Friday, October 31, 2008

City of People # 17: Psychic and Paranormal

These psychics and/or paranormals are offering their services at Alun-Alun Bandung (Bandung City Square). They claim that they can heal different kinds of diseases, tell you what kind of person you are, and what career and life path is best for you according to their reading of your "primbon" (the unseen forces of the cosmos).

Although paranormal and psychic phenomena and practices are considered unscientific (especially by Western scientifi traditions), there have been verifiable proof that they can and do heal diseases, foretell with relatively high degree of accuracy of a distant future event, find a missing person or thing, hold or move the rain, and even tell a person's personality and life path whom the practitioner has never met. Some paranormals here even claim that they can help you with your love life - making someone that you love loves you back and be faithful to you all his/her life.

This black and white (monochrome) photo is, by the way, my participation for the photo blogging meme Monochrome Maniacs by Aileni.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bandung Sundanese Traditional Wedding # 2

For the first part of the story please refer to previous post here.

After the welcoming ceremony is completed, the groom and his entourage would be escorted by the dancers to the reception area at the bride's home to meet her family members. Here, speeches are made, prayers said, and the groom's family present the gifts they have brought to the bride's family.

Then the bride and the groom would meet and togehter they would walk to the "altar" (usually a nearby mosque or an especially prepared platform at the reception area) where the bride's father (or somebody he has appointed to represent him) would perform the "ijab" (giving his daughter in marriage) and the groom perform the "kabul" (acceptance of the marriage from the father or legal guardian of the bride.). The couple would then recite their wedding vows as a wife and husband and, as required by the Indonesian law, sign the marriage certificate in front of the appointed official and witnesses.

There are several Sundanese traditional rituals that the married couple usually do after that. Among them are "saweran" (the throwing of coins, rice, and candies) to the audience and well-wishers), the groom's stepping on an egg or bamboo stick and the bride's washing the groom's foot, and, like what is shown in the picture below, "a chicken tug of war" (my translation), where the bride and the groom pull a "bakakak" (a sliced-open grilled chicken). It is believed that if the groom gets a larger piece of the chicken, they would be blessed with a son soon, and vice versa, if the bride gets the larger piece, then they would be blessed with a daughter.

The couple would then feed each other in a symbolic act that in a marriage a wife and a husband have the shared resposibility of supporting each other.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Colors of The Street #2

Some of the things sold on the streets of Bandung. I like the colors and cute shapes of these key chains.

Today, my blogging friend Nobu of Chiba Daily Photo, Japan, and JM of Oeiras and Environs Daily Photo, Portugal, present me and BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO with this wonderful award. Thank you very much for the honor, Nobu and JM.

Now, on to six things that make me happy:
(1) Photography, (2) Blogging, (3) Travelling, (4) Friends, (5)Family, (6) My students. (Note: The numbering does not show order. They make me happy in different ways.)

And asrequired, I'm passing this award to:
(1) My very good friend Michelle of Rambling Woods Less Travelled. I love her nature blog for its reflective and informative contents. I especially love the wonderful quotes she posts everyday.
(2) Omami, Canada, for her beautiful photos and creative presentation.
(3) Livio of Torino Per Imagini for his wonderful photos and creative presentation.
(4) Carrie Hayes of View of You Photography for her wonderful photography.
(5) A new comer in the daily photo blog Share of My Journey for her variety and candid choice of photographic subjects.
(6) My good friend Laurie of South Passadena Daily Photo, California, for her beautiful photos and informative blog.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My World Tuesday Post: The Dance of The Peacock

I know, I promised you that I'd post the second installment of the photo essay about Bandung's traditional wedding; but the essay involves a lot of photos and quite a bit of a story to tell, and frankly speaking I'm a bit busy today and don't have the time to prepare and upload the photos and write the story. So, instead of continuing with the essay, today I bring you this photo of these beautiful "Tari Merak" dancers.

