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    Friday, December 07, 2007

    Across the Universe

    [Today is the opening day for the 9th Jakarta International Film Festival and my third time attending JiFFest since 2005. I watched Across the Universe and am writing about it in Bahasa this time as you can read English comments about it in many other places.]

    Tadinya gue kirain ini film animasi Jepang, Paprika, soalnya pas gue ngantri beli tiket gue ga bawa daftar film inceran gue. Terus ngga tau kenapa ya tapi Paprika ga ditunjukin di buku sinopsisnya JiFFest, ya ga tau lah gue kalo ternyata film itu bukan Paprika yang gue mau. Berhubung film2 yang gue incer ga maen hari Jumat, ya udah lah gue beli tiket buat Across the Universe, abis udah cape ngantri dan pilihannya cuman itu atau Quickie Express, yang emang diputer di XXI. Temen nonton gue udah nonton Quickie Express jadi practically pilihannya jadi cuman satu.

    Ya nonton lah gue Across the Universe bareng temen gue "ditemani" beberapa insan perfilman yang kayanya abis dari undangan film perdana JiFFest, Persepolis. Celakanya buat temen gue, Across the Universe ga ada teksnya, jadi rada2 bingung dia. Anyway, film ini rada unik karena semi-musical serta lagu2nya semuanya dari Beatles. Terusnya lagi, settingnya di tahun 60-an, di mana Beatles emang lagi ngetop2nya. Dengan berlatar belakang era perang Vietnam dan Flower Generation, tersebutlah kisah cinta antara dua insan, Jude dan Lucy, di tengah kemelut situasi masa itu. Banyak karakter pendukung yang juga menambah kekayaan cerita dengan berbagai side-plot beserta lagu2 Beatles yang bisa aja nyambung ama scene yang lagi diceritain. Lumayan lama sih ini film, sekitar 2.5 jam dan soundtrack-nya udah pasti oke punya lah ya.

    Buat penggemar Beatles dan film2 ber-setting retro, cocok banget nih film dan pasti puas lah. Orang gue aja yang bukan fans berat Beatles merasa sangat terhibur kok nonton ini, apalagi yang emang fans. Visual-nya juga keren karena ada adegan2 simbolik dan psychedelic, terus kebetulan si Jude itu pelukis jadi banyak gambar/lukisan keren sepanjang film.

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    Astrocenter Report - Part 11

    [Okay, back to Astrocenter, like it when I can write during lunchtime]

    Flexible and adaptable, YOGA feels a need to analyze and interpret the situations he encounters, to learn the reason for his behavior. But since his mind never lingers long, he may sometimes be a little superficial.

    YOGA may have been subject to some traumatic experiences in childhood which left a mark on his personality. Perhaps his parents or teachers were overly authoritarian or rigid. If this occurred, he may have closed himself off in self-defense from an environment he found hostile; early in life, he may have developed a thick, tough, adult skin. Regardless of these environmental factors, and aside from what was just said, YOGA has a fairly serious personality. He tends to be cold and at times intransigent. He sometimes refuses to admit he made a mistake. If he feels ashamed, he will immediately lose faith and confidence in himself, taking refuge in such tried-and-true values as conservatism and discipline for discipline's sake. Nevertheless, time is on his side, and gradually he may come closer to the perfection he desires. His life is subject to Saturn's orbit and may be segmented into significant seven-year periods.

    [Yup, that's me, flexible and adaptable. Not so much overtly analytical but to people who aren't used it, tend to view me as such. Heck, I even analyze this Astrocenter Report on myself!

    Yes, there were traumatic experiences in my childhood which I think may explain some of the behaviors and attitude of mine. I considered myself a reserved and guarded individual, especially when entering a new environment. At times I could be stubborn by refusing to admit my mistake. I had realized this when a friend of mine actually pointed it out to me, so I try to make conscious attempts, ever since, to recognize whenever I did that and evaluate my mistakes.

    True on the sentence - looking for perfection - though I am not as perfectionist as I used to be, which is good. I don't understand the meaning of the seven-year life cycle. So far, I would have lived through almost four of such cycle. Maybe I need to wait for more time before I could grasp of what it tries to say.]

