Indonesia U-19 Team Won over South Korea. Sounds Awesome… until PSSI Takes over!

The same old story. Prodigies now, losers later. That’s partly why I loathe football. The drama off the field is too much. But I want to post something different tonight even my thumbs don’t really want to.
Leave the pessimism for now because Indonesia national U-19 (under 19 years old) team just won 3-2 over the Taeguk Warriors tonight at Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta. That said, the team is officially allowed to compete in the final match of Asia Cup 2014 in Burma.
The team is coached by Indra Syafri, so make sure you don’t mistakenly credit this victory to any of House of Representatives or shitty bureaucrats or legislators like the shameless Marzuki Alie.
And tonight, after a huge downpour, Ravi Murdianto et al can take a warm bath immediately and grab some hot drinks and whole foods to curb the seeds of flu because seriously, flu is running rampant in this city these days! The weather has been extreme and harsh. One can sweat profusely during the day and get cold in an instant after being caught in the rain like today’s.
But hats of for Lee Tae-hui et al for the fair game. Some haters say they can come back and put on their makeup again but I also see some women asking if someone knows who wore number 6, admiring the cuteness of the brondongs (slang for ‘cute young men’ in Indonesian). Obviously they’re heartthrobs and we Indonesian men are already sick with this Korean Wave phenomenon, because these Korean men fill up our women’s imagination with the so-called perfection blatantly doled out by Korean screenwriters and songwriters and all of their artists through the Korean dramas and movies and songs and korea-graphers.
Evan Dimas got a hat-trick. The three goals were scored by Dimas, who served as the captain.
As promising as the U-19 team looks like, how long until the sweet victory turns sour in the next few years? PSSI must be proud of their knack for killing these young auspicious talents.

Korean Culture Fair at Lotte Shopping Avenue (a Photoblog)

Korean culture fair is held in Jakarta

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Just at the entrance, the dashing Hyun Bin and one of the SNSD members are welcoming you. You can see the banner prepared for the president’s visit.

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Enjoy the enchanting stairs just after the entrance.

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And this one too is for Park Geun-hye ssi.

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We have to pay to take pictures here, I guess. I don’t know how much to strike a pose with traditional costumes of Koreans but maybe not much.

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The paintings of Korean artists are displayed on flat plasma Samsung TV screens. Slightly classic.

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Another work of art from a Korean artist with more contemporary flavor.

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And some Indonesian artists’ works with the modern, urban, contemporary art taste.

South Korea President Park Geun-Hye to Come to Jakarta

President of South Korea to visit Jakarta.

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Yesterday afternoon, South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited Indonesia in her presidential capacity for the very first time since she was appointed in February this year. Mari Elka Pangestu, minister tourism and creative economy, was seen accompanying Park at the mall.

Reportedly, she was scheduled to talk with SBY but managed to pay a very brief visit to Lotte Shopping Avenue where Korean Culture Fair is being held. The fair is planned to last for several weeks. Visitors may sightsee around the mall to enjoy the art works of the select contemporary artists from both countries.

The Lotte premium shopping arena is located at Ciputra World Jakarta, just the opposite of where I work. Park’s visit caused a huge traffic jam around the already packed street of prof. Dr. Satrio (Casablanca, Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta). As we all know, Friday traffic in the capital is the last thing we hope to be stranded in while the weekend mood is already in the air.

(Image credit: @lotte_love_jkt)

Korean Culture Fair in Jakarta to Mark 40-Year Bilateral Tie

Lotte Shopping Avenue in South Jakarta presents a culture fair to celebrate the 4-decade long South Korea and Indonesia relationships.

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If you’re into Korean culture, this could be an event you have been longing for so long. Following the Korean Wave and craze across the globe, anything related to Korea sounds cool, with potential nuclear wars and filmsy regional security as exceptions of course.
As you can see on the gigantic billboard, the fair will take place at Lotte Shopping Avenue, Ciputra World 1 Jakarta, Prof. Dr. Satrio street, South Jakarta, which is only a walking distance from the Central Business District of Sudirman and Mega Kuningan, another area full of multinational businesses and foreign embasies.

