More Recognition Coming!

How do you feel when your mundane,daily routine is cherished by complete strangers? They had no idea about your existence until it dawned on them that you are there, doing things “behind the screen” and creating value. Suddenly you know you matter,you may be that plankton in the bottom of the ecosystem food chain, yet without you,things can go wrong. Your absence may lead to imbalance,disorder,chaos. Or at the very least, you are there for a purpose.

The secretary texted me,stating my ‘wordicraft’ is great. I blushed, I am high. Another almost total stranger tweeted in disbelief. That disbelief he displayed is sort of another form of admiration. I nearly hopped for joy on reading it. And the last is as recent as this afternoon,coming from a president director. He did not realize my role until the pundit introduced him what I was exactly doing. And the wrap is that pundit’s compliment, “Write well!” Aye, sir!

LG Optimus Pro C660: BlackBerry’s Typing Comfort + Android’s Versatility

LG Optimus Pro C660<br />
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
Announced 2011, July
Status Available. Released 2011, September
SIZE Dimensions 119.5 x 59.7 x 12.9 mm
Weight 129g
DISPLAY Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colors
Size 240 x 320 pixels, 2.8 inches (~143 ppi pixel density)
– QWERTY keyboard
– Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
SOUND Alert types Vibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Practically unlimited
Internal 150 MB storage, 256 MB RAM
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB included, buy memory
DATA GPRS Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 12
3G HSDPA, 3.6Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0
Infrared port No
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels
Features Geo-tagging
Video Yes, VGA@24fps
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Android OS, v2.3.3 (Gingerbread)
CPU 800 MHz processor, Qualcomm MSM7227T chipset
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio Yes
Games Yes + downloadable
Colors Black
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
– SNS integration
– Digital compass
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail
– YouTube, Google Talk
– MP4/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Document viewer
– Organizer
– Voice memo
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh

Food Combining in The Holy Quran

Fruits of Shinseiki pear on tree
The rule of the thumb is EAT FRUITS BEFORE ANYTHING. (Image via Wikipedia)

What you are about to read below is a piece of text I translated from a friend of mine. This is relevant if you’re a moslem but still think that food combining is not so convincing and groundless to apply to your daily eating pattern.

So it looks like The Holy Quran implies a food combining principle in the two verses below.

وَفَاكِهَةٍ مِّمَّا يَتَخَيَّرُونَ وَلَحْمِ طَيْرٍ مِّمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ

” And with fruits, any that they may select, and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire.” (Al Waqiah: 20-21)

In the verses above, Allah SWT explains about the food of th paradise inhabitants. What is interesting here? As anyone can read, the word ‘fruits’ is mentioned first and ‘flesh’  latter. Why so?

This seems to be the most plausible answer. While most people in the Western hemisphere eat fruits before any other foods and have fruits as their breakfast, we Indonesians are not familiar to this eating habit. The prevalent myth in Indonesia is that fruits are supposed to be consumed after eating heavier meals or eaten later close to noon or afternoon. Then we must analyze why Allah SWT mentions fruits before meat? Does it have anything to do with the Western people eating habit. The question remains unanswered.

Fruits are digested in the stomach faster than any other types of foods. It generally takes 15-20 minutes for the system to fully digest fruits (with bananas as an exception, taking around 45 minutes). The glucose in fruits instantly provides us energy needed to work in the morning. It generally takes 2 hours for carbohydrates (rice, corn, noodles, bread) to be processed provided that they’re eaten alone (without any other foods). As for animal protein (chicken, four-legged animal meat, fish, egg) provided that they’re eaten alone is usually digested by the stomach within around 3-4 hours. Typical Indonesian way of eating – which involves eating animal protein and carbohydrate at the same time –  burdens the stomach because IT TAKES MORE THAN 6 HOURS TO COMPLETELY DIGEST THIS CARBO-PROTEIN COMBO. So you can imagine: before your stomach can’t get enough rest, you eat more, and on and on…BAM!

We also need to pay attention to the CIRCADIAN CYLE of  body. In a nutshell, the body is cleaning itself from the metabolism residue. It’s the “leftover” in large intestine that ought to be propelled out as soon as possible unless it’ll turn toxic anytime soon. For your information, this cleaning phase happens every day from around 4 am to 10 am, which is why the body doesn’t produce digestive enzymes (because it’s too busy cleaning itself!).  It’s a safe bet to ONLY eat fruits in the morning. To digest fruits, it doesn’t require digestive enzymes because enzyme contained in our saliva can do just that! This is also why we’d better chew fruits perfectly before swallowing it so as to expose it to the enzyme in saliva.


