Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary #2: Pedicab Drivers

PEDICAB DRIVERS copyrights Eki Akhwan

This is my second post of Bandung Street Documentary series.

I took this photo of pedicab drivers waiting for passangers in front of Rancaekek commuter train station last week. Rancaekek is a small suburban town about 14 kilometers east of Bandung.

"Becak," the word for pedicab in Indonesian, used to be found in many parts of Bandung. By the city's regulation, now it can only operate in certain parts of the city and suburban areas.

Pedicab has many variants and different names in different parts of the world. It is called "becak" in Indonesia, "traysikad" in the Philippines, "beca" or "trishaw" in Malaysia and Singapore, "cyclo" in Vietnam and Cambodia, and "rickshaw" in the subcontinent Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Idul Fitri Holiday Shopping in Bandung

I am afraid today's photos are not of good quality (the first one is obviously a bit shaky), but I have to keep and and post them here for the sake of reporting.

As I said yesterday, Moslems are going to celebrate Idul Firti soon. And like at Christmas or any other religious holidays, such an occasion usually means shopping.

Unlike in the Middle East or any other Moslem or Moslem-dominated countries, Idul Fitri in Indonesia and southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Singapore in general are considered to be a bigger and more festive holiday than Idul Adha (the other major Moslem holiday, which is considered a bigger holiday in the Middle East).

There are a lot of fascinating traditions in this area to celebrate Idul Fitri. One of these traditions is extended-family gathering. Kins from near and far would travel long distances just to get together at this time of the year. This tradition is called "mudik" or "pulang kampung" in Indonesia ("balik kampong" in Malaysia), which means more or less "returning home". It is customary for those who live in the cities to go back to the villages or smaller towns where they come from with "oleh-oleh" (gifts) for their extended families and kins. Families and friends would ask forgiveness for any intentional or unintentional trespasses and offeses they might have committed in the past year, and ties of "silaturahim" (compassion) are restored and strenghtened again.

It is also customary for them to dress their best (which usually means new clothes for everyone) and serve the most special foods for the occasion. With all these traditions, it is no wonder that shopping is an important part of the tradition. Shops will be packed with shoppers and shops and businesses, on the other hand, will offer great discounts to attract more customers. (This may sound familiar to those of you who celebrate Christmas. Yes, they are similar as far as the festive mood and shopping frenzy go.)

The shopping and traveling "frenzy" of course put a lot of constraints in logistics. Prices of some basic commodities (and inflation) would usually go up (if only slightly) as businesses are going briskier, roads are packed with travellers/holiday-makers as are trains, commercial flights, and ships.


I took today's photographs at Istana Plaza Shopping Mall, Bandung, a couple of days ago. The top photo is of things offered for sale at the hall of this mall. The bottom photo is of a large camel dolls (?) near the entrance. Somehow, camel - being an animal of the Middle East - is considered as a mascot for the holiday in this mall. Kids love them and, as you can see in the photo, would want a ride on them.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Iftar at Istana Plaza Shopping Mall Bandung


In about three days' time, Moslems all over the world are going to celebrate Iedul Fitri, one of the two major Moslem holidays. Prior to Iedul Fitri, Moslems have to observe a whole month of fasting, called Ramadan (after the name of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar in which this observance has to be performed).

During Ramadan, Moslems fast, i.e. refrain from eating and drinking anything from true dawn until sunset. Before performing the fast, Moslems are encouraged (some say obliged) to have a very early breakfast called suhur/sahur, and upon sunset (maghrib), they break the fast with a meal called iftar. Apart from refraining from eating and drinking, the Ramadan fasting is also a month of good deeds, benevolence, and patience.

For Moslems, the fasting month of Ramadan is considered as a spiritual training camp where they learn patience, sacrifice, and humility to purify their spiritual life. In relation to this, Iedul Fitri is considered as the day of victory against their own evils and impurity.

I took the above photo at iftar time today at Istana Plaza Shopping Mall's food court, Bandung. Iftar time is usually a busy time for restaurants and diners as many Moslems who are out and about go to these places to have their iftar. Note, however, that most Moslem families in Indonesia prefer to have their iftar at home where the homemakers usually prepare special foods for it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary #1: Mother and Child


I have quite a number of posts in this blog which qualify for street photography. Those of you who followed Bandung Daily Photo regularly may well remember my posts about street vendors, umbrella taxi kids, street musicians, etc. All of these posts were meant to give you a more complete picture of Bandung, not only as a city or a place on the map, but also as a living community of people whose struggles, emotions, and way of living are as important as, if not more important than, the place itself. I intend to make Bandung Daily Photo a unique and authoritative visual (photography) reference about Bandung and its people.