These "Tari Merak" (Dance of The Peacock) dancers are part of the party that welcome the groom's entourage at my friend's wedding last Sunday (see yesterday's post).

"Tari Merak" is a relatively new composition dance. It was coreographed by a prominent Bandung (Sundanese) artist Raden Tjetje Somantri in the 1950s. The graceful movements of this dance are inspired by the behavior of "burung merak" (the peacock), a native Indonesian bird that is known worldwide for its beautiful and colorful feathers.

The coreography of "Tari Merak" has been revised/modified twice since it was created. Both modifications were made by Irawati Durban Ardjo. The first modification was made in 1965, and the second in 1985.

This post is my participation for the new meme My World Tuesday. To see photos and stories from other participating blogs from around the world, please follow this link.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photo Essay: A Bandung Sundanese Traditional Wedding #1

Photos and Text by Eki Qushay Akhwan

In any cultures, a wedding is always a sacred and happy occasion. The sacredness and happiness of this occasion may find different expressions in different cultures. But essential things are almost always there: A family meeting, a blessing, a vow, and a party or feast.

A traditional Bandung (Sundanese) wedding begins long before the D day when the groom's family visits the bride's family to do what Sundanese call "nendeun omong" (giving words). This is not a formal proposal, but an introduction between the two families in which the groom's family informally states (give words of) their intention of proposing the other family's daughter for their son. This is then followed by a formal proposal or what the Sundanese call "narosan" (asking). Here the groom's family formally ask the girl if she would be willing to marry their son. If the girl agrees, then both families will set the date and begin preparations for the D day.

Here is what typically happens on the D day:
The groom leaves home with an entourage of family members and gifts ("seserahan")for the bride and her family. The gift typically includes all the bride's daily needs (several sets of clothes, shoes, make up, and even jewelery and a house if the groom can afford it), and foods (rice, fruit, vegetables, chicken, goat, etc.) and money. The later items are meant to help share the cost of the girl's family expenses in giving the reception party.

Photo 1: The groom and his family is ready to leave home for the bride's. The jar held by the groom's uncle is gift money for the bride's family.

Photo 2: When the groom's entourage arrives on the road that leads to the bride's home, several groups of dancers welcome them.

Photo 3: The welcoming party includes two old or senior figures (each representing the bride's and the groom's families) that symblolize the ancestors' wisdom. Through the dialoges they perform, they impart wisdoms and advice about the journey of family life that they couple is about to embark on.

Photo 4: While all this is happening, the groom and his entourage are waiting and listening until they are invited to proceed to the bride's home.

To be continued in part 2 tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wayang Golek

The term “Wayang golek” refers both to the or the traditional Sundanese (West Javanese) wooden puppets and the show with this kind of puppets. Unlike any other wayang puppets in other parts of Indonesia which are made of goat skin and are performed as a behind-the-screen shadow show, “wayang golek” is made of wood and is performed without the screen.

The word “wayang” may have come from the words “Wa” and “Hyang” (which together mean ancestors) or “bayang” (shadow).

“Wayang golek” show is performed by a puppeteer called “dalang” with an ensemble of “gamelan” music. The show is usually performed in the evening and typically lasts for about six hours. Originally, “wayang golek” used to be performed only at thanksgiving, harvest parties, and ceremonies to ask for God’s protection from evil spirits. Now it is also performed at wedding receptions, circumscision ceremony, company’s unniversaries, and other social functions.

The stories at “wayang golek” performance are typically dirived from the Hindu-Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabarata. However, they have been adapted to the local Sundanese Moslem wisdom and values.

The photo above are four of “wayang golek” characters. I took this photo at the Kemilau Nusantara fest (see yesterday’s post).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bandung's "Kemilau Nusantara" Fest: A Lenong Dancer and A Joker

"Kemilau Nusantara" or the Glitter of the Indonesian Archipelago is an annual event held by Bandung's Tourism Office. This festival features tourism, art, and cultural exhibitions from all the regencies in the Province of West Java and other provinces in Indonesia plus a grand street parade of art and cultural performances from all the participating regions. This year event, the fifth, began yesterday and will last until tomorrow when the parade is going to take place.