All the explanation is in accordance with Allah’s holy verses in The Qur’an :

وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“ And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the Words of Allah be exhausted (in the writing); for Allah is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.” ( Luqman : 27 )

Give Yourself a Break!!!


I ran into the reality-based cartoon publicized on Facebook this morning. And I can totally relate myself to that! Who cannot anyway?? Except you are one of the technically challenged baby boomers.
I do yoga,and I am about to do it now,while we are at it,let me tell you it always makes me a bit concerned every time I see a young girl with glasses,lying on a yoga mat beside her mom who is busily practicing, plays that game device (PSP,or Nintendo?) the gadget she loves while the world around her is spinning! People run,jog,meditate,play badminton,take a stroll,but her eyes are glued to it. That is tragic as far as I am concerned.
So take a time out of the virtual and experience the real more!

The Vacation Took Its Toll! (A Random Post Written Desperately in the Commuter Line Train)

Wednesday November 23, 2011

6.53 pm

Here I am stuck in the train . “It was struck by the lightning, he says. Ok, to tell you the truth what I worry about more is NOT about when I get home tonight but when I can have my dinner tonight. And drink! I swear I’ve been severely dehydrated after walking around the Botanical Garden all day long. It was tough, my bodily system is screaming for water. But I can’t get any here! While outside, hevy downpour is falling. My lips are so dry as well as my throat! Too many are standing here but sorry I can’t give this seat away. I’m much too weak to stand up during the rest of the train trip.

It started this morning and hell, I thought I already woke up early enough but what it apparently wasn’t.I set off around 7 am, dashed to the Sudirman Train Station, forgetting that the train is scheduled at 6.30, 6. 55, and 9.40. , which is like “CRAP, I have to wait for more than 60 minutes!”

You may remember Tata Young's "Bitchy, Naughty". And this man sets the song chorus as his phone ringtone!

Enough with the confusion! I shrieked by heart after moving from one coach to another FOUR TIMES (let’s choke the public train official commanding on the megaphone! ). How can this happen to me?? What have I done to deserve this? For God’s sake, I have to work tomorrow! And I here find myself, being stranded in a train coach with this man in front of me talking about rubbish in broken In-glish (Indonesian-English) with 3 alumni of Universitas Diponegoro. I’ve been there, having to endure this sort of conversation which is usually overly boring, so boring you want to bite the vein in his neck to prevent the boredom from killing you, figuratively saying. You simply have to act politely, open your mouth a bit once in a while to please the man and at the same time trying to digest  each and every word the preacher is blurting to no end. It’s, I swear, an ultimate torment if you’re not up to being social and kind. I feel terribly sorry for those 3 young men. They’re exhausted, bored to death and upset for being so powerless to leave the hellish conversation with someone of their grandfathers’ age. Wearing a mask and looking seemingly busy with my notebook writing this post did save me. Busy yourself with anything and no Indonesian passengers will make a mess with you.

The experience was undoubtedly fun. Not having to update any social network accounts, upload images, type like crazy, rewrite articles, summarize long texts, translate stuff, be called on the phone by coworkers or the owner, or inhale the same air of Jakarta today. But there’s a price to pay.

— ∞–

If you're wearing headphones and having a Blackberry in your hand but you litter in the train, you seem more like a neanderthal than a bipedal modern homo sapiens living in the digital age.

7.49 pm

It’s been more than an hour and we’re still here, at Pasar Minggu Station. I miss my maghrib pray, feel excruciatingly hungry and thirsty, until I reach the pointh where I could think of anything but enjoy what it is as it is. Enjoying the present, yes that is exactly what I’m trying to do now. I’ve read a number of pages of “Eat, Pray, Love“, which is kind of great as this novel is comical, witty in some way.

But well, I’m not going to act like a hypocrite. I hate it. I hate this very situation. Being stuck, being unable to rest and claim my private space, to dine, to strectch my stiff legs. I want to scream but why bother? I can’t, will not allow myself to commit such a faux pas. And this man on the loud speaker was definitely a practical joker. Thank to him, we passengers moved to and fro like a flock of fools. Please, f*cking move NOW!! Oh, and that gut said the train is about to move within 4 minutes. Yay!

