Notes: Losing Your Body? Nah!

www.catatanfani.com (1)Many people say that once a woman becomes a mother, she will lose her body, become fat and have jiggly yet flabby body especially those who has baby delivered through c-section including me. Don’t even dream to get your body back, so they say. But here I am, I prove them wrong. You can still have a well-shape body even you have many children be it through normal delivery and/or c-section.

I started getting back to my training regime at seventh weeks postpartum. I must say that I didn’t find it easy. Sometimes I got frustrated because I didn’t seem to lose any baby fat after working out for one month. Sometimes I got frustrated or even depressed because l only run at the slow pace. Sometimes I even gave up, just sat down, did no exercises for hours and just played with my phone because I felt that I did not make any progress. 

But one day, I said to myself “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just started again,” so I started to take it easy that time. I just forgot about the aesthetics result and just focused on the form of my exercise as well as my diet.

At the end, aesthetic result is not my main exercise’s goal but sanity is. As a result, I got my body back faster than I expected as you can see on the picture above. 

Ps: no whey protein is being used. It’s all natural diet.

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Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

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Those make me horny! [2013: Oktofani]

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know…I was one of those consumers who “see now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

A few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour is not getting paid fairly,” So I walked away and entered other shops? Again, I found many apparels is made in Indonesia. I then decided to look on the Internet.

As I looked on the internet, apparently many garment and footwear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labours who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still, it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay at full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes a profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off 🙂. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if I go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

In the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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Notes: Diane von Fürstenberg

14079885_10154353134090761_2568458359531648185_n-1Few years ago, I did not know who Diane von Fürstenberg is. However, now she is one of my favorite fashion designers. For me, she is very inspiring, not only as a fashion designer but also as a person, as a woman and as a fighter. But how did I get to know about DVF at the first place?

Well, as  a curious person, I always love getting to know the story behind the dresses or shoes that I have been wearing. During my free time, I often searched for articles, videos or book about those designers, and this is including DVF. I watched  some of her talks and speeches on the Youtube, I also read her memoir “The Woman I Wanted To Be” that I purchased in DVF headquarter in New York few months back. As I finished reading her memoir, I have a great admiration to her. She came across as an incredible woman and extremely inspiring. She is very determine, courageous, adventurous, selfless and also has strong wills within herself.

I myself started falling in love with DVF since I was in love with her iconic jersey wrap dress which she released in the 70s for the very first time. However, I cannot remember clearly how I started falling in love with DVF dresses. Perhaps, if I am not mistaken, it might happen in early 2014 when I started to leave the party night scene. 

Back then, I got bored with my collections which tend to be number of bandage dresses, jeans, long sleeve shirt and cropped top. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful collections but they tend to be just sexy but not elegant. Other than that, perhaps I also got older. As a result, I wanted something that is more elegant and classy.  Yet, for I like the clean-cut dresses, I had no idea where to find my dream dresses. 

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DVF Headquarter in West Village, New York City [2016:EO]

So one day, I strolled around Jakarta shopping malls to find the clean-cut yet elegant dresses. After entering boutique after boutique, I finally found my first wrap dress. But it was not DVF wrap dress, it was a BCBGmaxazria wrap dress. I like its fabric, jersey; they are light and look elegant. I like the way it drops as I wear it. Although I loved its prints, it was slightly too shinny and I did not really like it. 

Hence, as I really liked the style, I looked for my second wrap dress which looks less shinny. And here was I at DVF boutique in Plaza Indonesia, I found a heaven with plenty  of wrap dresses hanging on the rack. I picked some and tried them on, they indeed looked very sexy and elegant. I said to myself that I could wear them any kind of events, including function event, dinner or even to work. They seem to be very effortless to put on. 

Since then, I often go to DVF boutique regularly to check some of their latest collections. Not to get them right away tho but wait until the end-of-season sales coming; that way I can save some money and plan what I wanted to buy. Not forget to mention that  I would normally get up to 70 percent off from its real price by shopping on the end-of-season sales. Now, I got some of DVF collections ranging from wrap dresses, romper, shirt dresses, silk shirts as well as cardigan.

