Vol. 1 No. 20 I March 2 - 8, 2014
WANDERLUST On the Quiet in Bengkulu inspiring mind Showcasing Indonesia in the US CULTURE VULTURE Serving Food for Thought
FOR ARTâ€™S SAKE
Renitasari Adrian puts culture at center stage
Noted in passing
Pride & Glory I think you will see a clear cultural focus of this week’s edition. It starts out with our cover profile, Renitasari Adrian, whose organization Djarum Bakti Budaya is spearheading a drive for appreciation of the arts. Its opening of Galeri Indonesia Kaya in a major shopping mall provides an accommodating space for artists in the favorite hangout spot for Jakartans, instead of the usual haunts of bohemian, cramped theaters. We also have an article about an upcoming movie from producer Sheila Timothy, who has traveled throughout the archipelago to research Indonesia’s culinary traditions. If there is one way for Indonesia to reach the heart of the international community, then I really believe it can be through the stomach
– there is so much to choose from on the Indonesian menu – too much, perhaps, to narrow down to only a few standout dishes. There is also the story of Imelda Budiman, an Indonesian now living in the US who, in her first beauty and talent pageant last year, finished third with a platform promoting the culture of her homeland. Also of particular interest to me this week is the travel destination of Bengkulu. Not many foreigners make it to this corner of western Sumatra, but I did a few years ago, and was charmed by the people and its unique historical legacy. Which, I think, in a nutshell, is really what Indonesia is all about: warm people in a warm climate (in contrast to Maugham’s sunny place for shady people), and their amazingly diverse culture displaying the
melting pot of influences from various migrants over the ages. We tend to be a forward-looking society – “you have to always look ahead when you are an agrarian people,” the late designer Iwan Tirta once told me – but we, as Pak Iwan clearly did, also need to understand the importance of reflecting on our traditions and celebrating them. I just spotted the Philippines’ tourism tagline, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. If I had to write one for Indonesia, I think I would choose, “Indonesia: More than you ever imagined”. So let your imagination run free this Sunday and enjoy.
Bruce Emond email@example.com
CARD TRUmps queues Get in line, you say? How about we take a really big step by getting out of line for convenience sake. Words Kadek Krishna Adidharma
Living in the mountains of Bali and, for some time during university, in New Zealand, I’m used to forging my own tracks through a wide landscape. When revelers flock to Bali’s Ulun Danu Batur Temple on the tenth full moon, I know five alternative points of entry to beat the queue at the main gates. But alas, Jakarta beats me. Here I must submit to the queue. Jakartans, why do you love to queue so much? You queue in gridlocked traffic, to get into clubs, to get on trains and the bus, and wait patiently to get change in coins. Agreed, some of the queues are beyond your control: we were stuck for almost an hour from 4 a.m. last Saturday morning trying to get out of the Empirica car park at SCBD’s Lot 8. But consider taking some baby steps to beat that small last queue. What would you do with those coins, anyway? I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could use my e-Money card to ride the TransJakarta bus. Look Ma, no change! After paying the Rp 3,500 fare, I would often lose the Rp 1,500 change in coins. There aren’t any buskers to give it to on TransJakarta. Well, I certainly won’t lose any cents from my credit in the smart card. I’m feeling extra smart for getting the card
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Yen for Italian
A Japanese chef is Italian inspired.
Your locks show the state of your health.
JPlus Team Editor Bruce Emond Deputy Editor Willy Wilson Art Director Budhi Hartono Graphic Designer Lody Andrian Marketing & Advertising Sales & Marketing Director Ady P. Pamungkas
Marketing Executives Dewi Damayani
for free – gratis – at my Sanur bank, when my sole purpose at the time was to skip the queue to get on Bali’s new toll road. In a cash society, there are many moneyrelated queues. My worst nightmare is going to withdraw at the bank on Monday. Not only do you have to face the Monday rush, there’s always some chance that the bank actually runs out of money by 10:30 a.m. if withdrawals surpass deposits. Perhaps that’s why there are ATMs all over town. Not only can you avoid queuing to get cash out, it’s also become a convenient way to transfer funds, top up phone credit and pay a plethora of bills for utilities, installments, even flights. Now add topping up smartcards to that list. On a recent trip to Hong Kong I discovered a really spooky thing called an Octopus card. Octopus has its tentacles everywhere. You can use it to pay the train, bus, some taxis, at 24-hour convenience stores, Starbucks, even restaurants. Wave the Card over the Octopus Reader (even if it’s still in your wallet, purse, clutch or
fashionable handbag) and payment is deducted instantly (provided you have enough credit). Big brother is watching and knows exactly what you are spending and where. Moving on from electronic surveillance, though, and imagining shreds of TransJakarta ticket slips of paper littering the urban landscape I just had a brilliant leap of logic and realized why some state-ownedenterprises are pushing us to get a smart card, for free. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to police ticket sales with a paper system? In a cash society, there is, quite often, double accounting. Imagine someone trotting past you as you compulsively queue for coins. Imagine him tapping a smartcard and breeze into the bus or train station. As you settle into the heaving mass of people committing to the commute, dear reader, imagine the lone crusader basking in a halo: he’s just joined this nation’s fight against corruption. Are you brave enough to join him?
ON THE COVER
Renitasari Adrian Photo Meutia Ananda Wardrobe Ghea Panggabean Accessories EPAJewel Stylist Willy Wilson Location Galeri Indonesia Kaya, Grand Indonesia, West Mall, 8th Floor
table of friends
What is your earliest childhood memory? @zoyaamirin My strongest childhood memories are adventure travel with my family and visits to Gramedia Matraman bookstore. Summer vacation in elementary school was my favorite school break ever! (the second is Christmas). During summer break, my parents took me and my two little bros on roadtrips in Java and Bali. We would stop in the middle of nowhere in search of places to sleep or simply lodge with villagers, driving off the beaten track, visiting every temple and sight in the whole of Java, Bali and some parts of North Sulawesi. wonder why I’m a travel junkie, huh?) My grandparents and my parents are awesome storytellers. Before we took a nap or went to bed at night, they read to us or discuss this and that. My dad took us once a month to Gramedia, my “candy store” from my childhood to teen years. My picks were the Trio Detektif, Asterix, Lima Sekawan, the Malory Towers series (which conjured up visions of going to school abroad), Nina comic, Lupus and all those comicbook biographies, plus the Brothers Grimm and Disney. Reading books took me places, helped me dare to dream and made it happen. Nowadays, when I actually visit the places I dreamed of when I was only 7, it’s like wickedly beautiful déjà vu. Thank you mom and dad, you guys are the best parents ever!
