Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: indonesia


I would like to invite Prof. Brown to conduct an ethnographic study on Middle Eastern cultures which revolve around the word "eib", "عيب". This Arabic word, in its root, means "flaw", and yet the word in its daily usage, refers to shame. You are told, "eib", as in, shame on you, for doing so and so. Usually, the word "eib" is accompanied with a sentence about what people would think. One’s life is centred on what others think, the flaw which you might be presenting, and the shame which emerges from it. The root of many problems in Arab society are not oppression of women, nor is it dictatorship, etc. It is of us oppressing ourselves with this constant shaming process. We are always told to not reveal our flaws, to always care about what people think – of what we do, how we dress, how we behave, etc. We fear stigma, because we engage in stigmatizing each other.

I always love to read the comments on TED talk. This one is the comment for Brene Brown’s talk about shame. This is a very interesting insight about Arab society and I do think that we have such approach too in Asian/Indonesian society.

The “White” Asians

Sometimes I don’t realize that it’s been so many years since the last time I lived in an Asian country. To recap, I left Indonesia in the beginning of 2004. So that’s exactly 6 years ago. Six years don’t seem to be a big deal to me, but actually I’ve been missing or forgetting about a lot of things! Things that once was normal, is now an alien to me.

I’m talking about beauty products.

My only moisturizing facial creme ran out yesterday. So I went to a nearby hypermarket, which was just few minutes walk from where I lived. I went to the skin products section, scanned through the brands, and found the brand that I always bought. There were a range of products that this brand had and I was totally shocked to see that *ALL* of them contained whitening stuff in them! Yes, all of them were whitening creme.

Disappointed, I went to a pharmacy, hoping to find a non-whitening creme of the same brand. I found it, with only one left on the shelf. I was not very satisfied because this one got no UV-protection, unlike the whitening creme products. But I didn’t have much choice. I quickly scanned through the other brands and all of them were whitening products! (as far as what my eyes could see)  A big disappointment!

This is not about Malaysia. This is not about Indonesia. This is an Asian disease.  Even the Japanese and Korean people who are already SO white, still want their skin to be whiter! Can you imagine that?! And this is no different with white people wanting to get their skin darker. But at least, I can still find a lot of creme products over there that don’t make my skin darker. Not in Asia. It was a big shock for me to see almost all products in the shelves were for people who wanted to get their face “whiter”!

To be honest, it’s ironic that this thing was normal to me back then when I was still in Indonesia. Many of my friends were “afraid” of the sun and tried so hard to avoid it. Having a dark skin was never a favorite among many Indonesians. The guys too would prefer girls with fair skin. Look at all those advertisements. All the models. Actors. Actresses. Most of them have fair skin.

Alhamdulillah, I was never a person who wanted a fair skin. I love my skin and I’m grateful for what I have. I was even more proud when my “white” friends used to compliment my skin color.

What can those products do to your skin? I don’t believe they can make your skin any whiter. I do think they’re just placebo effect 😀

Happy 1st Birthday!


I’m so proud to be part of the family :). It’s been a great and an inspiring journey from the beginning. It started off as an ambitious dream with only 18 members and it has grown rapidly with a total of more than 40 members! Impressive!

Today was a celebration of our achievements (and apparently it coincided with the birthday of our director :)). It was also the day when the committee presented their visions and future plans on where this group would be headed. They even planned on recording in a studio!!! How awesome is that?! There were too many plans that they’ve laid out and it’s sad to say that I would not be here next year…

Not to mention: the foods were not to be missed, of course! After all, an Indonesian gathering without the foods were never complete!

Happy 1st birthday, Angklung Eindhoven!

Our director (teh Desi) and the two conductors (teh Ida and Burhan) cutting the cake! Our director received a birthday gift :)Our director received a birthday gift :) Eating and talking!Eating and talking! Eating and talking!

Short Reportage of Made in Indonesia

Made in Indonesia 2011

Oh, what an awesome (and tiring) day! The annual cultural event that we had all been waiting for finally took place! The highlight of the event was of course: Angklung Eindhoven! 🙂

Before the start of the event, we had the chance to do a last-minute practice at the parking lot of the St Petrus Church located across the event’s venue. We couldn’t practice at the venue because the organizing committee was busy doing check sound. It was on Saturday afternoon. Many people passed by from the market nearby and of course, they watched us practicing :). We told them to come to the event and some of them said they wanted to come. Last minute promotion, I guess? 😉

Rehearsal at the St Petrus Church's parking lot Rehearsal at the St Petrus Church's parking lot

At the start of the event, I was busy welcoming some people from Eindhoven University of Technology (my university!) and Gemeente Eindhoven (Eindhoven city council). They were very warm and friendly! They even told me to do whatever the things I supposed to be doing. Too bad the Alderman couldn’t come (he was supposed to come, but due to the changing of event’s time, he couldn’t attend). I had the opportunity to welcome the people from the embassy on another occasion and I hate to say that they’re very very formal. Some of them were not friendly and they even distanced themselves from us just because we’re ordinary citizens (that’s what I felt). Talking to the Dutch “important personalities” were much more relaxed!

