Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings

May your Christmas also be as special as you are 
may the New Year be filled with happiness, joy and prosperity to you and your love ones!


Monday, December 03, 2012

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

I only managed to see one film during EuropeonScreen, namely El Bulli: Cooking in Progress. El Bulli is the name of a Spanish restaurant, headed by the celebrated molecular gastronomy chef Ferran Adrià, which won the title of the best restaurant in the world for 5 times and also had 3 Michelin stars. This restaurant only accepted 8000 bookings a year and there were at one point two millions people apply for those slots.

The movie was shot between 2008-9 and first premiere in 2010, a year before El Bulli closed its door for the last time on July 30th, 2011. 

As a documentary about a celebrated restaurant, the movie directed by Gereon Wetzel practically left out the patrons of El Bulli. There were no interview of how the patron experience the food, you just saw some of them moving around and taking pictures of the kitchen or with Adrià

Just like El Bulli (research) kitchen, the movie is very clinical with no narrative. For a movie about food, there were not many scenes with food but more head shots of Adrià and his deputies. For a movie about gastronomy, there were more scenes about vacuuming and drying an ingredient than actually cooking it.

While Adrià said that his food should evoke emotion, "the more bewilderment, the better"  beyond 'joder' if I understood him correctly, the movie is rather flat. However, I do appreciate that we could see their process and attention to details that make them the best restaurant in the world. It also makes me appreciate the amount of creativity, skills, effort, science, time and emotion behind each dishes. I really appreciate all the beautiful photographs by the only person trusted to take Adrià's dishes: Francesc Guillamet.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Legal Female Genital 'Mutilation'?

I wonder about this new trend of kids younger than 14 year old having designer vagina surgery. How much different it was with female genital mutilation practices in some countries, including Indonesia?

To my knowledge, the official stand of Indonesian Doctors Association is not to endorse FGM practices. That being said, I heard some doctors practice "FGM" in the notion to provide a 'better' care of the victims when the parents insist that their daughter must be submitted into FGM practices based on religious belief. In such case, the doctor didnt cut anything, only pricked the clitoris.

To my disgust, I was told that the traditional practitioners cut a little.

Now, reading that in the Europe kids, as young as 9 year old, go through surgical procedure citing due to some psychological reasoning is beyond me. Most of adults having the same procedure are because they compare their vagina to that of porn stars. I wonder if the internet helps creating such trend among young children, too.

I could understand the need of surgery if it was a congenital abnormality, but how many people out there having such problem?

What happens in Europe is a form of legal mutilation, because the underlaying reason of having such procedure is similar as in FGM countries: Someone (parents) wants that their daughter/ themselves conforming with certain idea that the small part of society holds about female genital that looks a certain way.

In FGM countries we could cite that people who do FGM are mostly coming from a low educated background. What can we say about their European/Western counterparts?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BBC Big Read

Back in 2003 BBC had this programme called The Big Read where they asked the public what their favorite book is. The top 100 result is as follow:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie 

Apparently I didnt (finish) read(ing) that many books on the list [all in the bold]. I have catching up to do! Perhaps I should be starting with finishing/re-reading whatever I started but never finished [all those in italic].  

All Time Favorite

According to internet the translation is as follow:
+ Chak de
- Phatte (apparently 'chak de phatte' in Punjabi is like 'Rock on')
+ Where are you from?
- From Pluto
+What are you here for?
- I just came for a stop at the cash and carry
+ It's a wonderful spaceship
- I bought it second hand
+What type of insurance did you get, third party?

my all time fave of BBC's Goodness Gracious Me

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Fave Patient

Years ago, I was doing my own thing when I met the ever sweet Mrs vdP. She was in her 50s, had an overjet and whole baggage of medical problems. Her dentist referred her to our surgery. Soon, she had to decide about getting a braces and an orthognathic surgery. Mrs vdP was hesitant and the doctor told her to talk to me. I discussed with her and her husband about my experience and showed her my pictures. In the end, she agreed to do the whole thing which would take more than one year of her life.

Each time she came by for her check-up, she looked for me. "Girl, let me see you teeth" asked her each time as soon as I showed up in front of her. I smiled. She said "Wonderful", then left. That's our routine.

After about three months, she had much less overjet that she could close her lips. I chatted with her, telling her how good her progress was. She was so happy. She told me some of her friends didnt recognized her and how doctor H is her angel.

After her surgery, due to her medical condition she looked black and blue for the longest time, we joked that her husband has been beating her up. I gave some tips about eating, cleaning wired-shut teeth and reducing the bruises. Her end result was splendid. She couldnt be happier. And her husband, too. She thanked me for encouraging her to take the step, while all I did was sharing my experience.

Today, I just found out that she passed away a couple months ago.

Dag Mevrouw vdP... Rust Zacht.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Working as a Minority

Most of the time I work with men. At the office. With clients. More than 90% of people I interact with for work are men. The last two weeks were an exception.

I've been working non-stop since last week Monday until this week Friday, including the weekend due to some client-related-events. The best part about it was for once, I worked closely with the fairer gender. It is rather different than interacting with the guys. Then again, it's just my luck,non-Indonesians I work with care more about people they work with.

