Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thank you so much!

During the last few months, I have been distracted, actually very distracted, by an assignment and other work related issues. I am so, so sorry for not being able to keep up with this blog.However, I have been thinking more about you, your school, your background, your own interests than about myself and my work!Its time to bring you on board! Hurray! Its your time-based culture that I am going

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wajah Kosmopolitan Dari Batik Pekalongan





Batik pesisir saat ini sangat diminati, setidaknya sebagai barang dagangan. Bentuknya memang menarik, sayangnya popularitas batik pesisir berhenti sebagai sebuah komoditas. Tetapi apa di balik selembar kain batik pesisir kurang menjadi perhatian, dalam konteks ini batik pesisir kalah jauh dengan batik yang berasal dari lingkungan Istana.


Achmad Ilyas

Bahkan, yang ironis, di tingkat lokal sendiri, sebut saja di Pekalongan, yang merupakan sentra terbesar dari batik pesisir, pengetahuan orang tentang apa yang ada di dalam batik pesisir sangat kurang. Mereka jauh lebih akrab dengan nama-nama batik dari wilayah lain, terutama batik yang dibuat di lingkungan istana.

Dalam kajian sejarah batik, batik pesisir hampir diabaikan. Perhatian dan penelitian sejarah yang dilakukan sejumlah ahli lebih banyak ditujukan pada batik yang berasal dari lingkungan istana, terutama batik dari lingkungan Kraton Solo dan Yogyakarta. Kajian tentang batik pesisir dilakukan lebih akhir.

Terlepas dari persoalan ketidakseimbangan perhatian dari pemerhati batik. Memang harus diakui bahwa jumlah peninggalan atau dokumentasi tentang batik pesisir memang sangat kurang, Kalah jauh dengan peninggalan batik dari lingkungan istana. Peninggalan atau dokumentasi tentang-- dari masa lampau yang saat ini ada, lebih banyak yang berkaitan-- dengan batik istana. Kalaupun ada peninggalan yang berhubungan dengan batik pesisir, maka peninggalan itu berasal dari abad sembilan dan abad dua puluh. Sedang untuk masa sebelumnya hampir dapat disebut tidak ada.
Dokumentasi tentang batik pesisir yang paling awalpun, hanya dapat dilihat dari buku The History Of Java, itupun tidak menjelaskan secara langsung tentang corak batik pesisir.Buku ini menjelaskan adanya dua jenis batik yang ada di Jawa.
Para ahli mempercayai bahwa sejarah keberadaan batik pesisir sudah sangat tua. Dalam buku The Development of Javanese Cotton Industry yang disusun Matsuo Hiroshi,batik telah lama menjadi pakaian yang umum dipakai di kalangan petani, bahkan sejak jaman Majapahit. Atau jauh sebelum batik ditetapkan sebagai pakaian resmi kerajaan oleh Mataram. Meskipun begitu, sejarah perkembangan batik di wilayah ini hingga abad delapan belas tidak banyak diketahui.

Karakter Desain Batik Pesisir
Istilah batik pesisir, adalah sebuah istilah yang umum dipakai untuk menyebut style atau gaya batik yang dibuat di wilayah pesisir utara Pulau Jawa. Secara tradisional di Jawa batik dibagi menjadi dua jenis batik, batik pesisir dan batik yang dibuat di lingkungan kraton.

Perbedaan yang menonjol antara batik pesisir dan batik dari lingkungan kraton adalah pada pola pewarnaan dan corak ragam yang dipilih. Desain batik pesisir sangat bebas, warna dan corak ragamnya, berbeda dengan batik kraton yang terikat dengan sejumlah pakem atau aturan-aturan yang ditetapkan kraton.
Memang agak susah untuk mendefinisikan bagaimana karakter yang khas dari batik pesisir, Raffles dalam bukuThe History Of Java menjelaskan bahwa ada dua macam pewarnaan dalam jenis batik yang dibuat di pulau Jawa, salah satunya adalah yang kemudian kita kenal sebagai batik pesisir Dalam buku itu ia menyebutkan tentang salah satu pola pewarnaan dari salah satu jenis batik yang ada, batik bang-bangan, biron dan bang-biron atau pola pewarnaan yang sekarang kita sebut sebagai pewarnaan kelengan. Tentu yang ia maksud dengan dengan jenis itu adalah jenis batik pesisir
Pola pewarnaan ini memang dapat disebut sebagai karakter dari jenis batik pesisir yang dapat dilhat sejak masa Raffles, pewarnaan inilah yang membedakan batik pesisir dengan batik dengan pola pewarnaan sogan pada batik dari lingkungan istana.
Sementara batik pesisir dengan pewarnaan yang warna-warni, banyak disebut sebagai karakter batik pesisir pada masa selanjutnya,hal ini sebenarnya perkembangan dari batik merah-biru Pewarnaan kelengan atau merah biru adalah pola pewarnaan yang paling awal dari batik pesisir, pola pewarnaan ini sangat berbeda dengan pola pewarnaan yang pada saat itu berjalan di lingkungan istana. Yang barangkali menjadi pertanyaan apakah pola pewarnaan yang terjadi di wilayah pesisir merupakah pola pewarnaan yang lebih awal dalam sejarah proses pembuatan batik di Jawa? Tetapi yang pasti, sudah sejak lama, batik pesisir memakai bahan pewarna alam yang berbeda dengan bahan pewarna alam yang di pakai di lingkungan kraton. Mengkudu (Morinda Citrifolia), indigo (indigofera) dan kayu tegeran (Cundria Javanese) adalah bahan yang sering dipakai, sementara itu pewarna dari pohon jambal (Pelthoporum Pterocarpa) untuk warna soga yang banyak dipakai pada Batik kraton di lingkungan istana, tidak dikenal di wilayah pesisir .

Pola pewarnaan yang lebih kaya dan tidak sekedar merah biru yang terjadi selanjutnya adalah sebagai akibat introduksi dari sejumlah pengusaha peranakan, terutama keturunan Cina dan kalangan perempuan indo-Eropa yang banyak berkecimpung dalam proses produksi pada pertengahan abad sembilan belas.

Meskipun batik kelengan atau merah-biru disebut sebagai batik pesisir tradisional, tetapi itu tidak berarti corak ragam yang ada pada jenis batik ini di awal abad sembilan belas dapat disebut sebagai corak ragam yang paling original. Sebagian corak ragam batik merah biru yang disebut batik pesisir tradisional meniru dari corak batik dari lingkungan kraton dan corak ragam asing.
Bahkan batik dari desa Klerek di Tuban, yang sering disebut sebagai batik yang paling tradisional di wilayah utara Jawa, juga tidak dapat disebut sebagai bentuk desain yang mewakili atau menjelaskan desain asli dari batik di daerah pesisir. Bahkan dari corak ragam yang ada dari Batik Klerek Tuban itu sendiri, barangkali hanya ada satu jenis yang barangkali tidak dipengaruhi oleh unsur asing, yaitu corak ganggengan.
Sementara itu catatan lain yang berasal dari Cornet de Groot, seorang pejabat di Gresik pada tahun 1822 tentang sejumlah pola yang banyak dibuat di wilayah Gresik,menunjukan bahwa corak ragam yang banyak di buat pada saat itu adalah corak ragam yang dipengaruhi corak tenun, mulai dari corak ragam yang sederhana hingga ke corak ragam tenun yang kompleks. Corak ragam itu sebagian berasal dari corak ragam kain-kain India yang beredar sebelumnya.

Sebagian besar batik pesisir di masa lampau adalah sarung, hanya sebagian yang merupakan kain panjang. Meskipun sarung bukan asli Indonesia, sarung berasal dari melayu atau bahkan ada kemungkinan dari wilayah lebih utara lagi, tetapi sarung sangat popular di wilayah ini. Corak desain sarung adalah corak desain yang mengikuti corak kain India.
Dalam model kain asal India, bagian kepala seperti dalam sarung tidak terdapat pada salah satu sisi kain tetapi merupakan corak ragam yang ada pada kedua tepi kainnya. Sehingga ketika kedua sisi kain itu dipertemukan seperti dalam pemakaian sarung corak ragam itu menjadi satu atau menjadi bagian kepala yang ada dalam sarung. Corak ragam yang umum di dalam kain India adalah corak ragam tumpal,
Sementara batik pesisir dengan desain kain panjang muncul atau popular lebih akhir di wilayah ini.Desain pagi sore, terang bulan dan jawa hokokai yang dibuat lebih akhir adalah desain batik pesisir dalam bentuk kain panjang.
Karakter Corak ragam
Disamping pola pewarnaan yang disebutkan di atas, batik pesisir dapat dibedakan dari jenis batik lain berdasarkan corak ragamnya. Corak ragam batik pesisir tidak satu, tetapi sangat beragam .
Corak ragam dari luar diserap secara bebas di wilayah ini. Hampir tidak ada kendala yang membatasi di dalam proses ini. Bahkan corak-corak ragam dari kraton yang disakralkan di wilayah ini digabungkan dengan corak ragam lain. Atau diberi nuansa yang berbeda,
Di wilayah pesisir penyerapan unsur asing terjadi begitu bebas. Kondisi ini memang agak berbeda dengan yang terjadi dengan batik di wilayah istana. Dalam kajian yang sering ditulis, Batik di masa lalu sering, bahkan hampir selalu dikaitkan dengan sebuah pemaknaan (symbol) atau sebagai syarat dalam suatu acara ritual. Tetapi itu tidak terjadi dengan batik di wilayah pesisir, meskipun sebagian corak ragam di wilayah pesisir juga dipengaruhi oleh kultur dan kepercayaan setempat, tetapi corak ragam dalam desain batik pesisir setelah abad delapan belas atau barangkali sejak awalnya memang tidak pernah dikaitkan dengan symbol. Orang sering menyebut corak ragam di dalam batik pesisir lebih berfungsi sebagai unsur dekoratif

Barangkali pemaknaan atau simbolitas dalam batik sendiri baru terjadi setelah batik menjadi pakaian resmi di lingkungan Kerajaan Mataram. Dulu, atau sebelumnya, ketika batik hanya di pakai oleh kalangan petani, batik tidak menjadi sebuah symbol
Tidak munculnya fungsi symbol di dalam batik pesisir, barangkali karena perancangan desain batik pesisir tidak pernah berhubungan dengan sebuah proses kekuasaan dari sebuah rezim sebagaimana layaknya batik istana, bahkan pada masa perkembangannya perancangan batik lebih terkait dengan sebuah aktivitas perdagangan. Dalam konteks ini, batik pesisir tidak dibebani pesan untuk membangun sebuah kesakralan, yang ujung-ujungnya berakhir pada sebuah legitimasi kekuasan.

Proses perancangan batik pesisir tidak terpusat pada sebuah kekuatan tetapi tersebar pada sejumlah pelaku yang terjun di dalam proses perdagangan atau pembuatan batik. Dalam konsep ini nyaris tidak ada aturan yang membelenggu kecuali kreativitas itu sendiri. Hampir semua corak ragam dapat masuk ke dalam desain batik pesisir.

