Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Road to Freedom is Full of Perils


Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Repainting buildings and cleaning up the neighborhoods are parts of our tradition in celebrating our Independence Day. They have the symbolic meanings of renewing our spirits of patriotism and act as some sort of sacred anniversary wish that the republic that our forefathers and mothers have founded with their sacrifices may see a brighter and better future.

The workers you see in the picture above are repainting the facade of Gedung Sate (West Java Governor's Office Mansion). They were relying only on bamboo scaffolds to do their job. It is a perilous job indeed considering the height of the building. While the road to our independence was really littered with perils, I don't think this should be re-enacted today, sixty three years after we declared independence. The road to our independence my be full of perils, but the future should see a more just and prosperous Indonesia.

Here is another picture of workers repainting Bandung City Hall. The ground job is of course not as risky as that in the top picture.

perilous job

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

City of People: Children


Picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931), a Lebanese American artist, poet, writer, philosopher, theologian, and one of my favorite poets ever, once wrote this about children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your childrenas living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

To me, no other accounts of children have ever been more sublime than this. Those children in the picture are not just the citizens of Bandung; they are the citizens of the world, the future, and our hearts and souls.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

City of People: The Marching Band Drummers

the marching band drummers 2

27 JULI 2008 CANON A510 321


Texts and pictures by ©Eki Qushay Akhwan, all righst reserved.

Without discountng the roles of others, drummers are probably the most important part of a marching band. They provide beats and rhythm for the whole troops and regulate thier march. However, no groups of people can march on their own without cooperating with others, no matter how important they are. In this, a marching band can be a metaphor of life: parts can only be meaningful when they are put in a context, work hand in hand, and support one another. Only then can harmony be achieved and progress made. I hope these young drummers teach us something we so often forget.

Eki Qushay Akhwan

Monday, July 28, 2008

City of People: Youth Nationalism

27 JULI 2008 CANON A510 166BC

27 JULI 2008 CANON A510 168BB

27 JULI 2008 CANON A510 158BA

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Before proclaiming its independence on August 17th, 1945, the archipelago that now makes up the Republic of Indonesia was colonized by the Ducth for nearly 350 years (with a brief break when the colony was transfered to the British), then occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army for about two and a half years during the Second World War. During all those years, Indonesians from various parts of the archipelago never stopped resisting the occupation and fighting for their independence. Dutch control over these territories was never an easy one, and total dominance was never achieved until early in the 20th century.

Having to fight long and hard for their independence, Indonesians are characteristically and understandably nationalistic. They have a very strong sense of nationalism. The Independence Day celebration is an occasion that is usually prepared well over a month ahead and involves nearly everybody.

I met these young people at Taman Merdeka (Bandung City Hall Park) today as they were practicing their part of the instruments of the marching band that is going to take part in the Independence Day celebrations. I'll post some more pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

City of People: Friends


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Family and friends are what makes a city (or a land) a home. Bandung is my home (and a home to many others like me) because I have a family and friends who live here.

I have lived overseas, visited many wonderful cities and countries, and met with friendly people whereever I went. Bandung may not be as great as some of those cities, but it is this city that I always want to come back to.

This is the fourth picture in the CITY OF PEOPLE series. Please scroll down for the previous posts.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

City of People: Lovers


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Whereever there are people, there is love.

There are probably as many expressions for love as there are humans on earth. Let's not try to define or enumerate them. Let love speaks for itself.

This is the third posting of "The City of People" series. Please refer to my previous postings about this series.

Thank you for visiting and making the time to write a comment. Please come again tomorrow for the next picture in the series.

Friday, July 25, 2008

City of People: Happy Faces


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

It doesn't take much money to be happy. Just be among friends who can share your laughter.

This is the second posting of the "City of People" series, which I started posting yesterday. The series of pictures is a project I undertook to capture "the faces" of the city (Bandung).

The pictures in this series were taken candidly. I tried as much as I could not to raise the subjects' awarness of the presence of my camera as I believe this could prevent them from showing their real personality and obscure the essence of the moment. The pictures may not be of good quality technically (in terms of sharpness, etc.), but I hope I did not miss the essence of the story (whether I did or not, I leave it to you as the judge).

Thank you for visiting and making the time to comment. Please come again tomorrow to have a peek of what's coming up next.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

City of People: Night Basketballers


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Above all else, a city, I think, is about people. Buildings, streets, cars, and trains are just the accessories. Without people, all the material things only make a dead city. The essence of a city is POEPLE: their happiness and sorrow, their work and trades, their walks and games are the things that make a city beats.

