Sunday, September 30, 2007


With everyone turning 5years old this year, kids on my son class are busy partying. Either during school day with just simple birthday cake and loly bags, or weekend birthday party, which means parents are involve (Because there is no way on earth you would send your 5 years old kid go to birthday party alone. Not in the country that having a little boy means greater risk than little girl)

So, that was what happened yesterday. My son got invite from his mate, for birthday party in the bowling place so called Disco Bowling. We were excited –at first. And with the fact that we know this family quite well, we came in full team. Me, my husband, our son and our little baby daughter.

When we walked into the building, we came to the shocked. We –me & my husband- looked each other in disbelief that this family decided to have birthday party on this place. Not only this place was dark and not a friendly place for kids, also the music video-clip projected onto the screen was absolutely adult music. From Elvis to Robbie Williams with his dancer, from Britney Spears to Spice Girl. All sexy saucy raunchy kind of clip.

5 minutes inside, I looked around for the host. Can’t find them. There are 3 enormous gigantic disco balls hanging, and all of the light that projected into it makes me felt dizzy. Or maybe I am just too old for that such thing. There are couples of parents on the other end of the room, so I walking towards to say hi.

They’re been there for 15minutes, and they said there is no sight of the host. One of the staff approached us and told us, the host will be late, so the party won’t be start until 12.30. I don’t think I can cope any longer in this room. So do others parents. And complaints started to flow. Not exactly complaint though, kind of winging on the thin air. 12.25, the host came in, and after apologizing, they lead the kids to the bowling alley.

This was my first experience with bowling. Call me old fashion, but I never been on Bowling Place before. So do my husband. So we watched curiously, when the kids change their shoes with bowling shoes provided, and started to play. 20 minutes, I felt so bored. My son seems felt the same, he could not concentrate on the play, and with 5 kids on every alley, he can’t be more patient to wait for his turn. I never saw his face soooo bored before.

He kept asking me, when we can leave.

So, I asked the birthday boy’s mum, how many games they’ll get, 15, she replied.
15? I can’t stand any longer. And all the mums on the room start to hush-hush again. Clearly, not only me who can’t stand but all.

I looked on to the alley. The Birthday Boy played happily. And the others loose the interest of playing. Some of the kids just lay down on the bench, doing nothing. Some of them, played hide and seek, couple of them tried to pushed the ball back to its place –sorry, I can’t remember the name of it- and my son, he was busy with score table, tried to configured the way its works.

So, when it comes to 13th games, the staff had to ask if any kids want to play. Nobodies but the Birthday Boy.
Poor thing, his mum did not pick up the signal, that all guest are tired, tired of waiting for them to coming, tired of playing such as long games, and –especially parents- sick of the place.

When finally games are over, and they sat us on the two long tables, one for the kids one for parents, my half dizzy half headache head couldn’t think clearly. The foods arrive, it doesn’t help at all.

Such a crap food. Junk food. Kids got fries, nuggets, and hot dog. Plain hot dog. Not even one lettuce leaf appears. Plain crap. No veggies, no fruits. Parents bit better, with plain sandwiches and cheese & fruit platter.

I can’t cope. But I waited until birthday cake was cut. After two bites of cheese and biscuit, I saw my son loose his appetite for his food. So I asked him to gently saying goodbye, we are leaving. My move was soon followed by others.

And we free. Out from building. See the sunshine. Such a lovely warm spring day that to hard to be missed.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Birthday Parties. Like 2 weeks ago, other friend invites us to her daughter birthday party, on the great amusement park with great food. And we happy to spend our time at that birthday. Kids are busy playing, climbing, and all physique activities with instructor aside. Mums can have a cuppa.

Just the way they pick up the venue was wrong for me. The food wasn’t good for kids. The music wasn’t right. Inappropriate for under 5. If you had teen, that is okay. Not under 5. Not babies. And I surely knew they paid like 30 dollar per kids –more expensive rather than the great amusement park which charged 25dolar per kids- for all of that (there are 15 kids, so it’s not small change money)

It left me with big homework. This month, will be our son birthday. We weren’t planning to do big party on special venue, but I really want to make it special.
Want to drop an idea for me? You are very welcome…

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My son attended a very colourful Daycare/Preschool, which allow him to interact with children from various backgrounds. Most of the kids had parents who studies here, the well-known UNSW. In fact, the Daycare itself is part of Uni.

One day, the teachers come up with the ideas to invite parents from different background to talks about their culture and their home country. It’s started about 4 weeks ago, with parent from British took the first turn, then India for the second shoot and Colombia. And me.

Since the very beginning, my son warned me not to disappoint him with my presentation –or my show, that how he’s calling it- because he done such a good presentation before in front of his friends. (Yes, they did their own presentation about everything, and they can bring their favourite object along to highlight their presentation). So, I am carefully preparing everything. The good thing is my husband even got chance to flew back to Indonesia beforehand, so he happy to brought me many postcards and pictures –even big Indonesia Map- to show.

And here comes the big day

I was wearing sarong and kebaya, and my son proudly wore his batik t-shirt & blangkon. The blangkon had caused a chaos when we arrived. All kids are very curious about it, and start to beg my son to let them borrow (and as expected, he said no, and gently explained his friend for wait for the occasion. Good job, son!)

