To all my beloved friends.
The city of great, super tasty, cheap food!

So far I've had my food orgasm having eaten Bebek Goreng Palupi, Tahu Campur and various delicious Chinese food. My mum's brilliant cooking is also the highlight. It's good to be home!

My second day here was crazy, though. I started the day attending Vitria's wedding, then off to photograph Tre's first birthday, then only had half an hour to take a short shower and freshen up at home then off to Sisca Maya's to photograph her beautiful daughter, went home for another short shower then off to Rahma's wedding. The 13th of December was obviously a good day to get married. Also proven with at least two house weddings in almost every alley I passed!

It was very tiring, but a good one. Parties and great food all the time.

A few days to go before I'm back home in Bali and still got some time to meet other friends. Photos will be posted later when I've got my home internet. My connection is very limited here.

So I finished my commitment on the book project in the end of October. December marks the month as my new baby business was born - Carla Ardian Photography.

Some mock me to be turning into a housewife since I work mostly at home now. But really there are so many things to do. Redesigning a namecard (see below), branding a new website (now still the same old design of BukuCarla but I am planning to redesign everything there), optimizing my photoblog, taking care of my facebook fanpage, in the mean time still collecting ideas for the next possible photoshoots. I am having difficulty in getting the best marketing strategy, but I hope to get to it soon. It's a lot of things to do on my own though. Now I understand why people hire employees!

Anyway, it's good to be busy. I still need to synchronize the new logo above to all of the websites I use (blog, etc). And I just got an idea to design a small booklet summarizing the services I can do so that I can take it in my bag just in case one day I need to show my stuff to a prospective client.

I'm so full of ideas my head can burst open anytime now. It's crazy but exciting. I'm open to new ideas though. So my friends, if you have anything to advise me, please comment here or leave me a message in my email. :)

Wish me luck!
Don't you miss my clumsy stories?

Well, I thought I had taken that label off of me long time ago since I have become fully efficient, organized and careful.

Not tonight, though.

It was raining when I was about to leave the office for my French course. Being rather late to the class, I rushed to my Honda motorcycle, opened up the seating to get my raincoat inside the compartment, absentmindedly dropped my bike key in it and in seconds clicked the seating closed.

Then an obvious question popped up:

"How am I going to start the engine with the key inside the locked compartment?"

Sluggishly, I walked back inside the office, told my boss the story and asked if I could borrow his motorbike instead. Then I went straight home and skipped my class once again.
This post is to give you an advance notice that I will be submitting posts in Bahasa Indonesia in the next couple of weeks in relation with my wish to enter the Festival Jajanan Bango blog contest. I mean, combine food and photography and writing, how can I possibly get away from this Rp 100 million in total prize contest?

Okay, wish me luck.

Okay, after so many denials and much reluctance on joining different social networking sites (except facebook which I find very useful in finding long lost old friends), I was down to Twitter, too, eventually.

That is after I asked a few people who invited me what Twitter is good for. No one gave me a satisfying answer. Vitria, one of those who invite me there, says: "I'm confused as well. So I'm getting more people to be as confused as I am."

The best answer was from Baby Waskito, saying that it only functioned as a status update.

I have no idea why people would want to bother making an account that functions as a status update of what they're doing right now. But one advantage that I notice is that it is open for public view, where in facebook - depending what your setting is like - most of the time your page is only for the eyes of your approved friends.

So I signed up on Twitter to the advantage of letting my fans (and future clients) know what I'm doing mostly in regards to my photography activities.

Here's the link to my twitter account if you wish to follow me.

I'm not sure whether it is wise to be friends with your boss.

There are indeed a lot of positivity that can be gained to cheer up the working environment. Boss happy, employees happy; it means a maximum result. You can stretch yourself dedicating more for your job even when you don't need to.

But being friends means you have the liberty to say more of what is in your mind. And I always thought I knew the line. And I still stand to the belief that I didn't do anything wrong. I may have been a little bit outspoken (which I always have) but no bad intention was to follow my statements.

Too bad these statements have brought situations where it was unpleasant for him, and now me. And the talk comes back to boss-employee relationship again. Who pays and who is paid.

So are you friends with your boss?
Sorry for the long delay. Life has been mysteriously hectic (that includes the fascination over TV series Lost and Prison Break so I couldn't get myself away from the telli).

Anyway, I've made a big decision to focus only on photography. In a month or two I'll be resigning from my present journalist job and will be a freelance photographer. [It feels weird to address myself so... professionally... but feels good anyway] So that's why I've been busy updating my portfolio and preparing pricelist and learning about copyrights etc.

I'm almost there and I'm dead anxious to see how it will come out. But I have a faith on myself and am pretty sure it will work fine if not great.

In the mean time check my website and see my photoblog I just made (powered by wordpress). And let me know what you think of it. Let me know also if you want me to be your photographer. ;)
It took me 3 days to finally see the view from my hotel room at Hermes Palace. Wasn't bad, but wasn't exactly spectacular, either.


It was hectic today. Fabio and I were at breakfast at 8 something when he got a call that 2 luxurious hotels in Jakarta were bombed. They were the Ritz Carlton Hotel and J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Speculations emerged soon after the bombing which killed 9 people, 2 of them being completely destroyed. Some security analysts said that although it was too early to decide who was behind this, there was a possibility that Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) was behind this. Politicians linked the bombing to the election since it was just a little while ago the Presidential election of Indonesia was conducted.

In the mean time, Indonesian football enthusiasts were deeply disappointed and angered by the occurence that soon after the news went worldwide, famous English club Manchester United had to cancel their trip to Indonesia given the fact that they were supposedly to be staying in Ritz Carlton hotel.

So we spent the day going for rounds of live interviews with the government of Aceh while in the mean time making calls to some analysts so that Fabio could write it in the 30 minutes to one hour window time he had within one interview and another.

