Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jakarta, 2013

In the light of recent haze, I decided to visit Jakarta to meet my Indonesian friends to resolve several haze issues. Yes, it was a political trip - just kidding! Apparently, Jakarta is not really affected because the blaze came from Riau, way above Jakarta.

Once in a while, I'd love to feel like a millionaire so where else can you feel like one other than Indonesia? The exchange rate is in thousands and the food there is so cheap I can just stay there and grow fat. But I can't do that because the following day I was back it's a day before fasting month. I can't really extend can I?
I visited places many tourists had not been to because Plaza Indonesia, Senayan City and anywhere around Menteng (where President Barack Obama grew up) can be found back home. Of course being a tourist, you're still bound to visit common places like Waterbom and Istiqlal Mosque. One of the significant museums I went to where most have not visited is the textile museum and the Monumen Pancasila Sakti.

Textile Museum, Jakarta
The Textile Museum was founded in 1976 as a result of a concerted effort spearheaded by the Governor of Jakarta at that time. It was officially opened on 28 June 1976. There I learnt about the different types of batik from all over the Malay Archipelago like Madura, Sumatra, and Jogjakarta to name a few.

I also managed to learn something about Indonesian history at the Monumen Pancasila Sakti (Sacred Pancasila Monument). Pancasila in Indonesian politics refers to the five philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. The word pancasila is derived from old Sanskrit which means five (panca) principles (sila).

Sacred Pancasila Monument, Jakarta
The museum showcased the 30th September Movement whereby a self-proclaimed communist organization of Indonesian National Armed Forces members who, in the early hours of 1 October 1965, assassinated six Indonesian Army generals in an abortive coup d'état.

We also visited the Istiqlal Mosque - the largest mosque in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. This national mosque of Indonesia was built to commemorate Indonesian independence and named "Istiqlal", an Arabic word for "independence". The US President and the First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama visited this mosque back in 2010.

Istiqlal Mosque - Largest mosque in Southeast Asia

Apart from sight seeing, I tried a lot of street food and here are the several food you should find and try out if you happen to come across.

Sate Padang - Served with ketupat and thick spicy gravy.
Sate Padang - Beef meat and offal satay in thick yellow sauce. Which is something I really like because, I'm not a fan of peanut sauce where as this Padang food uses spices for the sauce.
Kerak Telur - Betawi traditional snack. It is a spicy omelette of duck or chicken egg mixed with glutinous rice sprinkled with serunding (sauteed grated coconut). While it's nice, the texture is very dry probably because of the serunding.

Kue Tete - Something like pancake, usually green in colour and may have a variety of toppings.
Since A&W is not available in Singapore, I had a bite there too!
There's many more to this this trip like going for a swim at Waterbom (Jakarta) they have another one in Bali, sight seeing, eating, and a little bit of shopping for home.

Sliding down at Waterbom, Jakarta
I would like to thank Dhany, her family and friends for being so hospitable and such a wonderful host. Till we meet again!

Back to reality!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kabur - Pentas Budaya 2013

Ahmad, Sarah dan Hariz merupakan sahabat sekelas yang berbeza latar belakang. Kehadiran mereka bertiga di dalam alam tersebut mencetuskan sebuah pengembaraan yang penuh ujian dan cabaran. Melalaui pertemuan dan kejadian yang tidak diduga, mereka akan mengenali kekuatan masing-masing dan juga mempelajari erti sebenar persahabatan.

Credit: NUS Malay Language Society
Last Friday, we attended a really amazing theater performance that showcases young, and promising talent from various schools. They were handpicked by the NUS (National University of Singapore) Malay Language Society through a camp to be a part of one of the latest production hosted by the NUS group. According to QS World University Ranking, NUS is one of the top universities in the world.
I am really proud to say that one of the directors is one of my good friend; Syaz. Congratulations!

With the show towkay (boss) in the middle.

The story was about three classmates who has different background and personality. They were picked by their teacher to work as a team for a project although we can see that there's bound to be a personality clash. So, something mystical happened in a scene that brought them to another world.
Ain't gonna spoil it with the details!

Curtain call.
I honestly think the story line carries a lot of moral value in it - which is ever vital in a play. In terms of stage set up, it was really minimal where there is little usage of physical props, yet alternatives of stagecraft like projection, sound effects and lighting were used. And it really worked well because it doesn't only cut costs, but saves time on interval too. It's a theater performance, not a bloody musical!
One of the reasons for me to be there was not only to give my full support but also to meet old acquaintances. It was really great to keep up with the few who matter because social media can be too loaded with updates. I could really use technology detox because sometimes it can too overwhelming. Oh God, is this a sign of aging? So here are the few people that I have not seen for a very, very long time.
With the gorgeous primary and secondary schoolmate.
Ex-classmate in my tuition class!
With an old classmate in Higher Malay - he was really short then!
Photo bomb in the middle (kidding!) with another old classmate back in Higher Malay.
There you go, flower power. Only kidding!
A selfie can never go wrong!