Jember Fashion Carnival 2016

Couple of years ago, I stumbled upon an article about Jember Fashion Carnival (JFC) and has been interested in coming to the ever ever since. Long story short, I managed to convince le parents to go there this year. And well, I must say that it’s one of the best carnival in Indonesia.

Jember is small town located to the east of Surabaya. One can reach the city by plane, by car, or by train. The carnival itself started in 2001 and has different grand theme with several sub-themes presented. This year theme was revival — something about Indonesian “resurrection” in several fields, such as maritime. To get into the carnival area, one can either purchase the general admission ticket (VIP ones cost around IDR 400k/$30) or register to get photographer pass, which can be used to access the backstage area as well — I used this pass to get around.

On the day of the grand carnival, I got to meet some of the participants and talked to them. Basically, their participation is voluntary, and by voluntary I mean they don’t get paid anything to participate. Mind you, these people have to walk several kilometres in their costumes and that’s not even the worst part. The costumes are very heavy, some could even weigh up to 20 kgs not to mention that some paired it with towering high heels……and Jember is located in East Java coastline and it’s so frikkin’ hot there. The craziest part is that these people has to spend $400-$500 to make the costumes. Some make it on their own while some order it to local craftsmen. Insane right? When I asked why they want to participate, all of them just said that they like participating in the carnival (and most seem so proud to be part of it). From what I heard, they have to undergo through several selection test to be able to participate. The organiser itself will give an award to the best costume, but I couldn’t get any detail on what kind of prize will be given to the winner. Well, it seems to me that it’s not the prize that they’re after anyway. I guess this people are not the type that would be confused if asked what their passion is.

All in all, if you happen to be looking someplace to spend your holiday on end of August, you might wanna consider visiting JFC before jetting off to nearby holiday destinations like Bali and Lombok!

 

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Almost

Almost

Almost

Here I am, sitting all alone, looking at your photo, and wishing that you were here beside me. Pathetic, huh?

Sometimes I wonder, what would happen if we were more open about our feeling toward each other? What if instead of coming up with stupid questions about directions, I simply told you that I love talking to you? What if instead of coming up with stupid reasons to go out together, you just asked me on a date and told me how much you love spending time with me? It’s not that hard, wasn’t it?

I guess there’s no use wondering. But it’s hard not to, knowing that we might have wasted a chance of having our very own happy ending? If you had told me you wanted me as much as I wanted you, I guess I would be in your arms now. Because you know, like Ariana Grande said, almost is not enough. It never was and never will be.

___________________

Disclaimer: This photo essay is completely fictional and does not reflect the object’s true feeling. If you happen to be or know the object of the photo, please let me know should she wish this post to be changed or deleted.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I’d say Rainbow Rowell did it again! Having been successful with her Eleanor & Park, Rowell comes back with Fangirl, an enticing coming-of-age story which, I have to say, is a must-read for any teenage girls out there or for anyone who wants to reminisce their freshmen year in college. Fangirl offers a combination of romance, comedy, drama, and even fiction in one book.

The story in the book revolves around Cath’s experiences during her freshman year in college. Cath is a socially awkward girl who also happens to be a very famous fan fiction author of Simon Snow series (which have so many resemblance to the Harry Potter series and it’s kinda weird that Rowell still mentions Harry Potter in this book). Having been left by her mother at the age of 8, Cath grows up as a very introverted girl who is overly attached to her twin sister, Wren. Despite being identical twin, Cath and Wren have the opposite personalities. Wren is depicted as being more social in college, while Cath has to struggle being separated from her only source of comfort as the two sisters decided not to share room in college and starts to grow apart.

What I love the most about Cath is how she is very relatable to many people. Cath worries about all those things that we all do as a college freshman like when she says, “In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t google.) Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand, then where are you supposed to sit?” Rowell captures pretty much all the changes that a college freshman would go through from the fear of making new friends, connecting with her bold roommate, and also building an actual passionate relationship with Levi, her roommate’s ex-boyfriend who turns out to be just the right guy for Cath.

The book may be a bit too slow-paced at some parts. But the good thing is that nothing seems to be forced, including Cath’s maturation process. You know how people tend to tell you to grow out of those childish things as you grow older even though it means that you have to leave some part of yourself behind. This book actually explores the journey on how to balance those things that you love and those that are good for your future as you move on in life. Rowell manages to depict how Cath passes her freshman year with all the drama in it without losing herself as a fan fiction author in the process. After all, life is all about keeping the balance, right?

Overall, I have to say that I really like this book. Though I have to admit that I don’t quite enjoy the Simon Snow series and its fan fiction excerpts all throughout the book. However, Rowell really knows how to make her readers become so attached to the characters that I kept on wondering what would happen next to Cath and could not stop flipping over the pages.

