Retno Wulandari  23 March 2017 10:30

Just like many residents of Jakarta, Yasmine Kurnia used to think that the capital is just a regular city with never-ending problems, from flooding to severe congestion. But after spending almost a year being Jakarta’s tourism ambassador, she started to see that Jakarta has many things to offer and she’s on a mission to convey that message to the world.

Could you tell us about your current daily activities?

Currently, I’m working at a multinational manufacturing company and I’m also engaged in activities related Abang None Jakarta (Mister and Miss Jakarta).

I won the title of  None Jakarta in 2016, and since then I have been on several duties, from being the city’s cultural and tourism ambassador, escorting the Jakarta Governor in official events and taking part in the Tourism Agency’s events.

Abang None activities usually take one or two days of my week as I often travel from one city to another when on duty. I’m also scheduled to go to Berlin this Juni to promote Indonesian culture and tourism in an event called Internationale Tourismus Borse-Berlin.

What kind of promotional activities are you doing to boost Jakarta’s tourism?

There are various kinds of activities, one of them is escorting guests from overseas in the City Hall. The government has many guests from other countries and when they are hosted by the Governor’s office, Abang and None Jakarta’s duty is to assist them.

When we’re on duty, be it in the City Hall or at public events, we’re also required to interact and inform people about Jakarta. For example, about the City Hall and tourism destinations in Jakarta. We also have to assist people should they want to make itineraries for their visit to Jakarta.

We also promote the city through social media.

So, how does one become the tourism ambassador for Jakarta?

First of all, there are regional selections to choose 15 pairs of ambassadors of each administrative city. So, Central Jakarta, West Jakarta, and other cities have 15 pairs of Abang None each. Then, the top three winners from each city compete in a provincial-level competition to be Abang None Jakarta.

There’s a 1.5 month training period where we’re given a variety of lessons, from government issues, history, Jakarta’s branding and marketing, public relations, local culture to beauty and fashion. Then, the winners are chosen during a grand final show.

What did you decide to join the competition?

I used to live in Bandung for my study and when I came back to Jakarta, I’m shocked at the difference between the two cities. Everywhere I go in Jakarta, I’m stuck in heavy traffic. Everywhere I look, I see many things that should be and could be improved. I didn’t really like the idea of living in this city.

Things started to change after I met a friend of mine who competed in Abang None in Thousand Islands District. I told her that I didn’t want to live in Jakarta and she gave me reasons me why I should stay. She shared her experience as a tourism and cultural ambassador, showed me her photos while exploring the beauty of the Thousand Island; amazing places I didn’t believe belong to Jakarta. She convinced me to compete and get a once-in-a-lifetime experience to gain new skills, experiences, as well as to contribute to Jakarta.

In your opinion, why did they choose you to be a None Jakarta?

Well, that’s quite difficult to answer (laughing). Honestly, I don’t know! I came with nothing. I mean I had near zero knowledge about Jakarta, the government, not to mention Betawi culture. But they taught me along the way and I just did what I can. All I know was I want to seize the opportunity and I didn’t want it to slip out of my hands. I didn’t think I’ll come this far. When I was selected as Thousand Island’s None, I was so happy.

But the competition was, though; I was like, I had nothing to lose anyway. So it was okay if I didn’t make it. It was really unbelievable when they ended up choosing me. I mean, I think the judge didn’t just see that you’re smart, have a bunch of ideas, or beautiful. They also wanted to see if you’re curious and eager to learn new things.

What are the perks of being a None Jakarta?

Being a None Jakarta opens up many opportunities for me. It also allows me to meet many people from different backgrounds, from many countries. I was a common citizen, but all of a sudden I’m in the spotlight. People called me, offered jobs, asked for interviews, but more importantly, being a None Jakarta gives me an opportunity to do something for this city.

Any advice for those who are currently competing?

I’m no expert, but as a contestant, you have to show your true self. Don’t fake it. Don’t polish things to make them look great while they’re not. Also, come up with simple yet useful ideas. Abang and None are always asked to work on ideas, so don’t pose great yet unworkable ideas. Your ideas should be simple, provide a plausible solution to current problems, practical, measurable, and make sense. Another important thing is to be open. Do not stop to learn new things and ask if you really don’t know, instead of pretending to know everything.



