Archive for November, 2007

Artsy Afternoon

This afternoon I managed to steal a couple of hours off work to replenish my painting supplies.

It is near impossible to buy artists’ quality paints in the city so a group of young artists open a small painting supplies shop plus gallery to cater for the groups’ needs. I don’t normally shop there as they have limited colours and collection, but when I need some urgently, I would get them at their shop.

Long story short, I saw some quite good pieces by this new young artist that I have always liked. His works have improved quite a lot since the last time I met him. (I am sorry for the bad quality of the photos taken. There were windows on every corner, which explains the unnecessary glares)

Art is subjective, what ticks me off might not arouse others.

my favourite




cool and bold strokes

footprint by charcoal


this is the biggest one of the whole lot

love this!


tree ramblings

Today Indonesia’s president tried to get ahead of the Global Warming and Climate Change Conference by UN in Bali early next month. He vowed that the government will plant 10 million trees to make up for the massive deforestation all over Indonesia! I guess I have to respect him for even making it an effort. Even people must have realised that they are doing it to impress the incoming delegates of the event.

Earlier this month, I received an unexpected email from a friend. He sent the same emails to all his friends and invited them to his upcoming wedding which is gonna be in a beautiful island off Bali. He said that he is not going to print any wedding invitations as an act of supporting the limit use of papers to save the forest and all.

Ironically, this guy owns a lot of palm plantations off the Riau area (Central Sumatra – where the deforestation for palm plantation is at its worst) and also he is working on a permit to flatten a big chunk of forest at Kalimantan to plant more palm trees.

Okay, nothing else needs to be said here. I don’t want to kiss and tell, so I would just wish him and bride-to-be the best in luck in their union. 😛  

Currently, palm tree plantation and refinery factory are the most profitable industry in South East Asia. The crude palm oil never goes down in price and always in high demand. It does make a lot of money for the country, but a lot of other factors are also affected by it. The forests and animals are just a couple of the most notable ones. The least spoken but nonetheless important is the people’s livelihoods who depend on the forest for their living now have to work in the plantation. I bet they are glad of the president’s act today, if they manage to plant those trees and keep them alive before illegal loggers get hold of them.

I wish somebody would just give this country a break!

most ridiculous crime of the year

Ever heard of a plant called anthurium? Local website listed anthurium can be found here.

It all started when mum innocently bought a couple of small anthurium a couple of years ago, and without realising, they had turned into great looking plants. Lucky for her, the craze over the species has increased the price of the plants like gold (I’d say). Somebody approached her and made an offer. She sold both plants for USD 2,000. (that was a very good ROI, she paid USD 10 for both plants)


Mum’s Anthurium plants (brown pots) on display at the plant exhibition

After selling her plants, she was given a couple of smaller plants by the buyer as thank you present. I bet he sold it for far a lot more than his buying price.

Anyway, mum planted the new small anthurium in a pot, placed outside our main door. Two days ago, it got stolen. Our guess is that the thief climbed the gate and took the plant, and climbed back out. Everything else was left untouched.


the stolen plant

Who would steal a plant? It is such a crazy obsession over anthurium here. Seriously. This website listed the selling price of a fully grown plant is IDR 37,5m (equivalent of USD 4,000). Anyway, it is a dangerous bet. People who buy those expensive plants expect to sell the seeds and baby plants to nurseries or new fans. But how can anyone tell when Christmas is over?

This was the third attempt trying to steal my mum’s precious plants. The first and second one happened a couple of months ago, before she sold the big ones. They did it in broad day light both times! My dad who was at home at the time screamed and they climbed out the gate and ran.

I guess they got it, finally. I am quite relief that it’s gone. Nothing is worth a couple of silly plants, right. Weird, weird, weird …

a city in darkness

I feel like we are heading straight back to the dark age. The government power company (PLN – Perusahaan Listrik Negara) is starting its usual trick again.

For more than 6 months, the power in Medan was shut off in 4 hour shift, three times a day. That was from February till September 2007. Meaning : in one day, we had to go through 12 hours in total without electricity. The black out shift was lifted during the Ramadhan (fasting) month in September. In October the city was also brightly lit to rejoice the arrival of Idul Fitri (Muslim new year).

This week, the blackout shift starts again, this time is not bad, only two shifts of 4 hour. Eight hours in total. Nevertheless, that is bad news for business owners. They do not give us warning of what time the power will be out. So in my shop, we have two generators. Everybody in town has generator.


garden view – from my room

At home, we use emergency lamps. My father is still not yet convinced to buy a generator. Our house is strategically located, behind the headquarter of national army and we share their power lines. So we normally don’t get black out as other areas. But now it seems to be getting worse. We got black out like everybody else. The fish died, by the way.

The power company said that it is cheaper to keep on repairing old-battered turbine machine than investing in new ones. We do know what that means, right. They use a lot of brokers in getting the machine fixed and serviced. Also in buying spare-parts, there are a lot of yummy holes to be taken advantage of. The impact of this to small businesses has been devastating.

