Revisiting Home Through The Tunes

Walking briskly with my hands in my jacket trying to get as much warmth as I can, I stopped in front of the venue for the 2019 Soundsekerta event. The Melbourne Town Hall stood proudly, boasting its history in the central business district of the city of Melbourne. While waiting, I could feel the excitement from those lining up to get into the venue. Some people stopped by to ask what people were lining up for and I could see how this could spread awareness of the Indonesian community in Melbourne. The anticipation grew while I waited to enter the historic Melburnian building where I expected to feel back at home—in Indonesiaafter a long time.

As I entered, the lights were dim, and the air was cool. I looked around and caught a glimpse of the brightly lit stage and the excited faces of people chatting to pass the time. The spotlight shined centre stage, where the hosts stood. With a burst of energy, they opened the event, then asked the audience to stand and sing the national anthem, Indonesia Raya. Nostalgia struck me – it’d been a long time since I last sang the anthem. Afterwards, a fellow student, Swain Mahisa, stepped up on stage to sing Pusaka followed by a collaborative performance with the band Blue Room. It was later announced that they were the winners from an audition that was held. All I remember thinking was, “they totally deserved it”. Together they delivered the opening act covering famous Indonesian songs, such as Could it be Love, Kamu, Belahan Jiwa, Berharap Tak Berpisah and more. The performers built an energy on stage that transferred to the audience.

The hosts came back on stage and officially introduced the start of Soundsekerta 2019. The theme for this year’s Soundsekerta event is called Mosaic of The Nation, their goal to “acknowledge and embrace the multitude of different Indonesian cultures and show that music can be a powerful platform to bind them together to form the great nation of Indonesia”.

The first artist was introduced as she came on stage. Yura Yunita’s performance was heart-warming. She always added a little bit of something in every song which made it impossible to tear my eyes away from her performance. Despite having limited exposure to Indonesian songs in general, I kept on looking forward to her next songs. For instance, she had a dance break in one of her songs, and in others, she would invite an audience member on stage to sing with her, ask the crowd to turn on their phone flashlight, point and make eye contact with some members of the audience, and take videos of us. The segment I appreciated most was when she shared a personal story with the audience. She said that the song Merakit was from a rough time and inspired by a visit to an event for the blind. Moreover, she performed this song with sign language that showed her connection between her experience and the song. Yura performed other songs including Get Along with You, Untuk Kita, Buka Hati, Intuisi, Cinta dan Rahasia, Bahagia and more. With a soulful voice and jazzy vibe, Yura reminded people how music can bring us back home through old memories.

The second artist to come on stage was none other than Tompi. The first thought I had when he started singing was, “what a guy!”. A man of many professions, his current role as a singer did not disappoint. With such a raw voice, Tompi did not only make people listen, but also felt the lyrics he was singing. The highlight from his performance aside from his voice was the band. The way they played with their instruments made it seem as if they were in a studio freestyling in their own musical world. Although in a sense it created a disconnect with the audience for some parts as Tompi’s improvisations to the songs made it difficult for the audience to follow along, it was a great listen for those who loves to sit back and enjoy the music they deliver. Songs he performed includes Salahkah, Tak Pernah Setengah Hati, Menghujam Jantungku and more. Overall, Tompi’s stage transformed the event into a jazz club with quality music and vocals. It made me think that music itself creates the atmosphere and had the ability to carry people to different places.

The third and last artist to perform was the band RAN with its three members Rayi, Asta and Nino. Starting off with Selamat Pagi, the band got the crowd alive and hyped throughout the performance. I chatted with some people during their performance and I could see how at home they felt. Their songs brought back many memories, especially since RAN is a band that most millennials grew up with, their presence made it close to heart. Connecting with the crowd over conversations related to exes, RAN created a comfortable environment with the crowd. They were very engaging too – they invited a girl on stage and serenaded her, performed coordinated dance moves, had Rayi’s son come up on stage to perform with the band, and joked about past relationships. All of this made their performance really eventful and lively. RAN also showed a different side than what we usually saw; for instance, Rayi performed his solo song, Ain’t Gonna Give Up, which showcased his music style and rap ability in full English. Each member is releasing solo tracks, which further showcased their different talents as individual performers. RAN performed songs such as Sepeda, Kulakukan Semua Untukmu, Pandangan Pertama, Dari Hati, Dekat di Hati, and more. Overall, RAN brought about reminiscence for the audience with a lively performance.

