April 24, 2009

Souvenir from Aceh

I'm adding a new category on my blog : Indonesian souvenirs.
This is inspired by the fact that I've been googling for info on cute souvenirs to buy for my trip next month to Europe.

For Indonesia, because there are many ethnic groups, there are thus many choices of souvenirs to buy depending on in which province you are. This first post is just a quick inspiration of souvenirs from Aceh.

Aceh is a province in Indonesia which was hit by a devastating tsunami in late 2004. The main areas hit were of course those on the coast, but parts of Banda Aceh (the capital city) was also damaged. However, my sister who went to Banda Aceh a few months ago, said the city is in quite good shape now considering everything that has happened.

A common souvenir people buy when coming back from Aceh are embroidered purse or bags.


The motif on the briefcase is a common Acehnese motif called "Pintu Aceh" (meaning Doors of Aceh).

If you think these are nice, it turns out that they are sold online:(http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/catalog/product.detail.php?product_id=8263)

April 21, 2009

21 April, Kartini Day

Today is Kartini day, a day where we celebrate the life of R.A. Kartini, who is seen as an important figure of the women’s emancipation movement in Indonesia.

When I was still in elementary school, on this day, we would wear traditional clothing and the school would hold a contest for best dressed. I think schools nowadays still do this. Although...now that I think of it...I’m not quite sure what traditional clothing has to do with women’s emancipation...but anyways...playing dress-up was quite fun :)

Although a major day, it is not a public holiday, so now that I am in the workforce, Kartini day doesn’t have a big impact on my life as it used to do. However, some companies do hold special activities for example department stores would give away discounts.

Today I went to Telkomsel's customer service outlet (Telkomsel is Indonesia's biggest cellular service provider) which gave out free goodie bags to all female patrons (including me :) ). The customer service reps also weren’t in their normal uniform but wore traditional clothing (the women in kebaya, men in batik).

I wish every store would give away free stuff on Kartini day... :)

April 9, 2009

Masuk Angin

This week is a long holiday in Indonesia because we have elections today (the government announced it as a public holiday in order to encourage people to vote) and of course tomorrow is Good Friday.

However, I think I can't enjoy the holiday since after voting (yes, I've been a good citizen and voted, even though I was overwhelmed with the choices), I don't feel well. I think I have catched "masuk angin".

Masuk angin is a common ailment in Indonesia which literally translates into "wind entering". I don't know whether wind actually does enter into your body, but it does feel like that. It feels like your body is bloated, especially your stomach, because there is wind inside, and this gives an unpleasant feeling of course.

The best relief is to get the wind out by burping.

I usually rub some balsam or drink hot tea, but many Indonesians, especially those in Java, use the traditional method of "kerokan". This is a process where your body is rubbed with oil (usually your back) and then a coin is dragged on it, which will leave red marks.

I've never been "kerok"-ed and people who are not used to it may find it a painful process, but people who are used to it say it's not.

Source of kerokan photo : http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3511/3298853771_99ab8d6ae7.jpg

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