A few months ago, I woke up in the Netherlands to news that there was a bombing in Surabaya. During the rest of the day, I constantly checked online to see if there were any updates. I found out that it was a family of suicide bombers, and that they were indeed terrorists. It was the first time I wasn't home during a monumental event. No one else seemed to know what was happening, and I felt very frustrated. I spent that afternoon sitting alone on campus, soaking up the sun and writing this poem. I hope you find solace in my words.
Surabaya, 1743 (2018)
It's everywhere and no where at the same time
If we can’t see it, how are we supposed to fight?
My grandfather was born in Surabaya,
but he lives in a small town twenty minutes away.
My best friend from home went to Church of Santa Maria,
but she’s in school waiting for her diploma.
Went online because my news is filtered media;
they say the terrorists had been to Syria -
as if that could explain the hysteria.
A little girl at the young age of nine.
Hair as dark as mine.
Eyes as hopeful as mine.
The same potential as mine.
But tell me why
she has to die
with a bomb strapped to her torso,
while i sit in a class listening to my professors?
We talk about terrorism in class
as if its not here,
something Other to fear.
But terrorism is not here or there,
it is not anywhere but within ourselves.
How can we blame someone else
when we are the ones murdering our kids;
the one’s we raised, bathed, and kissed?
We taught them how to think.
So how can we blame them
When they are willing to kill without so much as a blink?
Fear is easy when you can blame it on terror.
But what’s it gonna take for us to look in the mirror?
Life is a lottery
I have undeservingly won.
Kamu tidak sendiri
(You are not alone)
Kami tidak takut
(we are not scared)
Teror di Surabaya
(Terror in Surabaya)
Teror di rumah kita
(Terror in our homes)
Teror di dalam jiwa
(Terror in our souls)
I thrifted the blouse at Mee&Gee. Got it for $5. Facts. It's got shoulder pads and everything. The pants I got from Uniqlo. These are my first pair of white pants and I feel like a real responsible adult. (Eating with it on gives me mad anxiety, I don't know how all of you white-clothing-owning-adults do it).
I saw a post somewhere (could have been Leandra Medine or Tan France) saying that we'll regret this whole 'tiny glasses trend' very soon. I agree, but I love it right now and I will over-indulge on the internet for me to cringe at when I look back at my social media platforms. It's called self-awareness and the circle of life. It be like that. Anyway, I got these skinny/tiny/baby sunnies from Bershka. Oh, and the ambiguous abstract earrings (I think it looks like a person's torso) are from Monki!
What do you think about the tiny glasses trend? Is it as stupid as the big orthopaedic sneaker trend? Will we all hate this blog post in two months? I suppose only time will tell. And you, in the comments, if you'd like!
On a particularly chilly/sunny day, my friend, Karla, and I decided to hit up a place in the city for dinner. Karla, who works with lists as much as I do, keeps an ever-growing list of food spots in town she wants to try — and lucky for us, Fika was one of them. Located in a section of the city that my brain hasn’t particularly grown acquainted to, I was a bit apprehensive, so we both decided to look it up on Google Maps and let the app guide us. The restaurant/cafe is located towards the end of its street, right across a cute looking bakery (which could be the star of the next blog post).
I ordered the Gerookte Noorse Zalm (herbed cream cheese, cucumber, and smoked salmon) and Buffelmozzarella (cherry tomatoes, pesto, mozzarella, and greens). I highly recommend both of them. I also ordered a slice of Red Velvet cake to share with Karla, but compared to Union’s Red Velvet cheesecakes (if you’re Indonesian, then you’ll know), Fika’s cake was mediocre at best.
So, overall impression: Fika is incredibly cozy and it's a cute little spot if you're looking for a (cold) dinner. I'd recommend Fika as more of a lunch joint, and it would be a cute little nook to have a reunion with your fashionable friends at. Unfortunately I'd have to have known way more people than I actually do, so that's not possible. For now I will settle for revisiting Fika with Karla and possibly other friends for a chill day out.
