When the lighting strikes. twice

It’s been a while.

Since the last entry

What i had been up to?

A super concise recap:

  • life
  • works
  • couple of crisis
  • periods of laziness; with scant art projects and countless cups of coffee scattered in between
  • And a bump. A very prominent one


Fast forward to now. When life with twins is happening. When almost all of our 24hours are not ours to spend.

This new decade brought along a bundle of milk monsters, not exactly dropped by a stork but been taking over my life and body since 9 months before.

While I’ve never regarded new year as an eventful event or a major turning point or anything worth celebrated over, turned out 2020 claimed to be different. The pair of wailing potatoes agreed to mark this year as memorable if not a life changing one.

So..here we are, two becomes four.

9 to 5 becomes 24/7 (temporarily. Will have to go back to work soon)

8 hours of sleep becomes a myth

Writing From Your Life

Who would ever thought that I would join a writing class?

And yet I did. This morning. At The Jakarta Post.

So happened that I’m one of the three lucky people who got to attend the creative writing workshops available as a part of The Jakarta Post Writing Center’s Writer’s Series 2017.

The Writer’s Series: Year Two theme is Tell Stories That Matter. It consisted of two main events:

  • A public event, including series of discussions, lite seminars and readings on May 13, 2017, and
  • Three premium workshops on the second day, May 14, 2017.

So there I was, spending the first half of my weekend with fellow Jakarta Book Clubers in a super-cold hall of The Kasablanka, taking in as much insight as we could from from both local and international speakers, among them Melani Budianta, Robin Hemley, Debra Yatim, Aan Mansyur, Lawrence Ypil, Danny Yatim, and Endy Bayuni, Editor-In-Chief of The Jakarta Post. From various discussions that I followed, ranging from journalistic to poetry, I was struck by the humbleness of the speakers, how they encourage everyone not to be afraid to start writing, even if only as a way to understand one self. I also particularly enjoyed the reading sessions, which was called In The Works, where Authors/poets got up the stage and read some of their pieces.

The next day, I went to The Jakarta Post headquarter for the 3 hours workshop I signed up for: WRITING FROM YOUR LIFE, which focused on how to make a great story out of your experiences and observations of your surrounding. The lecturer, Dai Fan, a leading lecturer of Creative Writing in English and the Dean of School of Foreign Languages at Sun Yat-Sen University, opened with a brief story about herself. She was originally writing in her mother language, Chinese, during her two-years in the US, but started to write in English when she got back to China, for she wanted to share about the true China to the world.

Dai Fan really did advocate creative writing as a personal pursue aside from professional/academic ones. One of the first things she shared this morning was that creative writing among other things, is

  • Personal development
  • Development of Language skill
  • Self-knowledge
  • Self-expression

And she also said writing could really improve our reading experience. “You don’t get to be a good reader until the writing is going”.

Of course, creative writing is about telling a story, and whether we’re writing fiction or non-fiction, we need to develop a good writing techniques. By technique she meant how to make people interested in our story, how to control the flow that people would want to know more, for story telling is also the art of giving and withholding information.

Then she taught us about characterizations and voices and the importance of the opening lines in a story while going through the works of some of her students and also from the excerpts of her own pieces. Finally she guided us through some exercises. First we were told to write something in the first person point of view, and after 15 minutes of writing some of us got to read their story aloud and got some feed backs. Then we were given 3 minutes to rewrite that same piece but in third person view, and discussed it afterwards. Some felt easier to write in the first person point of view, I personally found it difficult to switch the point of view at the beginning but then the words flow more easily when using third person point of view. Probably because I didn’t feel comfortable writing about myself, and putting it into the third person point of view did put some distance between my self and the voice in the story. The last leg of the exercise was to work out more detail from a part of our previous story that we thought need some refinements. And that concluded the workshop.

Overall it was a very encouraging experience – at least for me, who signed up with a kind of ‘Jump First!’ manner – although three hours might be too short of a workshop. Hat off to TJP Writing Center for the enthusiasm in educating and sharing the love for words, and big thanks to Jakarta Book Club for this opportunity!

