Monday, November 13, 2017

Courtesy During The Technology-supported Communication

Mobilephone has eased both verbal and written communications with other people. But it seems that in this era of modern technology, many people has forgotten the courtesy and often make mistakes in the field of communication.

Here are most recurring phone/Whatsapp conversations happening to me on any regular day. These could be annoying, but I found them quite funny and entertaining due to the exact similar communication patterns.

Wrong Name
Situation: Even though I have left the journalism world more than four years ago, my email inbox is  still receiving invitations for press events. Some even reach out through my mobilephone, but they got my name wrong...

#1 Misspelled Name
PR person of a company/brand: Hello, Mbak Tofa. This is so-and-so from so-and-so company. We'd like to invite you to...
Me: (cutting him/her quickly) My name is not Tofa. You must be dialing/contacting the wrong number.
PR: Oh, I'm so sorry.

I know it's just one letter wrong, but everyone should check and recheck names before placing a phonecall/text message.

#2 Totally Different Name
PR person of a company/brand: Hello, Mbak Aulia. This is so-and-so from so-and-so company. We'd like to invite you to...
Me: (cutting him/her quickly) I'm not Aulia. Sorry, wrong number.
PR: Oh, I am sorry for this mistake. But you're working for TJaP, right? (Note from the editor: please note that the PR didn't ask my name)
Me: I resigned in 2013.
PR: Can you share with us the name of your replacement? (Note from the editor: Why would I give it to someone who does not even care to ask my name?)
Me: I'm sorry, I don't know. I've heard that the person has resigned too. You can call the office, if you like.
PR: Are you still working in a media company, Mbak? (Note from the editor: Even if I am still working in the media, I don't think I'd like to come to an event that is handled by people who still haven't asked my name)
Me: No, I'm now working in a non profit sector.
PR: Ok, thank you, Mbak.

Guess what? The very same PR person has messaged me again several times after that, starting the conversation with the very same opening line and wrong name. I am seriously questioning the quality of the company now. Who the hell is Aulia and why is that name put under my mobilephone number?

Wrong Time To Call
Situation: I totally understand that some professions require them to phone other people. But there are also people who need concentration during work, and a phonecall is just the ingredient to ruin it.
Telemarketer: Hello, Ibu. We're from Bank ABC and we'd like to inform you on our latest...
Me: I'm sorry, I'm still at work. Can you call again at 12 pm, during lunch time?
Telemarketer: Oh, alright.
And then at 2 pm, my phone rang...
Telemarketer: Hello, Ibu. We're from Bank ABC...
Me: (cutting him/her quickly) I told you to call at 12 pm, right?
Telemarketer: Errr yes, I could not call you at that moment.
Me: Then I could not receive this phone call, I'm already back at work.

Wrong Attitude
Situation: When a person is being pushy, you just know that you should end the conversation then and there.
Telemarketer: Hello, Ibu. We're from Bank ABC and we'd like to inform you on our non-collateral loans.
Me: I'm sorry, but I'm not interested.
Telemarketer: How do you know that you don't need it? I haven't even explained it (in an angry tone)
Me: I just knew it. Ok, thanks for calling, good bye.

What are your pet peeves in daily communication's mishaps?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pengabdi Setan (Satan's Slave)

Indonesia | 2017 | Director: Joko Anwar | 1 hour 47 minutes

From here

[There are spoilers.]

This was the first horror movie that I watched. I watched it with Dic, a colleague at former workplace, because he promised me that he would drive me home after the movie. Seriously, watching this movie is a milestone for a scaredy cat like me.

This is the first Joko Anwar's movie that I watched in a cinema. I usually watch Indonesian movies when they are aired on local television. I am not a fan of Indonesian movies, because most (if not all) Indonesian movies have no good story plots and/or no good acting.

The movie was a remake of a 1980 movie that Rolling Stone magazine called as the scariest Indonesian movie of all time. I didn't watch that movie though, but a friend gave me a short summary, in which the movie's main message was: "If you face hard times, always turn to God. Don't go looking for solace in other place, or scary things will happen to you."

Joko's movie is different from that, it's more of an adaptation, instead of a remake. Set in the 1980s, the movie starts with Rini (Tara Basro) asking for royalty to the recording company that recorded and produced her mother's solo album. Mother has been ill for three years, and the medical expenses have taken its toll on the family. The company's director, Joko Anwar doing cameo (aha!), apologizes for being unable to help. 

