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


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
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)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Another Muji Love Post

I haven't done a lot of posts on fashion. But my style remains unchanged: the simple casual. Here are 10 sets of Muji outfits that I like. I found them on Pinterest (Source).

PS. Previous post on Muji.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Kartini Day With The Piranhas

Kartini Day at the office has always been celebrated with the women wearing kebaya-kain combo and the men wearing batik. It sounds shallow, but it never cease to create a fun office atmosphere. Here are several photos of today's fun times.

The serious pose

The silly pose
The one with your color twin :D

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Tackle Fake News, One News At A Time

After doing the previous post on Masjid Raya Daan Mogot, I remembered a Whatsapp chat with a journo friend several months ago about the rise of fake news. We realized that there had been a lot of fake news circulating in social media. 

Having worked for media for almost 10 years have made me questioning almost everything I read. I've become aware that media A was more into the X Party, while media was a staunch supporter of the Y Party. It's hard to find a neutral media channel. But the key to distinguish a fake news is critical thinking, which can be established through lots of practicing.

Here is a helpful infographic from IFLA on how to spot fake news:

IMHO, fake news happen for two reasons, either (a) attracting public attention, or (b) diverting public attention from a more serious issue. Either way, fake news aims to get clicks from the readers. More clicks means more money. 

Why do people even bother to read such news? I suppose those people have too much information from various sources, inability to prioritize and sort the news they need, and fear of missing out. And with the rising social media, it is very easy to spread such news just with the tip of your thumb.

There is a three-step guide on why you should spread news: (a) it's a good news, (b) it's the truth (and to check the truth, go through the steps in the infographic above, please), and (c) it's for the greater good or the information in useful for public. If a news does not pass one of these three requirements, then it's not worth to spread.

Be responsible netizens, people. Stop hate, start love.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Masjid Raya Daan Mogot And Elements of A Mosque

A few weeks before the Jakarta gubernatorial election, a series of photos on a newly built mosque on Jl. Daan Mogot, West Jakarta circulated in the social media. A group of Muslims (heretofore is the contra group) called the mosque had un-Islamic design. Since the incumbent governor is a non Muslim, rumors grew that he had purposefully designed the mosque to resemble a church.

Being an architecture graduate and a Muslim, the first thing that crossed my mind regarding the argument was: what are the design elements of a mosque? What makes a particular architectural work be called a mosque? 

Before we get to that, how about if we take a look at the controversial mosque? Brace yourself, people, it's going to be quite a long post.

Perspective 1

Perspective aerial view 2

One of the concerns from the contra group was about the floor plan. They said that it resembled a cross, just like the medieval church floor plan. But here, as you can see, it's a simple T-shaped building. And the shape was used due to an even simpler reason: the shape of the land.

Perspective aerial view 3

As you can see, the land is kite-shaped, with several nodes encircling it. The architect must have taken two axis from two strongest nodes, put the building regulation and open space requirement into mind as well as optimizing the facade designs.

Perspective aerial view 4

The mosque was designed by Adhi Moersid of Atelier Six, who had designed several mosques across Jakarta and one in Semarang, Central Java. All Atelier 6 designs have one strong concept: vernacular architecture. Wherever they build an architectural work, they will incorporate the local culture into the designs. And they apply it to this mosque too, because it has many Betawi elements. However, the contra group said that the ornaments were similar to the Star of David. Oh dear.

All 3D CAD pics are taken from Atelier 6 website. There are many photos on this particular mosque in the Internet, you can check them out by typing in the keywords: Masjid Raya Daan Mogot. 

Now about the elements of a mosque, what are the things that make an architectural work become a mosque? Islam is now found worldwide, so we can't really say that a mosque should have dome or specific architectural designs in order to be called a mosque. The way I see it, here are the things that you most likely would find in a mosque, regardless of the geography:

Facing Qiblat
All mosques face qiblat, this goes without question.

Shoe Shelves
All Islamic praying space should be clear from dirt and other things that are considered impure in Islamic teaching, and you will be required to leave your shoes prior to entering the main building area.

Ablution Area
After removing the shoes, you will have to clean with water: your hands, face, nostrils, top of head, ear lobes, and feet.

Prayer Hall
Now that you're clean, you are allowed to enter the prayer hall, an area where Muslims pray five times a day according to the solar schedule: dawn, midday, afternoon, dusk and night. 

Mihrab is a part of the prayer hall, where the imam, leader of praying activity, stands. It is usually ornately decorated according with calligraphy.

If the mosque has enough space, usually there is a mimbar, a raised platform where clerics give sermons/speeches.

Minaret (Tower)
To perform call for prayer.

As you can see, none of the elements has something to do with the shape of the architectural work or the ornaments. It can be rectangular, triangular, or even circular, but the most important thing is this architectural work houses...(drum rolls)...

Praying activity
Of course, it is a mosque. There must be a praying activity held in the building.

Just to give an idea what a mosque floor plan looks like, here are six mosque floor plans from early Ottoman period.

As you can see from the pic above, there have been mosques using T-shaped floor plans. So what's the big deal about Masjid Raya Daan Mogot?

I don't really understand what the argument was about. If the contra group dislikes the incumbent, can't they just not vote for him in the election? No need to spread fake news. For me, a mosque is a place to pray. But of course, Allah has created this Earth as a place to pray. So you can pray anywhere (except graveyard and toilet).

Congratulations, you made it to the end of this post. I hope I don't bore you on the minutiae.

PS. I've made several posts on the mosques in the past. You can check them here, here, here, and here.
PPS. Have you checked an Instagram account called @placesyoullpray ? Go and have a look.