Our Last Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta

President Jokowi and Ibu Iriana are currently in Singapore for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat held today. 2017 is a particularly significant year for both the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and Singapore (SING) because it marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Hence the ingenious tagline RISING50!

On a related note, I can’t believe one year+ has gone by since Singapore National Day Reception 2016. Annual events like this make the passing of time even more salient and remind me that our time in Jakarta is soon coming to an end. *sobs*

At this year’s National Day Reception, we celebrated Singapore turning 52 years as well as RISING50. Pardon the lack of photos, I was too busy helping myself to all the delish local food.

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Singapore food street, Shangri-La Hotel.

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Haji Lane brought to Jakarta.

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Happppppy 52nd Birthday Singapore!!!

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So glad to bump into Mia. What a small world.

The photo booth was really pretty and we couldn’t help hogging it for a while hehe.

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Singapore Embassy in Jakarta housewives.

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Trying to be posh. FAIL.

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Cool attempt. FAIL.

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What would I do without these ladies?! They add so much colour to Jakarta! 🙂 

The 52nd National Day Reception was very special because Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean officiated the event. Two days later, DPM Teo also met the Singaporean community living and working in Jakarta at Singapore Community Day.

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Singapore Community Day, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.

Together with fellow Singaporeans, we sang the National Anthem and recited the Singapore Pledge. Never felt any prouder to call Singapore my home. ❤

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On stage to cut Singapore’s birthday cake.

The Haji lane photo booth found its way from the National Day Reception at Shangri-La Hotel to the Singapore Community Day at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. And we couldn’t resist taking more photos!

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Just chillin’ at Haji Lane.

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Shiok lah.

One thing I’m really thankful for here in Jakarta is the huge Singaporean community. They’ve provided me a home away from a home. And they’re one of the reasons why I’m going to miss this place so much.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
― Anaïs Nin

Another UNION Kid on the Block: THE DUTCH JAKARTA

THE DUTCH is a modern gastropub by Union Group which has names like UNION, Cork & Screw, Benedict, E&O, Bistecca (and many more) under its belt. Situated between the SCBD and Senopati districts, The Dutch can be found on the ground floor of 18 Parc Place.
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Checking out The Dutch at Parc Place.

It is headed by Chef Chris Moes, a Dutch chef who has lived and worked in Jakarta for some time (hence the name The Dutch – DUH). Unlike what its name suggests, The Dutch is not a Dutch cuisine specialty restaurant.
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Homemade sausages to go, anyone? 🙂

Instead, it adopts a smokehouse concept where cold cuts, sausages, smoked and cured meats are prepared in-house (i.e. homemade). You can expect hearty Western/Asian fare on the menu along with some Dutch classics.
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Awesome housemade sausages!

The minimalist restaurant is designed by renowned architect, Andra Matin, who has a big love for open spaces. This is reflected in the large open kitchen which allow guests to peer into.

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Large open kitchen with bar counter seats.

Its interior is dimly lit with industrial vibes and a spacious feel. All the windows are covered by metal bar grilles, allowing tiny amounts of light to stream in (forgive my badly taken pictures – totally blaming the lighting hehe). The atmosphere is warm and inviting; people settle in and get comfortable over booze.

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Warm and inviting atmosphere.

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Agent D and I both felt a little under the weather so we stayed away from alcohol and ordered hot tea + fresh orange juice instead.

 Being a gastrobar, The Dutch functions as a restaurant cum pub. If you’re an alcohol lover, you’ll adore this place. Headlining the bar is a copper multi-tap beer tower, dispensing seven kinds of draught brews. The selection ranges from local favourites to international ales; each pour is perfectly frosty due to the cold pipe system.

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7 beer taps + 1 cocktail tap.

Beer aside, the cocktail list at The Dutch runs gourmet and experimental, incorporating exotic ingredients and interesting techniques. It is legitly the first pub in Jakarta that serves cocktail direct from a tap. Plus they have loads of happy hour promotions going on throughout the week. So look out for that!

Food-wise, The Dutch makes really delish homemade sausages and cured meats. Don’t forget to pair your sausages with the mustard on the side. Its SO GOOOD. The waiter recommended Erwtensoep – traditional Dutch split pea soup and Braised Lamb in Puff Pastry but we decided to go with other options.

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The Dutch’s Menu.

