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.