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bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\, noun: -a dump site for anything at hand, in mind-

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

5:51 PM

traffic jamThis is what I saw as I zoomed down to the main highway. The homeward bound craze that will lasts until around 7 PM. I want to go home, but I don't want to get caught in the mud down there. I don't want anymore glare at my wide LCD green. I don't want to read anymore text. I don't want to go down to the stinky basement.

Ever heard of "sale pisang" (dried banana)? well, "dried banana" is not really the proper translation for it. "hot-aired banana"? Anyways, this "dried banana" aka "sale pisang" (in Indonesian) is a pretty famous snack here. Yeah, us being "Banana Republic".. Making "sale pisang" is a way to avoid farmers from going bananas when they have an abundant amount of ripe bananas.

The recipe for "sale pisang" aka "hot-aired banana" below was found in the web site of "Litbang Hortikultura" aka "Indonesian Center for Horticulture Research and Development". Ripe bananas should be halved or sliced, then laid down under direct sun or in a special dryer. If using a dryer, the sliced bananas must be laid down on a bamboo sheets. The initial temperature is 45-50 degrees Celcius and after a few hours, the heat should be increased to 70 degrees. Drying process should continue until only 15% water remains in the banana. This may take somewhere from 10 to 20 hours. When there is only 15-20% of water remains, basically the banana is cooked and dried and ready to serve.

sale pisangThere are two versions of this "hot-aired banana" in the snack world. One is the wet version, which is explained here. The other is the fried version. When the banana is cooled, it should be thinly sliced and then dip into a flour batter and plunged into a hot oil. Fry until crisp. No.. it's not bacon strips for breakfast!

Despite unhealthy facts from a fellow nutritionist about the fried hot-aired banana due to its high content of carcinogens (because a fried product retains oil and when it is kept for months until its expiration date, it produces carcinogens and other health blah blah..), it is now sold in various taste i.e. cheese and whats nots..


Image courtesy of: Myself.

Monday, September 26, 2005

a room with a view

a room with a view


Image courtesy of: Myself.


Friday, September 23, 2005

chicken's hell

In New York, it's "Hell's Kitchen" (which is pretty identital to high criminal rate)
In Bandung, it's "Chicken's Hell" (which is pretty identital to something else)

Bandung, the literally cool city due to its proximity to a couple of active volcanic mountains and the pit of all that's hip and stylish among trendy fashionistas, is a fast growing city of two million population. It's narrow roads have a hard time accommodating bus loads of students from all over the country that don't seem to return to their hometown upon graduation. Which means: population increase! Not to mention fast growing satellite cities such as Tasikmalaya, Cianjur and Sukabumi, all newsly industrial towns.

cicadas riverThe Paris van Java becomes the kid brother of Jakarta, weirdly inheriting various range of typical "urban problems". The most imminent being "clean water" problem. The head of directorate of geology stated that at present, Bandung has no clean water. Water does exist, but clean is another story. Despite a paradoxical statement from the regional state water company who said that they are in constant search of new spring waters sources sprawling in the suburbs of Bandung, Geology as the mother of ground waterism seems to know better. (don't sue me if i'm wrong, this is a blog, NOT a newspaper column!)

public wellMelting toffee and thick ice blends best describes Cicadas River that runs through Cicadas area that host the bustling Cicadas Market. It's a medium-sized market of consumer goods, but it's still a busy one of wet and dry market. Not far away from the complex of Cicadas Market lies a a densely populated quarter where Cicadas River cuts through. Poor urbanites live in cramped houses with no if not minimum aeration and share wells as well as public toilets by the dozens. In fact, 25-30 families of four (rough counts) share a dug well of 20 meters deep, located less than ten meters away from the slurry toffee-water Cicadas River.

cicadas riverRight beside the parking ground of Cicadas Market lies an entrance to this Cicadas Quarter. Half of the width of the entrance is occupied by a small canal. In the evening, livestock traders takes the advantage of the murky Cicadas River to slaughter, disembowel, skin and wash their poultry on a small deck above the canal. Next to the parking ground where city slickers park their shiny vehicles before running for daily errands, the "ready-to-sale chickens" are hanged on a plastic string, waiting for potential buyers. That's the "Chicken's Hell" awright..

family water filterThe small canal of Chicken Hell snakes its way through the dense quarter and meets up with the Cicadas River a few meters away in the middle of the neighborhood where the happy impoverished families are bathing, drinking and obeying the call of the nature.

Barely a block away, the glittering glamorous factory outlets go on.