Macam corak ragam pesisir sangat beragam. Heringas dan Veldhuisen membagi batik pesisir menjadi delapan macam model batik (1) Batik pesisir tradisional yang merah biru (2) batik hasil pengembangan pengusaha keturunan, khususnya cina dan Indo Eropa (3) batik yang dipengaruhi kuat oleh Belanda (4) batik yang mencerminkan kekuasan kolonial (5) Batik hasil modifikasi pengusaha China yang ditujukan untuk kebutuhan kalangan China (6) Kain panjang (7) batik hasil pengembangan dari model batik merah biru (8) kain adat

Batik Pekalongan
Pekalongan yang dalam sejumlah tulisan disebut berdiri pada jaman Sultan Agung dari kerajaan Mataram, walaupun masih ada kemungkinan keberadaan Pekalongan sebagai sebuah wilayah hunian telah terjadi jauh sebelumnya.
Di wilayah ini, sejak abad sembilan belas telah terjadi perkembangan desain batik yang paling dinamis. Kondisi ini menunjukan kompleksitas sosial yang terjadi di wilayah itu. Betapa tidak, bayangkan hampir seluruh corak ragam asing muncul dalam desain batik Pekalongan. Batik dari wilayah ini sangat kosmopolitan. Corak ragam khas India, Persia, Turki , China dan Belanda terlihat mencolok dalam wajah batik Pekalongan, bahkan menjelang tahun 1940 di Pekalongan, muncul batik dengan gaya Jepang, yang disebut Batik Java Hokokai.

Dalam buku Batik Fabled Cloth Of Java, disebutkan bahwa batik telah diperdagangkan di wilayah ini mulai tahun 1840. tetapi kemungkinan ini bisa lebih awal lagi. Hanya sejak saat itu, dapat disebutkan bahwa di wilayah ini telah berkembang perdagangan batik yang pesat. Kalangan pedagang keturunan, terutama keturunan Cina dan Arab yang banyak tinggal di wilayah pesisir terdorong untuk menjadikan batik sebagai komoditas dagang. Perkembangan yang dipicu oleh hilangnya kain asal di India dan munculnya pasar baru seiring dengan munculnya sejumlah kelas menengah baru di wilayah Indonesia sebagai akibat pemberlakukan kebijakan tanam paksa (cultivation system ) oleh Belanda.
Kalangan pedagang ini pada awalnya hanya memesan batik kepada pengrajin batik yang saat itu banyak tersebar di desa-desa. Konon praktek pemesanan batik oleh kalangan keturunan asing kepada pengrajin yang ada di wilayah pedesaan ini telah berlangsung sejak sebelum VOC.

Batik Tradisional Pesisir
Memang agak susah untuk mendapatkan gambaran yang paling original dari batik pesisir, Veldhuisen ketika mengulas batik Klerek dari Tuban, ia menyebutkan bahwa hanya corak ganggengan yang mungkin merupakan corak ragam yang asli pesisir dan tidak dipengaruhi oleh unsur desain asing.
Sementara corak ragam yang lain dari batik Klerek banyak dipengaruhi oleh corak ragam asing, khususnya India dan China. Memang ada kemungkinan bahwa sebagian corak flora atau fauna adalah corak ragam batik pesisir yang asli, meskipun banyak juga corak jenis dari kelompok ini jelas menunjukan adanya pengaruh India dan China.

Batik India
Kalangan pengusaha keturunan, China dan Arab yang banyak menetap di sejumlah tempat pesisir, memanfaatkan kondisi perubahan peta perdagangan tekstil di wilayah Indonesia dengan memperdagangkan batik.
Mereka memperoleh batik dengan memesan atau meminta para pengrajin untuk membikin batik dengan memberikan upah di depan. Sebagian besar corak ragam yang banyak dipesan adalah corak-corak ragam dari kain Pathola dan Cindai asal India yang sebelumnya sudah sangat popular di Indonesia.
Batik pesisir dengan corak ragam kain India di perkirakan banyak dibuat pada awal abad sembilan belas atau akhir abad delapan belas, Batik dengan corak ragam ini di perdagangkan ke wilayah-wilayah yang sebelumnya merupakan pasar tradisional kain asal India. Karena saat itu kain-kain asal hilang dari pasaran..
Sejak awal abad sembilas atau semenjak menghilangnya kain asal India, batik pesisir dengan corak kain India secara perlahan menjadi busana resmi kalangan perempuan Indo Eropa, mereka memadukan sarung batik yang khas pesisiran dengan kebaya panjang putih.
Corak ragam India yang muncul di dalam batik pesisir adalah corak ragam yang ada di dalam kain India yang dipasarkan di Indonesia sejak abad lima belas. Sebagian merupakan corak ragam geometris tetapi sebagian yang lain corak ragam flora dan fauna. Meskipun berasal dari kain India tidak semua corak ragam itu berasal dari India, sebagian adalah corak ragam dari Persia dan Turki. Batik Jlamprang yang dulu banyak dibuat di Krapyak dan sekitarnya adalah contoh batik dengan corak ragam geometris meniru corak kain pathola (sutera tenun ikat) asal Gujarat India.
Batik Belanda
Berbarengan dengan perkembangan teknik cap, di wilayah Pekalongan sejumlah perempuan Indo Eropa mulai membuat, barangkali terjunnya mereka dalam proses pembikinan batik dipengaruhi sebuah kecenderungan di kalangan mereka yang menjadikan sarung sebagai busana resmi. Mereka dalam mengerjakan batik tidak menggunakan teknik cap(handstamp) yang saat itu banyak di gunakan oleh sejumlah perusahan di wilayah ini. Mereka lebih tertarik dengan teknik tulis(handdrawn).
Mereka yang terjun dalam kegiatan batik ini adalah istri-istri dari sejumlah orang Eropa yang tinggal di Pekalongan, sebagian besar rumah mereka berada di antara Kantor Residen dan Rumah Residen di Kota itu, sekarang jalan Diponegoro, Jl Imam Bonjol atau Jl Progo.
Batik Pekalongan, oleh Veldhiusen dan Heringas disebut sebagai batik yang sangat dipengaruhi Belanda, setidaknya sejak tahun 1860. Caroline Josephine Van Franquemont, adalah orang Indo Eropa pertama yang membikin batik, ia melakukan sekitar tahun 1850-1860. Ia tidak menjalankan kegiatan itu di Pekalongan tetapi di Semarang. Yang lain adalah Lien Metzelaar, dia melakukan pekerjaan itu dari tahun 1870-1920, dan sebenarnya masih banyak nama yang dapat disebutkan. Tetapi yang paling terkenal di antara mereka adalah Eliza Charlota Van Zuylen.
Mereka memusatkan sejumlah pekerja ke dalam sebuah bengkel kerja yang ada di belakang rumahnya, cara ini merupakan sebuah pendekatan baru di dalam proses kerja pembikinan batik. Karena sebelumnya proses batik banyak dilakukan di rumah para pekerja batik. Masuknya mereka atau kalangan perempuan Indo eropa dalam proses produksi pada saat itu, telah menyebabkan sejumlah perubahan pada batik pesisir.

Pengaruh Perempuan Indo eropa dalam perkembangan batik di Pekalongan
Pewarnaan menjadi lebih beragam, sejumlah unsur warna baru muncul di dalam batik Pekalongan, tidak lagi hanya merah biru seperti sebelumnya.
Perubahan pada corak kepala sarung, tidak lagi tumpal, tetapi juga corak yang lain. Pada perkembangan terakhir, corak kepala sarung yang umum merupakan kebalikan (invert) dari corak yang ada pada badan sarung.Pemunculan tulisan nama atau tanda pembikin dalam lembaran batik yang dibuatnya.Corak ragam baru, misal corak ragam flora yang sama sekali baru dalam konsep desain batik, yang kemudian kita sebut sebagai corak buket. Sebagian jenis bunga yang diadopsi dalam batik tersebut adalah bunga khas Eropa.
Corak ragam khas Eropa, mulai muncul setelah tahun 1860. corak ragam yang di adopsi sangat bermacam-macam, disamping corak ragam flora terdapat juga corak ragam yang mewakili symbol budaya Eropa atau corak ragam yang menggambarkan dongeng di negeri mereka, seperti cinderela, topi merah dan yang lain. Dari sekian corak ragam Eropa, maka yang paling menonjol adalah corak ragam buket yang dikembangkan Eliza Carlota Van Zuylen, konon sebagian besar dari corak ragam ini terinspirasi dari gambar karangan bunga pada post-card

Batik China
Menyusul kalangan perempuan indo Eropa, adalah pengusaha keturunan cina. Mereka mulai tertarik pada pengembangan desain batik, mereka tidak hanya terjun pada proses produksi seperti sebelumnya. Dalam pengembangan desain mereka tidak hanya memasukan corak ragam khas China. Tetapi juga corak ragam yang lain. Setelah tahun 1910 banyak batik yang di desain oleh sejumlah pengusaha Cina tidak hanya memasukan ornament yang khas china, seperti Naga atau Phoenix.
TheTie Siet, Oey Soen King, Lim Siok Hien, Lim Boe In, Lim Boen Gan dan Oey Soe Tjoen adalah sebagian dari nama-nama para pengrajin batik dari kalangan keturunan Cina yang banyak berperan dalam pengembangan desain batik di Pekalongan. Diantara mereka Oey Soe Tjoen dapat disebut yang paling dikenal.

Sejumlah batik yang di desain oleh sejumlah peranakan China sangat mirip dengan yang didesain oleh pengusaha Indo eropa. Meski terdapat sejumlah perubahan pada pola pewarnaan atau isen. Sarung encim dapat disebut sebagai contoh dari jenis ini.
Pengaruh desain china pada batik Pekalongan adalah sebagai berikut
Munculnya sejumlah corak ragam China, seperti Naga, Phoenix, Kupu-kupu dan corak ragam yang lain
Pola pewarnaan, para pengusaha Cina memunculkan macam warna yang lebih beraneka ragam, mereka juga memunculkan bayangan atau gradasi warna. Pengembangan pola pewarnaan batik oleh mereka menjadi lebih maju lagi, ketika mereka melakukan proses pewarnaan dengan bahan kimia pada akhir abad kesembilan belas.

