Higher Learning at Spinach DJ Academy

Being a professional DJ has gained respectability over the last decade. Back in the 90’s, a DJ’s public image was often associated with drugs and underground parties, but that is no longer the case. These days, taking DJ lessons is regarded by young musicians as not much different from learning the piano.

Spinach DJ Academy, the first DJ school in Kemang, opened in 2005. Founded by Riri Mestica, one of Jakarta’s most respected DJs, Spinach has grown not only as a DJ-training center but now also includes Spinach Records. The academy has trained about 600 students in the past five years, and about 200 former Spinach students are now practicing DJs.

“DJ School is for everyone, whether you’re learning it as a hobby or pursuing a career. There is no age limit,” says Ricky Tampubolon, distribution manager at Spinach Records. To give the students real-life experience while learning, Spinach integrates practical training sessions in the local clubs. “One of the advantages of taking courses with us is that we have a job training program at Barcode,” Ricky says, referring to Riri’s outdoor terrace and club located in Code Fin Kemang.

Students at Spinach are offered the opportunity to try their hand at performing for audiences at events like Royal Rumble, which is held every two months to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their DJ skills in clubs around Kemang.

Every student is introduced to the basic manual old-school equipment: a turntable and a vinyl. In the 80’s, before the CDJ era, DJs worked with two turntables and a microphone. Spinach students have to learn basic turntable skills before they can use Pioneer CDJ. “A turntable is much more difficult because everything is manual, if you can handle that, then moving on to CDJ will be a lot easier,” says Ricky.

At the end of the day, being a DJ is all about a love of music and the joy of making people dance. So what does it take to be a good DJ? “Some just have ambition, and they make it easily,” says Ricky. “But you need to have the whole package — talent, looks and the ability to socialize.”

DJ Gladiator is a former student who took a two-month Basic DJ Class at Spinach last year, and now plays progressive house music regularly at clubs such as 999, Musro, Domain, Barcode and Bloeming, as well as private parties around the city. “When I first joined Spinach, I started from zero,” says DJ Gladiator. He chose Spinach, he adds, because of DJ Riri, who inspired him to pursue a career as a DJ. Spinach has opened doors to advance his career. “The instructors never stop teaching us, even after we finish the program,” he says.

Most students at Spinach range from their 20s to their 30s. “In general it’s never too old to learn anything. Any music lover or anyone with a music background can be a DJ,” says Luckyta, a finance executive at Spinach Records.

Spinach DJ Academy also has some teen students. Thirteen-year-old DJ Putri Danizar has already had a lot of experience on the DJ set and was among the top ten of SE7ENTUuNE Next Generation DJ Contest last year at the Jakarta Convention Center. “Lucky me, not everyone has an opportunity like I did at such a young age,” says Putri.

DJ lessons can be taken for fun, not just to build a career. “We used to have a student who worked at Pertamina, and he would come in wearing his work suit,” says Ricky.

Like any other hobby, being a DJ doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. The club standard equipment, Pioneer CDJ 1000, costs about Rp 15 million, and a DJ needs two of those, plus a mixer, headphone, speaker and Apple laptop, the most essential tool. If you take courses at Spinach, all that equipment is provided.

Spinach DJ Academy offers many different types of classes; basic DJ class, basic private class, club DJ class, turntablism class, digital DJ class, and electronic & dance master class, with the price of courses ranging from Rp 800,000 to Rp 6.5 million.

For students who want to make a career of DJ-ing, it’s easy to get back your investment on the expensive equipment. “Yyou can make around 1 million a gig, for beginners, and female DJs sometimes can make more,” says Ricky.

DJ Deena Rhythm, a female R&B DJ based in Jakarta, plays regularly at nightclubs such as Domain, Equinox, Tribeca NYyC and has also performed abroad. She decided to become a DJ because of her love for R&B music. “I enjoy playing music and it’s not easy to master Hip-Hop/R&B,” she says. Deena ignores sexist bias in the business about the skills of female DJs. “I don’t pay any mind to what other people say, and most of the guys are my friends. DJs have a bond with each other.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Higher Learning at Spinach DJ Academy

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Spinach DJ Academy/Spinach Records

Jl. Kemang 1 No. 12H,
Tel: 021 719 0584
Fax: 021 719 5127
spinachrecords.com
spinachrec.wordpress.com

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Focus Point: Oktagon

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession, so when you’re purchasing a camera or other necessary supplies, you want a store that provides quality products, knowledgeable guidance and reliable service. Oktagon in Kemang offers all of the above for amateur and professional photographers alike.

Oktagon first opened for business in 2002 at Gunung Sahari in Central Jakarta. Owner Wiryadi Lorens says he wanted to contribute to the development of photography in Indonesia. A young and creative entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity to offer camera retail sales, service repairs, rentals, gallery and photography school, all under one roof. In 2007, to meet the rapid development of the photography industry, Oktagon opened its second store in Kemang.

Oktagon client Andreas bought his Canon 50D at the store in Kemang three years ago, and has been a regular ever since. “I’m comfortable with the professionalism of the staff. They always have good advice when I purchase lenses or other products, and more importantly I can return for repairs if there are ever any problems,” he says.

Oktagon sets reasonable prices, which other stores often use as a reference. “They call frequently; I already recognize their voices,” says Zakaria, a camera expert at Oktagon who learned the trade from Oktagon’s training program when he began working at the store three years ago. As a new employee he was required to attend classes at Neumatt, Oktagon’s photography school. “Eventually I bought my own Canon 450D,” he says.

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession; the price range for an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera runs anywhere from Rp 5 to 80 million rupiah, and as much as Rp 300 million rupiah for a commercial or billboard camera, not including accessories, lights and lenses. Oktagon offers a credit installment option for serious buyers or professionals.

