Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Rhetorical Devices

Time to continue my sharing from the Jakarta Post's Writing Workshop. The second session is about Rhetorical Devices, very useful for people who want to make their writing stronger. There are many rhetorical devices, such as simile, alliteration, tricolon, etc. If you remember your Bahasa Indonesia classes from high school, you'll remember the lessons about "majas", right? This is kinda similar with that.

For the assignment, the coach asked us to submit an article that has at least 3 different rhetorical devices. Here's mine below. Can you spot the rhetorical devices?

Why I Fight the iPad

Kids who are raised in the digital age do not understand how it feels to be a gaptek (gagap teknologi – or technology illiterate). They seem to be equipped by a sixth sense for technology related stuff: they know exactly the differences between touch screen phones and the ones with keypads, they can adjust easily with new gadgets, and they usually can find the best shortcuts or tricks in our phone- long before we even knew that they existed.

My 4,5 years old son amazed me every time he played with his iPad. Beating my score in Temple Run, sailing easily through the dead end levels in Candy Crush, or showing me the ways how to play Angry Birds correctly. I watched with mixed feelings when his fingers moved across the screen, like a cheetah chasing his prey.

I realized that nowadays iPad has played a huge role in children’s education and brain development. A study conducted at Longfield Academy in Kent, England, showed positive impacts of the iPad when being used as educational tool for students and teachers. The study mentioned that iPads have revolutionized teaching and encouraged collaborative learning.

Meanwhile, some companies like Vivity Labs had launched scientifically designed brain-training games to help develop children’s brain. One of the games, Sparky’s Adventures, has Parent’s Corner that gives parents insight into how their kids’ brains are developing while playing the games.

But besides all the glitters, can iPad really replace the green scenery and the fresh air? Or the pleasure of playing outside with your friends, socializing with real people? I don’t think so.

If you grew up before the 90s, I’m pretty sure you still remember the beauty of playing outdoor with your friends. I remember vividly my excitement every time I walked outside my house and anticipated a long, fun afternoon. Playing tag with the neighbor kids and fishing in the nearest pond and riding bicycle and exploring the neighborhood. The joy that my son, along with so many kids out there, missed a lot these days.

I noticed that my son spent so much time indoor, glued into his iPad screen, and only spent little time outdoor socializing with his friends. Every time I had prepared other activities for him, iPad always allured him to find some excuses to check on it. Even more unbelievable is whenever we have a playdate with other kids, they keep on busy playing (or exchanging) iPads! And this is when I finally declared my war against the iPad.

The first time I tried to separate my son with his iPad, it was so hard. He’s furious: kicking, screaming, wailing. I’ve developed a schedule that limits his time playing with iPad. Homework first, then he can play for 30 minutes. On weekends, I prepared outdoor activities for him, from swimming lessons to museum trips and biking in Car Free Day. Anything that can separate him with his iPad, even only for a while.

Of course it’s not easy. Another day, another battle, another drama. My son still asks for his iPad every time he doesn’t have interesting thing to do, or if he sees other kids playing with their iPads. Moreover, I know that sometimes, when I was busy with works or had to catch up with something else, I was the one who’ve been tempted to pull out the iPad from its hiding place and give it to my son so he wouldn’t disturb me.

But gradually, the effort works. Last week I accompanied him to his swimming lesson and he didn’t want to come out from the pool even though his lesson was already over. And the last time we met with my brother’s kids, the children were playing football instead of being busy with their gadgets. It’s relieving to see kids having fun outside and laughing out loud for a change.

I agree that it’s impossible to eliminate the role of gadgets in this digital era. And like other gadgets, iPad has its own perks and positive traits. But I’m glad to say that although the iPad still becomes a part of our lives, its grip is not as strong as before and my son is less dependent on it.

It is indeed good news but with the school holiday just around the corner, I know the challenge is not over yet. And my fight will continue- maybe for many years to come.         

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sing It Singapore!

