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! (*/)

 

Begini Cara Kota Saya Kudus Dukung Bersama Suksesnya Asian Games 2018

GOR Djarum Kudus, sebuah tempat sakral yang menjadi kawah candradimuka bagi para atlet bulutangkis muda potensial di seluruh Indonesia. Diresmikan tahun 2006, venue megah ini menjadi pusat latihan dan aktivitas PB Djarum Kudus. (Foto: dok pribadi)

Hitung mundur perhelatan akbar olahraga Asian Games 2018 sudah dimulai sejak setahun lalu. Medio Agustus 2018 menandai 365 hari menuju pembukaan event akbar yang membanggakan bangsa Indonesia yang menjadi tuan rumah penyelenggaranya.

Di Jakarta sebagai ibukota negara sekaligus salah satu lokasi diadakannya banyak pertandingan Asian Games tahun ini, saya sudah menyaksikan banyak sekali pengingat bahwa event itu akan segera tiba. Dari badan bus TransJakarta yang hilir mudik, pelataran dan gedung-gedung pemerintahan yang dibalut ucapan penyemangat atlet RI, hingga di taman-taman kota yang dipasangi ikon-ikon lucu Asian Games yakni Bhin-Bhin (burung cendrawasih), Atung (rusa bawean), dan Kaka (badak bercula satu), rasanya Jakarta sudah sangat siap menyampaikan dukungan totalnya pada keberhasilan penyelenggaraan peristiwa olahraga skala kontinental ini.

Meskipun tenggat waktunya relatif sempit, penyediaan infrastruktur untuk Asian Games 2018 digarap serius oleh pemerintah. Ini buktinya. (Sumber: IndonesiaBaik.id)

Presiden Joko Widodo bak seorang panglima yang mengerahkan seluruh pasukannya untuk menyebarkan berita ke seluruh rakyat bahwa peran serta dan dukungan masyarakat terhadap kelancaran penyelenggaraan Asian Games 2018 sangat diperlukan. Tidak perlu menjadi olahragawan untuk bisa mensukseskan event ini. Dan tidak juga perlu menjadi warga resmi DKI Jakarta atau Palembang untuk bisa turut serta secara aktif menyuarakan dukungan.

Untuk itu, meskipun di Kudus kota asal saya spanduk dan baliho Asian Games 2018 tidak sebanyak yang ditemukan di Jakarta dan Palembang, Kudus juga memiliki kontribusi dukungan pada kesuksesan Asian Games kali ini. Selain spanduk dan baliho sebagaimana yang sudah dilakukan oleh aparat setempat (baca: “Polres Kudus Ikut Mensukseskan Asian Games 2018″), ternyata Kudus, tempat kelahiran saya yang notabene ‘hanya’ kabupaten terkecil di pulau Jawa dan kelima termungil di seluruh nusantara ini, memiliki caranya sendiri untuk berkontribusi. Berikut adalah bagaimana saya dan segenap warga Kudus lainnya bisa memberikan dukungan untuk Asian Games 2018.

Baliho Asian Games 2018 hiasi sudut-sudut kota Kudus. (Sumber: Tribratanewskudus.com)

Mendukung dengan Badminton

Badminton berasal dari India, tetapi ia tidak dikenal secara global hingga diperkenalkan di Inggris oleh para perwira perangnya. Untuk pertama kalinya olahraga ini dimainkan secara resmi di kota kecil bernama Badminton, yang menjadi kota kelahiran seorang bangsawan bernama Duke of Beaufort. Tahun 1934 menjadi saksi berdirinya organisasi resmi badminton pertama di dunia yang hingga kini dikenal sebagai IBF (International Badminton Federation) dan diketuai oleh Sir George Thomas dari Inggris. Kemudian diadakan perhelatan bergengsi Thomas Cup (sejak 1949) untuk pemain putra dan Uber Cup (1957) untuk pemain putri.

Badminton sendiri baru masuk di Indonesia tahun 1951 saat PBSI didirikan tanggal 5 Mei 1951. Tujuh belas tahun berselang, atlet badminton Indonesia Rudi Hartono menjadi juara All-England Championship dan menyabet gelar tersebut selama total 8 kali.