I went to Lapangan Gasibu (the Gasibu Square), the venue of this event, today and enjoyed the various stage cultural performances from different parts of Indonesia. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there tomorrow to cover the parade since, as I said earlier in the week, I would be doing wedding photography for my friend's wedding. I hope the other Bandung Daily Photo blogs (Harry's and Benyamin's) will be covering the event for you.

The photo featured above is of a Lenong dancer and joker. Lenong is a traditional Betawi (Jakarta's indigenous people) folk theater. The joker together with the dancers hold a very important role in this folk theater: The Joker is a central character that makes the moral message of the story more digestable to the audience. The dancers (and their dances) provide a lively and colorful intermezzo so that the audience can stay "awake" and follow the often long performance.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Skywatch Friday # 15: Bandung's Late Dry Season's Sky

My Skywatch post today is of Bandung's late dry season's sky. To see other wonderful Skywatch photos from all around the world or to participate in this weekly theme, please check this link.

As I said in my previous week's Skywatch Friday post, October is the transition period between the dry season (summer) and the wet/rainy season in most parts of Indonesia. Being an equatorial archipelago, Indonesia only has two seasons. The normal climatic cycle of dry season begins in April or May and ends in September or October, by which time the rainy season sets in.

By the way, the structure in the above photo is the new building of the Faculty (School) of Social Science Education of the Indonesia University of Education (UPI) on Setiabudhi Street in the north of Bandung.

With today's post, I would also like to pass on the the BFF Award to the following wonderful friends of mine:

1. Launcheston Daily Photo (LDP), Australia, for being one of the first to comment on my BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO.

2. Riau Daily Photo, Sumatra, Indonesia, by my good friend Hendrawan, one of the first friends I made when I started this blog. He has a lot of good photos in his blog and, to my knowledge, has never received any awards before.

3. My new friend and frequent visitor Mahmud Yussop of My Kucing Klikz, Sarawak, Malaysia, for his wonderful photos and insightful stories of the area he is covering.

4. My new friend Ian Hamzah of Sanabis Daily Photo, Bahrain, for the delightful photos and stories he shares in his blog.

5. Gerald of Hyde Daily Photo, UK, a long time blogging friend and the web keeper of the Latest Around The World city daily photo blog updates.

I could go on with the list as I have a lot of friends that certainly deserve the award, but I am allowed to pass on this award to only five other bloggers. I hope they will pass on this award spread the love to other desrving bloggers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary # 5: Junction Traffic Chaos

This is what usually happens in Bandung when the traffic light is down and there is no police officer to regulate the traffic. The rain is an added element of ... well, the chaos!

This photo is the 5th post of Bandung Street Documentary series. I began this series as an attempt to give you a candid outlook of what Bandung street life is like. The street, being a quintessential public space, can tell us a lot of things about the character of a city. Hence, this series together with the other series (i.e. City of People, Bandung Architectural Heritage) and other regular posts, will give you a better outlook and feel of this city I love and call home.

I took the above photo at the junction of Tamansari and Supratman Streets at Balubur, Bandung.

Having said all that, I'd like to share with you a wonderful news I recieved today. My very good friend Virginia of Birmingham Alabama Daily Photo has honored me and BANDUNG DAILY PHOTO with this wonderful "Blogging Friend Forever" Award. Thank you very much for this honor, V!

This award requires that I choose five other bloggers that I consider worthy of receiving this award based on the following criteria:

1. Only 5 people/blogs are allowed.
2. Four of them have to be dedicated followers of this blog.
3. One has to be someone new or recently new to this blog and live in another part of the world.
4. The recipient of the award has to link back to whoever gives her/him the award, and (this is another criterion that Virginia has added) :
5. The recipient has never received any other awards before.