Oh, speaking of what I did all day long in Bogor, I did different things this time. I metaphorically climb the same mountain but doing extra things on the list. So this is quite productive, I suppose!

Jakarta-Bogor Nov 23, 2011
This man sitting by the door spitted in front of me with his eyes glued to his smartphone! In the train! Public space! What a filthy jackass!

In short, I’d been wandering around the Botanical Garden since noon. And as I waited the pray time (around 11.40 am), I got a terribly shocking, shameful experience. So there was an elderly man (appears to be the mosque’s janitor or something) sprung out of the door and without warning asked one of us (I was there with the other two men sitting in the porch) to give the call to prayer. “Gimme a break!” I thought and grinned bitterly at the old man. I’m not afraid of making mistakes but.. you know I need rehearsal!! It’s hard to just shout the azan lines while you never do it on a regular basis before. Ok, I feel guilty but what if I did something wrong and the entire neighborhood came out of their houses and mocked me or considered that profane? That’s much too risky! And I hear kids are screaming , just like a school but this is buzzing endlessly. I-N-D-O-N-E-S-I-A!!! That’s what they’re yelling. The soccer madness lingers and even escalates in some pockets of the country, believe it or not. Considering the saddening fact that there’re two casualties who lost their lives  for a sheet of soccer match ticket at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, that is supposed to be better than a one-night-trending spirit.


LIAR! So this transportation tragedy is NOT even close to its end. He said 4 minutes, but look where we’re now still. Until now, 5 minutes after the promised time, the train doesn’t even move a single inch. I still sense NO movement at all! I can’t be  mad at anyone because it’s purely out of their control. Huge thanks to myself for bringing this notebook along. It DOES keep my brain active, to survive the unbearably boring predicament.

I swear all passengers here in this ill-fated commuter line train are so fed up right now. They’re like yawning repeatedly, exchanging texts on the phone, checking BlackBerry Messenger,  restlessly or calling people at home they’re gonna be home unusually late. But it’s true, I even want to smash my own head to the glass window.

And the man is announcing again, “The train heading to Jakarta Kota Train Station isn’t allowed to set off now just yet.” God is good. He wants to assess my patience level.


Talking about  the Botanical Garden, I already have with me a number of seeds! Yes, seeds of some plants I happened to find along the way. It was lazy of me to even jot down the names or shoot the nametag of each tree but as Shakespeare stated centuries ago, “What is a name?” Names don’t matter, to a certain extent.

And oh, there is a train moving beside our train and every one of us in this train, like responded by a quick, sudden stare filled with annoyance, envy, or hopelessness. The eyes speak for their mind, “How can they move while we’re stuck for hours here?” Or maybe what is popping out on their mind is the urge to hijack the train newly arriving? I have no idea.

Boredom is at the moment intruding even more deeply, seeping through the deeper level of our souls. I succumb. I got the Android phone and check th e Facebook newsfeed and Twitter mentions. And to my utter annoyance, the connection is stuck, just like this train. I sigh, desperately enough.

The guy announced again, only telling us to wait longer. The problem in Manggarai isn’t fixed yet and what hurts me eve more is the fact that the connection speed on this mobile phone goes a lot slower than snails. I now activate the 3G in hope that it’ll significantly boost the speed. Enough with the experiment, I switch the phone to airplane mode!


9.01 pm

It’s 9.01 pm and the God-blessed train isn’t moving yet. And this is sickening!  can’t even survive another hour. Please God, I beg of You…

Everyone starts to call or be callled by their dad, mom, or relatives at home. Can barely stand it any further.

Now I sincerely pray for the people at Manggarai that they can fix whatever the problem is IMMEDIATELY, considering it’s been more than 2 hours straight we’re in the train wasting our invaluable life time for cursing other innocent people.


10. 17 pm


The Religious Dilemma (Position among the Stars- Part 3)

I wrote the draft of this post in the Jakarta-Bogor commuter line train. Great experience to write! Writers must love trains! And the notebook -one with paper not running on battery- is the most loyal and easy-to-use tool to document every train of thoughts.

