A poor person needs to eat.

The first type of person will be kind enough to catch some fish, and give them to him. That’s compassion. The Saint.

The second type of person will give the bait, and even the fishing tools, and tell the poor to go catch some fish. The Investor.

The third kind of person may not give the poor anything but teach him how to fish. The Coach.

But there is also another kind of person who will say,

“People used to catch fish with their bare hands. Let’s try that together. Let’s find out how does it go. I’m sure we can do it. Then I’ll help you find The Investor and The Coach, and highly recommend them to help you because I’ve witnessed your hard work”

A Conversation with the Gate Keeper
A Simple Life Lesson from Swimming
The Nine Kisses

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Pasti tidak sedikit yang pernah jalan-jalan ke pasar-pasar yang ada di Melbourne, Sydney, Amsterdam, atau kota-kota di Amerika, lalu berharap bukan dalam hati lagi, tapi diucapkan lugas, “Kalau saja pasar-pasar di Indonesia bisa seperti ini.”

“Bisa seperti ini” biasanya berarti menyenangkan untuk dikunjungi. Ada toko kelontong berdampingan dengan bakery. Ada lapak sayur-mayur yang berteman dengan kios produk-produk rancangan anak-anak muda kreatif. Ada toko kain yang berteman dengan toko t-shirt.

Pasti tidak sedikit yang pernah berharap bahwa kegiatan nge-mall setiap akhir pekan di Jakarta bisa diganti dengan sesuatu yang lain. Makan di restoran dengan harga mahal dan rasa yang begitu-begitu saja juga butuh alternatif.

Apakah itu artinya kita harus membangun sebuah gedung baru yang didisain khusus untuk jadi pasar jadi-jadian?

Pasar Santa sama sekali tidak dibangun dengan visi atau misi menjadi sebuah pasar seperti di Melbourne. Tidak ada infrastruktur fisik yang menunjukkan Pasar Santa direncanakan menjadi sebuah pasar yang bisa jadi objek wisata. Koridor-koridor sempit. Lahan parkir sangat terbatas. Sirkulasi udara tidak ideal.

Memang tidak sepatutnya Pasar Santa dipaksakan menjadi tempat nongkrong anak muda.

Namun, apakah sepatutnya lantai atas Pasar Santa menjadi mati selama tujuh tahun? Apakah sepatutnya ratusan kios terbengkalai tanpa ada yang menggubris? Apakah sepertiga dari potensi ekonomi kerakyatan di Pasar Santa patut dipadamkan begitu saja?

Selama tujuh tahun, baik Pengembang (Developer) maupun PD Pasar Jaya seolah tidak punya ide untuk menghidupkan potensi ini. Selama tujuh tahun, pemilik-pemilik kios di lantai atas melupakan investasi mereka begitu saja; listrik tidak dibayar, retribusi tidak dilunaskan, pajak tidak ditunaikan. Kios-kios tersebut menjadi kuburan bayi. Usahanya belum juga dimulai, tapi sudah divonis mati.

Padahal, Pasar Santa selalu bersih, selalu aman, dan selalu strategis. Kenapa tidak berkembang? Kenapa selama tujuh tahun PD Pasar Jaya dan Pengembang (Developer) buntu ide?

Ketika kopi dan piringan hitam menjadi daya tarik anak-anak muda dan kalangan kreatif untuk datang ke Pasar Santa, lantai atas ini jadi terlihat seksi. Anak-anak muda merasa bukan hanya tempat, tapi juga kesempatan buat memperkenalkan ide-ide kreatif mereka ke publik. Ide-ide kreatif yang akan terpaksa jadi komersil kala dibebani biaya sewa di shopping mall.

Dan, tiba-tiba saja – tanpa rencana, tanpa persiapan, tanpa perhitungan – Pasar Santa jadi wadah yang menampung banyak ide kreatif.

Ketika masyarakat semakin menerima wajah Pasar Santa yang baru, dan media selalu lalu-lalang di koridor-koridornya untuk mencari berita menarik, siapakah yang siap untuk mengelola hal yang baru ini? Tidak ada. Siapakah yang memahami dan mampu mengimplementasikan teori tentang bagaimana dinamika ekonomi kreatif dengan pedagang tradisional semestinya dibina? Tidak ada. Siapakah yang cukup berkuasa untuk menentukan batas-batas pengembangan? Tidak ada.

