Monthly Archives: July 2009

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping by Paco Underhill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book provides me knowledge about retail shopping behavior, an anthropological study on retail setting through thorough observations. It contains more sets of description rather than sets of argumentation. I appreciate on the writer’s attention to what seems to be petty details (but in fact this details are essentially shaping consumers’ behaviors on retail settings).

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Panggil Aku Kartini Saja

Panggil Aku Kartini Saja Panggil Aku Kartini Saja by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jujur saja, sebelum baca buku ini, ketika saya mendengar “Kartini”, asosiasi saya adalah parade baju daerah yang sering diadakan di sekolah-sekolah pada saat hari Kartini. Setelah mengenal sejarah, oh Kartini adalah perempuan pembela pendidikan, feminis tapi akhirnya terperangkap dalam poligami. Kartini seperti “overrated” dalam kamus saya pada waktu itu.

Tapi setelah membaca buku Pramoedya Ananta Toer ini, saya berpikiran lain. Ternyata persepsi saya tentang Kartini tak lain adalah hasil dari pembentukan persepsi yang diinginkan oleh politik etis. Mensensor dan hanya menampilkan sebagian dari pribadi Kartini. Kartini ternyata bukan saja pembela perempuan, dia punya jiwa patriot. Yang dia perjuangkan adalah melawan segala musuh yang mengakibatkan sengsara pada rakyat, termasuk feodalisme. Dengan segala keterbatasannya karena batasan dari ayahnya yang dicintainya, dia berjuang. Dia juga peduli dengan kesenian rakyat, seperti batik, seni pahat, dan sebagainya. Semuanya dipaparkan di buku ini.

Kalau dalam buku ini, cuma ada uraian tanpa argumen yang jelas, saya juga akan meragukan isi buku ini. Tapi inilah poin plus dalam buku ini, adanya bukti-bukti yang melandasi kesimpulan yang diambil. Singkatnya, ada argumen yang jelas. Kalaupun ada bukti-bukti sejarah yang hilang, penulis berusaha mencari referensi lain seperti dimensi sosiologi kultural untuk membuat dugaan-dugaan. Dugaan mana yang dirasa penulis lebih kuat, disertai dengan argumen yang kuat pula. Ketika saya membaca buku ini, saya seperti mengobrol dengan penulis. Jalan pikiran penulis begitu gamblang dituliskan. Dengan demikian, tidak hanya pembaca dapat mengenal Kartini tetapi juga dapat mempelajari serta berpendapat mengenai cara berpikir atau menarik kesimpulan dari penulis (Pramoedya Ananta Toer).

Kelebihan buku ini juga adalah adanya pembahasan khusus mengenai aspek psikologis Kartini. Dalam buku biografi seperti ini, saya rasa kita perlu juga memahami siapa Kartini sehingga dapat memahami dari mana pikiran tersebut berakar. Penggambaran yang meliputi aspek psikologis ini memberikan gambaran dan pemahaman yang menyeluruh bagi pembaca mengenai siapa Kartini.

Kesimpulan akhir:
Pantaslah buku ini dianggap sebagai “Sumbangan Indonesia untuk Dunia”.

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Thought for the day

“Takes more than combat gear to make a man, takes more than a license for a gun
Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can
A gentleman will walk but never run”


Bohemian Rhapsody/Radio Gaga

Queen performing a medley of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Radio Ga Ga” at Live Aid in 1985.

Public Enemies

image, courtesy of

: Michael Mann
Casts: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, James Russo, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard


The difficult 1930s is a time of robbers who knock over banks and other rich targets with alarming frequency. Of them, none is more notorious than John Dillinger, whose gang plies its trade with cunning efficiency against big businesses while leaving ordinary citizens alone. As Dillinger becomes a folk hero, FBI head J. Edger Hoover is determined to stop his ilk by assigning ace agent Melvin Purvis to hunt down Dillinger. As Purvis struggles with the manhunt’s realities, Dillinger himself faces an ominous future with the loss of friends, dwindling options and a changing world of organized crime with no room for him.

Johnny Depp scored again! His acting skill is unquestionable. He is the master of turning a dark character into a charming one. He’s successful in portraying John Dillinger as witty, smart, confident, the beloved outlaw or public enemy, just like Robin Hood on the streets (out of the woods). I love the scene when public welcomed Dillinger just like their ‘hero’ and the officer was willing to be photographed hugging with Dillinger, but it stroke me when Dillinger entered the “Dillinger case” police office, checked the pictures and anything there, and even asked the police officers about the scores of a match aired in radio. He knew how to position himself to deceive others, trickery master. Maybe this is subjective, but I find Dillinger tremendously sexy on that particular scene. I always fall in love with bad boys: doing what is prohibited as if it is natural and right to do that.

