Sunday, March 2, 2014

Autumn Days in NZ



That was a bright and cool day in autumn

When the sky was clear and the air is dry

Cracked my skin but not my heart

Tramping on hills, gazing on southern seas

Facing against the wind as it brought dust

Onto my face, into my heart and memories


That was a wet and windy day in autumn

When the air was cold and the rain fell heavily

Walking on wet paths, struggling against the wind

As I endured to watch your covered beauty

Deep behind the shroud of mist

Never did I regret though I only saw a little


That was a cloudy day in the end of autumn

When drizzle fell often upon a city

Surrounded by lake, hills and flatland

There I climbed on your hill, looking at your beauty

And down on me, humbled and excited


That was a shiny day in early winter

As I wandered upon you

As if that was the last day

Sad that I should leave as I yearn for more



Note: It’s my first English poem. Yes, I know it’s awful, please bear with it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking Back on Four Years and More in PPI-UM (I)


PPIUMI don’t realize that it has been like months since I left Malaysia. I moved there since late January 2009 thanks to the late Governor of Prov. of Bangka Belitung Island, Eko Maulana Ali,’s initiative to sponsor a few students to study there. The first year was confusing with all culture shock, Malay-Indonesia language confusion, stomachache and diarrhea of some spicy cuisine (Indian’s, if I’m not mistaken), etc. With years passing, the country, the university and its people has affected me as a person. I started to like nasi lemak, roti canai and that diabetes-inducing-ultra-sweet teh tarik. Well at least, I got a bit of their accent. Every semester then I would return to Bangka to report to the Provincial Government office and (of course) and back to my family. It was a good time, I should admit. By September 2013, I returned to Indonesia for good suddenly because I had to attend my younger brother’s convocation. I have completed my bachelor and waiting for my master convocation (Insya Allah) by that time.

Anyway, there’s one organization that greeted me since my first week of arrival and helped me to adjust with environment there. It’s PPI-UM (Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia Universiti Malaya /Indonesian Student Association of University of Malaya), an unacknowledged campus organization which comprises of Indonesians studying there (obviously). In my campus life, my extracurricular activities mostly went around the organization. Though I didn’t really compete for higher position in the organization, yet I insisted to myself to get involved in PPI-UM activities if I could. Though, my mark on PPI-UM did not run high but the organization has affect me somehow. We (me and my scholarship-mates) were introduced to Mas Samsuri in Kompleks Perdana Siswa. A calm and friendly person, he introduced us to PPI-UM. Some of us were really interested, some not and that was the beginning of our activities with PPI-UM.


Yes, I’m the thin one with serious look there

event 2

Eid al-Fitr Gathering in October 2009

The first year under Mas Sam’s leadership was the best year with PPI-UM, I think. Being a friendly and committed leader, he’s the last to go home in every PPI-UM event and befriended postgrad and undergrad student alike. Even if event preparation went on into late night we’re happy to do it as our leader was there and cheered us up when we started to get bored or else. If you’re wandering, PPI-UM activities were mostly seminars and conference, sport gathering, culture and culinary fair and so on. It was, of course, done in such small-scale due to limited fund. It was also the first time I celebrate Indonesian Independence day abroad and it’s moving. I almost cried when the national hymn was sung as the ceremony went. I felt like I was in Indonesian even for a while. For such ceremony that we take for granted every week or even evade, this is so different in so many level.


me (the smiling one who almost got covered by passing stranger) with Mr.  Dai Bachtiar, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia at that time

His position was then taken by Rahmat Hidayat, my senior from economy faculty. He’s a good leader unfortunately internal conflict happened right in his tenure. It started after a seminar event went awry. The event was heavily criticized by the author that we invited to talk and the event leader vented out her anger to us with harsh comment on everybody’s mistake. Some could not accept and withdrew from the organization, and they’re my scholarship-mates. The failed event was actually the last straw after what my friends had to endure when they saw few of their seniors did not really work in former events event though the seniors got important position. It was a neglect of duty and we felt like being used. Once I thought to abandoned the sinking ship, but one of our dedicated seniors beg me otherwise (it was you, kak Monik)

“Kak, I felt like I want to quit PPI-UM”

“I can understand that this is because of some of negligent seniors, but please consider it again. If not us then who will work for PPI-UM? Yes it’s tiring and annoying to see them enjoying our hard work, but think that all of what you’ve done now will eventually help you in your future. Perhaps in your career or something. This is why I stick with this organization”

and so I stay…….


