2018. New Year, New Hopes

new year

Photo by john paul tyrone fernandez from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-bokeh-bright-burnt-450301/

2018 started with an unpleasant thing. My phone didn’t work, thus, it hamper my activities that relates with internet connection such as blogging. Thankfully I still can rely on my dad’s phone for Wi-Fi hotspot.

Anyway, Happy New Year for anyone who read this. May your good wishes come true in 2018. As many people have a resolution to attain in New Year. I too have resolutions, and here they are.

  1. successfully land a job

Yeah, being jobless is of course suckk… People will say things that can be hurtful to your ears. You will get judged for not trying enough and other stereotypical relates to an unemployed. That’s why get a  job is on my very first list to meet in 2018. I hope I can find a job where I can utilize my skills as well as gain more new experiences and knowledge. Get a job in a friendly yet professional work environment. In short, a good job with good people, a good boss, and good reward. Amen.

Being jobless is not always bad actually. I have more leisure time which I can use to develop my hobbies like what I’m doing now, blogging. I can also pick up a new language even though I can’t afford to take a language class. I still can do it by teaching myself, thanks for internet and Duolingo where I can learn autodidactically.

2. Learn Deutsch

I’m currently learning Deutsch, still at A1 level and hopefully in 2018 I’ll take it to a higher level. I don’t expect that much as I realize I still have a loooonggg way to go. Learning a new language takes time and effort. It takes years and years to be fluent, so I set more realistic goal in 2018. At least I can understand  sentences and everyday expressions as well as able to tell about myself in Deutsch.

Learning a language is beneficial for brain. As we’re getting older, our brain function decline. Learning new language is one of many good workouts for keeping it busy. It improves cognitive skill and protects from brain aging. We often forget that brain is essential for human body yet we tend to not pay much attention for its health. Especially when we’re engaged with daily task. The hustle and bustle of work and activities.  As I have plenty of free time, I want to make the most out of it by doing more useful activities.

Those are lists of my goals for 2018. Hopefully I won’t break my resolutions as I did in the past few years. It takes discipline and patience to make it happen (and hard pray), doesn’t it?

And what about you? What’s your resolutions for 2018?

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My dad and smartphone

 

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It is estimated that the number of smartphone users will be increased from 2.1 billion in 2016 to 2.5 billion in 2019 (statistica.com). In the past 5 years, not so many people have smartphone in my area. Most of them are using Blackberry. Fast forward to now, 2017, almost everyone is holding this high-end device. One of them is my dad, a 60 something man who belongs to baby boomers generation but is eager to learn about today’s technology.

My dad has been using smartphone for the last 6 month. He started by learning how to take a photo and selfie, internet browsing, and the latest, using instagram. Yeah, instagram. I always thought as you’re getting older, the excitement and enthusiasm to follow what’s happening are wearing off. But i was wrong. This old man is interested to jump on the bandwagon, join instagram.

Luckily, (so far) he’s only interested in following celebrities on instagram, keeping up with his favorite famous people in the entertainment industry rather than uploading a photo. Oh Lord, i hope that will never happen. I don’t want him to turn into a snap-everything-and-put-it-on-instagram kinda guy.

It came as a surprise to me how my dad is managed to understand how instagram works. I thought it’s gonna be challenging to teach an old man to operate this visual-based social media. But noopeee, i was wrong, he’s a (quite) fast learner. Even tho there’s still lots of work to be done. At least he knows how to follow and use the “search” button.

Seeing how my dad is able to catch up with today’s technology in his 60s give me a high hope that someday i could do the same when i’m getting older. I believe technology will grow way faster and advanced in the future. Hopefully i’m able to keep updated with it as my cognitive function decline and i’m not as agile as today.

Wadai Banjar (sweet snacks from South Kalimantan)

banjarmasin

image by : pulaubanuabanjar.com

 

Each region in Indonesia has its own typical snacks and South Kalimantan is one of a region which has diverse kinds of sweet snacks. Most of the snacks are made using rice flour/glutinous rice flour, palm sugar, and coconut milk. There are around 41 kinds of wadai banjar but i only cover some of them in this post, especially the familiar ones. So, here they are.

