On discipline

Status

Most of the time, the main issue is not the lack of knowledge; rather it’s the lack of discipline to act on that knowledge. I’ve never think that Indonesia and many other developing countries are underdeveloped due to the lack of knowledge of proper policy; rather, I believe it’s because of the lack of good governance.

It’s as simple as thinking like our own affairs. A successful person is a discipline, ‘goodly governed’ person. We can’t expect someone to be a good artist, farmer, teacher, or merchant, without being discipline to their own. A developed country is the accumulation of a developed individual.

Let’s raise the rhythm

Status

Where are our position in the companion of Rasulullah SAW? Will we be eligible to meet him and be with him later in akhirah? The companions of Rasulullah SAW had struggled with Rasulullah SAW in a way that we might not be even dare to do it today. Where are our position in the eyes of Rasulullah SAW? Unless we follow his path and continue his mission, we would remain far away from him. Let’s raise the rhythm.

Status

Bacalah dan tadabburilah Al-Qur’an. Perbanyaklah waktu bersama Al-Qur’an; insyaallah hati akan menjadi tenang. Mu’min yang diberi ketenangan (sakinah) oleh Allah tidak akan takut dengan apa yang akan terjadi esok hari dan tidak akan sedih dengan apa yang telah terjadi.

Let the life flow. It’s meant to be enjoyable; only, and if only with Him.

Life at Peace

Lately, alhamdulillah saya merasa lebih tenang dan lebih bahagia dari pada biasanya. Apa sebab? Saya pikir karena saya merasa lebih yakin bahwa Allah SWT senantiasa melihat saya; saya merasa yakin bahwa I’m not alone, namun ada Allah yang senantiasa menyertai, innallaha ma’ana.

Semua bermula ketika akhir-akhir ini saya mulai merenungkan ayat-ayat Al-Qur’an yang saya baca. Ketika saya sampai pada surat Al-Baqoroh ayat 45-46, yang artinya: “Dan mohonlah pertolongan (kepada Allah) dengan sabar dan shalat. Dan (shalat) itu sungguh berat, kecuali bagi orang-orang yang khusyu’; (yaitu) mereka yang yakin, bahwa mereka akan menemui Tuhannya, dan bahwa mereka akan kembali kepada-Nya“.

Saya bertanya pada diri saya, benarkah sabar dan shalat merupakan solusi bagi semua permasalahan? Mengapa Allah menyebutkan dua ibadah ini secara khusus di sini? Yang membuat saya lebih berpikir lebih jauh lagi, Allah menyebutkan bahwa hal tersebut berat, kecuali bagi orang yang khusyu’. Di sini saya menjadi sangat tertarik, apa yang sangat istimewa dengan sholat yang khusyu’? dan bagaimana mencapai sholat yang khusyu’ tersebut? Alhamdulillah saya kemudian menemukan buku pelatihan sholat khusyu’ karya Ustadz Abu Sangkan. Pada buku tersebut, Ust. Abu Sangkan menekankan bahwa ketika sholat kita harus meyakini bahwa kita sedang berhadapan, melihat, atau bertemu dengan Allah secara langsung pada saat sholat. Hal ini ternyata sesuai dengan penjelasan Allah, di ayat 46, bahwa orang-orang yang khusyu’ itu yakin bahwa mereka akan menemui Tuhannya dan yakin bahwa mereka akan kembali kepada-Nya.

Berbekal pengetahuan ini, saya pun memperbaiki sholat saya. Saya selalu meyakinkan diri saya. bahwa Allah menyaksikan saya pada saat saya sholat; bahwa saya sedang bertemu Allah pada saat sholat. Hasilnya? it was great; saya bergetar, merasa takut, namun juga merasa tenang bahwa Allah sedang melihat saya. Saya merasa sholat saya lebih bermakna. Alhamdulillah, banyak perubahan yang saya dapatkan setelah memperbaiki sholat saya. Saya pun menjadi semakin senang untuk sholat dan berusaha untuk mencari-cari kesempatan untuk sholat.

