Indonesia Master 2018 – The Magic of Istora Senayan

The past week has been an exciting week for Badminton lovers in Indonesia. It just hosted Daihatsu Indonesia Master. Previously the tournament is considered a Grand Prix Gold, but this year with the new BWF tournament, it becomes BWF World Tour Super 500. It also marked the return to Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) after it underwent major renovation ahead of the Asian Games.

Gelora Bung Karno, widely known as Istora Senayan by Badminton Lovers, is the venue for many prestigious badminton tournament in Indonesia. Although I have never been there, but many fans, players, commentators have expressed the magic of this venue for Badminton.

For Indonesian players, playing in front of the home crowd can be a double edge swords. In one hand, the supports of thousands of fans can be a mood booster. But, it can also bring enormous pressures.

Take Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Akhmad. They have won many titles including the Olympic Gold, but they did not have good fortune in Istora. Yesterday in Indonesia Master final, they were defeated by the Huang Yaqiong/Sheng Siwei. New women double Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu also lost against Japanese pair Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. It was a huge disappointment, but hopefully they will do better in the next tournaments!

Thankfully, the crowds appeared to boost Anthony Ginting’s performance. He was terrific in the match against Kazumasa Sakai and claimed his second major title. Well done Ginting!!!

Another big win for Indonesia came from Kevin Sanjaya and Marcus Gideon, also known as the Minions. They got the fans worried when they lost the first set to Li Yuchen and Liu Junhui. But, they came back in the second and the third. So, the fans were happy!

Opponents playing against Indonesian players in Indonesia must have felt very intimidated. After loosing from Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu in the thrilling Indonesia Master semifinal, Korean Womens Double Player, Shin Seung Chan and Lee Soo Hee called the crowd to be too noisy T.T

But, many players especially European player, praised Istora for their amazing crowd.

Former British shuttlers, Nathan Robertson tweeted complete with a video of the electrifying atmosphere.

Here is another tweet:

British Shuttler, Chris Addcock posted on instagrm:

I wish to have the opportunity to experience the live atmosphere at Istora Senayan’s soon!!

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Balinese Blends Modern and Traditional Life

Bali is known for its beautiful landscape and unique culture…the image of Balinese women dressed modestly, carrying offering in their heads across rice field have been the object of a lot of paintings, postcards and posters. But, Bali is not immune to the lure of modernization.

Development driven by tourism has certainly changed the face of Bali, especially in certain area in the southern part of Bali. Now you can see the houses, public places and building mix modern architecture with traditional culture.

This is Titi Banda Statue, representing the story of Rama with an army of Monkey on their way to cross the bridge to Alengka and pick Sita. It is located in three-way junctions of By Pass Ngurah Rai and By Pass Ida Bagus Mantra

But, despite the change from typical Balinese architecture, in every Balinese Hindu house you will see one or two shrine or temple like this.

Sanggah: a typical shrine or temple for Balinese Hindu to pray
The above picture taken in a used-to-be familiar Waturenggong street in Denpasar, Bali.

I passed this road every day when I was little. It has always been a busy street due to its proximity to schools and universities. But, now it was cramped with shops and bustling with cars and motorcycles. But densed among shop selling clothes, bags, foods, minimarts, I am happy to see this shop called Ketut Banten (zoom in for the red signage). As the name suggest, it sells Banten that is an offering Balinese Hindu use in their rituals and ceremonies. The simplest form of offering is Canang.

The base of Canang is a rectangular shape intricately made from young coconut leaves. Then flowers and leave are arranged in it.

There are many forms of artifact in Balinese Hindu.

Garuda is one of the most popular mythical creature in Balinese culture. I took this in Puncak Penulisan temple
Ornament in Pura Hulundanu Batur
Pajeng is a traditional umbrella put beside the temple. The color is normally white, yellow and black

With advance technology Balinese also changed the way they do things. Cars and motorcycle take over the more traditional horse carriage.

