Thursday, November 27, 2008


If you think everyone was bowed to the ground because of the global recession, think again.

It is true that you see the weakened economy everywhere; a bunch of indicators like layoffs, decreased productions tell us that we are bound to be more and more deprived of what healthy economy could offer.

However, this does not hold true for certain jobs as they are not affected with whatever happens to the global economy. The people occupying these jobs of course are hurt with the increased prices of imported commodities to buy especially if they earn in Rupiah which keeps weakening against the Dollar) but more than that, they can rest assured they are not going to be fired. Maybe it is because the modest incentive or salary that keep them afloat the story sea of the recession.

1. Public servants (those whose payrolls come from the government)
2. Teacher or Lecturer
3. Bus Driver
4. Garbage collector

You could add to the list but if your jobs are somewhere in Sudirman or Thamrin, or ones contributing to wants more than to needs, get prepared.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The execution is over and what lies ahead for the government is not only putting to death terrorists and their bombs but more importantly, defusing ideas, thoughts that terrorism has romantic, heroic, or human sides do not exist here in Indonesia

The three bombers, Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Ali Gufron, who had been responsible for the lost lives of hundreds of innocents in 2002 Bali bombings, were finally executed November 9, 2008. The execution has diverse mixed opinions but the opinion so prevalent and convincing is one that turns people into believing that the perpetrators are victims. Thanks to the media, especially TV stations, they have covered, on the ground they must cover all sides, acts that are branded as support to terrorism have been portrayed as positively equal significance as those (acts) denouncing it. “What the TV stations have been reporting is a free propaganda for the terrorists” says columnist Soeryo Winoto, as quoted by Time.

One of these exposures is the bombers’ interviews that their execution is hoped to trigger revenge attack in Indonesia. Another reporting is images of relatives and supporters weeping and praying that fueled sympathy. Believed to be a small number, these people were taken advantages by the media and at the same time they had their moment telling the whole world their bombers were the scapegoats. Even after they are dead, one of these bombers’ written will that all Moslems must wage a holy war against the enemy of Islam was aired like a fallen hero’s story worth rekindling.

Prominent religious figures have also aggravated the perception. One of them, leader Jammah Islamiah Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, who has staunch followers, said that if they are executed that means they died in a battlefield and he said according to Islamic laws, those who die in war die as martyrs and become holy warriors and National Mandate Party’s Amien Rais was quoted in Media Indonesia saying “It is impossible for a simple santri (student at Islamic boarding school) to make bombs like those of the Bali bombings. I have asked my colleagues who have doctorates in physics, and it turns out that the powerful bombs like those of the Bali bombings must be made in a laboratory. Therefore, the government must find out the real mastermind”.

All these are serious. First, these airing would convince the majority, those already doubtful of the authority, ignorant, low educated, poor and easily manipulated, that the government has indeed always wanted to crush them whatever it takes and second, in a society where people look up to and show obedience in the religious leaders more than they do the government, what the leaders believe is what the followers believe.

And because of these reasons the government must cut off this ongoing martyrdom. First, the government must encourage, if not compel, those media they not put display this act of evil in a way that draw sympathy; the media are there promote more civilization and not to funnel the sentiments, especially the religious ones (that have always found popular ground among Indonesians). Depicting those terrorists in a way they posses all these adorable morality and politeness that the public needs to know of simply runs the greatest risk of raising sympathy that somehow their bombing is somehow understandable and forgivable.
Second, the government should do is to address publicly and continuously that there is no such thing like opposition to Islam and an act of terrorism is an act terrorism whatever the mask there are there to wear. So far, it is only MUI, Indonesia Ulema Council, that publicly denounced that the bombing an act of evil. This is not enough; like I said above here people in Indonesia see individuals more than they see institutions and because of that, it is the leaders, especially the religious ones, not the institution they are under, that state publicly that Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Gufron were terrorists though the three claimed they were Moslems. There is nothing religious or Islamic about that whatsoever.

But this is more easily said than done; these politicians know better. They know the people to be addressed with this issue are poor, low educated, ignorant and easily manipulated and they make up the majority of the population. Doing so is risking losing constituents for 2009 General Election.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Some thoughts, wild ones, tickle my mind and the harder I try to let 'em go the more often they come again to tickle...

1. Is that possible that (car) insurance companies draw clients by encouraging car theft of uninsured cars? Such companies have access to car data base and to have one uninsured stolen is a powerful message to other thousands uninsured.

2. Is that possible that utilities companies like Pertamina and PLN never mean seriously for SAVE ENERGY slogan? If it is successful, since their nature is to make as much money as they can, the this is a cutting-its-own-throat management; the success implementation of it means lowered income and lowered income is not the reason why they are there for business.

3. Is that possible that private water bottled companies in such a way I can't explain, contribute to the deterioration of the environment and tell the government to tell its people that ground water is dangerous to drink? In Jakarta, people are made to believe that ground water is no longer safe; they have no choice but buy the bottled water. Next time, we would believe that we must buy bottled oxygen. Though not directly, it is a successful privatization of basic needs.

4. Is that possible that car manufacturers are responsible for the government's ignorance on the ever bad public transportation? I am talking about the ubiquitous pick pockets, thugs, reckless drivers, uncomfortable seats, etc. It is very obvious as soon as people have excess of money they will stop using the public transportation and buy a car. A good public transportation would mean fewer sedans to buy.

5. Is that possible that I am too responsible for all these?

Saturday, October 11, 2008


"By 2009, teachers' minimum take home pay is Rp 2 M (around US$ 200)" says our Minister of Education Bambang Sudibyo. This statement received enthusiasticly positive response from more than 5,000 teachers attending his Halal Bihalal in Probolinggo. Before the year comes, this statement opens our eyes on how much or more appropriately, how little, our teachers especially the part timers have been paid all this time.

