Last Quote in 2012

If there is light in your heart,
you will find your way home.

A Father and His Girl

It's a special date and beyond...

The Time Keeper

Author: Mitch Albom
Translator: Tanti Lesmana
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 312

There is a reason God limits our days.
To make each one precious.

I read this latest work of Mitch Albom during my time at the hospital. My mom has been hospitalized for the past three weeks. Despite my hard times, I thank God for choosing this book to read. It turns out to be a perfect companion.

This is a wonderful little book that will make you ponder about the meaning of time and how you use it. The story is started with the first man on earth who count the hours. The man who becomes the Father Time or Time Keeper. As the inventor of the world's first clock, he is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He finally banished to a cave for centuries and forever to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years.

With his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted  his freedom, along with a magical hour glass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to the world and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever.

The story will inspire all of us to reconsider our own notion of time, how we spend it and how precious it truly is. What is important for us to make the best of use of time that we have. We are unable to stop time or to speed it up. However, we can seek to do the best we can in the amount of time we are given by God. All of us are time keepers.

One of the best books in 2012. A perfect food for thought. Highly recommended. Remember to have a couple of tissues nearby just in case you need them.   

Lost in Translation

As a part-timer, my load of works are up and down (and also my monthly income, hahaha...). The kind of works that I do now  also vary. Beside teaching, sometimes a friend asks me to draft some legal agreements or other time they ask me to translate some documents. So far I enjoy all the works that I have done.

Recently I have lots of work of translation. It is because I easily said yes to my friends' offer, put the material aside and plan to do it later but I just realized that the deadline of the works are almost similar. All translation must be finished before the christmas and year end holiday. I still have time though.'s time to get back to work now. Ready to lose in translation.   

Mom's Scream is the Best Melody

Out of the blue Najla asked me to buy her an alarm clock. She said that since she's already been in second grade at school, she thinks it's time for her to wake up by herself without any 'interference' from her mom. Well...okay big girl, your wish is my command:)

I finally bought her a small-cute-pinky alarm clock. Najla was soooo excited. At night before she went to bed, she set up the alarm clock to be ringing at 5.30 a.m sharp. 

The d-day was here, that morning I just sat down in the sofa reading a book while waiting for the alarm clock to be ringing. When the alarm rang, I just waited outside Najla's bedroom but when I heard that the alarm kept ringing while neither Najla nor Zea showed up, I smell something wrong here. I opened the bedroom door and found out that both of my daughters slept peacefully while the alaram clock was there ringing continuously. It seemed that the alarm sound was too soft for them instead of waking up they though it's a lullaby or something.

Eventually mom had to do something. Back to the old habit, calling their name,'s 5.30, time to wake up, c'mon, hurry up...So far this simple morning call is quite effective. Nothing beats mom's morning call. Mom's scream is always be the best melody.  

Life of Pi

Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)
Casts: Suraj Sharma, Irfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu

All of life is an act of letting go but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say good bye.
--Life of Pi the movie
I read the book in 2004 and was so amazed with the theme of the book. It's a kind of story that hard to forget. When I read from this blog that the book will be adapted into a movie, I was so thrilled. It's sure an ambitious project and it will be very interesting to see how this great story translated on screen.

Life of Pi is a story about Pi, an Indian teenager with unusual perspective on spirituality (he follows Hindu, Christian and Muslim faith) whose father runs a zoo. Due to political climate in India, Pi and his family decide to travel overseas to Canada. They also carry all their animals in the ship since their father plans to sell the animals in Canada. Unfortunately the ship sinks, leaving Pi aboard a lifeboat in the Pacific ocean with a handful of wild animals as his companions -- a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger dubbed Richard Parker. All fighting for survival.

The book claims that Pi's story will make us believe in God. Let's see Pi's experiences when he spends seven months in the ocean with Richard Parker. Lots of incredible things happen. His desperation, his loneliness, his firmness, all there. We'll be stunned to see the beautiful scenes on screen. Look at the color of the ocean, it changes in accordance with Pi's feeling. I lose for words. It's definitely a visual masterpiece.

One of the best movies I've ever seen. We are not only presented by amazing scenes but also deep dialogues. Life of Pi deals with some concepts about the nature of faith and how our personal beliefs shape the very way we perceive the world around us. Salute to the director, Ang Lee, who can accomplish the impossible. A highly recommended movie.    

When We Were Orphans

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Translator: Linda Boentaram
Publisher: PT Elex Media Computindo
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 414

This is the third book of Kazuo Ishiguro that I have read so far after The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, both books have been adapted into movies. I got to admit that Ishiguro is a real master of prose. His writing is always beautifully controlled, elegant and poignant.

This book is set in England and Shanghai prior to World War II. This is a story about Christopher Banks, an Englishman raised in Shanghai before he's finally sent back to London to live with his aunt at age of 9 upon the mysterious disappearance of his parents.In Shanghai he has a Japanese friend, Akira. They love to play a game and act like a detective. This game is the root of the work Banks finally chooses, he becomes a detective.

Now more than twenty years later, Banks is a celebrated figure in London society. He is a respected detective who has settled many important cases. But Banks has his own mission. He wants to find his kidnapped parents. But were they really kidnapped?

Let's follow Banks flashing back to his childhood in the East. Banks travels back to Shanghai. But the condition is so much different that he imagines. He finds Shanghai is already shattered by war. He's searching hopelessly into the ruins of the city in order to find out the place where his parents might just still be held captive.

A beautiful and complex tale of friendship, the bonds of family, romantic love and shocking ending. It's truly a master work of a master writer.

