March 28, 2009

Kwetiau A-Chai

Pictures by Trisno Tohar
Another famous and favorite Chinese food in Jakarta is kwetiau. You can find kwetiau almost in any Chinese food restaurant in Jakarta. A friend of mine who is a Chinese food lover, Trisno Tohar, sent me an email about a small Chinese food restaurant in Daan Mogot Street, West Jakarta. The name is Kwetiau Sapi A-Chai.

Kwetiau is some kind of noodle. The differences is kwetiau made from rice powder and has a flat shape. Like noodles, we can cook kwetiau in many way and recipes. The owner, Mr. Achai, opened this restaurant 15 years ago with the same specialty and recipes.

As a restaurant which specialty in kwetiau, this restaurant has a main menu by kwetiau, of course, but we can also find other food based on noodles and bihun. This restaurant has many variant recipes of kwetiau, noodle, or bihun but with the same topping which is beef. Fried, thin sauce, yam sauce, or else depends on your choice. The price is only Rp. 17,500 per portion for one person.

It's open before lunch time till almost midnite. Located in Daan Mogot Street No. 69D. It's only 1 km from Ciputra Mall, Grogol, West Jakarta. It has a branch in Citra Garden 2 Complex, block h2/12A, Cengkareng, West Jakarta, phone: 021-6198611.

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March 14, 2009

The Sacred "Si Jagur" Canon

The most famous collection item in Fatahillah Museum in Old Town area, Jakarta, is probably “Si Jagur” canon. We can say “Si Jagur” is the icon of Fatahillah Museum. If we cross the yard in Fatahillah Museum we can see this canon standing stoutly in front of The Hermes God Statue. It used to be located on the front yard of Fatahillah Museum, but then moved into the inside yard to avoid mutilation.

This 16th century Portuguese canon has made by MT Bocarro at Macao and appointed to strengthened Portuguese fortress in Malaka. When Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) from Netherland took over Malaka in 1641, the canon was moved to Batavia.

“Si Jagur” canon made from iron with 3.5 tons weight and 3.84 meters long. The canon mouth diameter is 39 cm inside and 50 cm outside with 158 cm circle. It has a serial number 27012 on its body. On its back we can see a Latin words say: EX ME IPSA RENATA SUM, From My Own Self I Reborn. It was said that this canon was made from 16 little canons. Maybe it is the meaning of those Latin words.

The Myth of “Si Jagur”

For many people, this canon has a sacred reputation. Its reputation comes from the 41 cm long and 60 cm circle fist shape on the rear of it. The thumb appears from the fist, penetrated between the index finger and the middle finger. This kind of fist is believed as a vulgar position, and then become a fertility symbol. The size and muscular look of this canon makes people believe that this is a ‘male’ canon. There are many people, especially women, who visit Fatahillah Museum with only one purpose which is to touch the canon and hoping to have a baby very soon. Many people also believe that the Latin words on its body have a fertility meaning too.

There is a myth said that, as a ‘male’ canon, “Si Jagur” has a ‘bride’, a ‘female’ canon called Setomi which is properly kept in Keraton Surakarta (Surakarta/Solo Palace), Central Java. Many people believe that these two cannons must be not meet each other. If they do it is a doomsday.

Years ago, there were some local legislative members of Banten province came to Jakarta to borrow “Si Jagur” to put it side by side with “Ki Amuk” canon in Banten Museum, Karangantu Banten. They believe the meeting of these two canons will bring prosperity to the Banten people.

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The Hermes God Statue on Harmoni Bridge

Photography by Trisno Tohar

If you are crossing Harmoni intersection, Central Jakarta, you can find an interesting antique statue stand on the Harmoni Bridge, between Veteran Street and Juanda Street. This bronze statue has known as The Hermes God Statue. This statue has a shaped as a firm man, its head wearing a winged helmet with eyes looks up to its right hand that pointed the sky. The left hand holding a winged staff that rolled by 2 snakes. Its right leg folded, while the left leg stand on a ball. It looks like squaring off to fly to the blue sky.

This statue describes The Hermes God in Greek myths. It is also known as Mercurius in Roman myths. Hermes or Mercurius has deemed as a trader’s guardian angel. It might be the purposes to put that statue on this bridge. To guard and protect traders who cross Harmoni Bridge.

It’s almost no one knows about this statue’s history, even the History & Museums Department from Jakarta Administration doesn’t have much information about this statue.