It’s always nice to see how people live side by side despite being different. Being different at times separates us apart. I’m not like you. You’re not like me. Thus we should never be agreed on any things. But life keeps a zillion mysteries.

I haven’t watched the previous installment (a friend of mine said this is the third of a trilogy) but I thought there is something missing before this. And I was right.

In the previous trilogy, , it is told that the son has converted himself to Islam. The old lady wasn’t really pleased to learn this but she eventually came to terms with it.

After converting to Islam to his own will, the son didn’t seem to be fervent enough to learn his new faith he just declared to embrace.

In one early Sunday morning, the old lady who was a Catholic had to go to church to attend the Sunday morning sevice. She needed company but Tari was still asleep. The old lady continually woke her up yet in vain. Then came the uncle. He wanted Tari to accompany the old lady attending the service. “Come on, there’re only a flock of old women at the church!” Tari tousled her hair, still yawning and unwilling to leave the bed. It was early in the morning, for God’s sake! Yet it didn’t stop him to drag her out of the bed. Feeling upset, Tari asked her uncle in a bitter, flat tone, “Why don’t you accompany her instead?” “But I’m a moslem. How come a moslem goes to church??” the uncle got even more irritated. “You’re a moslem but we’ve never ever seen you praying (: shalat, Ind),” Tari protested. “Uhm, well… ,” he muttered, followed with a considerably long pause, unable to supply a logical argument. “Chekmate!” said the old lady, giggling. ” “That is absolutely true!” she found it particularly hilarious. Anda she continued giggling. Few moments later, the mother and mildly insulted son were seen on a motorbike, heading to the church. The church turned out to be less than majestic (don’t even think of a towering, classic-styled one like the cathedral downtown Jakarta). Nothing looked churchlike about it, except the congregation.

That’s the hard cold fact that any Christian or Catholic must deal with in several parts of this Moslem-dominated country. Once I overheard a Catholic priest talking with the you-know-who most prominent entrepreneurship evangelist in the country. He said, as far as I’m concerned, an opinion which would sound more or less like this: “(Indonesian) moslems are generally irritated when the neighborhood they’re living in shows a huge cross.” The cross or the symbol of Christianity seemes too either unbecoming or improper. One shouldn’t do it no matter what. It is intolerance, which the state and the laws have no approval of but the rest of the nation always clings to. It is natural, in fact. Human beings are selfish by nature. Once you’re considered a threat for their ego, you’ll be eliminated. That simple!

Tari was actually torn between these two older adults: her grandmom and her uncle.  She found it quite enigmatic to see two faiths embraced in the family. It was no easier for her at school. She was a moslem by law and school regarded her so. Nonetheless, deep down inside her conscience, Tari or Theresia loved Jesus (as written stealthily on the door of the rented house the family lived in). After all, Theresia sounded like a baptist name given after the shower ritual (excuse my inapt description, I myself am a moslem). My hunch is, thus, she was baptized early by the parents or grandmother.

And then another scene showed Tari and the grandmom went to a place looking a lot like a school auditorium. It was spacious, much bigger than a classroom. There were a lot of students in uniform. I don’t knw exactly what it was but what happened there was she, along with several other students who freshly graduated, was interviewed by a teacher. Perhaps it was an interview of scholarship application. Tari was asked whether she knew the 5 pillars of Islam. Tari cast a blank stare and kept silent, while the teacher passed the question to another student. The student being asked answered in an effortless manner, “Syahadat (pledge), salat (pray), zakat (alms),  puasa (fasting, and haji (hajj- pilgrimage trip to Madina and Mecca).”

There was nothing that Tari could do but leave the room with her last shred of dignity. But before she could flee, another humiliation was awaiting. The teacher- wearing veil- mumbled that Tari only wanted the money (scholarship fund) but didn’t even give a damn about the most basic questions of all. She looked uneasy, ashamed, guilty (maybe because she felt like she wouldn’t make it), as she  kept on scratching her head during the interview.

As Tari went out of the auditorium, her grand mother asked how the interview test was going. Tari was silenced by the question. She nodded weakly, only making sure the grandmother wouldn’t notice her troubled heart. She clearly wasn’t fully recovered from the great humiliation she just experienced. That was hard on the teenage girl. But the grandmom wouldn’t  find out that anyhow Tari was still conflicting against the other self inside. What doubt? I guess it has something to do with the question: “Is she supposed to be a Catholic or a Moslem?”

