April 27, 2008

Inacraft (International Handicraft Trade Fair)

Today was the last day of Inacraft, an international handicraft trade fair which is held annually in Jakarta. Although its initial intention was to be a platform for Indonesian handicraft suppliers to meet potential domestic & international trade buyers, regular folks (i.e. non businessmen) also swarm every year to see this fair.

And I don't blame them, because here you can find all sorts of handicrafts from all over Indonesia : batik, songket and other Indonesian garments; silver jewellery, jewellery from pearls or precious stones; wooden furniture, rattan furniture and other housewares; stationary items and lots more!!

Besides the range of products, you can also find various types of handicraft: high quality vs medium quality, modern design vs. traditional Indonesian design....the range is hugeee....and it should be, since there are about 1000 suppliers participating in this event.

So, if you are into handicrafts, this is one of the exhibitions you shouldn't miss out on (Jakarta also holds other handicrafts fair at a smaller scale). The fair is usually held at JCC (Jakarta Convention Centre) and you need to pay a ticket to get in (don't worry...it's cheap, this year only Rp. 10.000,-).

Word of Caution though...it is usually very crowded, so if you don't like crowded places, you should come on a weekday / in the mornings.

April 22, 2008

French Film Festival

Movie goers don't worry about being bored in Jakarta because there are quite a few film festivals here (I can name 4 just off the top of my head thanks to Blitzmegaplex, Indonesia's newly movie theater franchise). Most recently was the annual French Film Festival (Festival Sinema Perancis). For its 13th time, the festival was not only held in Jakarta, but also in Semarang, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Bali.

I'm absolutely no fan of french movies. My image of french movies are that they are usually very artsy, taking simple daily life events and looking at them from a different, often surreal & usually thought-provoking angle....well...thought-provoking for some people, for me....I just go : Heh?! What happened? So the movie has ended already? What was the movie actually about?!

So when the film festival began last weekend, I didn't plan on going....until I read a synopsis of one of the films that would be shown :

Ma vie..n'est pas une comedie romantique

In romantic comedies, when a man meets a woman whom he was crazy in love at the age of nine, it is obvious that these two will kiss each other at the end of the film and that it will be nice and moving. But life is not a romantic comedy...

Being the romantic comedy fan that I am, I was curious how this film was going to end...afterall...we are talking about a french film here! And it turned out to be very very amusing! Maybe I enjoyed it so much because it was more like the normal American blockbuster movies that you see....straight to the point, not full with poetic symbols embedded in the scenes, but yet...there was still this light philosophic twist...

I liked it so much that I even bought another ticket for the next day's show :

Odette Toulemonde

Odette Toulemonde has nothing to be happy about, but is. Balthazar Balsan has everything to be happy about, but isn't. She dreams of thanking Balthazar Balsan, her favourite author, to whom - she believes - she owes her optimism. The rich and charming Parisian writer then turns up in her life in an unexpected way. A tale about the comic encounter between atypical survivors with nothing in common.

Now this movie...I could feel its "frenchness". Though I do admit that it was good, unfortunately I didn't enjoy it as much as Ma vie...just because I thought it was more on the poetic side. All in all...after watching these two movies, the only question that I was wondering about : Why are French & Sex strongly associated? (Watch these 2 movies, you'll see why I thought about this....)
For more information about this festival, please visit its website : http://www.sinema-perancis.com/

April 17, 2008

3.5G Broadband in Indonesia

Update : After using IM2 for a year (April '08 - '09), I've just switched to a new ISP (netZAP). IM2 proved to be very fast at the beginning, but in recent months, the connection has been slow & particularly the last month (April), I sometimes couldn't even connect! Other people have been experiencing the same thing, and rumour has it that IM2 doesn't have the necessary bandwidth to keep up with the increasing subscribers.

I remember browsing through the comments for “Visit Indonesia Year 2008” teaser ad on YouTube, & reading that some foreigners who saw the ad thought that Indonesia consisted only of rainforests & primitive tribes.

I guess for a person who has no idea of Indonesia, with all the headlines that Indonesia has been in, they would think that this country is a total mess with no modern things at all (Have you seen the ER episode where they compared the hectic situation in the hospital emergency room to Indonesia?)

I was curious about the ad, but couldn’t download it since I was using a 56kbps dial-up modem, it would have taken me hours... But yesterday I just registered to IM2, an Indonesian internet & multimedia service provider, for its 3.5G broadband subscription. They were offering free modem when subscribing to their broadband packages.