However, I feel like this movie is relying too much on Dillinger although he is the main character. This movie is one-man-show! Although there’s agent Purvis placed as the antagonist character (Dillinger’s enemy), Purvis’ character is less explored and ends up just like ‘decoration’. Dillinger and Purvis are both smart and confident in themselves but there’s a major difference between both of them: Purvis is not ready to see death. Dillinger pointed this fact behind the bars when they met for the first time. I was expecting, at least this matter to be explored more but I only got a note at the end of the movie, that Purvis committed suicide one year after the death of Dillinger (I might be wrong about the time, correct me if I’m wrong). Also, this movie’s title is Public Enemies, not just Public Enemy, and yet I sense there’s only one, just Dillinger. Dillinger’s friends are just Dillinger’s friends. I don’t know anything about them. Again, they’re only ‘decorations’ in this movie.

Note: I am aware that people are pretty annoyed by the miss on historical facts, but I decide to treat this movie as fiction. After all they don’t write the “inspired by true story” stuff on the movie poster.

9 of 10 for Johnny Depp’s acting skill
6.5 of 10 for the overall movie

Here’s Public Enemies’ trailer for you

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dear Mr. Burton,

I am truly a great fan. Many people may say that this book is weird but I think it is a beautiful poetry. Your vivid dark imagination lets me travel into your world. The beauty of human ‘truth’ in dark way, how you ‘fit’ it in your fantasy, that makes me speechless… You are genius! My favorites are “Roy, The Toxic Boy”, “Staring Girl”, “The Pin Cushion Queen”, and “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy”.

Thanks a lot for letting me drawn into your world. 🙂



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Sting – If I ever lose my faith in you

Sting, live at the Rock in Rio Lisboa music festival on Sunday, June 4 2006, at the Bela Vista park in Lisbon, Portugal.

Listen to this, you will understand why I don’t respond to any joke about Sting. He’s my inspiration for life.

Killer Queen

“Killer Queen”
Artist: Queen
Album : Sheer Heart Attack
Writer: Freddie Mercury

We are Not Afraid, We Refuse to Forget!

Explode. Bomb. Suspicious. Dirty politics. Death. Cry. Loss. Terrorism.

We are not afraid. “Maju Tak Gentar”. Condemn. Anger. Rage. Blame.

I restrained myself from writing about the bombing of two prestigious hotels in Mega Kuningan. I was shocked and I didn’t know how to react, it’s easy to be blurred, losing proper judgment in this kind of situation, so I waited to get my sense back. I was in the car, listening to a discussion in the radio about toxic co-worker, and suddenly there’s an eyewitness report through the SMS and this was announced in the middle of the show. Wordless. It happened again on the same spot, I couldn’t believe it.

Toxic bombers. Toxic terrorism. Toxic politics. Toxic ideas. Toxic beliefs.

Whatever the motives were, it’s clearly an act of terrorism. Why could it happen again? We suspect and blame the security guard that’s loosen up on the checking and screening process. We already know that we are prone to amnesia, we forgive too often, and we forget too often. We remember again after we are slapped again. However as we forget, we are bound to experience this notorious terrorism over and over again. I’m really worried that we are getting used to get bombed.

Ok, we can talk about how poverty and lack of education make the terrorism easily infiltrate the people in our country. We can talk about how our intelligent snipers are not fast enough, how our law is not strict enough. Now I want to discuss about the possible factor that may contribute on the loosing-up security check.

Now we may be angry to the terrorist, and we may be okay and feel that it is a must for a security guard to really check on every visitor. However, what do you think or feel about this thorough checking process before this bombing took place? I have to admit that before, whenever a security guard asked me to open my bag, I was not comfortable and gave the expression, “I don’t think you need to do this, this is a bullshit”. I noticed that I was not the only one giving this nasty attitude, nearly all the visitors on every mall or hotel did too. In turn, the security guards might feel that it was wrong checking on every visitor, so they still did the checking just because the job description told them to do so. They did it half-heartedly so they weren’t really checking. They used their ‘hunch’ to ‘select’ which visitor that most likely looks ‘dangerous’ or ‘criminal-minded’. This selection might be based on how they look (read: prejudice).

Why did most of us ‘reject’ this security checking process? Why did we feel that it’s only an unnecessary procedure? That is because WE FORGET. We tend to only want to think and remember something that is naive. Thinking about the possibility of terrorism, bombing only make ourselves blue. This is wrong. This will make the terrorist succeed. How many loss must we tolerate? NO. We have to remember, we have to be cautious, and quoting from an aspiring e-mail (from someone very aspiring who’s now in Paris): we have to stay angry. To kill terrorism, we don’t solely blame on the system, we have to start with ourselves because we are Indonesia. Let’s fight together for our country, Indonesia unite!

Written by :C. Simanjuntak

Maju tak gentar
Membela yang benar
Maju tak gentar
Hak kita diserang

Maju serentak
Mengusir penyerang
Maju serentak
Tentu kita menang

Bergerak bergerak, Serentak serentak
Menerkam menerjang terjang
Tak gentar tak gentar, Menyerang menyerang
Majulah majulah menang

Oh you’re bad!

Sometimes a little mystery is sexy, darling!

(Read: Facebook, do you realize that I’m one step ahead of thinking on leaving you for someone else: Twitter?)