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Indonesian food

Hey!

I couldn’t talk about Indonesia without mentioning Indonesian food. Here is a traditional recipe called « Nasi Goreng » or Indonesian fried rice (“nasi” means rice in bahasa). It is one of the most popular recipes in the Republic of Indonesia. It can be livened up differently according to the place you are: in Bali, they like eating nasi goreng with prawn crisp and in Flores Island, they eat nasi goreng with a fried egg.

Here is the recipe of  “Nasi goreng”:

Ingredients:

3 eggs

500g of cooked rice, cooled

oil for frying

diced chicken breast

vegetables such as carrot, leek,…

3-4 tablespoons of soya sauce (Kecap Manis : The Indonesian sweet soy sauce Kecap Manis is very popular in Indonesia. It is soy sauce sweetened with palm

sugar).

3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1 each cucumber and tomato for garnish

Cook the rice.

Dice the chicken breast. Dice the veggies as well.

Use just about 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat it in a wok.

Add the eggs and heat them through so that you make an omelet.

Remove and set aside (You may cover the omelet so it stays warm).  This will be used last, as a garnish.

Heat the remaining oil well and fry the garlic until it just starts to turn brown and then add the chicken. Stir until it is cooked.

Add the vegetables and stir fry them until they are done cooking.

Add the rice and the Kecap Manis and fry everything for a few minutes and place it in a serving dish.

Cut all of the omelet into strips and sprinkle these strips along.  You can also slice a cucumber

and tomato into thin slices and surround the serving dish.

Selamat Makan !

Let me just tell you about an anecdote: my father invited Indonesian colleagues to the restaurant after a work meeting. They had a hearty meal but…they did not eat rice! Right after they finish eating, all Indonesians went to buy a bowl of rice in the street. A meal without rice in Indonesia is like a football match without a ball…

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Hey!

As I told you in my last post, the Republic of Indonesia is a heavenly destination for your holiday. Yet, I wanted to show you another facet of the country. Nowadays, 18% of the population live below the poverty line. The Republic of Indonesia is the fourth most populous country of the world: 39 millions inhabitants are considered as poor, with less than 13 euros to live every month. In 2005, the number of inhabitants living below the poverty line has inflated by 4 millions. This raising in poverty is due to the 30% inflation of the basic foods, as a consequence of the rising prices of fuel.

A major problem in the Republic of Indonesia concerns the child labour. This problem is due to the extreme poverty in the country. Many children have to work to help their parents in need. More and more children are sent to orphanage because the parents are too poor to feed them and to send them to school.

It has become normal to see children working in the street of the capital. They are called « street rats ». They work as shoeshine-boys, dustman or chambermaid. They work over very long periods of time but they only receive starvation wages. Children also work in mines. The work conditions are extreme; Mines are not aerated and those children often have serious pulmonary illness.

It is not rare to come across young children who have to work as prostitute to pay for their family debts or drug debts.

Lots of young children are kidnapped and sold to the sex industry. Most of them are young girls but boys have to work as prostitute as well. To survive, exploited children take drugs.

In the Republic of Indonesia, it is reckoned that 100 000 woman and children are victims every year of the sexual trade. The sexual exploitation of the children is going up and one third of the sex workers are under 18. Destitution, the fact that young people have no possibility of a promising future, the high level of request of the sex mercenary and the insufficient criminal repression are some of the reasons that justify the sexual trade in the Republic of Indonesia. The sexual exploitation is lucrative, perfectly well organized. The sexual trade is associated to criminality and it encourages corruption. This trade is not only national in the Southeast Asia so it is difficult to fight it.

Some associations like « Kakak » (it means older brother or older sister in Bahasa) offer a refuge, a psychological follow-up and the hope of having a better life for those children who have been exploited by the sex industry.

Here are a few pictures of young boys in Jakarta who collect rubbish in the harbor:


The Republic of Indonesia is a heavenly destination for your holiday. Tourism is one of the most important components of the Indonesian economy. International tourist campaigns have been focusing on the tropical aspect of this destination; the publicity spots insist on the beauty of the white sand beaches and the blue sky. Since 2000, more than 5 millions foreign tourists have been visiting Indonesia.