Fortunately, this doesn’t stop here. Alhamdulillah, keyakinan bertemu Allah secara langsung pada saat sholat, membuat saya terus merasa bahwa Allah is there; Allah always watches me where ever I am. Hal ini lah yang membuat saya akhir-akhir ini menjadi lebih bahagia dan tenang.

Selain itu, alhamdulillah sekarang saya mulai mengerti dengan apa yang Allah maksud dengan ulil albab (orang-orang yang berakal) pada surat Al-Imran ayat 190-191, yaitu orang yang senantiasa ingat pada Allah di saat ia berdiri, duduk, dan dalam keadaan berbaring (i.e. dalam semua keadaan). Insyaallah, selama kita yakin dan aware bahwa Allah senantiasa melihat dan bersama dengan kita, kita pun akan senantiasa ingat pada Allah.

Finally, saya pun sekarang juga mengerti mengapa Allah menyebutkan bahwa sholat itu mencegah dari perbuatan keji dan munkar pada QS Al-Ankabut ayat 45. I think it is very understandable karena orang yang senantiasa merasa diawasi Allah tentu tidak akan berbuat yang keji dan munkar. Kalaupn ia terpeleset sehingga melakukan hal tersebut, ia akan segera memohon ampun dan memperbanyak amal sholeh.

Semoga Allah senantiasa menganugerahi sholat yang khusyu’ serta menguatkan kita untuk senantiasa beristiqomah dalam menjadi hamba-Nya.

 

Little thought on my Incheon-Seoul Airport getaway

Even though I’ve visited quite many developed countries before, I give a special respect for South Korea, simply because of the fact that it was on the same stage on development with Indonesia back in 1950s.

When looking around surrounding the airport, I was thinking about Indonesia’s development. I think that the answer for whether Indonesia would be able to capitalize its recent status as an emerging into a real developed economy relies on its ability to produce critical mass of educated human resources. I said critical mass because I think not all of Indonesian should get the very high education as it would take a very long time and simply also because in Japan, not all Japanese are highly talented and highly educated; but a portion, a critical mass, maybe around 5% of the population I think is highly necessary. This critical mass of educated population would be the driving force in the policy making, research institution, and business.

Then of course, the question is how to get into an excellent education institution. I think to be able to get into an excellent education institution only requires three folds, these are dream high, work hard, and pray a lot. I firmly believe, if we, Indonesia, can have this critical mass of educated human resources, we’ll rock the world. It is very important for the fellow Indonesian that they should get a very good education in a world class education institution, not because of its brand but really because of the quality of its reaching and research. I am sure that it won’t be difficult to achieve so as long as we want to dream high, work hard, and pray to Allah. Here is a simple example.

Back in 2009, when I was in the fifth semester of university, I moved from student dormitory to a rented-house. The house was located close to a book store, where I spent around one to two hour of my time every night. On the way to the book store, there was a travel agent office, of which wall was covered by international airline logo. At that time I’ve never travelled abroad. Every time I pass by the office, I only have one pray, “Allah, please make it easy for me to travel abroad to various country. You know how much I love to see developed countries”.

Day passed one by one, every day I pray, every day I dream and every day I work hard; studying, joining organization, joining competition and many other positive things. Then, alhamdulillah, in Mid-2010, I have my first travel abroad, to Mecca (note: and of course, when I was in front of Ka’bah, one of my pray is also to be able to travel abroad often =)). Alhamdulillah, I think Allah accepted my pray; and my efforts have borne fruit. To conclude, the moral of the story the above mentioned: (dare to) dream high, (willing to) work hard, and pray a lot. Insyaallah the time will come.

I’ve got to board the plane now =)

Status

Insyaallah, as long as we are willing to learn, we’ll be able to master it. One of the biggest tragedies is when someone undermine the important of knowledge. I firmly believe, if our people, Indonesian, can be more educated, insyaallah, Indonesia have a bright future ahead. So, for all of us who get this great opportunity to learn, it is clearly very ungrateful if we are not serious in it. May Allah strengthen us and rewards this effort with Jannah. Salam,

Status

Sudah sepantasnya kita dekat dengan Al-Qur’an dan memahami isinya. Al-Qur’an adalah the ultimate guidance in our life. Semoga kita bisa konsisten mempelajari dan mengamalkannya.

