27 February 2011

Support Indonesian Literature

Lately I found myself having a list-of-books-to-buy everytime I went home to Indonesia. Many people come to Singapore to buy books heavenly in Bras Basah, Borders and Kinokuniya, while I am going home to stock myself with some Indonesian books. I must admit that Indonesian literature is going more interesting with a lot of newcomer writers. They're also good in publication by being active in social media. They really got me in Twitter.
Pictures from kutukutubuku.com

(1) Two authors above are a blogger, I've loved their stories and collected their first books since the beginning, before I moved to Singapore. That's why each time they published new books or comics, even though the comics are so lame (Goat Guy, you should stop producing the comics, just focus on the books/blog), I need to get them asap. Sometimes I pre-ordered online and asked my sister to buy books I want, so the books were already there when I went home.

(2) One of the books above, the author is very famous and was once a singer (or maybe still). Many people talked good about this book, so I bought it one year ago but until now I haven't even opened up the plastic cover yet. It was just because everyone in social media praised this book, but actually I do not like the author.

(3) Another book, the author was my senior in university and is very funny in Twitter. So I tried to read his new novel about tragic comedy of a marriage life. For me, it is not disappointing but not so special either.

(4) Another one is the first novel of a trilogy about education. It is very inspiring, and there will be a movie soon filming the story from this novel. I really like quotes in front page (in Indonesian):
Orang berlimu dan beradab tidak akan diam di kampung halaman
Tinggalkan negerimu dan merantaulah ke negeri orang

Merantaulah, kau akan dapatkan pengganti dari kerabat dan kawan
Berlelah-lelahlah, manisnya hidup terasa setelah lelah berjuang

Aku melihat air menjadi rusak karena diam tertahan
Jika mengalir menjadi jernih, jika tidak, kan keruh menggenang

Singa jika tak tinggalkan sarang tak akan dapat mangsa
Anak panah jika tidak tinggalkan busur tak akan kena sasaran

Jika matahari di orbitnya tidak bergerak dan terus diam
Tentu manusia bosan padanya dan enggan memandang

Bijih emas bagaikan tanah biasa sebelum digali dari tambang
Kayu gaharu tak ubahnya seperti kayu biasa
Jika di dalam hutan.

By. Imam Syafii’
Second book of the trilogy has come out, and it has been put in my list-book-to-buy next month in Jakarta.

(5) The last book is really interesting especially for Indonesian people who lives in Singapore. It tells a story of her life when studying in NTU Singapore and living here for 4 years: A land of opportunity but also a land of desperation. I like her writings, so I might buy her other books soon.

Can you guess which book(s) I refer to in each paragraph? :P

15 February 2011

Foods in Singapore

I am not a healthy person nor strong enough nor having a really good shape of body, but I rarely get sick. In 2009, I took only half day sick leave from work. In 2010, only 1 day. So, last month when I had sore throat, cough and fever more than 3 days, I got panic and asked the doctor to do x-rays immediately. The doctor laughed and said I was too exaggerating: "no need lah". He gave me stronger medicines, then fortunately the fever's gone, but the cough was still there until about 2 weeks later. Most of my favorite foods in Singapore were not edible (because of oily, etc). I did not have appetite. I was really homesick. I had never felt like that before because I always went home every month. Maybe I should start to learn my mother's cooking. Not some recipes from the internet, but really my mom's recipes.

Talking about foods, I would like to share my favorite foods here in Singapore, which are not too many because I am not a foodaholic. I am the kind of person who eats for living, not lives for eating. I eat something just so I can live, work and do other things without starving. I do not care too much about the taste, art of making, contained ingredients, etc, as long as I'm full. But this view of mine was changed after I watched 1 Night 2 Days, a Korean TV show (with our lovely Lee Seung Gi in it). They play games and fight for foods, so they value foods so much. They are familiar with many local delicacies and seasonings. Start from now, I will try to praise the foods I eat. But for now, let me share my favorite foods in Singapore so far. This is really subjective.

Chili Crab

Chili Crab is a unique local food of Singapore. There are other taste of crabs, such as Black Pepper Crab, but the most famous one is chili. Even Lady Gaga sang for it when she performed a concert here. Singapore foods are never spicy, so is this Chili Crab, even though it's named chili. The sauce actually tastes sweet in my tongue. Usually people also eat fried bun by dipping it into chili crab sauce. I am not a master of Chili Crab, so I do not know which restaurant is the best for this dish. I usually go to Makan Sutra in Esplanade Marina Bay to eat this food, because the location is easy to reach, and very happening at night. Together with Chili Crab, I often order Cereal Prawn and Kangkung Belacan which are also Singaporean dishes.

Ayam Penyet Ria

No matter where you go, nothing beats your hometown's foods. Like I said before, it's hard to find spicy foods here, so Ayam Penyet Ria is a blessing. Even my Thai friend, who's craving for spicy foods, keeps going back to this restaurants. Actually the real Ayam Penyet comes with smashed chicken mixed together with chili sauce, sometimes we even cannot recognize the chicken's shape anymore. So, this one is actually just normal fried chicken with an incredible chili sauce.

Since many Indonesians living in Singapore, there are many Indonesian foods available. Other favorites of mine are Iga Bakar (Roasted Rib) in Bumbu Desa, Bakmie Pangsit (tasty noodles with MSG) in IMM Jurong East, Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup) in Pondok Jawa Timur, and Nasi Tumpeng in Java Kitchen (Food Republic Vivo City). I also often visit Resto Surabaya, Ayam Penyet Presiden and Ayam Bakar Ojolali restaurants in Lucky Plaza Orchard, but only because my friends like to go and hang out there, nothing special dish for me.

Hokkien Prawn Mee

This is another not bad Singaporean dish. I usually eat this in Banquet Vivo City, Food Republic Wisma Atria and Pioneer hawker center near my flat.

- Butter Kaya Toast and hot milk tea, Ya Kun Kaya Toast
- Spring O, Old Chang Kee (fried snacks or gorengan in Indonesia are much better)
- Laksa, Toast Box
- Chicken sausage with black pepper sauce, Eighteen Chefs
- Garuda Padang, Seoul Garden, Thai Express, Mind Cafe, Just Acia

This is the list of my favorite foods and restaurants that I can remember for now. Looking at this list, hemmm, apparently there are many things to eat here. But when you're sick, your Mom's cooking is still the best.