Change of ticket

We survived the day, nevertheless. And I've decided to stay longer to see more of Aceh. Vincent did not like the idea, but I hardly saw anything during my three-day stay. I just had to change my Garuda ticket so that I could go home on Sunday.

World Bank Aceh staff

I like them. They're sweet, friendly, very accommodating, and helpful. Some of them like photography and so I shared some of photography tips with them and they almost immediately thought that I was a pro photographer.

"I am not," I said, "But I will be."

That's a positive thing to say about your future career. Hehe...

This is Dhea. She works at the front office and she definitely has an interesting face. I also found out that Dhea and the other WB girls seemed to collect cute stuff and display them on their desks. Look at this one over here.


One of the most important things in my travel is the specialty food of the region I'm visiting. I made some research in advance and decided that I wanted to eat Ayam Tangkap, just because of its name. Ayam means chicken and Tangkap (verb) means to catch. Wasted name like that caught my interest. I mean of course you have to catch the chicken first before you kill it and cook it, right? Anyway, below is Ayam Tangkap.

Review: I have to go rough this time, I'm sorry. But ayam tangkap is not that much of a special food. It consists of small pieces of chicken that are deepfried along with some herbs of I don't remember what kind (I don't think I've ever heard it before). I liked the fried greens but the chicken was just.... ordinary.

Those are some pictures I took on day two. It was a busy day and I didn't go out much. I've got one short comment, though.


One of the things that made me curious about Aceh is to see how the sharia law is implemented here. Indonesia may not be an Islam country, but it has more Muslims than any country in the world. However, the spread of them is not the same in each region. Bali, for example, is dominated by the Hindus. While Aceh is obviously dominated by Muslims - not quite the moderate ones judging from the fact that it is the only province in Indonesia where sharia law is implemented side by side with the government law.

In an interview with the culture department of Aceh two years ago, I knew that the sharia law was imposed to the Muslims, and not the non-Muslims. However, I feel the need to respect their culture.

Whilst staying at a nice hotel with a nice swimming pool (plus with the alarming signal I got when I stood in front of the mirror and saw that I had three layers of tummy), I thought I'd go for a swim. The problem is: I only have a bikini. So I asked one of the World Bank/MDF staff here, Friesca, if it was okay for me to wear a bikini to swim.

"I think it's okay. But you need to tell the receptionist that you're going to swim so that they could close all the curtains that see through the lobby area and the restaurant."


I immediately thought it was not worth the embarassment. If they're embarrassed, I think I should too. No?

Warung Kopi

Warung kopi (coffee shop) in Aceh is very popular. It is not the same with the filthy small warung kopi in Java, or fancy warung kopi in Bali, leave alone the easy-access-of-weed coffee shops in the Netherlands. But it is a warung kopi a size of decent warung or restaurant with a 32-inch flat screen TV. I was told that it was a place where people hang out the most.

What I wasn't told was that women don't normally go to warung kopi.

So I arrived there with Fabio and two other men from the MDF to find out that I was the only woman coming there. When the waiter came over, he took a note on everybody's order and of course I would like to have the famous kopi Aceh.

One of the guys said, "Really? You drink coffee?"


I am still to find out whether Acehnese women do drink coffee or if it is the privilege of the men.
Half Day Journey.

So I'm in Aceh for work. Wednesday, the 15th I left my house at 5 o'clock to catch my early flight to Banda Aceh. I arrived in Jakarta at 7 (8 Bali time) and had a 2-hour transit before the plane left for Banda Aceh. Wait a minute, I mean I thought it was a direct flight to Aceh from Jakarta. But I was wrong. We had to drop off most of the passengers in Medan, picked up new passengers, then finally flew to Aceh.

Aerial views of Aceh
Aerial views of AcehAerial views of AcehAerial view of Aceh - dry

We arrived at 13:30, my face so greasy, my eyes red and my whole body hurt. I longed for a comfortable bed so I could lie down for 10 minutes. But hey, it so happened that we didn't have enough time to rest before our first interview. So we went directly to the World Bank Aceh office.

Single Night Out

My boss decided that he was not hardworking enough, so he opted to stay at the hotel and work some more.
The hotel I'm staying at the moment

Me? I was freaking tired and the only thing I wished for was to sleep and rest my body, but realising that my time was very limited in Aceh, I thought I'd forced myself to go out after a quick lovely shower.

First Acehnese food I ate was in a warung in front of the Hermes Palace hotel, where I stayed. I had the usual nasi campur (Aceh), which tasted surprisingly similar with East Javanese nasi campur. But it was good.

Then I took a stroll while swearing when my Rp500,000 high heels got stuck in the mud and started to get my feet swollen. Immediately I tried to find the closest convenience store and bough a pair of red flip-flops. Felt much better.


ceh's becak (pedicap) is quite peculiar compared to the Javanese one. The idea is the same: passengers sit on a sort of bench on two wheels with the driver. However, while the driver in Java normally sits and paddles his becak from behind, here they sit next to the passengers on a motorbike attached to the becak. Less energy out, more passengers in (compared to ojek). Clever.

Grand Mosque Baiturrahman

I decided to go to the nearest, biggest attraction of the city. Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman. It is big, though I imagined it would be much bigger. But it's got a spacious garden. I paid Pak Fuadi, the becak driver, Rp 20,000 to get me there and back. I wasn't sure what the good price was. A becak driver right in front of Hermes Palace asked me for Rp 50,000 with the hope that I would bargain. But as usual, I never bargain when the starting point is already too high. Also because he knew that I was staying in the fancy hotel. Sorry, Pak. I am not paying for the hotel. The second one asked for Rp 30,000, which sounded more reasonable, and I haggled it to Rp 20,000.

