The trip pt. 1

Night train

It was my first time aboard a local train after 8 years.

I ws from Malang heading to Jakarta. Just graduated high school and about to leave the city where I spent my forlorn senior high.

On Monday me and my husband decided to have a trip by train.

A couple of hours later we were at the train station purchasing tickets and I felt a bit nervous. Perhaps because I wasn't used to going on a trip w/out making an itinerary list (our last Bali trip had it's own excel sheet w/ budget&trip details).

And maybe I didn't hv that much trust with our PT Kereta Api. Especially when we get to the tellers we had to fill in a form, gave it to the cashier, and we had to use cash.

Me personally dislike carrying a lot of cash. So, was a bit annoyed that we had to go to an ATM first and then went back to lady teller. And what's with the form? To avoid misunderstanding? Or weird accent? Indecisive customers maybe? Or everything was still done manually that the forms are used to confirm each transaction? Such a waste of trees!

Anyways, we left the station, went home to pack, and came back an hour bfore our scheduled 8.45 pm train, the vibe was different.

There were more people, more restaurant/eat-house waiters offering us their menu AND free internet!

But we already decided to eat japanese fast food bfore we arrived, so...

The compartment was clean, smells like disinfectant (which is good), plenty of space between chairs, there's even a blanket&pillow ..and in train magazine :D guess they're trying to keep up w the airlines tht offer more/less same fares.

The train moved at exactly 8.44 pm. Now that's impressive :D

Too bad we left at night. Can't see much outside. Oh and we finally finished our itinerary list for the next 5 days! Yay!

(almost) end-of-year thoughts

Tonight me and iko are leaving for Jogja, we are going to have a week spent in C. Java. This is going to be a last minute vacation because we just decided a couple of hours ago.

We're planning to visit Borobudur temple (the last time we visited the place was in the 1990s), and probably head to Wonosobo, or Solo, or stay in Jogja. Haven't decided :p

On the morning of the 31st we're planning to take this "mountain railway tour" using an old train in Ambarawa, before heading back to the Big Durian via Jogja.

Wish us luck :p

Secondly, I've been questioning myself lately on whether or not I'd continue my work in journalism or go back to doing projects with NGOs.

It's been more than a year since I started working as a reporter.

There is the need to learn skills tips and tricks. I missed training sessions at the office but I've registerd myself for a training at PPMN (Indonesian Association for Media Development). And I read a book. Two days ago I bought Andreas Harsono's new book "'A9ama' Saya Adalah Jurnalisme". Very inspirational.

With no basic education in journalism made me clueless about the "root" of journalism. Andreas' book was structured in a way that I can grasp the soul of journalism: the 9 elements of journalism, he then later described a few techniques and cases, and then as the book draws to the end, the topic climaxed to conflicts within journalism and reporting, investigative journalism, and ended with his view on the lack of media coverage in Papua.

That was a very very rough review. I have to shower because we still need to pack and get the train tickets :p


killed articles goes to blog heaven (and so does cropped ones :p)

Aside from my interview with the only female judge at the Constitutional Court, Maria Farida Indarti (hv been promising myself that I would rewrite the interview as soon as I got the willingness), a feature on how religious conflicts started to sprung up in Jakarta's outskirts, I should add this last one on the list of my favorite pieces :D

I have a few reasons:
1. It was a very comprehensive research report and there are a LOT of interesting facts on how local radical organizations in greater Jakarta and West Java came into being.
2. I think I was the only one who use that angle *smug*

But yeah, the original was 885 words and edited version was 657.

I'm gonna put the cropped part here (unedited), because to me it was interesting :p

Political ambitions

Bonar mentioned that the feeling of alienation and social frustration of the elites of these organizations also contributed to radical actions.

"Chep from GARIS once allied with Yusril Ihza Mahendra from PBB. But he was disappointed at Yusril when he was elected as justice and human rights ministry and forgot about their original agenda, which was implementing sharia," he said.

Ismail Hasani also added that even though FPI does not actively involved in political negotiations, Habib Rizieq were known to have established political deals.

"He once wanted to make his own party, labeled it Islamic Revolution Party," he said.

Chairman of FPI Jakarta Habib Salim bin Umar Alatas told the Globe that FPI does not support any particular political party.

"However, we are open for discussions. People can sit down with us, and we will provide candidates with inputs," he said.

According to Setara's report, during the 2009 elections, FUI and FPI had stated their open support for Jusuf Kalla and Wiranto for a promise that the pair would disband Ahmadiyah once they were elected. (personal note: one more reason to make me feel less guilty for voting for SBY :p)

This was also confirmed by Habib Salim.

