May 23, 2008

Stop Calo !

Although I am a little bit disappointed that Indonesia didn’t win the Thomas cup nor the Uber cup (but still, hats off for their effort!), I am actually more disappointed that it was difficult to buy the tickets at the official ticket booth. They were presumably “sold-out”, while on tv, you can see there were still many empty seats. My friends and I guess that it was the doing of scalpers, or “calo”. This was confirmed when we walked a few meters away from the ticket booth, a man approached us offering the tickets at a marked-up price.

The presence of calo is a grey area in Indonesia, such as the pirated DVD market : illegal but they are everywhere. Their contribution to the society has its advantages & disadvantages. Calo are useful when there is a tedious process to get something done (usually government related services such as renewing your ID card, passport, license driver etc.).

But nowadays the government is slowly, but surely patching this up. Last time I renewed my ID card, it only took me 5 minutes to fill out a form & hand in supporting documents, and then one week later I came back to get my new ID card. I only paid a “thank you” fee of Rp. 5.000,-. Compare this to my work colleague who asked a calo and had to pay him Rp. 150.000,-.

Another colleague refused to use a calo when having her passport done. She said the official process was quite simple and of course, cheaper.

Overall, I think the disadvantages of having calo in the society outweigh the advantages, in particular for activities that has national importance such as the recent badminton championships. It's a pity that many people who wanted to cheer on the Indonesian team, could not do so because of the lack of tickets, while the official tickets were actually priced quite cheap.

I hope this small post will motivate you to stop using calo so that they will not flourish!

May 18, 2008

Bahasa Indonesia - The quirks

First of all, why do some people say "I can't speak Bahasa" instead of "I can't speak Indonesian"? Isn't the english word for Bahasa Indonesia = Indonesian?

Indonesia consists of around 300 different ethnic groups with their own language. Therefore, there are about 300 different languages in Indonesia. But of course we need to have a common ground, therefore we use Bahasa Indonesia as the official Indonesian language. The word "Bahasa" actually means "Language" when you translate it, Bahasa Indonesia = Indonesian Language. Another point why you shouldn't say "I can't speak Bahasa"'re then actually saying: "I can't speak Language"...which doesn't make sense...

I never thought much about the Indonesian language, but a Malaysian friend of mine actually thinks that it is an achievement to be proud of. He compared it to his own country, where although they have the Malaysian language as the official language, still many Chinese or Indian ethnicity cannot speak it. This is of course different compared to Indonesia where almost every where you go, everyone can speak the language, although maybe it is not the main language that they use in their daily lives.

Here are a few quirks of the Indonesian language that I have observed :

- Being an A+ Indonesian language student, doesn't necessarily make you fit to survive in Indonesia!

Grammatically, Indonesian has less rules than English. For example, we don't have tenses. If you want to state that something happened in the past, just add the word "yesterday" in the sentence. Simple, right? We also don't have gender distinctions for nouns, unlike European languages. However...eventhough you have passed the highest level of learning the formal Indonesian language, it doesn't mean that you will understand us once you arrive in this country. We actually speak a more informal Indonesian for our daily conversations. For example, you may have learned that "no" is "tidak" in Indonesian. But we hardly use that word in daily conversation, we actually say "gak" instead. prepared to re-learn the language!

- We LOVE our abbreviations ...

When writing something informally, we have lots of abbreviations. For example, the word "tidak" which I have mentioned in the above paragraph, can be shortened by just spelling "tdk". It is a common thing to do, everyone will understand. And there are lottttsssss of other words that we abbreviate. For example, yang = yg, dengan = dgn, etc.

Not just single words are abbreviated, but 2 words are often compounded into 1 word. When I first went to school here, I noticed that most of the subjects were abbreviated. People would say "Penjas" instead of "Pendidikan Jasmani", "Metlit" instead of "Metodologi Penelitian" etc. Even names of malls are shortened : Senayan City = SenCi, Plaza Semanggi = Plangi.

- ... and acronyms

And then you have the acronyms, for example : IPA = Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam, BEJ = Bursa Efek Jakarta, MA = Mahkamah Agung, RM = Rumah Makan etc. I wondered why this is. A friend of mine says that this all started when Soeharto (the military) reigned. Because they are used to acronyms in the military, this habit spilled over into the political arena and eventually into the rest of the system. I don't know whether this is true or not.

Sometimes I think that this love for abbreviations & acronyms is just attributed to the general laziness of Indonesians, always wanting to take the shortcut out :P

May 14, 2008

J.Co Donuts

After writing about Indonesia's local burger, this time I want to introduce Indonesia's local donut : J.Co.

J.Co Donuts & Coffee is owned by Johnny Andrean.
Johnny Andrean is an Indonesian hairstylist, renowned for his beauty salon chain (named after himself) :
"Johnny Andrean".

He first went into the food industry in 2003 by opening BreadTalk, a Singaporean bakery franchise, in Jakarta. The franchise proved to be a success with long lines of people wanting to buy the bread.
This became a talked about phenomenon.

After the success of BreadTalk, Johnny Andrean eventually opened the first J.Co outlet in June 2005. This was not just something he did in the spur of BreadTalk's success (although I do think that naturally he was a bit influenced, you can see by the open kitchen concept J.Co adopts, similar to BreadTalk's). Before launching the donuts, he did extensive research to get the delicious J.Co taste and decide on the flavors. And the results paid off.