Anyway, I wasn't too impressed with the mosque, especially at night when my shots tended to be blurry since I didn't have my tripod with me. But at least I saw one part of the city, which in December 2004 suffered from the most devastating tsunami ever recorded in the world history.


Guess what picture it is below. If you are correct, you'll get a clap!

This is too hilarious to be missed.

The video shows the Air New Zealand crews explaining how to use the safety tools in the airplanes. It is a common procedure for every airline to do this before the plane takes off. What is different from Air New Zealand's video is that the crews were all naked. What looks to be uniforms they are wearing is actually bodypainting.

This trick works its wonder as now more people on board are paying attention to what air safety is and how to use it.
Have you ever got to the point that you thought you were helpless and had no power at all about something?

I'm feeling that at the moment.

A friend, a family, a brother is very, very sick somewhere else but here in this world. He is alone with no friends and family around. Literally. He's all but positivity. He wants to go back here but he can't. He wishes he could turn back the time and fix things right, but it's impossible. No matter how many times I told him in multiple emails that he was not alone, that I was always here whenever he needed me, he couldn't stop thinking negative - as most of sick people do - and stayed thinking that nothing could be done anymore to make things better.

I'm not there to hug him. I'm not there physically to lift up his spirit and to encourage him that nothing is impossible. I'm not there in real to tell him that if he can't cheat death, he can still be friends with it and negotiate the length of time he can spend more in this world.

Friends, if you ever encounter this kind of thing in your life, don't stop trying. Every little thing you do matters. May be not for us, but for others who need it more.

It was his birthday a few days ago. He wrote me an email that he was so truly sad that he was sick and alone on that day. And it hurt me as I read it because it was not true. Because he's still got me.

So even though I am normally overtired when I have both work and French class in a day, at that time I was psyched. As soon as I got home, I took out my cake recipe book, prepared the ingredients for his favourite chocolate cake, and baked it.

I also made a small flag from a scrap paper and cotton bud stick and wrote on the paper "Happy Birthday, Brother."

Being satisfied with the cake and the flag, I took pictures of it in various angles, sent them to him that very night and put a little note in the email:

You're lucky this time you're wrong. You're not alone.

Being so weak even to check emails, he just sent me a reply last night saying that he couldn't stop crying even at the time he was writing the electronic mail. He was touched and happy and no longer felt that he was alone and pathetic and sick and sinful. I can't count how many phrases of terima kasih (thank you) that he wrote but I know that he knows now that he is not alone. That I'm here to help bear his pain, even for the smallest amount.

I may not be a super doctor that can cure him. I may not be rich enough to fly to him and reach him in my embrace. But I'm a friend to him as he is to me.

Baking a chocolate cake may not be a bombastic gesture. But it is more than enough gesture to get your message across to your loved one that he is loved.
Michelle Udem, an intern reporter from the Jakarta Globe - an English-language newspaper in Jakarta - emailed me last week asking if I would want to be interviewed for her article on Blogging in English. I thought it was cute and sure, why not?

I promised to send a photo of me blogging but last weekend was so hectic with parties so I never got around to getting a self-photo of me. But anyway, the article is up today. Though I was not exactly quoted in the main article, I was listed there as one of the few Indonesian people who blog in English.

Let's see if it can generate more traffic. But oh my god, can I handle more fame at this point of time???

I think I can. LOL.
I've attended 3 classes of French course at Alliance Francais Denpasar and I was already bragging to Vincent's friends, Pascal and Briggite, that I speak a little French.

Here is their reply:

Félicitations, congratulations !!!! Super !!!
Moi de mon cote j ai arrête les cours d Anglais le prof n était pas top... Pas plus tard que hier( mercredi) nous avons encore parlé de vous car Samedi le 20:06:09 nous allons fête le 1st year de retour de Bali
Nous allons vous envoyer des photos du groupe
J espère que tout se passe bien chez vous, nous avons de temps en temps des nouvelles de Nicole et Andy les autres "Balinais" j espère que vous aussi vous avez des contacts
Vincent t as pas trop la nostalgie du pays .... lol chez nous c est triste on a de nouveau un été pourri un jour il fait chaud à étouffer et l autre jour on a 10° de moins enfin ...
Gros bisous à vous et une prochaine que ce soit à Bali ou en France
Pascal et Brigitte

Obviously that was way out of my range of my very limited French. So I opened this page on yahoo babelfish to translate the email. This is the result.

Cuckoo Congratulations, congratulations!!!! Super!!! Me of my dimension J have stops the courses D English teacher N was not signal… Not later that yesterday (Wednesday) we still spoke about you because Saturday the 20:06: 09 we go festival the 1st year of return of Bali We will send photographs of the group to you J hopes that all occurs well on your premise, we from time to time have news of Nicole and Andy the others " Balinais" J hopes that you also you have contacts Vincent T ace not too the nostalgia of the country…. lol on our premises C is sad one again has a summer rotted one day it makes hot choke and L different day one has 10° of less finally… Large kisses with you and next that it is in Bali or in France Pascal and Brigitte

Still lost in translation.

Anyone knows a better translation engine?
Even at the time I'm writing this piece, I still can't believe it happened. Not to someone with such a life force like you. Not when you already made great plans ahead. Not when it was so fast, unexpected and seemingly unfair.

But you left us anyway. I'm running out of tears but even so it's still coming out every now and then. Out of my disbelief.

We might not have had our plans come true. But we had the greatest moments together.
We might not be able to see you now. But we saw you in your best shape.
And we will never forget that.

We love you, Ricardo.

Carla and Vincent.
Life is so short.

After my friend Pierre Flaneur died at the age of 30 last year of a heart failure, I am not convinced that age determines our lifeline.

The fact that my good friend Ricardo Evers had a shocking bike accident 2-3 weeks ago and has depended his life on hospital machines ever since does not give me more confidence either.

