The trust

I hope this post can be a medium for discussion.

I would like to talk about trust between government and the citizens. I do really think that why we-Indonesia- recently witnessed such a big outcry when the government expressed their intention to reduce the huge fuel subsidy that we currently have, is because of lack of trust between the govt and the citizen. The reasons of reducing the fuel subsidy is way so clear. The world fuel price is rocketing, most of the subsidy is enjoyed by the rich, it is a very bad decision to spend a lot of money just for a consumptive activity, instead of investment, and many other reasons. But then why many of the citizens are still rejecting this proposal?

The suspicion, the fear that the government is not efficient, a lot corruption scandal,  a bad public service, and so on so forth, has eroded the public trust. Thus it is somehow understandable why the citizens are very reluctant to give more money to the government in form of less subsidy, more taxes, etc.

When the government can shows that they are trustworthy: they are using the money effective and efficiently, they are trying really hard to provide a good public service, they don’t live extravagantly, they’re approachable to the citizens, etc., then the citizen will support the government. I still clearly remember the story that to buy the first Indonesian airplane after the independence, women in Aceh collected their jewelries, all they have and gave it to the government so that the govt can buy a plane. That’s how trustful the relationship back then.

Then the question now, how do we think that the trust can built between the government and citizen, given the current context in Indonesia? Is it reasonable to expect that SBY’s cabinet will change suddenly after this, that their administration become cleaner; or it’s only possible in the next 20 or 30 years when we’ll have a better generation running the country; or is it just impossible to see that trust established in our society?

Somehow I’m a bit jealous to Singapore which its government seems to be very trustful to the society. When I saw the video of the current PM give a speech to the society, I can see how the PM really shows that they’re working hard for the citizens, and I can also see the trust from the citizen, despite some emerging opposition.

Finally, I do really hope that mahasiswa can be smarter. How can they’re opposing govt plan which obviously can help the poor. Even though the govt can’t be really trusted, we’ll never have a trust when we keep suspicious on each other. Let the govt increase the fuel price, then demand more budget transparency. It’s better to spend more energy to scrutinize the government, than protesting subsidy cut. Besides, have we ever pray for our leader? Their job is quite tough, it’s also our responsibility to pray for them.

What do you think?

Some Lessons

There are several lessons that I got from the past few days. Hopefully can be beneficial for us.

First, Let’s always try to think big. When we act and live our daily life, let’s always think that we are part of future leaders that can help to bring a good change to this country, to this world. In our do’a (supplication), for example, it’s juts too bad that we’re only concern about our need. Why don’t we also pray for other people, like our leader, citizens in our country, Muslim around the world, and human kind in this earth. If we don’t like some of our leaders because of their behavior, then why don’t we pray for them, maybe Allah want to change their habit.

Secondly, I really believe in this verse: O you who have believed, if you support Allah , He will support you and plant firmly your feet (QS 47:7). Let’s always try to do good deeds and invite others to do so.

Thirdly, I really think that in living this dynamic life, where many thing happen, where challenges keep coming, I am so grateful that I am a Muslim. The consciousness that Allah is there, He’s watching me and He’ll always help me, always make me confident in going through all of this. Allah, may I always be close to you.

Lastly, sangat tidak pantas rasanya bagi seorang Muslim untuk putus asa. Allah is there, He’ll always help us if we ask Him. There must always be a solution. Hanya orang yang tidak percaya pada Allah lah yang putus asa. Allah created everything, He’s the lord of this world, he created all of us. Nothing that can’t be solved if He want. Semoga kita bisa selalu ingat,  yakin, dan dekat dengan Allah.

Have a great life!

 

So happy with QS Muhammad

I have a quite special feeling with Qur’an, surat Muhammad. I am so happy to read it, and again, so happy to read it. Just wanna put several verses that I like.

[1] Those who disbelieve and avert [people] from the way of Allah – He will waste their deeds. [2] And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. [3] That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, and those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah present to the people their comparisons.

[10] Have they not traveled through the land and seen how was the end of those before them? Allah destroyed [everything] over them, and for the disbelievers is something comparable.

Somehow I think the verse number [10] above is an encouragement from Allah to us to travel and to see the impact that we’ll get if we disobey Allah. There are many civilizations ended up destroyed because of their disobedient to Allah.

[11] That is because Allah is the protector of those who have believed and because the disbelievers have no protector.

Here Allah stressed that He is our protector. When I read this verse, I feel so safe and peaceful.

Here are some other verses that interest me:

[19] So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place.

[24] Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?

[29] Or do those in whose hearts is disease think that Allah would never expose their [feelings of] hatred?

[30] And if We willed, We could show them to you, and you would know them by their mark; but you will surely know them by the tone of [their] speech. And Allah knows your deeds.

[31] And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you [for the cause of Allah ] and the patient, and We will test your affairs.

[35] So do not weaken and call for peace while you are superior; and Allah is with you and will never deprive you of [the reward of] your deeds.

[36] [This] worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and fear Allah , He will give you your rewards and not ask you for your properties.

