Happy Birthday

Hey ‘O’: Buon Compleanno!
Wish all your dreams come true…
Your are not ‘O’prah, not the big ‘O’ that met the missing piece, not the chemical symbol and doesn’t even have atomic number – but you are the most creative ‘O’ that I have ever known…

I went to a seminar held by one of women magazines in Jakarta last Saturday. This so called “the magazine & friends” gathering was presenting a seminar about cancer. The topic was quite interesting but seemed not directed and prepared professionally by the EO which was the magazine itself though the presenters, the two doctors and a nurse were quite good. Why I said so? Here is the list:

First, one of the doctors who need to leave the seminar at 12pm to catch a flight back to Singapore started the presentation around 10.30pm. Not only that he needed to speed up his 30 minutes presentation but also was he subjected to only handle two questions from two lucky audiences.

Second, to attract people to come, the magazine had promised some gimmicks (DKNY watches & perfumes) for three best dressers from the audience, three best questions and a grand price of medical check up in Singapore. Well, three best dress – whatever: according to that magazine. But, three best questions: since when questions can be categorized good or bad? My noble teachers and lecturers have many times said that “don’t be afraid to ask questions because all questions are good.” So, in what standard that magazine stated the questions are good or bad.

Moreover, many from approx.100 audiences would like to ask questions but the time was limited so only eight who were chosen by the magazine had a chance to ask questions. Was it still fair to pick three winners over eight or even over many more who were eager to ask but didn’t have the opportunity?

Third, and again the grand price winner was chosen by the magazine from the very best question (??). At first, they didn’t know how to decide the winner but then they discussed it quietly, on the stage, in front of us… and the lucky person was the lady who already won the best dress. Why don’t they pick randomly based on our ticket number that had already been collected earlier before the seminar began? …hhmm, maybe not – sounds too fair…

What is Stand Up?

Launched by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, STAND UP is an exciting challenge to set an official Guinness World Record for the greatest number of people ever to Stand Up Against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals.

On October 15&16, the world will come together and STAND UP and remind their governments that promises to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and help the billions living in extreme poverty, must be kept. The purpose of the action is to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to publicly demonstrate to policy makers the growing global support for the eradication of poverty. STAND UP is an initiative designed to coincide with Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) month of global mobilizations (www.whiteband.org ) around the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. We need everyone to take part to ensure governments listen and take action.

Stand Up because:
- Every day 24,000 people die from hunger
- Every day more than 100 million children are denied the chance to go to school
- Every day 1.1 billion people have to drink polluted water
- Every day 8,200 people die due to HIV/AIDS

I remember few months earlier before this severe flooding which yet happen again as an annual disaster celebration in this capital city, I saw a lady threw a trash bag into a river which already covered by aging garbage and other waste.

Such an annoying scene but sadly I didn't do anything to stop her spoiling the river… Do I care - Do they care - Does government care... about the impact of our action to destroy the earth? I guess not – we are so ignorant and we let things happen then after that blames others to our lost.

Look at this reality: Severe flooding paralyzed the Indonesian capital and economy for few days; it has killed numbers of people; it welcomes diseases; many people become homeless and jobless; we are crying for help and pathetic government boast media that exposed this mess; and yet on other side of the city developers bulldoze green areas to build new complex development, businessmen raze the forest to the ground to get benefits from illegal lodging, capitalist just busy to drill things which are not theirs, and we keep littering the ground…

Tried to change the TV programs but nothing else but flooding. I browsed the internet but it led me to the even boring subject: global warming. I tried to be more civilized by putting aside my ego on how to well-off myself and connected to the whole catastrophe that happen on earth recently such as this severe flooding in Indonesia and Australia, Hurricane Katrina, the raised of sea level, the often occur of droughts and wildfires and many more issues which could get worse that roll me up to questions: has the global warming taken its place? Will the consequence get worse? What I have done wrong to contribute this clutter?

Al Gore has good things to say in his campaign to battle the effects of global warming: An Inconvenient Truth …all of these things are happening at the same time because through various means people are seeing a new reality. The relationship between our civilization and the earth has been radically transformed. Global warming is by far the most serious manifestation of the collision, and Mother Nature is making the evidence ever more obvious…

I think he is right; we are so mean and don’t realize that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb and do nothing about it.

I believe (read: I hope) government has an agenda and action plans for this issues – and for me, I need to start with getting up from my not so comfortable sofa in front of TV, followed by posting a blog of this environmental issues, apply energy efficiency on my daily activities that can lower greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps buy products made from recycled materials and tell my friends about this issues – once my moral challenge is fixed, hopefully good wills would follow.

Laskar Pelangi

Translated loosely as “Rainbow Brigade” –

This is one of those rare Indonesian novels or perhaps the only one these days that talks about the forgotten childhood excitement, school life enthusiasm, educational zeal, humanism passion to survive and untouchable world – that appeals equally to the head and the heart. It is a clever and touching reality: laugh, love, beautiful mind and yet, little tears.