Now, these are difficult criteria, I must admit. I have a lot of wonderful friends who own and managed great blogs. Therefore, I will need sometime to think about who I am going to pass on this award to and postpone the announcement until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bandung Architectural Heritage # 4: The Bethel Church on Wastukancana Street

The Bethel Church on Wastukancana Street #1 was designed by architect Prof. C.P. Wolff Schoemaker and constructed in 1925. It is listed by Bandung Society for Heritage Conservation (Paguyuban Pelestarian Budaya Bandung) and the Bandung municipal government as one of Bandung's colonial architectural heritage buildings.

Prof. C.P. Wolf Schoemaker is one of the most prolific and highly acclaimed architects in Indonesia (then Ductch East India) of the early 20th century. Many of his works now become Bandung's landmarks. I have posted the photos and stories of two other buildings that he designed here and here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Walk of Discovery: Volkswagen Beetle

I discovered this eye-stopper VW Beetle at a neighboring housing complex on my Sunday walk the other day. VW Beetle has always been one of my favorite cars, and its yellow color, which also happens to be my favorite color, had my heart skipped a beat. Needless to say, I instinctively took out my camera and, after asking the owner if I could take photographs of it, I began exploring the beautiful details of this car.

VW Type 1, the official name of this car, has different nicknames in different countries. It is called VW Beetle/Bug in English, VW Kodok (Frog/Toad) in Indonesian, and Kafer in German. What is it called in your country?

This is what I know about this car from some references I have read:
The Beetle was produced between 1938 until 2003, during which 21 million of it were produced. According to an internatinal poll, it is the fourth most influential cars ever produced after Ford T Model, the Mini, and Citroen DS. This car was designed by Ferdinand Porche upon the request of Adolf Hitler who wanted a cheap and reliable car for the masses.

Monday, October 20, 2008

City of People # 16: Wedding Impersonators (Happy People Make A Happy City)

I took this photo of a wedding impersonator couple at a street festival on Jalan Braga, Bandung, sometime ago.

The story behind the photo:
At this festival, the stage managers (masters of ceremony) asked the audience if any of them would like to impersonate a bride and a groom walking the isle in a wedding reception for a prize. Many of the audience seemed to be reluctant to volunteer. So they had to randomly pick this couple from the audience. The girl seemed to be happy, the boy a bit shy. This scene made the audience amused, cheer, and laugh.

Speaking of wedding: I am co-photographing a friend's wedding next week (real wedding!). I have asked my friend and his wife to be if I could post some of the photos I will be taking on this blog. They have agreed. So, next week I am going to share with you a story and some photos of a traditional Sundanese wedding.

By the way, I am not a professional (i.e. money making) wedding photographer, but yes I've done quite a few professional wedding photography "jobs". I'd usually do them for friends or relatives and for free.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bandung's Museums: Museum Pos Indonesia

Museum Pos Indonesia or the Indonesian Postal Museum is located east of Gedung Sate (West Java Gubernatorial Office Mansion) on Jalan Cilaki 73 (73 Cilaki Street), Bandung. Its building was in fact built as part of the Gedung Sate office complex. That is why they share the same architectural features.

Museum Pos Indonesia was established in 1933 as Post, Telegraph, and Telephone Museum (Museum PTT). It has the most extensive collection of stamps and other philatelic objects from all over the world, which include the oldest stamp in Indonesia (then the Netherlands’ East India) and some of the oldest stamps in the world. It also collects some of the world’s oldest post, telegraph, and telephone equipments and an impressive number of documents (photograph, pictures, paintings, leaflets, etc) that record the history of the development of the post, telegraph, and telephone services in Indonesia.

This museum is open for public free from 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday, and from 9 AM to 2 PM on Saturday.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

City of People # 15: Students



There is nothing more wonderful than seeing young people seriously at work like what these students of mine are doing.

This is the fifteenth post of my "City of People" series. City of People, as you may remember from my previous posts, is a series that is aimed at capturing the photographs of the people of Bandung from different walks of life doing different kinds of activities.

