Siska's rants.. and some other things

A lot of new things happen in my life and surround I decide to write everything comes up in my mind, to remind me again of all the silly and interesting bits and pieces...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reuni kecil

Setelah hampir 5 tahun tidak pernah berhubungan, hanya di update oleh Friendsters dan milist yang jarang dibalas.. akhirnya saya berjumpa lagi dengan beberapa teman lama.
Teman satu kuliah, satu jurusan, satu angkatan.
Bertempat di Burger King, didepan Borders book store, Orchard Road, Singapore.. tanggal 23-May-2007.
Ada Henny dan suaminya, Fredy: cerita tentang Henny.. dia setahun lalu menamatkan program master di Singapore, lalu kerja di Indonesia, dan sekarang baru di relokasi ke Singapore.
Ada Oyi, yang hari ini ultah (Happy tambah tua!!) dan the husband to be nya, Hendri. Mereka sudah tinggal dan bekerja di Singapore sekitar 9 bulanan.
Wisnu, yang datang dari Jakarta karena sedang ada pelatihan di perusahaannya.
Yusak: yang baru sebulan kerja di Singapore.
Kukuh yang sudah jadi kayak orang Singapore, saking lamanya disini (3-tahunan).
Andri, yang kuliah lagi di Singapore.
Saya yang kebetulan ada kursus singkat di Singapore juga.
Saling bertukar kabar, dengan pertanyaan paling seringnya "Nyampe kapan disini?", atau "Sudah berapa lama disini?" atau "tinggalnya dimana?"..
A memorable moment...



Hari kedua kursus..
Perut kenyang (karena pantang melewatkan sarapan gratis.. toast with butter n honey, croissant, keju berbagai jenis, buah potong.. yang bisa diambil tanpa batas:p).
Mata berat susah dibuka, karena tidur semalam kurang, lagi-lagi pantang kalau tidak menggunakan koneksi internet gratis di kamar, untuk browsing film-film terbaru dan juga nonton TV sepuasnya (maklum, anak kos yang tidak ada TV di kamar).
Batuk terus, gejala flu dibawa dari Pekanbaru.
Mau minum terus, untuk meredakan batuk - konsekuensinya, sering harus ke belakang.
Mau diam saja - konsekuensi, tidur dengan sukses.
Mau pura-pura tanya, biar di kira aktif, tapi lama-lama instrukturnya sadar kalau pertanyaanku ini pertanyaan khas orang ngantuk yang ga mau ketauan tidak mendengarkan.
Mau browsing-browsing sementara instrukturnya sibuk mengoceh - takut dikira kurang ajar (aku juga bakalan marah kalau aku sibuk ngomong sementara orang-orang malah maenan komputer).
Mau sering-sering jalan dan kebelakang - repot banget, harus naek turun tangga dan pake safety glasses, harus melewati sebuah pintu yang hanya bisa dibuka dari dalam.
Instruktur terus ngomong - mata semakin berat.
Bergerak-gerak di kursi agar jangan tidur - dipelototi sebelah, karena merusak konsentrasi dia...
Aduh, susah memang!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Singapore, is a fine city/country?

Not a purpose to take a Miss Indonesia’s word by saying Indonesia is a beautiful city… but yes, that’s my impression about Singapore.
I live in Indonesia and never been to Singapore before. People were wondering when they found out that I’ve never been to Singapore yet. So far only Changi Airport that I’ve been, only for a couple of hours transit, even sometimes, just went out from the plane and queued back to the boarding lounge for a security purpose.
This time, I went for a short technical course to Singapore. The course only took 3 days, started from Monday to Wednesday. It was a good timing for me, as:
I have a place to stay in my college friends’ apartment.
I can go there on Saturday, spend the Sunday there before starting the course.
The direct flight between Singapore – Pekanbaru is just once a day, which is in the evening, so I have no other choice than to stay one more day and return on Thursday, instead of Wednesday.
So, that’s the start up. I went by 19:00 plane Pekanbaru – Singapore. The flight took only 35 min, even took longer time to go and wait in the Airport for boarding compared to the flight time itself.
Arrived around 21:00 with the time difference, as Singapore is 1 hour ahead of Indonesia’s time. The Changi Airport is very good airport in terms of the facility and the easiness for the passenger to follow the sign to collect the baggage, connect to another flight or to catch another mean of transportation to downtown.
Didn’t take too much time for me to find the conveyor belt and took my bag. I directly went out to take a shuttle train to terminal 2, where I can take an MRT to downtown.
Reaching terminal 2, I bought eazyline card, this is a deposit card for MRT, very helpful and easy. With 15 SGD, we will have 7SGD value and it can be used for 5 or 8 years, after that we can top up the value.
Oyi + Hendri’s apartment was located in the farthest point from Changi Airport. So I have to change the MRT. The route is ChangiJurong East with green line. And change to red line to Marsiling station. The trip took quite some time (around 45min), but I enjoyed it so much, with a convenient train, safe and easy to follow the direction. Well, I can always ask direction if incase I am lost, since everybody speaks english anyway.
Couldn’t see much outside the MRT, only the lights of buildings, tidy and clean town and lots of apartments buildings.
Sometimes, the MRT was so full of people, but there is always a room to scoop in and grab a pole. No food and drink inside the train.