Shop baby, shop till you drop,
and the Cicadas River flows till the last drop,
and I heard what the the Cree Indians have to say..

cree indian prophecy"Erst wenn der letzte Baum gerodet,
der letzte Fluss vergiftet,
der letzte Fisch gefangen ist,
werdet ihr feststellen,
dass man Geld nicht essen kann."

(Weisheit der Cree-Indianer)

First when then last tree has been cut,
the last river has been poisoned,
the last fish has been caught,
then you will realize,
than man cannot eat money.

(Cree Indian Prophecy)

Indian photo credit:

Other photos courtesy of: Myself.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

fz 5


This entry was written not for advertisement purposes.
This entry was written for fun purposes and plain exhilaration *grins*

Zero percent zoom (Normal position)
An office building accross the street
normal position

12x optical zoom plus another 4x digital zoom (Spot #1)
"It is evident that our office car is already back in its parking spot
parking car

12x optical zoom plus another 4x digital zoom (Spot #2)
What's for lunch today?

Zero percent zoom (Normal position)
The famous "Greentop" lunch and dine center at Plaza Senayan

12x optical zoom plus another 4x digital zoom (Spot #2)
Sooo.. this is your lunch date! *gotcha*


Photos courtesy of: Myself.



Apey and Lenje got this thing called "book tag" and Apey threw one at me.

"Book tag" seems to be an entry about books.

I don't read much text books. I read more novels.
I don't really dig British writers. No offense. that's the extend of my English-as-second-language understanding.

Let's frown
James N. Rosenau's book "Turbulence in World Politics" really captured me ten years ago. Along with a couple other books on international affairs. "Bringing Transnational Relations Back In" edited by Thomas Risse-Kappen has an interesting insights into the emerging transnationalism back in mid 1990s. His book is about what we are living now in 2000s.

the odessa fileI've been drowned in Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth novels since high school (1992 or so). Clancy's best novel is "The Hunt of Red October". It was a very thrilling book to read. Well, if you call chasing submarines with nuclear warheads is fun, then you should agree with me (I'm a geek, remember). The rest of Clancy's novels are so so. "The Teeth of the Tiger" is very disappointing though (This is his latest novel). On the other hand, Forsyth's "The Odessa File" was amazing. It was a blend of history and war novel. I'd gobble anything about The Second World War. I'd say "The Negotiator" was Forsyth's second best. His way of writing is more straightforward than the flowery Clancy. Forsyth, a former journalist with Reuters, has a realistic yet condensed manner of story telling.

the outsiders"The Mississippi Burning" was my first novel. I didn't really understand the book until I saw the movie. Typical beginner-English-learner, ey? "The Outsiders" of SE. Hinton was an eye opening novel after "Mississippi Burning". I like the "Nothing Gold Can Stay" poem. I agree to what Frost had to say. If you grew up in 1980s for sure none of you would have missed Tom Cruise, Ralph Macchio and others first appearance in Coppola's "The Outsiders". I enjoyed the novel more than the movie. "1984" of George Orwell was an out-of-this-world experience. The "Newspeak" was mind-blowing. Orwell must've either been nuts or delirious..

calvin and hobbesForget not, I also read pop-corn books such as Erich Segal's "Doctors" and children book series of Astrid Lindgren. The brilliant "Pippi Langstrumpf" aka "Pippi the Longstocking". Although I wouldn't call Tetsuko Kuroyanagi's "Totto Chan" as a children book. It's like calling "Calvin and Hobbes" as a children cartoon (is it?)

It's an Indonesian thing
Later on, I delved myself more into literature. Mostly Indonesian ones as price of imported English books was rising steadily because Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is way too weak against the US Dollars (monetary crisis all over Asia in 1997. hello?).

ronggeng dukuh parukOka Rusmini's "Tarian Bumi", "Sagra" and "Kenanga" are must-read texts to understand the real struggle of Indonesian women, while Ayu Utami's "Saman" and "Larung" kinda complements the whole thing from a more modern setting. Both writers produced novels that I consider as important milestones in Indonesian literary world. Forget Pramoedya Ananta Toer. PAT's work becomes a status among Indonesians. I'd opt for the offbeat track than the mainstream one. Ahmad Tohari trilogy of "Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk" is a guide to the real life of real Indonesians. While Umar Khayam series of "Mangan ora Mangan Kumpul" is a soo Javanese despite Khayam's realism. But get a hold of Khayam's "Seribu Kunang-Kunang di Manhattan", it's another way of understanding Indonesia if you don't want to get caught up in classic PAT books. Dewi Lestari aka Dee's series of "Supernova", "Akar" and "Petir" is a must read for those who want to catch up with Indonesian adolescents of 21st century. I wouldn't call it as a trilogy as the epilogue is not there yet.