In the past fourty days or so, you have been walking Bandung with me, looking at some of its notable material existence; but then, without knowing its people, I don't think you have yet felt the heartbeat of the city they way I and its many others residents do. So, in the next few posts, I'm going to introduce them to you, in candid, unedited, and unobstructed snapshots that will, hopefully, get you in touch with the very thing that makes the city so lovable to many despite its many shortcomings.

Allow me to begin with these night basketballers on Braga Street.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Introducing Candidates of Bandung Mayoral Election

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Bandung is scheduled to hold the election for its next mayor and deputy mayor on August 10. Today, Wednesday, July 23, marks the beginning of the official campaigning pediod, which will last until August 6.

Here are the tids and bits of who and what about the candidates:

calwakot bandung 2008 dada ayi

This is Dada Rosada, the incumbent mayor, and his running mate, Avi Vivananda, who is currently a member of the city council. Dada and Ayi, as they like to be called, are running with the support of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Golkar, the largest political parties in the country. Dada, who was born in Bandung on April 29, 1947, holds a Master's degree in Public Administration and is a career bureaucrat. His younger running mate (born in 1967), Ayi, has a law degree, and is a career politician. As seen on the banner above, their campaign reads "Move on and Make History. They are not those who only make promises!!!"

calwakot bandung 2008 trendi

The second pair of candidates are Dr. Taufikurahman (Taufik) and Deni Tresnahadi (Abu Syauqi). Dr Taufikurahman, who was born in Bekasi (a city in the notht of West Java) on September 13, 1961, is an academician and lecturer at Bandung Institute of Technology. He has a Ph.D from the University College of Swansea, UK. His running mate, Deni Tresnahadi, who was born in Bandung in 1968, is a businessman. They are the offical candidates of PKS (Justice and Prosperous Party), a small and increasingly more popular Islamic party in Indonesia. PKS won the majority seat at the election for the city council members in 2004. Their campaign banner pictured above reads "Please support the candidates for the mayor and deputy mayor of Bandung 2005 - 2013 from the Justice and Prosperous Party " and their campaign catch word "Bandung Bangkit" (Bandung Raising).

Both Taufik and Abu Syauqi are said to be active bloggers who have a lot of fans among Bandung blogger community.

calwakot bandung 2008 hudaya nahadi

E. Hudaya Prawira (born in Bandung on September 17, 1949) and his running mate, Nahadi, (born in Bekasi in 1971) are independent candidates. Hudaya is a senior civil servant and Nahadi is a lecturer. Their campaign banner pictured above reads "HADI (Hudaya-Nahadi), Indipendent Candidates for Mayor and Deputy Mayor. It's time to choose/elect non-partisan, independent leaders. [We're] ready to serve!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drinks and Cigarette Vendor


This woman is selling drinks and cigarettes in front of the Jalak Harupat Stadium in the south of Bandung.

Drinks vendors like her usually has her cart provided by a bottled drink company. Although her cart carries SOSRO brand (SOSRO is a leading Indonesian bottled tea producer), she is free to sell other brands of drinks.

On the side note, cigarettes are sold freely by vendors like this in Indonesia. Although officially there is a legal restriction against buying and smoking cigarettes for those under 18 years of age, the ease with which cigarettes can be obtained from vendors like this makes the legal-age restiction on cigarette smoking difficult to monitor and enforce.

Under-age smoking is a big problem in Indonesia. Unfortunately, cigarette producers are among the most powerful lobbyist in the country as they are among the top 10 tax payers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Political "Chameleon-ship"


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Politicians are probably the most adept of all chameleon species. Though not always in the negative sense, they change colors whereever they go to adapt to their audience (constituency).

I spotted this campaign banner near Darut Tauhid Islamic Boarding school complex on Geger Kalong Girang Street in the north of Bandung. The banner depicts the incumbent mayor, Dada Rosada, who is running for the second term of office in the upcoming mayoral election, posturing a gesture and wearing Islamic religious symbols: holding up his arms (the gesture Moslems make when praying), wearing Indonesian Islamic attires ("peci" cap, white "taqwa" shirt, and green shoulder scarf), and posing in front of a minaret picture to attract the votes of Moslem constituency in the area. The caption in the banner reads: "Let us make Bandung into a religious city to achieve Bandung Bermartabat". Bermatabat is an accronym of the city's vision which can literally be translated into English as "clean, prosperous, law-abiding, and friendly".

