Finally, it’s time to leave

I feel so ashamed to Allah, the Lord of the World, the one who always protects and guides me. I feel however I try to be grateful, Allah’s ni’mah or gifts are just way much more than that. One of these gifts is one year at LKYSPP, Singapore.

It was just a blessing from Allah. Allah has given me opportunity to go straight from the undergrad to this great program. I still can remember last year, June 2011, how I really try hard to finish my undergrad thesis by the end of June (in the middle of big organization responsibility, competitions, etc.) and defend it in front of lectures, and then go for MTQ competition in Makassar for a week and then leave directly for Singapore. July 19th is the day where I sat in the plane with my parents to this university. It was a bit rush, but then Allah makes everything possible and very enjoyable. Even the fact one month after I receive admission letter saying that I am accepted as self-funded student but then suddenly change to full scholarship status was just a miracle. Too many gifts from Allah.

My life in LKYSPP has been just as what I expected before applying. The Professors are good, there are many public lectures every week, great library system and collections, endless academic enrichment opportunity, great friends, opportunity to work part time and earn my own money, and many other things.

Studying in this school, in this country, has really sharpened my life. I can see how a theory of public policy is being implemented in the real life; I can see how good bureaucrat could be, and many more. Studying in this school has also fulfilled my thirst on writing papers and joining international conference. Through the school I have been able to set my foot in London, Hsinchu, Manila, DC-NYC-Boston, Saudi Arabia, and many other world cities. The part time work has given me opportunity to visit provinces in Indonesia that I’ve never been before: Maluku, North Maluku, South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Bali, etc. Nothing can I say. What a tremendous gifts from Allah.

Realizing this, I believe that my responsibility to my countries is becoming bigger and bigger. Allah has given this opportunity to me. I really think that should be able to give back to my community, to be someone that can bring light and happiness to the 50% of Indonesians who are still living under $2 per day.

After all, now I am ready to embrace a new chapter in life (thanks to LKYSPP for this): one year study program in Tokyo University, a university of my dream, in a country that I, and many Indonesians, admire of. Insyaallah, I’ll utilize the opportunities better and contribute more to others. Semoga selalu dinilai ibadah dan berkah. Itu selalu dibisik hati kecil saya.

As the closing, I am fully convinced that as long as we’re fighting for or struggling in Allah’s way, insyaallah, He will always help us, always. Semoga bisa selalu istiqomah. Salam.

Be the best

When I was sitting on the plane from Jeddah to Singapore, an Indonesian mother who sat beside me said a simple yet deep: “I always told my children that they have to be someone knowledgeable. A knowledgeable person are respected by other people”.

When I watched Al-Jazeera investigation on what killed yasser arafat, I just reflected why Muslims are very messy nowadays. In that documentary it seems clear that Yasser Arafat was poisoned. Besides, it was so strange how can Palestinian authority didn’t ask for autopsy. Moreover, we can see that President Bush priority/message at that time was to get new leader for Palestine. I can’t imagine how can a foreigner suggested a  country to elect new leader because their current leader is sick. Why should they get involved in other countries’ affair?

The bottom line is what Prophet Muhammad said hundred years ago: there will be a time when Muslim will be like a piece of meat snatched by dogs. The sahabah/companions asked why is that so? Is that because of the few number of Muslim? The Prophet replied, no, your number is huge at that time but it like foam on the ocean. It is because you love dunya/world and afraid of death.

It seems to be a very long way to go when we can see Muslim around the world are united, have one single voice. What we’re seeing now are just Messy Syiria, poverty in many Muslim countries, occupied Palestine, etc. There are many reasons to be pessimistic, but I believe we shouldn’t be so.

Linking to my first paragraph, I think the most possible thing that we can do individually now is to build or develop our own country. I am definitely believe when Muslim countries are prosperous individually, they will be more respected. Just like a knowledgeable people who are more respected in their community. One single example is Singapore. Singapore is just a small-tiny country, yet it can have a voice in international forum. Why? Partly is because it is a success story, people are respecting it.

As the conclusion, keep doing da’wah and acquire more knowledge so that we can be a prosperous good-muslim country is the solution that I can think of at the moment.

Taraweeh in Masjidil Haram (Night of 27th)

Just found this video on youtube. It makes really miss Ramadhan in Makkah. Being part in that jama’ah was one of the biggest ni’mat from Allah for me and was one of the most beautiful moment in my life.

O Allah, how I miss Ramadhan and dedicate myself to worship You in Your holy house. Ya Allah, pertemukanlah kami dengan Ramadhan tahun depan dan berikanlah kami ni’mat untuk mengunjungi Baitullah-Mu lagi.

Reflection from ‘Umrah

Alhamdulillah, all thanks belong to Allah, the Lord of the world. Alhamdulillah to Allah, the one who always protects me every time and everywhere. I just returned from a two-week journey in Makkah and Madinah to do ‘umrah. It was a very memorable moment for me.

I do really think that this (going for ‘umrah in Ramadhan) was one of the best decision that I’ve made in my life considering the limited savings that I have =) and tight work/study schedule.

There are several key lessons that I got from my ‘umrah journey. I do really hope that it can benefit you also.

First, our life orientation should be to get Allah’s ridha. In most of the time, our routines, such as work, study, etc., have made our life orientation become a worldly orientated one. It may sounds like too simplistic or cliché but it is the way it is. Allah already mentioned that the life in this world is a test from Him, it is the chance to be prepared for the next (eternal) life. Our routines have made this world life become our orientation. This shouldn’t be the case.