Hopefully we’ll always be close to Allah and can read and memorize His Qur’an,,

Sahabat-sahabat Qur’an

Just wanted to say, betapa, alhamdulillah, saya sangat cinta Al-Qur’an. Semoga Allah selalu menanamkan rasa ini di dada, bahkan selalu meningkatkan rasa cintanya.

Saya teringat akan satu hadits Rasulullah SAW: “Bacalah oleh mu Qur’an. Sesungguhnya ia akan datang pada hari kiamat, sebagai penolong bagi sahabat-sahabatnya”. Semoga kita semua termasuk golongan orang-orang yang Rasulullah SAW sebut sebagai sahabat-sahabat qur’an.

I do really believe that whenever I read Qur’an, I feel so peaceful. When I am so sad, I’ll always read it. It’s the only physical thing that I trust, that I feel so calm when I’m with. I just felt something strange if I start my day without reading it.

Hope Allah always keep this feel inside my heart, my friend’s, and my family’s. Hope we always be a person who love Qur’an, who always be the living Qur’an.

AISC Taiwan 2012

Alhamdulillah, I am so grateful to be able to join an enjoyable and informative event this week. It’s called Annual Indonesian Scholar Conference (AISC) in Hsinchu, Taiwan. There are quite a lot of reflections, observations, and lessons that I got from this events. I would like to share some.

First, I found the Indonesia’s muslim society in Taiwan is really great because they can organized such international scale academic conference. I think other Indonesia’s muslim societies overseas should also conduct this kind of event.

Secondly, when Indonesian in Taiwan perform some of Indonesian dances, I was more convinced that art or culture can be a medium to promote understanding between different culture. I saw the Taiwanese, who watch the performance, were quite impressed. I think it can also be a medium of da’wah. No wonder why some Wali Songo use this cultural approach.

Thirdly, I am more convinced that a great university is really important for a nation development. I saw quite a lot of good universities in Taiwan which then support Taiwan’s economic development. Somehow, it comes to my mind, that later, in ministry of finance or BPK, I will try to be the ‘guardian’ for the education budget provision and its use.

Fourthly, one of the speaker highlighted Japanese policy after they lose in the war, that is “to revive science and technology excellence” policy. As always, I really agree with this statement. A more educated society is highly needed. However, as the Prof reminded, just education is not enough, we also need training and practice.

And lastly, I am so grateful to Allah who always help and strengthen me. I do really hope that the time that I spent there was regarded as an ibadah. So grateful also for the best presentation award. Thank you Allah,,

(to be continued)

Educate, educate, and educate!

The importance of education is felt in many areas of life. No wonder why Islam put education as a crucial aspect of religion.

Even though it seems a bit far to correlate education level with bureaucracy quality in a country, I firmly believe that it has a high correlation. Whenever we want our leader to make a change or reform towards bureaucracy which can deliver good services, we know that they will only do it if there is enough incentive to do it. One effective incentive in a ‘normal’ democracy is that the consequences of not be reelected. Public won’t reelect a leader or party who can’t deliver any good to them.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for a country like Indonesia, where democracy is practiced, but the education level of its society is relatively low. Only around 10% of Indonesia’s population get bachelor degree or higher. It is way so easy for any political parties to bribe many uneducated Indonesia, where on the other hand, the voice of the uneducated is treated the same with the voice of university professor.

In turn, the bad political party or a leader who is supposed to be punished by not being  reelected, get reelected (again). If we can’t cut this vicious cycle, then the hope a better Indonesia is quite absurd.

Thus, the effort is really is should be focused on improving nation’s education level. Only with a higher education level, the clean and ‘deliver’ bureaucracy that we want will be achieved.

Lastly, just want to say the caveat, if we are lucky enough, when we ‘suddenly’ have a leader who is clean and visionary, then we might not wait until education level become so high that we’ll get a run bureaucracy. Hopefully, somehow this happen.

Forest, Human’s Greed, and Youth

I think I wrote something about this topic long time ago. Since I just watched a good documentary about illegal logging, my heart just asked me to write about it again. This documentary: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/fightforamazonia/, talk about efforts by rain forest conservationists to protect the amazon rain forest. The conservationists are still young, they are pushed by there idealism that rain forest should be protected and that any illegal act should be held responsible. However, from the documentary, we can see that their effort was just so limited at the low level. I think they need to advocate more at the national level, to the federal government. Secondly, since they only operate at a very grass root level, they can only catch an unempowered person who were actually also forced to do illegal logging to earn living. Somehow, it’s a bit ironic to punish them.

After all, at any point of time, I feel a bit despair. It seems to be so hard to eradicate this. But then, again, I think that things are possible when the youth, the new generation really want to make a difference. A bit unfortune, I realized that, quite significant number of my qualified friends, aren’t concern about fixing this country’s or world’s problem. I personally a bit pessimistic about young people who are busy dating with their girl/boy friends. In my mind,  how can we are hoping that they will make a better thing when they do  not concern with the problems.

I just hoped that I am wrong, that it is still worthwhile to put hope on them. Again, after all, I do believe, with or without them, the change will continue to roll. Insyaallah, we’ll consistent to be in that  change maker.