I reached Marsiling station and dropped off there. Oyi and Hendri were waiting right outside the station and they took me to the apartment. It is a 3rd floor apartment with 3 rooms, much bigger than I imagine of an apartment in Singapore, already furnished, completed with kitchen. Very convenient. We had supper in a food court near by. I ordered a noodle soup with salted fish and fried dumplings. Oyi and Hendri had roti pratha with cheese. The soup was kind of bland, helped with the salt fish to add some flavor in it, but it was what I expected with my blocked nose and cough. I tasted their roti pratha and it tasted nice.
We went back to the apartment. The area around is very nice and clean, with the feeling of being safe and tidy.
We chatted until 3 o’clock in the morning, since we haven’t met for 3 years, and the entire plan to wake up early and take a morning jogging was gone.
We woke up around 10 o’clock, chatted again accompanied with tea and milk. The outside seems too sunny and made me lazy to plan anything. It made me worried that my sense of traveling disappears.
Around midday, Oyi accompanied me to downtown and check in the hotel. We took the MRT red line and stopped in City Hall station. This is maybe the biggest interchange station, which connects the 3 MRT lines (red, green and purple). We went out and with no difficulty, reached the hotel. It is Grand Plaza Park Royal Hotel, located in Coleman Street, near to the river and Esplanade.
Went out from the city hall, there is a Cathedral named St Andrew. We cross the street and pass Peninsula Mall and Funan Mall, then turn right to a small alley where the hotel is located. I checked in and went to the room, for me the price is not really worthy for the hotel and the room condition. We went out again, with the plan to look for a sport shoes for me in Queenstown mall. We took the MRT again and followed by a bus to the mall. This shopping center is mainly to sell sport appliances and the price is bargain able. But I couldn’t find the shoes that I want with reasonable price. Everything is more expensive compare to Indonesia. So I decided not to buy there, instead we went to IKEA to buy hotdog. Hotdog in IKEA seems quite famous, not because of the taste, but because it is very cheap. It costs 1 SGD or 1.75 SGD with a refilled soft drink. You just need to queue, the lady will give you the bun with the sausage in it, and you go to the mustard, chili and tomato ketchup counter and pour it by yourself. IKEA itself is very big and people told me it is quite interesting for home appliances, but since I don’t have any personal motive to look for furniture or kitchenwares, so we just took off.
We took the bus again to the MRT station and then dropped off in Plaza Singapore, just like other malls, as I am not really interested to window-shopping in malls, it will be a different story if it is a supermarket, instead of mall, which I would like to go strolling for hours inside.
We went to visit Carrefour, inside the mall, and I was tempted to buy an electric fan, similar like they have in the apartment. The fan is quite small and the wind is not too strong. But I cancelled, since it will be a bit troublesome to bring it back home.
We went to the food court to have a lunch, after going back and forth, difficult to decide what to take. I ordered another kind of noodle soup, with a minced meat and wonton. The only reason I ordered that is because they have a plaque over their counter as the winner of some sort of competition. But after I tasted it, I was wondering what is the standard for the competition that they won. The taste is somewhat strange and bland, but again, because of my coughing and a bit flu condition, it was a suitable meal for me. Oyi and Hendri ordered roasted calamari and fish in Indonesian, which they claimed, as the best among all, as “at least this one has a taste”.
A moment later, Yusak, another old friend came to join us. We’re talking and talking and decided to go to Esplanade, the famous theater. One surprise for me, when we went out from the food court, Hendri realized that his bag wasn’t with him any more. It was lost when they changed the seat before we ordered some food, after that we ate and chatted and that was more than 1 hour. We asked to the cleaning lady and guess what.. she handed the bag to the information, and Hendri can get his bag back, all safe!. Things that I wouldn’t hope to get in Indonesia.

