After 9 Years of Blogging Tirelessly…

silver macbook pro
Why do you keep blogging if you don’t make money of it at all? (Photo by Pexels.com)

I am still going strong!

The 27th of October has been always a special day on my calendar since forever. Besides the fact that it’s my birthday (cough!), it’s also National Blogger Day in Indonesia. Today also marked my ninth year of blogging. I’ve never thought I would’ve gone this far. Especially these days, when social media enjoyment has taken over the joy of hitting ‘publish’ button on your blog dashboard and get some likes and comments from readers of your blog(s). But this is definitely not the end of my blogging pursuit.

It’s true that I’d never planned to develop this blog to be a really professionally-managed one so that I can make some money of it. As you can see, this blog has some spots of Google Ads but to be brutally honest, it doesn’t generate even a single cent of income for the blogkeeper. That said, I get into thinking that I must soon take down all these useless ads and quit being the disgruntled ad publisher. It doesn’t add value for my readership anyway.

So why do I keep blogging if I don’t make money AT ALL? You may ask.

In my first amateurish blog (akhlispurnomo.blogspot.com), in the most confident and shameless way I picked a tagline, “Blogging, My Second Religion”. You can laugh at it now, but that’s somehow still the perfect description of my reason of writing this blog (and some others).

Very few of these write-ups on my blogs generated enough money to feed me, at the very least. Yet, I always long for the satisfaction that I can only feel when there are some readers who leave comments or silent readers who never leave comments but someday I ran into and told me they liked some of my articles a lot. Probably this is very self-centered. It’s a way to satiate my hungry ego, but once again why should I stop blogging when I can entertain and inform people around me or around the world with some bits of my thought and opinions?

I’ve got to admit that I almost completely abandoned this blog’s domain, which is like a hard-earned domain. I once had a domain of my full name but along the way I failed to renew it (blame it on the M@#$%^& credit card!) and it got bought by some opportunistic domain buyer who may have thought I would beg him or her to give me the domain at a much higher cost.

Just a month ago, before my domain expired, I came to a decision that I might just let this go. “It’s a hobby so why bother spending money for it?” I thought. I considered relying only on the free blog hosting service like WordPress.com and Blogger.com but then I reweighed it after a course of content marketing that I took. It said owning a domain that bears our name is a must if we aim to be a competent, competitive digital player. Well, I made up my mind and renewed it.

Each word in this blog (and some others) shows you my ups and downs; progress and regress; happiness and sorrow. It’s a long winding road of my life journey and self-development. I get almost completely intellectually naked in my blog write-ups, which I further think is quite scary and risky in the future. That’s why every time I write, I keep reminding myself of the risk of posting stuff on the web. No blogging allowed when I get angry and emotional!  Or else I’ll regret it. And even if I intended my write-ups to be less offensive and more helpful for some, I still find some others getting upset by what I write on this very blog.

Lesson to learn? We can never satisfy everyone.

Though I humbly admit that my blog is not an extremely popular one, I take pride of it. In this social media age, when Instagram caption or Facebook status or tweets is what you call ‘write-ups’, I can still find time and collect my intellectual energy for this seemingly pointless undertaking.

I guess this clearly defines what passion is really. Passion is something we still do even if we no longer (or never) can make money of it, or something we keep doing even if we have to make money from other jobs but we still stick to this one ‘useless’ thing.

So I can say after 9 years of tirelessly blogging, I hardly made money from this blog but the blog has made it POSSIBLE for me to land many jobs, ranging from a journalist, a copywriter, a translator, an editor, a book writer, a magazine writer and even a guest lecture, which never snapped on my mind. All these jobs are paying ones (forget about the image of a lonely, tortured, poverty-stricken writer). This would be different if I had spent my time for writing Facebook updates, producing tweets like crazy, or selecting the right diction for a caption on Instagram to impress followers.

Anyway, happy National Bloggers Day! Keep blogging no matter what! (*/)

 

 

 

 

On the Meaning of Life as a Corporate Employee

man wearing white dress shirt and black necktie
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Too often than not I am bombarded with the message that being entrepreneurs is what every young and old man and woman should pursue. It is a pinnacle of one’s career or even life. There is an implicit message hovering out there that dropping out of college and building your own startup or business is cool and worth your sweat, hardship and blood and tears. Suddenly everyone wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk, or Kevin Systrom, or other household names of entrepreneurship. These self-made men and women are unbeatable geniuses because of their grit and luck.

In the meantime, I have been also inundated with the disillusional impression that the gig economy is what the world is now requiring badly to overcome high rate of unemployability. I have seen some of those desperate young men with bachelor’s degrees are turning to the informal sector. They are just unlucky with their job search. Or they may be too picky. Or they simply do not fit in any corporate environment. Or their skills are not needed by those companies or government agencies. You can find these unfortunate educated workforce among the online ojek or taxi fleets in Jakarta. Instead of getting too unrealistic with ideal job expectation, they get real with the world, trying to make money out of their spare time and unused energy of youth.

As the gig economy gives much room to the rise of freelancers, I have also seen and experienced myself how fragile life can be if you are freelancers. The freedom you adore and religiously defend against everything else can become a boomerang that hits and hurts you back.

Working as a freelancer usually is dubbed as a professional path that offers a high level of freedom and flexibility and mobility and prospect of increasing income. Bid farewell to office hours and work desks and office politics! But guess what? Digital gig economy is in fact bad for our well being, as one study of Oxford University suggested . The reasons are many but the most prominent are the poor quality working conditions; long, irregular and anti-social hours which can lead to sleep deprivation and exhaustion; and insane workloads and super tight deadlines that even Superman cannot meet. A Thai movie titled “Heart Attack” (2015) accurately depicts the misery of working as a freelancer. Yun, the protagonist, is told as a 30-year-young man who works on a freelance basis. He works so hard he almost completely sacrificed even his own well being. He almost died of a sudden heart attack, kudos to a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and sleepless working pattern.

Can Life as a ‘Corporate Slave’ be Fulfilling?

That question arises as I watched k-drama “Misaeng”, which in Korean translates to “Incomplete Life”. But as I think over and over again, is a life as a corporate worker always incomplete, mundane and boring?

My hunch is it is considered to be so because there are many people see this type of life as ordinary experience. It is part of their everyday life and they cannot see something special, fresh or inspiring in it. Why should you watch an entertainment product that reminds you of those bad bosses, hateful coworkers, or unforgiving office politics that you have always despised throughout work days? Isn’t it better to watch something else other than ordinary materials as an alternative of entertainment theme?

