Miss Jinjing

It’s true, I bought this book due to the title of the book, “Miss Jinjing (Belanja Sampai Mati)”. Since some friends of mine exclaim me as a shopaholic (padahal nggak juga lho #denial#), I wonder what kinds of experiences the author, Amelia Masniari aka Amy would share with her readers.

But…compared to Amy, my shopping habit is nothing. She has shopping experiences around the globe (how lucky you are). She’s familiar with the sale in Paris, Milan, London, NY, Japan, Hongkong. She said she usually spend whole day long just for shopping. Started early in the morning and finish when the shopping center is closed.

Some parts of this book that mentioning the price of certain branded items kind of make me shocked. I took my deep breath, control my emotion and whisper OMG (exaggerating). Check this out, one Bottega Veneta bag could be sold Rp 40 million and people still queue to purchase this damn-beyond-belief-very expensive- bag. For branded freak it’s nothing to pay that big amount in order to have their dream bag.

This life style book shares info on shopping things (of course), fashion and all things related to women, e.g. Tips to differ original and fake bag, great places to visit for shopping, 20 Fashion Items to Buy Before You Die (e.g. Hermes Birkin Bag, Manolo Blahnik Kitten Heels, Armani White Shirt,Cartier Watch, Chanel Red Lipstick), Things to Do to Satisfy Your Hubby (Brazilian Wax, Totok & Ratus Vagina, Vaginoplasty) and many more interesting topics.

Just a simple book.You could read it while sipping your cup of coffee and enjoy your day.


Pffiuh….finally I am able to finish this book. No…no…it’s not because this book is not interesting (in fact it’s great). Not because it’s too thick (525 pages), but because of the following reasons:

• It’ s about a controversial subject. A confession of a middle-aged guy, Professor Humbert Humbert who obsessed with a 12-year-old-girl, Dolores Haze aka his Lolita. Humbert married Lolita’s mom just to take advantage of her little girl. After Lolita’s mom died in an accident, Humbert took his step daughter traveling around USA, enjoying the forbidden love (see…as a mother of two little girls, at first I felt a bit uncomfortable with the subject of this book).

• Still…..I’m curious about this book due to TIME said: “one of the three most influenced novel in the world”, BBC exclaimed: “one of the everlasting best novel”, this book already adapted into movies twice and last but not least, when I bought Bahasa Indonesia version of this novel (published by PT SERAMBI ILMU SEMESTA), it mentioned “4th Edition : September 2008” .

• Okay,, let’s read the novel then, it moves very slow. Narrated by the Humbert himself. Well…gradually..I begin to enjoy it. I found out then why people exclaim this book as a good novel. The author, Vladimir Nabokov wrote it in a very detail way. He described the characters of Humbert and Lolita in a touching way. Seems like I enter Humbert’s mind and feel his alienation and despair. Most of the characters appear in this novel lead a pathetic live. I feel sorry for them.

• For you who look for a different genre of novel, not a common one, I recommend this book.

Three Cups of Tea

Speechless. That’s my first reaction after finishing this very touching book.

This is a true story about Greg Mortenson, a remarkable guy who is the co-founder of nonprofit Central Asia Institute and this book has been a New York Times bestsellers since its January 2007 release and was Time Magazine Asia Book of the Year.

The story started in 1993 when Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the Karakoram range. This mission was made to honor his sister’s memory, Christa, died in 1992 after a lifelong struggle with epilepsy.

Instead of succeed, Mortenson failed to reach the top of the mountain. He was sick, disoriented and his body lost 15 kilos. After walking for 7 days, finally Mortenson arrived in a local village called Korphe where he met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand and made him promised to himself to build a school there.

From that promise, grew a remarkable humanitarian campaign, in which Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As of 2008, Mortenson has established over 78 schools in rural, which provide education to over 28,000 children, including 18,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before.

His work also full of difficulties. In 1996, he survived an eight day armed kidnapping in the Nortwest Frontier Province tribal areas of Pakistan, escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlord by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory and also received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim children with education.

