Monday, July 17, 2017

Some Good News And A Glance At The PSPT Rooftop

Hello lovelies, remember about the project that contacted me before Ramadhan? Well, it's official now. I'm working for the project, which is about an off-grid community-owned renewable energy project in Sumba island. I'm still based in Jakarta, with possible trips to Sumba. One of the best things about this project is the Jakarta office is located in Tebet.

I've always had a soft spot for Tebet, a pocket of residential area in South Jakarta. Its circling roads, round-about housing blocks and lush gardens make a perfect modern-day labyrinth. People say that if you walk straight in Tebet, it is very possible that you return to the first spot. Street names and number may confound first-time visitors to the area, there are Tebet Raya, Tebet Timur, Tebet Timur Dalam, Tebet Dalam and God knows what.

Another memories about this district was when I first entered the working life, M took me to Pasar PSPT (PSPT Market) in East Tebet to shop for work wear. Therefore, I was very excited to read about the revitalization of the market. Inaugurated in April 2017, it is called The PSPT Rooftop and had the similar concept of the hipster hub Pasar Santa. After all, the news and reviews had been positive, such as this and this.

Long story short, I arrived at the place. Taking the three flights of stairs was not a problem, but imagine my surprise when I found that the place was quite empty and I was the only patron. I thought it was because I came at 5 p.m. But apparently, the cafe I intended to sample (Agrikultur Cafe) had closed down. I couldn't even find it there.

I was still in the midst of Syawal fasting, so I took some photos around before placing an order. I decided to break the fast with tongseng kambing (goat meat soup) at Kedai Gulai Rantau and a glass of dragon fruit-sour sop fruit smoothies. The food and the drink were nice, and the prices were reasonable. It was just so unfortunate that this place could not live up to its name.

To attract more patrons, I think traditional market operator PD Pasar Jaya should hire social media specialist to promote their newly renovated markets *ahem.

 
View from the street

PSPT Rooftop at 5 p.m. on a regular workday

View on the dining area

I think it has potential and there is room for improvement

View from the rooftop

Another view from the rooftop

Tongseng kambing (goat meat soup)

Dragon fruit and sour sop fruit smoothies

Trivia: Do you know what PSPT stands for? Some people joke about it, saying that it stands for 'Pasar Setelah Pasar Tebet' (The Market after Tebet Market). There are two traditional markets in Tebet, one in West Tebet and another in East Tebet. The one in East Tebet owns a football club of Persatuan Sepakbola Pasar Tebet (Tebet Market Football Club/PSPT). Therefore to differentiate it with the West Tebet Market, it has been called Pasar PSPT.

Anyway, Tebet has been known for its culinary scene, so expect more food photos in the upcoming posts. On the first day of work in Tebet, I have made a pact to sample as much food as I can during my tenure here. Hmm, talking about grit...:)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Going To IKEA Alam Sutera Using Public Transportation

I fell in love with IKEA since I stepped into one in Shopping City Sud, and that was 17 years ago. Luckily, IKEA has opened one outlet in Alam Sutera, Banten. But I live in Bekasi, West Java, which is located some 50 km away. 

I have gone to IKEA Alam Sutera a few years ago when a friend asked me and some other friends to go there on a whim. She rode a car, so going there was easy. But how about going there on public transportation? Is that even possible?

Many people suggested that I rode a car there. But this stubborn girl, who has been working in Jakarta, which is located some 35 kilometers from her home, believes that there must be public transportation route she could use to reach the place. So I googled it up, et voila, the Internet does not disappoint.

Here's a link that compiles how to get to IKEA Alam Sutera, either by car, train or bus.

I decided to take the simplest route: Commuter Line to Jakarta Kota station - Trans BSD Bus to Alam Sutera traffic roundabout - Sutera Loop to IKEA.

Commuter Line runs between Bekasi and JakartaKota every 15-20 minutes, and based on some googling Sutera Loop's headway is pretty much the same. So all I need to do is check the departure time of Trans BSD to calculate the time I need to reach Jakarta Kota station from home. And of course, the schedule for Trans BSD is also available online, click here if you need it.

