“Sunrise in the 9th Century”


Dear ________,

I wonder if the sunrise people see one thousand ago is the same with the sunrise we see today. And I wonder if ancient civilisation is attracted to sunrise and sunset as we do, whether the sky’s exquisite charm has always been the same since the start of mankind. The question came up to me while I was browsing through my old photographs, particularly the one I took on April 2016. As I took so many photographs in my life, I often forget the collection I have, leaving my stunned to find a beautiful photograph I took in the past. Then I remember the trip in details, it was when my father and I toured around Central Java to see Borobudur Temple.

Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist Temple in the world, it was once abandoned for centuries, covered by volcanic ash and jungle surrounding it. It was rediscovered in 1814 when Java was under control of British Empire, then it was restored by the Dutch and preserved until today. On my trip to this ancient temple, I remember waking up early in the morning and walked from our hotel outside the Borobudur complex for about half an hour to the temple. After registering, we were given a flashlight and proceeded to enter the temple along with other tourists wanting to see sunrise from the top of Borobudur.

The air was cold during the dawn, but the wind was calm. There were many stairs to the top of the temple, we carefully manage to climb them one by one in the dark. We reached the top when it was still dark and waited patiently, sitting on the edge of the layered floors facing the East. We could hardly see the surrounding, except few lights far away coming from the villages. Then the sun starts to ascend behind the mountain and lights the trees and stupas, it was during that time I took this photograph. Facing certain direction, there were only nature to be seen, neither electrical cable nor telco tower was in sight. Somehow, I want to believe that the landscape I saw is the same landscape ancient civilisation see in their lifetime.

Your friend,



This photo is available for sale (in digital format and prints), for inquiry contact kyky909@gmail.com

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Tugu Kunstkring Paleis Review

Finding new place to eat in Jakarta could be hard sometimes, especially inside a shopping mall. Every week my family and I have to ask each other on where to eat for lunch and dinner, the pattern is repetitive each week. So this month we resort to Tripadvisor on where to dine in Jakarta, we have been using the app when we travel abroad, such as when we traveled to Myanmar and Cambodia, but we never actually use it to find restaurant in Jakarta. We found Tugu Kunstkring as #17 from 6000 something restaurant in Jakarta, since it is located in Menteng, which is near our resident, we decided to give it a try.

ky170246Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

The building exterior looks old but well taken care of, and the Dutch writing on the white wall gives an impression of the 40’s. Once you enter the reception you could feel the glamorous and exquisite decoration around the room. We were asked to sit and waited for a minute while the waitress prepare our table. One thing that catch my attention was that it is prohibited to take photos without the manager approval. But later on, when I draw my camera from a bag, the waitress happily told me that I’m allowed to take pictures. We thought that we were there only to eat, but we were wrong, we were actually enjoying the decoration and ambience more than the lunch itself.

Here’s some history of the building taken from Tugu Kunstkring website:

“The grand historical building originally housed the Fine Arts Circle of the Dutch East Indies (Nederlandsch-Indische Kunstkring of the Dutch East Indies) and was opened on the 17 April 1914. This organization was founded for the first time on 1 April 1902 in Batavia, with the purpose to promote the practice of and the enthusiasm for the fine and decorative arts of the Indies. This building had various functions, as it stayed faithful to its mission to promote anything related to the arts. It featured various creative arts between 1934 and 1939 as well as world-class masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall and the likes. One of the wings of this building also housed a very popular café that sold fine food and wine, known as Stam en Weynes.” -Tugu Website

ky170252Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

“In April 2013, this legendary building of Bataviasche Kunstkring has been reopened under the name the TUGU KUNSTKRING PALEIS, and brought back to life by Tugu Hotels & Restaurants Group. Without changing the beautiful palatial architecture, Tugu has breathed in new life into the building through majestic interiors, filling it with a vast collection of beautiful artworks, in creating an atmosphere that represents Tugu’s mission: the art, soul and romance of Indonesia. The Tugu Kunstkring Paleis is a proud center of art exhibitions, as well as other events with high appreciation to the beauty of arts and history. It also houses a large event space with the capacity up to 1000 people, a gallery/shop that features beautiful artworks, jewels, lifestyle products and other design items, a fine restaurant, a grand elegant lounge as well as a tea house.” -Tugu Website

