365Indonesia Day 46 – A Beach called ‘Santai Beach’ at Twilight, Ambon, Maluku

Here I am in Ambon, again.

You will never get enough to visit every beautiful beach in every province in Indonesia, especially in Ambon.

Santai Beach is located in Latulahat village, Nusa Niwe sub-district, 17 km from Ambon and it’s about 30 minutes away if you take a motorcycle to go there. There are many visitors in this beach in the afternoon especially Saturday, Sunday and national holiday.



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365Indonesia Hari 29 – Nemo a.k.a Clown fish di bawah laut Pulau Biawak , Indramayu, Jawa Barat

Kemarin saya membawa Anda ke Nusa Tenggara Barat. Sekarang saya akan membawa Anda ke Indramayu, Jawa Barat.

Mungkin Anda merasa lelah karena saya mengajak Anda kesana kemari ke tempat-tempat menarik di Indonesia setiap harinya, tapi percayalah, ini sangat sepadan.

Pada hari ke-16, saya sudah menulis tentang si Nemo pemalu di Kepulauan Derawan. Nemo yang ada pada foto di atas tidak berada di Kepulauan Derawan. Ikan ini berada di bawah laut Pulau Biawak. Dan saya juga sudah bercerita kepada Anda tentang Pulau Biawak di hari 23. Jadi, jangan hanya menikmati pemandangan indah di pantai, pergilah menyelam dan lakukan snorkeling untuk melengkapi pengalaman Anda mengunjungi Pulau Biawak.



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365Indonesia Day 38 – Another View of Bloam Beach, Southeast Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara

From Ambon, now we go to Lombok again.

On 6th day, the picture was taken from the sea. Now, the picture was taken from the beach.

Here it is. If you go to a beautiful place, do not forget to take a picture from different angle. Or maybe you can record whole place in video, that’s better. Choose by yourself whether you will take some pictures or record in video.



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Borobudur to have batik village

The Borobudur district administration in Central Java is developing a batik village as a new tourist attraction.

Twenty women from Wanurejo tourist village near the Borobudur temple are taking part in batik training to develop the potential of batik handicrafts that is yet to be tapped.

“So far the batik handicrafts have not been handled well,” Borobudur district chief Arry Widinugroho told tempo.co on Tuesday.

The one-month training program, which began on Monday, has been conducted by the Harapan Bangsa Course and Training Institute from Magelang. During the training, the women will earn how to make fine batik and will be empowered to establish business groups that will also facilitate batik marketing.

With the new batik handicraft centers, tourists are expected to prolong their stay in Borobudur to learn more about batik, which will also improve the local economy, Arry said.

He said that he would later talk with local public figures and artists to discuss the characteristics or motifs of the Borobudur batik.

Taken from: Jakarta Post

Hearing Fashion’s Call: Meet Indonesia’s Youngest Designer

Rafi Abdurrahman Ridwan is 9 years old and hearing impaired, and yet he has managed to accomplish what few could ever dream. Like most children, Rafi’s vision is unbounded, and with a passion rare to most people (let alone children), he has become Indonesia’s youngest fashion designer.

At Jakarta Fashion Week 2012, Rafi presented 24 ready-to-wear outfits on the main stage of the JFW fashion tent on the final day of the November event. Time on the main stage is high recognition, even among the more established names in the country’s fashion industry.

“I almost cried when I watched the show,” Rafi’s father, Mohammad Ridwan, said of his youngest child. “I’m so proud of my son.”

Rafi has faced more than his share of challenges, but has demonstrated resilience and managed to thrive.

“I was diagnosed with rubella in the first trimester of my pregnancy,” said Sinta Ayu Handayani, Rafi’s mother. “My doctor told me my child could be born with heart, sight or hearing defects.”

Brokenhearted, Rafi’s parents decided to carry on with the pregnancy.

“My husband and I believe that we don’t have any right to choose life and death for another human being,” Sinta said. “We believe the child that God has given us is a blessing.”

Rafi was born in Jakarta in July 2002 with a healthy heart, but his vision and hearing did not develop until he was 3 months old. “He also suffered from a lot of respiratory tract infections when he was a child,” Sinta said. “We had to take him to the hospital many, many times when he was a baby.”

Rafi’s health gradually improved and his sight developed fully, but his hearing remains impaired.

“Sometimes, I wonder why God has entrusted him to our family,” Ridwan said. “I truly believed there are lessons that God wants us to learn through Rafi.”

Through Rafi’s condition, his family says they’ve learned the meaning of unconditional love. “We have learned to be more patient and understanding,” Ridwan said. “Since Rafi couldn’t hear, he didn’t understand how loud he was talking or screaming. He also didn’t understand that his voice might disturb others. We had to explain it very gently to him.”