Selain dikenal sebagai kota kretek karena di sanalah berdiri perusahaan rokok terbesar Djarum, Kudus kemudian juga dikenal sebagai kota badminton. Reputasinya sudah tidak diragukan lagi. Dari deretan pemain badminton legendaris di Indonesia, beberapa berasal dari Kudus yakni Liem Swie King, Hastomo Arbi, Eddy Hartono dan Hariyanto Arbi. Sementara itu, nama-nama terkenal seperti Alan Budikusuma, Ardy B. Wiranata, Ivana Lie, Minarti Timur hingga Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo yang baru-baru ini naik daun meskipun bukan kelahiran Kudus tetapi menjalani pengasahan bakat di kota ini di bawah Klub Djarum. Tidak berlebihan jika dikatakan Kudus juga kota badminton Indonesia.

Memenuhi Target 2 Emas

Sebagaimana yang sudah kita ketahui bersama, badminton masih terus menjadi tumpuan harapan untuk mengharumkan nama bangsa kita ini di kancah internasional termasuk ajang Asian Games 2018. Sebagai tuan rumah, kita tentu tidak ingin hanya menjadi pentonton di tribun, melihat bangsa-bangsa lain melaju dengan berbagai prestasi olahraga mereka. Dalam hal ekonomi, kita dalam skala dunia sudah masuk ke peringkat 16 berdasarkan Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Dalam hal jumlah penduduk, besarnya bangsa ini juga sudah menembus 5 besar. RI sudah melesat ke peringkat negara keempat dengan penduduk terbanyak di dunia setelah RRT, India dan AS. Karena itu, tidak berlebihan jika kali ini Indonesia ingin merangsek masuk ke peringkat sepuluh besar.

Kalau ditilik lagi lebih cermat ke sejarah, Indonesia pernah mencapai puncak prestasinya di Asian Games yang pertama kali diadakan tahun 1951 itu pada tahun 1962. Saat itu, RI bertengger di posisi kedua sehingga tidak berlebihan jika Indonesia seperti raksasa yang baru bangkit dari tidurnya. Dengan usia yang masih begitu muda, prestasi olahraga RI di lingkup Asia gilang gemintang dengan 21 emas, 26 perak dan 30 perunggu. Ia hanya kalah dari Jepang yang sukses meraup 73 emas, 65 perak dan 23 perunggu. Faktor status sebagai tuan rumah mungkin juga bisa memberikan dorongan psikologis dan mental pada para atlet kala itu.

Namun, bukan berarti atlet RI jago kandang! Di Bangkok tahun 1970, prestasi RI di Asian Games masih di peringkat 4 meski sebelumnya tahun 1966 turun di ranking 6. Hingga 1990, RI masih ada di kisaran 10 besar. Prestasi kita terpuruk di tahun 2006 saat Asian Games digelar di Doha, Qatar. Di Asian Games 2010 yang bertempat di Guangzhou, peringkat naik ke posisi 15. Dan sekarang, wajar kita bisa berharap banyak dengan para atlet kita karena pemerintah juga sudah menyatakan dukungan penuh pada penyediaan kontribusi para atlet yang berhasil meraih medali.

Pasok Bus untuk Asian Games

Kalau Anda warga Kudus, tentu tahu bus Nusantara. Nah, perusahaan karoseri Nusantara Gemilang yang berada di kota Kudus kini digandeng pemerintah untuk turut menyediakan bus bagi sarana transportasi para atlet Asian Games 2018. Bus-bus tersebut kemudian diserahkan untuk dikelola PT Transportasi Jakarta (TransJakarta). Tak tanggung-tanggung jumlahnya sampai 101 unit!

Bus-bus tersebut nantinya akan digunakan untuk melancarkan mobilitas para atlet dari penginapan mereka ke tempat bertanding. Yang patut diketahui, meskipun dikatakan berpusat di Jakarta dan Palembang, ternyata   area tepatnya di Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang dan Sentul, Bogor, serta Bandung, Jabar.