For us to know, part time teachers have always suffered MORE. This suffering of course is in term of how much they make every month. It does not matter where they teach, be it private or public schools, they have been disadvantaged with this part-time teacher status. However, voicing concerns to the schools they work for is unlikely as it means sacking. I have talked to them and salary conversation has always found its way to be their favorite topic. This is unavoidable; when you are being paid Rp 800,000 per month (less than what you need to survive the expensive Jakarta), then you are disposed to this salary talk.
And this is what I have found and for political correctness I am not to mention names:
1. One of Indonesia's biggest Islamic schools pays only Rp. 700,000 for its teacher every month.
2. One Catholic school pays Rp. 1,000,000 for the teachers who teach fro from morning to afternoon. Teaching has always been a ministry and someone asking more salary in this kind of school is considered out-of-mission.

For your information, each school above their students pay at least Rp 400,000 per month and each class there at least comprises of forty students.

What makes this condition prevail is that there is no mechanism that regulates these part timers; the government has not been clear-cut on this issue.

So before that day comes, I think it is better for parents to ask the school if it does not only brag about how best it can give to their children. Ask also how much it has done to its teachers; that it is doing its best to the most important element in your kid's education, the teacher.
After all, no one can't expect very much from someone whose basic rights are denied to do his or her best for their children.

Friday, October 10, 2008


If you want to make yourself MORE convinced that it takes more than an authority to control the country and the people, then you should miss how FPI with leader Rizieq acted when they were body-searched prior to entering the court room.

This court procedure is a routine thing and everybody knows that. But yesterday, October 9, this band of people openly resisted the authority when our police beganto do the job. Instead they refused and threatened the officers. Munarman, one of FPI key persons, even singled out one officer, demanding that this officer be taken care for having dared to touch him.
Rizieq the leader also managed to demonstrate his you-can't-touch-me attitude by being refused to be searhed and made an oration that the police should not have dared to apprehend him and his followers for what they did was to promote peace when they dispersed AKBP people marching in Monas area. And as you know, when it comes to public display, you have NEVER heard that FPI come clean in their act; building torched, windows shattered, etc. And for the AKBP case that occured on June 1, 2008, FPI left them with bleeding heads, beaten women and kids and stiched heads.

And so it goes, outnumbered or for some other reason, the police yielded and let thirty of them pass the court room without having checked them. Our cops just stood still as these men in white cursed them and hailed God's name. And you are too left wondering who actually runs this country...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I do not know what they were thinking but they sure drew a high rating since many ads were seen in between TV One's exclusive show called Ramadan With Ryan Jagal From Jombong (Butcher From Jombang).

Ryan who coldbloodedly killed a dozen people and mutilated some of them for their possessions, their money, bike, etc, had his day as TV One 'exclusively' had us watch him put on his sad face and told all who saw him how sorry he was for what he had done. I do not know at all what their point by having him on our screen for there has been no slightest idea that there had to be something good you had to see him from one different angle. For the TV it sure was as he attracted more ads. And that, was good.

As this man finished doing his part the narrator continued how Ryan's apology drew mixed feelings and this is what we had for those representing the feelings; his mother and victims' parents. The mother of course would wanted people to understand and forgive his son's mistake, and the parents, so obviously, wanted him dead.
That is how they showed us how they defined mixed feelings.


Two days ago a mutilated body was found in a Mayasari Bakti bus heading to Kali Deres and this is not the first. Others took place weeks earlier and this time the doer boiled the poor guys after killing them. Does killing now venture a new line, no longer stoppong at the point of someone's life being taken away???

It seems the law charges someone more for his planning than his executing.

If a planned murder was executed then the executor must face the death penalty. Planning and then taking someone's life is believed to be the most evil act and it deserves the direst punishment. However, one who stabbed someone else to death immediately for he couldn't take the other man's undermining joke on him will likely face a lighter sentence. It produces the same end but different legal action; the presence of foresight of the action really counts.

But what I wanna state is why mutilation cases do not produce a capital punishment? People say that one mutilation with no planning attached does not qualify for this kind of punishment. True, but does dismembering a dead body show the same sadistic stance with planning to kill one? It might be inevitable that someone lost his cool and produced a lethal action he would regret but continuing this action by butchering the dead shows that the logic or foresight of what an ordinary man would have perceived can not be certainly deemed "something unplanned".

Or could they say that whatever a living one does to a dead body is not legally the same with what he could have done to a living one? If that is so, then chopping time is like a legitimate extended pleasure.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Lebaran is coming and that means we are seeing all the ritual of pulang kampung,a moment to realize that Jakarta is a place we can enjoy living.

With all people heading their hometowns, what are we expecting then?

1. Less polluted air.
With more than NEW three hundred cars and bikes everyday, you have the point breathing decently fresh air in Jakarta is a rare luxury. Thank this moment; aren't you glad that most of them now have some place to pollute with the vehicles?

2. Less economy.
Gathering people is economy and as people gather, they create more warteg, more bridal salons, more papers, and in turn, they produce waste. So, with more than two million people checking out of Jakarta, you are bound to see a cleaner Jakarta.

3. Less time to go anywhere.
Lebaran is the only time you know that destination anywhere is actually shorter. Infamous for traffic jam, Jakarta streets have really made you believe that life should be spent more on them and Lebaran allows you to temporarily acknowledge there is more to life than wasting it on the road.

And knowing all this, don't you wish they were not back for good?

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Isn't that twenty one enough in less than a month?

Less than two weeeks ago, we were shocked to learn that twenty one people died in their effort to claim twenty thousand Rupiah alm by one Islamic boarding school somewhere in Pasuruan East Java. This is not the first. We have often heard this thing, what is supposed to prolong life turned into death, and I have never been expecting what happened in Pasuruan would be the last. Today, the same activity turned to be the same disaster; this time it took place somewhere in Lombok.