Overall, I would say that the Soundsekerta team really brought it home this time. The audience really enjoyed the performances and sang along, the songs and the artists brought a small piece of Indonesia to Melbourne and showed us that home is never that far away. Additionally, the event was run smoothly with no major errors and delays. With the warmth I felt going out of the event and the successful operation of the whole thing, next year’s Soundsekerta is definitely an event worth looking forward to.

the language we speak. 

my childhood memoirs, a language so effortless, always bittersweet.    the picture perfect family, but underneath lies lost innocence.   always so loved, and always on our tippy toes, line forever blurred.   the scars and regrets, invisible but still there, a strong reminder.    my childhood memoirs, are now the intricate roots  of my olive tree.   

Should Have

I heard their voice Seemed so far behind Baby girls with intellectual poise Ears under one’s nose nearby   I should have listened Strained my ears to wisdom Baby girl, you seem so stressed That’s because you never cared   I should have observed Attentive to the signs occurred Baby girl, have you realised You were always one step behind   Those foolish years seemed so fine Life seemed great and all that aside Baby girl, you were blind Now that your vile left you behind   I’m one baby girl, I need to grow up I learned my lesson, thank God I survived Baby girl, you’re now all grown up You learned your lesson, regrets no longer thrived   The elders, they’ve known all along That’s why we should listen, they’ve been through it all Baby girls, back then we were wrong That’s why we remind you, we don’t want you to fall   Listen to the sound of wisdom   Time after time, the same knowledge lives A thousand times, the same story repeats   Those who listen, never fear What was invisible would be crystal clear   Priscila Komala  

Thoughts from a Girl Far From Home

“Where are you from?”

The question comes up almost every time I meet someone new. It’s a fair question; I’m at university, I’m an international student – it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to want to know where I’m from. (The implications of that question directed towards someone who is an immigrant is another issue entirely, and not one that I’m qualified to talk about.)

I answer easily, “Indonesia.”

“Oh cool, which city?” they continue.

Here is where I pause. “It’s complicated,” I want to say. “My parents are from different parts of Sumatra, but they both moved around a bit before settling in Jakarta for work. That’s where they met and where I grew up.” The split second it takes me to think up this response is enough to realise I was way overthinking the question.

I look at the person still awaiting my answer and say sheepishly, “Jakarta.”

I get used to answering the question over time, but the internal conflict I have every time it comes up haunts me long after the conversation is over.

I’ve always been around a large extended family growing up, as many Indonesians are. My dad is the seventh of twelve children, and my mom’s family all moved to Jakarta, making family gatherings an amalgam of second cousins and grandaunts. My dad is Batak and my mom Chinese-Padang, but there was no confusion around the cultural differences I had to navigate back then; 10-year-old me was just concerned about getting both the red envelopes and the less subtly packaged bills of money at weddings.

I had always been much closer to my dad’s family than to my mom’s because my dad was closer to his siblings than my mom was to hers, so it was only natural that I thought of myself as Batak. But as I grew older, I found myself pulling away from the culture I had come to identify myself with. It was certainly not my intention to distance myself; rather, it happened because I felt distant from it. Anyone who’s Batak or had a family member marry into a Batak family will know that our wedding ceremonies are complicated as hell. The reception lasts all day (or several days if you celebrate back at the hometown), and it is entirely conducted in Bataknese. Sometimes I look at the bride and groom’s families up on the stage and wonder who actually knows what’s going on. You can see how I would have been completely uninterested in waking up at the crack of dawn to prepare for events I didn’t even understand, where everyone else was older and I couldn’t even read or play games or talk to someone to pass the time. So I stopped going.

That being said, I was still adequately exposed to the culture. I still saw my cousins, aunts, and uncles frequently, and I had even gone to my dad’s hometown on the outskirts of Medan for a cousin’s wedding. I laughed at memes about Batak culture, I knew the famous songs and superstitions, I would even slip into the characteristic intonations whenever I spent too much time around it. I was still very much Batak – or so I thought.

I had a rude awakening when I met someone who would later become one of my best friends. As the new girl, all I really knew about her was that she was Batak, which her surname gave away. Later, we laughed about the fact that she was flirting with someone at a wedding and later found out he was a distant relative. She brought up the antiquated concept of pariban, essentially cousins from your mother’s younger siblings that you were allowed to marry because it would strengthen your familial bond (I guess incest transcended the European monarchies!). I was floored. I wasn’t as surprised about the idea as I was at the fact that I hadn’t heard of it before. Over the next few years, my friend would continue to tell me about random Batak facts and even experiences that I was unaware of, and with each new tidbit I questioned myself more and more. Was I really Batak if I didn’t know anything about my own culture or its history?? Growing up with it, I was aware of a lot of ‘traditions’ my dad and his siblings still upheld that I thought were outdated. Its constant enforcement made me want nothing to do with the culture, despite still feeling proud whenever I talked about our cultural traditions with friends. I was very, very confused.