Here’s what we ordered:
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Classic Bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard on the side (IDR 105k). Traditionally handmade using natural casing, and then slow-smoked in house. Orange juice was genuinely fresh (IDR 55K).

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Caesar Salad had an overdose of parmesan and was a tad dry (IDR 90k).

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Spaghetti Aglio Olio with pork (IDR 90k). Quite a nice change from the usual prawn/chicken.

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Soy-glazed Duck Wings on rice with pickled vegetables (IDR 95k). Duck wings were good but Agent D left the pickled veges untouched.

Food at The Dutch is not exactly cheap but the portions and quality are good. For both of us, the bill came out to about IDR 580k. That said, we had an enjoyable meal. 🙂

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Sundate brunchin’.

After lunch, we spotted a really pretty mini park/garden opposite Parc Place and headed there to walk off some pounds. The trees, plants and flowers were beautifully landscaped. Such a pleasant surprise after lunch!

We had to leave after about 15 minutes because I was becoming food for the mozzies. Dang should have brought my mosquito repellent out.

And that’s how my Sunday went by. How did yours go? 🙂


The Dutch Gastrobar (by UNION Group)
18 Parc Place Tower E, Ground Floor
Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52-53, SCBD
Jakarta Selatan 12190

Cafe Series: HAUSE Rooftop in Kuningan

Hause Rooftop Kitchen & Bar is an oasis in the city, away from the bustling Jakarta traffic. Located on the topmost floor of MD Place Tower 2 (in Setiabudi), this cozy rooftop hideout makes a good place to relax and unwind.

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Hause Rooftop Kitchen & Bar.

Bearing semblance to that of a private glass house complete with a backyard, Hause Rooftop has both indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor space oozes homey vibes and takes a collected approach, with souvenirs and artworks from the owner’s travels.

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Cozy electic interior.

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Brunch at Hause Rooftop on Good Friday. #TGIF

The outdoor space is my favouritest part of the cafe. It is a really nice place to chill and feel the breeze in your hair coupled with a lovely sky view.

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Outdoor garden area.

Filled with the owner’s personal collection of hanging air plants, herbs and flower plants, it feels like you’re dining in a private garden of a friend’s.

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Lush green enclave.

Some fun facts about Hause Rooftop:

#1. Hause Rooftop handcrafts food & drinks using herbs picked from their very own backyard.

#2. The restaurant is pet-friendly so you can laze under the sun with your fur friends.

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Perfect for you and your fur kids.

#3. Hause Rooftop opens early and closes late. They open at 9 a.m. everyday so you can get your morning coffee fix. On Sunday – Thursday, they close at 12 a.m.; on Friday – Saturday, they close at 2.00 a.m.. A great place to hangout and have late night drinks with friends!

#4. There is live music on certain nights. So check before going down!

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Hausemade food.

Hause Rooftop is as much a restaurant as it is a bar. Their Hausemade menu and drinks are all freshly made with love. The food menu offers both Western and Indonesian choices along with vegetarian/organic options. For example, they have organic burgers by Burgreens.

Agent D got himself the ‘Curry Katsu Burger’ (IDR 115k) while I ordered a ‘Hausemade pasta – Linguine Carbonara with Salmon’ (IDR 100k).

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Curry Katsu Burger (IDR 115k).

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Consists of fried chicken breast, curry mayo, purple cabbage, hausemade bun served with fries & mixed garden salad.

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Linguine Carbonara with Salmon (IDR 100k).

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Consists of linguine carbonara, salmon, diced red onion in light cream sauce and egg yolk served with orange zest.

Classic cocktails aside, they have a pretty good list of Hause-invented cocktails which are inspired from their garden and hand-crafted to perfection.

For instance, the fresh and light Backyard (white rum, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, clove syrup with lemongrass and scented basil), the milky Hause Sweet Hause (vanilla flavoured vodka, Frangelico, Baileys, fresh milk, and caramel syrup biscotti), the light and fresh Flower Lady (Hause Gin, Bols elderflower, fresh lemon, lavender bitter and rosa aroma), etc.

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Hause bar.

Non-alcoholic options are extensive too with freshly squeezed juices, chilled juices, artisan coffee, specialty tea,  hand-crafted Vitamines (something like mocktails), Kombucha Sangria, etc.