Bandung, by the way, is one of Indonesia's major educational centers. In fact, one of its nicknames is "Kota Pelajar" (City of Students). There are a least 16 universities and 45 academies and professional schools in this city. Bandung is the home of the three oldest and most prestigious state universities in Indonesia: Bandung Institute of Technology or ITB (established in 1920), Padjadjaran University (established in 1958), and Indonesia University of Education (UPI, established in 1956).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Skywatch Friday Post: Bandung's October Late Afternoon Sky

I took this photo of Bandung's October brilliant late afternoon sky last Monday (October 13, 2008) at about 5:00 PM.

The almost shillouette structure at the bottom of the photo is the rock climbing tower at the Faculty of Sports Education campus of the Indonesia University of Education (Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia) in the north of Bandung.

For your information, October is the transition period between the dry season (summer) and the rainy season here. The seasonal change period like this, in my experience, is the time when the sky usually looks brilliant and is "populated" by interesting cloud patterns.

To see other participants' photos of the Skywatch Friday, follow this link.

Have a great a weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bandung Street Scenes: Exploring Street Photography # 4

Today I visited my friend's blog, Michelle's The Rambling Woods - The Road Less Travelled, and learned about a day that I think all bloggers should know: October 15, the Blog Action Day.

Blog Action Day is "an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day." The aim is, according to this movement's website linked above, "to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion" on issues important to all human kinds. Last year, the issue discussed was Environment. This year, it's Poverty.

Poverty exists in any societies, in the West and East, North and South, and in poorer as well as in more afluent countries. It is a complex issue of which no clear and simple answer has yet been found to overcome it. However, this should not prevent us from playing our parts in helping those who are aflicted in the ways that we can.

Bloggers like us can play our part by raising awareness of this common issue of ours and share ideas and/or reporting efforts being done in our respective communities to aleviate poverty.

With the photo I posted today, I'd like to deliver this message:

Given a fair chance, most people would try to get themselves out of poverty. These street vendors selling toys at Bandung's Kepatihan Street are probably not poor in the absolute sense, but what they do - in my humble opinion - is symbolic of human dignity: Given a fair chance, everyman and woman would try their best to make a decent living and lift themselves out of poverty. Charity is one way to help the poor; but giving a fair chance and, as Indonesian would say, a fishing line is better than giving them the fish.

The Government of Indonesia is currently doing both: It provides BLT (Bantuan Langsung Tunai) or Direct Cash Assistance ("the fish") and creates different programs of microcredits to help them start their own small/home businesses ("the fishing line").

According to official figures, Indonesian poverty rate currently stands at 15.4 percent (as of March 2008), with poverty being defined as the inability to meet "the daily minimum requirement of 2,100 kcal per capita plus the non-food minimum requirement, such as housing, clothing, schooling, transportation, household necessities, and other basic individual needs." The value of expenditure is counted in rupiah.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bandung Architectural Heritage # 3: Bank Indonesia Building

Among its many other nicknames, Bandung was once also dubbed Indonesia's "Colonial Architectural Laboratory". According to journalist and writer Her Suganda (2007), this nickname was given because the architectural styles of most of the historical buildings in this city do not reflect the local, traditional architectural style. Buildings with different kinds of architectural styles, e.g. Netherlands' Indische/Indische Empirestijl, Roman Gothic, Classic, Neoclassic, Art Deco, Art Noeveau, etc., can be found in this city. Most of these buildings were built at about the same period (1920's to 1930's). According to historical records, 400 buildings of different architectural styles were built within this 20 year period. No fewer than 60 architects were involved in making Bandung as a colonial architectural laboratory, of which, according to historian Huip Akihary (Architectuur Stedebouw in Indonesie 1870 - 1970), 16 were top architects of the time.

Since I started this blog, I have at least posted two examples of Bandung's architectural heritage, here and here. Today's photos are of the building of Bank Indonesia on Jalan Braga (Braga Street), Bandung. This building was designed by architect Edward Cuypers and constructed in 1917 for Javache Bank (Bank of Java).