Batik Java Hokokai
Malaise dunia yang pertama pada tahun 1930 telah menghancurkan sejumlah perusahaan batik Banyak perusahaan batik di wilayah ini yang bangkrut. Bahkan ada yang mengalihkan usahanya. Di Pekajangan sejumlah pengusaha batik mulai membuka usaha tenun.
Perubahan yang paling fundamental setelah malaise dunia dalam perkembangan desain batik pesisir adalah dibukanya kontak perdagangan Jepang dengan Indonesia. Karena proses ini telah memunculkan gagasan tentang jenis batik yang cocok untuk dipakai sebagai bahan kimono, pakaian khas perempuan Jepang
Batik Java Hokokai dapat disebut sebagai desain batik yang khusus di pasarkan Jepang, rata-rata batik hokokai digarap dengan sangat halus, rancangan corak ragam dan isen juga sangat rumit. Menurut pengakuan pemilik Batik Art di Kedungwuni, Ny Mulyadi Wijaya yang juga menantu Oey Soe Tjoen, Batik Java hokokai yang halus adalah yang di produksi pada saat penjajahan Jepang.Para pengrajin yang bekerja berlama-lama dengan pekerjaan, sederhana saja alasan bagi pembatiknya, untuk tetap mendapatkan jatah makan di tempat kerjanya, Maklum zaman itu makan menjadi problem yang paling penting

Batik Pesisir Yang Lain
Corak ragam batik pesisir yang lain adalah desain batik yang menyerap corak ragam dari batik-batik yang dibuat di lingkungan istana, meskipun terjadi perubahan pada tata warna atau dilakukannya kombinasi dengan corak ragam yang lain. Sehingga desain batik pesisir yang menyerap corak ragam batik dari lingkungan istana ini tidak umum atau tampak beda dengan desain aslinya. Seperti Dlorong Kembang dan Dlorong Kewan.
Disamping itu masih ada corak yang menggabung sejumlah unsur desain yang ada di sejumlah sentra batik, desain ini menyusul perkembangan perdagangan dan interaksi yang kuat antar sentra batik di Jawa. Desain-desain batik yang menggabungkan desain yang berasal dari dua atau tiga sentra batik disebut sebagi batik dua negeri atau batik tiga negeri.
Sayangnya dari sejumlah koleksi batik yang ada dari Pekalongan, lebih banyak yang merupakan batik yang dibuat oleh orang-orang asing atau keturunan, tidak banyak yang merujuk kepada pengusaha pribumi. Kondisi ini dapat berarti karya mereka tidak banyak terkoleksi, mungkin sedikit sekali produksi pengrajin dari kalangan pribumi yang layak di koleksi, tetapi hal ini susah dipahami karena secara kuantitatif jumlah mereka yang terjun dalam proses produksi lebih banyak dari orang-orang asing atau keturunan. Tetapi bisa juga berarti karena mereka tidak menguasai perdagangan. Sehingga sejumlah karya mereka harus berganti label.

Achmad Ilyas, pemerhati batik tinggal di Pekalongan

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I left my heart in Pekalongan



Ini adalah catatan perjalanan saya ke Pekalongan pada akhir Juni yang lalu. Acara HUT Jalansutra di TMII belum lagi rampung tapi saya sudah harus bergegas ke titik bertemu dengan teman-teman yang akan berangkat ke Pekalongan. Sambil bersalam-salaman dan pamit saya lihat Tatyo berjalan ke mobilnya. “Mau pulang, Mas?” tanya saya. “Oh nggak, ini mau ngambil wine di mobil..” Waks, I missed the best part!

Setelah berkumpul kami pun memulai perjalanan bermobil. Jalan tol Cikampek pamer dada alias padat merayap tersendat-sendat. Di beberapa titik ada rest area yang kian kinclong saja. Jalan Pantura sebagian aspalnya keriting. Di beberapa ruas sedang di perbaiki, mengantisipasi mudik yang akan datang. Lepas tengah malam badan mulai dingin, waktunya minum kopi. Sambil mengurangi kecepatan kami pun celingukan mencari warung atau rumah makan di daerah yang bernama Patrol. Sebagian besar sudah tutup. Ada beberapa warung yang buka, biasanya persinggahan truk, tapi kok remang-remang ya? Bikin malas menghampiri. Akhirnya, kami pun sampai di satu warung yang cukup ramai—walau remang-remang. Sambil ngopi saya mengamati sekeliling ternyata semua warung di daerah situ menggunakan lampu remang-remang untuk menghindari laron dan serangga sejenis kumbang kecil yang banyak di daerah itu. Warung remang-remang di jalur Pantura ternyata memang… remang-remang betulan.

Matahari pagi menyambut kami di Pekalongan. Sekitar jam 07.30 kami sudah sampai di pusat kota. Hmm.. waktunya sarapan. Maksud hati mencari tauto, apa daya sampainya di Masduki. Tauto adalah soto khas Pekalongan yang menggunakan daging kerbau dan tauco. Kuahnya berminyak dan pedas. Tarikan tauco Pekalongan agak berbeda dengan tauco Cianjur; lebih “wide” dan “elegant” ketimbang temannya dari Cianjur yang “sharp” dan “crisp” (lho, ini tauco apa wine??).

Masduki yang saya sebut di atas adalah warung makan khas Pekalongan yang ada di dekat Alun-Alun. Tentu ada megono, cacahan nangka muda dengan parutan kelapa dan bunga kecombrang yang khas. Megono dijadikan taburan atau kondimen. Menu lengkapnya adalah nasi dengan sayur dan lauk pauk. Ada hidangan sayur di Pekalongan yang selalu bikin rindu: potongan tomat hijau, kuah encer berbumbu dengan irisan petai. Pilihan lauk pauk yang tersedia di warung-warung Kota Batik ini adalah sriping (kemungkinan sejenis scallop) yang dioseng-oseng dengan cabai merah (paduan gurih-pedasnya melenakan hati), cumi (biasa disebut sotong) yang dimasak dengan tintanya, juga otot (entah bagian otot sebelah mana dari sapi) yang dimasak pedas. Jadi bisa dibayangkan: sepiring nasi dengan ditaburi megono, kemudian megono itu tenggelam karena disiram kuah sayur tomat hijau dan ada lauk sriping atau otot, atau cumi dengan tinta hitamnya…

Satu hidangan khas warung Masduki adalah garang asem gagrak Pekalongan. Pak Bondan Winarno sudah mencatat paling tidak ada lima varian garang asem yang ada di Jawa. Nah, garang asem Masduki adalah daging sapi dengan kuah kluwak encer yang rich tapi tetap segar. Sebagai pelengkap bisa dipilih telur rebus yang sudah dimasak dengan kuah manis seperti semur.

Badan pun segar oleh kuah garang asem yang hangat. Di alun-alun ada anak-anak SD menampilkan drumband yang unik. Karena belum kuat meniup trumpet atau trombone, selain menggunakan pianika dan xylophone (kalo gak salah ya namanya, itu loh besi yang dentingannya enak), digunakan keyboard yang sudah dirancang bisa dicantel ke pundak dan dihubungkan ke megaphone. Inovasi yang bagus. Lagunya pun nggak tanggung-tanggung buat ukuran anak SD: lagu Melly! “Sampai kapan kau gantung cerita cintaku, memberi harapan.. uwoo uwooo…” Duile… Anak SD geto loh.

Tujuan kami ke Pekalongan adalah menghadiri syukuran pernikahan teman kami Imam Wibowo dengan Afi. Imam adalah penulis di MetroTV. Acaranya di rumah. Hangat dan bersahaja. Sudah lama saya merindukan suasana perhelatan seperti ini. Tapi diam-diam saya juga punya target lain. Saya ingat nasi kebuli Keluarga Darul (orang tua Imam) ini dahsyat punya. Betul juga. Di salah satu pojok ada meja dengan nasi kebuli lengkap dengan uba-rampenya.

Nasi kebuli Ibu Darul selalu hadir dengan dua “lauk” daging. Yang pertama daging sapi yang lean dan tender, yang dimasak dengan bumbu cabe merah berminyak mirip dendeng balado dan yang satu adalah daging yang berlemak yang dimasak bumbu seperti kare tapi dengan kekentalan kuah mendekati kalio. Tapi yang bikin merem-melek adalah acar dari nanas, bawang merah dan cabai merah yang segar lagi merona. Apalagi nasinya tanak sempurna. Ahlan-wa-sahlan.

Selesai bernostalgia dengan nasi kebuli saya pun ngobrol-ngobrol dan menikmati suasana. Eh, ternyata ada tauto. Langsung aja deh diserbu. Keinginan yang tadi pagi sempat teralihkan kini terpuaskan.

Selesai perhelatan kami pun keliling-keliling kota dan terdampar di Warung Barokah di daerah Wiradesa. Jika dari Jakarta, Wiradesa ini ada selepas Pemalang begitu kita memasuki daerah Pekalongan. Sepanjang jalan kita bisa belanja batik grosir. Ada gapura aneh lagi gigantik di perempatan yang mempertemukan empat lengkungan besi di titik tengahnya. Entah apa maksudnya. Nah, warung Barokah ada tak jauh dari gapura aneh itu.

Seperti layaknya warung di Pekalongan, megono, sayur tomat hijau, sotong dan lain-lain juga tersedia di sini. Ada panci berisi sepertinya sayur asem yang menarik perhatian saya karena tidak ada kuahnya. Saya tanya, “Ini kuahnya sudah habis?” Dijawab, “Bukan, Pak. Kuahnya sengaja dipisah biar sayurnya tidak hancur tapi tetap hangat” kata seorang kitchen staff seraya menunjuk panci berisi kuah sayur asem yang nangkring di atas kompor berapi kecil. Wah, tekniknya boleh juga nih..

Tapi bukan itu yang kami buru. Di Barokah ini kambing-kambingannya lumayan mantab (pakai huruf b). Kematangan dan ke-“kering”-an satenya pas dan tidak gosong. Ada kikil dan gulai kambing yang gurih. Sayang sekali karena kami datang ketika matahari mulai doyong ke barat, hidangan karnivoris itu sudah banyak yang habis. Kami cuma kebagian sate dan gulai kambing. Seperti saya bilang, sate kambing yang dihidang dalam hotplate tampil dengan kecantikan yang sempurna. Tidak ada karbon gosong atau bagian yang melawan. Bumbu gule kambingnya tidak kompleks malah menampilkan kegurihan yang lugas, tapi disitulah nikmatnya. Sayang sekali karena hari panas dan gerah, saya tidak bisa memadukan sate dan gule ini dengan “pairing-nya” yaitu teh poci warung ini. Hmmhh.. kalau saja suhu udara agak bersahabat, menyantap sate yang keringnya pas, dengan nasi putih bersaput kuah gule dan tarikan teh poci gula batu… I will be flying…even though I don’t see a bright white light at the end of the tunnel.. (he he he.. serem amat).

Check out dari Barokah dalam keadaan gembrobyos. Teman saya Djudjur T. Susila yang bersama rekan-rekannya beberapa waktu lalu sukses menggelar Festival Batik Pekalongan menceritakan ada kue-kue khas warga Pekalongan keturunan Tionghoa. Terdengar namanya “Nyajo”. Langsung saja mobil diarahkan ke Jl. Rajawali, daerah Bendan. Ternyata yang disebut “Nyajo” adalah “Nyonya Djoe”, nama ibu pembuat kue. Tapi Nyonya Djoe sudah pindah ke Jl. Sumatera, tidak jauh dari situ. Tak lama kami pun sampai di rumahnya. Di ruang tamu yang sederhana itu tersedia beberapa nampah berisi kue-kue berbahan dasar tepung beras dan santan yang gurih yang dimasak di loyang dan dipotong-potong ketika disajikan. Dari sisi genre mungkin agak dekat dengan kue talam, kue pepe atau ongol-ongol di Jakarta. Menurut mbak yang melayani kami, Ny. Djoe sudah 40 tahun berjualan kue “basah” ini. Ada kue lumpang yang berbalut kacang tanah yang digerus kasar. Dicetak dalam mangkok-mangkok kecil. Uniknya, kue lumpang ini tidak terlalu manis. Mungkin bagian dalamnya sengaja dibikin agak “plain” untuk mengimbangi rasa khas kacang. Ada lapis jeruk wangi yang sangat istimewa. Kue tepung beras putih gurih dengan selapis toping warna oranye kecoklatan yang menghantarkan wangi jeruk purut. Balance, dengan sensasi kelembutan yang istimewa. Ada kue latoh, dengan balutan warna dan aroma dari daun suji yang disantap dengan parutan kelapa kukus. Ada satu favorit saya, namun cuma kebagian icip-icip sedikit karena yang tersedia adalah pesanan orang, yaitu getuk singkong, yang mirip dengan getuk singkongnya di daerah Jawa Tengah lainnya namun dengan tekstur yang lebih lembut tapi juga sedikit crusty dengan sedikit isian coklat di tengahnya. I shall return for this getuk singkong!

