Book Review: Laut Bercerita

Title: Laut Bercerita
Author: Leila S. Chudori
Publisher: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia)
First Print, October 2017
379 pages

Ketidaktahuan dan ketidakpastian kadang-kadang jauh lebih membunuh dibanding pembunuhan.

Laut Bercerita tells about a college student named, Biru Laut. Some people perhaps were born to live in their idealism. They want to do something for the country, they want to have an ideal government who care about its people, while the government itself is not that friendly in receiving the critics. It happened during Suharto's era. The New Order was considered as a dictator. Violating the human rights, unfairness in politics and economics, etc. Until we heard that 23 persons were kidnapped on May 1998 and up until now there are still 13 of them that have no news yet. 

Laut Bercerita took place during 1991 until 1998. The book tells about the loss felt by the families and friends of their beloved persons. There is also betrayal and a very sadistic torture by those for whom power is more valuable than lives. 

There are parents who always put one extra plate during their family lunch just because they hope their beloved one will suddenly come and visit the house. This kidnapping mostly changed the lives of the family and friends. Reading this book really needs a strong heart since the story felt so real (yes, it's based on true events) and some of these missing people are still gone and to date government also seems not to do any significant efforts to reveal the case.

One of the lines in the book that broke my heart:

Begitu hujan mulai membasahi Tanah Kusir, aku merasa para penghuni makam terbangun dan membunyikan serunai. Mereka menghibur kami, orang-orang yang tak memiliki makam orang-orang tercinta.

The author, Leila S. Chudori, a senior journalist, said that this book was inspired by her friend's story, Nezar Patria, who was kidnapped with other 20 persons due to their activities considered as a threat for Suharto's government. Nezar and some of his friends were released however there are still many of them that have no news at all up until now. The families and friends left are living with endless pain for the rest of their lives. Their lives will never be the same again.

One of the best Indonesian books in 2017. A must read to learn about Indonesian history. 

Books with Illustration, Quotes, and Such

Several researches show that Indonesian people are not into reading books. It is referred from the data of reading interest that is quite low or we can also simply just check the bookshop, even in a big bookshop like Gramedia, nowadays I saw at cashier that people mostly bought stationery or other stuffs instead of buying  books. 

No wonder that bookshop must do something to SURVIVE. I noticed that one of my favourite bookshops, Gramedia PIM, now has a cafe inside its bookshop. While the stuffs sold there also having more variation, I found some outdoor activities equipments, shoes, even head scarf aka hijab. There is nothing wrong about it. As long as books are still there and these new stuffs are still in line with the business, well...just go ahead. By the way, I am happy with the cafe since I can just sit there, order my favourite drink and drown in my new book. 

Other trends that I notice in the bookshop is the books form. If in the old days we only have novel or comic but now you can easily find lots of books with beautiful illustration, quotes, variation of colours, and all. These illustrated books will really help people that not into thick books, at least when they are bored with the texts then they can just focus on the illustration and vice versa.

The following are illustrated books that I recommend for your year end holiday, check them all:


You know Diana Rikasari right? She's one of the most creative and popular fashion bloggers. Although I am not into fashion especially Diana's style that sometimes too bright (although it is always looks good on her) however I always love the way Diana writes. From her writing I learned that she's really a hard worker, humble and very true to herself. Respect.

These #88LOVELIFE consists of three books. Diana divides it into Part One about 88 Thoughts on Love and Life, 2nd book is about Passion and the last book is about Priorities.  Each book is enriched with some thoughts, quotes, illustration, stickers, postcards, and all are in colourful ambience. Simple writing with deep meaning. A mood booster.  

Stories for Rainy Days#1 and #2
& Things and Thoughts I Drew When I was Bored 

Stories for Rainy Days  #1 and #2 are kind of novels that are written down in a beautiful way by Naela Ali. It's actually a romance. Boy meets girl. Fall in Love. Broken Heart. Such a cliche however you will enjoy it. Naela with her simple yet magic words and illustrations will fascinate you, force you to finish the book  and  can't wait for the ending. 

This serial is quite successful. Book #1 since it was launched on May 2016, now it has reached the  sixth printing in August 2017 while Book #2 since the first printing on February 2017, currently has had the fourth printing. 

If you love raining, music, touching  love story that can warm your heart, this is the ONE. 

Other book by Naela is Things and Thoughts I Drew When I was Bored, this book is  more on random stuffs that came to Naela's head  and then transformed into writing or drawing. Interesting still. 

