Monday, August 3, 2015

A Visit to Johar Market

After the fire incident on May 9, 2015, I visited Johar market twice. The first time I went there was a few days after the incidents. I didn't have a heart to see the legendary market that left a bunch of memories for me. Last Sunday, I didn't really intend to visit it while having morning biking. I just wanted to pass it by. but then I couldn't help go through the messy market since the government hasn't done anything to it. For you to know, I just love loafing around any market, especially the market I had memory of. using my cellphone camera, my dear Sony Ericsson Elm with its 5 MP, I took some shots of people with their morning chaotic activities. I was sorry, I didn't bring my pocket camera that would take more photos with faster speed. the result I got was a bit surprising, though, since I haven't used my camera phone for quite some time. with few editings, I could say I'm happy with the pictures. Enjoy... 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SAMAN DANCE on Cultural Exchange of AISEC Students

Last Sunday, July 15, 2012, I went biking by myself. Even though the temperature is hot enough, I still pushed my pedal since this coming Sunday is fasting or Ramadhan for Moslems. I don’t go biking in the morning due to being dehydrated for the temperature.

I was lucky when I passed a certain area—called KB Park—there was an event, a cultural exchange by AISEC students around the world. A friend of mine who happened to be one of the exchanged students told me that he would perform there. The event started at 8 o’clock in the morning. When I passed KB park, I heard a cheerful song sung by a female student. I got closer to find out, and I saw a rhythmic dance called Saman dance. What is Saman dance? Here is a short explanation about Saman dance taken from Wikipedia

Saman (or dance of thousand hands) is one of the most popular dances in Indonesia. Its origin is from the Gayo ethnic group from Gayo Lues and is normally performed to celebrate important occasions.[1]
This dance is done by a group in one line (sometimes with some displacement) and dancers perform while kneeling.

On November 24, 2011 UNESCO officially recognized Aceh's traditional Saman Dance as an intangible element of world cultural heritage, which needs UNESCO's urgent protection.[2]

The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) named on Saman Dance as the best ASEAN cultural preservation effort at the 25th ASEANTA Awards for Excellence 2012.[3]

Another information about this traditional dance is many high schools in Jakarta have it as one of curriculum in their school. That’s why, I found many students of mine from Jakarta who studied in my town (Semarang) could perform this dance.

Here are the pictures I took on the Cultural Exchange of AISEC students

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Venice-like building

This is a place located somewhere near Johar traditional market. I'm not really sure of what building is now for. One thing for sure that this building has European architecture. It's a pity that Semarang local governement doesn't do anything to this building. It reminded me of a place in Venice. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

De Drie Baritons, incredible voice from Netherland

Frankly, I haven’t heard anything about them before I saw their ticket in my friend’s facebook. However, I decided to watch their performance. Actually, another reason for me is the place where they were going to perform is an old building with thousands of creepy stories, Lawang Sewu or a thousand Door-Building.  Its strategic place in the heart of the town is just within distance to my house. So, what else could stop me from watching it?

After getting the ticket in Widya Mitra, a place offering Dutch course, my niece, a friend and I went to Lawang Sewu. The stage was simple completed with spotlight located in front of some rows of seats for audience. My first expectation was this concert would be accompanied by a team of orchestra players, but, what I got was just a stage with 3 microphones and 2 seats. So, where would the instruments be placed? Ika, a friend of mine takes violin course recently, so she expected to see some violinists playing on the stage. She would take the energy from them as her motivation. But?

Sunday, April 15, 2012. at 7.30 PM, the MC opened the concert. I thought, since the performers are from Netherland, and Widya Mitra as a Dutch course, the concert would be held in Dutch. Moreover, I heard some audience speaking Dutch that really made me lost. Thanks God, that the MC spoke in Bahasa and de Drie Baritons singers greeted us in English. Yay, I was not lost anymore. My curiosity about the instrument finally got its answer: they used playback for the concert. Owh, I see.

In the entrance, we got the list of songs they were going to perform. From the list, I tried to recognize some of them that I might be familiar with. I found only few, Perhaps Love, Sway, To All The Girls I love Before while some others I might have known but the text seemed incorrectly typed. The titles I mentioned before were songs I listened once in a while. I was quite not sure since the songs I knew are not opera songs. That made me even more curious.