Harvest Time is Getting Closer

One thing that I love most about our home is its fertile land. It seems that every time we spread some seeds almost all of them grows beautifully. Of course there were times when the seeds didn't want to cooperate and refuse to grow in our yard but it's very rare:)

I remember one time our mango tree had soooo... many fruits until the tree itself couldn't handle it and it fell down to the ground with a 'bukkk...' sound and it also caused mango flood all over our yard. But it's also a sad moment, we had to cut the mango tree and said good bye. I finally change the mango tree with a sugar-apple (srikaya) tree, it grows well but up until now it still has no fruit yet:(

Several weeks ago I noticed that our mangosteen tree and rose-apple (jambu) tree started flowering. Unfortunately due to heavy rain every afternoon, lots of the mangosteen flowers fell down and only some of them survived. But thank God, we still have our jambu tree. Jambu tree's flowers seem stronger. Now the tree is standing there in front of our yard, ready for harvest time, yayy....        

Sepeda Merah

Title: Red Bicycle Vol. 1 & Red Bicycle Vol. 2
Author & Illustrator: Kim Dong Hwa
Translator: Meilia Kusumadewi
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 144 (Vol.1) & 176 (Vol.2)

After falling in love with Dong Hwa's works in Trilogi Warna, I definitely will not miss his recent books, Sepeda Merah (Yahwari #1) and Sepeda Merah (Bunga-bunga Hollyhock #2). And my prediction is quite right, I once again fall in love even deeper with his works.

Sepeda Merah is a story about a postman. A romantic postman on his red bicycle who will take us  riding along Yahwari village. He will tell us the beautiful things about the village,  the  wild flowers, its blowing wind, the heart-warming people there and many more.

Yahwari is an imaginary village where older generation live after their children have left to town to make their own living.The postman goes to each household in the village to find out about the lives of the older generations while carrying news from their beloved children. In this town through the postman's eyes, there are many emotional encounters and opportunities to learn about values and life philosophies from the older generations.

The book is divided into several parts. Every part consists of five-six stories. You will find short story here since every story is made mostly only in four pages. What so special about this book is every page is filled with a masterpiece artwork in which the author narrates nostalgic memories of life and it's closed with a deep message that will warm our hearts. 

Just read the first story in Sepeda Merah vol. 2 Bunga-bunga Hollyhock. It's about an old man who wants to plant Hollyhock flowers along his yard to welcome his daughter visit. According to the old man's friends it's just a waste of time since there are already a lot of flowers in Yahwari. While the old man responses, "Pemandangan bunga-bunga Hollyhock akan mengingatkannya pada almarhum ibunya. Aku menabur benih-benih bunga ini dari gerbang masuk desa sampai pintu rumahku, saat melewati jalan berbunga ini, dia akan mendapat kesan sedang berjalan sambil menggenggam tangan ibunya..."     

A Little Piece of Paradise

A couple days ago my yoga teacher asked me to accompany her to Bandung in order to find a proper place to do yoga practice outdoor. That's the reason why this morning I had already been in Cipularang toll road. The traffic was friendly since perhaps only us who were 'crazy enough' to visit Bandung on Monday morning instead of weekend. 

We headed to SanGria Resort in Lembang. At the moment we arrived there, we held our breath for a moment and felt a deep peaceful feeling. It's a beautiful place. Featured with a nice landscaped pool and cozy room with mountain view. You might also enjoy the views of Lembang valley here. It's a total refreshment for our mind, body and soul.

I plan to take Najla and Zea here. I am sure they're going to love the pool and the surrounding. Furthermore there is a strawberry farm next to this resort. I guess it's just a perfect getaway!      

A Beautiful Lie

Author: Irfan Master
Translator: Tanti Lesmana
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: September 2012
Pages: 302

"...kenapa orang-orang tidak bisa memahami bahwa huruf-huruf, kata-kata dan buku-buku membuat kita lebih kaya daripada yang sanggup kita bayangkan?"

--Irfan Master A Beautiful Lie page 19

This is the debut of Irfan Master, a novelist and a librarian who was born in Leicester in 1977 to a Pakistani mother and Indian father. He has always felt like the child of three countries, a fact that has played  a significant role in his life and inspired him to write this great novel.

The setting is India in 1947, following a struggle that has lasted over two decades, unfortunately the partition will soon divide India into two countries mainly along religious lines, India for Hindus and Sikhs, Pakistan for Muslims.

The central character here is a thirteen-year-old boy, Bilal. He has far greater problems at home namely his brother's terrorist activities and his father's life threatening illness. As it becomes certain his father will die of the cancer, Bilal makes decision to keep politics and the news of what happening to his beloved India away from his father, he can't bear for his dad to die broken-hearted.

With his three loyal friends, little Chota the Hindu, Sikh Manjeet, and Bilal's muslim fellow, Saleem, Bilal sets a plan to convince his widowed father that India will remain whole. This is definitely not an easy thing to do. This is the beginning of Bilal's lie. One lie that will lead to another lie until he concludes that everybody lies. But this is not just a lie. This is a beautiful lie.

The story is fascinating with a vivid portrayal of India in 1947 when the country was in political turmoil, some great characters and of course the friendship among the four of them. Their friendship is one of the best things told in the book. It's more than just a friendship. It's a heart-warming and honest relationship. They all get along perfectly despite their different faith.This friendship shows a contrast compared to India's condition at that time. 

This novel has been nominated and shortlisted for several awards, among others; North East Book Award 2012, Essex Book Awards 2012, Amazing Book Award 2012 and it will be published in seven languages. A beautiful book about tolerance, love and friendship.