When I came to Australia for university, I thought it would be the first time I could truly be free of any oppressive cultural influences. I was right, in a way. I only have to expose myself to probing questions once or twice a year when I go home now, and I no longer have to pretend I know what traditional ceremony I’m at because I rarely go to one anymore. What I didn’t expect was the longing. Being part of the diaspora has reduced my identity to ‘foreign’, or at the most, ‘Indonesian’, and I longed for the sense of comfort that I had back home (which I know not everyone has had). I wanted to be part of the family gatherings again, go to a ceremony or two, maybe even learn the language. I realised that I couldn’t be rid of the culture without being rid of family too, not when my family is still so connected to tradition.

If you read this because you were feeling the same way and wanted to see what solution I found, my sincere apologies for disappointing (what else is new?). I’m still very much conflicted, especially now that my perspective has changed due to being in Australia. If I’ve learned one thing, though, it’s that identity is so much more complicated than people make it out to be. You can love your culture and not agree with all its traditions. You can live far from your hometown and still feel connected to it. Most of all, you can change your mind – your thoughts on these ideas are bound to change as you grow and learn new things, but who you think you are now is just as valid as who you think you were in the past. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to just get over your own pride and admit that you know better now.


Who Remembers Your Name

Legacy, what is a legacy? We have all had that thought at some point in our lives. We stop whatever we are doing at that moment, gaze out the window into the bustling sounds of the city muted behind glass panels and wonder to ourselves to what end is this struggle for? It is human to long for the knowledge that we matter, that we fulfil some purpose larger than ourselves for the benefit of whomever it may concern, in the hopes that our deeds will carry on long after we are gone. And after what appears to be a few minutes of existential dread we shrug our shoulders, bringing us back to the present moment, and carry on about our day. Repeat ad nauseam. The question of our own legacy is a question that many of us have yet to answer for ourselves, and ultimately many of us tend to avoid it entirely, not because we do not care, but because we do not know how to resolve it. This is the very question that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the artistic genius behind the award-winning musical Hamilton, intended to address. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda endeavoured to tell the tale of how a bastard and orphan, staring at death’s door before he was even 10 years old, managed to become one of America’s Founding Fathers. Instead of shying away from the idea of a legacy, Hamilton embraced it to its full extent. Hamilton—both the show and the man himself—eases the ultimate question into our minds; how will we be remembered when we are gone? Who will tell our stories? It is an abnormality, in no negative sense, to persist in some form over time and outlive yourself. Even the people who transcended normalcy and live a life a little bit more interesting than the average person are as easily lost to time as the rest of us. One would need to accomplish some spectacular feat, be it in technological breakthroughs, social innovation, fighting for some grandiose cause, to capture the eyes of history. And even then, they too will succumb and fade given time. Hamilton was obsessed with leaving behind his legacy, and for a time it was his sole driving motivation to carry on living. Early in his life, he experienced first-hand how fleeting and cheap life is in the face of this brutally unforgiving world. His father left him and his mother to their fates before he was even ten years of age, taking with him everything that they needed to survive. Not long afterwards both he and his mother fell gravely ill; a predicament which his mother did not survive. Yet he braved on, working for and saving whatever money and knowledge he can get his hands on, which helped set him sailing towards mainland America into the heart of the Revolution in 1776. He dove head-first into the war for independence, desperate for recognition in the battlefield. It wasn’t even enough for him as he was appointed as George Washington’s aide; he wanted to be on the frontlines with troops to command, and he was willing to die for a chance at glory. He begged to be deployed in the frontlines multiple times over for a reckless strive for acclamation; something that put him at odds with Washington himself on one occasion. However, as Hamilton forged close relationships with the people he would cherish the most in his life as the war dragged on, his drive for greatness remained, but the motivation behind it changed ever so drastically. In 1780, he met his wife Elizabeth Schuyler, and in what seemed to be an instantaneous moment, he had found his family once more. After the war, he was suddenly faced with the realisation that he, and millions of other people, were caught in the afterbirth of a nation. And now with a family by his side, he yet again braved on with the hopes of laying a strong enough foundation for the generations who will one day be in his shoes. He involved himself with the drafting and ultimately the signing of the Constitution, he wrote 51 of the 85 essays defending the Constitution to the public, he designed a financial plan which propelled his country from financial crisis, he did whatever he could to strengthen the pillars upon which his nation and its people rested. In the end, he witnessed death finally caught up to him after so many years during the duel with his once close friend Aaron Burr. And he watched with a satisfied smile on his face. It is easy to perhaps see Hamilton’s story in an idealised light; after all, it isn’t every day that one would be among many directly involved with the formation of an entire society and way of life. However, it is important to note that in spite of his grand tale, he was not so different than any of us in more ways than one. He fought to survive and escape squalor and death, as any of us would have done. He fought in pursuit of something that he believed would make his life just a little bit better, as any of us would have done. He lived in dedication for himself, his country, and the family he loved dearly with the hopes that he would return to them the support that they have given him, as any of us would have done. And that is precisely the point. As Hamilton laid on his bed dying after having lost a duel against his once close friend, he harboured no vengeance against him, he did not lament of his early death. He held his family close to him; his children, and his wife Eliza, and wished for them to carry on and live their lives to the fullest. Leaving behind a legacy, in all its romanticised definition, for a sense of validation should not be the end goal of our lives. If there is anything to be taken away from the life of Alexander Hamilton, it is the realisation that the notions of leaving behind a legacy is all but a distraction to the greater prize obscured behind it: a life well lived. If you can look into yourself, to the smiling faces of your friends and family, and to those people who you cherish and care about and say to yourself that you’re satisfied, then being remembered is merely an added bonus. The dreams you’re striving for, the lasting relationships you’ve forged, they are all part of what makes a fulfilling life. A life well lived can only, in turn, resonate deeply in everyone whose lives you’ve touched, and you will find that when your time comes, you will be secure in the knowledge that you’ve done all you can and all you’ve wanted, as Hamilton did in his final moments. The truth is that there is no guarantee that the memory of you as a person will persist after you’re gone, and you have no control over who gets to remember you either. But the impact you’ve made on the lives of the people you care about will carry on with them, and the hope they will bring to the people important to them will live on in turn. Eliza lived another 50 years, and with the help of the people whose lives Hamilton touched, she established the first private orphanage in New York. She helped raise hundreds of children and pass on to them the hope that her husband had given her many years before. This is the message that Hamilton wanted to show the world. A reminder that you should not shy away from the idea of forging your own legacy. But you can only accomplish such a goal when you are living a life created by yourself, for yourself. Legacy is a consequence of a life well lived.