But as much as many people hate the life of typical corporate slaves, there are still many life lessons — and meaningfulness — that you may find from it.

It Is All about Human Relationship

The “e-mail attitude” sends out an impression that you can work on your own anywhere anytime in your own work field and position. Write and things will get done.

Yet, the thing is that wouldn’t always be what happens.You can send emails and get feedback and problems still persist.

Even if you work in a team in a startup that works at home and you cannot see them in person every single day, the relationship factor still matters a lot.

To perform well, you need to build relationships. E-mails cannot replace them.

Working as entrepreneurs or freelancers is often glorified as prestige.

Entrepreneurs are usually highly paid and get the reputation of being the most daring, shrewd, and competitive of all. They shape the world and contribute to the advancement of human race.

Meanwhile, freelancers are ‘free birds’ who are [seemingly] dependent of big companies. They are free from the pressure of tycoons and shareholders who own these corporations. Freelancers are their own employers. They decide with whom to work, how much they get paid, how much workload they can handle.

But I apologize for bursting the bubble, as these may not be true at all.

I’ve seen some entrepreneurs are highly paid and extremely depressed and suicidal as well. Their work life balance is plumetting, taking sanity as its toll. And though it seems they have achieved things others cannot, they also have to sacrifice more than others.

Freelancing is always considered the best lifestyle and career path too but don’t we know that it is a crushing choice of profession as well? A freelancer has no certain time frame for work, meaning they can even work on weekends, robbing their well being as well. And if clients demand work to get done in a very short time, s/he cannot say no. Because money is what s/he needs badly!

Life of Corporate Workers can Be Meaningful

Life as corporate workers can be meaningful, too. I believe humans are entitled to giving meaning to everything they experience or have or not lack.

By saying this I am by no means saying that working as a corporate worker is the best career path one must choose. But trust me, it is not worse than entrepreneurs’ and freelancers’ life.

Corporate workers contribute to the economy, too. They work hard to help entrepreneurs realize their visions. Thus, they also contribute to the civilization.

Corporate workers can also gain freedom, too. They can resign whenever they want if they find their employers incongruous with their beliefs.

Corporate workers are also the bridge between their employers and freelancers. They articulate their superiors’ aspiration into explanation digestible to freelancers.

So, do you still think the life of corporate workers meaningless? Think again. (*/)

The Crazy Rich Asian that I Really Know of in Reality

Crazy_Rich_Asians_poster
I find it hard to relate to the life of these filthy wealthy Asian Chinese but one man offered me a glimpse of his life as a part of this world unknown for me. (Photo: WIkipedia)

It is odd to say that Facebook is the most hateful virtual place where I can get to know the most interesting and authentic people on the earth. I’ve seen jerks, cons, and liars, psychopaths here. But real deals are rarities, indeed.

After the movie craze “Crazy Rich Asian” that has swept the world, I recall my encounter with someone who really reflects the familial background and wealth of an Asian clan that are also well versed with Western values and worldviews but at the same time also still retain their Asian DNA. By ‘Asian’ here, I mean Chinese.

Call him Brad. We knew each other on Facebook. But what led us to each other is nothing but yoga. We’re both so into yoga, so when I posted a lot of my yoga photos, he found out somehow and we became friends. We have a mutual friend on Facebook as well, and he is a seasoned tour guide from Bali who is so kind and nice and terrific. If anyone wants to roam Bali, I can never recommend no one but him. Brad coincidentally had taken a cruise with the tour guide guy to one of the eastern islands in the archipelago

What sets Brad from other yogis that I know of is that Brad is not only into yoga but also traditionally-made fabrics, batik. I am Javanese yet I was never willing to learn more about the history and culture of batik, but Brad made me in awe and total shame as he has spent a great deal of time and money and all of his resources to research and collect all. While I can only admire batik as beautiful piece of cloth, he explains in great length about batik and traditionally made, ethnic fabrics made in various islands and areas in my own homeland. I am kind of humiliated in a way but humbled as well to witness his cultural prowess.

But Brad’s breadth and depth of interest have never ceased to amaze me. He is also very adept at culinary world. He preached in an inconceivable level of meticulousness about his gastronomical observations in many restaurants in Bali and other big cities in the world. And I was stunned to learn he has his own book of culinary recipes. It seemed he used to work at a five-star hotel as a sous chef and in the course of time, the management downgraded the quality of ingredients and prices owing to the decline of diner’s number, resulting in his rebellion. He cut off the contract and had no remorse ever since. He went from a chef to an art activist, founding his own gallery because if you have a bottomless bank account, why bother working sulkily with a business partner that betrays your idealism?

At his 60s, Brad is not a particularly a man with a body of his age. His yoga practice and ovo vegan diet have made this achievable. And he also can never get enough with durian.

And before I forget, he is no ordinary yogi. He sets up his own school of yoga in Cambodia, where he trains local youths to be a band of competent yoga teachers. From Taiwan where Brad resides, he goes back and forth to Cambodia only to make sure this yoga teacher training works well.

Brad is doing all this because he has a lot of time. He seems to be single and free as a bird, and he takes his liberty to whatever he wants to. A couple of years ago when we met, Brad told me he was still living with his mother but where it is exactly, I never quite understand.

While taking care of his 90-year-old mother, Brad came to realize that life goes downhill from the middle age, an age bracket where he is now. He sometimes told me that he has this vision telling him his time is not long so he had to make haste with his life. As I was cringing on hearing his words, he seemed so carefree and nonchalant. He seemed so stable and has achieved this point in life where nothing else matters.

His odd view – or I’d rather say, fascination – about death has reached a level of comfort I fail to fathom. He casually recounted how he found peace while he went to bed naked and then wrapped himself in a man-length ethnic fabric some vague tribe in Indonesia makes to wrap a dead body. “I can feel in some way how it feels to be dead and wrapped in this beautiful work of art,” Brad joked. “But before that, I wish I could accomplish my work.”

His work?

He has a lot of work to do. He owns and manages a gallery in Taipei. His property is there and as he is approaching death, he has a growing concern about his assets and wealth he has amassed thus far. ”You know. I have to find someone as my heir or the Taiwanese government confiscates my assets and changes the ownership into theirs, which is against my will,” he told me in one fine afternoon dining at a fancy restaurant in the southern part of Jakarta.

I suggested he make his nephew and niece heirs. “That wouldn’t be possible, Akhlis. They’re Singaporeans, and I won’t make my sister go into a lot of trouble for this.”

