23 December 2008


I know. It's a bit late. But what the heck!.....

Selamat Tahun Baru 1430 Hijrah & Selamat Tahun Baru 2009!!!

The last update was last year. Been busy with guests and the long holidays. Two "hari terjepit" in two consecutive weeks!.

A lot of interesting things happened within the two weeks before the new year.

One of them is related to Pasar Blok A Tanah Abang. Those who have been there know the sheer size of this mall (errr ... if you can call it that).

A fortnight ago, two friends of mine were in Jakarta. One of them brought along his parents, an older sister and a 18-month old niece. All on their first visit to Jakarta.

On their request, I took them to Pasar Blok A, Tanah Abang. We arrived at noon and I straight away took them to the B1 floor.

By the way, let me tell you how they name all the levels starting from the lowest floor - B2, B1,LG, SLG, G, 1, 2, 3, 3A, 5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and A.


B1 & B2 - the B stands for the standard Basement, of course.

SLG - Semi-Lower Ground - it's the floor between lower ground and ground floor. They could simply name it LG (then the current LG becomes B1, followed by B2 and finally B3) but then simplicity is not a norm here. I once asked a friend what does SLG means, he simply said it stands for - Sikit Lagi.

A - is for Atap. Talk about inconsistency! You have Basement, Ground, Semi-ground floors, and then all of a sudden they decided to name the rooftop in Bahasa Indonesia!

Ok. You might ask why in the world would I waste my time observing the way they name all their floors.

That unfortunate day, I had to be part of a small search team.

This was due to the disappearance of the father in that group. He wandered off by himself. Strayed away from the rest in the group who were busy looking at kebaya, batik and mukena.

My other friend, moments after realising the father of his friend was missing, started to search around the nearby area. Then the daughter of the missing father said,

"Don't worry about my bapak. Let's find the kebaya first."

I was mad. Fuming mad! I went to her and slapped her on the left cheek. Another landed on her right cheek. Then I looked straight into her eyes and said " Kebaya lebih penting dari Bapak ko sendiri!?? Dasar anak derhaka!! Sedar tak apa yang ko cakap??!!" before giving a final slap on her forehead.

Ok. I didn't actually do the above. But the scene played over and over again in my head. I had a mild sinetronesis attack. I seriously have to cut back on watching sinetron.

So, without showing an ounce of concern, the whole family went on with their shopping spree. And I thought to myself - if they couldn't care less about their father, then why should I?

For the next 3 hours they only did 2 floors - B1 and SLG. Throughout the entire time, not even once we bump into the father. Still, it was not enough to make them worried.

Until 4 pm.

That's when they were exhausted from shopping and headed to the 8th floor foodcourt. They tried calling the father's mobile a few times. No ringing tone. Now, they had the worried look on their faces.

My friend (the son), another friend of mine and myself went on searching different floors tasked between us. While the ladies stayed behind at the foodcourt.

We even asked the lady at the information counter to make an announcement through the building's P.A system. However the volume was too low to be heard over the speakers.

Before we knew it it was already 5pm. Most of the shops were already closing for the day. Still no sign of the father.

By then, all the other exits, except for exits to the left and right of the main door entrance, were closed. We took our position at both doors. Hoping that the father would eventually come out through one of the doors.

The building's security personnel have been alerted to be on the lookout for a 60-year old Malaysian man who might look confused (seriously, that's what one of them said over the walkie-talkie).

6 pm. The father was still not in sight. Now, the family was getting really worried.

I, on the other hand, was getting restless.

Then the mother approached me and asked me to check my apartment. I called the apartment's receptionist. She sent someone to check the lounge area just opposite my unit's entrance. No one was there.

So I told the receptionist to call me immediately if she sees my missing guest.

It was almost 7 pm when we left Pasar Tanah Abang. The mother again asked me to check the apartment. I called. Asked the receptionist to send someone to check the lounge area. This time, the father was there. My missing guest had found his way back to the apartment.

Everyone was relieved. Yeay! Happy ending!!

When we finally arrived at my apartment, the family members gathered around the father and was instantly in a high pitch "discussion".

First time ever in my three years of hosting guests such a thing happened.

Anyone know where I can get one of those homing devices where I can track the movement of my guests on the Sat Nav systems?

18 December 2008

Blast From The Past!

Life has been quite hectic lately.

Blame it on the school holidays in Malaysia. If you think school holidays in Malaysia do not in any way affect my life in Indonesia, then, you're wrong.

'Tis is the time when relatives and friends in Malaysia take their family on holiday. Most of them are bored with the tiny dot down south of Peninsula Malaysia.

Jakarta is the new Singapore!

I do what is expected from a good host. Take them around places of their interest (read: malls and pusat grosir).

Please don't mention Tanah Abang or Mangga Dua. Merely typing those names makes my hair stand on end. I think, no, I believe, I've been to those places more than I've been to Thrifty in PJ all my lifetime.

Those in PJ who do not know Thrifty, then you have not live in PJ long enough. Ijal, kalo ko tak tau Thrifty, ko bukan le penduduk aborigine PJ Old Town.

