Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sihasale making badminton flick

Matheos V. Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 01/05/2009 11:01 AM | People

JAKARTA: Inspired by badminton champion Liem Swie King, actor and film producer Ari Sihasale plans to launch his third children’s film — about badminton — in June.

JP/R. Bertho Wedhatama JP/R. Bertho Wedhatama

“It’s badminton players who make this country become known to the world but they are usually forgotten. They are treated like a king or queen only at the moment they win, but after that nobody really cares about them,” Ari told The Jakarta Post.

The film, titled King, is about the struggle of a village boy to achieve his dream of becoming a badminton champion.

“I’m really inspired by King’s spirit and I think we still need films that inspire our children to reach their dreams,” he said.

“It’s very hard nowadays to tell stories to adults. It’s better to tell a story to children who might get inspired by the story.”

Ari criticized the trend in the country’s film industry for currently “only selling love and dreams”.
Ari and his wife actress Nia Zulkarnaen are known for their interest in children’s films.

Their first two films Denias, Senandung di Atas Awan (Denias, Singing on the Clouds, 2006) and Liburan Seru (Exciting Holiday, 2008) were both for children.

Denias, Senandung di Atas Awan won the award for Best Children’s Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (ASPA) in 2007. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Cornelia finds her comfort zone

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 01/06/2009 7:41 AM | People

CORNELIA AGATHA: (JP/P.J. Leo)CORNELIA AGATHA: (JP/P.J. Leo)

JAKARTA: Actress Cornelia Agatha said she had left the country’s TV soap opera industry simply because she wanted to put her family first.

“I have been in the industry for about 20 years and I will be 36 this Jan. 11. I just want to spend the rest of my life doing something more meaningful,” she told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

She also criticized the low standards of sinetron (TV soap operas), which she said had reached a “severe quality in terms of acting, visual and story quality”.

However, she declined to confirm that this poor quality was the reason for her retreat.

“Even if the quality of sinetron were good, I would still choose my family,” said the mother of two-year-old twins Makayla Athaya Lalwani and Tristan Athala Lalwani.

Cornelia said she preferred the theater to sinetron as it would allow her to spend more time with her family. “If I act in a sinetron I might only see my children once in the morning,” she said.

Performing on stage will also allow her to explore her talents “more deeply”.

“I like singing, dancing and martial arts, and they can all fit into a play. The creative process and exploration in a theatrical play are also deeper.”

With Teater Koma, Cornelia will appear in Republik Petruk (Petruk’s Republic) at Taman Ismail Marzuki arts center in Central Jakarta from Jan. 9 to 25. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Syaharani: Exploring her comfort zone

Matheos Viktor Messakh, , The Jakarta Post, , Jakarta | Sat, 01/03/2009 10:33 AM | People

Syaharani likes to swing to many things in life, but she only chooses those that suit her soul and mind.

SYAHARANI: Courtesy of SyaharaniSYAHARANI: Courtesy of Syaharani

That was why the 37-year-old jazz singer recorded her first album when she was 28 although many recording offers had come her way since she was only a high school student.

Born in the small town of Batu in Malang, East Java, Saira Syaharani Ibrahim's father is of mixed Indian and Sulawesi decent, and her mother is of mixed Greek and Central Java Surakarta blood.

Syaharani was never formally trained, but her mother Elly Zapantis, a soprano singer, was a great influence on her.

"My mom has given me a lot of sense. We used to sit around her, watching the moon, singing and talking. This pastime is still the best stress release for me," she said.

Although she has been aware of the works of jazz legends like Nat King Cole, Shirley Bassey and Frank Sinatra since her childhood, becoming a jazz singer was not her dream.

As a little girl, Syaharani was more into sports -- she was a sprinter and a badminton shuttler at school.

If she had not injured her ankle during the final stages of recruitment for a regional training camp, she would probably be known today as a badminton player.

Her first encounter with music industry was back in 1987, when she moved to stay with a relative, a music producer, in Jakarta three years after the death of her father, Hasan Ali Ibrahim.

Through her relative -- who has arranged tours for world-class musicians like Miami Sound Machine, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder in the country -- she became familiar with the industry and even became a backing vocalist for Titi DJ.

She was encouraged by friends, including rock musicians like Ian Antono, to enter recording industry, but she declined.

"It's not my character to be a rock star. I prefer something cool and calm, and that's really jazz."

