Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cooperative Learning

For a teacher like me, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing our students enthusiastically learn what they want and need to learn and become successful in life.

A variety of techniques, methods, and strategies are available to teachers. Cooperative learning is one of them. It is basically a teaching strategy where the teacher groups students of different levels of achievement in small teams and encourage them to engage in different kinds of learning activities to improve their mastery of a particular topic or subject. The objectives of the group activities are, as the name indicates, to encourage students to help each other (i.e. cooperate) to accoplish the task at hand.

Cooperative learning is good in that it usually creates an atmosphere of togetherness and common fate and that - like that of real life situations - an individual's success is made possible only with cooperation and helping one another.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nasi Edan Bandung

Can rice really be crazy? Or make one crazy?

Well, rice is just rice. We eat it everyday. There is almost nothing special about it. For us, it's the side dishes that make it special, and thus often makes the name.

Out of creativity and probably for marketing gimmick, a number of new or modified rice dish recipes have now been called with a variety of names here, including "nasi gila" and "nasi edan". "Nasi" is the Indonesian word for cooked rice. And "gila" or "edan" means crazy.

How crazy are these new/modified rice dish recipes?

Out of curiosity, I tried this and what is claimed to be the one and only "Warung Nasi Edan" (literally: crazy rice shop) in Bandung. Located on Jalan Cikapundung (Street) and open only during the day, this simple and unassuming roadside shop has attracted quite a bit of attention for its name.

As I said, there's nothing special about the rice. But the ingredients, taste and texture of the side dish is, I think, quite unique. It tastes somewhat like Malay curry, but somewhat also a bit sweet and chilly-hot. The shop's owner, Haryanto, says that he concocted the recipe from 11 different spices.

Since words cannot accurately describe taste, and since taste itself is experience-bound, I think the best way to really know how this recipe tastes is to try it yourself. Some may like it. Some may not. For me, it's okay. Nothing to be crazy about. I must warn you though that I'm not a culinary expert.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Indonesian Air Force Plane Crashed in Bandung, Killed 24

This is the headline of Tribun Jabar, one of Bandung's most prominent newspapers today. It reads "Fokker 27 with 24 Marines Hits Hangar and Explodes, Deadly Moments at Husein Sastranegara Airport."

The terrible accident happened at 13:06 hours yesterday at Husein Sastranegara Airport and Air Force Base in Bandung. Here is the chronology of the accident according to Tribun Jabar:

08:40 - The training aircraft Fokker-27 Troopship left Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airforce Base.

09:00 - The aircraft landed at Husein Sastranegara Airbase.

09:00 - Session one of the orientation for diving mission began.

12:36 - The aircraft took off for the second session of diving mission training.

12:58 - Pilot decided to turn back and land the aircraft at Husein Sastranegara because of bad weather.

13:04 - The plane tilted and hit the hangar of PT. Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI, Indonesian aircraft manufacturer) and exploded. Two aircrafts parked in the hangar (for maintenance), i.e. Deraya Air MC 212200 and Batavia Air's Boeing 737 were hit. Two other aircrafts, Adam Air's Boeing 737 and PTDI's CN235 were not hit.

My deepest condolences for the families of the victims.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Rebung is the Indonesian name for bamboo shoot like the one in the above photo.

Being a member of the grass family, bamboo grows nearly everywhere. About 1,000 species of bamboo have now been identified. They grow from the Earth's coldest places like Shakalin (in the east of Russia) and the Himalayas up to the warm Sub-Sahara in Africa. However, only in east and southeast Asia does bamboo find its most significant cultural and economic values. For the people of east and southeast Asia, it is not only a versatile and strong building material, but also a beautiful decorative plant and a food source.

Rebung is a delicacy in Indonesia. As a kind of food, it is treated much like a vegetable. It is usually sliced thin and cooked with a variety of other ingredients to make delicious dishes. Gulai Rebung (bamboo shoot in curry-like coconut milk broth), lodeh (a kind of "soup" with coconut milk), and lun pia (lumpia) are some of the most well known recipes for bamboo shoot dishes here.

It needs to be noted, however, that bamboo shoots from certain types of bamboo like those of the giant bamboos are not edible because they are toxic.

You can look at photos of rebung dishes here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Street Documentary: Hauling A Motorbike

This is how a motorbike is hauled onto a truck and transported from the shop to the buyer here.

Indonesia, by the way, is one of the largest motorbike producers and markets in Asia. According to the chairperson of Indonesia motorbike Industry Association (AISI) Gunadi Sindhuwinata, Indonesia currently has an installed production capacity of 7.5 million motorbikes per year. As of last year (2008), the domestic market absorbed about 6.3 million units or about 84 percent of the total production capacity. Due to the crisis, however, it is expected that the demands for motorbikes in the domestic market will drop to only about 58 percent of the total production capacity or about 3.8 to 4.4 million units this year.