Monday, April 30, 2012

Winners Of The 2012 Underwater Photography Contest

Paddle flap Rhinopias, Rhinopias eschmeyeri, Bali, Indonesia. Source: TIME.

Porcelain crab, Porcellanella sp. on feathery sea pen, Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Source: TIME

Aww. Aren't they lovely? 
Happy Monday, people!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Revolution Love

Source

Hello there. There has been a bit of radio silence because I had to complete all my works for this week before Thursday so I could head to Ujung Kulon national park this weekend. Ujung in Bahasa Indonesia means the tip or the edge, while Kulon is a Javanese word for West. So Ujung Kulon means the western tip of Java. I'll post about it next week when I get back to Jakarta. In for the meantime you can read more about the place here.

Anyway, if you're staying in the city, here are several events you can attend this weekend:
-- Dutch movie screenings: The President. April 28. 1.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Erasmus Huis Jakarta.
-- Kids Film Festival. April 28. Chibi Maruko-chan at 5 p.m. and The Azemichi Road at 7 p.m. Blitz Atrium West Mall Grand Indonesia. Layar tancap (open screening). More info: www.kidsffest.org 
-- Puppet show: Wayang Betawi Gatot Kaca Kembar. April 27. 8.p.m. Bentara Budaya Jakarta.
-- Biography series film screening. Until April 27. 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Hall Japan Foundation, Gedung Summitmas I.
-- Cultural exhibition: Betawi Punye Gaye. Until April 29. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bentara Budaya Jakarta

Have a great weekend:).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Raid Is Now Available In Comic Version

Hello, fans of The Raid:).

If you like the movie, you may be thrilled to know that it is now available in comic version as well. The launching event was last Saturday at Grand Indonesia's Blitz Megaplex. Below are the photos taken from Kapanlagi.com.

A comic a day keeps the doctor away (especially if actor Iko Uwais reads that to us, hahaha)

Iko in action

Fans of Iko Uwais (codename Ayu), this post is for you:)

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Trip To Karimun Jawa Islands

In 2009, cousine Dina and I planned to go to Karimun Jawa islands, she had bought the Jepara-bound bus tickets for two and I was almost filing my leave form for the designated dates. But we had to postpone the plan because my office sent me for an invitation-based assignment to Beijing, China.

"So you pick Beijing over Karimun Jawa?" she asked, teasingly.
"Well, yes. I think you would do that too," I said.
"Yeah, you're right," she sighed.

Luckily, we could refund the tickets (there's always something to feel grateful about, eh?). In 2011, she was sent to Beijing for a business trip. She had more fun there as she had the chance to ride the bullet train to Tianjin ("Only 30 minutes from Beijing!" she told me).

Earlier this year, I jokingly asked her if she still wanted to go to Karimun Jawa. After all, both of us had been to Beijing, so there is no way we will favor Beijing over Karimun Jawa. She said yes, so we quickly picked time and itinerary.

In case you don't know, Karimun Jawa is located just off shore of Central Java. Legend has it that Karimun Jawa got the name after the son of Sunan Muria was sent to the islands to spread Islam. When seen from afar, Karimun Jawa island look fuzzy (kerimun).
 
 Map of Karimun Jawa. From here.

First of all, we decided to take a trip organized by a local tour agent for two reasons: (1) we can't order the ferry boat tickets Jepara-Karimun Jawa via Internet or phone while we need to buy a round-trip ticket. The tour agent can arrange that. (2) we just want to get relax and do not want to think about other stuffs like boat arrangement for the island hopping and the homestay.

While we were in the process of ordering seats in the tour, she said that five of her girl friends were interested to join the trip. So there will be six Power Rangers: me, Mbak Dina, Mbak Polina, Mbak Waty, Mbak Mira and Mbak Fauzia. I paid the first installment of the tour package, she handled the bus tickets (we're the dynamic duo!). And the journey began...