ky170281Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

After being seated on our table, we take a careful look at the menu (which could be hard due to the lack of proper lighting condition). We ordered fish roll with tamarin, rundvless kleine, sayer lode pepaja, and nasi poeti Tjiandjoe. The time of serving could be quite long, but it was for a good reason. We were asked if we want to tour around the building and we did. Other than the main dining hall on the first floor, there is also a shop selling Indonesian gifts and arts on the side of the building. The items sold was similar to those you could find on Malioboro street in Jogjakarta, but I believe it was more carefully selected and have a higher grade than the street items. After touring the shops, we were told that there is an art exhibition related to paintings of rooster on the second floor (it was near Chinese New Year). The artist and promoter were glad to take us around the hall. It took us about 20 minutes to tour the building before we got back to our table and drink our ice tea.

ky170292Dining table on the second floor of Tugu Kunstkring

Not long after we were seated a waiter served our rice, which is wrapped by a leaf. A hungry grown man certainly won’t be satisfied with the amount of serving in this restaurant, but ordering additional rice is quick enough. The rendang is not as tender as I expected from restaurant in this class, but it was tolerable. The rest of the meal was good. I could recommend a tastier Indonesian restaurant in Jakarta, but nothing beats the ambience and dining experience in tutu Kunstkring.

ky170293Nasi Poeti Tjiandjoe

ky170295Rundvless Kleine (or Rendang)

ky170296Fish Roll with Tamarin

ky170298Sayoer Lodeh Pepaja

Halfway through our meal, there were dances by the waiters serving a group of big family. They are dancing with Indonesian music and entertain the guest around, it last about three minutes before the music stops and everyone continue their lunch.

ky170301The waiters dancing while serving meal for a big family

ky170306The waiters dancing while serving meal for a big family

Overall, I would recommend tourist and local alike to dine at Tugu Kunstkring at least once to feel the ambience of dining in Indonesian heritage site. For me, it was a refreshing experience to reconnect with Indonesian history. And it wasn’t very expensive either, for a three person meal, we spent Rp 503.580 after tax.

Tugu Kunstkring:

Jl. Teuku Umar 1 • Jakarta Pusat • Indonesia
Tel. +62817 158 181 • Fax. +62 21 390 0898
Email: kunstkring@tuguhotels.com

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SATOO at Shangri-La Jakarta Review

“SATOO is all about the culinary exploration of Asian and international cuisines. Chic and modern are the first impressions one gets upon entering the casual cafe area and seeing the dessert station featuring a chocolate fountain and an irresistible display of cakes, pastries, souffles, ice creams and jajanan pasar (traditional Indonesian snacks).

There are 12 interactive open kitchen stations featuring various types of cuisines and dishes, including Indian, Western, Chinese, Indonesian, salad, sushi, sashimi, barbecue, noodles, pasta, desserts, fruits and jamu (traditional Indonesian herbal concoctions).” – Shangri-La Website

ky170228Italian Pasta Section at SATOO

Two weeks ago I came back to have a lunch in Satoo at Shangri-La hotel in Jakarta, this wasn’t my first visit to the restaurant, in fact this may be the tenth or so visit I did. In the past, BCA credit card used to have a buy 1 get 1 promotion for the buffet and my family would dine at Satoo once a month or so. But then the promotion got expired and we found it rather not worth it to pay the full amount, however BCA promotion resurfaced again this month after a long time of break. Since I haven’t posted anything about the restaurant in the past, I thought I could give an overview to prospective customer about dining at Satoo.