Love it or hate it!

I grew up in the family who loves durian and even crazy about it that allows this fruit become one of our breakfast menus; you might think we are really nuts.

People who live in the South East Asian will certainly familiar with Durian, The King of Fruit. Why is it? Durian only grows in the rain forest environment and needs 8 to 10 years from planting to fruiting. It has distinctive for its large size – could grow up to 40 cm in diameter, and typically weights one to five kilograms. The odour is very unique – some say it is a mix of pig shit, turpentine and onions, others say it is a mix of cream-cheese, sherry-wine and other bizarre dishes, whatever the descriptions is, the smell is very overpowering that causes some people to hate it without even have a chance to try the sweetness flavour of the fruit itself. It also has a formidable thorn-cover husk where it gets its name. Duri means thorn and an 'an' suffix transforms it into different noun, i.e that thorny Durian fruit.

Although Durian contains fat, but in every 100 grams in average bubble with 2.6 g protein, 140 mg beta carotene, 0.1 mg vitamin B1, 0.13 mg B2 and C9 (23.2 mg). Subsequently, if we consume in just reasonable amount, fat is certainly doesn’t matter and all vitamins do good to our body.

Queuing Up

Queuing up is where people stand in line wait for something or services – first come first served. People could become very angry when the unwritten rules of queuing are broken. I value this culture because it appreciates people, time and effort.

Months ago when I used a trial voucher from a fitness club in Semanggi, Jakarta, I was astonished by colourful bottles queuing up for a pilates class which available only for no more than 20 people in one session. I didn’t know that bottles are quite interested in pilates… well of course not because each bottles had owners who came 15 minutes later when the class was ready. Some of the members even had not yet reach the club when their friendly mates placed the bottles for them beforehand.

I could understand that queuing up can cause frustration and is time-consuming especially when we have no idea how long we are going to be stuck waiting for long periods of time. In this case, rather than queuing up, is better doing cardio exercise and have delightful bottles to queue. It silly! May be the operational manager should create a better arrangement of how to sort it out, perhaps providing a queuing card that can only be taken for those who are already in the gym say 30 minutes before the class begin.

Where do we actually hang our clothes out to dry after been washed?

Long time ago, back in the day where women delightful hanging clothes on the line, grouping things together by colours and size, catch any welcome breeze, describes of a peaceful childhood impression.

Nowadays, hanging clothes outside the house especially in the front yard or between elevated condos doesn’t look quite pleasant. The wet clothes are hidden in the enclosure corner that can hardly be seen. Some people don't need it anymore ever since it's replaced by drying machine because of sized apartment or time efficiency. However, for those who appreciate a sunny breeze and have spaces left over, still dedicate to hanging the laundry outside. Some are still persistent by displaying it in front of their house which creates unpleasant scenery for the neighbourhood; sorry to say but that's what commonly happens in my area.

Although showing your clothesline in a modern society seems displeasing but some spots like in Italy turn to be an interesting for tourist or photographer – blends with the unique character of the ancient city.

Trattoria Pizza

I joined my best friend for lunch last Thursday at Senayan City – new plaza in Jakarta. She told me that there is a new pizza corner in the food court area, called Trattoria, and taste like heaven (read: Italian). I was very curious to try it as she never stopped to describe how delicious the pizza is.

We almost have the same taste for food but I wonder whether this one was truly about the food or simply because she saw a cute Italian while she’s lunching there.

Just after I had my first bite I could tell that the pizza is delectable! She was right. It's a simple mushroom pizza without a busy topping like others but incredible hot – it's hot!! Seriously…

Grocery Shop

Over the years people go to the market to shop. Here, we go grocery shopping every day to get fresh food for the day. There are types of markets available: traditional and modern market. In traditional market, lots of legal and illegal vendors selling their specialties in bargaining price in the open space area that easy to access with neighborhood friendly as the appeals. In each town, there is a traditional central market located in the centre of the town as a focal point of economy activities that creates a format of its own culture. There are also several local markets spread out in the city to support the neighborhood which usually open from 4am to 7am. In addition, there are also particular markets such as fish, meat or fruit market in certain area.

Although traditional markets have changed over the years but the standard of cleanness environment seems difficult to achieve. Then comes modern market in supermarket format as an alternative, spaces indoor area with comfortable atmosphere make it gathering place for just about everyone not just to shop but also eat, relax or just fell a coolness of the aircon , but usually more expensive.

With the city development growth rapidly along with housing estate without a perfect transportation support plan, some people including me have difficulty to reach even the nearest neighborhood market without spending more than few hours back and forth just to get fresh food because public transportation is not available in particular location. It seems impossible to shop everyday without waste the time.

Thank to some traditional vendors who cleverly create a mobile market – with bicycle, motorcycle or car pass by my neighborhood every hour up to 10am every single day including holiday. Hence, I could save time by just calling them in. The only problem is, if I am not lucky enough, I couldn’t find vegetable or ingredient to cook – then just have whatever available in the mobile grocery shop.

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