April 6
We left Jakarta from Rawamangun bus terminal on P.O New Shantika bus at 6.30 p.m. It was the most comfortable intercity bus I've ever ridden in Indonesia! The air-conditioned bus has a TV set, with each passenger getting a pillow and a blanket!! It also has a toilet!!! Be still my heart.

Wow, a really cool bus for anime fans

 See the bus on the right. The driver area is separated by a cabin partition. Just like an airplane. Cool.

Mbak Dina said that according to a website on Indonesian buses (is it bismania.com? I forgot), Jepara people would not ride on a dirty, ugly bus and they also liked to ride in a speeding-but-safe bus. Hmm, I think the president should pick a Jepara person as the Transportation Minister.

The bus ride was started with Celine Dion's My Love Will Go On playing on the TV set. And that was all I remembered because I drank Antimo (a pill for motion sickness) and fell asleep all the way, despite waking up for dinner and prayers in the middle of the 12-hour long bus ride. Yep, you read me right. T-w-e-l-v-e hours bus ride. Ouch, my butt!

April 7
We arrived in Jepara at 6.30 a.m., had breakfast and headed to the Kartini port to ride a ferry boat to Karimun Jawa island. 

There are three boats going to Karimun Jawa islands: (1) KM Kartini from Semarang to Karimun Jawa, which takes between 3-4 hours, (2) KMP Muria from Jepara to Karimun Jawa, which takes around 6 hours (argh!), and that leaves the best for the last (3) KM Bahari Express that only takes 2 hours between Jepara and Karimun Jawa. Yay! As a person with motion sickness problem, I'd go for the quickest boat ride no matter how expensive it is. By the way, the fast boat was only priced at Rp 69,000 for one way. Quite affordable, methinks.

 KM Bahari Express

Police boat

The girls are waiting to board the boat

Our tour guide said that he could not get the seats in the executive class so we should run for our lives, get on the boat quickly and sit on the roof-covered deck area. It sounded fine for us so off we ran and did get the seats, hohoho.

Yay! We got the seats

We departed Jepara at 1.30 p.m. and touched down Karimun Jawa at 3.30 p.m. Since it was already too late to do the tour, the tour guide asked if we would like to change today's schedule to April 9. We said that we'd follow what the other tour participants wanted.

Oh, by the way, there were 15 people in the group, including us. But most of them were honeymooners and people in unclear relationship status (HTS in Indonesian. --Ed.). Well, maybe they have a solid relationship status, but I wasn't in the mood of interrogating people during vacation.

We stayed at a local's house that is turned into a homestay. She would prepare for our breakfasts and lunches while we're staying in the island. Dinners were not included in the tour package, so dining out it is!

Now that the tour was postponed until tomorrow, we had the rest of the day for ourselves. And what other activities six women would do during vacation? Souvenir shopping! But there was only one souvenir shop that opened, the rest were closed. What happened?

"The shops will be open after 6 p.m. here, just the right time when tourists coming from island hopping," a shopkeeper said.

For your information, the souvenirs you can buy from Karimun Jawa are, among others, T-shirts, teri (anchovies), salted fishes, kerupuk ikan kerapu (crackers made from grouper fishes), keychains made from shells and wooden walking sticks. Not much variation, eh? *sigh*

The lonely tree

The only bank in Karimun Jawa

So what can we do until 6 p.m.? We tried to find a white-sand beach, but most beach area in Karimun Jawa is rocky. Then we decided to wait for the sunset at the port. The port was clean enough and we could see fishes swimming around. Some looks like pipe fishes, but I'm not sure of their names.

 Sunset in Karimun Jawa (I just found out that my DSLR has the sunset scene setting! *slap face*)

The clouds were crisscrossing just a few inches above the horizon, while the sun turned from yellow to orange. Boats filled with tourists came in and it felt so relaxing to just sit there while watching the sun went down.

After the sun set, we went to find a place to eat. While we're on an island, grilled fish is the most sought out dish. We picked kerapu (grouper) and baronang (rabbit fish) to share, and ended up only spending Rp 12,000. I love cheap delicious fresh seafood!