Mau tahu cabang olahraga apa saja dan venue/ tempat pertandingannya? Ini dia infografisnya. (Sumber: IndonesiaBaik.id)

Suarakan Dukunganmu!

Bagi kita yang bukan atlet, bagaimana cara kita menyatakan dukungan? Mudah saja. Kunjungi DukungBersama.id. Tinggal pilih ingin ikuti lomba blog, foto atau video. Karyamu ditunggu sampai 15 Juli nanti!

Jayalah Indonesia dan Dukung Bersama Asian Games dari Daerahmu! 

Sumber referensi:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Jatengpos.com
  3. Tribratanewskudus.com
  4. Asiangames.tempo.co
  5. IndonesiaBaik.id
  6. DukungBersama.id

Transforming Pessimism into Optimism in the Current Indonesian Politics

EXCEPT for the unexpectedly viral post-presidential-election blog post I wrote four years ago on Prabowo Subianto in in the eyes of late Lee Kuan Yew (read the post here) and how to select the most progressive political party there is (read: Parpol di Pemilu 2019: Memang Masih Bisa Dipercaya?), I hardly ever generate and publish any political content here. The main reason is simple; PESSIMISM. I’ve been so much overloaded with pessimism.

With the endless supply of hoaxy content, graft and corruption news gracing the national media, I can declare my pessimism as a normal attitude. I have that slightly disturbing views that this state and nation would just run for themselves even if I don’t vote or cast my ballots. While that can be true altogether, I question whether I had contributed something worthwhile to the advancement of my father .. (or wait, if you assume I’m a mysoginist) motherland.

I have had this small clique consisting of some friends who are of different races and walks of life. Being a Javanese male myself, I feel like I have nothing to worry about the ruler of the country because I selfishly know that every president in the country is very likely to be a Javanese male. I sometimes liken the dominance of Javanese males in Indonesia to one of white males in the States. The  republic’s most prominent statesmen are males identified as Javanese. Soekarno, our first president, was Javanese. Soeharto, his successor, was also one. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) shared the same ethnicity. For your information, you can safely ‘suspect’ someone’s Javanese background if you discover his first name starts with ‘su-‘, which means in the language of Javanese “good” or “virtuous”.  And currently, Joko Widodo (‘Joko’ itself is the most Javanese name you can find, just like ‘John’ in the Anglosaxon countries) is undoubtedly the towering media darling.

So when my three Chinese-Indonesian friends were voicing their opinion, I was startled to learn that each of them had different attitude. One showed his highest enthusiasm and optimism. He digested every piece of political news with overflowing zeal, feeling so certain that changes would be coming true soon if he woke up and voted for his dear presidential candidate. He told us how he struggled to get the chance to get into the chamber only to cast the ballot and show his little finger tinged with purplish ink.

As for me, I had never managed to display such enthusiasm. But I did vote in the last presidential election. After listening to my friend’s big struggle to grab that chance of voting,  I felt quite ashamed, partly knowing that if I had been him that time, I may not have made equally enormous efforts like he did.

But I also was dejected to see another friend in the clique who admitted he never got attracted to voluntarily cast his ballot from his early adulthood to these days when he is so eligible to vote. He just wasted his rights to vote as a citizen.

The other one seemed like a swing voter who just followed and tagged along everyone else and thus voted according to someone else’s prescription. He is so easily influenced, having no clear principles and values within himself. But he is the youngest of us so I can tell his view may change over time later.

I arrived to the conclusion that our attitude towards anything is an option we can make. An attitude is made, instead of being given or innate. In other words, a human is never born pessimistic or optimistic or doubtful or skeptic. It’s all learned.

So is our attitude towards politics.

And to bring more optimism in our current politics, which I would love to emphasize here, we all ought to learn more about our nation’s history. That does not necessarily mean reading your history textbooks or encyclopedia or visiting Wikipedia webpages that discusses significant historical events in your country but also talk with the elderly  who experienced firsthand how it felt to be living in many past regimes and in the times when freedom of speech and choice was so restricted unlike these days. That way, you will appreciate more everything you have now and thus never take them for granted. They are so precious but also prevalent like oxygen. You don’t even care less about oxygen but when you lack it, you will beg for its supply around you.