For beginners, Zakaria recommends Oktagon’s newest product and current best seller, the Canon 1100D, priced at about Rp 5 million for a complete kit. For most customers, looking for the best price is a priority. But at the end of the day, according to Zakaria, it is worth paying the extra money for the product service guarantee just to be on the safe side.

Choosing between Canon and Nikon is every beginner’s biggest decision, he adds, noting that both brands are great cameras. Whichever one you choose, it’s best to stick with lenses and other accessories that are compatible. Oktagon’s advice: pick a brand used by most of your friends or photography community; this way you can trade and borrow lenses from each other.

With the growing interest in photography, the market for professional cameras is no longer just for those who work as photographers, but for anyone with an interest. Many photography-related activities are held almost every weekend in Jakarta. Websites such as http://www.fotografer.net and http://www.ayofoto.com bring together amateur and professional photographers for exhibits, workshops and other events. Oktagon, too, often sponsors events and gatherings and provides free rentals for lighting and other accessories.

An industry that used to be dominated by men now attracts more and more women, Zakaria notes. When he first started working at Oktagon, only two out of 10 customers were women; today the number of female clients has doubled. “Just the other day, a housewife bought a Canon 5D to take pictures of her children and for travelling. It’s an expensive camera for a beginner and for that purpose alone. But that’s what she wanted, and she was excited to start.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Focus Point: Oktagon

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Oktagon
Kemang Icon
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 1,
Tel: 021 719 2757
oktagon.co.id

Store Hours
Monday – Friday: 09:00 am – 20:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 17:30 pm
CLOSED ON NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Definition of Cool: 707

Merchandise at 707 offers fashion beyond mainstream trends and styles, delivering urban designer brands not yet available in the rest of Jakarta.

“Sometimes we are six months ahead, compared to the other stores in the city,” says 707 General Manager Nana.

Nana, a 20-something young woman with a keen grasp of urban fashion, has been part of the 707 team since day one, when the store opened for business at Kemang Icon building. “We always made the effort and develop the concept from the start to carry cutting-edge brands from suppliers all around the world,” she says.

707 carries T-shirts, jeans, shoes, sunglasses, watches and accessories by such trend-setting brands as APC, Nudie, Surface2Air, Kidrobot, Cheap Monday, YyMC, Richard James, Superfine, Edun, Alife, aNYything and Melissa, and many more.

If you have never heard of 707 before, you are not alone. The owners deliberately refuse to advertise and have always kept a low profile since the boutique opened its doors in 2005. So how do they stay in business? Mostly by word of mouth, says Nana. Also by social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and weekly newsletters. Over time, 707 has grown and developed a loyal, trend-aware clientele.

Not long after the store opened, 707 expanded to Cilandak Town Square for a micro version of the store called 707 Annexes. In 2008, the two outlets were combined into a bigger space at the current Aksara complex on Kemang Raya. The store’s urban chic design features vintage furniture combined with modern minimalist, large windows, white brick walls and a classic barber chair.

Adam, who has been working at 707 for three years, says most customers at the store come in looking for unique and exclusive brands. “They dig the rare jeans, and it’s all about curve for them,” he says. Dressed in vintage Nike shoes, designer jeans, T-shirt and baseball hat, Adam says he is comfortable working at 707 because it fits his lifestyle. “I like everything original; my style is simple, I want to be able to feel not just see the product,” he says.

Staying One Step Ahead

707 products typically create a buzz; their first launch for Nike drew lines of 400 people, with many sleeping outside the store overnight, because they knew it was an exclusive line not available at Nike stores in the malls or anywhere in Jakarta. Many other brands such as Nudie, Cheap Monday, Ksubi and Melissa only allow their limited-edition products to be sold in 707. “Most of the lines we carry are exclusive,” says Nana.

Monitoring trends is a key aspect in a business that aims to deliver fresh products. “We regularly keep an eye on magazines, the internet, television and follow the current buzz,” says Nana. “We also look into the background and the people behind the brand. That has always been one way for us to consider and choose a product.”

One product always in demand at 707 is denim. At 707 you can easily find rare and high-quality salvage jeans from Japan with brands such as Imperial, Naked & Famous and many others. Rare jeans at 707 can be priced as high as Rp 7 million.

“Preppy style is the new look for the season,” says Nana. Around Kemang and other hip areas in Jakarta, you can easily spot teenagers and young adults wearing retro glasses, buttoned shirts, chino pants and loafer shoes. Being preppy is cooler than ever, in comparison to previous years when sneakers and T-shirts dominated the urban market. The sneaker rack that used to be the Nike shoe display has been replaced with loafers and boots.

How do they deal with competition from knockoff merchandise? “We don’t worry about that because our customers appreciate quality and love the brand they are seeking. I don’t think they would consider imitations; besides it feels much better paying and wearing originals,” says Nana.

Serving only the best and meeting the demand for exclusive products have proven successful strategies for 707. For customers of this high-end boutique, the rare and limited-edition items on offer are worth every penny.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Definition of Cool: 707

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

707

Jl. Kemang Raya No. 8B, (next to Aksara, under Casa)
Tel: 021 718 0051
info@sevenohseven.com
sevenohseven.com

My Jakarta: Oni, Manggarai Waterway Janitor

The next time you decide to litter, think about why floods happen. The rivers here are full of trash; trash people throw into the river or onto the street that drains into a river. Oni, an unsung hero in Jakarta, picks up more than a ton of trash from the Ciliwung River each year so that when the rains come, thousands of his fellow Jakartans won’t lose their homes.
Every day, like clockwork, from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, this father of two rows his bamboo raft up and down a kilometer of river at the Manggarai floodgate in Central Jakarta, making sure it doesn’t get clogged with all our trash.

Oni, how did you end up here next to the floodgate cleaning up the river?

