December 31, 2008


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December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to you all
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Daniel Johan, A Next Step Of A Fight

I have a friend. His name is Daniel Johan, one of my best friends. I first met him in 1990. He is my senior in high school. He is the one who introducing me to organization world seriously. We were active and fought together in a Buddhist student organization, known as HIKMAHBUDHI (The Union of Indonesian Buddhist Students). For me, he is a best friend and a teacher.

He was born in a middle class family with trader background; he is the youngest of 6. His life was normal. He has never tasted poor life but he really cared about poverty in this country. He grew up in a good community and supportive family. However, he was autonomous and at the same time he had an internal fight in his mind. He saw corruptions, poverty, and injustice gripped Indonesian people and he could not stand it. He likes books. They shaped his personality and character. He read many good inspiring books and articles. Several public figures become his model. Gusdur (K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid), Kwik Kian Gie, Romo Mangunwijaya are some of them. Slowly but sure he grew as a strong and idealist personality.

We, together with our other friends in organization, have dreams. Big dreams actually. We want to see someday a Buddhist activist, someone from us maybe, which is idealist, intellect, honest, has strong principle, reborn to become an honest politic figure. Why? What for? Because we want somebody to fight for our community, for our interest, and for this nation in an honest and good way. There are to much dirty politicians in this country. A dream, which in our time, felt like a wild fantasy.

Yes, I said fantasy because we belong to the minority community in this country. We are of Chinese ethnics and we are Buddhists. But we are nationalists as well. We love this country very much, and we love and care for our people and our nation. So, when we were active in organization, we learn and fight together to lay a new paradigm and strong foundation in our organization. We want to build a strong, inclusive, nation care organization, with Buddhists value as a basic of course. In this fight we had to face our own community, which had an old- fashioned vision about Buddhist student organization. But finally we did it! We opened ourselves to other student organization, from other religion and nationalist background, including overseas Buddhist organizations like International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). We interact and cooperate with them to give our best contribution to this beloved country.

We fought together for our freedom against President Suharto. We demonstrate and support the student movement against the New Order regime. We risk our life by going down to the street at May ‘98 Riot incident. Daniel is one of my friends who convinced me that this was the time for us to go down to the street and fought together, not hiding in a fake peace at our home. But that was some years ago.

Now, we walk on our own path. I and several friends now are living and working as an ordinary good citizens. But we are actually never separated. We still bound in the same dream and vision. We still keep in touch and meet in time to time in a small working group.

But only my friend, Daniel Johan, who is still consistent in our path. He still becomes an activist. He keeps our contacts from other activists. Like one of our friends says, he took the next step in his fight for the people in need. He joined Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB) – The Nation Awakening Party- as a vice secretary general. He joined this party because he believes in it. This party has the same vision with his. This party was built by Gusdur, a person who consistently fights against discrimination and always defends minority. The chairman of this party, Muhaimin Iskandar, is our friend from Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII), a student organization under Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), when we were active in student organization.

For 2009 election, Daniel is become a candidate of member of Indonesian parliament (DPR) from election area Jakarta 3, he is in no. 2 candidate. His vision in his campaign is “Safe Mother Nation, Prosper the Children of Nation”. He has a website to introduce himself and to pour his mind and opinion to public. You can visit or you can click his link in ‘Partners’ column in my sidebar.

I think it is the time for Indonesia to give a chance to a young man like Daniel. Young blood who has new vision, fresh spirit and idealism to reform Indonesian, to face a better look and a better way as well as to regenerate our leaders and our representatives. There are too much dirty politicians in this country; it is the time for them to step back. Let just hope that these young politicians; our young representatives will be still idealistic and keep their honesty in this absurd politics world.

Like a Lotus which is still clean and pure in mud.

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December 21, 2008

The City

The history of Jakarta dates back to at least the 14th Century with the development of a small port of Hindu Pajajaran Kingdom at the mouth of Ciliwung River. Searching for the fabled "Spice Island", the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive and establish a fortress on the site in the early 16th Century.

The old port was attacked by a neighboring sultanate under leadership of Prince Fatahillah. After the assault, the Portuguese navy fleet was destroyed. Fatahillah changed the name of the Sunda Kelapa port to Jayakarta, meaning "Total Victory", commemorating the defeat of the local Hindu Kingdom and their European allies. According to some historians, this event took place on June 22, 1527, a date which later was officially recognized as the birth of the city of Jakarta.