P. S. : Read the previous related posts:

The Amazingly Mixed-up Indonesia

The Anger and Disappointment 

The Anger and Disappointment (Position among the Stars- Part 2)

After yesterday’s post, now I’m about to tell you readers about the anger and disappointment.

Tari was an orphan, whereas her aunt and uncle were childless. The grandmother was also expecting so much from her. To send Tari to university, the old lady got a loan from a bank with the land certificate as credit guarantee. It was a huge one for the family, considering their being poverty-stricken, with the one and only male in the family unemployed and the bread winner is mainly the wife. Things were complicated, financially speaking. But the old lady went on. What was on her mind was seeing Tari, the most brainy member of the family, climbing the social ladder and making the entire family proud.

The pressure was terribly high for the girl but she was just a teenager. She fell in love, started seeing a boy and couldn’t help being engrossed by the spell of Aphrodite. Once the uncle learned about it, the girl was scolded and even beaten. After what the grandmother and uncle did to send her to university, Tari was expected to focus on her study. Everyone went disappointed, including Tari herself. It wasn’t only because of the money, but the fact that the entire family’s financial future and pride was at stake if Tari fails completing the study and gets a proper  job.

The best scene of emotional explosion that feels bitter and sweet  to me was when the spouse had quite a huge fight. This jobless guy (the uncle of Tari) used up all the zam-zam water (the so-called holy and blessed  water usually distributed by someone coming home after pilgrimage trip in Saudi Arabia) only for his dear Cupang fish. It was foolish to the wife, as the water might be actually used  for some other purposes. Having no child after so many years of marriage, the wife really wanted to have a baby and this zam-zam water may be the solution.  And this seemingly thoughtless husband didn’t know this. As the husband was going out, she was determined to fry all the Cupang fish left. The old lady found her daughter in-law sobbing and requested the son to come home soon. And as he went through the door, he saw all his Cupang fish got fried, mingled with scrambled eggs on a plate. Spontaneously, he lifted the counter of the food stall  and turned it to a complete mess. Bottles of spices were sctattered all over the floor, even the frying pan was dented. The spouse felt so upset with each other. The husband thought the Cupang fish was the only way he could make money for the family, on one hand. But on the other hand, the wife thought taking care of  Cupang fish wouldn’t help much to the family. She opened a food stall in front of the house and she apparently made more money than the husband did with the Cupang fish. Both of them broke into tears, realizing they had nothing left but themselves and the love they had for one another. The husband avoided beating his own wife under any circumstances , regardless of how furious he became, and upon hearing this, the wife cried right by his feet, while the husband was lying powerless in a chair with a blank stare and shedding his tears.  It was hard for the old lady seeing her son and the daughter in-law had such a big fight. But she chose to withdraw, instead of interfering. In her room, alone, the old lady prayed to Jesus for her moslem son and wife. A very rare sight, a Catholic was praying for a moslem. (to be continued)

The Amazingly Mixed-up Indonesia (Position among the Stars-Part 1)

I had no Saturday night plan and there a tweet of Diki Umbara caught my attention. He mentioned SBM Golden Lens Award at Erasmus Huis, a free documentary movie to watch, and (most importantly) a free meal for everyone. I made up my mind. This could be something fun to watch. The last time I missed a public free occasion at Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, it was a music performance whose performers/ singers I had never known of  before. And this time, I decided to go out for this. As everyone knows, I’m not a huge fan of going out late wandering around somewhere. For God’s sake, it’s Jakarta! You’ll never know what is going to happen to you.

I’m proud to claim myself  a staunch supporter of walking, for two reasons: I love my planet, and I can’t afford a car, a personal one. And this time, as usual, thanks to the proximity of Erasmus Huis, it only took me 30 minutes to get there. I got the house just in time.

When I rushed as if I were the late comer, I discovered almost no one there. “Ok, it said 7.30 PM, and why is it too quiet around here?” I half cursed by heart. I tried to catch my breath, scanning the entire venue for someone that at least I could talk with. None…

I saw some Dutch (pure guess, actually), sitting on the yard, discussing something with a laptop at a sunshade. As they seemed to be involved in warm exchanges of ideas, I felt like I didn’t want to interrupt. Some committee members at the entrance ignored me. Great!