Brad’s sister is married happily to an Indian man. An intercultural marriage that is endowed with one son and one daughter with a mixed beauty of Indian and Chinese physique. I can tell you Brad’s niece and nephew are rare hybrid breeds. They have the wide, beautiful eyes of Indians and at the same time has a smooth-featured facial shape and yellowish fair skin only Chinese have.

Another work Brad feels urgent to accomplish soon before his death is a book. Like any other typical stories of Crazy Rich Asians, Brad in his teenage years went to the United States to get a proper education that every young man in his family should have. I made a smart guess that his family is definitely no ordinary, proletarian, working class family.

And I am right.

Brad gave me – and everyone in his friend list on Facebook – an extremely generous access to his private past life as a university student somewhere in the US. I saw younger Brad wearing a pair of thick-framed glasses. He was quite a nerd and bookworm it seemed. And another photo showed him holding a diploma in his hand and smiling from ear to ear. A smile of ignorance, not knowing what awaited him in the future. All this explained a lot as to why Brad’s Chinese does not sound very much like Singlish. It’s a confusing combination of various accents and his own idiosyncrasy. An accent only he has developed over the decades, I suppose.

The book he wanted to publish anytime soon is one related to his great great grandfather. “He used to be a great trader during the era of [insert some past ruler’s name in the southern tip of Malayan Peninsula] and I want to follow his traces as traders of beautiful cloth around South East Asia,” he said. That explained a lot why he was so fervent about any research on Malayan traditional cloths. He knew so much about batik, tenun, and ikat from Java, Sumba, Sumatera, Cambodia, etc. And it utterly makes sense that he was invited by a renowned museum in Singapore to present his findings about the relations of all these traditions. He is just the right keynote speaker on the issue. I can tell he drew many people’s attention with his deep understanding.

He travels extensively across borders in South East Asian countries, from Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and then goes back to Taiwan. But he also mentioned sometime that he paid a visit to a member of his family in the US.

Though Brad has his property in Taiwan, he is still a registered American citizen. I still recalled the day before the US presidential election arrived. He was glad he had the chance to cast a vote virtually though he was away from the US territory at the time. That got me into thinking of the future possibility that Indonesians can also cast a vote via internet someday. He was even more pissed at the fact that a man like Trump won the election. He lamented so much over the loss of sanity of the American people when he discovered the heart-wrenching news. Poor (filthy rich) man.

Now that I quit Facebook and deleted my account and left everything inside it, I have lost contact with Brad. Facebook is the one and only communication channel we are on.  This might be the right reason to revive my digital presence on Facebook. (*/)

Ahmad Ridwan: Dari Blora, Membela Indonesia

USIANYA baru 21 tahun. Namun, pengalaman dan kedewasaan Ahmad Ridwan dalam menjalani hidup mungkin melebihi orang-orang sebayanya. Atlet parashooting asal Blora, Jawa Tengah, ini beruntung dapat mengikuti Pelatnas tim Indonesia Asian Para Games 2018 yang baru-baru ini dihelat di Jakarta.

Berbincang dengan saya di tengah hingar-bingar panggung hiburan Wisma Atlet Kemayoran malam itu, ia menceritakan seluk beluk perjalanannya hingga bisa sampai ke Jakarta dan bertanding di Asian Para Games tahun ini.

“Saya terlahir dalam kondisi normal sebagai anak kedua dari dua bersaudara di sebuah keluarga sederhana di Purwosari, Blora,” jelasnya lugas di tengah terpaan angin malam sepoi-sepoi Jakarta. Di depan kami, banyak atlet lalu lalang.

Di cabang parashooting, ia masuk kategori amputasi kaki (SH1), kelas menembak duduk. Sementara itu, untuk kategori SH2 diperuntukkan bagi mereka yang tangannya diamputasi tetapi bisa berdiri karena kedua kakinya masih lengkap.

Selain menekuni dunia olahraga, Ridwan mengaku dirinya tertarik untuk menjadi pekerja seni di dunia musik. “Dalam tubuh saya mengalir aliran musik dangdut,” ujar pemuda yang kini dikenal sebagai atlet oleh masyarakat Blora ini. Tak cuma memainkan alat musik dari gendang hingga seruling dan piano dan angklung, ia juga bisa menyanyikan lagu-lagu dangdut dengan baik. Semua itu dipelajarinya secara otodidak.

Dalam menjalani kegiatan sehari-hari, ia tidak pernah merasa kesulitan sehingga sangat bergantung pada orang lain. Ia sangat mandiri. “Tidak ada yang sulit.” Bahkan dalam urusan transportasi, tidak hanya ia berjalan sendiri ke berbagai tempat yang ia inginkan, Ridwan juga terbiasa menunggangi moda transportasi pribadi seperti sepeda motor. Karena mudah bosan, ia yang semula sudah memiliki kendaraan roda dua otomatis beralih ke kendaraan bermotor dengan CC besar. Ia sangat puas karena bisa membeli sepeda motor itu secara mandiri. Tidak meminta dari orang tuanya.

Termotivasi Resident Evil

Ia pertama kali bisa berkenalan dengan cabang olahraga menembak secara tak sengaja. Persentuhannya yang perdana dengan dunia olahraga menembak ini berawal dari rasa penasaran saat ia mendengar berita dibukanya lowongan untuk menjadi para atlet di ajang Asian Para Games 2018 pada bulan Desember 2017. Saat itu ia masih sibuk bekerja di sebuah pabrik meubel di Blora. “Saat itu di tiap kecamatan diumumkan pencarian atlet disabilitas yang ingin mengikuti Asian Para Games 2018. Saya bisa memilih cabang olahraga yang ingin diikuti.”

Ahmad yang sama sekali tidak mengetahui seluk beluk olahraga menembak dan kehidupan atlet memutuskan mencoba dan berhasil lolos. “Rupanya ada juga atlet yang seperti saya. Sebenarnya saya suka bulutangkis dan renang tetapi saya pikir keduanya melelahkan. Haha. Jadi saya pilih menembak saja. Apalagi saya suka main PS. Miriplah dengan main Resident Evil. Haha!”

Begitu lolos di tingkat kabupaten, ia menuju ke Stadion Manahan, Solo. Ia ikut seleksi. Meski mengaku tidak begitu bagus dan mengesankan, ternyata ia meraih poin tertinggi dibandingkan rekan-rekannya. Tanggal 10 Januari 2018, ia pun dinyatakan lolos mewakili Indonesia. Ia beruntung bisa mengikuti seleksi itu tepat waktu sebelum tanggal 10 Januari karena ada sejumlah atlet lain yang terlambat ikut seleksi dan gagal melaju.