    ~ to be continued ~

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    First Posting from MacBook

    Okay, so I just wanna try this new mobility of mine in the form of MacBook, yay! Finally this overdue laptop came to realization. I just bought this incredibly sweet technology about two weeks ago. Well, had to wait until Leopard comes out and darn, never thought something cheaper than Windows could be way cooler.. sweet..!!

    Oh, and one more thing, I actually use a portable broadband connection while posting this blog. 3G connection in the right location turned out can go as fast, if not faster, as cable.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Kehati Lestari Mutual Fund

    In support to the Blog Action Day 2007, I'm writing about a new mutual fund which was just launched last July. That mutual fund is Reksa Dana Kehati Lestari. So, what is so special with this mutual fund? Well, the issue of this year's Blog Action Day is about the environment. Reksa Dana Kehati Lestari is the first socially responsible mutual fund in Indonesia focusing on the issue of environment sustainability. It is co-managed by a local investment company, Bahana TCW Investment Management, and an environmental foundation, Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati (Kehati Foundation).

    The Kehati Foundation is a fund raising non-profit entity and its main mission is to facilitate local organizations and build their capacity to benefit from the natural resources and at the same time conserve the natural biodiversities. The Kehati Lestari mutual fund enables individual and institutional investors to participate in the philanthropic activities to benefit the foundation. Investors would be able to invest and donate at the same time, by allocating either their full investment, full return only, partial return only, or just the management fee, as streams of donations for the foundation as long as the investment is kept in the fund. This investment structure is called quasi-endowment fund, where investors still hold ownership to the investment principal, though they can also opt to donate the full principal as well in the full endowment scheme.

    While quasi-endowment structure may not be uncommon in the western world, a mutual fund is probably the better vehicle, if not the only vehicle, for large number of Indonesian investors to invest and donate consecutively as the trust (the common vehicle in the west) law is virtually non-existent at the moment. Although one may argue that the law of waqf (religious endowment) may undergoing better progress and can substitute for the trust as the investment vehicle for this type of philanthropic needs.

    I think this innovative product is suitable for a wide range of investors who want to support the environmental cause in a long-term and sustainable way. Investors may increase their participation level and switch their investment allocation to more generous options as their overall net worth grew and their wish to leave a legacy present itself. Moreover, institutional investors may claim their good act of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by investing in this mutual fund.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Have a Blessed Eid!

    Today's the awaited Eid al-Fitr, the celebration after the fasting during Ramadan. I woke up early, and prepared for the prayer in Masjid Al-Ihsan, a mosque nearby my house. I ensured myself to have a breakfast, even if only a cereal beverage, as it's a recommended act of "break-fasting" the day. It is forbidden for Muslims to fast during the 1st of Shawwal, the day is meant for celebration.

    Then, I put on my new Eid clothing, courtesy of my sister-in-law, and went to the mosque. I prayed and listened to the sermon, which I think is quite controversial and subject to a post of its own. We came back about an hour and a half later, and performed our Javanese tradition of sungkeman, where we ask for forgiveness to our parents and siblings. It was probably an hour or so before the guests started coming.

    Yes, we have an open house. It's an annual occurrence where guests coming to celebrate Eid, have good food, forgive each others, and catch up to their latest stories. My mom said that this year's Eid recorded the largest number of guests, more than 50 perhaps during the 10-hours event. The open house tradition is pretty much similar across different Muslim cultures. I attended such events for almost every Eid celebrations back in the States.

    Well, before I hit the bed, I wish every one of you a very blessed Eid and may peace be upon you.