Monday, February 3, 2014

Pengalaman Mengikuti Tes CPNS Kemlu (II): Usaha dan (banyak) Berdoa


Well, maaf kalau posting lanjutannya lama banget. Ada yang lupa dimasukin di pos yang kemarin untuk jurusan PDK, Kemlu biasanya menyiapkan jatah lima orang dari total jumlah CPNS PDK yang diterima untuk peserta Indonesia bagian Timur (untuk merepresentasikan keragaman Indonesia) melalui jalur khusus. Jadi jumlah CPNS PDK yang diterima yang awalnya 71 jadi 66 orang saja.

5. Seleksi Final

Seleksi final terbagi menjadi empat tahap: tes psikotes, wawancara psikologi, wawancara substansi dan tes kesehatan. Semuanya dilakukan secara berurutan dengan hari giliran peserta ditentukan berdasar pada daerah asal peserta (biasanya).

5.1. Tes Psikotes

Untuk tes psikotes dan wawancara psikologi, Kemlu bekerja sama dengan Dinas Psikologi Angkatan Darat. Jadi kedua tes beserta riwayat hidup kita (yang akan kita buat sesaat sebelum ujian psikotes) akan digunakan untuk membuat profil psikologi kita masing-masing. Tes psikotes isinya sama dengan tes-tes yang ada di buku panduan psikotes jadi banyak-banyak aja latihan. Yang perlu diperhatikan tentu saja waktu yang sedikit banget. Perasaan kemaren aja ada beberapa soal yang saya isi saja (tanpa DIPIKIR-PIKIR) karena waktu yang mepet. Selain itu ada juga tes menggambar pohon dan Wartegg (yang meneruskan gambar itu). Saya yakin teman-teman sudah tahu tips dan trik dalam kedua tes menggambar ini (yang sudah banyak dibahas di buku panduan psikotes). Sesi tes psikotes diadakan seharian penuh, jadi jangan lupa sarapan. Makan siang ditanggung Kemlu (nasi kotak), karena sesi rehatnya sendiri hanya 30 menit (termasuk sholat zuhur!). Sesi ini diakhiri dengan tes Pauline atau tes koran (karena lembar soalnya yang gede banget). Tipsnya ya sering-sering latihan dengan timer jadi terbiasa dikejar waktu, dan menemukan posisi yang pas saat mengerjakan soal yang benar-benar menguras stamina ini. Usahakan angka yang dijumlah benar dan selalu berhenti pada poin yang sama pada setiap interval tes. Saya sendiri  (dan kebanyakan) hanya dapat mengisi satu setengah halaman, sedangkan yang lain sudah minta lembar kedua.

5.2.  Wawancara Psikologi

Untuk tes ini kita akan diwawancarai oleh satu psikolog yang akan menanyakan soal motivasi, riwayat hidup, integritas, apa yang akan disumbangkan untuk Kemlu dan hal-hal lain. Perhatikan etika wawancara kita, seperti kontak mata {pada saat tes kemaren, yang mewancarai saya matanya kedutan (maaf ya) jadi lebih mudah menjaga kontak mata}  dan bahasa tubuh. Tonjolkan masa-masa yang menunjukkan integritas dan kepemimpinan dalam riwayat hidup anda (yang seringkali akan diungkit-ungkit pewawancara) dengan sedikit bumbu tentunya Devil. Anehnya, kebanyakan waktu wawancara saya saat itu dihabiskan dengan membahas apa yang akan saya kembangkan di Kemlu (projek, rencana, dll) dan psikolog yang siap sedia mengkritik dan menanyakan ide saya lebih jauh. Saat itu saya terlintas proyek Diaspora Indonesia-nya pak Dino Patti Djalal dan membahas rencana memfasilitasi pulangnya pelajar dan pakar Indonesia di luar negeri untuk kembali ke dan berkarya di tanah air (dengan mengatasi hambatan seperti akreditasi ijazah luar negeri dll.) Jadi serasa wawancara substansi Confused smile.