Through The Lens: Exploring the Unknown

The sun assaults my senses when I walk out the doors of the Sidney Myer building. Rushing across campus to Arts West, I quickly scarf down a couple of sushi rolls I’d bought earlier and anxiously check the time on my phone. 5.28. 2 minutes to get to the Forum Theatre? I weigh my options and decide I’d rather be late than sprint and risk faceplanting in the middle of South Lawn, a scene that is just waiting to be turned into a meme on Unimelb Confessions. I puff up the flight of stairs at 5.32. An IFF committee member is there to greet me, which ensures me I’m in the right place, but wait: is everyone inside already? No, he says, we’re waiting for everyone to get here before we open the theatre. Oh, I say. I should have known. You can take a person out of Indonesia, but you can’t take the classic, 45-minutes-late trait out of the person.* I take a seat on the stairs leading up to the second floor. This might take a while. The wait is worth it, I decide, when I finally enter the theatre. The light is dimmed, the room cooled, and the air buzzing with anticipation. There is enough chatter going on to tell me that this wasn’t just a place to watch a movie, it was also a place to meet with friends in the middle of the Week 4 assignment craze and the jokes reminded you of home. The host steps up to the centre of the theatre as we settle into our seats. He opens by introducing the panelists – University of Melbourne’s Siobhan Jackson, writer, director, and researcher, Andrew O’Keefe, Film Lecturer, and guest star Aditya Ahmad, writer and director, moderated by RMIT’s Arsisto Ambyo, an Indonesian journalist, writer and producer – and quickly brings us to the first part of the event: a screening of the three winners of the 14th IFF Short Film Competition, whose theme this year is ‘the Unknown’. The first Outstanding Achievement winner is Anak Lanang by Wahyu Agung Prasetyo, a film about four young boys who talk about their lives while they are riding on a becak on their way home from school. (You can watch the full film online) The second Outstanding Achievement winner is Astri and Tambulah by Xeph Suarez. The film follows the story of Astri, a 16-year-old trans-woman who is forced to leave her 17-year-old boyfriend Tambulah to marry a woman she had been betrothed to since birth by way of the Sama Bajao traditions. Only the trailers were screened for the two Outstanding Achievement winners, but we get to see the Best Film winner in its entirety. The winner for Best Film is I am Zal by Hooman Naderi, an Iranian film that links the Iranian myth about Zal with the story of Daniel, a young boy who is set to play Zal in a play when his role is suddenly taken from him because an unknown someone cut his hair too short before the play. There is a short panel after that talks about what makes the short film winners so good, especially considering the way they were shot and the fact that two of them starred children as the main characters. After a short break, the host introduces us to Aditya Ahmad, a young Indonesian filmmaker who’s won several awards for his short films in international film festivals, including Best Short Film at the Venice International Film Festival 2018. His film Sepatu Baru: On Stopping the Rain (2013) was his final project in university. It has since won the Maya Award for Best Short Film. The film is about a young girl who wants to show off her new shoes but is unable to because of the unrelenting rain. Impatient, she tries to stop the rain the only way she knows how. Sepatu Baru is a beautifully shot, lighthearted film that explores local myth in its own setting. In the panel afterwards, Aditya talks about how the film came to be – a deadline-motivated burst of inspiration, helped by seemingly serendipitous interactions in the community the film is set in. Aditya is humble, but his films show us that he is able to peel off the cynicism and boredom that most of us acquire over time and look at the world with a fresh perspective. Siobhan and Andrew also mention how Sepatu Baru is a wonderful introduction to a new culture that was foreign to them, which is interestingly something that also happened to some of the Indonesian audience who were unfamiliar with the myth. Andrew asks the last question for Aditya: what’s next for him? Aditya reveals his interest in making a feature film, an idea that’s met by the other panelists and the audience with enthusiasm. On that note, Arsisto ends the panel and the event is over with a burst of applause. I take my time packing up to see others doing the same, still talking excitedly with one another about the event. As someone who was previously not very familiar with the Indonesian film scene, I came out of it inspired and curious about all the other independent filmmakers out there who are creating amazing content. For those of you who feel the same way, the annual Indonesian Film Festival is a great way to familiarise yourself with groundbreaking Indonesian films that may not get as much publicity back in the motherland. *Before you start an outrage, I just want to say this is also a self-roast. This author is late 99% of the time. My nightmares are of me having to attend morning classes.  