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    End of Ramadan 1428 H

    Today marks the end of Ramadan of the Hijri year 1428. Tomorrow, my family and I will be performing Eid prayer together in a nearby mosque. Not unlike the previous Ramadans, certain events also surround this year's Ramadan:
    • Millions of people from many metropolitan cities in Indonesia perform a "ritual" exodus (mudik) to their hometowns across the countries. During this once-a-year event, trillion rupiahs get distributed from financial hubs such as Jakarta and Surabaya, as people bring stuff and money as gifts for relatives and friends back home. Indonesians abroad working in service and manual labor also sent in their hard-earned cash via remittance so their families can celebrate Eid more joyfully.
    • The massive phenomenon of mudik brings with it various others phenomena: from hotels full of families being left out by their servants and chauffeurs, roadway casualties of travelers (pemudik) caused by increased traffic-related accidents, distribution of alms (zakat) that rapidly turns into a riot, to the inflationary effect that economic seasonality brings with each Ramadan as people spend more during the month.
    • Expecting to reap as much blessings as possible during Ramadan, Muslims drove in numbers to the nearest mosques, praying and asking for God's forgiveness. People who usually are not very religious become quite ardent in the month of Ramadan, performing good deeds left and right. A phenomenon that is quickly taken advantaged by certain groups.
    • This particular Ramadan also witness the rising volcanic activities of Mount Kelud. Though it has not erupted, yet, the likely event may be a part of something potentially big.
    Well, I guess that's enough late night observations for today. Better get some sleep. Tomorrow's pray schedule is rather early.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007


    Last day on the job before a long weekend of Eid. I've noticed that a lot of blogs regarding workplace and investment stuff put their disclaimer on. To follow the best practices, I've put mine as well.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Euphoria No More - Part 1

    It's almost 5 months since I was promoted to the Equity Research division. The euphoria was long gone and the fatigue has set in. I didn't get paid leave and won't get it until after the first anniversary of my placement as an employee (pegawai tetap). So, this is what happened:
    • I got accepted as a Management Trainee (MT) on May 2006. I didn't get paid leave (cuti) since I wasn't considered as the company's employee. All of the MTs were, are, and probably will be treated this way. So, fine then.
    • I got promoted as a Junior Analyst a year later, in 2007. According to the company's rule, an employee is not allowed to get paid leave until the first anniversary of the employee's first working day.
    • The closest thing to a leave (unpaid, of course), would be the gap between my working period as an MT and as an employee, which is immediately after the one-year period and prior to my signing contract as an employee.
    • Depending on each MT's individual bosses, one may not get to use that gap (1-10 working days max) and lose the opportunity to get the unpaid leave, effectively not getting any leave for the period of 2 years.
    To make the story short, I was one among those MTs. And to add salt to the wound, all mandatory leave instituted by the government (such as extended Eid and Christmas day-offs) are to be applied to my paid leave days in the next year, on top of the mandatory leave for that year that is going to further reduce my quota, possibly putting me and other MTs in a paid leave "debt" situation.

    Saturday, October 06, 2007

    Astrocenter Report - Part 10

    [I guess it's okay to be back to the 'ol Astrocenter Report and finish it in several writings before year ends, and start other psychological assessments]

    Strongest Domains

    Relations with Others:
    YOGA may in time experiment with a dual form of companionship (marriage or intimate relationship) which symbolizes two aspects of his psyche.

    Other people tend to imitate YOGA. They try to merge with his personality and demands, or influence him in a harmful way. tends to identify strongly with his childhood experiences. His past is deeply imprinted on him, and linked to an array of warm, positive impressions, but it also conveys the feelings of vulnerability and weakness inherent to childhood. Psychologically, YOGA is ruled by the
    Mother-Image - that is, by a need for security and protection. The relationship he had with his mother, or a mother-figure, means a great deal to him. This image is associated with the idea of emotional security, but it may also be related to an insecurity about orality, the woman, and food.

    As an adult, YOGA will probably find that women play an important role in his life. In everyday life, his mood follows the meandering of his feelings of security. He is sometimes hesitant and anxious; fairly passive, he is often borne along by events instead of causing them. Generally, he makes use of his subjectivity to perceive reality, and he is very sensitive. He likes change and novelty, as well as appearing in public, although he is sometimes shy.

    [Ruled by the Mother-Image. Hmm.. there is some truth in there, where I long for security and protection in a relationship. I can do well on my own, but I guess I look for those qualities in my future relationship, or is it why I haven't been in one?

