Tag Archives: Indonesia

Notes: Fine Days in Gangga Island

Sailing...... [2009:E O]

Sailing…… [2009:E O]

An outboard engine was started by a fisherman, its rattle breaking the morning. One after the other, boats are moving, making a line, moving in the foreground as the sun appears from behind the horizon. It is 6 am. The island is still quiet as the fishing boats pass from view and out of sound. Sometimes a late sleeping fisherman disturbs the peace again as he makes his way across the coats to catch up with the fleet.

This is a unique stage portrait of Minahasan life which is passing by me as I am enjoying the early morning tropical breeze by the beach on Gangga Island. Gangga Island is an isolated white sand beach destination in 150 hectares of natural garden setting 3 kilometers north of the coast of North Sulawesi. Minahasa is one of the races in North Sulawesi.

Subsequent to having breakfast, I am getting ready to explore the world under water by catching the boat to one of the snorkeling spots. I am sure, it will be an excellent experience, as this area is the part of the world’s Coral Triangle. However, I am not going diving but I am just going snorkeling.

Surrounded by the silence of the island, I walk down to the wharf, where a sexy locally made boat has been waiting for our group.

“Hello, good morning. How are you?” said Ayoub, a Minahasan boat crew, greeting us with a friendly smile before we get into the boat. The engine comes to life and we are ready to sail to the waters of neighboring Tindila Island.

Moving further away from Gangga Island, leaving a trail of bubbles which disappear into the sea after only a few second we reach the snorkeling spot above a reef tinged in light blue after only ten minutes sailing.

While we are waiting patiently to jump into the water, we are given some guidance by Anton, the snorkeling guide, which must be listened to for our safety under water. Afterwards, one by one, my group slips over the side into the sea.

“Wow! This is wonderful” I say to myself. It is so beautiful and so different with the world above water in which I live. I feel as though I am flying freely like an Alap-alap hawk in the air, watching the fish peacefully lead their lives in an around the reef.

I can see a blue star fish, which look so calm and still, gumming itself to the ground. Or, over there, there’s an active small blue fish with a yellow tail. They call them Chrysiptera parasema, which like to move here and there. Pretty clouds of fish of many varieties swim all around me. On one occasion, Anton shows us where hundreds or might be thousands of fish are moving here and there in a large group. “It is indeed a wonderful world of fish.”

They are magnificent. They look like a great group of human being who want to move somewhere, whether because they feel panic or excitement as we approach them.

I don’t know how to describe this beautiful life under the water, although it is my job to. An amazing natural ecosystem seemingly without any human touch upon it. However I can see part of the coral that has been bombed. Destroyed and dead. A sign that our fishermen once used dynamite instead of their nets and their talent.

But local government, cooperating with the community are working together to restore these broken fish reef homes and preserve coral ecosystem. It is a great chance that I have to be here. On a clear sunny day, I am exploring the world under waters around the Tindila Island for more than an hour. But, unfortunately, we must finish our trespassing because suddenly the currents bring a sea covered in garbage.

“It is strange that so much rubbish is floating in this area. The local government should have taken an action to keep this environment clean. Well, not just the government actually, but also the local people and passing ships who throw the garbage in the sea.” Tommy Davis, a Canadian tourist, who is disappointed with the floating garbage.

The garbage forces us to stop snorkeling, and after a short break on Tindila Island for few minutes before we sail back to Gangga Island.

Once again, I would say that this is a special part of the world. But the occasional wave of rubbish atop the sea almost ruins a spectacular setting; however there is more to see. The blue water, the tropical rain forest, the local fisherman and the underwater world are just part of a unique isolated paradise off the north coast of North Sulawesi.

While wondering about the secrets of this little island, Anton and Ayoub circumnavigate Gangga Island. In only 150 ha, this island has just two villages. Comically named Gangga Satu and Gangga Dua. From the boat, I can tell that Gangga Satu and Gangga Dua are two very different villages but similar at the same time.

Different in how the way they build and develop their fishermen village and facilities. But both remain undeveloped and poor. Interestingly, one is noticeable for its several mosques, and the other two Church spires. While a handful of motorbikes busied themselves on the seafront one could not see any vehicles.

However, Gangga Satu is a slightly more developed village, where an environment friendly resort, “Gangga Island”, was built and developed. As the only resort on the Gangga Island, it trains and employs members of the local community. It reminds me of a conversation that I had with Hanne Harbol, General Manager of Gangga Island, last night, in which she said that they are seeking to preserve the environment both human and natural.