I do this for cigarette money. I just pick up the plastic and put it in a sack and then sell it later. I collect four kilos of plastic daily.

Cigarette money? So you have another job?

Sure. I work for Leo Mandiri. They pay me to monitor this part of the river and make sure that if they need to open the canal they can do so and not have to worry about trash clogging the offshoot river I monitor. So I get a salary from them and then I collect all the plastic on the boat and sell it for cigarette money.

Where did you get your bamboo raft? Did you make it yourself?

Mandiri gave it to me. All the guys like me they pay to monitor and clean the river, have boats like this. We each get a one-kilometer stretch. The company also has a dorm we all live in over in Senen.

What did you do before you started working here?

I never had a job before this one. I’m lucky to have this job. I moved here from Semarang seven years ago. My wife’s from Banten and she lives with our kids up there. I get two days off every two weeks. So sometimes I go to Banten to see my family when I have some free time.

Let’s not beat around the bush, you have a pretty dirty job. What’s the dirtiest part of cleaning up the river?

The rats. They’re all over the place, especially when the water is shallow like it is now. But I work during the day so I don’t see them very often. They’ve never bitten me or anything. I just see them. But that’s bad enough.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found while on your raft cleaning up?

Coolest? Once I found a wallet with two grams of gold in it. But that’s about as interesting as it gets. Every once in a while I find a Rp 1,000 or Rp 2,000 bill.

What’s it like when it rains here? Do things get crazy? Do you ever get scared?

It all depends. If it only rains for two hours or so then the river rises, like, 20 centimeters, which isn’t that big a deal. But every three to five years the water just gushes out.

What goes through your mind when you see people throw their trash into the river?

I’m not just cleaning the trash out of the river. I pick it out of the banks, out of the limbs of trees and off the street. I know that it is my job and if no one littered I wouldn’t have a job. But I have to be honest: I wish people would stop throwing their trash in the river.

You’d think that since you have your hands in a filthy river all day, you would be a little more enthusiastic about people putting trash in its place.

I hate it when I’ve just cleaned up a place along the river and then someone comes up and just throws their trash there again. I mean, come on … right after I just cleaned it up!

Your wife lives in Banten, and you live with a bunch of co-workers. Do you go home right after work or do you have a place you like to hang out ?

It depends. Sometimes I go back to the house, and sometimes I hang out around here.

If you could pursue a career other than the one you have, what would you like to do?

I can’t really dream too big. I mean, I already have a job and I feel pretty blessed for that. The reality of life is that no matter what, you have to keep pushing and make it through the day.

If you were governor for a day, what changes would you make in this city?

I would build a better river system and dredge out each individual river to keep them from flooding all the time.

 

Oni was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Oni, Manggarai Waterway Janitor

 

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Khusyi, Restaurateur

Restaurants and bars in Jakarta are like babies, a new one seems to pop up every day. It’s hard to have staying power in a city where customers are demanding new, innovative experiences from each and every place that slaps a neon sign in a window and turns on the open sign over the front door.

But what really works? Khusyi, who got his start in the food and beverage industry more than 10 years ago washing dishes, talks about his newest baby, Bureau, a gastro pub in Pondok Indah, what it’s like to work seven days a week, and why not everybody should open a restaurant.

What other businesses were you involved with before you opened Bureau?

I opened Birdcage on Jalan Wijaya in 2008. I also was involved with the opening and creating the concept for Bibliotheque at Sampoerna Strategic Square. I was the general manager back in 2009.

The restaurant business is cutthroat. Why not just sell something simple, like insurance or wicker chairs?

I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years. I studied hotels and hospitality in Switzerland. I focus on the operational, front and back of the house, while my partner who went to the same school as I did studied the management and accounting aspect. So we always have the passion to open up our own establishment.

You own a restaurant, but did you ever spend any time really making your bones?

I’ve been everything from a dishwasher to a waiter to a housekeeper. I’ve done almost everything there is to do in a restaurant or hotel. I started at the bottom. Like I said before, there are people who are passionate, and there are some who have money and just want to open up a restaurant.

I know in my mind when something is out of place, sometimes members of the staff just shake their heads and say, “How did we miss that?” I know if the table is not right or something is missing in the kitchen as soon as I walk in. It’s all about being passionate about what you do, that’s what gives you the ability to sense these things.

What do you think about the food and beverage business in Jakarta?

The F&B business in Jakarta is growing rapidly everywhere. The middle class is growing and people have money to spend on good food and lifestyle.

There are people who open up a restaurant and understand this business in and out, and others just want open up a restaurant because they have friends and money.

If you want to get into this business you have to be serious and know what you are doing, otherwise it’s a gamble — you open up for six months and nothing happens. You need to have the passion to open up a restaurant.

Do you think there will always be a market for new concept restaurants here in the city?

In this kind of business, there is always a market for everyone in Jakarta — it’s unbelievable. One day I was at Bibliotheque, it was packed, and then I went to another place it was packed as well. You realize that one place cannot accommodate all the people in Jakarta, so there is always a market.

What’s your favorite food?

I love my steak, because I guess it’s the way I cook it — to perfection. If its cooked medium well, it has to be medium well; the meat should still be juicy.

Do you come up with your own recipes?

For some of the food, I came up with my own recipes; the signature cocktails are from my experiments. Again, it all depends on the concept. With Bureau, for instance, I focus on international food, combining French and Spanish tapas, but the ingredients themselves are mostly French.

Do you follow a certain philosophy in this business?

I just want people to experience good food. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t want to cheat my customers. We serve the best quality at a decent price.

So, do you often cook for your girlfriend?

I usually just bring her to my restaurant [laughs]. I don’t have a day off, so I come here to make my own cocktails and food.

Do you prefer cooking in the back or running the restaurant up front?

I think both elements are important. People in the front are just as important as people in the back. When it gets busy, I can help out in the kitchen or in the front talking to customers.

