25 December 2015

Merry Xmas.

11 December 2015

Stuck in Sydney Airport

This afternoon, as I was stuck in Sydney Airport waiting for my delayed flight for Melbourne, I sat down with my book at the most reliable coffee shop I could find in the domestic airport. A little girl with her baby tiger doll named Tiny came sitting next to my stool and I said hello.

"Oh hello, what's your name?"
"Jemima," she said. 
"I'm Nadia, how are you?"
"Good. I'm going to my grandma's house in Gold Coast. But the plane takes so long. My grandma has a swimming pool in her house."
"Oh really? Is it deep? Are you brave enough to swim in it?
She answered confidently yet politely, "See. I'm already 5, I can swim." 

Oh man where has our bravery gone to. 

09 December 2015

04 December 2015

Micro-yuan'er at Beijing Design Week

Micro-yuan'er by standardarchitecture.

Whom to Choose?

Our attitude towards problems in life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards issues in life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards challenges in life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards bumps in life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards happiness in life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards life is defined by ourselves.
Our attitude towards life is ours. 

Our selves are defined by our attitude.

Our life is ours to define.
Our life is ours.

Food Unites Us All

It was the first night of the Chinese national holiday and we have just arrived in Xi'an. Immediately after arriving to our hotel, we set ourselves to go to one of the main tourists attraction in Xi'an. It's the Moslem Quarter, where all the street foods are. People say it's touristy, but man, the food was damn good.

Xi'an itself was one of the oldest cities in China, carrying tons of history behind it. It was once called Chang'an, marked as the beginning of the ancient Silk Road.

It was cold that night, so we decided to fill our bellies with some hot stuff. 

The lamb kebab was definitely one of the best sellers around here. Watch out as competition was quite fierce. You would find that there were rows of stalls selling the same food side by side. Careful too when paying. If you're confident enough, you can get a bargain for the food here. Be ready to pull a straight face and don't bulge!

The Chinese hamburger was something to not miss. We had tried the Aussie version, but no... The Xi'an's version was just way too good. Pan fried bun filled with lamb stew, which made the bread rather soggy but yummy. Was - really - good.

Another one that was our favourite was Liang Pi (top picture). It's basically a small serve of cold noodle with julienned cucumber, with sauce that we assumed was a combination of sesame, chilli oil and vinegar. The best Chinese cold noodle we have ever had. 

The other favourite was the bread soaked in mutton soup + potato noodle. It was really hearty and tasty. Carbs and meat. Hm.

I think that was pork feet being boiled.

Although we had to fight a million people to get our food. Xi'an has one of the best culinary experiences for us in China. 

24 November 2015

Up and Down

This was how we got up to reach the Great Wall. 

And how we went down.

22 November 2015

Lesson of Productivity

Waiting is no fun, but what you produce while waiting is what counts.

It's a hard knock life.

19 November 2015

Westin Xi'An by Neri & Hu.

18 November 2015

Hutong Life

The hotel that we stayed in when in Beijing was a unique one. I loved it. First, it's hidden somewhere in the hutong area. Second, it has this independent business feeling which makes it feel like the service and everything were personalised. And three, because it's very chill. Chill, like when you drink a bottle of ginger beer. Just a tad sweet. 


We had to walk for about 15-20 minutes with our backpack from the station when we first came to the hotel, simply because we were lost in the middle of hutong. Hutong simply means alleyway in Chinese. This was the housing model in the old China where people share a courtyard and live together using the public facilities like shared toilet. Most of the houses are rather small but the price of the land rises so much these days because of it's location, which is very close to the city centre. These old school hutongs are located around Tiananmen Square, ours is in the Gulou area. 

When we went for breakfast at the hotel's outdoor restaurant in the upper floor, we were able to see the neighbours. Nice view of the hutong, although the sky was a bit greyer than we thought it would be.

At night when we walked out to find some food, we would see families having dinner on the street if front of their house or some men playing mah jong loudly. 

Back on The Road

It's finally time to ride again. This time of the year, felt much familiar to the early days in Europe when I had my old two-wheeler which chain just can't stay quiet. The bike that I got from a second-hand bike shop for locals, subsidised by the government for those in needs. I was a student back then, so I was indeed in need. But these days when I was not a student anymore, I am still, in need. Haha.

