Sunday, June 13, 2010

Table for Seven






Tonight's dinner at Ce Wei, GF, Intiland Tower (used to be Dharmala Sakti) next to ANZ Building Jl Jend Sudirman/KH Mas Mansyur Jakarta. @7.30pm, 7 of us. Cu!

Pesan pengingat itu dikirim melalui Facebook Mobile. Ya, untuk kesekian kalinya kami berkumpul dalam sebuah perjamuan makan malam dengan pilihan tempat yang berpindah-pindah. Kami sebut ini sebuah ritual – menikmati wine dinner sambil mengobrol ringan.

Penggagasnya adalah Ida Bayuni, pemilik konsultan PR (public relations) B&W Communications, yang didirikannya sejak Juni 2001. Pesertanya adalah beberapa wartawan senior, serta klien B&W yang kebetulan kali ini adalah Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Jakarta – diwakili oleh Chooi Yee Choong (Regional Director ASEAN & Oceania) dan Retno putri Nugroho (Asst. Manager, Tourism Business Indonesia). Para wartawan yang hadir, selain saya adalah M. Rasyid Ganie (Djakarta), Wahyu Indrasto (Eksekutif), dan Sari Narulita (Her World).

Ce Wei Restaurant yang berlokasi di Intiland Tower Jakarta itu adalah venue ke sekian yang kami pilih. Kalau biasanya yang kami kunjungi adalah wine lounge, kali ini adalah restoran cina. Master chefs-nya berasal dari Hong Kong, Malaysia, dan Singapura.

Cina mempunyai kekayaan kuliner yang kaya, serta mengembangkan seni masak-memasak yang mengagumkan. Ragam maupun gaya masakanya unik dari daerah ke daerah, masing-masing dengan kekhasan masakan tersendiri. Mulai dari hidangan ringan dan lembut hingga yang sophisticated dan penuh gaya.

Di Ce Wei kami bertujuh bisa merasakan hidangan manis asam ala Hunan, atau masakan ala Szechuan yang pedas, atau ala Kanton yang khas dengan tumis-tumisannya. Sekadar pengetahuan, harga makanan di Ce Wei dengan porsi standar berkisar 10 – 30 dolar AS per orang.

Yang sulit adalah bagaimana memadukan makanan tersebut dengan wine? Selain tidak ada sommelier-nya di restoran tersebut, yang lebih parah wine cellar-nya juga tidak ada. Tapi itu bukan halangan, Pak Chooi dari STB sudah berniat membawa sendiri minuman, tidak hanya wine tapi juga Baileys Irish Cream.

Minuman pertama, white wine asal Napa Valley, California. Wine Chardonnay tahun 2006 ini pas untuk pembuka, rasanya sedikit manis, dan menerbitkan selera untuk mencoba course-course yang lain.

Wine berikutnya adalah jenis merah Cabernet Merlot tahun 2004, asal Australia. Rasanya kompleks, dengan meski masih tergolong ringan. “Pilihan saya selalu red wine,” ujar Ida, dan ini diamini oleh yang lain.

Berikutnya adalah Bordeaux, Chateau Teyssier, 2007. Bordeaux adalah sebuah wilayah barat daya Prancis, terletak di mulut Sungai Gironde, salah satu penghasil anggur terbaik di dunia. Ciri wine Bordeaux, yang kebanyakan merah, tidak hanya satu jenis varietas saja, tapi blend atau campuran dari beberpa jenis anggur. Rasanya sudah pasti sangat kompleks.

Tapi yang menarik wine tidak menjadi primadona malam itu. Karena masih ada Baileys Irish Cream, yang bisa diminum sesudah acara makan berakhir. Minuman yang rada kental ini adalah paduan antara Irish whiskey dan cream based liqueur, dibuat pertama kali oleh Gilbeys asal Irlandia, dan mereknya sekarang dipegang oleh Diageo.

Rasanya yang manis, serta kandungan alkohol yang tidak lebih dari 17% ini digemari kaum perempuan. Biasa dijadikan campuran koktail, atau bahkan kopi, tapi disajikan ‘on ice’ juga tidak masalah. Yum yum… (Burhanuddin Abe)

http://www.perempuan.com/index.php?comp=myday&do=index&id=20

Monday, June 07, 2010

Benefiting from growing requirements of office space


THERE continues to be growing demand for office space in Jakarta. The first quarter of 2010 saw an increase of 55 percent from the same period of last year, totaling 44,100 square meters in Jakarta’s Central Business District (CBD). Two business sectors have been quite prominent in the demand: banking and mining. “The market can absorb over 85 percent more than last year,” predicts Arief Rahardjo, associate director for research and advisory of Cushman & Wakefield Indonesia.

Grade A office space made the largest contribution at 40,000 square meters or about 91 percent. Grade B contributed only 6,750 square meters, while Grade C recorded a negative contribution of 2,700 square meters. There was no new supply of office space in the Jakarta CBD in the first three months of 2010. This shows that a strategic location, such as the CBD, is a plus point for a business in any sector. Besides making it easy to connect with colleagues and the like, a strategic location adds to the prestige of a company.

What if your budget is limited but you still want to have an office at a strategic location? The answer, of course, would be to lease a serviced office. A serviced office in this case does not have to be overly spacious but based on a company’s requirements. A consultant’s office, for example, would most likely need space only for four or five people. Serviced office providers can be found in major cities where it is costly to purchase an office in a strategic location. Some of the well-known providers here are CEO Suite, Marquee, Regus, The Executive Centre and Fortice.

Serviced office providers offer sufficient space with maximum service and even a virtual office. So, even if your workshop is on the outskirts of the city, you can have an address in Jakarta’s prestigious Golden Triangle. The leasing rate is no longer in US dollars. The less expensive rate is between Rp 500,000 and Rp 2 million per month and you get an office address, phone number, document service (photocopy, binding, etc.) as well as a computer.

To operate the virtual office, a secretary is available to receive phone calls, and for and extra she or he can also do your telemarketing. Meeting rooms can also be rented so you can meet with clients or hold internal meetings. So, you see, serviced office providers make available virtual offices as well as conventional offices as per required. “Just come and perhaps bring your laptop along and you can start working. All office equipment is available, including the required human resources, such as receptionist, secretary, office boy and so forth,” said Lena Thong, president director of Marquee Executive Offices.

Marquee has a number of high quality serviced offices at Menara Karya (Jl. HR Rasuna Said, Jakarta) and Talavera Office Park (Jl. TB Simatupang, Jakarta), which are in prime locations of the city. They have an extensive global network with experienced service-oriented professionals providing services of company establishment, secretarial search, executive search and tax services. They also provide cost effective, modern and fully furnished serviced offices.

Meanwhile, Fortice Serviced Office has offices at Sentral Senayan 2 (Jl. Asia Afrika, Jakarta). Although in a strategic location, the management of Fortice is aware that budget is an important aspect for most companies, especially new ones, which is why it emphasizes the effective use of space and services.

Fortice offers office space for one to five persons with flexible lease terms, from one month to one year. Next to conventional serviced offices it also has virtual offices, video conference and meeting and conference facilities. “We ensure that your investment yields a potential return through a highly secure intelligent office, facilitated with a state-of-the-art office ICT. Safety-wise, our office was specially built by a reputable Japanese construction company, Kajima Corporation, as part of our earthquake contingency plan,” said one Fortice executive.

Along with the growth in the country’s economy there is an increase in the demand for office space here. So, serviced office providers are the solution for many companies, especially small and new ones. What is interesting is that they provide not only offices in luxury buildings in strategic locations but also effective solutions and efficient rates.

As a matter of fact, they offer not only office space like that offered in conventional office buildings but also services similar to those at a business center in a five-star hotel at a much lower cost. Serviced office providers offer sufficient space with maximum service and even a virtual office. So, even if your workshop is on the outskirts of the city, you can have an address in Jakarta’s prestigious Golden Triangle. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, June 08, 2010

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/06/08/benefiting-growing-requirements-office-space.html

Virtual office, business solution for mobile executives




IT seems that the meaning of “office” has been redefined — at least in Nukman Luthfi’s case. The 46-year-old businessman can work from a coffee shop. One morning while sipping Luwak coffee, he sent a quotation to a client. He read briefly the material he would send on his smartphone, rechecked the address and clicked on “send”. In a few seconds, the proposal had been sent to the client’s email box.

Nukman, CEO of Virtual Consulting, was not working in his office but from Kopi Luwak coffee shop in Pacific Place, South Jakarta. Leaving home for work, he did not need to go to his office in Duren Tiga, because at noon he had an appointment to see another client at the mall. “I spend most of my time on the road, not just today. With an Internet connection, I can manage my company from anywhere,” he said.

Advancements in information technology make everything easy. With a Wi-Fi connection, Nukman can contact his partners online. Regardless of place, whenever there is a Wi-Fi facility he can do his job, from lobbying to making presentations, using facilities like email and chatting. “For fund transfers, we can make use of internet banking,” said the former journalist.

So, if you can work anywhere, why go to the office every day? Nukman, who owns several portals, considers coffee shops the most comfortable places to relax and to work effectively. Coffee shops have become not only a meeting point, but also his second office. 

When he started his business, he made Starbucks his office, and worked only with a notebook. Now, as a business strategy and online marketing consultant, he has 50 employees, but he still works virtually, just as his company’s name suggests.

That means that in various business scales, Nukman runs his company with the present culture, which is mobile and online. Nukman, as well as other professionals and contemporary business owners, are lucky people who can work fast and efficiently, who do not even need much time to start a new business.

While many people work in coffee shops, many companies also offer instant offices, from the virtual office with basic secretarial work to the small office measuring 12 square meters to accommodate one person to a 40-square-meter room for five. It can be said that with a laptop, you can have an office and run your business.

Renting an office costs a lot of money. No wonder many people prefer instant offices, which are usually located in strategic places. Professionals can focus on the job at hand without having to think about many other things. If a client calls, a message will be taken by the instant office secretary, who will immediately forward it to the tenant.

Money can also be saved and allocated for other needs in business development. Renting an instant office can save quite a lot. The monthly overhead for an instant office is only US$200 while the rent for a conventional office could reach $1,290.

Instant offices offer a solution to new companies in Indonesia that want to start small, or to companies that only need a small space, as well as to foreign companies that want to open branches in Indonesia, more precisely Jakarta.

Instant office providers offer not only space, but like building managements, they also offer office operational services. It is like a business center at a five-star hotel, but at a much lower price with the same luxuries.

Even though instant offices are relatively small, they do not necessarily have limited facilities. Like fully furnished offices, they have more than just basic facilities, such as electricity, AC, telephone lines, fax machines, photocopy machines, receptionists, errand boys and 24-hour security. There is a lobby to receive clients, and a meeting room for internal meetings or meetings with clients.

Instant office providers can only be found in big cities like Jakarta where office rental fees are high. One of them is CEO Suite, which is known as a pioneer in this business.

Other providers include The Executive Centre (located in Sampoerna Strategic Square on Jl. Jend. Sudirman), Marquee (in Mayapada Tower on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Menara Karya on Jl. HR Rasuna Said and Talavera on Jl. TB Simatupang) and Regus (Menara Kadin on Jl. HR Rasuna Said), while outside Jakarta there is Asia Suites (Graha Internasional on Jl. Asia Afrika, Bandung). There is tight competition between the companies, with each offering ease, effectivity and efficiency as well as reasonable rental fees.

Serviced offices are similar to instant offices, because of their quick and instant services. They differ in term of the facilities, service and the need of the companies or individuals who use the service.

The greatest advantage offered by an instant office is probably the strategic location, which gives the impression that the tenants are bona fide. The common denominator in the above phenomenon is the need of an individual or a company who wants to have an office in a prominent location like the central business district. It is not only prestigious, but also provides ease because it is close to everything. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, June 08, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Activities abound during upcoming school holiday



THERE is a feeling of excitement when a holiday is just around the corner. There are things to do and plans to make, especially for your children. Of course, it would be unthinkable to allow them go here and there or wander around without any real purpose.

Time allowing, a holiday abroad would be most pleasant. However, a person's budget is an important consideration when deciding on whether to take your children to Europe, the US or a nearby country in Asia. Those with a limited budget might want to consider a backpacking holiday, about which a travel agent can be consulted.

Those on a tight budget can explore domestic locations or places around Jakarta, where there is always something interesting during the school holidays to explore. One example is Apple Gardena Villa in Cipanas, West Java, where one can stay a couple of nights with the family in a caravan in a mountainous area.

Not far from here is Taman Safari Indonesia, which has a breeding program for rare animals or species, such as the Sumatran tiger and elephant, Sulawesi dwarf buffalo (anoa). Here you can also find rare birds such as the bird of paradise, Bali starling and cockatoo.

Taman Safari Indonesia, which opened to the public in 1986, has a collection of more than 2,500 animals consisting of 200 species. Taman Safari Indonesia - located in the Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, which is 900 to 1,800 meters above sea level - is a combination of modern zoo, nature resort and recreation center. Taman Safari offers the Safari Trek for students, in which they can get a real feel of mountain hiking and exploring and can get up close and personal with the working elephants in the area.

If you want to view various kinds of fish, especially sharks, then go to Sea World Indonesia at Taman Impian Jaya Ancol in Jakarta. Or visit Aquatic Fantasy at Telaga Golf Real Estate, Sawangan, Depok, which stages a number of activities, such as climbing, jumping, engaging in battle, adventure games and greeting the sea god Neptune.

Those looking for a real adventure can visit a national park. There are two national parks not far from Jakarta: Mount Halimun Salak National Park in Sukabumi and Mount Pancar National Park, Bogor, both in West Java.

At Mount Halimun National Park, students can have an adventure in the forest and see wild animals or amuse themselves under the waterfall. A camping area and lodgings are also available. Meanwhile, at Mount Pancar National Park they can have a picnic and maintain their health through acupuncture and bathing in the hot springs.

Meanwhile, Cinangneng village in Bogor offers a true village style holiday. Many people, especially during school holidays, often stay in the village, where traditional farmers are the main attraction. There is a villa about 1 kilometer from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture's Dermaga campus.

Life in the village is full of traditional farming activities that attract many people. Visitors are also introduced to traditional musical instruments, such as gamelan and angklung (bamboo instrument).

Students can also learn the games played by the village children and play and bathe in the river as well as help bathe the buffalos. At night they can participate in a security patrol or have dinner with the villagers around a campfire and savor grilled corn. They can also participate in farming activities and get dirty in the mud. This is indeed a rare experience for city children.

If you don't want to stay overnight but do want to enjoy a natural village atmosphere then another choice is Taman Buah Mekarsari (Mekarsari Fruit Park). Here children can learn about fruit farming, pick fruit and take it home.

Taman Buah Mekarsari, located in Cileungsi, West Java, is not a new holiday resort. Located on 27 hectares of land, it is full of fruit trees and one can pick and eat the fruit onsite. Also available is a tram, tuk-tuk, tandem bicycles, ATVs, a monorail, boats, boom-boom cars, a flora theater, a lotus pond, a cultivation center, a fruit store, a food court, a villa in a fruit garden and a stage for musical shows and dramas. There are also challenging outbound activities, such as gliding, sliding from a slope, rope climbing and climbing on bamboo at an angle.

So you see there are many ideas for the holidays that won't break the bank. As long as you know how to enjoy your holiday, it will turn out to be a memorable one. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, June 04, 2010

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/06/04/activities-abound-during-upcoming-school-holiday.html