Indonesian Film Festival - Under the Stars

The moon shone brightly in an empty cloudless sky on the 22nd of March, as the streets around the Immigration Museum, Melbourne whispered an empty lullaby under the tyranny of summer’s heat. However, for a colourful conglomeration of Indonesians and Australians gathered around their quaint little corner of Melbourne, it would take a lot more than mere spikes in temperature to break their spirit, in anticipation of the start of Under the Stars. Making its prestigious return in 2019, Under the Stars is an annual event by the Indonesian Film Festival (IFF), the organisation responsible for the largest showcase of Indonesian-made movies in Australia. Brought to life by bright, young Indonesians, and open to everyone free of charge, Under the Stars is an overture to the main screenings of the Indonesian Film Festival. Under the Stars 2019 returns with ‘Espresso Your Ideas’ as its theme (perhaps not to be taken quite as literally word for word), intertwining Melbourne’s love for coffee and everyone’s shared aspirations to bring forward their ideas to the eyes of the world. Aiming to encourage people to speak out and realise their ideas, visions, and motivations, be it coffee or otherwise, this theme hits close to home for many in the travails of university, work, and life in general. As one approaches the Immigration Museum from the side entrance, music from the Klaudspirits can be heard echoing throughout the courtyard with their acoustic flair, serving as a beacon for the audience members.   As the last of the audience settles into their seats, all eyes are trained on the sizable screen at the centre of the courtyard of the Immigration Museum. The spotlight of the evening was the screening of Ben & Jodi, a sequel to the award-winning 2015 film Filosofi Kopi. Orchestrated by the prominent and decorated Indonesian film director Angga Dwimas Sasongko, this movie follows four dedicated individuals striving to share their love of coffee to the world, but, as time reveals, with starkly different ideas on how to accomplish it.   After two years of traveling around Indonesia, Ben and Jodi, the original owners of the Filosofi Kopi coffee shop, decided to reopen their business with the help of Tarra and her investment. The first seeds of conflict began to grow when Jodi invited Brie, a young upstart barista, into the team, much to Ben’s intense opposition, and the revelation of a secret that jeopardises the unity of the team. As they stared at defeat, the four need to find peace and rediscover the passion and reason they began their endeavours in the first place. This is a heart-warming story of conflict, love, and reconciliation, with a dash of that distinct Indonesian humour and drama.   The movie was shown to be an excellent choice for the evening’s screening as it elicited the occasional roar of laughter, murmurs of amusement, and silence in suspense from the audience members as the story progressed. A storm of applause echoes throughout the venue as the ending screen fades into black, followed by shuffling of feet as the audience members got up from their seats, yearning for the next event. A rush of air from the now open doors serves as an invitation to indulge in Melbourne’s renowned coffee culture while also appreciating Indonesian heritage. An assortment of Indonesian snacks, food, and drinks greeted the audience as they entered the building, a welcome sight after almost two hours without anything to eat. To the right and left of the food stalls are photo booths, ran by none other than Perspektif Magazine as well as Artifact’s interactive photo booth, for the more photographically inclined audience members to set the night’s memories and events into stone, or at least a polaroid film, for free!   And finally, perhaps the most awaited event for coffee lovers, the Indonesian Corner; an art exhibit with a vast range of coffee types from all over the Indonesian archipelago, from the obscure to the well-known, masterfully showcased with finesse and excellence; an homage to the theme of the event.   Laughter, cheer, hearty greetings, and merriment filled the air both inside and outside the Immigration Museum as the audience mingled with each other and the committee members in high spirits. And once again, Under the Stars came to its conclusion with great success, paving the way for the 14th Indonesian Film Festival.   The stage has been set, the pieces in place, but what is yet to come?  