Author: Ayu Utami
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Publication Date: September 2012
Pages: 251

This is the second book in Bilangan Fu series. The author, Ayu Utami,  will make twelve books for these series. She plans to publish one book every year. Every book in the series will always consist of two things, which are a mystery that having relation to cultural treasures of the archipelago and one topic with the subject of logic or the way of thinking.

Lalita is a story about a woman named Lalita Vistara. She claims that she has been living in four different eras, on the 5th century in Nepal and Sriwijaya, 10th century in Magelang, Yogyakarta and Muntilan, 15th century as a dracula in Transylvania and the 20th century here in the archipelago.

The author divides the book into three chapters, Indigo, Hitam (Black) and Red (Merah). All is about color. Indigo will tell about Lalita as one of Anshel's granddaughter. The setting is the present condition now in Jakarta. While Hitam chapter tells about Lalita's grandpa, Anshel from Slavia during the late 19th century until early 20th century. After Anshel explores many things in his life, he at last  searchs his spirituality to Borobudur in Magelang, Central Java. He considers this journey as his critics to Sigmund Freud' psychoanalysis theory. And the last chapter, Merah will make all the characters in the book meet each other.
The central figures in Bilangan Fu series, two climbers Parang Jati and Sandi Yuda and one girl Marja will always appear in the series. The three of them have special relationship since they love each other in their own unique and sensual way. In Lalita, beside telling about these three characters, the author will focus on the story of Borobudur temple. The story will give new insight on Indonesian art, history and culture.

With her rich prose and extensive research, Ayu will bring her readers to a new viewpoint of Indonesian complex history. We will realize that there are so many things to be proud of as Indonesian. I also love the book cover. It was drawn by the author as an honor to the botanical painters, Amir Hamzah and Mohamad Toha.              

It's Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood

Yesterday morning our home was visited by twenty guests! They're not just 'guests'. They're Zea's  very special guests. They're seventeen classmates, two teachers and one school guard. As usual every year Zea's kindergarten has a Home Visit program. It's a program to visit a student's home. Yesterday was our turn. Since the location of the school building and our home was not too far so they could walk hand in hand to our home. At the moment they arrived, everything seemed brighter. Kids and their magic things. They simply cheered everything up.

We did many interesting things together such as singing, drawing, coloring, cutting the papers, gluing the shapes, taking pictures and eating lunch together.  Time run so fast. Suddenly it's just  eleven sharp and they had to leave. Thank you for coming. All of you had made our day as a perfect one.

Quote of the Day

I find television to be very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room
and read a book.


Title: Amba
Author: Laksmi Pamuntjak
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2012
Pages: 494

Politik memang bukan tentang apa yang benar. Politik adalah bagaimana kita bisa salah dengan benar.

After waiting for quite sometime, finally here it is one of the best historical novel written down by Indonesian poet and writer, Laksmi Pamuntjak. She writes about a new reality to the country's 1965 tragedy. According to the author, she grew up with one-side version from school in the 1970s. It disturbed her. That's one of the reason why she wrote this novel. Although she has no intention to declare which part is right or wrong. 

In 2006, the author had the chance to visit Buru Island with ex-political prisoners and Tempo magazine senior editor Amarzan Loebis. This experience enriched her material in writing Amba. It took eight years for the author to finish this great work.

This is actually a love story. A once-in-a-lifetime love story, just like Romeo and Juliet. Let's meet Amba and Bhisma, the main characters, who bring the Mahabharata epic into a modern story. The chronicle is set against the backdrop of the bloody historical events of 1965 and the the penal colony of Buru Island, in Maluku.

The story is started in 2006 at Buru Island, when two women were found in blood. They tried to kill one another. Then we will be taken back to 1956 to Kadipura, a small village in central java where Amba was born, grew up, fell in love and disppointed. The story is told back and forth from 1956, 1965 then to 2006. 
Although this is a historical novel but it won't bore you. In fact you will fall in love with the story as the time you touch the first page. No it's not a page-turner kind of book but it's more like a book that you want to absorb it slowly and feel every word with your heart.

The author said, she fascinated with mythology. She found so much liberation and fun in reinterpreting characters from mythology. Therefore we will be touched by a smart yet poetic word in every page of the novel. Check some excerpts from the novel when the author described a drizzling rain:

Ia berjalan di bawah tirai air; ia tak sekalipun menyibak, apalagi menolaknya. Ke dalam malam itu, aku meniti turun, seakan-akan melayang, begitulah ia ingin mengenang detik-detik itu; dan sebelum cahaya muncul, ia ingat bagaimana tirai itu jatuh, begitu tipis, begitu bukan gerimis, lebih seperti sejuta benang yang merajut cermin.

(Laksmi Pamuntjak, Amba, page 168)
or this one:

Ia bercerita tentang hari-hari tertentu ketika warna laut diangkat dan ditebar ke selengkung langit dalam zat tipis yag datar, sebelum mewarnai bidang bumi. Kadang-kadang ia tumpah menyentuh ujung atap dan pucuk nyiur, dan meneduhi apa yang samar-samar kita ketahui: sudut-sudut kecil pikiran seseorang. 

(Laksmi Pamuntjak, Amba, page 433)   

The author Laksmi Pamuntjak is known for her five editions of the Jakarta Good Food Guide, poetry collections, short story collections and she's also the co-founder of Aksara bookstore.

There are not many stories with Buru Island as the setting. This book is beyond my expectation. I found so many things to fall in love with i.e. the setting, the characters, the plot, the historical facts and the poetic words. I guess I must label this book  as my all-time-favorite. Highly recommended.

It All Goes Back to Our Hearts

Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?"
Expediency asked the question, "Is it politic?"
Vanity asked the question, "Is it popular?"
Conscience asked the question, "Is it right?"