We went out and took MRT to city hall, and went out to Esplanade. This is a spiked-durian-shaped building used for theater and one of Singapore’ symbol. The lounge of the building has some art exhibition, and this time the pieces of work come from the math and science student of NTU, they draw curves which will not intersect with other lines, is continuous and form a big drawings, interesting drawings.
It is that Singapore makes perfect to get the quality of life, sort of speak. Apart from the hectic paced work and maybe strong competition, but this place is perfect for people who appreciate having enough time and activities to do for leisure. Public transportation is very convenient, the city is safe and clean, a lot of places to go window-shopping, hang around, sit down and sip a cup of coffee, a lot of places to indulge the appetite, and not forget to mention the art exhibitions and performances. But all of those things have to be compromised with price, or maybe because I’m coming from Indonesia that I found everything’s expensive here.
We strolled along the path leads us to Merlion statue near to Fullerton Hotel. This statue of an imaginary animal is the symbol of Singapore and believed from where the name originated. The biggest statue is in Sentosa Island. In this cape, located the medium size and small one, as we jokingly called them, the mother and baby. Legend told that there was a king from ancient kingdom who saw a lion in this area, which rumor said actually it was a tiger. After taking some pictures with the merlion as it is a must to prove that I’ve been to Singapore, we went towards Fullerton Hotel, the most luxurious (and bet, the most expensive as well) hotel, actually I looked for the statue of kids jumping to the river, but unfortunately, it is on restoration, so I couldn’t take a picture of it. We went to walk along the river quay; it is a posh area along the riverside with lots and lost of nice restaurant, which have open air lounge near the river. People can sit down, have a nice meal and hang around for hours, enjoying the river view and the surrounding air.We went back to the hotel and I set them off in MRT station, it was not enough to be called a day, but I was not too enthusiastic to roam around since tomorrow I will have a full day agenda.

The 2nd day, I spent the whole day in the plant. It was a 30min travel by bus towards the west, to Jurong Area.
Came back to the hotel in the evening, the big boss had a plan to go out and have a chilli crab dinner, so who can say no to that offer?
So we went together to a restaurant in Marina Bay area called Long Beach, a chinese/seafood restaurant, with lots of occupied table and a reservation before come there. Freash and live seafood were inside the aquariums and tanks, whirling with oxygen supply from the hoses. And tell you that all the animals there are like a pre-historic animals, so huge. The crab if the two claws are spreaded up, will take near to 1-m length. In spite of the delicious taste, I don't think that I would like to be somewhere near them when they're alive and free.
The first course came, and since the one who was in charge of the ordering is a chinese guy, so I wouldn't worry about the choice of food.
It was started with the famous chilli crab, the sauce is so delicious and best match with the fried dumpling called mantau (FYI, that I requested the dumpling..:p). The next couse came, which were black pepper crab (I found it too strong) and white pepper alaskan crab.. the crab is a bit different, it has a softer shell compare to normal crab, the spices was mostly white pepper, which I found it a bit unique. Fried crayfish came, it was fried with thin flour on the shell, very tempting to swallow and chew the whole shell, but off course that's not possible. Like the crab, this crayfish is also huge. Steamed fish with delicious sauce and the fish was so fresh. Sauted long bean with minced meat seemed not everybody's favourite but the stir fried kailan was good.
So much course, made me forget the rice, only crab, crayfish and fish one after the other, with cold Tiger beer in between. The waitresses came by and passing us back and forth, with more courses and more plates, changing plates, adding more beer into the glass, so busy and hectic. Wondering how rich the owner of this restaurant must have been.Finish with the food with full stomach, came back to the hotel and took a quick stroll to the rows of shops in front of the hotel. Then came back to the room and (have to be) ready for the next day.
Tuesday, again breakfast, wasn't that good, but at least the bread was excellent as in other good hotel, Had some toast with honey, drink black tea and fruits.
I never forgot to steal apples from the receptionist desk when I went out from the hotel.
Today I was so exhausted and felt very sleepy during the class. I skipped lunch and used that time to take a nap inside the classroom. After class I spent no time to go towards Bugis Junction. The streets are nice, as other Singapore's streets. It was full of shops and stalls, not so extraordinary for an Indonesian like me. Didn't feel like to go and check it out more closely, so I just walked by and passed that crowd. I reached a street with an Indian Temple on my right, It was a bit dark and the sun started to dissapear. I walked straight, which the map tells me that it will lead me back to the hotel. All streets are nice and tidy, with nice buildings.