Status

Innovation doesn’t necessarily happen only in science and technology field. Innovation can be done in many areas of our life. It could be as simple as a mother who innovate in the dinner menu. World will (only) be a better place with innovation. So, what innovation would you embark on?

The prospective country

The Indonesian economy is booming-and will continue to be so, at least until 2030. Many of its economic sectors are still underdeveloped, as well as many areas those are un-touched.

Field such as consumer services (financial services, F&B, telecommunication, transportation, apparel, travel, housing, etc.). The number of middle class is rising. The population is still growing and young.

Private sector and government play a more important role here. It is very clear that the private sectors should increase their productivity and explore next-generation business sectors (new energy sources, telecommunication, etc.). In the mean time, government should also provide a better governance, i.e. clearer rule and regulation, law enforcement, professional services, and clean.

For society, a spirit to be a developed nation should be realized in to action. Our society should value higher education (mainly in engineering, medical, and art) as well as remove unproductive habits and activities.

Last but not the least, we should hold firmly to Allah’s guidance and his messenger’s teaching. That way we will be a developed nation and able to avoid mistakes made by the previous developed nations.

Reminder from nature

I agree with the interview below. There something fundamentally wrong with the way we live now. Over consumption, spiritual crisis, vested interest politicians which resulted to paralyzed leadership, etc.

One wise reminder from a taxi driver. “Work is a need, not a goal. Allah created day for us to work and night to rest and worship Him. Yet, that’s no longer being practiced now. People work day and night and never feel enough”. Once prophet Muhammad said (paraphrased), if human is given one valley of gold, he will ask for another valley.

It’s all about greedy, and more fundamentally crisis of life meaning. People should hold on the religious values, but not just any religion.  Logically, when we see many options, we should look at the latest. In this case, Islam is the one. From the three samawi religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Islam is the last one given for the human kind. It is meant as the final guidance from the almighty.

I congratulate Mrs Desi Answar for this interview.

Back to Allah

Very sad for people whom Allah hasn’t gave them hidayah to Islam.

We definitely do not know when we will back to Allah. May Allah gives us His forgiveness. May we can gather together later in Allah’s paradise and kept away from Allah’s torment.

Sometimes ambition in this life kept us away from dzikrullah and ‘ibadah to Allah. May Allah forgives our mistakes and guides us always.

Summer Journey (Part I)

This is not the first time I go to US, but this is the first time I travel quite extensively in the US cities. There are a lot of things that I want to share with you from this two weeks journey. In this part, I just wanted to share what I see in Harvard. Yes, in harvard university, in fact, in this very moment, I type this post while enjoying cold-windy summer in harvard yard.

During my bus journey from DC to Boston, which take around 10 hours, I watched a documentary which titles something like “islam: the empire of faith”, which I insistently ask you to watch. In that amazing documentary, the brith of islam until its golden age was explain nicely. One thing that is explained there was the fact how people in europe were so amazed when they see islamic cities, such as Cordoba dan Baghdad at that time. Cordoba and Baghdad were the center of world science, where the biggst and brightest cities exist. The people are well educated, the trade, architecture, and art are reaching its peak. However, ironically, that is the thing that I feel now. Seeing Harvard, NYC, DC, etc, I feel like I am a medieval european who come to see islamic cities. I am so amazed with Harvard environment, so stunned by the ‘greatness’ of New York City (especially the breathtaking view of time square at night), etc.

I’ve taken extensive note on what made islam was the ruler of the world, while still live peacefully with its neighbour, 500 hundred years ago. I am so keen and excited to share it in the next post.

To close, let’s always strive to be better, to be more beneficial, and to lift up other people’s living standard. May we become someone who are closer to Allah, while also powerful and prosperous in this world, as Allah called as the Khalifah fil Ardh.

With a very best regards,

Rully

PS: Sorry for the short post, I’ve got to see around more =)

How to have a leader in local government?