Agent D went for the ‘Kombucha Sangria’ (IDR 75k) which is rather pricey for Jakarta standards, in my opinion. According to Hause, their kombucha is made exclusively from fresh local fruits & vegetable juice that cleanses, heals, energizes and detoxifies one’s body. Sounds too good to be true eh?

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Kombucha Sangria (IDR 75k).

I love all things chai and ordered the ‘Chai Latte’ (IDR 45k), a cinnamon flavored milk tea served with palm sugar.

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Chai Latte (IDR 45k).

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Chai latte made my morning!

Adding to the list of cafes in Kunignan. ENJOY!


Hause Rooftop
MD Place Tower 2 – 6th Floor
Jl. Setiabudi Selatan no. 7
Jakarta Selatan

Straits Times Feature on Our Volunteering Journey in Jakarta

It’s been exactly a year since I first wrote about Volunteering in Jakarta: Kampung Kids (dated 26 Feb 2016). And today, one year on, an article was published on Straits Times Online titled ‘Singaporean volunteers bridge education gap in South Jakarta‘.

Working with the children from Kampung Kids has been a wonderful learning journey for both Dianne and myself and this write-up is a lovely keepsake of our time spent there.

I will be sharing it with you here:


Singaporean volunteers bridge education gap in South Jakarta neighbourhood

Singaporeans Deborah Lee and Dianne Goh sat on tiny chairs, with half a dozen curious preschoolers at their feet. Their eyes widened and narrowed and their voices rose and fell as they recited each line from “The Three Friends”, a children’s story about animals.

In a smattering of English and basic Bahasa Indonesia, the volunteer teachers tried to make themselves understood.

Unsure of the Indonesian term for elephant’s trunk, Ms Lee resorted to using hand gestures. She balled one hand into a fist, put it in front of her face and extended it outwards.

“This is elephant’s trunk,” she said. Ms Goh chimed in: “Trunk. Not nose, OK? Trunk.” The children nodded.

After the story-telling session, they played videos on their i-pad and led the class in singing and dancing to simple tunes such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.

Ms Dianne Goh (short hair) and Ms Deborah Lee (long hair), volunteer teachers from Singapore, teaching Indonesian children English. They are among 20 volunteer teachers at the Yayasan Kampung Kids, a foundation in the poorer neighbourhood of Pejaten in South Jakarta. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

Ms Lee, 29, and Ms Goh, 28, are among 20 volunteer teachers at the Yayasan Kampung Kids, a foundation in the poorer neighbourhood of Pejaten in South Jakarta which has been running free educational, as well as food and nutrition programmes for the underprivileged for nearly two decades.

Ms Lee has been volunteering there since 2015, shortly after moving to Jakarta where her husband is stationed for work. Ms Goh did the same last year.

In a country where pre-primary education is not compulsory, and most of the kindergartens and nurseries are privately-run and expensive, volunteer teachers like them are much welcomed.

Ms Dianne Goh (short hair) and Ms Deborah Lee (long hair), volunteer teachers from Singapore, teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

The government has been increasing funds gradually for early childhood education and plans are afoot to build an education centre in every village across the country. In the meantime, foundations like Kampung Kids are helping to fill the service gap.

Housewife Sumarni, 45, said she would have to fork out anywhere between one and five million rupiah (S$105-S$526) to enrol her five-year-old daughter Nurita in a regular kindergarten, and another 300,000 rupiah every month for school fees.

“All parents want the best education for their children. But not everyone can afford that,” she said.

The biggest challenge for the Singaporeans, as expected, is the language barrier. But they say this has only spurred them to get creative.

Ms Lee, who holds a Master’s degree in Child Development and Education, had taught English and Mathematics to primary school pupils in Singapore and wanted to continue helping the local community.

Ms Dianne Goh teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

“The children hardly understand or speak English while I’m not very fluent in Bahasa Indonesia,” she said, adding that she conveys her messages by drawing pictures and playing charades. Sometimes, the mothers who sit in during the lessons will help her explain to the children.

Struggles aside, they aim to make lessons fun through songs and get the children “used to listening to English”, Ms Goh said.

“We have to use very simple and short stories. We also get them to repeat the sentences after us,” she added. “I can see the importance of giving young children a good foundation in education as it gives them self-confidence, and a love for learning.”

The parents say they appreciate the efforts of the foreign teachers – including those from Singapore, India, Australia, Britain and the US – and do not mind that they are not fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.

