Hannah Shin: Your Work Is Your Duplicate

Born in a family of artists, Hannah Shin is no stranger to arts. Her father owns an art school and teaches arts and fashion. So does her mother. And she means the business. Shin, who is Korean, just
graduated from her Bachelor of Arts course in London and she already has around 30 paintings.

So why does she come to the Big Durian? “I came back to Jakarta because my family was here. And I’ve been living here for fifteen years,” She quipped.

That said, she has acquired Bahasa Indonesia. “Bisa bicara Bahasa Indonesia juga, but just a little. Not too fluently,” Shin said sheepishly.

Shin was also present when Harry Dharsono, a prominent Indonesian haute couture designer and textile artist, celebrated his 65th birthday today (14/3/2015). She stood in the crowd with her tighly clad black gown and donned a fashionable hat with furs on her head. Mr Dharsono aptly described Shin as “a painter who looks like a painting herself”. He put it right.

Oil paintings of hers were exhibited at Ciputra Theater and Lotte Shopping Avenue. Some are bluish, orange, and a mixture of various colors with titles in it.

Artswise, Shin loves oil as the medium of her creative processes. She experimented with a lot of chemical substances to make it very transparent, translucent and flowy.

Despite being a fledgling artist, Shin has her own distinct character as a painter. “Most of my paintings has the motions, showing emotions that I felt when I’m painting,” Shin added.

Each and every artwork has its own story as the background. Shin shared a story in her painting titled “Warrior”. After her trip to Africa as a volunteer as one of the artists teaching arts to the
underprivileged children there, she felt the urge to give hope to them. “They (these children) are small but they’re all warriors. There are warriors in them and they need to show that to the world.” Shin believes any piece of artwork is “a duplicate” of an artist and the painting also represents herself, a relatively unknown, new artist with a “small” reputation.

Like any artists, Shin has her influence. She adores a more famous abstract expressionist painter. She was then inspired to use a single color in her painting and tried to make it speak by itself.

Although she is heavily influenced, Shin invented her unique technique of painting. When we think of oil paintings, we think of paintings that are very thick and stand out as painters tend to add more and more oil onto it. Shin, however, does it in a reverse way. “For the white bits, I clean out the blue color and make layers.”

Loyal College of Arts awaits Shin after this. Her artistic pursuit does not seem to end quite soon as Shin realizes the significance of education in her future career. By being surrounded by the best
artists, Shin hopes to learn more by accepting critiques that make her think more about her works, and in which way she should do it better. ‎

Can Fiction Writing Make You a Good Journalist?

So this girl called Choi Seung-yon is a graduate of a local university. The frustrated reporter works for an online newspaper called “True Story” in Seoul, Korea.
Getting bored for the unclear future of the business and being always at work without breaking some good pieces of news, she pleads to her employer,”I want to reveal true stories and let the world know about them. That’s how we can be reborn as a true newspaper company! And we’ll hire some more reporters and move to a bigger and nicer building downtown!” That’s her plan.
But the boss has another plan in his mind. “You want to do that? Then you have to write an
article revealing the truth,” says he flatly, showing lack of enthusiasm in his facial expression.
The naive Choi answered his boss,”Though I want to break such news, I don’t know how to write it properly. I need to learn how to do it.” Her boss sighs and is about to enter his own room. He knows Choi would once again preach with incredible length of time about how the small newsroom needs more improvement and advancement.
The young gorgeous employer whispered near her left ear,”Choi Seung-yon, why don’t you write a novel? That may become an article.” “A novel..,” he echoes his words.

Really, a novel? A long form of  fictional work? I’m not quite sure whether or not it is a plausible practical advice for an aspiring journalist. But I guess any writing practice would be good for any type of writing-related work.

How about you? Do you think the advice makes sense?


Haruki Murakami: "Writing a Novel is NOT a 'Healthy' Type of Work"

It’s confirmed. Writing a novel, or basically any writing-related profession, is physically unhealthy in the long run, but that’s only if you ignore your own well-being!

Unlike most authors, Haruki Murakami is pretty much fit for an author at his 60’s. He’s not young anymore obviously but maybe he can run much faster than a young man in his 20’s. Poor us, right?

Writers: Sedentary creatures

I’m now in the late 20’s and never think that running would be one type of sports I’d do sometime in my life. I can run for sure but it’s just not what I want to do as my fondness of yoga grows larger day by day (and at some points, stay the same and declining).

I too am aware of this well-being issue as a writer. Sitting all day long, more than 10 hours a day straight sounds like something fun as an author working on his things with eyes glued to a glaring screen. But if that forms a habit, we certainly disrupt the balance of our well-being, physically, mentally, psychologically.

So I came to think of this: “Writers need right distractions“. Why so? Because they need to move, need that distraction to keep moving as moving means living. Sedentary life style of an author may kill them!

Decision to get fit

Back to Murakami, this Japanese author really impresses me with his physical fitness. Perhaps that’s what every author, writer in the world needs to become before they start writing, being physically fit! Without it, you can of course still write but for how long? Staying fit by regular exercise keeps the body robust and supple as well as hones the sharpness of the brain, which is declining as time passes and one grows older.