And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular,
but one must take it because
one's conscience tells one that it is right.

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--

A friend asked me to teach Business Ethics at his college. This is a new subject for me. What a challenge. Without thinking twice, I said yes. 

Then I applied, attended the interview and presented a teaching demo. To my surprise I was accepted. Since then on I prepared myself with everything related to 'Business Ethics'. I browsed here and there and did book hunting, too (my favorite part). The subject turned out to be interesting. If in the old days people thought that business and ethics were two different things but now looking at several financial scandals such as: Enron, WorldCom,Tyco, Arthur Andersen, etc, people begin to consider that business ethics is definitely important. Ehm I sound too serious now? Okay, let me stop here :D     

Although most business' objective is making big profit but doing the ethical business will never hurt you. Whenever you are placed in a confusing condition to choose which one is right or wrong, just listen to your conscience.  And last but not least, follow your heart. 

To put the world right in order,
we must first put the nation in order,
to put the nation in order,
we must first put the family in order,
to put the family in order,
we must first cultivate our personal life,
we must first set our hearts right.


The Naked Traveler 4

Author: Trinity
Publisher: Penerbit B-First (PT Bentang Pustaka)
Publication Date: September 2012
Pages: 262

Trinity as dubbed by The Jakarta Post as Heroine for Indonesia Tourism is back with her fourth sequel of Naked Traveler. The book is still written down with Trinity's usual style, light and humorous.  This time she tells about her experiences in Africa, her Live on Board (LOB) at Raja Ampat and other unique places. She also shares some tips such as: how to travel with affordable budget and other important tips is how to watch a concert in a peaceful way in Tua Nonton Konser Band Tua, this last tips is intended for elder people who can't stand the crazy crowd that usually happens at every concert, yes it's me, hahaha...  

If you read Trinity's blog regularly perhaps you won't find any new things. But for me who reads her blog rarely, I find the book is enjoyable. Trinity with her lines Worrying gets you nowhere, has inspired many Indonesian to travel. She's Indonesia's leading travel writer. She's also one of the good example of someone who dares to follow her passion. Started with a blog in 2005 and less than two years the blog has already nominated as Finalist in Indonesia's Best Blog Award at Pesta Blogger. This led her to switch her corporate career to a full-time traveler and a freelance travel writer.  

Many people will envy her life. Nothing compares to the opportunity to do something you like and gets payment for that. As Confucius says, Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. But life doesn't stop there. After knowing our passion, it's time to explore it and do our best. Travel books are mushrooming now but the Naked Traveler's series are still the Indonesia's best selling travel book to date. Of course there is hard work there. If you check Trinity's blog, you will find out that she's on One Year Around-the-World Trip. This is one of the way to maintain her product. She must tells new things not only common destination. Around the World trip will need big budget but instead of just waiting for sponsor, she does it herself. She's using her own money. She said let's consider this as an investment. New investment needs capital but the return usually beyond that. No pain, no gain. Just do our best and let's God do the rest. 

Klik, Sepuluh suara, satu cerita!

Title: Click
Authors: Eoin Colfer, Linda Sue Park, Ruth Ozeki, Nick Hornby, Tim Wynne-Jones, David Almond, Gregory Maguire, Deborah Ellis, Margo Lanagan, Roddy Doyle
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: September 2012
Page: 228

This is a unique work. Ten award winning authors collaborate together to create one story.

Ten of the most beloved authors, each contribute a chapter in the life of the mysterious George 'Gee' Keane, a photographer, a soldier, an adventurer and an enigma. When Gee passed away, he inherited his camera and his great photos collection to his grandson, Jason and a box with seashells inside to his granddaughter, Maggie. These inheritances bring both of them to an unbelievable  journey, reveal many secrets and change many lives.

Now get ready to explore the art and craft storytelling with ten masters who show how tools like 'voice', 'perspective' and 'character' work in the hand of the expert. Each story is unique, surprising, a small gift, standing alone but somehow believably connected to the first one. The authors were free to pick up the characters and place them at any part of the globe. Therefore we will enjoy ten beautiful stories with different style of writing but somehow all those stories are related. This book also introduces us to some amazing and strong characters, some individual stories that stick in our head and a feeling that everyone on this huge, messy planet is somehow interrelated.   

All the royalties from the book will be donated to Amnesty International, an organization which serves to protect human rights.

One things I regret is there is no special page that tells about how these ten authors can get together and how the process of making this story. Do they have to write it together?  Do they already know the ending since the beginning? Are there any 'conflict' between those ten authors while they work to finish the story? I am sure the process of making this book is as engaging as this novel itself.  All in all I highly recommend this book. A must read.    

My Life as Film Director

Author: Haqi Achmad
Publisher: PlotPoint Publishing (PT Bentang Pustaka)
Publication Date: August 2012

"Movies are my religion and God is my patron. When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it."

--Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastard)

Film is one of my favorite things beside books and music. The profession as a film director is of course one thing I adore very much. I always amaze to see a great movie and wonder how the film director can create such a beautiful thing and haunt his/her viewers for days.

Let's flash back to 1998, it's one important moment for Indonesian films, four film directors, Riri Riza, Mira Lesmana, Nan T. Achnas and Rizal Mantovani launched their omnibus movie Kuldesak. This movie was their debut as a film director. This movie also means as the awakening of Indonesian films.

Nowadays the profession as a film director is getting more popular. Making a short movie or becoming a film maker at a young age is not strange anymore. But still some people are still confused, how to start? How can we convince our parents that we can live a proper life by becoming a film director?