I suggested that we had a drink at Cafe Amore, which was located by the beach. We passed it when we're going to see the sunset and the cafe looked nice from outside. The girls agreed, so off we went.

 Cafe Amore during the day. Looks promising.

The menu at Cafe Amore turned out to be quite pricey even for Jakartans like us. I mean a mango smoothie for Rp 10,000? Man, I can buy that for Rp 6,000 at my office's cafeteria. But since smoothies were the cheapest in the menu, we ordered them.
 
Me, my trip buddies and my avocado smoothies

April 8
It's time for island hopping! We had breakfast, packed our stuffs and headed to the port quickly...only to find that we're the first to arrive. Argh. This is the downside of going with tours. We have to wait for the other tour participants.

After making a few phonecalls, the whole group gathered and we left at around 8 a.m. The first spot we visited was Spot Gosong (only 5 meter x 8 meter!), which lies in the middle of the sea. We took photos and dipped ourselves in the warm turquoise water before going to the next destination: Kecil Island.

In Kecil Island, we walked around the beach and then snorkeled near the dock. From there we headed to Tengah Island to have lunch.

Then we went to Menjangan Besar island and tested our adrenaline by swimming with the baby black tip reef sharks. There are two pools, one pool has chest-high water level, while the other pool has water level that reaches my forehead. The others were a bit reluctant to jump into the second pool, so when I decided to jump in they all warned me.

"Come on, they're tame enough," I said, encouragingly.
"Yeah right, you're wearing a 3-milimeter wetsuit, so you're quite safe. But we only have the ordinary thin swimming suit. No thanks," Mbak Mira said.

They joined me anyway, after a few minutes. The sharks were kind of escaping from us, not the other way around. Besides the sharks, the pool also has a puffer fish, clown fishes and several other fishes I could not identify.

Below are the photos of day-1 tour.

Ahoy!

A view along the way

  Rocking green

At Kecil Island. We walked around the beach and then snorkeled near the dock

Lounging at the beach with my new wetsuit (ahem)

Love the view!

Baby blacktip reef shark


April 9
The first place we went to this morning is a snorkeling spot near Cemara Besar island.We brought biscuits and breadcrumbs for the fishes and they happily approached us. Yay! It was fun to be surrounded by the fishes.

Then we had lunch at an island that I forgot the name. And then we went back to Karimun Jawa and prepared to go home. It's time to slave ourselves away in our cubicles and save money for the next trip!
  
It's Monday, the other tourists already leave the area. So we have the island for ourselves. Hahaha.

The calming effect of green and blue


Almost look like Belitung, but no Belitung is even more beautiful

Have a magnificent Monday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

See The Movies And Sing To The Music

Tim Knol and Band. Found here

Got any fun plan this weekend? After the trip to Karimun Jawa Islands last weekend (which I haven't posted yet due to my works, sorry!), I think I'll take things slow this weekend. I already had a pile of DVDs (it's Korean drama "City Of Glass") on my bedside table, so DVD marathon it is! *wear the sunrise headband*

Here are some events to attend, if you're free this weekend:
-- Music festival: Sayfestville, Jakarta International Music and Arts Festival. Senayan Swimming Stadium. April 13-14. Check website here.
-- Pop music concert: Tim Knol, The Pop Sensation 2012! April 14, Erasmus Huis Jakarta, at 7:30 p.m. and April 15, Fatahillah park, at 2 p.m.
PS. I featured Tim Knol here in 2011. I did go to that concert and even took pictures with him. I asked my friend K to accompany me to the concert, and we both had a crush to guitarist Anne Soldaat (he's on the left, wearing glasses). How fast does time flies!
-- Film: Il piu bel giono della mia vita. Istituto Italiano. April 14 at 4 p.m.
-- Film:  The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. April 13, 6 p.m. Kineforum.

Have an exciting weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Trauma Relived

People are stuck in a traffic jam as they evacuate to higher ground after a strong earthquake was felt in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Sumatra island, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Two massive earthquakes triggered back-to-back tsunami warnings for Indonesia, sending panicked residents fleeing to high ground in cars and on the backs of motorcycles. There were no signs of deadly waves, however, or serious damage, and a watch for much of the Indian Ocean was lifted after a few hours. (AP/Heri Juanda. Source)

Updated and edited: Taken from The Jakarta Post.