    Hesitant and anxious, passively allowed events to shape oneself. This one also rings some truth. I actively affect changes, but probably more than I would allow to admit, I got affected more by the revolving events around me than the other way around. I don't know, some people like my easy-going attitude, and probably this confirms it.

    I am mostly shy, but then again, maybe that's just because I am an introvert. I like trying something new, and that's probably why I like changes. And come to think of it, I guess I do like appearing in public judging from the number of invitations I attended this year alone, be it formal or informal.]

    ~ to be continued ~

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    My Top 5 Financial Goals

    Okay, I told you about the financial goals which I have to identify before making sense of my investment strategy, right? Well, the following are my top 5 major financial goals as of this writing, and the approximate time when I should reach those:
    1. Graduate study -- before turning 30 (about 3 years from now). By far, this is the most immediate, and the most time-consuming in term of preparation (admission form, test, interviews, essays, etc. not mentioning choosing the school itself). There are at least two alternatives to a regular Master degree of which I expect to take, 1). Get a professional certificate instead (such as CFA), or 2). Go all the way for a Doctorate degree (PhD or DBA). For financial planning purposes, let's assume the regular option.
    2. Retirement -- around the age of 50, give or take 5 years. Honestly, I don't think I would ever retire in the usual sense. My boss said that she'd like to have the option to work, meaning that she'd like to work out of choice instead of necessity. Ideally, I'd like to retire as soon as possible in a sense that I only work because I want to in a job that I like without sacrificing my standard of living. Yeah, who doesn't?
    3. Getting my own place -- assuming graduate study takes 2 years, then 5 years from now, after I graduate. This one is tricky, since I don't know where I'd end up. Depending on the situation 5 years from now, I could be in Jakarta or other continent altogether. Or, my job could require me to be nomadic, without permanent location. Should that happen, then instead of having my own place, I could rent it for awhile.
    4. Getting my first car -- the most affordable, yet facing the same problem as Goal # 3. Unlike a roof for you to stay, a car would most likely depreciate and a nomadic condition would just burn a hole in my pocket faster than keeping one car for several years. I like my car compact and small, and among today's options, the most expensive in the list would be a BMW Mini Cooper.
    5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) -- before turning 40. Arguably cheaper than a car, but this one needs spiritual readiness which is not readily affordable.
    That's all the top 5 I could think about. As for the amount of money I need to fulfill those goals, that'd be another discussion with my financial planner.

    Sunday, August 26, 2007

    [spoiler] Living Single

    I just finished reading a new novel, Living Single. I knew about it through a book launching ads posted in one of the mailing list I registered. It's a story about a young executive lady who works in an advertising agency. She longs for a relationship of her own but eventually comes to accept her situation of being a single. Honestly, a fiction is not really my favorite genre, especially one such as this chicklit. I picked it up at Kinokuniya because I was curious about a story which made living single its central theme, particularly one against the backdrop of living in Jakarta.

    This novel is the second book I have read regarding living single, the other one is more spiritually-based. Curious? Well, it has come to my mind that such situation might very well occurred to me. Having been single for eight years, I don't see myself in a relationship anytime soon, perhaps going forward. Why, you asked? Well, I do have my reasons, although I also keep looking for rationale in the writings and experience of others.

    As for the novel itself, it's a chicklit, so don't expect too much on the literary side. It is the writer's first project, based on his friends' live experience in the advertising industry. I also did a quick search on Amazon, and it seems that a lot of this living single type of story take a female as its main character, not unlike Sex in the City series. I guess the stigma is still there.

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Dual Language

    I have been thinking about this for awhile. I intent to make my blog to be dual-language, English and Bahasa Indonesia, especially since I have moved back to Jakarta. There are lots of material in Bahasa, plus local readers who visit the site are increasing, so the move would be hopefully welcomed.

    This is by no mean that I would translate each posting from one language to the other, to do so would be exhaustive. I'll try to keep each post in one language, but sometimes a combination may be needed. English is still the main language, as it is understandable to most, if not all, visitors. This would also be applicable to my other blogs as well, but probably not for my website.