Long story short, I got on Commuter Line, hopped off on the final station and left the station from the right exit. The bus stop for Trans BSD bus is located in front of Bank BNI Kota on Jl. Lada. There are Hop On-Hop Off buses that await passengers. Just wait for the Trans BSD bus patiently. You'll know it from the writing on the bus, and run for it because it only drops and picks up passengers in such a short notice.

The bus trip between Jakarta Kota and Alam Sutera traffic roundabout is around 45 minutes if the traffic is clear. Alam Sutera traffic roundabout has Omni hospital and McDonalds. You will find Sutera Loop bus stop in front of McDonalds.

Sutera Loop red line bus

Ticket is Rp 5.000 per person, one way

IKEA bus stop is after Mall Alam Sutera 2 bus stop

Hej!

Cactus plushie

IKEA Alam Sutera is holding a sale until July 17, 2017. So hurry up and grab your most wanted items before the sale period expires. I couldn't buy much because I was taking public transportation. Here are the things I bought at IKEA:

Bumerang Hanga cloth hangers

Krama wash towels

Vitmossa blanket. This would be useful for the next sleepover, and takes up less space than the sleeping bag.

Monday, July 3, 2017

I'tikaf In Masjid Baitul Ihsan (Masjid BI) And Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa

Disclaimer: I wrote this as a self-reminder should I want to do another i'tikaf in the future.

Before I start, allow me to write a definition of i'tikaf. I hope I get it correctly. I'tikaf means staying in a mosque for a period of time, devoting the time for ibadah (praying, reciting Quran, reading Hadits etc) and staying away from the worldly affairs. 

In some countries, women are not allowed to do i'tikaf in the mosque. But in Indonesia, women do i'tikaf. So I guess it is a cultural thing, just like women in Indonesia are not allowed to perform Jumat prayer but actually women can do Jumat prayer in Masjidil Haram. Correct me if I'm wrong :).

OK, back to this post. Last Ramadan, I did i'tikaf in two mosques: Masjid Baitul Ihsan and Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa. Here are my recount of the experience.

Masjid Baitul Ihsan or Masjid BI

Built in 2001, the 1.087-square meter Masjid Baitul Ihsan is located inside the state bank Bank Indonesia's complex and can house up to 4,000 people. It has a parking area, shoes shelves, toilets and ablution area, and best of all, it is air-conditioned.

Logistics. The second best thing about this mosque (beside it being air-conditioned): it provides drinking water. All you need to do is bring your own water bottle. 

There are some food vendors near the entrance gate. But if you want the real deal, you can always run to the 24-hour McDonalds in Sarinah. To have a proper sahur, you can register for a rice box at the entrance after Witir and pay Rp 20.000.  

Accommodation. It has wall-to-wall carpet. The ground floor has thicker carpet than the second floor. Since I was taking a spot on the second floor, it was a good thing I brought my Deuter Dreamlite500 sleeping bag.

The number of toilet can be improved. But as a person who doesn't pee much during fasting month, I can survive.

I'tikaf Program. The mosque holds Maghrib, Isya, Tarawih (8 rakaat) and Witir (3 rakaat), which usually conclude at 9 p.m. There is a sermon for about one hour. Then you are left to do personal activities (either praying, reading Quran etc) until 1 a.m. when they wake you up to do qiyamul lail. The night prayer is done in 8 rakaat. Each night of the last 10 days of Ramadan the imam will read 3 juz. When I did i'tikaf it was juz 7-9.

Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa

Built in 1970, the 9.920-square meter Masjid Sunda Kelapa is located behind the National Development Planning Board and can also house up to 4.000 people. MASK has the same facilities like Masjid BI, however, this mosque is much older and not much modernization.

Logistics. There is no drinking water. So you must buy bottled water. Or in my case, I brought a refillable water bottle, asked a food vendor to refill and pay for the water. It's the least I could do to reduce the plastic waste.