Angklung Eindhoven

The angklungers performed twice at Made in Indonesia, with different songs. We played Medley Maluku (Nona Manis — Ayo Mama — Rasa Sayange) and Bungong Jeumpa for our first performance. For the second one, we played six songs: Yue Liang (a Chinese song), Yamko Rambe Yamko, Burung Kakatua, Si Patokaan, Tulpen Uit Amsterdam (a Dutch song), and finally Medley Indonesia (Tanah Airku — Indonesia Pusaka).

Burhan conducting the angklungers :) Teh Ida's turn to conduct the angklung ensemble

The climax of our performance was of course the last part! The newlyweds, mas Dody and teh Ida (teh Ida is also one of our conductors and founders of Angklung Eindhoven), sang Tanah Airku and Indonesia Pusaka accompanied by angklung. Their voice was amaaahhhhzing. I was told that some people even cried when they heard them singing and they stood applauding us when the song finished. I didn’t pay attention to anything like that hahaha. I was just glad that we could play it nicely. The two songs are Indonesian national and patriotic songs. The first song is about our love for the country even though we live abroad. I think this one touched people the most 🙂 I can’t wait to see the videos 🙂 Meanwhile, here’s the lyric of the song Tanah Airku:

Tanah airku tidak kulupakan
Kan terkenang selama hidupku
Biarpun saya pergi jauh
Tidak kan hilang dari kalbu
Tanahku yang kucintai
Engkau kuhargai

Walaupun banyak negri kujalani
Yang masyur permai dikata orang
Tetapi kampung dan rumahku
Di sanalah kurasa senang
Tanahku tak kulupakan
Engkau kubanggakan

Singing "Tanah Airku" and "Indonesia Pusaka" by mas Dody & teh Ida accompanied by angklung


Pak Jos (I think that's his name, if I'm not mistaken). He's our bassist. I had a nice convo with him Poco poco time!!!

Coming soon: the videos 🙂

Made in Indonesia 2011

Made in Indonesia 2011

I promised myself to completely take a break from all organization and angklung activities, but I CAN’T HELP IT!!! This event is our last big annual event before the end of our organizational term — before the new president is chosen. Of course I wouldn’t want to miss this chance! I want it to be a successful event tooo! 🙂 Can’t wait for Saturday!

Sorry, you are not invited!

I don’t know if this is an Asian thing or an Indonesian thing. But somehow, they get offended when they are not invited, be it a gathering, dinner party, wedding party, or anything, really! Some of them may not be offended, but they would keep on wondering why they’re not invited. Sometimes, they’d ask the reason directly to the host!

I have no problem at all if I’m not invited, especially if I’m not that close to the host — even if we’re in the same circle of friends. People have preferences and perhaps they want to limit the number of attendees… you know, there are many reasons to that! I don’t give a damn on these things.

This attitude of mine usually brings me to "trouble". Sometimes when I told a friend that I would be attending such and such gathering, I would be told later on that she was not invited. There was a sudden silent after that conversation :|. I suddenly felt so guilty for mentioning it in the first place because somehow I felt like she’s offended. This happens so frequently. I just never realize it and I keep on forgetting to be extra careful!

Some people would also ask me to invite this friend or that friend because otherwise they’d feel "gak enak" or awkward if he/she happens to know that he/she is not invited. I don’t accept that reason to be legitimate. I know that some people feel more comfortable to be around with some groups of people, so I would accept to invite extra people for that purpose. I don’t mind it at all. But if the reason is "gak enak" then, that’s totally your problem! Not my problem!!! Sometimes I wonder, helloooo… who’s the host here?! I have the right to invite who’s coming to the party and I really find it impolite for them to "force" me to invite that person for the reason that’s not related to mine or the liveliness of the party.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment poll

I found an interesting poll at This poll has been closed but I was struck at the poll result! 33% of the women who wear Islamic attire have never been sexually harassed in the West, while 32% of the votes said they have. Yes, I know… the poll show a strange result if you look at the percentages of other options, but this is a reminder that sexual harassment are plaguing women every single day… no matter where they live. Based on my experience of living and traveling in the West and Muslim world, I have to agree with the result of this poll. I have never been sexually harassed in any non-Muslim-majority countries that I went to. It is in the Muslim-majority country that I often experience such thing. In fact, it’s reported that 90% of Yemeni women said that they had been harassed (80% for Egyptians and 30% for Lebanese). Isn’t it sad?!

Saudi Arabia is a place where I constantly experience sexual harassment. It’s not a safe place for women to go around without men. And it’s NOT always a guarantee that you wouldn’t be harassed when you go with your brother or father. I have been stared from top to bottom, hissed, followed, thrown a business card, touched (thank God “only” my hand, but others may experience worst that me), and I have seen something that I should have not seen. I have also been followed with a car, which was scary! I have heard lots of inappropriate and sexual comments directed at me on the streets and the malls. It doesn’t happen only to me, I assure you. No matter how old you are and no matter how much you cover yourself, women in Saudi Arabia experience harassment almost every single day.

