From choir to angklung (and choir)

About last week, I, along with some friends whose tenure is less than a year, had the ‘honor’ to give a small presentation in front of my company’s branch seminar. I chose angklung (a traditional Sundanese, or West Javanese musical instrument made of bamboo and played by shaking it, each having one musical note) for a number of reasons. It was relatively easy and simple—anyone can play angklung without any musical knowledge, and as far as I know, many expatriates love it. It did brought back some memories, especially to my elementary school, when I played angklung against a team of housewives and ladies from Japan. Amazing.

Along with some of my friends doing the traditional Saman (Acehnese) welcome dance, the performance was a considerable hit. We did not expect the crowd to be that responsive and accepting—since the performance was right in the middle of the dinner’s main course.  Applause boomed across the room. The Saman was exceptional, proud to be able to watch it and realizing that it turned out very well. The angklung performance was nice as well. We performed bits of four songs, representing Indonesia (the traditional Cingcangkeling and Manuk Dadali, both Sundanese), and two songs of Japanese (Kokoro no tomo and Utada Hikaru’s First Love), ending it together with the Saman team singing the Indonesian pop song Ekspresi, “Let us do some poetry, songs, music, and dances; the silver screens, the theatre stages are our places—people of the world, express ourselves!”

Ending it with cheer and applause from the crowd, as we collectively, in satisfaction, bow to honor the appreciation.

It was truly an honor and humbling at the same time. 

The update

iOS 10 is finally here, and I have to admit, this is the release that I’ve been expecting the most—even more than iOS7, and I am truly satisfied. This is perhaps the first major upgrade of iOS that feels logical. It tidies things, refine the smallest of details, and small but surely, improves my workflow as well. 

I definitely cannot get those who label this update sucks, or not revolutionary. Sure, Apple is a revolutionary company in itself, but changes for the better need not always come in giant leaps. Sometimes, smaller refinements are what we actually need, and I believe iOS 10 makes the “most advanced mobile operating system” to become more polished, and again I say logical, purposeful, and you know it just by feeling it—even I cannot elaborate why do I think this way. 

If this is a good sign for many things to come, boy, I can’t wait!

Reason to be (emotionally) proud


Last night was quite emotional—not just for me, but for many Indonesians. Just a few minutes short of midnight, 17 August 2016, a day celebrated for Indonesia’s 71st Independence Day, its mixed doubles badminton pair Ahmad/Natsir won a gold medal for the country at the Summer Olympics 2016.  It continued an almost continuous run of gold medal from badminton for Indonesia since the first time the sport was competed in Summer Olympics 24 years ago—minus four years ago, in which Indonesia did not get any.

It was a moment of joy, with an underlying message: For a country priding itself in the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), you cannot find any better example than this pair. All the dichotomies are here: sex-wise, religion-wise, ethnicity-wise, they were very different—united by one sport, one cause, and one country.

When that Indonesia Raya (the national anthem) was played and sung after the gold medal awarding, you can understand all the tears shed during that 2-minute music. They were truly shed for a country many of us are proud to call home, and to the Red and White for which it stands.

By the way, congratulations to Ahmad/Natsir. Another reason to be proud.

And Happy Independence Day, Indonesia. Merdeka! 

(Photo was taken from Rappler)