The restaurant is located near the swimming pool and built by glass instead of wall, allowing lights to enter the restaurant but not necessarily makes it hot inside. There are a little bit too many tables in the centre of the restaurant (especially near the sushi bar), sometimes making it difficult for us to get back to our table after taking a meal.

ky170225My first dish: Lobster, lemon rice, red snapper, lamb curry, chicken tandoori

ky170226My first dish: Lobster, lemon rice, red snapper, lamb curry, chicken tandoori

Usually I started with sashimi during a buffet, but since the queue was long, I decided to wander around the Indian cuisine section and was surprised to found a baby lobster. I also have some lemon rice, lamb curry and tandoori chicken. The lamb and chicken were delicious, but I found the lobster to be mediocre and not as good as the one in Edogin at Mulia Hotel.

ky170227Fresh seafood and salad bar section at the middle of the restaurant

ky170230Dishes at the Main Section

The great things about Satoo this the variety of the main course, whether it’s Indonesian or Asian, they got it covered. I found it interesting that they serve a pecking duck (with duck skin instead of meat inside), which could not be found in most other buffet restaurant. Although sometimes they cheated by also putting duck meat inside the wrap.

ky170231Noodles Section

ky170232Chinese food section

ky170234Indian food section

ky170235Indian food section

The most interesting section for me is the grilling section, where they served beef, squid, grilled vegetables, bread and butter. For a mass production of meat, they do make it tender and tasty. Combined with bread and butter, I found it delicious and comparable with those steak served at fancy restaurant (not Angus House level though).Nevertheless, well done!

ky170241Grill Meat and Vegetables Section

ky170239Fruits Section

I found something funny this time, in the fruits section, there’s a small chalkboard with the writing “juice for Rp 50.000”. I felt violated reading it. First of all there are plenty of fruits you could take for free and eat it in your table, but you know what, if you want to make it a liquid, then you have to pay us Rp 50k. I was joking with mom to bring our own juicer (they have electrical socket under our table) and charged Rp 35k for the customers. Unfortunately I didn’t see anyone drinking juice at Satoo, perhaps they found it ironic as well. This is an antithesis of letting ice cube melts in your glass so you can have free ice water (luckily Satoo provide us with free water during our meal, so I don’t have to do it).

ky170238Dessert Section at SATOO

Dessert was all great, there were varieties from cake to ice cream. I simply can’t handle all of them, since I had eaten so much main course during our two hours lunch. Overall, Satoo is a great restaurant with a good ambience offering variety of Asian cuisine. There are things to be improved, such as the table layout. The staff were also very nice and attentive to our needs. It’s not the best restaurant in Jakarta, but I would be glad to recommend it for casual lunch or dinner.

ky170237Dessert Section at SATOO

ky170236Dessert Section at SATOO

And oh, we spent about Rp 700k for three person meal using BCA promotion.

(62 21) 2939 9562

Buffet hours:Breakfast
6am – 10am (Weekdays)
6am – 10.30am (Weekends and Public Holidays)Lunch
12noon – 2.30pm (Weekdays)
12noon – 3.00pm (Weekends and Public Holidays)

6pm – 10.30pm (Sunday to Thursday)
6pm – 11pm (Friday and Saturday)

Dress Code

Smart Casual

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The Game: Applying for Graduate School

This post is about my progress in applying for a finance graduate study in North America as an international student, some of you may relate and hopefully found things that is helpful in your journey.

It has been a while since I posted “How to get GMAT 660 in 3 Months by Yourself“in the second semester of last year. For the note, I also retook TOEFL iBT exam and got score of 111/120, a significant improvement from 98/120 I got on January 2016. I did my GMAT at October 31st and it took two weeks for my score to be sent to the school I registered it to. I knew it because Syracuse University (in New York) sent an email two weeks after the test, telling me that they got my score and invite me to begin my admission process. I register my score to one top school in Canada and four second tier school in US. In reality, I only applied to three school, the one in Canada and two other in US, Syracuse is not one of them (I found it too expensive and the living cost is high as well). I filled the required data, upload my undergraduate degree academic report, ask for recommendation letter to two of my lecturer, and paid the admission fee before November 15th, the first deadline for one of the school I applied to.