That we are a nation of poor people is what we can not deny and being poor, it seems, is close to begging. If you walk the street, you would see more and more people doing this job (by the way, is begging a job?). In certain traffic lights you are very likely to see MORE beggars than passers-by.

However, apart from the unfavorable economic condition, I believe strongly that culture has its own share of responsibility for all this. Being poor is what you take,but what you are gonna do about it is what you choose.

Some people find themselves with no access to enjoy quality life and this is like, 'Hey, I deserve what you deserve and you gotta share it with me' and this is what happens; poverty they believe they are entitled to begging.
The other cultural reason is, it is not something to be ashamed of. I live in a community where there are many Arab descendants and they are constantly good givers on Friday (I learned that they believe they earn more pahala when they do on Friday). Having known that their Arab neighbors have this Friday rituals, 'poor' people just pop up out of nowhere, every Friday morning, swarming their houses begging money or whatever. I know these weekly beggars do not live under or on poverty line; they just exploit the situation without any sense of shame attached.

All said, is giving responsible too for this? Hmmm, iya kali ya..

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Three companies producing baby milk and three of them are manifestly guilty of adding melamine, the substance responsible for dysfunction in kidneys and some internal organs. Four babies are dead and hundreds are reported to have been under treatment for the melamine-induced milk.

This is not a case in a point. Some months ago kid toys, also made in China, were recalled from the market as the toys were painted with chemicals endangering anyone, not only toddlers, exposed to them.

Am I too observant or, what, my opinion says we are irrational when cheap things are their options and they seem to have never their lesson. We have been astounded repeatedly by reports that products from China shorten rather than prolong life but we have kept seeing ourselves coming to them as they are packaged in different brands and more affordable prices. Remember those candies and canned canned ready-to-eats?

I think the next time you drop by at the nearest Giant or Carrefour or Hypermarket, you know what NOT to do; for the time being, anything made from the mainland is best not to buy.

Monday, September 1, 2008



To observe this month, let's safely stack away your porn DVDs and those skin magazines. It only takes one month before you can go back to this business of pleasure. And since un-subscribing is just a click away, I think you too can temporarily stop the mailing lists delivering those picture perfect scantily clad girls.

And maybe it is time for you NOT to see or even call the one your girlfriend or wife doesn't know or if she might have tried to, you have always successfully convinced her that the one is just a friend or business partner; you know that 'just friend' has been more than a friend and the truth about it must not leave any regret to your spouse she deserves to kill you twice. Remember, it is only a month.

This is the month you show the world you too can be out of this world. Talk and act God.
You have done more than enough the other eleven months; you've sworn and cursed even the smallest thing and in these thirty days that everything that comes out of your mouth is only utterances that make others envy for the religious you. Suffer them more by showing that I can give to the needy; you know people have always been impressed by handsome amount of giving and have never questioned how you got it. As soon as the thirtieth day is over, you can blatantly claim 'payback time you fools'.

Never has appeasing God been this easily sweet...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Gotta ask myself why I keep watching TV.

There are three reasons why I am not watching anything and you may add if you want to.

1. Except O Channel and Metro, all TV stations’ darling is gossip shows, successfully popularized under the name infotainment (again, I don’t know what is so informing and entertaining about knowing other people’s private business) and they behave that they are responsible to let you know why those celebrities get married and divorced, what time they have breakfast, etc. Trans TV feels it has moral obligation to update us with gossips and that is why it runs Insert Pagi, Insert (sometime at twelve), and Insert Sore, everyday.
I think the TVs know that you are not going to be more loaded and readier for life just because you are informed that Julia Perez got her period this morning but commercials have always been haplessly lured with these showings. All the defense we have got from them is this excuse “What we are doing here is to reflect what the people want”.

Before I go with Number 2, let’s picture ourselves with the common situations in those gossip shows: A mom just learned her son died in a motorcycle accident, one father is radiantly all smiles for his first baby, and parents are devastated to learn that their daughter got jailed because of drugs. When any of those situations is plainly black or white, what you will almost always hear from them is this question: “BAGAIMANA PERASAAN BAPAK/IBU SEKARANG?”.
You couldn’t help asking yourself how these media guys they live to believe they have been responsible for our improved intelligence.

2. Shows like American Idol mediocre wannabees on Indosiar and TPI run from 4 or 5 P.M and finish at 1 A.M and the programs encourage anyone to support contestants by texting KETIK REG bla bla bla. The impact has been devastating; they borrowed money (to loan sharks) and sold everything they had to smoothen their road to fame and the failed guys, most of them, have to live on the brink of survival to repay their debts. KOMPAS reported they end up being a pariah in Jakarta and do any manual job or anything to survive and pay off what they borrowed. TVs know this but they have never devised a mechanism that allows one vote from one number, let alone openly and constantly reminded participants and viewers they must not jump into crazy texting. But again, with one text deducts your phone credit Rp. 2,200 (it is fourteen times more expensive than the normal rate Rp 99), they are quite on the impact as they benefit from it. Tabloid PULSA once reports this premium texting is a business generating more than one trillion Rupiah in 2007.

3. So called mega sinetrons (what is so ‘mega’ about them anyway?) portray shows to us like, among the impossible others: SMP students acting and getting dressed like street prostitutes and the ever popular depictions of people of the mainstream religion’s superiority over the others and at the same time those people are being disadvantaged. TVs know all this and when they defend the viewings reflect what happens in our society, - that our SMP students are prostitutes and that mainstream Moslems suffer from non other non Moslems -, then they have done a very god job convincing advertisers many will surely watch the sinetrons. Here, nothing excites people more than being reminded that their God is better than those other Gods and knowing their religion is being sidelined by another.
You can not complain. Because when you do, they would laugh and say it is just a fiction put on TV and forget what they just maintain that what they are doing is to reflect the society.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


“You go to a school reunion because you want to tell them, that after all these years, you made it. For whatever it is”.

