28 January 2008

The Quickest Way To Get High Blood

Want to know the easiest way to get yourself a high blood pressure?

Go and deal with Indonesian Banks.

In my previous posting I wrote about my bad experience dealing with Bank LNM (actually Bank BCA - Bank Central Asia).

Today, I had another round of equally frustrating incident with another bank, Bank BII.

I had with me some money in USD denomination which I wanted to deposit into my USD account with BII. All the notes were in pristine condition i.e. they're not torn, no scribblings and did not even have fold marks.

I went to the nearest BII branch, which was at Pondok Indah Mall. I went to the counter where they had all the forms neatly arranged and took the deposit form. The security personnel was even kind enough to take a queue number for me while I was busy filling in the form.

So far, so good.

Then, my number was called. I handed the teller lady my form along with my money. She scrutinised all the notes like an Egypthologist scrutinising an artefect from King Tut's tomb.

This was when the nightmare began.



She showed me the single patah note. Bloody hell... it's just a tiny weeny fold mark which would be unnoticed at a glance... or a few glances.

To me it was still too minor a patah to be such a big issue.

Me : "Mbak, patahnya cuma kecil aja. Apa nggak bisa terima?"

Teller : "Bentar saya tanyakan ke supervisor saya"

Moments later,

Teller : "Nggak bisa terima pak"

Me : "Mbak, uang itu di buat dari kertas. Bukannya dari plastik yang keras. Makanya memang wajar jika ada kesan begitu"

At this moment I was starting to get highly agitated.

The supervisor decided to interrupt.

Supervisor : "Kami bisa terima, tapi bapak harus bayar komisi 1%"

Pungkok hang!! Aku ni dah le customer nak simpan duit dalam bank diaorg, ada hati nak charge aku for such a bloody trifle thing.

Me : "What should I do now?"

Teller : "Terus gimana pak?"

Phantuekkk sangat. Aku tanya ko, ko tanya aku balik.

I simply could not contain my anger. I exploded.

Me : "Tak payah. Bagi balik duit saya. Indonesia ni pelik!!! Banyak peraturan bodoh!!!" I deliberately spoke in Bahasa Malaysia. All eyes were on me.

Peduli hapa aku!

I took back my money from the teller's hands and walked off. I then called BII's customer service line to find out the next nearest BII branch.

Half an hour later I arrived at BII Plaza Pondok Indah branch. Repeated the same routine and waited for my number to be called.

Ting!!!Tong!! Nomer Sembilan Puluh Enam... my number was called less than two minutes later.

Again, I did the same thing. Handed over the deposit form and the money. This time the teller gave the money to the supervisor to be inspected.

Two minutes passed. The teller came back to me with the money in hand. I braced myself for what she had to say.

Teller : "Pak, ada dua lembar uangnya patah"

Me : "Mbak, saya tadinya udah pergi ke cabang di Pondok Indah. Saya tidak puas hati dengan service di sana. Makanya saya datang ke sini. I came all the way from Pondok Indah and I expect to get better service here!"

Teller : "Tapi pak, memang kami tidak bisa terima uang dalam kondisi begini"

Me : "Mbak, saya udah berantam dengan orang2 di Pondok Indah. Makanya saya datang ke sini. Uang itu di buat dari kertas. Bukannya plastik. Saya sudah bekerja di Cambodia, di Singapore (okay, a little lie here), di Kuala Lumpur, nggak ada peraturan yang bodoh dan nggak masuk akal seperti di Indonesia ini!"

Again, the moment I said bodoh, all eyes were on me. The supervisor decided to assist her subordinate.

Supervisor : "Tapi pak, bukan di bank ini sahaja, peraturannya di seluruh bank2 di Indonesia"

Me : "Makanya, peraturan yang gak masuk akal seperti ini yang harus dirubah. Mbak pikir ya, jika saya ke Amerika, tentu uangnya saya masuk ke dalam dompet dan di lipat. Terus, jika saya pulang ke Indonesia uang yang udah di lipat itu saya harus ganti di mana? You don't expect me to frame my USD notes dan bawa frame itu waktu berjalan?"

The supervisor mumbled something to the teller.