We talked about in our line of job, most of the time, we are the minority. How when we have to travel we dont venture out on our own as much as our male counterpart because of security reason, or keeping up the image. How sometimes the guys are pretty sexist in this country and would do/say something that could be seen as sexual harassment abroad. How I make sure that I cover up and on my best behavior when I have to meet clients who are mostly foreigner at their hotels. 

I'm very aware how people judge young local ladies with an elderly (foreigner) gent. I'm also aware, that sometimes, due to my gender people are opening up doors. I managed to get a vital information from a Director General at one of our ministries just by conversing with him for almost 1.5 hours. Others confided about policies and other officials, which comes handy for my reference. I'm also aware that most would think that I'd be dispensing money to do my job of which I've never done. 

That being said, I've noticed I have better synergy with foreigners than with fellow Indonesian females. Perhaps because the females Indonesian counterparts I worked with are mostly civil servants. Some of them have the tendency of making things more complicated. I do wish that more female supports other female. However, most often I've experienced and heard that quite often female undermines other female, which is rather sad considering we are in minority. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Not in Bahasa Indonesia

I do way a lot more tatemae in Indonesia than I ever did in lowland.
It's tiring.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Heading to Another Property Bubble?

I read the other day about the price of property in Jakarta which increasing fast. Really fast. In certain area of Jakarta a land costs USD 7500 per square meter! The weird part is, the more expensive a property is, the more interest of buying it. 

Today I was meeting some folks and heard that in this particular area of Jakarta, eight months ago the land price was about UDS 800 per square meter, nowadays you have to pay USD 2000! A house with less than 1000m² of land at Brawijaya street in Kebayoran, Jakarta was sold for more than USD 7 million last week. 

Indonesia's economy is booming despite world economic problem, but I'm afraid we are heading to another property bubble in Indonesia. Might as well bracing myself. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

To Be or Not To Be

So, I'm in that spot again... the cross road. Should I go to the left, or to the right?
I'd probably use maximin strategy before selling my soul. I read too much Rawls.

ok, back to soul searching..

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Married in the Village

Back in the days I was working in Lampung, I've seen kids of 15 year old who are already married. I wasnt that shocked seeing that phenomenon, since I personally have a childhood friend who was married to someone much older when we were 12 year old because of her parents debts.

This week, one of my masseuses was telling me the story of her life, starting with getting married at 12 year old to a 17 year old. She said it's a common practice in her area to get married young, without any papers as long as there were two witnesses and an imam. To get divorce is even more easy, just by letting the other person know that he divorces her, even only by phone.

Tonight I just learned that my new help's brother, who is only 17 year old is already divorced five times! Seriously, let those kids date each others instead of getting them married so young so often.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Closer To Home

I got home to a zombie like maid the other day. She got sick again when I was away. Feverish, coughing, headache, nauseated, sleepless plus I know she has ulcer. She refused to go to the doctor, until I made our security guy practically dragged her.

The doctor that saw her, I think, was a newbie. the doctor did nothing about the fact she's not eating well and feverish. All that she got was an antihistamine. I gave her some meds for her ulcer and she felt a bit better, but still practically refusing to eat whatever food I gave her.

Today, mom & I took her to the hospital to see my dad's colleague, an internist. After an x-ray, the verdict is TB and next Thursday she has to see a Pulmologist. Our maid refused to be admitted to the hospital. I threatened her that if she still refused to eat properly, I will put her in the hospital and told them to give her an intravenous drip. Mom said if the pulmologist said that she has to be admitted to hospital, she wont be allowed to refuse.

I just hope it wont be the resistance type of TB and that both my mom and I wont catch any. The internist did check my mom (who is still coughing for weeks now) and said that she doesnt have TB. I think I had my vaccine booster before moving back here. In any case, I'm scheduled to have my thorax x ray in 2 months anyway.

On a lighter note, there was a funny moment when we were in the hospital. As soon as the internist said  'fleck' after examining her, I knew she needs an x ray. So instinctively I told her to come along with me to the radiology dept. The internist was half laughing and half yelling that I have to wait for the referral note when I was already out of his office, leaving mom chatting with him. His nurse commented that I'm the proof of growing up in the hospital. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Matah Ati

Two years ago, a Javanese dance recital was performing in Singapore with success. Last year and again this year, they performed in Jakarta. Matah Ati is a real Cinderella love story between a prince and commoner in Java which was depicted using a Javanese langendriyan tradition mixed with modern style. Langendriyan combines sound, narration, movement and facial expression. Nowadays such style is not often being performed as the dancers are not only have to be capable of dancing, but also acting and singing in Javanese way. Most of the time when they dance they are crouching or putting their weight on their knees, which is very demanding physically.

Matah Ati was performed almost entirely in High Javanese with a pinch of Bahasa Indonesia and a dash of English without any translation, so I didnt always follow that the singing was about. It starts with Rubiyah, a girl from Matah singing about her dream of becoming a princess. This followed by happy villagers play and sing when the Prince, Raden Mas Said, and his entourage pass by and he falls in love upon seeing this girl.

Raden Mas Said then meditates but he was tempted by lovely beings but the prince ignores them until he sees this premonition of a girl. Later on the Prince leads the war against the Dutch with the helps of female soldiers and under the motto Ti Ji Ti Beh, Mati siji mati kabeh. One dies all dies. All for one, one for all.