Rini, who is the eldest of four, returns home and tells his father (Bront Palarae) that they don't have enough. When the night falls, Tony (Endy Arfian), the second child in the family, comes home and gives the key of the motorcycles to his father. The motorcycles has to be sold to cover medical expenses. The other siblings, Bondi (Nasar Annuz) and Ian (M. Adhiyat), who can not speak, give excellent acting performance despite their young age.

The scariest parts are the first 45 minutes when the mother (Ayu Utami) is still around. The bell she uses to call her children and the music score that plays when she makes the scene are enough to build  up the horror atmosphere. 

Some horror scenes worth mentioning: (1) when Rini dreams seeing mother stand in front of the window, then she wakes up and reliving the dream, (2) when Bondi and Ian go to bathroom and throw a piece of fabric over the mother's picture, (3) when Rini does prayer and yet, mother can still crawl under her praying outfit. I was very grateful that I didn't watch this movie alone as I could hold onto Dic's shirt sleeve during the scary scenes, and he didn't even flinch.    

In the end, I'm not exactly sure what to think of this movie, but I think I'm a bit confused. I don't watch a lot of horror movies. However, I do know that all horror movies portray ghosts as the spirits that scare human, never kill. Usually the humans will get scared and do reckless things that cause their death, but they die because of their own mistake. In this movie, the ghosts kill humans. And for me, that throws the scare factor out of the window.

It seems that Joko Anwar tries to put in as much fear factors as he can into the movie, including zombies and a satan's worshiper group. Upon seeing the zombie, I was like, huh? As an Indonesian, I have heard about Indonesian ghosts: sundelbolong, kuntilanak, you name it. But zombies only exist in a Western movie.

Other factor that puts off the horror vibe is the responses of the audience. Hearing other people screaming in the cinema opened my eyes, hey, there is nothing to scream/scare about. It's just a movie. A movie that is the first of a trilogy.

"So, are we going to watch the sequels?" Dic asked when he saw my confused expression during the credit roll.
"Hell, no!" I said.

Here's another review on this movie. Joko Anwar does a good marketing work on this movie. So far it has been watched by at least 3 million viewers in Indonesia, which is a lot for a horror movie. The last news I heard about this movie is that it will be screened abroad.

Have you watched it? What do you think? And if you haven't watched it, would you go after reading this post?

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Three Day-Four Night Stay In Bali

As an Indonesian, I have to admit that I don't know much about Bali, the Island of Gods, that attracts many international visitors. So when a friend asked me to accompany her for a brief R&R to the island, I said yes. 

We got to know each other when I was assigned in the lifestyle desk during my journo days. While I have moved on to the non profit sector, she is still writing for the lifestyle desk. Hence part of the trip to Bali was thanks to her work as she won a hotel voucher that would be void in November. 

Since we both had the same friends who work in Bali, we decided to hold a small reunion during lunch or dinner (because meal time is the key to happiness and a meaningful heart-to-heart talk). And guess what? We both brought our laptops. In the end, it was not a real holiday hahaha. But anyway, here are glimpses of review on hotels (we stayed in three hotels), food and other random things you can do in Bali.

Disclaimer: all opinion are my own, I don't receive monetary gain from writing this.

Day 1

We arrived in Ngurah Rai International Airport the night before and went straight to our first hotel, Courtyard by Marriott. Located on Jl. Camplung Tanduk, Seminyak, the hotel welcome us in the reception with a refreshing welcome drink and in our room, there was a cheese platter and two Bintang bottles. 

The cheese platter was a real treat! Slices of Camembert, Gouda and Cheddar cheese paired with pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and walnuts (my favorite!). My friend and I don't drink, so we gave those Bintang bottles to our friend who works in Bali and drink beer.   

Breakfast in Courtyard by Marriott is one extensive array of sumptuous dishes. It's a five-star hotel, so of course it has to be delicious and complete. And as weird as it may sound, my favorite breakfast menu is the bagel.

Bagel at Courtyard by Marriott Bali

Our room had a direct access to the swimming pool. But I forgot to bring my swimsuit. So I googled "baju renang muslimah di Bali (Muslimah swimsuit in Bali)" and found this store. My friend already brought her swimsuit and jumped straight to the pool. 

I ordered Go-Jek and went across the island to buy the suit at said store. Riding a motorcycle in Bali is always a fun thing to do, and Go-Jek has made it easier. Unlike Java that has many ojek (motorcyle-taxi), Bali used to have only taxis and car/motor rentals. One visitor in Bali in the past should be either rich (to pay for taxis) or able to ride motorcycle (because it's cheaper than renting a car). My friends told me stories of having to go by taxi and getting uncomfortable experiences, such as being dropped off out of nowhere in the middle of a traffic jam just because the taxi driver didn't feel like continuing.

As I scoot along the streets of Bali, I saw people preparing for Galungan, which will fall on Wednesday. The island felt a bit vacant due to Mt. Agung's volcanic activity. It was a work day, but everyday feels like a holiday in Bali.

The trip to the swimsuit store was around 30 minutes, so I spent one hour for the trip back and forth. Added with trying on the suit, my slow decision making process on which swimsuit to buy and waiting for the Go-Jek drivers, I ended up spending two hours on the road. I arrived back at the hotel at 11 a.m. and packed up my stuffs because we had to check out and had lunch with our friend at The Stones in Legian, which is also a part of Marriott group.

Our friend, Abel, who moved to Bali seven years ago, adopted five stray dogs and one of them has epilepsy. Canine epilepsy is rare, each episode can last for a few days with post seizure fever that can last for weeks, so each day is precious for her and her fur babies.  

After a very long lunch and talk with Abel, we headed to our next hotel, Yan's House Hotel on Jl. Kartika, Kuta. The hotel has 11 themes for the rooms, and we got the Homeland room.

  Found here

Then we walked to Kuta beach, which is just a stone throw away from the hotel, to enjoy the sunset. Kuta beach was buzzing with activities, as usual. But there is always a spot on the beach for thinkers, philosophers and introverts.

While we were there, the hotel held room viewing for a group of journos, followed by a six-course dinner at CodeGrafiti, the hotel's restaurant. We tagged along with the group.

The chef, Bondan Yuliarso, is a man of innovations and he brings his visions to the restaurant. He is committed to use local fruits and ingredients. He invents juices that are a mix of either kedondong, snakefruit, mangosteen and orange. He infuses tobacco and chocolate for the sauce. The portion is small, but very fulfilling and delicious. By the end of the dinner, everyone had a food coma.

The cutest dish of the night award would go to Obat Nyamuk Lime Leaf, which is made from black sticky rice and squid ink. My favorite is the lamb sirloin and the cod fish. For more photos of the six courses, please see below. The numbering is based on the order of appearance.

Day 2

After breakfast, we had a picnic by the beach, set up by the hotel. A basket of picnic treats for two is worth Rp 175.000, and you don't have to be the hotel's guest to order one. 

The hotel's staffs set up the picnic treats

Black sandwiches, crepes, plain black bread, juices and soda

I was not sure what was this couple trying to do.

Then we checked out and headed to our third hotel, Fontana Hotel on Jl. Dewi Sri, Kuta. After the check in, my friend and I went separate ways.

I went to Brownfox Waffle & Coffee to meet up with my friend Desy. She was assigned to Bali in 2009, and I have yet to meet her again. She was a single woman when she left Java. Now she is a mother of three kids.

We looked so cool, calm and collected in this photo...

...but here's what happened on the adjacent table :D

Then I went to Nook, a restaurant in Kerobokan, because my friend was there. Owned by artist Happy Salma, the restaurant is located next to a paddy field and has the trendy crowd. Most dishes in the menu are vegetable-based.


Calm amidst the chaos

Nook salad

Nook Iced Coffee

One would consider to call it a day, but these girls decided to stop by Gusto Gelato and had some cool treats before bed. I chose stracciatella and gianduia in a cone, priced at Rp 24.000.

Stracciatella and gianduia

Day 3


We went swimming at the pool, had breakfast and headed to Sukawati art market. We spent four hours at the market. I didn't buy a lot, just a small rattan bag, two hand-shaped woodcarving, a piece of fabric and a pair of pants.

Woodcarvings in Sukawati Art Market

My friend rode the motorcycle, while I had to read the map from GPS. I was not sure how, but we ended up passing the Bali Mandara tollroad, or Nusa Dua-Ngurah Rai-Benoa tollroad, which is a tollroad carried by a bridge stretching across the Gulf of Benoa 12.7 km in length.

This is probably the only tollroad in Indonesia that allow motorcycles to pass through. It even has a dedicated lane for motorcycles. Some tips if you want to pass this tollroad: (1) Since it is right in the middle of the sea, the wind is strong, so wear windbreaker or other biker approved outfits, (2) Take an electronic money card, because all tollroad gates only receive this kind of payment, and (3) Read maps and GPS, because if you make a wrong turn, it would be difficult to get back on the right track.

And as you can guess, yours truly and her friend took the wrong turn hahaha. We were planning to go to Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika in Kuta, and when we had to choose two roads between Ngurah Rai airport and Denpasar, I didn't know which to take so my friend chose Denpasar, and the decision brought us back to the first tollroad gate.

When people got lost, people showed their true self. While I took the incident lightly, my friend completely blamed me for getting us lost. She was yelling, complaining and cursing. She was hungry and tired, I understood. I also got tired in reading the map, something got into my right eye which later got red and teary for 10 minutes during the ride, but did I complain? No.

Anyway, we arrived at Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika, ordered our very late lunch and ate in silence. The meal was good and affordable, and I would recommend it for budget travelers and people with iron stomach.

A plate of rice with one type of vegetable, slices of tempe and anchovies at Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika, priced at Rp 19.000.

We went back to hotel and prepared to close the day by having dinner with our friends Yoyo, Judith and Haikal at Moringa, which is only 300 meters from our hotel.

Mie Cakalang Kuah at Moringa

A candid of yours truly at Moringa by my friend. It must be that "Damn, I had to get back to work again tomorrow" face.

I hope you can find something useful and entertaining from the post. Have a magnificent Monday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blood-Colored Meals

According to Islamic dietary regulation stated in Holy Quran, Muslims don't include blood in the diet. But of course we can eat blood-colored dishes. Here are several dishes I had been having in vibrant dark red color.

Red spinach clear soup

Red spinach, or Amaranthus dubius, is the red version of its green cousin Amaranthus viridis, which is more popular here. It is a good source of vitamin A and C, iron and other essential mineral, while also being low in calories.

Either being sauteed or served raw in salad, red spinach does not disappoint. However, M decided to make a clear soup out of the red spinach. The recipe is pretty easy. Just sauteed some shallots and garlic, add water to boil, then put in the spinach for a few minutes.

Red dragon fruit+blueberry overnight oat

There was a period when I had overnight oats for breakfast for weeks. This happened due to a discount on large instant oat packages at a supermarket near the office. At first, I made simple oat porridge out of the instant oat. After a few days of doing so, I got bored and decided to make overnight oats, which is easier and more fun. This red blood composition consisted of oat, plain yogurt, red dragon fruit and blueberries.

Beetroot+red dragon fruit+red spinach+banana smoothies

I have just begun to enjoy making smoothies after M bought a new blender. The latest smoothies I made was a mix of beetroot, red dragon fruit, red spinach and banana. Compared to its white cousin, red dragon fruit has higher level of antioxidant and pigment. the Here's to start the day in health and style :)

What color would you like to have in your meal?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ten Things On What, When, How And Why I Talk (In Real Life Or Chat Engines)

I had to do a presentation in front of 300 colleagues nationwide. My facial expression says it all: uncomfortable :P

A schoolmate from primary school era reached out to me, after I joined the Whatsapp group, asking me why I never commented in the group. My first thought was,"I had to respond to every post in the WA group? Is that obligatory?" 

The said friend noticed that I had always been a quiet girl since primary school and he never knew how to get me talking. The problem was he tried to engage me talking in a big group, while I am more comfortable talking in small group. Big groups tire me out. There is a word for me: introvert.

I still don't talk much, but I know at least 10 things that could get myself talking, no alcohol included. Here they are without further ado:

1. I enjoy deep, thought-provoking discussion on any topic. I also enjoy small talk, as long as it's genuine and well-meant.