Instead of only learning the theories of how to become a great film director, we'd better take a look and drown in the life stories of these four film directors, Hanung Bramantyo, Ifa Isfansyah, Joko Anwar and Sammaria Simanjuntak. The start is never easy. Let's find out how they fell in love with film, how they decided to pursue their dreams and how they're finally sure that they would  dedicate their life only for making film. 
It's so interesting to learn other people's life. Especially knowing how they start their struggle in becoming a film maker. It's a long and winding road. Like Hanung, since his father was a businessman, it's so hard to convince him that he could survive by doing what he liked. At that time he's active in playing theater in his high school and his father as a business man kept asking him, What will you get from theater?

If you have a dream of becoming a film maker, this small book can give lots of new insights about the profession of film director. The book  also shares certain important tips such as: how to convince your parents, where to study if you want to be a film maker, how the process of making a film, what things to prepare if we want to be a film director, and many other interesting issues. 

A Heart won't Lie

Rainy October finally comes. I feel a deep grateful. First, I am happy to see pouring rain almost every evening and second I never thought that my decision to leave my 9-to-5 work as I posted here could inspire some of my friends. I know leaving a comfortable zone is a hard thing to do. Starting a new life with totally different activities also not easy. 

After having a long intimate conversation with my friends, I come to a conclusion that almost all of them  actually don't enjoy their job anymore. They're like a robot. Leaving home early in the morning, trapped in a crazy traffic jam, doing routine jobs and back home in the evening with the same horrible traffic jam. But they're still not sure to leave the job. Most of them still keep thinking about, what will I do? What is my actual passion? How will I survive without any monthly fixed income? Another interesting issue is for some female friends, they worry about changing their status from a career woman into a housewife or some people use the term a 'full-time-mom' or 'a stay-at-home mom', and the like. It seems that being the career woman is more prestigious that just sitting at home.   
If I flashed back a little bit to April 2010 (gosh, it's been more than 2 years a go), the moment when I made the decision to leave my job, almost all people around me were shocked including my parents. In fact my parents weren't quite happy with my decision. They still think that working in a big company and get a monthly salary is the best way to live your life. I know it's not easy to tell my parents that I quit the job because I want to follow my passion (in fact I still didn't know what to do at that time). Instead of explaining and excusing, I chose to show them that I would survive. I am sure that there are lots of things to do beside being an employee.

I always remember what Confucius  said, choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. I resigned without knowing what to do next. At that time I just thought I need to take a break for a while. Having my own personal moment with myself. And suddenly the idea of having my own batik business hit me, continued with an offer from a friend to assist his law firm with a friendly working hour, an offer from my hubby to teach at his campus, accepted as an English teacher at one of well-known English courses in Indonesia, an idea to write a book with a friend, and I believe wholeheartedly that the list will go on and on. Life is a mystery. There are just too many miracles. You just need to believe.

To wrap it up, I just want to say that it's not fair to compare one job to another, take an example of a working  mom versus a stay-at-home mom. All job is good as long as you do it with all your heart. No body has right to judge other people job or said this job is better than that one. This is our own lives we talk about. We the one who live the life. Just contemplate for a moment. Talk with your heart. Is this the kind of life that you dream about? It's good to ask other people opinion but the decision is yours. Just listen to your heart. A heart will never lie.           

Tetap Lezat Walau Minim Minyak

Author: Threes Emir
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: June 2012
Pages: 95

Cooking is not my thing but eating is, haha...Thank God, I have mbak Yoyoh, our domestic helper, who cooks for us. Mbak Yoyoh's food is okay for me and also for the whole family members but one thing I notice, she loves frying everything. Everyday there is always one oily dish in our menu. I provide her with some cooking books to add her recipe collections but still the oily food is there, whoaaa...

One day I came across this book in Gramedia bookshop, I guess this book is just what I am looking for. The author told the reason why she wrote this book was due to her medical check up result that shows her cholesterol was a bit high. She thought that the best way to normalize her cholesterol was by reducing fried food. At first she thought it was going to be very limited food but after she opened many  recipes books and watched cooking programs on cable TV, finally she could collect some interesting recipes and by doing some modification, she found out that the taste of the dishes were as good as the dishes that using oil.

The book is divided into seven section, first for Aneka Nasi then, Aneka Sup, Aneka Sayuran, Daging, Ayam, Ikan and Tahu Tempe. Since they use very minimal oil in their dishes therefore most of the dishes are steamed or grilled. I ..well.. I mean mbak Yoyoh tried some recipes and the taste were quite yummy. Simple but healthy food. According to the author, by consuming this kind of food, we can reduce our cholesterol and weight. The author has proved it. Now it's our turn.

Kisah Lainnya

Author: Ariel-Uki-Lukman-Reza-David
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Publication Date: August 2012
Pages: 228
Jangan berkecil hati. Manusia diciptakan di dunia ini memang untuk bikin kesalahan, lalu memperbaiki diri. Kalau semua orang sudah tidak bikin kesalahan lagi, maka semua ini akan dimatikan oleh Tuhan, karena tidak ada lagi tujuan kehidupan.
(said Abu Bakar Ba'asyir to Ariel at Bareskrim detention center, page 18 of Kisah Lainnya).

I am not a big fan of Ariel or Peterpan band, therefore at the time this book was released, I wasn't interested to buy it. Until one day a friend of mine recommended me to read it. 

The book is written down in a simple way. We see what happened to the band from their point of view. Before, on and after Ariel's case. I finished reading their stories within a short time. But tell you what, the minute I finished reading it, I feel a different feeling about this band. I suddenly feel so close to them and know how special the relationship among each of the band members.