Thrifty is equivalent to present day Carrefour but on a much, much smaller scale. Anyone remember Weld's Cold Storage? Hock Choon? Fairtrade?

Did you know that we even had Printemps in Damansara? (Nottytomato pakai lampin gamaknya masa tempat ni baru bukak... ke ko belum lahir lagi?) Next door was Kimisawa.

If any of those places do not sound alien, then, lets face it... korang dah tua!!!!

Speaking of being tua, recently, I chanced upon a website which has a vast compilation of Malay song lyrics. In no time I found myself singing and tapping my feet to Andainya Aku Pergi Dulu (Alleycats), Ku Petik Bintang-Bintang (Kenny Remy Martin), Suraya (Headwind), Kamelia (Sweet Charity) and Joget Kenangan Manis (Sudirman, best woo lagu ni!!) before my boss's face appeared just above my PC's monitor.

Sepoil sungguh mood aku. Baru nak ber-Mekar Sejambak.

To my Indonesian friends, those songs are from jamannya Emilia Contessa, Broery Pesulima, Bob Tutupoli and some from era Endang S. Taurina ngetop.

Yes. We Malaysians love Indonesian songs from way back then. We even know who Benyamin S. is and watched his films too (or am I alone in this?).

Anyway, I'll be a tourist guide again this weekend. That's three consecutive weekends. I long for the Sunday when I can wake up at 10am.

Happy weekend everyone!

11 December 2008

Be Wary At Secluded ATMs

Two Saturdays ago, running out of cash, a friend of mine stopped by at an ATM machine nearby Hero Permata Hijau.

He inserted the ATM card. It went in but suddenly it purged halfway. He tried retrieving the card by pulling it out of the card slot but failed.

Then he saw what seemed to be the bank's notice placed right above the ATM machine. The notice gave detailed instruction on what to do should the ATM card be stuck in the card slot.

This friend of mine followed the instruction. He punched in the keys in the exact sequence as stated in the notice. It said do to it three times and if the card was still stuck then proceed calling the bank's customer care line at the number displayed at the bottom of the A-4 sized notice.

He tried three times and still the card did not budge. He then called the customer care number.

My friend explained to the Customer Care Executive (CCE) his predicament. The CCE sounded very pleasant and professional and asked my friend to repeat the procedure as stated on the notice again.

Still nothing.

Then the CCE said from the online computer system, he could free the card from the slot. The CCE then asked for identity verification. Full name, address, mother's maiden name and PIN number.

Innocently, without sensing anything dubious , this friend of mine gave away all the information requested from him including his PIN number.

The CCE asked him to wait a few minutes and try the procedure on the notice again and hung up.

Barely two minutes after the phone call ended, a man came by the ATM machine and ripped the notice above the ATM machine. When asked by my friend why he did that the man said the notice was a hoax. He looked angry and said he wanted to show the security guard the notice. He then walked off briskly.

A little panicky, my friend called another friend who then gave him THE bank's customer care number. To cut it short, my friend lost Rp6,000,000. Withdrawn from an ATM machine in Senayan.

Ok. Granted that this friend of mine was foolish enough to give away his PIN number which is the number one, big, No-No! But then again, it could happen to anyone. Sometimes, when faced with such a situation, our concern is to get it resolved quickly and in the process we tend to momentarily lose the ability to think in a calm and rational manner. We blindly trust everything given before us.

These robbers getting smarter or just us getting more negligent?

Yupp. I suspect the person who took away the notice on the pretext of wanting to show it to the security guard was an accomplice.

So, please, please, store your bank's customer care numbers in your mobile/palm/or whatever gadget you own. And do store your bank account numbers too for they will ask for it when you call the customer care line should you need to block your ATM card. Do the same for your credit cards.

Be extra careful when withdrawing cash from secluded ATMs.

Have you ever noticed, at some ATMs, there are cameras right above those machines, pointing toward the screen and keypad? I never trust those cameras. I always cover with my left hand whenever I key-in my PIN number.

Call me stupid - it's better be seen stupid but safe than sorry and Rp6 million poorer.

04 December 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Qurban


I'm now residing in the new serviced apartment. The whole moving process went smoothly. I adjusted easily because Kintamani Apartment (my first dwelling of two years) is just a stone's throw away. So, the area needs no familiarisation.

Next monday is Eid ul-Adha. My third in Indonesia, fifth away from family. I might be going to Istiqlal for the Eid prayer - depending on how easy I can get a taxi on that morning. Otherwise, I'll just walk to the nearby mosque.

Last year I had my Raya meal in Starbucks. This year I will do the same thing. If there was a Oldtown Kopitiam I'll definitely head there instead. Of course, there will be a jamuan raya at the Malaysian Embassy. But I think I'll skip that. And the one at my boss's too. Don't feel like socialising this coming long weekend. I need to recover from the strenuous packing and unpacking last week.

Anyway, I wish all muslim a happy and meaningful Eid ul-Adha. Cherish this joyous moment with your family and loved ones. To the non-muslim, enjoy the extended weekend!