Korean Modern Literature: The Diary of a Torn Nation

IMG1442As I visited South Korea in June this summer, I realized how beautiful this peninsula is. The natural landscape is one of its own, well preserved and promoted. The beaches, mountains, hills, tunnels, woods and the breezes along the way are scattered just like that but still showcase the beauty. The blend of traditional remnants and modern civilization are what anyone can see throughout the country.  It’s definitely the place I can spend forever in.

Yet, what amazes me more is how Korean folks lead their lives. I still remember what my tour guide Rose Lee told me in relatively fluent Indonesian,”We Koreans have a long and deep history of separation. Koreans have longed for the union.” Rose Lee’s father is already 80 years old now and, as she put it, his heart always sinks every time he recalls his very dear brother in North.

Rose Lee’s father is only one of millions of Koreans out there with this fervent hope of reunion. Koreans literally live with this wound. The wound is out of being taken away from their beloved or not being able to see anyone who matters so much in their life.

Perhaps this is why we can observe the subtlety and profoundness of emotions and feelings in Korean modern literary works, and even in their heart wrenching plots in popular movies and TV dramas. The past unhealed scar seems to leave them with higher sense of life appreciation. Every simple moment matters and should be appreciated in any possible ways.

Literature serves as a perfect means of chanelling those pains and capture the moments and experiences a person thinks worth sharing. Cathartic and escapist it may sound to many but these lines of sentences may in turn refine and reshape our understanding towards life and its complexity.

 

Terbaru dari Korea: Seoul Kebanjiran!

Berita Jakarta kebanjiran sudah bukan barang aneh. Semua maklum. Bangkok kebanjiran juga sudah pernah kita dengar. Maklum ibukota negara berkembang juga seperti kita. Lalu apa jadinya jika kita mendengar berita banjir di negara-negara maju seperti Singapura atau Korea Selatan? Bisa jadi itu karena tingginya curah hujan. Namun terlepas dari semua itu, ini memberikan bukti yang makin jelas mengenai ketidakpastian iklim global. Dan masih saja sebagian orang berpikir global warming itu mitos belaka yang digunakan untuk mengekang kemajuan ekonomi dunia!

 

Dikutip dari laman Chosun.com hari ini (16/8/2012), kita bisa ketahui bahwa banjir kini melanda sebagian wilayah ibukota Korsel, Seoul. Hujan lebat dikabarkan merendam Korea bagian tengah kemarin dengan curah hujan mencapai 68,5 mm per jam yang turun di Distrik Gwanak di Seoul sepanjang tengah hari di musim panas ini. Hujan ini diprediksi akan terus berlanjut hingga hari ini (Kamis) di beberapa bagian utara Provinsi Jeolla Utara dan Gyeongsang Utara.

 

Menurut Badan Meteorologi Korea, hujan akan kembali turun  di Prov. Gyeonggi dan bagian utara Prov. Gangwon dalam minggu ini.

 

Uap air dalam jumlah besar menguap ke udara di sepanjang tepi laut Pasifik Utara yang dikenal memiliki sistem tekanan udara tinggi membawa hujan lebat ini menuju bagian tengah Korea pada Rabu  kemarin, demikian pernyataan Badan Meteorologi Korea. BMK menyatakan adanya risiko tanah longsor, dinding tanggung yang jebol dan lahan di dataran rendah yang berpotensi terendam air hujan. Peringatan hujan lebat untuk warga Seoul dicabut pukul 3 sore waktu Seoul pada Rabu kemarin.

 

 

Daerah dekat stasiun kereta bawah tanah Gangnam di Seoul, yang dilewati 200 ribu orang per hari, juga tak luput dari genangan. Sejumlah bagian jalan turut terendam antara pukul 12.30 dan 2 siang.

 

Distrik Gangnam dan Seocho di Seoul mengalami curah hujan 88 mm dalam 2 jam. Air hujan merendam daerah itu hingga setinggi pergelangan kaki orang dewasa normal di sepanjang jalan besar Gangnam dan mencapai setinggi lutut di sejumlah bagian jalan yang memiliki bagian menurun atau cekung, ujar seorang pejabat Distrik Seocho.

