21 July 2009
I leapt to switch on the telly.
True enough, almost all local TV stations were carrying live report on the bomb blast which took place at JW Marriot and Ritz Carlton hotels.
The TV stations telecast gruesome images of the blast victims. One particular image which will forever be imprinted in my mind was that of a foreigner who had just been taken out from JW Marriot on a stretcher.
He sat himself up but was immediately told to lie down by the people around him. He was in a state of shock and was unaware of the serious wounds on his head and face. I found out later that he was the President Director of Holcim.
He died about two hours after the blast.
It is really unfortunate that Indonesia has to again deal with acts of terror. At a time when Indonesia had gained tremendous success in improving its image to the rest of the world.
But I believe Indonesians will not let a bunch of subhuman terrorists to stand in their way. They have dealt with this kind of terrorist act before and will surely know how to deal with this one too.
To my Malaysian friends, please don't let this incident deter you from visiting Indonesia.
My deepest condolences goes to the innocent victims of the double bomb blast.
25 June 2009
21 June 2009
That's how it is pronounced in Betawi. Today Jakarta celebrates its 482nd birthday. And as usual, as it has always been around this time of the year, there is the Jakarta Fair.
From what I gather from the news, it is a huge expo showcasing, promoting and selling local products and produce.
Due to the far off location (Kemayoran), I've never been to the fair, although this year's event marked as my fourth. There is a big possibility I'm going to miss this one too. The large crowd is a turn off, really.
Kalo tak nak ramai orang buat fair sendiri. There. I said it for you.
Roid, I would like to apologise for not being able to attend the gathering at Plaza Semanggi. I was at Grand Indonesia - being stood up.
My second time being stood up if I may add.
Last year it was by a friend who was supposed to join me for iftar. But she was too wrapped up with Lebaran shopping that she forgot her friend was waiting for her at the upper floors of Grand Indonesia.
This time around, it was also by another friend who's here on a holiday.
In both instances, there are striking similarities. Both did not apologise, both came all the way from KL (just to stood me up?) and both at the very same venue.
Speaking of Grand Indonesia, have you been to the restrooms? Personally, I don't like it.
They are clean, no doubt. The toilet seats, state-of-the-art. The decor, impressive. It is the lighting which I'm particularly bothered with. You see, the lights are so dim that you need to be about 3 inches close to the mirror to see the snot in the corner of your eyes. The effect of the dim lights give the restrooms an ambience bordering spookiness.
Once, I was startled by the restroom attendant who appeared behind me from nowhere.
"Terima kasih Pak," he said grinning.
"Terima kasih mak kau!"
No. I didn't say that. Though I would have said it if I suffer from latah. Speaking of latah, why is it that bule don't latah?
While on the subject of restrooms, I was at Pacific Place the other day and had the urgency to empty my bladder. Standing at the entrance of the restroom was this young lad who I assume was the restroom attendant. Ok. It's normal as in many other malls, you might say.
But this guy was wearing a masquerade mask! Talk about upstaging other malls!
He looked like he had been a guest on RCTI's Masihkah Ada Cinta and straight away reported for duty.
"Jentelmen di sebelah kiri Pak," he said gesturing to the Gents door.
I went in. My mind was picturing him on the set of Helmy Yahya's show. Then, as I was leaving, the young lad was smiling at me and said,
"Tenk yiu for coming Pak."
Emang gue ke resepsi nikah? Really, he should have stopped at Thank You.
It has been officially confirmed by my CFO that I will be going back for good end of July. Inderjeet, like you, I will be going through the task of packing. Although I've done it 4 times in the span of 3 and a half years, it will be daunting, nonetheless.
Owh, btw, Inderjeet, someone told me of a store nearby your residence - Unique House. Have you been there?
This time around, in addition to packing my own belongings, I have to pack the office too. Just the thought of it makes my knees all wobbly. Probably by the end of all this, I should seriously consider a moving business.
Apart from the packing, there are other personal things to do. Banyak pulak tu.
Time is against me.
A dear friend of mine, Peanutbutter, fell sick last week. Really, really sick. I got the news after reading her sister's Facebook status on Monday morning. I called a close mutual friend of ours and he told me about PB's worrying condition when he visited her the night before.
"She's not the PB we all are used to. Very pale and weak. She did not speak much," said my friend.
A call to her husband confirmed PB's worsening condition. I prayed hard for her. I felt sorry because I could not be there. I remained in touch with her husband and a couple of friends through sms and calls.
Later that day, I received a text message from PB's husband. The cause of her pain has beed detected. She had just got out from the OT and was in the ICU for further observation.
Today, a week later, the worse is over for PB. If she was taken an hour late to the hospital, then, according to the doctor, it could have cost PB her life.
PB is now recovering at home. From the sms'es I got from her recently, I could tell my dear friend is back to her usual self again. Alhamdulillah.
07 June 2009
Kuala Kangsar is a small town where my mother was born. Her father (my beloved Tok) migrated there from Bukit Tinggi in the early 1920's (yes, I have Sumateran blood running through my veins).
As far as I could remember, we would always celebrate Hari Raya at Tok's house in Kuala Kangsar. Not until quite recently, Pekan (my father's kampung) had never been the other alternative.