Adelia Anjani Putri   21 March 2017 16:15

Francesca Tanmizi is a tech start-up worker by day and beauty blogger by night. Unlike most beauty bloggers, she specializes in handling most Asian girls’ number one problem: eyes with monolids.

Through her Instagram and Youtube accounts, she shares tips and tricks on how to put on pretty (and sometimes crazy) eye make up despite the lack of space.

Read more about our talk with her here.


Blaise Hope  17 March 2017 16:15

Junior Rorimpandey, or Chef Juna, is Indonesia’s most famous chef.

The 41-year-old rose to fame when he hosted Indonesian Masterchef in 2011 and 2012. At the same time, he was the executive chef at one of Jakarta’s top restaurants, Jack Rabbit. Now, Juna heads his own restaurant - Correlate in South Jakarta.

But his journey hasn’t always been smooth. He shares his troubled beginning and his pathway to success with Brilio. 

Brilio: Tell us your story. How did you end up being a chef?

Juna: Well, I moved to the US in 1997 just to escape my life because I was a ‘bad kid’ before. Then I enlisted myself in a pilot training but unfortunately, the money that I had was not enough.  So, I had to scramble for work illegally after six months of the visa expired. In early 1998, Indonesia had an economic crisis so at that point I made up my mind not to get back home ever. You know... and just try to survive in the States. 

So [I was] still scrambling, looking for job or do some work, labor work, whatever I could get my hands into because I was illegal but then finally I became a waiter in a Japanese restaurant. And then, after two weeks the sushi master asked me if I want to be trained by him. So, I accepted that and everything took off from there. Apparently, the drive of being scared because I was illegal and now I have a good job by working under the roof and stuff like that and not hard labor pushed me to become, you know, I have to be better every day. Because it was so hard for me to find a good job since I was illegal. 

Apparently, I was doing great and the owner of the restaurant sponsored me to get a green card [to be] US permanent resident. So, we did that procedure and five years later, I was an American resident. I have a green card. 

Brilio: What do you think about what is going on now?

Juna: With America?

Brilio: Yeah

Juna: It’s hard. 

Brilio: Would you worry about your status?

Juna: About my status? I wouldn’t, because I am green card holder. A permanent resident. I am already inside the States if I were there. But right now, if I want to get back there, I feel a little worry. I don’t know what is going to happen in the airport. In the immigration locket. Even before that, if you spend too much time overseas as a green card holder, they’ll always give you hard time to go in. 

Brilio: When did you get back to Indonesia and when did you realize that you have made it?

Juna: I went back to Indonesia in 2010 because of a job at a restaurant here in Kuningan called Jack Rabbit at that time. We were very successful. One of the biggest restaurants in the city at that moment. But if you asked me when did I realize I have become someone, I am still not. I have not. Of course, I am better than one year or two years before but then, to answer your question, I haven’t [made it].

Brilio: Can you tell me more about Correlate?

Juna: Correlate is something exactly I really want. If you are a chef, a real chef, your end goal is always that you want to run your own restaurant. So, Correlate is my restaurant. Of course, I have a partner behind me, but then I call all the shots and all that stuff. So, this is my dream restaurant. So, that’s why it took years to be able to finally have the guts to open it in a right way with the right preparation and so on.

Brilio: Do you have a message for youth out there who are struggling with their career right now?

Juna: I know it’s different for everyone. So, I can only say, for me, what I had been through is one, I just keep my head down, I just keep working, I let my hands do the the talking. Somewhere down the line, somebody is gonna watch and they are gonna appreciate that and your career is gonna take off. That’s all. 


  08 March 2017 12:24

A video of a man describing himself as the son of assassinated North Korean exile Kim Jong-Nam emerged Wednesday, apparently the first time a family member has spoken about the killing.

South Korea's intelligence agency confirmed the individual on the video — uploaded to the YouTube page of a previously unknown group calling itself Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) — is Kim Han-Sol.

His father was murdered at Malaysia's main airport last month by two women using the banned VX nerve agent, with Pyongyang widely blamed for the assassination.