As if it wasn't enough, someone whom I consider like my own brother just told me that he was dying. AIDS. He is now 33.

I'm feeling like crying. I'm feeling like laughing.

This is all like a joke.

A very, very bad joke.
I know a few of very strong people who got down on their knees and cried after they watched this video. It's very inspirational especially to those who experienced or did not experience this kind of love from their father. And I hope there are fathers out there who can see this video and be moved to do more for their children.

I stole it from a friend who posted this quote on her facebook status, which says:

"If you want to do something wrong, do it right."

I absolutely agree with it since it relates to my other all-time quote: "Don't do things by halves."
So basically if you wanna be evil, just be 100% it. Think of it smartly. Plan it carefully. Try to get as minimum effect (on yourself) as possible.

You'll be called sinful anyway, no matter how big or small your being evil is.

Cheers, mate!
The article I worked so hard for the Vietnamese East and West magazine is up! Both in prints and online. Prints are only available in Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. I guess if you want to push it, there may be some in Jakarta, but I'm not sure. If you fly with Lufthansa, you'll find it in this May 2009 edition.

I take the credit of both text and photographs, though some are of the courtesy of Mozaic restaurant.

Download the article here.

I have a few accounts in some photography sites like DeviantArt (DA), UseFilm and Fotografer.net (FN). I absolutely have no problem with the international art sites. If not a compliment, I will get constructive feedbacks every now and then from the other users, which is good.

However, I am sometimes troubled with the Indonesian photo site, Fotografer.net. I mean I think it is normal to also mingle with the other photographers in the country if you want to progress in the real photography world, right? But I hardly get constructive feedbacks. Even in the former days when I first joined it like 4 or 5 years ago, the comments would disappoint me as in you would think that they were clueless of what to say. And it seemed that people just commented because they had to comment in at least 2 photos before submitting an art (FN's rule). And they didn't give a damn to it.

Nowadays, I see more progress in the attitude of the users and that's why I start uploading photos again. But a slightly annoying thing strikes me again. Not as bad as the useless comments I mentioned above. But it is the culture of addressing people (in this case, me).

Indonesians cannot not address the person they are talking to. If you're not a close friend of a person, you just don't call him/her by the first name only (or last name only). You will have to put Mbak, Mas, Kak, Dik, Om, Tante, Pak, Bu, Bli, etc. I could go on and on and make a book of the various types of addressing people in Indonesia but let's just leave it right there. Anyway, I should emphasize that I have NO PROBLEM with the Indonesian addressing culture. I think it's respectful and polite and there is nothing wrong with it.

But when addressing people is a must, you should always check whom you are talking to first. Like I just submitted a photo on FN this morning. In 15 minutes I got five comments, three of which addressed me as a MALE photographer [click the image to see a larger version].

Now I was wondering... is it the pre-assumption that photographers are always males that made me deserve to be called Bro or Om? Or does the name Carla sound like a boy's name? Or is it simply an ignorance to double check the photographer?

Anyway... I'm not too upset or anything. But if it was due to the reason of the stereotype of male photographers or ignorance, I think it is just too bad. I think many, many, many Indonesians are good photographers. They shoot like pros and they are surely able to compete in the international photography world with the quality of the photos they have. But if such attitude is maintained, I'm not sure if that will last long.

Just like the other type of jobs, no matter how good you are as a cook, journalist, programmer, teacher or how beautiful you are as a model, you'll be out of the industry soon if you don't have the right attitude.
I'm terrible at gardening. I mean I never bothered to try. Just to imagine how dirty my hands would set me off in the very first thought of gardening.

But my new place is too big and dark and dull without plants. So I bought a pot of beautiful fresh yellow chrysanthemums last month. I was happy for 2 weeks, but I got reckless. I forgot to water the chrysanthemums for 3 days and they soon were looking like they were dying. I saw 2 buds that were becoming grey and I immediately tried to save them. I threw away the dying/died clumps of the chrysanthemum so that the soil could provide maximum nutrition for the buds. And I forced myself to water them everyday. I think I saved them. For now.

Then I thought maybe I didn't have a chemistry with flowers. So I bought three more pots of green plants (with no flower). One took a week to dry up and look dying. But the other two are going strong. [Yay!]

So since I had died plants some of which I threw away, that means I had unused soil. Once when I was cooking, I saw that my garlic was running bad. And the brilliant me came up with this genius idea, not to throw the garlic away, but to put it inside the unused soil to grow.

I watered it everyday and in three days I could already see the bud sprouting out of the ground. I was soooo.... excited to see it! This one worked!! I'll see if it stays alive one more week, and I may plant some seeds of chili, onion, lime etc! This way I don't need to go to Carrefour anymore to buy these kinds of ingredients!

Youtube link is taken from Indonesia Matters

Ilham Anas, Indonesian Obama's look-alike, is delivering his "speech" in this very short video.

Don't embarrass Indonesia in the next Presidential election! "Jangan Bikin Malu 2009!"

PS: You need to understand Bahasa a little bit to get the fun from this video.
Fabio assigned me to go to this Buddha relic exhibition at the Buddha Dharma Vihara, Sunset Rd, about 2 weeks ago. I was excited because:
  • I was dying to be out there in the sun, although still on a work assignment.
  • I could meet new people.
  • I could take photos.
  • If chosen, the photo(s) could be put along with the article, and I would make my first photography debut in print media.
  • If chosen, I'd be paid, too. I don't know how much and to be honest I don't care. I just need a recognition from a media (thankfully as big as South China Morning Post) that it was worth publishing.
  • There was a free dinner!!!
It was not bad at all. Buddhism may not have been my preferred belief, but I could gather that the Buddhists are so nice. They have great manners and they could see things beyond their own religion (read: not closed-minded). None of their philosophy is to gain any power in this world like some religions I know (including mine) and their end goal is to get the peace. And peace is all we need.