But. One day of last week, I went to visit my friend's office in Glen Iris. With determination to explore the city I've always been in but never had enough time to explore, I rode my bike from home and followed the path Google told me. A little bit about the bike, I got it from Tokyo Bike in Collingwood. First, of course I like the bike. Second, I had to get this one because the usual bikes are just too small for me. It's a blue grey Tokyo Bike with 450mm frame, the smaller of its kind. It is just perfect. Easy to manoeuvre, light-weight and compact for a city bike therefore it's easy to carry it on the train and to move around in the house. A very laid-back bike with upright position, making the journey always an easy one.

So my friend told me that there should be a nice bike trail nearby his office, I had to try that route. It's called the Gardiners Creek Trail, a dedicated bike and runner's track. It was nice for Melbourne standard I suppose. I remember when biking in Hildesheim, it was just way nicer, the tracks were leading to small villages around the city and an hour bike took you to a grass field with no end. But it's a nice one for Melbourne too. I entered the track from Malvern East and ended it in Glen Iris. It took about 15 minutes on the track. The whole trip took me 30 minutes. Not too bad.

Biking has a special place in my heart. To me, when I ride, it gives me time to think, it activates the brain a bit faster than when I am walking, it thrills me to ride in my pace and to be able to go somewhere far that I can't explore by walking is an incentive too.

It's closer to summer time now in Melbourne. I don't mind biking in winter really. The feeling of getting out of the house in such cold weather and get the body warmed up by biking, makes me want to go out and ride. Even if it's snowing I wouldn't mind. I never really had bike in summer, I imagine, it will be sweaty and flies are flying around annoying me...

17 November 2015

Dividing a Rock

There is a legend in Hua Shan Mountain that a son had to halve a stone into two in order to save his mom. These days, people can just pretend.

08 November 2015

Simplicity does not mean less, it means just enough.

05 November 2015

25 October 2015

Conquering Huashan Mountain.

Ground Zero

And another week has passed.

Moving has become a part that is indispensable. Adapting has become another day at a new place and support system has again shown its power.

At the end of the day, it came down to the thought, that life has been kind for one more day. When starting from ground zero is not as painful as it sounds.

24 October 2015

I have not seen big until I went to China.

08 September 2015

22 August 2015

18 July 2015

12 July 2015

27 June 2015

After all, we got to fight ourselves...

25 June 2015

Keep Looking

I think this was taken at Tarongaa Zoo.

A lot of time when I feel uncertain, I always feel that I have more energy. I look for answer, I cross paths, I do things I have never done and I am always very anxious. Transition period does not always work best for me because of my jumpy character, I just could not wait for the next chapter for everything. 

05 June 2015

Oh the more precious thing in life...

31 May 2015

Why You Need to Get Your Business Properly Branded

Not rare that a client smirked when finding out the cost of branding their business. They often asked why it is beyond their budget to just do a simple logo for them. If you are one of those who wondered, this will help you to understand why you might need to spend the extra penny in getting your branding right.

1. Your brand identity is the face of the business
When you meet people to introduce your brand, most of the time you will have to give them your business card, which makes your first touch point of your brand. People will be able to see what business you are doing, the way you work, the character of the business and your preferences from a mere business card. For example, if you use a sans serif font as a part of your logo, people might feel that you have a modern character rather than old school. The common perception will be susceptible around progressiveness and dynamic before even knowing how you really work. Therefore, the identity becomes the face of the business before everything else.

2. Long term investment
Imagine if your business grows from where it is right now. Your restaurant is now a chain, which opens in several cities, opening opportunities for franchising. People start to talk about your brand, how good it is to eat at your restaurant. They look you up on social media and they open your website. Imagine if you did not do your logo properly from the beginning, how the logo is not proportional and would not suit various backgrounds. It is too late to change your logo because people have started to notice the logo. As a long term investment, having the right brand identity allows your brand to grow and creates flexibilities in expanding the business.

3. Set the ground right
Like building a good house, you would need a proper foundation for your brand. Setting every elements of a brand right from the selection of fonts to the colour of your logo is a crucial step in initiating a brand identity. This range of selection will tell a lot about a brand. When you have set the ground right, you will be sure to have a strong building on top of it.

4. Soft power
The value of a brand is most of the time hard to valuate. Branding carries an intangible value that projects to the people you are targeting. If your market wants a cool brand, your cool identity will serve its purpose by creating attachment between your target market and your brand. This attachment is not something that you can pay people to have, rather it grows in them overtime when they have known your brand better and better. It is the soft power that counts.