Sore kami lalui dengan obrolan santai lengkap dengan kopi rempah yang dibeli di toko khas Arab di dekat lapangan Sorogenen. Pekalongan adalah salah satu melting pot kebudayaan yang mengagumkan. Orang keturunan Arab, Tionghoa, OPEK (alias orang Pekalongan) dan etnis-etnis lainnya hidup damai berdampingan dalam vibrancy khas kota pesisir. Almarhum Nurcholish Madjid alias Cak Nur pernah beranalogi, jika secara sederhana mindset kebudayaan nusantara dibagi dua antara pesisir (Sumatra) yang kosmopolit dengan pedalaman (Jawa) yang hirarkis dengan kekuasaan yang efektif beroperasi, maka “sintesis Indonesia” adalah Pekalongan karena Pekalongan adalah “Jawa yang pesisir, Jawa dengan kultur perniagaan dan tata pergaulan yang egaliter”.

Masuk waktu makan malam kami pun berembuk. Ada yang usul kepiting kombor, ikan bakar di Wiroto, sego megono Pak Bon, atau yang lainnya. Saya sebenarnya kepingin sekali makan es sekoteng Wan di daerah Klego. Namanya sekoteng tapi penampakannya sangat berbeda dengan sekoteng konvensional. Selain itu sekoteng di sini bisa disajikan panas atau dingin dengan es. Santan, susu kental manis dan sirup merah mengiringi misoa dan potongan roti tawar. Ya, misoa. Malah tekstur dan rasa plain misoa ini yang menjadi sensasi tersendiri. Tapi akhirnya kami sepakat mencoba tempat baru di Pantai Sigandu yang sudah masuk daerah kabupaten Batang.

Tempat ini merupakan pengembangan dari pelabuhan dan tempat pelelangan ikan di Pantai Sigandu. Agak keluar dari hiruk-pikuk pelabuhan dan pelelangan ikan ada dua tempat makan ikan bakar al-fresco dengan penampilan yang cukup baik. Kami mengambil tempat di salah satu warung itu, yang paling dekat dengan pantai. DI tempat ini saya baru sadar teringat lagi perbedaan nomenklatur penamaan ikan yang sempa menggelitik penasaran saya beberapa tahun yang lalu. Ternyata ikan “pihi” di sini adalah ikan “sebelah” di Jakarta dan ikan “jeruk” adalah ikan “ayam-ayam”.

Bersama pilihan ikan lain dan cumi goreng tepung, datanglah kedua ikan ini. Kesegarannya memang patut dipuji tapi bumbu bakarannya biasa saja, bahkan cenderung tenggelam oleh kecap. Tapi sambel terasinya mana tahan! Sangat kuat aromanya, gurih dan tidak terlalu pedas. Tarikan terasinya mengingatkan saya pada terasi dari Juwana. Aahhh…

Selesai makan kamipun bersiap-siap pulang. Lumayan nih, dua malam berturut-turut tidur di mobil. Sampai di Depok keesokan paginya, walau badan masih pegal, langsung saya menyeduh kopi dan menggelar kue-kue dari Nyonya Djoe untuk dinikmati bareng-bareng keluarga. Tapi rasanya masih ada yang tertinggal di sana.

Duh, Tony Bennett, terpaksa kupinjam lagumu:

“I left my heart, in Pekalongan…”


Dadi Krismatono
Bekerja di Komite Nasional Kebijakan Governance, pegiat komunitas jalan-jalan dan makan-makan, jalansutra, tinggal di Jakarta

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Siam Yuth Center - Muay Thai Chaiya

Muay Thai Chaiya Stlye Grand Master Preang infomation.Siam Yuth Center*History*Ancient Muay Thai*Muay Chaiya Training and Sparring*Krabi Krabong Training and Sparring*Self Defense Technic

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Traditional Muay Thai Chaiya training - Peen Tonmai,Tai Chuek

Peen Tonmai - Tai Chuek (Climb trees, climb rope). Climbing trees and ropes would develop stamina, endurance, and equilibrium of one’s body. It is a way to lay a foundation for the students to learn the grappling, clinching, swinging, climbing, scaling, mounting, which are other spectrums Muay Chaiya.Download Cliphttp://one.revver.com/watch/298312/flv/affiliate/92536

Traditional Muay thai Chaiya training-Chok Manao

Chok Manao ( Punching lemons). The defensive aspect of Pahuyuth training is the Pong-Pad-Pid-Perd (to block, to swipe to cover, to open). Teachers would hang lemons at about neck high. The students would have to hit the lemons with their fists, elbows and defend themselves with the defensive techniques. The students would have to be able to strike, block, attack, defend, and move in the master

Muay Thai Chaiya - Sok Chaiya

Sok Chaiya (Chaiya’s elbow). In Chaiya style of fighting, elbows are short weapons designed to be used at close range. They are the dexterous weapons of Muay Chaiya. The elbows would be moving back and forth, up and down close to the face, making the face well covered and at the same time, allow the fighter to be able to launch his own attack with great power and speed. It is difficult to attack

Saturday, April 28, 2007

K-1 Dynamite MMA Coming to the States

Seems like everyone is cashing in on the MMA these days. FEG (Fighting Entertainment Group), ProElite (PELE:PK) and Showtime Networks announced last month a deal to bring the “K-1 Dynamite” mixed martial arts (MMA) series to the United States for the first time. “Softbank presents Dynamite!! USA in association with ProElite,” this SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View event will take place June 2nd at Los

Batik Pekalongan As a Geographical Indication Potential in Indonesia
by Miranda Risang Ayu

Geographical Indication is one of Intellectual Property Rights regimes,other than Patent or Copyright,regulates a mark of a product which the quality and character of the product are essentially attributed by its place of origin.Theoretically,it could be an agricultural products,foods,or manufactures, as long as it embodies human creativity,has economic value,and widely known by its distinct character due to its geographical origin.The examples are Coonawarra wine or Batlow apples.

Indonesia has regulated Geographical Indication in the Trade Mark Law Number 15 Year 2001.Yet,there is no Geographical Indication ptential has successfully gained protection.One of the causes of this problem is likely due to the weakness of Indonesian legal system that gives less attention to the main needs of the right holders-in-context.So,it is important to assess the voice of local producers and interest groups of potential products in Indonesia to get a sense of the best Geographical Indication legal means should be developed on their favour.

Pekalongan Batik would be presented as one of the samples of Indonesian potential products.Pekalongan Batik is a special traditional Indonesian clothes called'batik' produced in Pekalongan, Central Java,Indonesia.Batik Pekalongan is only one of type of'batik' which are widely produced throughout Java and Madura islands, Indonesia, and mostly named by their place of origins, such as Yogya, Solo, Ceribon, Lasem, Banyumas, and Madura'batiks". In this respect,interviews have been conducted with the local producers and interest groups of Batik Pekalongan in Pekalongan city.





Miranda Risang Ayu is a lecturer at Law Faculty, Padjadjaran University (UNPAD), Bandung, where she got her bachelor degree. She then got her master degree in the same field from University of Techology Sydney (UTS), Australia, where she is currently pursuing her PhD degree.

She is an active columnist in several magazines and newspapers: Ummat, Suara Hidayatullah, Panji Masyarakat, Paras, Bandung Pos, Hikmah, Pikiran Rakyat, and Republika. Compilations of her columns have been published in three books: Cahaya Rumah Kita (1997), Permata Rumah Kita (2002), and Purnama Hati (2003).

She is also known as a choreographer whose two creations “Istighfar” and “Tasbih” have been widely known and discussed as they were created based on the idea to use aesthetic movements of the dress to replace the aesthetic movements of the body.

source:
http://pojok-kanayakan.net

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Batik Pekalongan in Asma Nadia Eye



Asma Nadia,moslem women cum profesional writer,has a chance to feel the cool side of batik Pekalongan,take some picture(I think you are a lucky lady could grasp many pictures at our batik museum).

check it out!http://anadia.multiply.com/photos/album/111

Pekalongan Society for Local Community Initiative on Batik&City Branding,very proud and thankful for her kindness.In our heart,you are:our batik ambassador!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thanks :

Pekalongan Society Initiative on Batik&City Branding,Nortseacoast of Central Java Region-Indonesia fully thank 2:

Allah SWT
GKBI Investment http://gkbi-batik.com/images/logo_gkbi.gif
PT Telkom http://www.telkomflexi.com/
PT Djarum http://www.djarum.co.id
Pemerintah Kota Pekalongan http://www.kotapekalongan.go.id/
Pemerintah Kabupaten Pekalongan http://www.pekalongankab.go.id/
Asephi BPC Pekalongan www.asephi.org/bpcpekalongan.html
Paguyuban Pecinta Batik Pekalongan http://www.festivalbatik.com/profile.php?
Urban Studies Unika Soegijapranoto http://unika.ac.id/sembatik/sembatik.html
Radio BSP FM http://www.festivalbatik.com/images/bpsp-fm.gif
Masyarakat Perbatikan kota dan kabupaten Pekalongan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pekalongan
Wirokuto Batik www.wirokuto-batik.com
Pesisir Batik
Arina Batik
Ghofar Batik
Raveena Batik Garmenindo http://batikcap.com/
Laire Batik
Tobal Batik
Feno Batik
Metrotv http://www.metrotvnews.com/
Transtv www.transtv.co.id/
RCTI www.rcti.tv/
SCTV www.sctv.co.id/
Radio 68h www.kbr68h.com/
SmartFM
Majalah Handicraft Indonesia http://majalah-handicraft.jogja.com/


news on Guinnes World Records for Pekalongan Batik:
The Jakarta Post
http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20070329.G03
Antara News Agency
http://www.antara.co.id/arc/2007/3/23/batik-terluas-dari-pekalongan-masuk-guinnes-book
Voanewsindonesia
Tempointeraktif www.tempointeraktif.com/hg/nasional/2007/03/22/brk,20070322-96046,id.html
Bisnis Indonesia
www.bisnis.com/pls/portal30/url/page/bisnis_indonesia_web_detail?p_topik=W34&p_prev=514688 - 56k
Indeks Bisnis Indonesia News www.e-bursa.com/berita/content.php?sour=BIS&id=70322163831619241&d=20070322
Media-Indonesia Online
http://www.mediaindo.co.id/berita.asp?id=127908
Republika Online
www.republika.co.id/online_detail.asp?id=287231&kat_id=23
Okezonedotcom
www.okezone.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9536&Itemid=67
Suara Merdeka Cybernews
http://www.suaramerdeka.com/cybernews/harian/0703/23/dar1.htm
Seputar Indonesia edisi sore www.seputar-indonesia.com/edisicetak/nasional-sore/membatik-bisa-pecahkan-rekor-dunia-3.html
Seputar Indonesia Jawa Tengah & DIJ
Minister of Home Affairs www.indonesia.go.id/index.php/content/view/3313/684/
Minister of Culture and Tourism RI www.my-indonesia.info/page.php?ic=53&id=2401
wisatadotnet
kapanlagidotcom
www.kapanlagi.com/h/0000163545.html
milisidaarimurti http://groups.yahoo.com/group/idakrisnashow/message/26114
banjarmasinpost www.indomedia.com/bpost/032007/22/depan/utama13.htm
harian andalas
http://e-belajar.com/sites/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=1
sinar harapan
http://www.sinarharapan.co.id/berita/0703/27/hib02.html
bogorcybercity
http://www.bogor.net/inside.asp?edition=1&cat=35&NewsID=14925
plazarayadotcom
http://www.plazaraya.com/mod.php?mod=publisher&op=viewarticle&artid=2310