Skillful but also risky

This lady balance her Boiled Corn, known as Jagung Rebus by Indonesian, in her head while Riding Motorcycle. Skills you rarely find anywhere else, but in Bali. I took this picture around Pura Besakih and at that time she was travelling in a quiet road. Still, safety riding warrant certainly needed. Even in public places like Ngurah Rai International Airport, Balinese artistry is at full display.

This exhibit of The Good Barong and The Evil Rangda

The Trial and Tribulation of Life as an Academia

Its the first week of January, and I already felt the spirit of New Year has deflated a little…

Perhaps because I spent the last weeks of 2017 in Bali. So, upon returning I felt a little overwhelmed.

As many organizations, we academics also felt a lot of pressure in December. Its the end of semester, which means piles of marking to go through. Having done this for over ten years now, I already work out strategies. In the beginning of the semester I develop Course Planning, which state clearly the assignments and grading required for the course. With this planning I can see what I need to do to ensure that the grading part is less painful. I try so hard to disciplined myself by doing the marking as soon as the assignments, quizzes and exams took place. For some assignments (less complicated with clear answers) I enlisted the help of one or two graders. Of course there are some assignments (projects, essays) and examinations that I must do myself. But, I can safely say that I managed to do it.

What I did not take into account is at the same time, we also have to fill in our achievements of the year for performance measurement purpose. The performance measurement systems in our institution this year are a little different than last years. We have to put every documentation about our research and community service activities online. Its a lot of work, but I know that it will safe us a lot of time in the future. But, still it means I allocate some time to do it. Another things that we lecturer need to do is to supervise our students, undergraduate and masters students. The time to do this cannot be stated clearly because it in itself is a mini project that depends on the subjects, the students and stakeholders.

In the meantime, the girls are having their semesters break from mid December until 1st January. So, this is where the dilemma kicked in. With some of the works are unfinished, I know it is a little risky to leave for several days. But, all our works (my husband happened to be a lecturer too) are pile up until end of January! If we waited to have a break until then, the girls will have to take several days leave from school. It is really a tough decision to make. My mind go through to other countries, particularly in UK where I have studied before. I remembered that there lecturers have a long break during summer and Christmas-New Year period. Of course, here in Indonesia we have long breaks during Idul Fitri, but it is the only time that coincide with School breaks. We also have several long weekends, but that only work for short vacation.

If only we have more synchronized holiday periods during the end of year, it would really helped us to have more quality time with our family.

Academic life is a quirky life. From the outside it looks as if it was a less stressful job, compared to business jobs. But I am sure that every academics will agree that we also have our trial and tribulations.

Perhaps it is just me? I wrote about how to balance work with family. 

Then, the other day I read from LinkedIn, a post from Joos Buijs, a researcher, whose work I have been following for sometime now. I read a lot of his article and I also joined the MOOC on Process Mining that he ran. I am really proud to obtain this certificate.

Joos, with Professors Will M.P. van der Aalst and Colleague at TU/e has helped me and students by providing free open source software to conduct process mining. We looked up to them.

So, reading his post entitled “I (finally) decided to leave academia, here’s why” really intrigued me and I immediately read it from my mobile phone. You can read the article here.

I read it with mix feelings. In one hand, it gives me a confirmation that I am not the only academics that feel this way. But, at the same time I am amazed that everything I have been experiencing also happened to academics in developed country as the Netherland.

He said that the reason he is leaving the academic life is because he must do a lot of management stuffs rather than actually doing what he loves which is data science. It really resonates with me and perhaps my colleague in my department. I love teaching.

I love supervising students.

One of the group meeting with my students
Disccusion

I love research. I love presenting my works.

Presenting at Seminar

I love doing community service.

In fact last year I managed to challenge myself to do community service for micro and small entrepreneurs.

After giving a talk on Business Process Management for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Hope that they find it useful.

I love it all. But, sometimes we must do a lot of administrative works that are not really related to those stuffs.

One thing that hit me so much is the next paragraph where he explained that he is working long hours per week.