“They could be doing something else with their time, but choose to come here to teach our kids. I’m just grateful,” 30-year-old Fitriyah said.

Ms Deborah Lee teaching Indonesian children English. PHOTO: SHELBY GARLICK

Agreeing, housewife Nenah, 32, said that her daughter would sing English nursery rhymes at home and tell her that she looks forward to going to school.

“I hope my child will be able to master English so she can interact with people other than Indonesians,” she said.

For the Singaporean teachers, sharing knowledge goes two ways: The pupils and the parents have not only expanded their Indonesian vocabulary, but have also given them valuable life lessons.

“They taught me so much more beyond the four walls of the classroom,” Ms Lee said.

“Despite not having much, the children are very content and carefree. I’ve also learnt to be content in life, in various situations and circumstances,” she said.

“They constantly remind me to have a bigger and more generous heart towards the poor.”

aarlina@sph.com.sg


The original article with the video can be found at this link: http://str.sg/4nxg.

If you have any questions about volunteering in Jakarta, feel free to drop me a note here! 🙂

Custom Made Lamps in Jakarta: Cahayalampu

Following up on my post on Custom-made Furniture in Jakarta, I wanted to show y’all my most recent purchase from the Women’s International Club (WIC) Bazaar *drum roll* – A TEACUP + TEAPOT LAMP.

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Hand made lamp from Cahayalampu (IDR 700k).

Isn’t she such a beauty? The lamp base is made up of a reused teacup and two vintage teapots stacked one on top of the other. I fell in love with it at first sight. ❤

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I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout.

Being a tea addict myself, I thought it was apt to style my home with a teacup + teapot lamp. What do you think?

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I am a very special pot, it is true. Here is an example of what I can do. I can turn my handle into a spout, tip me over and pour me out.

Cahayalampu has ready stock lamps that can be altered to fit your house decor – be it changing its colour, height, or lampshade. Or you can get them to custom make lamps. Just bring a photo of your dream lamp to their shop and they can make it into a reality!

REUSE. The people at Cahayalampu have an amazing ability to turn just about anything into a lamp — figurines, vases, ceramics, candlesticks, teapots, just to name a few. #VeryImpressive

Lamps aside, they also make exquisite sofas, chairs, and curtains. If you are interested, just drop by their store and BROWSE. 😉


Cahayalampu
Kemang Timur 97
Jakarta Selatan 12730

A Sunflowery Weekend in Jakarta

Agent D added some colour to the weekend with a bouquet of my favourite sunflowers. He used to gift me with flowers every few weeks when we were dating but it has become more of a rarity of late. So the flowers same as a lovely surrrprise! 🙂

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Saturday Flower Power.

Apart from me, someone else took an interest in the pretty flowers.

Freckles could not stop sniffing at them. I guess she’s still a girl at heart too (although she’s been recently spayed – oops sorry Freckles!).

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Taking a selfie with the flowers.

We caught Allied this weekend and it was my first time watching a movie in the Premiere XXI studios (yes, super belated I know!). Paying to watch a movie in premiere class is somewhat similar to paying for first class air tickets. For IDR 150k (verus the usual ticket price of IDR 40k), we sat on luxury leather seats that could recline, had special access to a VIP lounge as well as had our lunch delivered to our seat. #OnlyInJakarta

All in all, it was a nice experience. But I think I still prefer the regular cinemas. 🙂

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ― Helen Keller

Have a blessed Sunday everyone! xxx

Cafe Series: Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen in Kuningan

This is a long overdueee post on Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen (pardon me!). I wanted to write a post when I visited the cafe some two months back but inertia got the better of me zzz. Anyway, I visited Lucky Cat again for brunch yesterday. So here goes…

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Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen.

A pretty new establishment in Kuningan, Lucky Cat’s interior is gorgeous with its lush green plants, marble-top tables, and light wood furniture. #feelslikehome #homegoals

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Two storeys of cafe space.

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People watching from my seat.

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Coffee corner.

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Emergency coffee beans, anyone?

The entire place is lit up by natural sunlight which streams in from the translucent ceiling panels above – making all your pictures (and selfies) look really nice. 🙂

In the middle of the coffee joint is a towering REAL tree; a hole is made in the roof for the tree to grow out. How cool is that.

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Blending nature with food.