@iwetramadhan The story starts back in 1982. The little boy named Iwet is only two years old at the time (yes, adult Iwet looks more mature than his age… :p ) He refuses to eat unless he is fed in the Ambarukmo Hotel. He loves to watch the classical Javanese dancers moving in their colorful and attractive costumes. He starts imitating the movements, and the costumes, beginning with the wayang headpiece, the bow and selendang batik shawl tied around his waist. Iwet became known as the boy with the wayang hat made by his father and the shawl from his mother’s best collection. Nobody can take them away from him. He is a little Arjuna. I love to tell this story over and over again. It has made me realize I knew my calling and the love of my life, batik, from an early age. That makes me proud. @edwardsuhadi I closed my eyes long and hard thinking about this one. I think I was around five years old when my mom and dad told me either sing or dance in front of visiting relatives. Yes, my first memory is of public humiliation :) Another early memory, now part of our family lore, was when I pulled a TV set out of its cabinet. I think it was playing some show about lions, and I got overly excited. I remember it was a huge television set, probably 30” … HUGE. (remember, this was 25 years ago). It was shattered beyond repair and I remember how close I came to being crushed under it. I don’t remember the spanking, but I am sure I got one.
@mrshananto My earliest childhood memories are all about Sorowako! I was born in Bandung, West Java, but raised in this area of South Sulawesi. I only returned to Bandung during my teen years, before moving to Australia for my studies. It was the first house I called home. I was 4 years old when my only brother was born and our family moved into a bigger house on Jl. Kenanga. I remember feeling lonely. I can recall playing Lego alone under a chair while mom and dad were busy with the newborn. My happy thoughts are about the house we called home. It was a big modern “panggung”-style house. I had my own room with lots of soft toys and dolls. We had a big backyard where mom planted tomatoes and salak (snakefruit). My fave was the “pohon kersen”; my friends and I would climb up its many branches and hang off them like monkeys. And we would pick different kinds of flowers and leaves to play at cooking under the house. The frontyard was even bigger. Dad created a pathway for my bicycle. There was the time when a hunter rescued two small deer from the forest. We kept Bibi and Baba as pets. I learned about friendship with my next-door neighbor. I learned the proper way to “mengaji” (read Koranic verses) within its walls. I learned how to flee from stray dogs outside. I also encountered my first biawak in front of this house :) A home is important for a child. It keeps us grounded. A safe place in our memory. Something we can hold on to forever. This is what I am creating with my family too. Without the biawak encounter :) *Biawak is a komodo-like land crocodile. It’s less dangerous. It’s just a big ugly cicak that eats chicken for lunch.
@ReneCC I am my mom’s only kid, which should explain why my childhood memories seem to always evolve around her. I vaguely remember only a few of them, and can’t remember which exactly was the earliest. These were moments of great laughs, warm feelings and excitement – at least on my part. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I remember running around in a big open space in Yogyakarta with my mom and a bunch of people in uniform. There was a roar of excitement and I seemed to have all the attention I needed (that craving for attention continues to today). I can almost recall the exhilarating smell of gasoline – yup, I am one of those freaks who enjoy its smell – and it was everywhere. That is my childhood-memory version. Now read the less lively, and probably more accurate, version from my mom: “Upon our arrival in Yogyakarta, while disembarking the plane, little Rene managed to slip away from my grip. He was running around on the tarmac while I tried to catch him before he hurt himself. Too bad I was not fast enough. I had to shout and scream before I got the assistance from at least half a dozen airport workers. Little Rene ran even faster in a zigzag toward the runway.” The episode that is ingrained in my childhood memory lasted 11.7 minutes or so. The result? I had to be kept virtually chained up until I went to elementary school a couple of years later. What’s the moral of the story? Children really have no idea how they are treating their parents … at least until they themselves become parents. I love you, mum & dad!
Join us at the table: send your feedback to @TOFChat and @JPlusSunday JPlus
March 2, 2014
A la Mode
After the fashion folks migrated to Paris for the final fashion week stop, here’s a round-up of the best shows in Milan. Words Colleen Barry / AP
merican Vogue’s influential editorin-chief Anna Wintour skipped the preview of Giorgio Armani’s signature line to rush off to Paris for the next round of preview shows – not for the first time. And the Italian designer isn’t impressed. “She has weight and power, but maybe even I have weight,” he lamented. The 79-year-old designer has anchored the Milan calendar for two decades, and in recent years there have been no other designers of his stature on the last day. Armani, known for his impecabbly minimalist cut that defies the stereotype of Italian fashion, tells reporters that the fashion week calendar needs to be altered to maintain high-profile designers until the end. He has been assured that other Vogue editors attend the shows on Wintour’s behalf, but he argues that isn’t the same. “It’s not professional,” he points out. Armani, who also criticizes his fellow Italian designers for ignoring “function and details to commercial aspects” in their creations, focuses on small innovations in styling and tailoring for his 2014 Autumn/Winter collection.