What qualities do you expect from your employees?

In the back, we have excellent products and we expect that the people in the front know the details of the products and ingredients we intend to deliver to the customer.

I expect that when I go to a fine-dining establishment, the server should be able to explain to me what’s in the food. Sadly, in my experience at some of the more popular restaurants in the city, that’s not the case.

I try my best to train my staff, because I want them to know and understand how the product is made, what’s in it and be able to describe the taste.

Has there been any changes in the city since you’ve come back from college?

When I came back from Switzerland, five-star hotels were still ruling the fine-dining industry. Independent restaurants are booming now and we have more choice today compared to before.

What do you and don’t you like about Jakarta?

I don’t like it when it rains in Jakarta because it’s bad for business; reservations get canceled and people just stay in. However, the traffic in Pondok Indah can be beneficial because those who work in this area stay out after office hours and hang around to avoid traffic.

 

Khusyi was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Khusyi, Restaurateur

 

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, Legislator and Queen

Beautiful and smart, that is the first impression when you meet Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, which means ‘Her Majesty the Queen.’ There are still numerous traditional monarchies in Indonesia, but only a few have modernized and now participate in the political system. Boki is not only the queen of Ternate in North Maluku, she was also elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat. Today, she tells us what it’s like being a queen in politics, her current stands on issues and what Jakarta means to her.

Let’s start with the obvious. How did you become a queen?

Well, I am the wife of the 48th sultan of Ternate. I was originally from Java and was crowned sultana, or queen, of Ternate in 2000.

How do you cope with the cultural differences between Java and North Maluku?

I experienced culture shock when I first moved to Ternate because it was so different. However, thank God, I was able to adjust quickly and soon felt at home in North Maluku. I’m Javanese, and traditionally we are raised more gently and to be soft spoken. But I was brought up under two cultures, Javanese and European, because my grandfather had Dutch and French heritage. So this affected the way that I think.

There are many sultanates in Indonesia. Do they still have any power?

Many of the other kingdoms no longer have any real power primarily because they are not willing to change with the times. The only way to survive is to use politics to make your voice heard. Without that it’s difficult to maintain both a monarchy and democracy.

Has politics always been your passion?

At first, I was just a housewife, but then the sultan told me that I had the ability to be in politics. It was tough for me because I’m not originally from North Maluku, but the sultan believed in me. I wasn’t in favor at first, but then I asked him a question: Why us? Why do we have to be in politics? Shouldn’t a sultanate be neutral and act like an umbrella to protect its people? But the sultan said that our role was to maintain harmony, that we had to participate in politics so we could be part of the central government system. So I took it upon myself to become a part of it to influence our traditional values.

Being a queen is already an honor, so why lower yourself to become part of the government?

In politics, one plus one doesn’t equal two. I had to become part of it to play a role in the decision-making process. That way, I can try and make one plus one almost equal two.

How long have you been in politics?

First, I spent five years on the Regional Representatives Council [DPD] and then I became a member of the House of Representatives [DPR] two years ago.

Do you agree that the House needs a new Rp 1 trillion building?

I agree that we should build a new DPR/MPR building to improve the performance of the top state institutions. Imagine the elevator suddenly stopping while there are House members inside? How can we work if we have to constantly think about safety? The current building is not able to accommodate members anymore.

What changes have you made since you came to office?

I’m not going to talk about changes for the nation, but for my people I have made the palace more accessible, more transparent. The palace has to act like parents toward the people, we are not their masters. I have also built a mosque for the women, improved banking and the economy in Ternate, and I have I established a center to act as a base for all the women’s organizations in North Maluku.

What’s so great about Ternate?

When I’m in Ternate, I love being around my people. Another great thing about Ternate is the spices. They are the main commodity and made us famous hundreds of years ago. In fact, Columbus was originally looking for Ternate, one of the Spice Islands, when he found America. America wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Ternate [laughs].

What’s so great about Jakarta?

I like being here because my voice can be heard, in contrast to when I’m sitting in the palace. In Jakarta, I can enjoy the music scene, jazz and blues. There’s also the malls, which are so convenient. Everything you need in one place.

You’re obviously very busy, so how do you manage your time?

No one’s perfect, but I try to manage it the best I can. I have to be able to know when it’s time to be the queen, mother, sister or friend. I really enjoy being with my children here in Jakarta. I teach them how to be independent; but I also play video games with my little one, pick dresses for my teenage daughter and do her makeup, and just enjoy being a mother.

What else do you like to do besides being a queen, mother and DPR member?

I like to have fun and relax too; just because I’m a queen doesn’t mean I have to be uptight. I pick up my kids from school, go shopping at the mall, I wear jeans and I hang out with college students. I enjoy designing my own clothes, I choreograph traditional dances and I also teach politics and communication. I’m quite an artistic person; I believe there’s art in everything you do.

What about the future?

In the near future, I’m planning to run for governor.


Boki was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Boki Ratu Nita Budhi Susanti, Legislator and Queen

Pictures by Iwan Putuhena & Yanti Junani


My Kemang: Dhiah, Clubber

Dhiah, 21, spends several nights a week clubbing in Kemang and is a regular guest at a number of venues. We caught up with Dhiah at Venue, one of her favorite clubs in South Kemang. She talked about what she loves about the nightlife in Kemang, the hottest places to party and her resolution for the new year.

How often do you hang out in Kemang?
I started coming here around four years ago. Back then I hung out in this area almost every day; lately I’ve cut it down to about three times a week (laughs).

What do you normally do around Kemang?
My night usually starts at Shisha Café, dinner at KFF (Kemang Food Fest), then off to Triple Nine, Venue, Nu China, or wherever the party’s at.