Second, Qur’an should be our friend and our guidance. The thing that really amazes me in Saudi Arabian life is the high intensity of their interaction with Qur’an. It is very easy to spot people reading Qur’an, listening to Qur’an recitation in their room, car, etc. The taxi driver who drove for me from Makkah to Jeddah airport told me that in almost all masjid in Makkah there are tahfidz qur’an (qur’an memorization) programs for children. I do really think that this intense interaction with Qur’an is what we should take example from them.

Third, it makes me appreciate Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. more. Simply just to see the scenery from Makkah to Madinah which span for about 500 km, we will appreciate more the sacrifices of Prophet Muhammad and his companion when hijrah or move from Makkah to Madinah. Between the two cities is just desert; and it is very-very hot. I can’t imagine how many days that they have to travel by foot and donkey between the two cities. Besides, the character of people of Saudi ‘Arabia is not nice, they are quite rude. I can imagine how hard it is for Prophet Muhammad to deal with those kind of people.

Scenery between Makkah and Madinah

Scenery between Makkah and Madinah

Fourth, Allah is everything-He will helps and protects us always. This is really the thing that felt during my 2 weeks journey in Makkah and Madinah. Going to Saudi Arabia is not as easy going to New York, London, Singapore and other developed western places. In those western places, things are very easy and clear: the public transportation, hostel, food, etc. But in Saudi Arabia, it really needs a nerve to go there, moreover alone. Alhamdulillah, Allah has made it easy for me. Alhamdulillah.

Those are among several lessons that I got from journey. May Allah always strengthen us to live this life and make it easy for us to visit his first ‘home’ on earth. Amin.

The Holy Ka'bah with zam-zam tower as a background

The Holy Ka’bah with zam-zam tower as a background

Note: Later I will post some tips on going ‘umrah alone (without travel agent), insyaallah.

Another inspiring Desi Anwar’s program

Desi Anwar’s program has always been so inspiring, including this edition: Chanee, pakar siamang. Chanee is young french man who came to Indonesia in 1998, when he was 19 years old. His passion on Siamang brought him to Indonesia even then married with locals and have two kids.

I was so touched to see his dedication, his humbleness, effort, commitment, dedication, and many other positive things. Saving Siamang (Gibbon) has always been his passion and dream. At least I learnt two things from him: first, we have to have something that we are very committed to achieve; something that we are striving for. Second, he makes me realize (again) how bad deforestation in Indonesia has been. 

I will always try to work more in my passion, and strive for it; and secondly, I do really have to have big influence or authority, so that I can help people like Chanee and many other Indonesian heroes. That time insyallah will come; many works need to be done. I hope you feel the same.

The joy of having a job

Today is my last day for internship. The past six weeks has been so wonderful. I learnt that we can take hikmah from something that looks very simple or ordinary. Just need to pray to Allah so that we can catch any hikmah pass by.

The project which I involved since around four months ago, the Indonesia competitiveness report, has also gave many benefits to me. I got to see my Indonesia, interact with their respective leaders, learn how to work professionally, etc. For me, it simply shows how generous Allah to me.

Last two days were the conference days, The report launching days. Even though there are many things need to be improved in the report, I think, the invited government official I think should already able to take lessons from the conference. I do really hope that they get the spirit to continuously improve the competitiveness of their region. Again, competitiveness doesn’t mean that there is one sector which all of us has to pursue, rather, competitiveness is being excellent in any field that we chose. Maluku doesn’t necessarily need to be like Jakarta (i.e. the financial center) to be a competitive province, if it can maximize its fishery potential and become excellent in it, Maluku definitely can be as competitive and as prosperous as Jakarta. I’ll post the report whenever it’s ready to be published.

Lastly, just want to make comment that there’s joy when we are working and earn our own money. I think that’s why Prophet Daud keep work and earn his living by himself even though he is a king. Prophet Muhammad also said so, I think.

Thanks a lot to Xin Yi, Estelle, Amanda, Vicky, and Meng Khin for being a nice colleague at work. Thanks for the present also =)

Two years have passed

This month, two years ago, was my first time travelling to US, living and study there for one semester. That was a very memorable and life changing experience. I greatly thank Allah for that experience.

For that very first time, I saw how a developed country is: its great university, infrastructure, culture, etc. That very experience has also shaped my life until now. Everything has been arranged beautifully by Allah.

One thing that I keep reminding myself during that time was we need to build our country as good as this country. I dream of, aspire of great country such that one.

Through many discussion with friends, lectures, it is very clear that we need strong and capable leader which can set up a good system. Along with that, we need more nationalistic young (minded) people to contribute and stand by on this aspiration. During one past year, I’ve met quite a lot of educated and capable Indonesians. I do really hope can work together with all of them in advancing this country’s development later.

As for my role now, I will always try to maximize any opportunity that I have to make sure that my self is capable and can contribute greatly to Indonesia later. This past one year has been very impact-full and eye opening for me. The opportunity to interact with great minds around the world, visiting world main cities, and many other opportunities.

Lastly, I should thank Allah for great leader that Allah gave to Indonesia now. I often pray to Allah that these leaders always get guidance from Allah. May Allah always helps and guides us all. Kita harus yakin, kita akan sampai di sana.