Gratitude

Chicken satay is not delicious anymore, nor rice-beef porridge, not also cakes, nothing. It is only your kiss that I taste is still delicious, told my husband. I laughed nervously. Tried to hold back my tears. I know, I taste your kiss is also delicious, I replied.

My husband started to lose appetite since a week ago. Yesterday, he asked me to make Mie Nyemek (a Javanese style of noodle soup with spicy and savoury broth). After 6 spoons, he asked me to stop feeding him and wanted sweet hot tea. Today, he didn’t eat anything, he consumed only liquid, fruit flavour popsicles and glasses of sweet hot tea. Sometimes, I offered him nutrient milk (for cancer patient), but I don’t think he really like its taste.

Two days ago, again, I cried in distress as my husband slept hours and hours very soundly, it just reminded of his condition in the hospital last month. The cycle was always like, my husband would be in agonizing pain, couldn’t sleep for days, then sleep for more than 12 hours like a baby. When he was sleeping I would insist him to have water or liquid in take. Sometimes, he refused and told me, he just wanted to sleep. But, other time, he would drink the water or hot tea. Using a straw.

In this difficult time, I still always try to count my blessings. That’s very important, keep counting our blessings in spite of the fact, things in life are going not in our preferences. When you’re in happiness, it will be easy peasy to thank your blessing. But, how about when you have two daughters, 12 and 14 years and your husband is having a terminal illness that human-logical will not long survive? Will you (still) be able to count your blessing?

I will give it a try. I feel my gratitude because our daughters are doing great in school and adapt well with their father’s condition. They become independent and will be tough woman, I’m sure. Moreover, I have time to take care my husband and express my love for him.

These photos were taken last February in my daughters tooth filling ceremony (mepandes or metatah). An important religious ceremony for the Bali Hindus that is done when a girl or boy has entered their puberty. Again, I feel my gratitude because my husband has got the chance to see and celebrate our daughters’ beautiful religious ceremony.

Our crystal anniversary.

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Today, the 16th November is our Crystal Anniversary, the 15th years of marriage. This year is for the first time we celebrate the day. We never done it before. A month ago, our first daughter had a look to our wedding ceremony album and suddenly she said: Aji (father) and Ibu (mother), you should celebrate your wedding day. OK, we said. My husband told me to order a cake, but I thought it would be too ‘western style’, to make it Indonesian,  I suggested: I think I will order a Tumpeng Nasi Kuning (A cone shaped yellow rice dish). OK, my daughters said. As long as it is food. No problem. At all.

The philosophy of Tumpeng is related to the Indonesian geography with numerous mountains and volcanos. In the ancient Indonesian tradition, mountains were believed a holly place for the spirit of ancestors and gods. The cone-shaped rice symbolizes the holy mountain. The dish is made from turmeric coloured steamed rice that is surrounded with many kind of assorted Indonesian dishes, like fried chicken, perkedel kentang (potato cakes), sweet-spicy tempe, sayur urap (Indonesian vegetable salad), fried noodle, quail eggs, and more other delicious food like rendang. To make it even more beautiful, the dish was decorated with vegetables.

Fence is made from woven long beans, many flowers made from tomato, carrot, red chillies, and cucumbers. The dishes represents the numerous things our Mother Nature gives us with mountain as the centre from where the holly spirits and Gods gives us their blessing. Tumpeng is a symbol of gratitude as well as connection of Gods and human being. The tumpeng is put on tampah (woven bamboo container, covered with banana leaves). As you see, even the banana leave is shaped into artistic triangles.

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15 years of marriage is still young. And we do hope, we will always stick together as family. Embrace the happy moments as well as endure the difficult times.

Late post to join DP Prompt: Together.

A brief of Bali Arts Festival Parade 2016

I have done my duty as the Master of Ceremony for the opening parade of Bali Arts Festival 2016. And also as the commentator with the other guys (Paul Suwardi: a Radio Announcer, Ida Bagus Purna: dalang/ master of Balinese drama dance theatre and Ketut Darya: also a dalang with a competency of ancient Bali language). Before I go further presents some photos I took yesterday, I want to give you a glimpse about Bali Arts Festival.