By the way, do you also notice the pedicabs (Indonesian: becak) parked in front of the banner? That's also another symbol: poverty! Can he really address that problem when he is elected? Only God knows.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bandung Cathedral: The History

5 JULI 2008 NIKON D70 069B

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

The Bandung Cathedral or the Saint Peter Church on Merdeka Street (merdeka means freedom) is one of the most notable landmarks of the city of Bandung.

The church, which was designed by Ir. C.P. Wolff Schoemaker, was built as part of the Civic Center area (which includes a city hall, a park, a school, a police station, a bank, and a Protestant church) when the city of Bandung received its municipality status (Dutch: gementee) on April 1, 1906. Its construction began in 1921 and was completed and consecrated by Mgr. Luypen on February 19, 1922.

The Saint Peter Church replaced the Saint Regis Church which had previously served the Catholics in Bandung from 1895.

Catholics make up about 3.05 percent (or about 6.5 millions) of Indonesian population (as of the year 2000).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

At Work: Plaque and Rubber Stamp Makers

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Five days ago, I posted this story about the plaque and rubber stamp makers. This picture shows a couple of them at work. They don't usually take home the orders they receive, but carry them out right there and then. You could even watch them work on your order, if you're patient enough. It usually takes from about an hour to a day to complete an order, depending on what you order.

By the way, D is the licence plate for greater Bandung area. Indonesian licence plate reads something like: [an initial letter that indicates the area in which the motor vehicle is registered, for example D for Bandung] plus some digits and letter(s). License plates are also color-coded to indicate whether the vehicle is privately owned (black background with white letters and numbers), public transportation (yellow background with black letters and numbers), and public/government owned vehicles (red background with white letters and numbers).

Friday, July 18, 2008

PUSDAI Roof Interior

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

This is the roof interior view of the PUSDAI (Center for Islamic Studies) mosque, one of the largest mosques in the city of Bandung. It occupies an area of 4.5 hectares at Diponegoro street, near West Java Govenor's Office Mansion Complex, Gedung Sate. The mosque was designed by a local architect Slamet Sonjaya. The construction of the center began in 1992 and was only completed in 1997.

Many mosques in Indonesia use the local elements in their architecture and design. The designs of the roof's wood structure, ornaments, and the chandelier pictured above, for example, are adapted from the Sundanese tranditional house architecture. Like the mosque architecture, Islam in Indonesia is generally a religion which has been assimilated into the local cultures and values.

Here is a link to a blog article by Prof. Bambang Setiabudhi of the Department of Architecture at Bandung Institute of Technology, discussing mosque architecture in Indonesia.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Street DJ

Text and picturer by Eki Qushay Akhwan

A party without music is probably like soup without broth and spices; and party music without a DJ is probably like soup cooked by a person who knows nothing about cooking. All that said, I think a DJ is important in creating the mood at a party.

The DJ featured in this picture was performing his magic at the STV (a local TV station) universary celebration held on Braga Street, Bandung, sometime ago. I like the pieces of music he put together, tried to get on to the stage and asked if I could take his photograph. He didn't mind.

And here is the "street-adjusted" control panel he was operating.

Meanwhile ...

In the past week, I have received Arte y Pico award from Dina of Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo and Murphy Jay of Petaling Jaya (Malaysia) Daily Photo. My sincere thanks to both of you.

Now, I'd like to pass on this Award to:

Livio of Torino Per Imagini.
Hilda of My Manila
Sailor Girl of Atlantico Azul
Tanti of Staveger Daily Photo, and
Babooshka of Ramsey Daily Photo.


1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you copnsider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contrubuites to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog thathas given her or him the ward itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y pico"blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Muscle Build Up

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Here is, I think, another worldwide symptom of globalization: Our idea of a desirable or beautiful body image. Instead of being determined by the local wisdoms or values, it is now being constructed by the media (the press, movies, etc.). Muscle, fitness, and beauty related industries are thriving because we want to remake ourselves in the image the media has created. It is one of our shared and universalized "experience". Whether you are in Rome or Kuala Lumpur, Sydney or Bandung, images like this have become the standard with which we measure how beautiful our bodies are.