"We supported [Jusuf] because there was a commitment between us. We would support whomever if they committed to disband cults and uphold [Islamic] law," he continued.

Sekian and Happy Holidays! :)
A dear friend pledged a 365 days of writing at Right after she killed her twitter & facebook. (God bless her virtual identities). Please drop-by and comment on her posts while checking her progress.

She told me she timed herself, 15 minutes for every story ideas. So they weren't edited (here I am apologizing on behalf of her. Coz she's very dear to me, yes).

Hopefully she wouldn't stop before she even reached half-way like another friend of mine here --> @freudian83 aka www dot anitarachman dot com, who pledged a 365 days w/out shopping and failed :p
(the latest blog post proves it!)

But at least she still regularly blogs, unlike me.

I was thinking of making this a heaven for killed suggested by @prameshwarii and @nivellism. But.. I'm too lazy to do that xD

Anyways yeah, I'm typing this in a taxi cab going to my sister-in-law's place in Harapan Indah, Bekasi.
And we've arrived.
I'll race you to the door!

Dad's quick calculation on Qurban

Via Dompet Duafa aprrox 25 K (25000 equivalent goats)
Via Qurban Act 2 K,
Direct slaughtering (in mosques, do-it-yourself etc) 25 K

Total 52 K or say 60 K goats.
Muslims per ID Cards in Indonesia 80% of 200 M = 160 M.
Take top 10 % who should make up as the rich (the haves), 16 M muslims .
Now, assume 5 members in one rich muslim family, then there were 3200 K of rich muslim family in Indonesia.
This was compatible with 100 K family went to Mekkah per year for 32 years (year 1978 - 2010)

Conclusion: Only one goat for every 50 rich muslim family.

Am I missing something, here ????????????????


Most the haves were enlightenend and they always help the haves-not by direct financial assistance that is more effevtive than goat
sacrificing in Idl Adha, glory be to GOD.

Pulang sholat Ied di Bani Umar kemarin ayah ngitung-ngitung dari 10 sapi dan 50 an kambing terkumpul di mesjid
yang megah dengan ratusan mobil parkir membawa ribuan orang kaya sholat Ied.

10 sapi x 7 plus 50 - 60 an kambing adalah setara 150 keluarga yang
berkurban di Bani Umar.

Bila satu kambing bisa membahagiakan 10 orang (karena setiap orang menerima 1 bungkus), maka ribuan orang berkumpul di mesjid nan megah Bani Umar hanya sanggup membahagiakan 1500 orang (150 setara kambing
kali 10 orang) yang jarang makan daging.

Jadi buat kita yang tergolong mampu, maka ujian kita adalah CHARITY, bukan jumlah sholat atau puasa Ramadhan atau tahun kapan yang pas untuk Haji Akbar.

Pls re-think .......

"In the larger scheme of things, it doesn't matter if some ignorant person chooses to burn a book. It's just paper and ink. The Quran is the word of God. It's not the physical book that has any importance; it's the words contained in the book."

pur gunawan, the taxi driver

From: @ulma_nh
Sent: Aug 17, 2010 23:28

Our taxi driver is a 21 yo man with plenty experiences&knwldge of the city's undrworld :D

sent via Domikado
On Twitter:

His name, as he told me, was Pur Gunawan. I'm not sure if it's the correct spelling or whther I misheard him but it was too dark anywy to check his ID. So let's jst call him Pur.

Pur drove us (me & iko) from Setiabudi One to our place in Radio Dalam on Tuesday night. Iko&his colleagues had to work on stuffs&they chose to do it at Anomali Coffee (just opened. Nice place). I joined a bit later after work & the whole gaiety with fellow Globians celebrating the Independence Day.

We left the cafe a couple of minutes before 11 p.m., or before the baristas hv 2 kick us out. Pur was outside with his "Manuk Mira" taxi, which most of the time we wud avoid whn going alone.

Pur was very chatty :D iko went silent the whole time. We were tired but I kinda feel obligd to ask him q's :p

He claimd that he nvr went to school. Pur has been living on the streets since he was little. That's where I started to get interested.

He told me that first he started off as a child busker, then a 3-in-1 jockey before becoming a metro mini bus driver, and then finally a taxi driver.

"I've just turned 21. My birthday was the same day as the start of Ramadhan this year," he said. Then he began citing the famous people he knew that were also August-born, including SBY and Marshanda.