I arrived back to the hotel and went out towards River Quay and Clarke Quay and found a nice Thai Restaurant, which turned out that it has excellent food. We ordered beef salad, green chicken curry and barbeque calamary. All of them were great. The salad was so fresh and hot, the curry was thick with perfect saltyness and sweetness, blended together. The calamari was a bit usual, but the season is nice. Good food in a nice place. The area around the restaurant is nice, with lost of alley and nice lounge, even in the center they have a watching-together things, newly released movie, 'Pirates of Carribean".
After dinner, I went back to the hotel and passing a bungy ball, seeing the people paid to be scrared to death in a jumping ball. For me with the height-phobia. That was something out of sense, felt that my spine stiffened, just imagining if I were in their position.
The next day, again the same long day at the plant. and after the course's finished, since this was the last day. I took the MRT to Orchard Road, and turned out that Orchard is exactly what I magine it to be, with much more malls that I could imagine.

Here I have an appointment with my old college friends, to gather in Burger King.
I went to buy some presents, in Hard Rock Cafe, then go to Takashimaya - Kinokuniya book store and Lucky Plaza.. start to feel bored and more bored with the malls.
So I didn't really take a good look to each malls I visited, all looks just the same to me.

I sat down, waiting for my friends, in front of Burger King, they have a wide screen with the movies, people doesn't care of one another, so I kind of enjoying thata time, altough I very rarely enjoying my waiting times.
A bunch of teenagers, I figured they are Japanese, came to ask me to take their picures, with a polariod camera, it was fun to see the picture came out and start to print immediately.
My small reunion with my friends was over and I went back to the hotel, passed by in Raffless Plaza to buy green tea frapucino.
The last day, I woke up a bit late, didn;t have a chance to go and enjoy the gym and pool. I went to have a long breakfast and went out to Mustafa Center, a lot of story about this place - where you can find anything, open 24-hours, quite cheap. So made me curious and decide to go there.
Went back to the hotel and went to Chinatown, not much to enjoy, with the hot weather in the middle of the day.
Around 16:00, the taxi was ready and took my and a friend to the Airport.
I hope this will not be the only time I visited Singapore, of course a lot of other nice things than malls and more malls are waiting to be done there....


Beware of these guys..!!

