Archive | December 2006

Holiday

I’m currently sitting in our bungalow at Pulau Umang Resort, where the whole family is going for holidays after Christmas. We left Serpong earlier today and I spend most of the afternoon catching up on either my sleep or my books. I must say, it is a refreshing, much-deserved break, even if I say so myself. I still had an occasional call about work, but fortunately a lot of issues in Jakarta can wait, apparently (even one of my biggest clients: they’ll just have to be forced to wait).

Nevertheless, I have brought the Mac with me, planning to do my cousin’s CD cover design (we’ll just see how that goes later), and also doing a bit of overdue blogging…

Anyway, for everybody celebrating, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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JIFFEST 2006 (continued)

Here is the rest of my reviews of the notable movies during JIFFEST 2006:

‘Water’
Taking place in pre-independence India, when the British still ruled, it tells a story of an 9 year-old widow (wedded at a very early age) who, by an ancient Hindu tradition, must be cast away from the family, and brought to a house filled with widows. In that time, widows are considered the lowest class of humans, reviled and bringing bad luck to the family. The story rotates around the widows in the house, yet still focusing on the 9 year old (I forgot her name) and Kalyana, enacting on a forbidden love to a Gandhi sympathizer. The movie, made in India, brings forth a different, bitter side to India’s history, rarely seen outside the onslaught of Bollywood movies.

‘The World’s Fastest Indian’
This movie features Anthony Hopkins in his best role yet, at least according to me, playing Bert Munroe, a New Zealander with life long dreams of driving his modified vintage Indian motorcycle to top speeds at the Great Salt Plains of Utah. Taken from a true story, we follow Bert’s persistence in pursuing his dream (although he is almost 60), especially when he learns that he has a terminal illness. Along the way he meets unique yet heartwarming characters helping him along his journey to ride the world’s fastest motorcycle; hence the title.

‘Russian Dolls’
A French movie centering on a playboy, going through woman after woman (at some points two at a time) and finding out what he really wants, in life, work, and love. The movie, other than the twists and turns of ‘Melrose Place’ type relationships, also takes us on a trip around Europe, even managing to take us to St. Petersburg and Moscow… makes me so envious of how easy it is to travel (and work) in Europe….

‘The Syrian Bride’
This movie takes a setting in the Golan Heights, occupied territory by Israel but also claimed by Syria. A Druze family is preparing to wed away their daughter to a Syrian suitor, one she has never met, but also in the process, they will never meet her again, as if a citizen departs from the Golan Heights into Syria, they will never be allowed back in. The story tells a believable tale of complications of living in the Occupied Territories, whether you are Druze, Arab or Jewish, although not really continuing on the various subplots. The end of the movie left me just hanging…

‘Two Sons Of Fransisco’
Fransisco, a farmer who apparently is very fertile, tries to support his 6 children on a self-sufficient farm (and also paying rent in farm products to his father in law), yet still having dreams that the only way his two eldest sons can get out of their poverty is to become musicians. The father busts all his produce stocks to buy instruments for his sons (and also writes songs for them), and eventually brings the children to the city to try their luck there. The story tells the roots of one of the most popular country singers in Brazil.

JIFFEST 2006

The past week I have been sneaking out from the office early to catch a few films during the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFEST), with its 8th incarnation running from 8 to 17 December 2006. Since there have been sooo many films that I have watched (and 4 films to go this weekend), I don’t feel like doing the usual long review that I do with movies. But here are some highlights of the films that made an impression:

‘Sabah’
A story about an Syrian family which had emigrated to Canada a generation ago, and the father had passed away, leaving the family business to the son. The lead character, Sabah, in her conservative Muslim dress, is almost 40, single, and stays at home to take care of her mother. Her ‘subversive’ actions begin with swimming, where she has to take her conservative dress off… and from there the story goes to touching on the various problems that a Muslim family has when living in a Western environment. That is where the movie is a breakthrough, because it gives a lot of insight to mostly Western viewers on what life is like for Muslim families.

‘Cafe Transit’
About a widow, defying her family’s (or more precisely, brother-in-law’s) wishes, running her late husband’s roadside cafe. A mix of great food and feminine touch make the cafe a boom, giving big competition for her brother-in-law’s own cafe. Reyhan, the story’s hero, wins friends and hearts during the constant problems and opposition given by Nasser, the brother-in-law. The movie also gives insight to how life is in the Middle East.

More reviews to follow…

Back From The Dead

I took the chance that buying a car battery at a hyperstore would be a bit more expensive than a specialty store, but rather than waiting until Saturday and looking for the right store, I went ahead and bought a new car battery Wednesday night. So by Wednesday evening, the car was running smoothly again! It’s alive!

So now, I have to take extra attention to everything; once again remembering the habits when I last used this car: check the radiator, check the brake fluid, check the battery; and for God’s sake, clean the car once in a while. With all the years past, and a 30-year-old car, the car actually looks great when it’s clean :D.

Work is going through a lot, a lot that I can’t control. There is a lot of legal disputes (and corporate wrangling) going on in my primary business, and if all the parties involved don’t play it smart and think long term, the business is doomed. Oh well, you can’t win everything, can you? As usual, I’ll just keep my back covered, and don’t work control my life.

Car Trouble!

Yes, one of the caveats of owning a car that is literally as old as you, is that it needs constant attention, repair, and maintenance. I have an allocated budget (although limited) for these needs, and from that money, when nothing else needs immediate attention, I spend on fixing the less-vital parts (or in other words, less-attended parts) of the car. Right now I was in the middle of replacing some parts on the suspension.
Now, suddenly as it always is, the car has died on me. The battery apparently has lost its charge, and is not responding to recharging by the car itself. Short of trying to give it a boost of recharge from somewhere else, I’m pretty damn sure that the battery needs replacing.
So, after a lot of car pushing, tinkering and profanity, I think I better go look for that replacement battery soon.

On a side note…
The first time the car broke down, I was filling gas at one of the gas stations right under Semanggi interchange. It couldn’t start after I filled it up, so I unceremoniously pushed the car to the side so as not to get in the way of the already-honking driver behind me. And can you imagine my reaction when nobody from the gas station helped me push the car aside? I mean, I was a customer 2 minutes ago, and I was in the way of them getting to their next customer. From experience, I knew the car just needed a little push to get back home, but even when I asked for help, nobody even moved (even when they were not doing anything). Maybe I should have sprayed money into their faces to get them going?
I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or not, but I’m pretty sure that any time the car broke down or needed a push, someone was always there just to give it a push to get it off the street, and I always did the same when I saw a broken-down car in the middle of the street (well, when I’m on foot, anyway). It’s common courtesy, I think. On the other hand, maybe I should really think whether I’ve done enough selfless deeds for my fellow man…