I did not believe that statement. To me a reunion is a moment I always look forward to. It always excites me to acknowledge that the mighty time always has its way to beat us no matter how much we want to stay forever young. Some girls in my younger years I could not forget for their stunning looks kept convincing me that they were really the ones I had always admired. They did not look the same. Some boys I envied for their athletic builds are not now any better than me; they have developed these belies and thinned their hair on their heads. Some did manage to fool the time; they came up with lighter skins (must have been those whitenings) and darker complexions.
And for some I could not recall how they were back then, I just said to them they looked wiser. I do not know what I meant by saying that...

But the real excitement went more than skin deep. I was so thrilled to know that after all those years I could feel the glimpse of time standing still when we met. That all conversation evolved how we got punished by that teacher for not wearing black shoes and white socks; this girl cried a river because some boys (I know them) concocted a plan to give her a quick kiss on her way to the rest room (which I kept hearing that but never got the chance to ask that girl if it was true); that I erased some recorded tape for third graders’ final test and got caught by the teacher himself, Pak Amir, our guru olah-raga. The recollection went on and on and that moment made those nineteen years like yesterday.

But all that conversation that developed during the reunion got me to agree they said above. I overheard some did not come because of, you know, all these they considered failure. The reunion is such an obviously stupid declaration. One friend was not there because she said she was just a housewife and thought she would be ashamed if old friends asked what she did for a living. Though she admitted taking care of kids (and the husband, of course) was beyond how much someone can make every month, she just could not overcome the feeling that success in life must be attached with a job located somewhere in Sudirman or Thamrin or Kuningan. One failed her marriage and knowing that the ex is one of us, the classmates, gave her more reasons not to attend this get-together. She had her point: “Why would I keep hurting myself by all the reminiscing with him around?”

For some less acceptable reasons, some declined to go there because they do not have a kid yet and some because they have too many kids (more than two are deemed too many and they thought it was silly). Remarks like “Is that true you have four children now?!” or “you have no kids yet, right?”
To most, these questions are good lines to open a conversation but to those few, thinking of those questions, the questions kill even before the conversation is started.

But those old photos displayed during the reunion were the eye opener of what is larger than the excuses. Seeing some of our friends are gone forever, I had to admit that no matter happened or happens or will happen, that he or she is alive and here is more than anything to all of us, maybe to me especially. I have not been successful for what they expected me to be and neither have I been immune to those pains but I am glad to tell you that I am still here.

See you in our next reunion, nine teen years from now, in 2027...

Thursday, August 7, 2008


One imaginary and impromptu QA with someone asking me how I see our periodicals, magazines and tabloids, would hopefully light up what we have known, yet.

Q: What do you think of those pretty faces on those magazines?
A: Photoshopped. And if those readers were smart enough to know, I mean what they see can’t exist, they would not die emulating them. But more importantly, they have been pretty successful in convincing girls with education to believe that life is all about cosmetics, shoes, clothes. I do not think that is the reason why parents sent them to school.

Q: How about the contents?
A: I don’t know why they are buying commercials (bundled in a magazine). That’s what I see from BAZAAR.

Q: Do you think what they say is what they do?
A: I don’t understand when one says Fun Fearless Female because every issue is headlined with sex position, sex techniques, and all the ideas that sex is all it takes to keep your man…
If Fun and Fearless means is all all about that, then it should be modified into Boring and Fearful.

Q: Let’s move on with our tabloids …
A: Why Mayang won Bambang’s heart; why Hughes has not been with child after having been married for two years; and when Ariel went to PIM with Luna Maya, etc. I don’t understand how come someone feels more loaded and readier for life just because she or he knows Julia Perez got her period today?

Q: OK. What do you want to say about men’s magazines?
A: Philip Yance has it right in his book that FHM, MAXIM, and the like are soft porn, with girls scantily clothed and their body’s statistics and worded fantasies; they keep telling why it is normal once in a while to cheat on your wife as long as you don’t get caught. Life goes around girls, sex, gadgets, cars; one says that your car is your personality. Let me tell you, I don’t have a car.

All said, does anybody see enslavement in disguise?

This is dedicated to Yvonne. Congratulations on your new job; I prayed you are going to be God’s message there.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


There are reasons why we superheroes fly or sling. Otherwise, this is what happens:

And I think you know now why it takes only Christopher Reeve or Italian-looking can cast Superman:

And why we have to keep them busy with bad guys:
(how can I help you, Ma'am?)

And last, you know they can not be kept a bit too long together. After all, they are just human like us .....


All the efforts to revive the pride we can wear (in the name of National Awakening and Independence Day) to show ourselves and the world that we are a great nation is a waste. And knowing what has happened all these times, you would find it hard to disagree.
It is very difficult to deny that we are so pessimistic and indifferent to what goes on in this country and if those politicians say that we can never be a nation of a great people with all this pessimism and indifference, I think they should really, really take a hard look at themselves and they would find why the rest of the people keep burned-out on everything happening. How people see themselves is equivalent to how they see their government. If it does its job to protect them well, then they will think the government secures the people and if it provides affordable education, then they will see the government concerns with their quality life.