J.Co Donuts now has outlets not only in Indonesia, but also in Malaysia & Singapore.

Personal Note :
I think J.Co tastes better than Dunkin Donuts. It is more light & the dough is more soft. Dunkin has a more thick taste to it. Another advantage of J.Co to Dunkin is that J.Co has more variety. Dunkin, being the only donut company at the time, may have gotten lazy thus when J.Co came with many flavors that suited the Indonesian tongue, it became a breath of fresh-air.

Nowadays, J.Co seems to have topped Dunkin as the number one donut company in Indonesia. I was anxious to see how J.Co would do after Krispy Kreme eventually entered the Indonesian market in 2006. But it turns out that J.Co Donuts are still popular. I have tried Krispy Kreme and I think it tastes too sweet. I guess I wasn't the only one thinking this, because eventually Krispy Kreme came out with new flavors that were promoted as "less sweet".

For more info on J.Co donuts, please go to their website :

May 12, 2008

Thomas Cup & Uber Cup 2008 Competitions

Yesterday was the first day of the Thomas Cup & Uber Cup 2008 Competitions. This year, it is held here in Jakarta from 11 May - 18 May.

Don't know what I'm talking about? They are badminton championships. Don't know what badminton is? I guess it's forgivable since badminton is not a very popular sport.

Just follow the links (thanks to Wikipedia) to get more info...

But if you're an Indonesian and you don't know what badminton is...well...

I guess the best way to describe it is : badminton to Indonesians is like football to the Brits or American football to Americans.
Badminton used to be a very popular sport in Indonesia. This may be due to the fact that we have won the Thomas Cup for 13 times and the Uber cup 3 times. I think now it is less regarded.

I remember when I was little, how exciting it was during the competition period: people would watch the games together in front of the tv, cheering on the national team. It was as if the whole nation didn't have anything else to do....and maybe it was so, since in those days there weren't many tv channels to choose from ;)...

Well, let's see what happens this year... Will we be able to gain the trophy back?

May 7, 2008

National Museum (Museum Nasional)

Address : Jl. Merdeka Barat 12, Jakarta Pusat

Built in 1778, but inaugurated in 1868, the National Museum is considered to be the oldest museum in Indonesia.

If you went to school at an Indonesian public school in Jakarta, the National Museum shouldn’t be such a stranger to you since this museum is a popular destination for school excursions. This museum is also sometimes called “Museum Gajah” (elephant museum) because of the elephant statue in front of the building. The statue was a gift from King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871.

But actually, the museum curator told me that they are trying to get rid of this “nickname” since some tourists have complained about not seeing anything related to elephants inside the museum :) In reality, the museum holds ancient Indonesian artifacts & relics that date as far back as the Stone Age.

Before 2007, the museum consisted only of 1 building : “Gedung Gajah” (elephant building), which is the building that has the elephant statue in front of it. However since June 2007, the museum has completed the building of “Gedung Arca” (Arca building), which is on the left side of Gedung Gajah.

For those of you who are interested in the historical aspects of Indonesian culture, please visit this museum.
Gedung Gajah

Gedung Arca

May 1, 2008

Benny & Mice - Indonesian Cartoonist

I think it is a common thing all over the world that the Sunday paper has comic strips. One of the comics that I look forward to every Sunday in Kompas (one of Indonesia's major newspaper) is a cartoon called "Benny & Mice".

Unlike normal comic strips which is drawn by 1 cartoonist, Benny & Mice is drawn by 2 people : Benny Rachmadi & Muhammad "Mice" Misrad (notice the resemblance between the cartoonists & the comic characters?
Photo courtesy of an article from the Jakarta Post).

Benny & Mice

They have been friends since college (at IKJ "Institut Kesenian Jakarta" = Jakarta Art Institute), where they started drawing together on a wall space allocated by the college.

Before drawing for Kompas, they already published "Lagak Jakarta" (Jakarta Style), a series of 6 books depicting their observations of events & actions of people in Jakarta. These observations extended into the two characters, Benny & Mice, where they first appeared in the fourth Lagak Jakarta book.

Benny & Mice itself first appeared in Kompas in 2003. Since then, they have gain wider popularity. The cartoon portrays what is going on in Jakarta specifically and Indonesia in general. Below is a sample of the Benny & Mice comic strip :

People in Jakarta would remember this scene, when Breadtalk, a bakery franchise, had just opened and people would line-up for hours in order to buy it (when I actually saw this, I thought these people were either mad or real bread fanatics!). They could have simply bought other bread brands (although Breadtalk lovers would claim that the taste is worth the effort), as what Benny & Mice eventually did in the comic. (Notice the last box where Benny asks for bread with Abon, presumably Breadtalk's most hot selling funny!)

This is another example which I could relate to since I have old relatives back in my village who claim they are healthy even though they have been smoking since young. *Note: I am actually against smoking*

Since then, Benny & Mice have also published another book called "100 Tokoh yang mewarnai Jakarta" (100 characters who color Jakarta) and also a compilation book of their drawings in Kompas, called "Jakarta Luar Dalem".
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...