Ia berlatih selama 6 bulan sebagai persiapan. Pelatnas ini berlangsung saban hari karena bersifat intensif. Sehari ia mengaku bisa berlatih dari pukul 6 pagi sampai maghrib atau bahkan pukul 9 malam. “Pelatih saya kadang bertanya kondisi para atlet binaannya. Kalau lebih banyak dari kami yang mengeluh lelah, kami diizinkan istirahat lebih awal. Tapi jika masih banyak yang mengatakan belum capek, kami dipersilakan berlatih.

Menemukan Tujuan Hidup

Ia masih merasa belum percaya saat menjalani pelatnas bahwa dengan menembak ‘saja’ dirinya bisa disebut sebagai atlet. “Lalu saya jelajahi YouTube untuk menemukan atlet-atlet parashooting. Yang muncul atlet-atlet China yang juara dunia. Saya berkhayal kapan bisa bertemu mereka ini, yang kemampuan menembaknya keren-keren. Tidak saya sangka, saya bisa bertemu mereka di sini (ajang Asian Para Games 2018). Saya kegirangan bertemu mereka. Wah ini kan yang saya sering tonton di YouTube itu!!!”

Atlet-atlet parashooting China yang sudah malang melintang selama 20 tahun lebih di olahraga ini sempat mengobrol dengan Ahmad. Mereka memompa semangat Ahmad untuk terus berlatih selagi masih muda agar nantinya bisa berprestasi lebih baik lagi. “Sayangi senjatamu, seperti kamu menyayangi istrimu,” tutur atlet itu padanya. “Kalau kamu bisa menyatu dengannya, hasil akan mengikuti.”

Sepanjang karier parashootingnya yang baru 8 bulan, Ahmad memang tidak perlu patah semangat karena justru ia masih punya masa depan yang lebih panjang daripada mereka yang sudah memulai lebih dulu. China memang sudah melesat lebih dulu daripada Indonesia dalam hal prestasi di banyak cabang olahraga untuk para atlet ini karena mereka sudah sejak lama membina atlet-atlet disabilitas. Sungguh bukan tandingan bagi Indonesia yang baru saja mempersiapkan atlet-atlet mereka dalam 8 bulan sebelum ajang digelar.

Bertanding di Jakarta mewakili negara bukan satu-satunya misi Ahmad. Ia juga ingin memberikan motivasi yang sama bagi para rekan-rekannya para penyandang disabilitas di kota kelahirannya. “Saya berfoto dengan atlet-atlet idola parashooting dari China itu dan ingin saya tunjukkan ke teman-teman sesama atlet diabilitas di Blora agar mereka bersemangat untuk latihan. Orang dengan disabilitas bukan manusia lemah. Pasti ada jalannya jika mau berusaha,” terangnya.

Ahmad menganggap ajang Asian Para Games sebagai ajang bagi kaum disabilitas untuk unjuk gigi bahwa mereka juga bisa berprestasi. “Justru sekarang pemerintah memandang orang dengan disabilitas melebihi orang normal,” Ahmad menegaskan.

Kepercayaan diri Ahmad meningkat dengan keikutsertaannya di ajang ini. Ia sekarang masih belum percaya sepenuhnya ia seorang atlet yang membela negara di event setingkat Asia, mengingat ia ‘hanya’ seorang anak muda dari kota kecil di Jawa Tengah.

Semua ini tak terbersit sebelumnya setelah ia tertimpa kecelakaan yang membuatnya kehilangan satu kaki. “Di tahun 2009 saat kelas 6 SD, saya memanjat sebuah pohon mahoni untuk mengambil layang-layang. Tak disangka pohon itu bersentuhan dengan kabel listrik bertegangan tinggi dan ranting mahoni yang saya pijak tidak cukup kuat,” kenanganya dengan nada getir. Ia jatuh tak sadarkan diri dan kemudian mendapati satu kaki diamputasi.

Kebangkitan

Untuk bisa bangkit dan mendapatkan semangat hidupnya lagi bahkan mencetak prestasi seperti sekarang, Ahmad harus menapaki jalan yang cukup panjang. Ia mengaku sempat stres berat karena ia terlahir normal namun harus menerima kenyataan bahwa ia akan hidup dengan disabilitas selama sisa hidupnya. Selama beberapa bulan pertama sejak kecelakaan dan kehilangan kaki, ia terus termenung membayangkan masa hidupnya sebelum kecelakaan. “Saya sempat menangis melihat teman-teman saya main sepakbola. Sebelumnya saya masih bisa bermain bola, lari, renang, voli, bulutangkis. Pokoknya saya anak yang selalu ingin menang. Sekarang saya tidak bisa melakukannya dan cuma bisa menonton.”

Dengan jalan hidup yang tiba-tiba berubah, Ahmad kecil melancarkan protesnya pada Tuhan karena menganggap-Nya kurang adil. Dampaknya tidak cuma pada dirinya sendiri tetapi juga pada keluarganya. Ibunya turut tertekan melihatnya diam saja selama sebulan penuh. Ia sama sekali menolak berinteraksi, melamun dan hanya berdiam diri, mengunci diri di kamar. Sampai kamarnya didobrak karena ibunya cemas jika ada sesuatu yang terjadi pada diri anaknya. Seolah Ahmad hidup segan, mati pun tidak mau.

Ahmad awalnya memang kaku dan merasa segan dan rendah diri untuk bergaul dengan teman-temannya kembali pasca kecelakaan. “Apakah mereka mau bergaul dengan saya? Saya berpikir teman-teman saya pasti menjauhi saya yang sudah begini. Meski ibu saya berupaya membesarkan hati saya, saya terus menyangkal bahwa orang-orang di sekeliling saya pasti tak mau berteman. Dan kalaupun mereka mau, mereka hanya berteman sebatas perkataan. Dalam hati, mereka tetap saja mencibir saya,” tutur Ahmad.

Prihatin dengan keadaan adik semata wayangnya, kakak kandung Ahmad datang dan mengajaknya tinggal di Kalimantan untuk menyegarkan pikiran dan jiwanya. Apa daya, meski sudah di sana 3 tahun dan dimanjakan sedemikian rupa, rasa frustrasinya masih belum luntur juga. Kakaknya melancarkan berbagai cara, dari membelikan Play Station dan TV sampai menawarinya kuliah setinggi mungkin agar semangat hidupnya kembali seperti sediakala. Semua percuma karena adiknya itu keras kepala. “Biarlah saya berpikir untuk diri sendiri. Tidak perlu diceramahi, kata saya,” ia menimpali sang kakak.