A white sand beach in Lombok

The most famous place to visit is Bali. It is the main Indonesian’s tourist destination. The trip from Paris to Bali lasts around 15 hours, with a connection in Singapore. Most of the tourists stay in Denpasar. Bali is specially known for its pleasant weather, the beauty of its landscapes (see the temples and the paddy fields), its culture and the diving or snorkelling spots in the north of Bali.

Bali

A young balinese dancer

A magnificient sunset

A Hinduist temple in Bali

The cultural tourism is also very important in Indonesia. The most famous temples to visit are the Borobudur temple or the Yogyakarta temple. The Borobudur temple has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1991. In Bali, where most Hindus live, cultural festivals attract many foreign tourists.

The Yodyakarta temple

The Yodyakarta temple

A Hinduist ceremony in Bali

Many others places are worth visiting like Flores island or Lombok. I had the chance to go and visit Manado, a Mecca for skin diving. The sea beds are amazing unfortunately it is very polluted. Take a look at some of the picture taken while diving:

When the sea is rough, it's not surprising to find plastic bag at 15 meters deep

Every morning, the staff of the sea resort has to clean the beach: during the night, the high tide has left behind it many waste.

Yet, tourism in Indonesia has to deal with serious threats. Since 2002, the rate of tourism in Bali decreased by 31%, due to the bomb attacks. The Bali bombings occurred in a tourist district. 202 people were killed, 152 of whom were foreigners, and a further 240 people were injured.

As someone very concerned by the protection of the environment, I wanted this article have a little “ecology touch”.

Some of you may think…”water, curious topic!” But I’ve chosen it because the problem of water is in the foreground in India. We all have heard about limited water resources, and a lot of TV shows aim at making us award of the future dangers of our excessive water consummation.

So, let’s talk about water in India. The problem of water is very different from the problem one can have in European societies. The problem of water resources is increasingly burning, because its population also increases. In a few years, the Indians ‘need of water won’t be satisfied anymore. Then, 2/3 of Indian workers are farmers, so water is essential to their survival. That’s why water is an economical and a social good. Someone who can have an access to water can improve his social condition.

You may say : “but India is surrounded by water, oceans, rivers, and during the monsoon it’s raining a lot”!, and you’d be totally right! India’s rivers are some of the biggest of the planet, and its deltas are the hugest of the world (Gange, Brahmapoutre and Meghna). Then, the presence of oceans on both sides of India enables Indians to go fishing (although the monsoon and its violent rains often keep Indians from sailing…) and to earn more money after their harvests. Most of the time, the land where water is, is a very dynamical place, with a very high population density (for example along the deltas), what often correspond to rice-growing places. Besides this point, the Indians are very pleased to welcome the monsoon rains. they have a great smile on their face…

So, water is omnipresent in India, but it may be sometimes very dangerous. The challenge is to contain the fury of water, so that it does not destroy harvests and habitations, when rivers overflow their banks. Irrigation is very important: nature offers water, but the Indians have to control this present in time and space thanks to it

In our societies, water is considered as a free good. But It’s not the case in India: a liter of water (0,24€) is more expansive than a liter of milk (0,20€) ! In towns, 90% of the Indians have an access to water, but in the countryside, only 58% of them have it. They have a lot of strategies to collect water, like tanks on the top of buildings in town, and bowls for the poorest people. Woman often spend their all time to go and search for water, when wells are located far away from their houses. Little girls often do not go to school in order to help their mum to bring water back to home.

Poor people are often under hold and influence of mafias, who sell them water for a very high price, sometimes higher than for richer families, what increases social inequalities. They have no choice but accept it. Moreover, water business is a business that makes a lot of money. There is a real competition between almost 200 water trademarks: in order to earn more money than the others, each company sells bad quality water, as a result water often causes diseases. Competition can also be born between states of India because of water, what leads to political problems. For example, Madras must search for water, which is located 200 kilometers away from the town.

The Gange river is a sacred river: bathing in it can make you pure. But it’s also one of the most polluted rivers of the world, as everyday almost 200 millions of waste water liters are poured in it.