5. Yours and yours only
When you are hiring the right designer to build your brand identity, they will do the process of doing a proper branding. From brainstorming, research to designing, this process allows designer to evaluate what your business really needs from the identity and how the brand identity should reflect the business. This carefully considered process will create a unique brand identity which will be yours and yours only.

16 May 2015

Patience is Gold

One evening at communal street food area in Sunter. Mom was paying for the food, that was Sate Kuah Pontianak...

Mom: Berapa mas? Dua porsi.
Mas: 70 ceh.
Mom: Lho naik ya?
Mas: Iya ceh, harga BBM naik... Sabar ya ceh.

Patience, man, patience.

15 May 2015


To work in Indonesia, you need insensitivity, a dash of empathy and a big tolerance to accommodate people's way of working. The fact is that not everyone will have the same pace as you, the same working method as you, the same way of thinking like you

To lead is to accommodate these differences.

People will always question why they are told to do things in a certain way. The thing is, not everyone is ready to accept significant changes in the way of working. Sometimes you have to see the bigger picture first, experience more, then later on you will know why things are done in certain ways.

But, everyone is welcomed to have a say.

In the end we all grow from learning from our mistakes, not from being what we are right now. Everyone needs to change. Also, working means getting things done, without complaining too much, without asking too much. No one needs to know what troubles you have right? Especially in design, where a big part of it is about problem solving. So if you're in a deep shit, suck it up and solve it.

Life needs to go on, eh?


Be tough.

Do not complaint too much.

Do not ask too much.

Just work.

13 May 2015

We all
a bit weird
deep down

When small things bother you,
Think of the bigger things.

08 May 2015

To Live Now

A walk in the park, Melbourne.

I can't remember being this touristy in Melbourne, perhaps this time has passed since I first arrived in Melbourne. But I suppose, I love that innocence when you first explore a new city, an eagerness to know everyone in town, a desire to dig deeper and the motivation to move forward.

That sense of innocence is rather important, to keep our inner child. Sometimes we feel that we have known enough, that we are too arrogant to ask, to dig or simply being not interested in things. I love mundane things. I think our everyday behaviour shapes us more than a one time hit wonder. Our everyday life shows if we are fully awake or simply just passing days without realising it. 

The more I think about it the more that I rethink if all this time I have actually paid attention to things, people and events around me. Whether I have been hurrying or delaying too much. There more we embrace the everyday life and make the most of it, the more we have a fulfilled sense that we are not wasting any of our times although we might only spend it with a humble dinner with our loved ones, a drive to the laundry or a night at home spending time on the laptop with someone doing the exact same thing across us. 

There is nothing fancy about life, really.

13 April 2015

“Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present,”

- Alan Watts

09 April 2015

When No One Buys Product Anymore

Quite often that when I am driving my car, I would have a lot of things going on in my mind. I think driving stimulates my brain somehow. My ideas just kept popping when I am driving. When I got into my car, I knew where my destination is, what I am suppose to do, how focused I should be and I know what I want for lunch today.

From a driver's point of view, I would see lots and lots of ads on the street, signage, photos of food and drinks and a lot of times they trigger my appetite. When I got into my car, I knew that I wanted something light for my lunch, like salad or something along that line. I often brought my lunch with me. But then, when I saw an advertisement of a fancy Chinese food restaurant, I suddenly thought, hm that looks good too. Then I could feel my flavour buds tingled and I could sort of taste the flavour of that dish. It came across my mind that the food in that photo does not look too bad for my lunch. Moving a couple of kilometres, there is a photo of icy cold ice latte on the road side. I was wanting water before, but now my mind said a milky drink will be satisfactory. Suddenly everything in my lunch box became mundane and I just wanted to go out and got the ones advertised.

Visuals have the power to shift our want. We are not talking about needs anymore here. I need to eat, but what I want is totally a different story. Without realising, these advertisement jungle has changed our wants a lot of time. If I am not thinking consciously, I would easily stop and get an ice latte although that was totally not what I wanted before.

Having a lunch box is also boring. Although my lunch box was filled with fancy food, sometimes each one of us got bored. We knew that we have our food and we need to eat. But sometimes, this life is just too boring that I want to go out and spend some money on expensive food. We are all bored. We are not looking forward to eat, we just want the experience of getting the food. Walking out from our office desk, chatting with friends along the way, checking out how other people look that day on the way to the food court, browsing at which stalls we would want to spend our money today, queuing, copying what other people is ordering, selecting our order, adding this and that to our food, pay for it and eat together with our friends. So much nicer than just opening a lunch box that we filled today and we knew already what is in it.