Though I know that some people would just argue that Indonesia is still oppressed by other bigger and more influential nations and that this country still fails in major ways in numerous aspects but we cannot deny the fact that there are many other silver linings as well.

We have been so adept at criticizing and commenting that we ourselves forget to produce things worthy of criticism at the same time.

That said, I am not saying criticizing is bad at all and thus must be forbidden at all cost. Criticizing is good in that it reminds us to remain on track. But too much of something good is also bad. When you busy yourselves with criticizm, you have no ample time to work on your own. Your focus and energy have been sucked out by making criticism.

And most importantly, overcriticism kills productivity and creativity.

So if you still think that participating in politics is in vain just like I did, it is time to change that. And things are better that we make achievements and generate works more than meaningless noise in the process.

What I am trying to say here is: if you know things are not right, fix them depending on your capability. That is all you have to do especially when we are now counting down to the 2019 Presidential Election. (*/)

Why Indonesians Litter Everywhere

LITTERING everywhere is one of Indonesians’ worst habits. This of course is not only found in Indonesia and its people. Thoughtless littering knows no races and geographical boundaries and nationalities. Even in the West (read: Anglosaxon countries), such a habit may be spotted in green and spotless countryside in summer. David Sedaris has been a witness and a relentless trash-picking activist in his idyllic English neighborhood where he now lives with his partner.

However, thoughtless littering has reached a shameful level in Indonesia as we all can see in public places where cleanliness must always be maintained. Such ignorance subconsciously conveys a message that thoughtless littering is never a social disgrace or misconduct. Although placards of waring have been stuck, erected and hung here and there (stating that litterers can be sued and fined for a huge sum of money or sent to jail), I personally hardly believe and feel positive that it will be in fact reinforced.

Why? Here are some underlying assumptions and perceptions why Indonesians – or people around me and myself – have come to this worst level of super massive thoughtless littering which we should have felt ashamed of but unfortunately is never taken very very seriously.

Ignorance in family education

Not many children I’ve seen these days have the innate and ingrained awareness since their early years that littering is never okay and thus must never be deemed trivial violations of norms. The simplest reason behind it is perhaps these children are advised to maintain cleanliness within their school area or home. Once they are out of the school or home zone, they understand by examples of adults aroud  them that littering is always forgiven.

Cleanliness is a mere formality

Adipura, I guess, is the most ridiculous award there is on earth. In Indonesia, the award is meant to show which city deserves the cleanest title.   It is so sickening to me because it never manages to awaken public awareness of cleanliness. Since a long time ago, I have questioned what is the essence of Adipura as winners are determined based on cleanliness of certain zones in a city or town. I know this because I read myself a sign stating that the spot must be maintained clean because judges are to observe it. It definitely ignores trash management in actuality, people’s ways of life, city plan and design and cleanliness maintenance in general. It does not only apply in certain hours, dates but also the entire year. Cleanliness here is a false mask to put on when deemed necessary, to please leaders/ superiors, and to bring more prestige to a local leader and administrations s/he leads.

Trash – including plastic – is considered perishable naturally

Indonesians treat plastic trash and other types of trash – whether it be organic, anorganic or toxic – pretty much the same. Just throw away to fill an empty patch of land and burn it down, not knowing that burning has even polluted the air even more. What an ignorance. That explains why people here buy and use plastic bags and containers liberally and guiltlessly, like their grandparents buying and using banana leaves to wrap foods without thinking twice.