Beritasoredotcom
http://www.beritasore.com/content/view/15990/36/

Pasarmuslimdotcom
http://www.pasarmuslim.com/terkini.php?bid=1079

Pekalongan batik sets world record

National News - March 29, 2007


Suherdjoko
, The Jakarta Post, Pekalongan

Guinness World Records has issued a certificate to the Pekalongan Batik Lovers Association for its feat of breaking the previous record for the largest batik painting in the world, a festival organizer in Pekalongan, Central Java, said.

The head of the Pekalongan Batik Festival organizing committee, Romi Oktabirawa, said Sunday the London-based record-keeping organization had stated that the association was entitled to receive the certificate following its achievement of creating a 1,200-meter long colored batik painting, which involved 1,000 artisans and was completed in under 24 hours.

The effort was undertaken during the Batik On The Road event on Sept. 16, 2005, as part of the Pekalongan Batik Festival.

"Frankly speaking, we are very proud and thankful over this achievement. We hope the world will always remember Pekalongan for its batik," said Romi.

The previous world record was set by Sarkasi Said of Singapore in 2003, who created a 100-meter batik painting in nine and a half hours.

Romi said the organizing committee had initially e-mailed the verification division of Guinness World Records.

The organizing committee had sent audio-visual data, photographs and coverage by major print and electronic media in Indonesia to back the application.

Romi acted as chairman of the committee, M. Ani Sofyan as video cameraman and Arief Wicaksono as photographer. They were supported by Nusyirwan Tirtaamidjaja from Irwan Tirta Batik, multimedia expert Roy Suryo Noto Diprojo and Larasati Suliantoro Sulaiman, a philosophy and aesthetics lecturer from the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, who signed the agreement with Guinness World Records.

Batik On The Road program officer, Mohamad Ali Djuffry, said the accomplishment was not only accredited to the association, but was also the pride of the people of Pekalongan.

The association's spokesman, Djudjur T. Susila, said the process of achieving the world record was quite lengthy.

"We received a reply that we'd been shortlisted six months after the feat, and the certificate just arrived in Pekalongan a few days ago," Djudjur said.

"Compared to other cities with their extravagant promotional campaigns, such as Yogyakarta with its 'Never Ending Asia', Surakarta's 'The Spirit of Java', or 'Enjoy Jakarta', ours is the cheapest as it was initiated by the local community."

Pekalongan batik originates from Pekalongan city and Pekalongan regency. Both areas are known as coastal batik centers. Pekalongan city has 608 batik business ventures employing 5,821 of its 240,000 inhabitants, while Pekalongan regency has 2,000 batik businesses employing around 10,000 of its 850,000 people.

Djudjur said that following the success of the 2005 batik festival, batik lovers in Pekalongan have planned to organize the 2007 Pekalongan Batik Festival under the theme of "World Batik Fiesta".

"However, this time the Pekalongan municipality seemed to be eager to be involved by taking the initiative to appoint its mayor as chairman and his staff as organizing committee members of the festival," Djudjur said.
"This is all done for the sake of accomplishing the Trade Ministry's Indonesia Design Power program, in which Pekalongan city is one of its pilot projects."
He asserted that some members of the association perceived that the community-based batik festival should not be split between the city and regency. It is inappropriate for bureaucrats to organize the event because they are merely regulators and facilitators, he said.
Djudjur added that artisans had continued creating batik designs and techniques in line with market trends. The processes involved in batik-making are unique, he said, highlighting features such as silkscreen printing and the use of eco-friendly materials.
He acknowledged that chemicals had polluted Pekalongan, citing the often-murky river water there.
"However, we have made efforts to avoid environmental damage by requiring factories to be equipped with waste processing facilities. Besides that, the government has also been selective in issuing business licenses. The Chamber of Commerce is also probing the possibility of working together with its German counterpart in waste management technology," said Djudjur

http://old.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20070329.G03

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From street fighter to pro

Four years ago Jamie Johnson was a streetfighter, today he is a kickboxer preparing for his first professional fight against an opponent eager to smash an elbow, knee, hand or shin into his head.On Sunday, the 21-year-old Taupo man will fight in Brute Force, a Melbourne- based tournament for top Muay Thai fighters.Muay Thai, a versatile, straightforward martial art where the hands, shins, elbows

Friday, March 23, 2007

Antara News

Seni & Hiburan
23/03/07 06:19

Batik Terluas dari Pekalongan Masuk Guinnes Book of Records

Pekalongan (ANTARA News) - Kain batik terluas, mencapai panjang 1.200 meter dan lebar 1,5 meter, yang dibuat oleh perajin batik Kota Pekalongan, Jawa tengah, memperoleh sertifikat dan tercatat masuk ke Buku Rekor Dunia catatan Guinnes (Guinness World of Records" yang berpusat di kota London, Inggris.

Ketua Paguyuban Pecinta Batik Pekalongan (PPBP), Romi Oktabirawa, di Pekalongan, Jumat, mengatakan bahwa salah satu penilaian batik tersebut masuk dalam Guenness World Record, antara lain kain batik yang panjangnya 1.200 meter persegi ini dikerjakan seribu perajin dan dapat diselesaikan dalam waktu satu hari.

"Kami sangat bangga dengan diakuinya kain batik terbesar ini masuk dalam rekor dunia, dan ini membuktikan bahwa Kota Pekalongan merupakan pusat kerajinan batik di Indonesia, bahkan dunia," katanya.

Ia mengatakan, pihaknya menerima penghargaan sertifikat Guenness World Record ini pada pertengahan Maret 2007. Sementara pemecahan rekor dunia berlangsung dalam acara "Batik On The Road" 16 September 2005. Kegiatan ini sebagai rangkaian Festival Batik Pekalongan 2005 yang mengusung tema "Dari Pekalongan Membatik Dunia".

"Kami sangat bersyukur dan bangga atas prestasi ini dan semoga dunia akan mengingat Pekalongan karena batiknya," katanya yang didampingi Humas Asosiasi Eksportir dan Produsen Hendicraft Indonesia (Asephi) Kota Pekalongan, Djudjur Toto Susilo.

Romi Oktabirawa menjelaskan, penghargaan serupa ini pernah dibukukan oleh salah seorang perajin batik asal Singapura, Sarkasi Said dengan karya membatik sepanjang 100 meter persegi yang dikerjakan selama 91 jam lebih.

"Karya dari warga Singapura ini, akhirnya bisa dikalahkan oleh perajin batik Kota Pekalongan dengan hasil karya yang lebih menakjubkan," ujarnya.

Sementara itu, Mohmad Ali Juffri selaku penanggung jawab Program Batik "On The Road" Pekalongan, mengatakan bahwa pengesahan penghargaan sertifikat rekor dunia ini bukan saja milik para perajin batik yang tergabung dalam PPBP, melainkan juga inisiatif dan kebanggaan dari, oleh, dan untuk seluruh masyarakat Pekalongan.

"Jadi, kebanggaan perolehan penghargaan rekor dunia tidak hanya dimiliki oleh perajin batik saja, tetapi juga untuk masyarakat Pekalongan dan bangsa Indonesia pada umumnya," katanya menambahkan.
Copyright 2007 ANTARA

http://www.antara.co.id/arc/2007/3/23/batik-terluas-dari-pekalongan-masuk-guinnes-book-of-records/

Media Indonesia Online

NUSANTARA
Jawa Tengah - DIY


Batik Pekalongan Pecahkan Rekor Dunia

Penulis: Akhmad Safuan
PEKALONGAN--MIOL:
Batik asal Pekalongan pecahkan rekor dunia dan mendapatkan kiriman sertifikat Guinnes World Records. Rekor kategori batik terbesar the largest batik, sepanjang 1.200 m2 (setara 12.916 kaki), diberikan kepada Paguyuban Pecinta Batik Pekalongan (PPBP).
Keterangan yang dihimpun Media Indonesia di Pekalongan, Rabu (21/3), menyebutkan dalam catatan lembaga pencatat rekor dunia yang berpusat di London itu, PPBP disahkan menerima sertifikat Guinnes World Records.
Soalnya, lembaga itu telah membatik kain sepanjang 1.200 meter persegi (setara 12.916 kaki) dalam waktu sehari, termasuk pewarnaannya. Seribu pembatik tulis itu beraksi dalam acara Batik On The Road, 16 September 2005, sebagai rangkaian Festival Batik Pekalongan 2005 yang mengusung tema Dari Pekalongan Membatik Dunia.
"Kami bersyukur dan bangga atas prestasi ini, semoga dunia akan mengingat Pekalongan karena batiknya dan bila berbicara batik tentu tak akan bisa lepas dari Pekalongan," kata Ketua Panitia FBP 2005 Romi Oktabirawa, Rabu.
Rekor batik dunia sebelumnya dibukukan oleh Sarkasi Said dari Singapura pada 2003 yang membatik 100 m batik. Setelah Pekalongan melakukan pemecahan yang terbaru dengan 1.200 m2 dengan melibatkan 1.000 pembatik dalam satu hari tersebut, rekor dunia beralih ke Indonesia.
Pada mulanya panitia FBP 2005, berkirim surat elektronik ke bagian verifikasi Guinnes World Records Ltd. Dengan mengantongi nomer identifikasi klaim 137068 dan nomor keanggotaan 125649, panitia yang diwakili Romi Oktabirawa selaku ketua, M Ani Sofyan (kamerawen), dan Arief Wicaksono (still photo).
Peristiwa itu didukung kesaksian Nusyirwan Tirtaamidjaja (Iwan Tirta, batik artisan), Roy Suryo Noto Diprojo (ahli multimedia), dan Larasati Suliantoro Sulaiman (dosen filsafat estetika Universitas Gadjah Mada) menandatangani agreement dengan pihak Guinnes World Records Ltd. Dilengkapi dokumen audio visual, fotografi, kliping liputan dari media cetak dan elektronik utama di Indonesia. (AS/OL-02)
www.mediaindo.co.id/berita.asp?Id=127908

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tempointeraktif Dot Com

Batik Pekalongan Pecahkan Rekor Guinness
Kamis, 22 Maret 2007 | 13:13 WIB

TEMPO Interaktif, Semarang:
PaguyubanPecinta Batik Pekalongan, Pekalongan, Jawa Tengah, telah memecahkan
rekor dunia untuk kategori batik terbesar. Rekor tersebut pecah setelah Paguyuban mampu membatik kain sepanjang 1200 meter persegi (setara12.916 kaki), dengan mengerahkan seribu pembatik tulis, sekaligus menyelesaikan pewarnaannya dalam waktu satu hari.