One day, Raden Mas Said and his entourage pass by Matah village that has a wayang kulit show. There he sees Rubiyah sleeping and left his headband on her lap as he realises that she was the girl in his premonition. Rubiyah is ecstatic as she could be come a princess as she dreams of. Her village starts the preparation of her big day. First, she has to be tested by the prince's entourage of her fighting skills, then they named her the war commander and give her the nick name: Matah Ati. Afterward they all go to war which they won but with a lot of casualties. After the war Raden Mas Said marries Rubiyah and it was the start of Mangkunegaran Court in Central Java.

This 17 scenes performance was written, produced, directed and its costum was designed by Atilah Soejadjaya of Mangkunegaran House with the help of Kay Subiyakto as the Artistic Director.

Sadly other than the support of mangkunegaran House, among which they lent their 10 kg worth of gold in jewelry that were worn by the two protagonists, the production didnt received much help from the Indonesian government.

On the lighter note: I think Jay was influenced by Dr. Who as you can see on the left side of the picture. Dalek rules. Pictures at

Monday, July 02, 2012

Across the Universe

By chance I watched most part of Across the Universe on telly. A musical set in the 60s, with cutting edge visual technique and the Beatles songbook. The movie was beautifully executed, after all the director was Julie Taymor, who gave us the Broadway musical Lion King. Taymor has this way of knitting the dialogues and the songs in such way that the transition between them are smooth all through out the movie.

The arrangements are sometimes familiar, but sometime altered in a way that you found another mood in the songs that you had never knew before. Who would've thought of setting The Beatles songs against Vietnam war? Of course the story became a romance in the middle of an anti-war movement after one of the characters went to Nam.

The main characters' name are from the Beatles songs, Lucy, an American girl who just moved to New York and Jude, a Liverpudlian who works his way to the USA. I'm surprised I've never heard of this movie before. Now I should pay more attention when they are going to screen it again so I can watch it again, and again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Now, you know.. Uterus & vagina are amazingly powerful. SOURCE: Bamberg C, Rademacher G, Güttler F, et al. Human birth observed in real-time open magnetic resonance imaging. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012;206:505.e1-6.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I saw this last week, and it was one of the best shows I've seen this year. Really love the performance, the music, the video. The playfulness of the whole package.   I dont know about you, but when I was a kid I used to have such imagination and started jumping and running around like the dancers :D

For more information on the duo please visit their site

Saturday, June 09, 2012

On Commitment

One of the first questions when you meet Indonesians is are you married. That's how committed Indonesians are to family and married lives.

As a single female in Indonesia, it is a given part of life to be harass by people about getting hitched and produce babies, lots of babies, as soon as possible. Because, the clock is ticking... rapidly in my case. It's like you are only half a human if you are unable to accomplished those feats. 

On the other hand, I kept reading and meeting people, especially Westerners, who supposed to have commitment problem so severe that they've decided that they are not the marrying kind. What I dont understand about these type of folks is that they refused to get married but have no problem having not just a kid, but kids, with their partner.

Personally, having kids is a much bigger commitment than just marrying some guy. With no kids involved, if things didnt work out with the guy it's easy to get a divorce/separation, but not when kids are involved. Having kids means putting (a) person(s) in this crazy, full of suffering, yet enchanting world, which also means you are committed to that new person and also to the former partner to bring the kid up the best you can. Having both parents involve helps.

So why people are scared of getting married but not scared of having kids? Is it because that piece of paper that makes things finalized?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Orang Pinggiran - People on the Outskirt

By accident I saw an episode of this program on telly about a 9 year old kid named Herman who lives with his grandmother as his mom left him and both of his father and grandfather are already passed away. He only managed to go to school for two years due to financial hardship.

By financial hardship I mean he has to work to help his grandmother collecting pine tree chips that he sold for IDR 2000 a sack of 5 kilo. His grandmother only earn about IDR 3000 a day. They still have a bamboo house which was renovated a while back with the help of his neighbors. The boy was very small for his age due to malnutrition but he was tenacious, willing to work, and eager to go back to school.

Mom was very distraught upon seeing the program and wanted to take him into our home so that he could go to school. I was more concern that we are not separating the duo.

We tried calling the number shown in the end of the program but no body picked up the phone. That was almost two weeks ago. Tonight by accident I found a contact person for him on Facebook. I called her up, and was told that an orphanage in Slawi is taking him and his grandmother in and already register him for the next school year. They are ready to move to Slawi any day now.

Somehow when I heard that news, my gut feeling is telling me to keep in touch with the contact person to monitor. I hope I'll be proven wrong and Herman & his grandmother will be alright in the new place.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Bit of Commotion

I was on the first floor at this small mall the other night with my mom when we heard this commotion downstairs. Someone threw fits and smashed some glasses.

To my surprise, almost every one on our floor, including my mom, went to see what it was from the top of the escalator. There I was, almost on my own, I could've nicked lots of stuff.

Mom came back a bit shaky, urging me to pay for the things we buy immediately because she was afraid that the guy would've targeted our car outside.

On the way down, I asked the security what it was all about. He said an Ambonese guy was angry and broke some glasses.

On the ground floor we saw that he ran amok at this brand new fast food restaurant which was actually had a big opening party that night. The celebrity who was singing at the meet and greet earlier was nowhere to be seen. However, there were several policemen around, I heard one of them talked to someone in a civilian clothing, that it was about the 'monthly security money'.