I was eyeing on the cheapest package (EcoLite) to use for my PC at home, but it turns out that it can only be used for notebooks & even then, not all notebooks are compatible with the device. I think that they should have put this info on the website. Or maybe they did, using a technical term (I’m not technology savvy), so I didn’t understand it…but still…

I felt mislead when knowing this. In other countries, I could have sued them ;)

Because I was already excited of the idea having broadband internet at home, I eventually chose the next cheapest package. I asked in detail what I should do to get things up & running. This is what the customer service officer said :

- Plug in the modem to your PC. The PC will automatically detect the device as long as you have Windows XP
- Just click “Next…Next….Next” to install
- Click on the internet icon in the software & click "Connect now"

Well, installing the modem turned out to be just that simple. But I couldn’t connect eventhough everything was installed properly & I saw that I got a signal. So…I called the customer hot line & it turns out that for some computers that don’t have an automatic thingy software (he mentioned the name, but I forgot), you still need to manually input a few data (I guess my computer is not up-to-date, just like its owner :P). It was quite a simple thing that you had to do, but I thought that IM2 could’ve just printed the instructions on the manual, rather then letting me waste my money calling them...

Overall though, I was quite satisfied for the first try.
The signal was good (I got HSDPA throughout the 2 hour I was browsing) & therefore I could watched videos on YouTube immediately after I clicked on them.
Not a second delay!

Hm…not too shabby for a developing country…

April 10, 2008

Bridget Jones & Sapardi Djoko Damono

Last night, I watched Bridget Jones' Diary for the hundredth time on DVD.

I haven't watched it in quite a while but yet again, I was all smiles when the scene came where Mark Darcy says to Bridget: “I like you very much. Just as you are.” A sentence so simple…but can make you melt awayyyy.

It reminds me of the line "Aku ingin mencintaimu dengan sederhana (translates into “I want to love you simply”)", in the poem Aku ingin” by Sapardi Djoko Damono, a famous Indonesian poet. The first time I heard this line was from a friend of mine back in highschool. It is VERY popular, so I think that eventhough you are not into poetry (like me), at least you should know this poem :

Aku Ingin

Aku ingin mencintaimu dengan sederhana
dengan kata yang tak sempat diucapkan
kayu kepada api yang menjadikannya abu

Aku ingin mencintaimu dengan sederhana
dengan isyarat yang tak sempat disampaikan
awan kepada hujan yang menjadikannya tiada

Because this is a delicate work of art, I don’t want to mess it up by translating it on my own. So, after searching intensely on the internet (thanks to Nining), here is the official translation of this poem by John H. McGlynn :

I want

I want to love you simply
In words not spoken :
Tinder to the flame which transforms it to ash

I want to love you simply
In signs not expressed :
Clouds to the rain which make them evanesce

This translated version is published in the book : Before Dawn : The Poetry of Sapardi Djoko Damono.

Many of his poems are romantic, up to the point that they have been "immortilized" into a cassette called "Hujan Bulan Juni".

I tried to search for Sapardi Djoko Damono’s biography, but I couldn’t find one in English. If you want to know a bit more about this great poet, here is a link in Indonesian : http://www.duniasastra.com/biographysapardidjokodamono.htm

April 5, 2008

Are you Indonesian?

I was cleaning up my mailbox yesterday & found this e-mail from 1998 which made me smile. I've shortened it quite a bit, leaving only the parts that I found amusing.

>Date: Tuesday, May 05, 1998 4:05 PM
>Subject: Fw: are you Indonesian ?
You might be an Indonesian if :

1. Your stomach growls when you don't eat rice for a day.
2. You believe kecap ABC could turn bad cooking to gourmet food.
11. You carry a 16 oz. jar of sambal to where ever you travel.
16. You are very good at avoiding potholes and other road hazards.
17. Your local McDonald's serves rice and sambal.
18. You think Supermi or Indomie is a staple food.
20. You have ever successfully bribed a police officer.
24. You have ever legally bought pirated software.
==> Now it's DVDs ;)
25. You have ever been forced to memorize UUD'45.
30. The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the word "Jakarta" is "macet".
==> I think any person that has traveled to Jakarta would think of this word ;) But just imagine, even 10 years ago, Jakarta was famous for being "macet"...
33. You don't mind people being late.
34. You think standing in line is a waste of time.
==> I've experienced improvement in this area...queuing is common now :P
35. You have tried every Monday of your youth trying to avoid upacara bendera.
==> hahaha...memorable times...do schools still do this now?
38. You know what Pancasila is, what it means and know it by heart.
==> Just yesterday, my friends & I were trying out whether we still remembered the Pancasila. Try remembering the forth one....!?
40. Your daily conversation may include enactments of TVcommercials.
41. You have ever consulted a dukun.
42. Your whole class has ever cheated on a test, and gotten away with it.
50. Your clothing has brandnames printed on it that is visible from 50' away.
==> Some improvement here also...I don't see this often anymore...
54. You know more than one music group that stole the tune of Cranberries' "Zombie".
==> Making cover versions of popular songs used to be normal in Indonesia. But now it's not like this anymore... I think we are more interested with our pirated DVD's :P
61. You know more than 10 acronyms/abbreviations.
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