A peculiar thing also happened, as I was reconnected with Pattrick Zaffini - a French fellow I knew through my late dear friend Pierre Flaneur. Patrick was the one organizing this relic tour. He was the one interviewed by the Jakarta Post. And he was the one I needed to interview as well. I met Pattrick when some of Pierre's friends were gathering at the Jimbaran beach to send him our full respect and love, just a few days after he was gone. And since then Pattrick has always been in my facebook friend list. Isn't it miraculous that we were met again this way?

Back to my photography/journalism carreer prospect, I am triggered even more to do better now. I just finished an article for the Vietnamese-based East and West magazine about Bali, which will be out in May edition. I'll let you know when it's published. It's rather big.

For now, enjoy Fabio's article and MY photo here.
So, the first part of the Indonesian legislative election is almost over. The air and atmosphere of negativity, personal and institutional attacks, money politics and all that have been decreasing a little bit lately. At least no campaigns and street convoys which add up to the complication of the existing messy traffic and which contributed to the already polluted land. Less real open attacks on how bad the present government has been performing, or any other parties whose leader had failed performing. Less manipulation on lower class people that it was not fair for them that they couldn't sell papers by the traffic lights or fake watches at the sidewalks. Less lies on the ups and downs of the petrol price that is blamed to be the sole reason of the people suffering.

Those accusations I just made are probably only one-sided since I only attended one campaign. Maybe the other parties are not like that. Maybe they're more fair and make more sense. But really with the constant news on how Party A attacks Party B, Party B attacks Party C and so on and so forth, it is not likely.

The campaign I was talking about was of Gerindra. Proposing Prabowo Subianto as the next president, the party tries to convince the people that the ex-military general is on the common people's side. It promotes a better life for farmers and street vendors and ojek drivers and the migrant workers. Nice idea. A big question mark that popped up, however, was HOW?

The next was even uglier. Let's say it is logical that you might win people's heart by pretending that you're on their side. That you don't want them to suffer more than they do now. But yeah, you'll need someone to blame. And whoelse to blame but Yudhoyono's administration? A metaphore given for President Yudhoyono's governing performance was ofIndonesia as a Mercedes Benz car and Yudhoyono as its driver. A quality car that kept being broken, they said, was all the fault of the stupid driver. And with a little provocation, they made the people sing in rhythm, "GOBLOK, GOBLOK, GOBLOK!"

Permadi, a paranormal and an ex house member for PDIP (Indonesian Democracy Struggle Party) who resigned from the first president's daughter's party and joined Gerindra funnily tried to remind the people of how good it was when Soekarno was still on the presidency and that Prabowo could take us back in that kind of condition. I couldn't make the best sense of it. How? If Megawati, Soekarno's daughter, failed in ruling this country because she is not, has never been, and will never be a figure her father once was, how would Prabowo make a better President?

No allegations against Prabowo made in the past were proven yet. Not sure if they will ever be rightly investigated. But I just hope there are more clever people in this country for not voting for a president who holds an uncertain past like activist abductions and their "forced dissapearance" and human rights violation in Timor Leste.
I've been practising to write articles in Bahasa Indonesia lately. I thought it would be a huge challenge since I am so used to writing in English. And I did struggle in my first few sentences. But after that, words flowed naturally and I even thought that it was easier to write in Bahasa!

So here is one of the two articles I wrote so far. It was first published in Kabar Indonesia, an Indonesian news agency that commits to the news for people and from people.


Caleg Bule, Mengapa Tidak?
Oleh : Carla Bley Ardian

20-Mar-2009, 16:52:25 WIB - [www.kabarindonesia.com]

KabarIndonesia - Denpasar, Ada yang menarik dari pemilihan legislatif di Bali, terutama dari kubu Partai Demokrasi Pembaruan (PDP). Partai yang merupakan pecahan dari Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (PDI-P) ini membuat heboh media massa baik lokal, nasional, maupun internasional dengan mengusung Calon Legislatif (Caleg) keturunan Jerman, Petra Odebrecht.

Petra (41) yang sudah menjadi warga negara Indonesia sejak tahun 1991 ini menyatakan dalam wawancara lewat telepon Februari lalu bahwa ketertarikannya dalam dunia politik Indonesia dikarenakan ia ingin membuat perubahan-perubahan dengan arah yang lebih baik di Indonesia, terutama di Bali.

Wanita berkulit putih ini mempunyai misi utama untuk menaikkan status para wanita dan meningkatkan kesadaran rakyat Indonesia dalam berpolitik. Sebagai contoh, ia menceritakan salah satu kunjungannya di sebuah kampung dimana ada pabrik yang pekerja-pekerjanya kebanyakan perempuan.

Di sana Petra bukannya ditanyai mengenai inti perjuangan PDP dan bagaimana PDP bisa mengakomodasi kepentingan rakyat setempat, tapi para ibu-ibu itu malah bertanya berapa uang yang akan mereka dapat kalau mereka memilihnya. Pertanyaan ini membuatnya terkejut dan ia jadi semakin ingin mengubah cara pandang wanita-wanita Indonesia.

Selain itu pariwisata juga menjadi isyu yang menarik bagi Petra. “Selama belasan tahun saya tinggal di Bali, kebanyakan saya bekerja dalam bidang pariwisata. Oleh karena itu saya ingin juga meningkatkan promosi turisme Bali,” katanya dengan Bahasa Indonesia yang cukup fasih, walaupun dengan aksen yang masih kental.