Where do you go most often?
I like to go to Venue, it’s one of my favorite places, because on Mondays it’s 50 percent off for drinks, and Wednesdays is ladies night with R&B music. I feel like I’m promoting the place now (laughs).

Do you get privileges as a regular?
Of course, but I already get special privileges just for being a lady; I’m talking about free drinks and entry on ladies night. I normally get invitations and guest list to places almost every day. And almost everywhere I go, there are people who also party as much as I do. We know each other from hanging out, so we join tables and party together.

Do you call yourself a ‘clubber’?
I don’t go clubbing to get that title or recognition. I just happen to really enjoy going out, being with friends, being around people, talking and drinking. So I think it’s an accidental status (laughs).

What’s the hottest nightclub right now?
I would say Second Floor, because they recently renovated the club and it’s packed almost every night.

Do you live in Kemang?
No, I live in Central Jakarta, behind Grand Indonesia, because it’s closer to my work place. But I would love to be in Kemang. I used to live here a few years back. It was comfortable because everything is in the area. But being away doesn’t stop me from partying here.

Why do you choose to party here, it’s so far from where you live?
It’s my second home. When you’re in the area, everything is near and convenient; the clubs, restaurants, boutiques and lounges. Everything is within a walking distance, so it’s easy to hop around.

Where do you work?
I work in public relations at After Hour Sarinah, a billiard bar in Central Jakarta. Before that I was an SPG (sales promotion girl) for a variety of products and brands.

Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from South Jakarta, born and raised, so I’m comfortable with the area and I’m not scared to go places by myself or to walk in the street.

Do you think Kemang is affordable?
Well, it depends. There are expensive places and fine restaurants, but I think there are many more places for young people and professionals that are affordable.

What do you drink when you go out?
I would like to drink my favorite liquor, Johnny Walker Blue Label, but since I can only afford Black Label, anything mixed with that will do just fine. My friends and I usually buy bottles, because it’s much cheaper at the end of the night than buying drinks by the glass.

Do you have a boyfriend?
Yes, he is a DJ at one of the clubs in the area. But I don’t go to Kemang because of him, because he plays classic disco, and I’m not really into that (laughs).

What don’t you like about Kemang?
Not being able to get a table especially when you really looking forward to go to that particular place whether it’s at the club or restaurant. Kemang is always crowded, and it happens a lot, particularly over the weekend, some places don’t take reservations.

What is your New Year resolution?
I will try to quit smoking, because lately I’m starting to feel like I’m getting short of breath. But I’m not ready to quit drinking just yet (laughs). In the beginning I wasn’t a smoker but when I’m drinking it makes me want to smoke, so it will be a challenge.

Recently the government banned smoking inside public buildings. Do you think they should regulate that for clubs?
Well it would be nice to provide an outdoor space for smokers, like a balcony or roof top. I think it’s a good idea to enforce the non-smoking law in the club, because sometimes when everyone smokes in a packed room with bad circulation, my eyes gets watery and my clothes and hair will smell like smoke when I get home.

Do you think there will ever be a “last call” for partying?
Not anytime soon (laughs). Only when I’m in mourning, like recently when my father passed away. I was sad and stopped going out for 10 days, but then I couldn’t resist wanting to go out again. I guess I can say partying is kind of like a healing process for me.

Dhiah was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in Kemang Buzz

My Kemang: Dhiah, Clubber

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

Saving Lives : Medic One Indonesia

We can only wish that dialing 911 for an emergency worked internationally, because that seems to be a number that gets worldwide recognition, even though it’s only relevant in the United States. The number to dial for emergency services here in Jakarta — 118 — is listed in any directory. But have you actually tried it? When you call that number, you may as well leave your fate to luck.

“I think Bluebird is the ambulance of Jakarta. It’s much faster if you call them instead,” said Ronny Adhipurna, 41, former director of Medikaloka Health Care and co-founder of Medic One Indonesia.

An internationally accredited medical organization formed in 2008, Medic One is the first of its kind to provide 24-hour emergency and medical services in Indonesia. Located on Jl. Prapanca Raya, Medic One is serviced by a team of primary care and emergency physicians, as well as surgeons and public health specialists that operate throughout the Asia Pacific region.

In Malaysia, when you call the government emergency number the response time is about 15 minutes, in Tokyo it’s four minutes, in Los Angeles nine minutes, and if you live in Singapore it’s seven minutes. But if you live in Jakarta, it could take as long as an hour, or more in rush hour traffic.

When Ronny’s brother Andy died of a heart attack at the age of 28, it took the ambulance nearly one hour to arrive at his house. Ronny decided to take matters into his own hands. He and co-founder Savitri Wirahadikusumah (Vivi), who also had a bitter experience with Indonesia’s poor emergency services, opened Medic One in 2008 with Ronny as director and Vivi as operations manager. Vivi had started developing the idea to open an emergency service in 2001, after completing her studies in hospital management and international health at George Washington University. During her research she met Ronny, who shared the same vision, and together they began planning Medic One.

Quick response

Those of us who have never experienced an emergency situation may not realize the importance of being prepared until it is too late. Each passing second during an emergency is precious. Medic One is trying to educate the public on basic first aid skills and procedures. “We are prone to face an emergency situation at one time or another. It’s best to prepare and focus on at least knowing how to save your family in the event of an emergency,” said Ronny.

Medic One works with hospitals, companies, building management staff, and schools around Jakarta to share knowledge and lessons on first aid. “I advise building management teams and small businesses in the area to give us a call to train their employees in first aid,” Ronny said. Medic One also provides first-aid training to drivers, assistants, security guards, maids and other household staff.

One of Medic One’s primary missions is to recruit well-trained volunteer first-aiders who can provide immediate aid or extra support for its SALT (Save a Life Team) response group. Medic One also trains teachers and schoolchildren on basic first aid skills to safeguard their schools. Medic One hopes they will become first-aid “ambassadors” and pass on their lifesaving skills to their communities. There are presently more than 3000 SALT first aiders and Medic One hopes to recruit an additional 2,000 first-aiders in the next year.

