Saturday, December 2, 2006

My foster parents from Indonesia

It was in year 2003 during the Ship for Southeast Asia Program (SSEAYP 2003), that I first step on Indonesia ground.

News about bombing and the dangerous Indonesia started to news I do not believe, just after a few minutes when Nippon Maru berthed. We were welcomed by the band from Indonesian Navy. Look right! Yes, they were performing under the rain just to welcome us.

Next to the band were children dressed in uniform, waving Indonesia flag when they see the great Nippon Maru.

We had visits to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. If you think "mini" is small, think again. This mini park boast buildings from all over Indonesia. Yes, real size buildings within the large (more than 100ha) park. So the mini really mean the mini of magnificent Indonesia. I remember Keong Emas, a nice building shaped like a snail in golden colour (left). "Keong" means snail and "Emas" is golden. Keong Emas houses the largest screen and now plays Imax movies.

We were also police escorted to Depdiknas (is short for Departmen Pendidikan Nasional) and watched cultural performances there. Then, we also went to the ASEAN Secretariat and paid courtesy visit to the then President Megawati. Till this day, when I meet Indonesians and tell them I met their President, many still awed and blink in disbelieve. I wonder why.

We had 2 days/2 nights stay with foster parents and I was paired with Haidah from Singapore to stay with Rachmat and Mami! They were wonderful parents with 3 daughters. My papa is a civil engineer while my mama works with people's mouth (yes a dentist!). Their daughters are Mita, Anti and Lia.

Left picture shows (from left) Mita, Mama, Haidah, Lia and me. Papa was working during send off and Anti was studying in Bandung.

I was working till late on Thursday and before I went to bed I thought to adjust the alarm clock from one of my handphones. To my surprise I saw a miss call from an Indonesian number and then a sms that says "Papa and mama in KL, staying in Lanson Place. Wish to see you. Rachmat and Mami" Wow, guess what, I couldn't sleep. Among all foster parents, I am closest with my Indonesian parents as I was on business trips to Indonesia every month last year.

The next day I took them out for dinner in Kebaba Restaurant in Ampang with Pakistani food. We had Aloo Gobi (cauliflower with potatoes in gravy - my favourite dish so I remember the name), Tandoori Chicken, lamb and fish served with garlic naan and Pakistani briyani rice.

We spoke about life and business. Mama just got the franchise to work with children to build talents! And I am working with over 5000 underprivileged children in a network of 90 orphanages, through CyberCare. Papa also said that Mama picked up painting. Papa retired a month ago but the company wants him to continue his service.

I had phone calls with Mita and Anti. Mita is practising and sounded stressful that she must finish many cases to complete her studies to be a dentist. In fact, she said that only 10% of those practising got to graduate. I wish you luck, Mita! Anti is still studying and in Bandung.

Tomorrow I am going to send Papa and Mama to airport.