    Friday, August 17, 2007

    Independence Day Ceremony

    Yes, my colleagues and I were actually went to work today, despite the holiday status of the Independence Day. Well, it wasn't really a work day, we went in because of the independence day ceremony. This is due to our company status as a state-owned corporation. Other private houses would let their employees sleep the weekend off and reduce their sleep deprivation instead.

    The ceremony was just that, ceremonial. My last such ceremony was last year, after being absent attending one for seven years. To be honest, I didn't really know if the ceremony had achieved what it was purposed for, to remind us of the country's struggle to gain our independence and fire up our patriotic ideology. It felt rigid, formal, and insubstantial. We just stand there, listen to the speech, listen to the song, etc. Sure, it was fun afterward with all the games and brunch together. But have we really being independent? Gee, never really thought about it, have we? Read this article and decide it for yourself.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007


    Earlier this month, I made an appointment with a financial planner from Quantum Magna Financial, a financial planning firm I got to know when its founder, Ligwina Hananto, came to Danareksa to promote Danareksa's own employee investment program.

    So, on that Friday evening I went to its office and consulted with the planner regarding the three "kinks" in my financial life. My first question was about the lack of investment purposes underlying my investing activities. Aside from a little portfolio dedicated for retirement, I have been practically investing blindly. I have practiced what I had known of good investing habit, but virtually for no clear purposes. Miss Tedja, my planner, suggested me to define several clear purposes and worked from there. This is one of the reason I made the "investo-financia" category blog to help me work through the process and monitor it periodically.

    My second question was about personal financial leverage, specifically whether I'm ready for mortgage. It's a bit lengthy and I will describe it some other times. Suffice to say, that I'm not up for it yet at my current financial situation.

    My third question was regarding personal insurance since I am covered by two insurances at the same time, one from the company I worked for and the other was a life insurance I subscribed before I got the company's coverage. I will tell you more about it in the near future. For now, I'm seriously considering whether I should continue with the subscription since the current term will expire next month.

    Well, I guess that's enough for the introduction. It's late, and I'd like to get some sleep before going to the independence day ceremony tomorrow morning. Sigh.

    Sunday, August 12, 2007

    The Difference Between Birds and Their Wings

    This poetry was given to me along with the rest of IU's Muslim Student Union executive board members at our last gathering on May 2004. The board members for the following year gave it to us as a token of appreciation for our services and words of encouragement for what we were going to go through after graduation.

    The difference between birds
    And their wings,
    And the wings of the aspirations
    Of intelligent men,
    Is that birds fly on their wings
    Towards a certain direction,
    Whereas intelligent men fly on the wings
    Of their aspirations away from all
    - Rumi

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    Yup, It Was A Quake

    Indeed, it wasn't just me. The news confirmed that what I had experienced was indeed an earthquake. As I expected, the epicenter was relatively close at 110 km (about 70 miles) from Jakarta, specifically at 75 km (46 miles) northwest off the coast of Indramayu in West Java, at the depth of 286 km (178 miles). While it was quite devastating at 7.4 on the Richter scale magnitude, the fact that it was occurred deep under the ocean dampen its impact tremendously. No casualties and no significant material losses reported so far.

    Since the quake occurred a day after Jakarta provincial election, there were comments made that it might be a bad omen for future administration of the governor-elect, Fauzi Bowo. I didn't vote during the election day since I wasn't registered due to the error in KPUD's (the commission for municipal election) part.

    Thursday, August 09, 2007

    Was It A Quake?

    Wow, I was about to finish up with my reading when I suddenly felt my room quietly moving. It was 0:11 Jakarta time if I remember correctly. It wasn't long, probably under a minute, but it was longer than the one I experienced in high school. This time I could actually felt it and it was if my room had been inside a ship. Hmm.. what was actually happened? The epicenter shouldn't have been far. It should be interesting to see what would be in the news in the morning. I still feel a bit dizzy, or was it just me all along...?