He illuminated grays with lime, and treated the flannel until it resembles tulle, ready for the evening. Among the highlights are the ankle-length trousers softened with pleats and the rounded jackets. Gray suits pair the new trouser with single-button jackets that are brightened with one lime flash on the lapel. Green stripes down the side of pants signaled a sportier look. The powdery gray of the day looks gave way to a luminous gray for evening wear, strapless sheaths with lime stones or stripes of green and black for a modernist edge.
rada’s latest collection is simple enough for any closet: a sweater, a coat, a dress. The dress is ephemeral, sheer or silky, nearly lingerie, carelessly worn. She drapes herself in a large masculine coat, the strength of its seams emphasized with faux shearling. Perhaps it is not even hers, but his, whoever he may be. And then there is a man’s sweater, an oversized V-neck, cover against the sheerness or a dress unto itself. Simply put, the Prada woman represented here is a fun-loving floozy. “It’s about life,” Miuccia Prada told reporters backstage after the preview of her womenswear collection for autumn and winter on day two of Milan Fashion Week. As with the menswear collection
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presented in January, German cinema and music of the 1980s are the inspirations for the brand’s Autumn / Winter 2014 collection. Prada admits that she had spent a month immersing herself in Fassbinder’s cinema and Kurt Weill’s music as she prepared the collection. “I like this theme so much. How it is related to clothes, I don’t know,” Prada says, though she offered an inkling: “It is high and low, sophisticated and slightly vulgar.” As for the menswear collection, Prada shows her wares on a felt-clad stage, elevated slightly from the audience. The models wore their hair rigorously pulled back, silken ties wrapped purposefully around their necks.
A la Mode
Karl’s mini me
endi has a new meme: a furry figure on a string evoking designer Lagerfeld, complete with a neat white pony tail, large white collar and black tie. Silvia Venturini Fendi said it all started with the Fendi bag bugs: festive little creatures that hang from Fendi’s handbags. Now that tradition has evolved into Bag Boy Karlito, for little Karl. “Not bad boy,” Fendi said backstage, “Bag Boy.” While the fun figurine also can be attached to a handbag, it had a place of pride in the runway show: carried by a model in a furry helmet as if a lantern lighting the way. Bag Boy Karlito popped out to take a bow after the show. Another Fendi fashion forward moment: Drones hovered above the runway for a bird’s eye view during the show — and delivered light gusts of wind down on to the audience below.
oberto Cavalli daringly staged his preview around a ring of fire, which provided not only a dramatic backdrop for his hot looks but spread heat through the fashion crowd. The elegant and often elaborate collection incorporates, according to Cavalli, the femininity of the 1920s and the geometry of the 1930s. Several looks captured best the heat of the venue, including one long gown with the image of flames lapping up the hemline, worn with a red and and black fur stole. Fire extinguishers placed at intervals around the fire ring, which itself was set in a pool of water, ensured the fiery image was never realized. The looks included heavily beaded dresses that clung seductively to curves, skinny beaded suits and hemlines ripped into a froth of fringe.
Dare to Be Different! Bored with your look? Itching to try something unexpected, a bit daring and desirable? Then we have something special for you. YSL Indonesia will provide free makeovers from the team of renowned makeup artist Gusnaldi to two lucky Jakarta readers, in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014. Winners also receive a special YSL gift.
Put your best face forward! • • • •
Send a selfie of you looking fabulously fashionable to @JPlusSunday, with the hashtag #YSL Tweet to us what you consider the meaning of being unexpected, daring and desirable. Send by March 4, 2014. The makeovers will be conducted at the YSL counter at Galeries Lafayette, Pacific Place, South Jakarta, on March 8, 2014. The makeovers will be covered by the JPlus team for publication in the March 16, 2014, edition. Be sure to follow
March 2, 2014
B LAC K
S E S AME
MOCHI Words & Photos Theodora Hurustiati
hear that Jakarta has been hit by a renewed round of rainy weather, which is what we are also dealing with here in Udine. As something warming is still in order, I chose this Thai dessert soup called Bua Loy Nam King, or black sesame mochi with ginger syrup sauce (there is a similar dish called Tangyuan in China, where I believe it originates from). Mochi, those gooey glutinous rice dumplings, are omnipresent in Asia, from Japan – where it’s commonly filled with sweet red azuki beans – to Indonesia, with the sugary peanut stuffing. I have to confess that I just cannot get enough of them. As a kid I used to help grandma make them, but somehow most of them ended up in my belly before reaching the table! Makes 15 (serves 3) Mochi 125 g glutinous rice flour 110-125 g water • Filling 50 g black sesame seeds 50 g caster sugar 25 g unsalted butter, softened Ginger syrup 500 ml water 50 g brown sugar or Gula Jawa 30 g ginger
Garnish 1 teaspoon mix sesame seeds • •
Grind black sesame seeds and sugar in a mini food processor or with pestle and mortar. Transfer into a bowl and add butter. Mix and shape into small balls of about 6-7 grams each. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to solidify them and ease the filling process. Meanwhile, make ginger syrup. Peel ginger, slice into fine rounds and crush lightly with the back of a knife. Place in a saucepan with water and brown sugar. Boil for about 20-30 minutes over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved and you can taste the ginger. Simmer longer if you want to intensify the flavor, making sure not to reduce the syrup too much. Strain with a fine sieve to
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discard any impurities and ginger residue. Prepare mochi balls. Mix glutinous rice flour with water until you have pliable and smooth dough that doesn’t crumble easily nor sticks to your hand. Press with your finger; the consistency should resemble an earlobe. The quantity of water needed varies slightly as it depends on the humidity level of the flour. Divide dough into 15 balls of approximately 15 grams each. Flatten one on your palm, place a sesame ball in the center and bring the border together to encase the filling completely. Roll in between the palms of your hand to make it rounder. Repeat with the rest until both filling and dough are finished. Cook dumplings in plenty of boiling water, a few at a time so they don’t stick to each other. They are ready when they float on the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer immediately into the ginger syrup. Serve warm garnished with some mix sesame seeds. Jakarta-born chef Theodora Hurustiati, an 11-year resident of Udine, Italy, was the runnerup in the TV cooking program La Scuola – Cucina di Classe (The School: Classy Cooking) in 2011.