“Secondly, and probably even more important, I do not know of any colleague that is spending <50 hours a week on this job. This is not a bad thing, if you do what you love this comes natural. But for me it is time to do as I say, and really show that “I’m married to my wife, not my boss”. I realized family time was really suffering, and even if I was having a good time in the evening/weekends I could not always enjoy it as much as I wanted to.” (Joos Buijs)

This is exactly what happened to us academics here in Indonesia too. We may work from 8 – 4, to lecture, supervising students and other stuffs. But, when we go back home, we still work in front of our laptops, doing research and sometime administrative works. This sometimes stretch over weekends. I cant remember the last time I went for a holiday without bringing and opening my laptop!

While I wish Joos the best in his future endeavor. It gave me a lot to think of. I love my job so much. But, I cannot afford to love it more than my family.

So how can I love both?

I did not yet have the answers. In the mean time, I try to sneak in family time when possible. Like this time when we brought the girls for a conference in Phuket, Thailand.

Bringing the girls at Conference in Thailand

Only in Indonesia: Kerupuk (Crackers) Lover

Forget all the fancy crackers. Long before those fancy stuffs hit the market, Indonesian already have their original crackers well known as KERUPUK!

There are different types of kerupuk depending on the basic ingredients. The most common one is shrimp crackers also known kerupuk udang. Another common type is cassava crackers (keripik singkong).

Some crackers are taken as snacks. But, dont be surprised to see many Indonesian eats them with their foods such as in Gado-gado and Soto.

In Surabaya where I currently live, people really loves their Krupuk. It was during my undergraduate study that I fell in love with Surabaya type of crackers. It was made from rice flour and looks like spider web.

 

But whenever I go home to Bali i always try to find the crackers from my childhood. It was not like most crackers which are normally quite soft but crispy. This cracker is quite hard and my friends used to call it Krupuk Beton or Concrete crackers 🙂

I am not too sure the main ingredients. I am sure that it is made of flour…but is it rice flour, or glutinous rice flour or wheat flour? I have tried to find out the recipe, but I still cant find it.

So I am so happy that during my visit to Bali that i got the chance to hit the local traditional market.

Top View of Bangli Traditional Market
Another view of the market

I bought lots of it. Quite enough to satisfy my hunger 🙂

Different types of krupuk, top, bottom and right are different variants of Krupuk Beton. Would really want to know the recipe for it!

End of 2017 Reflection: My Blogging Activities

In the beginning of the year I wrote a blog entitled Why i dont have time to blog in 2016. It was a post written out of guilt that i did not post that much in 2016. I concluded the post with this wish:

Hope 2017 will bring better posts!

Now that 2017 almost come to an end I can say that I could not fulfil my own wish :((

I dont know about the quality of the posts, because I dont have specific measure for them. But, I can say that I failed in terms of consistencies.

According to the insights from WordPress I only posted in four months in 2017: January, July, November and December. These are the holiday period when the girls are on holiday and i was having break from teaching. November was an exception because at that time I got a new motivation to write after listening to a talk from Tere Liye.

My initial thoughts on this is: I am not a multitasker. During school period and term time I am focusing a lot on the girls and my work.

But, I have around 16 – 17 hours a day. Surely I can sneak out some me time. Then I started to analyse more on how I use my me time. First thing that i realized is that in between working on my laptop I regularly checked entertainment news from people.com T.T. Starting from the front page, then reading the news that interest me then it can lead to many other clicks and read. If there are quizzes based on recent entertainment news ill take my chances and compete 😀

Although I dont use social media that much anymore, it may also steals a lot of my me time. WhatsApp is the biggest stealer. I have so many WhatsApp Group ranging from work, family, friends, parents group (one each for Ratih and Hita) so checking up and replying them can take a lot of time too. Then, I used twitter to follow on Badminton news and several researchers who works in my research area. I occasionally catched up with friends via Facebook. I also use LinkedIn, but I consider it as work more than social activities. I do not have an exact number, but I am pretty sure that it’s a lot!