There is one story that is most acceptable about this statue’s history. R Ko King Tjoen, a dermatologist and speleologist, claimed that he knows about the statue’s history in

He has a good relationship with Prof. Dr. Ernst Stolz, dermatologist from Rotterdam, Netherland. Ernst was born in Mataram Street, Jakarta. Ernst claimed that the statue has been owned by his grandfather once, Karl Wilhelm Stolz (born on January 28, 1869 in German) came to Batavia as a trader. Karl was in-service in Banjarmasin and Sibolga, and then moved to Batavia. On June 9, 1897, he married a Switzerland lady, Matilda Jenny, in Buitenzorg (Bogor now).

In 1900, Karl got a Netherland citizenship and opened a store on Rijswijksestraat (Veteran Street now) no. 28. The store was called Jenny & Co., specialist in metal items and glassware from Geislingen. The store was growing fast, so Karl opened branches in Semarang and Surabaya.

The Hermes God Statue was one of the merchandise in that store. According to Prof. Stolz’s father (died in 1989 in Den Haag, Netherland), the statue was bought by his grandfather from Hamburg around 1920. Cause his grandfather loved this statue, he put it in his garden, in Meester Cornelis (Jatinegara now). But his religious wife didn’t like the naked statue. For her the statue was too vulgar.

She always asked her husband to put away the statue. When the wife died in 1930 in Den Haag, Karl decided to sell his business and store. Karl Stolz died in March 30, 1945, as a Japan’s war prisoner and buried at Semarang. Before selling his store at Veteran Street, he rendered the statue to Batavia Government as thankfulness for a chance to running a business in Batavia

In August 1999, this antique statue was missing from its place, Jakarta citizens was shocked. It became headlines in newspapers for a while. But then Jakarta government made a statement that the Hermes statue was moved to Fatahillah Museum to protect it from stealing and mutilation. So the Hermes Statue that we see on Harmoni Bridge today is a duplicate. We can find the original statue on backyard of Fatahillah Museum, old town, West Jakarta.


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March 9, 2009

Komodo Island for New 7 Wonders of Nature

If you care and love your country, so you have to vote for Komodo Island. It's only take a couple of minutes of your time. Just click the banner in sidebar.

I vote, do you?
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March 8, 2009

Lets Go Clubbing Tonight!

Tomorrow is still holiday. So I guess tonight is the best time for clubbing, right? Well, before you decided your club destination to clubbing with your friends and other clubbers, you might better to check the schedules. Go on, don't be shy! just click the Read more... button!

@ Pure Dine and Drinks (Imperium Building 35th Floor, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 1 Kuningan); 5 PM - 5 AM
- ADITH (1945 MF)

"The Sunday Times"
@ Dragonfly (Graha BIP, Jl. Gatot Subroto no. 23); 9 PM - 5 AM
- HERU & ODEQ (360 ent)
- DHARMA & NYEMEE (Echosystem)

"So Nice"
@ Tipsy Wine Lounge (The Beat Building, Jl. Kemang Raya no. 29); 10 PM - 5 AM
- Awal-dMuzT-TongdjiE-MboNk-obet (V-Night)
- iWabE (V-Night|evilant|niTe bytE)
- OnO (eViLenT|niTe bytE)
- Nirej (AzkaLix)
- Mc:Derr

"Long Weekend Promo"
@ Segarra Seaside Lounge and Restaurant (Jl. Lodan Timur no. 7 Carnaval Beach, Ancol Bay City Jakarta); 12 PM - 5 AM
For further information just call: 021-70296290 /

"I Love Sunday"
@ Urban Lounge (FX Lifestyle X-Enter, Ground Floor, Unit FB 12, Jl. Jend. Sudirman - Gate One Senayan, Central Jakarta); 5 PM - 5 AM
- iNCREDOUBLE a.k.a andry & radith / 999RECORDS
- DNA (deefo,nickboy,asking) / RUMUS
- MC by GOEH / 999 feat. UCHA / FFUNK

"Super X2 Bar Sale"
@ X2 (Plaza Senayan, 4th Floor, Senayan Square Complex, Jl. Asia Afrika no. 8); 9 PM - 5 AM

"Double ID"
@ Blowfish Kitchen and Bar (City Plaza at WISMA MULIA, Jl Jend Gatot Subroto Kav 42); 9 PM - 5 AM
- Purple
- Lola Alicia
- Dee

Happy clubbing, clubbers...! :-)

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Sweet Girls Exhibition at National Galery

CP Foundation held a single painting exhibition of Qi Zhilong (47), at National Galerry, Jakarta, March 3-13, 2009. Those paintings show Chinese girl's sweet faces, some of them wearing Mao Tse Tung style uniform. Some of them look more casual and modern. Why are these paintings so special?

