Archive for August, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colourful

I guess this is what they mean by never judge a book (or a house) by its cover. It may be all shabby wood outside, but hidden inside is a bright spark of blue — caught only because the window was left open. I guess when time’s tough, it’s better to paint the inside rather than the outside… then the owners can enjoy it more from within, no? 😀

Barito River, Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan

These houses, built on stilts along the river, are one of the attractions of  Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan. Kalimantan is generally a swamp area, so if you pay close attention you’d notice that even houses in the city are actually built on stilts on top of the swamps. We took a tour-de-barito in the early mornings, and it’s not unlike the gondola trip in Venice… except this one is slightly smellier, and more “intimate” as you can actually see the local inhabitants doing their general business by the river, e.g. bathing, washing, as the river is basically an extension of the houses. With the floating markets and barges passing through the river, it’s easy to see just how important these rivers have been – and will always be – to the people of Kalimantan.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Hot

A few months back I went on a walking tour around Jakarta’s Old Chinatown. It was my first excursion to see that side of the city, and did enjoy it very much. The walk was quite exhausting — broken pavements, heat, humidity, crazy drivers — but it is refreshing to see the vibrant and strong Chinese culture and the big group of people joining in the tour itself. It gives me hope that diversity, cultural and heritage values are still preserved in the midst of all these skyscrapers, malls and sporadic interfaith/culture conflicts.

I took this picture in one of the Chinese temples we visited. I was aiming to get the combination of colours and shapes, but I think the candle flames — including the small flames seen through the window — will fit the “hot” topic 😉

Hot Flames @China Town, Jakarta

More Time, Please!

If there ever was a list of eternal questions, pondered across the generations (well, generations since the invention of money that is), this would definitely be in the top three:

“Do you wish you had more time or money?”

As they say, when we were students we had all the time but no money… and when we’ve joined the rat race and are paid employees, we have all the money but no time!

And since I’m now in the latter category, then my answer is a resounding, “More time, please!”

Some people chose time because with more time, you can get more money (e.g. work more) but you can’t buy more time with money. However, I’m lucky enough to have found a job that pays the bill, and then some. The problem then is that I have never been, and don’t think will ever be, a big shopper.. which would have made it easier to spend and enjoy my hard-earned money: drive straight to the nearest mall, then shop. No, I am instead a big traveler.. which means I require time as well.

My government is stingy enough with only 12 days of leave given each year… compared to the 25-35 in European countries. Plus, public holidays that fall on a weekend do not get replaced! This means that for September-December 2011, i.e. from now until year-end, there will be no public holiday here in Indonesia as Christmas, New Year’s and others fall on the weekend! That is why I am not taking any leave even during the big Eid festival at the end of the month, and nor will I be joining my friends to a diving trip to Alor. I am saving all of my holidays for my upcoming Tour de Middle East with my good friend Amel! Yay! (To Amel: I’m giving up Alor. Huge sacrifice. So this better happen! 🙂 )

But I wonder if this emphasis on enjoying our hard-earned money, on work-life balance, is a new phenomenon? Recently, two managers in my office were discussing the pay in our company and what the employees thought of it.  They noted that their generation were focused on the bottom-line, i.e. money, and were willing to work hard and late to earn it, and save it for their family and kids. They look forward to retirement, when they plan to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour.

However, they see that the Gen Y (moi?) – which means the new entrants to the workforce – have a different perspective. They (we?) do not see much point in earning lots of money, and yet having no time to enjoy it. They (we?) don’t want to wait till retirement to enjoy it. No, we (they?) want to enjoy it now – while we are still young, free, and physically able. So no, it’s not all about the money.

There goes my two cent’s worth.. or two second’s worth (exchange rate: 1 cent = 1 second).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Old Fashioned

A picture of my paternal grandmother and her sister. Taken on my grandma’s 97th birthday, making her as old-fashioned (in the best sense of the word) as possible. She’s mostly bed-ridden now, not able to sit up/stand/walk on her own anymore; but she’s very much “still there” mentally. In her good days, I can still hold a normal conversation with her .. mostly revolving the question of when I will get married 😀 She says she’s holding out for that day!

(ps: No, she does not actually have an evil eye…)

L: My grandmother, on her 97th birthday. R: Her sister, 82(-ish) year old.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

On The Road (West Sumatra to North Sumatra)

Taken during my road trip journey in December 2010. This was during an early morning pit-stop somewhere between West and North Sumatra. The sun was just rising, and I tried to capture the gradual lightening of colour from the still dark blue of the night at the top, down to the morning orange/purple hue at the bottom. I especially liked the brightly lit small pieces of clouds at the top — it’s as if they are the “scout” team for the sun, informing the rest of the sky and the world that the sun is coming.

Why I Don’t Blog

It’s been over a month since my last blog post. And even the previous ones were quick and easy Weekly Photo Challenge ones. As much as I enjoyed thinking about the week’s topic and searching for that perfect picture, it felt like I was cheating and taking the easy way out on my postaweek goal (NYR #11). Plus, as multi-talented I am, it’s not like those pictures were the product of multiple shutter/aperture/lighting/whatsitsface adjustments plus hours of tweaking on photoshop. Nope, I’m sorry to disappoint you all, but my greatness means that simple adjustment of flash-or-not and sunny-cloudy-indoor-night settings are all it took to produce all of my amazing Weekly Photo Challenge pictures. Ha!

I wish I can say that trekking in Machu Picchu, diving in Raja Ampat, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro were the reasons for my non-blogging days. But I’m not that awesome.

Simple truth is that my lazy side has taken over my life. I’ve fallen into a rut, as the cliche goes. My daily routine of work, home, movies and lunch/coffee with friends & family has somehow filled up all my hours. And once you’ve missed one week of blogging or one Weekly Photo Challenge, it made it that much easier to skip the next one, then the one after that, and so on. It felt like so much work to catch up with past blobligation, and thus much easier to just continue with the usual routine of life.

My mind was actually still in that writer’s mode through all this time — red flags come up when conversations with friends/families seems blog-worthy, thinking about how I would write about the DailyPost topic, or thinking about pictures to meet the Weekly Photo Challenge theme. I just never actually acted on it.

Because, the second truth is that writing is hard for me. I am the least creative person I know, and so throughout my formal education years I’ve stayed true to my forte of logic, science and black-and-white answers. The extent of my writing years is limited to my lab reports… and various failed attempts at blogging. With blogging, half the time I don’t know what to write about (thus, many thanks to the DailyPost/Weekly Photo Challenge team).. and the other half, I don’t know how to write. Plus, while I am an extrovert in the sense that I can easily mingle with people and talk about the logic/black-and-white stuff, I am more guarded when it comes to the grey matter, to my personal side. And writing, as it is way out of my comfort zone, is something very personal. So when I do, it still is a challenge — and a bit of an adrenaline rush — when I click “publish”. And more adrenaline rush as I wait for any comments.

Then, why am I writing again now? Because I do miss that adrenaline rush. Of putting myself, and my writing, out there. So here goes nothing.