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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Karimata Market, for Birds Lovers

Who loves taking care of birds? Well, I don’t. But I love listening to them singing. Thanks God that even though I live in a town, I can hear them singing in the morning. This time, I’d like to show you that Semarang has a market especially for those bird lovers. They can find any kinds of birds, not to mention owl (reminds me of Harry Potter’s owl). The market is called as Karimata market.

I often bike passing the place, but I don’t have enough courage to drop by since 70 percent of visitors/ shoppers are male visitors. They come from all walks of life, young and old. Actually, bird is not the only thing sold there, but there are other things: other pets (cats), birds food, birds cage, fish, plants, and some tools.
Well, if you drop by in Semarang, and love birds, you can consider dropping by at Karimata market. The place is located near Kampung Kali and the tress are always shading the location. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the scorching sun in Semarang.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Proposal: A Bike Lane in Semarang

For your information, I have been biking to work since 2008. Besides, I have been active in joining bike to work community in Semarang, including promoting to society about how important to reduce global warming by biking. I don’t bike to work every day, though. I bike to work at least 2-4 times in a week. The number of bike to work members is getting more and more every time. Moreover, bike to work has some ‘branches’ in Semarang: bike to school, bike to campus and folding bike community. Actually, there some other bike communities in Semarang: PCS, SOC (Semarang Onthel Community), Samba, Gagak Rimang, Tend Beer, etc. Some of the mentioned communities gathered this morning with some prominent officials discussing about bike lane in Semarang. Is that possible?
There were three speakers in the talk show, A Proposal: Bike Lane in Semarang, Mr. Joko from Sugijopranoto University majoring Transportation, Mr. Cahyono from Sugijopranoto University majoring in Environment and Mr. Gurun from Transportation Government Department. Basically, they agreed to have a bike lane in Semarang. The problem is there are still many things to prepare such as the infrastructure and the awareness of Semarang people about bike lane. There are some bike lanes in some parts of the streets in Semarang, however, the people make use of them for parking, for street vendors (mostly a semi permanent building for selling food). As the result, the cyclists prefer using the lane for motor vehicles to using the bike lane.

During the talk show, there were some questions from the audience. Some of them were about the complaint of the unavailability of bike parking in malls and other places and the unfair treatment of some people to cyclists especially on the street. Therefore, we all expect that by realizing bike lane in Semarang, the people will open their mind that we, cyclists exist and need to be treated fairly.

At the end of the talk show, Mr. Gurun from Transportation Government Department promised us to meet him after the major election that is going to be carried out next week. He invited us to discuss to realize bike lane in Semarang. Well, wish it would be realized soon.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Simpang Lima, the Five Junctions

What is the special thing from Simpang Lima, especially on Sunday morning? Hmmm…. Those people who happen to drop by in Semarang must have been to this place especially on Sunday morning. Simpang liam actually is just like a common park that people can find in the heart of a city. It becomes special on Sunday morning since there are thousands of bric-a-brac sold there. ‘Awul awul’ market that’s how some people call it since the price is considered ‘awul2 or very cheap, or at least negotiable. A friend of mine who was born but dwell in upper town of Semarang has never been there was surprised to see how almost anything can be found there.
Let’s see the first seller, a cassette seller. So far, I have found at least two or three cassette sellers. They sell old cassettes, and most of them are old or second hand. People can get one for Rp. depending on the rarity and the demand of the cassette. Once a friend told me that he got Iwan Fals—a legendary ballad singer—for more than Rp.70.000!!! From my observation, with the spread of mp3 in internet, they still get some loyal customers. I myself, used to be one of their customer.
Let’s move on to the second seller, clothes sellers. Kinds of clothes in various designs, stylish, fashionable are spread everywhere in Simpanglima. People can find outfits for babies, kids, teenagers, adults, including accessories such as slippers, shoes, belts, hair pin, head band, brooch, rubber band, necklace, rings, bling bling, glasses, hand bag for ladies, well, you name it. You can get a very great bargain as long as you can do negotiation.  But, some sellers apply fixed price for their stuff. Time and place sometimes matter here. I mean, sellers apply much cheaper price for their stuff when the market is about to close, around 8.30. and the place, well, Simpanglima is very spacious so that everyone can choose their place to sell their goods. Some of them who take in the center of Simpanglima have a tendency to sell much cheaper since the place is not too strategic.