Pro tip: if you're in Jakarta, and you'd like to try this delicacy from "The Kingdom of Denmark" (according to Google), I recommend the Smorrebrod at Gandaria City. It's a little nook near the movie theatre on the top floor. It's super cheesy and probably bad for you if you're lactose intolerant (which I'm 80% sure I am), but it's worth torturing your stomach over. Highly recommend.
Did you like my review of Fika? Will you be adding it to your version of Karla and I's extensive list? Do you have any other cafe/restaurant/food joint you'd like me to review? What is the purpose of human existence? Cool thanks for reading bye!
Hi, folks! Guess who's back from the (academic) dead? You guessed it! I'm here and I'm ready to update you all on the fun times I had in Hong Kong over the winter break. Yes, I'm aware that was about a month and a half ago). And yes, I will also be posting the vlogs that I made while I was there real soon.
On another note, I wanted to share a great piece of Hong Kong with you all: the Mee & Gee thrift shop(s) in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Situated on the sidelines of the lane that is blocked out for the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, Mee & Gee holds all sorts of hidden gems - ranging from FILA sweatshirts to boujie-silky blouses.
The one I fell in love with the most was the one I'm wearing in the pictures above...and throughout the rest of this blogpost. My mom and I took an excessive amount of fire fit pics, okay? Deal with it. Anyways, I found a collection of these blouses. They had all sorts of colours, prints, sizes, and models. The best part? They were all 10 HKD each. That's like, €1.50 for a blouse!!! I've seen some pretty nice thrift shops in NL. But so far, nothing beats Mee & Gee.
The store is wedged in a little alleyway, between a New Balance store and the famous Ladies Market. In the picture above, I'm posing right in the middle of said alleyway. As you can see, that $10 sign is legit, y'all.
Pro tip: there are two Mee & Gee stores right across the street from each other, but they do sell a different assortment of clothes to choose from. When I visited, I personally found more things in the Mee & Gee store by the New Balance shop. If you're looking for those crazy printed blouses specifically, I suggest you visit that one first. However, if you do have time, I recommend checking both out!
To take the look a few steps further, I paired the blouse with a gorgeous faux leather jacket from Musium Div., which I got for Christmas. Unfortunately, the faux leather started giving out and crumbling around the sleeves, so I traded it in for some other cute pieces (including a hoodie, two ribboned-trousers, and a colour-blocking mini skirt). At least it held up long enough for a great Insta post, though.
I also paired it with some slinky dress pants from H&M that I've had for forever. Obviously, the look would have been much more ethical and eco-conscious if I had paired it with some thrifted pants - which is a quest for my next Hong Kong trip!
Lastly, I complemented the look with some layered chains from H&M. The gold chains matched with the gold hardware of the blouse's buttons. Plus, it made the look a little bit more modern (if the New Balance sneakers didn't already balance out the look enough...hehe, get it?) (Pleas excuse my jokes, it's almost midnight and I'm writing this post for the second time because I accidentally deleted it the first time).
To end the great day of an impromptu outfit photoshoot, my mother (aka my personal photographer) and the two kiddos (aka my siblings, whom we dragged around Mong Kok while we took pictures) stopped by the pop-up Sweet Monster shop. I got myself a citrusy-summery-bubbly drink and took a really cool picture so now you all have to look at it, too.
All in all, I learned that I am quite fond of looking like someone's grandmother from the 60's-80's. Still not sure which era those prints came from. Comment below if you know. Also, please don't hesitate to comment some great, thrifty places you may know (in HK, or otherwise). I'd love to check out the thrifty scene some more!
When I think of 2017, blurry organised chaos filled with emotions comes to my mind. Anyone can tell you that trying to find a theme amongst this chaos is just as meaningless as life itself, but if not for the human condition, then why not at least try?
My cheesy self would choose ‘introspection’ as one of the biggest themes of 2017. Despite my dissociation clouding how I perceive memories, I can pick out major events in the past year where I sat down with myself and thought hard about what I wanted and needed. Of course knowing what you need and actually doing it are quite different, but I was finally able to close the gap between the two. In terms of The Self, 2017 was a great year. All the energy, time, and thought I put into me has caused Me to be a priority.