It was to this town that Dutch spice merchants came in the late 16th Century and began a trading association with Europe that was to dictate the history of Jakarta, and Indonesia as a nation, for nearly 350 years. Under the aggressive leadership of Jan Pieterzoon Coen, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) proceeded forcibly to take possession of the town of Jayakarta, renaming it Batavia in 1619; from here they ruled Indonesia for more than three centuries. Following the Japanese invasion and rule of the country from 1942-45, on August 17, 1945, Indonesia's first President Soekarno proclaimed Indonesia Independence and Jakarta became the accepted nation's capital.

Geographic Location
Jakarta is located on a wide, flat alluvial plain on the north coast of western Java. It covers 650 square kilometers of land which rises from five to 50 meters above sea level. Thirteen major waterways flow through it and empty into Jakarta Bay. Time is GMT plus 7 hours.

The city is bound to the north by the Java Sea, to the east by Bekasi district, to the south by Bogor district (these districts lie within the province of West Java) and to the west by Tangerang district (lie by the province of Banten). The city boundaries blend imperceptibly into the neighboring districts, when much of the city's industry is being developed and large numbers of the workforce are located. These greater Jakarta conurbation is known by the acronym Jabotabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi).

Lying near the equator, Jakarta is hot and humid year-round. The long rainy season falls between late October and early May though rain occurs throughout the year, averaging 1791 mm. Rain tends to come in short heavy bursts, but even during the rainy season it doesn't rain every day. It rains on only a handful of days during the dry season from July to September.

Afternoon humidity averages around 70 %, but is higher during the morning. Temperatures are fairly even throughout the year, averaging nearly 30°C maximum and 25°C minimum. Jakarta gets a steady supply of 12 hours daylight throughout the year, in the dry season the skies are clearer. Mornings are sunnier than the afternoons.

People and Culture
The city's dominant populations come from the surrounding areas of Java, many parts of Sumatera, Bali, and Sulawesi. Also making themselves known are those hailing from Papua, Indonesia's most eastern province, and Kalimantan, home of the Dayaks and one of the largest rain forests in the world. Over the centuries, these groups have kept their cultural roots, yet some have also inter-mixed, including with non-Indonesians, to form a special group of their own known as Orang Betawi.

Jakarta has its own special Betawi culture, which suggests the string of influences that reached the city's shores over the centuries. A long process of selectively borrowing and uniquely blending Chinese, Arab, Portuguese and Dutch elements with native ingenuity has produces the colorful, composite Betawi culture. The word "Betawi" is derived from Batavia, the old name of the capital during the Dutch administration.

Pockets of Betawi life are still culturally alive throughout Jakarta with celebrations of wedding and the rhythms of a distinctive style of music. From the Betawi wedding dress alone one gets a glimpse of the many influences that passed through the gateway of the nation. The Betawi bride wears a gown inspired by the Chinesse ceremonial dress. Although there are many variations of the wedding costume, all feature tassels covering the face and a red dress. The bridegroom - in striking contrast - dons a costume derived from Arab and Indian Sources.

Due to its very extensive size and population, Jakarta has been given the status of province, similiar to the other 33 provinces throughout Indonesia. As a province, Jakarta is headed by governor who is directly responsible to the President of Republic via the Minister of the Home Affair. Holding the dual position of city province and capital city, Jakarta is considered a Special Region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota - DKI).

Jakarta is further broken into five municipalities (kotamadya) and one regency (kabupaten) : Jakarta Pusat (central), Jakarta Utara (north), Jakarta Timur (east), Jakarta Selatan (south), Jakarta Barat (west ) and Kepulauan Seribu district administration (kabupaten). Each of these is headed by a mayor (walikota) and for regency is headed by regent (bupati). Each municipality is comprised of a number of kecamatan, headed by a camat, and each kecamatan is divided into kelurahan or 'village' level.

In many ways Jakarta is still just a collection of villages, with neighbourhoods providing the basic services such as garbage collection and security. This is organized by the Rukun Tetangga (RT - Neighborhood Head), who is an unpaid, elected official and carries out a number of duties. A neighborhood usually consist of around 20 households, and the RT is the head of this neighborhood watch system, carrying out registrations for residents and visitors, and keeping records of births, deaths and marriages for the government. A group of RT neighborhoods form a Rukun Warga (RW), wich is the next level below kelurahan.

Business Hours
Government offices are open from 8 am to 4 pm from Monday to Thursday; from 8 am to 2 pm on Friday and close on Saturday, Monday and holidays. Business offices are usually open from 9 am to 5 pm, and are generally closed on Saturdays. Banks are usually open from 8:30 am to 4 pm and close on Saturdays. Moneychangers are open longer hours.