When he was a jockey he was caught 3 times by the Police.

"They sent me to Kedoya [social institution] twice. The third time they got me they sent me away to Cirebon," he said.

The Police gave him Rp 20,000, which he used it to buy a bus ticket back to Jakarta :p I bet that's the same story for beggers&buskers netted by our dear friend Satpol PP. He also referred Kedoya as a prison, because he was locked up all the time.

He said that he hv friends who once sent to Cipinang for drug-dealing.

"They treated them bad. Every three days or so they got beaten up by the prison guards," he said.

At least the positive side is, that story has deterred him from anything drug-related.

I won't say much about his regular customers. Let's say he's familiar with that other side of Jakarta. Oh he could speak a little bit of Arabic too.

In the end I concluded that Pur was amongst the few bright n lucky ones. I believe that not that many unschooled child buskers could end up as a taxi driver with about Rp 3 million a month.

I didn't ask him what he would want to be when he's bored with we finally reached our destination.

But I did save his phone number.. just in case I need him for a story..or just in case ;)

Update: iko's take on Pur..
From: @ikoputera
Sent: Aug 17, 2010 23:40

Ini supir taxi kaya' wikipedia, detail obrolan bs dikembangin jd topik baru

sent via ÜberTwitter
On Twitter:


when lost is in the playlist

prelude: musik mellow emg cocok utk mndukung mood nulis :))
(now playing: coldplay - everything's not lost)

I have to admit, from the six-and-a-half years I spent in Holland, the moments where i was at the lowest, stuck-in-a-rut type of moment, were those that really stick in my head. (note: i believe there's a research saying that negative memories last longer in your brain)

And true, only at these moments we found out who our true friends are, i dont have to mention it here, you know who you are :)

but this post is not frienship-related, coz nia and neysa have pretty much summed everything there is about friendship. this is about telling a story.

chapter 1 - utrecht
background song: beck - lost cause

i lived in utrecht for a while, about 6 months, for an internship. it was between february until august/september 2005.

it was quite a gamble. I had to manage to survive the 6 months with the little money I had left in my savings account. I realized that moving away from amsterdam meant that i might not get part-time jobs as easy as the sin city, and having to work office hours also laid another obstacle in finding a matching work schedule.

however i found an affordable room in the middle of the city, cutting my transportation cost because after that I walked to office and home every single day. It wasn't that far, about 30 minutes walk.

i did my internship in an NGO called the AEC - Association for European Conservatory (music schools), my boss was Martin Prchal (he's a Czech), a very nice man. He offered to pay my rent as an exchange for my salary.

So rent was taken care of, there was still the issue of food :p

i still got overwhelmed whenver i think of it. I always felt thankful to God that I'm still alive and well until now.

to sum it up most of my diet during that time consisted of bread.
i took home leftover breads from meetings (better than had it thrown away), put it in the fridge, and ate it sparingly.
in the office i would rely on chewing sugar cubes, drinking up coffee (up to 6 to 7 cups a day), and yoghurt. why those 3? ahum because those are office supply :p plus coffee covered up the hunger.
the office building was also rented by other companies, and coffee and such, including bread for meetings, were accommodated by the building owner :p

i didn't do much groceries. only for bare necessities (such as food when there wasnt much office meetings :p), and at that time shampoo wasnt one. i used the liquid dish detergent at the kitchen to wash my hair. dont really remember about soap, probably i also used the detergent as well :p

ah my room. it was actually very small. a cramped 2 x 3 living hole. or mouse hole as elvin called it :) it only has a study desk and a bed frame.
the homeowner somehow 'forgot' to tell me that mattress was not included, so at the first months I slept on the wooden panels of the bed. it was not until elvin showed up and told me that i actually could use some of my clothing, blankets, sheets and all sorts to make it more bearable. she also brought me an extra blanket.

(Now playing: Gorillaz - don't get lost in heaven)
through a friend of mine I found a part-time job in the kitchen of an Indonesian food take-away shop. it was tough. i remembered that on the first day I had to peel one big sack of onions, i had cut marks all-over my fingers -_- i think i only worked there twice, i guess the owner didnt see my potential. but i knew that that friend of mine worked longer there. and she survived. my respect for her went tripled.