“We have a program for the local society, especially for the kids. Every month, we will ask them to come here and introduce them with the sea’s ecosystem. This program is meant to protect this island from the damage, whether neither in the land nor in the sea”. But the big question is what about all the garbage?

Thinking about that conversation, the things I saw, heard, tasted and smelled, it makes me speechless and I realize how beautiful this Indonesian island is, and that there are many more of them. However, I wonder how we will take care of them all. Precious that they are they are not crowded with people, vehicles, office buildings and shopping malls. The peaceful natural world is more than enough and this is what I am looking for by coming here, a white sand beach holiday which is far from the modern life and business city.

Finally, having gone around the island we arrive at the wharf. I am feeling so happy for the experience that I had today. The world under water, the garbage, the island, the people, the current and everything that I am seeing are wonderful. I am smiling as much as I ever have, as I walk back to my bungalow to get ready before having a Minahasan meal for my hungry stomach.

It is indeed a great day, but the day has not ended yet as the blue sky is slowly turning into red as the sun dips towards the horizon. Under the vanilla sky, I sit by the beach, enjoying the dusk with the sillouettes of the fishermen sailing past me, one by one, on their way home The only sounds being the rattle of an old outboard engine and the breaking waves on the beach.


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Photo: From My Kitchen

Homemade  veggie couscous salad with bacon [2015:EO]

Homemade veggie couscous salad with bacon [2015:EO]

Mix vegetable with feta cheese [2015:EO]

Mix vegetable with feta cheese [2015:EO]

Fruit salad with corn flake and plain yogurt [2015: E O]

Fruit salad with corn flake and plain yogurt [2015: E O]

Egg white in  bell pepper, kiwi and grill plantain [2015:E O]

Egg white in bell pepper, kiwi and grill plantain [2015:E O]

Muesli  with pomegranate and plain yogurt [2015: E O]

Muesli with pomegranate and plain yogurt [2015: E O]

Black olive rice, hainanese chicken in sesame oil and raw veggie [2014: E O]

Black olive rice, hainanese chicken in sesame oil and raw veggie [2014: E O]



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Notes: Family and Marriage

When it comes to family memories, I do not really have so much interesting family memories to talk about, or to reminiscence, or just to remember. It is not that I come from a broken family. We just did not do much of family stuff together. Not even just an ordinary family dinner, summer holiday or going to a bookstore on the weekend.

Yet, I cannot blame my parents because they spent most of the time working their ass off to provide an adequate living and best education, which I am totally grateful for. Those (adequate living and best education) are the best legacy that they have given to me for my future so I can be successful and most importantly be A GOOD PERSON in my society. They are indeed great parents for me.

However I don’t want my kids to have similar experience as me. I don’t want my kids to not have one of their parents dropping them to school or I don’t want my kids to not be able to spend minimum of an hour with both their father and mother having an ordinary dinner with a fruitful conversation at home –where I would cook, my husband helping me to make up the table and clean up the dishes-. I don’t want my kids to have no good memories about their parents and their family. I don’t want that.

Few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with one of my acquaintance. He said to me that it is hard to be a parent. Being a parent comes with many  responsibilities. In order to fulfill the responsibilities, he has to travel around the world to make money.

Yet, few months ago, he said to me that he lost track because he has been having an affair with another woman. He has forgotten to fulfill his responsibility as a father and as a husband. He sounded so guilty and wanted to make up to his family for “the losing time”.

The phrase of ‘the losing time’ reminded me of how awful it is to not be able to have a wonderful childhood memories with parents. It does not feel great at all. As a result, I don’t have a great attachment with my family at all. I have been always trying to figure out life by myself since I was 18 years old with not much of family support.

Sometimes it feels so painful whenever I think about it. But again I wouldn’t complain. Why? It is because I am just extremely so blessed! By the God’s grace I can make my own way to be where I wanted to be right now. And definitely, I would continue my journey with the grace of God also.

As a married woman, I must say that it is not easy at all to build a perfect family. It is not. It is not easy at all. A family is built by two individuals. The two individuals would always have a lot of differences including cultural differences, educational differences, social value difference, etc.

And it is not easy at all to unite all those differences. Despite the fact the two individuals are loving each other, love alone is not enough to unite those two individuals and make them to be happy together.

For me, a happy relationship/marriage and family requires more than just love. It requires RESPECT, HONESTY, SACRIFICE, APPRECIATION and also UNDERSTANDING. Without all of those points, love would fail to achieve a happy family or a happy relationship. Even love can lead to unhappiness, especially when we use so much of our feeling or heart.