Another family holiday, this time was a crowded one. The main objective was to make the kids happy, so the destinations - Singapore and Johor - were chosen just to fulfill that goal. Here are some recollections, recommendations, and reminiscence from the memorable holiday :)

1. Peninsula Hotel

- is where we stayed during the short trip. Not too expensive like the hotels in Orchard Road, but still it's pretty decent for kids and the location is also very good. Not far from City Hall station, there is Watson just next door and 7-11 across the street. Recommended! Ow, and the best thing is there's no Indonesians staying at this hotel so you can talk freely in Bahasa Indonesia without worrying somebody will eavesdrop :D

2. Legoland Malaysia

Look at the background! Those two little devils were having a grand time :D
We chartered a bus from Singapore because our group was quite big (17 people). The traveling time was not so bad, about an hour from Singapore to Johor Baru. But the process of getting off the bus to go through Immigration check points (one in Singapore and one in Malaysia) was pretty exhausting, especially for the kids. Finally we made it to Legoland, and since it was a weekday, the place was not too crowded. We almost successfully riding all the rides :)

It's true, though, that Legoland is more suitable for kids below 10 years old. The rides are quite slow and children friendly. They even have two roller coasters, one is for younger kids (like Alap-alap in Dufan). Yofel was pretty excited. Too bad the 4D theater didn't function well, the scent and moving functions didn't work, although the kids related well with the Chima story (you only understand this if your kids play Lego, trust me).

Another cool ride is the Dino Island, but it's not eligible for kids whose heights are below 120 cm. It's like Niagara-gara in Dufan, but instead of Indians and cowboys, there are dinosaurs made from Lego. Too bad Yofel can't ride it.

One of Yofel's favorite rides is the Junior Driving School. Here, kids pretended to enter the driving school, and learn to ride a car (again, made from Lego, very cute). At the end of the ride, they are allowed to have a driving license (although you'll have to pay R35 for this haha).

Before getting the license. Watch out Pak Polisi!
 At the end of the day, we gave the kids a chance to shop for their favorite Lego. My tip is to prepare extra money to buy Lego in one of the shops, because it's worth it, the price is cheaper up to IDR 200k.

We got back to Singapore by our bus, and again, had to pass through the Immigration checkpoints. This time it's more challenging because the kids were already really tired and cranky. My suggestion, if you have extra money and extra time, it's better to spend one night in the Legoland Hotel, and you can also try the waterpark.

Dino from Lego!

3. Dinosaurs Dawn to Extinction (and Annie Leibovitz Exhibition!)
Which one should I choose? :D
The next day, our group split up and we took Yofel to ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands. The building has very cool design, modern and sleek with spacious rooms for the exhibitions. Dinosaurs Dawn to Extinction was almost over, we were lucky it's still there when we visited the museum. The good news was, there's an exhibition of Annie Leibovitz at the 3rd floor and the combo ticket price was quite cheap, so my sister and I decided we will stop by the Annie Leibovitz exhibition after done with the Dino.

But first thing first: Yofel was soooo excited and happy with the dino exhibition. It showed the most wonderful things: real fossils, edutainment related to dinosaurs, replicas of jungle and even the almost real fighting scenes between the fierce dinos.

Cool replicas!
 The audio, video, even 3D demos were very descriptive and interesting. For kids like Yofel, there were some cool games and activities that suitable for children and toddlers. I wish this kind exhibition will visit Jakarta in the future!

Next, my sister and I went to the 3rd floor to see the Annie Leibovitz photo exhibition. I love the spacious, light gallery where the exhibition was held, and I love how the gallery arranged Annie's photos chronologically. My most favorite is of course the Leonardo DiCaprio's one :D

We're not supposed to take picture here *ssshhhh*

4. The Sound of Music

We were very lucky we could watch Sound of Music the musical in Marina Bay Sands Mastercard Theater. This was actually the first time I took Yofel to a musical so I was pretty nervous. Will he make a scene? Will he be bored?