And this is how we have gotten ourselves covered. We have the Supreme Court but the label Supreme keeps pushing us to acknowledge they are nothing but a place full of crooks and the bust of its high-rank officers like Urip who was red-handedly caught accepting moneyfrom Ayin only confirms the resentment. And when we found out that that Ayin was using the cell phone to concoct some dodging tricks for her trialwhile she was in police custody, what are we left to trust the police?
We elected those to represent us in the House of Representatives and what they have been doing is anything but to represent us. We are constantly (made) astounded these prodigal sons": we curse bad public transportation because we can barely survive it and they pass the law that enable for Alphards or Jags or Bimmers; we are indoctrinated to “hang in there’ and live frugally and what we have got here is they lead life styles that are dictated by extravagant spending. And when they are there for some sort of assignment to oversee that no regulation was bent by some bad guys, we are shown with how the members of the House keep it bent, as long as the bad guys splash them with generous (sex) entertainment and of course, money. Ask Amin; He'll tell you better.

All said, then it goes down disgustingly the same with Kelurahan, Hospital, Education, businesses, permits, and even public cemetery management.

Stars Spangled Banner sounds so nearer than Indonesia Raya...

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It is not he or she who is with the money that rules.

The good news is you are rich. The bad news, you just do not know it. Let me awaken you that you are.

1. You are healthy. Go to hospital and you will meet those who pay for the oxygen they breathe. You are not gonna say they are richer just because they are able to pay for it, are you? Or, are you going to crybaby because paralyzed guy can afford a wheelchair made of gold while you just go around here and there on your feet because you can not buy one? I don’t think so.
Keep looking and you can not miss being grateful for this.

2. You are a free person. Deciding over everything is a sign of freedom, a privilege a poor guy does not have. I am talking about these: I know someone who makes his fortune by working for a cigarette company and he knows there is nothing right about selling the puff but maintains he does it because he has no choice. The fact that he can not leave the job, though he knows he should, shows that he is not free (and I am not too harsh to say that he is enslaved in any kind). I too can tell you about Fitri, a doctor I know, who shows the world her freedom; she left her job as a doctor for a big hospital, saying that if she stayed there, there would be too many a practice she would have to compromise and it is all wrong and against her conscience. She was talking about “improper” deals she could not have avoided with the hospital’s management and pharmaceuticals. This freedom cuts deep on her income as she now practices in her own small clinic.
I can go on with my recollection on those others who demonstrate their richness in their ability to make a decision that paralyzes them financially but they still get on with the decision and as a result they make themselves rich in a way money can not buy.
If a rich man never worries with the money, are you not rich already because you are not worried with it?

3. You are a giver. So you still think one who makes Rp. 100 million a day is richer than you? Or one who lives in a big house in Pondok Indah? Look, they do not make any difference to those who are in need. One million Rupiahs spent by one guy for a plate of lunch does not drive away the hunger in another man’s stomach. But give this hungry man Rp. 1000, it will surely appease the hunger to some degree and it means the world to him. One guy who might have spent one billion Rupiahs for his bedroom does not make a homeless fellow sleep tight. But contribute any amount for an organization that shelters the homeless, you will have helped reduce their number on the street.
It is not how much you have, but it is how much you give that counts.

Even King Solomon would envy me..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


You are seeing all these banners practically defacing the already city streets and what you can do is thinking "Not again..!"

The General Election is coming and those politicians have been trying to excite us with something of no substance. In here, promises are just constructed words to complete the election. You will surely hear ALL of them say such as "I will lower oil price and liberate education so everyone will taste the prosperity".

And these promises will go together with out-of this-world encouragement with some saying "if you are a good Moslem, you must choose me", or "Let us pray that the enemy of Allah, the rest of them, will see our victory in this Election".

People enjoy these noises and hocus pocus for some reasons. Some just can not afford entertainment anymore as their existence does not allow them even to spend a dime on anything except their very survival and some are just too ignorant and stupid to admit that it is not (one) religion words that shape their better future, so they keep living with the idea that if it is not us who leads this nation then it is never them. It is neither empty promises that make everything all right when the election is over but well proposed programs of theirs they will be held accountable.

Hidup SBY!

Friday, July 18, 2008

TIREN: MATI (tidak) KEREN (banget)

Have not watched Indonesian movies for the past two years? I want to tell you that you have not missed anything since all of them are all the same settings: ghosts, spirits, evils and the like.

Having promised to myself that Korea’s version Grudge was my last horror film to watch because it scared me to death, I broke my promise and decided to watch some of these above, hoping I would be scared all over again. Instead, after doing so, I got irritated, confused and asked “how come I wasted my time watching these lousy films??!”

I’m referring all these Babi Ngepet, Pocong, Kuntilanak, Jalangkung, Suster Nngesot, Pulau Hantu, etc. As if difficulties in life like skyrocketing prices, almost-impossible admission to good schools were not scary enough, these films have failed to do their jobs to scare us. But to yourr dismay, you keep seeing the same theme but only with different titles showing and it leaves you wondering “Who are the sitting ducks? and “Who are responsible for all these, anyway?”

They (and their wannabes) would not have been made into production if they had not attracted a number of crowds enough to cover production costs and produce some profit. And to be scared cheaply and still ignorant of how mediocre they are, must surely take uneducated people, the sitting ducks, to watch. Of course, you would not watch them because your being educated defies any logics to do so. That’s why the movies have always been popular among the uneducated (who unfortunately make up most of our population). What is supposed to be one way to educate through viewings is the way to un-educate (them).

The answer to the question “Who is responsible?” lies, unsurprisingly, in the hands of the educated for what is happening. The clever here are those who know very well that what they are doing is driven by nothing but money. We are talking about the producer who knows too well that his funding will not go back for nothing, no matter how poor the film is; a director who knows that the movie he made is very bad (but very lucrative) by any standard but chooses to reason that what he made is karya seni; and some guys who claim they are actors and actress but do not know how to act (but keep saying they are pekerja seni), and even do not know what the film they are in is all about (I read in a paper that most of them did not read the whole script except for their parts and was handed it as they arrived on the location, but these pekerja seni opted to be in the films as they were paid handsomely,. You know, Karenina said she would not have acted in her first and only film for she had always known she was never a good actress).

