25 September 2008

Selamat Hari Raya

Beg besor tu 28 kg penuh ngan kain Bonda terchenta

When I was a student in ITM Shah Alam (now UiTM), I always envy my friends who had the chance to experience the balik kampung excitement.

You could see the joy on their faces, the day they leave for their hometown to be reunited with their parents and family (to some, after being away for an entire year).

That time, I balik kampung almost every week. My parents' house was only 45 minutes away.

Then, when I was in the UK, balik kampung during Eid ul Fitr was only possible in my dreams. Lain le kalo bapak aku tokey kedai Guilati's or the owner of Garuda Nasi Padang.

This year, for the third time in my life, I am part of the balik kampung or mudik during lebaran. After not being home for almost a year, I have the right to be overly excited. Haha!.

To all my Muslim friends, wherever you are, I would like to wish


To those travelling home for lebaran, have a safe journey.

22 September 2008

Metro Mini

Jakarta's Metro Mini are equivalent to the mini buses which once roamed the streets of Kuala Lumpur. In many ways, both are strikingly similar - down to the attitude of the drivers.

They are infamous for menacing the streets. I "affectionately" call them "Drivers From Hell".

It was such a relief when the authorities in Kuala Lumpur decided to cease the services of the mini bus about 13 years ago.

However, here in Jakarta, there are no signs that these mini buses would stop servicing the public. It has been an integral part of Jakarta's public transportation system.

I think the mini bus works on a commission based system. More passengers translates to more money. Hence you'd see them racing each other to get to the waiting passengers at the bus stops.

Passenger comfort is last thing on their mind. What's important is to fill the bus to the max.

Even if it means jeopardizing the safety of passengers.

The pic above was taken from a taxi I was riding in en route to my apartment. You could only see passengers hanging on to the front door. There were more hanging on to the 2nd door at the back. And the bus was tilting heavily to one side.

What disturbed me most is that the passengers didn't seem to mind at all. I mean, if you're paying the same amount of fares, why settle hanging on to the door.

Could't you just wait for another bus? (which seemed a plenty on rush hours).

Musical Fountain

Until last Saturday, I didn't know there was a state-of-the-art musical fountain inside Grand Indonesia Mall.

You see, Grand Indonesia is one hell of a mammoth mall. It takes a few visits to explore and discover the whole area.

I was there for my iftar. Didn't plan to be there. It was a last minute decision. A "friend" was in town and wrote on my Facebook wall 3 weeks ago suggesting that we should go for iftar together during her next trip to Jakarta.

Since she said she would be arriving at 6pm on the 19th and returning to KL on the 21st, it doesn't take half a genius to figure out that the only day available for the buka puasa would be 20th.

So, taking her invitation seriously, I turned down an invitation from my Indonesian director for a "buka bersama" at his spanking new hill-top residence which coincidentally scheduled on the 20th as well.

"A friend of mine is coming from KL and we plan to buka puasa together," I told the director's daughter.

To cut the story short, this "friend" of mine was so wrapped-up with shopping that she conveniently forgot ( I assume lah) I was waiting for her confirmation on the venue of the buka puasa. She hasn't called until today.

So, 30 minutes before iftar, not wanting to buka puasa alone at home, I called up a friend (who was thankfully available) and off we went to Grand Indonesia.

We ventured into the upper floors (where most of the cafe's and restaurants were located) and in our search for the restaurant for our iftar, we came across the musical fountain.

There's a larger musical fountain on the grounds of the Monumen Nasional complex. Haven't got the chance to see that one in action yet. Maybe I'll pay a visit after Lebaran.

21 September 2008

Running Errands

Last weekend was my final weekend in Jakarta before I leave for Kuala Lumpur for my Eid 'ul Fitri holiday.

It was my only free time to get the stuff that some friends had asked me to buy.

Bearing in mind the number of shoppers is significantly higher during the week before Lebaran, I left the house early to avoid the traffic jam and huge crowd.

Things I had to buy - tudung (or called kerudung in Indonesia) and telekung (or mukena in Indonesia). The best place to get them was Tanah Abang Block A. But since I didn't want to risk being engulfed in a sea of people (and the possiblity of breaking my fast at noon), I opted for ITC Kuningan and Mal Ambassador (two connecting malls) instead.

I was there a few minutes after 10 am. Traffic to the place was smooth. First on the agenda was the tudung. I've been buying tudung for my mother and friends since 2006 and I pretty much know how much they should cost. Hence, when a shop quotes me a higher than normal price (they thought a guy knew nuts about the price of tudungs), I would straight away walk-off and find another shop.

"Ko beli tudung kaler light blue, maroon, cream and brown. Aku nak beads yang penuh kat kepala," was the exact instruction from a friend.

Half an hour later, I finally found the tudung with the right colours and beads which from my opinion is not over the top. At the same shop, I bought a few headscarfs too. Might give it away to some friends.

Fortunately, not far from the tudung shop was this shop selling telekung. And I was lucky the one ordered by JM was available (it was the last piece JM).

Next stop - Pondok Indah Mall's Kids Station. What else if none other than getting toys for my nephews. They would interrogate me if I came home emptyhanded.

"Kenapa tak beli toys?"

"You don't have money ke?"

"Why tak borrow money from Pah?"

Macam2 soalan deme ni tanya nanti. Furthermore, I don't have the heart to let them down. I even bought something for my baby nephew.

I have not started packing yet but I dare say that 70% of my luggage would be filled with stuff that don't belong to me.

There were late requests from friends but I had to politely turn them down fearing my luggage would exceed the 20kg baggage allowance.