As part of that commitment, and to fulfill the claim that this particular Bandung Daily Photo is a visual journal of Bandung and its vicinities, today I begin this new series which I call Bandung Street Documentary. This series is in addition to the already existing City of People series which I began earlier.

Bandung Daily Photo will continue posting photographs and stories about other things that are informative and worth publishing and sharing with the world in the hope that more and more readers will know Bandung better. As an Indonesian proverb says, "tak kenal maka tak sayang" (those who don't know, don't love), I hope my photographs and stories here will bring more understanding, and therefore love, to this city.

As the name indicates, the emphasis of Bandung Street Documentary series is on the documentary value of the photographs and the place in which the photographs are taken, i.e. the streets.

A bit of background about documentary photography

What is documentary photography?
According to several authoritative sources I can get, documentary photography is a type of photojournalism of which the objectives are to produce truthful (objective) and candid visual representation of a particular subject, especially those of people, through the perspective of the photographer.

Documentary photography, according to the art critic Elizabeth McCausland, "has no room for exhibitionism or opportunism or exploitation in the equipment of the documentary photographer. His purpose must be clear and unified, and his mood simple and modest. Montage of his personality over his subject will only defeat the serious aims of documentary photography."

Pursuant to the above definitions of documentary photography, therefore, this series will not emphasize on the photo forms but on the photo's documentary value and content.

Villa Isola Yard Ornaments: Marble Greek Statue

Villa Isola 3 The Yard Ornaments Copyrights Eki Akhwan

Villa Isola (see my previous posts here and here) has two gardens: North and south.

The north garden is of European style marked by, among others, a swan pond, a rectangular fountain pond, flower gardens, and a path that devides the garden into two symmetrical parts. This photograph of Greek style marble statue is located in the middle of the rectangular fountain pond.

In contrast to the building (read: Villa Isola), which is well-maintained and kept to its original condition, the garden is now in less-than-perfect condition, the rectangular fountain pond is dry, and the arms of this Greek marble statue - as you can see in the photo - are broken. I don't know why nobody has attempted to restore this statue and pond. Regardless of its current condition, I think one can still see the traces of how beautiful this statue must have been once.

This post is my participation in this week's yard ornament theme of Photo Scavenger Hunters.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Skywatch Post: Bandung's Late Afternoon Sky

Evening on Campus - Copyrights Eki Akhwan

Here comes that day of week again, Friday, the Skywatch Day.

My SWF photo today is of Bandung's late afternoon sky. I shot this photograph last Friday from the parking lot of the Indonesia University of Education (UPI) campus in the north of Bandung. The near shillouette building behind the trees at the background is the new student house (dormitory) whose construction has only recently been completed.

You can go here to check other photos of this week's Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Street Photography: Waiting for The Angkot


Angkot (ANGkutan PerKOTaan), or urban/city transportation, is the main mode of transportation in the city of Bandung. It is a twelve to fourteen seater mini bus with a side-door entrance like the one shown in the above photograph. Instead of facing forward like in a "normal" bus, angkot passengers seat face to face on the side of the vehicle like in most commuter trains.

Angkot is color-coded to mark which route each vehicle is serving (in Bandung the color codes used are white, purple, green, blue, yellow, orange, brown, red, and pink).

Angkot is both a convenient necessity and a headache to Bandung's day to day reality. It's convenient because it is available nearly around the clock and everywhere, from the city center to the far corners of the city, and is relatively cheap. It also does not follow a set schedule like the city buses do, nor does it need a bus stop to get on or off. You can hail, stop, and get on and off it anywhere you want along its route. This way, it can literally take you door to door. This erratic behavior, however, is also the cause of a lot of headache to the other users of the roads. It causes traffic congestion and becomes a safety threat to other road users. Comfort, safety, and punctuality are nearly always an issue with the angkot.

Bandung definitely needs a more modern, comfortable, and well-regulated mode of public transportation, but I think it will be sometime before we can get rid of this necessary nuisance.

I took the above photograph on Jalan Wastukencana, Bandung, a few days ago.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reading Signs #2: Language Barrier?


Assuming that you don't understand the words written underneath the sign, can you still make out what the sign means? If you do, then it is a good sign.

By definition, sign is a token that signifies an entity outside itself. There are two kinds of signs: natural and conventional. A natural sign bears a causal relationship between the signified and the signifier, e.g. the image of a lightning for the natural phenomenon of the same. A conventional sign, on the other hand, works on the basis of a convention or agreement made among its users, for example punctuation marks or the (traffic) stop sign. Furthermore, a sign may be both natural and conventional. The example for the this is the no smoking sign.