“Remember what happened to the expat at the Marriott? He died not because of the bomb, but because no one, not even the police, knew how to stop the bleeding! He was just there at the curb being filmed by journalists, but no one came to help until 40 minutes later! The bleeding was so severe that when he arrived at the hospital it was too late,” said Ronny.
Medic One team not only focuses on medical training, but also has medical emergency assistants, and a concierge medical service that tracks its patients’ medical records. A patient’s medical information is essential to preventing a wrong diagnosis or other complications. Medical details, such as blood type or allergies to certain medications, can be critical factors in saving a life. Each call and medical questions to Medic One Team are recorded to assist the doctors and nurses in providing proper care in the case of an emergency.

Medic One Team regularly drills its team to shorten response times. “Within metropolitan Jakarta, Medic One’s response time is 16 to 21 minutes,” said Ronny. “We conduct site surveys so we know the quickest route to your house or office. And we know that traffic is always a problem for Jakarta, so we also have a motorcycle paramedic responder who can assist immediately.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Saving Lives: Medic One Indonesia

Pictures Courtesy of Medic One Indonesia and Iwan Putuhena

Medic One Indonesia
Jl. Prapanca Raya No. 6A,
Tel: 021 7215 9100; Fax: 021 739 9303
http://www.medic-one.org;
Twitter@MedicOne_id

Go Dutch at Dijan’s

f you’re looking for a Sunday brunch unlike the usual Jakarta hotel buffet fare, Dijan’s Pannekoeken and Poffertjes is the place to go. This intimate Dutch restaurant has a homey setting to enjoy pancakes and other Dutch specialties that call to mind grandma’s cooking.

I paid a visit to Dijan’s one recent rainy Sunday, after craving pancakes all morning. It’s early afternoon by the time I arrive after driving in the heavy rain. A security guard approaches with an umbrella to escort me from my car. I note it as a sign of good service, especially considering I’ve come unannounced and no one is aware that I’m here to do a restaurant review.

Entering Dijan’s I’m instantly reminded of my Dutch grandmother’s old house in South Jakarta — the stained glass with colorful tulips on the windows and front door, the wooden interiors, the porcelain and antique Dutch objects on display.
The restaurant has three sections — a lower floor, upper floor with a bar and an outside garden. Only a few tables are taken and I choose one on the upper floor, a non-smoking area. A waiter brings me a menu and I flip through the pages and go straight to the Pannekoeken section. I read through every single pancake description and they all sound tempting. There are pannekoeken served as a light meal, dessert, or as entrées. There are some with cheese, banana, strawberries, beef ragout, salad, ice cream, pretty much anything you can imagine. A shame I can’t try them all in one visit. I settle on the cheese and banana pannekoek.

I turn to the specials and review the Dutch brunch entrées. I had read before coming that the bitterballen (meatballs) were very good. I also consider the hutspot met gehakt (sweet potato and vegetables with meatballs). The vegetables are served with light cream, steamed French beans, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, sautéed onions, and two big meatballs seasoned with pepper and onions.

Another dish that catches my attention is the kakap ala meuniere, a snapper deep-fried in bread crumbs, which sounds like the Dutch version of fish and chips.

It is served with spinach and French beans cooked in butter and garlic, a baked tomato with sautéed onions and potato wedges. There are also some Indonesian dishes on the menu, and even spaghetti.

In the end it’s a toss-up between the Holland biefstuk (beef steak), which is tenderloin served with sautéed potatoes, vegetable and special jus (sauce), and the stamppot spinazie (spinach stew) with bratwurst or beef burger. I ask the waiter for a recommendation, and he says that since I am ordering two courses, it would be wise to go with the stamppot spinazie, which is a smaller portion and a favorite of many customers.

And then my food arrives, both courses at the same time. Both dishes look delicious and equally enticing, and I have to pause to consider which one to try first. I decide to start with Dijan’s specialty, the pannekoek with cheese and banana, which is best eaten warm.

As I take the first bite, I’m transported at once to my grandmother’s kitchen. I immediately know this is the real deal. The pannekoeken from my childhood days used to have just some sprinkles of sugar, but the melted cheese and banana are a delicious combination.

After savoring the nostalgic moment, I am ready for my stamppot spinazie with bratwurst. It’s a delightful presentation and very Dutch — bratwurst with sautéed onion on top, spinach mixed with potatoes and butter and a baked tomato. The bratwurst could have been better, but I eat everything on my plate.

I review the menu for the poffertjes featured for dessert. Poffertjes are basically warm coin-sized pancakes topped with all types of fruits and ice cream. I will skip them for now, but will be sure to have them next time.

I come away from my excellent Dutch brunch entirely satisfied. Dijan’s cuisine is authentic Dutch fare one can enjoy as a full meal, a light snack or a quick stop for dessert. I know I’ll be returning soon to try the other dishes.

Iwan Putuhena Reviews

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Go Dutch at Dijan’s

Pictures by Iwan Putuhena

Dijan’s Pannekoeken & Poffertjes

Jl. Kemang Selatan, No. 102A
Hours: Weekdays 10am – 11pm; Weekends 10am – midnight
Tel: 021 7179 3538

My Kemang: DJ Icon

Everyone knows Kemang has some of Jakarta’s best nightlife. But we’re usually not aware of those behind the scenes — the event organizers, club managers, bartenders and DJ’s, who all play a role in lighting up the party. For Muhammad Nurhadi Furqoni, a resident DJ at The Green, Kemang, known to most people as DJ Icon, it’s all about mixing work and pleasure. We caught up with him on the set one Saturday night and got a DJ’s take on work, clubs and the ups and downs of life in Kemang.