Kakaknya terus mengingatkan Ahmad bahwa pasti akan ada hikmah di balik apa yang menimpanya. “Mungkin hikmah itulah yang saya rasakan sekarang tetapi saat itu saya belum terpikirkan,” ungkap pemuda yang kini berpikiran lebih dewasa ini.

Dengan banyaknya waktu senggang yang ia miliki, Ahmad beruntung bisa menjelajahi YouTube untuk menemukan konten-konten yang positif dan memotivasi. “Saya sering mengetikkan istilah pencarian ‘disabilitas ala Indonesia’ dan menemukan banyak video tentang orang dengan disabilitas yang terus berkarya. Saya berpikir, kalau mereka bisa, kenapa saya tidak?” Dari sana ia memutar otak untuk mengisi hidupnya dengan menekuni musik.

Begitu ia pulang kembali ke Blora, Ahmad terus mencari pekerjaan yang sesuai. Sebab menurutnya musik hanya sebatas hobi, ia pun menekuni pekerjaan di pabrik meubel dekat rumah orang tuanya. Begitu mulai bisa menghasilkan uang sendiri dan mandiri dengan penghasilannya sebagai buruh di pabrik meubel.

Meskipun memiliki kaki palsu, Ahmad mengaku tidak betah berlama-lama memakainya. “Terasa panas apalagi kalau sampai seharian memakai. Ah saya pikir ribet pakai ginian terus! Akhirnya saya cuma pakai di saat-saat tertentu.” Ia lebih memilih beraktivitas dengan tongkat penyangga.

Fokus dan Tekad

Baginya, kesempatan berkiprah melalui Asian Para Games 2018 ini adalah sebuah keajaiban yang membelokkan jalan hidupnya kembali ke arah yang lebih baik. Ia tahu ia tak bisa selama-lamanya bekerja sebagai buruh di pabrik meubel. Dengan menekuni olahraga menembak, Ahmad menemukan kembali tujuan dan semangat hidupnya dalam parashooting. Ia paham bahwa jika ia konsisten menekuni parashooting, ia akan memiliki masa depan di sini. Ahmad terus memutar otak bagaimana bisa menabung dan memanfaatkan pemasukannya dari parashooting sebagai modalnya menapaki masa depan. Ia ingin mendirikan bisnis makanan.

Ditanya soal orang yang paling berjasa membimbingnya sampai ke titik seperti sekarang, Ahmad menyebut nama pelatihnya, Saridi. “Beliau membimbing saya dengan sabar dari nol. Berjuangan bersama-sama, bahkan kami sudah seperti keluarga.”

“Pesan saya untuk mereka yang memiliki disabilitas, jangan berpikir disabilitas pasti membuat Anda lemah. Anda bisa bangkit meski memang tidak mudah. Lebih fokuskan diri pada masa depan, daripada masa lalu,” tukas anak muda dari kota asal sastrawan Pramoedya Ananta Toer ini.

Yang sekarang Ahmad bisa lakukan ialah terus berlatih untuk memantapkan kariernya sebagai atlet parashooting sembari memikirkan masa depannya. Satu yang mengganjal, di Blora nanti ia tak menemukan tempat latihan yang memenuhi standar layaknya di Jakarta. “Tapi itu tak masalah. Saya bisa saja latihan di mana saja termasuk di rumah. Yang penting fokus dan tekad.” (*/)

Building a Bridge between Academic World and Industries

Being highly educated does not necessarily guarantee that one lands a job easily. In fact, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) as of February 2018 the unemployment percentage of those with university background is 6.31%, which is higher than that of elementary school graduates (2.67%) and junior high school graduates (5.18%). As stated by Statistics Indonesia, the percentage of university graduates hired by employers is only around 12%. Left unsolved, the problem will affect the nation’s future.

What is the root cause? And how does Sampoerna School System contribute to solving this national issue?

To address this, Marshall Schott (Chief Academic Officer of Sampoerna School System) talked with Desi Anwar of CNN Indonesia. Schott has had vast experience in higher education field. He has worked in the field for 18 years, at the University of Houston and Lonestar College prior to having joined Putra Sampoerna Foundation since 2015 to handle its strategies and operations.

What is your take on education in Indonesia which still requires a lot of improvement, in terms of human resource quality and low absorption rate of university graduates to constantly-changing curricula?

We see the administration has recognized the importance of education reform to support economic development which as consulting firm McKinsey puts it will be one of the 10 biggest economies in the world. Increasing the proportion of education budget to 20% of the Indonesian Budget (APBN) also signs such recognition.

Meanwhile, in reality there is a mismatch between curricula and current needs of job market.

What the government is suggested in order education reform to be realized is to build a quality framework among education, business and industry; improving relevance between curricula and job market; and improving teacher quality.

How is the role of teacher evolving now when knowledge is easily accessible?

Teachers have multiple and complex roles which can be unbundled. In the technology age, they play a role of facilitator – they no longer serve as the sole source of knowledge.

How do you prepare Indonesian children unfamiliar with this facilitating role of teacher?
We do this by running National Educator Conference every other year. Our focus in the conference is the importance of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts Mathematics) education. Thanks to USAID grant, we designed a program to attract teachers from all over Indonesia and showed them how to apply technology in classes in a more attractive and effective manner.

What can really affect Indonesian education?

We propose decentralization and deregulation of higher education. Ministry of National Education is expected to empower institutions with larger authority to improve educational autonomy. When this is achieved, creativity and innovation in solving the nation’s problems will also improve. The applied standard would not only be one. The standard may vary according to circumstances of each university.

With limited resources, there needs to be differentiation between an institution and another. As for institutions educating people with mid-level skills (for instance polytechnics), a different standard from institutions focusing on research, technology, commercialization and world-class leadership applies.

What is ideal education in the 21st century? And what is the true meaning of learning?

Currently the mastery of subjects is no longer adequate. Creative and innovative economy requires various other skills such as 3C (Critical thinking, Collaboration, Communication). Interdisciplinary teaching also helps deveop required skills in creative economy.

Because Sampoerna School System applies a different method from other schools, our classes also look different. In classrooms, students may move if needed depending on a particular project they are working on on a particular day. Teachers play roles of facilitators and guides, providing information to explore. Students are educated to become loife-long learners. Regardless of circumstances, they can still survive in the increasingly-dynamic world, kudos to transferrable skills.

What materials do students need to learn at Sampoerna University?