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Nanner Puddin'

    During Spring Break 2002, six students from IU including myself, went for an Alternative Spring Break week where we volunteered at a small community of Ivanhoe, Virginia. I will tell you more about it sometimes, but there is this recipe that we copied from Phyllis - one of the coordinator at Ivanhoe - which I'd like to share with you.

    The Nanner Puddin' is hands-down the volunteers' favorite during day one. Unfortunately, none of us were aware that nobody put the puddin' back to the fridge, so it rotted on day two *_*

    We never replicate the recipe again afterward (at least not that I know of), so maybe an experiment is in the house (warning: possible high fat content if ingredients are not carefully substituted). Enjoy!

    Banana Pudding Deluxe (aka Nanner Puddin')
    • 3 boxes instant vanilla pudding
    • 5 cups milk
    • 8 oz sour cream
    • large bowl cool whip
    • large box vanilla wafers
    • approx. 5-6 bananas
    Mix pudding with milk until thick. Mix sour cream and cool whip and add the pudding to the sour cream and cool whip mixture, stirring well. Layer wafers, bananas, and cool whip mixture. Repeat layering, ending with the cool whip mixture as your last layer. Sprinkle top with wafer crumbs and refrigerate.

    Saturday, August 04, 2007


    The first overhaul of my blog since I launched it three years ago. (Dang, it has been awhile and my posts still count at fifty, no wonder my colleague made her comment)

    Well, there's really no major overhaul as far as content and layout goes. I have changed the design though since there's no point of upgrading my template without a big change that immediately caught your eyes.

    Blogger have made it easier to concentrate more on the design and less on the coding, which I like a lot. The new template editing interface acts just like Dreamweaver on its designer mode, and I can even edit the code manually if I chose to do so. What puzzles me is the fact that they choose not to expand their template options, just upgrading its interface. Hey Blogger! Don't you think it's about time to add more templates?

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    The Week of Firsts

    Wow.. a lot of things happened to me this week, my third week (or was it second since there were several days off two weeks ago) as a junior analyst. While last week marked my first email contact with a client as an analyst and my first visit to a shareholders meeting (of a bank), this week I experienced at least four new things:
    1. Accompanied client for meetings with company managements. Truly a nerve wracking experience as the client is a fund manager and my boss said the client used to be an analyst himself. I didn't know the story of each company we met thoroughly, much less valuation of their stocks. Fortunately, my boss realized this and tried to cover for me most of the time. Pheww..
    2. Visited companies for updates. Still related to the previous assignment, but this time visiting their headquarter directly instead of having a meeting in a hotel. The same client was asking very thorough questions, mostly on business model rather than valuation per se. I asked my senior colleague and they did say the client was most thorough.
    3. Attended an investment forum. The 2nd Indonesia Investor Forum was held this week and I visited several company presentations. I learned more about various business models from different industries. I also networked with several people ranging from a researcher in a consulting company to a fund manager in a private equity shop.
    4. Attended a public expose of a consumer product company. I met a senior analyst from another equity house and we discussed a lot about the profession and the industry. While the event was informative, I learned more from him about lots of things in just 30 minutes.
    Initial euphoria seems to set in and I was having fun. Check back on me when I gotta do financial modeling and writing my first report, see what I have to say then.

    Saturday, May 19, 2007

    I Got Promoted!

    Wow, it really has been a year since I wrote anything online. Yeah, you read it right, I passed my Management Trainee program and got promoted as a Junior Analyst in the Equity Research Division. This is going to be a daunting adventure and very possibly going to determine my future career path. I guess everything do happen for a purpose. This is no exception.

    DANG! I got so melodramatic there. At any rate, I'm going to sign the new contract next Monday and it officially begins. Because of the nature of the job, I will start writing again and possibly reactivate the dormant And since I've got a more reliable broadband connection for the past 2 months (somebody say 3G!), it might just happen like the old times. Oh, probably not just quite, I may have the connection now, but I need a more capable computer to handle it (blame it on Apple for delaying Leopard release to October, now I have to wait until then to buy a MacBook).

    Oh, and last but not least, thank you for all of your support, prayer, guidance, and patience. It has been a fun and challenging year. I expect no less for the next ride, and I hope you can enjoy it with me.