Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Little House in the Prairie

One night as I lie in bed, my mind begins to wander me off to a place where fantasies are made. I close my eyes...a faint sound of a cool breeze is gushing through my ears. As it gets louder and closer, I feel a chill down my spine transporting me to a new dimension where senses come together...Eyes shut, I see bright white light flashing and I feel being lifted up, floating in thin air. Then I feel that I am falling, physically feeling the pain as I dropped down on the ground. I open my eyes. In front of me, an iron gate is leading me in. I look further, I see a little house. It looks very inviting, like those in the fairytale books. I wonder. After all, this is my adventure.

I enter the gate, following the dark path with lavish greenery and fragrant flowers that glows in the dark. I look up, the moon is round and full of power, that I feel its vibrations through the hairs on my skin, flowing around my whole body.

I reach out to touch the fresh hanging leaf. A tingle. A drop of water falls down the leaf, falling to my finger. I taste the water, so sweet...so fresh...the midnight dew...

The flowers, so tempting, I reach out to touch it. To feel its softness and smell its fragrance. I wander around. The rose bushes, the violet and orange flowers, the vines crawling around the trees and the plants that have grown high above me...A night filled with magnificent flora and fauna of small bugs and crickets and the other nocturnal creatures that lurks around...

Then I come across this huge yellow flower that is lying so luminously on the ground. I pick it up, smell it and put it behind my ear. It is big and yellow, almost covering my face. The garden at night, is as beautiful as the day. With psychedelic colors ranging from color to color, that lures my eyes and sends me to a deep trance. I dance. I dance in the sweet fresh rainy night with the moon so high above shining down on me. It is so peaceful.

The coldness within, is bringing me deeper into the night. Walking towards the house, I hear the chimes ringing closer and closer as I enter into the darkness. I see more hanging vines, with blue flowers and lush green leaves.

As I come closer to the door, I could see through the window. A picture hanging on the wall is shining. I come closer, peeking right through the window, the picture is of a fairy sitting on a tree in a bright moonlight night. I see and I wonder of fairies in my dreams. Wait, is this the house in my dream? I turned around to the garden, to the path that led me to this door. They all look familiar now. I have seen them before.

It suddenly hit me. I am in her garden. I am breaking its peace for I have let myself in. The gate is open. It does not have any "NO ENTRY" sign. I start to wonder, should I open the door that is standing in front of me? I am interested to find out what is inside the house. Have I not shown myself enough? But yet, I think, I am here for a reason. As I reach out my hand to touch the handle, I feel a cold gush run through my hand up to my shoulders. I touch it. It is as cold as frozen ice. I let go and turn away. Walking back towards the path...

As I walk back, not looking behind me, I feel that I am not alone anymore...I close my eyes...a faint sound of a cool breeze is gushing through my ears. As it gets louder and closer, I feel a chill down my spine transporting me to a new dimension where senses come together...Eyes shut, I see bright white light flashing and I feel being lifted up, floating in thin air. Then I feel that I am falling, physically feeling the pain as I dropped down on the ground. I open my eyes...and I am back...

Dapur Babah

During my recent visit to Jakarta, I had dinner with my mom and my mom's friends. They took me to Dapur Babah Elite. At first, it didn't look like any fancy restaurant from the outside (not that it mattered where I was being taken), because it was located in a small street, just off the Central Merdeka Square. Its location is within the historical 1940's shop houses during the old Batavia era. As I entered, I was transformed into a different dimension, like as if I was brought back into the past.

The first thing I noticed when I entered, was the traditional "Es Campur" machine. I grew up in Indonesia and I've seen countless of historical artifacts all over the archipelago. However, those artifacts were either in museums and other historical places, not so much in restaurants.

A Javanese woman showed us to our table, but I wanted to look around, because I was amazed to see the fusion of modern and classic art incorporated into this masterpiece.

Along with
Dapur Babah Elite, was an extension, a bar called, Tao. The room was decorated in bold mixed pastel and crayon combination from walls to ceilings, table cloths to chairs and pillows, with massive wood columns dividing the room spaces and large Hindu and Buddha Gods and Goddesses stone statues.

Of course, I had a guide named 'Tio', dressed in traditional Javanese outfit, who gave me a quick tour and shared a few historical facts. One thing amazed me about this guide, was his ability to speak a few Tagalog words, which he then told me that he met plenty of Filipinos while growing up. His name is actually Tagalog he said. Nice huh?!