Some night, huh?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last Night..

you visited me again after a long time..
you took me up that white stairs..
away from people below..
away from the commotion..
there were just the two of us.

then I woke up.. and you were gone.

miss you, dad..

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Importance of Lady Gaga Concert

Someone asked in his status the importance of Lady Gaga concert for Indonesia. Some said that it's not important, it's not something Indonesian needs to emulate. that it's only a short entertainment that can corrupt our generation, a waste of money, there's  potentially securities issues involved and apparently some folks believe that she promotes Satanic cult. 

Some, myself included, says it's important. Someone cited that because she is talented and her works is art. Other said that it's a benchmark of Indonesia's security and tourism sector that we could host such artist. I find it important  that we have the liberty to have choices and to choose what we want without being oppressed, to express our opinion and not becoming brutal just because our opinion was not heard. 

I like the fact that I can freely choose not to see Lady Gaga because I dont want to, and not because some extremist group told me not to, thank you very much. 

Interestingly, upon reading my opinion, he asked what kind of freedom I was talking about, that there's a causal laws and if I had a child would I let my kid to do drugs. He's point is there's a limit on freedom.  He also mentioned that we shouldnt be trapped in the 'Western kind of freedom' which is without boundaries.

I agree that there is limit on freedom when it comes to other people. The limit of freedom goes both ways.  I'm not talking about 'Western kind of freedom' or 'Eastern kind of freedom [is there such a thing?], I'm talking about universal freedom. The limit of freedom doesnt mean that if extremist group prefers one thing that we all have to succumb to it. The last time I checked, Indonesia is not an Islamic state. I do believe, those groups have the rights to express their opinion on Lady Gaga, that being said, that doesnt mean that we have to ban the concert just because they threaten to run amok because they dont agree with Lady Gaga. We cant keep letting the extremist hijack our freedom. There is a limit even for an extremist group. 

Friday, May 11, 2012


Finally I fulfill my dream to be in Borobudur during Vesak celebration. After some spats regarding our hotel, all 11 of us went to Yogya on May 5th in three flights. While waiting to aboard the flight, this Chinese gal asked me if we are also going to Vesak in Plaosan temple. I said we are going to Mendut temple. She then asked to which vihara temple I belong. My friends were giggling when they heard that one. It gets weirder. She said it was her first trip to Vesak in Yogya and asked me about the schedule and stuff. I had to put my 'consultant face' and bluffed my way.

It was my first trip, the difference was I read about it a lot, I asked my friend who goes there almost every year, I asked a friend who got involved in the event organizer last year.

During the trip I learned that I need to be specific in my prayers. Some said I'm being silly about it, the way I see it, you never know when your prayers are answered and how much of it will be granted, so ask away.

Speaking of praying. After pradaksina, the ritual of circumambulation of Borobudur three times, there was the ritual of lighting the lantern and letting it go. One could say his/her wishes while letting the lantern go.

We left Yogya in a good spirits, meeting new people, experiencing new things. We plan to come back to Borobudur during Vesak again.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Oh My... Fifty Shades

In the last couple of weeks, I've seen headlines on several major news outlet mentioning the book du jour. The Fifty Shades of Grey. At first, I didnt even read the articles, but since the name of the book keep popping up, last weekend I've decided to see what the fuss is all about.

And I read, and read, and read more.

You see, the book is part of a trilogy of a relationship between a young dashing billionaire but emotionally damaged Christian Grey and a twenty-one year old innocent fresh graduate with an annoying inner goddess Anastasia Steel. It's a mash up between Mills & Boon, Cinderella and BDSM story written by EL James, a pseudonym of one Erika Mitchell. There are plenty of sex, vanilla or otherwise, in the book, but the story it self keeps you turning the pages even though it was badly written.

What's with Anastasia's inner goddess coming out all the time? My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves (p137), [after a spanking session] my inner goddess is prostrate... well, at least she's quiet (p276).

Then there's the repetition of words/sentences. All variation of 'holy..', muttering, mumbling (apparently they cant just say what they want to say) and oh my. Then again, this book started as a Twilight fanfic titled Master of the Universe with about 80% of it stays in the book (I didnt know about it until I finished all three books. Holy crap! I cant bear to read it if it was 'Fifty Shades of Cullen'!).

The part that I enjoy is the email exchange between the two protagonists.

That being said, I couldnt keep the book down because I want to know how far he will push her and how far she grows as a woman and in (a difficult) relationship. Can she tame him? Will she stay in the relationship with all that money, power and mind blowing orgasm but sans love?

Christian is a Harvard educated, who pilots his own helicopter while he is not playing his piano and being filthy rich. What's not to like about him? He, however, starts every relationship with a non disclosure agreement and a written contract. That's the only relationship he knows. He does and doesnt want to bring Anastasia in to his lifestyle. He does and doent want to hurt her.

Anastasia's journey from virginity to BDSM, and relationship with men for that matter, is very intense. Does she want it for herself or does she do it to please the person she loves?

The book also sparks feminist debate about whether women should be sexually submissive in bed. Not bad for a book with terrible quality of writing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Chaos

It's a poem by Dutchman G. Nolst Trenité (1870-1946) contained around 800 'challenging' words.
This version has some mispronunciations in British English, that being said, I like the way she did it.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Java Jazz Festival

On Thursday when I was asked if I go to JavaJazz, I said that I choose Focus & Book Fair this weekend. That was until my cousin asked if I wanted to join her on Friday night.