This ”Back to Sense Perception After Political Pop” theme exhibition shows 14 paintings, made in middle of 90's to 2000's. Technically, Qi Zhilong's work are just ordinary. The faces series were painted in simple realistic style, not too details, dominate by green-browns color.

These Mao style uniform girls faces series look sad, no make-up. But they show happy faces. these individual expressions seem contrast with their culture revolution uniform in Mao era around 1966-1976, which is indicate a dark-age of China.

For Indonesian curator Jim Supangkat, Qi Zhilong's paintings are not only performs local beauty, but also performs a forbidden individual freedom in revolution era. ”The uniform represent the revolution era that forbid women perform their beauty, but in Qi Zhilong's paintings, those uniform women looks beautiful and happy,” he said.

In modern girls series paintings, their faces look more fresh, more colorful, and some of them have full make-up. Those girl's faces are clean, sweet, like untouchable of hard life.

”They are in high school, in 20s years old. Their faces represent purity, beauty, happiness, and youthfulness,” Qi Zhilong said.

Those happy faces of Mao style uniform girls and modern girls implied an anomaly. Individual freedom is an anomaly in revolution era. Also the pureness of the modern girls who celebrate their freedom.

This 2 kind of anomaly reveal Qi Zhilong's dreams and critics to his society. In this side of view, his works become subversive: criticize the uniformity in revolution era and questioning the present freedom. But those critics are soft and covered behind the charm of sweet girls.

There is no political statement in those paintings. But for them who understand the social displacement in that bamboo curtain country, those faces performs anomalies in the middle of the wind of changes in China history.

Source: by Ilham Khoiri
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March 7, 2009

Buddhist Students in Indonesia Reject Buddha Bar

Buddha Bar reaps hard protest from Buddhist students and community in Indonesia. On March 5, 2009, a group calling itself the Buddhist Students Alliance Rejecting Buddha Bar, held a rally outside this international chain franchise restaurant. Several Buddhist student organizations joined this alliance, such as HIKMAHBUDHI (The Union of Indonesian Buddhist Students), students from Buddhist College Nalanda & Buddhist College Sriwijaya. They symbolically "sealed" the Buddha Bar in Jakarta, urging authorities to immediately close the Paris-based entertainment franchise for blasphemy in the Indonesian capital.

About 150 mainly student protesters carrying joss sticks and flowers gathered outside the bar in a wealthy neighborhood of the capital and denounced its decorative use of sacred symbols and statues. They chanted Buddhist prayers and carried banners reading "Remove all Buddhist symbols from the bar" and "Change your name or close forever". A handful of police watched calmly as the protesters then "sealed" the main entrance with fake yellow crime scene tape. The bar was closed at the time.

"For us, Buddha is our revered teacher. But for them, Buddha is a decoration and the worst thing is the statues are in such an indecent place," protest coordinator Eko Nugroho said.

"It is impossible to put the sacred name (Buddha) side by side with the word 'bar', which is associated with a place for alcohol. That is an act of defamation of religion," said Eko Nugroho.

A friend who joined with this group said, at the protest yesterday, a pro-Buddha Bar group have held a match demonstration near the location to counter the protest. But The Students Alliance had coordinated with police to avoid provocation and clash.


This rejection has started since 2 weeks ago when some Buddhist students gathered to discuss about the existence of this famous restaurant. Then the opinion kept rolling until they decided to make a move to fight for their firm belief. Especially when more Buddhist students and other communities joined the movement.

On Sunday, February 22, 2009 some of Buddhist elements in Jakarta gathered in Cakrawala Tower Fl. 19 to discuss about this Buddha Bar issue. Several Buddhist public figures were present in this gathering, they are Bhikkhu Dutavira Mahastavira, Bhikkhu Guna Badra (Chairman of SMI), Romo Sumedho, Drs. Oka Diputhera (Walubi), Suhadi (Chairman of NSI), Agie Tje Tje, Edi Sadely, Eddi Kusuma, Daniel Johan, Hartawan (Chairman of SIDDHI). Several Buddhist students organizations like HIKMAHBUDHI, KMB Buddha Samagi (UKRIDA), and some Buddhist communities were also present.

This meeting reached an agreement that Buddhist communities rejected Buddha Bar in Indonesia. They formed an alliance called “ANTI BUDDHA BAR FORUM” and they formulated their aspiration in 3 main points as follows:
1. The existence of Buddha Bar has contravened with: (a) Article 156A KUHP (Criminal Code); (b) UU (decree) No. 1, 1965
2. Urge the Buddha Bar to no longer use name, ornaments, and attributes of Buddha for commercial purposes.
3. Demand the City Government to revoke the commercial license of Buddha Bar and no longer issue any license to any party who want to use religion symbol for commercial purposes.