  1. Bingka
bingka banjar

Image credit to : @ditasfooddiary

I put it on the first list because it’s widely known not only by Banjarese but also Indonesian in general. Its popularity is increased during Ramadhan (Islamic fasting month)

Main ingredients of Bingka are wheat flour, eggs, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. It comes in different varieties such as bingka kentang ( made out of potato), bingka tape (tape is fermented food made of glutinous rice), bingka nangka ( nangka=jackfruit), others are cheese, coconut, pandan leaves, and pumpkin. It has sweet taste with a delicate texture.

2.  Klepon

 

klepon indonesia dessert

Image credit to : Justtryandtaste.com

Klepon is small round shape sweet snack rolled in shredded coconut. It made out of glutinous rice flour stuffed with palm sugar. The green color is from pandan leaves (now mostly opt to artificial food coloring). Be careful when you eat this, some people stain their shirt as they bite it and the filling splatter. Better to put the whole klepon inside your mouth and chew it. The burst of palm sugar liquid in your mouth as you chew it is a fun experience on eating this.

3. Apam

Apam Barabai

credit to : travel.detik.com

The most famous one for Banjarese is apam barabai. Barabai is the capital city of Hulu Sungai Tengah, one of the regencies in South Kalimantan. The shape is pancake-like with slightly drier texture. It colored in white and light brown. Ones in white are made without palm sugar. Beside palm sugar, other ingredients are rice flour and coconut milk. It’s usually sold in banana leaf wrapper cost Rp.5000 for 10 pcs (price might vary in different area)

4. Cingkaruk

indonesia dessert

credit to : sukazukaanggips.blospot.co.id

Toast the glutinous rice in the frying pan over a medium heat, add shredded coconut and thinly sliced palm sugar then mash together until the consistency is smooth but still slightly chunky. The texture is sticky and gritty.

5. Lupis

lupis indonesia snack

image credit to : kulinersehat.com

 

This dessert can also found in Java. Lupis is made from sticky rice wrapped in banana leaf then steamed. Served with palm sugar-sweet sauce and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

6. Amparan tatak

“Amparan” means spread over the flat surface and “tatak” means chop. The name might refer to the way the vendor sells it.  The wadai is on a large circular tray, when you buy it, they will cut it into a smaller rectangle or triangle shape. It costs around Rp.10.000 -Rp 15.000 per piece.

amparan tatak

This is the tray i refer to Image credit to ; Cendananews.com

kue_amparan_tatak

Large piece of amparan tatak. You can buy it by piece or the by the tray which cost around Rp. 100.000-150.000 (about $7 – $11) Image credit to : Borneochannel.com

Main ingredients are flours, coconut milk ,and bite sized cuts of banana. Sometimes banana can substitute with local fruit like cempedak or nangka ( jackfruit). Creamy texture of banana, richness of coconut milk combine with silky-smooth consistency of the batter is a paradise in your mouth as you eat it.

7. Cincin

Cincin is ring in English. It has metaphorical names due to the shape that resembles a ring, more exactly, 4 rings merge into one.

resep-kue-cincin-banjar

Image credit to : Menuresepkue.com

It has slightly grainy texture from rice flours and natural sweetness of palm sugar.

8. Pais pisang

indonesia snack

Image credit to : Dapur ummu asyi blog

Banana is widely used in Indonesian snacks as it’s cheap and grow easily in the tropical country.  One of the snacks that involves banana is pais pisang. Rice flour, coconut milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla powder mix into one, stir until completely blended then bring it to boil over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickened. The next step is to scoop two tablespoons of the batter and transfer it to banana leaves, fill with bite-sized pieces of banana, wrap the leaves up then steamed until cooked which usually takes 20-30 minutes.