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (Picture taken from here)

“But Audrey, that’s what life is. We’re all on a jagged graph. I know I am. Up a bit, down a bit. That’s life.”

When I heard that Sophie Kinsella writes a YA novel, I was hesitant at first to read the book since she usually writes chic-lit novel. But, well, leave it to Kinsella to come up with something that will take you to a whirlwind of emotions. Finding Audrey gives an honest depiction of a teenage girl who’s struggling with social anxiety disorders. It is funny, sweet, and heartwarming at the same time.

If you read the synopsis on the back of the novel, you probably think that Finding Audrey is another “love cures mental illness” tale. But, the book is nothing like that. Audrey is portrayed as having social anxiety disorder and depressive episodes after a bullying incident and sees her therapist on a regular basis. When Linus, Audrey’s brother’s friend, comes to her life, things started to change. True that Linus is prodding Audrey to get better and stands by her side during her path to recovery, but it was eventually Audrey’s own will to get better that help her to improve her own condition. Well as a sucker for romance myself, I have to admit that the romance bit is kind of cute. I like the way Kinsella creates Audrey as a proactive character in doing her therapy and how Kinsella also writes scenes during Audrey’s therapy session. I hope that other readers who suffer from social anxiety disorder may somehow inspired by Audrey’s story.

In addition, Audrey’s family dynamic cracks me up at times. Frank, Audrey’s older, brother is described as having possible addiction to computer game called Land of Conquerors which then serves as the source of a series of arguments between him and his neurotic Daily Mail fan mother. Audrey gets an assignment to film her daily life, so sometimes we get to read a script-like narrative of her family life which could get really funny whenever Frank makes his sarcastic comments. The author manages to depict how hard it is for the parents to communicate with their teenagers sometimes and it kinda reminds of my teenage years spent arguing with my parents. Despite the arguments that sometimes torn apart the family, Kinsella writes several touching moments that shows how close the family actually is and how much they love one another.

Salute to Kinsella for describing anxiety and panic attacks so well. I feel like this book gives me an understanding of the anxiety disorder and things that I shouldn’t say to someone who suffers from it, like when Linus says “Why can’t you just snap out of it?” and Audrey replies, “Don’t you think I’ve tried?!”. Though my favorite part of the book is how Kinsella writes the recovery process as a long journey that looks like a jagged graph with two steps up and one step down and when her mom tries to reassure her and says, “But Audrey, that’s what life is. We’re all on a jagged graph. I know I am. Up a bit, down a bit. That’s life.” I have to say that this is Kinsella’s strongest work so far and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to understand more about anxiety disorder.

Book Review: Insight Out by Tina Seelig

Insight Out by Tina Seelig

Insight Out by Tina Seelig

“Entrepreneurs do much more than imaginable with much less than seems possible”

If you ever feel like starting a business but you don’t know where to start or if you have a brilliant idea but you have no idea how to implement it than Tina Seelig’s Insight Out may be the right book for you. As a professor in Stanford University and executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Seelig has extensive experience and vast knowledge in entrepreneurship. Lucky for us, we are able to learn about entrepreneurship without actually attending her class.

Seelig builds on the idea from her previous books on how to create a future that we want to have. Seelig starts her third book by defining terms like imagination, creativity, and innovation which are often used interchangeably. The clarity of her writing makes it easier to follow her idea throughout the subsequent chapters. Seelig proposes a framework to bring one’s idea to fruition that she calls the Invention Cycle. The Invention Cycle comprises of four stages which are imagination, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Each stage requires an attitude and an action that need to happen at that particular stage in order for the cycle to run effectively. Seelig organizes this book based on the order of the stages in the cycle and dedicated a chapter to each attitude and action which makes the book very digestible to read.

What I really like about this book is how it can relate to many people and not only to those who are starting a business. As seelig says, “…entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting companies. It’s about starting anything!” Seelig uses various examples to depict her idea in the books ranging from the story of how Richard Branson builds his Virgin empire to the story of how the ALS ice bucket challenge can go viral. Another interesting thing about this book is how Seelig creates a series of mini projects at the end of each chapter to help the readers try out what it feels like going through the Invention Cycle in our daily life. Well, having tried out some of the mini projects myself, I have to say that they are actually fun to do and make me more aware of my surrounding and the opportunities it presents.

All in all, I have to say that Seelig has managed to convey how to bring an idea to live. Seelig manages to illustrate that entrepreneurship is not an inborn trait but it is a skill that can actually be sharpened with the right attitudes and actions through her Invention Cycle. At the end of her book, Seelig shares a note from her student which contains one of my favorite quote in the book, “Your future is determined by how you dance in the present”. Well, if you dream of becoming an entrepreneur in the future, then Seelig may have laid out the steps to achieve it in this book.