 

Ini bukan pertama kalinya daerah tersebut terendam banjir karena letaknya yang cekung dibandingkan daerah sekitarnya. Seocho memang telah melakukan perbaikan saluran air bawah tanah tahun lalu tetapi toh masih belum efektif mencegah banjir tahun ini.

 

“Memperluas saluran air bawah tanah membutuhkan konstruksi yang masif dan tak mungkin untuk melakukan itu karena banyak area di sini yang dimiliki oleh pribadi dan harga tanah juga mahal,” kata pejabat setempat.

 

Melihat relatif parahnya banjir yang menimpa kali ini membuat kita berpikir, banjir yang terjadi di Jakarta PASTI akan membutuhkan solusi yang lebih mahal dari sekadar pembangunan saluran air bawah tanah. Banyak sekali faktor pemicu yang berperan di sini; mentalitas dan cara warga memperlakukan dan memandang sumber daya air, kemauan pemerintah untuk memberikan solusi tuntas (bukan tambal sulam), kesediaan pihak swasta untuk turut berinvestasi membangun solusi banjir, dan sebagainya.

 

 

Does Gender Equality Exist in Korea?

A couple of bears in hanbok at Bear Museum in Seoul: Patriarchal is the Korean cultural values and norms.

There is no such thing called gender equality in Korea, to be frank. To Rose Lee (my Korean tour guide), Korea is not that kind to humans with wombs.

 

She told us while on tour that life has been harsh culturally to little girls and baby girls. Women, whether Koreans are fully aware of it or not,   are treated as second class citizens.

 

“We Korean women are assumed to be of lower position than our male counterparts. Women are generally assigned to take care of family members with utmost devotion. Younger Korean females today do not want this happen to them, just like what happened to their mothers in the past. They are getting more and more reluctant to be a full-time house wife that works 24/7 like a domestic helper (What is even worse is they are not even paid for that as it is for the family’s sake),” recounted the slim-figured, tight-faced Lee, who admitted she is already 51 years old.

 

She continued, the 21st century Korean women know once they give birth to a child, they have to relinquish all their dreams. Their careers! That (almost) means the world and everything on it to these modern-thinking, erudite women.

 

“They know how to make money on their own, without even having to relying financially and solely on the husbands,” Lee Kye-sook ( Rose Lee’s Korean name) explained further.

 

Korean women only have two options: making money more than the cost of child raising process or staying at home with kids and focusing only on becoming an ideal wife and mother. That is because the labor cost is quite high in Korea. “It takes 1.5 million won to pay a baby sitter a decent sum of monthly salary,” Lee reasoned.

 

The problem doesn’t necessarily stop once a woman makes more money. Corporates for sure don’t want to take these married women’s carrier ambition too seriously. Huge companies tend to favor male employees, and hence pay them more generously than married females who may stop climbing the career ladders anytime soon following marriage, household obligations and … babies. So if you’re a female married employee, chances are you have more remote chance of getting promoted than your male coworkers (especially those young men with military service experience, they’re heavily favored even compared to Korean male employees without one).

 

Unlike in Indonesia, it is not customary that parents in Korea take care of their grandchildrean on daily basis. “It’s simply because they want to take a rest. Raising children is not a light task to accomplish,” Lee kept on telling us the details. The elderly want recess and they mean it.

 

Then no wonder, one typical Korean family only have one or two children. The government subsidizes provided that a family raise more than 2 children. “If you have three kids or even more, get ready to enjoy 500,000 won worth monthly incentives endowed by the Korean government,” she concluded the narration.

Why S-Korean Government is "Afraid" of Single, Tech-Savvy Ladies More than Anything

Song Hye-kyo, that “Full House” k-drama protagonist, spotted showcasing her flawless moist facial skin
Reportedly, the current Korean Government has a growing concern with two things (aside from the North sibling): smartphones and mid-30s single women. If combined, the two are a trigger of a huge revolution. As my tour leader put it, “These erudite, tech savvy spinsters are no stragers to Internet, smartphones, and PCs. Once they complain, it could be the beginning of a riot for the whole country”. “A complaining gentleman is more easily appeased. Liquor will suffice. But women?” she nodded with utmost certainty.