Murakami made this conscious decision (i.e. to be physically fit), if he wants to write longer throughout his lifetime,  health is the key. That’s the rule of the thumb everyone knows well and sadly enough, ignores at the same time. It’s said that he quit smoking, started eating better, became almost a vegetarian, and started seriously running marathon (source: “Haruki Murakami: In Search of This Elusive Writer” – Documentary).

Wake up, writers!

This is exactly contrary to what I have seen so far in bloggers, writers and journalists lifestyle. They adopt sedentary lifestyle, crappy daily diets, hardly ever exercise or hit a gym. Drinks with caffeine level above what is normal is tolerated. Even more horrifying, I see smoking is like a normal habit that won’t kill. Yes, that may not kill but aggravate any ailments you suffer from. This liberal daily intake of caffeine, heavy smoking habit, combined with irregular night sleep pattern is so lethal yet unobserved. And all for the sake of deadlines!

I’m so stunned by all the ignorance showcased before me. Is this insanity at its worst? Look at Chairil Anwar, the best poet in Indonesia in his time. Why did you waste your writing talents, trade your lifetime for cigarettes??? Throughout his lifetime (which spanned only 26 years and active working years of only 7 years), Anwar had written 94 literary works, mostly are poems. Imagine how many masterpieces he might have produced once he had lived his life better. He died of TBC (and various sicknesses prior to that) at 27. Ah, what a waste of talent!

So why can’t we now get seriously aware of this issue? Get rid of those self-murderous habits! Write like there’s no tomorrow, workout as if you’ll die without sweating or panting every day, and live as long as you can because only a living human being can tell and write stories. Corpses can’t…

English: Indonesian poet Chairil Anwar (1922 -...
English: Indonesian poet Chairil Anwar (1922 – 1949) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Write Freely, Edit Cruelly

“I find that discussing an idea before I’ve written it is often the best way to kill it stone-dead.” – J. K. Rowling

casual vacancy

Doesn’t it sound too obvious? I’ve known this since like… forever? Discussing about an idea with anybody else prior to writing it and push the wildest imagination to the point of exhaustion is such a foolish suicide committed by any novice writers, whether they be bloggers, fiction authors, non-fiction authors, or even creative web copywriters.

On writing Harry Potter, Rowling herself admitted that never did she let her drafts read by anyone else before getting done. Afterwards, she allowed only her editor (and maybe her husband, Neil Murray) to scrutinize the drafts. She stated this before the audience of the publication of “The Casual Vacancy”  at David H. Koch Theater.

That being said, I can directly relate that to myself who happens to be one of the haters of anything called “writers club” where several writers mingle and chat and discuss. That doesn’t particularly work for me. I feel like I was born free, so was my mind. So I need to free myself too while writing, setting aside any of those unwanted foreign influences (because some external influences are wanted to enrich ourselves).

Sounds too lenient uh? Wait until the editing comes. “Write freely, and edit cruelly,” that’s all I can say when you really want to produce a great piece of work for readers out there.

How Blogging Landed Me a Job

Watching and Blogging
Blogging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s true that blogging is my savior. I guess blogging is another channel to bring my writing to a much wider audience, which later paved my way to the job I’m having now. Here’s my story.


It’s been always my fascination to live a life as a writer. Not only as a career choice but also life path. I was still always shy to show my writing for an excuse that it was just a shameless show-off. And I didn’t feel like there was an audience out there wanting to read my writeups, with my academic mentor as exceptions. But I got sick of writing thesis. Because it was more of a chore than a calling or passion. That’s what may happen to someone who thinks that his/ her favorite pastime would be a great choice of academic pursuit. It turned out bitter. I am certain that I love English and some literary works but doesn’t necessarily mean I enjoyed having to attend philosophy or ethics classes.


At that time, I was a teacher. A lecturer working part time to be frank. Realizing I’d never gone extroverted so much, I then seriously considered writing. Writing, in my mind, seemed like the most logical career field for me. I don’t have to meet many people every single day. And that’s such a bliss.


With nothing else other than writing on my mind, I quit my part-time teaching job and started to seek any possible writing-related job vacancies. I still remember how I always would pray for my dream job in my everyday prayer. For almost 8 months, I was literally unemployed. I knew I had to get myself a job but what still came to my mind was that the new job ought to be related to writing. I can’t stand another teaching gig. I’d had more than enough in 3 years and 6 months and would be glad to move on to the next bigger thing.


While searching for the vacancies online, I also naturally looked for some space to write as well. It was way too maddening and frustrating to stay at home 24 hours a day 7 days a week with only my laptop showing rejected job applications. So one night after a few weeks of my resignation I stumbled upon a web article explaining how easy it is to earn money with a blog. Yes, I needed money! That’s exactly how I can value myself before others. You’re someone after you earn money. That’s it.