There are a lot of food vendors outside of the mosque's gate, and you can choose from satay (meat on skewer) and soto (clear soup) to ketoprak (vegetable, vermicelli noodle topped with peanut sauce) and dimsum (meat dumpling). All is delicious and affordable!

The mosque gives free rice boxes for ifthar and sahur, which they receive from donors. On that particular dawn, the mosque distributed 2.130 rice boxes for sahur and not everyone received. I happened to bring my own meal, so I gave my rice box to an elderly lady.

Accommodation. Women can occupy the multi purpose hall. But I found it too cramped, so I took a spot at the roofed terrace, which is not air-conditioned. Sleeping bag to the rescue!

The number of toilet is enough to cater the whole congregation. But the toilet condition is a bit...hmm...well, there is room for improvement.

I'tikaf Program. The mosque holds Maghrib, Isya, Tarawih (20 rakaat) and then you have a break to do personal activities until midnight, when they wake you up and turn off the light for qiyamul lail. The night prayer is 8 rakaat and the imam reads one juz. 

Conclusion

When doing i'tikaf, I know I should bring these:
1. Mukena (praying outfit), sajadah (praying mat) and other equipment
2. Sleeping bag
3. Tissues (both dry and wet tissues)
4. Refillable water bottle
5. Food (in case no food vendor/free rice box)

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Updates


Eid Mubarak!

My last post was a farewell to the aerial view of Jakarta's main streets, and here I am, a month later, still sitting in the very same cubicle with the view. So what happened in the past 30 days? Here are some updates...

My contract got extended until the end of June

I had prepared myself to be unemployed this month, and planned to take all of my leaves before the contract expired. But lo and behold, a day before Ramadhan commenced, I received a phonecall from the HRM on the contract extension. At first, I said I'd think about it, but the HRM asked me kindly to help them out. And so, I decided to take the offer.

I've completed most of my work a few weeks before May ended, so this June I did the regular tasks and web updating. Lower workload means I had...

A moment of self-reflection this Ramadhan

Prior to the contract extension, I had made plans to fill Ramadhan with lots of self-reflection and ibadah (you know, prayers, read Al Quran and other good deeds). The extension got me thinking that you don't have to wait until you have the time to do all that. As a matter in fact, being alive is a lifetime struggle to balance the world and the hereafter. 

Without any intention to brag/boast/riya, alhamdulillah, this Ramadhan I've managed to do most tarawih prayers, with one night amiss (I'm trying to improve this). I also held a breakfasting event with my campus friend at a small orphanage, near my home. I did twice one-night i'tikaf with my girlfriends. I might post about the experience in another post, just for a self-reminder and in case there are English-speaking people who need information on i'tikaf activities in Jakarta's mosques.

I'm fully aware that what I've done this Ramadhan is minuscule compared to the good deeds that other people had done. But coming from a person like me, those baby steps are huge quantum leaps for me :).

As I don't promote this blogs on other social media (although it's available on search engines if you type the right keywords), I wrote those just for my eyes only, a self-reminder of things to improve in the future Ramadhan. I do understand that there are people who read this blogs. If you know me in real life, I'd very much appreciate it that you don't bring up those things in public or to other people.

The translation work will be published into a paper

The translation work I did last year will be published into a paper, and my name will be mentioned too, that's what the researcher told me. I was floored by the announcement. I mean, I only translated what the respondents said, not really writing the paper. I really need to write my own paper one of these days.

A good news ahead...

A project contacted me. While there is no commitment yet (no contract, whatsoever), the project coordinator had asked me to send some documents. We have also chatted informally on my TOR. I hope to hear more on this project in July. Please wish me luck!

If there is no progress on this project until July, I can always take a break and do some traveling :).

To close this month in a good mood, here is a photo of me and my extended family during the Eid celebration. And they didn't ask 'the question' this year! I love you, my extended family :).

Monday, May 22, 2017

The City's Main Street View From The 25th Floor

Since 2013, I've been working in the Lands of the Clouds (OK, this is a hyperbole :D). Between 2013 and 2014, I worked on the 20th floor, which happened to be the highest floor on the building, in Kuningan area of Jakarta.