Leader is someone who has the vision and able to move people around him to achieve higher result. I do think that this is the one that we lack in our government, mainly the local level one. Based on interviews that I conducted, many of local level government, even the top official don’t really have the vision about where their region will be brought to.

Then how to have a good leader? Through religion? Formal education? Working experience?

Wish this jama’ah will help producing such leader.

Pendidikan Tinggi

I posted the small piece of writing below in a website several days ago as a requirement for a scholarship application. I consider the content is a bit basic. Hope you find it beneficial. I’ll be more than happy to asnwer your question regarding studying and scholarship at university abroad. Thanks

Meraih Pendidikan Tinggi Berkualitas

Sudah ada konsensus bahwa kualitas sumber daya manusia merupakan suatu hal yang penting bagi daya saing (competitiveness) suatu bangsa. Bangsa yang kaya akan sumber daya alam, namun tidak memiliki sumber daya manusia yang handal akan tertinggal oleh bangsa yang memiliki sumber daya alam terbatas, namun memiliki sumber daya manusia yang baik. Singapura, Korea Selatan, dan Jepang merupakan beberapa Negara yang membuktikan bahwa sumber daya manusia yang handal akan meningkatkan kualitas standard hidup (living standard) suatu Negara.

Salah satu kunci meningkatkan kualitas sumber daya manusia tersebut tentunya pendidikan. Pendidikan akan memberikan dasar bagi kita untuk mengembangkan ilmu, meningkatkan kualitas daya pikir analitik, dan mengembangkan keahlian lainnya. Bedasarkan laporan OECD, pada tahun 2012, penduduk Indonesia yang melanjutkan pendidikan yang lebih tinggi setelah lulus SMA hanya sekitar 10%, cukup jauh dibawah Negara-negara maju yang mencapai rata-rata 30%.

Berbicara tentang pendidikan yang berkualitas, untuk pendidikan tinggi, universitas-universitas terbaik luar negeri pada saat ini masih merupakan pilihan yang tepat. Sangat banyak hal yang bisa didapatkan dari pendidikan di luar negeri.

Pelajaran yang didapat

Disamping medapatkan ilmu pengetahuan dan meningkatkan kemampuan berbahasa asing, belajar di luar negeri juga memberi kita beberapa manfaat lainnya. Dua diantaranya adalah:

Pertama, kita bisa mengetahui sistem pendidikan atau sistem universitas yang baik. Kita akan bisa mengetahui betapa dosen-dosen pengajar di luar negeri pada umumnya merupakan orang-orang yang berkualitas, universitas dilengkapi dengan sarana belajar yang menunjang, serta banyaknya kegiatan ekstrakurikuler yang tersedia, seperti organisasi mahasiswa, public lectures dan institusi-institusi riset.

Kedua, tata kelola pemerintahan. Di samping belajar, jika kita tinggal di Negara yang lebih maju, kita akan bisa melihat atau mengambil pelajaran dari sistem tata kelola pemerintahan yang diterapkan oleh Negara tersebut. Kita bisa melihat hal-hal yang patut dicontoh dan dikembangkan oleh Negara kita, seperti kualitas transportasi publik, pemukiman, pelayanan kesehatan, dan pelayanan publik lainnya.

Banyak Beasiswa

Keinginan untuk bisa melanjutkan pendidikan di universitas terbaik di luar negeri biasanya cukup besar bagi masyarakat Indonesia, namun seringkali terbentur oleh biaya yang cukup besar. Hal yang ingin saya tekankan adalah sangat banyak beasiswa yang tersedia di universitas-universitas luar negeri, terutama bagi program paska sarjana di universitas-universitas terbaik. Universitas-universitas tersebut sangat  berusaha untuk ‘menggaet’ akademisi-akademisi berbakat ke Negara mereka. Pada umumnya, ketika kita mendaftar di salah satu program studi mereka, kita sudah langsung terdaftar sebagai pendaftar beasiswa di program tersebut. Pada saat pengumuman kelulusan pendaftaran, mereka akan memberi tahu apakah kita diterima dengan beasiswa, diterima tanpa beasiswa, atau tidak diterima.