Yang saya maksudkan dengan “guys” diatas adalah, jenis-jenis penumpang yang harus kita hindari didalam pesawat atau any means of public transportation. Jika kita kebagian sial untuk mendapat tempat duduk disekitar mereka, siap-siap saja makan hati dan ngomel-ngomel (didalam hati):
1. Manula, especially ibu-ibu: I don’t know how about you guys, but I hate to be touched by somebody I don’t know, dan nenek-nenek dikenal dengan kebiasaannya yang suka asal nggeramah-ngeramah ora jelas. Dalam penerbangan Jakarta – pekanbaru minggu ini, saya sangat lelah dan mengantuk, sehingga, saya minta window seat, duduk, dan langsung tertidur dengan pulas, tidak berminat makan. Ternyata nenek-nenek disamping saya sangat bersemangat untuk “memastikan semua orang makan”, dia pun dengan bersemangat menggoyang-goyang tangan saya sambil bertanya berulang kali, “ayo makan” (saya: membuka sebelah mata dengan malas sambil menggerakkan tangan menunjukan penolakan saya), “kenapa tidak makan” (saya: membuka mata yang satunya, sambil cemberut ke arahnya, berharap dia menangkap sinyal pertanda ketidaknyamanan saya terhadap intervensi nya). Sejenak kemudian, saya terlelap lagi dan mendadak terkaget-kaget karena gelas minuman di meja saya terlontar, ternyata si nenek yang mau berbaik hati menanyakan kenapa gelasnya tidak dikembalikan ke pramugari sambil menggeramah-geramah gelas itu dan akhirnya terjatuh. Saya cuma bisa cemberut lagi sambil mengambil gelas itu, dan kembali tidur. Kemudia, dia melancarkan aksi lain, yaitu menggoyang-goyang bahu saya sambil menunjukan boarding pass dia dan bertanya “ dimana ambil tasnya ya?” yang pertanyaan itu tidak saya tanggapi sama sekali. Diantara sadar dan tertidur, setiap beberapa menit saya merasakan rusuk saya disodok-sodok, yang secara jelas diakibatkan si nenek terlalu aktif membuka tas atau membenarkan bajunya. Akhirnya sampai juga di Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport dan karena saya duduk di window dengan si nenek menghalangi jalan keluar, saya dengan sopan menunggu dia keluar. Dia tersenyum kepada saya “ nanti saja turunnya ya? Kita terakhir saja” (saya; tersenyum basa basi). Beberapa lama kemudian, penumpang sudah turun semua, dan si nenek dengan sangat berbaik hati mempersilahkan saya untuk turun duluan “ayo turun saja dulu” (saya: tersenyum dengan lelah dan geram.. mana bisa turun kalau dia tidak pergi duluan?). Setelah memastikan tidak ada orang lalu lalang sama sekali, si nenek mulai mengangkat badannya dan berjalan keluar dengan lambat, and guess what?? Dia berhenti dan menyalami setiap pramugari dan petugas pesawat yang dia jumpai!!!.
2. Anak kecil yang hiperaktif.. well yang agak diam juga...yah, semua anak kecil lah!, bila duduk disamping atau didepan. Anak kecil akan sangat melelahkan dan bikin gondok di pesawat. Apalagi jika kita kenal dengan orang tua nya dan harus sepanjang perjalanan berbasa basi mengomentari anaknya. Saya pernah kebagian tempat duduk dengan seorang anak yang duduk di kursi depan saya. Sepanjang perjalanan dia sangat lincah, dan menghabiskan sebagian besar waktunya dengan berdiri di kursi, menghadap ke arah saya dan memandangi saya (yang tentunya saya balas dengan melotot ke arah dia diam-diam, agar ibunya tidak memperhatikan). Saat pesawat sudah mau mendarat, mendadak, dia sagat bersemangat, berteriak2 (masih dalam posisi sama) dan air liur yang yang berlimpah, menetes turun, perlahan-lahan, jatuh kebawah, dan… tess…. Jatuh ke bawaan saya (saya cuma bisa melihat dengan sedih ke souvenir kecil yang dia tinggalkan di barang saya).
3. Orang yang mempunya size agak lebih (mungkin pendapat ini agak-agak subjective yang bukan bermaksud menjadi diskriminatif), seperti yang kita tahu, tempat duduk di pesawat kelas ekonomi adalah “just right for small people” sehingga yang bertubuh agak bongsor atau berkaki panjang, akan mendapat sedikit kesusahan. Dalam hal ini lah, jika kita duduk di depan dia, kita akan merasakan sodokan-sodokan sepanjang perjalanan jika dia memutuskan mengganti posisi kakinya. Belum lagi kalau dia duduk tepat disamping kita. Bisa dibayangkan penderitaan apa yang kita juga alami.
4. Orang yang BB… kayaknya sudah self-explanatory yah?

5. Orang yang setengah mabok, dan meracau kesana kemari (bikin takut ga sih?).. mendingan juga kalau dia bener2 mabok dan langsung tidur.
6. Cowo guanteeeeennngggg setengah mati tapi sombong nya minta ampun... sehingga usaha kita yang sudah hampir mampus untuk tepe-tepe (tebar pesona) tidak berhasil sama sekali karena dia sama sekali tidak pernah melihat kearah kita... gondok ga sih??
But, moral of the story...saya yang telah bersikap tidak terlalu menyenangkan terhadap nenek tua baik hati (namun agak terlalu ramah) itu..mendapatkan ganjarannya.. dengan bagasi saya yang tiba di urutan terakhir.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Choices: take one or not at all

Obrolan saya dengan seorang teman beberapa hari lalu: kami saling meng-update berita tentang orang-orang yang kami berdua kenal. Sampai pembicaraan mengenai salah seorang teman, yang dia sedang menghadapi dilema.. pilihan antara orang yang dicintainya dengan keyakinan yang berbeda.. yang dalam kata-katanya sendiri sebagai:
"Menyatukan antara iman dan cinta..."

Sejenak setelah percakapan itu selesai, saya jadi berpikir,
dalam kamus yang saya punya itu berarti: mengambil yang terbaik diantara dua hal atau lebih.
Tapi kalau kedua hal atau lebihnya sama-sama terbaik, dan susah untuk dilepas salah satunya?