Ohh... while I was in Pondok Indah Mall, I saw the same tudung selling for Rp300,000. I say, the seller is making outrageous margin.

So Syarliz, ko pakai tudung mahal le Raya nanti.

Real Life Spidey

See anything peculiar in the pic above? Look again.

Is that a man hanging on to the pole?

These pics were taken from thge balcony of my 23rd floor apartment. I caught sight of "spidey" when I was observing the tower next to my apartment which was still under construction.

Apparently, "spidey" was doing some welding works. It takes someone with lots of guts to perch on the metal pole hanging out from the top of the tower. It must have been close to 30 storey high.

I do hope the cable you see from the pics was a safety cable attached to "spidey". If he ever enters "Fear Factor" and there was a challenge which involves height, "spidey" would easily breezed through it.

"Spidey" mencangkung atas pole tu

Penat mencangkung, "Spidey" meniarap

18 September 2008

How Did Your Children Go To School Today?

The above scene was caught in front of my apartment.

No. It's not a common sight in Jakarta. Well at least not for me. I'd like to believe that their normal, safer, mode of transportation broke down and someone (with little concern for safety) got the above substitute.

Needless to say, those school boys were more than happy to hop on the truck. In less than 2 minutes everyone was already on board. Sitting precariously at the back.

I hope it was only for a short ride.

17 September 2008

Whaddyaa Mean?

How many times when you heard a statement from a politician you go...

Uhhhh??? ........Duhhhh!!!

Same here. Gazzillion times. Here's an excerpt from Utusan Online today:

"Saya juga memilih hari ini 17 September kerana ia adalah Nuzul Quran, hari di mana al-Quran diturunkan ke bumi,"

The above was said by none other than the we-all-love-to-hate infamous son inlaw. Please-lah, don't equate the significance of the day of the revelation of the first verse of the Holy Al-Quran to the day you begged to be nominated as the UMNO Youth Chief.

Then he added,

"Pemuda UMNO harus bersama generasi muda yang ada di luar UMNO dan hendaklah menjadi badan yang 'inclusive' bukannya 'eksklusif',''

Ya ka? I always thought that the UMNO youth wing is exclusively for those who wants to have a better chance of getting a share of government's projects.

Apa-apa la. Terserah. As far as I'm concerned, sincere and honest politicians are hard to come by these days.

You can read the full story here.

Meanwhile yesterday, in Kuala Lumpur, two best buddies (who both, by the way, suffer from acute in-denial syndrom) did a little swapping.

From The Star:

"During this period, I will gradually hand over to him (Najib) my duties and responsibilities and now it is time for me to pass on the Finance Minister post (to him),"

You hand over one ministry and you get another. Power transition my foot!

We, the rakyat , are really sick and tired with all these political games. I long for the day when Malaysia is free from having a clown as her leader.

16 September 2008

It Died On Me

For the second time in my life, it happened!

And to make things worse, of all the days it could have ocurred, it happened in the first week of the month.

That's the period when workload is at max.

My PC, without showing any symptoms, died on me. The screen when black in a blink. I tried restarting the PC. It went as far as "Windows is Loading Your Setting" before going dead again.

This restarting-going dead cycle went on about 5 times. Afterwards, I sat there staring at my PC with a blank look on my face. Then the reality sank in.

I went on a panic overdrive.

You see, the last time I made backup to all the files was in January 2008. That's 8 months worth of work gone.

Mampus, does this mean I have to cut short my two-week Raya holiday? Or worse still, I might not even have the chance to go back to KL.

Rasa macam nak bukak pose je masa tu.

I instructed my staff to call for anyone who does PC repairs. They found one Bapak Budi. Bapak Budi said he'll be at my office before 12pm. I doubt.

True enough, Bapak Budi arrived half past 2 in the afternoon. Dengan senyum2 bersalah.

He tried to "resucitate" my PC. After a while, he said he had to bring back the CPU to his shop for further inspection.

I told him, the top most priority now is to recover the files.

My Raya holidays depended on him! (well, didn't actually say it but I felt like telling it to Pak Budi, on my knees).

At 9am the next morning, I got a call from Pak Budi. He told me that he still could not rectify the problem.

"Bad sektor Pak".

Bad sector, precinct, seksyen or whatever!.. All I want to know is that my files could be recovered.

Have you ever been without a PC in the office. Believe me, you'd feel like one useless being. How much our life in the office is soooo dependable on the PC. For work and other stuff (which includes YM, surfing the world wide web and errr... updating blogs).

2 days after my PC died on me, Pak Budi came back with the CPU. Much to my relief, he said he was able to recover all the data in it. He did explain what was wrong with the PC but it was too technical for my understanding (see, when it comes to IT, I'm a complete idiot).

Seriously, I felt like giving Pak Budi a warm big hug! Why not? Afterall, he saved my holiday!!

02 September 2008

Pasar Ramadhan Permata Hijau

Above is the pic of the pasar ramadhan located across my apartment. The pic was taken on 1st day of puasa. I was there around 4-ish. Still many empty stalls. I was probably there early. Or so I thought. However, when I went there yesterday, half an hour before iftar, the situation was the same.

Alahai.... seriously, I could do the pasar ramadhan in sub two minutes. Dah la kocik, the food variety was not that much either. You could only find kue and drinks. No lauk. And the odd thing is, almost every stall is selling the same types of kue... risoles, lumpia and one other kue which is similar to our curry puff.

I seriously need to find a merrier pasar ramadhan nearby. I'm thinking of going to the one on the grounds of Pondok Indah mosque today.

The maddening congestion - people trying to reach home in time for iftar