To The Ends of The World

pencil + metallic inks on black pad



This was one of my entries to International English Service’s Art Auction last year. The original artwork would be hanging on someone’s wall (hopefully). Actually posting it is an act of procrastination – instead of getting my paper and pencils and whatnot out of the box, why don’t I just dig up old artworks (which, is, scarce by the way) and show them off.

2015 has been an unproductive one – in terms of art – mainly because I’m…too lazy. The more elaborate explanation will be that I’ve been having difficulties dividing my time between my 9 to 5 job, books (including  co-organizing book club), practicing illustration (and getting sidetracked by brush lettering along the way), cooking, housekeeping, finding inspirations for furnishing my apartment (while the actual act of furnishing itself is having a lil hiccup) and daydreaming. And of all I’ve been focusing pretty much on reading books and daydreaming, both – if you notice – are acts of escaping reality. It’s not that reading is bad – in fact I encourage you to take time to read everyday – it’s just that a little discipline will be good here, don’t you think? While multitasking is clearly just a myth, the plan is to introduce consistency into my daily activities. well, hope I am consistent enough to carry it out.

It’s coming back. After years. Those feelings.
The feeling that made me leave my job the last time.
Only this time is worse. This time I feel the ship is sinking.
Can feel the layers of frustration, resentment and contempt is beginning to pile up.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. So they said.

I wish it is that simple. I wish there’s no million other factor involved.
The fact is it feels like I’m still doing what I don’t really like, even though technically I do.
I do really wish doing design is only about design. No office drama.
No people undermining your team. No one questioning your each and every tiny decisions.
Well maybe my team is not doing our job that well. Maybe my decisions do need to be challenged. Maybe I just don’t do it right. But that’s beside the point.

Do what you love. Sounds good. But it doesn’t matter. It’s not what you do.
It’s who you do it with that can make your life merry and bright or hellish.





read while you eat

Eating and Reading copy

It’s a ‘bad’ habit I have never been able to shake loose. Not that I ever wanted to. Since I was a kid,
I have always had a book in my hand while having my meal. A novel, comic book, manga, magazine.
I don’t really remember how and why I got to so attached to my reading materials that putting them down for half an hour felt like a great sacrifice. I guess it wasn’t so much about the book as much as it was about me feeling more comfortable hiding behind them. No matter how many times my mom scolded me I’ve never grown out of the habit. Funny thing is, my husband got exactly the same habit, if not more intense. One time, we tried to have dinner without our books or cellphones around. Without his manga or news or his twitter feed, he grew so restless that unconsciously he reached a bottle of soy sauce on table and read the label. We succumb to our beloved eating style ever since. It may not be considered a good manner by most people so we try not to bring our eating/reading habit outside our own dinner table. Anyway C.S. Lewis is one of the author I admire and I’m glad we share the same table manner. :p

in some kind of reflective mode


| IES Kelapa Gading Mission Tee / 2 0 1 4

Something from about a year ago.
Designed for Outreach Ministry of International English Service Jakarta

As far as I remember, most of the time their commissions have reached me during my busiest periods. That way – too bad – the works have always felt like one thing too many on my plate;
one more thing that I had to wedge into my crammed tiny brain. Of course I’ve always wanted to work cheerfully and wholeheartedly. That’s the essence of doing ministry. But the fact is, I could never give them the best allocation of time – let alone my whole heart.The works I’ve done so far were like crafted just enough to meet the deadlines; to ease me from my ‘debt’; Left me with a ‘It could have been better crafted’ feeling.

But if they had been such a burden then why did I keep doing it?
Because as far as I remember, they have also been such a blessing.
Those commissions have challenged me to accomplish something otherwise I wouldn’t have.
They insisted I use the little free time I had doing illustrations, letterings or designs instead of
catching up with my favorite TV series. Thus they’ve sharpened me as an illustrator/designer.
And I’m grateful.

When a picture is not worth a thousand words


I saw a picture and i was swept into sea of Hashtags.
I saw another picture and i swallowed more Hashtags.
Waves of them following your single picture.
O I believe Hashtag serves a purpose.
I’m not against them, I even use them.
But if you abuse them into meaningless unspaced phrases
that supposed to explain what is captured in your picture,
than why show a picture at all.
Nothing left to imagine.