The theater itself is amazing- it's large with live music performance below the stage. The acoustic quality is marvelous and the stage design is beautiful. The performance is wonderful, too. Although coming from Broadway, the theater gave opportunity to Singaporean to also perform. So from the 7 Von Trapp's kids, there's one Singaporean :)

Yofel unexpectedly loved the performance. He sat in the children special stool provided by the theater and enjoyed the musical scenes, especially the Do Re Mi one :) But he was a bit confused because there were some scenes different from the movie. And Yofel got bored during the conversation scenes, especially that involved only the grown ups. He fell asleep after the intermission, but I'm so proud of him for accompanying me in this amazing musical :)

yaaawnnn XD

the gank...
5. Fullerton Walk

Singapore is crazy about running (like Jakarta) and now there are lots and lots of running track. Too bad I didn't bring my running shoes, but one evening we decided to walk from our hotel to the Fullerton area, passing by the running track (and many runners!) to the Merlion. The atmosphere was so nice, and the view was beautiful.

Next time I visit Singapore, running shoes are in my packing list :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Opinion Piece

My office registered the staff to join a writing workshop by the Jakarta Post. The trainers are from various background and the workshop's sessions range from writing opinion pieces to using power writing tools. This workshop made me itchy to dig my writing passion. I looked at this blog shamefully since it's been neglected for quite some time.

I promised myself to revisit my writing habit, try to write something every other day or week. Writing has always been my passion, my escapade from daily mundane problems, and I truly miss my writing days.

After each session, the trainer assigned us to write something related to the topic. For the first assignment, we had to write an opinion piece. This is a good exercise, especially because we have a whole session specially to discuss and do some peer editing. Very inspiring.

Here's my first opinion piece. Open for comments and suggestions :)
Hopefully I'll have some time later to share more about what I gain from this workshop.

The Road to Purple Pinky

Many years has passed since the last time I walked to my TPS (Tempat Pemungutan Suara – Indonesian term for election booth) to vote and get my pinky purpled by the famous ink. With the way democracy and election implemented in Indonesia, not voting became the easiest decision for me.  I couldn’t care less with Indonesian politics for the last decade since I had been too upset with the moral crisis this country facing, namely government false promises, fake images of elite politicians, and the big corruption everywhere.

I had a first-hand experience on how the false promises were made (and later be broken). In 2005, when I was still a journalist working for one of the largest online media in Indonesia, my editor assigned me to cover Jusuf Kalla’s pre election campaign. Kalla then was the candidate for vice president of the already popular SBY. I followed him closely in many of his trips across the archipelago, from island to island and big cities to remote villages, listening to his speeches and promises. They were always the same, really sweet and sugar coated talks that told in front of many hopeful faces, and in the end made me quite bored and sceptical. After SBY and Kalla had been elected that year and all the promises to Indonesia were forgotten – replaced by the compromise and heavy coalitions in the government- I vowed that I would never vote again.

Apparently I was not the only one who felt that way. According to the Election Commission (KPU), the number of Golput (Golongan Putih– the term used for non voters in Indonesia) has been increasing during the last three elections, from 10,40% in 1999, to 23% in 2004, and around 29% in 2009. This data was quite surprising, considering the stage of democracy in Indonesia that is still young and dynamic, and people should not start to lose their faith in the government and democracy process in this country yet.

However, after a dose of careful reflection, I’ve changed my mind recently. I realized that losing faith – and hope – does not really change anything. One consideration is because, in the absence of my vote,  the government will still do whatever they used to do, and I don’t have the right to complain or judge them, since I choose to be indiferent to politics and did not use my right to vote in the elections. It’s like when you have a movie night with your friends and you don’t want to choose which movie you want to watch, but then you have the loudest complaint because the movie doesn’t fit your taste.

There are many reasons why people choose to become Golput. Beside feeling disappointed with the government performance, some people do not vote because they can’t decide which candidate is better, even marginally. Others become Golput incidentally, because they are not registered or even do not have adequate information about the voting system in Indonesia.

One of the reasons why most of my friends do not want to vote is because they think politics has nothing to do with them. They couldn’t care less who will become the President of Indonesia as long as they can still keep their jobs and feed their families. Flash news: politics is real. Politics is a part of our lives. Are you tired of the bad traffic everytime you’re going home from the office? Annoyed when you try to open your favorite website but it’s being blocked by the Ministry of Information? Frustrated with the ever more absurd system of National Exam that your children must pass? Welcome to the hard reality, where politics has real impacts in our daily activities.

We probably do not have the best candidates in the world for the upcoming presidential election, and nobody can guarantee that their promises will be fulfilled after they’re being elected. One has a doubtful past and the other still has much to prove. Moreover, some faces still come from the New Order era.