After finishing high school, Syaharani returned to Malang.

But due to economic reason, she abandoned her dream to become an architect and started to work as a customer service officer at a private bank while studying accountancy at university.

She continued singing at night as the vocalist of two university bands, which she joined at the same time.

Juggling he job and her singing career was not easy, and wanting to be honest with herself, she quit her job.

"I like to sing and it's not fair to tell my boss that I will stop singing," she said.

Her life took a twist when she went to live with a relative in Bali after breaking up with her boyfriend.

In Bali, she ventured into singing jobs now and then until she was offered a job after a show at Tavern Club in Kartika Plaza Hotel.

Syaharani said her mother opposed her decision, but she was able to persuade her to agree with her even though it meant she would have to stay longer in Bali.

Soon, she became familiar with some of the country's jazz musicians. One of them, drummer Gilang Ramadhan, introduced her to bassist Todung Panjaitan, who recognized her talent and repeatedly asked her to move to Jakarta, which he argued was the best place to nurture her jazz career.

She finally changed her mind in 1995, moving to Jakarta where she got along very well with the country's leading jazz musicians.

With Todung, Andi Ayunir, she then formed the group Cyano, as well as becoming a vocalist for the Thief Band with Indra Lesmana and Dony Suhendra.

Three year later, jazz musician Benny Likumahuwa asked her to join his band, which included noted musicians Bubi Chen, Sutrisno, Cendy Luntungan and Oele Pattiselano.

"Thank God, I have so many seniors who teach me a lot. This is why I like being a musician. This is the environment I want, not the one I saw when I was in high school, where fans line up waiting for their idol."

The rest of her career is a mixture of friendship and professionalism.

With the band, Syaharani launched a debut of her original music by releasing the compilation album What a Wonderful World in 1998.

One year later, she embarked on a solo career, recording her first solo album Love.

The complexity and diversity of jazz seems to find deep resonance with Syaharani's authentic performance style, becoming a star attraction who enlivens the show with her playful and inspired vocal.

With her sultry voice, Syaharani has performed in some prestigious domestic and international jazz events, including the annual Java Jazz and JakJazz Festival as well as the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands in 2001.

Her talent has made some world-class musicians like Al Jarreau, Dave Koz, Keith Martin and the Yellowjackets share their stages with her during their concerts in the country.

While jazz vocals are her mainstay, in 2002 Syaharani also ventured into what she called psychedelic music by releasing her album Magma, comprising songs with touches of jazz, fusion, ethnic and trip-hop.

She admitted that Magma was not a very successful venture. She returned in 2004 with her third album Syaharani.

In her creativity process, Syaharani does not fear to navigate the fine line between the realm of the pop singer and the genuine jazz vocalist.

She has even attempted to cross the line, by holding her first solo concert titled Cross Genre Music at Taman Ismail Marzuki in 2004.

For her fourth album Untuk Kamu (For You) -- a crossover jazz project -- she tried to make jazz "ear-friendly", blending in the influences of pop, soul, jazzy groove and a bit of rock 'n' roll and blues.

And she is not only exploring and combining different music style, but also begins to expand her talent into theater.

She performed in theatrical musical acts Nyai Dasima (Madame Dasima) and Gallery of Kisses as well as in music flick Garasi (Garage). She also wrote theme song and lent her vocals to the movie Betina (Female).

Early last month, she released her first book, Life Stage Delight, a personal reflection of her life as an entertainer.

When many musicians put their career in the hand of the industry, she runs the management of Syaharani & The Queenfireworks with four of her friends.

She said the independent label was good for young musicians to learn how to manage themselves and if they were lucky, they could become entrepreneurs.

"It's difficult, but it's a challenge. Independent label is a picture of ourselves. If we undermine our own works, we never get the real picture."

Effendi laments loss of good journalism

Matheos V. Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 12/26/2008 11:02 AM | People

JP/P.J. LeoJP/P.J. Leo

JAKARTA: Communications expert Effendi Gazali is worried about the state of Indonesian journalism.

TV journalism, he says, has become drowned in “media routine”, failing to probe the causes of problems, while the print media has embraced an “entertainment” style and is cutting space for in-depth stories.

“They (TV channels) seem to have routine news about many things. They know there will be floods in Jakarta, or a chemical fertilizer scarcity,” he told The Jakarta Post. “They’re proud to be the first to report such problems but never question why these things happen.”