While I am writing this blog, I might not yet be anywhere close to success in building a happy family or stay in a perfect relationship. I have failed many times. We have failed many times. We were even nearly close to an end anyhow. Why? It is because there was lack of understanding, respect and sacrifice within us.

I would not blame anyone for this failure. I was so selfish and I am still selfish. I am still overly busy chasing my own professional dream than building my own family. However I realize that I need to change.

When an individual get married is no longer about ME, ME and ME. It is about YOU, ME and US.  That is what I failed to understand when I got married at the first place. I had no idea of what the concept of family value is, I had no idea how the family should be built because I learnt nothing about it when I was a child.

And because of my adventurous life, I used to think that a marriage is  just another step of a relationship. It is just a legal status. In the end of the day, I am still a free person. But I was wrong. I forgot all things, which would come along with it. It is not that I did not know what I wanted, I was just  so young when I got married. So what can I say? However as time passed by I have been learning that things need to be changed.

In these last few weeks, I have been thinking, reflecting about what a family is and how a family should be. I have been seeing photo stream of the so-call-happy family (who knows whatever happened behind the frame?) on social media. I have been having a lot of discussion about a family and its problem with friends and acquaintances. I have seen how many of good friends of mine changing as soon as they become moms.  I had a wonderful experience of a family moment when I was in North America. It all gives me insight.

As a conclusion, I want to be able to provide REAL and wonderful family memories for my children  in the near future. Yet, I imagine it is not easy.


There are so many artificial relationship and marriage out there. Some couple stay in a marriage because we want to make other people happy. Or some stay in a marriage or relationship because of the kids. Or some stay in a marriage because of the job promotion, etc.

At the end, some men would cheat on their wife and vice versa. They claimed that they have their own reason to do so without realizing the long term effect of it for ourselves and people around us. Some people deny, some would admit it publicly. Yet, there is often a silent agreement between the two. There would always a way to justify their actions. But that is not what I want. It is not healthy. It is not real.

A couple weeks ago, I had a fruitful conversation with my best friend over lychee martini in Bali. “When you have a relationship with a married man but you don’t know that he is married, it does not make you to be a bad person,” she went on.

But if you know that he is married and you are in relationship with him, you are a bad person. Regardless how unhappy their relationship is and they are still married, you should not be with the man. It makes you to be A BAD PERSON, for sure,” she said to me.

Her sentence hit my head. I agree with her. It reminded me of what Eddie Griffin said in one of Dr Dre record’s Ed-ucation.

Biggest hoes, on planet Earth…. are walking through the mothafuckin neighborhood. You KNEW when you got with the n*gga he already had a woman. You knew he already had a family but you fucked him anyway! Why? You were just a dumb bitch, trying to keep, a n*gga that you wanted

And that is the last thing I want to be. That is the last thing that I want to happen to my family. I don’t want to be a BAD PERSON. I don’t want to be a third party in anyone’s family and I don’t want a third party coming to my family. A third party would give you a temporary happiness and ruin the basic foundation to build a real family.

Even though it is hard to build a family, a happy family, a REAL family; you would have it if you work for it with RESPECT, HONESTY, SACRIFICE, APPRECIATION and also UNDERSTANDING.

I, myself, want to live a real life. I want to have a real family. I want to get old and grey with the man, whom once I loved and made a vow to. I want to make sure that they would have a real happiness from their parents, who loves each other, respect each other, being honest to each other, understand each other and appreciate each other. That is all I want.

Jakarta, 220315


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Notes: Jogging on Jakarta’s Road

My recent achievement [2015:E O]

My recent achievement [2015:E O]

In these past few months, I have been enjoying my new morning routine, which is an early morning jogging on the road.  What? An early morning jogging on the road in Jakarta? Really?! Yes! I do an early morning jogging on the road in Jakarta, one of the most polluted city in the world.

I actually have been enjoying an outdoor running since early 2014. I used to do morning jogging in the Soemantri Brodjonegoro’s jogging track, part of Soemantri Brodjonegoro’s sport center in Setiabudi Subdistrict of South Jakarta. However since companies rent the sport center for some company’s event week after week, I decided  to do my morning jogging on the road than running on a treadmill in the gym.

According to Nike+, I usually do jogging for as far as 4.5 kilometers on week days and go for as  8.4 kilometers on the weekend. It does not take me long to do 4.5 kilometers of jogging, it only takes me maximum of 30 minutes. On the other hand, it takes me maximum of 55 minutes to do 8.4 kilometers of jogging. Not bad ay? Not bad at all!