Ia juga sangat peduli dengan keadaan lingkungan bahari Bali yang mulai tercemar. Wanita dengan nomor urut 6 di PDP ini mengamati bahwa keadaan laut di Bali sering kotor dan terpolusi sehingga menyebabkan banyak ikan mati. “Seharusnya ini dapat diatasi oleh bupati disini asalkan penerapannya tegas,” katanya dengan antusias.

Ketika ditanya berapa besar peluangnya untuk menang di pemilu mendatang, ia tertawa dan berkata, “Saya hanya maju untuk DPRD Bali saja kok. Dan kalaupun saya tidak terpilih, saya tetap akan mendukung kolega-kolega di PDP dalam misi bersama kami.” Yang penting adalah kenyataan bahwa saya adalah bule pertama yang ikut pemilu di Indonesia, itu sudah cukup untuk menunjukkan bahwa tidak ada feodalisme di negeri ini, tegasnya. (*)
I found a very interesting thing today. To me at least.

I used to monitor www.luwaran.com quite regularly so I am very familiar with its website layout and individual article page design. Take a look at this picture below.

And then I was recently asked to monitor local newspapers in Aceh concerning the closure of the tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation body (BRR). I normally check Serambi. But it seems that there has been a website restructuring there since most of the old articles are missing. So i figured I had to find other sources.

One of the news websites that I found was Harian Aceh (Aceh Daily). To my surprise, it has at least 95% similarity with Luwaran website. Please see here.

The only difference, which is not too significant, is the colour of the lines and the logo.

You may be about to tell me why it is so important as to get posted in the blog. Plagiarisms are everywhere. Some bother to fuss, some simply don't care. Well, I'll tell you why.

Luwaran website belongs to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the Philippines. It is the largest Muslim rebel group in the country that has been trying to fight for an expanded Muslim administered autonomous area of what they believe to be their ancestor land since 1977. This disputed area lies in the southern part of the predominantly Catholic Philippines. Both the government of the Philippines and the MILF have tried to get a shared agreement in numerous peace talks, but it came to no result until now. So in the meantime, bombing and extrajudicial killing still happen every now and then between the Philippines armed forces and the MILF guerrillas.

On the other hand, Aceh, which is located at the northern tip of Sumatra island, Indonesia, was once a troubled region, too. If the tsunami did not happen on 26 December 2004, the people might have not been brought together in the same vulnerable, devastating state and feeling, and the peace pact between the government of Indonesia and the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) - Independent Aceh Movement - rebel group, might not have been signed in Helsinki on 15 August 2005, after 29 years of war.

I hate to pitch and connect these two organizations together just based on their uncanny similar websites, especially that now Aceh strives to claim that peace has prevailed in their region. But their much alike background is too big of a coincidence to just let it go and have it left unthought. Could there be any unusual surprising links between the MILF and the former GAM? As far as my limited knowledge is concerned, they do(did) have the sort of same vision. Both want(ed) their own independent Muslim autonomy. Both have gone through nasty civil war for tens of years. Could there be anything at all there?

I do hope it is just a shallow observation from my side. I do hope that it is a mere plagiarism case on the side of Harian Aceh since the Luwaran website has clearly stated that it was designed by the Bangsamoro web (which is themselves). There is no statement or anything that can be found in Harian Aceh website of who the designer of the website was. Nor there is an acknowledgment that they actually took the layout from somewhere else.

I have not read a lot for a while. But I did read the last book of Harry Potter, cookbooks (OK, might not be one of those heavy literature - ok, ok, it's not literature at all but they are what I most often read!) and now I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. I also read my friends' blogs quite regularly. And at moments when I have absolutely nothing to do, I normally strengthen my social networking power in facebook. Hahaha....

Obviously I have nothing too important to do right now. There is a writing to do but it is not a case of life and death yet. So as I mentioned above, I was facebooking.

A friend posted a link that took me to a very interesting blog named Babu Ngeblog. As some of you may know, babu is the Javanese term for domestic helper/maid, which is most of the time apprehended as carrying a sort-of negative connotation. People prefer to use the word "pembantu" [maid/domestic helper] to babu for the sake of politeness. Ngeblog is the chic kind-of word for blogging. So yes, it means a blogging maid.

I am not sure what the perception of this profession is in the developed countries. But in Indonesia, it's sort of ranked as one of the lowest profile jobs and people tend to underestimate and look down on those having this job. Domestic helpers that go overseas for the similar profession take a slightly more pride than those who choose to stay in the country. Though I perceive they are still ranked the lowest in the country they work in. Negative presumptive adjectives like uneducated, stupid, having no common sense, lazy, etc, etc. are commonly adopted by the employers.

Rie Rie, the one of a kind migrant worker maid who works in Hong Kong, proves herself to be different. With her capacious ability in putting her thoughts into writing, supported with an excellent use of both EYD Bahasa Indonesia and English language, she represents the good and the bad of a life of a maid overseas.

If you speak Indonesian, you may get these impressions that I have got from reading Rie Rie's blog:
  • She is not ashamed of using the word babu to describe herself.
    How many of you are reluctant of stating what you do to people you just meet ('you' here doesn't refer to people having the agreed concept of a good job)? Say you work in the canteen of a prestigious company, would you state the name of the company first or would you state the type of job you're having?
  • She takes her daily chores and happenings with a light heart and learns from each of them.
    How many of us would just go upset with our work and rant about how annoying and selfish our bosses were or how crooked a system in our company over the phone conversation with our close friend for hours? Hmm, maybe almost all of us. Okay, well, she rants too in her blog. But she doesn't take it on and on like most of us do until we decide to finally file a resignation. Instead, she shares it in her blog and takes a lesson (or revenge) from it. Here is a funny example of it.
  • With her pervasive knowledge, she voices her thoughts and those in the same profession to fight for the migrant workers' rights.
    Some people would just wait until things change by themselves. Guess what, miracles don't happen today if you don't work on making them happen. She may not go to the embassy or human rights office or whatever institution to fight for her rights. But she does it in the best way she can do it - writing it. One can only hope that this blog gets more notice, and maybe one of us is ticked to help her and the others in promoting a better life for them.
This blog is the best read so far. Harry Potter is entertaining. The Tipping Point is smart. But Rie Rie's modest blog is everything Harry Potter and The Tipping Point have, with an additional adjective to describe it - INSPIRATIONAL.