But this time, I’ve made up my mind. Indonesia is at an important moral junction and this election may cast some light to our country. For me, it’s still better to put hopes up and be disappointed afterwards (and then exercise my right to complain!) than to throw away hopes and live a stagnant life. For me, it is better to walk to the TPS and get my pinky purpled, than stay at home and hate my country with all my might without doing anything about it. Because like Dante Alighieri said, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

You'll Survive

People come and go.

How many times have you said goodbye? Lots of times, I bet. Like so many people out there, I hate goodbyes and farewells (who doesn't?).

A few weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to my boss for the past four years. It's a bit dramatic since he decided to leave quite abruptly - before his contract actually ends - and with a bit of drama-rama (and some baggage left behind!!). I was feeling lost because we are actually in the middle of reorganizing everything in the office. Mad, sad and abandoned, I felt the whole situation was kinda unfair to us the staff. Because of some dispute between the higher authorities, we were left alone - and without any guidance how to proceed with the tasks until the new boss comes.

I remember when my old boss said to me, "So this is it, kiddo. I wish you the best things in life, and I know you'll do fine." I was between hugging him and punching him since it was easy for him, the one who left, than to us, the one who'd left behind.

Not long after that, I got news from my personal trainer (PT) in gym, the one who had made me keeping up with healthy life for the past six months. He said to me that he will move to another gym - quite far from my place- to pursue a better opportunity. I was devastated since I like him and his trainings a lot. He's the one who always supported me whenever I wanted to give up. He's the one who made me realize that it's possible to change your way of life - even though you're already in your 30s and haven't done sports for a decade.

And just like that, he's gone, after transferred my training to another PT.

I hate goodbyes. I hate losing people. But here I am. With a new boss coming my way (he'll be here next week and rumors said he's worse than my previous boss, but we'll see!) and a new PT in the gym (my first session with him was yesterday and surprisingly went quite well!!)

Yes there are some adjustments to make, some things that I still miss, and some differences that are hard to take. But guess what? I survive.

Yes, people come and go. But I'll survive. We'll survive :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Singapore Fling

My mom is one of the most impulsive persons I've ever known. So I wasn't that surprised when last month she suddenly asked me to join her for a short trip to Singapore, with my sister and sister in law. My father finally joined us too in last minute.

The trip didn't have any specific reasons, other than Mom wanted to spend some time with us, girls only (this was before my father's sudden decision to join us, haha). So we decided to visit some nice culinary destinations that we've never had a chance to visit every time we came with the kids.

There are three places that I would love to recommend:

1. Tiong Bahru Bakery 
Actually, this place has several branches, including one in Orchard area. That's why the concierge in our hotel was confused when we asked him the way to Tiong Bahru, the original location of the bakery. But we wanted to feel the atmosphere besides eating the food, so we decided to just go to Tiong Bahru. We took a bus and it stopped not far from the bakery. The bakery was small and it was Sunday when we went there, so it was pretty crowded. Fortunately we got a table near the windows when we arrived. The bakery is owned by a French couple, so the menu has lots of variety, and authentic taste, too. We ordered chocolate almond croissant, apple crumble, bacon bagel and some pie with cheese (I forgot the French name, sorry!). The price is quite high, maybe because the target market of the bakery is the expatriates living in Singapore (so many bules when we were there, most of them are young couples with small kids). But the coffee and tea are great, and the food is very very delicious, so it's all worth it. It feels like you found a little piece of Paris in the middle of Singapore old town district.

#01-07, 56 Eng Hoon St, Singapore 160056 ‎
6220 3430

The Almond Croissant and Bacon Bagel are superb!

Make sure you go to the original location.

2. Song Fa Bakut Teh
I am not a fan of bakut teh, for me the taste is too strong and even a bit like medicine. But my sister said that there's one place in Clarke Quay that has the best bakut teh ever. It even doesn't really taste of bakut teh! So we decided to give it a try and having lunch there. It's located just across The Central, the big mall above the Clarke Quay MRT station. The place is so crowded we even had to wait to be seated. The atmosphere is pretty nice, the interior is designed like an old Chinese restaurant. We ordered pork ribs bakut teh, fish soup, cakueh and vegetables. And my sister was totally right! The bakut teh didn't taste like strong medicine, but more like pork rib soup :) I enjoyed it so much, even the price was okay (we actually spent more for our breakfast in Tiong Bahru than our lunch here). My only complaint is the tea. The Chinese tea was not that good, lukewarm and didn't have strong taste. Not at all like any old Chinese restaurant!

