Mouth to Mouth by Christian Simamora

OK. Christian Simamora is officially my favorite Indonesian romance author now. As soon as I knew the new novel is released, I raced to the bookstore to buy 1 copy. He’s back with his J-boyfriend series this time. (Preorder is one option but I like being in control of what I’m paying for more. You can always preorder here:

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Isadora (Is), our main actress of the novel, was a buyer at a premium department store, Haute & Co. She was traumatized by her ex boyfriend, Al, with whom she just broke up 1 month ago and who couldn’t understand the meaning of ‘break up’. Al kept contacting her, saying that he missed her and that he wanted her back. What’s worse was the fact that Al was somehow related to Is’ sister’s soon-to-be husband (their wedding was 2 weeks away). She convinced him that she already had a new boyfriend but Al wouldn’t buy it, resulting in her having to take her ‘new boyfriend’ to her sister’s wedding.

Jordache (Jordi), definitely our J-boyfriend, happened to just moved in to Is’ next room in her lodge. A couple of meetings with Jordi popped an idea to Is’ head: to make him her fake boyfriend, to take to her sister’s wedding to make her ex boyfriend believe that she had a new boyfriend. Little did they know that after Jordi agreed to being Is’ fake boyfriend, they would be enjoying the pretending very much.

I enjoyed the novel very much that I finished reading in 2 days. Definitely couldn’t stop reading once I started. Another good job from Babang Christian Simamora. πŸ˜€


Remuk Redam by Christian Simamora

Yes, I didn’t preorder this one and I had to get in and out of bookstores for 3 consecutive days before I finally found one (and bought it without thinking).

Display Buku Remuk Redam [Edisi TTD + Bonus: Notes Jatuh Cinta]

This book is a “spin-off” of the previously released “Burn Baby Burn“, which you can read without reading the predecessor. In Burn Baby Burn, the main character loved listening to a band named “Expectation”, for their single “Tsundere”, to be exact. Here in Remuk Redam, the main character is the vocalist of Expectation, Lucas Wolff. He is best friends with his manager and another YouTube hit, Mahir Siregar.

There once was a young woman who owned a man clothing label called “Gentleman 1995”, which was on the edge of bankruptcy. This woman, Olivia, inspired by her gay best friend, Fendi‘s spontaneous words, came to an event to approach Mahir with an expectation that he will be attracted to her, be her boyfriend, and promote her label for free. The most effective way to boost up a company’s profit this day, really.

Never came to her mind that she will instead attract Luc – the short of Lucas, a typical rocker who once broke her heart: a playboy with a lot of tattoos on his skin. Regardless of how hard she tried, she always failed to reject Luc – this includes not putting her heart in a relationship, the one thing she’s always proud of. In the end, it was proved that Luc broke her heart, just as his image says. ‘It was never a good idea to be involved with a rocker,’ she thought as her world was falling around her.

All in all, I can say Bang Christian Simamora is back with his romance style that I always love. Good job on this one too, Bang! I only needed 3 days (after office!!) to finish the book. πŸ™‚ You should get 1 for yourself too.

how to survive Jakarta’s traffic: patience is key

Yet another post about Jakarta’s traffic. A complain from a regular driver.

According to our new governor, the number of motorcycles in Jakarta is now 13,000,000 and cars 3,000,000 out of total 100,000,000 people living in Jakarta. 1,000,000 of the motorcycles are used for online motorbike-taxi (‘ojek online’ a.k.a. ‘ojol’); the number keeps increasing by day and the ‘labor unions’ are getting stronger and more solid.

Cars in Indonesia are mostly right-wheeled, so the normal rules are for slower vehicles (including but not limited to heavy trucks, buses with frequent stops except Transjakarta, bicycles, and motorcycles) to be on the left and faster on the right lane. However, it is clearly not the case in this city which is nominated one of top 10 cities with worst traffic in the world. As mentioned in the title: patience is key to survive Jakarta’s traffic.