Shops open around 9 am and shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores stay open until 9 pm, though smaller shops may close at 5 pm. Sunday is a public holiday but many shops and airline offices open for least part of the day.

Adapted from
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December 14, 2008

Car Free Day on Old Town

Today, Sunday, December 14, West Jakarta & North Jakarta is car free! Yes, Jakarta Province Government decided to reenacting Car Free Day for West Jakarta (Old Town area) and North Jakarta (around Danau Sunter area).

This car free day is supported by Badan Pengelola LingkunganHidup (BPLHD) DKI Jakarta, West Jakarta City Government, Metro Jaya Provincial Police, Dinas Perhubungan DKI Jakarta, and bike to work community. Until last year, car free day was held only once a month at Jenderal Sudirman St. and MH Thamrin St. But this year it was held by rotation for the five city areas.

Old Town, West Jakarta
Special for West Jakarta a few streets is closed for any vehicle except , of course, Trans Jakarta Bus, from 6 AM to 2 PM. They are Tongkol St., Cengkeh St., Kali Besar Timur St., Pintu Besar Utara St., and Pos Kota St.

In addition to this closing street, several activities are held at Fatahillah Park, such as relaxation bike, gymnastic, futsal (mini soccer), drawing contest, music stage, bazaar, exhibition, and also tree seeds distribution to Jakarta people.

Car free day is not only intended to be reducing to pollution but also intended to be a main tourism package for Jakarta City. "By this car free day, we will urge the Old Town Area to be a tourism destination" says West Jakarta Mayor, Djoko Ramadhan, Kompas, Sunday (12/14).

According to the master plan of Old Town Area, city government will built a parking building center in 500-750 meters radius from this area. Beside of that it will be built a penetration street from parking area to the center of Old
Town Area. "We wish some day this area will be car free everyday," says Djoko. "Every Old Town visitors who brought vehicle must be park at the allocated area."Bikers Communities
This event is also supported by couples of biker communities such as Bike To Work (B2W) community, and Onthel Bike (old bike which is made in colonial period) community. They bike around the Old
Town Area with their friends and family while campaign to rise people's interest to bike, especially to bike to work.

They also rented their old bikes to visitors for riding around the area or just taking pictures with these rare old bikes. For these communities, this event is became a free gathering place and to fill their off-day with positive activities.

source: &

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December 12, 2008

Jaya Ancol Dreamland (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol)

Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, an amusement park in north Jakarta, Indonesia, is one of the most attractive places serving the densely populated city of Jakarta. It has all the adventures people crave for; Sea World, Fantasy World, Atlantis Water Adventure and Marina Beach. This is Jakarta's largest and most popular recreation park.

It is built on reclaimed beach land at the Bay of Jakarta, having, sea and freshwater aquariums, swimming pools, an artificial lagoon for fishing, boating, bowling, an assortment of nightclubs, restaurants, a steam-bath and massage parlors. The Ancol complex includes a Marina, Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy Land), a golf course, hotels and a drive-in theater. The "Pasar Seni" or art market has a varied collection of Indonesian handicraft, paintings and souvenirs on sale. At a nearby open-air theater art performances are held using the local dialect.

Inside the Ancol Dreamland, there is Ancol Art Market, it is outdoor art market likely recreational place where we will be most tempted to purchase something. Items include antiques, handicrafts, painting, potters, and knickknacks. With many of the artisans working on site, it is a paradise for souvenir hunters and art lovers. This colorful open-air market located in the Ancol Amusement Park provides the unique experience of not only buying quality Indonesian arts and craft, but also a chance to see and meet the artisans at work.

We can watch puppet makers, wood-carvers, painters, and many other craft makers from throughout the archipelago cheerfully working on their creations. At this art and handicraft market, visitors get to watch Indonesian artists creating their masterpieces. Hundreds of artists from all over the country congregate here to exhibit their work, making the spot a fascinating place for tourists and art connoisseurs. We can even get a portrait of our self-done.