9.Bubur hintalu karuang

indonesian dessert

image credit to ; @makananbanjar

This snack can usually found in Banjarese traditional ceremony like a wedding or anything related to traditional events. Bubur hintalu karuang is mini ball snack made from rice flour with soft sweet sauce from palm sugar and coconut milk. It’s kinda similar to bubur candil from East Java. The difference is coconut milk sauce in bubur candil act as dressing while in bubur hintalu karuang, coconut milk is cooked together with palm sugar. sometimes beaten eggs are tossed in the final cooking process to make the sauce consistency more creamy and silky.

10. Gagatas

wadai banjar

Image credit to : cookpad.com

Gegatas is fried dough made from glutinous rice, flour rice, shredded coconut, and salt mixed with coconut milk(bring to a gentle simmer), stir well, then bring it together into a soft & pliable dough. The next step, take some dough, shape into small round then gently flatten it using fingertip to shape into an oblong. Fry and sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of gegatas.

11. Kokoleh

 

wadai kokoleh

Image credit to: Lihatresep.com

 

This is one of my favorite wadai banjar because of the smooth and silky texture of the porridge combine with the sweetness of palm sugar sauce is just …wonderful. The porridge made from rice flour and coconut milk and pandan leaf for coloring.

So, those are 11 out of 41 kinds of wadai banjar i can come up with. Many Banjarese nowadays are not really familiar with them or they know the name but hardly know what it looks like. Some of these wadai are rare to find these days,unfortunately. However, i highly hope this article would put wadai banjar on spotlight. And would widely known by Indonesians as well as non Indonesians

 

Dear dark-skinned women. You’re beautiful too.

dark skinned woman

Since I was a kid, I’ve been bombarded by TV commercials as well as magazine ads for skin lightening products. Yes, having white skin is highly desirable by the majority of women in my country, Indonesia. The sheer amount of skin whitening commercials combine with the shitty attitude of some people toward darker-skinned women are more than enough to make a woman hate their skin and do anything to change it.

These commercials unavoidably contribute to how women see their fair-skinned counterparts as prettier and luckier than them. I still freshly remember one commercial where the story line is about the twin sisters which one of them is being darker than the other. In the party scene, her a**hole boyfriend stares intensely at her sister. In awe at her stunningly fairer skin. Left this poor darker-skinned sister miserable. By the help of the whitening lotion which makes her skin brighter in just several weeks. She then gets her happy smile back along with her boyfriend’s adoration toward her “new” skin.

This kind of crappy story line really irritates me. Some of it depicts how woman struggles a lot to get a job or a boyfriend. The reason? Not because she’s less capable, less smart, or less attractive, but her skin color. Only when her skin getting whiter where everything falls into places.

Those commercials perpetuate the message that white skin is beautiful and will make everything in your life easier. That darker skin is not attractive and you should change it to get all the privileges your whiter counterparts have and become happier. In fact, not once I came across darker-skinned women who’re such a beautiful goddess. Live a fulfilling life. Comfortable in her own skin along with her happy-go-lucky which make her the happiest on earth. The other way around, it’s not uncommon to see women who live up beauty standard and has nothing to complain about in terms of physical appearance, is discontent with the way she looks which end up upset her.

I realize that’s how commercial work. They don’t only sell products. More than that, they sell happiness, they sell the key to solve our problems, and promising nicer life as the result when we use their products. This also mostly apply to skin whitening commercials. A woman who’s unhappy with the way she looks, no man is interested in, rejected for a job. As she uses the whitening cream and her skin getting brighter. Many men can’t get his eyes off of her when she walks the street. Get a job as easy as abc. In short, she becomes happier now and has a bright life as bright as her skin. Her problems are gone by this magical whitening products.

This kind of commercial without we realize sending the message to us that having dark skin is a problem and should just get rid of to have a happier life. It taught women to not feel okay with their own skin and they should change it. This toxic mindset, unfortunately, is everywhere. From school kids who made fun of  their dark-skinned friends  to parents who tease their kids by calling them “the dark skin.”