I recommend you not to have breakfast if you want to take a walk on Sunday morning in Simpanglima. Why? There are lots of food offered there. Nasi ayam, chicken satay, soto, meatball, kacang hijau, gudeg, pecel, not to mention the snacks. Hundreds of snacks can be found there. Take example: oily food (mendoan—kind of fried tempe), tahu isi, bakwan; crackers, traditional food such as leker, klepon, gethuk; even some modern food offered, too: burger. One food that can recall my memory is manisan. I don’t know what is made from, but the color looks tempting, pink, light blue and others. 
Simpanglima can be a good place to increase book collection since there are some second hand books, magazines, comics. They are in an amazingly good shape. Once I got a novel that I used to read when I was kid; Noni, Famous Five, The Three Detectives, etc. some of them are used to be people’s private collection of book rental. I found people’s name on it or the address of book rental that no longer exists.

Semarang theaters are not really up to date with the latest movies. Whereas, some of Semarang people, especially youngsters are movie freaks. However, the income rates is so good that they cannot afford to buy the original DVDs. That’s why, many pirated DVDs are spread around Smpanglima. And the consumers? They are mostly youngsters and young adults. The latest movies can be sold out in hours.  Mp3 CDs are the second stuff people seek. Karaoke VCD is another option. The price? People can get one for Rp. 5000 (a half dollar!)

Simpanglima on Sunday morning might be the perfect place for parents to introduce kinds of pets to their kids. I often see parents with their kids—about two to five years old—point at some pets in their cage, such as rabbits, fish, hamster, chicken, and cocoon.  

Not only pets become the attraction for kids, but also kinds of playing ground with various toys to play with. Look at the pictures how kids got their great happiness when they got on them: odong2, ATV, small train, etc. Not to mention great variety of dolls, puppets, bubble soap, etc.

In brief, Simpanglima is a great place to visit for everyone. Thousands of things are offered there. Just pick one and get a good bargain…

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mother's love Conquers all

Another picture that I bet will rise a lot of critics.
A mother who taught her child a sort of lesson before the child went to school. Perhaps, the child was about to get an exam on that day while she didn't have to time teach her at home.
The problem was the not only endangered their life but also the others *sigh*

The picture was taken in Dr. Cipto street by

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Indonesia has celebrated its 64th birthday and Semarang celebrated its 460th birthday last year. However, this kind of problem exists....

I took the picture in front of a sore in Bulu market one morning. I didn't have any courage to get closer since the man was not  really asleep 

Need a Great Gut

This kind of scene can be found in Indonesia, especially in Semarang. I'm not sure they risk their life and others' lives for the sake of being economical (they don't want to spend money to take taxi or truck).

Bumpy...Bumpy road....

Holes in some Semarang main roads have been problems for Semarang dwellers. The pictures were taken when I was biking on Bubakan street. The one way road is mostly crowded in week days by public transpositions, private vehicles and passers by. One morning I was about to fall down from my bike because of the holes.

Well, Semarang is about to have general election for local major. All of the candidates promise to manage problems on the street: flood, pollution including holes on the street.

Let's see in the next two weeks for major general election

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's happening in Semarang Sky....

ell, this is the first time for me to share something that is still happening in Semarang. At first, I didn't get interested in looking up to the sky even though some friends of mine encouraging to see the sky right now via facebook. But then, after a friend of mine uploaded the photo that was taken 5 minutes ago, I hurriedly went outside, and.....Subhanallah. Allah the Greatest.... There, up in the sky, I can see full moon with halo around it.

I cannot describe in words.... speechless....

Wish the phenomenon brings good things for all of us...

The pic was taken from

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sky Garden, Fly High to The Sky

The name ‘Sky Garden’ represents a place that is located somewhere high. That’s true since it’s located upper part of Semarang. People said that it used to function as a hotel in 1970-1980’s that had quite complete facilities: great garden, large rooms, swimming pool, and others. Years passed, this two floor building is surrounded by many new buildings that have more stylish design. It’s not clear when this place was abandoned and who supposed to be responsible for the maintenance. 

Some rumors spread in Semarang public, stating that this used-to-be luxurious hotel is eerie. Some sightings are often seen there. In the former years, a private television made use of the place in its program. Scary programs were used to be popular and Sky Garden building was of course the right place to shoot. Well, if only there were people who care about some old buildings in Semarang and make a little renovation, we could preserve them to the next generation of Semarang dwellers.

The pic was taken from

Sam Po Kong Temple, The Temple of An Admiral

Those who dwell in Semarang must be familiar with the existence of Sam Po Kong temple which is located in Gedung Batu, Simongan, western part of Semarang, Central Java. It is a Buddhist temple where Buddhists from many other places mostly come in Chinese celebrations. Among many temples in Semarang, Sam Po Kong is claimed to be the biggest in Semarang and happens to have a lot of background story.