W h e n
Meets Italian … Erstwhile Iron Chef contestant and successful restaurateur Akira Watanabe is bringing his healthy, vegetable-based approach to pasta to Jakarta. Words Kindra Cooper
apanese food is always a popular pick among Jakarta foodies but the opening of AW Kitchen Pasta House at Plaza Senayan in South Jakarta offers something a bit different for their taste-buds. Behind it is chef Akira Watanabe, who is also the owner and CEO of Eat Walk Ltd., encompassing several F&B brands including Sole & Luna and PANINO VINO, which serves panini sandwiches with healthy fillings, pasta and wine. For AW Kitchen Pasta House, he swears by a pareddown repertoire of garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes and own-brand pasta. He has honed a signature JapaneseItalian style using classic Italian methods with Japanese ingredients such as bonito flakes, lotus root and crab broth. Particular to-watch dishes are the chilled pastas, such as Chilled Spaghettini with Chrysanthemum and Bottarga for a refresher in balmy weather. The outlet in Senayan is AW Kitchen’s first outside of Japan. “We want to make a new culture in Indonesia to show that vegetables can be delicious,” says Watanabe. The former head chef at Tableaux, Japan, worked at renowned Italian restaurants in Rome, forgoing his formal culinary education, before heading home to execute his newfound know-how. Watanabe rotates the dishes and ingredients every few weeks at his 12 AW Kitchen outlets in Japan to “reflect all four seasons”, and while this approach can’t be replicated in perennially rainy and sunny Jakarta, Watanabe promises that 20 percent of the dishes will change once every three months. Photos courtesy of AW Kitchen Pasta House
Concessions to local taste will include a new menu devoted to spicy pastas and AW Kitchen’s first-ever pizza oven, serving Napoli-style pizzas with a thick, chewy dough and vegetable toppings. Kecipir, or the asparagus pea, a local favorite, may also make an appearance, says the chef, who has been taste-testing local produce, as well as boiled radish served with foie gras. The AW Kitchen at Plaza Senayan won’t have the high ceilings, glass walls and inpouring of sunlight that are a fixture at its Japanese outlets, shopping mall configurations not permitting, but the restaurant will have a bar for wine pairings, “a modern and classic European style” and will be lush with potted plants. Japanese detox teas are certainly an apt complement to any healthy diet, and although these are available at every AW Kitchen outlet in Japan, plans to introduce these in Jakarta are still tentative. AW Kitchen and Pasta House is the first brand to be expanded internationally. “Indonesian culture is growing very fast and many countries see it, too. We have high expectations for Indonesia,” remarked the chef.
March 2, 2014
Wardrobe: Ghea Panggabean Accessories: EPAJewel
JPlus March 2, 2014
Woman On A Mission
few things strike you as Renitasari Adrian, the program director of Djarum Foundation’s Bakti Budaya, talks passionately about culture, arts and fashion. The first is that she’s not kidding about being an Indonesian cultural devotee. Renita claims that except for a few shoes and handbags, she only wears clothes made by Indonesian designers, which she chose for her cover shoot for JPlus. She particularly favors designers who champion the use of traditional fabrics; she believes that supporting them means creating job opportunities for artists, craftsmen and seamstress in small towns where the fabrics are produced. She also takes pride in her job as cultural promoter. Interacting with local artists, she says, helps expand her cultural and historical breadth of knowledge. The next thing that you notice is her effortless elegance. A statuesque beauty with sculpted arms and a long, slender neck, Renitasari speaks eloquently with the courteous manner of her West Java roots. “I’m fortunate that I work in the area that I am passionate about. I wake up every day thinking that I’m going to promote Indonesian culture – not to go to work. Being a happy camper makes you glow from within,” says the public relations graduate from Singapore’s Stamford College. “I’m also fortunate to work for a company that has a big vision for this country – to build a better Indonesia, that is – and that my family supports and understands what I do,” she adds. But rest assured that things just didn’t fall into her lap; Renita has worked hard to find that contentment. For years, she worked in the corporate sector, making a name for herself as a brand management specialist (that included a 10-year stint with a major beer manufacturer and distributor). But she made a drastic decision seven years ago – a move that proved to be the beginning of an enriching journey for the mother-of-five. By her own admission, the fast-paced corporate life suddenly didn’t appeal to her anymore. She wanted something more emotionally and intellectually gratifying. She decided to come on board at the Djarum Foundation. Since 1992, the foundation has focused on developing four areas – sports, environment, education and culture – none of which was familiar for the communications veteran. She spent her first three years learning about sports, environment and education before the opportunity to head the cultural wing Bakti Budaya presented itself in 2010. “It was both daunting and exciting – I didn’t know the first thing about Indonesian culture. But I knew I was up for something big,” she says.