Sign is not the same as symbol, which is commonly defined as something that represents something else by resemblance, association, or convention. A symbol is usually a tangible representation of something abstract - flag as a symbol of a nation, for example. In this way, language (word) is considered as a symbol rather than a sign because the relationship between the signifier (i.e. the word) and the signified (i.e. the concept) is conventional.

What does the sign in the above photo signify? I'll let you tell, and see if it is a good sign without the words accompanying it.

I took the photograph in the same premises of the one I posted yesterday, i.e. Bandung Electronic Center (BEC).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reading Signs #1: Courtesy or Incompetent Lady Drivers?

Signs tell a lot of things about the society in which they are found. This one I photographed at the parking lot entrance of Bandung Electronic Center (BEC) on Purnawarman street, for example, may look simple and innocent. But if we read it carefully, it actually may not be as simple and innocent as it looks.

On the surface, the message of this sign looks like a courteous and privileged treatment for lady drivers. Underneath this surface, however, this sign also implies that lady drivers are being considered not as competent as their man counterparts. It is therefore both a statement of courteousity and inequality between men and women.


The fact that this sign is written in English may escape the scrutiny of native English speakers who live in a country where English is its first or second language. When read against the fact that English is neither the first language nor second language in Indonesia (read: Bandung, where this sign is located), a different set of conclusions may be drawn. First, we may conclude that there may not be a sufficient equivalence for the term in the Indonesian language (the conclusion of which, of course, is not true as the Indonesian does have a perfect match translation for it). Second, English is considered as a more prestigious language by the owner/management of this mall/business premises in particular, and the society in general. To the dismay of may patriotic and nationalistic Indonesians, this conclusion may be true. English has become a more and more prominent language in our daily life to the detriment of our own national language, Bahasa Indonesia.

As simple as they may look on the surface, signs do tell a lot about the condition of a society. Therefore, beginning today, I'm going to take you on a tour of sign reading in the city where I live: Bandung. This series of posts on sign reading, hopefully, will make us more aware of the complex nature of signs and represent the current state of a society, despite their simple and innocent look.

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Street Photography: Club Pinguin of The Road Side

CLUB PINGUIN OF THE STREET copyrights Eki Akhwan

I took this photograph on a back road that connects Bandung and its suburban town of Cimahi a few days ago. I was at first a bit surprised to see that a street vendor would offer these colorful inflatable dolls in a relatively small rural road like this. Then, on a second thought, I began to see that perhaps he saw a business opportunity in motorists passing the this road to avoid the traffic in the main roads.

Anyway, photographically speaking, bright colors are an eye stopper. The colors of these dolls against the surrounding green paddy fields and trees had me instinctively stop my car, got out, and took a few shots. One of them, I'm sharing with you today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sado Horse-Drawn Cart and Gedung Sate


This "sado" or horse-drawn cart is still used as a means of transportation in some parts of greater Bandung area, but not in this part of the city where I took this photograph: Jalan Diponegoro (Diponegoro Street) right in front of the Gedung Sate (West Java's gubernatorial office mansion). This "sado" might have been brought here for a parade or carnival, although it doesn't look like that it's being prepared for it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Jawa Barat #2 (Bandung Daily Photo's 100th Post)


As promised yesterday, today I brought you more photographs of Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Jawa Barat. I took the top photo from the west side of the monument. The next two photos below are, respectively, that of the frontal view of the monument and the plaza that connects the monument with Gedung Sate (West Java gubernatorial office mansion) in the far south.

The symbol at the center of the monument in the second photograph is that of Garuda Pacasila, Indonesia's coat of arm.

In the bottom photograph, Gedung Sate is the distant building with tiered, pagoda-like, roof. On top of this roof there is a skewered barbeque (Indonesian: sate) like structure. That is why the building is named Gedung Sate, which literally means Satay Building. I'll post a closer look of it and the story of this quintessential Bandung's landmark sometime later.

This post is my 100th post. I'd like to thank you all of you who have visited this blog, left kind words and encouraging comments, provided this relatively new blog with generous links so that it can reach more audience worldwide, and above all for your interests in my beloved city, Bandung. Through this blog and yours - the city daily photo blogs worldwide - I sincerely hope we can achieve a better understanding of each other and together build a better world.



Friday, September 19, 2008

Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Jawa Barat: A Tribute to The Heroic Struggles of The People of West Java (A Skywatch Friday Post)


Every community has their own struggles in the pursuit of their liberty and happiness. The people of West Java are no exception. The photo for my participation in the Skywatch Friday today is that of Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Jawa Barat (or Monument for The Struggles of The West Javanese People).