Money money money ....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008




If what we are doing is driven by nothing but money, then I do not think there is reason why we are here.

Would there be any other jobs greater than this one? A banker may brag he can make Rp. 2 billion every month and a manager for an FMCG company is said to fetch Rp. 150 million monthly or a journalist who writes her minds and travel journals. But neither beats a doctor. A doctor saves, revitalizes life; even the very life of the accountant, the manager, and the journalist breathe. A doctor is there to constantly remind us of that, that without life you could not make your dime, let alone your millions; without life you could not enjoy writing your mind if there were one who fixes the constant tremors in your fingers. No job would be greater than this one...

And that is the reason, I think, this man (or woman of course) in white should not worry about the money, about the car, about the anything he can make out of his profession. A doctor living in a small humble house or going to work by angkot because he can not afford a car has always made the job the most rewarding, something those other jobs can not claim though they come in a bundle with a grand house, expensive vacations, or a SUV. By any measure the life saving by this job is incomparable.

And it is really saddening that those things coming in second places are allowed to make their positions to the first and ruthlessly set aside the life Numero Uno. Gunawan, a very good (and man, he is terribly smart!) doctor whom I know well shared with me that one doctor without any shame in his practice works like a salesman, with poor selling skills, for an MLM product; he makes patients buy this multivitamin or medicine (they do not need the stuff). Another horrid recollection is that one student of mine saw oftentimes how this doctor ignored a patient’s critical condition because he was busy dealing with a pharmaceutical rep on his cut if he recommended the drugs. The list can go on with things like unnecessary (mandatory) additional visits, prescriptions and even operations (thanks to such hospital policies turning doctors into puppets). This job has seemed to haplessly lower its divine position to such one boringly low game in which people are fighting for WHO GETS THE MOST TOYS WINS.

Socrates, raise up.

this writing is dedicated to GUNAWAN (a young doctor on his inevitable journey to be a great one) and the bunch of UMJ medical students, Novi, Anis, Mayang, Tika, Nila, and all sitting pretty in our class


Does it take or give freedom to know how much one loves another? I know one who shows his love to his special one by allowing her to go out with anyone she wants and at the same time too I know one who demonstrates his care by not permitting his girl even to talk with any boy except him. Either, it has its own opponents and supporters and nothing is more amusing than one a good friend of mine at the Faculty of Medicine of UMJ shared with me.

She told me how her boyfriend, because well, he said he loved her, made everything so perfect for her(or for him?); he always calls her to make sure if she has had lunch or dinner; if she has prepared next day’s lesson; and if she has bought her groceries. The attention goes on further than what she could think of.

Not very long did she realize that all the attention turned into the inquiry, a checklist of don’ts and do’s and she has been there only to oblige. This means he has to know with whom she has lunch,what time and what to eat (this is something huge to me, knowing that she knows about health very, very well); . This boy even further said that doing Friendster, was no good for her as he knew it was a waste of her time

The real kicker is when with out of this world authority, he commanded her not to study English with a guy like me..
Nov, I have never felt so good-looking!

Friday, May 16, 2008


For a God who gives the salvation, He surely fails TV ratings

Is a religion a business? If that means a religious conviction, then it so is, at least for our TV stations. Here in Indonesia it is good business as usual.

When someone takes a new religion and he makes it public, then what you see is usually the same: Before, I did not know God; he was a confusing guy but now I do; Before, I did not know the purpose of my life but now I do; Before I had no peace but now I do.

But the real kicker is when TV stations take their step further than they should. Instead of merely reporting, they are entitled to allow degrading opinions on other religions. They know everybody loves this business, one that strengthens one's faith by weakening another's. One example is when a self called actress made a public confession she embraced a new religion and those TVs started self-analyzing why it was logically and naturally understandable for others to do what she did. One TV station dedicates one program to this; with the host and all guests are converts discussing lengthily the new religion’s superiority and the old ones’ mediocrity. Mind you, all these airings are not classified for restricted audience; it is not a Mimbar Agama program usually run once a week. They are there for all to see. For a country that says religions are such a sensitive issue, it simply does not apply here.

Another too similarly annoying scene is when it bombards audience with comments and depictions that this new convert did the right and heroic thing and made those who haven’t followed suit feel guilty about it. The next too common one is reporters asking question like “Your mother said that she was no longer to do with her old faith, don’t you think you should do the same?” or, “Are you not happy knowing that your boyfriend now has God’s truest religion?, so when will you be ready to follow him?” The one being asked just smiles, knowing the answer NO is not an option they want to air.
If some say that one religion is disturbingly a missionary, then this whole thing is obviously a crusade.

Funny, no coverage with proportionally the same passion has ever been made for those converting to the other religions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Traffic lights are our drive-ins for movies everyone so eager to pass by. From behind the car windshield, what I call movies are scenes of people performing the ignorance and laughable agony invading those people in front them in their cars waiting for the light to turn green.

I love the bitterness, not in terms of I enjoy it but because I know my ignorance has kept all this, by giving them money to repel them when these kids come to me. As cars stop, children barely five years old will come and start singing songs out of tune you would not have wanted to hear or they simply extend their hands asking for your money. And not very far from them, if you ever notice, some adults, acting as their protectors, make sure that they at least accumulate today’s target; Rp 20,000 for one day’s work. If these little beggars fail, they will beat them and make them promise they will perform better. It is only a matter of time before the girl beggars learn to know they can make money faster by being prostitutes and the boys by being thugs or drug dealers.