The story was started on May 2010, Peterpan was having a meeting to prepare their new album  launching. Until that shocking news spread and finally on January 31, 2011, Ariel was sentenced by Bandung district court for three years six months. It's just like a thunder hit all of them. Lots of plans for Peterpan had to be postponed. But here we see how strong their friendship is. They survive. 

The story then flashed back about when and how Peterpan members could get together and form the band. After lots of working hard, changing of many personnel, trying a bit this and that, finally Peterpan became a new star in Indonesian music. As other bands, they also experienced the ups and downs of their music, relationship, and all. But there is always a blessing in disguise, just like Ariel's legal case that already changed everything. It's true, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. They comeback. They started with instrumental album Suara Lainnya (packed as a bonus of this book) and now with their new band name, Noah, I'm sure they will again fascinate their fans, Sahabat Noah.            

The Not-So-Amazing Life of @aMrazing

Author: Alexander Thian
Publisher: GagasMedia
Year of Publication: 2012
Pages: 220

Human is one of the most interesting object to learn. Alexander Thian writes his observation about human and all their behavior in this book. No, it's not a scientific book. In fact it's a light book. As a cell phone shopkeeper  in one mall, he deals with all kind of human there. From a normal one until a unique one. Here it is a compilation of all different kinds of customers that Alex met there.

Alex tells his stories in a simple yet witty way. Actually no new things here. Some of the stories told seems familiar to me since it's everyday life stories. I've read them somewhere or even experienced them myself. But we will be still entertained and smile for some stories since Alex is quite good in delivering them. Alex doesn't only tell about funny things, he also puts some touching stuff and sends his message, such as about not judging somebody from his/her look in Don't Judge the Heart by the Look or the price of honesty in  Jujur Itu Mahal!.  

There are fourteen stories here. If you need a simple book to cheer you up a little bit, perhaps this is the one.


By: Haruki Murakami
Publisher: Vintage Books London
Year of Publication: 2003
Pages: 309

The date is Monday 20 March, 1995. It is a beautiful clear spring morning. There is still a brisk breeze and people are bundled up in coats. Yesterday was Sunday, tomorrow is the Spring equinox, a national holiday. Sandwiched right in the middle of what should have been a long weekend, you're probably thinking "I wish I didn't have to work today." No such luck. You get up at the normal time, wash, dress, breakfast, and head for the subway station. You board the train, crowded as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. It promises to be a perfectly run-of-the-mill day. Until five men in disguise poke at the floor of the carriage with the sharpened tips of their umbrellas, puncturing some plastic bags filled with a strange liquid... 

This is a true story behind an act of terrorism that turned an average Monday morning into a national disaster. The novelist Haruki Murakami interviews the victims to try and establish precisely what happened on the subway that day. He also interview members and ex-members of the doomsday cult responsible, Aum Shinrikyo, in the hope that they might be able to explain the reason for the attack and how it was that their guru, Shoko Asahara, instilled such devotion in his followers. 

Murakami hoped that through these interviews, he could capture aside of the attacks which the Japanese media had ignored, the way it had affected average citizens. The interviews were conducted over nearly a year, from January 1996 and ending on December 1996. Sixty victims of the attacks and descriptions of how the attack were carried out along with Murakami's essay Blind Nightmare: Where are We Japanese Going? and the interviews with eight members of Aum are packed in this book.

This big disaster once appeared on many Japanese newspapers. Instead of telling about the condition of the victims, they focus more on blaming the cult. This Tokyo gas attack left only twelve people dead, but thousands were injured and many suffered serious after-effects. Murakami tells more. The disaster doesn't stop there. Some people  suffer of little harm, some lose their memories, others have to face post traumatic stress disorders and  also some are still undergoing therapy for serious health problems. These conditions make some of them lose their jobs and permanent handicap. 

These interviews bring many thoughts. First I admire the Japanese, even when the subway workers announced that there had been a released of poison gas, there was no general panic and many people seemed to have been thinking much more about getting to work rather than worrying about their personal health. They're really hard workers. Perhaps this situation also related to Japan as a very safe country, not the sort of place where terrorist attacks happen.

To see the situation from both sides, Murakami also interviewed the Aum members and attended several trials of the defendants. He wanted to come to some of understanding of who they were and what they were thinking now.  

The point is we never know what will happen to us. Even in such a beautiful day like that Monday, 20 March, 1995, a horrible thing might happen. Instead of blaming the cult members or their guru and feeling confused how on earth such educated people could devote themselves in that cult, we'd better look at ourselves. Let's just contemplate for a moment. Everyone has his/her reason. Everything happens for a reason. 

For the Old Time Sake...

It seems like yesterday, the good days at campus. The days that were full of laugh, tears, dreams, friendship, goals, ideas, love, hang out, disappointment, betrayal, confidence, relationship, happiness and many more. The days that brings mixed feeling. Still those days were one of the best days of my life. 

Last Saturday I was invited to join a big reunion. It's the 20th years of commemoration. 20 years? Really? Time does fly. After 20 years we finally got back to campus. We got together in a gathering. We sat side by side beside the peaceful  UI lake. Remembering the old time. Sharing the moments. Life is rich. We won't stop here. We carry on.  

Batik Najlazea: The New Address Label

The former address label design
The latest address label design

Just found some spare time couple weeks a go and the idea to design something came up. I checked some stuff from my online batik business such as, the clothing label, the price tag and the address label. After thinking it over, I decided to redesign the address label. I usually put the address label at the batik package that is ready to be delivered. I write the customer's address there. You can say, it's like our package signature. Actually there're no major changes. The basic design is still there. I still use my favorite animal, the butterfly, I just change the font into something simpler and the dominant color, it's not pink anymore but blue. I find blue might refresh our mood. Don't you think so? 