As for print media, he has noticed that some newspapers and magazines have embraced an entertaining style, with other more “serious” media reducing their columns and space, resulting in shallow reports.

“I’m not against the use of more entertaining language and symbols in news presentation, but it should be used only as a way of presentation. The real function of journalism — to educate — should be still taken into account,” he said. —JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Celebs reveal their New Year's resolutions

Ary Hermawan and Matheos V. Messakh, , The Jakarta Post, , Jakarta | Wed, 12/31/2008 10:51 AM | People

A New Year's Eve tradition for many is to reflect on what resolutions they will make for the coming year.

For some, it means a time to sit and contemplate but for others, it's time to get things straight and focus on their lives. Below are excerpts from what public figures and celebrities have resolved to do in 2009:

Deddy Mizwar, actor and director: Next year I just want to be a much better person.

But next year will also be a decisive year for Indonesians as we will have two elections.

I hope those preparing for the elections can all work together for the good of this country, not just for various political interests.

Every element should be conducted in a just and honest way. Security must be of the utmost concern and the General Elections Commission must work very hard to make sure the elections are held according to the laws.

Above all, everyone should be concerned about how to make the constitutional system work for the people and not just for the political parties.

All of the problems we face now -- including economic and security problems -- are the results of (the poor implementation) of our constitutional system .... The parliament seems to control everything and the executive has less space in which to do its job. So what we really need is a clear system.

With all of these inconsistencies, I'm afraid the election will have little legitimacy.

We face a kind of party oligarchy which makes every power in the country bow their head to the political parties.

Oppie Andaresta, singer: First thing I want in the new year is to stay healthy. We can do whatever we want if we are healthy. It's a simple thing but it's difficult.

The next thing I have promised myself is to be creative. Even though I work from home, I will allocate time for creative work. If possible, I will work from nine to five -- the same as those working in an office.

I also want to get back into the music industry. After giving birth, I have spent a lot of time with my baby.

I actually started arranging a song this year but I did it on my own at home. Hopefully it will be launched in January.

Like my previous songs, the lyrics are light and happy and it is about people who have not yet married but are always being asked about their single status by their friends and relatives.

Regarding the global crisis -- I think we cannot hide from it.

But I do hope the next general election will go well so we can elect a leader who is reliable and can lead the country to a better future.

I have not made up my mind on who I will vote for ... but I think President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is still doing a good job and he deserves to be re-elected. Most of the regulations under his term are still acceptable and have brought many positive things.

Armand Maulana, GIGI band vocalist: This is a "cliche" resolution. I just want to be a better person than (I was) last year. I want to be a good father and husband. I mean, my daughter is grown up and is now able to protest.

It is not that I was too busy in 2008, being busy is a must to keep food on the table. It's just that I need to be more attentive to her. I want her to be a devout Muslim woman. She can be pretty and smart but she must be religious.

As for my career with GIGI, we are now doing our 17th album. I hope we can have peace in doing it so that we can produce a good piece.

We usually make bad albums when there are too many distractions on our minds. The distractions can be anything, for example, the trend of menye-menye songs (songs with corny, pathetic and miserable tunes and lyrics). When we make an upbeat and fast song, some people say it won't sell. That's a distraction.

It is hard to change Indonesia. Whoever is the president, even Superman, cannot change it swiftly. I have traveled to various regions and have encountered the true face of Indonesia. We are not going to choose the best from the best in the upcoming election. We may have to choose the best from the bad ones. But I believe that we can get out of the crisis we are now facing.

I don't know about the security situation during the election, but I think we have grown tired of violence. But still I don't know -- I'm not God.

Widi "AB Three", singer: I wish a healthy life for my seven-month-old baby. I will breast-feed her for two years because it is the best nutrition for her.

I have received many offers to perform in sinetron (TV soap opera) and movies but I have to refuse them since they would have a negative impact on my ability to breast-feed my daughter. I will only take some on-stage singing contracts because they require less time than filming for sinetron or a movie.

This new year is also when we will elect our politicians. If we want to choose the right person, never rely on a false flattery campaign. This is the time to open our eyes and face the truth. Rather than relying on campaign ads, it would be better if we used our intuition and logic, because they never lie.