Another added point of DVF is that unlike many sales girls in the high-end boutique who will not be friendly to customers if customers buy nothing, most of DVF girls also have good attitude, they are not pushy. They will not force you to buy if they do not suit you well. Be they working in Jakarta boutique, Singapore boutique or NYC store in West Village.

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And that is how I got to know who Diane von Fürstenberg is and end up really admiring her as an iconic woman in fashion industry as well as a person. I must say that I learnt a lot from her memoir “The Woman I Wanted To Be“.

Although something gets me thinking and wondering whether or not DVF dresses are sustainably manufactured. As I understand that Diane von Fürstenberg is about woman empowerment and loves natures, does it mean that DVF also implements sustainable business practice in its production through its supplier which has a significant impact to its labors as well as environment around it? As some of you might be aware that DVF has moved its production from Italy to China and China has an urgent environment problem when it comes to garment industry. Having this question being answered actually will determine whether or not I will get my next DVF.

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Indonesia: Death Row and Drug World

Indonesia will soon make another international headline as the Attorney General Office has been preparing the execution of drug convicts after executing 14 drug convicts last year. Despite the fact AGO has not published the names and the dates,  Beritasatu TV has reported the names of nine drug convicts who would be executed within weeks.

As many of you might be aware that under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, the Indonesia government has declared war on drugs. President Jokowi stated that he refuses to grant any presidential clemency requested by drug convicts. As a result, any drug convicts, who have been sentenced to death by the court, would be executed. The government believe that capital punishment would give a deterrent impact and eventually stop drug trafficking in Indonesia. Nevertheless, this step has triggered controversy both in the national and international level.

Many argue that capital punishment is not the answer to the drug problem in the country and it is considered against human right. The government ignores the noise and carries the punishment anyway. As a sovereign state, Indonesia has its rules and regulations which could be implemented. The only way to stop capital punishment is by urging the government to revoke the capital punishment from the regulation. Yet, as I listened to the national radio program, many people actually also support the government decision to execute the drug convicts to tackle the drug problem because it is worrying.

Interestingly enough, some media reported how inhumane Indonesian government is because the government of Indonesia did not give notification about their execution to the convicts as well as the family. Is it true? I doubt it. Hence, it got me wondering “If some want to defend the drug dealers and trafficker from being executed, what do we really know about those drugs convicts? Should we have sympathy toward them?” I do not know.

So last month, I came across to two books titled “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World” at a bookstore in Ngurah Rai Airport Bali. I found the title and cover very interesting. I read the blurb. It seems to be juicy, it is about crimes, drugs, sex and politics in Indonesia. I decided to buy two of them.

Yet, I was actually bit sceptical because of this book was part of a trilogy written by Australian author Kathryn Bonella who wrote “No More Tomorrows Schapelle Corby“. You might wonder “And so?

Well, Schapelle Corby was a convicted drug runner, who was found guilty of smuggling 4.2 kg of marijuana into Bali in 2004.  Denpasar District Court sentenced Corby 20 years imprisonment on May 2005. Since then, she has consistently claimed that she was innocent and fought for her release by filing appeals, judicial reviews as well as request for presidential clemency. On March 2010, she filed presidential clemency claiming that she has been suffering from mental illness. She eventually won the presidential pardon under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 2012. She was then released on February 2014 but must remain in Indonesia to July 2017.

The thing is rumour has it that the release of Corby was actually part of government deal whereby the SBY government had struck a deal with the Australian government to extradite an Indonesian fugitive Adrian Kiki Ariawan, a graft convict who fled to Australia in 2003. However, former Vice Minister of Law and Human Rights Denny Indrayana denied that the extradition of Adrian Kiki Ariawan had something to do with the release of Schapelle Corby.

Unfortunately, I have a conspiratorial mind and I was suspicious. I said to myself, perhaps these books are actually forms of pressure to the Indonesian government to release Corby. Is it possible? But who is Corby? How important she is?  Was she a mule or a horse? Was she really a victim? Or did she play a victim? Is it a way for a convict drug dealer to escaping heavy punishment by claiming that they are suffering from mental illness?

And by the way, one of her lawyers was Hotman Paris. How much did she pay him? Is she coming from a filthy rich family? How could she afford him? Where is the money coming from? Or is this book just a form of comprehensive criticism to the Indonesian justice system?