As soon as de Drie Baritons were on stage, they greeted in Bahasa, Selamat Malam (Good evening). They expressed how happy they were being invited in Indonesia, particularly in Semarang. The first song was Italiaans medley. Listening to their voice made me out of breath. Fyi, I’ve never been in such concert before. Their voice, song, and the place that has European architecture really did a great spell on me. I almost forgot to take a breath. Lol.

The following songs they performed still made the audience out their breath. Some distractions happened, though. The microphone sometimes went on and off. One of the singers made a joke that the building has a lot of creepy stories. And the ‘dwellers’ were distracting them. Lol. Thanks God, the distraction only happened when they talked to each other and to audience. Oya, they expressed among others admiration before they met and set up a group.

Some pop songs like Perhaps Love, To All The Girls I love Before were performed in half pop and half opera. How about Sway, the swing jazzy song? They even danced along the song. Wow…  the last two songs were written You’ll Never and Amigos in the text. I did expect that the two songs were songs I’m familiar with. Before they were about to say goodbye, they performed the songs I was curious about. And……….. wow…. They performed You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song with a lot of versions. And another last..last song….. my heart fell when they sang Amigos Para Siempre (Friends for Life). No one could sit still but gave them a standing ovation…

I went home, feeling satisfied and looked for another free classical concert. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kinds of Fasting in Javanese Tradition

Indonesia consists of a lot of tribes, and Javanese is one of them. I, myself have lived here all my life. Since the majority of population in Indonesia is Moslems, that’s why Ramadhan is a month that has been longed for by many Moslems here. Fasting is actually applied by many other religions with their own versions and applications. Many believe that fasting has positive effects both mentally and physically

Javanese people also believe that fasting is full of blessings. Javanese philosophy stated that fasting is time to train body and soul, sharpen their mind and sensation, and purify their emotions.

Those devoted Javanese people have discovered some methods of fasting in Javanese traditions. These people do their fasting according to some counted days to improve their spiritual and metaphysic.

The following is some methods of fasting in Javanese tradition:

1, Mutih
In this method, one is not allowed to eat anything but plain rice ( no salt, no sugar or any spices) and plain water. Before applying this kind of fasting, one must take a shower and read some chants.

2. Ngeruh
In this method, one is only allowed to consume vegetables and fruits. Any kinds of meat, poultry are not to consume.

3. Ngebleng
This fasting method does not allow one who applies it to eat, drink, go out of room/ house and do sexual activity. However, one can go to restroom when necessary. One must reduce their time to sleep. Mostly, this kind of fasting is done in 24 hours. When the night comes, no light is allowed, either.

4. Pati Geni
This kind of fasting has some similarities with the previous one. The difference is one is not allowed to go out room with any excuses, and no time to sleep. Some do this method in certain period of time: 3 days, 7 days, etc. 

5. Ngelowong
This method is a bit easier than the previous two. One who applies this fasting is not allowed to eat or drink in certain period of time. One is allowed to sleep in 3 hours (in 24 hours). Going out of the house is fine. 

6. Ngrowot
This method of fasting is applied from dawn till dust. The meal consumed is only fruits during the meal before fasting. The fruit can be from any kind as long as one consumes only one kind of fruit. For example, one can take 3 bananas for the meal. One is fine to sleep during fasting.

7. Ngranyep
This method has some similarities with the first method, Mutih. The difference is one is allowed to eat other kinds of food (not only plain rice and water), with one condition, the food doesn’t have any taste (tasteless). 

8. Ngidang
One consumes leaves and plain water. 

9. Ngepel
Ngepel here means palm full. One is allowed to eat rice as much as one’s palm full. In some condtions, one is fine to eat more than one palm full.

10. Ngasrep
One is to consume tasteless food and drink 3 times in a day.

11. Monday and Thursday
This fasting method is done on Monday and Thursday. This fasting is I line with Islam teaching as taught by Prophet Muhammad SAW. 

12. Wungon
This method of fasting is done by skipping eating, drinking and sleeping for 24 days.

13. Tapa Jejeg
One is not allowed to sit for 12 hours.

14. Lelono
One has to do a walking trip from 12 midnight to 3 at dawn. One usually does it for self reflection

15. Kungkum
Kungkum is a unique meditation. Many practitioners who apply this meditation find an incredible sensation when they do it. There are some procedures for those people to do. They mostly do it for 7 days. 