The economy is getting worse but we still have to do something for the country or at least enable ourselves to survive this crisis.

Every time I buy a domestic product, I think this will help our nation get through the crisis. Every family needs to tighten their belt and spend carefully.

Didi Petet, an actor and lecturer: As a lecturer, I will concentrate on education. I will be responsible both as an actor and a lecturer.

Next year is election year and we need to elect those who are young and able to bring this country to a "run" and not just to a "crawl". We've been crawling far too long. I believe we still have a chance but we must choose those who are able to motivate this country to create a better future.

The big problem with our leaders is political communication. They have no ability to motivate people to seek a better future, and what we have now is a mass wrestling match between political actors who are trying to influence their constituents.

I have no hope in the government in terms of art development in this country. They never think about it. My concern is theater, and look what have they done.

We do not even have our own theater building. Must we go to Singapore just to watch a good quality performance? I think the government should learn about theater so they can understand this need.

I only hope I can do my best in theater without having to expect much from the government.

Eko turns to politics for hometown

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 12/30/2008 7:33 AM | People

EKO PATRIO: (JP)EKO PATRIO: (JP)

JAKARTA: Comedian Eko Patrio says his New Year resolution is to turn his dream of becoming a representative for his hometown into a reality.

Eko has been nominated by the National Mandate Party (PAN) as a legislative candidate for an East Java constituency covering Nganjuk, Madiun, Mojokerto, Jombang.

“I want my dream to come true,” Eko told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

“I just want to do something for my hometown. Many people have tried to do many things for my hometown, but with no success. I’m optimistic that if I win, I’ll be more useful for my hometown.”

A recent survey by the Indonesia Survey Institute ranks Eko as more popular than established politicians such as Tifatul Sembiring of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Ferry Mursyidan Baldan of the Golkar Party, Anas Urbaningrum of the Democratic Party and Pramono Anung of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

The 38-year-old comedian, born in Kurung Lor, Nganjuk, came in second only to Agung Laksono, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the survey.

Eko said his tight year-end schedule had left him with only a day to celebrate the holidays with his family. — JP/Matheos V. Messakh

Dora and Barbie charm children on holiday


Matheos Viktor Messakh, , The Jakarta Post, , Jakarta | Sat, 12/27/2008 10:55 AM | Lifestyle

Many kids might pass their holidays watching TV, but if they want, they can meet some of their favorite characters in person: Dora the Explorer and her friends as well as Barbies Liana and Alexa are bringing their musical stage shows to Jakarta.

The TV series of Dora the Explorer, whose popularity owes much to its groundbreaking interactivity with viewers, has arrived in Jakarta to perform shows at Senayan City in South Jakarta.

Kicking off Friday in the main atrium of Senayan City, the bilingual Dora and friends will perform twice a day, around 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday until Jan. 4.

The interactive musical performance is based on the Dora TV episode "Best Friend Day", which tells the story of Dora and her monkey friend Boots going on a picnic to Rainbow Rock to celebrate Happy Best Friends Day.

As in the TV version, Dora and Boots go exploring to find the rock on their own, but they keep stopping to ask the viewer to help find new ways to get to the place with the help of The Map.

Dora and Boots, played by actors from Australia, the Philippines and Singapore, also invite the viewers to dance, sing and help find solutions to problems that arise during the trip -- and learn a bit of Spanish on the way.

The children can also meet Dora, Boots and Dora's nephew Go Diego Go after the show.

Children and parents visiting Senayan City can take in the show from a distance but a minimum purchase of Rp 250,000 worth of Nickelodeon products gives VIP seating during the show, as well as the chance to be photographed with Dora, Boots and Diego afterward and to play in the big snow globe and the art and crafts area at the venue.

To meet Diego, visitors must buy at least Rp 150,000 worth of Nickelodeon products or pay Rp 35,000 to have their photograph taken with Dora, Boots and Diego.

The show is part of "Nickelodeon Merry Nick Holiday", sponsored by 27 companies that all provide products in the Nickelodeon family, said Farida Mualim, managing director of Tuesday Licensing Indonesia, the licensing agency of the Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Product in Indonesia.

"All Nickelodeon characters are focused on education and Dora is one of the characters who has a special mission in education," Farida told The Jakarta Post.

"Everywhere she goes, she carries the mission of teaching kids a second language. In Indonesia, she teaches children English."

