21 July 2009

Double Blast

It was around 9.00 am local time when I received a text message from my former boss in Kuala Lumpur. The sms read "Bom?".

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


SA, Ceromin ko dah sampai.

Ko memang mengada. Aku bubuh gambor kat tepi ko kata kecik. Nah, amik ko. Aku bubuh kat sini. Kat KL nanti amik sendiri. Kalo nak suruh aku antor kat rumah aku charge delivery charges berupa dinner kat KLCC.

21 June 2009

Happy Birthday Jakarte!


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.

Grand Indonesia.

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.

Moving on.

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


I felt a sudden longing to be back in Kuala Kangsar. Tok's home.

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

Send In The Clown

The Malaysian Defence Minister was interviewed by TVOne via telephone.

"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,

"Kedaulatan negara".

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


Nisa, a first-time expectant mother, has tagged me.


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
Tak nak.

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?
Of course.

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


Below is the police Report Certificate I received last week from the agent who handles all matters pertaining to my work permit, KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara), Foreigner's Registration book (Buku Biru) and SKLD (Surat Keterangan Lapor Diri).

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.

18 May 2009

Typhoon and Dawn

No. I'm not talking about the weather condition or the time of day. It's about two personal trainers at Celebrity Fitness Fx.

You see, I've been frequenting the gym since 2000. At first, my goal was to achieve the so called ideal weight. With proper diet and a lot of cardio exercise (and I mean A LOT!!), I managed to achieve my goal within 6 months. Since then, going to the gym has been more of a routine in my schedule.

However, after almost 9 years, I felt that my motivation had, to some degree, decreased. I needed that extra push to keep my interest in fitness going.

Enter Taufan.

Taufan has a degree in law. But his passion is in fitness. That's why he decided to pursue a career as a personal trainer.

One interesting fact - back in 2007, Taufan won the L-Men competition.

I started engaging Taufan as my trainer early January 2009. Initially, I took up 24 training sessions with him. I jokingly told him that if at the end of the 24th session I do not have a six pack abs similar to his, I would demand for a refund.

Taufan is a very good and more importantly a patient trainer. Apalagi kalo dapat member macam aku. Bila datang mood malas, I would bargain the number of repetitions that I'm required to do.

Me : Berape?

Taufan: 15

Me : 12 tak boleh?

Taufan : 15

Me : Berat Fan. 12 aje la.

Taufan : Ya udah. 12. Kalo masih kuat, ampe 15.

Me : *dalam hati* Memang le aku buat sampai 12 je.

Sometimes he would lie. What was supposed to be 12 reps, sensing I still have the energy, he would increase at the last moment to 15. To which I would yell... Ko tipuu!!!!

Btw, Taufan is the only person with whom I speak in Bahasa Malaysia the most. Sebabnya, bila badan dah letih kena "siksa", aku malas nak translate my flow of thoughts to Bahasa Indonesia.

With him as my trainer, I managed to increase the weight in my lifts. He'd squeeze out every little ounce of energy left in my body. He'd make me lift weights which I thought was impossible before.

Because of him, I hate the word tempel. He'd yell (politely, of course),

Tempel!! Biar ampe nempel di udel!!


Bawah lagi, ampe nempel di dada!!!

Tempel sana sini situ sinun. Semua kena tempel.

Apart from the rigorous training sessions, he'd also give advice on proper diet. Pokoknya, he's the best trainer one could ask for.

Within 3 months under Taufan's guidance, I've succeeded in losing the excess fat on the sides of my waist. Believe me, I've tried so many years to get rid of those flabby sides but with little success.

Taufan is so good that I have increased my number of session to 60.

Above is a pic of Taufan with another Celebrity Fitness Fx trainer. Fajar. He too, is an excellent trainer judging from the number of members under his care.

I strongly recommend taking up personal training as this would make you feel motivated in your quest to achieving your goals.

Ohh... to the ladies out there, I have a little good news.

Both trainers are still single and available.

New Glasses

Lately, I find driving at night to be quite a challenge.

My night vision has deteriorated. I need to squint my eyes to clearly see the objects ahead of me. Then, to make matter worse, the habit of a lot of drivers here who like to give out high beam headlights for no apparent reason constantly glares my vision.

"Makanya, harus rajin makan wortel. Jangan jus-nya aja di minum" said Taufan, my trainer.

"Emangnya kalo gue makan satu ladang wortel lho yakin mata gue bisa baik? Ini faktor usia-lah Fan".

Yupp. I'm attempting to embrace the process of aging.

You see, the last time I had my eyes tested was almost four years ago. I'm wholly dependent on contact lenses. I've been using them for almost 15 years.

So, last weekend, I went to Optik Melawai at Ambassador Mall.

When I relayed my intention on getting my eyes checked to the lady at the shop, she told me to take out my contacts and come back an hour later. This, according to the lady, was to allow my eyes to rest and to get a more accurate result from the test.

As instructed, I remove my contact lens. To kill the time, I wandered around ITC Kuningan and Ambasador Mall. Without wearing any aid, it surely caused a lot of discomfort.

Slightly over an hour later I went back to Optik Melawai.

Shortly afterwards, I received a text message from a fellow Malaysian who works here in Jakarta. It read,

"Aku lambai ko buat tak tau je. Kalo ada cewek cantik sebelah ko aku paham le. Ni jalan sendiri pun udah sombong macam artis Bollywood!!"

I immediately called him to explain.

Back to the eye test.

The test revealed that my vision remained the same which is -1.25 for both eyes. However, I decided to get a pair of new glasses anyway. I've been wearing contact lens for too long. I reckon, it would be better to alternate between contact and glasses.

Contacts for day use and glasses at night.

You see, I'm the type of person who don't even like wearing a wrist watch. So, a pair of glasses definitely needs some getting use to.

Lasik surgery has become cheaper compared to when it was newly introduced. But, it is still not cheap enough for me to call it affordable. So, until that day comes, I guess I will have to deal with the discomfort of having to wear glasses.

Mmmm.. I wonder why my night vision has been so bad lately. My current stock of contact lenses was given by a friend recently.

Maybe sebab aku belum bayar kot???

13 May 2009

Gambor Dolu-Dolu

I laughed out loud when I saw some old pics posted by my friend Syarliz on her blog. Those pics with moi in them were taken in 1995.

Syarliz had arranged for a mini-reunion at Port Dickson during our (Kamarul and myself) summer holiday trip back to Malaysia.

You see, during my student days, chicken was the second cheapest meat in the UK. The cheapest?