69 Things to be Grateful about Being Single by FEBY INDIRANI Illustration by Emte

From its catchy title, you can guess what the book is about. The special thing about this book is the awesome illustration for every topic of the book. Kudos to the illustrator, Emte, he can put the wording into perfect illustration. Love it.  

It's time for you to choose, which book is perfect to accompany you during the holiday?

Backpacking with Kids: Korea #3

Destination #3: Seoul

"Not all classrooms have four walls.

Through travel, the world becomes a classroom."
Seoul in Summer was kind of confusing. Sometimes the heatwave came, then suddenly the pouring rain wetted us all.  Perhaps it is not the best  time for holiday, yet the positive side is lots of favourite photo spots were empty and we could take photo shoots as many as we want. #Greedy

We really felt we're lucky when we rented Korean traditional dress (Hanbok) and walked through Bukchon Hanok Village for photo session. This place is always full of tourists but that lazy hot afternoon we only met couple of tourists.

Bukchon is  a 'house' for around 900 Korean traditional houses (Hanok). Every spot here is beautiful. Try to get lost in the alleys while enjoying the houses, the walls, the roofs, the garden and everything, you'll feel that you're sent away to Korea in hundred of years a go. Bukchon  is such a contrast with the modern city afar.

Beside Bukchon, we also dropped by at Gyeongbokgung Palace and got the opportunity to watch the changing palace guards ceremony.  
Banana Milk is the perfect drink during Korean summer

Other happening place in Seoul, it must be Myeong-dong, a heaven for skincare, cosmetics, shopping for all tourists and cosmetics sellers. Such a packed place with local products and imported products, just choose what you want. People were busy spending their money on everything. Many of them brought their luggages to put all the stuff they bought. If you're into Korean products, you'll love this place since there are many variations of skincare put in a beautiful package and sold at affordable price. Do not forget, Koreans like to give their customers some bonuses, buy 10 hand creams and get 20, buy 15 face mask and get 25, and more and more offers that will make you headache and later on you will be shocked to see your credit card bills, what the hell did I buy at Myeong-dong??? Hahaha...

I didn't shop much since I need to accompany my girls there. We just tried several cute-look-yet-yummy snacks sold by the street hawkers there.  

Seoul was the last place we visited during our eight-day of backpacking with kids. The girls were super happy. They kept saying, 'This is the best day in my life." 

All in all Korea is not only K-Pop or DraKor. It is also an alternative destination for backpacking with kids.  

"Holiday with young kids isn't about the holiday, (because let's face it, it's beyond exhausting), it's about making MEMORIES."

From Andrea Hirata, A. Fuadi, Okky Madasari and More

Books are still one of my favourite things. A good book, a cup of tea and a cozy couch are all I need.  Although the numbers of books I read are way too small comparing to the old days however I am happy that this year many of my favorite authors released their books. Let's check these five recommended books that you can enjoy during your end of year holiday. 

Sirkus Pohon by Andrea Hirata
Let's start from Andrea Hirata with his Sirkus Pohon. I miss Andrea and his touching way in telling how Belitung people live their lives. It still entertains me although the plot, the characters, the twist and the ending are still far from all time favorite Laskar Pelangi but still it is nice to read another book with Andrea's style.   

Anak Rantau by A. Fuadi
I just visited Padang and Bukit Tinggi and now I am excited to finally can witness the beautiful landscape of Padang and taste the delicious Padang food.  Now, let's  follow Hepi's engaging adventure with his friends and find out how their activities as detective wannabe finally end up.  

Yang Bertahan dan Binasa Perlahan by Okky Madasari
Reading Okky's works are never boring. There is always something to ponder. This time Okky brings her short stories collections. The themes as usual tell about the unfortunate people, the unfairness of life, the struggle to survive, and such. Okky said that the short stories consist of 19 stories that have already been written down within a decade (2007-2017).    

Forgotten Colors by Vabyo
I always love Vabyo's witty way in delivering his stories. This book is special because it was written down after Vabyo got stroke and suffered a kind of memory loss. This book is a therapy for the writer and a lesson for us to understand what happens to people with stroke. A touching story.

Koran Kami with Lucy in the Sky by Bre Redana  
Bre Redana is a senior Kompas journalist. I always wait for his column in Kompas Minggu. He delivers an up-to-date article in a playful yet deep way.  

In his latest book of Koran Kami, he wrote about newspaper company, how a newspaper is managed, the process, the people behind it, the stress, the friendship, and all. The story seems simple but I know it has a very important meaning since Bre said that after 35 years as a journalist, he just needs to write something about his work and he MADE it. This book was launched on his retirement day. A good way to end a working period.