Introducing Bali Arts Festival cannot be separated from the figure of a great Balinese man: “Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra (late)”, as the idea resource, initiator, and the one who planned the Bali Arts Festival when he was the General Directour of Culture, Education and Cultural Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia. His idea then  alive in 1979 when he became the Governor of Bali in the first five years (1978-1983). Along the way to 2016, BAF has embraced the age of 38 years old, a full grown age as a program that is held every year. Every year, artists from any kind of arts kind can perform their masterpieces here. Meanwhile the parade is usually held in front of Bajra Sandhi Monument (near Puputan Margarana park, Renon, Denpasar), the whole program is held for the whole month in Art Centre of Denpasar. Bali Arts Festival is fully supported by the 8 regencies (Buleleng, Jembrana, Tabanan, Bangli, Klungkung, Karangasem, Badung, Gianyar) and one city of Denpasar. Other provinces of Indonesia surely can join, too, even other foreign friends. Bali Arts Festival (BAF) as a major event of art and cultural element is organized every year at the time of school holiday from June to July.

For 2016, the selected theme is Karang Awak: “Loving Our Mother Land”. Karang awak is the tiny part of pertiwi (earth) element. Loving Our Mother Land becomes the identity that is described a Balinese. This character is needed to protect the Balinese culture. Bali Arts Festival Parade 2016 was opened officially by H.E. the President of the Republic of Indonesia, bapak Jokowi by sounding kul kul.

These photos were taken from the preparation to the after event. Some photos probably have inadequate quality as I took it from my small ‘stage’ as the Master of Ceremony and commentator, its roof and bamboo pole were ‘interrupted’ the view.

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‘Sterilised’ street and surrounding. Few hours before the President of Indonesia arrived.

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Detailed sculpture of Balinese gamelan (traditional music instrument).

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My co-worker explained the escorted girl, what should do and shouldn’t during the official ceremony.

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The dragon as the ‘holder’ of kulkul.

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Another dragon. Most of Balinese ornaments usually have dragons. They just love it as a symbol of greatness and power.

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Beautiful parade of Balinese traditional wedding dresses.

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Gianyar regency dancers. On a floating car.

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Intricated sculpture. also from Gianyar regency.

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Balinese gamelan that was dominated with suling (flute).

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Parade of gebogan on the head of ‘ibu-ibu’ (mothers) of Sanur area, Denpasar city.

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Togetherness. Some were playing the music instruments. Others were keeping the stage going. Either by pulling it or pushing it.

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Beautiful girls and handsome boy. Wearing traditional dress for religious ceremony. Wearing high heels and had to walk 1 kilometre and a half. Dedication. That was dedication.

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It’s me! :).

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Me and the other commentators.

These photos are only a tiny bit of the rich Balinese arts and cultures. A parade and also Bali Arts Festival is a showcase of the arts and cultural element Bali Island has as well as an effort to conserve and develop them. The artists and their groups are always selected carefully before they are given chances to perform in this major events. So, all performances must be gorgeous!

Dear friends, I invite you to come to Bali around June and July to see what arts and cultures we have around this island in the Arts Centre of Denpasar city. I assure you, if you love arts and cultures, then Bali Arts Festival is a place to have a jubilant time to enjoy it!

Belated post to DP Photo Challenge: Jubilant!

Nyepi day and the Body Shop’s nice offer

Hugo was not doing a self-introspection, only a play with himself moment.

Hugo was not doing a self-introspection on Nyepi afternoon, only a self-enjoyment.

I have got this text from the Body Shop on last 8th March: HAPPINESS ON 9! BUY 3 SAVE 50% utk Vit E Aqua Boost/Vit E Cool BB Cream/Aloe Protective Mask dan berbagai produk favorit lainnya. HANYA 9MAR16. TnC Apply.

I will render that Indonesian and English mix into an English translation, so, hopefully more people would get my blog post’s point: HAPPINESS ON 9! BUY 3 SAVE 50% for Vit E Aqua Boost/Vit E Cool BB Cream/Aloe Protective Mask and other favorite product. ONLY 9MAR16. TnC Apply.

