Tuesday, February 08, 2011

37th SSEAYP 2010 - Chase your dreams

Day 34 - 27 November 2010

The air-conditioned room was a great shield against mosquitoes. It was the 2nd day of Homestaying with our Indonesia host family as part of the 37th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP).

Scenic Swimming Pool

While the car was cruising back home last night, I didn't fully appreciate the Kampung scene. In daylight, we did and felt pretty glad that our host family's Kampung stood out from the rest.

Me and Biko (Cambodia)

As we turned out into the main road, we saw some people controlling the traffic. Bapak Made called them the "Private Police". They act as road marshals, directing traffic at junctions. As we drove past one of them, Bapak Made handed some cash to the "Private Police". I realised drivers had to keep a huge stack of paper notes for many of such transactions along the road.

It was amazing to see how road users and the "Private Police" were both made better off, in economics terms. 

Host family brought us to Jagorawi Golf & Country Club. Bapak Made, a golf enthusiast himself, told us that Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Indonesia's President Yudhoyono played golf at this club before.

Once we got out of the car, we walked straight in to the golf shop. Bapak Made took 2 hats and placed it on our heads and we walked out of the shop without having to make any payment.

Over breakfast, a friend of Bapak Made joined us. It was until much later that the friend told me that he is Bapak's subordinate that I realised Bapak must be a heavyweight at the club.

At the lobby, I discovered that Foster Grandfather is the Chairman of the country club. He is already 86 years old!

We were amazed to know that Bapak Made designed a portion of the golf courses with his Father.

We then left for our next stop. As usual, the traffic jam gave us the opportunity to know more about one another.

"To succeed, make lots of friends but trust no one," said Bapak Made. I was beginning to think he resembled a lot like my own Father.

Under Dutch rule, North Jakarta was called Batavia. Our next stop was the Sunda Kelapa, the port where the Dutch entered and established colonial rule in Indonesia.

The port is famous for its Bugis ships, which are made from wood, without nails.

The sun, coupled with the humidity, made standing outdoors unbearable.

Soon, we're back on the road. Let's check out the public transport system:



Bus terminal


Watchtower of Batavia port

Bapak Made felt that it was a pity that the old buildings were not properly preserved.

We landed ourselves at the Jarkata History Museum.

That's a real cat!

Musical instrument

Our host family warned us not to get dowsed by the rain as it would give us headaches.

"White House"

The oldest train station

Flooding is common

CYC Tailor in Jakarta!

We learnt that Padang was the birthplace of our host Grandparents. 

Lunch was at a Padang Restaurant.

Padang restaurants' concept is pay-what-you-eat. Waiters would serve a whole table of dishes but only charge customers what they consumed. They would even count the number of chicken wings you consumed in a plate.

We ate with our hands - the traditional way.

Dish-stacking a Padang feature

We pulled over at the Jakarta Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Next, we visited the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia that could house 200,000 people. It was designed by a Christian architect.

We took off our shoes and followed the guide.

The guide explained that the 12 pillars represent Prophet Muhammad's Birthday.

Bapak Made in a robe as he was wearing shorts

Each rectangle demarcates the space for one person in the direction of Mecca

The mosque spanned 10 hectares of land, with the building occupying 4 hectares of it.

The two institutions of faiths face each other

Commando Building

Presidential Palace

The Monumen Nasional resembled a torch with a yellow flame. The flame portion is actually made with real gold. It was built during the rule of President Sukarno. Standing 150 metres tall (40 storeys), no other buildings in Jakarta should be built taller than this.

The Central Bank

Wow what a coincidence to see this car again!

Bapak Made mentioned that there was no subway system in Jakarta. There was an attempt to build a monorail system but was the idea was shelved after a change in Presidency.

Metal grilles meant for the construction of Monorail transportation left exposed after 10 years

Bapak has an office here

We then visited Ibu Novi's twin sister's family.

Decorations specially for a photo shoot by a design magazine

The land owned by our host family

You could see the golf course in the background

Ibu Novi and her sister Nova do floral designs for various occasions.

Ibu's twin sister Nova

Ibu Novi

Presidential Palace

I don't mind this for my wedding!

The twin sisters also wrote books on floral design.

Interest in Floral design influenced by their late Mother (in portrait)

With the Utomo family

After a long day out, we adjourned back to home for a fulfilling dinner.


I was very inspired by Bapak Made whose 3 businesses failed during the 1997 economic crisis. "Chase your dreams. Work hard!". Bapak Made made a 100% investment to build the toll roads which we used for the past few days. After the lease was up, the toll roads were returned to the Government.

This would possibly be my wealthiest encounter.

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