Days passed by, then months, and eventually year. During the 2016 Christmas holiday, I spent my time with my father traveling to Cambodia, while my mother visited my sister in Omaha, Nebraska. We rode a bamboo train in Battambang, join the crowd at New Year’s Eve in Pub Street, and saw the first sunset of 2017 in Angkor Wat. It was a personally refreshing trip for me, after taking (and passing) CFA Level 1 exam earlier in June and FRM Level 1 exam in November, not to mention doing my Master of Management degree in Binus Business School.

For two and a half months, or 78 days to be exact, there was nothing. I checked on my application every week or so, only to find that the status was always “submitted” instead of “decision made”. Then, on Wednesday, February 1st, I’m anxious to found two email from two of the school I applied to. One is an admission interview invitation, coming from the top school in Canada. The other one is an acceptance letter, along with scholarship offer, coming from the school in US. I was really, really excited that morning and share the excitement with my mother in the kitchen. Later on, I learned that the scholarship will save me half of the tuition fee, in exchange for my time and effort in the graduate assistantship program. I am already happy and excited for getting accepted, so a scholarship adds up tremendously to my excitement. It was an accomplishment for me personally, something I have never achieved before in my life. For the note, I am just an average student in my undergraduate study (medicine), with no significant academic accomplishment.

Anyway, for the Canadian school invitation, I did the interview the next day with one of the university professor via Skype. He told me to give an introduction and asked me how I select stocks for my equity portfolio. The rest of the conversation was more casual and laid back, then I was given a chance to ask few things about the program itself. I think I did good on the interview, but let’s see at the result announcement next week. I only have 10 days to accept/decline the admission and scholarship for the school in US, so I have to make a quick decision if I got admitted in the Canadian school. Up to this time, I whole-heartedly want to study at the Canadian top school, even if that means sacrificing the scholarship from the US school. The program and practical approach would complement my heavy theoretical study I have been doing. On the other side, taking the scholarship would ease the financial burden significantly. But what about the present value of higher future earnings? Going to the top school might enhance my salary base significantly once entering the workforce, hence it might be having higher Net Present Value (NPV).

Now, my mind focus on the chance of getting accepted given that I got admission interview. Articles in the internet varies in their conclusion, some said that once you got an interview offer, you have at least 50% chance of getting admitted. Even others said that the chance could be as high as 75%, which gives me a high hope for admission. Now that I’m almost at the end of the “searching and applying to graduate study” phase, there are several points that I would do if I could do it all over again (although I don’t want to):