Senayan City's public relations manager Sri Ayu Ningsih said "Nickelodeon Merry Nick Holiday" also features Dora storybook reading, a Christmas choir, a Christmas operetta and a ballet performance.

Meanwhile, another live musical, "Musical Christmas with Barbie and the Diamond Castle", is on at the East Mall of Grand Indonesia, in Central Jakarta, from Dec. 13 to Dec. 28.

The 30-minute show is adapted from the 13th Barbie film, titled Barbie & The Diamond Castle, which was released in September.

It tells the story of two Barbies, Liana and Alexa, who live together in a small house. After finding a magic mirror, in which a girl is trapped, Liana and Alexa go on an adventure to find the Diamond Castle to save their new friend.

"We chose Barbie because it is a strong brand and still amuses many children and their families," Grand Indonesia's assistant advertising and promotion manager Kantoro Permadi told the Post.

The show, the first Barbie stage musical in Indonesia, is being held under the cooperation of Grand Indonesia, Mattel, BCA Bank and Seibu.

The show is on twice every Tuesday to Thursday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. From Friday to Sunday, there is an additional show at 2 p.m.

At the end of every show, kids can meet all of the actors from the show, including the two Barbies.

For a minimum total purchase of Rp 350,000 at any shop in the mall or of merchandise from the Barbie exhibition, children and parents can enter the audience area to watch the show and be photographed with Barbie.

Those who want to be photographed in a Barbie costume can get one for Rp 60,000 at the photo booth near the exhibition area.

As most of the cast approved by Barbie brand-holder Mattel are from Australia, the show is held in English.

"We don't worry about the language because we know that most of the children who visit Grand Indonesia are bilingual," Permadi said.

Personal is political for Valentina Sagala

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 12/22/2008 11:05 AM | People

ROTUA VALENTINA SAGALA: Courtesy of Rotua Valentina SagalaROTUA VALENTINA SAGALA: Courtesy of Rotua Valentina Sagala

Soeharto's downfall during the 1998 reform movement prompted the emergence of NGOs, which mushroomed by including big names as their patrons or on their advisory boards.

But that was not the case with Rotua Valentina Sagala.

Valentina founded Yayasan Institut Perempuan (Women's Institute Foundation) in Bandung in 1998 and believed that flattery would get her nowhere.

"If you have a great will to do something for others, then do it even if you are young or a woman," the 31-year-old woman told The Jakarta Post recently.

The absence of prominent figures in the foundation meant no parties allocated funding to the foundation. Valentina and her four colleagues knew well that without money they could not do much. They had anticipated that though, and focused only on activities viable to their status as students.

Valentina was just in her second year at Bandung-based Padjadjaran University's School of Law and at the Parahyangan Catholic University's School of Economy.

"We really tried to become a resource center by collecting data and providing analysis. All the money come from our own pockets," she said.

Six years later, they received small grants from independent bodies such as Mama Cash and Terre des Homes, both from the Netherlands.

Despite a shaky start, every assistance has helped the foundation to reach some of their goals.

Although she never claimed to be behind the success of a West Java 2005 bylaw on child protection, she acknowledged that the foundation "was among the first to fight for the elimination of women and child trafficking in West Java". Three years later, lawmakers agreed to pass a law on human trafficking.

Valentina and her friends also set up community-based groups across West Java to help prevent women and child trafficking as well as domestic violence.

"West Java is one of the provinces that send a huge number of female migrant workers. Some of them fall victim to human trafficking."

Valentina criticized the government for its tendency to see trafficking as a single problem. In fact it has many faces, which can be traced back to the government's own policies.

"There are villages being abandoned by their women who prefer to work in cities."

In fighting for the rights of women and children, Valentina opted to be a feminist, which she perceived as "unique compared to other ideologies as it has its bases of analysis on a women's own body".

The feminist mantra, "the personal is political", challenged every feminist to do what they think, said Valentina.

"It's about our person and we have to undress ourselves when we talk about feminism. It's not that we publicly declare that we are against violence but we do it at home."

Writing has become an escapism for Valentina and her friends since they are dealing with the hideosity of problems affecting women and children. Their habit has gone to a good cause as they periodically publish Her-Story, a journal where women can write everything about their struggle.

The eldest daughter with three brothers, Valentina has learned much about female stereotyping in a male-dominated family.