Naturally, chicken meat was my staple diet. Plus a large portion of rice each meal. And there's also doner kebab. And Ben & Jerry's ice cream. And pizza. And fish and chips. And jacket potato with sinful fillings.

I had grown sideways so much that I once weigh 82kg. Now you know why nowadays gym is my second home.

12 May 2009

Minding Your Choice of Words

A couple of days ago at the gym, a friend came to me and excitedly said that he'd be flying to KL for the first time for a short holiday.

Being a good Malaysian citizen, I spent some time telling him places in KL that must be included in his itinerary, on how to get about around town and the local cuisine which is a must try.

Apparently, his wife had done some info-finding herself - location of Vincci stores.

To save him from experiencing public embarrasment, I told him that he should be careful using two words in Malaysia. I explained that these words which are completely harmless in Indonesia, might not be the case in Malaysia.

Situation 1

You ask for direction on how to get to Bukit Bintang from a local and you might get the answer below,

"Encik naik monorail dan berhenti di stesyen Bukit Bintang".

And you reply,

"Ohhh!! Gampang!! Terima kasih."

A big mistake.

You see, although the word gampang in Bahasa Malaysia has the same meaning as in Bahasa Indonesia, it is however more commonly used as a cursory word to describe anak haram.

So, don't be surprised if in the situation above you get negative remarks from the person who had just helped you find your way to Bukit Bintang. Afterall, you had just thanked that person and called him/her a anak haram.

Please use the words senang or mudah instead of gampang.

Situation 2

In your attempt to be friendly with the hotel's pretty receptionist, you enthusiastically tell her about your journey from Ikea in Mutiara Damansara to KL city centre in a taxi and got caught in the middle of the maddening rush hour traffic.

" Capek saya mbak. Macetnya parah banget. Kelamaan duduk di dalam taksi. Pegel pantat saya."

Even bigger mistake.

Now, if you're a cowok, the pretty receptionist, who earlier might have been attracted to you, would immediately strike you off as a pervert.

In peninsula Malaysia, the word pantat is widely used to refer to Miss V or anus.

Instead of pantat, it is advisable to use the word punggung.

A mental note to my Indonesian friends - while in Malaysia, your punggung is not where you think it is.

So, when you stop by for a massage in one of the reflexology centres along Jalan Bukit Bintang, if you ask the therapist to pijat your punggung, you are actually asking the therapist to pijat your pantat. Instead, ask them to pijat your belakang.

This reminds me of a story told by my former boss about a Malaysian male tourist in Jakarta who was trying the creambath for the first time.

The poor guy was dumbfounded (and I suspect he was excited too) when he was asked by the salon lady,

"Pak, mau di pijat punggungnya gak?"

Luckily the lady quickly cleared the confusion. Otherwise, it would be weird to find a Malaysian man on all fours in a salon chair.

04 May 2009

Tamu Dari KL

I was busy doing my part time job of playing host (no Roid, bukan job yang di Taman Lawang, itu full time) for three consecutive weekends.

First, it was my former boss and his wife. Since he'd lived in Jakarta for seven years and knows Jakarta like the back of his hand, I didn't have to accompany him.

The weekend after, I received a group of six people, with Ijal as the head honcho. A day later, another good 'ol friend, Shahromi with Melia and their two adorable children came for a two-night stay.

Ijal and Shahromi are friends from university days. I regard them as my waaayyyyyy older brothers. One is always jovial while the other is always... errr... cari duit.

So, that particular weekend, there were 10 guests in my house. Penuh. Udah kayak hotel jam2-an.

Ijal doing a Colonel Sanders at RM Padang

Also in Ijal's group were two others whom I knew. Zai and Susi. For Ijal, it was his third trip to Jakarta while for Zai and Susi, it was their second time.

So, I let them be tourist guides to the other three who were first timers to Jakarta. A blessing really, because they had Pasar Tanah Abang Blok A and Bandung in their itinerary. And also Pasar Jatinegara. I've been to the first two places countless of times (so many that my knees would all be wobbly upon hearing their names).

The third week, Redmummy and her husband cum manager cum personal assistant cum banker, Sirman, came for a visit.

They first came to Jakarta in January with their two children. As this was their second trip, I let them explore Jakarta and Bandung by themselves. Redmummy is so good at haggling. Aku rasa tuan kedai rasa macam dah taknak meniaga dah kalo si Redmummy ni tawar harga.. hehehe.

Since Redmummy is a hardcore blogger, and my house is stuck in the 80s (read - no internet connection because of the cheapskate in me) I took them to Kemang where they were plenty of cafes with free wifi. The second night at Kemang (which was a Saturday night), we went to Oh La La Cafe at La Codefin.

They were "entertained" by sights of beautiful cewek-cewek Jakarta outdoing each other wearing the skimpiest of skirts. There were scores of others who were more decently dressed but nevertheless, equally pretty.

Thanks Melia for the teh tarik. Makasih Redmummy for the neck-tie, the delicious chicken and the shirt.

I will be leaving Jakarta for good in July. I have been playing host eversince I came here in February 2006. As far as I could recall, except for Ramadhan, there was not a single month where I did not receive any guests.

I truly enjoyed the company from all my Malaysian friends. Their visit lessened the feeling of homesickness.

The little time I have left here, I put aside for family members (this includes you PB) who have already planned for a long holiday in Jakarta.

Also, I need time for my self. To see places I never had the time to go to.

Roid, I am now free. Kalo mau ke pantai kek, ke hutan kek, ke gunung kek, ajakin aku ya!! *muka tak malu banget gue*.

19 April 2009

Jakarta - 2nd Worst Place For Expats?

I read in Jakartapost last week on a piece of news which ranked Jakarta as "the 2nd worst place for expatriates to work in outside of the United States, Canada and Westren Europe..".

The report which was published by Businessweek, was compiled by one NY-based HRC company, ORC.

The report cites "threat of violence from extremists, in particular was a serious drawback to living in Jakarta". ORC took into account the following factors - level of pollution, disease, political violence and availability of goods and services.

I surely like to know the methodology of survey (if there's any conducted) to arrive to the findings on Jakarta.

To be ranked 2nd worst must mean only one thing - the expats who took part in the survey (again, if there's any) must have lived in a squatter on the banks of Ciliwung.

That's why, my response to the report is - it is pure BULLSHIT.

Pollution? Yes, Jakarta is polluted but I believe Beijing fares much worse.

Disease? Apart from the occasional flu, I haven't had anything serious. Medical services is easily accessible. So much easier than in the UK, no thanks to the NHS. Believe me, I've experienced it.

Political violence? A zillion times safer than Bangkok.

