Rayuan Pulau Harapan

Perahu kami membelah ombak Laut Jawa yang sunyi karena tidak ada lagi canda dan tawa dari turis-turis lokal yang sudah kelelahan seharian berkecimpung di air laut.
Perahu kami membelah ombak Laut Jawa yang makin senja makin sunyi karena tidak ada lagi canda dan tawa dari turis-turis lokal yang sudah lapar dan kelelahan seharian berkecimpung di air laut.

Sebuah perdebatan mengemuka perihal negara mana yang memiliki jumlah pulau paling banyak di muka bumi ini. Ada yang berkata Finlandia; ada yang mengatakan Indonesia. Namun, menurut CIA World Factbook Indonesia-lah sang jawara. Kalau saya tilik laman Wikipedia, jumlah pulau di negeri yang kita tinggali ini mencapai lebih dari 13.000 pulau. Dan untuk menjelajahi semuanya sungguh tidak mungkin kecuali jika kita mau hidup berkelana setiap harinya untuk berpindah dari satu pulau ke pulau lain. Lalu saya iseng menghitung, angka 13.000 saya bagi dengan 365 hari, hasilnya 35,6. Itu artinya dibutuhkan waktu 35 tahun lebih hanya untuk menjejakkan kaki dari satu pulau ke pulau lain di Indonesia agar semua pulau tadi terjelajahi tuntas tanpa kecuali. Syaratnya setiap hari Anda harus bergerak ke pulau yang berbeda, tak peduli kondisi atau cuaca. Pokoknya terus berpindah, nomaden.

LOKAL TAPI TAK KENAL

Kalau boleh jujur, saya bisa katakan orang Indonesia adalah warga dunia yang naluri berkelananya terbilang rendah. Jadi, jangan heran jika kita sering menemukan orang Indonesia yang belum pernah ke daerah-daerah di dekat tempat tinggalnya sendiri. Itu karena ada banyak alasan. Ada yang tidak bisa berlibur karena kendala kesibukan mencari nafkah (jika Anda butuh pemasukan untuk membiayai hidup, seperti banyak orang Indonesia yang harus mati-matian memenuhi kebutuhan dasar mereka), berlibur bukanlah sebuah kebutuhan tapi kemewahan. Bahkan untuk menjelajahi pelosok-pelosok daerah yang ada di pulau yang mereka tinggali sendiri pun belum tentu terlaksana. Kecuali jika pekerjaan mereka mengharuskan demikian.

Kedua, orang Indonesia penyuka zona nyaman. Mereka cenderung menyukai daerah-daerah wisata yang sudah jelas akan menawarkan keindahan. Menjelajahi daerah-daerah yang belum banyak dikunjungi orang apalagi daerah yang sama sekali belum tersentuh manusia bukanlah sesuatu yang menarik bagi kebanyakan orang Indonesia. Jika punya waktu berlibur, mereka akan mencari wisata yang menyenangkan di tempat-tempat yang sudah pasti nyaman, bersih, dan indah, misalnya wisata belanja, wisata kuliner dan sebagainya. Mendaki gunung, menyelam laut, atau berkenalan dengan suku di pedalaman pulau terpencil bukan jenis aktivitas yang menyenangkan buat mayoritas warga kita.

Ketiga, ketersediaan moda transportasi dan infrastruktur di daerah yang belum merata memicu biaya perjalanan yang tinggi. Akhirnya, sebelum melancong, wisatawan Indonesia harus berpikir beberapa kali. Contohnya lihat saja harga tiket pesawat ke negeri jiran Singapura atau Malaysia dibandingkan dengan harga tiket ke daerah-daerah timur Indonesia. Harga ke negeri tetangga itu bisa berkali lipat lebih murah daripada ke, katakanlah, Labuhan Bajo atau Raja Ampat.

Keempat, orang Indonesia menyukai unsur prestise dari liburan. Saya pernah mengobrol bersama seorang sopir taksi daring yang berkomentar tentang asyiknya liburan ke luar negeri. Saya berceletuk,”Pak, justru liburan ke Indonesia Timur itu lebih mahal lho daripada ke Singapura atau Malaysia.” Ia menyanggah,”Oh ya? Tapi siapa peduli, mas. Yang penting kan sudah terlihat pernah keluar negeri. Kalau hanya di Indonesia, sejauh apapun, semahal apapun, sepertinya kok kurang wah.” Saya hanya mengangguk dan diam, mencoba memahami pemikirannya yang bisa jadi mencerminkan pola pikir jutaan orang Indonesia lainnya.