Erected as a tribute to the heroic stuggles of West Javanese people (as part of Indonesia) to regain their indipendence from their colonial rulers, this monument is one of Bandung's most symbolic landmarks. It is located to the north of Gedung Sate (West Java gubernatorial office mansion). Both are linked in a straightline North - South axis by the Gasibu Square and a plaza, with Gedung Sate marking the southernmost point and the monument the northernmost point. Facing north, a person sitting at Gedung Sate can see the monument and Mt. Tangkuban Parahu (literally means: capsized boat) behind it.

Today's photograph is a partial view of the monument. I'll post some more photos of it and the plaza tomorrow. Have a nice Skywatch Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Colorful Hijabs


I took this photograph of colorful hijabs for sale at a store on Jalan Asia Afrika (Asia Africa Street), near Bandung Grand Mosque.

Hijab is an Arabic word which originally means cover, veil, screen, or shelter. Now the word is used throughout the Moslem world to refer to the attire that Moslem women wear. By religious rule, Moslem women are required to dress modestly, i.e. cover most of their body parts and head, in public to keep/protect them from being harrassed.

In Indonesia, the more common word for hijab is jilbab, which refers to head cover.

Although Indonesia has the largest Moslem population in the world, it is not an Islamic state. Therefore, unlike in some Middle Eastern states where women are required by the state law to wear hijab in public, Indonesian Moslem women are free to choose whether or not they want to wear hijab.

Hijab began to gain popularity in Indonesia in the mid 1980s, following what is now considered as the re-emergence of Islamic consciousness throughout the Moslem world in the 1970s, of which hijab was one of the symbols that affirmed the Islamic identity and morality in opposition to Western materialism, commercialism, and values.

This is my first participating post for Photo Scavenger Hunters.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Piece of Hand


This steel mass "piece of hand" sculpture is located at the gate of Setraduta, an upper class housing complex in the north of Bandung. It is designed and made by Nyoman Nuarta, one of the most prominent and prolific Indonesian sculpturers today.

Nyoman Nuarta was born in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14, 1951, graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Bandung Institue of Technology in 1979, and the owner of Nyoman Nuarta Studio (an art consultant and producer) and NuArt Sculpture Park in the north of Bandung. He is also a patent holder for enlargement technique by segmentation pattern, and a member of Royal British Sculpture Society and International Sculpture Center of Washington, D.C.

Here is the link to his website: Nyoman Nuarta.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

City of People: Share!

City of People: Sharing

Above all else, I think, sharing is what makes a city liveable.

I took this photograph quite some time ago at a street fest on Jalan Braga, Bandung, at the anniversary celebration of a local television station. The young camera woman here is sharing her knowledge with a curious spectator.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Helmet Boxes

HELMET BOXES copyrights Eki Akhwan

I have probably come accross this quite so often, but never really paid attention to how interesting it is photographically for its colors and patterns, that is until recently.

These boxes are available at what we call here "Tempat Penitipan Helm" or helmet deposit counter. You can find them in almost any motocycle parking lots in major shopping malls in Bandung.

Leaving your helmet on your motorbike in the parking lot is generally safe, but as a precaution and for your convenience, it is advisable to leave your helmet at a helmet deposit counter like this. The parking lot management charges you extra for this, of course. But this is more convenient and a lot cheaper than having your helmet wet (in an open parking lot and when it's raining) or stolen, especially if you have an expensive helmet. The charge is usually about 1,000 rupiahs (less than 10 cents dollars).

I took this photograph at the parking lot of Bandung Electronic Center (BEC), a mall specializing in selling electronic goods, on Purnawarman Street, a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Multiple Information and Telecommunication Technology Shop


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Access to information and telecommunication technology, such as computer, the internet, facsimile, etc., is a necessity today. However, many people, especially those from the lower income strata, still can't afford to have such technology at home. This doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have access to it though. Internet cafes (here called WARNET - the abbreviation for Warung Internet or Internet Kiosk), WARTEL (Warung Telekomunikasi or telecommunication kiosk), photocopy kiosks, etc. are available nearly in every strategic location throughout the city of Bandung and even in its surrounding countrysides where telephone lines and/or wireless mobile telephone signal are available.

The kiosk in the above photo is particularly interesting because it does not only provide internet or telephone services, but both plus a variety of other information and telecommunication technology services. As you can see from the writings on the window, it offers computer rent, data backup services, document typing and editing, photo scanning and editing, laminating, printing and photocopy services, prepaid cellular phone vouchers, and even multy players games. All in one small and unassuming shop!