"The man is indeed Kim Han-Sol," a spokesman for the National Intelligence Service told AFP.

The spokesman declined to give further details, including Kim's current whereabouts or any information about CCD.

In the video, the man says in English: "My name is Kim Han-Sol, from North Korea, part of the Kim family.

"My father has been killed a few days ago. I'm currently with my mother and my sister. We are very grateful to..." he says, before the audio cuts off and his mouth movements are blacked out. 

He shows his North Korean diplomatic passport as evidence of his identity but the page that shows his particulars is digitally covered.

The 40-second video wraps up with him saying: "We hope this gets better soon."

There was no indication where or precisely when the video was made.

Han-Sol, 21, is believed to have graduated from Sciences Po university in Paris and had been living in exile with his parents in the Chinese territory of Macau before he disappeared with his mother and sister following his father's death.

Because of his bloodline, Han-Sol could be seen as a rival figurehead in a state ruled by his uncle Kim Jong-Un and roiled by bloody purges.

On its website —registered only on Saturday— CCD said that it was protecting Kim Jong-Nam's family.

"Cheollima Civil Defense responded last month to an emergency request by survivors of the family of Kim Jong-Nam for extraction and protection. The three family members were met quickly and relocated to safety," it said, also in English.  

"We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection," it asserted. "This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed."

The group also thanked countries "for the emergency humanitarian assistance afforded to us in protecting this family" including the Netherlands, China and the United States, plus an unspecified fourth government.

© Agence France-Presse


Irwan Khoiruddin  25 February 2017 15:00

Long before jumping into politics, President Joko Widodo was a student studying forestry in Jogjakarta's Gadjah Mada University from 1980 to 1985.

Recently, an internet user found the president's old thesis in the university's library and shared some pictures of it.

The thesis was titled "A Study of Plywood Consumption Pattern As End Product In Surakarta". His reseach predicted the consumption of plywood in the coming years using calculation of population and per capita income in Surakarta —also called Solo- at that time.

photos from

The issues of forestry and wood has always been close to Jokowi as he grew up in a family that ran furniture business. His grandfather owned a furniture factory that later was ran by Jokowi's father. Jokowi later set up an even more successfull furniture business in Surakarata.

photo from




  10 February 2017 12:32

Claude Geffre, a French Catholic priest and theologian who was an influential promoter of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, died on Thursday at the age of 91, the French church's National Service for Relations with Muslims said.

Geffre was co-founder in 1977 of an organisation called the Islamo-Christian Research Group (GRIC), gathering Christian and Muslim thinkers around the Mediterranean.

It aimed at encouraging religious pluralism and ending a so-called "dialogue of the deaf" between the two faiths.

The turning point in Geffre's life was the Second Vatican Council -- the paramount meeting of the Catholic Church, running from 1962-1965, that spurred efforts towards dialogue with other religions.

After Vatican II, Geffre was placed in charge of fundamental theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, but decided he should no longer concentrate on defending dogma but instead focus on hermeneutics -- the field of studying and interpreting different religious texts.

He came under fire from hardcore traditionalists within the Catholic hierarchy who opposed what they feared was a slide to religious relativism.

In 2007, the Congregation for Catholic Education -- the Vatican body that oversees Catholic universities -- refused to approve an honorary doctorate that the Faculty of Theology in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, sought to award Geffre for his lifelong work.

© Agence France-Presse


  01 February 2017 18:00

Masaya Nakamura, the Japanese video game pioneer known as the "father of Pac-Man", has died aged 91, his company said Monday.

Nakamura, who passed away on January 22, founded a company in 1955 that would later become Namco. 

The company started out by installing two wooden, mechanical horses on a department store rooftop and went on to develop household and arcade games, theme parks and other amusement facilities. 

It merged with Japanese toy giant Bandai in 2005. 

Namco game designer Toru Iwatani created the yellow Pac-Man, which hit the market in 1980. 

The gobbling character became hugely popular among gamers, with the Guinness World Records ranking it "the most successful coin-operated arcade machine".

The company did not release details about Nakamura's death, citing the wishes of his family.