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The realities/road rules today (illustrations taken from kompasiana and si.mbot’s instagram):

  1. The poorer is the pity one, hence needs protection/immunity from the laws (including when laws are violated). The order from the richest to poorest: car drivers – motorbike riders – pedestrians. Whenever a case arises on the street, the richer is always the guilty one.
  2. As an addition to rule no. 1, it is not necessary for motorcycles to be ridden on the left lane. They are free to look for the ‘quickest’ possible lane, especially in the middle of traffic jams, because why bother joining the congestion when you are slim and able to slip in between cars?
  3. Even when we’re free from motorcycles, in toll roads another rules apply:
    • Heavy-loaded trucks, the slowest vehicle on the road, are necessarily on the left
    • Lighter-loaded trucks/vans/buses, which are obviously faster, are free to take any lane they want – including the most right lane during ’emergency’, regardless of the speed limits the vehicles allow
    • Private cars are left only with with the most right lane, hence blocking occurs when slower cars are in front. Faster cars are forced to overtake from the roadside.
  4. On a 2-lane roads, (I also don’t know why) slower motorcycles and cars really like to take the middle lane (neither left nor right), blocking both lanes and won’t slide even when dimmed.pacman
  5. Crossroads, U-turns and roundabouts are the most dangerous of all parts of the street. Cars and motorcycles are free to drive at any possible angle to turn to any possible route, creating chaos and deadlocks now and then.



Burn Baby Burn by Christian Simamora

This is officially my 3rd time pre-ordering Christian Simamora’s novel – I didn’t look after the bonus, but the ability to receive the novel earlier than everyone else. If you’re interested in ordering too, you can follow the publisher’s social media accounts: Twitter or Instagram. This newest novel was released on 22 January 2018 and I finished reading it in 3 days. πŸ˜€ I can only give my salute to this guy for releasing a novel with different genre than he normally writes and he’s also out of his J-boyfriend series at the same time (he claims that the story was from the same universe, though).

Gia was an introvert translator/writer who enjoyed staying at home and being careless about how she looked. At the age of 35, she was still single and felt uncomfortable interacting with other human, especially her older sister, Cass. She felt that Cass meddled in her business way too much, complaining about her being single and forcing her to get out of her ‘nest’. Gia felt the opposite about her niece, though. Gadis, Cass’ daughter, got along very well with Gia. They hung out now and then, and their favorite restaurant was The Roux, a creole restaurant.

Kyrian LeRoux, or in short, Ky, was the handsome owner and chef of The Roux. Unquestionably, Gia felt for Ky. Encouraged by Gadis, Gia started her approach to Ky after he called her by name during one of her visit to The Roux. They believed that Ky also had feelings for Gia.

Cass kept warning Gia (and Gadis) that Ky had nothing special for Gia, and that Gia needed to be extra cautious being around him. Instead, both Gia and Gadis confronted Cass. It didn’t take a long time for Gia to be heartbroken: Ky had a girlfriend. The worst of it all was that only when Ky broke up did he find Gia again, confirming Cass’ claim that he only took Gia as a ‘spare tire’.

As always, Christian Simamora never upsets me. In this novel, he proves that he’s matured up his writing skills. I cannot wait to read his other new novels. Good job, Abang! πŸ˜€

[in Bahasa Indonesia] Jalan Tol, Jalan Bebas Hambatan (?)

Beberapa bulan terakhir, gue terpaksa nyetir lagi ke kantor, dan on top of that, I spend 39 kIDR each day on toll road. Gue yakin sih gue ga sendirian, karena di kantor gue pun banyak yang kaya gue. Yang gue rada bingung cuma fakta bahwa jalan tol itu ga bebas hambatan lagi (seperti yang dulu selalu diajarin ke gue pas SD).

Keuntungan dari menggunakan jalan tol cuma karena ga ada sepeda motor pengganggu (mau diakui atau nggak, makin kesini makin banyak pengemudi mobil yang ngeluh soal pengendara motor yang suka seenaknya – dan emang bener, baret-baret di mobil gue 90% disebabkan pengendara motor yang seenaknya nyelip-nyelip).

Beberapa hal kurang enak yang gue notice terjadi di jalan tol, berdasarkan pengalaman pribadi (I’m not judging here):