I took the above shapshot photo at Cimahi, a town about 14 kilometers west of Bandung's city center.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Southern Facade of Villa Isola

Villa Isola 2 copyrights Eki Akhwan

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan
I received quite a number of great comments for my yesterday's Skywatch Friday post about Villa Isola or Bumi Siliwangi. Thank you all.

My good friend Virginia of Birmingham, Alabama, Daily Photo asked me if I could post a closer look photo of the building. Her (and your) wish is my command. So, here it is another photo of Villa Isola or Bumi Siliwangi. This is the southern facade of the building, the one overlooking the valley with the view of the city of Bandung underneath. (Yesterday's photo was that of the northern facade overlooking Mt Tangkuban Parahu.)

A little bit more information about the building:
Villa Isola and its surrounding gardens occupied an area of 120,000 square meters, cost about a half million of the 1930's Dutch guilders to build (I don't how much that would be in today's money value, but it must be a lot). The name Villa Isola itself comes from a placard that Barretty had ordered to be made and placed that read "Me Isolo e Vivo" (in Italian) which means "I isolate my self and live." Back then, Villa Isola was of course a remote countryside area.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Historic Villa Isola - A Skywatch Post

VILA ISOLA copyrights Eki Akhwan

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Villa Isola (now called Bumi Siliwangi) is the rectorate office of Bandung's Indonesia University of Education (UPI). Located on Jalan Dr. Setiabudhi 229 overlooking the valley with the view of the city underneath, it is arguably one of the most beautiful historical buildings in Bandung and one of the most celebrated examples of art deco architectural heritage in the Asia Pacific region.

Villa Isola was built in 1932-1933 by a reknown Dutch East India's architect Wolff Schoemaker for the Dutch media tycoon Dominique William Berretty. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to enjoy his treasured home villa. He died in 1934 in a plane crash enroute from Batavia (now, Jakarta) to Amsterdam six months after he moved into the villa.

Upon his death, the villa was sold and turned into a hotel. When the Japanese invaded what was then the Dutch East India in 1942, the building once again changed hands and became the headquarters for the Japanese Imperial Army in Bandung. The Indonesian people's liberation army took it over from the Japanese in 1945 when Indonesia declared it's independence and made it their headquarters. In 1954, the building was restored to its original condition and made into the main offices of what was then Perguruan Tinggi Pendidikan Guru (PTPG), Indonesia's first teachers' college, and what is now the Indonesia University of Education (UPI).

About the Photo:
I took this photo from the parking lot of my newly constructed office building, which is located just across a narrow on-campus road from this building a couple of days ago. It had been cloudy that day, but I was lucky. By the time I finished my classes and was ready to go home that afternoon, the sky cleared a bit and provided an excellent lighting condition for this beautiful skywatch shot.

Welcome to and enjoy my second Skywatch Friday post! And thank you for your visit and comment.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ramadan's Dates O' Yummy Donut and Iced Cappuchino

JCO 1 copyrights Eki Akhwan

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Donut has never actually been my favorite kind of food. I mean it's good and it's good to have it every once in a while, but I never really care much about it, much less crave for it. And here's the story about the donut.

A couple of days ago I needed to go for a little shopping. So on the way home from work, I stopped by Ciwalk (Cihampelas Walk), a mall (open arcade?) set in the middle of lush and beautiful gardens in Bandung's Cihampelas street. It's the fasting month of Ramadan, and like any other good Moslems, I was fasting. When I was done with the shopping, it was almost 6, the time for iftar (the breaking of the fast). Most restaurants and cafes seemed to be packed with queuers. J.CO was one of those that didn't seem to be crowded. So there I was, ordering coffee and doughnut for iftar. It's not my kind of idea for breaking the fast, but heck, I didn't want to wait in a long queue just for a light meal and drink.

JCO 3 copyrights Eki Akhwan

And here is what I had: Dates O'Yummy donut and a cup of iced dates cappuchino.The donut was okay, but the added dates ingredient was great. I liked it a lot, and I think I'd love to have it again sometime. (I don't know though if it's going to be offered outside Ramadan. Dates = Ramadan here.) ;)

JCO 2 copyrights Eki Akhwan

J.CO is an Indonesian bakery retailer specializing in donuts and coffee. Considering that it's been established only recently (2005), it's a quite a success story. Its fast-gained popularity, I think, has much to do with its fluffy and light donuts which, I think, is much preferred than the American predecessors which had much earlier presence here. The parlor's chick-looking, cozy design and pricing factor, especially for the coffee, may also contribute some to its success. You can see in the top photo the quiter Starbucks is just across the window. Starbucks coffee is still considered a bit too expensive for many Indonesians as their pricing is globally standardized (the price of a cup of coffee here is about the same price you'd pay in New York, Hong Kong or any other places in the world).