Teller : "Kali ini kami terima uang bapak. Tapi kami mohon yang seterusnya bapak pastikan uangnya dalam kondisi baik. Maaf ya pak".

Me : "Terima kasih mbak. Tapi saya tetap katakan peraturan itu nggak masuk akal. Ianya harus dirubah. Maaf mbak Sandy dan Tanti karena saya agak emosional. Tadinya saya udah di reject keras oleh cabang Pondok Indah. Justeru itu saya ke sini"

They did the right thing i.e. giving priority to customer's satisfaction at the expense of the bank's stupid policy. I commended them for that. I wish their colleagues at the Pondok Indah Mall could learn a thing or two on good customer service from these two ladies.

To calm myself down, I went for a quick retail therapy and bought a... errrr... tak yah lah bgtau. Korang datang sini aku tunjuk apa aku beli untuk lower my blood pressure.

23 January 2008

@#$#$#$%^*&^%%!!!!!!!

I am really pissed off!! What a bad way to start the day.

I'm in the midst of applying for a housing loan. The Malaysian bank from which I made my loan application had asked me to furnish them with the past 3-months' account statement of the Indonesian bank into which my allowance is being credited.

So, this morning I went to the Indonesian bank (which shall be known as Bank LNM - Lembab Nak Mampos).

But before that, yesterday, I called their customer service to ask how I could get my bank statement printed. The lady on the other end of the line explained everything.

Okay. Everything seemed simple enough. It is always important to have a worst case scenario in your mind so that you would not get overly frustrated.

So, the worst case scenario I had was that I would be asked to come back the following day to collect my bank statement.

I had it done in KL before and I got the bank statement on the same day. This being Indonesia, I added another 24 hrs. Afterall, Bank LNM is one of the largest banks in Indonesia.

And so, this morning I did exactly what I was told. I went to the branch where I opened my account and brought along with me all the necsessary documents i.e my passbook, Indonesian I.D and Malaysian passport.

So there I was this morning, at the customer service counter, explaining to the CS lady the purpose of my visit.

I then produced all the documents required. The CS lady smiled.

CS lady : "Bapak keburu apa nggak?"

Hmmm... I gave a quick thought. If I say I wasn't in a hurry, she might ask me to wait for some time for the statement to be printed out. If I say yes, I really want the statement as soon as possible, maybe she would print it instantly.

Me : " Ya mbak. Saya agak keburu. Saya mau rekening korannya di print sekarang"

CS lady : "Maaf pak, kami nggak bisa print sekarang. Permohonan bapak harus kami kirim ke bank pusat dan bank pusat akan kirim kembali ke sini."

Me : "Terus, kapan bisa saya ambil?"

CS lady : "Lima hari pak"

Seriously, I swore I could feel blood rising to my head. If I were Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, this was the moment where my shirt would have started ripping and I would start turning green.

Me : "Aduuhh!!! Benda yang simple harus ngambil 5 hari??!! Saya stress mbak!! Stress!!! Stress!!". I said this with both my hands on my forehead.

I did a cerekarama/sinetron/soap opera at the customer service counter. I was over-dramatising my frustration. The CS lady manning the other counter was now staring at me.

Peduli apa aku!! Memang lahanat sangat bank ni!!!

I regained my composure.

Me : "Ok mbak. Hari ini Khamis. Jika 5 hari, maka hari Khamis minggu depan baru saya bisa dapat statement saya. Oleh karena ini Indonesia, saya pasti saya nggak bakalan dapat statement saya hari Khamis. Saya kasi sampei Jum'at. Saya mau mbak pastikan paling lambat saya terima statement saya hari Jum'at minggu depan. Jika saya terima statement saya lebih awal dari hari Khamis, itu satu keajaiban yang besar".

By now, the customer seated at next counter was looking at me. It was not my intention to insult anyone, but I've been here long enough to know how they work.

I left the bank feeling utterly frustrated. I just could not fathom how such a simple thing as printing a bank statement would require 5 bloody working days.

As I always say, that's Indonesia folks!!

22 January 2008

Driving In KL and Jakarta

When it comes to driving, I can be considered a late starter. At 17, most of my friends knew how to drive. Whether they were driving legally, that's a diferrent story.