We arrived at PRJ Kemayoran rather late. The President had arrived earlier to see Herbie Hancock. We went to see Bobby McFerrin. I enjoyed his performance. He collaborated with his son, Taylor, and also with our own Dwiki Darmawan and Balinese Gamelan. It was fab!

On our way to see Julliard Jazz Trio we met a journo who happened to be my cousin's friend. He asked permission to use my pic of Bobby McFerrin for his piece. Since people were already queueing up for Al Jarreau, I accompanied my cousin standing in line for a while before catching up LLW (Lesmana, Likumahuwa and Winata) at Hall A3. They collaborated with Dira Sugandi & Maurice Brown. 

Afterward, I saw Julliard Jazz Trio. Ron Carter's interpretation of You Are My Sunshine was wonderful. When they finished, I was torn between The Manhattan Transfer and Medeski, Martin and Wood who started 15 minutes apart. I went to see Manhattan Transfer first, but only stayed for 1 song before going to see MMW.

I saw MMW back in Melkweg before, I might be biased but I think they played better in Jakarta. Then again I was in a weird place/situation back in the days. Had a great time watching them. For some reason, I saw relatively more foreigners watching them than when I was watching other performers. While waiting for my cousin I saw a bit of D'Sound and Robert Randolph.

I have to note that sound-wise, North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam are much better than Java Jazz. During Bobby McFerrin show we could hear the music from the next hall which was rather annoying. He also experienced mic problem while singing one of his songs. I didnt enjoyed Robert Randolph that much because it was too loud for my liking and I was already tired.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Old Hollywood Make Up Tutorial

By the look of it, they used golden ratio when putting on make up. Good thinking.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back to the Beginning

It's been three years since I was here. Had enough traumatic experiences in this place, but also plenty of good memories. After all, this is the place my family called home for at least 3 decades. My grandfather helped spearheaded the education sector. His uncle was the first doctor, my father set up 10 public clinics all over the place. Heck, I was made in this place!

It's interesting talking to people I used to work with. Weird enough, it was the Balinese, not the locals who remembers me more. This is the place where connection is crucial in my line of work. The fact that I was the granddaughter of, the daughter of, still gives weight. Honestly, I am always weary to drop names when it comes to work, but I have to acknowledge that it is needed every now and then to get things done.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcoming Abhi

I started my Saturday on a Maternity Surgery Room in the middle of Jakarta. I'd promised Dian to take pictures of the birth of her first child since we found out about her pregnancy. The caesarian was scheduled on Saturday morning but was rescheduled last minute to Saturday 00:00 because the doctor detected contractions.

Her Ob/Gyn is a friend of mine from way back when, so it's easy to get an approval. Normally, only the husband is allowed to be in the OR during the procedure.

Armed with a handy cam, a tripod, 2 DSLR and a compact camera, Johnny & I went in to the OR after changing our wardrobe. To my surprise, they didnt require us to scrub in. Back in NL when I had to take pictures in the OR, I had to scrub in too.

By that time the doctors were about to start the section.

It took only 14 minutes from the start to the time the baby was born, but it took longer to close her up again. Johnny was in the state of euphoria as soon as he heard his son's cry, he started calling his son's nick name: Abhi, and completely forgot to take his son's pictures until I told him to. It's so lovely to see the reaction.

It's a privilege to be part of the birth of someone and I thanked Dian and Johnny for letting me be a part their son's birth.

George Abhimanyu Aruan was born at 00:14 on February 18, 2012.
Both mom and son are well.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cooking Mood

Last year January Pat asked if I cook. I used to cook everyday back in lowland. In fact I used to bake once a week and took it to the office. I enjoyed baking more than cooking actually. I heart Delia Smith. She gives detailed instruction and pictures,which help a lot.

Back in Nusantara, I cook on average once or twice a year, perhaps three times if I had good mood. I baked just once. The fact that we have a good cook at home and it's always hot in the kitchen doesnt help. As for baking, I still havent figured out how to use English recipes in Indonesia properly and dont feel like experimenting anyways.

Since I've been sick two weeks or so ago, I've been on porridge/soft rice diet and had enough them. I started to look for recipes again. The most frustrating thing about cooking is most of the time I was in the mood of cooking, I missed an ingredient or two at home. Just like in the weekend when I was looking forward for some French onion soup. I've cooked the onion for about an hour already when I found out someone nicked my wine, all 3 bottles of them! There went my soup, because I couldnt pour whatever left from my Pineau de Charantes bottle as a substitute for white wine. Had I found out before starting cooking I might've experiment with some substitute ingredient for whatever missing like tonight, but that day I was so pissed I stopped cooking altogether.

Tonight I experimented making Enoki en papillotte. Not that great, but it was in the right direction as in the restaurant. I just put a bit too much rice vinegar and lime juice to substitute ponzu. Oh well, at least I'm cooking again. Next stop: Chawan Mushi & Salmon en papillotte. See the trend here?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Pen Pal

Tonight Agustinus Wibowo tweeted about finding his pen-pal from 20 years ago. It reminds me of my own pen-pal from back in the days, when we had no internet. Well, I had internet but he didnt.

I still remember how it all started.

A bunch of us registered to this pen pal program abroad. I was still collecting stamps, so I picked Brasil as one of the countries where I wanted a pen-pal from. About a month later, I got a name and address. I tried writing a letter but didnt manage to send it. I'm bad at posting my letters even back then when my school was next to the central post office.