Both traditional and modern art and crafts are on display, including paintings, sculptures, traditional Indonesian wayang kulit (leather puppets), gemstone jewelry and many other artistic products. Art performances are frequently held at the Art Market (Pasar Seni) inside the Jaya Ancol Dreamland on Jakarta's beach. They normally range from wayang kulit shadow plays to folk dances and modern drama. This location is open Monday to Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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December 10, 2008

Sunda Kelapa Harbor

Sunda Kelapa Harbor
Jalan Maritim Raya, North Jakarta

The old port area of Sunda Kelapa remains today a bustling hub for those involved in the vibrant interfiled trade, along with being a center of activity for fresh fish auctioneers. Graceful Bugis phinisi choosers, the world's last wind powered sailing fleet used for trade, still berth at the quay as they have for centuries, receiving and shipping out a wide range of the islands' bounty. Best visited in the early morning.

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December 3, 2008

MONAS, Icon of Jakarta

Talking about Jakarta is means talking about Monas or National Monument. Jakarta is not Jakarta without Monas. It is the icon of Jakarta. Located at the center of this big city, Monas is become a tourist area & interesting education center for Jakarta people. Monas built in 1959 and launched 2 years later in 1961. Monas is always crowded by tourists who want to see the beauty of Jakarta from its top, increasing their perception of Indonesia history or just enjoy the freshness of 80 hectares city forest.

Every holiday, Monas is always visited by many tourists. In this magnificent place you can enjoy many kind of tours and educational objects. You can climb this high rise monument to the top. You also can do any sport activity here with your friends and family. You can enjoy the beautiful park with harmoniously trees. Or maybe you want to enjoy an interesting water fountain.

Monas History

Monas start built in August 1959. The entire building designed by Indonesian architects Soedarsono, Frederich Silaban and Ir. Rooseno. In August 17, 1961, Monas was official launched by President Soekarno. And opened for public since July 12, 1975.

Whereas the city forest area surround it was used to be known as Gambir Square. Then this square has changing his name for several times as Ikada Square, Merdeka Square, Monas Square, and then now it becomes Monas Park.

Monas's Content & Dimension

Monas built 132 meters high and shaped as phallus (lingga yoni). The entire building is covered by marble.

Lidah Api (The Flame)

At the top, there is a cup which is has a 17 meters high, 6 meters diameter, and 14,5 tons weight flame shape made from bronze. This flame is covered with 45 kg solid gold. Monas Flame formed from 77 parts.

Pelataran Puncak (The Top Yard)

The top yard has 11x11 m wide. To reach this area, visitors must be using elevator with 3 minutes way long. Surrounding the elevator there is an emergency stairs. From the top yard of Monas, we can see high rise buildings in Jakarta. In fine-clear weather, we can even see Salak Mountain in West Java or Seribu Islands on Java Ocean.

Pelataran Bawah (The Beneath Yard)

The beneath yard is 45x45 m wide. This yard is 17 meters higher from the bottom. In this area visitors can see Monas Park which is a beautiful city forest.

Museum Sejarah Perjuangan Nasional (National Struggle History Museum)

At the bottom of Monas, there is a 80x80 m wide room with 8 meters high called National Museum . This museum presents Indonesian struggle history. At the fourth sides of this museum there are 12 dioramas shows Indonesian history since royal ages to September 30 coup d'etat incident by Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

Beside of those, it was planned to show the original heirloom flag and declaration of independence manuscript inside this building. There is also a show of master plan of Jakarta development.

Monas Park

You can also put your saturation away by enjoying Monas Park, which is a city forest designed as a beautiful park.

In this park you can playing around with deers special delivered from Bogor Palace. Beside of that you can also do any sport activities with your friends and family.

Monas Park is completed with dancing water fountain which is very interesting to be watched at night. The water will swaying fit in with played songs. There is also a laser show at this fountain.

Beside the sport activities, there is also a free 'reflection massage' for you. In this park there is an area which is has many little rocks you can step on. It feels like you are in a reflection massage session. Free of charge of course. There were also several basket ball courts & futsal (mini soccer) courts for anybody.

If you are tired after walking around this 80 hectares park, you can use touring carriage. This park is free open for public.

Monas Tours

To reach Monas, there are many transportation you can use. You can use express electrical train, KRL Jabodetabek, stop at Gambir Station. Or you can use Trans Jakarta Bus. If you are driving your own car, then you can park in the IRTI parking yard, or in Gambir Station.

To entering Monas building, you can pass through entry door around Pangeran Diponegoro statue. Then you will passing underground tunnel to entering Monas. You can also passing through entry door from Monas north yard. Open time is 9.00 AM to 4.00 PM.

Monas can be one of your choices to visit with your family & a place for your children to learn more about Indonesia history. You can enjoying fresh air from shady trees in Monas Park (which is very rare in Jakarta). And don't forget! Keep this park clean so it can be enjoyed for anybody.

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