On Friday, February 27, 2009, The Peace & Prosperous Party (PDS), a Christian basis political party in Indonesian parliament, invited the Forum to discuss the Buddha Bar issue. The Forum accepted by Chairman of PDS, Ruyandi Hutasoit, and Vice Chairman, Deni Tewu, in PDS Faction meeting room, Indonesian House Representative Building, Senayan.

There was an interesting thing happened just before the meeting began. Standing over the meeting room door, there was Budiman Sudarma, Chairman of Indonesian Mahayana Youth, spreading leaflet to support the Buddha Bar existence.

His arguments were summarized in 5 points:
1. Buddha Bar is only a legal listed trade mark from France.
2. Indonesia as a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) has to submit the FREE MARKET system.
3. There is a Presidential Decree about Trademarks Law Treaty.
4. UU (decree) No.15, 2001.
5. Government Regulations (PP) No.16, 1997.

He also made an argument in his leaflet that there are 2 places in Bali are also using ‘Buddha’ word, BUDDHA SPA & BUDDHA BELLY.

A friend from HIKMAHBUDHI, Agus Hartono, countered these arguments. He said “When a business investment have been used for personal or group interest with sacrificing others interest (even permitted by the law), then a question about morality and ethics appear. LAW MUST NOT SACRIFICE MORALITY, ETHIC, AND HUMANITY!”

On Monday, March 2, 2009 Anti Buddha Bar Forum had an audience with The National Awakening Party (PKB), an Islam basis politic party, and accepted by the Chairman, Muhaimin Iskandar, and Vice General Secretary, Daniel Johan. The forum looks for a support from political party and legislative members for their aspiration.

In addition, this forum later held a press conference to declare their stand. They demanded the closing of Buddha Bar. Their stand got support from Indonesian Nationalist Youth Forum (FKPI) and a public figure from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Kyai Muhidin. In this press conference, Sangha Mahayana Indonesia (SMI) issued a binding ruling that Indonesian Buddhist rejected the Buddha Bar presence in Indonesia.

On March 3, 2009, Anti Buddha Bar Forum met the Vice Governor of Jakarta, Prijanto, to deliver their aspiration about Buddha Bar. The result is Jakarta Administration would ask PT Nireta, the franchise owner of Buddha Bar in Indonesia, to change the name.

Vice Governor Prijanto gave the Forum interesting information that there were 3 letters sent to Tourism Department which approved the use of Buddha name for Buddha Bar in behalf of Buddhist community. They were Indonesian Buddhist Communication Forum, Central Board of Buddha Mahayana Majabumi, and Central Board of Indonesian Mahayana Youth but now these organizations do not exist anymore.


Buddha Bar is a trade mark under license by George V Restaurant, brought by Raymond Visan from France. It was opened first time in 1996 in Paris. After that it became a famous café and has branches in many cities in the world like Paris, Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, London, Kiev, Sao Paolo, Dublin, and Praque.

Jakarta is the first city in Southeast Asia to host a Buddha Bar. It was said that Buddha Bar could never open in Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand, because these countries considered the using of Buddha name on restaurant as an insulting to a religion. Its opening in Jakarta is really an insensitive decision by the government.

This café or restaurant occupies the ex-immigration building in Teuku Umar Street, Menteng, Central Jakarta. This heritage building has known as Bataviasche Kunstkring (I've written about this building once in this blog) was rented to PT Nireta Vista Creative as the franchise owner of Buddha Bar in Indonesia for 5 years.

It was said that the owner of this franchise of Buddha Bar is Renny Sutiyoso, daughter of former Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso; Puan Maharani, daughter of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri; and Iyan Farid.

HIKMAHBUDHI as one of the elements of the Students Alliance to Reject Buddha Bar, and Anti Buddha Bar Forum made a petition to reject the Buddha Bar in its website. For anybody who support the move could visit its website at, just click the “DUKUNG” (Support) button to vote.


Meanwhile, Emerson Yuntho from Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) urges Police, Judiciary, or Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to investigate the deviation of the ex-immigration building transfer process.

Moreover, The City Government is urged to explain to public about the transparency of regional budget usage to protect ex-immigration building.

He explained that, according to article 19-2(b) of decree No 5, 1992, heritage items can’t be used solely for personal or group interest. Also in tourism context, heritage usage, according to article 6 of decree No 9, 1990, must be consider religion values, local custom, and others values which are live in society.