Yes a picture need a caption to express its context,
or one or two Hashtags to get connected in social media,
but why don’t you let the picture tells the story?
or maybe #you are #desperately #want #your #picture to #pop
in #each and #every #category or #trendingtopic #available
that #you don’t #realize that #you are #justputting #thenumbersign
or a #hash in #front of #every #single #words in your #caption.
or maybe i follow the wrong people in socmed.
But, seriously…too many Hashtags actually kill your picture.




Used to be. It was (only) 20 minutes between bed and the road.
Used to be. There’s no need to add up these many layers on my face.
Used to be. No need to think before I eat.
Used to be. Pictures were taken more thoughtfully.
Used to be. Common people don’t have so many followers.
Used to be. I got time to ask questions. (and try to find the answers)
Used to be. Friend means entirely a different thing.
Used to be. A bag of lemon didn’t cost this much.
Used to be. No need to ponder to which (social) media should I post this.

why i go groceries shopping to cure acne

this is the story about this doodle

Low GI


Why low GI? O wait…What. is. GI?
It has something to do with blood sugar.
Well…i can explain but i bet google explains way better.
So feel free to consult him.

Here have a peek if you’re curious. and maybe this too.
And, oh, this is gonna be a long post of a lamentation kind
just because i need to vent out. So, you can skip to my next post
if you want (it will be about easter artwork, hopefully..)

Anyway, change of diet, is one of my many desperate
shots to fight acne. It’s been a never-ending battle and i’m depleted.
I don’t always suffer from acne though, It all started like about 10 years ago when i graduated from university and moved to Jakarta – which, actually were not supposed to trigger anything like a massive break out. I don’t know…

So, basically since 2005 until now I’ve always had severe acne –
except for a couple of periods of great clean skin during Accutane and the pills –
but, never had the break out is as severe as the last three months.
Thus the low GI diet started.

I’ve had enough and decided to take care of it more holistically. Here I am now going all groceries shopping and cooking and blending smoothies. Because i want to get a cure, not just temporary treatments. (I didn’t finish my therapy with Accutane because i didn’t  believe in it and turned out it made my eczema worse. I went with pills for almost a year than decided to got off it. Both the accutane and pills are prescribed by dermatologist)

Convinced that no dermatologist could cure me  – it’s been unpleasant, my visits to them derms. with the level of severity like mine, every one of them will prescribe either accutane, birth control or antibiotics – i seek advice from mr.google who imparted many revelations.

Now I know better about acne, why some people has it and the other don’t, what the relation is between our diet and skin, and why it is ok to punch someone in the face when they told me i got acne because i have oily skin and should wash my face more often. *kidding* It is basically toxin, hormone and genetic tendencies that play part in creating an acne conducive skin. It’s not because your face is dirty.

Ok, it’s a slim chance to try and to cure oneself. First, I know I’m not knowledgeable enough about skin and body to actually try things out without any expert’s guidance, but I’m done with dermatologist.

Secondly, the information out there come from various sources.
And they don’t always agree with each other.
Also, most information and research are based on American diet, american skin etc. (i bet my guts got more bacteria and parasites than any american guts)
I use my own logic to judge what is the best for me. I am skeptical about some, embrace some, dismiss another.

So whatever i choose to do is not necessarily the right ones. For example, I don’t believe in liver flush and colonic. I feel more comfortable with the natural habitat in my colon intact. I also don’t believe in blue light treatment that would kill all the acne bacteria. I do believe in cutting out dairies, sugar and deep-fried food.

Getting all the mismatched information about what to eat to get a better skin really could add more breakouts rather than eliminate them. Too much contradictions out there. Moreover, it is stressing enough to decide on a perfect diet plan for me, let alone shopping for it. (if you only knew the price of those organic vegetables and fruits here! and salmon. and honey.)

So at first i just copied whatever meal plan that has worked for someone and saw if it would work for me too. It went for a while, copy pasting some meal-plan (and some skincare regimes too), keeping a food and skin diary and keep researching. There were some improvements, then it got worse again, and so on. So, it is, still, a never ending battle.