Lucky Cat is open to the public 7 days a week, 24 hours a day — it is a 24/7 coffee joint, a rarity in Jakarta. Now you know where to get your caffeine fix early in the morning/late at night or where to chill with friends past 10 p.m., bars aside.

Since it is primarily a coffee shop, I had to check out the coffee. You get to choose whether you want your coffee strong or light. I ordered a flat white (light blend) and it was not too bad.

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Freshly squeezed juice. Can’t go wrong with that.

Besides coffee, they also have light bites, main courses, and cakes. The selection is very small though. From my two visits to Lucky Cat, I think I’ve already tried half of the main courses on the menu.

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‘Nasi Lemak Malacca’ (IDR 65K) – still prefer the nasi lemak version back in Singapore.

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‘Spaghetti Carbonara’ (IDR 69K) – nice and creamy with bacon bits. A little jelak though.

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‘Chicken Wings’ (IDR 45K) – crispiness was about right.

Their ‘Pan Seared Salmon’ (IDR 79K) deserves special mention though. For most mains elsewhere, the portion of greens is usually small. However, this pan seared salmon came with a sizable portion of sauteed spinach which tasted really yummy with a hint of butter. The cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes on the side were seasoned and done up well too.

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‘Pan Seared Salmon’ (IDR 79K) – a good eat, worth the price.

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ENAK.

And of course, a chocolate cake (as always) to provide a sweet finish to the meal.

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‘Chocolate Cake’ (IDR 39K) – light, fluffy and chocolatey. Wish they had gone easier on the top layer fresh cream though.

Have fun taking instagrammable pictures with your food. x


Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen
Plaza Festival (South Parking)
Jl. Haji R. Rasuna Said Kav. C No. 22
Kuningan, South Jakarta.

Of Friendships and Farewells in Jakarta

Back in Singapore, I was always in my comfort zone. More often than not, friendships were formed from schooling days/work/church and we shared many commonalities when it came to culture, language, age, interests, and so forth. There were various areas of overlap even amongst different circles of friends. (Not that I’m complaining, I absolutely love my friends in Singapore!)

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Ladies in my bible study group – farewell Narelle!

The one thing I love about Jakarta is that friendships are way more diverse and cuts across all continents and age brackets. In my Monday bible study group, we have ladies from America, Australia, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. The oldest lady is coming on 80 (!!!) and the youngest is yours truly (feels great to be the YOUNGEST in a group for once hehehe).

In my church’s community group, we once counted and there were close to 18 different countries represented, from grandparents to couples with young kids/no kids to singles. Despite the differences, people still share their hearts with one another. Ain’t that just amazing. 🙂

With that, people around me come and go all the time. Reasons are aplenty — end of Jakarta posting, a better opportunity in another country, relocation for kids’ studies, etc. And goodbyes are always bittersweet; a mix of excitement for what is to come for them and sadness that they’ll no longer be there.

The ladies in my bible study group just bade farewell to Narelle over potluck brunch on Monday. She’s been in Jakarta for a good 9 years and is heading over to Hong Kong next. Narelle has been leading the study all these while, continually challenging us with God’s word in love. I’ve learnt and benefited so much from her sharing. Thank you Narelle for being such a blessing to us, may your life continue to be a light to the world (especially HK)!

❤ ❤ ❤

Have so much to look forward this week, till the next update! X

Mid-Autumn Festival in Jakarta: MOONCAKES

I usually equate September with Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s been one of my favourite Chinese Festivals since I was a kiddo. Why?! Because I get to eat MOONCAKES!!! (I absolutely LOVE mooncakes.)

Eating and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of Mid-Autumn Festival because the round shape of mooncakes = completeness and unity of families. Back in Singapore, there’d be huge mooncake fairs (where various vendors come together to sell mooncakes) in shopping malls. Shopping at the Takashimaya mooncake fair is a yearly highlight for me that I’d never miss!

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2015 Takashimaya Mooncake fair (photo credit: majoritymag.com).

Sadly, the Mid-Autumn Festival is not as hyped up here in Jakarta as compared to back home. There are no mooncake fairs around, not even in the big shopping malls. 😦 😦 😦

If you want to buy mooncakes, you have to either go all the way out to one of the big name hotels or to a reputable Chinese restaurant.

Last week, I casually told Agent D that I was craving some snowskin mooncakes. To my surprise, he dropped by home during his lunch hour on Thursday in between meetings to deliver this pretty box from Hotel Mulia. He actually remembered, awww.