I took this picture at Braga Walk Mall, Bandung, where this fitness center parlor chain is located. I am sure, it's not difficult to find one like this at one of the malls where you usually shop at your city. Shopping, being fashionable, and having a desired body shape are one of our shared, universalized experiences in this globalized world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Except for a few small details, this billboard could be in New York or Manila, Jakarta or London. The only things that indicate that this is in Bandung, Indonesia, are, among others: Ciwalk 21 (Ciwalk is the name of a shopping mall, and 21 is the name of Indonesia's movie theater chain), Yogya (an Indonesian department store chain, mainly operating in West Java and Jakarta), Optik Melawai (an Indonesian optical chain store), BMK (an Indonesian chain restaurant based in Bandung), NAV Family Karaoke (an Indonesian karaoke parlor chain), and JCO Donuts & Coffee (an Indonesian Donuts and Coffee chain resto/cafe). The language used in this billboard and the names of other stores seem to be international, and I would not be surprised if they look and sound familiar to you.

One of the effects of globalization is that our experiences have become universalized and nearly undistinguishable from one place to another.

This billboard is painted on the inside of the lift door at Ciwalk - a garden walk mall on Cihampelas Street, Bandung.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Plaque and Rubber Stamp Makers

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

These plaque and rubber-stamp makers offer their services on the west side of Jalan Cikapundung (Cikapundung Street) across from where the used books and magazine market is. In color, their carts and tradewares would look very colorful, but I want to present this in black and white as a symbol of their fast-fading chance of survival. With the advent of digital era with machineries that can make what they make faster and better, I don't know if I could still see them five or ten years from now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

AYAH BUNDA (Mom and Dad)

Picture and text by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Culture plays a significant role in the creation of gender roles; and child rearing is one of the primary means with which culture produces and reproduces these roles. This is not the place for an anthropological or cultural-studies lecture about gender issues, but I hope these two snapshots can give you a general visual stimulation on how a mother and a father treat a child. Perhaps what you see here is not very different from what you see where you are. Or are they?

By the way, Ayah Bunda, the title of this post literally translates into Dad (Ayah) and Mom (Bunda) - thus, in our culture, father takes precedence over mother. In English, of course, the appropriate phrase is Mom and Dad.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Motorbikers' City: Parking

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan
You might remember from one of my June postings that Bandung is a motorbikers' city. Motorbikes like these are the main mode of transportation in this city. Here is how they look when they are parked. I took this picture from my office window on the third floor zooming in with my small digital camera. The picture quality doesn't look too good, I'm afraid. But I like this picture.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The "Andong" Buggy

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

I don't know if you can call this buggy as the dictionary defines it: "light carriage pulled by one horse, for one or two persons," but in Indonesian this kind of carriage is called "Andong".

Andong is originally a Javanese word refering to this kind of vehicle. It is still used as a means of public transportation in a number of cities on Java island, particularly Yogyakarta and Solo/Surakarta. In Bandung, Andong is not a means of transportation, but a means of recreational rides, very much like those you can find at the Central Park, New York City and probably some other cities in other parts of the world. This one is operating on Jalan Ganesha (Ganesha Street) near the campus of Bandung Institute of Technology and Bandung Zoo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Used Books and Magazines Market Part II

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

As I promised yesterday, I'd take you to this place again.

I used to collect the National Geographic magazine (I stopped because I ran out of space in my library); it was here that I got most of my collections, the oldest is the February 1967 edition. It was also here that I found James Joyce's Ulysses, a catalogue of herbal medicine, a guide to the use of filters in photography published by KODAK, and quite a few other interesting stuff. Of course, you could also find newer used magazines and books. I could safely say that whatever your interests are, whether it's comic or reference books, cooking magazines or madical journals, chances are that you'd be able to find something that you like or need here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cikapundung St. Used Magazines and Books Market

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

This is one of my favorite places in Bandung: The Cikapundung Street used magazines and books market. You can find used magazines and books of almost any sorts and in almost any major international languages here at prices so affordable that coming here is like taking a literary/publication tour around the world.

Jalan Cikapundung (Cikapundung Street) is a short tributary street adjecent to Asia Afrika Street in the center of the city. The market is located on the eastern sidewalk of the street. I don't know when this market started, but it's a popular destination for those who love reading and collecting old (and collectible) magazines and books.

More on this story on tomorrow's posting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Forever Friends

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

What's a friend? What's a friendship? Can time and distance or fate really separate friends and end friendship?