Then come another issue. Even if I have the time, it wont automatically translate to more active blogging. I am probably a slow and picky writer. Whenever I have an idea for a blog post it takes a lot of time until I am happy to publish it. I have a lot of drafts in my blog. Some are several years old 😦

Now that I understand this, my new year resolution are:

1. Limit my social media activities perhaps by checking them at a certain time and for a certain period only

2. Allocate some of the time saved from social media activities to write blog posts

3. Aim to finish the post rather than prematurely judging them. Re-write when needed.

Sounds like a good plan. All I need now is a target. This year I made 24 post (including this one). But that is only written in four months. I want to have at least three posts each month. So the target is to have 36 posts next year!

My Favorite Indonesia Men’s Double Players

Indonesia has been a powerhouse in Badminton for a long period. Initially, in 1950 – 1980s we were known in men’s single thanks to these great legends who include Ferry Souneville, Tan Joe Hoek, Rudy Hartono, Liem Swie King and Icuk Sugiarto. Unfortunately at that time, Badminton is not yet contested in Olympic. But those players made Indonesia a household names in Thomas Cup as well as All England.

 

Then, in 1990s we have so many men’s single players such as Haryanto Arbi, Alan Budi Kusuma, Ardi Wiranata, Hermawan Susanto and Joko Suprianto. Alan, Ardi and Hermawan even took all the men single medals in 1992 Olympic game.

 

As the competition became increasingly tense, we started struggling in this sector. But, still in 2000s we have Taufik Hidayat, Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso. It was after this era that China, Malaysia and Denmark really took over from Indonesia. At the moment, we have several young players such as Jonathan Christie, Anthony Ginting, Ihsan Maulana Mustofa to compete with shuttlers from China. But until they become consistent players we must put our hope on the Mens Double, abbreviated as MD. Please do not confuse it with mixed double sector, commonly abbreviated as XD.

 

Nowadays, I think Mens Double match is far more interesting to watch. Since the mid-90s we have several MD players that are great and interesting to watch. Here are my list of favorite MD players:

Ricky Subagdja and Rexy Mainaky

As far as I remembered, Ricky & Rexy were the first MD players that introduce the fast-and-furious play that is now quite common in MD match. Ricky is the front player with effective placing and Rexy was the furious one. This appears to be a reflection of their personality, with Ricky being the calm collected one and Rexy the energetic and fierce persona. They, particularly Ricky, are also easy on the eye that won the heart of fans on and off the courts.

I could never forget their final against Malaysian pair in 1996 Olympics. It was a thrilling match and the entire country erupted with joy and pride when the secure the gold medal.

Chandra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto

Not long after Ricky and Rexy play start to decrease and eventually retire we have a new pair that pretty much resembles their pattern. They are Chandra & Sigit. Much like Ricky and Rexy, Chandra and Sigit are both gifted players. Chandra is the calm front player who won points with his placing. Sigit, is much like Rexy who more often plays in the back court. But, Sigit is more known to his unexpected and unique shots such as behind the back or under the legs return.

I got the opportunity to watch them play in the National Indoor Arena (NIA) for All England Final in 2000. It was a really entertaining match to watch. I watched with dozens of Indonesian fans, and we were so happy when they won.

Unfortunately, later on Sigit was banned from international match due to doping scandal. So the pair must part ways. Chandra will go on to find a new partner with Tony Gunawan and eventually won the 2004. Chandra & Tony were also a great couple but they played in a period that I did not really got the chance to watch Badminton.

Hendra Setiawan and Muhammad Ahsan

Another great pair that I did not follow is Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan. I just heard and read on the news how Hendra and Kido won the Olympic medal in 2008. But, I never watched them play, so I could not say much about them.

Following their loss in 2012 London Olympics, the pair decided no longer trained and play under the Indonesia Badminton Association. Thankfully, Hendra was recruited back and paired up with Muhammad Ahsan. It was around this period that I started wacthing badminton on TV again. One of the channel in my cable TV shows Badminton Superseries matches. Hendra and Ahsan were really fast. The first time they burst into the scene, they startled their opponents. They were quick and tactical. Their game usually end very fast. Later on, they form rivalry with Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeong Soon from Korea. One of the most entertaining match between these two rivals were during the Semifinal of Indonesia Super series. Go on and search it, you won’t be disappointed, its Badminton at its best!