I enjoy the book a lot. I laughed here and there and think for lots of smart statements and quotes. If you are looking for a light with a deep meaning read, try this one. You'll love it.

Some of the quotes I love:

"Itulah bahayanya memori: ia mampu memperdayai kita. Selalu sediakan  ruang untuk mencurigai memori diri sendiri."

"Di zaman fundamentalisme ini orang gampang percaya pada apa såja kecuali kebenaran, ..."

"Agama sekarang adalah persoalan gaya hidup, persoalan politik, dan di atas segalanya bisnis. Tuhan sudah lama menjauh dari agama. Sudah lama Tuhan pindah alamat,..."

"Mabuk bir orang jadi jujur; mabuk agama orang jadi pembohong."

See? There're still more. A must read.

Exploring Indonesia: Padang & Bukit Tinggi

A breathtaking view from Grand Rocky Hotel, Bukit Tinggi 
To travel is to live.
-Hans Christian Anderson

I have been dreaming to go to Padang and finally it happenned last weekend. I went there with four of my ex college mates. We really did have a great time.
At Lembah Harau

We stayed at Grand Rocky Hotel at Bukit Tinggi. A nice hotel in a strategic area. Jam Gadang and all tourism spots are within walking distance. Unfortunately we couldn't shop at Pasar Atas or Pasar Ateh, located next to Jam Gadang, since it was burnt last October. There are still some of the products sold around the first floor of Pasar Ateh so we still could buy some stuffs with reasonable prices but imagining there used to be around 700 traders in Pasar Ateh, we really sorry that we miss the opportunity to visit such an exciting place.
At Padang Beach
At Singkarak Lake

Traveling to Padang and Bukit Tinggi means you are ready to enjoy a beautiful landscape with fresh air and of course a super delicious Padang food. If you are into valley, waterfall, lake, mountain, rice fieds, rendang, keripik sanjay, lupis, bubur kampiun, and all, Padang and Bukit Tinggi are heavens on earth for all foodies. 
Kelok 9

A short getaway that as usual brings good food for our soul.

Book Launching: Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! #3

"Budaya literasi masyarakat Indonesia nomor 2 terbelakang di dunia, urutan ke 60 dari 61 negara.

Indeks minat baca di Indonesia hanya 0,001 artinya dari 1000 penduduk hanya 1 orang yang memiliki minat baca.

Namun Indonesia negara nomor 5 tercerewet di twitter, 15 tweet per detik, 7 juta tweet/hari."

--Kang Maman, the conceptor of Indonesia Lawak Club (ILK) and Ambassador of Literacy 

Alhamdulillah, another book launching of Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! was successfully held at Gunung Agung, Senayan City last Thursday, 2 November 2017. I invited 6 (six) contributors including me as the editor to represent 25 legal professions and share our working experiences with the audiences.  

I am so grateful that lots of people welcome this book in a very nice way and they told me that they're inspired by this book. Even some of my friends said that a book like Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! that lists down and elaborates 25 professions that someone with legal background may embrace should be made at every faculty so all the graduates will have the ideas about the works that may suitable for them in the future.  

There are many people who have already been so supportive in making this book possible. I am forever grateful. This book is just a beginning. We need to keep going. It's our job to socialize and share this professions to the highschoolers all over Indonesia and even abroad. My friends and I are in the process to arrange our schedule to visit high schools in Indonesia, mostly East Indonesia that is still left behind comparing to their brother and sisters in Java Island.  Finger crossed.

Book Launching: Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! #2

This 365-day-project is finally completed. Yesterday, book of Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! was officially launched at Faculty of Law UI, Depok.  

We invited several high schools in Jakarta and Depok, and also law students who are still 'galau' in deciding their future career  to attend the launching.

Since the duration is limited so I only chosed 6 (six) contributors (including me) from total 36 to represent these 25 legal profession. Those contributors consist of a supreme court judge, a diplomat, an in-house-lawyer at KPK, a head hunter, a lecturer and me as a lawyer a.k.a editor a.k.a pekerja serabutan. 

I am so touched to see how enthusiastic these highschoolers in asking the questions regarding their future careers. Some of the questions are so deep, these kids zaman now are really awesome. 

Some of the questions asked, such as:
1. How did you feel when you decide a death penalty to the defendant?
2. If  I want to be a diplomat, where should I study, at Faculty of Law or FISIP?
3. Referring to inhouse-lawyer at KPK, you said it's very hard to work at KPK, full of pressure and terror, but how come did you work there for more than 10 years?
4. If I want to go to law school however I also want to have my own business, which career path should  I choose?

