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.