NAIK GARUDA

Akhir pekan kemarin saya menyempatkan diri untuk sekadar mencicipi beberapa pulau dari 13.000 lebih yang ada. Kalau boleh mengaku dan menyisihkan rasa malu, saya memang bukan pelancong domestik yang tahu luar dalam negeri sendiri. Hingga 3 dekade lebih umur saya, cuma pulau Jawa dan Bali yang pernah saya jejaki tanahnya. Padahal saya sudah pernah ke beberapa negara tetangga. Ini sebuah ironi memang. Maka sepanjang akhir pekan itulah saya menantang diri untuk sekadar menikmati Laut Jawa, yang hanya secuil dari keindahan lautan Indonesia. Dan mungkin karena saya juga bukan penyuka air dan saya tak bisa berenang dan tidak pernah menyukai teriknya matahari di pesisir, saya selama ini enggan mencoba wisata semacam ini.

Saya pikir ini saatnya saya mencoba. Siapa tahu di balik keengganan dan ketakutan itu tersimpan pengalaman yang menarik dan berharga untuk saya ceritakan di hari tua nanti?

Untuk ke pulau Harapan dan beberapa pulau di sekitar Kepulauan Seribu Utara itu, Ronald – seorang teman yang memimpin rombongan kami – bekerjasama dengan seorang pemandu lokal di sana, Jun. Dari penuturan beberapa orang teman dalam rombongan, kunjungan ke pulau Harapan masih lebih menyenangkan dibandingkan dengan Pulau Bira, yang kata mereka masih sepi, makanannya kurang sesuai ekspektasi, kurang higienis dan sebagainya. Mungkin semuanya sekarang sudah berubah karena itu berdasarkan pengalamannya beberapa tahun lalu.

Bertolak dari pelabuhan Muara Angke (Kaliadem) yang lekat dengan kesan kumuh dan bising di Pluit, Jakarta Utara, pukul 8 Sabtu pagi lalu, kami sampai di pulau Harapan lebih awal dari perkiraan yang semula 3 jam. Saat kami masih punya banyak waktu di atas kapal sebelum angkat jangkar, kami berfoto-foto sampai bosan di atas geladak. Pelabuhan bukan pemandangan yang terbaik untuk mengambil gambar karena suasananya kurang asri. Di sepanjang jalan ke dermaga, kanan kiri berserakan sampah plastik yang mengganggu sekali, bertolak belakang dari panorama lepas pantai yang terlihat begitu sempurna.

Seorang teman berkata kami akan naik Garuda. Tapi ini bukan Garuda, maskapai penerbangan yang identik dengan kemewahan dan kenyamanan. Kapal kami yang bernama Garuda ini jauh dari kesan mewah dan nyaman itu. Wajar saja karena harga tiketnya cuma Rp56.000 per penumpang. Kapalnya terbuat dari kayu-kayu yang sudah teruji ketahanannya. Di dalamnya sumpek dan gerah, tapi bagaimanapun juga kami tak bisa mengeluh karena inilah satu-satunya cara menjangkau pulau di utara Jakarta itu. Untuk mendapatkan suasananya, bayangkan saja sebuah gerbong kereta api ekonomi jauh sebelum perbaikan besar-besaran yang terjadi sekarang, saat penumpang masih dibiarkan menggelar koran dan tidur di bawah lalu mendengkur sampai tujuan. Kapal yang kami tumpangi memiliki tiga lantai: atas, tengah dan bawah. Bagi Anda yang tak suka berpengap ria, lantai atas menawarkan udara bebas, begitu bebas hingga Anda bisa masuk angin dan kering tertimpa sinar matahari laut setelah beberapa jam ada di atasnya. Di lantai tengah yang saya pilih tempati, kondisinya lebih bersahabat bagi mereka yang tak mau terkena banyak angin laut dan sinar mentari. Hanya saja, Anda mesti siap sedikit gegar otak karena setidaknya kepala Anda akan terantuk kayu-kayu di langit-langitnya. Tinggi kabin tengah kapal mungkin hanya 1,5 meter saja sehingga membuat mereka yang jangkung dan jangkungnya tanggung seperti saya sangat tersiksa. Sekitar pukul 10.40 kami sudah menyentuh bibir pantai pulau Harapan.

JELAJAH PULAU

Bentuk-bentuk rumah di pulau Harapan mirip dengan bentuk rumah di pulau Jawa. TIdak ada semacam rumah panggung khas pantai yang kami temui setidaknya di bibir pantai dekat dermaga. Di jalan masuk utama dari dermaga kami juga disambut dengan sebuah gapura yang juga bisa ditemukan di desa-desa di Jawa. Di belakang gapura selamat datang itu, kita bisa menemukan kantor-kantor penting administrasi pemerintahan desa yang masuk wilayah kepulauan Seribu Utara itu. Kantor kepala desa, puskesmas berdiri tegak di sekitar gapura, kemudian masjid juga bisa ditemukan di jalan masuk di belakang kantor-kantor ini.