In less than 3 years since its establishment, J.CO has had more than 30 outlets in 9 major Indonesian cities, and 8 in Singapore and Malaysia. The Philippines is next in its global expansion plan.

According to its website, J.CO is owned by Johnny Andrean Group of companies. Johnny Andrean himself, if I remember it correctly, started his business ventures in beauty salons chains. I don't know what beauty salon has to do with donut and coffee, but success is success.

Now that I've written this free advertisement for J.CO, I hope next time I go there, I'd get free coffee and donuts. I hope. ;)

All photographs were taken with my 3.2 megapixel, point and shoot Canon Powershot A510 camera.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hang The Pineapples!

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

This is how pineapples are sold here: hanged!

Makeshift stalls selling nanas/nenas (the Indonesian word for pineapples) like in the bottom photo can be found in many parts of the city. This one is on Setiabudhi street in the north of Bandung, right across the street from the Indonesia University of Education campus.

These pineapples come from Subang, a town and regency about 60 kilometers north of Bandung. Nanas Subang are known for its larger size, and not too sweet and more juicy flesh. Subang is Indonesia's second largest producer of pineapples after Lampung in the southern part of Sumatra island.

Bits and Pieces about Pineapples
Pipeapples (ananas comosus) are not native to Asia. They are originally from South America (Brazil and Paraguay) where they are called nanas.

The pineapple is not a single fruit as it appears to be, but a collection of multiple, spirally-arranged flowers, each of which produces a fleshy fruit that becomes pressed against the fruits of adjacent flowers, forming what appears to be a single fleshy fruit.

"Pineapple," the English word for this kind of fruit, was originally used to name what we now call "pine cone" - the reproductive organ of conifer tree. The use of this word was first recorded in 1398. Europeans discovering nanas called it pineapple because of this fruit's resemblace to what we now call "pine cone". The use of the word "pineapple" that refers to this kind of fruit was first recorded in 1664.

(source: Wikipedia).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ride Your Horse or Run with It ...

5 JULI 2008 NIKON D70 034

Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

The title of this post might have you baffled. But yes, it's what happens here. Well, sort of. :)

Horse riding is one of the attractions offered at Ganesha Street and the areas around Bandung Zoo. The service is offered particulary to children (adults are welcome too) for 15 to 50 thousand rupiahs (about 2 up to 5 US dollars) depending on how long the round you or your children want to have. Children love this. For safety reason though, they can't ride on their own. The owner of the horse would run alongside the horse, guiding it and its running pace, while a child is riding it. On a good weekend day, a horse owner like in the above photo could have 5 up to 10 rides on his horse. Imagine how much running he has to do if each round is about two kilometers long. It must be quite an exercise for him, but hey ... he's making reasonably good money too.


The above photo is an example of a rather unsuccessful attempt at camera panning, i.e. a technique in photography in which a photographer, setting his/her camera on slow shutter speed, turns it horizontally to follow a subjec't motion and create the illusion of motion - still subject with steaked background - in a picture.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Science and Mathematics: Architectural Geometry or Geometrical Architecture?


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Voila the western facade of the School of Science and Mathematics JICA building of the Indonesia University of Education in Bandung.

Established in 1954, Indonesia University of Education or Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) is one of the oldest universities in Indonesia (and Bandung's oldest university) established after Indonesian independence. UPI Bandung currently has about 23,000 students studying in six undergraduate schools/faculties and a postgraduate school under the tuition of more than 1,300 teaching staff and professors.

Since it became a state-chartered university in 1999 (before, it was a state-funded university), UPI has been aggressively building its infrastructure and recruiting the country's top brains to meet its goal of becoming a leading and outstanding international university in the region by 2020.

UPI is located on 229 Setiabudhi Street in the north of Bandung, occupying a scenic campus of about 75 hectares, making it the largest campus in the city.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Home Story of Adenium, Jambu Batu, and Kedongdong

H0ME 2

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Thank God, it's weekend! Time for quieter moments at home. Time to be with family and loved ones. Time to take care of my plants and garden, which I have been neglecting for sometime.

I know, today's photos would not be qualified to be a City Daily Photo post, but I can't help it. I need to take a break from journaling Bandung, just for today.

I have quite a number of plants in my small front and back yard gardens. The pink-flowered adenium at the top photo is one of my favorite flowering plants. Then there are also a couple of fruit trees which I grow in large pots. The "jambu batu" (psidium guajava) or guava is fruiting and I think will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks' time. This season's yield looks better than last year's when some sort of leave flea attacked it and almost killed it.