It was either Kuala Kangsar or Kuala Lumpur. Never Pekan.
As a child, I never asked why we do not celebrate E'id in Pekan. As I grew a little bit older, I figured out that maybe the reason was because there were no Tok and Opah in Pekan.
You see, I didn't get the chance to know my paternal grandfather. He passed away before I was born. I only had little memory of my paternal grandmother. Of someone who was bedridden from a critical illness. She left us when I was five.
I love Tok's house in Kuala Kangsar.
I can vividly picture the two storey half wooden and half brick home . Painted in a nice shade of light blue. A small iron swing on the left of the porch. A wooden garage a bit farther to the left. A sole durian tree in the front lawn.
A railtrack runs at the back of Tok's house. Whenever there's a sound of that familiar horn, Tok's grandchildren would sometimes scurry to the back to catch a glimpse of the passing train.
Farther back, accross the railtrack, there's a small stream. A place where my cousins and I could only dream of venturing. Tok would never allow his grandchildren to wander beyond the back fence. When Tok says no, not even his grown children dared to override his decision.
Tok was a Head Master. A strict diciplinarian.
However, there was this one particular time when we made it to our little stream of dream. Accompanied by our uncle, Tok's youngest son. Needless to say, we had a splash!
It was unfortunately our last adventure beyond the railtracks. A younger male cousin was bitten by a bug and had two wear sarong for 2 days. He looked like someone who had just gone through the boyhood to adulthood ritual of circumcission. Yes. The insect bit him there. The rest of us cousins, naturally, made him the laughing stock for the rest of that E'id holiday.
Tok loved his grandchildren so much that the following E'id, there was a small instant pool made of canvas placed at the back of Tok's house. It was barely big enough for all his grandchildren (almost fifteen who went back for E'id at that time) but nevertheless we had fun.
Tok was also proud of his grandchildren. There was one wall in Tok's house dedicated to family photos. On that wall too, he placed photos of his grandchildren in graduation robes.
I was (and will always be) Tok's fourth grandchild. I was full of envy seeing on that wall for the first time, a photo of my cousin (Tok's eldest grandchild) in graduation robe holding a scroll.
3 years later, his brother made it to the wall.
Both of them were really close to Tok. They went to Malay College Kuala Kangsar. The Eton of The East, some say. Tok took care of them during their days at MCKK.
I remember very well when I received my own graduation photos from the university, I headed to Debenhams in Commercial Road to find a pair of nice frames.
One for my parents and one for Tok.
I passed it to my mother who was leaving for Kuala Lumpur after spending a week and a half in Portsmouth for the graduation ceremony.
"Jangan lupa bagi kat Tok," I reminded her.
I did not make it to the wall. I found about it the following E'id after my return from the UK. I asked Tok where had he placed my graduation photo.
"Ada tu. Kat atas bukit," he said.
Tok's atas bukit was atop a cabinet. Apparently, by the time I had my own graduation photo, the wall had ran out of space. The vain in me had bought quite a large frame which made it impossible to be hung on the wall.
Well, at least, consoling myself, I was the first to be honoured a place at atas bukit. It faced the main living room. In full view of Tok's guests.
Tok passed away on 8th August 2004 at the age of 88.
A week before his passing, the whole family went back to Tok's house. He had just been discharged from the hospital. Tok barely recognised the people around him. The house was full with uncles, aunts and cousins. It was like Hari Raya. But sadness lingered in the air.
That night, we had to rush Tok to the hospital. From the waiting room in the hospital's emergency unit, we could hear Tok screaming in pain as the medical officer made the IV infusion.
That scream never left me til this day.
The next day I went to see Tok at the hospital before leaving for Kuala Lumpur. He was heavily under medication that all he could do was sleep.
It was the last time I saw Tok alive.
A week after, on our way to Tok's house, my mother got a call from her sister. It was the call. The rest of the journey to Tok's house was eerily silent. I was expecting my mother to cry after the call. But she did not.
It was when she kissed Tok's forehead for the last time later that day my mother let go of her emotions. It tugged my heart at that very instant.
After Tok left, Tok Wan, my step grandmother moved to KL and stayed with my aunt. Tok Wan passed away 2 years ago.
Nobody is taking care of Tok's house. I believe it's about time I go back to Kuala Kangsar to visit what's is left of Tok's house. I will do that once I'm back.
And to visit Tok's final resting place.
04 June 2009
"Finally!" I sighed out loud from the kitchen. I was about to prepare "Dada Ayam Terserah". Yupp. I do cook. Once in a blue moon.
Ayam Terserah because.. ya, terserah gue mau masukin apa. It all depends on the raw ingredients immidiately available at that moment. It's something I learned from Buntal, my housemate during uni days. However, Buntal's primary goal in preparing a meal was good tasting food.
Unfortunately, his primary is my secondary. My main concern is minimal mess.
So there I was in the kitchen, with a cleaver in hand, slicing the chicken breast while listening with all eargerness to the interview.
My hopes went high. I thought to my self, at long last, an official from the Malaysian Government was about to offer clarification on the sensitive issue at hand.