Of course, logic says that everything needs to be balanced and I can say I lacked it quite a bit last year. The high school-themed nightmares slowly became university-themed and now I dream of meeting my friends that I haven’t talked to in a while. It’s hard for me to admit this (partially because this will be shown on the internet for the whole world to see, but also because I’m way more prideful than I’d like to say), but spending so much time on myself has lead me to become somewhat lonely. Of course, I can’t entirely blame it on myself. I moved halfway through high school and now I’ve moved to another country for university. I also need to be more gentle with myself (a resolution for 2018, if you will), and to cut myself some slack since I made so many new friends in my first semester of uni.
There’s also no point in being caught-up in it. I’ve wasted so much time micro-analysing and criticising myself for every small mistake. Life’s too short!!!!!!! Time is a human construct but it’s a new year, I have been reborn, and I will preserver with more knowledge and wisdom than ever (wow I can not get any cheesier).
I’m not really in to listing all of my resolutions, but I like to speak things into existence, plant the seed, and see the harvest (shoutout to you if you know where that’s from).
Which is why, 2018 is going to be the year where I become more open. I will reach out to people, and give them an actual chance before judging them and overthink myself an exit from the not-yet-existent relationship. I will make an effort to ask people about how they're doing, how their days are going. I will call people more. I will make more plans to hang out with people and actually follow through.
I will become more open to art, both in terms of creating and discovering. I will let myself be surrounded by new content all the time. I will not scare myself into not making art before I even start (a very bad habit of mine). Who cares if it turns out bad? Who cares if it's mediocre? Who cares if it's good? Post it. Share it. Tell people about it. Read it aloud. Sing it aloud.
I will be softer, to people and myself. I will allow myself to make mistakes and to continuously try to better myself. I always get super productive in the beginning of the year and kind of wither into a disorganised mess towards the end, but who's to say it can't be mental spring all year round, right?
It's never good to be stagnant. We're allowed to constantly reinvent ourselves. I think I have an innate worry that I do not completely know 'myself' and what that means. But like a painting, or a song, or even a book, I wasn't born 'me'. My identity is an ever-changing, ever-evolving thing and that should not terrify me as much as it does. I am not 'me', I am becoming me. Prepare yourself for another cringe-worthy quote: life is the story/process/adventure of becoming yourself and that has its own beauty when you think about it (or romanticise/glorify like I do, but hey, it works).
So, here's to 2018! May we continuously better ourselves, each other, and Mother Earth.
P.s. 2018 is also gonna’ be the year where we uplift each other. So, if you didn’t know, this is where that harvest quote is from:
You’re welcome. Now you know. Therefore, you deserve a shoutout. This is me shouting you out, you great reader, you. Boom.
I won a photography competition!! I hate it when people type 'eep!' when they're excited online, but...EEP! How did this happen? So, backtrack to October, I saw posters on campus from Cultuur Op De Campus (Culture on the Campus, a study association at Radboud University), saying that they were holding a photography competition with 'activism' as a theme.
Obviously, I had to try. I may not be the most experienced photographer (spoiler alert: I shoot on auto), but I do love photographs and activism. So, I sent in the pictures I took during the Women's March and waited for a reply (click here to read the article).
Funny story, the winners were supposed to be announced during an event at a café on campus. I had written the date on my agenda, as I always do with everything so that I wouldn't forget. Me being me managed to get the date wrong. I ended up missing the event on Tuesday, went to the café on Thursday, and sat there for an hour wondering, when will the event start?
After reading the email I received carefully, I realised that I had missed the event (much to my and Karla's - who I dragged to the café as my date - dismay). Nonetheless, I took some pictures of my photographs on display at a building on campus.
It's one thing to take nice photographs, but it's an entirely new sensation to see your photographs on display for everyone to see. The memories that have been immortalised through these snapshots are so dear to me, and I am so proud of myself and the people in these photographs for coming together to be a part of this new wave of feminism in Indonesia.