Another scene is those people selling gimmicks, cigarettes, sweets, sunscreens, ashtrays, anything to survive the day. How could they are so excited to face this life when they know what they always make is roughly around Rp 15,000 a day? I talked to many of them and when I asked them how they made it with school age children and wife depending on them, they said, “I don’t know. I think God gave us different math or something.” And in front them, people in the air conditioned cars are cursing the government for the oil price they could have paid more, grumbling for the twenty million Rupiah short out of the eleven billion profit they made for the contract they won; and whining for the increased exchange rate of US Dollar as this will disrupt their overseas vacations.

Checkered flag is waved. Another traffic light to stop for.

Friday, May 9, 2008


As life did not satisfy to see you suffer for daily survival, it now comes big time with this impending increased price of the oil; one of the things the government can not stop it from being more and pricier. The consequence is clear; prices go up and all you are left wondering how you make it through. But the core of the problem, in my opinion, is that what we have done has paradoxically survived the ever increasing price; we have tried anything but kept or even made it lower. People in the higher income level start buying cars and those in the lower income buying motorcycles as soon as they hear it is hiked, thinking it costs less if they commute by theirs. This buying action on the contrary is pushing, if not keeping, rather than lowering the oil price as the new cars and motorcycles increase the total demand and deplete the oil supply. And as you know it, when the supply side is less than the demand, then the upward adjustment, a.k.a new more expensive price, takes place.

People are encouraged to buy and not to save because the economies, as we believe it, run when people keep consuming. When you buy new clothes, ready to eat food, cars, etc, you keep pumping the production of these items and their production has always involved the use of the electricity. As you know, our PLN generates the electricity by consuming the oil (supplied by Pertamina) and when you buy any of the products, you indirectly ask more of the oil. That is one more reason why you can never see the oil price go lower.

So what to do? First, live simple (for the urban and ultra chic you, this is not a good idea, I suppose). Just buy less and be content with the life you have. Besides, you are too smart not to know that you just cannot quench your thirst for more by possessing more. But when you can Second, use the public transportation (certainly, it is not a very good idea for PT Astra). I know it is not a good idea, knowing all these pickpockets, thugs, and those horrible things you'll find in there. Anything you think helps reduces the consumption of the oil is already half of this battle.

Start now with Bike To Work.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I grew up without knowing what they call now national plus schools. I did not go there; my parents would not have been able to afford them. But more importantly, such national plus schools did not exist. But with all of them boasting they do better than non-plus ones do, I started my own search to find out if they really were better. And here are some of the facts you need to know.

1. To maintain quality education, they have always selected “only the best”.
I think their statement is very delusional. This is what happens; when the number of prospective students falls below the seat capacity, all of them are surely accepted and the admission test to select “the best” students is nothing but a phony activity. With each junior or senior high student confirmed to contributing more than one hundred million for the next three years, rejecting these money machines is so uneconomic, so irrational, so un-capitalistic. These schools are no non-profit organizations; they are corporations clothed in education.

2. They are better facilitated.
They boast the swimming pools, gyms, and even equestrian activities they have. But face it; they come at the expense of exorbitant fees charged to students. Any school could do that if they charged that amount to students. Those facilities are by no means desired but not deemed necessary for the classroom learning.

3. They guarantee they make better graduates.
For the last statement, I think it is very funny. Just go to UI and other outstanding public universities and ask those college students from which senior highs they come from and what you will most probably hear is "I am from SMA 14, SMA 12, SMA 100, sekolah negeri", with no national plus string attached. You may disagree with me but Indonesian parents send their kids to schools to enhance their kids’ eligibility for public universities, since graduates from public universities are still perceived to make better employees by job markets. And to me, these so called plus schools have not done enough to secure admission to those public universities.

I quit teaching there one week after.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Is there any moment for a pause as an economy opts for Capitalism? Capitalism has kept shareholders restless for ever increased returns in stock returns and dividends, pushing managers continually to sell more and more. As a result creative ways have been formulated to guarantee that you and I keep buying and improving the return on their equity.

Forget nine to five and Monday to Friday; now businesses run around the clock. Not so long ago, Mc Donald’s were open until 9 PM but now you can drop by there at 4 AM as they are now open twenty four hours. Malls have frequently devised so called late night shopping, enticing us to keep spending at hours we are supposed to be sleeping.

They do not stop there and I think they have been undoubtedly responsible for blinding us from wants we do not need. Ten years ago I was content with one but they have successfully persuaded me to own two or three wristwatches because I was made to believe one is not enough (to tell me time). To some greater extent, I keep replacing my cell phone with a new one, not because it is broken but because the new comes with features I do not need and I bought new shirts just because they were on sale. I was told to lighten my skin and I did with this whitening lotion, and as soon as it was lightened, I happily followed the suggestion to tan it. I knew someone who buys all Nokia series with no apparent reason and I shook my head in disbelief to find out that a woman bought two identical cell phone pouches from a boutique store; she only owned one phone and the reason why she bought two was because she loved the LV insignia too much.

And for the pursuit of higher revenue happiness in the financial statement, they have extended targets of their products. Ever noticed commercials displaying barely a junior high school girl who survives friendship thanks to the deodorant and some high school students hanging out riding their first Hondas? The message is clear; they, in the past targeting working adults, are now preying the under-aged. And you are bound to see more of it: hair colors for toddlers, lipsticks for octogenarians, and more.

Next month I will be buying a basketball cap designed specially for babies.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am going to talk about one of such jobs that has to do with maintaining a client. Maintaining a client is like, you know, he bought from you once and he will buy from you or your company again and again. And to make this happen, you must keep the client happy. However, what keeps one client happy is not what keeps another one happy too.
Below are some brief recollections regarding this maintaining activity.