Money solves all

Indonesians never think in the long term. So when they see trash, they seek instant solutions, i.e. pay other people to set trash aside from their view. “Why bother going all the way to find a trash can or litter bin if you can just throw trash away? There will always be people who are willing to get paid to clean all the mess.” That’s what is in their heads. Those who get paid for cleaning by the authorities are abundant and thus spoils everyone. Therefore, they only care about cleanliness around their own neghborhood or house or apartment. Outside their homes, cleanliness is the responsibility of the government. This overdependence on the government explains a lot why Indonesians always blame all their mess on authorities or public officials. They never blame it all on themselves. Pathetic. Now you know why it always looks clean in a well-off neghborhood but poverty-stricken neighborhoods almost always look horribly littered.

Littering is no serious offense

Is there viral news showing us how unforgiving and stern the Indonesian law is towards littering? Impossible. In the middle of a people so infatuated with sensational gossips and political updates, such news would be very much less interesting. And because of this, Indonesians are so ignorant of the awareness that littering is a serious environmental crime. And who are you to make reports even if you witness a person littering where s/he must not. Everyone must think,”Well, that’s none of my business. It’s totally the public officials (government). Who am I?” Plus, usually a litterer is a familiar person to us, e.g. a person living next door or family members you ought to respect or at least treat nicely no matter what happens. What mostly happens is pretending you never saw or witnessed it. That’s the best and easiest solution.

Trash management is never an important issue

Indonesia’s trash management is never serious and comprehensive and the government fails over time to show its goodwill to improve systematically and sustainably and real. And it is more about importing cutting-edge, very durable, and so pricey trash containers. Though it helps, of course it requires more than that to solve this extremely complicated problem. Another thing to show the failure is the fact that Indonesians don’t feel necessary to throw away trash according to its proper categories although they are already provided with 3 trashes to simply separate trash of dissimilar types. Such separate trash cans act as prention that this nation has also applied what other more developed nations have applied. But too bad it’s all fake and staged because after that the trash is treated just the same way as before.

Is cleanliness part of faith?

It is no concidence that Indonesians are mostly muslims and they never care about cleanliness. Since their early years, they are taught that cleanliness is part of their faith. “So there is no problem because there’s still the rest. Not all of it is gone,” their subconscious mind makes a lame excuse. So maybe from now on, it had better to start deconstructing such world view. Dirt is part of sin, perhaps that is how it should be taught. (*/)

Firefox Support Sprint 2018

WE had much fun today as we concluded our “Firefox Support Sprint“. I happened to take part actively in the event and I can say it was a blast.

So what is cool about joining this?

As a volunteer, I was assigned to respond to as many reviews as possible.  Though you are authorized to write a response, you have to comply with some guidance, which is as follows:

  • Share the love, be kind. It’s not your job to defend yourself, others, or even Mozilla. Users may just be venting because their problems are frustrating. The best thing to do is to help the user get his or her answer. If you feel that a post has crossed the line, skip it.
  • If you get stuck on a difficult support question, you can use the Support Forum Contributors Advanced Troubleshooting forum to discuss difficult questions or to see if other contributors are able to help. The #sumo IRC channel (accessible here via Mibbit or via Kiwi) is another place to ask for help and you can ping @guigs for staff support. On Telegram you can also join Support Mozilla (SUMO) and reach out to @rtanglao if you’re really stuck.

First thing first, you have to identify some common issues types such as speed, crashes, hatred, problems with latest updates, compatibility, keyboard, video capability, app file size, etc.

Once the type is identified, you may supply an appropriate response to it. But if you find it ambiguous or you feel reluctant to respond to such a review (not all review is nice to read for your information), just skip it for another to handle. That is pretty much how you can respond to a Mozilla Firefox review on Google Play.

That also means you need to develop extraordinary level of patience and vast range of vocabulary so that you will find it easy to select right words to address an issue without harassing or insulting others. Here chances are you will discover impolite reviews which you think are as derogatory and insulting as you have ever heard in your life time. But still, you have to maintain decorum while responding to it. Never lose temper because you have to focus on addressing issues.

The next step to take after responding to many reviews is taking a role of moderator. Here you are dealing with a collection of responses (that you and other fellow have previously posted). To be qualified and publishable, a response has to be positive, to address issues, and personalized.

This might look simple but at the end of the day, it proves to be useful for users of Mozilla Firefox. (*/)