Then in early 2015, I landed a job at the 25th floor of a building on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, which is one of the city's main streets. The building was famous in its era. I mean, everytime I said I worked on that building, people would say,"Wow, that building used to be very famous. It still exists?"

Today is my last active day, as I will take the remaining days of leave starting tomorrow and I will leave the office by the end of the month. As a memento, I'm taking some time to take photographs from this summit. And here they are...

My cubicle is right behind this view

There are still empty lots on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, this is just one of them.

More greeneries, please

The skyscrapers are fading on the southern edge

These views still can't beat my cousin's former workplace, which was located on the 46th floor of a building near the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. Whenever there is a demonstration, they can monitor from above.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Of Men And Flowers

Say it with flowers, an adage says. The saying stands true for Jakartans who are currently in the middle of the War of Flowers between Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahja Purnama's supporters and Anies Baswedan's supporters (for example, this news). 

But let's get away from the humdrum of Jakarta's politics to Kolkata, India. I have a soft spot for India, perhaps because D has the facial features of South Asians (ha!).

National Geographic photographer Ken Hermann was on assignment in India a few years ago, and he decided to go to a flower market on his day off. He was drawn to how the male flower vendors carried their goods. So he came back to make a portrait series.

Flowers are used for everything in India, from festivals and parties to religious rituals. The variety is enormous, from brightly hues hibiscuses and vivid crimson roses to jasmine bouquets, fragrant lotus and magnolia flowers. The photographer decided to photograph the species that he saw the vendors carrying.

The photographer originally thought about including both sexes in the series, but the women were reluctant to have their pictures taken. So he focused exclusively on the male vendors. To get these guys to take a break from their work and pose under the midday sun, he wound up paying for many of the bunches he photographed.

These stoic, masculine men put on a macho face when they get their picture taken. But you can see that they carry their flowers -- their livelihood -- in a very gentle way. You can see more here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

COP And DCOP

The project I'm working with at the moment has the best chief of party (COP) and deputy chief of party (DCOP) because they let us to carry out our work in the most comfortable way. The COP is a 70-year-old Briton, who has spend half of his life in Indonesia and speaks fluent Indonesian, while the DCOP is an energetic, caring lady.

Sometimes I felt like they were my parents, because the way they treated all employees was like how you'd treat a little kid.

COP's Most Famous Sayings
Between Monday and Thursday: Good bye, everyone. Don't be naughty, okay?
On Fridays: Have a good weekend, everyone. If you can't be good, be careful
A day before any National Holiday that falls in the middle of the week: You can leave early today, to avoid the congestion
Background information: any national holiday that falls in the middle of the week would mean a heavy congestion one day before the said holiday. Most people would take a leave and ditched the city for a few happy days.

Sometimes the DCOP caught COP still lingered and chatted with us, and such conversation took place...
DCOP: You're still here? I thought you already left
COP: I am leaving, I am just talking with them.

Noise Means Food
Situation: As I've said before, the office seems to have foods everyday. And everytime there is food, there is noise
DCOP: I heard a noise. There must be food here.
SR: Oh, all the food has been eaten.
DCOP: Already? Wow so fast.

When DCOP Is Attending A Piranha Event
Situation: DCOP has a clean eating regime, meaning she doesn't eat fritters, red meat and other unhealthy/junk food.
SR: Tomorrow, we'll have a fullboard menu, with donuts for breakfast, nasi uduk for lunch and icecream for afternoon snack.
DCOP: How about if we change the donuts with boiled eggs? I'll supply the eggs.
FNA: But...but...the donuts are important too...

Museum for The Old Phones
Situation:
DCOP: Does anyone have an iPhone charger?
Me: Which head does it use? The one with big head or small head?
DCOP: The one for iPhone 4?
Me: Oh the big one
COP: (happens to pass by) What is it? (looking at DCOP's mobilephone) What is that?
DCOP: It's my mobilephone
COP: It's still working? I think it should be in museum by now.
DCOP: (giving COP a stern look)