No one ever now is buying mere product. Everyone is buying an experience. Because we are bored, we need interaction and we need attention. Is that fair that all of these pleasant experience makes up the price? You decide.'

06 April 2015

I love my job.

Getting Ourselves Back to The Ground

One of these days, we need to look at love in a grounded manner. Love is a tough word. Sometimes too heavy to be a topic of two adults. I rarely talk about love, for I am still in the journey of getting there.

I found these series of School of Life thoughts to be highly pessimists, which what I think I have become more recently. Not pessimistic in a bad way, it simply prepares us for the worst to come. I realised that sometimes it actually helps.

We are all annoyingly insecure, lonely and tired, therefore we hope someone will save us from our sorrow. Our special someone will be there for us, but our problem will be ours only. Love should not  be romanticised, for none hopeless romantic will get out of the world alive.

30 March 2015

The Idea of Idea

Idea is the fruit of absorption and purification of a combination of things that occurred to us over time. Idea never popped just like that.

10 March 2015

No one can make me sing like you do.


06 March 2015

Innovation - Drive - Projection

Innovation does not come instantly, indeed it is a process. In order to survive, in personal life and in work, we need to constantly innovate. For people keep changing, things keep moving, events keep happening. The importance of being agile has become hotter than ever.

However the rushed feeling to innovate most of the time came to me in unprecedented times. There were butterflies in the stomach, telling me to move faster than ever, with an unclear motivation whatsoever.

These feelings, I have observed from my past experience, truly came to me after I felt down. After I felt that there was something bothering me. There was a feeling of indecency that moved me. For a while, I was glad that I can still feel this feeling, the dynamics and the persistence in me. Although it did not always come from a rather good cause, the process had always led me towards positive results. I suppose, there were some things you could not change or manage in life. What matters then, is how you would project yourself out of your misery. But, no misery was to mourn for. Never a challenge seemed too hard to solve nor a mountain was too high enough to climb. At some point, you will find ease and peace.

28 February 2015

Beauty without substance
is a truer definition of ugly.

- Kate Arends of Wit & Delight

06 February 2015

Personalised Remedy

As I was sitting this morning at a temporary stall of a jamu seller in front of Pasar Nongko, I experienced something that I would not have known if I did not sit there this morning. The 'Mbok jamu' was rather a depiction of modern-day jamu seller. She carried her bottles of jamu on her motorcycle and would stand by in front of an unopened shop terrace from 6.30 - 10.30 am. Or, she explained to me, until the jamu is selling out. I would assume it had never been to long that she had to stay there. The wave of people who stopped by to get their early dose of super shot was overwhelming. They did not mind queuing without a very distinct waiting line formed. People just came non-stop for a duration only a little short of 1 minute.

What I witnessed was rather new to me as I listened to what the customers ordered. One would say, "Satu pegel linu, Mbak," and others would start talking about her daughter's illness, while some other simply talked about their early morning activities. It was a whole different jargons spoken between the customer and jamu seller. But in reality, they were actually ordering their personalised remedy.

Jamu was well-known to the Javanese society to be an alternative and natural enhancement for the body. It was believed that jamu can medicate various illnesses from diabetes to body odour. Jamu itself consisted of various liquids from (or at least the ones I encountered this morning):
A. Daun pepaya
B. Beras kencur
C. Adas
D. Daun sirih
E. Gula asem
F. Kunir asem
G. Temulawak
H. Cabe puyang
I. Galian
J. Gudukan
Each of these extracts has their own benefits for the body. They can be drank on their own or mixed according to your health issues, and that is when the jamu seller becomes handy. They would, on the spot, in a fairly fast manner, mix your shot consisting of the relevant extracts for you. It was like the have their own library of herbal medicine. Some examples are:
Batuk: C+F+D
Pegal linu: C+F
Cape: H
Gula: J+F
Lambung/liver: G+Kunyit putih
Datang bulan: F
Bau badan: D+Kunyit

Generally, the jamu seller would have a basic knowledge of who her customers were. Some have grown into a quite close acquaintance. This was resulted from the way of ordering, which required the customers to actually tell the jamu seller about their issues. In a way, the jamu seller became the customer's friend to talk about their complaints. An unplanned coincidence which turned into a deeper relationship of customer - seller.

After sitting on the plastic chair for some time, I decided to get off and pay my IDR 1.500 immune shot. I felt stronger throughout the day.