But what i want to say is, in fact i do enjoy the process of cooking all my own meal, blending smoothies, trying out new recipes, though it means that i have to wake up much earlier in the morning when I’m soo not a morning person.

The hardest part of this diet change is giving up white rice. White rice is like, the staple grain here. And I love white rice. Especially how we cook it here in Indonesia, “pulen” is the term here, it’s like the grains are sticking together nicely but not too watery. o it’s sooo good… Moreover, most of Indonesian & Chinese food is just not right to be consumed without rice. I’m replacing it with brown rice now. And quinoa – which, cost me irrational amount of money.

The other torture is eliminate cheese & butter. Can’t drink milk is totally fine. But..butter! arrgh.. ok i can get really worked up if it comes to food. Anyway, I only cut them out completely for the first 7 days. After that i include them now and then but in small quantity.

The first 7 days i totally eliminate wheat, dairies, starchy vegetables, nightshades, sugar, red meat, and refined carbs.
Plenty of fresh veggies, fruits and lemon water instead.
I cook only with coconut oil, not even dare to use olive oil.
The problem is, to my palate, coconut oil didn’t really go along with chinese food. Or even some western food. Sauteed vegetables should smells like sesame oil, like the soy sauce hitting the sizzling wok (wok, not pan). not coconut. Coconut oil is actually best in balinese food, if you ever visit bali, they’ve been using coconut oil for like, forever, loong before VCO became the god of all oil. Well, anyway, the result? the war is not over, but there are improvements on my skins.

At this rate, i will have to maintain this diet for like, forever. Like they said, it’s a change of lifestyle. Not an easy cure. I also not saying it’s cheaper than seeing dermatologist. But it is healthier :) and make me feel happier. For now I’ll just keep trying not to consume too much food that will spike my blood sugar level. Keep eating a lot of fruit and veggies, and keep trying to be happy. (The downside is, my already hypochondriac self is turning into Cyberchondriac. *woot*) but here’s something to be drooling at.

2014-03-23 14.03.23-1 Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.52.53 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.53.37 PM2014-03-31 19.21.24-2

in the time of flood { 2 }

ola 2014.
yet another wet beginning of the year. for the second year in a row. splendid. only this time we still have electricity. and the road right in front of our gate is still quite dry. no safety boats and make-shift-rafts going back and forth carrying refugees. but we are pretty much isolated.

last year i didn’t see it coming at all. one morning i woke up and yaick, the house was already surrounded by flood water, electricity had been cut, no tv, no news, no telephone.
there were not much that i could do at that time so it appeared that i was going through all that quite calmly. but actually it was a really traumatic experience. being cut out from the world, worrying all the time about hygiene and stuffs, constantly running out out water and candle sticks, doing nothing, and finally doing something which was escaping the neighborhood with lusia. but even that escape was a lil bit traumatic too, getting to the highway on a very unreliable-raft-made-of-bathroom-door (from my neighborhood this highway was the only accessible road to somewhere dry), the yucky flood water that we had to plow through, the highway fence that we had to climb. Actually on hindsight they were pretty cool, something that i could brag about, not everyday i could climb a highway fence and get away with it, right :D. but please..so yucky and there was also the uncertainty that anyone would pull over and let our wet selves get into their car or cab (yes, instead of calling SAR boat we chose to hitch-hiked haha; oh yea we didn’t have phone connection so that’s the reason why). anyway we managed to get a cab.

this year is different. actually the neighborhood is still quite relatively dry, and this flood is not that 5-year-cycle flood that the people of Jakarta dreads. but in several areas in Jakarta the flood has been going on for more than a week, and still there is no sign of letting up. and everyday the cloud is haunting us, moreover the news of this and that flood gate being opened really get to my nerve. last year when i got out of the flood i was quite surprised at people’s indifference, then i understood that parts of jakarta which were not flooded was absolutely normal so they didn’t have any idea. funny how this year i am actually in their position and not directly affected by flood but i am more panic than last year. maybe i am overreacting. but i just don’t want to get through all that again.