This scupture at the main plaza of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) is entitled "Sekali Teman, Selamanya Teman" (Once a friend, forever a friend). It was dedicated by its 1970's alumi.

To ITB's alumni, friendship and cameraderie begin they day they become students, and they last forever!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Campus Center, Bandung Institute of Technology

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Bandung Institute of Technology (Institut Teknologi Bandung or ITB) is one of Indonesia's top notch higher education institutions and the pride of Bandung. It is one of Indonesia's oldest colleges (established in 1920 under the name Technische Hooge School de Bandung) and one of five Indonesian higher education institutions that has made it to world's top 500 colleges (ranked 258).

Pictured above is the east wing of ITB's Campus Center. According to its website, the building was designed by Baskoro Tedjo, was dedicated in 2005, and is used mainly for seminars, discussions, and exhebitions. The west wing - opposite this building - meanwhile, houses the student center where different students' curricular and extracurricular organizations have their offices. Bridging these two wings is a lower ground circular glass building - underneath the foreground lawn in the picture - where the college's history, achievements, and artifacts are displayed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Posters for Sale

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Whether it is The QUEEN, Bob Marley, or The Beattles, pick your choice. These posters were for sale at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) campus today.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Street Magician

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Of course you know what's going to happen when you stick a needle into an inflated balloon. But this man is a magician. So, don't worry! Nothing's going to happen to the balloon.

This street magician is performing his trick in front of his audience at the Gasibu Square. And he did it not for tips; he was paid by a sponsor advertising its products.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bandung Water Park

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

This water park, called Bandung Indah, is located at Sulaiman Airfield (a small airbase of the Indonesian Air Force) at Kopo in the south of Bandung. It is quite small and old compared to its newer counterparts in other cities like Jakarta (Waterboom), Karawaci City (Waterboom), Bogor (Jungle Water Park), and Bali (Waterboom). In a place like this, even an adult like myself suddenly became a child again. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ciwalini Hot Water Spring Pool

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Ciwalini is the name a place in the south of Bandung and a large tea plantation where this hot water spring and open air pool is located. Being surrounded by mountains and active volcanoes, Bandung naturally has a number of hot water springs. Unlike some other hot water springs which have become commercialized resorts, however, Ciwalini remains a popular destination.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Summer" Rain

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

There is of course no summer in a tropical city like Bandung. We have only two seasons: Musim kemarau (dry season), which normally lasts between April and October, and musim penghujan (wet or rainy season) between November and March. So I did not expect that it would be raining when I set out on my motorbike to Bandung Culinary Festival last Saturday. But it did. And it was quite heavy. The sudden downpour had forced many motorbikers like myself to find a shelter from the rain. This place - a small patch of park under the Pasupati Bridge/flyover - was the choice for many who happened to be around or passing the area. While waiting for the rain to stop, I took out my camera and had a look around to see if there was anything I could photograph and share with you. Here is one of them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Martabak San Francisco

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

"Martabak San Francisco", the title of this post and the food stall you see in the picture, is not the name of an American food or fast food chain. This stall sells Martabak, a local food found mainly in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. San Francisco is a local Bandung trademark. I don't know why the owner picked San Francisco as the trademark for the kind of food he sells. It could be because San Francisco is a well-known city (I know it's beautiful too) in the most powerful country in the world, hence he probably expected that the product would be associated with something big and good, like the martabak he sells.

There are two kinds of Martabak: Martabak Telor (literally, egg martabak) and martabak manis (sweet martabak). They are two different kinds of food, despite the similarity in their names.

The former is a crepe-like dish filled mainly with vegetables, meat, and eggs. Martabak telur is made by filling the ingredients (the filler) in a very thin filo pastry-like skin and frying it on an almost flat custom-made heavy wok. It is usually eaten with pickles or cucumber and a dark brown sauce made of vinegar and palm sugar. If you are curious what this food looks like, you can look at this flickr picture.

The latter (martabak manis) is a thick sweet pancake topped with a variety of possible ingredients, like cheese, chocolate, crushed peanuts, condensed milk and sesame seeds. Here is the picture.

Martabak telor is said to have originated from India. Some varieties of Martabak can also be found in Malaysia and Singapore (where it is called Murtabak).

Interested in trying? Here are the links to the recipes of Martabak Telor and Martabak Manis. Bon apetit - Selamat makan!

Wikipedia and others.