Jakarta Old Town Reborn: Kota Tua Creative Festival 2014

Weekly photo challenge theme was… “relic”!
Prompt from here.

Batavia ©mk17design

Batavia ©mk17design


Pronunciation: /ˈrɛlɪk /

1.    An object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical interest: a museum of railway relics
1.1  A part of a deceased holy person’s body or belongings kept as an object of reverence: miracles wrought by the relics of St Stephen
1.2 A person or thing that has survived from an earlier time but is now outmoded: the supermodel has become an embarrassing relic from the early 1990s

Middle English: from Old French relique (originally plural), from Latin reliquiae (see reliquiae).

Speaking of the devil.

There was an event called KTCF 2014 last month, short for Kota Tua Creative Festival 2014. “Kota Tua” means “Old Town”, in this context referring to the historical parts of the oh-so-grand Jakarta. If you don’t know where Jakarta is, check the news site. It’s a capital city of the country that’s having a massive presidential election dilemma at the moment.

KTCF 2014

KTCF 2014

The event was focusing on revitalising this particular historical site – Old Town Jakarta. The site had been abandoned for quite some time until the latest governor, the first one who actually gives a damn about this forgotten part of the city, started to take care of it and liven things up.

To start it all, when we say Kota Tua, we usually refer to the area consisting of The Fatahillah Square, the ancient-yet-still-functioning train station (called Stasiun Beos / Stasiun Jakarta Kota), the heaps of abandoned buildings often used for photoshoot, and the line of museums surrounding the site. Those, and probably the river that nobody sane would jump into.

This is what the site normally looks like.

Didn't take this picture but look at that cat. Curiosity hasn't got her!

This is the Fatahillah Square and the Fatahillah Museum.Didn’t take this picture but look at that cat. Curiosity hasn’t got her!

Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images. Check this amazing building!

The interior of Rumah Akar. Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images. Check out this amazing building!

Like I said, amazing spots for photoshoot. I once had one in that place – it was awesomely dramatic. Although if you knew the mysteries about this places, you might wanna think twice before doing anything in there.


Kota tua Creative Festival is all about bring this place back to life and making it a part of the current Jakarta life instead of just another weekend spot for the tourists and photo hunters.

There were installations and architecture exhibition of works by international starchitects like MVRDV, Shau, OMA/AMO, and local architects Han Awal and Yori Antar. Projects with visions of mixed-use programs in the old ruins, my favourite project in the exhibitions done by OMA/AMO (check the first photo in this post, the scale model was for this one). And something that reminded me of Marina Bay Sands’s Gardens by The Bay… like, seriously. Wasn’t expecting that from MVRDV. There were a round table discussion that went on with a square table instead (because, as explained by one of the hosts Imelda Akmal, round tables are hard to find). There were museum walks and art exhibitions…

Check out this vid by DGI (Desain Grafis Indonesia).

There were pop-up stalls featuring urban sketchers and local artisans. Live music. This simple yet pretty installations, featuring the dreams of Jakarta citizens of the city.

Dreams ©mk17design

Dreams ©mk17design

The vibe tickled the well-hidden architecture graduate in me. It was all good, all exciting, and all kinds of refreshing. That was how Jakarta is supposed to be.

Our current Jakarta governor goes by the name “Ahok”, used to be the vice-governor to the ever-famous Jokowi. Now that he’s running for the president spot, Ahok filled in the governor seat. Just so you know, this duo was the first ruling officials that actually gave a sh*t about the city and took actions to fix it.

I have high hopes for this city, and I believe if the programs were to be acted on, Jakarta will change into a better place instead of just another piece of forgotten relic.



So… being a proper Indonesian, I’m torn between these 2 events at the moment.

These are the Google logos for today.

The first one being Indonesia and our Presidential Election 2014, meaning #JKWvsPBW (if you needed any explanation, it’s Jokowi vs Prabowo).

The second one being the rest of the world and their World Cup semifinals, right now prepping for the #BRAvsGER match (if you needed explanation for that one, I’m judging you).

I’m having too many feelings.

Daily Prompt: Longing for Gravity

Prompt from here.

If somebody was mad enough to send me to space, what I will miss about the blue planet is of course the blueness.