This attraction is believed to be of
"Babah" culture. A culture of a distinct group that emerged during the Dutch Colonial era, wherein the Chinese migrants married local Javanese women. In historical facts, Chinese migrants had one local wife and many concubines who controlled the kitchen and prepared meals. It also showed the different classes of society, and their significance during the Colonial era.

As we went along with my short tour, I was taken to this room, with a long table overlooking the garden patio. This room was said to be where President Megawati Soekarnoputri holds her dining pleasures with friends and family.

Overlooking from the Megawati room, is a semi-open terrace that was inspired by the Babah Oei family kitchen, with a kitchen goddess statue and antique traditional cooking paraphernalias during the era.

My tour was cut short when Mom called me to eat. Hehe! The menu was in old Javanese language, which they seldom use now. The menu comprised of the different traditional recipes fused from the Chinese, Dutch and Javanese heritages. Yum!!!

As we ate our dinner with endless talks, the room was filling in more guests and more delicious delicacies with different fragrant aromas were flowing from one table to another. This just made me feel even more at home, as we relaxed ourselves and let the night take us away into the past. History was indeed enjoyed to the fullest!

For more historical facts about
Dapur Babah Elite and Tao, please visit:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What the @#$%!!!!!

Just this week...it happened just like that...

myspace layout images

At around past midnight, we went to drop off my brother's son. Everything was fine, until we made a U-turn to go home. There was a checkpoint, and we stopped. Then we got pulled over. One cop was talking to my friend, the driver, and the other cop was making my brother, who was sitting behind me, come out of the car. With his window open, the cop just quickly shoved his hand inside the car and scrambled into my brother's pockets. My brother got out of the car and the cop wanted to search his pockets. To our surprise, my brother took out his wallet and cellphone, and found this small plastic with a white thing inside. Then the cop was asking him what it was and my brother started ranting that it wasn't his. My brother, who was getting agitated, suddenly swore at the cop and the cop got even more persistent, that he was saying,

"bakit ka nagmumura? Pare, nagmumura 'to!"

The cop was flinging the little white plastic and pretended to open it and search for the content while saying,

"RP 'to ah..RP 'to diba?! San galing 'to?"

First, it was suspicious enough that there was this little plastic inside my brother's pocket. Then when he said RP, which is Rolling Paper for short, I was shocked to see what was happening! My friend and I were shouting at my brother to get in the car, but the cop was holding him back. Why, in the first place, did the cop shove his hand in the car, and why did he make my brother come out of the car? I knew there was something fishy about it. So I looked straight hard at the cop who was holding my brother, while my brother was trying to get loose. When the cop was pretending to search the content of the little plastic, he pulled out the white thing, which was just a cotton ball. It was such a commotion, that two other cops arrived. When they arrived, the cop who was harassing my brother, flicked the little plastic back to my brother and I didn't see him after. The two new cops asked us,

"hinaharass ba kayo? Mga bago na yung mga police ngayon, at pwede natin tanggalin."

Somehow we felt relieved that the two cops arrived, but we didn't say anything to them that we were being harassed. We just didn't want the worse to happen. So we pretended that it was ok, but I knew my brother was traumatized. They let us go.

My question is...do they even have the right to poke their hand inside the car? Do they even have the right to make my brother get out of the car to search him? Don't you need a search warrant? I am aware that the cop can just visually search the car, but not insist on making any passenger get out. Why did the cop pretend that my brother had something? Why did he even plant that thing and threw it back to my brother when the two new cops arrived?

My brother was indeed harassed! I know that was wrong, but my perception of the police changed after that incident. I have the little plastic bag. It's an evidence, but we are not filing any reports. In the first place, I don't even know how to file a report on cases like this. I've heard many stories about cops like them, but I didn't expect it to happen to us! I know that there are bad cops, but there are also good ones who serve and protect righteously.

Why should these things happen? What kind of police are there in Quezon City? How do you know you're REALLY safe? How do you know when a cop is really a cop, when they are lying?

How horrible!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mentor and Student

"Tell the child,
"Look, I love you, I believe in you.
I know you are going through a lot of upset
and you need to tell me to go to hell
with every other breath these days,
which I'm quite willing to accept;
the only thing that counts
is that in the long run,
you find out who you are and you live it."