Interdisciplinary materials with vast foundation become our core materials. What makes us distinct is the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) compulsory classes as 80% of the future jobs will need this competence.

How is the assessment?

Assessment is done continually and cummulative by nature. Final examinations are a part of entire assessment, instead of being the only one factor to determine graduation.

What is assessed is material mastery, task completion, communication skill, determination and participation. Here there must be balance between soft skills and students’ personality growth.

How is all of this taught?

We teach this to use abstract concepts in various contexts. Students must be able to apply various knowledge to varied circumstances.

What type of investment is prioritized considering the limited resources?

With such limited resources, we focus on things that affect students learning results such as technology and infrastructure (classrooms, teachers and learning resources).

Should teachers also upgrade their competence?

This also has been a global challenge. All teachers in this 21st century must improve their quality. I have seen younger teachers are more adaptive in applying technology in classes.

Is it possible to spread such education method throughout the archipelago?

We reach out to remote areas and forge collaborations with teachers and local leaders to apply modern teaching methodology and Cambridge framework which has great quality content.

We are involved in partnerships at elementary schools in areas in Sumatra, East Java and Papua. It is a business partnership between companies and public. Along with these, industries and business are expected to be closer to education.

What is required by employers these days?

Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated that almost 40% of university graduates are unemployed or half-unemployed after 12 months since graduation as there are gaps between curricula and demands of employers.

Sampoerna School System has held two forums in partnership with businesses and industries within the recent six months and discovered that employers are now in dire need of workers with high proficiency of English. Multinational companies need people with adequate English proficiency to work across boundaries, with good communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills, as well as leadership. All these soft skills are different from subjects and skills and thus cannot be taught in classes.

Indonesia has lost jobs to foreign workers who have better English proficiency owing to low competitive edge. Is the current Indonesian generation better?

Potential, talent and motivation are there already. To optimize it all, we apply STEAM system. However, we need to understand that Indonesia is so large that it is a huge challenge to reach them out. Due to that, there must be business and public partnerships in providing scholarships.

Based on the data of Ministry of Finance Indonesia’s, the country is short of 30,000 engineers every year but there is only less than 20% of Indonesian students learn STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Armed with STEAM, we do not have to worry about our children being unemployed after graduation.

We are delighted with some initiatives from the administration since 2015 which give us hope. One of them is education internationalization in the country. It is achieved by observing best practices in other countries. Therefore, we will arrive at development acceleration. (*/)

GarageScript in Partnership with Mozila Indonesia Community Launches Its First Free Coding Course in Indonesia

garage-script-01

GARAGESCRIPT sounds new to us in Indonesia. I, too, was unfamiliar with this startup until I came to their course at Mozilla Community Space in Jakarta, sat down and talked to two of young men from the startup to get to know more. It is simply put a nonprofit startup from San Jose, California, which opens free courses to anyone wanting to learn coding. There is no requirement that one should be a computer science graduate or master some basic knowledge. Even if you have no idea what coding really is but as long as you have the motivation to learn, you are welcome in the course because it starts from the most fundamental materials.

The startup began operating in 2 years ago. “It all started from our founder, Song Zheng, who wanted to teach his girlfriend (now his wife) Yoojin how to code,” Alvin told me in one brief interview along with his colleague, Jeffry. Song realized he could do more than just helping his beloved person. He could help more people out there to learn coding skills. The high unemployment rate in the US where he lives also partially motivated him to found GarageScript. Alvin mentioned that Song only wants to see more people smile after they can bring happiness to people they love at home by getting better-paid jobs.

Jakarta was in fact not in their plan. They planned to build networks in Malaysia. But a twist of fate led them to Indonesia. “There seemed to be a bureaucracy problem. A friend offered us to start here and then we shifted our focus on Jakarta,” Alvin said. Now they also have organically grown a community in Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang, where they hold regular daily meetups.

In GarageScript, students are free to learn at their own pace without having to be under pressure. Some people are fast learners but the rest are slower. For super fast learners, GarageScript provides a 3-month bootcamp which is set to be a key milestone as a new engineer. As the bootcamp ends, it means they are expected to keep learning and honing and updating their skills as the progress of technology is so rapid these days.

They give free coding courses at public libraries with the peer-to-peer approach. And because they want the course to be accessible for anyone, they thought weekends are the best time. “We volunteer teaching JavaScript at Santa Clara Northside Branch Library every Saturday for two hours,” he explained.

As the tech world needs more and more engineers, GarageScript seems to be willing to help people who need more lucrative jobs to try shifting to the tech job market. And being a software engineer is one of the prerequisites to earn more.

Instead of only about getting more and more from the free course, these students who have mastered the materials, they are encouraged to teach what they have learned to other people.

Though GarageScript is a startup, it grew initially as a community. You can see its community spirit implanted in their culture when Jeffrey told me that in the meetups, every member is asked to take turns to lead the meetup every week. And this proves their attitude towards their work. It is more about growing together, instead of competing against each other.

“We plan to open regular courses at Mozilla Indonesia Community Space on working days. We started with projects which can be achieved by our students and once they are competent enough, they can be asked to contribute to next projects,” Alvin added.

No lesson taught here goes wasted as they learn by doing (read: building projects). Results of their hard work will be used to help others learn the same way.

“Now our goal is to build a sustainable community in Jakarta so our efforts will continue here. And once they are skillful enough, they can teach others,”  Jeffry quipped.

As they can’t stay forever here, they want to make sure the seed of community is planted in the proper nursery room. And he seems to have found an apt place. (*/)

 

L10n Contributor’s Story at Jakarta Firefox Rocket Sprint 2018

Skills are valuable only if shared with others for good purposes.

Firefox Rocket is one of Mozilla’s success stories in Indonesia. That said, Mozilla Foundation keeps on pouring attention to Internet users in the large country thanks to its quite significant number.

In addition, Internet users in Indonesia are heterogeneous. Cultures and languages are very diverse, which is why it is not enough to launch products in English and Indonesian. Mozilla understands well that many Indonesians prefer browsing the web in their mother tongues which in many cases are indigenous languages. Unfortunately, there are not many supports available for these languages in Indonesia.

This weekend, Mozilla Indonesia Community hosted 2018 Jakarta Rocket Sprint. Located at Mozilla Community Space Jakarta, the event which aimed to generate the Javanese and Sundanese version of Firefox Rocket browser took place from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon (11-12 August 2018). Four volunteers joined the Sundanese localization team while  five others did the Javanese localization team. Mozilla Representative Fauzan Alfi led the Sundanese (basa Sunda) team and Rizki Kelimutu the Javanese (basa Jawa) one.