How to enjoy your last few days of summer

It certainly wouldn't be a surprise that Melbourne has the best cafés and restaurants Australia has to offer. From the waters of the Yarra River right at the heart of Melbourne and all the way down south to the famous St. Kilda beach, you would be hard pressed to try and find a place that isn't good. But, quality dining certainly wouldn't be enough without a magnificent view to accompany it. So if you, like us, can only settle for the best, then we are here to guide you to the best Melbourne seaside dining experience with our list. Mr Hobson If a touch of the Mediterranean in your food with the view of the the oceanic horizon is your flavour, then Mr Hobson at Port Melbourne should be your first stop. Treat yourself to an excellent Moroccan spice chicken breast with confit carrots, roasted cherry tomatoes, field mushrooms, all topped with pomme mousseline and thyme. Or perhaps something Italian with Mr Hobson's collection of various homemade pasta--all prepared with love, of course! You'll be getting more than what you're paying for as you will have a front seat to witness the sunset over the waters of Port Melbourne.
Source: Google Image
  Sandbar Beach Cafe The next stop on our list takes us across the Yarra River and down to Middle Park. Follow the white boardwalk and ocean breeze, and you will find a quaint little coastal cottage under the shade of the palm trees by the sea. If you love the tropical atmosphere, then Sandbar Beach Cafe is the place to be. Expect to be greeted heartily by a rustic, summer atmosphere as soon as you step through the front doors. Take a seat by the windows while enjoying a seafood linguine, tossed in a creamy white wine sauce and served with fresh parmesan. Don't forget to complement the relaxing ocean panorama with cold-pressed juice made with the freshest fruits of your choice. Then kick back and relax as the cool ocean breeze whisk away the sweltering summer heat.
Source: Google image
  Pier Port Melbourne The next time you take a walk along the palm-lined roads of Port Melbourne, be on the lookout for a seemingly modest abode by the street corner brandishing a sizable neon "Pier" on its sides. But don't let its unassuming exterior fool you; inside is a treasure trove of modern Australian cuisine, especially its seafood, waiting to be discovered—and eaten—by you. As you walk through the front doors, the very first thing to notice is its quintessential modern interior complemented with a carefully designed atmosphere. The next thing you know, you're chatting away with good company, a bottle of the famous Margaret River cabernet sauvignon to your right, and a selection of immaculately prepared seafood linguini to your left. If you believe simplicity is the best form of elegance, then you are right at home. Expect to spend quite a bit more than you're used to though, but then again, you know what they say about quality.
Source: Pier Port Melbourne official webside
  Republica Coming up to your right as you cruise down St. Kilda beach is the Republica, strategically placed right next to the beach. All you beach lovers can rest easy knowing the sea is quite literally a stone throw away from this restaurant. As always, make a grand entrance through the front doors (or even from the beach if you're so inclined), and you will be greeted with your next potential Instagram post. The interior, as well as the view of St. Kilda, makes for a prime photo opportunity. And of course, they serve some of the best Mediterranean food this side of St. Kilda. With a generous selection of Italian and Modern Australian dishes such as Roasted Barramundi, Pizza Margherita, and even chargrilled wagyu porterhouse steak, Republica will pamper your taste buds (and your Instagram feed too). Don't forget the $12 Fish and Chips deal every Tuesday, they sell pretty fast.
Source: Google image
  Pontoon St. Kilda Beach If you've ever wondered what the crowds are about somewhere around Jacka Boulevard, then you've happened upon Pontoon, perhaps St. Kilda's most lively restaurants. If you thought that there must be a good reason for these people to be here, then you are absolutely correct. The location of this restaurant offers a nearly panoramic view of the ocean, which is always a perfect company for your meal of the day. Their selection of dishes and drinks are plentiful, distinctly Mediterranean, and you certainly would not be bored with the menu on your next consecutive visits. Our recommendation? The slow cooked 12-hour lamb shoulder. You can thank us later.
Source: Google Image