16. Ngalong
This meditation is done by putting one’s body upside down. In certain level, this method is done by putting one’s feet on a tree and one’s head is down (Ngalong=kalong=bats). One cannot have a lot of movements when he/ she is doing this. By doing this kind of meditation, one trains his/ her breathing technique. This method will give maximum benefits when one does Ngrowot fasting, too (fasting method number 8) 

17. Ngeluwang
This kind of meditation is the scariest thing for common people since it needs a great courage. People believe that this kind of meditation is applied to get supernatural vision. In this method, one must be buried in a graveyard or in an isolated place.

Well, folks, for your information, centuries ago, Indonesia’s ancestors used to worship animism and dynamism due to the previous religions. Islam first came to Indonesia around 7th century. Centuries later, it is hard enough to eliminate some beliefs held by traditions even though some are against Islam teachings

(from translated manually by Lila)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pekojan porridge, a free meal during Ramadhan month

It’s been a while for me to search a kind of traditional food in Semarang, Pekojan porridge. For about two years I’ve been searching, I finally found out where and how to find it. I had been mistaken after watching a show on TV about the food. I thought this porridge is available in the Great Mosque or Kauman mosque. But after experiencing having a fasting break for several times there, what I got were just a package of rice, date and mineral water. I was deeply disappointed.
There were hundreds of bowls and glasses. I saw some people pouring milk into the glasses. I could hardly wait for tasting the porridge. The porridge consists of Indian porridge with sliced chayote as topping, ‘krecek’, and tofu. I also got complimentary food such as for pieces of dates, a glass of milk and a slice of watermelon. It’s a fantastic menu for breaking my fasting, especially after two years searching for it. 

As I tasted the porridge, it was a bit cold since it was prepared hours before the fasting break came. It really tasted rich with some spices. Once a in while, I found small slices of ginger. It really completed the taste. The recipe itself came from some people who were originally from Arab and India. Some people call them Koja. Maybe, that’s why the porridge’s name is Pekojan porridge since the Koja is where the people came from. The people there provide the porridge for free only during Ramadhan month. If you want to drop by and feel the yummy porridge, just visit Petolongan street no 1, Kampung Pekojan, Semarang.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Semarang Critical Mass Ride--August edition 2010

Friday night, 27 August 2010, is the last Friday in August 2010, which was also the day of implementation of the Critical Mass Ride, Semarang, Semarang raided cyclists. 

Semarang critical mass ride is an awareness campaign conducted by enthusiastic cyclist, held regularly every month on the last Friday of each month. Critical mass bike ride is a simultaneous campaign events held throughout the world, and Semarang is one of the participating cities. 

So, on the same day, there were about millions of cyclists flooded the main streets in every part of the world. Just imagine. It’s really awesome! Thanks to fairly vigorous campaign before the implementation of activities done by those cyclists, On Friday night, cyclists gathered, from various communities and various types of bicycles. All of them flooded with one purpose, to promote the use of bicycle as the main transportation.

They were gathered at the Menteri Soepeno park / KB Park, promptly at 8 entourage cyclists began to move slowly but surely making 'shock therapy' for the citizens of the city of Semarang. Travel route to be taken at this time is the critical mass Menteri Supeno Park, Pahlawan street, Simpanglima, Pandanaran, Siliwangi (in front of ADA supermarket). Then they moved in the park - Siliwangi (front PMI - Tugu Muda - Pemuda, Tawang Polder, Blenduk Church / Taman Sri Gunting. Then, they turned around to Pemuda street, Gajah Mada street, Kampung Kali – Kartini street, Dr. Cipto, Milo, Brigadir Katamso street, Ahmad Yani street- Simpang Lima. 

In Tugu Muda, Semarang Critical Mass participants gathered around the Tugu Muda, Their bicycles parked neatly on the sidewalk. This action could make the area of Tugu Muda crowded, where there were still lots of motor vehicles. Some participants were taking pictures, especially when they met their friends from other communities, the atmosphere seemed friendly and cheerful. The trip was continued and stopped at the parking lot in front of Blenduk church/ Taman Sri Gunting. And once again, some participants who were not satisfied for taking pictures, did their photo session.. 

The last route was Simpanglima. And at these five intersections, all the participants gathered in Semarang Critical Mass Ride. The last of all was 'bike in the air’ that is an action which the participants 'lift their bike' together. 

Well, overall, the event lasted amazingly. It is not everyday, bicycle becomes the ‘king’ on Semarang main streets. The people who didn’t expect to see such amazing event would be stunned, amazed seeing hundreds of cyclists enjoying the night ride in Semarang.

taken from translated by the admin