(Now playing: the killers - all these things I've done)
so what did i do on the weekends? relatively nothing :p i stayed home, hallelujah for unlimited internet! downloaded games, movies not so much because at that time I only knew very little about torrents.

too bad i couldnt remember how much money i had on my bank account. or how much I had left when I went back to amsterdam (I think I only had just enough to get my a$$ back there)..

one year later i read on the newspaper that my homeowner in utrecht had troubles with the police for illegaly renting out rooms. So the lady had a couple of houses which rooms she rented out, but in holland you cant just rent away your houses/rooms, its more & permit related. the newspaper also cited the police who said that some of the rooms were 'inappropriate to live in'. lolz.

to be continued...

(typed from a wordpad then sent it via my blackberry. Sorry for the spelling errors :p)

quiet sunday

we're entering the 5th day of Ramadhan..and today has been the kind of fasting-day that I'm familiar with: l a z y :p

i want to end the do-nothing-ness by trying to write a blog post.
no ideas though :s

when at other days my head would be so full of ideas, but no time for writing a proper blog post. today i have so much time in my hand yet clueless..well, picky.. on what to write.

im trying to search my head for issues that got me so wound-up lately. but today i somehow found them less interesting. being in a cozy room at my parent's house has managed to isolate me from the outside world.
plus the hunger keeps distracting me from any form of deep-thinking :p

(time lapse: 45 minutes to read online comics)

hmm..still none..

well, i'm going to wrap it up by saying congrats to with its nice addition on themes and background images and its very very easy-to-use layout tools.

i would temporarily use this one until the next spark of inspiration :p :p

oh, i need to read a good book. not the heavy type. any ideas?

i write like...

I used several paragraphs from my last article, unedited version, and this is what i got.. dang xD

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

mmm..not quite happy but okay :p

new post!

This is something I read in Google Reader while waiting for my story being edited.. Amma put it here coz this blog had been left empty for long :P *blowing away dust and cobwebs*

Taken from here, the title went as such: '10 Questions to Test Your Consciousness' - I thought it had to be taken when u want to know how drunk u r but I was wrong, it went a bit deeper than that :p

So, dear readers,

Do you:

1. Satisfy your basic needs without diminishing other people's chances of satisfying theirs?

2. Pursue your own happiness with due regard for the similar pursuit of others?

3. Respect the right to economic development for all people, wherever they live and whatever their ethnic origin or belief system?

4. Live in a way that respects the integrity of nature around you?

5. Work with like-minded people to safeguard and restore your local environment?

6. Require your government to relate to other nations peacefully and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing the legitimate aspirations of all the members of the international community?

7. Buy from companies that accept responsibility for stakeholders at all levels of the supply chain?

8. Consume media that provides unbiased information relevant to you and your community?

9. Do something to help at least one other person escape the hopeless struggles and abject humiliations of extreme poverty?

10. Believe all young people are entitled to the education they need to be productive members of their community?

if you said yes to all 10, and ure an Indonesian, congratulations! ure very very rare!

how to write a tragedy..

April 13, 2010

Arientha Primanita
After a day of protests against public order officers trying to oust villagers in Lebak Sari, Tangerang city officials temporarily postponed the eviction. (Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)
After a day of protests against public order officers trying to oust villagers in Lebak Sari, Tangerang city officials temporarily postponed the eviction. (Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)

Chinese Indonesian Community Clashes With City Officers in Tangerang Eviction Melee

At least 14 people were hurt when a protest against government evictions in Tangerang turned violent, with public order officers hitting and dragging demonstrators trying to prevent some 1,000 people in the village of Lebak Sari from being moved out of an area the community has occupied for many generations.

The residents are descended from Chinese laborers brought to the area by Dutch colonists in the 18th and 19th centuries. But the local administration claims the land, and has been trying to evict the community since last year.

The eviction plan affects 350 families, totaling 1,007 people. Residents received formal notification from the administration that the eviction was slated for Tuesday, and had been standing guard in front of their homes since 6 a.m.

“The city administration said they want to use the area for green spaces. The same families have been here for centuries,” said Edy Halomoan Gurning, an advocate from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta).

Though families of the residents have lived at Lebak Sari in Neglasari for centuries, many still do not posses government-issued identification cards.

“They have to undergo complicated administration procedures to have ID cards or any other documents, including birth certificates or marriage certificates,” Edy said. 
I'm going there later today n am supposed to write a follow-up, more human/dramatic side of the story. I really have no idea what to expect.

I want to be angry / cry / stand with them at the barricade! but thats not why i was there on the first place.. *sigh*

I've seen news of people getting evicted. The city is over its limit and starts to shove out its weakest: the poor, the uneducated, the marginalized..
Why so many evictions? i'd like to blame those environmentalist who keeps on demanding for more open green spaces.
or those city planners who would like to solve the traffic jams and replace crowded shanties with pillars for MRT and monorail..