Bagi kita yang tidak mendapatkan beasiswa dari kampus tersebut, masih banyak beasiswa-beasiswa lainnya yang tersedia. Salah satunya adalah program beasiswa unggulan dari kementrian pendidikan dan kebudayaan Indonesia (http://beasiswaunggulan.kemdiknas.go.id/).  Program ini memberikan bantuan untuk biaya hidup selama kuliah. Program ini merupakan sesuatu yang sangat tepat untuk dimanfaatkan. Dengan ini, pemerintah berharap kualitas sumber daya manusia Indonesia akan dapat menjadi lebih baik dengan menempuh pendidikan di luar negeri.

Persiapan

Bagi program paska sarjana, hal penting yang harus dipersiapakan adalah study dan life plan serta kemampuan bahasa. Kita sudah harus bisa mengetahui target atau rencana hidup kita. Dengan demikian, kita bisa memilih universitas atau program yang tepat untuk membantu kita mencapai tujuan tersebut. Perbanyaklah membaca hal-hal yang berkaitan dengan bidang ketertarikan (field of interest) kita tersebut.

Bagi teman-teman yang masih kuliah di tingkat sarjana, perbanyaklah mengikuti kegiatan ekstrakurikuler, seperti organisasi-organisasi, community service, seminar-seminar, serta usahakan mendapatkan IPK yang baik. Hal-hal tersebut akan sangat membantu untuk bisa diterima di universitas terbaik di luar negeri.

Penutup

Indonesia merupakan Negara dengan penduduk terbesar keempat di dunia. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa Indonesia memiliki potensi besar untuk memberi kontribusi signifikan bagi pengembangan pengetahuan dan mendorong terciptanya arsitektur global yang lebih baik. Insyaallah, dengan level pendidikan yang lebih baik, Indonesia akan mampu menjadi Negara yang lebih maju dan makmur. Good luck!

Corporate Greedy and Corrupt Official

I just watch this great documentary: http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/101east/2011/10/201110257300740552.html. And I was very upset and angry with my government, with the corporation.

I certainly will try to get the power and stop all of these massive destruction projects.

It is obviously not a sustainable way, it is certainly not how we suppose to deal with the nature.

I am calling all this country’s children, the ones who still have heart and clear mind. We’ve definitely got to prepared ourselves for that power, for that authority to stop all of these mess.

Lesson from Giovanni van Bronckhost Interview

This lesson was taken from Ms Desi Anwar interview with Giovanni, aired in Metro TV, September 24th 2011.

  • When you are child, you just playing and having fun, but as get older, you have to be more determined.
  • Every body want to achieve a great thing, so we have to work and perform better than others.
  • The mentality of never give up
  • “I only have one goal in life, that is to to be a professional football player…” (Giovanni van Bronckhost)
  • Everything need a stage, a process. Everything is meaningful, Allah set it up for us. Oftenly, the obstacles will be more frequent in the first years. A great guy see a big problem as a challenge, a short sighted-pessimistic people see a small problem as a big one.
  • Being a leader we have to make sure that the team is a true team, have a same goal, and discipline.

Harapan itu Masih Ada

Saat kemunafikan sudah begitu mengakar. Hampir semua tanpa malu berteriak lantang kebohongan, argumentasi meyakinkan pun tak luput, Allah lah yang maha kuasa.

Allah sudah mengakatakan bahwa nasib kita tak kan berubah jika bukan kita yang berusaha merubahnya, lalu mengapa tidak kita berusaha terus merubahnya. Atas segala kesulitan menghadang, Allahpun juga telah mengatakan tak ada hal yang tak mungkin, jika Allah berkata Ya, maka akan terjadi.

Saya cinta islam, saya cinta optimisme dan semangat kerja keras yang ada di dalamnya. Let’s work for it, harapan itu masih ada.

Talent

Allah is the creator of this amazing world. Allah made everything is possible. Allah said that our condition or destiny will never change unless we try it by our self. One big amazing word that’s ever exist is talent. yes, talent. It is everybody equipped with, what ever it is. whether cooking, singing, giving speech, good at certain sport, etc. That’s how wonderful Allah is.

