Archive for November, 2008

One Dinner Conversation

November 30, 2008

This rare finding from an Indonesian language text book in

“Dear, what’s with all the food?” asked a mother to a daughter during dinner.

“Well, I read in a magazine that the key to a healthy diet is to get yourself thinking that you can eat anything, anytime and anywhere,” answered the daughter, preparing to go into the details of why the slight shift in view point can make the largest difference.

The father glanced at the amount of food the young lady had fixed up for herself and muttered, “Why don’t you just eat the magazine?”

And, perhaps, the words of others

November 27, 2008

On days like today you question what you and your little words really contribute to the world.

When things like Mumbai happen, as my good friend Jemise says, all you have is silence.

It’s in that silence that you can listen to writers far greater than yourself, who have seen things you never will.

Grab a hot cup of coffee (or tea, if you must), go to your quiet room, and listen to Chris Abani

One for the dark days. A reminder of why we do what we do.

Words, just words, and a moment of silence

November 27, 2008

The words “blogging”, “blogger” and “blog” have started to appear on our … um … blog of late. It seems we avoided the terms for so long despite our web address and our use of “I”.

It’s all happening this week. Ananda Ayu and I attended the nerdiest of nerd conventions, Pesta Blogger. Om’bak finally created a blog roll, tapping into the broader blogosphere. And we received much-appreciated kudos from much-respected blogger Jakartass.

Even in my short career as a “person who regularly uploads her thoughts onto the web”, coming up with something of some substance to say on a weekly basis is not always simple.

Now the thing with blogging is that it is just so:


Where there’s smoke…

November 26, 2008

I took my first puff of a cigarette when I was 15, and on the occasional night that my friends and I experimented with booze, some of us pretended we actually liked smoking, like we had been doing it for years. I liked how it reflected my teenage angst. Being troubled was cool. Looking back, there’s nothing more comical than a 15-year-old who’s been smoking for two weeks saying, “Yeah, I’m trying really hard to give up.” Fast forward 10 years and here I am. I’m 25, in Indonesia, still tempted by those wretched things that destroy so many lives, saying, “Yeah, I’m trying really hard to give up.” There’s nothing sadder than that. (more…)

A Suitable Read

November 25, 2008

Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth

Hail Muse. Dear Reader, 🙂

I have just finished reading Vikram Seth’s very long novel (it’s around 1,400 pages) A Suitable Boy (a week ago) and his novel-in-verse The Golden Gate (last night).

And I can say that I am now officially a fan of Seth’s.


Bad ass blogging crimes

November 24, 2008

A day after Pesta Blogger and the celebration of Indonesia’s bloggers, seems our hoster WordPress has been called to help the Jakarta Police fight the heinous crimes going around on the interwebs- in this case, someone posting a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad.

It contradicts some law made this year by “disseminating information which would create rivalry among religious communities.” Apparently.

What’s really confused me is a quote by Jakarta City Police ( I’m getting this from via the Jakarta Post):

City Police special crimes director Commissioner Raja Erizman said police had traced the website and found it was created outside Indonesia.

Hmmm. Maybe I is stupid, but couldn’t that make things a bit inconvenient for the city police, given they usually have jurisdiction limited to Jakarta? Let alone staying within Indonesia. They’re gonna be making some work for themselves if they’ve decided to apply Indonesian law to the whole of the crazy world of web. (more…)

The ABC’s of JKT (part three)

November 21, 2008
"Momma said not to push, asswipe."

"Momma said no pushing, asswipe."

Read Part One (A-F).
Read Part Two (G-M).

No need to push, dude.
I have heard this sentence being uttered (in Indonesian, English, French and everything in between, and sometimes intertwined with profanities) everywhere a queue of people is in sight. At the ATM, at the bus stop, getting off airplanes, getting on airplanes, at the doctor’s, at music concerts, at the movies, at the Debenhams midnight sale, basically anywhere and everywhere people are supposed to form a line. (more…)

Om’bak’s got no friends

November 20, 2008

Blogging. I’m a blogger. Shudder. I still can’t bring myself to give myself a label indicating that I log into a free online content management system, and type my feeeeeelings into a little box which I then post. Hoping someone, somewhere in the world will read it.

I had psychological hurdles to overcome before I started this. Years of “mainstream” journalism training had taught me to regard these blogging types as self-indulgent amateurs (writing in the first person, tsk tsk) who were directly responsible for the free-fall decline of the daily newspapers I had coveted employment from for so long. Crossing over to the dark side was only possible in the form of a group attempt with Om’bak. There’s not as much self-lovin’ if you’re doing it with five other people!

But the ‘blogosphere’ (ohhh, lingo!) has long overcome such anxieties and moved onto far more complex phenomena: blogging etiquette. (more…)

Global crisis and end to Bakrie’s political career

November 18, 2008
Aburizal Bakrie (iPhA/Anton)

The global crisis is taking its toll on Indonesia’s richest. A political analyst says that Aburizal Bakrie, the Coordinating Minister of Welfare-cum-the richest man in Indonesia according to Forbes Asia Magazine, is losing his political clout as stocks across his business empire’s plummet.


First impressions

November 17, 2008
Jakarta haze

Jakarta haze

Jakarta is a series of choked arteries, tangled. Motorbikes weave around stuck SUVs and taxis, while the roads collapse under the weight, potholed and vulnerable.

The city is manic and gasping for fresh air. Smog traps the heat and they swirl together, suffocating the millions below.