1,007 people is not a small figure. it's not something u can easily ignore.

what am i going to ask? are you sad the city does not want to acknowledge you as its inhabitant?

what am i going to say to the governor next time i see him? "hey, great job with the evictions!"?

article taken from here

Birthday Reflection: Welcoming 25

My 25th birthday, was pretty normal. The night before I had dinner with my dad, mum, my sisters, my bro (minus Bil) and Iko. Nothing fancy, it's really near my office, one of the perks of having your office in a mall I guess. So we went to the 10th floor where the sky dining is, food was not bad, and the view was quite pretty.

Went to sleep by 10, Iko woke me up at 12, gave a birthday hug, and we're back to sleep.

Got hundreds of birthday wishes, which was the highlight of the day actually. Went to work as usual, Iko went home late.. as usual.

As the hours rolled by, my happines started to crumble. When I went home it was raining quite hard, my taxi driver was clueless of which road to take to avoid traffic jam (either that or he's just trying to rip me off), and there's this headache that came out of nowhere.. I arrived at our place crying -_-

And of course Iko was still in a meeting, so as I forced myself to sleep (tears still rolling), I started to recount all the nice things that happened to me this year.
I does suck to know that there's one day that reminds you that you're getting old, but it kinda sucks more for me when that day was spent just like that.

So call me immature or childish but I've decided that I refused to have a horrible birthday in the future!! xD

ahum, point is..i'm pretty grateful of where I am right now. it's one of those moments when u think that some parts of your life starts to make sense. Could be an ugly trick that life's playing on me but..i've decided to savour the moment anyway.

so..i am truly convinced now that you really CAN get anything you want. i belive that happiness is really in your hands, to control, to achieve.. to borrow from coelho: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

so, cheesiness aside. i'd still have to thank this guy:

even if he's so annoying most of the time :)

the fifth respectable short story club weekly meeting minutes

January 17, 2010

Attendance list
Elvin Priyadi
Laurentia Dhanio (Riri)
Ulma Nurriva Haryanto

On this fifth meeting, the club had to read a short story by Nathan Nolan, Memento Mori. The story inspired the movie Memento, directed by the author's brother, Christopher Nolan. For those who haven't seen the movie, you should!! (yes yes i've been relentingly promoting the movie to the girls.. i just cant help it :p)

The meeting actually started off with us discussing the culture of bribing and corrupt police system in Indonesia, this was following a recent inspection by a judicial taskforce in Jakarta which found luxurious cells in a penitentiary in East Jakarta.

Then we talked a bit about the situation in Asia's prison.. Elvin referred to a show on National Geographic called 'Locked Up Abroad', which had an episode with Indonesian prisons in Malang and Bali.

We moved on to this video in YouTube in which Riri expressed a very evident dislike :p the video was the one showing a canadian (?) tourist riding a motorbike, without proper license, was stopped by a police, then the police asked for a payment in order to let him pass.. Sure, as an Indonesian u'd b ashamed of the police's behaviour.. and concerened about the world's opinion of our beloved country after seeing that video. It's not a way of educating the people, that video, but the guy who made it never meant to educate anyway.. It was made to flaunt the country's embarassing reality to youtube viewers..

so...we believe that the problem might lie on the institution that spawns these policemen. it's an open secret that to enter the academy you're gonna need money, and/or related or know someone important. there's the need for total reform.. of mindset, of the institution itself.. we also sometimes enable the behavior because we are impatient, we want things to be instant, or a misplaced sympathy.. "Poor low-paid policeman/civil servants, here.. have some extra"

Before we could finally focus on the story, elvin pointed out that those in Holland had to be more careful when downloading movies with copyrighted content. things hv gone more strict.

So, the short story..

riri loved the theme, since it resonates with the thing she feared the most: memory-loss. The character was told to have a malfunctioned brain, he suffered from backwards amnesia or anterograde amnesia. his memory only spans for 10 minutes, before it goes blank and he had to start all-over again.

he filled his room, his body with instructions. a bell was inside his backpocket all the time. Two dates were engraved, one was his birth date, and one he eventually forgot (we suspect its either his wedding/the death of his wife, which he repeatedly include in his notes to make sure he would not forget).

so in every 10-minutes earl (the guy) read the instructions he made before, try to remember, n then in 'moments of clarity' write instructions of what he's supposed to do next before his medial temporal lobe refreshed itself again.