Back then, I couldn't care less about learning how to drive. There was no pressure. This may be due to the fact that my family had only one car. Even if I had learnt to drive, the car was always being used by my father. Except for night time.

My parents were strict. My siblings and I were brought up with a lot of rules thrown upon us. So, back then, going out at night to hang out with friends was something we didn't get to do often. I simply couldn't imagine my parents allowing me to drive for a rendevous with my friends at that time.

Motorbike was (and still is) a big no to my mother.

You see, my mother was a nurse. She worked in the HUKM surgery clinic at HKL. She'd seen every imaginable injury from motorbike accidents. Hence, the motorbike phobia.

So, at 18, when I pursued my Diploma in Shah Alam, I felt I was the only male student on campus who neither knew how to drive nor ride a motorbike. And to make it even more malufying (embarassing), I was a KL boy. Hey, back then, a city boy was expected to at least know how to ride a motorbike.

Eventually, I did learn how to ride a bike, thanks to my room mate, Ridhuan. But I remember I wasn't particularly excited about it.

My first ever experience driving a car was in the U.K. My housemate, Buntal (nama samaran sebenar), had allowed me to drive his car in a large vacant parking bay. Okay.... it was an automatic transmission car. It made everything easier.

I was excited. Buntal was nervous.

Months later, I had my first formal driving lessons from a certified driving instructor. I opted for the automatic car. In the U.K, you could get a driver's license specifically for automatic cars.

Pemandu Cacat (disabled driver) was the term my friends fondly used on me.

So, my early driving experience was in the U.K where almost everyone followed the rules on the road. As far as I could remember, they were civilised drivers. It was such a pleasant experience driving in the U.K.

When I came back to KL, the situation was the total opposite. You'd get people tail-gating you so close that you could see their nasal hair from your rear view mirror. They would abruptly change lanes for no apparent reason. Zebra crossings were merely black & white paint on the roads which bears no meaning. Yellow lights meant to increase acceleration. Upon reaching a roundabout, they'd be in the far right lane and do a 9 o' clock. I could go on forever with this, you know.

Fortunately, my U.K driving habits stayed with me eventhough sometimes I do get complaints from my friends for driving by the rules (to them, I'm a slow driver).

Until this day, driving in Malaysia could get me so frustrated and stressful. That's why back in KL, I would only drive at night when there are less morons on the roads.

I used to believe that Malaysia must be the worst place on earth to drive.

Well.... that changed when I arrived in Jakarta.

I always wonder whether motorists in Indonesia receive any formal driving lessons. I say this because they seem to be doing everything wrong.

i) You're driving a car. You give out a signal to make a left turn. You look at your left view mirror for motorbikes. Wait for the stream of motorbikes to pass you before you could make that turn. Somehow, the motorcyclists think that they have the right of way.

ii) Driving at 60 km/h in the fast lane on a highway is acceptable. Don't worry about holding up traffic behind you because they would simply overtake you from the left lane. If all lanes are full, feel free to use the emergency lane for overtaking.

iii) The white lines on the roads are for decorative purpose. On a very heavy traffic day, 3 lanes of road would turn into 5 lanes. The traffic congestion term here is not only confined to "bumper-to-bumper" but also "side mirror-to-side mirror".

iv) When the above (iii) occurs, motorcylists are free to transform the pedestrian sidewalks/footpaths into motorbike lanes. Pedestrians are then expected to give way to the motorbikes by walking carefully on the edges of the footpaths. Those with bad balancing skills might end up in the clogged drains.

v) When the traffic lights turns red, it is actually still green for another 10 seconds or so.

vi) In the situation where you have carelessly passed 15 metres ahead of your grocery shop, don't bother making a u-turn. Feel free to put your car in reverse, and slowly reverse your way until you reach your stop. No one would honk at you. It would be a surprise if they do.

vii) When you've reached your destination in (vi) above and found that there is no parking space available, do not hesitate to park your car in front of the shop by taking up half of the sidewalk and another half of the road lane. Tip the ever present unofficial parking attendant handsomely and he would not mind directing the traffic, which would eventually build-up, because half of the lane have been blocked by your car.

viii) It's ok to ignore zebra crossings (a relief to Malaysian drivers).

viiii) When you are about to join the main road from an intersection, don't bother looking out for cars coming from the right. Just speed ahead. The oncoming traffic from the right would give way to you.