Policing Technology in Indonesia

Internet Positif:  A website frequently encountered by Indonesians, especially men. The strikingly red background is symbolic of government bureaucracy that stands between people and a world of simple pleasures. To most people, it’s not really a problem because they grow accustomed to hacking around any digital restrictions, which explains why lots of Indonesian teenagers are highly skilled when it comes to this.  Yet, we tend to forget that the familiar red webpage is actually an impedance towards a fully developed creative industry. Now, I am going to steer clear from the over-debated issues on internet policing’s effects on democracy, or whether censorship is effective in correcting Indonesia’s moral attitudes (it never had been and would never be, as evidenced by the popularity of Maria Ozawa between male teenagers). Instead, let’s look at how censorship and regulatory uncertainty has impaired the growth of intellectual property based economy, and how the government should change its approach. It is rarely well-understood by the public how censorship impedes the growth of the creative economy. This is due to the rather inconspicuous nature of the relationship between the two. An illustration of this impediment would be how censorship enables the development of monopolies, such as Telkom blocking Netflix in order to advance its own iFlix service. (While officially Telkom bans Netflix due to inappropriate content, the giant telecommunications company ironically hints that it would lift the ban if Netflix is willing to exclusively partner with them). Indonesia does not have a net neutrality law, and does permit governmental monopoly over several sectors. However, it is questionable whether digital entertainment is covered under the clause of “important strategic industry”, a term used to describe whether an industry should be rightfully controlled by the government because it is contributing significantly to the national economy, such in the case of petrol and arms. Censorship also decreases the ability for individuals to create content. This not only limits what they can include in their content, but puts them at risk of getting sued if someone disagrees or feels offended.  Censorship is not only about nudity and pornography, but also blasphemy, insulation, and other offensive-based charges. One of the most recent notable cases of this issue occurred to Kaesang, the son of the current Indonesian president, who got reported for blasphemy. The charge, however, was soon dropped. The Indonesian laws regarding the freedom of speech are very vague, and judicial decision concerning the charges are heavily influenced by popular opinion rather than an objective legal process. It is also very muchly politically motivated, as exemplified by the arrest of many meme makers who criticised Setya Novanto. This legal uncertainty creates a hostile environment towards content creators, and thus impedes the development of an intellectual property industry. Nevertheless, the issue with censorship does not end with content creators needing to secure an insurance for the freedom of expression. These active users also need to know the stable availability of certain social media platforms before they invest the resources necessary to create good contents or services.  YouTubers, for example, need to know that YouTube would not be blocked by the government before they invest their time, effort and money into producing a video. Furthermore, social media marketing agencies need to know whether Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter would be available for Indonesian citizens if they were to consider these platforms as target markets. After all, digital content is expected to replace traditional media and become independent from the latter platform. Therefore, we need to make access to digital content economically viable and justifiable for people to invest in media content. Companies must be able to make sure that they will be able to profit from digitisation and not get their platform banned due to vague rules. For instance Gojek, Indonesia’s first startup to exceed one billion dollar in revenue, often receives threats of bans because it competes with  traditional transport providers. This demonstrates the fragility of Indonesia’s current digital industry due to regulatory uncertainty. Subsequently, fluctuating and uncertain censorship makes it hard to monetize creative content and intellectual property. Digital platforms and their materials need stability for monetization to happen. For example, the Indonesian Minister of Informations once made a threat to block YouTube threat despite stating otherwise a year before. This further demonstrates the government’s pre-existing uncertainty when it comes to dealing with censorships. As a result, profit-seeking companies are hesitant to sponsor YouTubers amidst rumors that  YouTube would be blocked. No exchange of goods or services means no monetisation, which in turn indicates no economic incentive that is supposedly the blood regulating and running through the veins of any industry. In order to develop the Indonesian digital industry, it is significant to provide an intellectual industry-friendly internet access for the public. This also necessitates a change to Indonesia’s current approach to censorship and digital services regulation. The most significant economic effect of  censorship is produced not by the actual practice of banning itself, but by the resulting uncertainty surrounding the stability of the online media platforms. What the government needs are clear-cut and simple rules. Here are some regulations that I am proposing: simplify censorship rules into the internationally recognised standards of no genitalia, and ensure the total freedom of expression when it comes to content as long as there is no pornography. This is for the sake of simplicity since many major digital platforms have already recognized these standards and implemented it according to their own measures. Secondly, the government should ease the implementation of digital business ideas and models by reconsidering and revising trade and services regulations in the transport industry. This includes, but not limited to, allowing individuals to operate as rideshare drivers and introducing security standards for digital payments. The government should also adopt a net neutrality rule to prevent conflict of interest from competing Internet Service Providers while improving telecommunications infrastructure to provide better and speedier networking system. The bottom line is, in order to develop a successful digital-creative industry, the government must iron out its policies into one that is simple and clear while cultivating a trustworthy legal atmosphere that is friendly to both content creators and investors. In this way, the government can also benefit from the transaction and asset flow within the national economy.