One day, my dad gave me a letter from Brasil. I looked at the sender: Flavio Duarte Machado. The exact the same name as the one I supposed to send my letter to. I thought someone pulled a leg and send my unfinished letter to him. As it turned out he also got my name. I still find it cute.

So we wrote letters and waiting for months for the reply. Each time his letter arrived, the girls in my class read it. After all, it was a girls school, and that letter is from a boy studying to become a pilot. Or so he said in his letter full of actions that cadets did, I think. Once he sent a letter in Portuguese after I told him one of my flat-mates was Brasilian.

We still wrote each other my first year in lowland. Then I moved house. Cant remember if I told him my new address or not, but that was the end of it. I think I tried sending a Christmas card once to his last address.

Tonight, since I cant sleep, I googled him. Apparently some years ago he was a captain of a Super Puma Squadron. Isnt it great?

Actually, I had two more pen pals, Rene from NY and this girl that I dont remember her name from Cyprus. It didnt last more than two letters with them.

Anyhow, I wish the three of them well with their lives.

Important Note To Self

After all these time, I made a rocky mistake. I forgot to divulge to my doctor all the medications I'm currently taking. Now, I'm paying for my stupid mistake. The very medication I thought that will have nothing to do with my cough is possibly the reason why my cough is getting worse. Brutally worse that it took me not to change my position to get rid the itchiness inside my throat. As soon as I've changed my position, the cough starts and can last for two hours, to the point I almost vomit with each cough. I havent been able to sleep in the last two nights since I took the new cough meds.

I've just realized it about an hour ago when I re-read the leaflet. Apparently my other meds increases the amount of serum in my cough meds, which, I think, making my ulcer worse and the expectorant part of the meds working above and beyond measure.

I called up the pharmacy but I guess the guys (I talked to two peeps) didnt really know what they are doing.  The bloke said I took the right amount of meds, but he couldnt tell me how much the interaction of the two meds will work in my body. Logically, if the interaction increases the amount of the serum, I overdosed my cough meds just by taking the prescribed amount of meds.

So, I've texted my doc. Still got no reply.

At this moment I'm wary of taking my other meds, but I have to since I'm under strict order to taking it until May by my other doc. Probably the best thing to do for the time being is not taking any cough meds until my doc is getting back to me.

ps: my doc said I have to lower my cough meds to a third of whatever the leaflet said. So be it. but in the meantime, still cant sleep. Grrr...

Drag Queen

I have a thing about drag queen. They fascinate me. And they have balls.

There was these couple I used to know who laughed at their friend's father who was a drag queen. I applaud the guy and his son for being honest about it. So what if he is comfortable wearing a dress? Scots & Irish men wear kilt, guys in Burma, Micronesia and Indonesia wear their traditional sarong, not very much different than a dress.

One of the last thing I talked to my dad was about the couple's reaction about the said drag queen. I told my dad that I would've accepted if my dad has been a drag than if he has had another family. Because being a drag means he was true to himself, while having another family means he cheated on us. I might even be proud of him being a drag. Dad was laughing. Mind you, I made that comparison because the girl's father is a bigamist.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Un-Bucket List

1. Run a marathon.
I dont get why people put running a marathon on their Bucket list. Running 42km is nuts in my book. I look at those runners and ask: Why? 

2. Bungee Jumping
Sadly, since I get dislocated easily I had to crossed bungee jumping from my to do list. That being said, I still want to parachute jumping one day.

3.  Facelift
Or any unnecessary-non-life-and-death surgery. I've been warned about it by my doctor. Apparently my chance of having connective tissue damage due to surgery is rather big. Thank gawd I'm Asian, most of the time so far people thought I'm younger than I really am. Hopefully it stays like that for ever. 

4. Bucket list 
I choose not to worry about Bucket list. Just be happy with what I have and stop being hang-up about things that I want. 

5. Twilight Saga
I lost two hours of my life watching the first Twilight movie on telly. Two hours that I'll never get back. Never again. I watched it because I want to see what was this hoopla about. I dont get the fuss of a story about a girl whose sole problem is choosing a boyfriend. 

6. Swimming with sharks
Seriously? Havent you heard of Jaws? Plus, I'm not fan of open water. I'd rather fly up in the sky than doing anything in the sea. 

7. Have a cat
Not a cat person, thank you very much. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Terrorism

In the last month I've been in for a shock of a chance meeting a fundamentalist taxi driver and watching Die Welle movie on two separate occasions.

The taxi driver was graduated from the famous Gontor Islamic school. I'm not saying all Gontor alumnus are fundamentalists, it's just this one is. In fact, he said he wasnt very happy for the fact that at Gontor he missed learning certain things, which after some prodding he mentioned his admiration for someone such as Ba'ashir, who he deemed brave enough to teach the 'right kind' of Islam.

He talked how those suicide bombers were following the right teaching and really understood about the teaching and they will be granted a piece of heaven. He talked how Karzai's blood is halal for people like him due to Karzai's dealing with the USA. He asked if I thought of him as a mean person because he believed that Mother Theresa wont be granted heaven but hell by Allah. I told him that's his opinion but I believe God (I intentionally not using the word 'Allah' in front of him) is better than that, to which he retorted that I have to read Quran before citing some verses in Arabic and its translation. He talked about his wife wearing a face covering while I was wearing a deep V-neck at that time. He didnt say what I was wearing was wrong, though. It was my first ever confrontation with a suicide bomber supporter. It was scary yet intriguing.