  • Prepare earlier, the earlier the better. I prepare from zero 5 months before the first admission deadline, beginning with looking for school (1 month), studying GMAT (3 months), and uploading transcript (1 month). Note that I didn’t work at the time, so for those of you having daily job, it will absolutely takes at least twice my number. Ideally if I spare more time and do it in 8 months before the admission deadline, I might get higher GMAT score than 660 (perhaps 700-ish?) and have more time to upload the transcript (sending the official transcript from outside US to US takes about 1-2 weeks).
  • Be selective with your school choice. During the first month of preparation, I listed all the school with Master in Finance program in US, Canada, and Western Europe. Then I eliminated the school based on the study period (I want a 1 year only program), tuition cost (US$ 40.000 is the maximum amount my family could afford), and lastly the rating (I want it to be in the top 100). It left me with less than 10 school, and I choose three among them to avoid making too much essay and asking too many letters of recommendation, which could be frustrating sometimes. My choice falls into one top Canadian school, then 24th best and 73rd best for MS in finance program in US.
  • Know your GMAT score target. After selecting the school you want to apply for, look at their student profile (age, % of international student, GMAT, GPA, work experience). There is perhaps nothing you could do to improve your undergraduate GPA, but there are lots you could do to improve your GMAT score. If the school average GMAT score is 670, then it is safe to assume that score of  above 650 is not a disadvantage for you. However, if the school average GMAT is 720, then you may want to get at least 700 for your peace of mind.
  • Write your essay by tailoring it for each school. This is why it is counter-productive to apply to as many school as possible, focus and unique selling proposition are the name of the game. Read and adhere to the essay requirement, make sure it is easy to read (play with the space and margin).
  • Ask early for letters of recommendation. Almost all school ask for two recommendation letters, although few ask for three. I asked mine to my thesis supervisor and a close lecturer, who both gladly agree. They have to sent their recommendation directly to the university’s email, so make sure you have bought the admission form and register their email as your recommendation giver.
  • Be VRIN (Valuable, rare, inimitable, non-subtitutable). No bragging, but here’s my profile, your profile will most likely be very different, but that is what makes you unique as well.
    • Valuable: I passed CFA level 1 exam 4 months before applying,  I like to think it is a prove that I’m serious in learning finance. Those that participate in CFA program knows how rigorous and challenging the material is, and that is a valuable asset for me.
    • Rare: How many medical student pursue career in finance? It is a major shift in my study, getting out of my comfort zone was not easy at the time, but when my passion is calling, I know it may not give me a second chance if I didn’t take it at the time. I’m glad I did.
    • Inimitable: I have been involved in equity trading since I was in undergraduate study, by the time I’m applying for the admission, I have been managing equity portfolio for over 4 years. I’m 22 years old by the way.
    • Non-subtitutable: I always believe that nothing is as important as hard work and determination. I know what I want and I know what it takes to get it, the next question is, am I going to do what it take to get it?
  • Ask yourself “Why” from the start, then you’ll manage any “How”. Be honest on why you want to pursue further study, that way, every time you are tired and missing on your study target, you’ll be motivated to catch up.
  • Drop the weight that chained you down. Having as little burden as possible is a big plus for me, whether it is a mandatory work hour, spouse, home chores, etc. Remember that it won’t be permanent, perhaps only for 4-12 months.

And lastly, remember that “Hope” is a powerful ally. Imagine the possibility you could unlock afterward, things you could only think of previously. Think of your journey not as the phase of applying for graduate study, but as a progress toward making your dream comes true. Because it is.

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“Sunset Over Jakarta”


Dear ________,

I remember taking this photograph back in 2010. Back then, I and my family were moving from a two-story suburban house to a one hundred square meters apartment in the city. We were excited to move in permanently (which we did in the next year) that every Friday after  school we would drove to the city and transfer portion of our belongings from the old house to “the apartment”, thats how we call it.

Most of the time, our car would be full of furnitures and stuff (I had seven boxes of toys and hundreds of book) that we wouldn’t be able to sit comfortably during the trip. However, since our apartment is located nearby a shopping mall we frequently visited since childhood, we were always excited to go to the apartment and have dinner at the mall. During the course of the weekend, my mother would clean the apartment and sort our belongings to the dedicated place, while I would study for school exam or play on my laptop when not helping her.

This photograph was taken on one of the Friday’s ritual we did that year, I was just beginning to learn photography at the time and I remember cursing myself for not having a tripod. We rarely watched sunset from a high-rise before, so it was an amazing view to us, and it still is today. Now I have been living on the same apartment for over six years, sunrise and sunset comes everyday, yet I haven’t got a photograph of it better than this one. Every now and then, when the sky was a mix of orange and blue, my mother would tell me to look into the sky and say, “the sky looks like in Cape Town”, a reference I would tell you for another time. I hope you find my early-year photograph enjoyable and inspiring, for I’ll sent you another one soon enough.

Your friend,



This photo is available for sale (in digital format and prints), for inquiry contact kyky909@gmail.com

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