Lembaga pencatat rekor Guinness World Records Ltd telah mengirim
sertifikat pemecahan rekor untuk acara yang digelar pada 16 september
2005 lalu dengan tajuk “Batik On The Road”. Acara ini merupakan salah
satu dari rangkaian Festival Batik Pekalongan 2005 yang mengusung
tema,”Dari Pekalongan Membatik Dunia.”

“Kami bersyukur dan bangga atas prestasi ini,” ketua panitia Festival, Romi Oktabirawa, melalui siaran pers yang diterima Tempo,
Kamis (22/3). Ia berharap dunia akan mengingat Pekalongan karena
batiknya. Dan bila merela membicarakan batik, tentu tak bisa lupa pada
Pekalongan.

Rekor dunia sebelumnya dibukukan oleh Sarkasi Said dari Singapura pada
tahun 2003, yang membatik di atas kain 100 meter batik selama 91 jam
lebih 2 menit.

Romi bercerita, awalnya panitia Festival Batik Pekalongan 2005 mengirim
surat elektronik ke bagian verifikasi Guinness World Records Ltd. yang
berpusat di London. Setelah mengantongi nomor identifikasi klaim 137068
dan nomop keanggotaan 125649, panitia yang terdiri dari Romi Oktabirawa
(ketua), M.Ani Sofyan (video kamerawan) dan Arief Wicaksono (still
photo), didukung kesaksian Nusyirwan Tirtaamidjaja (Iwan Tirta, batik
artisan), Roy Suryo Noto Diprojo (ahli multimedia) dan Larasati
Suliantoro Sulaiman (dosen filsafat estetika Universitas Gadjah Mada
Yogyakarta), menandatangani kesepakatan dengan pihak Guinness.

"Kami juga melengkapinya dengan dokumen audio visual, fotografi,
kliping liputan dari media cetak dan elektronik utama di Indonesia,"
kata Romi. Setelah ditunggu-tunggu Guinness menyatakan mereka berhasil.
"Ini menjadi langkah untuk memasarkan batik Pekalongan ke pasar dunia,"
kata Romi.

Romi mengatakan, selama ini batik dari Indonesia sudah mulai terpuruk
dan kalah saing dengan negara lain, seperti Malaysia. "Karena Malaysia
sudah mamatenkan batik itu," kata Romi kecewa.

Mohamad Ali Djuffry, kepala program “Batik On the Road”, menganggap
pengesahan ini bukan saja milik dan menjadi kebanggaan panitia. "Tapi
juga merupakan kebanggaan seluruh masyarakat Pekalongan," katanya. Rofiuddin



http://www.tempointeraktif.com

THAI LADY KICK BOXER FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM

THAI LADY KICK BOXER FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM Many of the farang males in Thailand are well into Muay Thai – kickboxing. Local foreign residents go along to the various kickboxing venues in Pattaya to watch Thai guys beating the living daylights out of each other, but if you were to go to Bangkok there’s an attraction of a new kind –ladies beating hell out of each other. Not ordinary ladies, you

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

batik trail by Vera Kark


Tuesday, March 17, 1998

Today I go to Pekalongan on the north coast of Central Java. It is known for its batik. I've booked another driver to take me there, nothing like a little comfort and security. I take care of business with a trip to the post office to mail back a package of recent purchases (mostly fabric) and exposed film. I've been sending the film back via airmail to my brother-in-law who gets it developed for me. So far, everything has made it okay. My other packages are sent via slow boat, I don't know that any have made it yet, fingers crossed.

The drive north from Solo is okay. With an effort I try not to be a back seat driver and get too tense over crazy driving. We pass through nice countryside and industrial areas where fabric and other goods are manufactured. Pekolongan is definitely off the tourist track. It's a large dusty town. From the limited information in my guidebook, I try one of the hotels and attempt to bargain. I think they know they are the only game in town. The other "decent" hotel feels very dingy and dirty. So it's back to the first to get myself settled. The bargaining business is a crapshoot. This is one of those times when it's difficult to know what is going on. The hotel is okay, not overly aesthetic, but functionally okay. My paranoia, bargaining insecurities, and loneliness are kicking in. I feel exposed as I journey more off the beaten track without knowing the language or the customs. I do the best I can with smiles and watchful common sense but it gets tiring to always be on guard for what is considered good behavior.

Eating lunch helps the situation. I take a walk and look around the place. I must be a rather strange site. Kids look at me, shouting in their school English "hello, Mrs" or even "hello Mr". I'm sure the parents look out from the shadows of their windows. I return the smiles and keep walking. Tired, I go back to my hotel, have a rest and arrange for a driver who knows English to take me around the batik areas tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 18, 1998

A day of batik, batik, batik. We start by looking for the tourist information center. It is not a popular tourist destination and is difficult to find. After much searching and back tracking, we finally locate it in the back offices of a local government building. Initiatives that sound grand in large city economic development plans don't always translate into well-executed tourist information centers. The people in the office are very friendly. The designated "English speaker"

does his best to give me information on the local sites. There is a museum. Someone from the tourist office will meet us there to unlock the building and show us around. My driver finds it and I look around. It's a small building in what appears to be a newer housing development. The exhibit has been up for a while and the sun exposure through the windows has faded many of the batik examples. It has a collection of batik tools and a few samples of different batik styles.

Next the driver takes me to several different batik factories and show rooms. They are family businesses. The variety of styles, colors and number of pieces are amazing. Entire rooms are lined with wall cupboards filled with folded fabric. One place we visit is famous for its intricate work and fine detail. The lines and dots that make up the floral and bird motifs are numerous, small and precisely done. The family has done the same designs for generations. The owner lets me know that they will gladly create a custom coloring for me. They can also execute a design of my own creating. She seems anxious for my business and a bit disappointed when I purchase only a small sample piece. Her work is wonderful but not the type that I really like. I have been trying to buy things I like with as much an eye for quality as possible. I find myself drawn to bold colors and dramatic patterns. I am still learning. I believe that unless I really know about a specific art piece or value, I'm better off getting things I like. The small sample piece I purchased is an example of different batik colors and styles. If I teach an overview of batik it is a beautiful example of detailed workmanship.


A man in a batik factory places on fabric a metal cap design dipped in wax.

There is so much batik everywhere. It is overwhelming. We stop at a local place for lunch before continuing. The restaurant is casual, with long tables, chairs and a simple menu of good food. My driver orders a tasty local dish for me with rice and tea. After eating, we go on to more batik shops. Some of the work is cotton, others silk. I am cautious in my purchases. Things seem to be priced fairly steeply compared to others I've seen. I bargain some, but there is just so much that it gets to be too much. I like seeing the variety and richness of the work and realize that I can't take all of it with me, but I can enjoy looking.

As we travel, my driver tells me about himself and asks me about my family. Where is my husband? I tell him that he had to stay home and work. He asks do we have children and when I tell him no, he asks have I been to a doctor, what did the doctor say? From his point of view, a woman should be home caring for her family. He proudly tells me that he and his wife are less that 25 years old and already have four children, girls. They'll keep trying until they have a boy. The government is encouraging two children families but somehow the rules are more lax if you haven't had a boy child yet. In general, the government program has been working, my driver is the youngest of twelve children. Overall, people seem to be easygoing and family oriented. Every place we visit knows the driver and welcomes him. I'm sure it is a sort of business arrangement, but they were all genuinely friendly to each other and me. While I look through the shelves of silk, they sit back and talk. They keep an eye on me. After gathering a range of choices, I ask for a price. For some reason the prices seem expensive. I bargain, but in the end, to me the pieces aren't worth the asking price. There is no compromise point. I leave empty handed but glad for the experience and chance to see so many wonderful batiks.


A circle of women sits around a pot of melted bees wax drawing batik designs in wax.

I get back to my hotel, have a rest and then dinner in the adequate, but uninspiring, hotel restaurant. Back in my room I watched CNN. There is a segment with a woman talking about Indonesia's harsh military actions against Timor and Irian Jaya. The woman continues to describe the force and brutality being used by the military against the local population. Soon the CNN broadcast is scrambled and the reception, only on CNN, is out. The other stations' reception is fine. I realize it is censorship in action. The military has a strong power in Indonesia. My driver from Solo to Pekalongan proudly displayed his wallet with its police/military emblem. The military is a good power place to be. In Toraja, my guide told me that families save up lots of money to pay the steep bribes to get one of their sons into the military. Such a job means a steady income, health benefits and privileges for himself and his family. My driver yesterday depended on his status to keep us from trouble when he was questioned for going so fast.
Thursday, March 19, 1998

The batik in Pekalongan is wonderful but I'm not crazy about the town or my hotel. They aren't too friendly, maybe it's me. I'm not comfortable here so I plan to depart for my next destination. Ironically, during breakfast in my hotel in Pekalongan, I meet an American woman who just arrived and is interested in Batik also. I think about staying on but my bags are packed, I've already arranged for the driver and am ready to go. I tell her about my adventures and introduce her to the driver, maybe she would like a similar tour?

We drive west along the north Java coast to Cirebon another town known for its batik Again, the drive is through pretty countryside. The town is a bit larger and has a better selection of comfortable hotels. Where I stay makes a difference in my well being. I feel much better here because I'm in a nicer hotel. I must be spoiled or increasingly missing the familiar. From all my business travel; a hotel is a comfortable refuge. It seems that most modern hotels are similar with TV, standard issue furniture, carpet, one large window, small table with two chairs and a bathroom with shower/tub, toilet and sink. There is nothing wrong with a few creature comforts. The restaurant is good and there are silly movies on the TV. I settle in and then walk around.


A cupboard in the corner at the sultan's palace.
Friday, March 20, 1998

I get up lazy, shower, dress and then look for twenty minutes in a panic trying to find my key. I thought it was lost only to realize that it is in the gizmo by the door that connects the power for the room, oh well. After breakfast, I am off to town to see the sultan's palace, the market and other local sights. It looks like a prosperous place. My hotel is busier than others have been. There are a few tourists and what looks like business people. I chat briefly with one couple. They are here to visit furniture factories for their business in Holland. It turns out there are a number of Dutch and other Europeans who import furniture. One man tells me how he takes a lot of time to build good local relationships. He requires well-made furniture that is dried properly so that it will not crack in his clients' dryer climate. He has been coming to Java for many years and is proud of the quality of his business.