The above are some of the examples which I have witnessed myself.

I do have to say that Indonesian drivers are a patient lot. I always find myself shaking my head in disbelief when I encounter other drivers doing the silliest of things but Indonesians take it in their stride. Seldom showing anger or frustration.

How they do this is beyond me.

20 January 2008

Rumah Baru

Last Saturday, I went to the new house for inventory checking.

Found out that I had to buy pillows and bedsheets (these are provided at my current apartment). Terpaksa le beli... kalo idak korang nak tido beralaskan lengan ke?




My small lawn.... Aku pastikan bila aku pindah nanti aku buat pattern mcm kat wembley stadium tu.. bentang tikar, minum teh tarik & makan goreng pisang kat sini ngan Talullah sambil mencuci mata...
Ground floor living area... kat belakang on the left tu kitchen.. and kat belakang tu is the inner courtyard.


The inner courtyard... kat sini sesuai buat BBQ.. sapa suka tidor atas batu bolehle lepak kat sini...


The upper floor living area... bunga dia elok sikit le dpd bunga felda taib andak kat apartment lama..



Still have to buy lots of things. Jangan risau... aku akan meng-casa-impian-kan rumah ni dengan bantuan kawan baik aku, Hajjah Saedatun Halijah.

16 January 2008

Soccer Coach

This afternoon, as I was heading to Pondok Indah Mall's foodcourt for lunch, the sight of a stunning bule (caucasion or mat salleh) lady caught my eyes.

She was speaking to a man (back facing me) and moments later she went down the escalator to the ground floor. The man then turned and walked toward my direction.

Hey... I know this guy.

I smiled, extended my right hand and introduced myself. He smiled and shook my hand with a firm handshake.

During the short conversation, I got to know that he's been in Indonesia for a year now. He's currently coaching the Pelita Jaya soccer club. I told him that I haven't had the chance to watch any local soccer clubs in action because I was afraid of the over enthusiastic (read : unruly and highly agressive) soccer fans.

He laughed and agreed with my statement (on the soccer fans). He then asked me how long have I been working in Indonesia to which I said two years and added that I loved it here.

I then said hello to his son and said thank you for his time and excused myself.

Here's a photo of me with the soccer coach.

I deliberately photoshopped the pic into B&W so that the crow's feet at the corner of my eyes would not look that obvious compared with that of the 46-year-old soccer coach... who.. errr... has none (sedih le... dia nampak lagi muda dpd aku).

Ohh... the stunningly beautiful caucasion lady was his wife.

If you want to know more about this soccer coach pls click the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandi_Ahmad.

15 January 2008

Old Batavia (Kota) - Pt. 2




Jalan Melaka pun ada





15 tahun bebudak ni tunggu polis ni tolong deme cross jalan
















Cin-taik Sungai Kita!

11 January 2008

Old Batavia (Kota) - Pt 1

One not so fine Sunday morning, I was feeling terribly bored. I ran out of things to do at home.

Floors mopped. Bathrooms sparkling clean. Laundry done. Garbage taken out. Plants watered. Nasal hair trimmed. White hair plucked out.

Wasn't in the mood to go to the gym. Wasn't in the mood to meet anyone either. I needed time to do things alone.

Then I remembered a fortnight ago a friend of mine had asked me to follow him to Kota for a photo shoot. I politely turned down his offer because the shoot was at 6am on a Sunday morning. Gila ke hapa nak suruh aku bangun pagi buta hari Ahad...

I took out Jakarta's map to give me a rough idea of Kota's location. This is important because I could confidently instruct the taxi driver which route to take. The key is to sound confident and look as though you've been there thousand of times. Otherwise there might be a chance of you being taken on a longer route.

I was all dressed up. With shades and a small sling bag stuffed with Ipod and the all important camera.

Called a Bluebird taxi. 10 minutes later I was in a taxi. Damn!! Just what I needed. A talkative cab driver!! He was trying to engage in a conversation. Aku tak nak borak le!!! Aku nak menikmati pemandangan Jakarta di pagi Ahad!!