Text and pictures by Eki Qushay Akhwan

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Aerial View of Bandung # 1

Bandung is a city surrounded by mountains. On this photo of aerial view of the northern part of Bandung, the mountain on your left side is Mt. Burangrang, and on your right side is Mt. Tangkuban Parahu (a name which literally means "capsized boat" in reference to the mountain's shape).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bandung Street Scenes: Exploring Street Photography # 3

Here is another photo that I took in my photo hunting trip with my photographer friends last week. I captured this street photography scene at Lapangan Gasibu (Gasibu Square). As you may remember from one of my previous posts, Gasibu Square, which is located right across the street from Gedung Sate (West Java Gubernatorial Office Mansion), turns into a makeshift market every Sunday morning. This "market" sells just about everything and is packed with people during this time of the week. As such, it is an ideal place to do street photography.

For those of you who did not follow this blog regularly or have just discovered it, I formally introduced what street photography essentially is about in my previous two posts here and here.

Now I would like to add that in street photography, observation and alertness are two other important things that a photographer needs to exercise. For this scene, for example, the first thing I observed was these colorful inflatable dolls. While they in themselves would have made a nice photograph, the visual impact would have been different without the presence of this child showing interests in them. So I waited. Sure enough, a few minutes later, this boy wearing this attractive cap walked passed them with his mom. I pressed the shutter, and voila!

You may also want to see the other photos in this series in my other photo blog here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Colors of The Street

Last week, a couple of photographer friends from other cities came over to Bandung and asked if I could accompany them for a photo hunting. One of them happens to be the kind of photographers who like street scenes (street photography) and the other is one who is more interested in geometry and architectural photography. To accomodate their different interests, I took them to the city center (Jalan Asia Afrika, Alun-alun [The City Square], Jalan Braga, and a couple of different other places around the area where the streets are "alive" and where some of Bandung's most important architectural heritage are located.

The photo hunting tour I gave was quite productive. Each of us could get quite a great number of photographs that we are quite happy with.

I took this photo with my Canon Powershot A510, a small pocket camera that I always have with me. I was interested in the colors of these cheap but attractive belts sold by a street vendor at Alun-alun Bandung (Bandung's city square). I framed tightly to emphasize the interesting color patterns of these belts and deliberately included that card "OBRAL Rp 5.000" to give the photo an informative touch. "Obral" is the Indonesian word for "sale". At the current rate, Rp 5.000 is equal to about 50 cents US dollars. Very cheap indeed for their attractive colors and design.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

City of People # 14: Shop Keeper

SHOPKEEPER copyrights Eki Akhwan

My "City of People" series of photographs in this blog began on July 24, 2008, with this photo of night basketballers. Since then I have posted 12 other photos for this series. Today's photo is the 14th in this series.

As you might remember from that first post, the City of People series comes from my conviction that people is the essence of a city, or a place for that matter. Without the people who live in it (and make it alive), a city is just a place or a name on the map. It is people who give birth to a culture, cultivate a civilization, and leave the different interesting artefacts that we see, capture in photographs, and enjoy. Our understanding of these things, therefore, can't be complete without a least some understanding of the people who create them.

So, here it is, another photo of the people of Bandung. This beautiful, friendly, and intelligent girl works as a shop keeper at King's Shopping Centre, on Jalan Kepatihan (Kepatihan Street), Bandung.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Skywatch Friday Post: Gedung Sate's Tiered Roof

GEDUNG SATE TIERED ROOF copyrights Eki Akhwan

This is the top floor terrace and the tiered roof of Gedung Sate. The skewered-barbecue (Indonesian: Sate) like structure at the top is what makes the building named "Gedung Sate" (Sate Building). For those of you who did not follow this blog regularly, you might want to refer here for the some architectural notes about this building.