My stomach is a bit topsy turvey, something I ate along the way. I go back to the hotel in the afternoon. It is time for more resting and a visit to the pool with my book. I find an email place and reconnect with the rest of my world. From their email, it looks likes Parents have signed Mom and I up for a tour group in Italy. Hmm, that will be interesting. Originally, I thought we'd relax and mosey around one or two places. It turns out Mom is more comfortable knowing all the details will be taken care of, that's okay too. After the email, I give Mom a call. She sounds happy about the tour and that's what counts. I'm glad to have the time together, no matter how we do it. Other emails contain news and traumas about ended relationships and other problems. One thing I'm not dealing with is a boyfriend. That's both good and bad news. It means I don't have to worry about what he might want, but it also means not being able to share a lot of fun places and experience. Some day my prince will come, in the mean time, I'm not bored. I'm learning lots, and I'm having fun.
Saturday March 21, 1998

More stomach troubles and cramps as well. It's a good thing I'm in a comfortable place and can lay low and rest. Still, in the morning I take time for an exploration walk. More batik looking, although I'm beginning to feel a bit "batiked out". I wander around. My mood swings around like a rooster on a weathervane, from upbeat and adventurous to lonely and confused about the next steps on this journey. PMS combined with travel stress can do that to a body. I need to go to Jakarta to sort out my ticket business but it is a large city. I've heard that's where some of the problems have been and I don't really want to stay there long. I'm not sure where I want to go. I like the heat so I don't want to get to Europe before spring has a chance to warm things up. Maybe there is some place near Jakarta where I can hang out and relax for a while.


A woman works drawing designs in wax on a batik.

I take a taxi to some of the out of town batik places. There is a small town nearby that is known for its quality batik. The driver waits as I wander down the street looking in and out of a few places. I am shown the back rooms where they make the work, similar to other home batik factories. There is a sassy woman who is sixty years old and makes jokes. She won't let me take her picture. Another woman wants one of my barrettes for her child. I give it to her and then wander back to the shop where I buy two lovely pieces. One is delicate silk with detailed pattern, the other is a bold, bright, rough design on cotton. There is so much variety in the styles and colors. Our next stop is a large room that has a huge selection of very nice work. I look for a while, selecting and going through the entire place. After making my selections, the intense bargaining commences. It is a family business and I think the older brother is setting the prices. It is a very pricey collection of beautiful works. For all the other things I already have, you'd think I could walk away, but something sticks. I hemmed and hawed and tried all of my poor traveler techniques but I can't get them to budge on the price. They came down in price on the individual pieces and I think, but don't really know for sure, that there is one piece that they have mismarked too low. Eventually, after much posturing on my part, I decide to go ahead and get the pieces. That's what I' here for and they are beautiful examples of batik. My ongoing traumas with spending money be damned. I scurry back to the taxi to return to the sanctuary of my hotel and a rest by the pool.


Women paint dyes onto waxed batik cloth.

So what will I do with all these batiks? I'm not sure. They are examples of fine work and show the range and color of the designs. I can use them to make clothing, sell them, photograph them, or give them as gifts. Compared to art and fabric prices in the US, the purchase price I am getting here is a bargain. I do enjoy looking at each one. They are special and lively and unique pieces of art. I've purchase the ones that catch my eye, bold, bright with detailed clear colors, motion, texture, craftsmanship, patterns of tradition and patterns of spirit. I enjoy them. They will be fun to show and share when I get home.

Most of the people here are nice but I think that some view Americans, or Westerners, as responsible for the economic problems. It's easier than looking for a solution. There is some talk that Americans canceled a big airplane deal that caused something else to happen that started a chain reaction making everything bad. And now the Westerners, led by Americans, are holding up the release of the IMF relief funds. It's a confusing time, the problems continue, not going away. Each family is uncertain what it means to them. I am beginning to look forward to changing gears and moving into the more familiar Europe, at least I think it will be. I've been to Europe several times. America is filled with Germans, Italians, French, etc that we chould be extensions of each other. I know this is not the case, but at least our languages have a common root.

I've been traveling solo, existing pretty much on my own since I broke away from the tourist trail. I'm in survival mode, carefully guarding finances and interactions. I've been responsible for my own support for years. Fortunately I've got a great family for backup, but here, I'm totally on my own. The other half of the world is a very long plane ride away. Sometimes the challenges of solo travel bring loneliness and at other times they give strength. This trip brings lots up of thought and feeling. It's not clear if I'm changing much, but my experiences give me a chance to be a stronger, more independent person. Maybe I'm too independent at times with a dose of paranoiac protectiveness that is limiting. Even so, I'm here, away from the computer chaos and out of my comfort zone. Pleasure and adventure is the goal, not pain. Enough mental gymnastics for now, time to putter around in the pool.
Sunday, March 22, 1998

I spend the morning walking in town, going around the main streets, looking at people, store windows and watching the world go by. Occasionally I stop and sit and have a cool drink, a respite from the heat and a chance to get back fluids. Of course I wander in a few batik shops, more variety for the eye. Along with the handmade batiks, there are meters and meters of machine made sarongs and fabric lengths. They are an everyday piece of clothing, a multipurpose piece of cloth that can wrap a baby, become a skirt or be a bed sheet. The machine-printed cloth runs the gamut of quality and style. I keep looking but none of them appeal in the way that the handmade ones do. Often they are not much less in price either. Enough of the wandering, I return to my hotel for rest in the form of tacky movies on the TV. It's amazing how many truly bad movies the US exports. I spend some more time at the pool.


Detail from one of the many beautiful batiks created in Java.
Monday, March 23, 1998

In a week I'll be on my way to Frankfurt. For now, I'm going to Jakarta to sort out travel details. I need to change my air ticket. I've bought enough batik to stock a shop. I take the train from Cirebon to Jakarta. The direct route and relatively short distance to Jakarta may explain why town is prosperous. It's a good connection between the capital and the rural, somewhat industrial area near Cirebon. The train is comfortable and I watch the countryside give way to urban sprawl. A television on each end of the train car blares yet another bad American movie, there is no escape. I like riding and watching the countryside. My fellow passengers are primarily businessmen. They appear to be returning to work after a weekend in the country.

When we arrive in Jakarta, I play the safe way of arranging a taxi. There is a central taxi stand and for a minimum fee, I get a legal, metered taxi. Everywhere you go, transportation fees, especially taxis, are totally opportunistic. Drivers prey on your ignorance of the area and unfamiliarity with customs and pricing structures. I follow the route with my map. At the hotel I bargain my way into a very nice room. I am so lucky the exchange rate is in my favor. It is nice to have the security, convenience and comforts of a larger hotel, especially in a big city. After checking in and getting my things settled, I head out to find my way around and get some lunch.

Hot muggy weather combines with the noise and pollution of a large city. Cars and motorbikes roar madly everywhere, always a race. The primary thoroughfares are multi-laned and modern. Neighborhoods of ally ways and less substantial buildings are a few streets back. The taxi on the way to the hotel drove past some large homes shielded behind walled periphery. These are the homes of dignitaries and ambassadors. My driver pointed out the American ambassador's home and other leaders local "residences". Money buys the large and luxurious.

I'm looking for a travel agent to get some information about Italy and Germany. I want to figure out what I'm going to do before meeting Mom in Rome. I am also looking for the local tourist information center to find out more about Jakarta. In the same complex as a local info center is a Mexican restaurant. My oh my, why not try that for a change? Although some of the worse food I've ever eaten was in a Mexican restaurant in Australia. Maybe Mexican food does not translate well beyond the Americas? I have fajitas, they are edible, even enjoyable. The world gets smaller in so many ways.

The monetary crisis is getting worse. I think traveling will be more of a challenge. Prices for some things, like sugar, rice and cooking oil have more than doubled. The people are getting nervous because it's not clear how and if things will get better. What they hoped would be a temporary situation continues to get more serious. The government seems to operate on the status quo, cautious optimism maybe. Prices still go up and salaries are not being raised, if anything, people are loosing jobs. It's going to be a very tough time for many. It is time for me to leave, in one week I'll be gone.
Tuesday, March 24, 1998

Errands and emails, I send yet another package at the post office and find the email place next door. This is a large, central post office, but still men wait to wrap my package for a fee and help me expedite the shipping process. I pay them even though at time it feels like I'm paying bribes. I don't want to incur the wrath of the postage gods by denying these men a chance at a livelihood. The clerks behind the counter are part of the transaction. Overall, the process is works. As I walk through the halls of the large post office building, there are places to send faxes and transact other types of business. I notice that many of the offices have television sets that are on. Employees watch the current soap opera or local talk show through the corner of their eye. I've heard that the American show Santa Barbara and Bay Watch are both big favorites. What do they think of the United States? Do shapely lifeguards, red bathing suits, and the endless California beaches define us?

At the internet office strange collection of cyberfolks waits for one of six computer stations to become available. Most are young locals, both men and women. All of us hunch over keyboards as we communicate with the world beyond. Most of us are doing email, but some are surfing the web. Time flies and I leave feeling better having "talked" with the folks back home. I hint a bit at missing them or my loneliness but mostly I try to be upbeat about my adventures and show confidence in my onward progress. I take each day one at a time. Until my mind is in motion for the next step, all options are available. For one who was always planning for the future, everything in its place, this is a strange way to operate. Things work out just fine.


I look down at my foot and the elaborate decorations on the becak I am riding.

I go into a stationary/book store for a pen and some paper. Three if not more people do the job that less that one does in the US. One person follows me around to help, or to unwrap a book or get a pen out of the display case. Once I've decided on my purchase, another person writes up the order in a notebook, itemizing each product. There are specific people to write up products from various departments. So books will be written up by a different person that the pen person. Next I go to the cashier with my paper slips, she tallies the bill and takes my money. In the meantime, someone else is wrapping my purchases, again, a different one for each product department. At least this method gives a lot of young people jobs. When I walk into a store, there are usually a few of them standing around and giggling. Larger stores provide standardized shirts as uniforms. Sometimes I feel like I'm intruding. They do have nice smiles. My experience is similar in banks and post offices as well.

I feel even more that local reporting puts the blame for the economic crisis on the IMF and the US as the big bad guy. It's more complicated than orders for jets. The trappings of a modern world, fancy hotels, malls, fast food restaurants and airplane factories do not transform a country overnight. What about investing in infrastructure, education, health facilities, sewage treatment plants, and roads? The rich have a strong vested interest in keeping the status quo. As long as things are on the upswing, everyone's happy. The first big snag has everyone running for cover and protecting what's theirs. It took the United States over 200 years to get to where it is today, some of it bad, much of it good. I've tried to be a good American, smiling and being polite. Hopefully the Indonesians I've met will think better of the U.S. for having met me. My batik purchases alone help the economy.
Wednesday. March 25, 1998

I thought I would go to Bogar, a town in the mountains, but everyone said Bandung is better so I go there instead. Bandung is also in the mountains, a university town located near manufacturing and recreation centers. The three- hour train ride is spectacular, though mountains, past rice fields, over river filled gorges. I see people working in the fields and children playing in the streams. It is a beautiful vignette of the Javanese countryside.

