Posts Tagged ‘Jakarta’

There’s something about stories

June 8, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I like fairy tales. I still do. Even after all these years. And no, not just because of the pretty, pretty dresses worn by the princes and the princesses, the grandiose castles—almost always looking as if they needed redecorating—or the heavenly creatures that roam the vast land endlessly.

And they make quite a bedtime story, too.

When it was still the ‘80s or the ‘90s, it was not too difficult to find “real” bedtime stories. There was that Sanggar Cerita cassette series in its thick, bulgy, white plastic casings that set it apart from other tapes. An older version of the series also came with the ordinary see-through plastic cassette casings used for the packaging of music albums and are, apparently, less likely to swell oversize to the brink of no clicking upon closing like the white plastic ones in the heat.

Another thing is that the bedtime stories didn’t usually come with a transcript of the story, and this sometimes (and only sometimes) has made it a witty bit frustrating for the curious sleepyheads who didn’t quite catch the difficult words inside the tale. There were quite a few “Apa?” instead of the glorious A-ha moments, as a result to that.

The collection includes an assortment of stories with a lineup of bizarre, if not freaky, characters. There was Si Kancil, a tiny deer in his attempts to find juicy, tasty cucumbers to legendary characters that are either turned to national treasures (Malinkundang was turned to stone), forced to marry (Siti Nurbaya) or just plain legendary, like the want-it-all Roro Jongrang.

These and other given characters with names the like of Putri Angsa Putih, Putri Kecapi, superhero names (there was one, at least, that included Superman’s kicks) and even pets, like Ular Sang Pangeran, have helped children all over the country get some quality sleep. These characters are usually flaunted on the two-fold cassette covers that looked really dandy, as if they were hand painted, each and every one of them, for that specific story.

Each side of the tape contains, usually, one story for the A-side and another one for the B-side. When you’re lucky, however, you’ll find a story that continues to the other side. When that happens, regardless of having made to endure the opening jingle twice, it sure feels more than good.

But that was before the illustrated children’s story books came along, before being “properly” introduced to Rapunzel, the Tweedle brothers from “Alice in Wonderland” or Jiminy the cricket. And before I realized that when you leave the tapes in the open and don’t play them quite often, they’re bound to grow fungus. And when that happens you just need to be kind, and rewind.


And now for a bit of revisionism

May 15, 2010

After months of living in Amsterdam, avoiding the tourist traps, I finally went to the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands. Among the marble busts of war heros and large paintings of Dutch colonial ships, I spent a lot of time staring at paintings of Batavia.

Pieter Cnoll, senior merchant of Batavia, his wife and their daughters.


From the Big Durian to the Australian Burbs

April 20, 2009

My brain wanders, looking for direction

Where ojeks once darted passed the Hello Misters of children,

The streets are silent and the pubs are full.

My lungs rejoice.

My liver braces.

My heart slumps.

To Eat or Not to Eat, that Is the Question

January 18, 2009
A sign saying <i>jangan makan</i> or <i>don't eat</i> that can be found in the smoking lounge of 'Menara Batavia'

A sign saying "jangan makan" or don't eat that can be found inside the smoking lounge of 'Menara Batavia'

How to make male virility potion out of a cobra in Kota

December 17, 2008

snake1To avoid Om’bak becoming something of a feminist coven, I thought we should even out the discussion on sexuality and have a post on the boys.

Well, actually that’s not entirely fair. I suppose I know a few males who would hesitate to associate their sexuality with the practice of drinking snake blood. Whateva. I wanna show you the photos already. From a medicinal warung in Kota, North Jakarta.

Don’t look at this if you’ve got a weak stomach, are particularly sensitive or likely to get ideas.

 See slideshow here. Don’t forget to click ‘show info’ to see the captions.

Check these places out if you have time

December 16, 2008

I haven’t been able to allocate a time to think and write something that’s a little bit insightful that will be worth your time to read.

But in the last 2-weeks, I have gone to some pretty cool places.

In Random order:


Strange Stranger Magnet

December 10, 2008

Conversation with a taxi driver # One hundred and something.

Taxi driver: I am a Mick Jagger specialis

Me: Apa?

TD: ANGIE! ANGIIIIIIE! Wit no lovin’ in our boats, and no money in our souls, you cannnnt say you satisfiiieeeed!

Me: Woohoo! Yeah Pak! Ayo!

TD: Apa lagi?

Me: Errr…

(TD’s handphone rings to dance music tune . Has detailed conversation in Indonesian “yah, dia orang Australi. Yah, sebentar, ya.” Passes the phone to me).

Me: Halo?

Voice on phone: Giggles

Me: Halo! Nama saya Belinda!

TD grabs the phone off me. “Ya! Dia Orang Australi! Betul!”

TD: That my wife, my istri, missus.

Me: Oh ya?

TD: Yah. She hypersex. (more…)

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…)

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.