Two major temblors jolted the western coastline of Sumatra Island in Indonesia on Wednesday, sparking tsunami alert across Asia and Africa.
The first temblor, a magnitude-8.5 quake, was epicentered about 10 kilometers southwest of Simeulue Island at 3:38 p.m., while the second, an magnitude-8.1 quake, about 360 kilometers from Simeulue at 5:43 p.m., as reported by Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency. The agency issued a tsunami alert for Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung and Bengkulu.
In Banda Aceh, people remembered the monstrous 2004 tsunami that struck the province, taking to pedicabs, cars, motorcycles and bicycles to get as far away from the coast as possible.
Television stations were broadcasting images of traffic jams in Aceh. One station showed people flocking to a mosque, while inside, a woman raised her hands in prayer. Others looked nervously through the mosque’s pillars to the street.
The agency reported that the sea level rose by only 80 centimeters in Meulaboh and by 20 centimeters in Sabang, Aceh. Officials later announced that the quakes did not cause a tsunami and told people to return home. Residents were relieved that their tsunami fears did not materialize.
Although no fatalities or significant damage was reported, the quakes did cause power and telecommunications disruptions. In North Sumatra, for example, damage to the Belawan power plant caused blackouts in several areas as state power company PLN reported losing about 230 Megawatts of capacity at the plant.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that he had instructed National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) chief Syamsul Maarif to personally monitor the situation in Aceh.
More than 170,000 Indonesian were killed or listed as missing after a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off Aceh triggers a tsunami. The death toll, including those killed in other countries along the Indian Ocean topped 230,000.
After the 2004 earthquake, Indonesia has seen a series of temblors. In March 2005, a magnitude 8.6 quake off Sumatra’s west coast killed 1,300 people, mostly in Nias Island. Earthquake rocked Yogyakarta in Central Java, killing 5,000 and destroying 150,000 homes in May 2006. Two months later, a tsunami following a magnitude 7.7 quake in West Java killed more than 500.
In 2007, two strong earthquakes killed 72 people and injured dozens in Padang, West Sumatra. A magnitude 7 quake off Java killed more than 60 and damaged 86,000 homes on Sept. 2, 2009. Twenty eight days later a magnitude 7.6 quake rocked Padang, again, killing more than 1,100.
In Oct. 2010, Mount Merapi near Yogyakarta began a month-long eruption, killing more than 130 people, while a magnitude 7.5 off-shore quake triggered a tsunami that hit Mentawai Islands, killing 445 people and flattened several villages and a surf resort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Scarves In Solidarity

I was having my lunch in my cubicle when my colleague Fem took this photo. Hence, the weird mouth pose.

On March 24, 2012, Iraqi-Muslim woman and mother of five Shaima Alawadi was dead after found beaten in her home in South California, the U.S., next to a note that read,"Go back to your country, you terrorist." Shaima's case is a representative of the brutal and harsh effect of Islamophobia in Western societies.

Last year, the first International Scarves in Solidarity was held on April 21. The movement was launched after French government passed the law that bans women from wearing niqab (face veil) in public. Everyone is welcome, Muslims and people of different faiths alike, women and men, to join the movement on that day (April 21) by simply wearing a scarf around the neck. Or if you're willing, around your heads.

This year, the day will be dedicated to Shaima Alawadi.

Read more about the movement here and here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Raid -- An Indonesian Movie

Source: here (there are excerpts of the film too!)

After hearing all the buzz about The Raid, I went to the cinema and watched it last Tuesday. Everyone who had watched the movie already warned me about how bloody and brutal the film is and I thought I was more than prepare to watch it . 

After all, I spent my childhood watching action movies like Rocky, Rambo, Bloodsport and Kickboxer (the credit goes to D). When I was a kid, my favorite actors included Jean Claude Van Damme, Sasha Mitchell and Michael Dudikoff.
But I digress. Back to The Raid.