In addition, I am glad that they are on display for a predominantly European school to see. Indonesia is often seen as an 'exotic', far-away land to The Netherlands despite it being a former colony. Indonesians are only known for their 'satay', peanut-sauce, and Bali. To many Dutch people, Indonesia is a romantic sunny destination, a tourist hot spot for those who have gathered enough money for the summer holidays - sometimes even a 'spiritual' getaway.
On the contrary, Indonesia is so much more than what the Orientalist view permits. Indonesia is complicated, and often problematic. There is endless abuse and a lot of people are oppressed due to traditional cultural and religious doctrines. These photographs represent those who smile and persevere through the pain, hurt, and oppression.
I hope that my photographs stand as a symbol of strength. That yes, Indonesian womanhood has so many more facets than the sarung-clad women in Balinese paintings or the silent and modest kerudung-clad women you see in the streets. I hope that it says yes, we are under attack and no, we do not need your help. I hope that it allows people outside of Indonesia to be more open-minded and to be more mindful of those who are less privileged than them.
Crying is not an easy thing to put out there. A socially traditional feminine trait, we have been shamed into suppressing emotions that aren't positive or 'happy'. Well, I say screw it. Here's a gigantic screenshot of my splotchy, bloated, crying face. Why am I crying you may ask? Well, my new vlog pretty much explains it all.
For an explanation of what menjelang means, check out my first Menjelang Favorites post from last month. For the break down of everything I've been into the past month-ish, look no further. I don't know what it is but I feel like I go through music phases. In the winter time, I'm really in to indie and alt music. In the summer time, especially nearing my birthday (August 12th, hit your Leo girl up!!!), I get really in to hip-hop and R&B hype music. It's like my inner Insta Baddie shines through as it gets closer to my birthday. Not really, I think it's just my inner extra Leo shining through.
Enough about my zodiac sign. Here are some really cool things you should check out because I like them. Hope you find something new. Or at least just something to distract yourself with so you can forget the fact that we're all slaves to capitalism and social constructs for a while. Cool.
Marcel The Shell with Shoes On - Created by Jenny Slate and her (ex?) husband, Dean Fleischer-Camp, Marcel The Shell with Shoes On is a web series + kid's story book (I think). Marcel is a tiny shell and he goes around the house he lives, showing an unseen interviewer his life. It's adorable, it's incredibly witty, and oddly calming. It's so Pure.
The Incredible Jessica James (2017) - Got Netflix? Stream it. Don't got Netflix? Putlocker it. Jessica James is an incredible role model and I am constantly telling myself to emulate her. She's honest and she's beautiful and she's struggling in the way everyone struggles and she's an awesome writer so get with it.
Your Name (2016) - To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Japanese movies/TV shows. I've tried, but I Just Don't Get It. Plus, cis women are so hyper sexualized in Japanese culture that the characters in animation always sound super breathy and it's just weird and it makes me uncomfortable. But, if you can get passed that and you're looking for something beautifully illustrated and a crazy plot that makes you go ?!?!?!?!?! then Your Name is perfect. It's about love and space and time and it's kind of nuts but I like it, and the cheesiness of the love story.
Her (2013)- This movie was great and weird and intriguing and beautiful. Love is such a wild human concept in itself so to pair that up with technology is like double thinking for me and I love thinking about societal concepts and the protagonists challenges just that. Coolio. I cried, if that makes it any more convincing.
Health documentaries on food (What The Health + That Sugar Film.) - These documentaries were so eye-opening. The food industry has been a hot topic on my mind for the last month because it's crazy. Yet another thing that the government has manipulated in the name of capitalism and we as members of the market are so blind that we sit there like zombies while we are literally trashing our bodies. To make matters worst, consumerism has been ingrained so deeply into our culture that it's unnatural to go vegan or to cut out refined sugar. Even the products that are marketed to be healthy/low fat/sugar-free are damaging!! Not to mention the ecological impact the food industry has. We really need to get educated on this and real fast too so we can stop romanticizing the foods that are essentially hurting us.
Youtube Videos -
Viners truly do suck but Enya is hilarious and her little rant is so entertaining, especially since everything she spews out is the literal truth.
Just watch it. You'll get it.