After a 25-minute journey filled with one sided conversation (the cab driver did most of the talking), the taxi pulled over by the side of an old building.

"Udah nyampei Pak. Musium nya ada di depan sana" while pointing toward the direction of a deserted street. Well, after all, it's only 8.00 am.

I got off the cab and walked towards the direction of the museum.

I reached what seemed like a town square. The most prominent building at this square is the Museum Sejarah Jakarta.



Since I was a bit too early, the museum hasn't opened its' doors yet. I decided to explore the whole of Kota on foot.

If you're expecting to see something like the Malacca historical site, then you're in for a great disappointment.

Old buildings are aplenty. A few buildings, mainly those fronting the square, have been wondefully restored. However, beyond this square, most of the old buildings are in a sorry state. It's really a shame.

I simply could not understand why the authorities could not develop Kota into a more decent tourist attraction.If the whole area had been carefully restored to its' glorious days, I'm sure tourists would come in droves.



There weren't any proper footpaths/sidewalks so getting around was a bit treacherous.

Majestic old buildings being left to the harsh elements of nature. Dilapidated. As if waiting to crumble.




I noticed a lot of eyes were on me. I was the only one happily snapping pictures of everything around me. Including the mail box!

Ignore them! Ignore them! You're a very, very tanned British bloke on a holiday in Jakarta - I kept telling myself.

I wandered around Kota for a good one and a half hour. I would come again for the museums one day.

Would I recommend others to visit Kota?

Well, if you're a history buff and love the charm of old buildings, then Kota is a definate yes.

If you're a history buff and love the charm of better looking old buildings carefully restored to its' former glory, then go to Malacca or Penang.


I'll post more photos in my next entry.

10 January 2008

Happy New Year!!

Selamat Tahun Baru Hijrah 1429.

Semoga tahun baru ini kita diberkati dengan kesihatan & kemurahan rezeki.

On the eve of the Islamic new year I attended a cocktail party organised by a local telco. It was held at one of the hottest nightspots in Jakarta.

Sexy dancers wearing the skimpiest of hot pants and free flow of every imaginable alcoholic drinks.

The irony of it all? The major shareholder is from Saudi Arabia.

07 January 2008

First Guests To My New House

I called up a good old friend of mine this morning (ko tau ko sapa).

He is vertically challenged (mintak ampunn!!!).

He along with another good friend of mine (who is also vertically challenged) and his wife are planning to travel to Jakarta soon.

Their visit will co-incide with my moving to the new house.

I hope they wouldn't mind and would understand the chaotic condition of the new house. Please brace yourselves to sleep on bedsheet-less matresses with pillow-case-less pillows.

It would be a good idea to bring along your own pillow cases and bedsheets (paling cabuk pun Aussino) and leave them here for safe-keeping and later forgotten.

I will organise a "ribbon cutting ceremony" for you guys to officiate my new house. And ohh... please bring along the ribbons.

These people are my closest bestest friends. They are welcome to my house at any time of the year. I've known them since uni days.

I've shared a house with one of them way back then in Pelabuhan Mulut. Actually, the truth is I was an illegal squatter in his house. Not that I don't have my own place.

A short guy who loves to please others, an orang Jawa who loves to cook and a errr "slim" girl who loves to do nothing but sing and eat, you put them together in a house and presto!! you'd get a cheap stress relief medication. The reason why I was happily squatting there.

Ohh... there was another person living in that house but he's too busy admiring himself in the mirror to socialise with others.

But I digress.

Ok... this friend of mine told me that another friend, Ms Enon (bukan nama sebenar) wanted to come to Jakarta again.

I was jumping with joy!!! So happy I was that I started singing Barry Manilow's Copacobana at the top of my lungs!!

NOT!!!!!

She can come to Jakarta for all I care, but please not stay in my house.

I receive guests from Malaysia almost every month. Family, relatives and friends. Some of these friends, occasionally, would bring along others whom I know not. But I don't mind. It's another way of fostering new friendships. I have no problem with that.

The problem starts when the guests show little respect to the host.

A friend of mine with his wife stayed over at my place not too long ago. On the first night, upon the request from the husband, I took them to a Nasi Padang restaurant. The wife was not eating much. When asked by the husband, she said " Yang ni kat Malaysia pun ada".