The most upsetting thing is, if the power is out 12 hours a day, theoretically our bill should be at least 40% cheaper. But ..  no, they are still the same amount, as if the power has been on 24 hour a day. When we ask the power company meter guy, he just shrugged it off “This is Indonesia.”

Yes, indeed it is.

In the mean time, I’d better stock up on aromatheraphy candles – to make the black out more exciting experience!

8 x 8 = 64 Lucky Luck Meme

My second meme from Jennic at 🙂

When researching the meaning of number 8, I came across of a lot of fun trivia I wouldn’t have known if not because of this meme.


Eight facts on number 8 :

  • In Mathematics, 8 is a Fibonacci number (as 3 plus 5), same way as Dr Robert Langdon of The Da Vinci Code viewed it
  • In Science, an octopus has 8 tentacles – that’s a lot of hands if planning to get pedicure, but wait … it doesn’t have fingers!
  • In Chemistry, 8 is atomic number for oxygen – that’s pretty cool
  • In ancient tradition of Chinese, 8 immortals are most popular deities – my most favourite ones, they cover symbols of all good things in life
  • In Tarot, card number 8 is “strength” – don’t know much about tarot
  • In culinary experience, 8 courses-dinner is a must for a Chinese-style wedding banquet – yeah, that’s a lot of food
  • In Astrology, Scorpio is the 8th sign in zodiac
  • In Chinese culture, 8 is a lucky number because pronounced the same way as “wealth”, “prosper” (I know, this one is old news, but still worth mentioning!)

Eight things I am passionate about

  • Family & husband (the usual stuff)
  • Work & shop – it feels great to be apart of something else outside family
  • Home – we live in a beautiful tropical home. There’s really nothing like home!
  • Great furniture – I love good quality wood furniture, I know it’s not very rain-forest friendly, but sturdy teak high quality furniture last forever!
  • Electronic gadgets – I am not techie, but great cool gadgets amazed me. They make me feel cool and chic, even when I don’t know a thing about them 🙂
  • Shoes and clothes and makeups – I am a shoe gal. Boots, open sandal, strappy, flats, pumps, blablabla. The others explain themselves ..
  • Art work – I support local artists! I collect paintings, sculptures, ceramics, mix-media art
  • Food – I love good food and great restaurants

Eight things I want to do before I die

  • Get a tatoo on private place, before cellulite get its hold on me!
  • Grow something in our garden, flowers, vegetables, or even cactus .. anything
  • Get my parents cruise trip to Alaska
  • Learn to cook and bake properly
  • Start an organisation that provides free books and computers to third world children
  • Travel the world, go to Italy and have spaghetti, go to New York for pizza – the whole culinary tour
  • Write children books
  • Learn to speak and write Mandarin!

Eight things I say often

  • I am so so sorry I forgot
  • Hunggryyy …
  • Hey poop tongue
  • Clean the crumbs!
  • Can I call you later?
  • Let’s go out for lunch!
  • !@#$%*&!! <– swearing in Hokkien (chinese dialect)
  • #+%*!@$?!! <– swearing in Indonesian

Eight books I read recently

  • To kill a mocking bird – Harper Lee
  • The Broker – John Grisham
  • Treasure Island – Robert Stevenson
  • Archie Comics
  • The Angel and Demon – Dan Brown
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Total Feng Shui – Lilian Too


Eight songs I could listen to over and over

  • Norah Jones – Come away with me
  • Sheryl Crow – Good is good
  • Willie Nelson – Don’t give up
  • Macy Gray – I try
  • Alanis Morisette – Now is the time
  • Pearl Jam – Last kiss
  • Sarah McLachlan – I will remember you
  • Sade – I’ll be there

Eight things that attract me to my best friends

  • Trustworthy – I have lots of deep dark secrets ..
  • Reliable
  • Fun
  • Outgoing
  • Great listener – I could talk for hours and hours ..
  • Kind
  • Like me for who I am
  • Helpful

Eight people who should do this meme

hmmm ….. ????

another thank you note to all

Dear friends,

The typhoon has changed course, heading for Manila for some reason. D is in Legaspi City. So he is safe and weather is clearing up.

Thank you all for your prayers and wishes. We will continue hoping and praying for the big bad typhoon to keep off our seas and coasts where people live, Philippine, Vietnam, Hongkong, or China.

Best wishes,


andie’s weekly winners

I am joining this week’s weekly winners by Sarcastic Mom.

These are my shots, they are a bit out of this world, I know. But it’s everyday life in this part of the world.

Old Batak men waiting for meal – Tarutung (about 6 hour drive from Medan)

Typical village view in Sumatra, with terrace-rice paddy fields (Tarutung)

View of Lake Toba, North Sumatra – otw to Tarutung

Friends and family waiting for the wedding ceremony ala Batak (Tarutung)

Auntie Cindy shopping for fruit at traditional street-side market (Kabanjahe)

Typical breakfast scene at home


Our fish pond