Availability of goods and services? So much better than Phnom Penh, which I called home for almost a year.

Crime rate? I've not heard any of my expat friends being mugged. But I have plenty of horrible stories of friends being robbed in London.

Yes. There are some drawbacks living in Jakarta. There are times when you'd get utterly frustrated. But after time, you'd adapt. None of the drawbacks are major life threatening issues.

Jakarta is not perfect. So are Kuala Lumpur and many other cities. When you live in a foreign place, one must learn to adjust. Learn to accept how things work and understand their culture.

If you want everything to be as what you are used to, then just stay put where you are and don't ever leave. And you'd miss out on learning a whole new great experience which no book could ever come close to give you.

16 April 2009

Sleepless in Pondok Indah

Last night, I experienced something tense.

It was just a few minutes after midnight. I was in my room and about to retire to bed when suddenly a loud thud came from the ceiling of my room.

This was followed by a peculiar sound. Similar to the sound you get when you slide two pieces of plywood against each other. Almost like someone dragging one's foot on the gypsum board.

I stayed still. Eyes gazed at the ceiling.


Then it happened again. The dragging sound.

It couldn't be a rat. The thud was too loud to be caused by a rat. And the peculiar sound? A rat on cruthes???

I quickly reach for my mobile and called the Pos Keamanan's number.

Me : *Trying to sound as calm and as dignified as possible* Malam mas. Saya Pak Azuan dari rumah nomer dotdotdot di jalan dotdotdot. Boleh datang ke sini? Barusan saya dengar kayak ada orang berjalan di atas atap rumah saya.

Mas PK : Malam pak. Maaf pak. Bapak di rumah yang mana?

Me : Di jalan dotdotdot, nomer dotdotdot. Sepertinya ada orang di atas atap rumah saya. Mohon mas datang dengan segera.

Mas PK : Ohh di nomer dotdotdot. Saya Sofyan bos.

Me : *dah tak maintain macho dah* aduhh Sofyan... cepatan datang. Barusan saya dengar bunyi kayak orang jalan di atas rumah saya. Cepat Sofyan!! Bunyinya kuat!! *I swear I sounded like a bad sinetron actor*

If you recall, Sofyan was the area's security personnel who helped resolve my uncollected garbage problem a couple of months back.

I stayed put in my room.

Then, less than two minutes later (damn... they are more efficient than Ampang's police), someone rang the bell. I ran down the stairs and opened the door. It was Sofyan. He came with six others. Apart from Sofyan I knew one other guy, Ruslee.

I opened the gates and asked them to come in. Sofyan and Ruslee followed me to the balcony just outside my room while three others went to the inner courtyard. Two stood guard at the main door.

Barefooted, Sofyan climbed up the roof. I then asked Ruslee to accompany me to check the balcony leading to the maid's room at the back.

Momets later, Sofyan appeared from the roof just above the maid's room. He then got down stepping on the steel construction which holds the water tank.

They were at my house inspecting every room and corners for nearly 20 minutes. No sign of any person trying to break in.

Before they left we chatted at the main gate.

Sofyan : Gak usah kuatir pak. Pas tadi saya di atap, saya lihat yang jaga di rumah belakang juga lagi nyalain senter ngadep ke arah saya.

Me : Oh ya? Tetangga saya di belakang ada satpam ya?

Sofyan : Iya.

Apparently I found out last night, my neighbour at the back is a big shot of Partai Golkar.

Ruslee : Dulu pernah ada yang coba masuk ke rumah Sherina di hujung sana.

Me: Oh ya? Sherina siapa?

Ruslee : Sherina yang artis itu.

Me : Ohhhh (pretending to know who this Sherina is)

Ruslee : Pernah juga dulu ada warga yang di rampok. Tapi perampoknya gak bisa di lihat bos. Pakei ilmu!!

Damn!! Just the piece of information which I seriously do not need to know. That made the hair on my forearms stood on end.

Ruslee : Tapi gak usah takut bos. Kalo ada apa-apa, telpon aja ke pos keamanan.

With those reassuring words from Ruslee, I thanked them for coming and apologised for the hassle.

What made me worry was, last weekend, while I was about to shut my gates and leave for the gym, a man was walking by and his eyes peered intently into my house.

And two days later, the same suspicious man, walked by at the time when I was about to leave for Fx. Sheer coincidence? Well, probably.

But those two incidents were enough to make me uneasy.

As I'm typing this, I'm feeling sleepy as hell. I had just a few hours of sleep last night. I would open my eyes at the slightest of sound. And the invisible perampok story from Ruslee made going to sleep more difficult. And last night was malam Jum'at.

Lucky me, I'll have company for 3 nights starting tonight. My former boss will arrive later today for a short visit.

I'll worry about the invisible perampok next week.

15 April 2009

Auto Gate - Versi Pondok Indah

My friend Ina, has an automatic gate installed at her house in Taman Selasih Heights (actually, I added the word "Heights" to give it a more exclusive effect).

Ina is a hardworking career woman (over tak aku puji ko?). Her work demands a lot of hours daily. So, inevitably, she would reach home late at night (pepandai je aku buat cerite kan?).

Upon reaching the front gates of her home, she would simply need to click a remote device from her car and voila!!.. the gates would open.

Ina's PRT greets her at the front door and she then press a switch next to the door to shut the gates.

Now, allow me to illustrate the same process, but now, the main character is my neighbour in Pondok Indah.

The time is half past one in the morning. My neighbour's car whizzes past my house and stop right in front of his house gates.

Pooooonnnnn!!!! Pooooon!!!!!Pooooon!!!!!

A few seconds of silence.

Hoooonkk!!!! Hoooonkk!!!!!!Hooonkkkk!!!!!Hooooonkkkk!!!!

Out comes a red and puffy eyed PRT, with hair which resembles a lion's mane, in a oversized t-shirt and a sarong. She runs in tiny little steps to the gates with a bunch of keys in her hand. She then squint her sleepy eyes trying to insert the keys into the padlock.

Gates open, the car drives up the porch. The rear door swings open and my neighbour walks straight into the house through the main door. The driver then shut the gates while the poor PRT finds herway back to her room through the door near the end of the porch, hoping that her disrupted dream would pick up where it had left.

That is Pondok Indah's version of an automatic gate. The process starts with a neighbour (that's me) awaking honk.

Regardless of the time of the day, the process remains the same.