Determined that their son would survive in the outside world, Rafi’s parents enrolled him in the Santi Rama school for the deaf when he was 2 years old.

It was at Santi Rama that Rafi began to draw, sketching the colorful fish he watched in an aquarium at home. As a little boy, Rafi became enamored with Ariel, the mermaid princess from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” But one thing about Ariel bothered young Rafi.

“He kept asking me why the princess wasn’t appropriately attired,” Sinta said. “He couldn’t understand that ‘The Little Mermaid’ is only a story. So, to end his questions, I just asked him to create dresses for the mermaid.”

Rafi set himself to the task. With his colorful markers, he drew vests and jackets to cover the upper torso of the shell-ladened mermaid. And when Rafi saw Ariel become human on TV, he started designing dresses and ball gowns for her, too.

The dresses in Rafi’s sketches were so vivid and detailed that his mother began to see the design talent her son possessed. “I took him to a fashion show by Indonesian designer Auguste Soesastro in the plenary hall at the Jakarta Convention Center when he was 5 years old,” Sinta said. “I guess, the show inspired Rafi to become a fashion designer.”

Rafi became enchanted with the world of fashion. He watched fashion channels on TV and perused fashion magazines to improve his sketches.

“It was funny, whenever we would go to a bookstore, he’d run and look at the fashion magazines in the racks,” Ridwan said. Through one of these magazines, Rafi saw that the Jakarta Food and Fashion Festival was coming up.

“He practically dragged me to the event,” Sinta said. Rafi was delighted to see the beautiful gowns and meet famous Indonesian fashion designers in person at the festival. He met designer Barli Asmara, took pictures with him and showed Barli some of his sketches.

“Unlike most other kids’ drawings, Rafi’s sketches were so vivid and detailed,” Barli said. “I realized the huge potential he had.”

Barli invited Rafi and his mother to his workshop and showed the boy his own sketches and designs.

As the two became acquainted, Rafi showed his diary, titled “Letters to God,” to his new friend. Rafi wrote to God, asking for two special presents for his upcoming ninth birthday.

“First of all, Rafi asked God that he could hear,” Sinta said. “And then he asked God to be able to have a fashion show on his birthday.”

“I was touched,” Barli said. “I had the time and means to realize one of his dreams. So, we worked together to create a small collection for a fashion show.”

A mini show was arranged at Canteen in Plaza Indonesia on July 20, Rafi’s ninth birthday. Seven of Rafi’s creations were showcased in the runway show.

After the event, Lia Candrasari, an entrepreneur and founder of the LC Foundation, approached Rafi and his mother. “Rafi has exceptional talents that we should foster,” Lia said. “I also admire the resilience of his mother, Sinta, in supporting her son.”

Lia introduced Rafi to writer and textile designer Nonita Respati of Purana Batik fame, and accessories designer Ariani Pradjasaputra, who is behind the Aarti brand, and encouraged them to collaborate. The three established Purana-Aarti-Rafi, or PAR, and presented their debut collection at JFW 2012.

Rafi’s designs are fun and casual, with a tasteful combination of bold colors and patterns. His summer dresses are effortlessly chic, with detailed embellishments such as epaulets. A red batik jumpsuit was a standout in his collection. Enhanced with rows of buttons placed asymmetrically along the bodice, the jumpsuit was playful, yet stylish.

That afternoon on the JFW stage, Rafi’s talent and resilience were rewarded with a big round of applause and bouquets of flowers from the audience. The 9-year-old took it all in with his signature bright smile. “I feel morally attached to Rafi,” Lia said. “I’ll continue to support his education and career in the future.”

But Rafi’s fashion dreams aren’t the only ones to come true. Through the LC Foundation, Lia supported Rafi to undergo a cochlear implant in his right ear at Singapore General Hospital in August.

“The first time he heard noises and voices, Rafi became panicked and hysterical,” Sinta said. “He’s never heard anything in his silent world before.”

Rafi’s hearing is improving, and he has learned to recognize voices and noises from his hearing therapist. If everything goes well with his first implant, Rafi will likely receive another for his left ear in a couple of years.

But Rafi is aiming for more. “I want to be a fashion designer,” Rafi said. “I want to hold fashion shows in Paris, Milan, London and Tokyo.”

“This is another thing that I’ve learned from Rafi,” Ridwan, his father, said. “Most of us are afraid to dream. We’re limited by our own complicated logics and fears. But Rafi’s a child and he simply believes in his dreams. And slowly but surely, his dreams are coming true.