17 New Bridge Road #01-01
Singapore 059386

Business Hours:
11.00am - 9.45pm
Last Order: 9:30pm
Please call to check on availability
(Closed on Monday)

Tel: +65 6438 2858 

From the upfront.

Those pork ribs are heavenly!

3. Tim Ho Wan
We heard about this place because people said that this is the hottest spot to eat dim sum in Singapore now. It's gained an entry in Michelin guide and originally came from Hongkong. In Singapore, it's located in Plaza Singapura, not far from Orchard Road. But since the waiting line is usually very long, we decided to come on Monday (with hope that people are too busy going to work and don't have time to eat dim sum in the morning), and we came very early, before the restaurant was open :) But guess what? There were actually people already waited in the line! And the thing is, because we were still waiting for my mom and dad to join us in the restaurant, we were not allowed to go inside! The rule is to wait until all members of your group are coming. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait for too long. And we ordered so much food because we were very very hungry XD The must try of this place is Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. It's like puffy milk bread, with juicy bbq pork inside. It's so delicious I felt guilty to eat it! Other menu that are also worth to try: vermicelli roll with pig's liver, steamed pork dumpling with shrimp, and pan fried carrot cake. My mouth is now watery just thinking about them XD The price was okay, but a bit expensive compares to dim sum in Jakarta. We spent around SGD 70 for 5 people.


68 Orchard Road #01-29A Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Tel: (65) 6251 2000

Opening Hours:
10.00am – 10.00pm (Monday  – Friday) Last Order @ 0930pm.
09.00am – 10.00pm (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)  Last Order @ 0930pm.

No reservation so make sure you come early!

The super duper delicious bbq pork bun!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


So... The first month in 2014 is almost over. How are your new year's resolutions doing? :)
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to reflect and set up a new goal. All failures that we had during last year should be forgotten, and let's start everything fresh in a new page.

That spirit usually lasts for.... hmmm I don't know, 1 week maybe? :D

I tried not to have too many impossible resolutions for the past few years, because I know that I didn't have that much commitment and consistency (based on my own experience haha). But I still had some "challenges" for myself every year. Small ones and I tried to find something that is measurable.

For example, every year I set a goal of the number of books I wanted to read during the year. Goodreads helps me a lot with this because they have specific challenge and reminder for this. At the beginning of the year, I always read like crazy, but about the middle of the year, my spirit started to sink, all books seemed boring, and sometimes I just couldn't find a relaxing time to read.

That also happens when I set a goal for doing more sports. I hit the gym three times a week, but after a few weeks, I skipped it every now and then. And after skipping gym for some time, all the strength and endurance I built previously were gone. I had to start from scratch, and it sucks.

There are two things that are important to reach your goals, resolutions, or whatever you call them: commitment and consistency.

Do it as if it's still the first week. Don't ever stop, whatever your goal is, you know you can reach it if you just keep doing it constantly. Why do you think people who have tried all kinds of diet could not reach the target weight they really wanted? Because they didn't do it consistently. They didn't make it their way of life. They tried and failed, or even worse, tried and succeeded for a little bit, and then got bored or even be satisfied just as it was.

I'm not good with commitment myself. But let's see if this year I could beat my own laziness. Let's see if I would still going to the gym next December, and if I could reach my goal to read 100 books until the end of the year. Let's prove that everyone has a sense of commitment. Even though it's been buried very very deep down inside for so many years.


Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Another new year!

I actually wanted to write so many things as my last post for 2013. Recaps, reflections, reminiscence, but so little time!!!

So I promised myself that I will write more this year. I'm gonna bring back my old sparks in writing. And I'm gonna live my life to the fullest.

Bring it on, 2014 :)

Happy new year folks!

Pullman Hotel,January 1st, 2014.