Which leaves me with a few mind boggling (ok, a bit of exxageration here) questions :

  • Why can't the driver open the gates? Is it because opening gates is not in his job specs?
  • Why can't my neighbour or his driver call the PRT to open the gates instead of waking up the poor neighbour (again, that's me) by honking in the wee hours? Panggilan dari Esia ke Esia murah loh!!
  • Why can't my neighbour (who BTW could afford owning fancy cars and a big house in Pondok Indah) simply install an automatic gate? Kan bisa pamer ke tetangga yang lain..
  • When was the last time my neighbour had physical contact with the iron gates of his own home?
The frequent incident as illustrated above led my curiousity to inspect the gates of other houses in the vicinity. On the pretext of a Sunday morning jog (it was actually more of a brisk walking), I went past from one house to another. And what a remarkable finding I got at the end of a 15 minute (ok, I was feeling a bit lazy that morning) brisk walking. None has an automatic gate!!

So, my short and sweet conclusions are - either the house owners in Pondok Indah do not know the existence of an auto-gate or they are simply kedekut nak mampus.

Somehow, I'm more inclined to the latter.

14 April 2009

Entry Basi - Java Jazz 2009 Pics

I almost entirely forgot about the JavaJazz pics. But thanks to Roid (seorang bakal seleb dan teman gym Doni Ada Band), lewat reminder yang penuh sopan-santun di shoutbox gue, I am now sharing a few of those pics.
Can't remember the name of this big band but I almost fell asleep during their performance

Laura Fygi sedang menggeselkan kopek yang gatal di kepala lelaki Jawa yang beruntung

JK's not so sexy back

A glimpse of RAN before we decided to run off for another show

Manusia berduyun-duyun berjalan tanpa arah tujuan yang jelas

07 April 2009

Desa Parkcity

I had only one day to spare for my dearest friend Peanutbutter. When I reached KL, she was still on vacation in Australia.

PB used to live not too far from my house. Memang senang le nak jumpa.

I went to pay a visit at her new home. Ingatkan jauh. Idak le jauh sangat. From my house it took just half an hour via MRR2.

PB tengah tempang. Timah (her PRT), has gone home to get married. Initially, PB gave a 3-week leave but Timah sesuka hati dia je mintak extend sampai 4 minggu. Acara pasca nikah enak banget kale ya?

PB prepared lunch - steamed siakap, cumi masak sambal and a bowl of veggies. Her mom and brother joined us halfway through lunch. "Reti kamu masak?" was the compliment given by her mom. PB's mom and my mom have a lot of similarities. Both know the latest gossips of Malaysian celebs.

Her new home is huge. The master bedroom itself, bak kata PB, boleh main boling. But what I want to share with you is how well planned the whole area is. With pedestrian footpaths, covered drainage, good security and the most amazing of all - a well maintained park.

Now, can someone tell me what type of car the Yand Di-Pertua (YDP) of Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya uses to commute to work?

I think that car has the best suspension system in the whole wide world! Otherwise he would have been in a bumpy ride everyday to work thanks to the deplorable conditions of the roads in Pandan Indah and its surrounding areas.

I have reason to believe that the YDP's car is also heavily tinted that he could not see the shameful state of cleanliness around Pandan Indah and Pandan Jaya.

Then a friend told me it might be now that Selangor is under the opposition, MPAJ has limited funds to repair the roads. I strongly doubt that. I know. I've lived there for 25 years. The road condition has always been bad whether under PKR or BN.

I still remember when PM Abdullah (now ex PM, Alhamdulillah) was visiting to officiate the opening of Pasar Muhibah, MPAJ only resurfaced the roads leading to that place. If one was to deviate from this road, then he's in for a really bumpy ride.

The funny thing is, Taman TAR, which is also under MPAJ, is so well maintained. Iya-iyalah!!! That's where a lot of Malaysian VVIPs live. From cabinet ministers, royalties to the creme-de-la creme of Malaysian elites. Such glaring double standards!

To MPAJ, we pay our taxes too. Please treat us better.

Official car of YDP Majlis Perbandaran Tatooine Jaya

Pasar Senen

If you want to get yourself delicious and cheap Indonesian kue, and don't mind travelling at wee hours , then you should go to Pasar Senen.

A friend of mine, Syarliz, who was on holiday in Jakarta with a few family members, wanted to get some kue to be brought back to KL. Having been there a couple of days earlier, they enthusiastically told me of the vast variety of kue and of how ridiculously cheap they were.

So, at almost 1.00am, I drove them to Pasar Senen. But prior to that, I had to refer to the Jakarta road map to guide me on how to reach the place.

Luckily, we did not get lost. Reached Pasar Senen in about 30 minutes. The traffic was smooth. Iya iyalah!!! Udah pukul 1 pagi!!!

The place was without a doubt a kue heaven. Rows after rows of long tables with all sorts of traditional kue and cakes. It was not busy as according to Syarliz, who had done a little interviewing with the kue sellers herself, peak hours are between 3 to 6 in the morning. That's when people come flocking the place to get their supply of kue to be sold at their shops elsewhere.

Since I was with a group of tourists, most of the kue sellers were kind enough to allow us to sample the kue. I guessed they were too tired to explain after being barraged with questions on how this or that kue tastes like.

And as for gue, I know now how exorbitantly huge a margin my favourite kue joint in PIM 1 makes out of each kue. Here at Pasar Senen, one of my all time favourites, risoles, is almost 10 times cheaper.

Gue borong yang namanya lemper ayam. Lemper ayam is a must during meetings at the office. On most instances, I would be the first to reach out for this kue - barely 5 minutes into the meeting. Gak kuat nahan nafsu soalnya. Once, I could not promptly answer a question from my chairman because I had just stuffed a lemper ayam into my mouth. I can still vividly remember the expression on the faces of my CEO and CFO.

We spent just over an hour at Pasar Senen. Fully aware that their luggage have exceeded the alllowed limits, my guests bought quite a lot of kue anyway.

To my Malaysian readers, Pasar Senen is highly recommended if you would like to sample a wide variety of Indonesian kue. If you come here in a taxi (preferably Bluebird), do ask the taxi driver to wait because it is quite difficult to get a reliable taxi around this area at such odd hours.

06 April 2009

Short Break Pt. 2 - Cerita Bergambor

My 1 yr old nephew. Last I saw him was during lebaran. Now, he has started to walk. Switch on the cartoon netwok and his eyes would be fixed on the telly.

Earth Hour - I was in The Curve during the one hour lights off. Somehow I have doubts about the effectiveness of this overblown exercise.

Apart from Vincci, Ikea is another favourite among my Indonesian friends
The lady in the pic below is an old friend of mine. Our friendship goes back 15 years. She was a law undergraduate at Cambridge University. However, she spent a lot of time in Portsmouth during weekends. Ko bosan ngan mamat2 nerd kat Cambridge kan? The orang putih next to her is her Aussie hubby, Thomas (who btw loves eating petai lightly fried in olive oil.... err Mazola takleh ke?). They were in Kuala Lumpur for a pet search and rescue mission. They now reside in Melbourne.

