Posts Tagged ‘Bekasi Cyber Park’



Approachable is one way to describe him. Actually, it is the opposite, he does the approaching, accosting you when he thinks he needs your help with a machine or if you’re doing something wrong with an exercise. That’s how I met him at the gym albeit I had been frequenting Helios at Bekasi CyberPark Bekasi for several months. I’d see him attending to his client every time I was working out. Then one fine December night about 16 months ago, he came over to me. By him, I’m referring to Agus Wahyudi, one of the personal trainers at Helios, whose teddy bear demeanor belies a martinet.

“Let me give you a trial workout,” he said casually, a huge smile crossing his face, as he prepped the leg extension machine.

The workout regimen convinced me to sign him up as my personal trainer despite feeling that every muscle in my body seemed to have been ripped apart. I was challenged even though running up a flight of stairs in school the next day proved excruciating – an experience was commingled with a tinge of hilarity. Picture this – as I run up the stairs I was muttering “Ouch, Ouch”. Every step elicited looks of wonder from every student and colleague who tried hard to suppress a giggle or guffaw.


Immediately after my Christmas break, I began my sessions with Pak Agus which meant training with him four times a week. Admittedly, the first month had me in tears; every squat, lunge, abdominal exercise or chess press was incendiary, but I carried on cajoled by Pak Agus who seemed to not notice that I was picking my tongue off the floor every session, and only smiled during the rest periods between exercises. But I was fuelled by a determination to conquer all the exercises he threw my way and get my breathing to a normal pace, so I trooped diligently to Helios – rain or shine – and worked out between two and three hours.


Pak Agus’s personality showed through our sessions. For one, he is a professional who puts all his attention on his client, as he rarely misses a session unless it’s, for instance, a family emergency. Second, he is a movie buff who kept me updated on which movie I should not miss or give a miss. He gave “Logan” the thumbs up. Third, he’s funny. His disappointment with Emma Watson’s “Beauty and the Beast” because, in his words, “there was a lot of singing” had me laughing. He fell asleep in the cinema. Fourth, he is affable. Every member of Helios is on speaking terms with him; he is just simply nice to speak with. There’s not a drop of arrogance in him. Fifth, he is entrepreneurial. He used to manage a snack bar at Helios selling steamed egg white, sandwiches, coffee and other beverages, etc. Sadly, the rent hike was too much so he closed shop. However, he is back selling beverages like water, coconut milk, protein shakes, Pocari sweat, banana, and especially the pudding, fruit salad, or green bean pudding made by his wife.


Lastly, and this is why I have not changed personal trainers, he is credible. He eats healthily, doesn’t smoke, emphasizes correct movement, posture and breathing, and answers all of my questions about fitness in a straightforward manner. Moreover, the fact that he has a balanced workout is a stark testament to his integrity as a legitimate personal trainer. It’s difficult, I find, to trust a personal trainer who has chicken legs and, horror of horror, smokes. I had a personal trainer before at Helios but it was short-lived. He was not qualified to be one and I regretted signing up with him.

A personal trainer is just like a teacher. The trainer must be knowledgeable, professional, and able to establish rapport. Fortunately, Pak Agus fits the bill to a T. He is committed to my fitness journey as I am.


No. 16

“You must take a number,” said Indra as I walked pass him to get to the ladies’ locker room.

“Number? What number?”

“It is for spinning class, for the bike,” he explained, pointing to the table opposite the men’s locker room where his colleague was seated and watching over strips of numbers arranged neatly. The number man, as I had secretly taken to calling him, would be at his station between 5 and 510pm waiting for cyclists to pick one up. Without much thought I selected number 16 and, being a creature of habit, I’d always picked number 16 and appropriated the bike as “my” bike.

Indra, one of the spinning instructors, had been urging me to attend spinning class every time he’d see me at the gym. I had return to Helios gym at Cyber Park Bekasi last June but I wasn’t that keen on attending spinning class. I had attended the class years ago but I wasn’t ready; I knew I would as soon as collapse after a few minutes on the bike. Eventually, I bit the bullet and relented to hop on a bike. Ever since then spinning class has become my panacea, the source of the much vaunted happy hormones I needed to get through the days of listlessness and ennui.

There was a time engaging in persiflage would lift my flagging spirit – repartees gave me a thrill but then my verbal jousting partner had started his first year in medical school at University of Indonesia and no one was left to pick up the gauntlet. Repartee is more difficult and less satisfying over WhatsApp. Gawking at the jeunesse dorée did distract me too from my worries – it is like flipping through a glossy magazine – until it hit me that I am almost penurious compared to them. So, what do you do when you are feeling as if someone pulled the rug from under you? Being patient was one colleague’s suggestion. Another told me to tuck into sinfully delicious red velvet cake or Baskin and Robbins ice cream or Excelso’s banana frappio. Fortunately, Indra badgered me into attending spinning class which gave that much-needed diversification in my workout.

Diversity in workout, I read in an article in, is a must for people who want to get more out there of their workout. Said Ingrid Nelson, a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., and founder of the ING Group personal training, in the article The One Thing All Personal Trainers Tell Their Clients to Do More Of: “Even minor tweaks, like doing squats or pushups for a set period of time instead of number of reps, keep your muscles guessing and working in new ways, which improves strength.”