Lantas, siapakah yang kini sibuk menelaah berbagai kelemahan dan ketimpangan Pasar Santa? Banyak. Siapakah yang asyik menggarisbawahi kesalahan-kesalahan berbagai pihak – mulai dari anak-anak muda yang buka kios mewah, PD Pasar Jaya yang kurang tanggap, pihak Pengembang yang sibuk jualan – tanpa peduli untuk memahami situasi dan kondisi Pasar Santa secara menyeluruh? Banyak. Siapakah yang bangga karena merasa dirinya cukup pintar untuk berkomentar soal Pasar Santa tanpa merasa perlu berkunjung dan berbincang-bincang dengan para pedagang kecil, pihak Pengembang, pihak PD Pasar Jaya, dan para “penghuni baru” Pasar Santa? Banyak sekali.

Pasar Santa yang sekarang berubah secara organik. Pasar Santa yang sekarang ini adalah sebuah barang baru yang tidak ada buku manualnya. Bisa jadi banyak teori, tapi apakah teori-teori tersebut bisa diterapkan atau tidak hanyalah mereka yang benar-benar setiap hari ada di Pasar Santa yang tahu.

Berbagai langkah sudah mulai dicoba diambil sejak berbulan-bulan lalu. Penghuni-penghuni baru membentuk asosiasi yang tujuan utamanya adalah menjalin hubungan, bahkan melindungi pedagang-pedagang lama di Pasar Santa yang hidupnya sangat bergantung pada kios-kios yang mereka sewa. Advokasi dan diskusi dengan PD Pasar Jaya dan pihak Pengembang sudah dilakukan selama berbulan-bulan. Interaksi antara pedagang lama dan pedagang baru juga dijalin lewat transaksi, silaturahmi, dan acara-acara bersama.

Usaha untuk bertemu dan berdiskusi dengan Bapak Gubernur DKI pun sudah lama kami coba, tapi belum juga terwujud.

Daya tarik komersil Pasar Santa semakin mengalahkan daya tarik kreatif. Demikian banyak peminat yang mau buka usaha di Pasar Santa yang kini ramai dan hidup. Mereka bawa uang, berani bayar mahal untuk satu kios. Mungkin tanpa mereka sadari, mereka membeli kios yang minggu lalu masih ditempati pedagang baju batik untuk mereka ubah jadi toko yang menjual barang mewah.

Banyak sekali pihak yang bisa dituding bersalah. Ada yang mau mengaku, ada yang tidak. Tuding menuding ini tidak akan membawa solusi apa-apa, dan juga tidak menjadikan penudingnya tambah pintar ataupun tambah bermakna. Bukan berarti isyu ini dibiarkan saja berlalu. Karena, pada saat ini yang menjadi korban adalah pedagang kecil dan pedagang lama di Pasar Santa. Mereka yang menghidupi keluarga lewat kios berukuran 2×2 meter persegi saja.

Itu sebabnya gerakan #SustainableSanta diluncurkan. Pada saat ini, sementara menerima kritik bahkan cacian sinis dari publik, kami para usahawan baru di Pasar Santa masih berharap ada dukungan juga. Dukungan terutama untuk melindungi para pedagang kecil dan pedagang lama di Pasar Santa. Dukungan yang diawali dengan menandatangani Petisi kepada Pak Ahok untuk Melindungi Pedagang Pasar Santa ini.

Ini bukan petisi untuk menjadikan Pasar Santa sebuah pasar modern dan keren seperti di luar negeri. Ini bukan gerakan menciptakan tempat nongkrong anak gaul Jakarta. Ini bahkan lebih dari sekedar permohonan perlindungan atas sekelompok pedagang di Pasar Santa.

Ini adalah bagian dari pembelajaran bersama. Bahwa ternyata ekonomi pasar tradisional yang seharusnya menjadi fondasi kita dengan mudahnya tergerus oleh ekonomi gaya shopping mall. Ada yang memang posisinya menjadi penonton dan komentator saja. Ada yang menjadi pemerhati yang berwawasan jauh ke depan.

Apabila semua gagal, dan Pasar Santa kembali jadi lumpuh sebagian, atau jadi “shopping mall bukan, pasar juga bukan”, kami yang terlibat langsung di dalam kisah ini mungkin dirugikan secara materiil. Namun, usaha yang kami lakukan, dan pembelajaran yang kami dapatkan nilainya jauh lebih tinggi daripada sekedar adu pintar (bahkan adu lucu!) berkomentar.