Bakti Budaya acts as a cultural promoter focused on nurturing, developing and supporting local arts. It assists artists with innovative, authentic and original ideas seeking financial and promotional support. As the program director, Renita’s job includes reviewing the artists’ pro-
establish a thriving performing arts center in jakarta may sound an unlikely prospect, but that is no deterrent for Renitasari Adrian in pursuing her vision. Words Willy Wilson Photos Meutia Ananda
Wardrobe: IKAT Indonesia by Didiet Maulana
posals, choosing the projects deserve funding and ensuring that each supported project a success. “I started the job by asking myself questions that I believe every regular Jakartan has in mind when it comes to local arts – Who do I want to see on stage for Rp 500,000 ticket?; What kind of performance would make me want to go to a theater?; Why am I not intrigued by local arts?” She concluded the main problem with local arts wasn’t so much the content as it was the marketing strategy. “In many cases, the director of a play is also the head of marketing. The same person usually dabbles as a fund manager. This is where Bakti Budaya comes in – we want them to stay focused on the artistic part, while we take care
of the promotional efforts,” Renita says. Before her arrival, Djarum Foundation’s Bakti Budaya received little recognition, working sporadically with different groups of stage artists. Under Renitasari, Bakti Budaya has become a structured and efficient cultural promoter that educates performing artists to think business – and to think big. One of the biggest developments during her tenure is the opening of Galeri Indonesia Kaya at Grand Indonesia in October 2013. “We want the artists to fully focus on their arts. They can perform at Galeri Indonesia Kaya for free. But if they want to use other venues that are bigger than ours, then that’s OK, too – we will be glad to partly fund the productions and help promote their event,” says Renita. Occupying a 635 sqm space, Galeri Indonesia Kaya is a multifunction public space. It holds regular free weekly performances and had attracted over 22,000 visitors as of December 2013. “I reckon that this [number of visitors] is quite remarkable, as we are a cultural institution competing with highly commercial outlets in a shopping mall. But this only goes to show that there is a public demand for authentic local arts, and it makes us want to work even harder to be mainstream,” Renita enthuses. The main focus has been on performing arts, as Renita believes the production process creates many more jobs than other forms of art. But that doesn’t mean other artistic pursuits do not receive support from the foundation. If you are curious about Bakti Budaya’s projects, you can drop by Galeri Indonesia Kaya on the weekend to watch various performing arts. You might also want to catch Wayang Orang Rock Ekalaya, an epic production that combines the traditional form of Wayang Orang and rock music that will be performed on March 15, 2014, at Tennis Indoor Senayan stadium. Produced by Happy Salma, Wayang Orang Rock Ekalaya will involve a legion of rock stars (Andra, Iwa K, Audi Item, etc) as well as familiar faces like actressmodel Sophia Latjuba. “‘Wayang Orang Rock Ekalaya’ is the kind of concept that works for Jakartans – it cleverly infuses contemporary art into what is essentially a traditional form of art. We are proud to be part of this project,” says Renita. Asked about what keeps her going, Renita says it is a burning desire to make the local performing arts an industry. Yes, right now, she acknowledges that Galeri Indonesia Kaya is no Broadway, but she believes it is on the right track to putting the arts at center stage for all to enjoy. She can see the lights in the future.
March 2, 2014
Best known as the former home of Raffles and Sukarno, Bengkulu City offers its own simple attractions.
Words & Photos Peter Milne
ew foreigners venture to the provincial backwater capital of Bengkulu in southwest Sumatra. I was no exception until, invited to attend a wedding there this January, I had a suitable excuse to go. The town’s relative remoteness is immediately noticeable, with foreigners treated with awe bordering on film-star adulation. In all my years in Indonesia, I have never been asked by so many Indonesians to pose in photographs with their spouses, children or friends. If you have a yearning for a glimpse of the old Indonesia before the arrival of tourism and package holidays, and enjoying chatting with the locals, then make a trip to Bengkulu. It will also help you to brush up on your Indonesian language skills, as very few people in the areas seem to speak much English. Cut off from its neighboring provinces in southern Sumatra by the Bukit Barisan range of mountains, Bengkulu must rank as one of the smallest and quietest provincial capitals in Indonesia. While the town, with a population of only 380,000 may not be over-endowed with tourist sites, it does have some very interesting history and a lovely laid back provincial charm. It is situated on a corner of headland butting into the Indian Ocean; the coastline is refreshingly undeveloped and rural, and only a short ride from the center of town. Although little is known about the early history of the area, Bengkulu came under the influence of the Majapahit Kingdom from Java in the 13th century. But when
JPlus March 2, 2014
Sukarno’s residence in exile was recently renovated.
the British were thrown out of Banten in 1685, the East India Company moved its main base to Bengkulu, or Bencoolen as it was then known, eventually building Fort Marlborough on a small hill overlooking the Indian Ocean. The thick-walled fort became the center of British power in Indonesia from 1719. Despite its sturdy walls and moat, the fort was twice overrun in the 18th century, once by a local rebellion just after it had been built, and then later by the French in 1760. It was more recently used by the Indonesian army, until it was vacated, restored and opened to the public in the 1980s. The British struggled to make their presence a success, and their initial efforts to cultivate pepper were not terribly successful. Meanwhile, malaria was a constant drain on the health and moral of the colonial residents, as the inscriptions on the crumbling tombstones in the British cemetery attest. The locals were not terribly obliging either: Thomas Parr, a British governor, was seized from his home in 1807 and decapitated. The Thomas Parr Monument to his memory can be found just up the road from the fort in front of Pasar Barukota. What really put Bengkulu on the map was the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1818. Although Raffles wrote that “this is without exception, the most wretched place I have ever beheld…,” he nonetheless managed to turn pepper into a profitable business for the first time, together with the production of coffee, nutmeg and sugar cane. It was during a deep jungle trek of
Old shop-houses survive in Bengkulu’s Chinatown
Jamik mosque, designed by Sukarno.
several days from Bengkulu that Raffles and his party, with his wife Sophia in tow, came across the giant flower that now bears his name, Rafflesia arnoldii. Sadly, nothing remains of Raffles’ former residence, which he had constructed on a clearing made atop a jungle hill called Bukit Kabut, about 12 km inland from the town. Shortly after Raffles set sail to return to England in 1824, and after four years of previous negotiations, the British and the Dutch ratified the Treaty of London, whereby Britain ceded Bencoolen and all its other interests in Sumatra to the Netherlands, in return for Dutch-controlled Malacca (today Malaka in Malaysia) and a Dutch guarantee of non-interference in British interests in Singapore.
Bengkulu’s other main claim to fame is that it was once the home-in-domesticexile of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. He was sent here by the Dutch from 1938 to 1942 to keep him quiet, until
the Japanese invasion. A small villa in which Sukarno lived in the center of town is now a museum, and includes exhibits of some old photos, Sukarno family furniture and Sukarno’s old trusty black bicycle. During his stay, Sukarno designed a mosque for the town, Mesjid Jamik, which still in use at the end of Jl. Sudirman. Another interesting small house to visit is the home of Sukarno’s second wife and mother of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, Fatmawati. Sukarno was allowed to teach at a local school when he arrived in Bengkulu, and that was where he met the then 15-year-old student, Fatmawati. Fatmawati’s small wooden villa, on Jl. Fatmawati no less, has many interesting old photographs and also the sewing machine on which she stitched the first ever redand-white flag of an independent Republic of Indonesia. Bengkulu’s main beach, Pantai Panjang (it certainly is long), is located on the western side of the town and is clean, usually deserted, and stretches for miles.