The first 15 minutes went smoothly, all kids were happy with my story about Indonesia, the people, the culture, and the foods. They loved to se all of postcards and pictures. And it comes the time for them to try-on the Blangkon. One by one, they waited impatiently for their turn. Doesn’t really matter, boy or girl, they all seem have fun with blangkon over their head. And happily posed when teachers catch this momentum with their camera.

The funniest thing is not only Blangkon is suppose to wear only by a boy or a man so it’s kind of strange for me to see the blangkon on the girls head, but also because this blangkon was my son when he about 2-3years old. So it’s bit small now, for their big head. Only 1 boy could fit it on his head perfectly.

The last 10 minutes, was Q&A session. I never expected to get soooo much Q, even I kids asked like 2-3 question.
There is one boy who sat quietly during my presentation, asked me very interesting question.

Boy : Can you tell me, why this people doing this
(he pointed to 1 of my postcard, which pictured 3 becaks. Actually, 3 becak’s driver
stand on their upside down becak, tried to peek into the match on the stadium)

Me : Hmmmm (I did not expecting this Q)

Boy : It is dangerous to do that.

Me : Yes, I know.
What happened is, these 3 men want to watch the soccer match, inside the Stadium. But
they are too late, when they came in, stadium gate closed, they did not want to miss the
game, so they put their becak upside down so they can climbed it and watched the
game. (Good answer, Ayu! I praised myself for the answer. Of course I don’t want to tell them that these 3 men maybe cannot afford to buy the ticket. It will draw more and
more question about money, etc. These kids here are absolutely clever & critical, can’t
just gave them open answer)

Boy : But it is very dangerous standing like that. They could be falling. And getting injured.

Me : That is true. That is why do not do something like this at home or anywhere. This is not
very good example.

Other Boy : But if it’s not very good example, why you’ve brought this picture and show us?
Why didn’t you show us other picture with good example?

(I don’t want to loose my face though. Especially in front of my son who looked at me
patiently, waiting for me to spell out all of my answer.)
Ok, I did bring this postcard just to show you about becak. And I am sorry; I can’t find
another picture of becak but these two postcards. So, let’s continue…
Any other question?

From the corner of my eye, I can see the teachers smile. And I assumed they must laugh at me for my stupid answer. Or maybe I just had breakdown nerve and wrongfully translate their smiled.

After another couple of Q, one of the teachers helped me to wrap this show. All kids said thank you cheerily, but I still can see unsatisfied face from the boy who dragged me into this very hard conversation.

I have learned my lesson. Do not ever underestimated children for what they might though, or they think about things that you don’t count in your eyes. Most importantly, prepare and expect the unexpected. It could help to save the face in the end.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Happy APEC Day

Nice to having Sydney back to normal. Ok, it might be not 100% normal; at least it is alive now.

It is kind of eerie on last 3 days to see Sydney turn into ghost town. With APEC in town, and Friday declared as public holiday, every Sidneysiders flew out of town. I was thinking to walk to downtown, take some pictures of Sydney. This is the only chance to walk in very quiet Sydney. Quieter than Christmas Day. But some friends warned me, with baby in tow and restricted street will be hard for me to walking unnoticed by police. There are policemen in every single corner of City Street. I only saw on TV, but it is enough for me to felt intimidated. Since we moved here about 3.5 years ago, we never saw more than 4 policemen in one go. My mind always telling me there are problems if I saw more than a couple police on the street.

So, I change my mind. Better stay away from city. Enjoyed long holiday that seems forever since my son get bored easily if we stayed home on weekend.

And some people liked it, having long weekend, as they said “Happy APEC” cheerily. Not for business in down town that forced to shut their door on long weekend. There is no point to open if no customer around. Too much to pay. And tourist. They not happy too, especially who only had couple of day on Sydney, unaware of APEC meeting that paralyzed the city and slammed their chance to step into Opera House steps. Not even take photos from distance, since there are high fence blocking all access and view of it.

All the sacrificed that Sydneysiders made, to let their city blocked by high fence, only for one man who –they said, not me- most powerful man in the world. You know who he is, and as usual he let his tongue slipped, called this meeting OPEC instead of APEC. Poor thing. Must’ve been hard for him to said ‘A’.

And consider it lucky, they had the best dinner in Opera House –ever- with 3 Australia’s best Chefs, the best ingredients from around Australia, with the best wine from Australia’s famous winery. Not to mention the fireworks. What a life, being such a Head of State (I clearly thinking only the best part of their job. The worst part? No ideas….)

Ok. Have to stop. I am not going to talk about politics.
Anyway, Welcome Back, Sydney.

Monday, September 3, 2007

BeanSprout and Tofu salad with Peanut dressing

(Serves 4)

250 grams Firm Tofu , cut into cubes, approx 1cm x 1cm x 2 cm
100 grams Beansprout
100 grams Cabbage, chopped
200grams Raw peanut
3 garlic cloves
50 grams palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce (Kecap Manis)
oil for shallow frying

Fry the tofu about 3-5 minutes until brown and cooked.

Fry the raw peanuts without oil on separate pan until cooked. Place fried peanut, palm sugar, garlic clove and teaspoon into food processor, process it until mix well. Place mixed peanut on a bowl, add 50ml of water and dark soy sauce, mix well.

Prepare beansprout & cabbage on the plate. Top with fried tofu, dress it with peanut dressing.

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