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you’re stepping on my heaven*, mother :) January 18, 2010

Posted by altari in mi familia, words.
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I could have just kissed your foot… but Mother,

…. I know it would just break your already broken heart to mere dust.

But feel this. Yes… it’s my hand, holding yours.

We’re in this together….

We are


(*) as a moslem, I’ve been taught to believe that heaven is within reach if you grandly honor your mother. Heaven being under a mother’s feet is a figure of speech to describe it.

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10 things that may ruin your kids March 4, 2009

Posted by altari in home, mi familia.
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  1. Give everything your kids ask for
  2. Laugh when they make mistakes
  3. Dare not say ‘No’ to them
  4. Do everything on your own without giving your kids the opportunity to learn responsibility
  5. Teach your kids to defy the neighbor, the teacher or other grown-ups
  6. Make all the decisions regarding your kids without giving them the chance to decide on their own
  7. Always spoil your kids without giving them the chance to face the consequence when they make mistake
  8. Being overprotective about your kids, causing them unable to do healthy and normal activities
  9. Let your kids be when they are being rude
  10. Criticize your kids in front of the public

Me, analyzing….

….Concluding.

The message is basically the same: know when to stop spoiling them. Sometimes I find that this can be more applicable to grandparents who just had their first grandchild. The way they spoil the toddler… well, well, well… I’m like running out of comments on that particular issue.

It’s as if the sun sets forever when they bid goodbye to the chubby cheeks. It’s as if they’re suddenly billionaires when the toddler smiles. The truth is, they’re unconsciously heading into bankruptcy since every penny they’ve got will be undoubtedly spent for toys, which will be played by the tot for 5 minutes and then tossed to the side…  for good, definitely with putting on an innocent face. Tragic…

Oh FYI, of course I’m talking about my parents here 🙄

But anyway, I can’t deny that I feel like envisioning heaven whenever I see them laugh together. Yep, talk about happiness being defined. So let’s pray those 10 things won’t happen in my house. Between changing diapers, running around to chase her, and Lipstick Jungle… I don’t think I have the energy left to scream at her.

Sadina & Oma, hm... going 80's?

Sadina & Opa, who gives away smoking for her. Way to go, Opa!


Sadina & Yang Ti, who always has a way to neutralize all the spoiling going.


Sadina & Yang Kung, who recently dedicated a book to her, eer... it's about building a road. Knowledge is power, yeeaah!

P.S.: The truth is… I myself is still searching for a way to stop myself kissing all over her face ALL the time 😳

grandpa is just next door December 25, 2008

Posted by altari in home, mi familia.
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Betawi, is the native tribe of Jakarta. They are of course not less unique than the other thousands of tribes in Indonesia. From what I read in Kampung Betawi (in Bahasa Indonesia) website, they’re pretty much into details when organizing every aspect in their lives, including their houses.

For instance, how they build their houses. A traditional Betawi house is required to have Arabic calligraphies on its walls. Not to mention the terrace, designed in a way that when the rain drops, the water will go right into the inlet on the canopy attaching to a small drain, which will send it to the drain on the street. In their yard, a Betawi family usually plants fruit trees and herbal plants.

What’s even more interesting, a Betawi family used to bury their deceased family members in their yard. The graves were usually located on the right side of the yard, just next to the house. This tradition took place before public burial grounds were provided. So, imagine, doing daily activities like cooking and taking a bath just a few meters away from the grave 🙂

I’m not quite sure whether there is a philosophy behind burying their relatives nearby or not, but it sure is somewhat practical when they want to visit the grave. Almost zero energy consumption coz you don’t have to travel far to get there, and definitely costless.