I told this expert on terrorism that I met the other day about that taxi driver and how worried I was after seeing Die Welle, thinking if someone charismatic could change people in 4 or 5 days such as  in the real 'The Third Wave' experiment, how powerful it is people such as Ba'ashir who teaches in an Islamic school for years, especially a lot of the students are not very critical and typically are following blindly. The guy agreed that Ba'ashir has the capacity to change people and it is why he's tried to 'work' with Ba'ashir in stead of fighting him frontally, hoping that Ba'ashir would finally say "let's stop all the violence" just like what happened in Northern Ireland and its IRA.

All these time, I think who ever put the idea in the mind of suicide bombers that they act is in accordance to God's will is a great brainwasher. I have to agree with the expert that only such person could end acts of terrorism. However, I'm not sure if someone like Ba'ashir will do that any time soon as Densus captured him in such way.

I just hope that we have less and less terrorism problems in this world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Years ago John tried to convince me to use Linux, the closest he got to my converting to Linux was I downloaded Ubuntu and burned it on a CD. Later on, I convinced him to get a Mac and an Iphone.

Tonight, I was talking to T about his plan to trade in his camera tomorrow. He is thinking of converting to Nikon. This was a big deal for us. He had been trying to convert me to Canon. Yet, it was him who talked about converting now. He is still on the fence at the time being because he said Nikon pictures are flat unlike Canon. However, he likes Nikon sharpness and a bit freak about it. Even though he said he's sleeping on it tonight, I think I know what his decision will be :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Do you fancy to be part of MI5? Now you can find out if you are intelligent enough to apply to be an agent by visiting this website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Die Welle toll.

It was one of the most interesting movies I've seen lately. As part of German Film Festival, they screened Die Welle (The Wave) which won several nominations and awards abroad. The story is about social experiment in a high school somewhere in Germany based on a novel, "The Wave", by Todd Strasser.

The start of this experiment is a question: Can we start a dictatorship in Germany? Within a week, the students are experiencing some profound changed. Some of the students refused to be part of a movement which they perceive as fascism while most students see only the good things from the movement.

It reminds me how easy we could get caught in a cult or an autocracy. The end of the movies shows how the bad aspect of autocracy out weight its good aspect. This message is very relevant in Indonesia where there are more and more people behaving like fascists.

Be careful who you follow, because you never know where they will lead you...
Mark Hancock - the Third Wave student

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pharma Wedding

Today one of my dad's friends' daughter got married. I heard it would be spectacular. Rumor has it that her Wedding Kebaya is made by Anne Avantie, which costs at least IDR 30 million for the plainest one to made or more than IDR 10 million to rent. There were 800 invitations sent out for the reception.

Good on her, I guess. I wish her & her husband well.

It's just the fact that pharma industry is paying for parts of her wedding seems odd to me. They are not poor. They just feel they are entitled of such treatment from the industry. I know if my dad was around, he wouldnt have thought about asking the pharma industry to pay for any of his children's wedding.

I can understand it when doctors asking for pharma to pay for their conferences. But for their kid's wedding or birthdays? These kind of things arent allowed in the West. To my knowledge, Western pharmas are not allowed to do this in Indonesia by their HQ abroad, so it's the indigenous pharmas who are into such treatments. Sure, Pharma gains so much profit from these doctors, but in the end it's the patients who have to pay since most people dont have any insurance in Indonesia.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hom Pim Pah

Zaini Alif studies children traditional games from Indonesia and the world. From Zondag-Maandag to Dakon. I'm glad that I did most of the games he presented here due to the fact I grew up in a small town, with a house located near to rice field.

I supposed children these days learn differently from their technological games, but I do feel they miss out a lot by only playing with gadget. I learned how to entertain myself using things we found on our backyard. I remember insisted on creating a toy from the outer skin of our Jeruk Bali, our kind of big grapefruit and also from banana tree trunk. Of course the maid wasnt very happy as my clothes were covered with sap.

It seems like visiting his community is a way to introduce our kids to the traditional games.

PS: do turn on the Close caption for English subtitle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scared of Hijabers

I'm scared of hijabers, women who wear hijab, in a group. Especially when they are at TransJakarta bus stop/terminal.

I almost fell into the gap between the terminal and the TransJakarta bus yesterday because some hijabers pushed me around to get to their bus. They were like wildebeest in migration. They didnt care about others, as long as they got what they wanted. It wasnt like there were no more bus, they were just mad.

That wasnt the first time I had trouble with them. I once fell on my bottom in the bus because someone pushed me to get to a seat. Then there was time someone dragged my bag to the left, when I wanted to go to the right. Why? Because she wanted to get to the left, and I happened to be in front of her. The other day, one of the fat ones sat on my lap to get to my seat. The other tried to push me off from my seat using her big bottom.

I dont know why they act like that. They just do. It makes me worried when standing in line and there are a group of hijabers behind me.

It gives me an idea why Mina tragedy happened, where pilgrims got trampled by fellow pilgrims. They just care of number one, and not any one else.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Granny-sitting: DUFAN & Laskar Pelangi Musical Highlights

It had been years since I went to DUFAN until yesterday. The mission was to see Laskar Pelangi Musical Highlights. I wanted to see the musical since 2010, but had never had the chance. When I found out they were staging it at DUFAN during the school holiday, I just have to drag myself all the way to DUFAN come rain come sunshine.