I discern being positive is hard when surrounded by this type of people. We’re trying to be acceptable toward our skin color but the pressure is just too intense. Maybe the simplest thing we can do is to look past those silly advertising and acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with our skin color. We can’t help it.That is not something we can ask God to create us in certain skin color. It may sound cliché but I’d like to say no matter what your skin color is, you’re beautiful on your own. Skin color is part of our identity. That’s what makes us…us, that’s what makes us unique. So, love yourself and embrace your uniqueness.

Grammar nazi

 

 

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source : devstickers.com

As an English learner, i’ve encountered some of them in my life. These people, surely can be obnoxious. They always feel the urge to correct for even the very minor mistakes in your words. Sometimes it’s not just about your sentence, but also your pronunciation, the way you say the word, and your accent.

“Your English is good, too bad i still can hear your native accent”

Yeah, i got it. It can be painful when you hear someone speaks English with their thick accent where you can barely catch what’s being said. But when their speech is clear. We can completely understand what they’re saying.  Speaking English with slight accent from their native language shouldn’t be an issue.

As Indonesian who learn English. I don’t understand why there are some Indonesians that act superior toward other English learner. They’re shaming people for making mistakes in English, which is understandably normal for any language learner. They act like Mr/Mrs know-it-all, hollier-than-thou, which is shi**y.

 

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source : knocksense.com

Correcting people’s words is not wrong.  As fyi, i might have this “gene” in my self. I easily noticed typo, and slightly annoyed by people who keep writing “definitely” as “defiantly”, or “they’re” instead of “their”. But we shouldn’t do it anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstances. There are times when you just need to let it go. Don’t be that strict.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike grammar nazi (just the obnoxious one). I kinda respect them actually. These people have deep understanding in grammatical aspect. I guess they must be performed well at IELTS or TOEFL test.

What do you think ?

Learn Spanish

 

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Source : personal.on-espanol.com

 

 

I decided to learn another language than English.  Despite my not-so-good-English, i won’t wait till my English reach native-level to learn another foreign language.

Spanish is the second language  i’ll learn. No particular reasons why i pick that. it’s just seems easier to pronounce the words. The ‘R’ pronunciation similar to Indonesian ‘R’. I don’t need to curl my tongue backward as i did in English ‘R’. Besides, you pronounce the words as what’s written. Except for some letter like C that sound like English K or S. Also double LL that sound like J (and some other rules), but still it’s way easier to me to pronounce Spanish words that more natural for my Indonesian tongue than English.

So, how do i learn Spanish ?. I don’t take any class, since i have none in my town. YouTube is my teacher. It’s so damn easy to find materials for learning. I learn phrase by phrase, not single words. Basic phrase like Good morning/afternoon/night, phrases for introducing our self, and other useful phrase for absolute beginner like me.

Infographic-5-reasons-to-learn-spanish

source : vivalalengua.com

 

Maybe some of you are  wondering “Can we learn foreign language as adult?”. “isn’t it harder to learn new language in your 20s or 30s ?.” And sure, it’s harder and more challenging to learn than when you’re younger. But it’s not impossible. If anything, it’s way more fun to learn language as an adult.

Consistency and discipline are keys if we want to learn a language. it’s so easy to forget about our learning plan as we bury ourselves in more important tasks as adult, like jobs or any other activities. Learn for 10 minutes everyday is better than learn two hours once a week. Go watch some YouTube videos in your target language for 10 or 20 minutes, even when you don’t understand. It’s good to expose your ears to listen in that particular language. Download some learning books, make lesson plan, like in the first week, you’ll learn about some basic phrases, days, months, numbers, etc. Set goals, for example in the first week you’re able to introduce yourself in that language, as well as telling time, weathers, and days.

To sum up, there’s no magic way to learn a language. We can’t just be able to fluently speak in the desired language within a month. It doesn’t happen overnight. Set realistic goals. If we want to reach native-level fluency, it won’t happen in a matter of month. It takes quite long time (depends on your effort). So, be realistic.

Buena suerte.