Can you see how detailed and handy the way they build their houses? More amazingly, every inch of the house is meant to be useful. Check out the plants they have in the yard. If this idea is applied to every house in Jakarta, people will be able to save a lot of money rather than buying fruits or medicines in the store, which is of course more expensive. Nonetheless, I’m posting here not to discuss about the house in particular, but about something else. Something that is meant to be light. Besides that, a house that kind is far and few between these days.

whereallivesThe neighborhood I’m living in now is mostly inhabited by Betawi families, other than Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, and many more. It’s in the outer side of East Jakarta. The air and water quality is still clean, and not really congested. It’s a good place to live, especially if you have kids.

Nowadays, most houses dwelled by Betawi families in my neighborhood are modern-built. In other words, you can’t tell any longer whether there’s a grave or not in their yards. And the structure of the house is no longer like the picture above. You can also find deserted graves here. They are just lying on vacant lands, which might be owned by a Betawi family before the land is bought by somebody else, who still leaves it unoccupied. There are many vacant lands here, and usually there are no house buildings anymore on the lands.

My family and I have been living here for almost two years, and am very well aware of the seven gravestones in the vacant land, right behind my house. Do I feel comfortable about the fact that I sleep just meters away from those dead bodies? Oh yes, I’m used to it by now. At many times I just forget about them 🙂

Anyway, here comes the fun part. One day, our gardener was mowing the grass in the backyard. Close to the wall separating us from the vacant land, he found a snake. Alive. Since he’s not a snake tamer, he left it as was. Judging from the way he left his jackknife behind, using ‘not a snake tamer’ as an excuse when he told me about his leaving was… well… oh c’mon, he left his jackknife behind!

So the snake stayed there for the next couple of days. We were advised to call a snake tamer to catch it and throw it faraway, and also to hold a small ritual where we all pray together. Do you know how much I have to pay the man who can do it all? Rp. 250,000. Why all the hassles? Apparently, a snake is believed to bring bad luck. Not just to the house where it’s staying in, but also to the neighborhood. Suppose there was a child who fell ill, if we didn’t do anything about the snake, the blame would be on us. Funny, hey? We didn’t invite the snake in, but for the sake of practicality people just prefer to blame us. As for the praying, it was meant to get rid of bad luck.

The news about a snake lying around in our backyard spread pretty quickly. Suddenly, everybody in the neighborhood came to my backyard. Me? I was hiding in my bedroom, which has got a direct view to the backyard. So I got to calculate how many people there were, multiplied them by two thousand Rupiahs, equaled to forty thousand Rupiahs. That’s the amount of money I could get if only I sold tickets to them for trespassing my family’s land, hmph! Hang on, come to think again, Rp. 40,000 is still million light years far from Rp. 250,000, isn’t it?

Now, you must be wondering, what is the relation between those graves in the vacant land and the snake? Well, one day someone came, his name was Mr. Sobil. He was involved in the building process of our house and he heard the news about the snake. Moreover, he can ‘communicate’ with… you know… the ‘other’ side.

He then talked to the snake. Again, I was hiding in the bedroom. Creepy world is exciting? Hah! Not for me. I can make myself become the least curious person in the world when it comes to that kind of thing.

After all that “whatsitsname” was done, he brought me that news. The snake was actually a bangle, owned by one of the grave owners in the vacant land back there. By grave owners I mean the corpses buried there.  Who were they? Or, are…?

Mr. Sobil said those guys have been wandering around in the neighborhood for hundreds of years. Whoa… And guess what? They’d like to be called Mbah, or Grandpa/Grandma. Whadda…??!

So why did they put the ‘bangle’ in my backyard? Mr. Sobil said that Mbah Genji (oh, ‘they’ do have names) was trying to warn our gardener, whom he disliked. He said our gardener was rude. He also demanded us to pray more. Well, well… I was quite speechless.

Anyhow, the snake was finally thrown away. We also paid someone to do the praying, the ‘noticeable’ one, so that everyone in the neighborhood was aware that a praying had been done. And the guys are probably floating around me right now while I’m typing this post. Looks like my family just got new companions.

Well, as long as we don’t bother each other…

Still, the part that they ask to be called Gramps… 😆