To some, nothing is sweeter than money and my friend knows this conventional truth and she would comfortably start with, “Is there anything I can do to support you?” Happily this kind of client responds in varied answers; one would say about the broken sound system in his car; one would say his wife is now in the hospital; one would bluntly say “How much is my cut?”. For the last statement, he said, it is easier and time saving.

Another is playing dumb and dumber. What I mean here my friend is playing it for herself. Though she takes hold of a certain subject too well, she would let his client think he knows more of the subject. To her, this is like a free session to learning to humble oneself, suppressing the ego to let someone go on speaking of something he does not know of and learning to do more listening than talking. So, some expressions like “I see”, “And then what?”, and “No, please go on” are profusely uttered.
Sometimes the resilience of this humility was tested further in a different ground. When playing tennis with the client, she knew how to make the client feel good; she let him beat her in the game he could have never won had she meant it a little.

But nothing would have been more surprising than this following one to me. I asked her what she hated most from this job, and she did not answer immediately, fearing I was not ready to hear it. After I pushed her a bit, she was right; I would never have been prepared for this...
She said that another way to keep a client happy was a companion. To find out if he desires one is easy; for the client who enjoys this kind, what she would do is ask him what sort of entertainment he wants to have during his stay. And when the answer is someone he can talk with, then he is asking for that kind of companion to come over to his hotel. When I further asked her how she felt about setting this all up, she said she hated it as much as she did the client and felt like she was like a pimp doing a pro bono.

And that was all I got.


As if securing people’s physical matters is not enough, some took a step further with the spiritual one. Last month governors of Tangerang, Bandung, and Depok took the like measure on Dewi Persik, a Dangdut singer; she is not allowed to stage in their territories. Their grounds are that her stage performance is too ‘sexy’ and may lead young people into sex conducts. They said what they were doing was to voice the public and it fully supported their action.

Dewi Persik’s case is not the first of its kind. Another Dangdut singer, Inul Daratista, known for her gyrating hip moves, too was condemned for her stage performances by those public figures claiming responsible as moral guardians of people.
So far these people could not prove how the performances had been responsible for the moral decadence.

Though seen by many as nothing but a cheap fad that distracts people from more important concerns like skyrocketing daily commodities, those individuals, in the name of morality and faith, have many times successfully gotten away with that and left the other party unable to defend, let alone to retaliate.
Take for example, DEWA, Indonesia’s premier rock band, had to redesign the album cover because somebody, claiming he represented Islam, said the cover insulted Allah and thus insulted Islam. The band had it redone; they were left numb with their room for reasoning.

Unfortunately, the government has not been decisive in this matter; it seems it’s best to leave it in God’s appointee’s hand.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Would life be better if people were given choices for work? With jobs so difficult to come by and needs (or wants?) increasing, it is very difficult to answer YES as people are left with not so many choices and they just grab what comes before them. I think there are three typicals of jobs that people love to hate from today’s jobs but nevertheless, when they are offered with such jobs, they just can not say NO.

Some jobs simply do not do any good and this one is not far from the truth. Though justifications may there be, I know people know the cigarette is a killing business; either the selling or the production. Though WHO reports hundreds of thousands died of smoking every year, that simply does not stop people from reconsidering working for the killer puff. It is clear that to survive life some are willing to kill life.

The second is the wasted time to reach the work place. Gone is the saying Early To Bed And Early To Rise Makes a Man Wise. People wake up before the sunrise not to wise up by doing morning contemplation on life nor savor precious morning hours with loved ones but to waste these hours to get them to the workplaces. Millions living in Bogor or Sukabumi commute for more than one hundred kilometers everyday as they work in Jakarta. This means they start at 4.30 A.M and arrive at the workplaces at 8.30 A.M, leaving them, if there is any, thirty minutes before works start at 9 A.M. With more than six hours wasted and totally spent on the street, these commuters would arrive home only to bath and sleep. You may say these people are exceptions but the truth is most people waste at least two hours to commute every day. You do the math how many (hours) they will have wasted after twenty years of work.

The last one, and I think this one has become more and more common in fashion, is that people do not see work as a part of life but see it as their whole life. I do not know if the work commitment was invented by employers or somebody who loved his work too much but some just hate it to stay in the office for at least fourteen hours, and during peak seasons or book closing times, eighteen hours. But complaining is not an option; many other people are waiting to eagerly replace them if they mind. They have literally surrendered their other aspects of life to working around the clock, thinking that this is the only way they could do to show the boss they are worth the job and their commitment goes beyond those other aspects; they go home so late that they find their families have been sleeping and their families only find them sleeping on weekends to revitalize from the fatigue.

So with all these as the available options; jobs that do no good, jobs that are very distant from home and jobs that take them away from other engagements, then I think jobs have reduced people to a boring position they can not avoid.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


To show that Indonesians were destined to be inferior, the educated labeled Indonesian Bangsa Tempe. So, when corrupt practices are there, then it is because the Tempe mentality; when an athlete lost his or her game, then it was because of his or her Tempe mentality; when you do not understand me, then it is because of the Tempe you ate, making your brain unable to understand what I mean. I was joking.

But when the Tempe was gone from the market, then the educated themselves screamed for it, deploring that, were it not because of the Tempe, what would we be as a Nation?

Let's eat burger.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The big guy is dying and suddenly everybody is paying a visit. I do not know if they want to make sure that he is dying or recuperating.

Ten years have passed and this buzz, this is not the first time we heard that he was taken into that hospital, distracts the much awaited courage from the government to declare that in many parts, he too was a villain, and was not always a hero . And as planned, the moment pushes the authority to believe that forgetting the wrongs is the only choice and everybody must take the same stance.

I read all these; the world's most corrupt being, the truth manipulator, the smiling dictator.

You wouldn't want any further.