How long have you been a resident DJ at The Green?
I’ve been a DJ for four years and a resident DJ at The Green for over two years.

What inspired you to be a DJ?
I became interested in becoming a DJ mostly from the influence of friends. My parents supported my decision to become a DJ, and from there my hobby turned into a job. I learned by watching other DJs; I didn’t have a background in music before that.

How did you come up with your DJ name?
My nickname is uQon. So I changed this to Icon to make it easier for people to remember my name. And, well, I would like to be a real “icon” one day.

Can you take me through your day as a DJ?
When I wake up, the first thing I do is prepare the music for the coming night according to the theme, say a beach party, or Halloween or ladies night. I don’t practice; I normally go freestyle, because the crowd is unpredictable and I have to be able to lead the crowd as I play. Then I go in early to the club for the briefing. After that I just do what other party people do — have a beer and relax, while monitoring other DJs until it’s my turn to play.

What are your responsibilities as a resident DJ? 
As a resident DJ I have to play opening and closing for two hours a set. And sometimes in between, when the DJ provided by the event organizer plays badly, I have to take over. Before the night begins, I have to check the DJ lineup and make sure they’re qualified. Basically I’m responsible to control the quality of music and maintain it according to our style.

What type of music is “in” at the moment, especially with the Kemang crowd?
Dutch House, it’s a high-energy and pumping sound.

Is it annoying when people ask for a request?
It depends. For a special guest or friends, I have no choice (laughs). Sometimes if people request music that’s a different style from my original set, I won’t play.

So what do you like the most about being a DJ?
Getting the crowd to dance while I play and, of course, attention from the girls. It’s all about the girls [laughs].

Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, I’m happily in a relationship.

Got any fun stories to tell about DJ-ing?
Well, once there was this girl who drank a little too much. She decided to strip and dance right next to me while I was playing. I think she was having too much fun.

What do you like most about working at The Green?
Working with the crew at The Green is very relaxing. The owner and staff are like family, so I’m very comfortable playing here. And the DJ equipment here has the latest tools.

Where else do you play?
For special events, I play at Venue, Triple 9, Second Floor. And I play out of town as well. I’m allowed to play wherever I like, with permission from the management.

What else do you do besides being a DJ?
I’m also a DJ instructor at OS DJ Studio with DJ Oky Sydney, who is one of my mentors. I teach R&B, while DJ Oky teaches progressive music.

Do you make your own songs?
I work together with DJ Oky Sydney to make re-mixes, but I haven’t produced my own songs.

What’s the best thing about living in Kemang?
I think it’s the lifestyle. Everything is happening here in Kemang, especially if you’re a nightlife person. There are a lot of events and parties, so for me it’s easier to get gigs and network if I live in the area.

How would you make Kemang a better place?
Kemang is already a great place, except for the traffic. I would suggest that party people get in the clubs before 10 pm during weekends. Normally they come at the same time, which is after midnight, and that causes traffic on Kemang Raya.

Where do you like to hang out in Kemang?
I enjoy chilling at Food Fest eating dim sum, because it’s 24 hours and I sometimes finish work at dawn.

Where do you think is the most happening place in Kemang?
Well, you know [laughs], I have to say The Green, because it’s one of the biggest clubs in Kemang, and we have one of the best sound systems.

DJ Icon was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in Kemang Buzz

My Kemang: DJ Icon

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Laura Muljadi, Model

It’s not easy being different in Jakarta. In the Netherlands, dark skin and exotic eyes can land you a modeling gig. But in Jakarta those same features, coupled with the fact that you’re 181 centimeters tall, warrant stares and whispers. But Laura Muljadi, 25, became a fixture at Fashion Week. Things weren’t easy for her — her mom made her shower with milk in hopes of lightening her skin. In college she weighed 82 kilograms. But instead of blaming people who put her down, she made things happen on her own. Now, when she’s not doing the catwalk, she tells kids at schools to be themselves. and stop caring about what other people think.

What does it feel like to be stared at all the time?

When I was younger my hair was really short and everybody thought I was a guy or a transvestite.

Even when I was in the Miss Indonesia pageant a blogger said I should join Miss Transvestite Indonesia.

When people stare I just smile back at them.

I’m ethnic Chinese, but you can’t tell. I stopped walking with my dad when I was 14 because I was so tall at that age people didn’t think I was his daughter.

You didn’t always think you would be a model, did you?

When I was growing up my dad only saw things as black or white. He always said: ‘There are only two types of girls in the world.

The pretty ones and the smart ones. You can’t be in the middle. If you’re in the middle you won’t survive.’

My dad always gave me books. I’ve always had books.

You have dark skin, which is normally not considered beautiful in Indonesia.

I grew up in the ethnic Chinese community. Even my cousins always thought I was different.

Once, when I was in elementary school, my teacher was talking about blood types and he said ‘Laura, it’s gonna be tough for her if she gets sick because she’s adopted and her parents might have different blood types.’

How was it even possible for him to say that in front of his students?

I was 9 years old. Of course I cried.

When I was younger, my parents would order pure milk and I would have to shower in it. They thought it would make my skin lighter.

But I always believed that things were going to happen for me.

You received a scholarship to go to school in the Netherlands. What did you study there?

I took up international communications management.

After school, I came back to Jakarta and got an office job related to my major, but modeling took over, and now things have gotten a bit carried away [laughs].

Any advice for young models ?

You need to be smart. Know what’s best for you.

You can buy all the whitening products here, but if you don’t have the confidence you’ll never be pretty.

You don’t need to be sharped- nose or anything. I go to schools and talk to kids and they say ‘You’re so lucky.’

But I tell them in this world only 5 percent of success is luck, 95 is hard work and motivation.

What do you tell the kids when you visit the schools?

