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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Our third day started with a drive to Bukit Tinggi to do shopping! We went to Aisha Craft Shop near Pasar where the ladies were excited to buy traditional fabrics and some clothes. The owner, Tante Nacha, was really hospitable. She served us all her home made peanut cake and capuccino. Sure enough we ended up doing a massive shopping.

We continued to go to Pasar, where Ibu Wies went to buy Dadiah (traditional yogurt made from Ox Milk and stored in bamboo) and Ampyang (traditional cereal made from rice pounded flat). Mas Indi had a chance to tried Pisang Bakar (flatten roasted banana with sugar coated shredded coconut). On the way to the car, we visited General Election Committee Center to see the preparation for the upcoming election. People there seems to be very busy folding the gigantic ballot sheets.

We had lunch in Kedai Nasi Kapau recommended by Tante Nacha. She promise that she will pay the lunch if we were able to prove that the Nasi Kapau served there is not up to our taste. Well, it turned out to be really good that we did not mind paying the lunch ourselves. I personally enjoyed the Jengko Curry most.

We continued to drive northward to Harau Valley which is as beautiful as the Grand Canyon or the Yosemite Valley. Natural ponds were formed by the water streams that falls from the top of the valley. Here's one picture that we took in one of the ponds.

There is one spot in the valley which was called "Echo" where we can stand there and scream out and echo will be repeated on the other end of the valley.

We took a break in Echo Lodge located in between two high canyon. The scenery is simply amazing, and this lodge highly respects its environment. A lot of european artists rent a room there for few weeks simply to enjoy the scenery and to do their artistic works such as painting.

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Monday, March 29, 2004

The second day in Minang starts with a stroll along the Anai golf course, which is located in a very unique setting : in the middle of tropical jungle. The scenery was breathtaking - there are layers and layers of mountains and valleys! There are a lot of monkeys that will throw back the out-of-bound golf balls. Wild boars dig holes along the fairway to look for worm. The fairway constantly needs repair and maintenance due to wild boar attack. We end our walk with a great breakfast in the clubhouse: Fried Noodle, Noodle Soup, and the most delicious oxtail soup (needs a pinch more salt).

We drove northward to Paya Kumbuh to Minang Cultural Museum, which is a replica of traditional Minang Village with its traditional carving and grass covered roof. The museum had a great collection of old photos, in which we were able to find my Incik (great grandmother) and my Oma (grandma) when they were very young. The museum also rented out traditional minang dress which we can wear and take pictures with. Finally, under the pressure of Pak Hindro, Bu Tuti, and Bu Wies, Mas Indi and I rented traditional minang wedding dress. Since we have done our Javanese wedding rites, now is our chance to fulfil my Minang origin by wearing traditional Minang dress.

We then continued to Pak Datuk Restaurant where we had lunch and I had a great Jengkol Curry!

The lunch made all of us very sleepy and we slept in our car while the ladies (Bu Tuti, Bu Wies, and Tante Paula) went shopping and buying some Minang craftwork. We took a break in Novotel coffee shop and I had Kopi Talua, which is a glass of black coffee mixed with raw eggs. The result is like Capuccinno, with froth on top and creamy texture from the beaten egg. Too bad it was raining heavily and we could not make our way to Jam Gadang.

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Sunday, March 28, 2004

We arrived in the land of Minangkabau this morning from Batam. The whole family picked us up from the airport and we drove 60km southward to get to Jembatan Akar. On the way we stopped at Restoran Keluarga and had a great Minang lunch. Fish Head Curry, and I managed to eat the curry fish eyeballs!

Jembatan Akar, as the name suggested, is basically a bridge made from the root of Banyan Tree. Two banyan trees are located across the river in front of each other, and a bridge is made by tying the root of those trees. After one-hundred years, the bridge become like this:

The river below the bridge is really clean and a lot of people swim there, jumping right from the bridge.

Later that night we arrived in the villa in Anai and had a great dinner of green duck curry. It's really spicy and I am sure the cook was using a dash of marijuana to make all of us addicted to the curry!

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Mas Indi, Leonard, and I had breakfast in Little India in a South Indian restaurant with Melissa Kwee. We were introduced to David Cohen, from Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center who is in charge for East Timor Human Rights tribunal. For this special breakfast occassion, Mas Indi specially put on his UN East Timor polo shirt :> We were all chatting about development problems in Indonesia and East Timor, on which Melissa is working with UNIFEM Singapore.

Later I went out to work (yes indeed, on Sunday), settle some things for Charrette preparation. The project team had a meeting with the consultants in Alphabet Bar Amara Hotel (again, on Sunday).

That night, we were invited to have dinner and jam session in Gita's residence, with Bob James and his group! Harvey Mason was also there! Too bad, they were all too tired to play that night after dinner. Nevertheless, Bruno, Hari, Mario, and mas Gita showed up their skills, and Daniel joined them with his guitar.

This is my picture with Bob James

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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Read this article from TODAY.

Let me put it simply:

As women are forced now to assume "men's role" (working to earn money to provide livelihood of the family)

It is now time for men to be forced to assume "women's role" (to have a share in doing household / domestic work, and rearing the children)!

Simply, there should be equally distributed tasks, benefits, advantages and disadvantages for both men and women. Let men and women have equal share of salary distribution, leave, benefits, etc. There should be a level playing field between the two genders.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Straits Times put on the headline of "Radical moves to help new mums - MARCH 3, 2004". My quick comment is that all the measures taken are all focused on woman as the only person who is responsible in making babies and taking care of them. No emphasis are given to push equal role between father and mother. The division of labor: men as sole breadwinner and women as "mothers" (in classical terms), is still there. The proposed policies are all focused on the women.

Perhaps those policies, (i.e. maternity leave) will aggravate the position of the potential mothers, in the sense that they will be less desired by the employers.

I personally think the policies are put on the wrong emphasis. As I have discussed with Pierre few days back, it is easy to encourage people to make more babies:

  • Emphasise on equal role between men and women. Men should be encouraged to take more role in child's upbringing. Let 'unusual situation' such as having the woman as breadwinner and stay-at-home husband be happened. The policies must be focused on the long-term effect, not just at 'maternity' portion.
  • Less working hours, for both men and women, to ensure more quality time with family. Europeans work for 36-40 hours per week, having saturday and sunday off.

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