Category Archives: UrbanChat

Deep, Blue, and Keeps Being Hip

“You hail from and live in the world’s largest archipelago, yet you don’t scuba-dive? How is that?” A Frenchman, already a licensed Dive Master then, asked me point-blank over a decade ago. My bellydancing pal Hanna, a diving enthusiast, asked … Continue reading

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Chicks Throwing Kicks on Flicks

Chick flicks. As a self-respecting, longtime moviegoer I despise that term, used loosely for romantic comedy, teen drama and musical genres. It alludes condescendingly to movies deemed lovey-dovey, fairy tale-y, or full of visual fluffs without much meat. Though I … Continue reading

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The Ugly F-Word of Forecasting

Oh, the ugly F-word of forecasting. I despise that one more than any other F-word around. I didn’t like it much throughout schools, and I loathed it on monthly basis when pursuing marketing career in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. … Continue reading

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Seamless Semarang, Seemingly

When you travel with the genuine willingness to soak in the atmosphere of the destination, there are almost no boundaries of what you can enjoy. That’s the quality I value more on travel mates—the ones who aren’t boxed in just … Continue reading

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Fire Sale: Muslim Voters and the Chinese Bogeyman

Jakarta’s politics never ceased to amaze me. Just when I thought the religion card couldn’t have been used more coarsely, Instagram delivered a surprise earlier this week. And to think I actually logged into Instagram to avoid the highly-political Twitter. … Continue reading

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New Year and the Surreal New Normal

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s word of last year was “surreal”, which perfectly sums up how 2016 was pretty much worldwide and, like it or not, prepares us for 2017 onward. I personally think Merriam-Webster was being kind, because I would have … Continue reading

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Pardoning the Turkeys, I Mean the Tax Evaders

Despite the years I spent in the US I never quite understood the pardoning of the turkey by the President before Thanksgiving. Doesn’t matter how many times a well-meaning American tried to explain it to me, I always ended up … Continue reading

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The Acehnese Man Guarding Chinese Manuscripts

Believe in momentums? I do. After reading an ethnographic book I discovered the author’s Twitter handle, on which I found a link to someone’s blogpost about a museum of diaspora Chinese literature in Indonesia.   Museum of what?   Yeah, … Continue reading

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71 Years On: The Crossroads of Identity?

It started off years ago as Independence Day lunch with some diplomat friends; they’d just returned from State Palace for the ceremony, I’d just finished watching it on TV. Since they’d be in formalwear, I’d dress accordingly in variations of red-white … Continue reading

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A Small Window Into Stately Frames

The colorful state of Indonesia turns seventy-one this month. As countries go it’s not that old, yet thanks to the tragically poor teaching of history, the earlier decades are starting to fade. Many Indonesians don’t quite know their history and … Continue reading

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