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Showing posts from March, 2009

BACK TO THE HABITAT

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Once a while I joined a conference, like I did last week, two days conference in Mechelen, Belgium, to get back to the heritage habitat and got recharged. Especially the habitat of volunteers who talked about role of civil society in the field of heritage. I have to say this is the first time I mingled with heritage non-government organisation group in Europe. I remembered how exciting the similar meetings with the groups in Asia-Pacific, and I expected the similar experience. The initiative for this conference has been taken by an existing cooperation network of three Belgian heritage NGOs. This joint action is based on a shared belief in the importance of active citizenship for enhancing democratic values in society, a shared belief in the importance of the role of heritage organisations with regard to local and European policy and a shared commitment to propagating a broader concept of heritage. A big surprise, I met an old acquitance in heritage from Macedonia. We met in 2002 in

PLAY WITH THE LIGHTS

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On Monday, 23 March, as part of a conference, I joined a night tour in Mechelen, Belgium, to see artworks using lights from neon to LED. These artworks give a new dimension to places where history has left its marks: streets, squares and gardens. I myself felt entertained by these artworks; it was nice to know that artists could be very imaginative and creative. As the guide said the idea of Contourlight is creating a teaser for the Mechelen historic centre before the big summer festival. I imagine if historic city centers in Medan or Bandung or Jakarta could create another sort of teasers also, even in the evening when traffic is calmer and temperature is not burning. Just to have some ideas : Mischa Kuball (DE)Walk and Talk, 2009 (spots, revolving mirrors, voices, red carpet) Kuball likes to make hidden aspects of the city visible by means of small changes. Here he discovered the so called Klapgat (chat hole), a dark alley where many inhabitants not only walked and talked but als

BURNOUT

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Despite the sunshine, colourful flowers and lovely spring atmosphere, I am curious about burnout. What is burnout? Why can someone get a burnout? I have never known the term burnout before I came to Holland. I learn it here and notice that quite a number of people in my surroundings claimed to have it. In Holland if someone has a job and get a burnout leave which could happens for months, this person still get big part of his/her salary. I find it as a very interesting phenomena. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive an prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Most of u

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

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I have never enjoyed the sunshine as much as in the four seasons country, especially after the chilled winter months! And on top of that, flowers are everywhere... Enjoy!

EX-IMMIGRATION OFFICE IN JAKARTA

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Harm, his friend Roel and I are following news lately about the re-use of the ex-Immigration Office in Teuku Umar Street, Jakarta. The Dutch called it Kunstkring Gebouw built in 1913. Kunstkring means network of art. It used to be a building for art and artists in Batavia. After the Independence, it had various functions before it ended up as the administration building for the Immigration office. Harm and Roel were the Dutch tourists who were impressed with the beauty and elegance of this building that led them to produce a website and tried to raise awareness about heritage value of this site. Not so much happened from their side but the Indonesians in Jakarta were fully aware of the value of the location, the ex-Immigration Building is in a prime downtown area, and this is the selling point which made this building handed over from one hand to other hand over the years until the Jakarta Government has bought it and spent almost 3 million US dollars for its renovation. In Decembe

MUSEUMS

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This fact is new to me : Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world, about one thousands. Yes, 1000 museums in a country with about 16, 5 million populations. I realized there are a lot of museums in this country but I didn't think that many and the most in the world. Wow. I have to say that every year I was impressed with the number of people who joined the "Museum Nacht" (Museum Night) when museums open their doors in the evening. This is a very good idea and special because I am sure in Indonesia nobody thinks to go to a museum in the evening. It breaks a paradigm that museums are identical with sun and light. Other thing is a "Museum kaart" (Museum card) membership which opens access to about 400 museums. It is relatively affordable, 35 euro per year. Considering ticket price individually someone has to pay for a museum entrance, this membership fee is absolutely low. And that is include magazines they send directly to your address. I could g

VOLENDAM

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One of the benefit of having foreign guests is a reason to visit touristic areas. One of them is Volendam, in the north part of Netherlands. This fishing village is hillariously famous for tourist and no visit to Holland is completed without Volendam. And that is exactly the reason why many locals avoid this place : crowded with tourists. Once a while I let myself to be a tourist in Holland, like when I had a visit of my Japanese friend, MH. Volendam is well-known for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents. The women's costume of Volendam, with its high, pointed bonnet, is one of the most recognizable of the Dutch traditional costumes, and is often featured on tourist postcards and posters (although there are believed to be fewer than 50 women now wearing the costume as part of their daily lives, most of them elderly). Visitors can have their pictures taken in traditional Dutch costumes. And guess what? I saw many Indonesian celebrity pict

THREE CUPS OF TEA

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A friend of mine in Canada has suggested me to read "Three Cups of Tea" and I put it in my reading list. But then a serendipity happened when one of my colleague in the office one day brought me several books and the "Three Cups of Tea" was amongst them! I was caught by the story of Greg Mortenson, an American who build schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan since mid 1990's. You have to read it yourself to understand how genuine Greg was to help the children, especially the girls, to get a proper education. Originally he didn't have a record of managerial or organizational experiences to do this so what he used to realise his intention was common sense and sensitivity. But probably that is why he was so natural in his approach to the locals despite the fact how fragile it is relationship between Islamic communities and a western country like America. He reminded me a lot of my mother who had a dream to build a house for homeless poor old w

TEXEL

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Our regular family holiday destination is Texel, an island in the north part of the Netherlands, about 1,5 hours driving from Amsterdam. We have to take a 15 minutes boat trip at the end of the journey which create a sense of holiday despite the fact that it is relatively short distance. Texel is "only" about 16 thousands hectares with 13 thousands people. What makes it special is its traditional atmosphere with farming lifestyle everywhere. You can buy potatoes, flowers, eggs or strawberries on the street simply by putting some coins in a can and nobody watch you. The trade is purely based on honesty as if it has been done in the past when this world is full of trust and nobody cheated. The view is farming as far as you can see with farm houses and several village enclaves : Den Brug (the capital), De Koog, Den Hoorn, Oosterend, De Waal, Oudeschild and De Cocksdorp. They are village's centres which are small but offer quite a lot : old buildings, shops, restaurants, ca