Mid way through the interview, my hopes went for a free fall.
I was half-expecting a wise minister speaking. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
"... itu di bawah Kementerian Dalam Negeri. Bukan di bawah Kementerian Pertahanan". Oh great! Ping-pong game?
".. saya belum terima laporan dari Menteri Dalam Negeri". After almost three weeks this incident surfaced and outraged Indonesians? More like a Menteri Dalam Tempurung.
If you're not prepared to shed light on the matter, why grant an interview?
And the killer moment.
The anchor asked for the upteenth time, what remedial action would Malaysia take on the issue. Our "wise" Defence Minister, audibly upset, shot back a question which clearly showed his lack of intelligence,
"... apa yang hilang?"
To which the anchor sharply replied,
I found myself half chuckling. I hope this guy doesn't end up becoming our Prime Minster.
Focusing back to my Dada Ayam Terserah, I prayed hard for the fate of Malaysian national security at the helm of this man.
I was no longer slicing delicately. It turned into forceful chops.
01 June 2009
1. Apa perasaan anda sekarang?
Panas. The building's central air-cond broke down since Friday.
2. Saya nak makan...
Now? Sate Kajang, yong tau foo Kpg. Pandan & ayam masak kuzi.
3. Saya tak suka...
At this precise moment - the building manager!! Sebab dia janji the air-cond would be up and running again by Monday. Satu penipuan!!
4. Impian saya...
To retire in Bali.
5. Haiwan yang saya tidak suka
Semua haiwan saya suka. Yang saya tak suka, manusia berperangai haiwan.
6. Saya harapkan..
Cepatle diaorang baiki air-cond office ni.
7. Jika boleh diputarkan masa
8. Saya pada 10 tahun akan datang
Akan berusia 46 tahun. But hopefully will have the spirit of a 25 year-old.
9. Handphone saya adalah sebuah...
.... handphone yang murah sebab saya teramatlah kedekut beli yang mahal.
10. Saya pernah bercinta sebanyak...(Since the questions are in Bhs Malaysia, bercinta here means fall in love. In Bhs Indonesia, the word bercinta means copulate... hehe)
Kurang dari jumlah isteri Syeikh Puji.
11. Saya suka pada...
12. Kawan-kawan saya...
Hampir semua dah kahwin.
13. Pernah dikhianati?
14. Apa yang hendak anda lakukan terhadap orang yang mengkhianati anda?
Tak ada apa sebab dia dah mintak maaf pun. But I will never forget!!!... (chewahhh!!)
15. Senaraikan 8 orang untuk di tag.
Err.. Tak payah lah. Saya tengah panas ni.
29 May 2009
Notice my nationality?
In the eyes of Polres Metropolitan Jakarta Selatan, I'm a citizen of KORSEL.
Bukan KORSET ya. Itu yang dipakai Dewi Persik waktu manggung. For non-Indonesian readers, KORSEL is short for Korea Selatan.
I just don't understand how they could make such a mistake. Dah sah-sah nama aku doesn't even come close to sounding like a Korean name. It's not as if my name was spelled Aa Jung-Wan.
I told about the mistake to the agent. He asked me to check my SKLD card. He said as long as the details on that card are correct, then it's fine. Fortunately the SKLD card states the correct citizenship.
On an un-related note, do you have marital problems and don't mind washing your dirty linen in public?
While skipping through the terrestrial channels (again, the cheapskate in me decided not to instal pay TV), one particular program caught my attention.
It showed a lady in heated argument with her husband. Which later ensued with pushing and shoving between the two. Soon after, a young lady joined the fracas by pushing the wife. Then, came a second young lady to defend the wife by pulling the hair of the first young lady.
Apparently, the wife is accusing her husband of having an affair with the first young lady who happens to be her niece. The one who claimed to have witnessed the affair? The second young lady who is also the wife's niece.
A plot fit for a sinetron, huh? In the hands of Ram Soraya, the plot could be expanded into thousands of sinetron episodes (which insult our intelligence).
The program is called Curhat Dengan Anjasamara. I think the most suitable title is Slug Fest Mania.
I do not know if the whole act was staged or not. If it is, then, good news for sinetron producers. There won't be the issue of a dearth in sinetron actors.
And last night I caught a program on a different channel, but still along the same line of washing-your-dirty-linen-in-public. It's called Masihkah Kau Mencintaiku?
The program is more civilised. No pushing or shovings. There is also a panel of two women advisors who looked like the've tasted a lot of salt (translated : dah banyak makan garam).
The funny thing is, all participants were wearing miniscule masquerade mask. If the purpose was to protect the participant's identity, then it failed miserably. I think a mask equivalent to the size of Julia Perez's bra cup would hide their identity well.
Owh.. the co-host of this program is Helmi Yahya. Ehmmm.... shouldn't he consider being a participant too?
Did the programs facilitate in finding a solution for the feuding couples? Well, the one hosted by Anjasmara, finding a solution surely wasn't the main objective. It's more of a cheap attempt at getting viewers to enjoy the physical attacks and verbal abuses.
Would I want to watch these programs again?
Not in this lifetime.