So you’ve understood that water use to cause a lot of inequalities between people : at first, because some Indian regions are not reached by the monsoon. Then mentalities lead to a personal management, although for India’s safe it should be a collective management. The ones who are rich enough to build wells can have an access to water and develop farming and rice growing. To own a well is a sign of social distinction. But to the detriment of the others, who are deprived of it and suffer from an unequal repartition of water. In India, water is source of social inequalities…

 

Whether you are a Romantic or you are a sport addict, you will love India…here is your made to measure travel!

If you are a true Romantic, go to the Taj Mahal…it’s a mausoleum made of white marble which has been built by the moghol emperor Shâh Jahân in Uttar Pradesh in memory of his beloved wife, Arjumand Bânu Begam, also known as Mumtaz Mahal, which means “the palace light”. She died on June, the 17th 1631, while giving birth to her 14th child. Today, it’s regarded as one of the seven new wonders of the world. It’s made of lapis lazuli, coral, precious stones…Some historians have a different meaning for the mausoleum from the love proof : as a despot Shâh Jahân would have built it in order to put his religion in the foreground, in a country that is not mostly muslim, and to affirm his power, in other world the Taj Mahal would have been for this moghol emperor th equivalent of  the Chateau de Versailles for Louis XIV… But let’s forgive this last sense, and be charmed by the love atmosphere of the place…!

If you are a sport addict, let’s go trekking in the Himalaya…! Put solid shoes, a warm sleeping bag, and go breathe the fresh air. It’s time to forgive your daily life, and to see what you’re able to do, to discover your own limits!

If you prefer human relationship, you have to stroll in Dharavi, the huge slum in Mumbai. About 1 million people live there, and it’s like swarming with people, I mean, it’s very active, noisy and busy! Thousands of little workshops where everything is made, everything is recycled…Dharavi is like a town in a town. Of course, you will be touched by the poverty. But if towns appear as unbearable places, they are alive!! Indeed they are places of permanent invention in difficult situations.

 

I recommand you to move in the town in rickshaws, which are typical in India…

If you are in a mystical way and spirit, so South of India is made for you! Your road along you will find out so many temples of Hinduism, where you can close your eyes and sit in front of Shiva’s, Vishnou’s or Krishna’s statues, (or in front of the other thirty millions of gods…), reaching illumination and finding a new moral way of life, banishing ignorance and passions like will of power and money. Hinduism is more a moral way of life, than a religion, that’s why it takes on several forms, according to each person.

Last but not least…if you are a “fanatic” tea drinker, you will be totally enthusiastic about walking in the Indian tea plantations, like plantations in Darjeeling, or plantations of South India. Tea leaves are often collected by women, and grow under a tropical climate. That’s why tea plantations offer beautiful landscapes, with shades of green.

slumdog millionaire

How I could I speak about India and the Indian world without speaking of this great film? I mean, “great” from my point of view : maybe some of you who have watched it have not been upset by it. For those who have just heard about it, this story of Jamal Malik, a young man who comes from the Dharavis slums of Mumbai, and who appears on the Indian version of “who wants to be a millionaire?”Against all expectations, this “slumdog” is gonna answer all the questions. He is of course suspected of cheating, tortured by the police, but the film tells us Jamal’s story, and one can discover that all those answers correspond to one particularly important moment of Jamal’s life. A lot of flashbacks build the film. Through them, one watches the death of Jamal’s and Salim’s mother duing anti-Muslim violence. The two little boys and one little girl called Latika manage to escape from this barbarity, but they are “collected” by a gangster who pretends to run an orphanage, but who in reality exploits them to beg money for him. The children show all kinds of tricks to arouse people’s pity. So they have a very difficult life, live from day to day, but the friendship between Jamal and Latika is very touching, in a way they are happy as long as they are together. One day, the gangster wants to blind Jamal by acid, because blind beggars arouse more pity and earn more money. Fortunately, the two brothers can escape just in time, jumping in a train. Unfortunatley they have to leave Latika. From now on, their life is gonna be travel on top of trains, picking pockets and pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal. One day they are in Mumbai again, and Jamal has just one thing in head, finding Latika. She is actually a prostitute, whose virginity Is to be sold for a very high price. They free Latika. But Jamal and Latika will be separated again because of Salim…The only goal of this two children become teenagers then adults is to be together again. I let you discover the end by yourself…

Why I’ve loved this film? At first, because it deals with India…I mean, it shows again India’s poverty, slums, gangsters, traffics…maybe clichés. But there is more than this “dark” depiction of India. It may be a bit cliché when you see those children, tortured by life, but who are all the same happy, because they are together. But why not? In a way, it shows that material life and money are not synonym of happiness. Friendship and love are true happiness. Even when he wins the play who wants to be a millionaire, his happiness is unequalled when he finds Latika again.