What a nice offer. However…

I looked at my Balinese calendar, then the text, again to my Balinese calendar and concluded, there is something missing from the text: except Bali. It is true that on 9th March 2016 was a national holiday to respect the Balinese New Year (1938 Isaka warsa/ Saka year). However, in Bali, we were having Nyepi Day (a Silence Day) that is probably much different from other New Year Celebration. For 24 hours, starting from 06.00 am, we are doing four elements of tapa-brata (self-controls): Amati geni (no fire or any light aspect), Amati Lelungan (no travelling, even you should not go outside your house/ except for emergency situation like your wife is giving birth), Amati Lelanguan (not enjoy any kind of entertainment), and Amati Karya (no activities/ working). This routine has been done for hundred years and only made official in 2000-s. Even not a single plane can land in the International Airport of Ngurah Rai on the day, as they have already issued a Notam (Notice to Airmen) usually a week prior. All access to Bali is closed for 24 hours, including the harbours. No television stations are operated in Nyepi Day, also no radio stations. That is the day for the human do a self-introspection and our Mother Earth (at least Bali Island Mother Earth) takes a break from pollution and damaging activities human do for (only) 24 hours. On Nyepi day in 2013, BMKG (Bali Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics) did an Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Reduction, that was down to 33% (thirty three percent) of its normal/ usual days. This result is an ugly fact that human daily activities has caused the increasing of green house gas emission.

Only hospitals, police offices and other emergency institutions operates (they are not opened for public service. It is just in case).

Even if the Body Shop were offering us (their customers in Bali) a huge basket of product with 100% discount, nobody will come and get it. Because it is us, the people in Bali who should appreciate and respect our own wonderful cultural legacy.

Harmony: Balinese sampiyan

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Last Saturday was my first daughter’s (Andra) otonan or her Balinese birthday which come once every 210 days, according to the Balinese calendar. Kind of a hectic week for me. I usually buy the banten (offerings) from one of my friend, since she was sick, I had to make and prepared the banten by myself. Actually, I can buy from other banten makers, but I want a complete and beautiful banten. Right. I am quite a demanding person for things like that. A set of Banten needs many parts, including sampiyan (made from young coconut leaves with different shapes and ornamentation with their own certain symbols). And I don’t like the not-neatly-nor-beautifully made sampiyan. So, I made it, although at the same week, I was assigned by my office to join the e-planning development program course for 7 days that finished at 5 pm everyday. I made the sampiyan since Wednesday night, sometimes up to 11 pm. Even in Friday night, I kept awake until 1 am because there were still a lot types of sampiyan had not finished yet. When all of them were made, I was satisfied to see my work, prepared night by night with my own hands. I rarely make sampiyan that is why some of my sampiyan were re-made. When I saw a finished result and not pleased, I would re-make another one or redecorated it. Saturday morning, I prepared the banten otonan and in the afternoon, finally, Andra could celebrate her Balinese birthday. In Bali, celebrate an otonan is not the same with the modern birthday. Celebrate otonan involves prayers and blessings, can be by their parents or grandparents. On her otonan, Andra was blessed by her father. And look those sampiyans, patiently made and hopefully create harmony in the eyes of the beholder.

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Join DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony.

Ratu Ayu Subandar Shrine. Chinese Element in Balinese temple.

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Photos of an ornate shrine in Batur temple, Kintamani district, Bangli regency, about 3 hours to the east from Denpasar city.

Bali island offers the unique art and cultural evidences that is much influenced by acculturation, including Chinese element. We have a legend about the marriage of Balinese King (Dalem Balingkang) with a China princess (Kang Cing Wei), it is believed to be existed around 1181-1269 A.D. Even in Kintamani, Bangli regency there is a temple for sellers/ business people or those who doing trading that is much influenced by China culture. It is located in the inner location of Batur temple as the symbol of close relationship between Hindu and Buddha as well China and Bali.

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The cloth ornament that is used to decorate this shrine is red dominant as we usually see in the Buddhist temple.

These photos are just few of many evidences of how close the existing relationship between Bali and China and posted to meet the DP Photo Challenge: Ornate.