From that moment on, I started blogging. Every morning I checked on my email inbox, responded to very few responses and sent as many online job applications as possible. After these mundane daily routines, I always logged in on my blogs. It is still live up to now (akhlispurnomo.blogspot.com). I just blogged about a topic I’ve been familiar with so far: English learning.


That was how I began blogging. I was blogging relentlessly the entire 8 months. I really had nothing else to do other than blogging and doing virtual networking. It may sound funny but I knew a guy who happened to be an Internet marketer. He lives in Malaysia and  another young man whose passion is everything about digital world and entrepreneurship.


(to be continued)



How to recover from a social faux pas

Faux mouvement
Image via Wikipedia

We all know we shouldn’t talk behind people’s backs. there is karmic danger in uttering the words but there is a real danger too in being overheard or getting caught. Whether you accidentally hit “reply all” or spoke into a voicemail you didn’t know was recording, there’re always ways to recover. Here are three steps to fixing the problem and repairing the relationship.

fess up and aplogize

There’s no use pretending. Offer a genuine apology and accept responsibility for what you did.

Confront the issue

Don’t try to downplay things. Muster the courage to state clearly what’s been bothering you and how you wish the other person would behave instead.

Commit to do it differently next time

In these situations, the real offense is that you didn’t directly address your issue with someone. Promise to air your grievances openly next time.

Day 1 #WritingChallenge: How to Begin?

I take on the challenge. I hate being called a loser, especially by myself. And here I am now. Still on my netbook, typing this very blog post I don’t even know how to begin. I simply type anthing on my head. I don’t judge . I just type. That’s what those prolific world -class authors teach me. JUST WRITE. But crap, I actually want to go to bed. I yawn. I want to sleep but I’m not sure I’d sleep as soon as I leave the urge to write. Instead of writing, I tweet. Or, even better, I browse the whole 9gag.com posts.

Days ago I downloaded this ebook on www.creative-writing-now.com and I ran into this 30-day challenge. It says:

The Thirty Day Challenge
There are different ways you can use this book, but here’s a suggestion. For
thirty days, challenge yourself to write at the same time every day for at least 10
minutes. Use the ideas in this book to get you started.
Many of the story ideas will take much more more than 10 minutes to write, but
don’t worry. Just get started, and at the end of the 10 minutes, decide if you
want to continue.
If not, you can abandon the story guilt-free. You’ve done your job; you’ve put in
your writing time for the day. If you’re inspired to keep going, you can either
write for a longer time or save what you’ve started and come back to it another
Keeping a regular writing schedule can be very powerful. It’s like daily exercise
that trains and strengthens the writing “muscles.”
And by working regularly at your writing, you separate yourself from the millions
of people who say, “I want to be a writer.” Instead, you can say, “I AM a writer.”
You’ve earned it.

I always love quoting. It makes my composition look a lot longer, which is good to get higher marks in Prose. Yet sadly it contradicts my plan to write things, write something to sell and make a living with it. For God’s sake, I learned English Literature for years and earned even a master but I can’t write a single short story? It’s kind of sad. I’m apparently more into translation. I’m no creative writer. DUH!!! Stop the self-fulfilling prophecy. (I think my heinous alter ego wrote that to mock me, undermine my self esteem. And so sorry to tell you, alter ego, you won’t make it!!)


Here I go….Read the instruction first, very carefully. All eyes. (In the mean time, I’m listening to 커피하우스 (Guitar Version) (Instrumental – OST “Coffee House”))

Day 1
Your character moves into a new apartment. On the surface, the place seemed ideal, but his/her first night there, your character discovers a terrible problem with the place that he/she didn’t take into account…

(Oh, it’s 11 minutes before the first day ends. Gotta hurry to write some piece here!!)


My story

Medusa, that’s how all people around her called her. She curled her hair in such a disgusting way, odd, and old-fashioned.

She just got her 40th birthday present. And now she’s got to leave her homeland, Hong Kong. She’d cried a lot as she stepped her feet on Jakarta.

She left her parent, a mother. No father is known in her life. Men suck. That’s why now he doesn’t want to date them. “One night stand is more than enough, don’t you ever think of more than that!” she mocked them all.

“What struck my mind is how I should stand this city life.

DriveBooksJkt: Donate Your Used Books Now!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY0ubik3XbM&w=420&h=345]

Scott D. Hanna of Drive Books Jakarta and Nila Tanzil of Taman Bacaan Pelangi were joining the Social ‘Yoga Gembira’ band. They hoped us to take part in the charity! Donate your used books NOW! 

I Hereby Quit Practicing Fiddle …


If a novice fiddler must have a role model, I believe it’s gotta be Sharon ‘the Posh’ Corr. Apart from her gorgeous cheek bones and one-of-its-kind nose (can’t help saying that), she plays like a goddess. And as for me, I’d really like to be an accomplished fiddler yet the lack of time to rehearse and very miserable fingering ability. You can’t get the feel, the groove, with a limited amount of practice and talent. I do wish I started earlier, right after got out of the womb.