I was screaming in my head "Woiii!!! kalau nak makanan yang takde kat Malaysia pergi Zimbabwe!!! Jangan datang Indonesia!! This is a Nasi Padang restaurant for goodness sake! What do you expect? Sweet and sour rhinocerous meat?!!"

Miraculously, I managed not to show my displeasure on the remarks made by the wife (this rarely happens though).

Then there was this one guest who was not too pleased when I brought her to ITC Mangga Dua despite being given a brief description of what it was like there. She stopped at one of the shops selling fake watches and started asking for brands which were not available.

The shop assistant showed a few pieces but this guest of mine started telling off the poor shop assistant. "I want brands which are known to produce only watches!!"

For all you know, to the poor non-english speaking shop assistant "Omega Egg" is a series of the Omega watches.

This is Mangga Dua lahh!!! If you want to find a knowledgeable watch sales-person go to Grand Indonesia!!!

Another guest was so fussy about what and where she eats. She complains on the food being served most of the time. She refused to eat in a cafe which she claimed was too smelly (I wonder how she could tell because she was standing about 15 metres away from the cafe's entrance!).

These are some of the guests which gave me terrible headaches.

Fortunately, most of my other guests are a pleasant lot. They don't complain much (not in my face anyway.. ada yang kutuk belakang tu siap korang!!). They don't mind eating in a road-side warung. Most importantly, they respect the host.

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

06 January 2008

Rightfully Yours? Or Ours?

I'm not sure whether people in Malaysia are aware of the recent controversy which angered many Indonesians.

I get questioned a lot by my Indonesian friends. I tried my best to explain the situation. It certainly is not pleasant when they call the country you love Maling-sia (maling as in pencuri).

The issue at the centre of it all being the folksong Rasa Sayang and Reog Ponorogo (a traditional dance which originates from Java). It then blew up to include batik and angklung.

It all started when the song Rasa Sayang was used by Malaysia in an advertisement to promote Malaysia as a tourist destination.

This roused the fury of Indonesians which claimed that the folksong is theirs (Rasa Sayange which is a Maluku folksong).

Then came the Reog Ponorogo issue. It was mentioned on the Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan Malaysia website.

Here are the excerpts:

"Barongan menggambarkan kisah-kisah di zaman Nabi Allah Sulaiman dengan binatang-binatang yang boleh bercakap. Kononnya, seekor harimau telah terlihat seekor burung merak yang sedang mengembangkan ekornya. Apabila terpandang harimau, merak pun melompat di atas kepala harimau dan keduanya terus menari. Tiba-tiba Pamong (Juru Iring) bernama Garong yang mengiringi Puteri Raja yang sedang menunggang kuda lalu di kawasan itu. Pamong lalu turun dari kudanya dan menari bersama-sama binatang tadi. Tarian ini terus diamalkan dan boleh dilihat di daerah Batu Pahat, Johor dan di negeri Selangor."

The Indonesians translate the above as Malaysia claiming the ownership of the traditional dance.

Now, I've read the website ten times, even as far as going at a snail's pace, word by word, but failed to see the words which suggest that we own or for that matter claimed Reog originates from Malaysia.

Mind you, to illustrate the seriousness of this issue (to the Indonesians, anyway), a demo was staged at the gates of the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta. Among the protestors were people from the place called Ponorogo (where the dance originated from).

Watching the bunch of protestors, I wonder if they have ever surfed the internet and took the trouble to at least read the statement on the Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan's website.

On second thought, do they even know what's internet? Hmmmmm....

It then blew out of proportions. They (Indonesians) now claim that Malaysia is stealing what is rightfully theirs the examples being, among others, batik and angklung. Some even say that rendang is not ours (I'm going to ignore this comment because I find it too amusing to take it seriously).

Maybe the Indonesians are too lazy or just could not be bothered about the history of people migration. Human beings have been migrating for centuries. With the migration, they would take with them not only their worldly tangible posessions but also tradition and culture.

All over the world, you would find people of different races and faiths practising their own set of values, tradition and culture, and yet they live side by side in one country.