It was also written in the article that “in a small study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that participants who followed a varied workout routine (including resistance training, sprint intervals, stretching/yoga/Pilates and endurance exercise) and ate whey protein lost more weight, lost more fat mass, and gained more lean body mass than those who combined the protein with resistance-only strength training or only consumed the protein.”

Spinning class is conducted every day of the week at Helio in Bekasi Cyber Park.

Spinning class is conducted every day of the week at Helio in Bekasi Cyber Park.

So, following the experts’ advice, I have added regular spinning classes to my exercise bag of weights and yoga for a well-rounded workout routine. For 30 minutes, three or four times a week, I pedal and huff and puff plus curse under my breath while following the moves of Indra or Rini or Carin who barked orders to pedal faster, increase the tension, or go up and down in Indonesian. After each session, I feel as svelte as Heidi Klum and an Indonesian phrase wiser – ambil nafas (roughly translated as inhale, exhale) is now part of my vocabulary.


Budiman's the man for your kebaya

For me, at least, it was – a form of jalan-jalan that is, a break from the monotony of the everyday routine. But we were not on foot; we were onboard an SUV making our way from Bestari, a boutique tailor specializing in the the national costume of Indonesia especially the sexy kebaya. It was in a part of Bekasi, in the Galaxy area, and its dummy models clad in exquisite kebayas for all kinds of occasions carried an air of elegance and that tacit insinuation that you’d be the star of the night in their tailor-perfect ensemble.

Pricey was the overall conclusion of my companions who, apparently, had already gone to another tailor who could do the same job – sew the bustier, the diaphanous top over the bustier and the elaborate design on the collar. It made me wonder why they brought me there in the first place. But, just the same, it was a good jalan-jalan – I wouldn’t have entered the place if I didn’t have any need to wear a kebaya. The boutique tailor was spacious enough to accommodate their several models garbed in kebaya, a fitting room and a waiting room. Business was brisk as clients walked in and out of the shop.

Through the interstices of Bekasi we negotiated the narrow roads and alleys to get to their chosen tailor before closing time.

“We’re going to my tailor,” explained Ibu Sandra, “which is just a few minutes away from my house. I don’t just go to any tailor. I must have chemistry with him. Also, he came from a boutique tailor so the quality is good.”

Tell Budiman what you want and he'll get it right

Budiman was our man for our kebaya. Small in frame and short in height, he could easily pass off as a junior high school student except that you know he isn’t because of the tape measure around his neck and the ease he chatted with Ibu Sandra, his loyal customer. His is not a boutique – there are no glass doors to go through. You simply walk up to the counter cum work table. To the right, the customer’s right, is the work area, the hum of the sewing machine floating through the air without hampering the conversation of client and tailor. Two men are in the work area – one seemingly on a break while the other bent down on his machine, feet working the pedal, his hands and eyes going up and down inspecting a sleeve of someone’s kebaya.

He’s soft spoken, asking you to turn right, stretch out your arms to the side and turn left in a tone that was mellow, not monotonous, as he took your measurements. Conversation, of course, was done in Bahasa Indonesia, which was quickly translated to English for me.

Sewing to perfection

He doesn’t ask for a down payment of which is far from what I’m accustomed to. He hands you the receipt itemizing the job orders and the amount and tells you the  fitting is next week. The total price is a third of what Bestari was charging! Adding a tinge of pleasantness about the whole experience, at the outset, was when Ibu Sandra told him the reason for our presence, Budiman quickly whipped out his catalogues of design without looking put upon, offering suggestions or flipping through the pages looking for what was requested, unlike the lady in Bestari. The latter wasn’t haughty, but there was this behavior communicated that she wouldn’t go beyond the required minimum service. Hers was a matter of calculation, which she recited without skipping a beat. Every piece sewn at Bestari totted up, on hindsight, to three full kebayas from Budiman! And, to think, you’re providing your own cloth!

Bekasi is no tourist destination but it has its high points. One, a tailor is within your reach if you know where to go. Second, the malls – although still not within the league of the malls in Jakarta – are beginning to spruce up their acts to entice the local residents. It reminded me of the heartland malls in Singapore where they’ve spruced them up so that people will think twice of going to Orchard to shop unless they’re  looking for a specific up market brand. One of the malls in Bekasi that’s finally stepping up its game is Cyber Park for a pleasant weekend or end-of-the-workday jalan-jalan.

Bite into freshly baked pizza

A cinema is operating now in Cyber Park but I haven’t been there. Trips to Bandung and around the city are possible with Cipaganti shuttles and cabs through its office located after McDonald’s. Meanwhile, its food and beverage selections are becoming varied. Gloria Jean’s hadn’t moved out, but only relocated to the second floor in between the food center and Hartz Chicken Buffet restaurant. Dunkin Donuts still has its followers; a bakery with a franchise of New Zealand ice cream is open for business; Baskin and Robbins is another choice for ice cream lovers; and Bumbu Desa is still a choice for lunch or dinner. Giving pizzas a run, especially Pizza Hut, is the newly opened Domino’s Pizza sitting right before Solaria, a local restaurant. Like Singaporeans who fancy new food places, local residents have been trooping to Domino’s for small (6”), medium (10”) and large (14”) pizzas washed down with coca-cola, fanta or sprite. I personally tried the small Veggie Fiesta and a box of chicken wings with barbecue sauce.

To a tailor or a new pizza joint, I’ve always fancy jalan-jalan. It keeps away the cabin fever and lets me discover something new bit by bit about where I am.