Sukarno met his wife Fatmawati in Bengkulu.
Facing as it does the full force of the Indian Ocean, the beach is exposed to crashing breakers and strong currents, unfortunately making it unsafe for swimming. Halfway along the beach road, Jl. Samudera, is Bengkulu’s best seafood restaurant, Marona, which serves huge fresh crab, prawns, grilled fish and squid on small outside pendopo (pavilion). Given the risks of swimming in the sea, visitors to Bengkulu can still pay to enjoy the large swimming pool in the Grage Horizon Hotel overlooking the coast and set back on a hill above Jl. Samudera. Finally, a lovely rising line of original terraced Chinese shop-houses can be seen on Jl. Panjaitan, which runs up the slight hill toward the fort, a reminder of Bengkulu’s days gone by. Even if Bengkulu does not get much attention from travelers, that is part of its appeal. Only an hour’s flight from Jakarta, Bengkulu can make for a very relaxing weekend break and a total change of scenery from the usual crowded tourist draws like Bali.
If You Go Getting There: Garuda, Citilink, LionAir and Sriwijaya Air all have daily flights to Bengkulu. Accommodation: Well-known places to stay are Grage Horizon Hotel, Jl. Pantai Nala No. 142, (0736) 21722, and Splash Hotel, Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 48, (0736) 23333, www.hotel-splash.com Getting Around: Transportation in the town is still very basic and, with a dearth of taxis, the small angkot minibuses that ply the main routes are often the only choice. However, given the minimal levels of traffic compared with Jakarta, a better option is to rent a small motorbike from a friendly local or a bicycle. Souvenirs: Local coffee, durian confectionery lempuk and Bengkulu’s very own batik are among the choices.
March 2, 2014
COULD T A L K
Having a bad hair day? It’s no accident; your locks contain secrets to your body’s system. Words Datuk Nor Ashikin Mokhtar / The Star / ANN
ver wondered why some people have a wonderful head of hair while you are perpetually battling bad hair days? Here’s the secret: the crowning glory is actually a barometer to your state of health. Getting to the root of the problem could be the ultimate solution that returns the glowing glory to your locks.
visits to the salon, complemented by a change in dietary habits. Snip off broken ends periodically to allow new hair to grow out. If you’ve tried it all and your hair still looks lacklustre, get your thyroid tested to assess whether it is underactive.
Most people associate gray hair with ageing, although there are many who start sporting gray strands in their teens or 20s. This is because graying hair is generally linked to genetics – if your parents or other relatives have a history of graying early, you are likely to follow in their footsteps. Like darker shades of the skin, hair colour is influenced by the pigment called melanin, present in the hair. As we age, melanin production decreases, making new hair strands less coloured as they emerge. There is emerging evidence that suggests hair colour can also be affected by stress. So take a chill pill whenever you feel the pressure mounting to avoid turning gray faster!
The most common misconception about dandruff is that it is caused by dry scalp skin, which needs treatment in the form of more moisturisation. But the real cause of dandruff is actually skin that is too oily, not too dry. Dry skin or scalp can be caused by genetics, a lack of vitamin B and zinc or a diet with excessive sugar and fat. It can also indicate a scalp condition known as seborrheic dermatitis, where the skin is red and itchy, similar to conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Apart from that, stress, certain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, or not washing your hair for too long, can also cause dandruff.
Help, I’m losing hair!
Can your hair turn white overnight or very suddenly from a traumatic event or extreme stress? The answer is no, but don’t be too happy yet, because physical and emotional trauma such as illness, a death of a relative or other loved one, or prolonged stress, do have effects on your hair. In order to conserve energy, the body sends signals to the rest of the body to go slow. The hair is put into resting mode, falling out after a few months. When the hairs drop off, leaving only the grayer, whitish strands, this makes the entire head of hair appear white or silverish (hence, the expression “going white overnight”).
Balding is not just an aesthetic problem; some people can lose self-esteem and confidence as they lose hair. Balding is usually associated with ageing and men, although many young people (both men and women) today begin experiencing thinning hair in their early 30s. The main difference is that balding in men is usually genetic, whereas for women, much of it is caused by hormonal imbalance. Many women go through a bout of severe hair loss after giving birth, which is resolved after the baby reaches one. Menopause also triggers hair loss in women. Hair loss can also be caused by excessive weight loss, eating disorders, thyroid problems, stress and certain medications. Before splashing on costly hair treatments, first assess your lifestyle and daily routine to determine whether it is something you can correct. People with a low-protein diet tend to experience hair loss, as the body is forced to conserve protein stores for other more crucial body functions. Try cutting down on processed foods and increase protein-rich foods, such as fish, eggs and nuts.
Like the skin, hair is also affected by a diet that lacks essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron and vitamin E. This explains why it can be harder to maintain glowing locks when your main diet consists of fat-rich foods, fast foods and processed snacks laden with sugar, salt, additives and flavourings. Relook your diet and include more “real” food consisting of meat, vegetables, tubers, grains, nuts and others, to give your hair and skin a nutrient boost inside-out. Diet aside, brittle and dry hair can also be the result of excessive styling, washing, blow-drying or colouring. These treatments strip the hair cuticles of their natural protective oils and disrupts growth equilibrium, causing split ends and dull-looking hair. The solution? Try some tender loving care, with less
JPlus March 2, 2014
Eva, George, Anderson, Happy & Natalie have enviably good hair, but Jude is thinning a bit on top.
Photos: AP, Reuters, Kompas
Dry and brittle
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, United States, drinking coffee or alcohol can affect how well your body absorbs vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Smoking can also hinder nutrient absorption, affecting how healthy your scalp and hair is. Hair loss can also occur from food allergens such as dairy, wheat, soy, corn and food additives To keep your locks shiny, healthy and glowing, it helps to have a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (such as fish oil supplements, wild salmon or flax seeds). Don’t expect improvements to occur overnight though; your hair will need a few months to grow new healthy strands. Reduce harsh hair treatments, blow-drying or excessive hair products to avoid stressing your hair roots, and use a hat or scarf when out in the sun to protect your tresses from harmful ultraviolet rays. One often-overlooked factor in hair care is tying, braiding or over-combing, which stresses hair roots and can lead to hair breakage over time. This may result in balding or frizzled hair, which will need more time to regenerate. The writer is a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist.