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taken from postpasarsanta.tumblr.com

Among my favorite tenants in Pasar Santa is POST – a quirky and friendly corner tagged as “books, gatherings & all things creative”. POST is the creative mind of Pasar Santa. The clean cut space makes it versatile for new ideas. It is magical how the boxy POST can generate out of the box thinking.

POST displays neatly curated books by independent publishers. POST has been a space to launch new ideas; from a new discourse on feminism, to a showcase of musical talents, and from sketches of Jakarta’s transportation system, to visual documentation of the city’s awkward personalities. And, last night, POST transformed itself to become a writing corner.

taken from postpasarsanta.tumblr.com

taken from postpasarsanta.tumblr.com

I decided to join a gang of writers sitting together. There were eight of us, working on different things. We were given a challenge to finish our projects – whatever they were – in four hours. Project proposal, novel, short story, feature article, and – for me – treatment for a movie script.

The idea of this writing challenge might sound simple. Yet, when it was happening, and I became a part of it, there was this huge magical sense that I never thought I would experience.

From the inside, the communal writing activity with a clear goal boosted our focus and courage to achieve our objective. We wrote almost with no break. We were not even bothered by the noise coming from the people and other activities happening around us. And, yes, there were no walls to protect us from those noise.

From the outside, the view of a small, independent book shop transformed into a display of how “books” were done – the process of writing. It was a sight that you wouldn’t normally see every day.

taken from postpasarsanta.tumblr.com

taken from postpasarsanta.tumblr.com

Every writer that was involved in this writing challenge were occupied and busy with their own world. There were worlds gathering inside POST that night, making the place felt like a borderless universe.

When one of us declared the task was completed we cheered and clapped together, making a genuine celebration of success. There were many small, genuince celebrations that night, creating a joyful spark inside the traditional market. And, yes, I also accomplished my goal, and finished drafting the treatment of my new movie script.

Thank you very much, Maesy, Teddy and Steve from POST for arranging and initiating this writing challenge! It was an experience I will never forget!

Follow POST on: Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr!

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The three stories of desperate, alienated, and lonesome Jakartans are intertwined by Lucky Kuswandi‘s writing and directing. Feels very close to home for real Jakartans, In The Absence of the Sun / Selamat Pagi, Malam is also an exotic journey to the city’s scarred souls for outsiders. In the tradition of Lost in Translation, the movie renders the problematic yet ambitious Jakarta through the characters involved.

I could acknowledge the alienation felt by Gia, or address the desperation of Indri, even recognize the longing and deep loss experienced by Ci Surya. They are three little mice in a labyrinth with no clear escape. They might not even know what they are running for. All of them are merely struggling to survive one particular night in Jakarta – a city that can be too absurd for them.

I enjoyed the presentation. I enjoyed the performance of all the cast involved, especially Dayu Wijanto as Ci Surya. I enjoyed the visuals, the music, the overall atmosphere. Everything is well-composed as a strong art house movie. I must admit that I did not go out of the movie carrying anything personal for me, but overall it is a fine portrayal of Jakarta, and definitely a meticulously made movie.

More Reviews:
Lovely Man (2011)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Prometheus – A Blonde Review (2012)
Prisoners (2013)
Godzilla (2014)

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First, let’s talk briefly about the surface.

Angelina Jolie is made for the role, and the camera could not stop glorifying her. Those who pay to see her will be more than satisfied. Her fashion, her look, her style, her action – everything is perfectly captured and framed. The overall visual is cartoony to give a strong sense of fairy tale.

However, the plot feels slow from the mid-point to the end of Act Two. Battle sequences should be more elaborated just a bit to entertain us with more spectacles. Act Three rises up again with a mild, rather predictable twist, and a decent conclusion.

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Now, the actual content of this Sleeping Beauty story told through the point of view of the “villain”.

What’s awesome about Maleficent is how it intentionally blurs the line between hero and villain. This idea is already presented from the first few lines of the narrator. I, in my quick judgement, believe that this is an important movie for the kids.

Maleficent is another brave step to eradicate the absolutism of good versus evil. It really feels like Disney is seriously updating the values they want to plant in the children. Maleficent also portrays the failure of men, and reaffirm the staggering importance of motherhood and feminism. Just like in Frozen, dreamy teenage love of a Prince Charming is made irrelevant. Young girls should make a choice even if it is against conservative values.