Acting as the event organizer, Fauzan said on the first day of sprint the volunteers were invited to localize all strings in Firefox Rocket browser. Next, the volunteers and both team leaders were agreed upon which suggestions to use and upload onto Pontoon.

The processes took a while as localization not only translated from one language into another but also capture subtle meaning and cultural context which are at times complicated and difficult to express in another language. Here the volunteers referred to the available sources of Javanese and Sundanese localization sources such as web reference, online and print dictionaries.

“On top of that, we also review volunteer contribution results on the second day,” told Fauzan who were joined by Delphine Lebedel (Mozilla Localization/ L10n Project Manager) and Mo Peiying (L10n Program Manager). The two also gave the volunteers some hints and directions so that localization outputs qualified and are compliant with Mozilla Foundation’s guidance.

On the second day, the contribution results already went live on Firefox Rocket for the testing purpose. At this stage, the volunteers were allowed to examine what was presented on screen and spot any bugs or strings that they felt bizarre or ambiguous in meaning.

Because Localization Sprint 2018 also aimed at building the proper foundation for contribution of Mozilla Indonesia Community volunteers in the future, there needs to be a style guide that they agree upon and see as a reference.  The guidance was written at the same time by both teams. It will also be of great help in the event of new strings to add or minor changes.

The next form of support for Firefox Rocket users in Javanese and Sundanese is SuMo (Support Mozilla) articles. “Because Firefox Rocket has its Javanese and Sundanese version, there needs to be support pages in these two languages,” Rizki explained in his brief presentation.

Now that Firefox Rocket is localized for Javanese and Sundanese Internet users, we expect more people are accomodated. This is in accordance with Mozilla Manifesto which strives for one open, inclusive web for everyone on the planet regardless of languages they speak.

Are you curious about Firefox Rocket? Try to download it by clicking this link.  (Also published on Mozilla Indonesia blog)

What Shifting from Artificial Face Moisturizer to Olive Oil Can Do to My Face and World View

LIKE everyone in the era of glorious advertisement, I also believe strongly in what widely promoted commercial products can do for me to improve my quality of life. I, for instance, saw this 33-year-old Nicholas Saputra applying some branded face moisturizer on his face and I was instantly stunned by how good-looking he becomes. Though I know well he is just fine with or without the product, there is something inside me firmly clenching to the idea that the hope is there – no matter how small it is – to look lighter than you are exactly in actuality. And when the day comes, you will be living happily ever after.

While Indonesian women are widely known to be demanded to look fairer, no one seems to understand the fact that the similar demand and propaganda are internalized inside the heads of Indonesian men. You can see male talents on popular ads are depicted as fair-skinned, clean-cut, clean-shaven, charming, tall, broad-shouldered and lean. While more feminists have already protested and pushed back against the prevalent trend of skin bleaching amongst women (which now seems futile because every woman wants to look lighter in the country), hardly do I ever find men who sharply criticize or at least acknowledge this very substantial issue. I am not saying they are shutting their eyes to the problem but they just subconsciously opt to set it aside. They do not want to tell themselves that men are now also increasingly encouraged to look lighter (the rapid penetration of Korean male beauty standards also contributes here). Disgraceful indeed, gentlemen.

I too had long admired and longed to have fairer skin as a boy. It was not about being more good-looking because later on I also found that there fair-skinned boys who still look unpleasing and uninteresting, or have horrible personalities and characters. But it is true that because the majority of our people are darker-skinned, those with fairer skin are considered ‘chosen’, and thus seen as better, higher and more priviliged. Of course that is a ridiculously groundless assumption. Unfortunately, though I am quite aware of that, my mind, judgment and conscience are heavily clouded owing to the bombardment of ads around me.

And then I experimented with olive oil. I did it at first because I was curious. I had read before that applying this oil on skin can improve my skin. But because it is oil and applying it onto my skin intensifies my dark skin, I avoided using it at work but then I realized applying olive oil inside a heavily air-conditioned workplace can help retain skin moisture efficiently throughout the day, so I started to apply it in daylight as well. And I was happy with the result. The thing was I saw my face looked darker and more oily, which may rise a question in people’s mind whether or not I had washed my fash this morning properly with soap.

For some time, I retreated back to that pricey oil-free whitening face moisturizer which the ad subconsciously asserted me that I too can be as gorgeous as the aforementioned actor and public figure.

Bullsh*t!

I ditched that dogma gradually and after proving that olive oil can basically and safely and naturally function as the replacement of the chemical-ladden face day moisturizer, I never go back ever since.

It is not only about saving more money to me, but also a more plausible and sustainable method of self care. I am no longer very much dependent on a corporation selling the product. I am thus free from their agitation broadcast on television. And it pretty much helped me too to come to this point that I have no television in my room. Having this box in my room is no longer a fascination. I am so much accustomed to the silence of my room so when even I had a television as a prize from a blogging contest, I shipped the television to home, where my family live.

Apart from the pleasing results I have gotten from olive oil so far (let’s say far less apparent wrinkles and dark circles and eye bags plus firmer and smoother facial skin), I am also happy to say I don’t add more burden to my bodily system with more chemicals. I still thinly apply sunscreen when I have to go outdoor for quite an extended period of time but most days I just let my skin bare with only olive oil as my skin protection and it definitely worked. Maybe that is why Ancient Greeks would apply olive oil on their naked body before competing under the sun in the early Olympics.

And though I never mean to defy the bad effects of sunrays, I now feel less worried about my skin looking darker. I do not mind it look darker as it should, which is different from the way I used to. There comes a voice inside my head that defenses my being dark:”You live in the tropical country where the sun shines throughout the year. Everyone who thinks you must look pale, fair and un-oily despite the humid climate and nature is a moron who has been brainwashed and colonialized by advertisers and brands!”

So shifting my face moisturizer from artificial products to natural oils such as olive oil is not only a real campaign of going back to nature but also a political statement, i.e. that I refuse to be regulated and judged under certain norms that some create and the majority upholds and practices. And if you think I am dependent on imported olive oil now, I will tell you I can happily switch to locally-produced virgin coconut oil (I had tried this as well and it proved awesome too) or sesame oil.

If you are a man, what is your stance on this issue? Do you think being an Indonesian man should change the way their natural appearance to attract opposite sex? Have your say. (*/)

Writing Can Cure Addiction, Can’t It?