The cultural meaning of Indonesia’s dishes are served up in a new movie. Words Novani Nugrahani
ood unites people. That is the simple theme of the upcoming movie Tabula Rasa, produced by Sheila Timothy. Inspired by Ang Lee’s Eat Drink, Man Woman, Tabula Rasa strives to depicts the integral role of food in Indonesian society, and also the rich philosophy behind each dish. Tabula Rasa, shot in Jakarta, Cileungsi, Bogor, and Serui, West Papua, and will display authentic food from West Sumatra, such as gulai kepala ikan (fish head curry), dendeng batokok (grilled beef with green chilli) and rendang (slow simmered beef in coconut milk). It will also feature two Papuan dishes, ikan kuah kuning (yellow fish soup) and papeda (sticky sago porridge), originating from the island city of Serui. It took one-and-a-half years for the filmmakers to conduct meticulous research into Papuan and West Sumatran culinary traditions. “To be able to present the food as authentically as possible, our team went to West Sumatra and met Ibu Emi who is a West Sumatran food expert in Payakumbuh,” Sheila, who also produced Pintu Terlarang (The Forbidden Door) and Modus Anomali, told The Jakarta Post Travel. The research lasted for four months, involving two culinary advisers: Reno Andam Suri who wrote the book Rendang Traveler and has her own catering business Rendang Uni Farah, and her brother, chef Adzan Tri Budiman.
“We learned how West Sumatran people always make their food from scratch and appreciate the process. Details such as use of West Sumatran traditional cooking utensils, specific food preparations and local food ingredients were introduced to the cast members to keep the authenticity on screen,” Sheila says. Sago from Papua and a traditional coconut wringer from West Sumatra were sourced from their places of origin for the authenticity of the movie. Well-known West Sumatran dance choreographer Tom Ibnur is the cultural adviser and dialect coach for the cast. The story revolves around Hans (Jimmy Kobogau), a young man from Serui Papua, who dreams of being a professional soccer player. But he loses his will to live
following a tragedy until he meets Mak Uwo (Dewi Irawan), a humble old woman who owns a traditional West Sumatran restaurant. Despite the characters’ age and cultural differences, they have something in common; their interest in food. Serui in West Papua is chosen as one of the film’s settings not only because of its culinary similarities to West Sumatran, but also because this small city on Yapen Island offers fantastic beaches and breathtaking scenery. West Sumatran food philosophy is also infused in the movie. “Cooking rendang is just like life, we cannot rush the process,” Mak Uwo says to Hans in one of the film’s scenes. An Alexa XT Plus high definition camera is used to capture sharper details and richer colors of the food. Tabula Rasa is directed by promising young director Adriyanto Dewo and is written by Tumpal Tampubolon who is an alumnus of the Asian Film Academy, Busan South Korea. Actor Vino G. Bastian is the associate producer. Production is set to wrap by the end of February and it will be in movie theaters by September. Originally published on jakpost.travel
March 2, 2014
A businesswoman turned beauty queen Is on a quest to promote the wonders of INDONESIA.
Words Natasha Ishak
ost beauty queens spend a lifetime perfecting their walk and the way they talk for their moment in the spotlight. Imelda Budiman, despite being chosen the 2013 Mrs. Asia USA third runner-up, was never one of those pageant-driven women. Her challenge was not making sure she did not trip on stage, but the adjustment of moving from Indonesia to the US 14 years ago. She moved abroad with her husband Jonni Anwar, who works at a US energy company, and this self-described people person spent several years working in real estate before deciding to set up her own business. In 2012, Imelda co-founded Nusan TV (www.nusantv. com), the first Indonesian Internet channel in the US. Subscribers are able to access and stream Indonesian TV channels, as well as radio stations and karaoke tunes. Then Indonesian ambassador to the United States Dino Patti Djalal did the honors at the channels grand launch in Los Angeles. The endeavor is an attempt to introduce Indonesian culture to the US, and also provide a connection to home for Indonesian citizens living there. Over the past years, the entrepreneur-turnedambassador, who now resides with her husband and three children in Lone Tree, Colorado, has also become involved in other cultural events. She chairs Indonesian charity bazaars, held every
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May for the past eight years, which are fund-raisers for Global Refuge International initiatives across the globe, including Haiti, Uganda and Indonesia. The charity has raised more than US$20,000 in the last three years through its food sales alone. â€œWe used to put up tents like a real bazaar but soon found it more efficient to do online. We put up an assortment of Indonesian dishes available for order, then cook and deliver them to customers. The response is always amazing. Believe it or not, 85 percent of our customers are Americans,â€? Imelda shares, saying chicken satay is the top seller. The 2013 Mrs. Asia USA pageant in November was yet another vehicle for her to introduce Indonesia to the world. The pageant is an annual event to celebrate and appreciate the culture and talent of Asian minorities in the US. One highlight is the national costume parade, where contestants dress in intricate traditional garments. Imelda showed off a beautiful red-and-gold beaded Minangkabau costume complete with a show-stopping headpiece by Indonesian designer Adi Mulyadi, the go-to designer for dressing Indonesian pageant queens. Imelda admits her high placing in the competition has served to enhance her ambitions to promote Indonesian customs and traditions. During a recent a whirlwind trip home, Imelda, 32, sat down with JPlus to talk about competing in her first pageant, her cultural mission and future ambitions.