Well, I may have read too much into it, but I honestly wish the best for Maleficent.

More Movie Reviews:
Godzilla (2014)
American Hustle (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Prisoners (2013)

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I have been trying to keep this a secret for quite some time, but now the word is out already. I am talking about a coffee place unlike any others in Jakarta, or the whole Indonesia in this case.

What is ABCD? How would I define this small kiosk further than “A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers”? For sure this is not a cafe. But, yes, you can order espresso, cappuccino, latte, piccolo, or filtered coffee processed through different manual brew methods – using V60, Clever Dripper, AeroPress, or Kalita Wave. There is no set price, but there is the tall, red tip jar with a rather demanding text saying “as generous as you can be”. With a smiley.

Occasionally there is food, but it’s mostly brought by the regular patrons who love to share their favorite snacks. There is AC inside, but outside can be quite warm. There is music usually coming from the store next door that sells vintage vinyls. There is a few, uncomfortable seats and coffee tables, but most of the time people are enjoying their coffee standing. To know when ABCD will pop-up as a coffee bar (or, open for public), follow their Instagram account: @abcd_coffee.

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Hendri Kurniawan has been studying coffee since early 2000, and is among the first experts who introduced third-wave coffee movement to Indonesia. He is known as a trainer, a consultant, a certified World Barista Championship judge for technical, sensory and visual (latte arts), and a heartbroken man. When one wants to open a coffee shop in Jakarta, Hendri Kurniawan is the first go-to guy for some advice. He has helped setting up a lot of successful coffee shops in Jakarta, Bandung, Malang, Bali and other cities.

Since most of the top baristas know Hendri Kurniawan personally, ABCD then has become a playground for them. Champion baristas from posh and stylish cafes in Jakarta usually hang out in ABCD, and some of them are more than happy to brew coffee for other guests. During the Indonesia Barista Championship 2014, many competing baristas use ABCD as the training place. For home baristas and brewers, ABCD is where they dig more knowledge and practical skills. Hendri Kurniawan also uses the tiny space to give private course for those who really, really want to learn to be a barista.

Pictured below is Josh Estey (right) from Bear & Co. Pop-Up Coffee Bike asking some advice from Hendri Kurniawan (left) himself.

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The coffee served in ABCD is varied, from Matt Perger’s championship beans, Panama’s geisha beans for the coffee snobs, carefully selected local coffee, to Hendri Kurniawan’s own blend lovingly named Phat Uncle. Every visit to ABCD will give you a different coffee experience, and surely will gain you more coffee knowledge and buddies.

ABCD is located in a traditional Pasar Santa market, on the second floor, practically right above Dapoer Kopi. It is far different from the usual stylish coffee places, but the beans and the baristas are top notch. ABCD is definitely a playground, and a hub for those who are really passionate over coffee. And this highly caffeinated bunch of people is jumpy enough to welcome strangers as new buddies.

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Additional Notes:

The official hashtag for ABCD on Instagram is #ngopidipasar – “Ngopi” is a slang for “having coffee”, and “di pasar” means “at the market”. Whatever you do, please don’t take pictures of your coffee here along with Monocle or Kinsfolk magazines. They are more into Calvin & Hobbes comic books.

RELATED: Notes from Indonesia Championship Barista 2014
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The Trophies. | Anggara Rizki (3rd Place), M. Aga (Runner-Up), and Yoshua Tanu (Champion).

The Trophies. | Anggara Rizki (3rd Place), M. Aga (Runner-Up), and Yoshua Tanu (Champion).

Indonesia Barista Championship 2014 – #IBC2014 – was wrapped today, and here are my personal notes as one of the many Sensory Judges involved, as well as member of the organizing committee.

Best Ensemble of Grand Finalists

In other kinds of competitions, we – or, at least, i – would have at least one person in the final rounds that we wish would not win because of one or many reasons. Yet, I honestly, honestly felt that none of the six Grand Finalists of IBC 2014 should lose. I did have a favorite, and my favorite actually was not the one declared Champion. Yet, I was still ecstatic when the name Yoshua Tanu from Common Grounds Jakarta was called by Head Judge Danny Pang (from Toby’s Estate, Singapore) as the Champion. In short, the ensemble of the Grand Finalists could not be any better. They indeed represent the new level of skills, talents, creativity, and professionalism of Indonesian baristas today.