I check into a hotel that is part of the same chain as the one in Jakarta. It's okay, but I spend the afternoon hotel hopping, going from one to the next while the taxi waits. There are some nice places. In the end, I decide to spurge on a luxurious, wonderfully built hotel tucked into the mountains. Each detail, from wood floors, to artful bathrooms is thought out. It appeals to the artist in me who wants to be pampered. My room has a small balcony that overlooks the black bottom pool and green, lush hillside beyond. It feels magical. I arrange to check in the following day and stay there before going back to Jakarta and my flight onward.
Thursday, March 26, 1998

I wander around Bandung, seeing the sights. Even though it is the third largest city in Indonesia, it doesn't feel crowded. Things move at a leisurely bustle. It's in the mountains so the weather cooler, fairly pleasant. I try to find the tourist office but the old building was torn down and the new one is under construction. The area is a production center for modern textiles. One of the main attractions is a place called Jean Street, Jalan Cihampelas. Each shop is more eccentric than the next. To draw customers, the storefronts have huge statues of King Kong and Superman flying from a roof. Colors, lights and spangles fight to grab your attention. Inside, there are stacks and racks of jeans, t-shirts and other mass-produced clothing seen round the world. I try some things on but decide the bargain is not worth the price. I can get the same stuff at home. Local teenagers cruise the street. They walk arm in arm, looking, checking each other out. I stop in a small local eating-place for a rice and vegetable lunch. It's tasty. I sit and watch the world come and go while eating food served family style on picnic tables covered with blue and white check plastic tablecloths. I wander into the local mall, another example of air-conditioned modernism emerging everywhere, complete with McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken. They have a bookstore with a small collection English paperbacks. I get a few more to keep up my supply. My choice of reading material is random, from Penguin classics to used mystery novels and science fiction paperbacks traded in by previous travelers.

I'm thinking about getting a Eurail pass for my travels in Europe. I manage to find an information pamphlet in English at a travel agency. I work my way back to the hotel for a rest, to read my book and to lounge by the pool. In working so hard to be a good traveler, I forget that I'm also on vacation. I am very happy to be here, staying in such a beautiful and luxurious hotel. It's the kind of place I'd love to come back to and share with someone. The pool is sleek. When you are in it, the edge drops off mysteriously into the hillside, water flows flat to the corner.
Friday, March 27, 1998

I've been taking fewer photos lately, more content to experience the place. The desire to record each moment gives way to just being here. Sometimes thecamera seems so intrusive, at other times a bother. I'm not here as a photojournalist, I'm here to observe, experience and learn. The camera can help, or it can get in the way with its artful framing for the folks back home. Each place is a collection of postcard views and the daily mundane made unique by its different-ness to my familiar. Maybe I'll remember these places, maybe they will fade and be part of the soup of experiences that make each of us who we are. So it goes, each day rolls into the next. I write almost every day in my journal, not always saying a lot, more often recording loneliness and stomachaches. The pen and paper become companions. A place to whine, nag, complain or rejoice, examine and record. Time stretches like a blank canvas. I wonder what to do next. Ah, the daily rituals, a shower, some breakfast, and so on, puttering. What would I do if I were home? Read, maybe go out on some mission, more likely some errand, rent a movie…

Americans take so much for granted, like sewage treatment plants, telephones, electricity and other established services. We call and usually get these services quickly, at a relatively reasonable cost. A chicken in every pot and a government to make sure everything is fair and things are taken care of when something bad happens. Usually that's the case, and when it isn't, the five o'clock news is there to report every gory detail. Most important, we take for granted the opportunities we have, for education, for jobs, for housing. We have the ability to take advantage of so many resources to make our lives better. It's not the case in Indonesia or other places. Jobs are available if you have the connections and money to pay the bribes. The distribution of wealth is so much more in the hands of the have than the have-nots. When things start going bad, as they are now, there are no systems, or welfare or special emergency funds to support those in trouble.

Enough of the philosophizing. I'll go get some postcards to send to the folks back home. My hotel has a computer with an internet connection, so modern! I rent some time and do more connecting. I report that I'm having a fine time, all is well, no problems.

I contemplate the future, What will I do when I get home? What type of work? How can I bring more creativity into my life? What is the balance between making a living and creating art? Is there an intersection between the two and where is that point for me? I'd like to do more with digital imaging, maybe get a good printer and make art pieces, work with some of the pictures from this trip or some of the stacks of photographs I already have. In the meantime, enjoy where I am now. There is so much beauty, texture, variety, color, and life all around me. My awareness is heightened because I am in a world that is so different from my own.

During my morning wanderings exploring downtown, I go into a bookstore. It isn't in a fancy mall but on the main street. The lights are all off, maybe to save electricity or keep the place cool? The people that work there, about five of them, just sit or stand around. I wonder why they don't want to do anything, read, clean up, arrange, organize or even talk amongst themselves. When I am in the shop there is almost no activity. The whole street feels that way with a ghost town sleepiness. More observations, many of the yuppies have cell phones and they sit in restaurants, walk on the streets, talking to their invisible companions on the other end of the line. I've also noticed that the majority of the Indonesians are slender but when I observe the local patrons at fast food restaurants like McDonalds, KFC or Dunkin' Donuts, they tend to be much heavier that the rest of the population. Increased fat intake is a downside of modern convenience foods.


Lonely barbershop chair in Bandung.

In the afternoon, there is time for more relaxing, enjoying the hotel, lounging by the pool and taking advantage of luxury in the form of a health spa down the street. I splurge today with two wonderful treatments, a cream bath for my hair and a facial. More than two hours of total pampering. The hair treatment is a conditioner that is slowly and thoroughly massaged into your hair and scalp, the massage continues to your neck and shoulders. The facial too, extends beyond the face to shoulders and arms, very wonderful. This is how life should be, or at least part of the weekly agenda. I daydream about sponsoring the women doing the treatments to my hometown and setting them up in business. This sort of service would be very successful. Life is very good.
Saturday, March 28, 1998

Rise and shine, I awake to a soft morning, a haze hovers over the hillside, the birds tweet all sorts of nice sounds, a rooster crows in the distance. All is well. I've had a good night's sleep. Two days until further encounters with airplanes and travel. I had a dream about flying last night. It's nice to be on one place for four days to relax, and hooray, my digestion is back on track. It's the little things that can make such a difference in one's disposition.

Last night I had a wonderful dinner in the hotel restaurant, overlooking the hillside as the daylight dimmed, lightning flashed and was joined by a light rain. Bats and bugs darted in and out of the shadows in search of their evening meal. The food was good, soft music in the distance, the muted conversation of other diners, the flicker of candlelight. I enjoyed the experience very much, this is a special place.

Hunger strikes again. Today for lunch I sit in an authentic Sudanese restaurant. The air is comfortably warm, water splashes in a fountain. Maybe it will rain later, who knows. My meal is steamed spicy goldfish in banana leaves, steamed kale in a wonderful sauce and of course, nasi putih, white rice. For dessert I take a taxi to the Dago Tea house, it's not what I thought it would be, but it is a nice place to relax with some tea, listen to the thunder rumble and watch couples and families on their Saturday afternoon outings.
Sunday, March 29, 1998

Up early and all hyper, my rest and relaxation have come to a close. I enjoyed the beauty I found in Bandung. It is time to return to Jakarta before my flight onward. I take the train, once again through the beautiful countryside, back to Jakarta. It is just as enjoyable on the return trip. I've been through the arrival process in Jakarta before. I'm returning to the same hotel. I have much less anxiety about my destination. I settle in and head out to the fancy shopping mall for one last fling before leaving Indonesia and Asia.

This mall has all the upscale designer boutiques, European and Asian high end fashions. I tell myself that with the exchange rate being so advantageous, now is the time to splurge and get something really special. Armed with my charge cards I enter the air-conditioned glitter dome, in and out of the shops, determined to go upscale. I look from store to store, working my way through racks of clothes. Absolutely nothing appeals to me. It all looks like high chic cliches, an assortment of trends and trivia. For all their glamour, the clothes are of predominantly standard workmanship and average quality fabric. Some of the boutiques are better, but even there, nothing appeals. I'm much more excited by the unique, creative qualities of the batik I've purchased. Another lesson learned. There is a large department store that has Indonesian crafts from many different islands. I stock up on a few last minute gifts.
Monday, March 30, 1998

My last day here. I've decided to get a Eurail pass but need to purchase it outside of Europe. I tried to buy one from an agent in Bandung but discovered that they have to get the pass issued from an authorized agent who is in Jakarta. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to get it all taken care of before my plane today.

I get up early and stop at the post office to send one last package, less for me to lug around. Also, I'm not going anywhere in Europe where I can use my mask and snorkel so I ship them back also. After taking care of that business, the taxi driver helps me track down the Indonesian travel agency able to issue Eurail passes. I get there, we talk and yes they can issue a pass. The fee is payable in U.S. dollars. I have brought my travelers checks to pay. This is where the problems begin. The economic crisis has rippled down into many business transactions that are currency based. The office manager calls the head office to see if they can accept the travelers checks and are told, no, US dollars in cash only. Ouch. It is a dilemma for both of us. They want to sell me the pass. Business has been off substantially and continues to plummet because the government now requires a million rupiah ($100 - $150 depending on the exchange rate) departure tax from any Indonesian leaving the country. Most people don't have that kind of money, even business are unable to afford the added expenses. The only travelers are tourists and the very rich. We figure out a solution. They call the local American Express office and find out I can exchange my travelers' checks for cash and a two per cent fee. It looks like Amex gets you coming and going, when you buy the checks and when you cash them. The agency agrees to split the cost of the commission. One of the office people gives me a ride there and back in his car.

During the ride he tells me how the difficulties affect he and his colleagues. In his office, they have reduced each person's hours, and pay, about forty percent. At least they still have jobs. He knows people from other agencies who are out of work and have no prospect of other jobs. With the price of everything going up exponentially in price, there is great fear about what will happen. Stores have been looted. University students get more and more demonstrative in spite of continued dire government warnings forbidding protesting.

When we get to the Amex office, the line is long and I wait over an hour to complete my transaction. There are all sorts of people in the office, from locals handling their business accounts to tourists exchanging travelers' checks. There is a tension in the air, a busy-ness that goes beyond the normal hustle of modern commerce. It feels like people are taking stock of their financial situation and positioning themselves as best they can to weather the brewing storm

We return to the travel office and I am issued my Eurail pass. They are good people and I am thankful everything worked out. I get a taxi back to my hotel, gather my things and head off to the airport for my flight to Singapore and connection on to Frankfurt.

I wander the rather quite hallways of the Jakarta airport, glancing in some of the shop windows, feeling strange about leaving and looking forward to the next adventures. I board my plane to Singapore, goodbye.

The Singapore airport is modern, filled with shops and conveniences for the international traveler. I have several hours here while I wait for my flight that leaves around midnight. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines has a nice lounge. I sit there for a while, talking to fellow travelers, taking advantage of the shower facilities, and having a snack. Being a thoroughly modern facility, the airport has a comfortable internet area. I settle in for some quality computer connection interaction. It helps pass the time. There are lots of other connected travelers like me. The world gets smaller. Eventually, my flight is called and I board for the long flight to Frankfurt and another chapter of my adventure.

source:
http://www.verasite.com/book_travel/07_indo_batik.htm