for that but I cant recall the wording. Can anyone help? Thanks

Friday, April 08, 2011

On Google HQ

I was in the midle of nowhere with some people who all have internet connection except for me.

Girl: We want to see google HQ, Are we passing their HQ?
Local guy: I dont know where google new HQ is located, they just moved.
Me: Why dont you google the google HQ then?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Lucky or Unlucky?

The luckies guy alive is the Swedish Mr Svanstrom. But then again it depends on how you see his luck. He survived 2004 Tsunami. Then he got married, went on 4 months honeymoon (and taking the kid along) around the world. That's when it got interesting.

First they went to Munich and caught one of the worst snowstorm. They flew to Cairns and struck by the strongest cyclones in Australia. They headed to Brisbane but there was the flooding, so they went to Perth and just missed the big bush fires.

From there, they flew to Christchurch, of all place, just after the earthquake. They then flew to (you guess it) Japan. Days later Tokyo was struck by Japan's biggest earthquake.

One thing tho, the marriage is still on. If they can survive natural disasters in those caliber, I bet they can survive anything. After all they say traveling together is the test of any relationship.

So, he might be the unluckiest guy or the luckiest.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

It All Comes Down To Rain

This article in Business Week is about a study looking for the root of democracy. Who would have thought that it all comes down to rain?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Incredibly Sinking Jakarta And Flood

Jakarta is Rotterdam's partner city. Both cities have areas which is below the sea-level. In case of Rotterdam, the lowest point in Lowland, which is 7 meter below the sea level, is in very near to Rotterdam. In fact before they discover the exact lowest point it was thought that the lowest point was in the area of Prins Alexander in Rotterdam and they made a monument on that site. In years I lived in lowland, not once I experienced flooding myself. Dont get me wrong, there are incidences of flooding in lowland, I was just lucky enough to not experienced it.

Then I moved to Jakarta. Even in my area which supposed to be above the sea-level, there are areas that get flooded as soon as there are heavy rain due to bad drainage. Back in October Jakarta stood still from flooding. People called it the biggest waterpark in the world. Yes, we now have east flood canal, which should ease the flooding in the area, but from I heard there are still problem up north where the land is sinking in an alarming rate.

I thought it was due to climate change, but from I learned so far, the effect of climate change on the rising of sea level is not that big. What worse is the sinking of the ground. Apparently Jakarta sinks in about 12cm per year, and that's according to a very conservative calculation! It is partly due to the amount of water being pump for the industry (and housing).

Rotterdam has offered their assistance to Jakarta. I think Jakarta can learn a lot from its partner city on how they handle living below the sea level. Rotterdam has Deltawork protecting the harbor and city. Jakarta has nothing protecting the city from surge of sea level. With the sinking of the land, and the rising of sea level, when there's heavy rain, all the water cant go to the sea and starts to accumulate in pocket areas resulting in flooding. We also need to have an alternative for pumping water for the industry.

What I find interesting is that even though Jakarta's always flooding in certain areas, it seems no one care enough to calculate if the next rain will resulted in huge flood or just a normal flood, and for how long. I would've thought business sector would need this data to forecast their business challenges and opportunities. The government could also use such data to mitigate the problem and lower the cost of such flood. It had been estimated that the cost of the huge flood in 2007 ran up to USD 1 billion. It seems like our local and national government are not interested in prevention policy in every sector. I guess they never heard the proverb: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I know one thing though, the flood prevention will be a subject to be discussed by who ever run for the governor of Jakarta office in 2012.

Sing vs Bribery in the Police Force

The 26 years old First Brig. Norman Kamaru is a policeman in Gorontalo whose 15 minutes of fame resulted in him being reprimanded. Seriously, the guy stayed in his station, his crime is lip-syncing an indian song on video. I dont think that's more wrong than his colleague who was glued to his cellphone through out the song.

However the head of national police force is not happy, citing that it's unethical to sing in uniform. Ok, let me get this straight: he thinks that singing in uniform and entertaining people is unethical, but he turned a blind eye to all the corruption by the police who are wearing their uniform when getting the bribery?

Gosh, no wonder we are in the state we are in. People has no idea which is more important these days.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Paradise Lost

I guess I am not the only one who find Bali as paradise lost. Time run this article on what ever wrong about Bali. Not something you want to hear when you live and work in Bali in tourism industry.

Let's hope Balinese government and Indonesian government can tackle the challenge.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

When You Least Expect It

So yesterday was not my day. After almost ran into a car collision in the morning and also missed my deadline by 5 hours, I had to help push the car & jumped start it at 11PM (with no dinner)!

I got home, took a child dosage of Actifed, read, then sleep, thinking I could sleep late on Sunday. Fat chance.

Mom woke me up asking what to do with the pasta. We were talking about making pasta salad for today's family gathering. There I was groggy from the meds, starting making pasta salad for about 30 people. It was pretty delish. My cousin came and the two of us went to the gathering.

It was my first ever Arisan. Normally I stir clear from arisan, but this one I cant dodge. We were the first to arrive. After about 2 hours we were still waiting for some more people to come, but I couldnt keep my eyes open. So I took a nap. I woke up when one of my aunts was drawing the winner of the arisan. Guess what? I was the winner. I didnt even think about winning it. The rest were 'protesting' jokingly how I didnt even care about arisan and ended up winning it.