Go read it. I am pretty sure you'll RSS it.

As a child, I used to be so much absorbed in my own fantasy sci-fi world. Most of the plots would make me a female hero that saved the earth, or people that I loved. Though in the end I usually died. :P

This kid reminded me about it. It was in a traditional market in the mountainous Guci, Central Java, Indonesia. And she was sitting on the ground next to a banana stall. It looked like she was left alone by her merchant mother who was busy selling bananas to her customers. Playing with the banana leaves wasted on the ground, she might be plotting a story in her mind while mumbling unclearly. Once in a while she would run and drag the leaf around and laugh by herself.

It looked fun. And I knew that it WAS fun.

Too bad that being an adult now, I can't really get deep in my mind and make up my own stories and dramas with me being all the main characters. Doing it may risk me being put in some mental hospital. :P

While I'm getting more and more unproductive each day, Vincent is the other way around. He just made this website containing his music. If you have a good connection, please listen to the songs and perhaps leave him a note of how you think about them.

CD is available for US$ 5 or Rp 50,000. Free shipping for orders inside Indonesia. Please leave a note here or email cbardian#gmail.com for your order.

Since Shierly was the first to comment that, she will get the CD for free. :)

Zain Verjee, a CNN newsreader had mistakenly reported that the Northwest Airlines was selling penis on flights.

What she actually had to say was that the US-based airlines was selling peanuts on the plane.

Unfortunately the slip of tongue did not happen only once, but three times during the telecast.

"Northwest began serving penis this month as its merger partner Atlanta-based Delta airlines has done for years," Verjee said.
Level: Even Sheila can do it without the instant bumbu.


This is so easy so that if you need to do other things, you can do it while you do this dish. All you need to have is an oven.

  • 6 eggs, beaten.
  • a cup of cream or pouring milk.
  • Spaghetti, boiled and cut into small pieces. (You can use other type of pasta like macaroni or penne)
  • 30 g of butter
  • Frozen peas
  • Capsicum, cut into small boxes.
  • Ham, sliced.
  • Cornet beef.
  • 1 tomato, cut into small pieces.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cheese, shredded.
Here's the way to do it:
  1. Preheat oven to moderate 180 degree.
  2. Melt butter, then add frozen peas, capsicum, ham and cornet beef. Stir for a short while. Remove from pan and leave it to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, put eggs and mix them together with the cream or milk. Put inside the tomato and the mix of butter and the other stuff. Add salt and pepper. Stir.
  4. Grease a baking pan of 40 by 40 cms. Put everything in this. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Note: The ingredients can be changed as you like or whatever you have in the fridge.
Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI)1 - Indonesian Ulema Council - rejected the gay meeting supposedly to be held in Palembang, South Sumatra, Sunday, 1 March 2009.

The council, which consists of hundreds Muslim scholars with vast knowledge of Islamic laws, argues that it is haram2 to hold such meeting as the Koran states in its Al-Araf letter, article 80-84, that any homosexual relationship is not allowed in Islam.

The head of MUI South Sumatra, KHM Sodikun, told reporters that MUI South Sumatra would ask the authority to pull out the permit of this meeting.

"This is haram, haram and really haram. We urge the city council of Palembang not to let this haram culture stain the city!" Sodikun said.

"We never admit, and will never admit, homosexual relationships in any way. Especially not in the religious-to-be city of Palembang," he continued.

Sodikun also stated the readiness of the ulemas and clerics in South Sumatra to guide any homosexuals - either gays or lesbians - to repent and come back on the right path.

It is unclear up to now if the meeting was finally held or not.


  1. MUI is trusted by the majority of Indonesian Muslims as representing God in determining what is good and what is bad for Muslims. They also issued fatwa/edict, which devoted Indonesian Muslims should follow. But one may argue that the edicts MUI issues are not binding.
  2. Haram = (Islam) forbidden, proscribed
Source: Kompas.
What has always annoyed me since I moved in Bali in September 2007 is the HUGE challenge to find a place in Bali.

First of all, the number of the houses is not in series.

One example among so many is when I did my first live interview to a widow of a Bali bombing victim. Her sort-of office was located at Jalan Pemogan 135. I went with my boss there on a motorbike. It took us less than ten minutes to reach Jalan Pemogan, and 30 minutes to find the correct house with that 135 number.

For instance we saw a house numbered 25, the house next to it could be 69, and the one in front of it is 255! When we stopped and asked the people if they happened to know where the house number 135 was, they would suggest you directions which if you followed, you still couldn't get to see the right house. When you got back to them and told them that they gave you a wrong direction. They would say, "Oh... you mean number 135??? I don't know then."
So first lesson, don't really count on what they people say. They mean good by helping you give direction. But they just don't tell you that they don't know the place, which is a better way to do it if you really don't know it.

Smarter people whom you might approach may explain to you that the system of numbering houses in Bali is that... there is no system. If you have an empty block of land, and you build a house in the middle of it, because you are the first one to build there, you will put number one for your house. And then another house is built afterwards and it's located in the corner of the land block and let's say it's 20 metres from the first house, you'll give number two to it. Another house is built next to the first house, the owner can't give number two to the house, because the second house built has already taken it. So you have to put number three.

Then what you have to do when you get a Balinese address from someone is to ask which banjar1 it belongs to. Balinese recognize the name of banjar more than numbered houses.

Second difficulty is the pronunciation used when giving or given a direction.