Unfortunately, they did not do very well in the 2016 Olympic. Hendra eventually went on to play professionally, and Ahsan was paired with several players. Recent news suggest that they will pair again ahead of the Asian Games. I really hope that they will do well.

Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Gideon Markus Fernaldi

My final pair is actually the most recent Indonesian pairing but they are also very entertaining, Kevin and Gideon. Unlike previous pairing who has clear specialisation as the front or back court player, Kevin and Gideon rotate so well. Both of them can play in the front and the back. They jump, they fly and they induce such energies on court. No wonder they were given a nickname The Minions. Kevin, in particular has a flamboyant aura that sometimes annoy his opponent. But, he is very talented with many trick shots off his sleeves. This year they won 7 Super Series titles in one calendar year, smashing record previously held by Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeong Soon. This include All England, Indonesia Super Series and Dubai Super Series Final. I hope that they will continue their tremendous play in years to come!

Lets Give Justice League some Justice!

Long before the buzz about Justice League broke, a little me has already loved Superman.

I read my brother’s comic book about Superman. Then I watched three of the earliest movie starring Christopher Reeve. I know other superheroes from DC such as Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and The Flash…I also know Marvel’s superhero such as Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman and all. But to me he is THE Ultimate Superhero. He has all the abilities that we can only imagine: strong as steel, can fly, super hearing, laser eyes and all…But, what I loved most is how he as Clark Kent is portrayed as very human, clumsy and shy, particularly around Loise! Another important aspect of Superman’s story is his close relationship to his adoptive parent Jonathan and Martha Kent. So, whenever a new movie about Superman was released, no matter what the critics say, I just have to watched it.

So, imagined my dismay learning that he was dead in Superman vs. Batman :(( Thankfully, words spread about Justice League and the fact that Henry Cavill was involved in it! At that time, I thought he may appeared in flashback or some other form :))

I read all about the troubles prior to the movie’s release. Zack Snyder, the director stepped down, replaced by Joss Whedon who decided to re-shot some of the scenes. Then, Henry Cavill who is cast for another role that require him to grow a mustache, but not allowed to shave it during the re-shot of Justice League, so his face need to be edited with computer technology. Yes, read it all.

Then, early screening review showed a good sign. The trailer blazzing with a song from The Beatles – Come Together. All the superheroes looked grand. But, after the release the critics at Rottentomatoes certifiy the movie as rotten. Did it deter my plan to watch it? NO.

I went to watch it in late November. Yes, it is not a cinematic masterpiece. They must spend some time to introduce The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. So, there are not enough scenes that explore the relationship among the heroes.

But, I thoroughly enjoy it because some of these things.

1. Superman gets to show all his power. *spoiler alert* I really enjoyed the scenes where Superman get to spar with his Justice League team mates. I think it was beautifully done.

I tried hard to notice the CGI-edited moustache in Henry Cavill’s face, but i think I didnt look that bad. If I didnt read it on the news I would not noticed it at all.

2. Wonder Woman is awesome. Beside Superman I agreed with many of the critics that Wonder Woman really is a breath of fresh air in the world of male superheroes. All her fight scenes are really cool and she has a very beautiful accent and piercing look.

3. The Flash reallg is funny. Seeing Ezra Miller, the actor who played the Flash in the pictures, i didnt really get why all the critics have been praising Miller as scene stealers. But after seeing the movie I totally agree. He was really the joker in the gang and gave a much needed lightness compared to the brooding Batman, rocker Aquaman, sad Cyborg and serious Wonder Woman. The post credit scene between The Flash and Superman is worth seeing!

So, all in all, I am entertained. At the end of the days it is all that matter for us movie goers, right?

Will I watch the next Superman outing? For sure 🙂