5.3. Wawancara Substansi

Ini yang paling bikin deg-degan. Pewawancara terdiri dari tiga orang, dua dari Kemlu dan satu pakar/akademisi. Semuanya tentu saja ramah tapi pertanyaan mereka yang bikin susah. Kebanyakan bertanya tentang kiprah Indonesia dalam hubungan internasional (ASEAN, PBB dll.), motivasi, dan opini kita tentang isu internasional yang menyangkut Indonesia yang lagi “tren”. Saya kemaren ditanya tentang isu intelijen Australia yang memata-matai Indonesia (yang lagi panas-panasnya), hubungan Indonesia-Malaysia (karena latar belakang saya dengan pendidikan di negeri jiran) dan kiprah Indonesia di PBB serta kemungkinannya menjadi salah satu anggota dewan keamanan tetap PBB. Semua hal boleh ditanyakan, jadi harus banyak baca-baca koran dan situs Kemlu seperti saat tes substansial. Wawancara juga dilakukan dalam bahasa Inggris dan Indonesia. Latar belakang pendidikan juga berpengaruh terhadap soal yang akan ditanyakan. Karena saya sendiri mengambil HI di Malaysia, dus soal yang ditanyakan kebanyakan tentang HI dan hubungan Indonesia-Malaysia.

5.4. Tes Kesehatan

Tes kesehatan dilakukan di RSPAD Gatot Subroto, gratis dan satu hari (atau beberapa jam saja, tergantung seberapa cepat tes dilakukan). Tesnya terdiri dari tes sampel urin dan darah, tes MMPI (kejiwaan), x-ray dada, rekam jantung dan penyakit dalam oleh internis.

Setelah melakukan semua tes di atas, tibalah masa galau menunggu keputusan akhir Kemlu. Untuk tes tahun 2013 yang saya ikuti, masa-masa galau ini berlangsung dari 28 November-31 Desember 2013 (masukkan lagu “Gantung” oleh Melly G. di sini). Jadi, kira-kira satu bulan lebih. Semoga untuk tahun depan, masa galaunya lebih pendek.

Doa dan restu keluarga

adalah hal penting dalam menjalani tes CPNS Kemlu, masa galau menunggu  keputusan dan kehidupan pada umumnya. Minta restu orang tuamu dan minta didoakan. Entah sudah berapa puluhan ribu zikir yang bapak-ibu saya ucapkan dan berapa ratus rakaat sholat malam didirikan demi kelancaran dan kelulusan tes yang saya jalani. Saya sendiri sholat wajib masih bolong-bolong dan sholat malam hanya saat dekat tes dan pengumuman saja. Alhamdulillah, tidak ada halangan berarti yang saya temukan saat tes dan rasa cemas berkurang pada saat wawancara.

Hal-hal yang boleh membantu

Selain blog saya, masih banyak blog lain yang menyediakan tips dan berbagi pengalaman seperti di sini, sini, sini dan sini (untuk yang punya blog, silakan hubungi saya jika tidak berkenan blognya dishare tanpa izin oleh saya; saya mohon maaf dan embed link akan saya hapus dengan segera). Seperti yang teman-teman simak dari setiap blog, tes CPNS Kemlu terus berubah setiap tahun sehingga tes untuk tahun depan mungkin lebih susah atau mudah dari yang sekarang.

Para pengguna Kaskus juga punya forum untuk peserta tes CPNS Kemlu di sini. Saya sendiri hanya menjadi lurker/silent reader di sana (maaf ya). Situs e-cpns Kemlu juga mengeluarkan pengumuman/berita yang mungkin boleh memberikan teman-teman gambaran tentang format dan bentuk ujian di sini.

Demikian, semoga membantu dan semoga sukses.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pengalaman Mengikuti Tes CPNS Kemlu 2013 (I): Test, Test dan Test lagi....