Dongeng Sepanjang Masa

Recently our book-freak girl, Zea, is crazy about Dongeng Sepanjang Masa.What's so special about it? The book is published by Bhuana Ilmu Populer (Gramedia Group). It's designed beautifully with eye-catching hard cover, although the book is a bit thick but the size is handy so it's easy to bring and read it everywhere just like Zea does.  

There are several edition of the book. So far Zea has three books, Dongeng Dunia, Dongeng untuk Puteri Tersayang and Dongeng Charles Dickens. One thick book consists of 10-14 stories written down by legendary authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, Brothers Grimm, etc. Of course this is not an original version of the book since this book is targeted for children. All those greatest stories are merely retold  by other authors and enriched by engaging illustrations. 

Yesterday when we visited Gramedia bookstore, we found the new series of the collection that are Dongeng Charles Dickens and Dongeng Grimm Bersaudara. After thinking back and forth, Zea finally chose Dongeng Charles Dickens. There are five best stories of Dickens, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield. As a-five-year-old girl perhaps the stories are a bit difficult to be absorbed by Zea but knowing her big love through books, I am sure she's going to love all those classic stories. You'll find many great things and experience great moments with all those classic stuff, Zea. Promise.       


65 (Lanjutan Blues Merbabu)
Author:  Gitanyali
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 204

Akal sehat dan daya hidup tidak begitu saja bisa dilumpuhkan.

("65", Gitanyali

Due to 1965 tragedy, Gitanyali had to live separately from other members of the family. He had to leave his happy life into a poor life. He changes his name many times. He makes many definitions of 'freedom' as he needs. Until one day his relatives asked him to move to Jakarta. Farewell to his life at that small city near Merbabu mount including his wild romance with many girls there.

A new chapter begins. As a communist's son, he knows he can't have a career in formal sector. Instead he chooses media, studying cinema and freelancing as a journalist. he continues his adventures with several women he meets. This wild romances go on and on. Until one day he meets Emma, a beautiful woman who owns an art gallery in Bangkok, this is one big leap in Gitanyali's life. Before meeting Emma, he has some anxiety concerning married life and keeps hopping from one woman to another. But Emma changes everything. He's proposing her and they finally get married.

1965 and PKI are one chapter in Indonesia's history. There are many version of the stories. There are also many 'dark' stories we heard about it. But Gitanyali refused to drown in his  sadness or alienation. He chose his path. He tells his story in a very different way. Instead of feeling blue about his story, he entertains us. He said, "Berhubungan dengan stigma, aku merasa biasa saja. tak terbebani apa-apa. yang kurasa perlu dikasihani masyarakatku, bukan aku." 

An alternative memoir that shares the valuable insights into the life of a man whose identity was denied by his state and society but instead of getting angry with that condition, this man is busy with his own life. He lives his life to the fullest. He tells stories from his completely different point of view.  He gives us new things to ponder.

Blues Merbabu

Author:  Gitanyali
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
Publication Date: February 2011
Pages: 186

Benar kita hanya bisa memelihara kenangan, tapi tidak menghidupinya
("Blues Merbabu", Gitanyali)

Autobiography is your own story. You can make it on your own way. Gitanyali (the pen name of Kompas journalist, Bre Redana) chooses to write his memoir in a light, witty yet deep way.

It's all begun in a small village near Merbabu mount in Central Java. Gitanyali once lived a good life with her family in one big house. Until year 1965, his father as one of the respected leader in Communist Party known as PKI was taken by apparatus without any news, he just disappeared like what happened to many people there. His mother was also taken by the apparatus and put into jail but luckily she survived and finally released. Since then Gitanyali's life had been changed  upside down.

This is a story about a boy who lost his father to the Communist purges at age 10. Gitanyali recalls the traumatic experience from his father's position as a respected leader of the community to an enemy of the state and ultimately, a victim of its brutality.
But don't worry, there are no tears here. This is not a mellow memoir. Gitanyali shares his life merely with witty things. He learns how to survive. He tries to enjoy his life including his wild adventures with lots of girls in his small city. He chooses to hang on without the 'real' fighting. Enjoy the flow of the story and all its absurdity.

Friday, We're in Love

We had a visit to Taman Safari Cisarua last Friday. It was a sudden decision. We thought that some people were still at the office, others were still busy with mudik stuff, so we hope that the place wouldn't  be so crowded.

Leaving home at 7.30 am, the traffic was very friendly and at 9.00 am we're already there and ready to explore the park. We started by buying some fresh carrots that were offered by some street seller. Later on we would give the carrots to the herbivore as their breakfast.  

It's really a fabulous moment. We enjoyed all, the animals themselves, the animal shows, the animal zoo, the playground, the water park and all. What we love about this park is the fresh surrounding. The sun was actually there but it's not hot. The mountain air was everywhere. Although we spent almost the whole day there but we didn't feel tired. It's really a relaxing getaway. No wonder that most people consider this place as one of their favorite holiday spots.      

Perahu Kertas

Director: Hanung Bramantyo
Producers: Chand Parwez Servia & Putut Widjanarko
Screen Writer: Dewi Lestari
Casts: Maudy Ayunda, Adipati Dolken, Reza Rahadian, Tio Pakusadewo, August Melasz, Ira Wibowo

One of Dewi 'Dee' Lestari  best selling novel is finally adapted into a big screen. Perahu Kertas was written down back in 1996 and up until now it's been reprinted 15 times, wow! I read the book some years a go. Honestly I am a bit forgetful about the detail of the story. As far as I remember it's a light story compared with other Dee's works and it's about romantic teen story. A timeless theme that easily loved by everyone.