WHILE I have seen so many people talking about writing and its positive effects at school or at home, never have I discovered people applying writing as an inseperable part of their therapy for serious mental illnesses such as addiction. With so much instant gratification available 24/7 around us, I suppose addiction cases number has never declined in these recent years. Let’s say drug addiction. It has been forever since humanity waged war against drugs but to date no signs show that there is any possibility that it will soon or later abate, drop or totally vanish.

In the documentary short movie “Internado” published on Aeon which you can view and play now, you might have never thought of the use of writing as a mega useful tool to help control one’s unbearable addiction. Here the prominent psychiatrist named Dr. Martin Nizama Valladolid who works for National Institute of Mental Health in Lima, Peru, proves that literature and grand-scale, rigorous and disciplined writing (as well as arts and humanity sciences) can be applied to control severe cases of addiction that some of the world’s population are suffering these days.

And these addictions are not only ones related to drugs but also alcohol, internet, virtual games, and so forth. These addicts are sedated (so treatments are never conducted at their own will) and taken to the institution at the request of heavily concerned family members who have signed agreements so that their beloved are taken and treated in the mental institution for at least 50 consecutive days. They are ‘grounded’ in such a way. They are separated from the society and most importantly, their sources of addiction. They are much like prisoners in that way. And it is even better that these addicts are not functional members of society, which means they are unemployed. They are likely to become a potential source of social problems in the society they are living in. So before it is too late, their family members take them to the mental institution to be corrected.

To cut the long story short, the initial treatment only lasts around 50 days but then they are sent back to their homes. But it does not mean freedom. They are under scrutiny. And parents or guardians or other family members have already cooperated with the institution to apply a rigid daily schedule to these ‘interns’. Their way of living are seriously controlled. Family members are also educated to be in line with the institution’s rules and code of conducts so outcomes later on will be satisfactory because unless they cooperate and support all processes, addicts are never healed.

It is not always about discipline though. Addicts as well as their family members are reimmersed in moral values, affection, love and the value of hard work and meaningful life by means of literature and arts. They are made to read hundreds of canons, high quality literary works which most of them have never enjoyed before. But now that their days are filled with total silence (yes, they are not allowed to communicate with other people even fellow interns especially in certain sessions), they are forced to retreat from lives full of pursuit of things they are so addicted with to ones filled with peace and calmness. Almost like a hermit living in a jungle. They are made to contemplate more about what they did, have done and thus to control what they are now doing because the future depends on the present. Gone are days full of violence, conflicts, shouts full of anger, vulgarity, obscenity, horrible bickerings and traumatic fights. It is like they have been racing throughout their life and now suddenly they are told to stop and be calm,  silent, still, and meditative like a Buddhist monk.

To let that overflowing negativity out of the system, expressive writing are used. Interns are required to write and draw every single day for a certain period of time. And the goal is so ambitious – almost impossible – for people who were not born and trained as writers or artists. They have to write in longhand 11,000-page ‘thesis’ which is autobiographical by nature. That way, they cannot copy and paste in a few clicks to accomplish the mission.  And it solely depends on Valladolid’s decision whether one is healed and entitled to freedom or has to undergo the next phase of treatment at the institution. Those interns who succeeded to write 11,000 pages are let go.

I am so impressed by the use of literature and writing here to occupy addicts’s troubled minds. Both are just the best tools to divert their energy and attention to a more beneficial and meaningful aspect of life so they are not overtaken again by triggers of addiction. Though I too think that writing 11,000 pages is totally impossible for someone with no extraordinary writing talent (because even my favorite novel “A Little Life” only spans 800-ish pages and it is already considered gargantuan) but considering the impact and costs of addiction on the society as a whole, this is worthwhile. So worthwhile. (*/)

Getting to Know Telemetry and Data Privacy at Mozilla (Non-Geeks Only)

WHILE on his travel around some parts of South East Asia, Georg Fritsche doesn’t forget to share the virtue of his organization, Mozilla. Having worked for the entity for the recent six years, the German-born geek sat down with us at Mozilla Community Space Jakarta at Tifa Building , Annex Suite, Kuningan Barat, Jakarta.

For audience familiar with data and web, what Georg exposed here is perhaps very brief and superficial. Yet, to most of people like me and some of you who mostly use computers as a tool to browse the web and process and save multiple types of content such as words, images and videos, the discussion is so technical I can’t even recall the gist of the talks. At all.

But do NOT blame it all on George, because I know how hard it is to simplify the highly complicated issue within one single meetup. I can tell you the same feeling when your grandparents demand you a simple and easily-understood explanation on questions such as “what is internet?”. Analogies may work but it also betrays you on some occasions like a pet snake. It bites you when you least expect it.

Despite all the gaps of knowledge and expertise lying so wide between us, here are several takeaways I can offer you as a complete and utter layman in the realm of internet.

  • Telemetry which is what Goerg does at Mozilla is actually a series of efforts to collect data of users conducted on daily basis. But what separates Mozilla and the others is the commitment to its mission, i.e. to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. That also means they also collect data from users but at the same time they give us as users more openness, transparency and freedom as to what they do with data and how they collect these data. Though it is set as default, any users can simply turn  it off or opt out of the telemetry by unchecking a box in the tab on Privacy. For Mozilla Firefox which I gues is the most popular product of Mozilla, to opt out of Telemetry, you type “about:preferences#privacy” in the address bar and locate “Firefox Data Collection and Use”. Uncheck the box that preceedes “Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla” as well as “Allow Firefox to install and run studies”. In brief, users have more control over their data.
  • No data of users will be sold whatsoever. This is guaranteed by Mozilla. Because privacy really matters, unlike other internet giants, user data collected by Mozilla are never about your identity, such as your name and your whereabouts.
  • There is no surprises. And by surprises, I assume it is “unsolicited” surprises that no one will be happy with.
  • Even Mozilla collects data, they limit data. They only collect  data they require to improve the performance of products. Mozilla, said Georg, doesn’t collect data that are deemed unnecessary and too private by nature. It makes sense because the company doesn’t sell data and make profits of them.

As the discussion went deeper, I came to the conclusion that Mozilla products collect our data, too, just like other products on the web. The difference is you know your data is in the right hand. Not in the greasy hands of ‘big brothers’ who abuse and exploit you for their own interests once they get tired of spoiling you with great ease and comfort of exchanging information and data.

For further study, kindly visit https://telemetry.mozilla.org (if you can read and interpret the data displayed there). In case you are curious, click about:telemetry. But if you already give up, tweet Georg at @georgfritsche or @moztelemetry. Good luck! (*/)