PRETTYMUCH - (Gossip Girl voice) New Boyband Alert! Word on the street Simon Cowell's got a new group of talented boys to fill the void One Direction left. Okay, back to Sel voice now. Not to be dramatic but I'm in love. Kidding. Not really. They've got major talent and they dance. With hip hop and R&B influences, It Boy hypeskater styles, and the fact that they're 3/5 POC will probably take them to the top. Also the fact that I can't seem to choose a fav to stan is really concerning. Anyways, their new single called Would You Mind is a consensual bop!
Billie Eilish - This girl. Hoooooooo my god, where do I even start?? I love teenage girls who make music with simple lyrics, deep themes, and dark undertones. Eilish talks about self-love (or lack thereof) in idontwanttobeyouanymore, romantic love (and lack thereof) in Party Favor, murdering her friends and her lover (which is probably a metaphor for violently cutting them out of her life) in Bellyache. She recently released her EP, Dont Smile at Me, and it's a freaking masterpiece. Listen to it. I love her.
MY PLAYLIST VIDEO!!! IS LIT!!! WATCH & LISTEN TO IT!!! -
Meet Me in The Cosmos by Jack Cheng - It's middle-grade Lit and I've only gotten a few pages in but it's already made me actually giggle out loud more than the other stuff I read. Told in transcripts of voice recordings eleven year old Alex makes, Cheng explores life on Earth through his protagonist who is very passionate about outer space and rockets.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas explores the current racial climate in America. Starr, the protagonist, witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend (done by a cop). Thomas also explores the two worlds Starr has to manoeuvre between as she goes to a fancy prep school but lives in a poor neighbourhood.
Spiderman: Homecoming fanfiction - Don't shame fanfiction. It's just as much art as mainstream literature. My favorite's Leyla's (spidereyhes on Tumblr) Skyline. There's so much on Tumblr and Archives of Our Own. My favorite AU is Stark!Reader x Peter Parker for obvious reasons.
Solid colors - I'm always in black. Always. I wore what I used to think was the ugliest greenest shirt I own. I ended up liking it. A mission of mine is to now be more in to colors. (Also I think I'm just succumbing to the current It Alt Artsy Skater Girl trend).
Fishnet socks - The fishnet tights trend is cute and all but let's be real here, sitting on a chair and having your butt press up against netting the whole day isn't cute. The socks are an easier alternative. They're not uncomfortable but still present themselves just to add a little edgy pizzazz. Yes, I just said the word pizzazz. Well, typed.
Cauliflower rice - My parents have been doing the Keto diet so they've been trying to find rice substitutes. My mom ended up making this cauliflower rice and it turned out sooooo good. It's a vegan substitute, too! Here's the recipe she used since I love you and I want to include you in this cool meal.
Vegan Cookie Dough - Cookie dough is amazing. Vegan cookie dough is even more amazing. If you live in the Jakarta/Tangerang area, @kookie.do is on Instagram and they've got the best vegan cookie dough that you definitely need to try out.
The second I saw that Luce Besson's Fantasy/Sci Fi, Valerian and The City of A Thousand Planets, was playing in theatres, I immediately convinced my entire family to watch it with me out of pure excitement. Prior to watching the movie, I had only seen the trailer and hadn't read any reviews. I vaguely remember the plot of the movie from the trailer—something about a human named Valerian who lives in outer space and needs to save the galaxy, or something. I thought it was just my horrible memory. After watching the movie, I realize that the plot was just weak in general
Menjelang is an Indonesian word with a few English translations, including 'approaching', 'towards', and 'near'. It gives a sense of almost, with an underlying promise that it will be. I always scribble my favorites down on random scraps of papers and notebooks midway through the end and the beginning of two different months. Most of the time my favorites are things that are still very new to my life (songs with lyrics I still need to memorize, books I still need to finish), but that's because discovering excites me. It is my favorite thing. This combined with the fact that I think I am utterly uninteresting, these lists are usually disregarded quickly. But I'm learning how to have enough confidence to share.
© Selena Soemakno. All rights served unless stated otherwise.