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Azuki, matcha and custard snowskin mooncakes from Table8 at Mulia Signature.

Snowskin mooncakes are usually eaten cold and remind me of mochi ice cream as both have glutinous rice crusts. SO GOOD. If only they had the original lotus seed paste + salted duck egg yolks inside the snowskin. That would be heaven on earth to me.

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Mooncakes in a bright festive box. Planning to transform it into a makeup box.

Aren’t they pretty?! Couldn’t bear to eat them initially – until Agent D told me that they only have a shelf life of 3 days. :/

For more information on where to buy mooncakes in Jakarta, check out this article: Where to get mooncakes in Jakarta 2016 – Honeycombers.


Since Agent D surprised me with mooncakes, I decided to be a better wife to him by cooking up a new dish on Friday night – heart healthy penne pasta with beef. (Prior to this, I had been cooking the same few dishes every other day. Cooking is just not my thang, sigh.)

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Beef penne pasta.

I’m always cautious about trying new things but I’m glad it turned out okay (phew). And it brought a smile to Agent D’s face. 🙂

On another note, so happy that coming Monday is a Public Holiday and we are having a long weekend YAY.

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Sexy wink from Freckles.

Have a good weekend! x

Jakarta Must-haves: Air Purifier and Water Filter in Jakarta

I recently just passed my one year mark living in Jakarta. Whoooop TIME FLIES.

Two things that have improved my quality of life greatly in Jakarta are my trusty IQAir air purifier and eSpring water purifier. If you’re looking to buy an air purifier (a must for Jakarta!!) or water filter, this post is intended to present you with some facts/information to help you make an informed choice.

IQAir Air Purifier

Why the need for an air purifier in Jakarta?

Official figures show that the amounts of toxic pollutants in Jakarta air have grown rapidly over the years, in line with the ever-increasing number of vehicles on the roads. The major air pollutants are — carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and suspended particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10).

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Air pollution in Jakarta. (Photo credit: pollutionpictures.blogspot.com)

These pollutant particles can sneak into people’s nasal passages and lungs, causing a myriad of conditions like asthma, bronchitis, acute lower respiratory infections (particularly in children), allergies, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.

While pollution in Jakarta is still lower compared to cities like Beijing and New Delhi, it is serious enough for the U.S. State Department to put Jakarta on a priority list of American Embassies to be fitted with air purifiers. Air purifiers are capable of capturing a great number of bacterial, viruses, and DNA damaging particulates.

Out of all the air purifiers, why IQAir home air purifier?

When shopping for an air purifier, consider the size of the area it is meant for and what you intend for it to do. Air purifiers can cost from SGD $99 to more than SGD $1500 each.

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IQAir HealthPro® Series at our home.

In general, most air purifiers can remove dust particles. However, ONLY air purifiers equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can get rid of particles 0.1 to 0.3 microns in size.

We have been using the IQAir HealthPro® Series (Swiss made) which features HyperHEPA filtration technology for superior airborne particle removal. IQAir’s HyperHEPA filtration is tested and certified to effectively filter harmful ultrafine pollution particles down to 0.003 microns in size (!!!). This is 100 times smaller than what is achieved with ordinary air filtration technology and 10 times smaller than a virus.

Difference between IQAir and other purifiers.

The HealthPro Plus is designed with a 4-stage filtration process that cleans the full spectrum of airborne pollutants through a series of filters:

  1. Micro-Particle Filtration
  2. Granular Activated Carbon Adsorption
  3. Pelletized Chemisorption
  4. HyperHEPA Filtration

You can read up more on the above filters on IQAir’s website. Here are some before and after pictures of one of the filters we recently changed:

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Old filter after one year of usage (left) and brand new filter (right).

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Underside of filters.

In addition, IQAir HealthPro Plus makes use of a 320-degree air exhaust whereby filtered air is evenly distributed in all directions with minimal noise. Most other air purifiers return filtered air into the room through a small outlet that generates annoying drafts.

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320-degree air delivery with IQAir.

Our  IQAir HealthPro Plus features six fan speeds, a day/night timer, and a filter-life monitor. The filter-life monitor is especially useful because it forecasts filter replacement based on actual usage (i.e. no. of remaining hours left for a filter) and colour-coded lights tell you when it’s time to change each filter (i.e., green = long way to go; orange = gotta change soon; red = change now!!).