inspiring MIND When Virgelia Productions Inc., the organization behind the Miss and Mrs. Asia USA pageants, approached you to represent Indonesia, did you immediately accept the offer? To be honest, I needed some time to think about it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an incredible opportunity it was. It’s certainly a once in a lifetime chance to be able to represent your country on such a grand scale. As a working mother of three, I also felt it was time for me to experience something [different] for myself. As a first-timer, what was the experience like? I have worked as a presenter in Indonesia so I was accustomed to being on stage, but competing in a pageant is completely different. There’s so much preparation involved and a high-level of competition, considering most of these women have been doing pageants for years. Irene Lisa [the Indonesian contestant in Miss Asia USA] and I were absolute first-timers. On the day, we only showed up a few hours before the start of the event, while the others had been in full hair and makeup since lunch [laughs], so it was pretty intense. You are part of so many initiatives to promote Indonesia, from charity to pageants. What started your interest in culture? I think it mostly started from the opportunities that came my way. Living in America for so long, I have discovered most Americans do appreciate other cultures
and heritages. Most of the volunteers helping our charity bazaars are US citizens. I have collaborated on many occasions with an Indonesian arts and culture group in Colorado called Arcinda and many of the traditional dancers and gamelan players in the group are, in fact, Americans. They learned how to sing and dance the way our ancestors did. It’s a shame if we can’t appreciate our own culture as much as they do. What is the current social situation for ethnic minorities, such as Asians, in the US? In my opinion, American society has grown immensely in terms of racial diversity but it really depends on the city. Los Angeles and New York, for example, have a tremendously diverse society, compared to smaller cities like Denver. However, freedom of expression can really be felt all over the country so people are able to express their individual aspirations. Personally, I had no problem fitting in when I first moved to the States because I love meeting new people and connecting with others. Do you have any particular goals or projects for the future? There has been plenty of fundraisers setup for the devastation in Kelud, Yogyakarta, so I plan to partake in those as much as I can. I also want to delve deeper into media production. Hopefully we can start producing our own shows for Nusan TV in the future. I would also love to collaborate with an Indonesian network to air special segments about Indonesian life in the US.
“It’s a shame if we cannot appreciate our own culture the way foreigners do.”
Photos: Natasha Ishak, Stanley Bratawira
plants and tidying it up. During the visit, the hotel also made a donation of several boxes containing daily cooking needs such as oil, eggs and other staple foods. With operational expenses on the rise, YPAC increasingly relies on the generosity of the private sector in its quest to care for Bali’s mentally and physically challenged children. “We are always looking for different ways that we can give back to the local community and help improve the lives of those in need. It is only fitting that this visit coincided with Valentine’s Day, which is a time for us all to show compassion,” says Urs Klee, the hotel’s general Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa chose to celebrate the spirit of love this recent Valentine’s Day with a visit to a local institute for mentally and physically challenged children in Bali. The Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Children (YPAC) is a non-profit facility located in Jimbaran. It provides a nurturing environment that educates and prepares these handicapped children for independent life as adults. The hotel’s team included staff members, in-house guests and media representatives. The purpose of the visit was to carry out minor cleaning duties at the institute and enhance its garden area by relocating
Photos courtesy of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa
manager. YPAC accommodates 40 children with special needs. Experienced caregivers and teachers have created a specialized program of adapted courses emphasizing practical skills to give the youngsters a sense of purpose. It offers a wide choice of pursuits such as sewing, carpentry and handicrafts, with job placement assistance for graduates.
March 2, 2014
Edward Hutabarat made his name as a fashion designer in the big city of Jakarta, first for ‘80s glam attire, and then for spearheading the revival of the kebaya traditional blouse and, in the 21st century, the embracing of batik as fashionable wear. But the gregarious designer likes nothing more than to leave the bright lights of the capital for the sticks, documenting the traditions and customs of each region he visits. “I stay in Jakarta a maximum of 10 days and then you’ll catch me somewhere else in Indonesia,” he says.
Favorite Movie I enjoy documentaries. Music I listen to Mozart with my Bose headphones on in the middle of the ocean, surveying the coastline or listening to the sounds of nature such as bird chipping, the breeze and flowing river. Books I hardly ever read books, I’m more into practical things. For example, if I would like to make tenun (traditional woven) I don’t read about it, but go straight to the place of origin to learn how to create one. Dinner spot Depends. When I long for Japanese food, I go to Kyoto and I also eat fresh fish from the Indonesian ocean.
Sweet treats Lapis legit (very-rich layered cake) baked on charcoal from Lampung or Palembang, and Nyonya Jo jajanan pasar (traditional Indonesian bite-sized cakes) from Pekalongan, Central Java. I ask my assistant to go on a daytrip from Jakarta to Pekalongan just to pick them up for me. Shop Antique shops in Kyoto. Travel wear Cargo pants, T-shirt, Havaianas flip flop and Fujiwara sunglasses. I also bring with me a Hermès umbrella, it’s great in the heat.
Skin Care Dr. Aryani at Jakarta Skin Center. I have very sensitive skin, it even gets irritated from my own sweat. I’ve used the same products for more than 15 years. Soap & Shampoo L’Occitane en Provence.
Connections Camera Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III. Cell phone iPhone 5 and BlackBerry. TV channels fave National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan), Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Photo: Adi Wahono
Breakfast & Brunch My version of a beautiful breakfast is brewing Sidakalang coffee from North Sumatra and eating bread and butter with green tea manuka honey from New Zealand, followed by green vegetable juice.
Designer label Jill Sander.
Shirts Lacoste, Fred Perry and Comme des Garçons.
Artworks Name any artworks from Sabang to Merauke – I collect them all.
Biggest splurge I devote most of my expenses to traveling around Indonesia.
Luggage All must be waterproof.
Laptop MacBook Air for travel, and iMac at home.
Shoes Converse All Star, Comme des Garçons sneakers but I wear Havaianas flip-flops most of the time. +Hanna Nabila
talk of the town SVARNA by IKAT Indonesia Fashion Show The crème de la crème of Jakarta society turned out on Feb. 8 as designer Didiet Maulana launched his new bridal line. Titled “Romansa Flora”, the show was presented at Grand Hyatt Jakarta, which was decorated as a veritable floral bouquet to greet guests. Robby Purba
Selly Rai Mantra & Didiet Maulana
JPlus March 2, 2014
H. E. Mr. Cesar E. & Yulie Grillon