On August 14th, 2008, Pakistan’s government announced on its Independence Day, that Greg Mortenson will receive Pakistan’s highest civil award , Sitara-e-Pakistan (“Star of Pakistan”) for his courage and humanitarian effort to promote education and literacy in rural areas for the last 15 years.

Mortenson is a living hero for all of us. This is a must-read-book. Very inspiring. Turn you to feel as the luckiest person in the world compared with the Pakistan and Afghanistan children. We must be grateful for all God blessing.

This book already translated in Bahasa Indonesia by Dian Guci (Penerbit Hikmah, September 2008). The translation is also good.

I quote the term ‘three cups of tea” derives from:
“…(di Pakistan & Afghanistan), kami minum tiga cangkir teh saat membicarakan bisnis; pertama engkau masih orang asing; cangkir kedua, engkau teman; dan pada cangkir ketiga, engkau bergabung dengan keluarga kami. Sebuah keluarga yang siap untuk berbuat apapun-bahkan untuk mati.”
Haji Ali, Kepala Desa Korphe, Pegunungan Karakoram, Pakistan

Why Worry

Mengapa terus jua mengejar ramalan masa depan
serta meletihkan otak untuk kebingungan sia-sia?
Tinggalkan kecemasan,
biarkan rencana Allah menjadi rahasia-Nya semata
Dia mengatur semua,
tanpa harus menanyakan pendapatmu

(Omar Khayyam, “The Rubaiyyat”)

No Shitting In the Toilet

I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this crazy book. It’s totally funny…funny…funny. This alternatives travel guides written by Australian author, Peter Moore. He is a travel writer and so far already visited 92 countries including Indonesia.

This practical travel guides divided into 24 chapters based on topics of general interest to travellers, such as: Top 10 Reasons for Travelling (some are: you start to enjoy photocopying files, washing your car is the highlight of your weekend), Top 10 Worst Time to Travel (winter, school holidays, public holidays), Top 10 Favorite Tours (House of People, Bucharest, Romania, Duck Tour budget Safari, Masai Mara, Kenya, Mentawi Tribes, Siberut, Indonesia), and many more.

Almost all topics are interesting and certainly make you burst into laughter.

Dengarlah Nyanyian Angin

“Hear the Wind Sing” (KAZE NO UTA O KIKE) is the first novel written by Haruki Murakami in 1979. This novel was awarded by Gunzo Literary Award on the same year.

This thin novel (only 146 pages) tells about a 21-year-old unnamed man who obsessed with an American writer, Derek Heartfield that killed himself by jumping down the Empire State Building in New York. This young guy has a girl friend who did abortion for baby she did not know the father was.

This unnamed man also has a best friend, Nezumi, a billionnaire’s son who is sick with wealth and drown himself in alcohol. The three of them spend unforgettable 18 days during a summer time in a seashore of a small town.

This book tells about young generations in adapting the traditional and modern values in Japan during 1960-1970. Reading this book reminds me of “Norwegian Wood” also written by Murakami and tells about young generation in Japan.

Just a simple book but enjoyable. Grab it in Gramedia book stores, it’s already translated in Bahasa Indonesia by KPG (Kepustakaan Gramedia Populer) on October 2008.

One Fine Day

Last Thursday (11/6) Najla’s school conducted a study tour to Planetarium, Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) and National Monument (Monas). As usual I took one day leave to accompany her. This was going to be the first visit to those places for Najla and me aswell (yup…those 2 places never been on my school’s study tour list back then). Below is the recap:

First Destination: Planetarium, TIM

As soon as I entered the building, I got some kind of feeling that things were not going too well. Why? When the show was ready, the room went dark completely and we could see stars shining above us. Cool…for me, not for Najla who was scared of the dark and asked me to leave the room very soon. I tried to calm her down. Finally she stopped crying. Later on, I noticed she was too quiet, I knew something went wrong, dear God….she felt asleep. Yeah…perhaps Astronomy is not Najla’s things now, don’t know in the future, people change, aren’t they?