Setidaknya ada beberapa pulau yang kami berhasil jelajahi dalam dua hari perjalanan itu: Harapan, Macan, Perak, Genteng Kecil/ Besar, Bulat dan Putri. Setelah meletakkan semua barang bawaan, di tempaan matahari Sabtu siang itu kami meluncur membelah laut ke pulau Macan yang kata Jun pemandu kami sangat indah dan memukau. Saya dan Yoga, seorang teman lainnya yang mengaku tak bisa berenang sama sekali, sempat panik karena kami akan mengarungi lautan lepas dengan perahu sekecil itu tanpa pelampung. Setiap percikan ombak seperti sebuah pertanda laut akan menelan kami dan sulit untuk menekan adrenalin yang melonjak. Namun, saya menenangkan diri karena saya tahu teman-teman saya akan menolong saya jika itu terjadi. Tetap saja kami tak mau gegabah. Kami pun meminta pelampung, dan Jun juga meminta yang lain untuk memakai karena jika tidak memakai dan tertangkap basah patroli laut, mungkin kita akan mendapatkan teguran.

Di lepas pantai pulau Macan kami pun membuang jangkar. Jun memilih tempat yang aman agar tidak merusak terumbu karang. Di sini saya mencoba mencicipi untuk pertama kali bagaimana rasanya snorkeling. Dengan belajar singkat tentang cara menggunakan goggle (kacamata renang) dan mengenakan jaket pelampung, saya memberanikan diri turun. Saya gigit kencang ujung pipa di mulut ini dan membiasakan bernapas dari mulut. Mulanya saya mencoba berpegangan dengan tangga di perahu agar terbiasa dulu di air kemudian perlahan melepaskan pegangan tangan itu. Saya mencoba lebih rileks dan membenamkan kepala ke bawah permukaan air dan menyaksikan ikan-ikan kecil berwarna-warni melewati jari jemarin saya. Sebuah debut yang cukup berhasil karena saya bahkan tidak harus dipandu Jun selama sesi snorkeling. Tahu diri dengan kemampuan ini, saya tidak mencoba meninggalkan perahu terlalu jauh karena jika walaupun ada jaket pelampung, mengayuh cukup menguras tenaga juga. Saya pun naik ke perahu kembali dan menghangatkan tubuh.

Sesi snorkeling kedua berlangsung di pulau Genteng Besar dan Kecil yang juga diluberi dengan wisatawan lokal. Saya memutuskan tidak turun karena tubuh sudah merasa kedinginan terkena semburan angin laut yang kencang di tengah cuaca yang mendingin begitu matahari mulai turun dari titik kuliminasi. Alih-alih menceburkan diri, saya berfoto-foto saja di atas perahu dan menonton ulah semua orang yang berenang di bawah sana dengan berbagai gawai untuk mengabadikan. Semua ‘persenjataan’ mahal dikeluarkan, dari kamera bawah air, ponsel anti air, dome, dan sebagainya. Mereka merekam semuanya sampai ruang penyimpanan data di gawai itu penuh sesak.

Satu hal yang patut disayangkan ialah saat berada di perjalanan menuju ke tempat snorkeling di pantai pulau Macan yang dangkal itu, baling-baling mesin perahu kami sempat terhenti karena sampah yang menjerat. Tak perlu banyak menyelidik, insiden ini pastinya karena polusi yang makin tinggi akibat kunjungan turis yang membludak dari waktu ke waktu ke wilayah ini. Di sepanjang perjalanan sendiri saya saksikan benda-benda yang tidak seharusnya berada di laut  seperti botol plastik air mineral, ban bekas, busa, mengapung begitu saja di permukaan air. Belum ada kesadaran penuh untuk menjaga kebersihan lautan dan pulau-pulau yang molek ini. Dan ini tentunya sangat merisaukan meskipun sudah menjadi kelaziman bagi warga lokal. Masih diperlukan banyak upaya edukasi dan realisasi pengelolaan sampah anorganik yang berbahaya bagi kelestarian lingkungan di pulau-pulau kita.

Soal pengelolaan sampah juga menjadi sumber keprihatinan di pulau Perak yang kami kunjungi sore itu. Begitu kami mendarat di pulau kecil itu, kami menyaksikan banyak sekali orang sudah di sana menikmati keindahan laut sambil makan dan minum, yang kemudian membuat sampah anorganik seperti bekas botol plastik bertumpuk sembarangan di hampir seluruh pulau. Tampaknya pemerintah DKI Jakarta dan lembaga-lembaga pemerhati lingkungan hidup swadaya masyarakat (LSM) belum mengantisipasi isu manajemen sampah di pulau-pulau kecil di utara Jakarta itu dengan lebih maksimal.