  1. Volume kendaraan yang tinggi bikin jalan tol juga macet, terutama di titik-titik pertemuan beberapa jalur (percabangan).
  2. Bus dan truk di jalur tengah (dan kiri untuk truk bermuatan berat yang bener-bener lambat jalannya) bikin kagok banget buat kendaraan pribadi, jadi kendaraan pribadi rata-rata terpaksa ambil jalur paling kanan, ga peduli jalannya cepet atau lambat.
  3. Mendahului dari jalur sebelah kiriΒ bahkan dari bahu jalan, akibat banyaknya kendaraan pribadi yang ambil jalur paling kanan gara-gara poin nomor 2. Yang, kalo dipikir-pikir, bahaya banget sebenernya, karena di jalur kiri itu resiko tinggi ketemu kendaraan yang jalannya lebih lambat (means rem mendadak kemungkinan ga bisa dihindari).
  4. ‘Pemaksaan’ penggunaan GTO alias pembayaran nontunai itu sebenernya bagus. Gue dukung sih idenya, dengan tujuan ngurangin korupsi para petugas gerbang tol (dari 10x lewat gerbang tol, rata-rata cuma 5x dikasi struknya alias ga jelas yang 5 lagi dikemanain), better records of all transactions, dan (sebetulnya) mempersingkat waktu transaksi karena ga pake kembalian-kembalian. Sayangnya, tujuan yang terakhir ga tercapai karena kenyataannya antrian di gerbang tol malah makin panjang dan lama sejak penerapan GTO. πŸ˜€
  5. Bonus dari tarif tol yang hampir tiap tahun naik adalah: jalan yang berlubang di sana sini, bikin maintenance mobil juga naik. Berhubung jalan tol beroperasi 24 jam sehari, 7 hari seminggu, keliatannya ga ada waktu buat memperbaiki jalan yang rusak. Gue pribadi merasa terganggu sih dengan adanya jalan rusak. Saking dalamnya lubang yang ada, pernah knalpot mobil gue sampe kejeduk keras banget.

[in Bahasa Indonesia] Penjara Wanita itu Bernama SMA Santa Ursula

Ini jelas bukan pertama kalinya gue nulis tentang SMA gue yang: Katolik, cewe semua, dan disiplin tinggi. Dan ga pernah bosen-bosennya gue sharing tentang SMA gue ini. Terutama karena Sabtu lalu gue baru aja ke sana lagi untuk ngambil race pack. Weekend ini akan ada event berjudul: Sanur Run For Teachers. Jalan-jalan lagi di sekolah itu otomatis bikin gue balik terkenang masa-masa dulu gue di sana, kaya flashback cepet gitu.

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Belakangan ini, makin banyak sekolah standar internasional di Jakarta ini, dan otomatis sekolah model old school kaya Sanur (yes, we call SMA Santa Ursula ‘Sanur’) makin tenggelam pamornya. Lebih-lebih lagi karena karakter anak jaman sekarang yang cenderung ga mau banget didisiplinkan, sehingga banyak ortu dan anak-anak yang ‘gemetar’ duluan begitu mendengar gimana Sanur di luaran sana.

Gue sendiri bukannya cinta mati sama sekolah gue itu. Really, 3 tahun di sana (untungnya cuma 3 taun, ga kebayang yang udah dari SD ato SMP di sana :P), gue ngalamin segala macem hal yang belakangan ini gue simpulkan sebagai love-hate relationship.

Tahun pertama di sana itu tahun super-shock. Gue yang pas SMP termasuk golongan top 10 di angkatan gue (sombong abis.. maafkan), tiba-tiba aja nyemplung ke sekolah unggulan yang anak-anaknya jauh lebih pinter-pinter daripada gue sehingga gue jadi tergolong biasa-biasa aja. Bahasa Inggris yang gue bangga-banggakan selama SMP, begitu masuk Sanur langsung gue termasuk yang nilainya jongkok karena temen-temen gue pada cas-cis-cus banget ngomongnya. Ulangan harian yang jaman SMP palingan sehari cuma 2 dan PR pun manageable, tiba-tiba aja di Sanur bisa ada 3-4, belum lagi PR-nya yang segunung.Β On top of that, peraturan sekolah soal seragam juga ketat banget (sering dirazia): blus ga boleh ketat, pake badge Serviam, rok 10 cm dibawah lutut, kaos kaki putih selutut, dan sepatu seragam hitam model pantofel.

Seolah cobaannya belum cukup berat, sekolah gue terpilih jadi salah satu sekolah percobaan kurikulum baru: Kurikulum Berbasis Kompetensi (KBK) yang penilaian murid-muridnya ada 3 kriteria: kognitif, afektif, dan psikomotorik. Kognitif itu penilaian kurikulum konvensional yang cuma menilai kemampuan siswa dari kompetensi akademisnya alias seberapa paham dia akan teori-teori yang diajarkan selama sekolah (dari ujian-ujian), afektif menilai sikap siswa terhadap yang diajarkan, dan psikomotorik menilai seberapa aktif siswa bisa berpartisipasi dalam pembelajaran di kelas. Yang paling berat dari semuanya itu adalah….. syarat nilainya yang ga boleh dibawah 7,5 (dan pas naik kelas 2, syaratnya naik juga jadi 8). Maaann!! Sanur udah cukup berat tanpa syarat nilai, ini pula ditambah. Hello remedial!