I tell them ‘If you don’t want people to hate you, if you don’t like conflict, then don’t take risks.’ When I joined Miss Indonesia people were like ‘What were you thinking? They never pick people who look like you.’

I told them I’m not here to win, I’m here to pursue my dreams and to inspire people like me.

I don’t mean those who are dark-skinned, I mean different from the stereotype of what’s pretty.

When you were in college in the Netherlands you hosted a radio show that was broadcast in Indonesia.

It’s like Radio Indonesia. It’s a government-funded radio station with programs in nine languages. I did a show called ‘Voice of Women.’

The program started out as something completely different, aimed at college-age kids. Why the change?

I did my thesis on migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

People here know all about the bad things that happen to migrant workers in Singapore and Malaysia, but they don’t focus on or broadcast the good things.

So you were talking about good things?

I found a balance. We broadcast the good and bad stories so the people from cities and villages knew what to expect.

Sure, a lot of bad things happen, but there are success stories that no one ever hears about, especially from Saudi Arabia.

I wanted to tell the listeners what they could expect to happen — both the good and bad.

Some people benefit from going abroad. But the media never broadcast those stories.

But does anyone really want to work as a maid abroad?

That’s the thing — some people go abroad and then come back and are celebrities in their villages.

Some people are even given an inheritance from their employers.

Especially in Taiwan, Indonesians are seen as caretakers and nurses, not maids.

Some get rich and just stay in Taiwan. But you never hear that.

People only want to hear how miserable other people are.

How did you get your big break?

When I was going to school in the Netherlands, I worked as a waitress at a cafe.

I weighed 82 kilograms at the time. A regular at the restaurant owned a modeling agency.

She said ‘If you lose all this weight in six months I can assure you’ll get a job.’

I went from 82 kilos to 49 kilos in six months.

Everything went in a blender. I didn’t chew anything for three months.

So what were you having for dinner, oatmeal?

I drank juice and blended vegetables. It was disgusting. I could never do it again. Then I tried to blend rice and meat, and the second month I even blended mie goreng.

 

Laura was talking to Iwan Putuhena & Zack Petersen

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Laura Muljadi, Model

 

Pictures Courtesy of  Laura Muljadi

My Kemang: Tongkol, Bartender at 86

Long before drinking outdoors became trendy, the bar Lapan Anem (“86”) was already serving cold beer in the rain. Tongkol is a veteran bartender there. You wouldn’t guess that he’s pushing 40, but he puts his youthfulness down to his balance of work and pleasure. Tongkol sat at the bar with us and shared his stories, favorite drinks and his views on living and working in Kemang.

How long have you been a bartender at Lapan Anem?
I’ve been working here since they opened in 2003. At first, I was a bar back, just helping out the bartenders.

Where do you learn how to bartend?
I taught myself by watching the bartenders over the years. Learning, while drinking, because after all, I have to know the taste, right? (Laughs)

What’s your favorite drink?
I enjoy drinking beer, especially Bintang. For mixed drinks, I just like the simple and classic like Jack and Coke.

Do you have your own specialty drink?
Yeah, I call it Absolut “Tinggal” (Leaving). It’s a combination of Absolut vodka, triple sec, Midori, Cointreau, gin, tequila; pretty much everything! As you can imagine, it’s very strong, so after the drink you’re leaving consciousness. (Laughs)

Where are you from originally and where do you live?
I was born and raised in South Jakarta. Now I live in Wijaya. I’ve been living there forever, and rarely pass the south border.

What else do you do for fun, besides bartending?
I raise Bangkok chicken, and I go fishing.

Do you eat the chickens?
No, it’s for cock fighting.

What do you like about Kemang ?
There are many places to hang out, especially for nightlife. It’s been happening since I remember. Even before I worked at the bar, I would already spend most of my time in this area.

What are the changes that you’ve seen?
There are more bars and restaurants opening. The garden and outdoor concept is the new trend, it’s everywhere now. Places like Beer Garden, Bremer, Rooftop and many more, but we were the first outdoor bar, even before the new part, Splash, was renovated.

This place is like a second home to you. Why are you comfortable here?
We are all friends and my boss is very laid back, so I don’t have to go anywhere else. All of us have been working here for a long time.

Is it hard to handle drunken people?
Well, it’s always fun to take care of our customers. They do stupid things all the time. But it’s difficult to handle fights. I mean, it always happens when alcohol is involved, but we try to keep the peace.

Do you want your own bar someday?
It never crossed my mind. I just want to have a small warung by my house selling snacks and soda. That’s enough for me.

What do you think about the high-rise and construction around the area?
It’s very high; I can see it from here. (Laughs.) But I guess it’s good for the expats and tourists who’ll be staying there; after all, Kemang is their area.

What do you think about Kemang’s problems?
Well, traffic is always a problem everywhere, especially here. I would like to see them expanding the streets, if it’s possible. The roads around here are very small, while entertainment places grow.

How busy is Splash?
It’s consistent, always packed. It’s a good place to listen to music. We have a stage that we share with other outlets in here. On weekdays, you find the locals such as young professionals and students. Then over the weekend, it’s a mixed crowd, but there are many kids from international schools.

Do you guys check ID cards?
We do, but sometimes they come with their parents and they buy the kids drinks. I guess it’s a different culture than us.

What’s the drinking age in Indonesia?
I think it’s 18 (pause) or 21. Who knows? (Laughs) In here it doesn’t matter really.

How do you compete with other bars?
Well, we compete in a good way. There’s always a brotherhood among people that work at the bars, we know each other. Sometimes when the other bar is running out of liquor or beer, they come here to borrow our stock. If we have it, we will give it to them, and help them out if they are busy. And they will do the same for us.

Tongkol was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in Kemang Buzz

My Kemang: Tongkol, Bartender at 86

Picture by Iwan Putuhena