“So, I think we should all have a big dream like Rafi. When there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Taken from: The Jakarta Globe

Indonesian Brings Tintin to Life

It takes whole teams of people to create the subtle details of animated characters in movies. The redness of cheeks, the hairs on necks and the expressiveness of eyes are all the result of armies of digital laborers whose collaborative efforts create movie magic but whose names are buried deep in the credits. The animators are often the unsung heroes.

But it’s a labor of love, and for Rini Sugianto, going into animation was probably one of the best decisions she could have made. Now she has made a career out of her passion, which earned her a job animating for Steven Spielberg’s film “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn.”

“I always consider myself lucky because I am able to work on something that I love,” Rini said. “Animation is a tough industry, but if you are passionate about it then it is a great, fun job.”

Having grown up with the classic Belgian comic book “Tintin,” the 31-year-old jumped at the chance to work on the feature film even though it meant she would have to move across the Pacific Ocean to Wellington, New Zealand. That’s where Weta Digital, “Tintin” producer Peter Jackson’s animation company, was located.

“I was working in Los Angeles when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to apply to Weta,” Rini said. “So, I applied, and to my surprise, I actually got a call back. After two weeks of talking back and forth, I finally decided that it was time to pack up and move to New Zealand.”

Jackson co-founded Weta in the 1990s, and the company supplied the special effects for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “King Kong.”

For Tintin, Rini worked as a character animator. “I had to animate all the characters that are in the shots,” she said. “In Tintin, I worked on 70 shots, so I think that covers all the characters in the movie.”

As one of 80 animators from around the world, Rini’s work on “Tintin” lasted a little over a year. Rini was one of four Indonesians working at the company. “One of the things I like about Weta is that the people are very diverse,” Rini said. “And I worked with almost everyone in the company from different departments because it was a collaborative project.”

To some extent, that collaboration included the director. Each week during production, Rini saw the director review with Spielberg via a copy of the video conference.

“Unfortunately I could only see him on screen,” Rini said. “Only the visual effects supervisors got to interact with Spielberg directly. But working for him definitely made me nervous, and the pressure was there. You always wanted to do a good job and hear him say, ‘Great animation! It’s approved!’

“I love working for him because he definitely knows what he wants and how he wants it. His notes were always clear. He’s a great director.”

One of Rini’s biggest challenges was animating the characters that Georges Prosper Remi, best known as Herg, the writer and artist of the “Tintin” series, had famously created.

“The comic is very close to a lot of people, so I had to take that into consideration,” she said. “The images of the characters were there, and I couldn’t go too far from it. But the animators were allowed to be creative as long as they were approved by the decision makers.”

Members of the production team had the chance to watch the finished project together at Embassy Theater in Wellington last month.

“It was great, the vibe was awesome and seeing my name on the big screen was super exciting too,” Rini said. “It’s been a great experience coming to New Zealand and working at Weta. I’m also a very outdoors-y person, so I knew I would love the country’s nature. All the stories about the country’s beauty are true.”

Rini grew up in Teluk Betung, Lampung, and her childhood revolved around sports. She was a swimmer throughout elementary and middle school. Her introduction to art came in the form of comics.

“My brother and I didn’t grow up around the arts, but we certainly loved comic books, and there was an abundance of them at our house,” Rini said.

The animator graduated from Parahyangan University in Bandung with a degree in architecture. She worked at a firm in Jakarta that produced 3-D presentations for clients; that was her first taste of the world of computer graphics. Eventually, Rini’s interest took her to the Academy of Arts in San Francisco.

“When I was at school, I realized there were many aspects of 3-D, so I decided to focus on animation after I took my first class on Maya 3-D animation software,” Rini said. “At the end of the semester, I asked my teacher which area he thought I was most successful in. He suggested that I focus on animation. I’m glad I followed his advice.”

When Rini started studying digital animation in the United States, she felt she was behind her classmates. Most of them already had experience in the field and a solid background in the craft. That made Rini feel like she needed to work harder to catch up with her peers.

“I think the main difference between the animation industry in Indonesia and the United States is in the foundation of it,” Rini said. “A lot of schools in the States try to give students a solid foundation, so when they start doing their own project, they already have a good base.

“In Indonesia many animators seem to be missing the basics. You can’t learn to run before learning how to walk. But I do think Indonesian animation has the potential to be a good industry. Other Asian countries can do it. Why can’t we?”

Rini looks forward to doing more movies with Weta. She is currently working on “The Avengers,” which will be released next year.

“‘Tintin’ was definitely a stepping stone for my career, it’s my first movie job and I’m hoping to do more,” Rini said.