In the morning the cloud hung so dark, mom said that I'd better cancelled my plan if it were raining. By 9 o'clock, it was mom who called and asked why I was still home! I said my little prayer: please dont let it rain before 6PM. 

By 11AM, I met up with W at a Busway station and went all the way to the North. My mom and auntie I were already at Ancol waiting for us. From the busway stop, it's only 10 minutes walk to the gate of DUFAN. Very convenient. 

First we bought tickets for W & me, then we went to the booth next to Starbuck to get free entrance for mom & auntie I. Apparently those who has 'lifetime ID card', which means they are older than 60, gets free entrance. I think it's the first time I saw such policy in Indonesia. 

We were all quite surprised that DUFAN is now pretty lush. The fact that it was cloudy also helped. First, my auntie wanted to go on the carousel. Since we dubbed this trip as granny-sitting trip, we all went on the carousel. 

Next stop was the ferris wheel for mom and auntie I, while my buddy and I dashed to the roller coaster. It was my first time back in a roller coaster after my surgery ages ago. There were moments where I had to hold certain position so the impact wouldnt hurting my face & sent my glasses flying, and as the result, I pulled my right shoulder a little. But, it was fun! I would've done it again with out the sprain. 

After meeting up with my mom and auntie I, we went to see a 3D Journey to the  Center of the Earth, a simulator theater based on a book/film with the same name. Basically we sat there on this special seat with a seatbelt, and the seat moves in-sync with the movie on the screen. The ride is similar to riding a bajaj. Seriously.

At 2PM, we sat in the Rama Shinta Hall, waiting for Laskar Pelangi to start. I love their stage setting, especially the silhouette parts. The backdrop animation gives a sense of movement and atmosphere. The songs, lyrics and vocals are great. Those kids have abundant energy, they sang their hearts out. It's amazing. Since it's a highlights show, they have to re-blocking and re-choreograph the show to fit the format. The 55 strong cast did it superbly. Even though it's only a 60 minutes highlight show, they managed to fit in all the important plots of the book that you dont feel like there's something missing. I have to say that the way they depicted Ikal falls in and out of love is superb. Too cute. Of course, the emotion runs not as high as a full production where they have plenty time to build up the climax. That being said, it doesnt mean that it falls flat emotionally. It's enough to make some people took out their hanky and laughed out loud with the scenes. 

Before leaving W & I went to play this laser shooting games, which W won and made our hands sore from pulling the trigger.

I guess there is someone out there granting my wishes, I had to see Laskar Pelangi and it didnt rain until after 6PM. Life's good.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Becoming Ms. Dolittle?

For some reason, Gunung Geulis trying to turn me into some kind of Ms. Dolittle. I'm not into animal at the first place. We have fishes and cacatua at home not because I want it, but they were already here before I moved back.  I do, however, want to have a dog again, just like when I was little.

On the first day, as soon as I got to my room half way down the hill, I started cleaning it up. I scrubbed  the bathroom floor and the closet, swept and mopped the room floor, put on fresh linen on the bed that will be mine for the next 11 nights and cleaned the windows. Afterward, I did number one. As I flushed I saw a huge grey-beige hairy  leg coming out of the under sitter of the closet, that I just sat on! My heart stopped. If it were a skinny kind of spider I wasnt that shock, but this was a humongous hairy one. Counted my blessing that I didnt see it before or during doing my deed, then I ran up to my friend's room. Someone asked what's the commotion was. I told her about the huge hairy spider. She said I should just pick it up. Yeah right, I'd like to see her reaction if she were in my shoes, I bet she's screaming like a banshee.

The place has always been full of ants big and small, but I've never seen it as much as this time. They are everywhere. The teacher said that sometimes we have sensation of ants crawling on our skin. It's just some ants were really crawling on my skin and bit me! So, I had something to do in between meditations which was sweeping after those ants around my room & taking a shower three times a day.

At some point a beetle decided to hang around my drying rack. I let it there in peace, until he held on to my towel. I pushed him aside gently. The next time I checked my drying rack, he was gone. Or, so I thought. As I was picking up my bra, he almost bit my finger. I had a tug-o-war with him, trying to get my bra back! Since then I've never seen him again.

One day after one of those stormy rain, I found something like a leech attached to the wall facing to my bed. The next day I found a millipede.

Thus, this year there were more animals visiting me than ever. But was not as scary as a while back when there was a snake in the bathroom, nor as unpredictable as jumping frog (also) in the bathroom.

What is it with me, animal & bathroom?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Curious Incidents At Gunung Geulis

In the middle of a discourse on Misery the light went out. We all had taken the vow of noble silence. In pitch darkness:
Alia: misery
muffled laughters
*after sounds of someone bumped to somebody/something*: sorry!
more muffled laughters
Me: Where exactly in NL do you live?
Thomas: I live in the East of NL, near the German border.
Me (after looking at him for a minute): Twente.
Thomas (surprised): Woah.. how do you know that?
Me: I just sat for 10 days, ok.
Dominique:  I feel like I've known you before.
Fab (speaking about Alia & I): I'm sure I'll remember the both of you after today, for a long time.