If you think that Mekkah and Madinah are the least place for women to experience sexual harassment, then you are gravely wrong! Inappropriate comments here and there can be heard even when you are in the Holy Mosque! I remember I was constantly stared by this creepy old man for an hour prior to the Eid Prayer at the Haram Mosque in Mekkah. I was very angry but I couldn’t do anything except to ignore him. I did react a couple of times when I was sexually harassed, but I didn’t want to cause disturbance this time at the mosque during one of the holiest months. Normally, women do not react when they experience such thing, allowing men to do it again as they please. BUT I’d suggest to do something about it! Scold him or  even threaten him to the religious police!! That would make him dead scared.

Anyway, the experience I wrote above didn’t only happen in Saudi Arabia. Indonesia is no exception, although it’s still “ok” if compared to Saudi Arabia. But still, sexual harassment knows no boundary. Even if it’s in the form of comments like “where are you going, pretty girl?”, it’s still considered a harassment.

I always wonder, why does it happen so frequently in the Muslim world? Is it because we’re too strict? (I’m talking about Saudi Arabia or Iran) Is it because men and women are forced to be segregated all the time? Is it because of the concept of mahram (guardian) that is being abused and misused?

Or are we perhaps too flexible and laid-back? (like in Indonesia or perhaps Malaysia) Men and women are not segregated. They can mingle as freely as they can without worrying about religious authorities. If that’s the case, why does sexual harassment  still exist there? I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as sexual harassment in the West, but I never experienced it (hopefully I won’t!). Maybe it’s different if I wore revealing and skimpy clothes and went to the club. Maybe! I don’t know. I never done that hahaha.

One day, a friend of mine asked me via twitter: “as a globetrotter, don’t you think the more liberal the country is, the less sexual harassment they experience? No hidden curiosity”.

That’s a tricky question! While I enjoy my life in the West free from disturbing comments or weird stares, I don’t support liberal views for obvious reasons (e.g. religion). We don’t need a totally free society but we also don’t need a strict one! But how can we be in the middle between the free and strict system? How can we teach the kids in a way that when they grow older, they wouldn’t look at women merely as an “object”? I don’t know the answer to those questions, to be honest.

My friend, who has been to Iran, Jordan, and Syria, also told me that out of all the three countries, she thinks Syria is the best. Iran is too strict, so it’s common for the youth to secretly hold mixed-sex parties with alcohol and drugs. Jordan, on the other hand, is too liberal and the women often complain about sexual harassment over there. Syria, according to her, is actually in the middle between Iran and Jordan. There are no restrictions imposed, nor visual judgment on women who don’t dress modestly. But most women dress and talk decently. Please note that her opinion is based on her observation after traveling to those countries and mingling with the locals (through CouchSurfing! What else, really?!).

She makes me want to go to Syria again!!! I want to go there and meet my uncle and aunt to discuss about this. Hopefully Syria is “recovering” soon from the unrest.

I want to conclude this post with this verse in the Qur’an:

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

— The Qur’an (24:30)



I had a great day at Pasar Malam Asia last Sunday. We played a total of 9 Indonesian songs with angklung. The last song played was called "Poco-Poco" and for the fun of it, I took part in dancing poco-poco with other mostly middle-aged dancers and audience. Yes, you can see me with the red kebaya and red headscarf struggling to do the right steps there in the video LOL. It was fun though! 🙂

Poco-poco dance is a line dance which is very popular in Indonesia and other SE Asian countries. The dance is usually accompanied by the song of the same name, which was written by an Ambonese, Arie Sapulette, and was popularized by an Indonesian singer, Yopie Latul. There are much speculations of where the dance came from. Some say it was originated from Moluccas and some say it was from Northern Sulawesi.

The dance became even more popular when it was recently declared as haram (forbidden) by the mufti in Perak, Malaysia. What can I say? If you want to declare poco-poco dance as haram, then you should declare all sorts of dances as haram too. It’s so inconsistent. Anyway…

People here are crazy about poco-poco! I’ve seen them (read: Indo-Dutch people) dancing in every Pasar Malam (*) events in the country. They’d dance poco-poco no matter what sort of songs is currently played.

* Pasar Malam means night market (literally) and is directly associated with Asian or Indonesian event. The “night market” itself doesn’t necessarily open only at night. Most Pasar Malam(s) in the Netherlands have Asian food stalls and music performances. The event is organized in many cities in the Netherlands.


Swan Lake


Our recent performance at a charity event in a small city of Best, which is only few minutes by train from Eindhoven.

I think we did a great job playing this song! 🙂 Many of the notes need to be played longer though. But I hope we can play it perfectly next month! 2 more songs to practice, then we’re ready for the Festival Muziek op de Dommel! Can’t wait!

A Present from Belitung


A friend of mine sent me this picture of Belitung. She is enjoying her vacation over there at the moment. She sent this picture to cheer me up while doing my thesis in the winterland of the Netherlands. Hehehehe. Thank you, dear 🙂

It’s strange to say this, but I can’t wait to go back to Indonesia. To settle, that is. Now I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do!!! This excitement and the feeling of "know-what-to-do" override every other feeling, including my hesitation to settle there 🙂

Thank you all my dear friends… who have never failed to inspire me 🙂 YOU ROCK!