Jambu Batu Copyrights Eki Akhwan
"Jambu Batu" (guava)

The "kedongdong" (spundias dulcis) - a fruit tree that can only be found in Southeast Asia - is also fruiting generously this season, and I think the fruits will also be ready for picking in a couple of weeks' time. So, I can expect to have an abundance of tropical fruit supply from my own garden this coming weeks. :)

Kedongdong Copyrights Eki Akhwan

Now that we are talking about fruits, Bandung's (and in general the western parts of Indonesia's) fruit season usually takes place between September and January. During this period, different kinds of tropical fruits are in season one after another. If you are a tropical fruit lover, it's the best time to go and hunt for them; that is, if you don't mind the rainy season, which normally takes place at the same time as the fruit season.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Alun-alun" Bandung - Life at Bandung's City Square #1

"Tahu Gejrot" vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan

Text and pictures copyrights ©Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved

City square (or in Indonesian "alun-alun") holds a very important function in the Javanese cosmological concept of a city. Alun-alun is not just an open public space or park in the center of the city. It is literally the front yard of a king/ruler's palace/residence. Surrounding it are the various symbols of a society/nation's livelihood. By rule, the palace should be located on the southern part of the square, facing north. On the west is placed a house of worship (the divine element: a mosque in Moslem Indonesia; a temple in Hindu era Indonesia). East of the square is the place for the market (the mundane/worldly element), and north is the place for the administrative offices of the kingdom/country/city.

Bandung's city square is as old as the city itself. The square was built as part of the new capital city of Bandung Regency in the early 19th century (before then, the capital was located at Dayeuh Kolot [old city], further south of where the current city square is located). The square's face has undergone a lot of changes since then, but one thing remains the same: It's still a bustling, open public space where citizens meet and do different kinds of activities.

In this series of photo coverage, I am trying to show you what life is like at Bandung's City Square today.

Leatherware and trinkets vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan

TUKANG SATE ALUN-ALUN copyrights Eki Q Akhwan
"Sate" vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan

Friday, September 5, 2008

Skywatch Post: Four - What is Abstract Photography?


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

The title of my post today is "FOUR". Obviously this refers to the number of lamp posts in the photo.

Although the lamp posts are the point of interest of this photo, the whole composition would not have been visually as attractive as it is if it were not for the backdrop of the amber and bluish colors of the evening sky. Therefore, I think it is basically the evening sky that works the magic in this photo. All this said, welcome to my first Skywatch Friday post and participation.

What is Abstract Photography?
Abstract photography is a genre of photography that focuses on the artistic value of a photograph regardless of the subject, composition, and/or other rules that are usually associated with a "good photograph". In other words, in abstract photography, the subject, the rules of composition, etc. are not as important as the beauty or the aesthetic values of the photograph itself.

With no definite subjects and with openly interpretable meanings of the visual, abstract photography relies mostly on the imaginary values of the visual elements such as colors, textures, etc., to achieve the aesthetic visual impacts.

This is my understanding of what abstract photography is.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Book Lovers' Heaven


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

For book lovers, a library or a book store of any kinds is their heaven.

You might wonder if Bandung's people love books. Well, frankly speaking, I don't have the number to tell you with a great degree of certainty that they do (or don't). But as a book lover myself, I can tell you that a book store like the one in the above photo seems to be a favorite place to many people here, especially on weekends. They don't necessarily buy books there, but they do browse and read, which I think is good.

There are a good number of big book stores in Bandung, but there aren't many big players. These big book stores belong to the big players in Indonesia's book markets. Two chains are particularly dominant: Gramedia and Gunung Agung. You can go to any big cities in Indonesia and, when it comes to finding a good book store, chances are you'd find these two names in their major shopping malls and supermarkets. I think the situation is similar to the US where, to my experience, two particular "big guys" can be found in almost any cities.

With their "gigantic" size, these two book store chains (Gramedia and Gunung Agung) have their own advantage: They carry more books and titles (which is important for customers who don't want to go from store to store just to find what they need/want).

Anyway, as I said in one of my previous posts, Bandung also has a number of great petite book stores. These smaller book stores usually carry books in specialized topics and interests (cultural studies, religions, engineering, etc.). Some of them are even designed more as a home's cozy library or reading room than a book store. Then, as I also mentioned in a couple of my previous posts, there are also a number of street-side (used) book and magazine vendors, and at least one special book market where small book stores are gathered in one place (I'll cover that next time).