This is Hairie. She's someone else's wife. My neighbour's wife to be precise. Her house is very near to my mom's house. I could call out from my room window to her kitchen. Yupp, that near. But, when I was still living in KL, we seldom meet each other. Sibuk benor pompuan ni. She's now a fulltime housewife. But still, she's seldom at home. Ko bisnes hapa ni?

The guy in the pic below is my bidan terjun sopir, Ijal. He's the one who picked me up at the airport. He loves older women. Yupp, dia demen banget ama tante2. Tante murung bisa berubah jadi tante girang setelah ketemu om Ijal.

L-R : Zaharah and Ina. Ina had just recently became a mother to a lovely baby girl, Arianna. As always, everytime I'm in KL, there would be a makan-makan at Ina's house. Zaharah is very good at getting the rest of the group to congregate at the shortest of notice.
Ina: "Percayala, aku akan pulangkan balik kamera tu"
Zaharah : "Alhamdulillah....." (sambil jari pantas kilat sms kat org Fixed Asset)
Ijal was so happy to discover that he could fit into an F1 car. Walaupun bahagian samping dah bergesel ngan dinding.
Ina : "No Arianna. It's full of food. There's no baby in Uncle Ijal's tummy"

Had just enough time to squeeze a meeting with my other neighbour, Redmummy and Sirman. We met over breakfast at Qbistro, nearby our apartment. Jangan lupa projek underground kita.

Red and Sirman's adorable daughter.
Finally, apart from sate, I made it a point not to miss the following:

Short Break

Last week I went back to Kuala Lumpur for a short break.

And now I'm back in beloved Jakarta. It's raining heavily outside as I'm typing this. From my office, I could see Arteri Pondok Indah inundated, causing a very bad macet.

Actually, my return to KL was not without a purpose.

To visit my parents before they leave for umrah.

Somehow, I could sense what will top the list of my mom's do'a in Mecca for her not too young son in Jakarta.

I'm pretty positive the do'a for me will have the following words - cepatkan jodoh and menantu solehah. And most probably the following - anak aku jadi kaya, kalau boleh jadi millionaire, tapi millionaire ringgit bukan millionaire rupiah.

Ok. The latter is what I would like my mom to include in her do'a.

I arrived in KL last wednesday. A good old friend, Ijal, was kind enough to risk losing his job to pick me up. Usually Penutbutter would do the honours but she's away getting herself a tan Down Under.

I guessed I chose the wrong day to return for my short break. That night, I switched on the telly only to be greeted by KJ making his winning speech.

All I can say is that the speech really came from his heart.

Hence, the speech was lacking in sincerity and honesty. It was as fake as a Louis Vuitton handbag sold at ITC Mangga Dua. Not those sold at the kiosks (which are the better quality fake ones) but more like those pile sold under the stairs.

That's pretty much sum up KJ's winning speech.

Allow me take you back to the Soekarno-Hatta airport before departing for KL. This trip marked as my first ever trip post fiskal-free policy. I'm sure glad that my staff had arranged for my NPWP number a few years back.

However, just because one need not pay fiskal doesn't mean there is one less process to go through. You still have to queue your ass at the NPWP validation counter. When everyone else in the world is trying to simplify matters at the airport, here, they just don't deem it necessary to do so.

Did you know that the airport tax has gone up by Rp50,000 to Rp150,000? I looked around to find justifications in the airport tax increase. I could only find one.

Newly refurbished toilets. And oh, the new terminal 3. To be fair to us passengers, shouldn't they impose the new airport tax after the new terminal is operational?

And Angkasa Pura 1 (the airport operator) is not poor. Go search their financial report and see for yourself.

Upon arrival at KLIA, Ijal was already there. As I was dying for sate, we took the Kesas highway and made a quick stop at it's R&R where there's a branch of Sate Hj. Samuri. Ordered five sticks of delicious chicken sate and finished the entire small bowl of peanut sauce.

And teh ais. Gulped down two glasses of cheap Malaysian teh ais. Heaven.

Everytime I go back to Malaysia for a holiday, once in a while, Bahasa Indonesia would suddenly blurt out. Not while conversing with family members or friends but when I'm doing my shopping or ordering food.

There were plenty times I called out for a waiter as mas. Then, at a handphone shop last year, while haggling for the price, I asked "Nggak bisa kurang?" to which I got a very confused look from the seller.

This time around, I did it again, fully unaware. I was in a shop in KLCC when I asked the shop assistant " Ukuran M nya ada nggak?".

Although I was in Malaysia, there were so many things around me which would remind me of Indonesia. Switch on the satellite TV, Astro, then you'd get many titles of Indonesian sinetron. Heck, they even have Suami-suami takut Istri!!

Then of course, the PRT at my parent's home. Her name is Ros. OK. I admit. It's a very universal name. Not a unique Indonesian name like Guritno, Endah, Kartika, Ningsih, Puspita or Tukiyem. I can't help but to speak to her in Bahasa Indonesia. And she would reply in perfect Bahasa Malaysia.

One day last week, I asked for a favour.

"Ros, boleh tolong saya nyetrika kaos ini nggak?" To which she took my shirt and started giggling. And I just stood there wondering if I had used the wrong word.

I'm sure I'd miss Jakarta when I go back to KL for good.

I'll upload photos from my holiday tomorrow. Opss... Foto-foto JavaJazz masih terhutang... I'll upload those as well.

19 March 2009

Feelin' Jazzy

Almost a month with no updates.

As usual, I'm using the all too familiar excuse - busy and hectic schedule. But, this time, it is true in every sense of the words.

My boss has gone back to Malaysia for good. My ever trusted assistant has left the company. I had to adjust to doing everything at the office all by myself, except for operational field works.

If my operational staff decide to follow the footsteps of my assistant, then, there is a big chance of you seeing me under the billboards in some parts of Jakarta.

The adapting phase is over - hence the time to write this posting.

Java Jazz 2009 - Brilliant!

What made it more marvellous was the fact someone sponsored my 3 Day pass. He came all the way from KL with a friend and asked me to join them throughout the 3 day jazz event.

He, shall remain anonymous because ... errr... dia pemalu. Lets call him Mr Anon.

But before deciding to come over for Java Jazz, Mr Anon asked me on the availability of Laura Fygi's special show tickets. The overconfident me told him not to worry. There were still plenty of tickets available - without even checking with the ticket box.

In Malaysia we call this act as konfiden maut.

Later that same day, he bought the flight ticket to Jakarta.

Firstly. Laura Fygi??? Yes. My ticket sponsor was born in a different decade than yours truly.

Secondly, you should see the horror in my face at the Societie cd store the next day when I was told all special show tickets were sold out.

Gave a call at the Java Jazz hotline. Same answer.

I then pushed all panic buttons. SOS to as many friends possible. Some I have not even SMS in a loooong time. Nelpon ... jauh sekali. I didn't care. I was on a muka tak malu mode to save my ass.

To cut a long story short, a gym friend of mine said he'd be able to get Laura Fygi's tickets. And those tickets were delivered to me a day before the actual concert day.

See. Ada untungnya being friendly at the gym.

Friday 6th March. Around 5 pm while getting prepared to leave for JCC, Mr Anon complained of chest pains. Now that got us all worried. Seriously worried.

Mr Anon said that he didn't have a heart history. But, we insisted on taking him for a check-up anyway. The nearest hospital was RSMPH. Just for info, RSMPH is owned by Kumpulan Perubatan Johor.

Half an hour later we were at the Unit Gawat Darurat. Mr Anon's ECG and BP were taken. All the while I stood beside the bed acting as the translator.

Then, the doctor summoned me. He said the ECG reading was normal but the BP was a bit high. He gave a prescription for Mr Anon. He said Mr Anon should go home and get some rest. I told the good doctor Mr Anon came all the way from KL to watch Java Jazz and he's been talking about it since a month ago. You tell him yourself.

Well, doctors orders or not, Mr Anon was determined not to miss Java Jazz. We arrived at JCC 45 minutes later.

A bit on RSMPH. I think the interior designer for the hospital was the same person who did Dufan. Have you ever seen the colour card from a paint store? You could find every single colour on that card being used all over the hospital.

You'd feel weird once you enter the hospital. It's like being in a sterile theme park.

Java Jazz. First Day:

Ivan Lins - stayed barely half an hour because of the annoying technical glithes.
Alex Ligertwood and David Garfield - superb vocals from Mr Ligertwood!
Mike Stern featuring Dave Weckl - outstanding guitar play by Mike Stern.

We then squeezed ourselves through to the merchandise booth. It was only the first day but the better looking t-shirts were already sold out.

Oh... Mr Anon felt a lot better after taking the medication given by the doctor.

Second Day:

My guests went to JCC earlier as I had to meet my uncle who was stopping by in Jakarta before heading to Bandung for a golf trip. I joined them at Exhibition Hall B where RAN was about to perform. Intrigued by the large crowd waiting for RAN, Mr Anon and his friend decided to stay on. RAN went on stage and midway through their second song Mr Anon gestured to leave for other shows. Not his cuppa I guess.

I told them to check out Tohpati and Dewa Budjana while I queue for the Laura Fygi show. I watched the duo performed at Black Cats a month ago and they were awesome.

So there I was, alone, in the front pack of the long queue. Suddenly, a lone bule lady (orang putih to you Malaysians) made her way to three people in front of me. An official tried to stop her but she said she was in the queue earlier but had to leave to the ladies.

Bullshit, of course. I never left my spot and had not seen her there before. The official gave in without much hesitation. I was amazed that the person in front did not mutter a word of protest. I, on the other hand, was puting my anger management to practise. Deep breathe in, and breathe out. Breathe in, and out.

You lucky fibbing bule!

Laura Fygi was superb. I have to admit I was not familiar with her songs, but her repertoire that night was entertaining.

We ended the night over roti canai, maggi goreng and teh tarik at Jln. Jaksa's KL's Village.

Final Day:

My guests managed to catch Paebo Bryson before leaving for the airport. I rushed from the airport to JCC again to watch Maliq and d'Essentials. But before that, I did try to catch Abdul and The Coffee Theory but the hall was already full.

So, decided to head to Exhibition Hall B to get a good spot for Maliq. Apparently I was there a tad too early. Soil and Pimp from Japan was slated to perform before Maliq.

I stayed on. Soil and Pimp was simply fantastic! There was this guy in the group who doesn't play any instrument dressed like a ... you got it right, a Bukit Bintang pimp!

Maliq was good. And the only show during the entire Java Jazz which I could sing along to the songs. Get their new album. It's brilliant!

Oh.. I gave away my Sunday ticket which I bought earlier to a friend. I was so tempted to be a calo by selling it at the JCC entrance. It seemed these calo were everywhere. On the final day while queing at the main entrance, two pretty ladies next to me were negotiating for a couple of Brian McKnights tickets with a calo. All of a sudden, the guy in front of us turned around and offered the same tickets at a slightly lower price. And, he's not even a full time calo. He was there with his GF. He said it just so happen that he got extra complimentary special show tickets.

Some people are just lucky. And I had to sent out SOS for Laura Fygi's tickets.

I'll upload photos from Java Jazz soon. If I feel rajin. Been humming Michael Buble's Home. I guess you know what kinda mood I'm in now.

23 February 2009

Sunday Morning Jog

Last Sunday, I finally had the chance to do something which I wanted to do for a very long time (err.... 3 years to be exact).

To jog at the Gelora Bung Karno complex.

A friend of mine told me that it's the place where many Jakartans go for their weekend morning jog. It was also recommended by one of the magazines I read.

I wanted to ask a friend of mine to join but realising that it won't be easy to drag anyone out of their bed at 6.30 am on a Sunday to be drenched in sweat, I killed the idea and decided to go alone.

So, the much awaited day came. I arrived at the complex about 7-ish. The large crowd caught me by surprise. Obviously, I was late.

Initially, I planned to jog along the pedestrian footpath within the complex. Then, my attention was drawn by this loud music coming from the Senayan Stadium.

So, I jogged my way into the stadium. The atmosphere was almost like there was a Sunday morning carnival. Thousands of people from all ages, could be seen brisk walking, jogging or just casually strolling around the stadium.

Luckily, all were going in a counter-clockwise direction. Why not clockwise? Don't ask me. You can do so if you find it pleasurable running into others.

However, by going counter-clockwise, it doesn't mean your path is obstacle-free.

First, you have to be alert of the slower joggers or those who are simply strolling around. Then, you have to avoid the group of people who are doing aerobics right before your path. Then there is the bunch of crowd gathering around what seemed to be a live telecast TV program. In the end, you'd find that you'd have zig-zagged more in 45 minutes than an entire decade of your life.

And need I mention about the spit on the tarmac? If you're persistent enough to avoid them, then you'd look like a ballet dancer in tank tops and sweat pants.