(As this article is aimed to share my experience and help Indonesians aspiring to join the prestigious institution to undergo the tests, the article will be written in Bahasa Indonesia)
Jadi… ini artikel berbahasa Indonesia pertama saya, semoga yang saya tulis bisa membantu.

Alhamdulillah, malam tahun baru kemarin dapat hadiah akhir tahun yang indah. Situs e-cpns Kemlu yang biasanya saya cek tiap hari untuk berita/pengumuman hasil tes final akhirnya mengepos berita yang ditunggu-tunggu. Setelah mengikuti seri tes-tes Kemlu dari bulan September (kalau yang seleksi administrasi dihitung) sampai Desember (dengan masa PHP yang lama banget) akhirnya berhasil juga.
Kemlu 1
Dibanding dengan penerimaan CPNS instansi pemerintahan lain, tes CPNS Kemlu tergolong yang bersih. Dari awal sampai akhir, saya tidak mengeluarkan biaya apa-apa kok, kecuali biaya transportasi ke tempat ujian (bolak-balik Bangka-Jakarta, terus rumah keluarga-tempat ujian). Status saya sekarang masih menunggu panggilan diklat, jadi sendirinya belum tahu isi Kemlu itu bagaimana tapi masih nekad tulis sekarang karena takut lupa.

Jadi, sebelum benar-benar berniat ingin masuk Kemlu pastikan niat teman-teman dahulu. Untuk tahu sistem karier di Kemlu, boleh membaca majalah internal-nya Kemlu di sini. Selebihnya silakan tanya saudara atau teman yang sudah di sana ya. Sudah pasti? oke, mari kita jabar satu-satu tesnya

Tes-Tes di CPNS Kemlu 2013 

Tes CPNS Kemlu 2013 ada lima tahap (kalau administrasi ikut dihitung), dimulai dari akhir September sampai akhir Desember 2013 (pengumuman hasil tes akhir).

1. Seleksi Administrasi
Untuk tes administrasi, saran saya lengkapkan berkas sesuai dengan yang diminta di dalam situs e-cpns kemlu di sini (sebagai situs pendaftaran dan yang wajib dicek terus selama ujian) dan kirim berkas lamaran ke Panitia. Untuk formasi CPNS Pejabat Diplomatik dan Konsuler/PDK (yang saya ikuti) ada 12.125 orang yang melamar dan 6.248 yang mengirimkan berkas. Yang diterima hanya 4.874 orang saja. Kalau sudah diterima, print kartu tanda ujian peserta-mu, kalau boleh rangkap dua, takut yang satunya rusak. Oh ya di sini juga ditanyakan tentang kemampuan bahasa kita dan bahasa apa yang akan kita ajukan untuk dites, jadi ajukan yang kita paling mahir saja (Bahasa yang dites untuk tahun 2013: Inggris, arab, mandarin, jerman, perancis, rusia, spanyol, jepang dan korea). Kalau merasa tingkat bahasa asingnya masih kurang, jangan coba-coba deh diajukan.

2. Seleksi Tes Kompetensi Dasar (TKD)
Tahapan TKD Kemlu dilakukan dengan MenPan-RB, untuk yang tahun 2013 ujian sudah berbentuk CAT (computer-assisted test). Jadi tesnya dilakukan dengan komputer. Soal akan muncul di layar dan kita jawab dengan meng-klik pilihan jawaban dst. Kalau tidak salah, ada 90 soal yang harus dijawab dalam satu jam, dengan materi soal berupa TWK (tes wawasan kebangsaan), TIU (tes intelejensia umum) dan TKP (tes karakteristik pribadi). Setelah selesai menjawab dan men-submit jawaban kita, nilai akan langsung keluar di layar (deg-degan banget). Di luar ruang ujian, panitia menyiapkan layar LCD yang akan menampilakan daftar nilai peserta ujian dan rangking peserta ujian di ruangan tersebut sesaat setelah ujian selesai (tambah deg-degan).Untuk tes TKD, harus latihan soal-soal CPNS yang banyak dijual di toko buku atau kalau mau lebih dalam, pelajari kembali pendidikan kewarganegaraan, sejarah dan matematika tingkat SMP karena soal TWK dan TIU banyak keluar dari sana. Passing Grade TKD ditentukan oleh MenPan-RB (jadi masa menunggu pengumuman hasil bakalan lama) yang kali ini ditetapkan sebesar 250 (70 TWK, 75 TIU dan 105 TKP) yang berdasarkan nilai rata-rata peserta ujian. Dari 3.923 orang PDK yang ikut, hanya 1.450 peserta yang lulus.