And because every pictures tells a thousand words (or less)…

  1. Reflection
    I took this one in an early morning in Pamukkale, Turkey. This view was right outside my hotel. Went on October 2012 look at that snowlike chalk mountain! Yep. Not snow.
  2. Gili Trawangan
    Title says it all. Went there last month on my annual leave, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you loved sea and diving, you really should visit it. There were 3 islands in the small archipelago, if I could say it so.
    They are called “3G” because they’re all named Gili something: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air. The water looked oh-so-pretty in turqoise, and I just knew I have to come back there later. Oh and if you’re wondering where this is, it’s near Lombok. As in Lombok, Indonesia.
  3. Blue
    Nothing is clearer, moves smoother, and stings more viciously than those guys. My brother-in-law got stung once. Didn’t even want to imagine how much it hurt. Took the photo in SEA Aquarium, Singapore in May 2014.
  4. C’est moi
    Now that’s my new header picture. Last time was that all-white photo in Turkey (kindly refer to “The Wanderer” page) so figured I need a new one with a different colour. Taken on the same trip as the 2nd photo in this photoset. I stood on the pier just before going back to the airport, and right in front of me was the blue strait and Mount Rinjani. If you liked hiking or climbing, you would’ve heard of this fab mountain. Or would’ve gone to its peak. Anyway it was an amazing spot to be in and I would really like to go back there later. This time with Gili Nanggu and Komodo Island on the list.
  5. A.O.I.
    Okay so this was another picture of beautiful Turkey. On the way back from Bolu to Ankara, it was a whole long bus trip – but the view was totally worth it. The weather was totally nice since it was autumn and it didn’t rain like it usually does.
  6. Turqoise
    I’m a sucker for turqoise – both the colour and the stones.
  7. Cruise
    Last one, I promised. Bosphorus! Not many feeling is more pleasant than cruising along that strait with the autumn wind blowing against your face and a glass of warm apple tea in your hand.

Now tell me you don’t have a wanderlust.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Prompt from here.

Escape route ©mk17design

Escape route ©mk17design

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Prompt from here.

Skyfall ©mk17design

Skyfall ©mk17design

Daily Prompt: Local Flavor

Prompt from here.

This is pretty fun because I’m currently working with a lot of foreigners and they all give me and my colleagues weird stares whenever we do something that’s out of their culture (yet, we love seeing their reaction to everything we do).

For example, one sunny day.

A local: “Before we start today’s event… let’s pray.”
All locals: *look down and silently pray*
All foreigners: “………..?”
One of the foreigners: *actually poked one of the locals and whispered* “What are they doing?”
The poked local: “Praying.”
Another foreigner: “Why are they praying?”
That same local: “So today’s event goes well.”
That first foreigner: “…is this normal?”

All those happened while we were still praying (or rather tried to).
Or when we were having lunch…

Local A: *offers banana fritters, aka “pisang goreng”*

Foreigner A: “Ah, I know that, it’s goreng pisang right?”
All locals: “No, it’s pisang goreng.”
Foreigner A: “But in my place it’s called goreng pisang.”
Local B: “Well this is from Indonesia.”
Local C: “And we call this pisang goreng.”
Foreigner A: “BUT-”
Foreigner B: (to foreigner A) “You’re the minority. Give up already.”

You know how much we love tourists and foreigners, but us locals are very much protective on a few things – among them our food and our language. Pretty much whatever you say in invalid when you’re among us and our traditional food.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Prompt from here.

Nasi timbel ©mk17design

Nasi timbel ©mk17design

Well this is something you might not see where you live (although I might not have a clue where you are, but anyway).

My lunch!

Thiiiiiis is called “nasi timbel”.
“Nasi” = “rice”.
“Timbel”… is the name… of… the dish.

I’m a terrible tour guide, but this is one of those rice-with-something dishes you’ll find in Indonesia.

Clockwise, from 12 o’clock:

  • lalap (fresh veggies)
  • sambal (basically super spicy chillies)
  • ayam goreng (fried chicken, but much better than the fast food ones)
  • sayur asem (some kind of sweet and sour and spicy soup with pumpkins and nuts and corn cobs and other veggies)
  • …rice
  • and in the middle: tofu and tempe (soy products! Don’t we love fried stuff that’s made from soy)

Sit under a ceiling fan, add a glass of sweetened iced tea, and enjoy the heat.

Welcome to Indonesia.