Taken from: The Jakarta Globe

Indonesian Snaps Up Top National Geographic Photography Award

Indonesian photographer Shikhei Goh has won the prestigious 2011 National Geographic Photography Contest with a spectacular image of a dragonfly in the rain in Riau.

According to reports, Goh will receive $10,000 and have his winning image published in the international edition of National Geographic magazine.

Goh, who won the grand prize as well as nature categories, beat out more than 20,000 other photographs submitted by amateur and professional photographers from more than 130 countries.

In a photo caption credited to Goh, the Indonesian wrote that he was out taking photographs of insects, “as I normally did during macro photo hunting.”

“I wasn’t actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain. The result caused me to be overjoyed, and I hope it pleases viewers.”

Tim Laman, one of three National Geographic magazine photographers who judged the contest, described the photograph to nationalgeographic.com as a “very striking macrophotography image that rose to the top of the nature category for me because of its originality, beautiful light, rare action in a close-up image, as well as its technical perfection.”

Taken from: The Jakarta Globe

Yes, They Can: Indonesian Women Awarded for Community Contributions

Traditionally, the only roles available to women in Indonesia were “masak, macak dan manak” (cooking, dressing up and bearing children). But today, this is far from the truth.

With better education and increased opportunities, Indonesian women are taking more active roles. They are now leaders, motivators and key decision-makers in their families, businesses and society.

On Dec. 8, Tupperware Indonesia honored 52 exceptional women who have made differences in their communities with the “Tupperware She Can!” awards.

“Despite their gentle physiques, women have a very strong power and influence,” said Nining Pernama, managing director of Tupperware Indonesia. “And as we looked around, we found those who use their skills and knowledge to educate, enlighten and empower other people around them.”

The 52 winners received trophies, certificates and prize money totaling Rp 832.5 million ($92,000) for their life-changing social works.

“I’ve often heard that the greatest power of Indonesia is its natural resources,” said Rick Goings, chairman and chief executive of Tupperware Brands. “I can tell you that in the many times I’ve been here and through the many people that I’ve gotten to know, the greatest power in Indonesia is its women.

“The ‘She Can!’ women are not only symbols but are also role models for many young women in Indonesia for the future.”

According to the 2010 census, there are nearly 240 million Indonesians, about half of whom are women.

“With that many women in the population, women are an asset and hold a lot of potential for this country,” said Sri Danti Anwar, deputy minister for women’s empowerment and child protection. “These women inspire their peers to work as equals to men, to be the best they can be and to empower other people around them.’’

Each winner has an amazing story, and here we highlight three of these strong and inspirational women.

Asmarani Rosalba, Jakarta

Under the pen name “Asma Nadia,” this 39-year-old has written more than 40 fiction and non-fiction books, as well as short stories and song lyrics.

Two of her best-selling novels, “Emak Ingin Naik Haji” (“Mom Wants to Go on a Hajj Pilgrimage,” 2009) and “ Rumah Tanpa Jendela” (“House Without Windows,” 2011) have been made into movies. A third adaptation, “Ummi Aminah,” will be in theaters in January.

“I’ve never thought I’d be who I am now,” she said. “Our family was poor and I was raised in a small, dilapidated house near the railway. But I have a wonderful mother who has always encouraged me to dream big.”

Her mother, Maria Eri Susianti, stayed by Asmarani’s side when she was diagnosed with severe heart and lung problems in her teens. At the same time, doctors discovered five tumors on her neck.

“I spent so many days in the hospital when I was young,” she said. Yet it was during those dark days that her appetite for reading grew. Her mother brought a lot of books to accompany her in the hospital.

Today, Asmarani is the chief executive of her own company, Asma Nadia Publishing House, and chairwoman of her foundation, Yayasan Asma Nadia.

Through Yayasan Asma Nadia, she has set up 37 libraries in Java, Kalimantan and Papua, as well as two libraries in Hong Kong for Indonesian migrant workers.

“This event has inspired me to do more,” she said. “I met [social advocate and fellow award winner] Roostien Ilyas recently and we are planning to create libraries in juvenile detention halls around Jakarta.”

Ainy Fauziyah, Bekasi

“Everyone’s born a glorious winner,” motivational coach Ainy Fauziyah said. “But it’s up to them to achieve their dreams.”

Born in Bangil, a small town in East Java, in 1969, Ainy had to work hard to achieve her own dreams of “making it big.”

“Our family wasn’t rich,” she said. “My father’s a farmer and my mother’s a seamstress. Yet, when I was a child, I saw them working very hard for their children without complaining. I guess it inspired me to work hard to try to make them proud.”