I went in after asking them if it was allowed to get into the theater first. They allowed me, which was good because I had no idea what to do. The foods were served there yet no one was around me eating. So I guess it was  a bit early. I sat down, posted some pictures and updates on Facebook and Twitter, and all of a sudden, there they came. It was like a couple of minutes only after I left the banquet table and moments later the queue  grew long.

Everyone took a seat in the yard. Chairs were already set there, a roofless setting for the diners. We were eating and munching and swallowing and chatting, until drops of water started to fall down. The outdoor dinner setting was ruined in a second. Everyone ran from the drizzle, saved themselves and their dear foods and drinks.

A not-so-thin guy came to us and let us come into the theater to continue enjoying dinner. I finished eating the broccoli as quickly as I could and dashed into the theater. And the drink, which looked like fresh water, turned out a glass of soda. I was dehydrated till I got home.

And oh,  before the movie (the title of which I had known before) started, there were awards for The Best Documentary “Rumah Multatuli” by Sapto Agus Irawan, The Best Student Documentary “Sop Buntut” by Deden Ramadani , and The Best Audience Choice “Hidupnya Bocah Ondel2”by  Mega F. Yohana. What we were abut to watch that night was “Position among the Stars”, the winner of the best documentary of Golden Lens Festival.

Being directed and produced by Leonard Helmrich et. all, this documentary movie was beyond my expectation. Documentary movies are generally ‘serious’ stuff. I didn’t expect to see something enriching and candid here but I did. As Leonard, who also was there, greeted the audience and gave a brief foreword telling how the movie was about, I thought I would leave my seat after 15 minutes (30 minutes tops!) but I was there sitting for like 2 hours straight. The movie, Leonard said, was inspired by the conflicts related to different faiths in Indonesia (in this case, Islam and Christian). It was nicely portrayed by the crew when the star-and-moon topping of a mosque minaret and the cross of a church were shot in the same frame altogether.

The movie started with several random scenes showing the chronicles of Indonesia: BLT (Bantuan Langsung Tunai : cash for every poverty-ridden household in the country) riot, Soeharto downfall, an angry, threatened cobra being surrounded by peasants. Finally it was focusing on one central character: an old lady (whose named I forgot). She, apparently from Central Java, is a Christian while her one and only son left is a Moslem.  Theresia, or Tari, is her grandchild, a typical teenager with her long hair and high school life style.

It mostly tells about the harsh life that the family has to live both in the merciless Jakarta and the less promising hometown. Too many cute scenes to tell here. The fact is the movie does explore my emotions. I laughed, cried, stunned and it led me to much deeper understanding on my being Indonesian.


In spite of being called documentary, it’s not another serious, brooding National Geography trip to watch. Lots of funny scenes are scattered throughout the movie.

The first that caught my attention most is when the old lady tried to stop the train moving towards her She stood just right in the middle of the railway in hope that the train would stop like she wished. It was pretty much scarry as the train seemed to keep moving while the old lady stood still with arms wide open. People might think she wanted to commit suicide but she was doing that so as not to have to go to the nearby train station. What happened next is she and her son had to take an extraordinary mode of transportation. Moments later, the two passengers were on a board moved by motorbike but what made it cute is the fact that the driver had to face and drive backward to get to the station. And the laughter broke as we saw these people moving backwards on the railway. They moved with a mountain as the background. Lovely indeed!

Another is when they lived in Galur, Jakarta. The entire neighborhood was sprayed with the insecticides (as dengue fever prevention). The son, who loved breeding Cupang fish, tried as best as he could to save the mosquitos larva around the house because he needed the larva to feed his fish. In fear of losing his sole income stream (this man was jobless, he lived from breeding cupang fish as fighters and bets) , he got into the house while the white fog of insecticides covered the entire house. To avoid being choked by the fog, he grabbed his wife’s bra (yes, BRA) to cover his nose and mouth while running frantically to save the larva and fish from the evil insecticides. Everyone giggled and laughed to tears.