Today's post is for my participation in the Skywatch Friday. To see other participants' photos, please check here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary #4: Have Rules, Will Break

BANDUNG TAXI copyrights Eki Akhwan

I think this street/traffic sign is universally recognized as a "NO PARKING" sign. But these cabs from a Bandung taxi company just parked underneath it.

Just in case you are curious what those words underneath the sign reads: "Sepanjang Jalan Dr. Djundjunan" means along Dr. Djundjunan Street.

Jalan Dr. Djundjunan, the place where I took this photo, is one of the west side entry points into the city of Bandung. It connects the Cipularang toll road gate to the city center.

I can't help but wonder if this kind of thing also happens in your cities. (I guess not :( )

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gedung Sate #2: Southern Facade and Some Architectural Notes


This is the photo of the southern facade of Gedung Sate and its surrounding tropical gardens.

Some architectural notes of Gedung Sate:
Gedung Sate was designed by architect J. Gerber. The construction began on July 27, 1920, and was completed in four years. According to Bandung historian Haryoto Kunto, thousands of workers were involved in its construction, including a number of craftsmen and artisans who were especially invited from China to do the detailed ornaments of the building.

Gedung Sate's architecture is unique in that it combines Western architectural design and elements adopted from local and regional architecture. The tiered roof at the center, for example, is said to be adopted from the Balinese temple "meru" structure. The ornaments of the main gate at the front is quite probably adopted from Thai temple architecture. While the doors, huge windows, and some wall ornamental features bear resemblance to Indian and Spanish architectural elements.

Gedung Sate has five levels (floors). The first three floors house the different departments of the Provincial Government of West Java. The fourth floor functions as an exhibition hall and a theater where historical photographs of Bandung and West Java are exhibited and a 30 minute documentary film of the same are screened for visitors. The fifth floor, which is located right under the tiered roof, can only be accessed through a speacial staircase. It functions as a terrace where the governor of West Java entertains guests of honors for tea or coffee. From this terrace tower, one can see the majestic Mount Tangkuban Parahu (which literally means: capsized boat) in the north and other mountains surounding Bandung plateau.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gedung Sate #1: The Front View (Northern Facade)

GEDUNG SATE #1 copyrights Eki Akhwan

Since I started this blog, I have mentioned "Gedung Sate" (the name of West Java Gubernatorial office mansion) quite a few times, but I have never really posted a photo that shows what it looks like in whole. The reason for this is that I did not feel that I had a decent enough photo of it that would do justice to depict its beauty. (I did have quite a number of Gedung Sate photos, but none of them were really as decent as this one.)

Gedung Sate (literally means: skewered barbeque building) is considered to be the quintessential landmark of the city of Bandung for its unique architecture, its historical significance in the development of the city, and the function it serves today (it is the seat of the governor of West Java Province, of which Bandung is the capital city). The name itself refers to the "sate" like structure on top of its tiered roof.

I'm going to share with you its history and its unique architectural features as I post more photos of its different parts tomorrow. For now, here is Gedung Sate's northern facade (frontal view) as seen from Jalan Diponegoro (Diponegoro Street).

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jalan Braga: The History and The Art Market

JALAN BRAGA 1 copyrights Eki Akhwan

Jalan Braga (Braga Street) is one of Bandung's oldest and most well-known streets. It runs north to south and is only a little more than a kilometer long.

Throughout its history, Jalan Braga has had a couple of different names. It was once called "Karrenweg" (Dutch) because this street used to be muddy during the rainy season and dusty during the dry season. It was also once called "Jalan Culik" (Kidnapper's Street) because it used to be lined up with huge trees and dark and scary at night, that an urban legend circulated that kidnappers were lurking here and would snatched any children who were still out and about after the sun set.

The name Jalan Braga (Dutch: Bragaweg), according to historian Haryoto Kunto, began to be used in the 1880's after the name of a stage theater group established here by Residence Assistant Pieter Sijthoff on June 18, 1882.