Ainy had a good career as the assistant to the planning manager at a state-owned public housing business in Jakarta, but she decided to leave it all behind when a friend asked her to help rebuild Aceh after it was hit by the December 2004 tsunami.

“No one understood my decision back then. Only my husband stood by me. He truly understands my heart for the people.”

In May 2005, Ainy joined a nonprofit international organization in Aceh.

“I was the only woman and the only Indonesian among the shelter coordinators in the organization,” she said.

She rebuilt hundreds of homes in Lhokseumawe, in northwestern Aceh.

“It’s easy to build homes, but it’s really difficult to rebuild the people’s lives after the disaster,’’ she said.

Yet Ainy saw that trial as an opportunity.

Rebuilding requires a lot of manpower. While Acehnese men helped with the construction of houses, Ainy encouraged the local women to help paint them.

“We gave them a little training and they did a wonderful job,” she said. “They were also very proud of themselves because they could earn a salary for themselves and their family during the difficult time.”

Her painting team grew from 35 to 500 women within a couple of years.

“It’s touching to watch them gain confidence with their new skills,” she said. “Some of them could even put their children through school with their earnings.”

Her program was considered an exemplary success, and Ainy was invited to speak at international conferences.

Today, she is back in Jakarta. She manages her own company, Ainy Coaching, offering motivational and leadership programs in Indonesia and abroad.

But once a week, you can find her at Rumah Dhuafa Indonesia (Home for Indonesian Orphans) in Bekasi, giving motivational lectures to less fortunate kids.

“I want to build their hopes and confidence for the future,” Ainy said. “If I can overcome difficulties and achieve my dreams, they can do it also.”

Nuraeni, Makassar

Nuraeni was a housewife and mother of three young children in Paotere, Makassar, when her husband, a fisherman, died from a motorbike accident in 2004.

With no work experience, she scrambled to make a living. She opened a small warung at her house but could not earn enough.

Her life changed in 2006, when she went to a workshop organized by an NGO, which taught her a process to preserve fresh fish.

Nuraeni, 42, then collected leftover fish from the markets to make abon ikan tuna (preserved shredded tuna).

Her tasty products became popular in Makassar, but Nuraeni did not stop at that. She started looking around and saw the dire poverty experienced by many fishermen’s families in her village.

“Many have become ensnared by punggawas [moneylenders] just to make ends meet,” she said. “The moneylenders then take 50 to 60 percent of their daily catch as payment for their debts. The fishermen barely had enough to provide for their families and had to borrow more.’’

To help break this vicious cycle, Nuraeni founded the Fatimah Az-Zahra cooperative in 2007. Fishermen’s wives learn to make abon ikan tuna and preserved boneless ikan bandeng (milkfish) to sell in the markets. With the additional income, the women can help their husbands repay their debt.

But not everyone is impressed with Nuraeni’s efforts.

“I’ve received countless death threats from moneylenders,” Nuraeni said.

They have also started rumors among the fishermen’s families that Nuraeni was just using them to get rich herself.

“But I explained everything and invited them to take a look at my [financial] books,’’ she said. “I’ve got nothing to hide and nothing to be afraid of.”

The Fatimah Az-Zahra cooperative now includes more than 200 women.

“I’m happy to be part of a positive change among my people,” she said.

Taken from: The Jakarta Globe

365Indonesia Day 33 – Laying Down on White Sand of Ngurbloat Beach

Another beautiful white sand!

It feels so good when you can lay down on the beach just to feel the fresh air and the sea breeze. You can sunbathing too in here.

This is a continuing photo from 365Indonesia day 10. I said it again, if you love beaches, white sands, Ngurbloat beach is a worth place to visit.



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365Indonesia Day 32 – Underwater Scenery of Sangalaki Island

Hello there!

It’s been a while for me not posting  photos because I’m too busy admiring how beautiful Indonesia is.

Well then, welcome to Sangalaki island. It is located in East Kalimantan, 45 minutes from Derawan island if we take a speedboat to go there. Sangalaki island is known for manta rays and turtles. Not only that, it also known as the most important green turtles nesting in Southeast Asia, perhaps even in the world. If you want to see the turtles laying eggs, you have to stay in Sangalaki because turtles laying eggs at night. It is about 10-30 turtles nesting in Sangalaki every night year-round. Moreover, there are also turtles conservations conducted by Turtles Foundation NGO, removing turtles eggs in the morning to safer place.


Manta Rays photo taken from: www.wisatakita.com
Turtles photo taken from: www.beritalingkungan.com



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