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My Favourite NOFX Song

If someone asked me what my favourite NOFX song was, the top-of-my-head answer would probably be Linoleum.

NOFX in Melbourne, 2014

NOFX in Melbourne, 2014

Not that I think it has the best lyrics – Franco Un-American has better lyrics. And for tunes, I actually like Liza and Louise or The Brews more.

It probably has to do with the fact that it was the first song they played in their first gig in Indonesia seven years ago, in 2007.

I can’t remember how many attended that concert, but an online report says it was about 5.000.

In a city of around 20 million, it wasn’t that much. But it was more about the sheer excitement of seeing a major punk band that the audience have been listening since they were in their early teens.

Back then, there had not been many international punk bands holding concerts in Indonesia, and I still can’t imagine how exciting it would have been for major fans of NOFX.

As I did not manage to get there super early, I wasn’t anywhere close to the stage, so I think there were about 3.000 people between me and the band, plus barricaded area in front of the stage.

So in a typical scenario, that would ensure me being untouched by whatever slamming, pushing or other shenanigans going on in the mosh/circle pit.

But when the first tune played, and yeah, I am pretty sure it was Linoleum, I felt myself being pushed backwards and basically swallowed by waves of human bodies. I can only imagine what it was like near the stage, but if I could feel the impact from that distance, it must be pretty mad.

I recently had a chance to watch NOFX again, this time in a closed venue in Melbourne, with probably a third, if not less, of the number of audience in the Jakarta gig.

It was sweaty, and packed as well, but this time there was a much bigger chance for me to get closer to the stage, and that I did.

Also, I have learned from experience that as a woman, mosh pits in Melbourne are generally safer compared to Jakarta. there are more women in Melbourne’s mosh pits, to begin with, and so far no one tried to grope me. Maybe things are better now in Jakarta, I don’t really know.

But I certainly got a better view of the band playing this time, and was more able to express my appreciation for their set (by jumping around and getting shoved, body-slammed, and headbutted) better as well.

So that was good.

But of course nothing can replace that gig in Jakarta, when half of my excitement was actually fueled by the awe and excitement of my friends.

It was a shame that there were some ugly rumors and happenings surrounding that concert. It was badly organized, for a start, and the waiting time for the gate to open was too long. I heard that there were troubles with their gig in Bali as well. My guess is the event organizers were young, reckless, and did not bother to check in with the scene.

Ah well, that is in the past. See? I am having trouble remembering the bad stuff yet getting all nostalgic with the good ones.


Going red for the rabbit year

Well well, it’s another new year!

I went to a Chinese temple last night and it was amazing! So many red things, so many people bustling about, so many smells and sights and sounds. I have been planning to do this since last year and when I finally did, I was indeed impressed.

Me and pumpkinshoe went to the oldest temple in Jakarta: the Petak Sembilan or Hian Tan Keng temple in Glodok. The temple, which was built in the 17th century,  is located in one of the most crowded part of the town, squeezed in between dark alleyways and busy markets. However, on that night,  the alleyway heading there looked less dodgy and more festive.

Red lantern alleyway

Then we saw the big gates and wondered how to get inside the temple. We hesitated at first but then saw lots of people, who weren’t chinese, sitting on the ground. We went inside the gates and discovered that they were waiting for alms.

There were also plenty of other people-photographers and tourists who are eager to breathe in the festive aura. Teenagers pose with “V” signs in front of the temple and shrines and some are just as wide-eyed as me at seeing all the excitement.

It’s hard to believe that almost a decade ago, these were forbidden. The New order era, which reigned from 1965, banned Chinese Indonesians from openly  carrying out rituals that display their chinese identities. Not even the language had been allowed then. People did engage in rituals but definitely not as straightforward as nowadays.

I have been inside temples a few times before, and most of those times I feel very…strange. A bit suffocated and yet awestruck. However, this New Year’s Eve, there’s much more of the amazement and excitement. Maybe the lighting and the huge, huge amount of people had something to do with it. Most of the times that I visit temples, it would be empty and dark. Very foreboding, but last night everything was bright and burning. Fireworks going off and people were running from one shrine to another carrying handfuls, and I mean HANDFULS, of  incense sticks.

The temple was smokin'! incense smell is yummy though

There were lots of red in the air…red candles, red walls, red incense sticks…

Look at the size of the candles!

And of course there are Chinese New Year specialty foods. The tradition usually calls for Nian Gao, or Tii Kwee. Known locally as  Kue Keranjang, this sticky-sweet cake can be found in most supermarkets and traditional markets at this time of the year. It’s made from sticky rice and although to eat all of it at one go could be overwhelming, it usually keeps for several days, and you can deep fry them to eat any time later.

I am yet to sink my teeth in any kue keranjang this year, but I did buy some oranges-another traditional food to be eaten on the New Year. This is probably healthier anyway. 🙂

Oh, and just for the final kick, red lanterns galore!