Foto: Song Hye-kyo, that "Full House" k-drama protagonist, spotted  showcasing her flawless moist facial skin<br /><br />
Reportedly, the current Korean Government has a growing concern with two things (aside from the North sibling): smartphones and mid-30s single women. If combined, the two are a trigger of a huge revolution. As my tour leader put it, "These erudite, tech savvy spinsters are no stragers to Internet, smartphones, and PCs. Once they complain, it could be the beginning of a riot for the whole country". "A complaining gentleman is more easily appeased. Liquor will suffice. But women?" she nodded with utmost certainty.

Photo Blog: Korea Summer Excursion 2012

Lee Seung-gi and a faceless female model on an cosmetic ad billboard. It’s quite a rising trend to see more and more Korean males on cosmetic ads. And Korean males are NOT ashamed of pampering themselves with skin care products associated with their female counterparts. My tour leader, who has two sons in their mid twetnties, said the metrosexual sons may spend more time to wear make up and outfits than she does. Later on she explained how Koreans highly value physical appearance, which is why they don’t hesitate to splurge more on fancy and costly clothes and anti-aging skin care products. Really, anything that makes you live longer and look better will sell here.

Continue reading “Photo Blog: Korea Summer Excursion 2012”

Rose Lee: "Indonesia is the Heaven for Married Women"

This chic 51-year-young woman was my tour leader, Lee Kye-suk (이계숙). She has an endless supply of story on her mother land, Korea. Along the tour, she narrated various real-life stories. She may tell us about her two sons who just finished military service today, her late mother another night, her 84-year-old father the morning after, and so forth. She spoke so much in Bahasa Indonesia.

Rose Lee, that’s how she introduced herself to us, said Indonesia is the heaven of married women like her. That said, she meant no exaggeration. In Korea, it takes a fortune to pay full-time household assistants, drivers, or gardeners. In Indonesia, she found it really easy to find affordable household assistants,drivers and gardeners long time ago before the 98 crisis hit Indonesian economy so badly. She lived in Geger Kalong, Bandung.

Having so many helpers ready to assist, however, doesn’t necessarily mean she can wash her hands off of the most vital household chore of Korean women: preparing foods for the family. Korean mothers, she said, can’t just let others cook for their family. Food eaten is a decisive factor to maintain family’s health and well being and putting health at stake is too risky. That’s why Korean mothers keep cooking for their family in spite of employing several domestic asisstants in their houses. It is quite the contrary once you see Indonesian (urban) mothers . Most of them prefer their foods prepared by helpers.

 In terms of gender equality, Korea might be one of the most men-centered societies throughout the globe. Korean patriarchal way of life is easily noticed in any aspect.  And that naturally translates to the notion that women are assumed to be lower than men. Ladies are  strongly expected to take great care of family. It’s a full time job, and they can’t complain about it whatsoever. Korean women after marriage are to be held responsible for being the domestic helpers of their family (and the husbands’ too). The labor cost is surprisingly high in Korea, which makes women think a thousand times before working and climbing corporate carrier ladders. Hiring a baby sitter or domestic helper can be half or almost the entire sum of one’s current salary. Rose Lee said these manual workers make money 1.5 million won every month. At the same time, a career woman in Korea (with college degree) in average may earn around 2.9 million won. Women without college degree earn considerably lower than that. Thus, hiring helpers seems very much like a waste of money.

While here in Indonesia, career women can comfortably rely on the service of maids and baby sitters and their parents, Korean women have to struggle more as their parents have no intention to help them raise children. It’s not because they hate their own grandchildren but they want to take a rest. Raising children is way too energy consuming and the elderly shun such an idea.

Rose Lee later explained why we hardly find Korean spouses with 3 children. “One child is the most reasonable. Two tops!” she emphasized several times. “The ratio of children number in a typical Korean family recently is 1.1,” she added.

And because raising children is considered burden here, Korean people are currently facing a new problem. Like the neighboring Japan and our neighbor Singapore, Korea is also worried as day by day they have more seniors and fewer babies.

The aging population needed a handysolution. The innovative Korean government came up with one: subsidy. The government launched a subsidy campaign to boost more babies around Korea. The subsidy worth 500K won is aimed only at families having more than 3 children.