3. Seleksi Tes Kompetensi Bidang (TKB)
Untuk tahun 2013, TKB berbentuk pilihan ganda dan essay (95 pilgan dan 2 essay berbahasa Inggris, CMIIW) untuk peserta dengan pendidikan S1. Soalannya dalam bahasa Indonesia dan Inggris, kebanyakan tentang kebijakan dan politik luar negeri Indonesia, isu internasional serta diplomasi secara umum. Banyak-banyak baca koran Jakarta Post dan Jakarta Globe, juga artikel-artikel di situs Kemlu itu sendiri, pemahaman makroekonomi dasar juga saya rasa perlu karena untuk TKB yang saya ikuti ada beberapa yang keluar. Tesnya diadakan di aula yang gede di arena Pekan Raya Jakarta, Kemayoran dan menjawab di LJK, jadi siap-siap bawa papan LJK dan pensil 2B serta penghapus. Perasaan waktunya dua jam, jadi kerjakan mana yang dianggap mudah dulu di pilgan dan sisakan sekurangnya setengah jam untuk soal essay. Untuk soal essay, pertanyaanya tentang apa yang boleh dilakukan Indonesia dalam penyelesaian kasus konflik di Suriah dan prospek serta tantangan yang akan dihadapi Indonesia pada tahun 2014. Dari 1.386 peserta PDK yang ikut, 714 peserta yang maju ke tahap selanjutnya.

4. Seleksi Bahasa Asing
Seleksi bahasa asing ditentukan sesuai bahasa yang kita pilih pada saat pendaftaran. Untuk yang bahasa Inggris, Kemlu bekerja sama dengan LIA, sehingga tesnya dilakukan di LIA Pramuka. Soalnya berbentuk TOEFL paper-based test, dengan struktur soal dibagi tiga: listening, structure dan reading. Bagi yang merasa kemampuan bahasa Inggrisnya cukup mumpuni, jangan ge-er dulu, karena soal di bagian structure cukup susah dan waktunya sedikit. Banyak grammar dan struktur kalimat yang jarang saya jumpai keluar. Trik dalam soalan ini sekali lagi banyak-banyak latihan dan simulasi soal TOEFL terutama bagian listening baik dengan tape atau software sehingga tidak kagok saat tes mulai. Tidak ada interview dan writing. Jadi peserta PDK yang udah ciut 707 (yang hadir) disaring lagi menjadi 232 peserta. Jika ingin mundur dari seleksi CPNS Kemlu (mungkin karena dapat pekerjaan di tempat lain atau lain hal) maka lakukan sekarang juga. Ini karena bila lulus dan ikut tes akhir terus berhasil diterima sebagai CPNS Kemlu, proses pengunduran diri akan memakan biaya dua puluh juta rupiah.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Internship and Travelling in Christchurch, New Zealand

Well, as mentioned in earlier post, I did visited New Zealand (NZ) and stayed there for two months in purpose of internship which was required as one of qualification to complete my master studies in Malaysia. It began in late April to late June 2013. Yeah, it’s been too late to post but I still think it is still worth sharing. Why New Zealand? because the center wherein I interned received me with open arms when I sent my application letter. Otherwise, I would have my internship in Thailand or Singapore (closer to home and cheaper living cost).
After they confirmed my internship there and the contract has been signed, then I had to deal with visa, ticket and accommodation. Since the NZ embassy in Malaysia did not offer visa processing service then I had to send it via courier to Singapore and the cost was quite highly (both the courier and visa fee). Alhamdulillah, there was no problem with visa application (which was rumored difficult) though they left me worried due to no news about my application for a week. I got Qantas return ticket for about 1,000 USD from Jakarta-Christchurch. The institution wherein I interned has provided a list of hotels and guesthouses around the university, so I just picked the cheapest. The flight journey was fine (my first intercontinental flight!) though I was suspicious of racial-profiling in Sydney Airport (for transit) when the security officer scurried me to a tube-of-glass-wall-like metal scanner (which most travellers did not have to pass through). 