Our single biggest task now is how to develop this talent. Let’s take it seriously. We are the only person who know about our self. We know what we want, we know what we’re happy when work on. That’s talent, that’s it.
It’s gonna need seriousness, discipline, and hard work.

One popular example, justin bieber. Almost everybody know about him. Did he get this popularity easily? Nope. He has developed his talent,even since he was 2 years old and he keep practicing until now. That’s what we’ve got to do also. sharp it. Until one day, we can be very beneficial to the society. For me, I’ll keep developing my analytically and critical thinking. I like to read. I like to analyze. I like to write. That’s what I’m gonna develop always.

Last two point. Prophet Mohammad pointed out nicely. The best human on earth is the most beneficial person on earth. I think that gives quite clear signal that our talent, has to benefit the society, human being at most.
Lastly, always, Allah is the only one who can make that happen. Let’s always try to connect our heart with Allah where ever and whenever we are. Praying to Allah is our ultimate goal. Let’s do it.

The Optimists

It conveys a simple word, optimism. In the mid of domestic political turbulence, this video convey a message that Indonesia is creative enough, then it raises the optimism among all of us.

One sentence that I really like, ever spoken by Anies Baswedan, “we have all reasons to be a pessimistic country, but then we choose to be optimist”. Yes, from any point of view, everybody belief that Indonesia will ends on 1998. But we must be surprised knowing that Indonesia still there today, standing as the world 17th biggest economy, member of G-20, 3rd largest democracy in the world and so on so forth.

Insyaallah, with all hardwork, improvement in education and government governance, I firmly believe, a better indonesia, a more developed Indonesia, is definitely possible.

A little Note from Prof Klitgaards’s Lecture

Last two days ago, I attended a lecture by Prof Klitgaards, someone who’s named as world leading expert on anti corruption strategy. the most important thing that I got from him that the next public policy studies or analysis should convene more on a big issue.

The policy studies that we conduct have to be something which is multi disciplinary and try to give a systematic solution, meaning the solution that we give require a systematic approach and change systematically. I think one good example for this is the PNPM Mandiri project which if I’m not mistaken was initiated by a PhD student/lecturer in IPB.

I’ll try to do so, convene on a big issue and give a systematical recommendation.

Another Reflection: Education and Fiscal Importance

One key important factor in securing Indonesia’s seat for the future developed country is education. Sounds like an old story, yes it is, but still it is unsolved, the problem should be broke down well, what the basic problem is.

Based on common sense, one big cause is the economic reason. Like and egg and chicken story, which one is first, whether low education resulted with low economic development, or low economic ability which cause huge uneducated society. But anyway, nothing false with fixing the economic condition.

Currently, there are a lot of government program in fostering the number of educated society in Indonesia. As an economist, I will concern more on the important of fiscal here.

Indonesia still has a big fiscal room, considering the tax ratio and tax compliance ratio is still low. Even though these are the challenges, but the opportunities also embedded. That’s why a better fiscal management, especially in tax levy strategy should be improved.

I also want to touch the corruption problem. Indonesia’s public finance also a victim of massive corruption which reducing the impact of this public finance to the society. A further action should be taken, either form the leadership level or from the culture side.

Lastly, I would say, in the mid of all these bad thing, I’ve got to stand firmly and prepare my self so that can contribute greatly to Indonesia’s advancement. All part of Indonesia’s society, who say that they love their country, should contribute in whatever they can on it. I believe we can.

 

 

Highly Corrupt Country

This country has been captured highly by corruption. It is a really really common thing here. How can it be this heavy and how can everybody (the citizen) only ‘pasrah’ in knowing this fact?

Watch this:

http://www.metrotvnews.com/read/newsprograms/2011/07/23/9383/91/Angry-Nazaruddin/1

It just unbelievably bad. Too bad. Everybody has been participated, most parts in government is a corrupt body. Are we just waiting until Allah change this old generation? or there is something that we still can do?

Any idea?