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Control panel and remote control.

One important thing to note is that many of the cheap(er) air purifiers in the market use technology that produces potentially harmful byproducts, such as ozone, ions, chemicals and ultrafine particles. Whereas IQAir uses 100% healthy and safe technology to clean the air.

Even though we never ever open our windows in Jakarta (as long as we are at home, the air-conditioner is switched on), our indoor air quality is still not ideal – hence the need for an air purifier.

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Just look at that THICK layer of I-don’t-know-what. If not for our trusty air purifier, we would have breathed all of that in.

During the SARS outbreak (2003), H1N1 outbreak (2009), and haze crisis in Singapore, I was told that some hospitals in Singapore used IQAir air purifiers to clean the air inside the wards.

Even after our stint in Jakarta, we are planning to bring back our IQAir HealthPro Plus with us back to Singapore. 🙂

If you need more information about IQAir home air purifiers, visit their website at: http://www.iqair.com/international/home-air-purifiers.


eSpring Water Purifier

Why the need for a water filter/purifier in Jakarta?

Water from the tap is not safe for drinking in Jakarta because the groundwater is severely polluted. According to Yuki Water Treatment, up to 80% of groundwater in Jakarta is polluted with pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, such as e-coli.

Due to the prevalence of water borne diseases, most locals drink bottled water from Aqua or Pristine. Jakarta homes have a large water dispenser that looks something like this:

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Water dispenser in Jakarta homes.

We didn’t like the fact that the water gallon containers are perpetually reused. When ordering a new gallon of water, we would return the empty containers at the same time. These containers would then be re-filled with water and transported to another household. And the cycle repeats itself again and again.

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Gallons of bottled water for use in water dispenser.

Wear and tear from the reuse of these containers can lead to physical breakdown of the plastic, with the possibility of carcinogens leaching into the water. If the containers have cracks or scratches over time (highly likely!), bacteria can harbor in those cracks, posing a health risk.

In addition, some of these containers have been under the hot sun for long periods of time before coming to us (for instance, when used at a ‘warung’ or when transported between places). And heat will certainly increase the rate at which chemicals can migrate from the plastic.

As such, we set out to search for an effective water filter that would provide us with safe, clean, and sustainable drinking water. At the same time, we help Mother Earth by preventing more plastic bottles from becoming waste. 🙂

Out of all the water filters, why eSpring water filter?

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eSpring water purifier at our home.

Backed up by over 25 years of research, patented technology and sold in at least 40 countries, eSpring water purifier provides clean and better quality water right from the tap.

The eSpring water purifier makes use of a carbon-based UV filtration system to reduce more than 140 potential health-effect contaminants in drinking water. Its UV light technology treats water additionally without the use of chemicals.

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UV light technology.

In addition, its carbon-filter technology filters out impurities while allowing beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, and fluoride to pass through.

After replacing the old cartridge with a new one, we would usually let the water run for 5 minutes. The first run of filtered water is usually blackish in colour because of the active carbon. After several minutes, the water becomes colourless and is ready for use.

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Carbon-filter technology (active carbon).

Notably, the eSpring water purifier is the first home water purifier to feature a carbon/UV system that meets NSF International Standards 42, 53, 55, and 401. These standards are recognized worldwide for water quality.

It is certified by NSF for reducing more contaminants than any other carbon-based UV filtration system. Let me show you some pictures!

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Brand new cartridge (left) and used cartridge after 6 weeks (right).

Just look at how brown and dirty the cartridge became!! Not to mention that it smelt badly too. Not a pretty sight. :/

The eSpring water purifier is simple to install and easy to use. Maintenance is also easy with single cartridge replacement about once every 6 weeks (depending on your usage).

Cartridges don’t come cheap though; each cartridge costs about SGD $300 per unit. But what’s $$$ compared to health right. #healthisgold

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eSpring water purifier connected to the tap.

With our eSpring water purifier, we are able to boil and drink water from our tap + wash vegetables/fruits/meats from the tap. We brush our teeth with the filtered water too. 🙂

For more information on eSpring home water purifier, visit their website at: http://www.amway.com/at-home/eSpring.

PS: Both IQAir and eSpring did not pay me to write the above review. I just wanted to share good stuff with you guys. ❤ ❤ ❤