Second Destination: National Monument (Monas)

The weather was so hot and dusty at the moment we arrived there. The programs at Monas full of queueing but not for Najla and me. In spite of queueing like other people did, Najla and I were queueing in front of the rest room since Najla needed to poo. Whaks…such a perfet moment, sweety.

I felt a bit disappointed at first because we missed the opportunity to go to the top of Monas, but when I overheard some mommies grumbling that they had been staying in line for hours to enjoy the Jakarta view from the top of Monas and unfortunately, according to them, nothing special there but the hard wind who was ready to blow them all to the sky *exaggerating*.

In the end I had to thank Najla then, it seemed she knew what the best for us. We arrived home at 7 p.m. totally fatigue but really had a one fine day.

Life is Choices

You may choose either to be a good kid or a lousy one
You may choose either to finish your school or drop it out
You may choose either to get a good job or being jobless
You may choose either to get married or stay single
You may choose either to have children or none
You may choose either to be on your own or depend on others

All choices shall lead to its own consequences
Either good or bad one
Whatever it is, just accept it, enjoy it and be grateful for all
‘cause one thing for sure: Life is rich

(Dedicated to my younger sis who still busy re-arranging her complicated life. Good luck!)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

One word to describe this book: Brilliant. I am a kind of speechless to describe it. Written by Mohsin Hamid, a Pakistani who now lives in London, this book has been translated into 20 languages (including Bahasa Indonesia, published by Penerbit Mizan on July 2008) and soon to be a major motion picture directed by Mira Nair.

The story presents an interesting perspective of life in America in the aftermath of 9/11 tragedy. The main character is Changez, a brilliant young Pakistani who finishes at the top of his class at Princeton and is hired by the most prestigious and world-famous corporate valuation firm based in New York city. He has a perfect life there. He finds his true love, Erica, a charming American woman. He adores America very much.

Things are totally differrent just after the 9/11 tragedy. Changez gets confused either to stay in America or to return back to his home town in Lahore Pakistan. He is in a big dilemma.

There’s no action (no bombs, no bullets, no noisy chaos), but there is a gripping suspense. The story is started at a restaurant in Lahore market, Pakistan, where Changez spends his time having dinner with an unknown American guy. All these mesmerizing stories about his life in America are conveyed through the narrative voice of Changez interpreting the American’s reaction as story unfolds.

Q & A

This book is remarkably awesome. I enjoy it very much. The story is about Ram Mohammad Thomas (he has 3 names that represent 3 religions and have a long reason behind it), a 18-year-old-guy, who works as a bartender. He never goes to school. But, no body can’t argue somebody’s fate. He joins the “Who Will Win a Billion” quiz show and win the grand prize: ONE BILLION RUPEE. He answers all 12 questions perfectly. Everybody stunns.

According to some people i.e. the quiz organizer, this whole things are totally strange. Impossible. They’re quite sure that Ram must be cheating during the show. These assumptions lead to the arresting of Ram by the police guards.

Ram is an orphan. His life journey moves from one inferno to others, Delhi, Mumbai, Dharavi, Agra. Still, he could enjoy the Bollywood movies, Taj Mahal (where he works as a tourist guide for 2 years) and falls in love with a young prostitute, Nita.

Combination of hilarious stories, tragic, drama even action-thriller and a sweet ending is truly engaging.

Formerly, this book has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia and published by PT SERAMBI ILMU SEMESTA under title of “Q & A” on December 2006. Then on July 2008, it’s reprinted with new cover and title “Teka- Teki Cinta Sang Pramusaji” (unfortunately, I bought this new version and couldn't find the new cover to be posted here). Frankly speaking, I feel uncomfortable with the Indonesian title. I think, if the translator and the publisher can’t find a suitable title in Bahasa, it’s better to leave the book with its original title. One more thing that disturbs me is the translation of the book, I found several ‘uncommon’ words. Perhaps, it’s time for the publisher to hire an editor and a proofreader aswell to check the book before it’s printed.

All in all, I highly recommend this book. It’s entertaining. You could burst into laugh and tears at the same time. Not many books could do that.

Salute to Vikas Swarup, the author, an Indian diplomat who now serves for the Department of Foreign Affairs in New Delhi.