Compassion, homesickness and being home

I must admit I cried. I DID cry several times because of the touching movie scenes (Thank God it was so dark anyone wouldn’t notice!). Seeing the old lady and her friend simply reminds me of my own two grandmothers living in my hometown. They’re still alive (though not kicking) and I really wished to come and see them. I mean, we’ll never know how long our time on earth is. It’s really saddening me I can’t be with them but that’s how life should go. We can’t be with our beloved ones all the time, whenever, wherever we want. Each and every one of us is in fact a solo traveler, so separation is supposed to be no stranger to us. Nothing is as fresh as the pain caused by being  or having to go away from our craddle, our comfort zone, and experiencing homesickness. Something hollow inside us and we have to endure the emptiness.

Back to the movie, it was the compassion that made the old lady buy a Nokia camera phone for Tari, her granddaughter. It cost her IDR 600,000 , not a meager sum of money for the family. Tari finally got what she desired somehow. The grandmom wished Tari would study harder with the phone in hand. But that was such a huge mistake. The phone was derailing her from the right track. Once Tari came into contact with the virtual world, she changed. Even Facebook was presented here as one of the factors responsible for the drastic behavior and mindset change of the younger Indonesians, as far as I’m concerned. Tari, like most high school students these days in big cities in Indonesia, uploaded tons of photos with her so-called boyfriend and those were taken by the camera phone the grandmom bought her. Sounds familiar? To me, yes it is. Spoiling kids with gadgets never works, never! They have to earn those PlayStation, Blackberrys, and iPads!

And one more scene about being always attached to home is very well reflected by the old lady’s obstinacy as she argued with the son about how important it is for her to come back every 2-3 months to her hometown. “How on earth can I leave my hometown and stay in Jakarta for good? This is my home, I can’t leave it no matter what!” she yelled at the son when he talked her into living permanently in the capital on the train heading to Jakarta. Typically Javanese way of thinking, ain’t it?

The theater was packed with around 200 people!


Arab boy (7)

Frantically I searched for his name, that God-damn reporter name. his name sounds like a star constellation. I’d called him for like a thousand times but what I could talk with was his coworker, “Where’s he? What? Just go get him, knock on the rest room’s door if necessary. NOW!!!” The elderly pundit seemed restless, while I kept trying to get connected with this guy. “Why the hell is he is so long???”

The pundit had been whining since yesterday, as if he would’ve died once the reporter didn’t get the instruction he wanted to give. I don’t know why, he really insisted calling and talking to himself on his own.  This tiny young man is a pain in the ass, what’s taking him so long?

My cell phone vibrated, I felt it and immediately viewed the message. It was from him, saying he was away for a while for afternoon prayer. Afternoon prayer that took him 45 minutes? What kind of prayer was that? He must’ve asked lots of things with that much time.

I without delay dialed the phone. He answered the phone, I was relieved very much, “Hello, what was it that made you call me??”

I gave the phone to the pundit. He charismatically addressed the reporter at the age of his grandkids, “What’s his name?” he asked me. “Aldebaran, sir” I responded. He turned to the phone and drew it closer to the mouth,“ Hi Aldebaran, how you doing? Your name sounds like Arabic, are you one?” I could hear nothing but as far as I know, he’s not an Arab at all. Clean shaven, short, tiny with a bony facial structure, not much flesh , thin hair. An Arab should at least have sideburns, or a line of facial hair, but this is definitely nearly hairless.

“Arabic is usually shrewd,” he went on the ice-breaking part of the chat. Great to start a warm, heart-to-heart conversation. The next chat flow sounded blurred, he mumbled some words I could barely understand. With his fatherly tone, he began addressing the issue, “Why weren’t you coming yesterday?”

Poor man, he wasn’t invited. “How come you had no idea? I had invited your boss. There is no excuse you didn’t make it. The email was sent earlier. Ah, I know you’re in the bottom of this food chain.  Almost no one cared about you. But hey I still think they’re obliged to pass this on to you.”

on missing my niece

Andrea Corr’s Tinsletown in the Rain

Smalltown Boy

You leave in the morning with everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
For the answers you seek will never be found at home
The love that you need will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy
You were the one that they’d talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try, they’d hurt to make you cry
But you’d never cry to them, just to your soul
No, you’d never cry to them, just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Cry boy, cry, cry boy, cry, cry boy
Cry boy, cry, cry boy, cry boy, cry, cry boy
Cry boy, cry, cry boy, cry boy, cry, cry boy
Cry boy, cry, cry boy, cry boy, cry

You leave in the morning with everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

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