So there I arrived at Christchurch on mid-Autumn 2013, then immediately reported to the Institution to start internship. I will omit you the details of my work there and share what interest both you and me, travelling. Christchurch is located on the main South Island of NZ, surrounded by hills and close to the sea. You might have recalled the city due to its shocking earthquake news in 2011-2012 (if I’m not mistaken). The city was still in recovery when I visited with the city center’s still cordoned off. Nevertheless, the city is still a beautiful place to visit which was the first impression I got when I came. The second one was quiet, very quiet. For those of you who has visited lively city such as Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta, the contrast would be felt greatly as in autumn most shops close around 5 p.m. and night life was scarce (maybe due to the earthquake?). The surrounding hills and beaches are stunningly beautiful and if you’re a nature lover or looking for nice photography hot spot, Christchurch is the right place. Here’s a few photos I captured there
Christchurch 3
Luckily, the Queen’s birthday holiday gave us (me and my intern friends) extended weekend which we used to visit Queenstown, an amazing resort town in the south west of NZ’s south island. Unfortunately, it rained in most of the days we spent there. Not willing to waste what possibly once in a lifetime experience, I insisted to go around the city when it rained all day long heavily and later found out my wet passport due to rainwater leaked into my bag (which cost me a hundred of NZ dollar to replace Sad smile ). On the way back to Christchurch, our journey was interrupted by snow blocking the road. The driver from Queenstown who supposed to wait for oncoming bus from Christchurch refused t do so since it was unclear when the road would be safe to go anymore (they sort of exchanging their buses so that driver from Christchurch would return to Christchurch and vice versa). So, we are sort of stranded at Lake Tekapo, with options: taking another bus going to Christchurch (more money), taking the same bus on next day or hitchhiking. With pressure from my friends, we resorted to hitchhike (I preferred waiting for another bus). After a half hour waiting at the road side, a Korean lady kindly offered a ride. On the bright side, she stopped the car to let us enjoy the snow.
Queenstown 1 
It was also the first time I tried Vegemite (I can only say I truly wonder how Australians and New Zealanders enjoy eating it). If there’re any drawbacks of staying in NZ, they will be difficulties to find halal food for Muslim (like me), expensive internet fee and unpredictable weather.We're lucky that we had a kind and friendly Malaysian couple who helped us through our stay in NZ greatly (thanks Bang Rafiel and Kak Faridah).
For full album of my NZ journey, you can visit my Facebook album through this link.

Allah, I miss NZ….

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Update After Years Past

             So it has been like almost three years since my last post in this blog, the readers (if any) must have abandoned the blog and even spam messages stopped coming to my chat box widget. This long pause was not because of me not having time to spare to my blog, it's just that I was easily distracted whenever I wanted to write a post. Once I sat facing my laptop, time was spent on finishing my assignments, watching videos on YouTube, compulsively reading random articles on Internet, checking my Facebook, etc. Hence no post since October 2011.

             Enough with self-defending already, let me recap what happened in my life since then. Instead of chronological description of events in my life (Facebook Timeline does it better than me), I'll just point out important ones. Here they are:

  • Finishing my undergraduate project paper and graduate (finally :) ) I finished the paper on time only to knew that the deadline was delayed due to others still worked their papers. No intention to brag but if only I knew the delay beforehand I would have sent the draft to any editing service and had it corrected (so my teachers would not critique on my "common" English writing). Anyway, the paper scored nice and I finally graduated
Me, my paper and father
  • Visit to Japan and New Zealand (easily one of the best moments in my life). To visit Japan was like a dream come true for manga-lover like me. Thanks to Zakaria-sensei and friends from East Asian studies, I could go to Tokyo and stay there for two weeks. It was something like study tour and to collect enough money to fund it we spend almost one year selling nasi lemak and other snacks (plus some fund from sponsor). And we did it. Days in Japan were filled with fun and nice memories (though halal food was scarce and everything was expensive). Visit to New Zealand is for my postgraduate internship and.... traveling (only in weekends and holidays, but that's what always in my mind during weekdays). Those were the days when I mostly traveled alone in a nearly-perfect country with tolerant people and amazing landscapes. I stayed for two months in Christchurch and few days in Queenstown (an amazing resort town) wherein my passport got soaked in rain when I insisted to goes around the town in a very wet day. (still many stories to tell, maybe I'll leave it for another day).
Pardon the narcissistic author
In NZ, around autumn-winter 2013
  •  Continuing my studies to postgraduate degree (Master) and land a job (finally) right after my undergraduate program was completed (not yet graduated) I directly continued to postgraduate program still in the same university. The master program was quite short, only lasted one year but God it was so packed, the daily class schedule was full from morning to evening not to mention the tasks and assignments. Alhamdulillah it was offered in full scholarship and provided a chance to go abroad for internship (isn't that sweet?) which sent me to NZ. Later I realized that I have to face another project paper (again for Master program qualification to graduate). After some sleepless nights, episodes of tired eyes, liters of tea and hours of reading, eventually I finished writing the paper and submitted it around September 2013. Right at that moment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Indonesia opened a few vacancies which I immediately applied. Long story short, after four months of following the MFA's series of tests I got accepted (another stories for another post).
Of course, my life was not always rosy back then. I fell sick due to Malaria and Dengue Fever (which happened in the same time, with sore throat in the beginning) right before my master studies program started, the governor who supported my scholarship passed away and me being useless (in M'sia) during my family's difficult moments (in Indonesia). Anyway life's a b****, if you have it easy then you're doing it wrong.    

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hunting Books at UPM

Hi All,
Last Wednesday, I, Nanda, Nada and Amira went to a book fair called Big Bad Wolf, a warehouse book sales with so OMG I can’t believe it so cheap price (5-12 rm and more for thick and good-looking books). The event is at MAEPS (Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang) near UPM (Universiti Putra Malaysia). It will end this Sunday. For book lovers out there, beware of get lost in piles of books and unaware of time.
Enough for promotion, UPM is quite far from UM (Universiti Malaya) especially if you go by public transport. From UM, we went by KTM (Keretapi Taktentu Masa, Keretapi Tanah Melayu), from MidValley Station to Serdang Station. Everything went well until we look for taxi to reach MAEPS from KTM Serdang station. The taxi coupon counter set the fee for RM 24 from KTM Serdang to MAEPS (why so expensive?) Fortunately, we got cheaper price outside.
After arrived at MAEPS, we were amazed by the amounts of books there (and hundreds of book hunters, people even queue in front of cashiers row). We then parted to look for our preferred books genre locations. After looking into “politic”, “history”, “reference” and other genres. I just realized that most of books were in “cooking” and children” sections. Considering the book fair was a warehouse sale, “cooking” and “children” genre should be the least bought ones in previous bookstores. It is sad to know that people starts to eat outside than cook for themselves (that explains why tons of cooking books was there) and leave their children to television and other digital stuffs rather than read fairytale stories for their children (that explains why those glittery and fancy kids books made nearly a third of book piles there). Interestingly, Amira found that many comic books that wouldn’t be in Malaysia (because of its obscene picture or controversial genres) was there.
At 7 pm, we’re done buying books there, I bought 10 books for RM 88 although others bought more (looking from their bulky bags and boxes). Now, how the hell could we go home?, MAEPS was deprived from taxis at night and nearest bus stop was 3-4 km away (told by laughing security officer, perhaps because of pitying us). And…. yes… we walked for 3 KILOMETERS, the street was dark and UPM was so damn HUGE (Thanks God, UM was so small that it would not hurt your legs if you’re an avid walker). After long walk, we reached the bus stop and immediately stop a taxi in fear of missing the last KTM train to MidValley).
Okay, enough for rambling story. Enjoy the pictures Smile
                   Me. Nanda and Amira at the book fair
                          Panorama view of the book fair
                             Book bought, quite many right?
           Me and  “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (at RM 8)
That’s all. The book fair is open until this Sunday, just go there if you have time.