Saturday, July 03, 2004

Siren of the South Seas

Siren of the South Seas

Finally, a long weekend to put my thoughts in order again. Woke up this morning after a good night's sleep and for the first time this trip, managed to sample the buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Later I found myself at Pasar Mayestik, having a late lunch at the Midori Restaurant. I don't normally go for Japanese food, but I enjoy eating at the restaurant here because there's a good keroncong band that plays in the afternoon. I requested the singer to sing one of my favourite tunes: Didi Kempot's Stasiun Balapan. It brought back pleasant memories of my trip to Solo earlier this year.

When will I get another chance to go on a train journey in Indonesia again? Pelabuhan Ratu on the southern coast of Java island ranks high on my list but unfortunately it is not reacheable by train.

The famous Samudra Beach Hotel there is another one of those grand Sukarno projects built in the sixties. The place is steeped with mysticism: on Sukarno's instructions, room 308 is kept vacant for the legendary Queen of the South Seas--the beautiful Nyai Loro Kidul. This seductive virgin is known to lure men wearing green--her favourite colour--into the bosom of the ocean. Room 308 has been turned into a shrine with flowers and incense to appease Queen Loro Kidul.

I have to banish any thoughts of travelling for the moment for there are lots of work ahead for me. Total and complete concentration is demanded; No matter how irresistable the siren call of the Queen is, my wanderlust must be kept in check, at least for the next two weeks.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Second Home

Second Home

It feels good to be back in Jakarta, my second home. I arrived yesterday afternoon and jumped straight to work. Was told the last minute that I had to do a presentation this morning. So last night I had to burn the midnight oil to prepare for it. Luckily, it went pretty well. But there's so much work ahead, I'm afraid I won't have much time to catch up with all my friends here.

Thank God there's a long weekend coming up--next Monday is the day for the Presidential Elections and it is a public holiday. It has been exhausting for me since my last few days in Bangkok which was followed by four hectic days in KL to catch up on my errands. Hopefully I can finally get some decent sleep this weekend and spend some quiet time (preferrable at the Phoe Nam cafe with a nice cup of kopi tubruk and roti bakar) analyzing the technical details related to my new project.

I've decided to stay near the Sabang area again this time--near my favourite mall, Sarinah. Found out that the 24-hour MacDonalds here is offering free wireless Internet access. Unfortunately it is a very crowded place and not very suitable for doing work. I haven't seen anyone with a notebook there yet. But I'll probably give it a try this weekend.

Today, I was finally able to enjoy my favourite nasi padang dinner at the Sederhana restaurant in Sabang. From khao pad and tom yum gung in Bangkok, my regular lunch diet for the next few weeks will probably be soto betawi and nasi timbel. The weeks that I spent in Bangkok was fun but there's no place like home: Jakarta.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Meatspace: The Real Life

Meatspace: The Real Life

I have to take the next couple of days in KL to complete a whole list of errands. The only way to prevent myself from being lazy is to slightly overload myself with work and other life maintenance activities. Once my momentum slackens, torpor starts to kick in.

I missed a day of blogging last Friday in Bangkok because I was out having dinner and drinks with friends and when I came back to my apartment, I was completely exhausted. I think for the coming week, blogging is going to take a much lower priority as I'll be occupied with some very important work.

Blogging can suck up your time unnecessarily if you are over-obsessed with the layout and design of your website. It could be a fun thing to do if you have lots of time but I think most of us already spent way too much time than necessary on the Net. Many are also addicted to chat-rooms.

A Sunday Mail report today shows that boredom and loneliness drive many people to seek friendship over chat-rooms. All of us have this yearning to connect with other people and Internet chat-rooms offer a "safe" and convenient to do so. I personally have never understood the attraction of these chat-rooms--they seem like such a great gobbler of time.

The only way to overcome loneliness is to keep oneself busy and to have a sense of purpose in life. Well, I can't claim to have such a great sense of purpose myself, but I am very rarely bored. There's always so much to do. How can we even afford to be bored when we are always saying that we don't have time to do all the things that we want to do?

We are bored simply because we are lazy; lazy to do what we are supposed to do. No mood. Restless. So we log onto the Net and gratify our minds with useless information and idle cyber-chats. These things are like junk food; a bit of it is great fun but it can never replace your regular meals. The real world is out there in meatspace.

Doing productive work and meeting real people are I think much more fulfilling activities. The Internet is a great source of knowledge and a great medium of communication. It's main purpose is to enhance our physical lives and not take over them completely. Sometimes we tend to forget that.