You would find a Chinese-South African in Johannesburg, a Japanese-American in New York, a Niger-Russian in Vladivostok, a Malay-French in Calais... and of course, a Javanese-Malaysian in Batu Pahat.

Javanese and Sumaterans have long been known to have migrated to Tanah Melayu. My late maternal grandfather was from Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera.

If you travel to the kampungs in Johor you'd find Boso Jowo being widely used.

Go slightly north you'd find Bahasa Minang as the spoken language. There's even a community of orang Bangkahulu in Rawang.

And ohh... I'd like to suggest to my Indonesian friends to drop by Kampung Pandan in Kuala Lumpur. You'd feel like home.

My point is, it shouldn't be such an anger-arousing surprise that some communities in Malaysia have similarities where customs, traditions and culture are concerned. But they are undoubtedly Malaysians!!

Our (Malaysia) only fault is that we promote this culture to the rest of the world. Just as we potray Chinese, Indian, Portuguese and numerous other tradition and culture which are being practised in Malayisa. We did not (and never will) claim those culture as ours.

I was laughing my ass out when I saw an advertisment by a well known brand in Indonesia, educating or more precisely, instilling awareness that batik, reog ponorogo, angklung, kuda kepang, among others, are traditions which are rightfully theirs. Then, it showed Agnes Monica (Indonesian singer) saying "Truly, Indonesia" with a smirk (Malaysia, Truly Asia.. get it?).

Malaysia is telling the whole wide world about a myriad of culture and traditions in existence in Malaysia, and here you have Indonesia still educating its' people to be aware and to love batik, angklung and reog ponorogo. By a private sector paying for an advertisment slot on TV, nonetheless.

Indonesians should be proud that their culture have prospered in other places. They have very beautiful and rich culture which they too, should preserve and promote to the rest of the world.

I've grown fond of the Indonesian people and Jakarta. But when they started throwing baseless and ill-informed accusations and started calling my country with deragotary names, I simply could not keep quiet, now, could I?

03 January 2008

Gloomy Skies

It's been raining everyday for the past three days.

The water level of the river in front of my apartment has risen and undoubtedly will overflow its' banks if the rain continues the next few days.

Gloomy. Reminds me of British weather.

I won't be seeing my boss for the whole of next week. He's off to the red dot on the map with his family for holidays. Wish I could go for a break too!!! Seriously, weeks after weeks of entertaining guests, I think it's about time I reward myself with a nice and peaceful time on my own.

Jogja? Kepulauan Seribu? Tanjung Lesung? Anyir?.... Hmmm.... I'll decide soon. But I think it's best if I go after I have settled in the new house.

Meanwhile, I got myself these two new reads for this month.



The first one is by Zaid Ibrahim. Bought it for Rp134,000. (approx RM50). In KL it is sold for RM30. But what the heck, it is not easy to get Malaysian books here and I bought it anyway.

The second book is a guide to living and working in Jakarta. I know, I know... I should have got this book when I first step my foot in Jakarta but I think by reading it now, I can relate more to the author's experiences.

I was trying my luck searching for Growing Up In Trengganu (GUiT) by Awang Goneng. But to no avail. Please, if any of you planning to come to Jakarta soon, could you be kind enough to get me a copy of GUiT.

I'll give you a hefty discount on accommodation :-)

01 January 2008

Welcome 2008!

Happy New Year!!!

I will not reflect on my personal achievements (and non-achievements) during 2007 as I regard them to be very personal. However, what I do know is I will strive harder to obtain the goals which I have set for myself for 2008.

The things I'd like to achieve this year? Biorle rahsia...

Now, to my new year celebration. Let me just say that I was somewhere peaceful, quiet and nice with a few friends.

Sorry Steve for not being able to invite you and Atian to join me as it was a private affair. Sialan je Steve buat spekulasi aku main Monopoly sorang2 kat rumah on New Year's eve.

Ohh... my friend Steve and his neighbour Ashley were in Jakarta. They arrived on Saturday 29th December on a very very short notice - 8 hours to be precise. Steve ni mereng sikit.... dia ingat pergi Jakarta ni macam nak pergi Pengkalan Kubur je.

I will write an entry on their visit soon.

Anyway, here's a video courtesy of my friend Aggraini who was near Monas on New Year's eve.


video