If you're planning to jog at the complex, my advise is to stay away from the main stadium. It is much too crowded. Jog along the pedestrian footpaths within the complex.

Jakarta is badly in need of a park. I don't understand why the early city planners didn't allocate a space for a huge park with a lake and lots of trees.

Closing Jalan Sudirman and Thamrin can't in anyway substitute for a great park.

15 February 2009

All's Well!!

Last week started off pretty bad for me. However, the situation took a 360 turn and everything seemed to work in my favour. Alhamdulillah.

The process to unblock my BCA ATM card was done in a jiffy! I went to the branch at Jl. Metro Pdk Indah and was pleasantly surprised by the fast and efficient service rendered by a Mbak Fatma.

The trash problem has been resolved. Last night, I was snapping photos of my 3-day's pile of uncollected garbage (which btw, have been ripped open by the "pemulung"). My intention was to snap daily photo of the garbage and attach them in my complain letter to the Pak RT.

A security personnel, Sofyan, who was passing by at the time saw my "photoshoot" with the garbage as my main "talent". I explained to him what my problem was. I also showed him the 6 bags of dried leaves - uncollected since the day I moved in two weeks ago.

Actually, I was planning to dump them into the nearby river. I asked Sofyan on how to get rid of the garden waste. He said he'll see to it that all garbage, be it kitchen or garden, are collected tomorrow.

This morning, I looked out my window. Sofyan kept his words. I will vote for him as the new Pak RT anytime!!

Still on my new residence.

To reach my house, the shorter alternative route is down Jln. Kartika Utama. That is, unfortunately (for me), where Inul's house is.

You see, taxi is my main mode of transportation. In the last week alone, on four occasions, I've been asked by the taxi drivers the exact same question each time we passed by Inul's house.

The normal enquiry would be as follow-

Taxi Driver : Mas, ini rumahnya Inul ya? (in a slightly excited kinda tone)

Me : Ya, mas. Ini rumah Inul. (in a very, very flat, emotionless tone)

However, there was this one cab driver who had to ask more.

Taxi Driver : Dari luar kelihatan sepi ya mas rumahnya Inul. Kayak gak ada penghuni aja.

Me : hmm...... (still thinking of an approriate response... but I wanted to say... lho pikir mau meriah kayak pesta dangdutan??)

TD : Katanya Inul lagi hamil ya mas??

Me : Iya sih. Infotainment kabarin gitu. Lagi hamil anak pertama ( as Inul did not personally inform me of her pregnancy, I had to quote a highly reliable source).

TD : Iya. Katanya bayi tabung uji. Gimana ya mas bayi tabung uji itu?

Me : hmmmm... (thinking of an answer. Flashed back 19 years in time - in the chemistry lab, the last year I held a test tube)

TD : Mas, apa bayi itu dari Mas Adam??

Ok. Here was a taxi driver who is defininately in the wrong profession. He should be writing for a tabloid!!

Me : Kalo bukan dari Mas Adam, dari sapa?? (I wanted soo badly to add .... dari lho???)

TD: Gak tau. Saya gak ngerti proses hamil tabung uji.

Me : Belok kiri di depan itu ya mas (The only thing I could come out with to cut short the conversation)..

Now, I wish Inul would put up a big illumanted sign with the words, in capital, bold, letters...

"Ini Rumah Inul".

That ought to spare me from getting the same question, over and over again.

08 February 2009

Life Is So Full Of ..... Crap

It's been one of those weekends which tested my patience to the limit. A string of events which could erupt the ugliest of temper from within.

And the misfortunes extended its run til Monday morning.

Crap 1

Saturday. My 6th day in the new residence. My garbage has been uncollected eversince I moved in. They're piling up. Very, very, very, unsightly sight.

I sent a text message to my property agent about the thrashy situation. She lives just a stone's throw away from where I reside.

She replied it could be because the house owner hasn't paid the monthly dues for garbage collection. She said she would drop a letter to the Pak RT's house.

By noon, someone from the Pak RT's house came by and handed me a letter detailing the amount which I have to pay to the community's treasurer. Fine. I'm familiar with this sort of dues because I had lived in a housing complex before.
  • Monthly fees - Rp150,000 per month - payable 3 months upfront.
  • New residents fees - Rp150,000 (WTF!!! I doubt it's for a framed resident's certificate)
  • Total amount payable to the treasurer - Rp600,00.

Appended together with the above was a lenghty explanation related to the guidelines and activities within the community.

I went straight to the part on garbage collection.

It mentioned that the garbage collection truck will service the area twice a week. Only kitchen waste would be collected and garden waste is the responsibilty of residents to dispose.

First of all... TRUCK???!! I think they meant GEROBAK. Come to think of it, in my three years in Jakarta, not even once I spotted a garbage compacter truck.

Secondly, and the most absurd, garden waste is my responsibility?? How the hell am I supposed to dispose my garden waste? OK. I admit I don't do much gardening (actual fact is I don't do gardening at all!!), but there is this tree right in front of my fence which sheds leaves faster than Sean Connery loses his hair!

Burning them would mean I'm contributing to the already polluted Jakarta air. Throwing them into Sungai Ciliwung have crossed my mind. After all, those leaves are biodegradable. The guilt factor would be less than disposing plastics.

Crap 2

Have you been to ACE Hardware? I hate this place because it's full of things which you think you can live without but you buy them anyway because you think it might come handy one day. Seldom I walk out of the store empty handed.

I bought a few things (I failed to resist to temptations, again) and didn't have enough cash on me. So I decided to make a direct debit payment using my ATM card. I punched-in my pin number.

The LCD on the swipe machine displayed "PIN Number Error".

I tried again. This time at a slower pace. Same notification appeared. And the 3rd time, I keyed-in at a much, much slower pace.

Again, PIN number error.

The lady cashier said (accused is the more appropriate word here) I keyed-in the wrong PIN number and added that my ATM might have been blocked after the third attempt.

You think I'm a moron? I use the same six digit combination on all other cards too. Unless the nerves connecting my brains to my fingers at that precise moment went temporarily cuckoo, there is not a shadow of a doubt that I had punched the correct combination.

Luckily, I had my credit card on me. And luckier for me, it wasn't going to hit the maximum amount after the intended transaction... errr only a mere thousands rupiah away.

I went to the ATM to check whether my card has really been blocked. Unfortunately, yes. And this could only mean one thing. Dealing with the bank which I despise most in my entire banking life.

BCA Bank.