I must say that it is hard to tell. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own agenda. We cannot just buy her stories through media, including books. Right?

So I began to read these books to find the answers and the red line. Instead of finding the answers, I actually start to have more questions. Yet, I must say that these books are eye-opening and easy to read for non-English speaker. If you want to know further, you can check my upcoming post on “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World“‘s review.

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Notes: Working in Isolated Place

ORG__DSC5072Sometimes I wonder why some people working in isolated places such as conflict zone and mining site tend to be cold and alcoholic. When they fall in love, they hardly know to express their feelings even by a simple touch, hug and a nice word like “I am here for you” or “I got your back“.

As they make a lot of money, they love their lover or partner with money, plenty of money. Interestingly enough, when they get mad or jealous, they would tell you how much money they have spent on you. And, when you refuse their money, they go nuts. Why? I think it is because they feel that their love has been rejected and somehow have no power to control them. I somehow believe that some of them fail to understand that not everyone wants to be loved with money. Right?

As some of you might be aware that those who work in an isolated area would have R&R time so they can either spend time by themselves, family or the loved one. Unfortunately, sometimes their focus will not be 100 per cent on the loved one because they tend to be tired from travelling and work.

As they recovery from all the tiredness and R&R days only a few days left before heading back to the working place and somehow their mind is already in the working place. I wonder whether it happens to men only or also women?!

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Notes: Rule #1

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I am an introvert but when I live at someone else’s house, I will not lock myself in the room all the times and only come up when I am hungry. That is why I do not like staying at other people’s house even for one night because one is forced to socialize with others.

However, if I have to stay at someone’s house, I will force myself to socialize with other and take some time to help the host to do some household task because the host has been kindly hosting me. Otherwise, one is considered to be very rude.

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Indonesia: Broken Heart

IMG_0059I am proud of being Indonesian. I even often get easily annoyed whenever foreigners make a bitter criticism about Indonesia or look down on us. However, seeing what happened in Indonesia recently, I feel that this country seems to get backwards.

I am one of the lucky one to be able to leave the country, I can even be Canadian, Brits or both if I want to and never look back. However, I still have my family, Indonesia is my home, I love its cultural diversity, it’s super beautiful. Yet, imported religion slowly ruin it.

The government and coward people make me sick and tired of this country. I know I can leave and always come back but I want to make a contribution one day. How? I don’t know. Perhaps through writing.

The thing is although the Internet penetration is increasing, it does not necessarily inform all Indonesian properly. Instead, it appears as an entertainment. As a result, important issues are neglected.

Pramoedya Ananta Toer wrote “Unsur modern belum lagi mengubah tata pikir pribumi. Dunia pikirnya masih tetap seperti lima abad lalu. Cara menanggapi dunia belum berubah.” (Rumah Kaca).

I hope with the Internet, Indonesian are more well informed about everything including humanity than feared with the future.

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Indonesia: About LGBT

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Goodbye 2012! Hello 2013

You know what makes me upset about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) debate these days in Indonesia? Well, let me tell you.

Last night, a good friend of mine sent me a message telling me how concerned (s)he is about all these LGBT debates. (S)he wondered what the government/parliament next step toward it whether they are going to ban it altogether, ban foreign funding for LGBT activity (including reproductive health awareness) or even worse if they plan to stop distributing subsidised ARV in the country. (S)he is wondering. 

Honestly, this condition would not just have a negative impact to the LGBT community but also all the patients, let me repeat myself again ALL PATIENTS, (which also include heterosexual people) who have been getting ARV for free so they can survive and live their lives as a healthy person. So, I said to a good friend of mine that everything will just be fine. Let’s have faith in it.

Since the fall of  President Soeharto in 1998, religion has been used as a political commodity to control people. Sometimes I am wondering whether we, the people of Indonesia, can have a discussion about certain issue without bringing a religious perspective or not.

It is very devastating because I feel that this country is heading to a dark age than moving forward to the future. What about if we discuss what really matters and crucial to citizen’s daily life such as food supply, education, health and infrastructure, instead of the sexual orientation or religious preferences, which are very personal?! Can we?

PS: If you do not know what ARV is, you can search on the internet. It is very googleable.