This is hard for parents to say genuinely.

-Rollo May

It is indeed hard for parents to say this to their children. I have my own experiences to relate to this quote. The road that I have taken made it extremely difficult for my parents to understand what I was going through while growing up. I am a child of many dreams, wishes and philosophies. I believe in what I believe. I have taken a step beyond what is common in our society and I am not standing back just like that. I have made mistakes and caused many heartaches for different people I have met along the way. No regrets, but I do ponder on thoughts that people have made and will make about me and my life. So what!?! It is my life after all, and I know I am the only one living it.

You can say that I am a very difficult child, because I do not follow the rules. I break them, because of what I believe. There are times when I know I am right and I fight for it. I am not scared to show people who I am. What I am outside is what I have inside. Some people cannot even follow me in my world, because I have restricted them to be part of my life. There are people who have taken a chance to understand me, but they do not think of my thoughts. Only what they see outside of me, is what matters to them. What matters to me, is the inside.

I have met countless of people from different walks of life, from different parts of the world, from different occasions and time. Many have stayed with me, many have left. All of them have been in my collection of people that mattered. You are free to choose who you want to be with. Well, at least for me, that is. We are all good and bad, nobody is perfect, after all. If anyone thinks they are perfect, make me believe!!!

Many people have come into my world, thinking that they can change me to become like them. These people did not know I have already thought about their purposes of why they were with me. Although, there are several people I had given the privilege to be part of my life. These people are what I call, mentors, for I am a student yearning to learn more until my head can not take any more space for all things in life.

Children experience different things than that of the adults and likewise. There are plenty of things that children do not understand and likewise again. There are plenty of things that adults do not understand that children have lavished themselves with much learning. Chaos!

A child has the right to explore what he wishes. A parent has the right to nurture the child who wishes to explore and guide them in their exploration. This does not only tighten the bond between parent and child, but it creates a new bond, mentor and student. It is not only in school that a child is a student, it is at home where the child expands his learning, becomes a student as well. He does not leave his student awareness in school, but he yearns to remain a student even at home. This is what most people do not take in consideration. I have taught myself a lot more at home than in school, because it is at home where I completely immerse myself into deep thinking. But sadly, most of the things I know are self-taught. My parents had given me independence at such an early age. I had wished I had learn more from my parents when I was younger, that they were not too busy with work. Yes, my parents did send me to fantastic and expensive schools, but that did not matter when I was still a child. What mattered to me then, was being with them while I experience the wonders of life as I grew up. Sigh...

To conclude...
"We can help a person to be himself by our own willingness to steep ourselves temporarily in his world, in his private feelings and experiences. By our affirmation of the person as he is, we give him support and strength to take the next step in his own growth."

-Clark Moustakas

Now playing on iTunes: Peter, Bjorn & John Feat. Victoria Bergsman - Young Folks
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Batik Art from IndoLand

"If there is one single art form that captures the essence and spirit of Indonesia, it's BATIK..." (Batik Popiler II)

I fell in love with Batik since I was young. I had the privilege to live in Indonesia for quite some time, enough time to make me feel that I've become one of them. Indonesia is very rich in culture, and because of its diversity, I was able to experience the different ways of life of the many cultures all over the islands. Over the years, I've taught myself how to make clothes and anything else you could think of, with using this traditional craft. Here are some of my designs, which are also featured in my collection site: Dewi Magenta

Batik, it is everywhere in Indonesia, as much as in Malaysia, Singapore, India, Thailand, Philippines, and many more across the globe. It is an artform that is very much respected by many artists and enthusiasts all over the world. I've been to many Batik processing factories, big and small, museums, artshops, all over Indonesia.

One thing that amazed me, is the combined passion of the people who makes them. It does not take one day to make a Batik cloth. It takes months and months!!! This is what many do not know so they just think Batik is just like that. Yes, there are machines being used now to make Batik textiles, but that's not what I'm making people see here...I want to show you that this artform takes only a very skilled worker to create a wonder..

So, I'd like to share with you guys what Batik is all about, and I hope you'll be able to appreciate it the way I do...


As I was looking through some old stuff, I saw our Middle School 1995 Bard's Babble. I remembered every bit of it and found one of my favorite pieces. It is a poem by my good friend, Maya Dehner whom is now married to a wonderful husband, Kalsang.

