2014: The Kickoff Gathering

After spending some quality time with family and close friends during Christmas and New Year holidays, it was time to go back to work. However there was still a little time for a small gathering on Saturday afternoon.

Suropati Park, one of the parks in an affluent area in Jakarta was crowded with people jogging, strolling, or just sitting around the open areas. Blogfam (Blogger Family) Community was no exception; occupying a corner next to lush trees and some artistic statues, around fourteen bloggers gathered for a smartphone photography crash course. Here are some captures:

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Getting ready for Photography 101
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Lesson 1: capturing a rather big model. The trick is for the model to pose slightly on her side and the picture should be taken from a certain angle above or below the face. That should give somewhat ‘tall’ effect on the model
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Lesson 2: Food photography. Not only close ups, but composition also poses a good factor.
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Lesson 3: capturing the model while sunset light is directly behind her

The crash course lasted for about an hour and everything stopped when dusk descended and we rushed to a nearby restaurant. But the fun part of it was about to start: the heart of each gathering is always warm conversation around the dinner table. I felt it was a good kickoff for a fruitful year of blogging because I knew there were others who shared the same passion as I did.

Hope you guys have a good beginning of your own. ^^

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This post is an answer to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

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A Lonely Girl and the Ocean

A Lonely Girl and the Ocean

Karas Islands, West Papua, Indonesia

After 2 hours of journey through the western coast of Papua, the speed boat finally slowed and prepared to anchor on Tarak Island, one of the three spots making up Karas Islands in West Papua province.

West Papua province has long history of Christian missionary and its capital city, Manokwari, is officially called ‘The Evangelical City’. Yet an hour-flight away from it is a whole different world. Fakfak was known as the point of contact between Muslim merchants and the locals. Therefore the population is an interesting mixture of native Papuans and immigrants from other places. Here the population is overwhelmingly Muslim with a distinctive character of Melanesian culture.

The residents of Tarak village were either tending the nutmeg trees in the jungle or out fishing so it was quiet. We were slowing down towards the jetty when my eyes caught a glimpse of something.

Tarak village
Tarak village
Who is it? A welcome party, perhaps?!
Who is it? A welcome party, perhaps?!
Well, hello Princess :)
Well, hello Princess 🙂

She looked focused on the tools she was using to catch the fish around the pier and totally disregarded our arrival.

Did you catch anything, sweetheart? No?! Oh sorry to hear that. Better luck tomorrow, yeah. 😀

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Lucky Escape

This post may be one day behind, but I guess it’s never too late to share.

I was so happy when I got accepted at the University of Indonesia, well-known for its excellence in academics (feel free to disagree with me) 😀 but also notoriously known as having rigorous exams and ‘difficult’ lecturers that rarely rewarded us with good grades. Therefore it was not odd to see students faithfully guarding their favorite spots in the libraries over the weekend. I was no exception.

Having had a little sleep the night before, I dragged my feet on a Saturday morning to campus and thought about nothing else because an important exam was due at 9.00 AM. With lots of things in my mind, I became less attentive to the situation around me and without thinking much, I stepped on a wide street to cross it. Mind you, Saturday morning in my suburban town wasn’t exactly the best time to relax. It was the time for people to commute to the city for family matters or any sort of entertainment they could find. So with totally disregarding the busy traffic, I walked across the street until BAMM, a car hit me from the side as I was still standing right in the middle of the street waiting for the traffic from the opposite direction to clear.

I remembered being slammed hard and my body fell and rolled to the left side a few times before resting on the ground. I suddenly became alert of the situation and knew that the next car might roll over me with no alarm beforehand. I didn’t know where I got the strength, but I managed to get up quickly and stood there like a dumb. What I saw next was overwhelming.

The traffic eventually stopped because of the accident but thankfully it had been busy that morning so the road was packed and everybody was moving slowly. I saw the driver that hit me came out of his car. He turned out to be a nice looking gentleman with such worrying face when he looked at me. He uttered a few words that I forgot (I think he offered to take me to the hospital) but, still visibly shaken, I politely refused and went straight to the other side because I was totally embarrassed after being watched by everybody.

You can call me stupid for thinking short or anything, but after quickly checking for injuries and found nothing, my mind went back to the exam and I just walked to campus as if nothing happened. I was lucky to have escaped horrifying disaster that morning but my casual response to it wasn’t really a good example to follow. 😦

But I think I could also blame the traffic, the campus, the local government, or might as well the president for not taking care of the traffic situation. That particular spot was left unimproved for over 20 years without clear markings that it was a zebra cross and only recently they began to set up road bumps to reduce the speed of the traffickers and a pedestrian cross is finally under construction, or so I read.

Here’s a picture of the traffic and tell me what you think:

source: depok.go.id
source: depok.go.id

The Forgotten Box

What’s a box-shaped metal object that is used by the postman to put the letters for us?

Mailbox. Yeay! ^^

It’s one of the focus points whenever we leave home in the morning or return at night. Our hearts would race whenever we see the small metal flag points up; a sign that a letter is inside.

But as communication means move to everything digital, mails rarely come by anymore. Those which do will be welcomed by snorts and tatters as they are telling us we should settle some bills. And even those become less frequent now.

So what happens to our loyal mail guardian today?

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Coroded, abandoned and had to be content by serving as an ad platform for septic tank cleaning service. 😦

Study Mall

Of the oddest places to gather your students, the mall must be on top of the list. Or is it not?

klbookfair

Photo taken in a book fair, these students were absorbed in fairy tales the teacher was telling. Her voice was calming when describing the sea breeze and roaring when thunder struck in the storm. You could easily forget that your class was, in fact, sitting on stage in a busy mall in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Bloggers Unite

Bloggers Unite

One thing that I’m proud of my country is the relatively free democracy. I say ‘relatively’ because there are certain rules that Indonesians, or Asians, will never adhere to compared to the western-style freedom of speech. The government still routinely monitors conversation on several platforms although never interferes unless it involves defacing the country and the president.

Bloggers in the country take full advantage of this situation. After decades of cautiously conducting meetings in order not to attract the law enforcers due to lack of ‘gathering permit’, people are now free to hold public rallies or informal gatherings on many topics. Realizing the need to have personal contacts with other blog fans to talk about greater issues, many bloggers across the archipelago decides to create blogger communities and take up citizen journalism to share local issues and raise cultural awareness.

Today, bloggers gather in many areas of interests: politics, social media events, monetizing, cultural appreciation, or simply for fun. The picture above was taken from a digital marketing strategy class where bloggers gathered on a Saturday afternoon and the party later on continued over karaoke. 😀