Then the films shows that slums are maybe places of violence, poverty, but they are also places of life, I mean, they are places like very active villages, people are very creative and all feel a sense of solidarity : they replace their lack of comfort with stark human relationships and solidarity. It’s a kind of lesson for us.

At last, the topic of the game, the fact that a slumdog can win such a game and become a millionaire may symbolize India’s current situation. Last time, I spoke about India’s “fossilized” society and castes. It’s still the case today. But globalization and India’s modernization aim at making this society less stiff. The film sets this hope of a better life, of social climb up in the foreground. India’s challenge is to do so that everybody can take advantage of growth. Of course maybe just a dream today, but it could be more and more a reality, that a lot of Indians improve their way of life…

I wish they had more spoken in hindi…

 I’ve found for you the final dance of the film, when Jamal and Latika are together for the rest of life…! (I’m sorry for the bad quality of the video, but you can hear the great music Jai Ho, which is very lively!)

Jai Ho du Film Slumdog Millionnaire
envoyé par VaiavyMeva. – Regardez plus de clips, en HD !

about Indian diversity…

More than another country, India is a land of diversity, of social and cultural diversity. What in a way is not very surprising when you know that India is inhabitated by more than one milliard of people. Diversity also because India is an amazing “mixture” between traditional life and modernity (and of course globalization). Each village has its own traditions, language and besides them a lot of tribal minorities have their own ones. When you think about this huge and overcrowded country, and about its diversity, you’ll understand the challenge the government has to face with, to get all these people live together.

The weight of traditions is so “heavy”, that it’s difficult for the government to make laws for everybody. Just to quote one example, let’s speak about the birth control law. India is overcrowded and for a big part of the population, poor. So the government tries to control birth, in order to limit the number of Indians. But in a lot of Indian traditions, people prefer having sons than daughters : daughters cost a lot, because when she get married she has to leave her family, so she can’t take care of her old parents, and can’t free their spirit on the stake (Hinduism) when they die. That’s why girls infanticide is very high, even in the well-fare families. And that’s why people go on having kids, until they have a son…

Castes are part of the challenge, because they emphasize the separation, the gap between people. When a European think of this social organization, he may feel quite unsettled face to this system that refuses equality. On the top of the caste, the Brahmans, then the royal and war caste, the kshatriya, the traders’ caste the vaishya, and the manual workers called shudra. The untouchables belong to no caste, and the other castes have to avoid any body contact with them. The castes system is a system that in a way make people live in their own environment, without searching for other contacts. Today it is evolving because of globalization, which enables phenomena such as people who climb the social ladder. But it still remains quite rare.

So you understand why India is so rich from a cultural point of view, and why it’s difficult to speak about the Indian culture, because there is not one culture, but thousands of cultures. India is one of the oldest place of civilization, and has been at the crossroads of a lot of cultures. Namely the English civilization.  In one huge Indian World you have millions of little worlds, each one has its traditions, language, dialect, religion, culture in a word. You can think, “real challenge for national cohesion”!

The picture of this multi faces land can be symbolized by the particularity of the gods of Hinduism (about several millions!!), who have each a lot of faces and names…

 

And now just for pleasure, here is a video of Bharati, an Indian musical that emphasizes the weight of traditions and modernity in India. It tells the story of Siddharth, an Indian-born engineer, who lived in the USA and who comes back to India in order to drain waters of the Gange. He falls in love with Bharati, a woman who is raised up by her father, and who has to marry the man her father has chosen for her. So, an impossible love story, and the meeting of Indian traditions, embodied by Bharati, and the Indian new modern world, embodied by Siddharth.

 

 

BHARATI THE SPECTACLE 2
envoyé par poojabolly. – Clip, interview et concert.