I'd like to share this poem to everyone, because I know at least, at some point of our lives, we feel the same for different circumstances.

By Maya Dehner 8B

I am lying on the grass,
staring into the sky,
my mind drifts for a moment,
and I wonder how it would be to fly...

"'Lift me up
into the sky,
into the blue,
I shall fly.'

'Rising higher every moment,
until at last I turn,
to look back at our little earth,
which is no longer a concern.'

'No more people,
today or tomorrow,
with foolish comments,
bringing sorrow.'

'I have no more
burdens to carry,
no longer,
must I be wary.'

'Lift me up
into the sky,
into the blue,
I shall fly."

As I stare into the sky,
thinking of escape,
without realizing it,
a smile forms upon my face.

This is her reflection:
The poem "Flying" is about someone who feels trapped in by the pressures of everyday life on our earth. They, just like anyone else, imagine what it would be like to be free, and they do this by imagining that they are flying, therefore escaping their troubles. -Maya Dehner

The Sirens

In Reflection...(1995 Middle School Bard's Babble)

This piece of writing is a parody of one of the Greek Myths we have studied in Literature Class. I decided to write about the battle of The Argonauts with The Sirens. In the myth, a great musician defeated The Sirens singing by using his lyre. I changed this myth to a modern story about a typical guy in school who loves playing flute and who suddenly gets a revenge against what you might call, "The Sirens of the Modern World". I got the idea of writing this from my Language Teacher, Mr. Simon. I would like to thank him for giving me this idea.

The Sirens
By MT 8A
Copyright ©1995

"Zombie, zombie..." Amy sang melodically as she put her books in her locker. Her two other friends, Sarah and Sammy, sang a different song. They loved to sing distracting songs over and over again. The guys in school were so enchanted with their voices that they could recognize them anywhere. Wherever the girls went the guys would stop what they were doing and look at them.

One day, while Amy and the other two were walking down the locker hall, Orphy ran past them accidentally, causing their books to fly from their hands. Everybody in the locker hall suddenly stared at the scene. Orphy stopped and picked their books up since it was his fault. The three girls looked at each other and then glared at Orphy.

"I'm really sorry. I was just in a hurry. Here are your books." Orphy apologized and quickly left.

"That stupid maniac! He just left like a 'hit n' run,' Ugh!!!" Sarah fixed her golden brown hair.

"Oh don't you worry, Sarah. He'll never do that again or else he'll get into major trouble with the guys in school." Sammy giggled.

When the three girls entered Mr. Beekman's Language Class, the guys looked at them. Sarah saw Orphy and gave him an ominous look. He sat next to Jason and his buddies. Orphy and Jason had been very good friends since they were in third grade. Orphy was a very studious guy, but not the nerdy type. He loved playing a flute that he got when he was seven. He was tall and slender.

"Well..well..what do we have here, girls?" Sarah said addressing Orphy as she sat down on the chair beside Jason. Jason ignored her because he knew that she would just flirt with him.

"Uhm...well, it's Orphy. The guy who pulled a great stunt this morning," Amy responded.

"Will you just buzz off, and stop picking on him. He didn't mean to bump you guys anyway." Jason tried to defend his poor friend.

Sammy, Amy and Sarah stared to move and fix their stuff. They gave Orphy a quick menacing glare and went to their seats, because Mr. Beekman had just arrived.

When school was finally over, the three girls went to their lockers and hung out there. Orphy and his friends were walking down the hall when they heard them singing. They quickly covered their ears. They did not want to be wooed by the voices. The three girls' voices grew louder and louder, but became fainter as Orphy took his flute and began whistling a tune. His music was interrupting the girls' voices. They got so mad, they sang even louder. The locker hall was filled with music. Orphy took a long deep breath and blew harder and louder. This time, the girls' voices were like an out of tune violin, and they sounded pathetic. The crown looking surprised, could not believe what was happening. They had never heard them sing like that. Orphy was feeling a little good now since he had saves his friends. While he kept on blowing as hard as he could and kept the music in tune, the three girls' voices cracked and faded away.

Finally, they stopped. They felt ashamed, and hurried to the bathroom. He knew that he would defeat them. His friends cried a loud cheer, and lifted him up. The other people in the hallway also cheered. He was no longer the guy with a flute, but the big guy around campus and no one would ever try to mess around with him, no more.