So, do Bandung people love books? I think they do. Otherwise these book stores and markets would not have thrived.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jay-walking or Bridge-crossing? (And the Winning Photo)


Text and pictures by © Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved.

People using the pedestrian crossing bridge to cross the street like in the above photo is probably a common sight in some other countries, but it is not in Bandung. Many people here prefer to jaywalk to cross the street rather than using the pedestrian crossing bridge. One of the reasons is perhaps because our streets are relatively narrow and it takes more time and energy to cross them safely using the pedestrian crossing bridge than jaywalking, despite the risks. But then, when it is an expected thing, everybody knows what to do. Motorists would usually slow down and yield to jaywalkers when they already give a gesture with their hands that they want to cross the street. It's a kind of mutual understanding that makes up our "street culture". Of course, sometimes accidents do happen, but, amazingly, they are very rare.


The government has of course made the necessary efforts to promote the use of pedestrian crossing bridge. There are laws and regulations that give protection to pedestrians who use the crossing bridge or the zebra cross to cross the street (a legal protection that is not given to jaywalkers), but without enforcement, the old habit seems to die hard.

It's good to see that more and more people begin to use the pedestrian crossing bridge like in the top photo which I took on Jalan Raya Cimahi, a town about 12 kilometers west of Bandung. (Cimahi is administratively a separate municipality, but it is still part of the Greater Bandung area.)

I took the bottom photo on Asia Afrika Street (Bandung's main street and city center). A similar picture that I took has won a prize worth $US 200 from Reader's Digest Asia and been published in its May 2008 edition. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Umbrella Taxi Kids


Text and picture by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Being caught in the rain can be annoying if you are not prepared with an umbrella. But that does not need to happen in Bandung. For a small fee, these children will be more than happy to lend their umbreallas and escort you to your car or a near by bus stop. Locals call these children with umbrellas "ojeg payung" or umbrella taxi.

I took this photo in front of a book store on Purnawarman Street, Bandung.

Note about the photograph:
A photographer's quick reaction and alertness are very important in sreet photography. An interesting moment sometimes happens only in a split second. I had my digital point and shoot camera out when this scene presented itself, but I was not quite prepared to capture it. I tried my luck anyway. I think I did not quite miss the moment, but the setting and the shutter lag*) of my point and shoot camera made this picture a bit blurred and the highlight areas overexposed.

*) Shutter lag: The delay between the actual moment the camera shutter is pressed and the time the photograph is recorded. Point and shoot pocket digital cameras are especially prone to this phenomenon because of the time it takes for these cameras to charge the CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) and the slow transmission rate of the data to the circuitry of the camera for processing and storage.

Photo basic technical data:
Equipment: Canon PowerShot A510, 3.2 megapixel point and shoot camera
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec.
Aperture: F/2.6
Metering mode: Pattern

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bandung's Sister Cities

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

There are currently six cities that are formally linked as Bandung's sisters: Braunschweig (Germany), Forth Worth, Texas (USA), Suwon (South Korea), Hamamatsu (Japan), Cebu (The Philippines), and Bari (Italy).

Braunschweig was the first city to sign sister city cooperation agreement with Bandung. The MOU for this cooperation was signed on May 24, 1960 by Braunschweig's city director Hans Gunther Weber, Mayor Martha Fuchs, and the Indonesian ambassador to West Germany Dr. Zairin Zain. The document was later ammended and signed by Bandung's Mayor R. Priatnakusumah and Braunschweig's envoy Prof Dr George Eckert on June 2, 1960 in Bandung.


The second city to sign sister city cooperation agreement with Bandung was Forth Worth, Texas. The MOU for this cooperation was signed by Bandung's Mayor Ateng Wahyudi and Forth Worth's Mayor Bob Bolen on April 2, 1990. The sister city cooperation agreement was signed against the backdrop of an already existing cooperation between two aircraft industries located in both cities, i.e. Indonesia's PT IPTN (Nusantara Aircraft Industries, Ltd.) and Forth Worth's BELL Helicopter Industries.


Sister city agreement with the city of Suwon, South Korea, was signed on August 27, 1997. Suwon is the third city to have such an agreement with Bandung. Sister city agreements with the other three cities were signed only recently (two in 2005 at the occasion of 50th anniversary of Asian-African/Bandung Conference, and one in 2007.


To mark the cooperations with its sister cities, the people and the municipal government of Bandung have erected commemorative monuments, the photos of three of which I post today.

Sister city link/cooperation is a form of citizen to citizen diplomacy. This movement got its historic footing in September 1956 when President Dwight Eisenhower held a Conference on Citizen Diplomacy at the White House. You can read more about the history of Sister City Movement here.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants