Bali, the Island of Gods

After more than 20 years living in Java, its neighboring island, I finally get a chance to visit Bali! This famous island that people often mention whenever I tell them I’m from Indonesia, “I know Bali!” they will say :). “Yeah, but I’ve never been there,” is what I usually respond with. Well, even though the Bali strait can be easily crossed with ferry from the eastern point of Java, my hometown is in the west part of Java, with around 900 km air distance to Bali ^^; Not so close…

As I mentioned few blog-posts ago, I was there for a conference. But then my family joined the trip for the weekend after the conference, and after that also the bear for another week. Yippee, summer holiday time!

With my family, we did the usual touristic routes in Bali. It was a very convenient trip since we hired a car plus driver for 3 days, and the driver is a local who also became our tourist guide. He told us stories about Balinese Hinduism‘s rituals and myths… and ghosts (a.k.a Leak) :D.

The complete collection of pictures from the trip can be found here.

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My First Via Ferrata – sulla Cresta di Masarè

left picture is taken from here

So… do I look like them already? :p

Since last year I’ve been wanting to try via ferrata, but the idea was always dismissed by the bear (a.k.a our via ferrata expert here :p) by reason of my lack of stamina.

Via ferrata, the Italian words for ‘iron road’, is a protected climbing route usually found in the Alps. It is called the iron road because there is (almost) always a steel cable that runs along the route, fixed to the rock every 3-10 m. The climber can securely hang (with the climbing aids) on the cable, limiting any fall. (source: Wikipedia, of course)

Not only that the climbing activity requires a very good physical fitness, but reaching the ferrata route itself usually requires some hiking. It’s not like a helicopter would drop us at the start of the route, then pick us up after we are done :p. That’s why the bear was hesitant, because he thought I’m not fit enough to handle the long and tedious journey.

However, this summer, somehow he is convinced that I’m now able to do it (thanks to poweryoga ^^). So here we go!

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The Bear and Bahasa Indonesia

So… finally! The bear had a chance to visit Indonesia :) Selamat datang di Indonesia, Beruang! [Welcome to Indonesia, Bear!]

picture is taken from here

Before coming, the only phrase he knows is selamat malam [good evening]. After spending a week in Indonesia, Bali and Banyuwangi to be exact, he almost becomes a native speaker of Indonesian language!

…kidding :p. But at least he knows some more words now, hehe.

Selamat pagi, siang, sore, malam

After knowing selamat malam [good evening], the next step would be to learn the greetings for other parts of the day: selamat pagi [good morning], selamat siang [good afternoon], selamat sore [good afternoon/evening]. Oh, and also the other selamat like selamat makan [enjoy your meal/buon appetito/guten Appetit] and selamat tidur [good night].

Makasih!

Yep, I taught him how to say ‘thanks’ like a native :p. Once, he said that to a street vendor after buying a bottle of water and biscuits, and the guy corrected him that it should be terima kasih [thank you], the more formal way :D.

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Di Tanah Air

Akhirnya, kembali berada di tanah air. Dan akhirnya… sampai juga di Bali! :D.

Berasa banget kalo lagi di tanah air, karena cuma di tanah air…

  1. mesti hati-hati dikibulin supir taksi di airport. “Mau ke mana, Mbak?” | “The Stones hotel, Legian” | “150 ribu aja, Mbak” | “Meh…” *melenggang berlalu*. Akhirnya saya bayar 100 ribu sih, lumayan hemat 50 ribu.
  2. pada gak bisa ngeliat cewek jalan kaki sendirian. Setiap beberapa meter ada aja yang nyapa, dan nanya, “Sendirian ajah?” atau komentar-komentar gak jelas *catcalling lah*. Memang orang Indonesia super ramah, ya! :p Setiap beberapa meter juga ditawarin ojek dan diklaksonin taksi. Hadoh, saya ini mau sehat makanya jalan kaki. Masa jarak cuma 15 menit jalan kaki manja naik ojek atau taksi. Herannya cewek foreigner jalan sendirian dicuekin aja tuh.
  3. pada gak bisa ngeliat orang makan sendirian di restoran. Para pelayannya pada kepo gitu nanya, “Kok sendirian ajah, Mbak?” Ehem, well, mungkin juga karena saya di Bali sih ya, di mana biasanya orang datang makan berpasang-pasangan :p.
  4. pada gak bisa ngeliat cewek *mungil nan manis* traveling sendirian, nginep di hostel pula. “Hati-hati ya, Mbak, ntar diambil orang”, katanya.

Tenang Bapak-bapak, Ibu-ibu, Mas-mas, Mbak-mbak… Sebentar lagi keluarga saya datang kok. Saya bakal pindah nginep di hotel, dan kemana-mana bakal naik mobil sewaan. Gak melenggang sendirian lagi deh…

Anyway, glad to be home :)

IndoTimex for Indonesian Temporal Expressions

One question that got me thinking during the interviews with Google was, “Do you have any experience in building an NLP tool, like a tagger or a parser, for Indonesian language?”, and my answer was, “Well, ehem, not yet.”  I wonder why…

That’s why, during the last Christmas/New Year break *while waiting for the result of the interviews*, I decided to do something for Indonesian language :”>. Actually, almost the same thing I already did for Italian… building an automatic extraction system for Indonesian temporal expressions!

Extraction means recognizing time expressions given a text, then normalize their values. For example, if today’s date is March 25, 2015 (2015-03-25), then when the system found dua hari yang lalu [two days ago] the value will be normalized as 2015-03-23. I called the system: IndoTimex!

The online demo of IndoTimex is available here.

The complete system, implemented in Python, is available (for download) here.

And… since there was a conference deadline around that time, PACLING 2015 *which will be held in Bali! :D*, I submitted a paper about it and got accepted. So, to know more about the technology behind the system, please read the paper here.

If everything works fine, soon I will visit Bali (and definitely, also home) for a vacation with my family, oh, and also for the conference ;). This is what we call as an Indonesian proverb “sambil menyelam minum air”, hohoho…