So what is this 'moments of clarity'? Quoting from the story:
...for a few minutes of every day, every man becomes a genius. Moments of clarity, insight, whatever you want to call them...everything becomes obvious...For a few moments, the secrets of the universe are opened to us.
But the problem is, we are not always that 'smart'.
But then the genius, the savant, has to hand over the controls to the next guy down the pike, most likely the guy who just wants to eat potato chips, and insight and brilliance and salvation are all entrusted to a moron or a hedonist or a narcoleptic.
And so, the only way out of this mess, according to the story, "is to take steps to ensure that you control the idiots that you become. To take your chain gang, hand in hand, and lead them. The best way to do this is with a list."

of course! how genius!

The other things in our lives made us failed to graps these moments of clarity: other priorities/constrains, moodswings. moments of clarity can take many forms, one of it is desperation..
elvin believed that desperation can be a way to solve a problem, especially when it involves whining. Because by whining you wish for someone to come and rescue the day :p

and so.. the meeting was concluded with blocking creeps and weirdos from our contact list :)))

Until the next meeting.. adieu!

p.s. for previous meeting minutes do click here and here . oh and Riri, don't be surprised by the precision of this minute, coz there is this feature in Yahoo! Messenger called 'Message Archive' ;))

so this is the new year...

this morning i received an email from a good friend, that her boyfriend proposed to her in a most romantic way.. just like in those movies.. n then i read elvin's blog, so i was thinking to write something about last year's resolution..

but then bad news struck n left me disoriented.

the newspaper has laid off some people.. one's a friend of mine.. ive just known her for a while.. less than 3 months.. feel terribly sorry for her and other people who got laid off.. as far as i know some has taken it well, im not doubting either that my friend is already running n sending out her CVs by now..

now i'm wondering if i should watch for my head too.. too bad.. maybe my old office would take me back :D *start updating CV*

the non-bookclub meeting minutes that is 3 days late..well make it one week AND 3 days

Jakarta, 27 December 2009

Attendance list:
Elvin Priyadi
Laurentia Dhanio (Riri)
Ulma Nurriva Haryanto

This week's short story was 'In The South' by Salman Rushdie.

It's about two elderly Indian men understanding death and life. Senior and Junior, two 81-year-old neighbors, spent their days bickering and going at each other. It's quite lengthy. 5494 words, approximately 6 pages. Senior was portrayed to be the one with ambition during his younger years. But as he outlived most of his relatives and felt more and more confined by his old age, he became the bitter one. While Junior, unmarried, retired as a 'respected' clerk, had never had any ambitions in his life, and so, the easygoing one.

Discussion points (non-story related):
- Elvin's almost-frozen fingers. She had lost her gloves and hadn't found the time to buy new ones
- Riri just finished an acrylic painting and now it's being displayed in fedi's work room.
- Ulma just had dinner with her whole family celebrating her mum's birthday
- Elvin pointed out that we tend to pick stories that carry the theme of loneliness and bitterness.

Discussing the story.
Ulma thinks that googling is necessary for this story in order to really "get" certain vibes and impressions. Riri also said that she has to google a couple of words.

And so, everybody's favourite parts from the story was when Junior and Senior cashed up their pension slips, in which readers were given another twist on both characters. As Junior had always been depicted as the easy going one, he, in fact was quite bitter when it comes to the idea of retirement. My favourite part was when Senior talked about his relatives, especially the part: "The babies-in-law rattled their rattles and giggled their giggles and screamed their baby scream".

Riri's favourite part was when Senior said, “...The south is a fiction, existing only because men have agreed to call it that...The universe does not understand up and down...In this regard, the points of the compass are like money, which has value only because men say that it does."
Riri also pointed out that the same goes to the concept of time: hours, minutes, seconds, year - there is no such thing as how old you are, your body is just wearing out.

The story also made us think, as we get old, would we be the bitter one? or the satisfied mediocre one? are we going to ask God for death everyday? It also tells us about how sometimes achievement and satisfaction does not relate to each other. How many achievemnt one's had, does not correlate to one's satisfaction. When Junior died (sorry, spoiler alert -- Junior died at the end of the story), Senior asked, "Why not me?", but Riri pointed out, even if Senior died, he would had asked, "Why me?"

And Salman, like other middle-eastern/west-asian authors has a 'rich' story-telling style, very descriptive, very warm, perhaps their cultural background contributed to their writing style.