She said she had been exposed to serious issues such as women's and children's rights since she was in the St. Ursula Catholic High School in Jakarta. Only after the May 1998 riots -- where thousands of people were killed while hundreds of Chinese women were raped -- did she began to realize that injustices existed, especially for women.

"A women's body is a target of oppression. Sexual violence is a horrifying method. It repeatedly puts women to death," she said.

The biggest problem for Indonesian women and children was the state's negligence to recognize, protect and fulfill human rights.

Valentina said Indonesia had ratified international human rights instruments but lacks seriousness in fulfilling these rights.

"We can only talk about justice if basic human rights have been fulfilled, not the other way around."

The government ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984, five years after it was adopted by the UN. For Valentina, the ratification -- which was later on implemented in Law No.7/1984 -- was a setback.

"It stipulated that the implementation of the law must adjust to Indonesian culture. It's strange because the CEDAW is aimed to affirm women's rights and not adjust to any culture that might oppress women."

She slammed government policies such as the fuel price hike or gender-biased curriculum that do side with the people. It is a flat denial of human rights, she said.

On the issue of children's rights, Valentina said Indonesia had moved forward by amending the Constitution, which now contains valuable articles on children's rights.

But government policies are still based on the old child welfare paradigm -- which says the state is responsible for the welfare of poor people and abducted children.

"What really matters is not how to help poor children, but how to fulfill children's rights. It's not about distributing food for kids on streets during Ramadan or by forcibly putting street children into orphanages. It's about fulfilling their rights as human beings. The Constitution is very good but the logic of our government just doesn't follow."

Another fallacy regarding the fulfillment of children's rights is the ratification of the Children Rights Convention (CRC) only as a presidential decree, instead of as a law.

"All domestic legislation must comply with the convention as soon as it is ratified. But how can we refer to the convention if it is only a presidential decree?"

Indonesia still has problems with the substance of laws, the structure of law as well as its legal culture, Valentina said, who earned her master's degree in law at Padjadjaran University in 2006.

For Valentina, Indonesia's human rights movement is still in its early stages, demanding that the state recognize human rights in its laws and regulations.

However, she never loses hope in her fight for the rights of women and children.

"It's a pity that we make so many regulations and never really implement them. But we're happy that now more police officers, lawyers, attorneys and judges have a greater concern and sensitivity toward the rights of women and children."

Rotua Valentina Sagala
Born : Jakarta/Aug. 19, 1977
Books :
* Pelacur Versus His First Lady? (Prostitute versus his first Lady?), 2006
* Memberantas Trafiking Perempuan dan Anak (Fighting women and child trafficking), 2007
* Percakapan tentang Feminisme vs Neoliberalisme (conversation on feminism versus liberalism), 2007, with Arimbi Heroepoetri
* Pergulatan Feminisme dan HAM (Struggle of feminism and human rights), 2007, with Ellin Rozana
* Perlindungan Pekerja Rumah Tangga/Anak di Indonesia: Peta Arah Hukum (Protection of house maids and child workers in Indonesia: A map of the legal system), 2008

NH Dini sells paintings for health

Sat, 12/20/2008 12:11 PM | People

JAKARTA: Renowned writer N.H. Dini is selling 10 paintings in her collection to cover her medical expenses.

"Ibu (N.H. Dini) said she needed money for her healthcare and she wanted to sell her paintings, so I sent an email to some friends," Ariany Isnamurti, Dini's close friend, said Friday.

Ariany, who works for the H.B. Jassin Literary Documentation center in Jakarta, said she had received a big response and one of the paintings was sold. The paintings are priced between Rp 4 million (US$357) and Rp 10 million.

The 72-year-old writer, who now lives in a nursing home in Ungaran, Central Java, is famous for her novels, including Pada Sebuah Kapal (On a Ship, 1972), La Barka (1975), Namaku Hiroko (My Name is Hiroko, 1977), Orang-orang Tran (People of Tran, 1983), Pertemuan Dua Hati (The Match of Two Hearts, 1986), Hati yang Damai (Peaceful Heart, 1998) and her latest, Argenteuil, Hidup Memisahkan Diri (Argenteuil, Life Separates Itself).

Ariany denied reports that Dini has hepatitis-B. "She needs money to keep her well. She is so disciplined in taking vitamins and all that kind of thing," she said. -- JP/Matheos V.Messakh

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