Tahun kedua itu tahun hoki karena gue bisa masuk IPA. (Siapa lagi orang gila yang bilang masuk IPA itu hoki? Nilai pelajaran IPS gue pas ambil rapor kenaikan kelas merah, jadi dijamin gue bakal desperate banget kalo sampe gue kecemplung ke IPS.) Yang ga hokinya karena gue ketemu yang namanya pelajaran biologi yang bisa bikin gue gila, dan pelajaran matematika yang gurunya terkenal killer di seluruh jagat raya persanuran (serius, ini guru legendaris banget karena jaman gue SMA udah ngajar di situ 20 tahunan lebih, jadi banyak temen-temen gue yang nyokapnya diajar sama dia juga). Dimulailah tahun penuh air mata gue di Sanur, dimana setiap siang pulang sekolah gue nangis-nangis karena ga sanggup lagi sekolah di sana.

Tahun ketiga, meski masih penuh air mata, tapi gue udah mulai woles. Terutama karena di awal tahun ajaran, guru-guru udah ngumumin bahwa semester kedua cuma bakal dipake buat ‘refresh‘ semua pelajaran yang udah didapet dari kelas 1. Fiuhhh.. semester 1 dikebut abis, tapi begitu masuk semester 2 jadi agak nyantai (you wish! Ulangannya malah makin menggila yang ada). Pas akhirnya lulus ujian akhir itu rasanya legaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa banget. (Pengennya sih lebih panjang lagi a-nya.)

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Ga tau sih, semua alumni ngerasain hal yang sama apa nggak, tapi inilah hal-hal yang berkesan dan gue syukuri dari sekolah di Sanur:

  • Tiap pagi lari-lari di lorong masuk yang berasa panjang banget karena tas bawaan yang ga pernah santai beratnya, terutama kalo udah kesiangan, soalnya bel masuknya bunyi jam 06.50, bukan jam 7 kaya sekolah lainnya. (Sekarang mungkin udah ga berlaku karena beberapa sekolah masuk jam 06.30.) Trus kalo lari-lari di lorong lantai 2 (SMA letaknya di lantai 2), bakal ditegor guru, jadi terpaksa cuma bisa jalan cepat dengan resiko telat masuk kelas.
  • What I like and affected me the most, dan gue rasa ga semua sekolah ngajarin ini ke murid-muridnya: kepedulian terhadap sekitar. Despite kesupersibukan murid-muridnya, kepsek dan guru-guru selalu ngingetin kami untuk peduli sama sekitar. Kalo ada temen kesusahan, dengan kesadaran sendiri bantu; buang sampah di tempatnya biar ga bikin susah tukang bersih-bersih, hargai sesama makhluk hidup terutama yang lebih lemah daripada kita, consider others sebelum bertindak, even untuk hal-hal kecil, aware sama yang terjadi di sekitar, dan sebisa mungkin jadi yang pertama tau sesuatu langsung dari sumber resminya (papan pengumuman).. hal-hal yang keliatannya kecil tapi sangat bermanfaat buat kehidupan mandiri gue berikutnya.
  • Live-in. Usut punya usut, program live-in ini di-initiate sama Sr. Francesco yang pernah jadi kepala SMA Sanur lumayan lama. Selama seminggu, remaja-remaja kota ini disuruh tinggal di pedesaan buat ‘belajar hidup’. Banyak yang lucu-lucu. Ada yang baru pertama kali liat anak ayam, ketakutan pergi ke kamar mandi sendiri malem-malem (karena rata-rata kamar mandinya kepisah dari bangunan rumah), pertama kali tidur ga pake AC, dan kalo buat gue: pertama kali motong rumput pake arit di ladang, pertama kali panen jagung, pertama kali liat kambing melahirkan, dan pertama kali bersihin sisik ikan. Asli, meski program ini buat gue banyak ga enaknya, tapi sekarang kalo dipikir-pikir banyak juga gunanya.
  • A woman can do anything. Ga ada cowo di sekolah, siapa takut?! Tiap tahun ada acara unggulan OSIS dan gue hobi ikutan jadi panitia. Pas persiapan acara, karena ga ada cowo ya udah ngangkut-ngangkut sendiri, apa-apa sendiri, dan acaranya sukses-sukses aja. Ini pembelajaran jadi mandiri, makanya banyak banget anak Sanur yang berani padahal kami cewe.
  • Time management. Karena jadwal PR dan ulangannya sadis banget, tiap pulang sekolah gue harus langsung nyicil ngerjain PR dan belajar kalo ga mau begadang. Belum lagi kalo pas ada les (untungnya nyokap gue ga akan ngasih anaknya les kecuali emang bener-bener butuh), makin harus pinter bagi waktu deh. Beneran kaya training di camp militer yang segala sesuatunya harus dikerjain seefektif dan seefisien mungkin.
  • Penjara wanita. Ini becandaan yang kayanya emang kenyataan. Sekolahnya full dikerangkeng, terletak di ring 1 RI, (sialnya) ga pernah banjir even musim banjir (karena pawang hujan dari Istana yang konon efeknya sampe ke sekolah) sehingga sekolah ga pernah diliburkan, belajarnya serius banget tapi mainnya lebih serius lagi, paling pelit libur dan paling duluan (ulangan umum selalu mendului sekolah lain tapi liburnya belakangan), dan yang paling penting: isinya cewe semua.
  • Ngajarin cuek. Selain peduli sama sekitar, sekeliling cewe semua juga bikin jadi cuek. Cuek dalam hal penampilan luar ya.. ga gitu peduli penampilan, sikap duduk seenaknya (emangnya kalian kira kenapa cewe Sanur ga pernah bisa duduk dengan lutut rapat meski lagi pake rok?), ngomong ceplas ceplos, dan berani tampil (bermula dari keharusan tampil depan kelas untuk setiap mata pelajaran).
  • Speak up so you’re heard. Pertama kali masuk Sanur, gue masih kebawa sikap selama SMP yaitu diem-diem aja apapun yang terjadi. Dikelilingin cewe-cewe, akhirnya gue pun luluh dan ikutan sikap: ngomong lah kalo ada apa-apa. Ini kebawa sampe sekarang sih, yang kalo ada hal ga beres, gue bakal langsung ngomong dengan gamblang.
  • Pelajarannya susah, tapi jadinya gue nyantai banget pas kuliah semester 1. Ada guru yang juga alumni Sanur dulu bilang: kalian kalo bolos di Sanur rugiii.. soalnya di sini bolos 1 hari sama aja kaya ketinggalan pelajaran 1 minggu di sekolah lain. Ada benernya sih. I’ve tried. Mabok banget pas abis ga masuk sehari. Tapi ya itu, karena pelajarannya susah, jadi pas kuliah gue nyantai abis. FYI, kuliah semester 1 gue itu semuanya ngulang pelajaran SMA (kalkulus, fisika, kimia) dan gue jadi super santai pas temen-temen gue kebat-kebit ngikutinnya.

Buat adik-adik (caelahhh) yang masih galau mau masuk SMA Sanur apa nggak, my advice is take the chance. Ga semua orang berkesempatan masuk Sanur karena emang hanya yang terpilih aja yang bisa masuk (penilaiannya ga cuma dari nilai pelajaran, tapi juga dari nilai psikotest), dan bakal banyak banget pengalaman ga terlupakan selama sekolah di sana. It is indeed a ‘jail’ yang bakal dibenci banget pas ngejalanin dan dikangenin banget setelah lulus.

why I do not regret going back to Jakarta

A while after I returned from Australia back in 2012, a lot of friends asked me the same question: ‘why did you return to Jakarta?’, to which I replied the same: ‘because I couldn’t find a job in Australia’.

Above all things, there are some reasons to why I do not regret going back to Jakarta:

  1. I love Indonesia. No matter how messy and sucks the country is, I was born and grew up in this country. My family is here. So I have no reason of settling down in another place. Back then, even with the fact that I really wanted to work in Australia, I have always wanted to go back to Indonesia by the age of 30s. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my parents going through their old days only by themselves.
  2. This country gives me more opportunities than other country could. I’m not comparing Indonesia to (no offense) lower level countries – it’s just natural that I would prefer working at more developed countries instead. However, after some conversations with friends, I came to the decision that my opportunities are bigger in Indonesia than in any other countries. I can freely apply for the jobs that I want without working permit restrictions and consequently resign from the jobs I don’t like without having to think about the penalties (that I would be imposed to if I were working abroad).
  3. At the same time, it also gives me more challenges. The best thing about this country is the people’s openness to others from different background. The different background is the most challenging thing of working in Indonesia: you’ll have to be able to understand the way they think and speak since it tends to be different in every region.