See...these millennials never stop amaze me. 

There will be another book launching on 2 November at Gunung Agung Senayan City at 2pm -4 pm. Be there!!!

Backpacking with Kids: Korea #2

Destination #2: Everland, Nami Island and Petite France

You need to be an adrenaline junkie when you travel with kids. 
                                                                    --Graeme Le Saux

"Let's try the roller coaster," the girls screamed while seeing the fasterst, longest roller coaster in South Korea and also the second talest wooden roller coaster in the world. While I stepped aside and calmed down my heartbeat, duh...Gusti.

Everland is the biggest themepark in South Korea owned by Samsung Group. This place is simply amazing, huge with a flower garden,  playground, a zoo with its healthy and complete animals collection, and many more. We're lucky to come on weekday so we could try almost all rides, 

Our next destination was Nami Island. A favorite place for Korea Drama movies fans. Nami Island is located in Chuncheon. The island first bought by Mr. Minn Byeong-do in 1965, he just planned to live in harmony with the nature. To achieve his life goal, he started planting lots of different trees in the area, that's the reason why  now we can enjoy the beautiful trees all around this exotic island and use it as a selfie background :) 

As of  2001, Nami Island focused its activities on nature, arts, and culture. Many events took place here, mostly  related to painting, writing, and illustration. Nami Island also collaborates with Unesco and Unicef  in order to turn this island into a child-friendly area.   

From Nami Island, we took taxi to go to Petite France (actually there's a bus to go there but the girls were already tired so we chose taxi instead). This miniature of Paris is dedicated to Saint Exupery, the writer of the legendary Little Prince story.

Every parts of the area is well crafted. You can just take pictures everywere. Almost all places are awesomely beautiful. If you're not into photo session, no worries, this place is completed with Saint Exupery museum, painting gallery, puppet show, marionette dance, and merchandise shop that is full with stuff of Little Prince. If you're a huge fan of Little Prince, this place will make you super happy.

In the end, kids won't remember the fancy toy or game you bought for them,
they will remember the time you spent with them.
--Kevin Heath    

Book Launching: Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! #1

Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit,
tapi selama ia tidak menulis,
ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.
menulis adalah bekerja untuk keabadian. 
--Pramudia Ananta Toer

Time does fly. My friends and I from Faculty of Law University of Indonesia (FHUI) year 1992 finally will celebrate our silver reunion. Instead of just having a party and stuff, we thought to have something more meaningful. We must leave a legacy. We realized this 25th years of togetherness must be commemorated in a special way since perhaps (if we have long lives), we might prepare the next anniversary within 25 years from now. The golden reunion. Wow, never thought that we're that old #AgeDenial.

We decided to divide our celebration in 4 (four) programs, yep...we're that ambitious, lol. The first program was to build a disabled toilet including a health room  that has already been launched on May 2017, and this project turned out to be the first facility provided at UI. The second project was a kind of having fun since we had a one-day trip to Cirebon. We took train back and forth. And this simple trip happened to be awesome. We had a great time, yay...!!!!!

The next project was mine. I was assigned to write a book about 25 professions that people with legal background can choose. Up until now when people find out that you go to a law school, they will 'accuse' you that you want to be judge, a lawyer, or a notary while actually there are lots of careers that you can choose as a legal person.

Our final program for FHUI Silver Reunion will be a homecoming project where we will have a gathering at FHUI campus. It's planned to be held  in November. 

After 25 years leaving the law school, my collegemates and I now work in lots of different industries. All businesses are actually will need a lawyer to handle the legal matters in their companies, in banking, insurance, trading, capital markets, and many more. Therefore our purpose in making this book is to educate the highschoolers and also law students who are still confused about their future careers. 

As an editor, the hard part of this book was to ask and sometimes to 'force' some of my friends to write about their working experiences (since most of them are very busy) then I compiled them all into one book. I finally ended up with 36 contributors (all are my collegemates from FHUI 92) and 25 professions. I finished the work for almost a year and offered it to the publisher. Thank God, Gramedia Pustaka Utama is willing to publish it. Such a blessing.

Started today, Monday, 25 September 2017, this book of Profesi Hukum Itu Asyik! can be found at all Gramedia bookstores.  And the book launching is scheduled to be held at FHUI  Depok Campus on Friday, 27 October 2017 at 01.30 p.m. - 05.00 p.m. Everyone is invited, please do come.

For the millenials generation, this book is dedicated for you, yes, if you want to go to law school, just go ahead, no need to think much because there are MORE than 25 careers are waiting for you.