Later on mom picked me up and we went to see my other aunt and uncle for dinner. I've been eating so much the whole day. Pasta salad, Gudeg, Somay, Roast Duck. Pisang Molen, Ubi Goreng, Tape Ketan, Lapis Surabaya, Bolu Pandan. I guess my appetite is back :)

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong
Murphy's Law.

So I had a deadline this afternoon at 4 PM. A friend and I agreed to split this project. Her electricity went out almost all day. My internet is acting out. It's 8PM and I still cant submit the project because my friend's part is not finished yet. I dont have my headset with me so I cant help her out, as I'm waiting for her email in a very loud and rather crowded Starbucks due to the said internet connection.

Seriously, I'm pissed. I hate missing deadline, especially for such an important client. An inter national organization, the one that I wished could continue to work for.

I dont get my internet connection. It was fine until I was going to email my part. Each time I tried to attached my files, the internet connection went AWOL. As soon as I unplug the cable or shut down my laptop, it went back online! I mean, seriously!

So I drag mom to Starbucks just for the internet and I've been here for almost two hours waiting for my friend's email. She still hasnt finished. Had I not been in a jam, I would've like the live entertainment, the gal has a lovely voice and the repertoire suits my liking. But at the moment I feel sick from panicking and way too much sugar from the brownies and the chocolate drink.

What a way to spend satuday night!

update: the car broke down around 10PM when we were about to go home.. great!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Wer Bisto

A Frisian song that I love from way back when.. never knew the meaning until tonight.. somehow I miss NL tonight.. I started emailing my friends for an invitation for Koninginnedag!


Yesterday was tax day in both NL and ID. Now let's see how things are in both countries.

The lowest bracket is 33% income tax, the highest is 52%.
Everyone, even the trash collecting guy pays tax.
The form is pretty clear and you can get a lot of tax cut, such as from buying books for schooling.
There is a chance that you get your tax back.
No Gayus around...
You get what you are paying in term of good infrastructure, free schooling for kids

The lowest bracket is 5% income tax, the highest is 35%.
Only part of the working force pay taxes. There are plenty of under the table payments.
The form is confusing and you cant get much of tax cut.
More often than not, you wont see anything back even if you are eligible to it.
Plenty of Gayus around...
Our infrastructure is a mess, they say the school is free but contribution by parents still needed.

I found it amusing when Indonesian complain that we dont get what we are paying for compare to NL. The thing is, there isnt much money collected from tax to begin with compare to in NL. Coupled that with rampant corruption in Indonesia. We cant compare apple to pear.

I think we need to restructure our tax to be more progressive, streamline and clearer. Of course people put off paying taxes while there are plenty of Gayus around, so we need to clean up the corruption. We need a strong and just person to do that in the tax office.


On telly at the moment there is a program about a tourism village in Banyuwangi, East Java, called Kemiren. The elderly ladies still chew bettle nut leaves just like my late great-grandma. The village is home to Osing tribe, a decendent from Majapahit. The indigenous tribe of Banyuwangi area. They have their own language which is different than Javanese or Madurese. They are closer to ancient Javanese and Balinese. Interestingly there are English influence in the language. For example:
Nagud from 'no good' means 'bad'
Ngepos from 'pause' means 'to stop'
Enjong from 'enjoy' means 'fun'
Poket from 'pocket' means 'shirt pocket'
Sumer from 'summer' means 'fever'
I think there were plenty English speaking people in the area back in the days, because some of the villages have English/Gaelic (?) name such as "Glenmore", "Glenfalloch", "Glenlevi". If I remember correctly Glen means 'valley' in Gaelic. There is also an area called Inggrisan where it used to be a trade office of the British in the area back in 17th century. Raffles wrote about Osing people in his book History of Java where it said that the population of Osing was reduced from 80000 to 8000 by 1811. This probably due to Puputan Bayu (war to the end of life) against VOC around 1780s.

Osing people used to be Hindu/Buddhist just like in Majapahit but nowadays more and more people becoming Moslem. Eventho it is said that Balinese were also descendent from Majapahit, Osing doesnt have any 'kasta' in its society.

In the area, people still farms and they have a small train for sight seeing around he plantation. I went to one of such plantation when I was a kid, it was great. We went to see and try all the farming life. The vanilla trees, cacao trees, all that we normally see in the supermarket in packages we could see it in the plantation.

The weather is also very nice as it is up in the mountain.

One thing though, Osing just like a lot of people in Banyuwangi are into mystic. Some are into black magic and they could kill you. I've seen it happened before. Patient came to the doctor with an unexplainable sickness. Sometimes it showed in the röntgen result metals object inside their body. Needles, Iron rod, things like that. When it happens the doctor would suggest that you go to some paranormal to get rid of them, because modern medicine wont work.

This part of culture is even in corporated in one of their dances, called "Gandrung". One of the Gandrung dance is about a guy who was in love with this girl and was rejected. He then use black magic to make the girl falling for him. After this happened the girl chases him like crazy and now it's his turn to refuse her.

The video below shows a popular Osing song about the moon: