Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Indian | 2016 | 161 minutes | Director : Nitesh Tiwari

There have been a handful Indian movies that have surprised me (remember me gushing about this film? I just realized that I've never written a proper review on that movie), and this movie, which is also starred by Aamir Khan, has made it into my favorite movie of the month.

Aamir Khan, as usual, is a wonderful actor. The 51-year-old star switches body weight for his role. He went from 97 kg - as the older version of Mahavir - to an impressively toned body with just 9 percent body fat - as the younger Mahavir.

Dangal follows the efforts of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former professional wrestler, to train his daughters Geeta and Babita to be wrestler. 

Here are several morals we can learn from the movie:

Parents are usually the first person to see their children's potentials

Having to quit wrestling due to financial problems, Mahavir wants to have a son to be his successor. But when he learns that his daughters beat up boys, he quickly realizes that the girls can be female wrestlers. Also, when Geeta enters the national training club but has yet to win in any competition, it is Mahavir who reminds Geeta that her wrestling style is progressive, instead of defensive, which is advised by the national coach. She follows her father's advice and soon wins competitions.

It takes more than just discipline to produce an athlete

The girls start their day early from 5 a.m., with running, swimming in the river, and heavy lifting. But then, their diet is another issue. To make the girls stronger, they need to eat meat, and meat is expensive item for the family of six. Mahavir persuades a local chicken vendor to give massive discount under the condition that if the girls start winning competition, the vendor can claim their success is partly due to the chicken he sells.

Mahavir goes against the norm when he tells the girls to eat meat, run in shorts and, the most radical action, cut their hair really short like boys. All residents mock the girls and say that Mahavir is crazy. Does that stop him? No

Feminism is a core value in this movie 

Mahavir is very strict with the training schedule, and he is furious when he learns that the girls skip training to attend their school mate's wedding. One of the most touching scenes is when the girls pour out their hearts to the school mate, saying that their friend is lucky to not have a father like theirs.

"I wish I have a father like yours. He is strict, but he has concerns on your future. He wants you to be successful wrestlers. My father only cares about getting me married at the age of 12," their friend says.

Also, when the girls' mother asks Mahavir: what if there is no man who will take the girls as wives? Mahavir replies,"I will make the girls have more power so that they don't wait for the men, but they will choose the men."

Mahavir has successfully created a revolution of women's wrestling in what has been a traditionally male-dominated sport, but also doing it in a state known for its gender inequality. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Being A Woman Means Being Second Guessed At Every Second

Several sentences that hold truth: 

1. Being second guessed is inevitable when you're a woman working in a male-dominated field of work. 

That's a line said by a female friend, who studied Architecture for the undergraduate degree, works full time as a graphic designer, takes architectural part-time jobs and sets up a business in fashion industry. 

Isn't she a mighty woman? I work with her for the Garut project, she is the principal designer, while I'm just pieces of parsley (It should be 'remahan rengginang/rempeyek' in Bahasa Indonesia, but pieces of parsley is more befitting for the translation. Ha!). Regardless of her portfolio in architectural designs, she often stops to question her ability, just to ensure that she doesn't make a mistake.

2. Because once a woman made a mistake in this male-dominated sector, it would be very difficult to get away from it

That's also said by the same friend. Need I explain more? 

3. To avoid making a mistake, make reference to another work made by a man

Another wise sentence from the very same friend. She would gather information as complete as possible, analyze what make them work, lay out her design, questions herself 2-3 times again to find possible mistakes and prepare her defense for the client.

I imagine the process would be much easier when you're a man, no?

I'm writing this after a man asked whether the aforementioned friend's design was strong enough to hold the roof *rolling my eyes*. And now I'm googling tips for to break down the habit of second guessing competent women. Stop second guessing women, guys, we are competent enough to know what we are capable of doing!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Trouble With Passwords

My office gives me a moderately small laptop to work on all work-related assignments. Due to security measures, the laptop has two passwords. The first should be keyed in upon the completion of booting, and the second is used to activate the operating system. Actually, there is a third password: for the office email.

And to make matters worse, those passwords should be changed periodically. The new passwords should be different than the old ones, and the new passwords should have strong elements such as capitals and numbers.

It goes without question that I keep forgetting and mixing up those passwords. The situation would go like this...

#1. When Passwords Expire
Situation: I was trying to log in to the laptop, but to no avail. IT guy came to the rescue.
IT Guy: Before your passwords are expiring, you will receive a notification email. Please inform me should such email arrives in your inbox
Me: Ok, will do.
(A few months later)
Me: I got the notification email!
IT Guy: Ok, just chill and change the passwords.
Me: Can you do that for me? If I do it, the system says the new passwords are not strong enough.
IT Guy: Argh, ok.

#2. When I Forgot The Passwords
Situation: I keyed in the wrong passwords three time. After three wrongs of log in, the system will stop and no one can use the laptop.
Me: Errr, could you help me with the laptop?
IT Guy: Ok, what did you do now?
Me: I keyed in wrong passwords three times, and it's blocked now.
IT Guy: Ok, just wait for a bit. You'd better wrote these down, it's been the umpteenth time you forgot them.
Me: Ok, done
(A few days later)
Me: If I want to log in to the headquarters, which password I should use?
IT Guy: The one for email.
Me: The problem is I think I keyed in the wrong passwords. Three times.
IT Guy: (-_-)"

Do you also have trouble remembering passwords? Have any tips to overcome it?

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Magical Night At The International Ballet Gala

Source: here

I still haven't moved on from the magical night of International Ballet Star Gala last Saturday. Oh, by the way, yes I bought the ticket on a whim. But I didn't regret it at all. 

The gala showcased 10 international principal dancers, who performed excerpts of world famous ballet shows, both classic and contemporary ballet. The classic included Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Carmen Suite, and Giselle. 

I wished I could record the whole show, but there were a series of restrictions for the spectators. Fortunately there is a video on international ballet artist Adiarys Almeida performing Le Corsaire (one of the excerpts performed on Saturday) with Joseph Gatti. She performed the dance on Saturday night with Daniil Simkin of American Ballet Theater, though, but it's pretty much the same.

I went to this show alone, and luckily was seated to a nice lady who was also going on her own. We bonded over a battle of seat dispute that unraveled before our eyes. The dispute started when a couple (heretofore to be called as Couple #1) came in very late and found  their seats were occupied by another couple (Couple #2). It was not Couple #2's fault, though, they were guided by an officer to those very seats. Couple #1 insisted to take back their rights, however, Couple #2 found that their rightful seats were also occupied by other couple (Couple #3). The officer tried to fix the dispute by directing the couples to their seats, which was what she should do in the first place to avoid this kind of dispute.

Couple #1 and Couple #2 were saying angry words to each other, disrupting my vision and audio enjoyment of the show. Both my seat mate and I agreed that while it was all the officer's fault, Couple #1 should not start the drama. After all, they came very late. They were lucky to be allowed inside. Should this happen in Europe, they would have to wait outside until the intermission.

Another note to self: I should wear a dress/skirt and high heels for my next ballet viewing. Although I've put on my formal attire, I felt very under-dressed last Saturday.

Friday, February 3, 2017

International Ballet Gala In Jakarta

Would you go watch the international ballet gala this weekend? I just found out about this event like a few hours ago. You can buy the tickets here.

Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Little Update On Piranhas

The project I'm working on will end in September 2017, but since we're on a budget, we will be discharged in several phases before the closing month. We will reduce the number of employees from around 300 currently to 100 as of  April. We have started doing this since December. I myself will end the contract in May, if nothing prevails.

This may sound a sad thing, but in the eyes of Piranhas, farewell equals to a feast, delicious foods and get together before departing for another project out there. Also, many of us actually looking forward to have a short break from the job. At least, I do.

Here are several conversation we had recently:

#1. On Finding Reasons To Get Fired

Situation: we were discussing on who leaves when, when DN, a next-office colleague, came and joined the conversation

DN: Oh you guys will leave in several months, while I will rot in the next office until God knows when
Me: You can make yourself get fired, if you prefer that way
DN: Oh yeah, I can circulate an email containing my nude photos. Would that make me got fired?
All: (silence for a second, before we all broke into the loudest laugh)
And as in cue, DN's boss, L, a woman in her 40s, came behind DN's back.
L: What were you laughing about?
DN: We were discussing on ways to get fired. I proposed to send an email containing my nude photos.
L: Are you going to send that email to the offices in Indonesia, or the US, too?
DN: Which has better chance of getting fired?
L: Instead of getting fired, you'll only be charged for ethics. You should come up with a better plan.
All: (did a double take on L, and then laughing hysterically)

#2. On Finding Post-Project Activities

Situation: as I said, many sees the end of project as a moment to have a career break. So here's what you possibly hear from some of us if you ask us,"What would you do after the project closing?"

PH, 70 yo: I will return to Flores and see what I can help there
PA, 55+ yo: I'm scheduled to do pilgrimage next year, so I would probably prepare the things for my departure
AH, 38 yo: I want to return to academic sector, start on my PhD
IL, 39 yo: I want to start a small business using the severance pay
Me: I want to do Ramadhan fasting at peace, so I'd be most likely postpone the job search for 1-2 months

#3. On Scheduling The Farewell

Situation: Big Boss is taking leave, while we are planning the farewell

SR: I think it's better to hold the farewell on Dec. 29, because Big Boss is taking leave until Dec. 27. However, this would mean WA, whose last day is on Dec. 23, would not be able to participate.
AH: Who will pay for the food at the farewell?
SR: Big Boss
AH: Oh that's great, the food will be abundant and delicious if the Big Boss pays. Ok, we'll hold it on Dec. 29 then.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Some Tips For First Time Hijab Wearers

January is the perfect time to make resolution to be a better self.

Recently I met two women in separate occasions. Both have just donned hijab and asked for my opinion in hijab wearing. One is a journo friend, who had just came back from a pilgrimage trip and had a thought of wearing a hijab. However, she  was wondering if she was really ready to wear it as she felt distanced from the values of Islam. Her one big question was,"Am I really ready for the hijab?"

Another is a friend's friend, who also just returned from the Holy Land, decided to wear hijab and was admonished by her friends for wearing ripped jeans (she wore opaque stocking underneath, though). She was surprised to get such treatment from people she had been hanging out with.

I told them that no matter what they did, people would always have something to say. If they didn't wear hijab after the pilgrimage, people would comment,"Hey, why don't you cover yourself after the pilgrimage?" And if they did wear hijab, people would criticize the way they wear hijab. But that's okay, because it would allow them to see who the real friends were and who would take them as they are, either with hijab or not. 

I also reminded them that as a human, we are growing, from fetus to baby to toddler to teenage to adult. We will still be growing inside, either our belief system or our fashion sense, until the day we die. Therefore, they don't need to worry about what they are doing or wearing today, because it is just a step ahead to get them to another phase in life.

Also, the last thing I told them that they need to read more, discuss more and surround themselves with Islam and people who they believe will bring them closer to Islam. A human's heart changes from time to time, we should always pray to God that our hearts stay in the right path.

Enough with the preachy stuff. I remembered wearing hijab the first time and trying to decide what to wear while maintaining to be color coordinated at once. So here are some tips:

1. Always remember the main reason you're wearing hijab. It's not for you, it's not for other people, but it's for your Creator. This should block all negativity out of your mind :).

2. For first hijab buys, stick to basic colors: black, white, gray. This will be a good investment for a lifetime.

3. Asses your current wardrobe and find ways to hijab-modify them

4. Figure out what suits you best 

Another tips is to follow hijabistas on Instagram and pick up some fashion clues from their feeds, such as this young Iranian fashion designer/illustrator Shagayegh Seyedi (@shagayegh_syd). Her style reminded me of my first hijab experience :).

Group hug to all first-time hijab wearers out there!