Directed by Welsh man Gareth Huw Evans, all of the movie's cast are Indonesians, including lead actor Iko Uwais, who previously starred in Merantau (Migration) and in this movie plays the rookie Rama. Joining Iko in the cast are veteran actor Ray Sahetapy who plays the drug lord Tama, Donny Alamsyah plays Andi, Tama's right-hand man, former judo athlete-turned-actor Joe Taslim as team commander Jaka and Pierre Gruno as the Lieutenant who leads the squad.

The 100-minute long movie tells the story of a SWAT team tasked with raiding an isolated building to arrest a notorious drug lord. Stuck inside the dilapidated building filled with ferocious criminals, the team must find a way out through every floor. It's fight or die.

The action is not only shown through the gunfight, but also machete, baton, knives and barehand fights (featuring deadly moves from Indonesian martial arts pencak silat). As Mad Dog (a cold-blooded enforcer played by Yayan Ruhian) said,"I prefer (to kill) with my barehand. It feels more raving (than with guns)", you can imagine how ruthless the climactic throw-down is between Rama, Andi and Mad Dog. Mad Dog is like a killing machine with Energizer batteries that just don't die easily.

By the way, last Tuesday, the hashtag #MadDog became a Trending Topic in Indonesia's Twitter Timeline, which gave me another reason to go :). 


My only disappointment is: the movie features so many muscled men, but why does none of them bare their chest? Director Evans, this is a special request from a woman who loves watching a good action movie and appreciate a six-pack abs. Ahem.

The movie has won several awards, such as "The Cadillac People's Choice Award" for the category of Midnight Madness at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2011 as well as "The Best Film" and "Audience Award" at Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. It has been screened at various international film festivals, including at the 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival recently in Texas, the U.S.

Something to wait in the near future: the remake of The Raid is already in the pipeline.

And now, let me give you a few ideas for this upcoming long weekend:
-- L'amore Ritorna, an Italian movie to be screened at Istituto Italiano di Cultura on Saturday at 4 p.m.
-- Exhibition of Now and When: Kota Masa Depan by Australian Embassy, held at Pacific Place Mall's Ground Floor from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., until April 24
-- Concert of Olivia Newton-John on April 8 at Grand Ballroom Hotel Mulia. My marketing manager offered me a free ticket to this concert (she's the one who gave me free tickets to the 2012 Java Jazz too. That's very nice of her!). Unfortunately, I can't go.
-- Easter Charity Bazaar. April 7-10, Function Hall, Level 2. Plaza Indonesia
-- Or you can watched The Raid :).

I will head to the northern coastline of Central Java and do some island hopping in Karimun Jawa islands. I hope the weather permits. Have a loving long weekend, people! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Word Play On "Board"

Here in Indonesia we like to play plesetan kata (word playing). It usually begins with a person (just say A) mentioning a sentence, then the other person (it's B) pretends that one of the words A mentioned before was another word. 

I can do this for hours, especially with D who seems to know all words in the dictionary. But it was only several weeks ago that I played the game in English with two men from the marketing division, Vic and Can. Below is the excerpts of the game we played:

Situation: We are waiting for a client at the lobby of a building in Jl. HR Rasuna Said. Vic checked his smartphone and found that the client had moved the meeting to a board room, instead of the cafe they had agreed upon.

Vic : Guys, the client said we should go to the board room.
Can: Board room? You mean board to cross the river?
Me : That would be boat.
Vic :Yeah, and now I'm board.
Can: Bored, that is.
Vic : My name is Board. James Board.
Me : LOL. Hello, Agent Bond.

Happy Monday, people! :)

PS. Did you have a safe homecoming trip on Friday? The demonstrations in front of the House of Representatives and other places were awful, weren't they? I could not use the usual route since TransJakarta's Corridor 9 was not operated. So I took the electric train KRL Commuter Line. There was no trace of demonstration on board of the KRL and it felt as if the whole thing was just a dream.