Online Dating

The dating landscape has drastically evolved over the decades. The ways of finding and expressing love have transformed – from sending love letters physically via paper, to electronic text messages, to now swiping left and right on an app on our phone. It is fairly strange that nowadays chatting and meeting up with strangers via the Internet is regarded as more socially acceptable than asking them out for a coffee while waiting for class in daylight. Internet has changed the rule of dating. For one, it has enlarged the size of dating pool. For those living in the past millennium, they would have had the help of parents and/or mutual friends to find dates if they hadn’t yet found “the one” after university. They were basically swimming in an indoor pool of friendship and familial acquaintances. It was very rare to meet someone outside this circle - although on some exceptional occasions, people did bump into their significant other on the street. But the chances for this romcom-inspired rendezvous are very low compared to having friends and family as the primary option to finding love. Those who are living in this millennium, however, have the luck to swim in the Pacific Ocean of dating pool. Online dating provides us with the chance to chat with strangers via our virtual profiles. We are no longer bound within our parents’ circle of acquaintances - we have more freedom and autonomy in our romantic lives. We could even select and filter the types of people we prefer to see online. In fact, most online dating apps automatically do this using their advanced algorithms as they obtain data from our, say, Facebook or Instagram profiles. They then try to match us with people with whom we share common interests so that we have topics for icebreakers! Online dating apps offer us a sense of “safety” and “confidence”. The virtual nature of the Internet does not demand physical connection - that is until we, or the other person, requests an actual encounter. This means that online daters can conceal themselves behind the screen, which hides their insecurity and boosts their confidence to chat with strangers. In any case, it feels safer to chat with strangers on the app rather than to directly converse with them in a bar. The virtual network and instantaneousness of online dating apps afford us that physical distance with the mentality of being “nearby”. However, the large dating pool online entails a higher chance that we will meet the “weirdos” of the world. This is because the epidemic accessibility of online dating apps means that everyone, including serial killer or rapist, can sign up for the service. Thus, the sense of “safety” offered by online dating apps may be deceptive, especially since 80% of online daters lie on their profiles. Although most deceits consist of only misrepresenting their height, weight or age, we absolutely have to keep a look out for ourselves when we meet strangers online. Online dating has also altered the meaning of dating. A few centuries ago, dating paved the way for reproduction and marriage. A few decades ago, the more progressive society rendered the goal of dating to find love. Now, the ease of finding (and tossing) love has eroded deep human connections. The liberty of swimming in the ocean has been misused to get casual sex with no strings attached, which generates the stigma of online dating apps as mere platforms for “hook-ups”. The provision of many fish in the sea means that monogamy and marriage are no longer the primary goal of dating. It is even safe to say that online dating apps assists the society in adopting a more liberal view of sex, which perhaps undermines the historic meaning of the intercourse altogether. The rampant availability of online dating apps has made the daters lazy and casual, and not only in a sex-related way. Our predecessors used to write love letters with poetic rhymes that require high level of intellect. Some of them had even written songs and played instruments for their beloved ones. Now? The online dating apps have eradicated the needs for those efforts, and if they get too clingy or fussy, we can just swipe them off and ditch them for the “many other fish”. The instantaneous swipe of left and right relies on our subconscious judgment, meaning that we won’t have to put a lot of thought into it. Online dating has revolutionised our efforts in our romantic lives, in a negative way (although granted, some online daters have the cheekiest and funniest pick-up lines I have ever heard in my entire life). Perhaps this is why people who seriously are trying to find “the one” prefer to stay away from online dating. However, one cannot simply defy the fact that online dating offers the possibility of removing the historic obstacles to true love. Distance, time and lack of mutual connections no longer hamper us from swimming in the ocean. There is a high chance that we might bump into some sharks, creeps and perverts on the online dating apps, but it should not deter us from trying to find love on the Internet altogether. It’s because there are some genuine people out there who might just be “the one”. And whilst we are young, what’s life without a little adventure and danger, eh?