2. I don't talk to people in the first place unless I feel comfortable with the person/the group/the topic

3. Despite my work-loaded schedule, I would respond to people who has confidence and purpose. 

People who ask,"Am I interrupting your work?" as their opening line would likely receive a flat,"Yes, a bit" answer from me. If you have been out of contact and then suddenly contact me during office hour, of course I would be busy, everyone would be busy, so why did you ask? If you contact me, prepare your questions and figure out your purpose, because I don't really enjoy small talk (OMG, I sound like a nasty news source, but this is actually an emphasis to number #1).

4. Being a busy person myself, I would not talk to you if I know you're busy

5. Nevertheless, sometimes I go out of my way and still talk to a busy person, if I really care about that person

You know who you are :).

6. I prefer writing to talking

I guess it is obvious, I wouldn't keep this blogs if I like it the other way around. Also, I think it is the reason why I don't talk much.

Tangent: If anyone decide to write me a letter, for the love of God, please pay attention to grammar and punctuation marks, and please be concise.

7. I talk more after a meal/a drink.

Buy me a bowl of noodle or a cup of coffee, maybe? Hahaha just kidding, I can buy my own food/drink, alhamdulillah. But seriously, I'm much more calm and opened after a meal. If it's in a party setting, you can also try talking to me at the food stations.

8. If we have been out of contact for a long time, introduce yourself to me.

I am not an elephant, I forget things. There have been situations where unknown numbers contacting me with a,"Don't you remember me?" opening line. It may work for Adele, but it certainly doesn't work for me. Such phonecall or text message would not be answered and be put under spam.

9. If you are newly introduced to me and start asking me questions about me, may I ask that you don't repeat  the same questions?

Unless you have a short-term memory loss, repeating your questions would mean that you didn't hear my previous answer. If you didn't understand my answer, you can ask me to elaborate. But if you're asking the same question (no paraphrasing), then I would give you the same answer. I'm not a mind reader, I would not know if you don't understand unless you tell me.

10. For me, respect is reciprocal. If you give me respect, I will definitely do to. And that is how I would talk to you.

Some people may perceive some of those as anti-social articles for a communication person. But those are the things that get me talking.

What things that get you talking?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fried Cauliflower

Colleagues in my current workplace are married people who have a penchant for cooking. Sometimes we cook up food in the pantry for Friday lunch, and other times one of them go to pantry to make afternoon snacks. This fried cauliflower is one of the afternoon snacks that left quite an impression in me.

Here is how I make it:

Get a nice cauliflower. That harmless cute little passenger on 11 o'clock is the reason why I do the vegetable cutting and cleaning up.

Trimming the leaves, and soaking them in water later on. The caterpillar was rescued by a very competent SAR team.

Rolling them in Tepung Bumbu Sas* flour mixed with water.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gulai Pakis, or Fern Curry

A fistful of ferns

Ferns are beautiful, aren't they? They are also delicious. Gulai pakis (curry fern) is a common dish in West Sumatra and it is usually served with ketupat (rice in rhombus-shaped coconut leaves). I often eat them for my after-Sunday-jogging meal. In my defense, I have burnt enough calorie, so I can have them for breakfast :).

I saw them on a few weeks ago, but was doubtful in placing a purchase. After several weeks had passed and they were still available in the market, I decided to give it a go. This must be destiny.

The edible parts are those that give a clear crack sound and easily broken down with hands. If the stalk is too old, it is difficult to break with hands, so just take out the leaves and discard the stalks. It took me quite some time to cut and clean them because...ferns are so cute!

Fiddlehead ferns, why are you so cute?

Once they are cut and clean (just soak them in a bowl of water and a pinch of salt, my usual procedure), it's pretty easy to cook these greens. M bought ready made curry paste and coconut milk in the market to speed things up. But of course, you can always make them from scratch. 

How we cook it:

(1) Cook the curry paste, set aside
(2) Cook the coconut milk, set aside
(3) Cook half part of coconut milk with the curry paste, stir slowly to avoid the coconut milk from breaking out. Then put in the ferns.
(4) When the ferns are tender enough, put in the rest of the coconut milk
(5) Add salt accordingly, and it's ready.

Gulai pakis at your service, Ma'am

You can also add shrimp/fish/meat or tempe or chili into the coconut milk to add more flavor. M and I decided to just go basic because that's how we prefer it. 

Bon appetit!