The location to get to the place is quite is easy since it’s accessible to some public transportations. It takes only about twenty minutes from the airport. From my observation, it has been renovated a couple of times since I visited the Buddhist temple couple of times. The rules for visitors have changed, too, such as entrance ticket (I didn’t have to pay to get in) that costs Rp. 3000, the intention to go there must be certain: for touring or worshipping, touring tourists are not allowed to get in to explore, tourists who worship will have to buy a box of incense that costs Rp. 10.000. Therefore, I can recommend you who want to explore and want to get the great angles to take pictures, just have worship as your intention and pay for at least one dollar. You can be satisfied both for great pictures and exploration; even though you are not a Buddhist (you can try to find to know your prophecy done by a local oracle)
As I mentioned earlier that the temple has a lot of background story, not only the temple itself that has many interesting parts but also the founder, Admiral Cheng Ho. Cheng Ho was the first Chinese Muslim who transited in Semarang coast in 14th  The Cheng Ho’s transit seemed to give a great influence to the people who lived around the place. Later after he left, the cave was buried due to landslide that happened in 1704. The local people then dug the place and established altar to respect the Muslim Admiral, and built Cheng Ho statue and his followers. The place then turned to be a place for fortune telling using cards. century. At first, the temple was just a cave that was used as altar for worshipping for this Persian born Commander and his followers.

The building has many interesting parts that you can feel as if you were in China. An open veranda will welcome as soon as you get in. the place is used for those who want to take pictures wearing Chinese outfit. There are various models that visitors can choose, say from the serial martial art Mandarin movies, including the weapons and hair accessories, to Queen and Emperor clothes are available there. Well, if you used to be a big fan of Andy Lau, Felix Wong, and Tony Leung who skyrocketed with Chin Yung’s trilogy—The Legend of Condor Heroes, The Return of Condor Heroes and Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre—you can just pay Rp. 75.000 to rent the outfits and take pictures. Wearing Chinese outfit and temple as the background of the pictures will be a perfect combination. You don’t need to go to Shanghai to get the sense of China.
The most of the temple is decorated with dragon reliefs with red and yellow as the main color of the entire temple. Some statues that represent Cheng Ho’s followers are standing with colorful outfits, expressions and actions. Mostly they are ready with their weapons, sword, spear, bludgeon, etc. Lampions in red are the main ceiling decorations in various sizes. Not to mention the candles that are written names of donators.  
There are mainly seven separated big temples, but visitors can easily see four of them from the entrance, namely The Temple of Sea Goddess, The temple of Earth God, Kyai Juru Mudi Temple and the biggest is Sam Po Kong temple. The first temple, The Temple of Sea Goddess is being renovated. The second one, The Temple of Earth God is place where people can ask their prophecy. Standing in front of the temple are a couple of guards.  There are two devils standing, guarding Kyai Juru Mudi temple (so sorry, I forget the philosophy of the two devils here). The three other temples are Kyai Jangkar Temple, Kyai Tumpeng temple, and Kyai Tjanduk Bumi temple. The places of the three temples appear isolated so that only few visitors go there.
The memorable cave is located behind the four main temples that has been renovated. On the wall, written relief in three languages, Chinese, Indonesian and English. The relief can tell more than words that bring people to Cheng Ho’s experience in the past. 
Another interesting thing you can do here is finding your luck in the future. Buying incense for Rp. 10.000 can be a perfect reason for people who don’t seem to worship in this place since they have to deal with many questions by the guards. Female Muslims wearing Muslim headdress are allowed to go in. For those who are not Buddhist don’t need to worry for doing ritual and pray since all the things can be represented by Biokong. What people do is just buy the incense and give it to the Biokong who will pray and do ritual for them. The ritual is done inside and outside the temple. Later the Biokong will explain anything written in the paper as the future prediction.
Well, overall, Sam Po Kong temple is a great place to visit for those who drop by in Semarang. Chinese panorama spread as soon as people pass the temple. All religion followers are treated similarly as long as they know the ‘trick’ to get in. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Semarang Banjir Canal, in the process of make up

I have lived nearby the canal since I was in the third grade of Elementary school. So far, my housing complex has been flooded once in 1981 when the dam was broken. There were a lot of victims. Not to mention some desperate people used the strong wave to commit suicide. From my experience, I saw two crowds standing next to the flood plain watching the SAR evacuated the ceased body. During the rainy season, I can also find some people sitting on their motor bike or standing, enjoying the strong wave that looks so scary. In dry season, I sometimes saw some kids make use of the dry surface to play football.  

The canal is strategically located that many people—mostly from out of town—use the flood plain to build houses that later are used for business; furniture, plants sellers, food stalls, garage, etc. some of them even cut trees for building their business places. Well, it’s indeed strategic for business on the contrary they don’t care about their own and others’ safety from flood.