"Aku" of Chairil Anwar is another mind-blasting work. Try to complement it with Nugroho Notosusanto's "Tiga Kota" and Mochtar Lubis "Senja di Jakarta". Then you will get at least a brief and quick description of contemporary Indonesia. But still, grab some NH. Dini's trilogies and books. I forgot where do I have to start with Dini. Read her earlier works such as "Hati Yang Damai" and any titles which was released around that year.

From the other side of the world
haruki murakamiGo haruking! I have no clue about J-pop or anything that begins with "J" (Japan). But Haruki Murakami is soooo absurd and so out of this world that I can't get away from his novels. I can't put it off because it has always been so absorbing. His books are hypnotizing. It's like being caught in a spider web. "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" might be too intimidating for "haruki beginners", pick up "After the Quake". Another option might be Banana Yashimoto. But she's a bit too sweet for my taste.

Seno Gumira Ajidarma aka SGA is writing urban genre. You'd find his writing intriguing if not inspiring. I especially respect "Jazz, Parfum dan Insiden". I found it inspiring. His most famous credo is "When journalism is silenced, literature must speak" (See Allen, Pam; "Seno Gumira Ajidarma: Conscience Of The People" in New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 4, 2 (December, 2002): 177-182). While "Negeri Senja" is something special. He recently earned his Ph.D from the University of Indonesia. Although powerful in writing, he doesn't talk much in public.

If you guys are up to some contrasting scenes, begin with Notosusanto's "Tiga Kota", then "Aku" of Chairil Anwar, ending it with NH Dini's earlier work up to "Sekayu". Continue to "La Barka". Then switch to Oka Rusmini's "Tarian Bumi" and "Sagra", dash your mind with Ayu Utami's "Saman" and "Larung", then pick up Dewi Lestari's "Supernova" and end it with Khayam's "Seribu Kunang-Kunang di Manhattan". Topping the whole thing with Tohari's "Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk" would be a blast *winks*

Can't mix Murakami with Forsyth and Clancy. They are stronger than "sex on the beach" :P

Photo credits:

The Outsiders

Calvin and Hobbes

Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk

The Odessa File

Haruki Murakami


Friday, September 16, 2005

greasy friday

The Fritter Man is a man because it is a he.
He has a huge wok with boiling used oil. So dark you can't see the bottom. Before 6:00 AM he's already there, dipping pieces of bananas and soybean cake (we call it "tempe" here in Indonesia) in thin flour batter and plunging them into the wok.

The wok he's using is on top of a gas burner with a controlling gauge kinda thing. But if the gauge doesn't work, he has to pump the gas burner. I have no idea how it works.

The Fritter Man occupies a small corner at the entrance of an office building's cafeteria. Right at the base of the parking building. He has a glass showcase where he dumps all of the crispy cooked fritters. He taxes you 1,000 IDR (10 US$ cents? somewhere around it) for three pieces of any fritters you want. The menu of everyday is: soybean cake fritter, tofu fritter, bean sprout fritter, banana fritter. I don't know whether he has this famous "cassava fritter", which is a must-exist fritter among thousands fritter men here in Jakarta. The guy bags my fritter in a small used-paperbag. Apparently the bag bearing an imprint of the state's seal and was marked "secret" used to be a "performance appraisal sheet" of government officers. I guess he got it from the office next to the parking building. It's the head quarter of the Department of Education. I guess that's where the Minister of Education gets a nice airconned office with plush furnitures.

The used-paperbag was drenched with oil as I put them on my table. It's a greasy friday, baby..


Friday, September 09, 2005

i don't see anybody swimming

top floor pool

I don't see anybody swimming in the pool on the rooftop of four storey building nearby my building. The pool is inviting indeed. It is the season of heat.

I have been peering through my sun shades.

No single soul.

It has been four days.
The apartment building adjacent to the pool also seemed to be deserted.

Yesterday i was able to spot a couple of human beings on the upper-half floor of the 15-story-something apartment building. But no one else. Not even any cleaning service people.

I have been swimming in my work load.

Until last evening. Someone was finally cruising the blue water.
Apparently it was a woman.

It was a refreshing view in this concrete jungle.


Photos courtesy of: Myself.