"When the immigration office (Bataviasche Kunstkring) transfer happened between Judicial Department and Human Rights Department in 2001, The City Government proposed an additional budget in Regional Assets Inventory Project from Rp 1 billion to Rp 30 billions. That such huge Fund will be used to protect the immigration office which is considered to be a historical building.

- Reuters
- and others yahoogroups

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March 3, 2009

Ladies Nite at X2 (Soft Case)

Tomorrow night (March 4), X2 a club located in Plaza Senayan, 4th Floor, Senayan Square Complex, Jl. Asia Afrika no. 8, will be held a Soft Case theme clubbing party, from 10 PM - 05 AM.



We play our own style of house...have fun..! :-)

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February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine Day
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January 23, 2009

Time for Bribe the Kitchen God

Celebrating Chinese New Year without kue keranjang (Basket Cake/Chinese sticky cake) is not completed. Kue keranjang is not only a cake but more as a tribute to Dewa Dapur (Kitchen God) who goes down from heaven at the Chinese New Year day. For many Chinese ethnics, name of kue keranjang is very familiar. It is called kue keranjang (basket cake) because it was made in bamboo basket in process.

According to Chinese beliefs, in Chinese New Year, Gods go down to earth to evaluate people’s life in the last year. They will record anything, either it is good or bad, and then reported it to heaven as an annual reports. That’s why Chinese people use these sweet cakes to “bribe” Gods in order to make them bring good reports to heaven. In progress, this cake was become a tools in social intercourse by sending basket cake to each other in Chinese New Year.

In tradition basket cake has round shape, but basket cake this days is more sophisticated and innovated. Basket cake maker now has developed their products. If you take a walk in Glodok, china town of Jakarta, you can find basket cake in many shape like gold fish shape for example. Chinese beliefs gold fish bring luck and fortune.

Although it was only busy towards Chinese New Year, basket cake business is never die. Siti Lauw a.k.a. Ouw Thio Nio or usually called as Mrs. Lauw began this business since year 1962. Nobody suspected if her basket cake business will be survive and has loyal customers till now.

“I began with only 4 liters of sticky cakes a day at that time, and then it grew to basket cakes until now. The demand is still rising up,” she said.

She admitted that this is a seasonal business, which is having highly demand in Chinese New Year, yet the profit is very high. She developed her products with making various taste of sticky cakes in ordinary day (not Chinese New Year).

“Orders came in 1 month before the Chinese New Year, now these last days are the top of the orders,” she continued.

When she was asked her key of success, she just said: don’t leave your customer! Lauw still makes her products in a traditional way, from pounding the glutinous rice powder, mixing ingredients, until the cooking process that still using firewood and banana leaf packaging. “We cooked the basket cake for 12 hours,” she said.

No wonder, every year she can collects hundreds of million Rupiahs from this business. However she should pay more than 100 daily employees. “My employees are generation to generation workers, in the past I employed the mothers, now their children.”

Just for comparison. In regular days she only makes sticky cakes no more than 30 liters a day for marriage party or else. For basket cakes, she only makes them by order. But in this Chinese New Year she estimated that she will use 20 tons raw powder. Her customers are not only come from Tangerang and Jakarta, but also from other cities like Bandung, Karawang, and Bekasi.

The basket cake price is also competitive. Rp. 17,000/kgs (2 pcs), whereas for sticky cake with coconut milk taste is only Rp. 29,000/kgs, durian taste is Rp. 35,000/kgs, and Rp. 34,000 for sesame taste.

Lauw, who is 84 years old now, has handed over her business to her children, which are the third generation in this family business, from production, marketing, distribution, business expantion, etc. “I am only supervised them,” she said.

Umar Sanjaya, Lauw’s oldest son, admitted that this traditional cake business is prospective enough. However, all this time, they have problems in standardization of quality, and quality development such as how to make the wet cakes ages long enough before it’s getting dry and hard. “For now we can not think about export orientation because this kind of cake has not long ages, although the demand from other countries is always came,” he explains.

He continued that although crisis is happening this year but the demand is rising precisely. Every year the sales are always increasing. He doesn’t know why.

“Maybe because it's a tradition needs, so it's never influenced by crisis,” He said.

For you who want to try this family basket cakes recipe, you can find them in this following address.

JL Lio Baru/Bouraq Gang SPG No 55 RT 01/02 Kampung Sirnagalih, Karangsari, Kecamatan Neglasari, Tangerang, Banten. Phone : 021-5524587 dan 021-71095035.


Many thanks to Hodang for his email about this story.

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