I went to the branch located in Pondok Indah Mall 2. I took a number from the security table. Number 23. There were, at that time, two customer service personnel attending to customers. The number display showed number 18. Only 4 people ahead of me.

If you think it was a short wait before being served, you're absolutely wrong. This is, after all, the bank which needs 5 working days to print a mere bank statement.

One of the customer service officers was attending to a middle-aged customer seated in front of her. She was taking her own bloody sweet time filling-in a form for the customer. I swear my 9 year old nephew could do it faster than her!!

Sensing it would take ages, I grab a brochure which had the customer care line number on it. I called the number. The person on the line said that the branch at Pondok Indah would not be able to attend to ATM card problems. I was told to go to a nearby branch on Monday.

Today is Monday. I dread going to the branch. I already had a bad start.

Crap 3

If you think that going into their 5th year of organizing the Java Jazz Festival, the organizers have grown wiser and managed to improve their organizing skills, then think again.

Well, to call them incompetent is really, really, really, an understatement.

You see, I've been visiting the Java Jazz 2009 website since early January '09. Only about three weeks ago, the artists performance schedule were posted on the site.

Yesterday was the last day to get the cheaper early bird tickets(although I swear, earlier they put the last date as 9th February). I went to a CD store, Societie at Fx, with the intention to purchase the 8th of March ticket. Earlier of the week, I checked the artists schedule and the artist that I wanted to watch was performing on Sunday.

So, at the Societie counter, I asked whether they had a schedule with them or whether they had an internet connection to check the latest schedule, just in case there were changes.

The answer was an expected NO. Just great. A ticket agent with no friggin' idea about the schedule. They don't even have the organiser's telephone numbers!!!

I bought the ticket anyway, hoping that the performance that I wanted to watch would not be changed to another date.

Monday morning, I checked the Java Jazz website and instantly felt like I was slapped by Peter F. Gontha while giving out a hearty laugh saying "I told you so!! We are a bunch of incompetent f*ucking assholes!!! Only morons like you would trust our schedule!!"

The artist's performance has been changed to 7th March!!! And I have to purchase the 7th March ticket at regular price.

OK. Granted. The website did mention the schedule is subject to changes. But please lah, after all these years don't tell me you can't figure out how to solve the problem of sticking to the original schedule. You mean to say that the earlier schedule was put up just for the sake of having a schedule? Without prior confirmation from the artists?

Oh. I did try calling the organizers today. Could not get through. Maybe the telephone cables were disconnected. Maybe no one has the balls to listen to complains from ticket buyers. I don't know. Just maybe.

03 February 2009

Time To Catch My Breath

Before I begin, to Roid, gue bakal kerjain tag lho. Tunggu aja.

It's been quite an awesome 3 weeks.

It began with the arrival of Peanut Butter and friends. Their visit, which had been planned since June 2008, was supposed to be their last visit before I leave Jakarta for good.

PeanutButter holds the record of having stayed at all four of my residences in Jakarta. Something which even my own mother couldn't match. Hehehe.

Then, the famous Malaysian female blogger, Redmummy, came with her husband and their two adorable, camera savvy kids. It was their first ever trip to Jakarta.

Redmummy is my neighbour in KL. Thanks Red and family for the makan2 , for the Srikaya (which by the way is running out fast.. hehe!) and for the HRC polo shirt.

Then, it was 3 days of meeting and entertaining four big bosses from HQ. Eventually, two of them decided to extend their stay for another 3 days.

The day the two big bosses left for KL on Sunday, I hadn't even packed for the move to the new house!!

And it was a long night indeed. Managed to get everything done by 3 am by which time I had only 4 hours to sleep before the movers came the next day.

Aditya Serviced Apartments. Wonderful 2 months stay. Highly recommended!!!!

Then, it was unpack! unpack! unpack!!!

By Monday evening, I was totally drained. And that night I slept like a log.

Haiya... why la this entry sounds like homework karangan Bahasa Inggeris darjah 5 biru?

Gue bener2 capek. Waktunya untuk pijat!!!!

13 January 2009

Pindah Lagi.. Pindah Lagi

Yupp. It'll make it the 4th time within 13 months.

I feel like an artist on his concert tour. Only that it isn't intercity but an inter-kecamatan tour. Kebayoran Baru - Kebayoran Lama, back and forth.

But I've been anticipating this move. That's why I left most of my belongings in the boxes from my previous move barely two months ago. Belum pun hilang rasa penat... dah kena pindah lagi.

Well actually, to be honest, I thought I'd be asked to return to HQ.

But Allah gave me more time to spend in Jakarta. Yak!! Yak!! Yeayy!!

  • I will be able to catch my 4th JavaJazz (someone I know is performing!!!)
  • My 3rd InaCraft!!! (ok, the iburumahtangga in me comes out once in a while. You people should be proud of the high quality craftsmanship of Indonesian handicrafts. And oh yeah, I'm the secret agent sent by KL to immitate those products)
  • I can now plan my 3rd trip to Bali!!!!!
  • I will witness PEMILU 2009!!
  • Witness the upcoming flood!!

Last but not least,

  • I will have the chance to see the ending of sinetron Muslimah, Yipppee!!! (it's a sinetron on Indosiar where this woman, Muslimah, arguably the most cursed woman ever in the history of sinetron, who has a step daughter with a third eye on the forehead. If that's not amazing enough, the third eye has magical powers to lift objects. The plot is unbelievably dreadful that after awhile you'll find it gives you this strange feeling of pleasure memaki-hamun in front of the telly all by yourself. Just like watching telenovelas but with a lot less boobs.
My new abode will be in a residential housing area which makes it more exciting. I'll get the chance to mingle with the locals. And then of course there'll be the tukang bakso, mbak jamu gandeng, bapak RT, electricity meter reader man, water meter reader man, tukang roti, tukang sepatu and the street's satpam among others. If I'm lucky, there'll also be the tukang topeng monyet.

Living in the current serviced apartment, the only living beings I bump into on regular basis are the satpam at the guard house, the receptionist and the stray cat that made the basement's carpark its home.

The thing that I find quite disturbing is the fact that there's a vacant plot of land directly opposite the house with overgrown grass and weeds. This view will greet me from the master bedroom window. Not a good idea to peek outside in the middle of the night, huh?

Also, the house has been vacant 3 months now. I will not have a neighbour. The house to the left has been vacant for months, and the house to the right is undergoing major renovations.

The house is quite huge. With maid's quarter, a garage (now I have a valid reason to buy a bicycle!!) and a wet kitchen.

Damn you Dewi Persik! It was solely because of you I watch Tali Pocong Perawan.

I need a housemate!!!!!!

Jogja Pics