As an early morning routine, jogging on the road taught me three things – time management, which side of the road that I run on and the type of shoes that I should wear.

Coffee is the best mood booster [2014: EO]

Coffee is the best mood booster [2014: EO]

What is it about jogging on the road and time management? Well, if you happened to live or visit Jakarta, you would understand’s Jakarta traffic. It is insane and I don’t want to deal with it!

I don’t want to do jogging when Jakartans are going to work, which means that many motorist and kopaja (Jakarta public bus) would be racing and speeding recklessly because they don’t want to be late. They, then, would get their way no matter what…. some of them would drive on the sidewalk!  On the top of that, the air would be highly polluted, which then cause me difficulty of breathing. In order to avoid all of those, I must leave my apartment at least by 5:30 or 6: 15 a.m the latest. However sometimes I do it later than 7 a.m sometimes.

The fact that I am working as a jurno, I also have an obligation to submit stories first thing in the morning. Indeed time management become very important for me. Since then, I have been learning and trying to be discipline in managing my time so I am able to submit stories before I do my jogging and still be able to go to gym (sometimes) and followed by meeting some sources or attending events or discussion at the same time. It’s not perfect tho but I am getting there.

Believe me or not, I usually start my day by 3 or 4 a.m. I would brew coffee, prepare fruit salad, wash my face or shower, write story while having coffee and fruit salad and go for jogging, continue write another story and go to work. I would reach home by 5 or 6 or 7 p.m and I would immediately sleep so I could have minimum of 6 hours sleep.

I must say that it is not easy. It is not easy at all to be discipline and manage time properly. If I failed, my mind would not be at peace and I would be cranky for the rest of the day.

For me, jogging is very important. It is because I have been taking strong medication, which has nausea and anxiety as side effect. In order to get rid of those side effects, I must do some cardio exercise.

As a bonus, I also leant that  if there is no adequate jogging path or sidewalk for jogging, I MUST  jog on the left shoulder facing on-coming traffic  and I should not wear training shoes for jogging on the road. Training shoes are fine to run on the treadmill or jogging track but they are uncomfortable yet painful for long distance jogging in rough surface.  Unfortunately  3 out of 4 my sport shoes are training shoes! So does it mean that I need to get new pair of running shoes? Well, perhaps! Ha ha ha!

My first 2015 jogging by Bosporus Strait, Istanbul, Turkey [2015:ER]

My first 2015 jogging by Bosporus Strait, Istanbul, Turkey [2015:ER]

Recently, many people often questioned me whether or not I have participated in the running event or runner club in Jakarta. Even one guy suggested me that I should be a running athlete. O.M.G! What? That is actually not bad idea at all. But I must say that I actually do jogging just because I want to be healthy and get rid of side effect of my medication. That is all matter to me.

Having said that I have never participated to any  running event or join to runner club. One of the reason is because  I don’t really have much time to do such a thing right now. Perhaps when I have been able to be discipline in managing my time properly, I would do it one day.

In the end of the day, health is the most important thing. I should not force myself to do all kind of activities -work, sport, hobby, socializing- as I am not a robot. I am just another person who wanna be healthy. Cheers!

Jakarta 140315


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Notes: Attachment is Unhealthy

I have always said to myself that I should not or in a stronger way I must not make anyone to be my source of happiness, be it my best friend or even my spouse, NO MATTER WHAT!

But strangely enough, when you were in a relationship and every single thing that you did was based on love, sometimes you had no idea how you were going to do it without that person when the relationship is over. That is what I feel sometimes. You cannot act that (s)he does not mean the world to you anymore while (s)he used to mean the world to you before.

Clearly it shows how unhealthy attachment is, it is very addictive. Isn’t it?

Jakarta 080315


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Notes: Judge Me

When people judge me as a gold digger, heaux or even slut because I wrote book titled ‘Bule Hunter’ and talked about s.e.x. in some chapter, -which is part of the reality of life but some people are too afraid/ hypocrite to talk about it openly- I actually don’t really care. 

If you wanna say those things about me, it’s fine. Say it. Perhaps I was-am few of those things, perhaps I have done things in my life that I am not so proud of. I am not a saint. But one thing that we have to understand that the good and the bad always come together as one package. Just saying tho 

Jakarta 050315


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BJ: The Power of Prayer

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God – Philippians 4:6


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