Running to Extra Mile

Yoshua Tanu painstakingly selected the beans by the size. He only used 6 mm to 7 mm long beans. Another competitor deselecting the defected beans one by one by his own hands. Most of the competitors knew exactly the story about the beans they used. Some of them roasted the green beans themselves. Some of them connect with the farmers directly, and did their research carefully. Meanwhile, another competitor creatively made a presentation tray from Lego bricks! They did it all in a very short time span. Kudos for all the great efforts!

Intan Kumalasari won Best Espresso Award | M. Aga - The Celebrity Barista

Intan Kumalasari won Best Espresso Award | M. Aga – The Celebrity Barista

Awesome Espresso

I sat as one of the four Sensory Judges to score Intan Kumalasari‘s performance. She was one of the six female baristas in the Final Round – of all total 24 Finalists. Her espresso was the best I ever tried during the whole competition. (In total, i actually judged 15 competitors.) Until the end of the day, I couldn’t forget the excellent balance of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness of that shot, and all the bright and pleasant flavours. In fact, Intan also created the most beautiful crema. I was so, so happy when Intan Kumalasari from Caswell’s Coffee Bali finally won the Best Espresso Award!

The Birth of a Celebrity Barista

I first met Muhammad Aga from Tanamera Coffee when he was still working for another cafe in a shopping mall. I was sitting as one of the three judges in the Latte Art Throwdown held by Toni Wahid‘s Cikopi.com in 1/15 Coffee. That was also my first time acting as a coffee judge. Aga won the throwdown. Later on, he moved to another coffee shop before finally found home in Tanamera Coffee. He progressed a lot especially in embodying the word “barista” and projecting it to his audience and customers. It is not hard to say that today Aga is Indonesia’s iconic barista, if not celebrity. As the Runner-Up in Indonesia Latte Art Championship 2014, and also the Runner-Up in IBC 2014, Aga actually stays as number one in the hearts of his fans. And – boy! – does he have a lot of them! His performance in IBC 2014 – from Elimination, to Final, to Grand Final rounds – always drew the most attention. He was confident, professional, and he befriended the crowds (and the cameras!) rather effortlessly now. By remembering to always stay humble and respectful to his seniors, Aga will definitely make it to the very top in future tournaments.

Tray made of Lego bricks by independent barista Izman Ramdhan. | M. Fauzan Umar creating his Signature Beverages using AeroPress.

Tray made of Lego bricks by independent barista Izman Ramdhan. | M. Fauzan Umar creating his Signature Beverages using AeroPress.

Passion, Passion, Passion!

We had foreign judges flying from Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other cities. Not only they were doing voluntary work, but two of them actually did more than that. The judges from Hong Kong were from Wah Shing Coffee, and they actually offered to sponsor IBC 2014 with hard cash! Meanwhile, the small committee members comprise of owners of coffee shops, consultants, and other professionals who were very occupied with their day jobs. Yet, they were all willing to do the impossible; to hold this national event with less than two months of preparation. Without getting paid. When I came up with the tagline “Where Passion Brews!” for IBC 2014, this is actually what I was talking about. With no pure passion and spirit to improve the whole industry of specialty coffee and the talents of baristas in Indonesia, this event would never happen.

Yoshua Tanu - The Champion of IBC 2014. | Anggara Rizki - 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014.

Yoshua Tanu – The Champion of IBC 2014. | Anggara Rizki – 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014.

Once again, congratulations for:

Yoshua Tanu from Common Grounds – Champion, and Best Cappuccino Winner of IBC 2014
Muhammad Aga from Tanamera Coffee – Runner-Up of IBC 2014
Anggara Rizki from 1/15 Coffee – 3rd Place Winner of IBC 2014
Intan Kumalasari from Caswell’s Coffee – 4th Place Winner, and Best Espresso Winner of IBC 2014
M. Fauzan Umar from Trafique Coffee – 5th Place Winner of IBC 2014
Gandhi Pramita from Caswell’s Coffee – 6th Place Winner of IBC 2014

Yoshua Tanu will represent Indonesia in World Barista Championship 2014 in Riminy, Italy, June 9-12. Let’s give him our biggest support!

RELATED: Jakarta’s Best Coffee Shops
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