Bumped into many positive reviews about Perahu Kertas the movie, I decided to watch it. Yesterday I went to a cinema and  was very much surprised to find out that it was so full and more surprise to see the viewers of the movie were mostly high schools students. Suddenly I felt so old, perhaps I was the oldest there, hahaha...

The movie itself is enjoyable. Since the screen writer is the author herself therefore she knew which scene to be put in big screen and vice versa. And I must confess that Dee is a real genius. She is truly a multi talented person. She wrote the novel, the movie script, and the beautiful original soundtrack. 

This movie is the first of a two-part adaptation. The decision to divide the story into two parts was made to include as much of the original story as possible.  The second part will be launched within two months and the Producer promises that the second movie will offer more conflict than the first one. Well...let's see.

If you want to entertain yourself for a light yet meaningful movie, come and watch this one. Actually it's a just a simple love story but there are still lots to enjoy here such as the beautiful scene and easy listening soundtrack.  

Eid Mubarak 1433 H

Whew...been ages not posting anything here. As usual Lebaran day and all its stuff always get all our attention. We spent Lebaran holiday in Lampung. Najla and Zea enjoyed their time with their grandpa, grandma and the three cousins. The activity was not far from visiting the relatives and ended with eating out all the high cholesterol food served *umpetin timbangan* :D

Arrived home and welcomed by dirty laundry was not a sweet moment but still there's no place like home. After leaving it for quite sometime, we always miss our home and we just feel good when we enter it, sleep in our own bed and think what to eat next, and food seem like a perfect couple to us.

The view from our room at Bukit Randu Hotel, Bandar Lampung
Eid Mubarak 1433 H, it's time to forgive and back to fitra....  and Happy Holiday too...everyone.    

Girls, Books and Love

My hubby and I are both book freak. This virus eventually infects our daughters. Everywhere we go, we never miss to drop by at a bookstore. 

Until recently I notice that Zea, our youngest daughter, has been falling in love deeply with books. Her love towards books seems deeper that her sister does. At her early age, although she still couldn't read but she already enjoyed holding a book, staring at the illustration of the book and finally making up stories based on her imagination. This activity could take very long time. Sometimes I wonder, how on earth did she come out with so many new vocabularies that perhaps she didn't even understand the meaning?    

At age of 5, Zea made her achievement, she finally can READ. I didn't know how she managed to read. I never taught her nor her father since we both agree that during the golden age (1 year until 5 year) is the children time to play as much as they want. To enjoy life. No reading and counting lesson at all.  But as I said before although she wasn't able to read but she never left home without any books. Perhaps her big love towards books that finally helps her to have the reading ability.    
When our eldest daughter, Najla, entered the Elementary School, every time we visit a bookstore, she focused more on stationery than books. On the other hand Zea always glues her eyes to children books, selects some of her favorite books, sits down on the floor between the bookshelves, reads the books and looses in her own imaginary world. Until her father calls her to leave the bookstore, she will pick the books quickly and asks her father to pay for them. How can her father say no to such a sweet request?

Now it's getting more obvious, while Najla enjoys cycling and swimming, Zea will be drowning in her bedroom, surrounded by her favorite books and read them aloud one by one. She even arranges some of her dolls, sits them down, reads the story to them and acts out just like their teacher. 

I guess Zea has realized that books never let her down. A good book is the best of friends.   

Quote of the Day

....the same goes for envy, anger and insults,
when they are not accepted,
they continue to belong to the one who carried them.

Read the complete story here. A simple story yet a big learning. Very touching.

Indescribable Joy

Dear Ayah,
Happy birthday
We are so lucky to have you around

Keep healthy and happy

Tons of love from us: 
Mama, Najla & Zea


Author&Illustrator: Raina Telgemeier
Translator: Indah S. Pratidina
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: June 2011
Pages: 224

This graphic novel has been in my wishlist for quite sometime. Out of the blue I found it at Gramedia Grand Indonesia with 25% discount, what a gift! Just found out that Gramedia GI would move all their books collections, DVDs, stationery and  the like into one floor only. Yes, no more spacious bookshop that usually makes me spending almost the whole day there. I checked the new place, it's totally a mess. So many books and lots of other stuff but very limited space. I felt like I trapped in a warehouse instead of wandered in a bookshop. Since then, I have never been there again, hopefully the bookshop condition is better now. Nevertheless Gramedia GI is one of my favorite bookshops.

Let's get back to this unique autobiography. What's so special about this book? It's the author true story that she shares through beautiful illustration. Raina Telgemeier tells about her life from middle school through high school. It's not an ordinary tale since in her pre-teen years, she suffered a serious mouth injury that required several years of dental and orthodontic surgery.   

Some people say that the teen period is one of the glorious moment. There you'll deal with boys, girls, first love, problems with teachers and friends, prom nights, and many more. This is actually what happens to Raina. But since her dental drama, she gets many frustrating experiences. Yes, it's a long and tiring journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. This whole dental issue make her friends tease her. On top of that, she also worries about the erthquake, boys and friends that turn out to be not so nice.

Raina has captured the highs and lows of being a teenager perfectly through her brilliant illustrations. She has made the truth obvious that it's not easy being a teenager and that everybody at some point goes through something similar. Yeah...the teenage period, a moment full of galau matters, haha, it seems like been ages for me:)) 

A fun tale about dealing with middle school that can be enjoyed in a few hours. Funny, sad, touching and very moving. I highly recommend this graphic diary for all teenagers out there. It's inspiring yet entertaining.