Starting last year, the local government tried to normalize the use of the flood plain and removed the sellers by relocating them in different places. Some agree with some conditions—they get their equal indemnity, another strategic place—by the time the local government removes them. The normalization intended by the government is the aim of establishing Jatibarang reservoir by the help of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which was intended to start in October 2009. If everything goes well as planned, the project will cost Rp. 237,7 billion. The project’s purpose is not only for people’s safety but also to build a beautiful place for everyone along the flood plain. From information I got, the local government intends to make it as a place for families  to spend their leisure time together. Let’s wait and see.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Imlek Semawis Fair 2010

Starting from 2002, I regularly visit Imlek Semawis Fair that is located in Chinatown in Semarang. This fair is especially held to welcome Chinese New Year. Different from the previous fair that was mostly located in Gang Baru, this year it was located in Gang Lombok, right in front of Tay Kak Sie Temple. People regard the temple as the oldest and the most complete temple in Semarang.

It was established  in 1746. The main purpose of establishing the temple was to worship Kwan Sie Im Po Sat, the Compassionate Goddes. But then, the temple was getting bigger and more Tao Gods are worshipped there. The name of the temple was written on a big board in the gate, including notes about the temple that was established in Emperor Dao Guang (Hokkkian: Too Kong) during Qing Dynasty (Ching Dynasty) that means The Great Awareness Temple.

This year, Imlek Semawis Fair was launched by The Minister of Industry and Commercial, Mari Elka Pangestu. It appeared that people from all walks of life enjoyed the fair regardless their race. The celebration is to a kind of revitalization for exposing Chinatown as one of tourist objects in Semarang. There were some attractions during the launching such as dancing and singing Pancawarna Semawis by Bina Bangsa International School, another dance by The International Nature Loving Association (INLA) and the launching of new type of stamp with the picture of tiger as a symbol of Tiger Year in Chinese calendar.
the stage is located in cheng Ho's Ark replica
From what I experience comparing from year to year Imlek Semawis Fair, this year’s celebration was not as big as the previous celebrations. I noticed it from the location that was narrower than the previous ones. It was perhaps due to the celebration took place at the same time as the Warung Semawis that is regularly open during the weekend. Therefore, there were two places that hold the same event. Some people even mistakenly came to Warung Semawis instead of Imlek Semawis (including me).

One thing similar to the previous year, 2009, was Industry Exhibition from Local Regions. We could see a lot of handicrafts in a form of batik, such as table cloth, curtain, even guitar, kitchen utensils and statues. It’s unique, isn’t it? As a visitor, since I didn’t plan to buy, I merely took pictures without asking about the price.
rice spoon in batik
duck statue in batik
My next place to visit was Tay Kak Sie Temple. Frankly, I love anything about Chinese culture, that’s why I have visited this temple a couple of times. In regular days, it doesn’t open for visitors like me, only for those who want to worship. Since it’s Chinese Year celebration, so it’s open for everyone. I was free to take pictures as many as I could. I was also quite lucky since there was a charity program held by the temple by distributing food aid for the needy. I saw some people were fighting to get the first. It was a bit chaotic. Well, I can conclude that all religions have the same care and share happiness for everyone who needs help by distributing what they need.
people deeply absorbed in their worship

 people waiting or distribution

Looking forward to another celebration next year.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Es Conglik, the legend will last forever

Es Conglik or Conglik Ice is a legendary Semarang traditional beverage. Conglik Ice can be a kind of representative of lower class beverage in the past since its name is taken from KaCong CiLik or a little lad. According to a history, in 1944, there was a little lad who used to work for a wealthy businessman and when he quit his job, he established his own business and it’s called as Conglik Ice. The business has developed until today and becomes a legend.
How does Conglik Ice look like? Actually, the performance and the taste are not far different from Thung2 Ice (I wrote about it earlier). The process on how to make Conglik Ice is mostly similar to it. And so is the place where Conglik Ice is placed. The difference is in the various topping of the beverage, such as grated young coconut, jelly, bread, chocolate,etc. It has some varieties of flavor, too, such as chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, durian, longen, young coconut or mostly called as kopyor, lychee, avocado, etc.
Conglik Ice has typical way of production similar to Thung2 Ice. The main ingredients are Coconut milk, sugar and some flavor are mixed together and put in a drum made of metal then the drum is soaked in a ice cubes and salt. The drum is spinned till the dough inside the drum turns to solid dough. It is mostly served in a small bowl or plate with its topping.  
There are msotly only two places offer this legendery beverage, they are Semawes Fair (held only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week) located in Chinatown in Semarang and a food stall in front of Tlogorejo hospital, close to Simpanglima, the heart of Semarang. Well, if one day something brings you to Semarang, please drop by in one of those places and have a great taste of Conglik Ice. Fresh and yummy....