Balinese pronounce the /p/ sound with /f/ and the /f/ and /v/ sounds with /p/.

There was this one time when I had to meet Vincent in a restaurant in Kuta in May last year. I took a taxi and told the driver that I wanted to go to restoran Sungai. Then he said, "Aaah, I think I know the place! It sells siput2." I was going like, "Are you serious? They serve snails???" And he said, yeah, yeah. And so I thought, this is what it costs to date a French guy. They eat weird stuff.

Arriving there I saw that it was a SEAFOOD restaurant! He pronounced seafood "siput" [read: see-put], which means snail in Bahasa Indonesia.

So the lesson learnt is: be aware that they might say something that you might think it was one thing, but it was actually another thing. So if you had to go to a house of Block F, they would say it was Block EP. And if it was Block P, you might hear it Block V. So to be safe, just ask them to write down the complete address!

It goes the same with the English pronunciation.

I wanted to go to Citibank office yesterday and the day before. I went to the only one I knew on Jalan Teuku Umar. But the security guard said that for the department that I was looking for, it was in another office. I didn't recognize the name of the street he was giving me. So he kindly gave me the direction to it:

"From here, you just go straight and pass the Simpang Enam statue. After that you will see Bank Kamanuel on your left side. There is road next to it. Turn left and you'll find the other Citibank office."

"Sorry, what bank again? Kamanuel?"

"Yes. There's a big yellow sign in front of the bank. You can't miss it."

"But I've never heard a bank called Kamanuel. You sure it existed?"

"Yes, yes. I'm very sure. It's there!"

I started my motorbike, but I turned again to him after relating the word that I heard with something else that made more sense (the yellow sign is also in my consideration), "You sure it's not Common Wealth Bank?"

"No! It's Kamanuel, Kamanuel!"

"Okay, thanks!"

Then I drove really, really slowly to locate this Kamanuel Bank so I wouldn't miss it. And after some time I found this yellow Common Wealth sign on my left hand side with an alley next to it. The alley leads to a sight of the blue Citibank sign.

So it was indeed the Common Wealth Bank. [Sigh]


1 - Banjar is the lowest Balinese administration system. It is something like RT/RW in Java or Sumatra. Or maybe it can be freely translated to village. [Please correct me if I'm wrong]

2 - Siput = snail.
The poll has been closed for a while now. But we'd like to thank you very much for voting.

So the question was:

"Vincent and I are in the crossroads of choices. He got 2 job offers in Canada and France, but at the same time, we also want to live in Indonesia. But there is no guarantee that he will get a job here. What should we do? Where should we stay?"

That was written before he arrived in Bali on December 13th last year. We were very confused and Vincent especially was nervous because he had a NIL hope but just being with me by moving to Indonesia. He had no job offer or whatsoever. The financial crisis was on the way to our country. A lot of workers had been laid off and a lot of expats were sent home because companies couldn't manage to pay them their standard wage. It was even hardened by the fact that his then-boss wanted him to stay and sort of bribed him that he could earn double if he stayed in Strasbourg. In the mean time, a Canadian client of his offered him the what-he-called-his dream job in Canada, the country he loves the most.

So the result of the voting says that 3 persons thought that we should move to Montreal, Canada. 2 thought that we should be in Strasbourg, France.

The fact is Vincent has been employed as a project manager in Barefoot Multimedia, Bali-based company. So although noone voted for Bali, we're staying in Bali.

I do not know who voted those, but I should comment on the most votes on Canada: Do you realise how cold and hot it is there??? It could be like -40 degree celcius in the winter and +40 in summer! I'd die in the winter!!!

Michelle has been in Bali for 3 weeks now. She mostly stays with her mother, but like twice or thrice a week she stays at my place.

It's so much fun to have her here and I think she's been really a good girl.

She went to the beach for the first time 2 weeks ago and she bragged that she could swim. Swimming here means dipping her body in the sea and having someone hold her while she was floating.

Vincent is surprisingly patient with her. It is also amazing to see that he actually cares about her a lot. He cannot approve her certain behaviours (chewing food soundly, picking up her nose or taking someone else's food or thing without permission... I agree but come on, she's just four years old and she's on holiday!) but in overall, I think Michelle is having fun here and she's certainly surrounded by the people who love her.

My mother misses her a lot, though. The first days Michelle was here, she kept calling everyday to check how Michelle was. And a lot of times too she would lobby either me or Ita to take her back to Surabaya soon.

Oh well, she eventually has to. But for the time being, it is good to have her here.

This song rocks!!! Listen to it and you're gonna love it!

The lyric taken from AZLYRICS:

"The Wine Song"

Song and melodies change and change
And sway
But they still stay the same
The songs that we sung when the dark days come
Are the songs that we sung when we chased them away
If I ever found a pot of gold
I'd buy bottles untold of the nectar of the vines
I'm going to die with a twinkle in my eye
'cause I sung songs spun stories loved laughed and drank wine

Tomorrow is another day
The cats are out to play, to play
That old rusty spaceship wants to sail
Into the milky way again
On a river of red red wine

(let's have some)
(a toast to the)

In summer the bushfires rage and rage
And rage
On such beautiful days
And we fight them with water that runs through the cracks
Water we're desperately trying to save
So I'll just live on wine and water my vines
And sleep on the wind with the fires right behind
And sing on the beaches and dance through the night
Oh we'll cry 'pass the wine, pass the wine, pass the wine'

(let's have some)
(a toast to the)

Oh what a beautiful day today!
Today's a day to celebrate
Grab your bucket, grab your spade
We're heading down to Half Moon Bay
I saw a plane go into a cloud
I'm drunk I'm happy I'm singing and loud
Two o'clock in the arvo, but hey that's allowed...
I'm having a good time and of that I am proud