For your information, Braga is also the name of a city in Portugal, and although Portugal had had an earlier contact with the Sundanese people and kingdom before the Dutch did, there is no evidence that the street name can be directly linked to the name of the Portuguese city.

In the early 20th Century, Bandung's burgemeester (mayor) B. Coops (1917 - 1928) proposed that Braga be made as De meest Europeesche winkelstraat van Indie (European style market street). In this plan, only European style architecture were supposed to be built on Braga. Since then, Jalan Braga became a prestigious street with European look.

Many things have of course changed between then and now. However, anyone who walks this street now can still see the little European look of this place (or what remains of it).

The above photo is of a painting street-vendor and the paintings he is selling that line up part of Jalan Braga today. Braga also has some art shops and some cafes and old book stores.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ciwalk (Cihampelas Walk)

CIHAMPELAS WALK (CIWALK) copyrights Eki Akhwan

For busy urbanites who barely have time for other things besides their jobs, shopping has become more than just a way of getting their daily needs. It has become more of a recreational activity than just a mere function of buying things. In this way, modern shopping malls have become more than just a place for shops but an oasis of some sort where urban dwellers escape (even if it's only for a while) the harsh day to day realities.

Opinion aside, this is the photo of the front view of Cihampelas Walk or Ciwalk.

Located on Jalan Cihampelas (hence its name), one of Bandung's busiest commercial streets, Ciwalk is claimed to be one of only a few malls in Indonesia set amidst a lush green garden.

According to its website (in Indonesian), Ciwalk occupies a contoured area of 3.5 hectares, of which only one third of it is built. The rest are used for gardens, an open air theater or plaza (the foreground in the above photo), and a parking lot.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bandung's Green Shaded Street: Jalan Dr. Otten (Street)


Green shaded streets like the one in the above photo are a very common sight in the old parts of Bandung. This one is on Jalan Dr. Otten (Dr. Otten Street), a street that runs almost perpendicular to Jalan Pasteur where Dr. Hasan Sadikin Provincial Hospital is located. (To see exactly where it is, please check Bandung here.)

Trees have also been planted in the newer parts of the city, but they have not grown as big as these ones.

Exploring Photography: Shadows

MAW MAW SUNBATHING copyrights Eki Akhwan

This is Maw-Maw, a Siamese-Angoran cross breed cat. She had just taken her weekly bath and was drying herself in the sun.

This picture is part of my photo exploration project that I would normally post at my other photo blog JAGAT FOTOGRAFI. Today, I post it here for my participation in Photo Scavenger Hunters whose theme this week is "shadows".

Here is another photo of her:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Skywatch Friday Post: Bandung Grand Mosque Tower

MENARA MASJID AGUNG BANDUNG 1 (bandung grand mosque tower)

This is the photo for my participation in the Skywatch Friday this week.

This photo is of one of the two towers of Masjid Agung Bandung (also called Masjid Raya Bandung Propinsi Jawa Barat) or Bandung Grand Mosque. This mosque is located on the West side of Alun-alun Bandung (Bandung City Square) on Asia Afrika Street.

Masjid Agung Bandung has a history as long as the city itself. According to historian Sobana Hardjasaputra of Padjadjaran University, the mosque was erected on September 25, 1810 (the date when the capital of Bandung Regency was relocated from Dayeuh Kolot [the old city] to the present location).

Over the years, the shape of the mosque have changed many times. The present shape is the result of the renovation conducted in 2001-2003.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary (Street Photography) # 3: Getting on An Angkot

GETTING ON AN ANGKOT in Bandung copyrights Eki Akhwan

For those of you who have been to or are familiar with Bandung, the scene in the above photo may be very familiar. For those who have/are not and don't know what ANGKOT is, you can refer my previous post here.

This is my third post of Bandung Street Documentary Series photography project. In addition to being a documentary, this kind of photo may be categorized as street photography.

Oh, and here is what it looks like inside the angkot.

Inside Angkot Bandung copyrights Eki Akhwan