Harga yang dipatok di sini bervariasi karena itu Anda perlu berhati-hati agar tidak terkena penggelembungan harga yang tidak perlu terjadi. Saran saya, selalu membeli didampingi pemandu lokal Anda agar Anda bisa mendapat harga termurah. Beberapa teman saya sempat gusar karena harus membayar Rp25.000 hanya untuk menikmati sebuah kelapa muda, yang bahkan sudah agak tua sehingga dagingnya tak begitu lezat dinikmati. Harga sempat turun ke Rp20.000 dan mereka pikir itu sudah murah, ternyata saat saya membeli bersama dengan Jun di samping saya, harganya bisa jatuh sampai Rp15.000. Untung mereka memang melimpah ruah di akhir pekan sebab inilah waktu emas pariwisata di daerah tersebut. Di hari-hari kerja (workdays), kunjungan wisatawan turun drastis. Sehingga saya bisa maklum jika kemudian si penjual yang ibu paruh baya itu menaikkan harga kelapa muda dan mi instan serta bakwan goreng bercampur bumbunya itu dengan harga dua atau tiga kali lipat dari harga biasa di daerah lain atau harga normal di hari biasa.

Menjelang senja, saya pikir kami akan kembali langsung ke pulau Harapan namun ternyata perahu mampir ke sebuah pulau yang dinamai “Bulat”. Dinamai begitu karena dulu bentuknya bulat, tetapi tampak sekali abrasi sudah memupus bentuk bundar itu menjadi pejal yang aneh. Pemecah gelombang yang dibuat manusia untuk perahu yang hendak berlabuh di situ sudah keropos dan hancur sedikit demi sedikit tidak kuasa menahan hantaman ombak setiap hari. Pulau ini sangat kecil karena hanya bisa dilintasi hanya dalam beberapa menit berjalan kaki santai. Di atasnya ada sebuah bangunan besar. Mungkin sebuah penginapan atau resor dahulu tapi sekarang ditinggalkan tanpa penghuni. “Ini masih lumayan karena yang jaga masih mau kerja tanpa dibayar,” kata pemandu lokal kami yang berperawakan kecil itu.

Karena penduduk pulau Harapan sudah relatif padat ditambah lagi dengan makin derasnya kunjungan wisatawan di sana, fasilitas yang ada juga sudah lebih baik di pulau tersebut. Air tawar untuk mandi juga sudah tersedia melimpah dan sebuah mesin pendingin udara terpasang di dinding kamar meski kami harus menunggu sampai pukul 1 siang hingga aliran listrik kembali menyala. Kami sempat tercengang karena bak mandi kami hampir kosong melompong dan listrik tidak ada. Saya pun maklum karena sudah pernah membaca bahwa ketersediaan listrik masih menjadi kendala bagi warga di pulau-pulau kecil yang bertebaran di lautan Indonesia. Sebuah masalah yang bisa jadi sebuah peluang usaha juga bagi Anda yang tahu bagaimana caranya membangkitkan energi listrik dengan tenaga alam.

Kerisauan itu sirna begitu kami kembali ke penginapan yang bentuknya sebuah rumah bata di permukiman penduduk di tepian sebuah kolam penangkaran bibit ikan. Listrik sudah menyala begitu kami masuk ke rumah penginapan kecil namun nyaman itu. Pemandangan laut lepas ada di kanan kiri sementara di depan kami bisa memandang lalu lalang orang dari dan ke dermaga yang dipenuhi perahu-perahu besar dan kecil.

SUNRISE

Esok harinya saya bangun paling pagi di penginapan itu. Sekitar pukul 4.30 saya sudah terbangun mendengar panggilan salat subuh dari masjid yang ternyata tidak jauh dari penginapan kami. Sesekali saya temui warga lokal yang sudah berangkat melaut di jalan menuju dermaga, sementara beberapa lainnya sudah bersiap mencari nafkah sebagai penjual makanan keliling di situ. Beberapa saat kemudian setelah langit agak terang, gerobak-gerobak bermunculan di dekat gapura, mengais rezeki dengan menjual makanan ringan atau sarapan pagi yang tidak seberapa mengenyangkan tetapi sudah cukup memuaskan nafsu makan.

Anak-anak muda yang melancong di sini perlahan-lahan mulai menampakkan batang hidung mereka. Di tangan mereka tergenggam gawai-gawai yang siap mengabadikan pemandangan matahari terbit. Di tempat saya berdiri ufuk timur terhalang sedikit dengan galah-galah bambu yang dipakai untuk memasang jaring-jaring agar ikan-ikan kecil di kolam penangkaran tidak bisa lolos ke Laut Jawa. Demi foto sunrise yang sempurna, sekelompok anak muda nekat berjalan kaki menelusuri jalan setapak kecil yang dibuat warga untuk membatasi kolam tersebut dengan laut lepas.

Karena sudah terlalu kenyang dengan suasana laut, saya putuskan untuk tetap di darat hari ini bersama dua teman saya yang juga tidak bersemangat bermain air lagi. Yoga menolak pergi ke pulau Putri yang ramai tetapi terawat itu karena memang tidak terlalu suka berenang. Sementara Charles kena masuk angin karena perut kosong dan kedinginan selama perjalanan pulang dari snorkeling. Karena itu, jika Anda berniat untuk snorkeling juga, akan lebih baik jika Anda membawa baju ganti dan jaket serta bekal makanan secukupnya agar tidak di laut dengan perut kosong dan pakaian lembab. Dan pastikan tubuh dalam kondisi bugar dan sehat sebelum menceburkan diri ke laut dan begitu mengentaskan diri dari laut segera keringkan tubuh dengan sempurna dan isilah perut agar rasa kembung dan dingin terusir segera. Sebab semua itu jika ditambah terpaan angin laut akan membuat kesehatan tubuh rubuh.

Menghabiskan waktu hanya sehari semalam di pulau Harapan memang kurang jika ingin mengenalnya lebih dalam. Tapi setidaknya ini menjadi satu awal yang baik bagi Anda yang ingin lebih dalam lagi mengenal pulau-pulau di Indonesia yang jumlahnya puluhan ribu itu.

 

Tentang Jurang (Sebuah Catatan tentang Entrepreneurship Indonesia)

 

Tanggal 16-17 Februari 2016 lalu Presiden Joko Widodo mengunjungi Silicon Valley. Apalagi agendanya jika tidak untuk menarik investasi sejumlah korporasi. (Sumber foto: laman Facebook Mark Zuckerberg)

Perempuan itu terlambat 17 menit dari waktu yang dijanjikan. Dalam surel, ia meminta maaf. “Maaf Akhlis, saya akan terlambat beberapa menit sepertinya,” ia membalas singkat.

Saya sudah menunggunya di sana. Untung saja saya bisa mengerjakan sesuatu dengan komputer jinjing. Secangkir teh chai panas juga menemani di depan mata. Kalau tidak saya bisa menggerutu kebosanan dan membeku di ruangan luas dan temaram itu.

Ia masuk ke dalam kedai dan nanar mencari orang dengan rupa yang saya deskripsikan dalam surel baru saja. Kami baru pertama bertemu hari itu.

Sementara saya sibuk memandangi layar komputer jinjing, ia bertanya apakah nama saya Akhlis. Saya jawab betul dan kami pun bersalaman untuk pertama kali.

Saya terkejut ia tidak segemuk yang saya lihat di dunia maya. Apakah ia sudah diet ketat? Tubuhnya kini lebih kurus, wajahnya tirus. Namun, jejak Kaukasia dalam gennya tidak bisa dihapus. Tulang hidungnya tinggi khas bangsa Arya.

Ia memandangi sejenak stiker-stiker di punggung komputer jinjing saya. Dan ia tampak tidak tahan melontarkan pertanyaan,”Kau dapat ini dari mana? Pameran kebudayaan Jerman?” Saya ceritakan padanya bahwa saya pernah diundang dan hadir dalam perayaan reunifikasi Jerman tanggal 1 Oktober tahun lalu. Sebuah undangan dalam koridor kedinasan. Saya masih ingat bagaimana malam itu saya harus makan malam sambil berdiri dan berceloteh soal bobroknya sebuah instansi komersial dengan seorang kolega yang lebih senior tetapi berhubungan lebih akrab dari rekan-rekan sepangkat jabatan.

Setelah perempuan itu memesan sajian roti berselai stroberi serta kopi dalam sebuah wadah berukuran tall di kedai waralaba asal negeri Paman Sam itu, ia duduk di depan saya kemudian bertanya sebelum menelan rotinya.

“Artikel apa yang ingin kau tulis jika nanti sedianya ada kesempatan?”

“Hmm…,” saya memilih kata-kata dengan cermat, tidak mau gegabah menyahut. “Tentang jurang.”

“Jurang?” kepalanya mendongak, meninggalkan pandangan dari piringnya.

” Ya, jurang… Jurang antara para entrepreneur di sini dan pemerintah,” tukas saya. Teh chai hangat itu saya teguk lagi. Cairan itu level pahitnya bukan kepalang dan sanggup membangunkan seluruh tubuh saya di tengah terpaan angin pendingin udara di atas kepala kami. Untuk mengetik saja jari jemari jadi kaku. Saya memandang iri ke seberang meja, sekelompok perempuan negeri ginseng bercakap akrab, tanpa menggigil.

“Kenapa jurang itu bisa ada?” ia kembali menggali.

Saya sedikit tersentak, berusaha mengembalikan konsentrasi dari distraksi. Seorang perempuan Korea di situ tertawa dan berbicara lantang benar, seperti di rumah sendiri.

“Karena selama ini keduanya tampak berjalan sendiri-sendiri. Tanpa ada sinkronisasi dan harmoni. Makanya jangan heran dunia entrepreneurship kita seperti ini,” terang saya setengah spontan, setengah tertata.

Banyak yang perlu dibenahi. Dan dari tahun ke tahun belum ada solusi konkret. Dalam suatu diskusi seorang perwakilan entrepreneur muda bahkan berkata tidak peduli dengan apapun yang dilakukan pemerintah. “Asal jangan sampai mengganggu laju kami. Itu saja. Terserah mereka mau apa,” timpalnya saking putus asa.

Hal itu ia lontarkan beberapa tahun lalu. Ia pantas putus asa dan memiliki resistensi pada penguasa sebab kondisi dan birokrasi negeri di sektor ini juga kacau balau. Tidak heran anak-anak muda yang kreatif itu lebih memilih bergerak di bawah tanah. Namun sayangnya, bergerak di bawah tanah juga menghalau mereka menggapai pertumbuhan yang setinggi-tingginya.

Kita masih ingat jejaring sosial Koprol yang diakuisisi Yahoo. Semua bangga dengan pencapaian spektakuler itu. Ada juga ya startup kita yang dilirik Silicon Valley, begitu komentar orang. Tetapi bangga cuma berakhir bangga, tanpa dukungan nyata. Alhasil layu juga akhirnya. Koprol dilepas begitu saja setelah Yahoo tersedot oleh lumpur isap bernama resesi yang membuat mereka sampai harus merekrut CEO cantik Marissa Meyer. Sampai sekarang Yahoo tidak pernah pulih seperti sedia kala di masa kejayaan mereka.

Kemudian ia menyebut soal Jokowi yang sedang melawat ke Silicon Valley. Saya ketinggalan berita rupanya. Dan pagi ini tadi baru mengetahuinya dari laman si pendiri jejaring sosial itu. Masih ada harapan perbaikan dan kemajuan, kira-kira begitu pesan yang hendak kenalan saya ini sampaikan.

Entahlah, saya menghela napas dalam-dalam. Mencoba mengusir kekesalan dan keputusasaan. Indonesia itu rumit, terang saya padanya yang berdarah separuh bumiputra itu. Kadang kepalanya memang yang inkompeten dan korup jadi bawahnya juga bobrok. Namun, kadang juga kepalanya sudah bagus, jajaran di bawahnya yang resisten pada perubahan yang dibawa sang kepala. Saya berdoa semoga saja saya salah.

Pertemuan presiden kali ini dengan pendiri Facebook dikatakan akan mengangkat agenda perkenalan Indonesia sebagai salah satu tujuan investasi yang seksi. Jokowi ingin meyakinkan para petinggi teknologi informasi perusahaan teknologi seperti Google, Facebook dan Twitter bahwa Indonesia bisa membantu mereka menggenjot pertumbuhan perusahaan sekaligus membantu Indonesia menggairahkan sektor ekonomi baru:ecommerce.

On the Cleavage of Java

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It all began when I read a short story on my college days. I was a junior, studying literary analysis with a shrewd lecturer whom I liked so much. She gave us a handout containing the piece. So here is what I recall until today from the story: a traveler came to a remote village and there was a conflict between the traveler and the villagers. The traveler seemed reluctant at all to spread the news that the village was a heaven earth, definitely worth-visiting. Yet, the villagers wished their village was more well known to the outer world so as to have more visitors and hence more economic activities, which translated to more money coming to them. They wanted so much to prosper. It was too bad the traveler didn’t heed their request. No, I want it to stay pristine, said the traveler in somewhat determined tone. Was he selfish? Did he do the right thing to protect the purity of village? Or should he just have let the news spread so people swarm the place and sooner or later his ideal paradise? It was such a dilemma for both sides. They had their own strong and reasonable arguments.

The same thing happened exactly to Elizabeth Gilbert years after she finished writing and released that overly hyped book, “Eat Pray Love”. On one occasion, she admitted she never even any single bit had expected to draw more people, especially foreigners, to come to the island of gods. She can’t be blamed on entirely for the increasingly dense and chaotic Ubud. Catalyst, that might be the most appropriate word to describe her role in it. She is in it but obviously not playing the direct and deliberate efforts towards the mess.

I have a faith, that I won’t share anything personal from my most valuable trips. Never ever. But then I feel like I can’t. I want to share, still. That is what writers do: share (or show off) great things. But with one caveat; no too detailed information shared so not many people can easily track origins of information. This way, fewer people are likely to find the ridiculously gorgeous place out.

And I want to stay that way for now. No change whatsoever. I won’t tell you in fear that commercialism comes over and screws it all. Once it happens, no one cannot rewind and reverse. Even if it’s possible, the recovery process will take decades or centuries. There is no way I will let it happen. As selfish as I may seem, I know.

All I can tell you is this. On that day, I was in the height but I wasn’t inside a skyscraper. My feet were on earth, instead of brick or concrete. It was cold as Hades hell but I wasn’t in an air conditioned office space that suck up energy and fossil fuel and emits gases contributing to the escalating global climate change.

It was a Friday afternoon I spent dearly with some literary folks I know a bit too well. We laughed and walked down the path leading to the well known temple world celebrities have paid visit to.

These people were not exclusively Jakartans or those who have stayed there for various reasons. They were from many parts of Indonesia, but I was sure enough they were mostly from Java.

As a person with Javanese roots myself, staying here for hours seemed like a time travel to the past. I used to live this way, too. I know people around me who even currently still live their lives like these folks do.

What made it different was this place was not as warm as my village. In a giant refrigerator I felt I was at the time.

The village was on a ridge of a pair of two mountains. If these mountains were a woman’s breasts, I could be on her steep cleavage. The route was so steep, anyone unfamiliar with it dared not ride on. Or else, we could have killed ourselves in the middle.

I was told the village was the highest place of human housings you can find in the mountainous terrain. So it seemed. Anyway, I can’t see why I must doubt it. I cast my glance and saw no completely flat stretch of land. Only houses scattered here and there. There was no skyscrapers or even a three storey buildings blocking our view. Only peaks of mountains could do so here. Such a remote hilly place to live.

As the car in which I was in with my literary friends climbed slowly in the street, I could see more and more cabbages and tobbacos were planted on every piece of land we glanced at. Tobacco was popular. Tobacco made them warm when the chilly winds sweep their porches without mercy. Tobacco also enabled them to prosper – though temporarily. A friend familiar to the people told me some of these big farmers could make money more than the annual salaries of a typical employee in Jakarta. They splurged and crazily wasted their resources until they had nothing to spend and got broke once again. All in one harvest season.

When I told you it was like being in between two breasts of a woman, I meant it. The temperature was killing me, for sure. I really wished I had put on more layers of clothes. This skinny frame was miserable in this abnormal frigidity. I’m used to being a coastal creature than a highland one. But what warmed me up was the fact that I was surrounded by people who were so welcome and open-handed. These villagers celebrated our once-in-a-year arrival.

We got out of the car and were then on foot, hiking up the hill as no car was able to safely reach our destination. It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but what I saw was like the most grandiose twilight. In the meantime, people were transitting and enjoying welcome, signature, rustic meals and beverages.

A young man sucked up his pipe and blew the smoke out of his lungs. There was a sense of pride when he did it and read a poem. I knew he was trying to mimick an Indonesian poet, his sole idol. Some others were gathering in circles, like a group of porcupines trying to warm each other during the hardest winter days. They kept on discussing things I was clueless about. Some literary works I had never read before. Even the synopsis or reviews. I chose to be in my circle. Mingling would only cause inconvenience. Unless there was a reason to speak with,  interrupting their chatters with my small talks and a brief self introduction would be too risky. If I failed miserably, it’d been a faux pas that could have remained in the memory for good.

We ate some boiled peanuts and warm tea in a small glass a native handed me. Very authentic experience. You wouldn’t find catering food and beverage. Approaching 6 pm, the night curtain went undone and some cotton-like mist floating and blanketing the village. I shivered more and more. I kept moving my body to stay warm. It wasn’t the best trick to stay warm as I forgot that to stay warm, the system needs calories intake. I hadn’t had any huge meal since we left the hotel. My instinct led me to a huge crowd. What was it that they gathered and stared? There, I survived against the perpetual gusts of cold wind.

The warmth I felt was just like one of a mother’s hug to her offsprings. Java has always been my motherland and here with these people, the warmth accentuated the experience.

All the great experience was somehow distracted by the need of peeing more frequently. I was sure I got dehydrated because I peed still but I drank less. Yet, I didn’t feel thirsty at all. All I wanted was a huge bowl of meatball and something warm and hot and fulfilling.

Aside from the dim lighting and hygiene aspect, I enjoyed this peeing experience in the winter-like air that very night. The sensation when you could talk with others around you while peeing in the almost dark scene with no inhibition and grope for water to wash yourself after the ‘ritual’. I was lucky, as a friend just got into the toilet and the power just went out. Without warning. It didn’t last for long though, but that could be disheartening for someone afraid of darkness.

And to note, the toilet was not a public toilet. It was a toilet opened for public inside someone’s house. I guessed it was a house of some important figure in the village, whom I supposed was the head of the village, because it was located just next to the village assembly hall, called “pendopo”. Some offerings were made inside the pendopo, adding more magic to the place.

Around 17.30, more and more people were seen flocking. I was wondering what was there. Music I had never listened to before was being played, and I found it almost impossible to know what the lyrics meant.

I approached the increasingly huge crowd. They seemed cheery in the yard of a mosque and another place which looked like the plaza, a public square. The difference was this kind of public square wasn’t protected by houses. So every time a gust of wind rushing down, we trembled more and squeezed the crowd more until they could touch one another. Luckily, there was no pickpocket around. Things were incredibly safe here as it was a closely-knit community, which meant social sanctions may be very unforgiving for any criminals.

A dance performance was staged before the enthusiastic audience. Some foreigners (I bet they were Korean or Chinese) sat down eagerly in the front ‘seats’. By seats, I meant anything you can sit on, including the earth. They just sat there and unrolled whatever cloth they had with them or just took a seat without fearing dusts or dirt. They were too busy staring at the dancers who energetically performed a newly created local dance with a story of dynamic romance.

The female dancer was exceptionally slim and beautiful. Her feet were covered with white socks and moved quite fast. The complexity of the dance was in the chemistry between dancers involved. It seemed smooth and easy and effortless, as if no practice was needed. But I too well know it wasn’t so. It may have taken months for these artists to practice and years of general self practice.

Came along the time to pray. They were muslims. But here there were also some Christian priests visiting with us. With a mission of maintaining faith tolerance and peace in the society, they advocate interfaith understanding through culture and arts. Messages of peace and tolerance were found in the remarks of the master of ceremony who happened to be a “dalang”, a man behind a Javanese leather puppet show. This hilarous man opened every performance and public speech with sprinkles of jokes to warm up the situation. The air was already cold and if he was boring, it’d been disastrous. People would yawn and leave altogether.

We giggled as we saw some natives attending the public gathering with blankets and thick towels to cover their young children on their back. It wasn’t a scene you can witness every day elsewhere.

A swarm of kumbang tahi flocked around a light at the mosque verandah. Kumbang tahi looks like a usual, normal beetle, only they have bigger size and greenish in color. Probably an endemic species of beetles of the area.

The show resumed right after the prayer was done.

One more dance performance from Banyuwangi was staged. People kept curiously looking at the center of stage, in which five young women danced in Banyuwangi style. The older female singer was sitting amongst the honored guests consisting of priests, local respected figures and community leaders and also rich people from the capital of the country who had willingly sponsored the less-than-commercial event. The rest would be foreigners who were there to record the experience, either with their senses or cameras. They greedily documented all the details encountered during the show. It was a rarity to watch such an local art show in the open space like this so they wouldn’t miss a slightest chance to get the best content to keep as treasure.

A lady whom I knew was related to a celebrated fashion designer appeared on stage after the jovial master of ceremony invited her to deliver her speech. It was brief and rather normative. As if she hadn’t had a substantial message to get across to us. But maybe it was because she already felt exhausted all day long and still had to stay awake that very night, listening to some wildly artistic performances she could hardly enjoy. The performances were in the Javanese language or “boso Jowo” and there seemed very remote chance she could comprehend the content. She left moments after she conveyed her public address that advised us there should be more efforts like this to boost local cultures and prevent them from vanishing into the air.

The dance performance was drawing nearer to its closure. The master of ceremony introduced us a new form of artistic work he created with his team. As I told you before, this moustached man was a witty middle aged Javanese who didn’t seem reluctant to act and speak into a doze to amuse us. The leather puppets were replaced by his team called “wayang urip”. Different from “wayang wong” (which resembles western plays in many respects), wayang urip consisted of several human beings whose bodies were colored in pitch black. Each performer symbolized a living creature in some unknown forest that got burned down by the fire inflicted deliberately by selfish, economy-oriented human beings.

The puppet show brought up some criticism on social and environmental issues to the audience. Some time before that, fire ravaged woods around the nearby mountain. It was one of the longest dry seasons in the recorded history, when news from Indonesia was dominated by the seemingly endless inferno producing unwanted smog hanging lowly in the sky in Sumatra, Borneo, and some other areas in the archipelago. This indeed spurred the economy of palm oil but demolished the humanity and nature around it. It has been an unethical practice that was left unsolved for years. Everyone of us perhaps had our own share in the palm oil fever that eventually triggered the fire. That was because we use this type of oil in almost every daily product we can encounter on supermarket shelves.

“So y’all have to respect Mother Nature or else, we all shall perish together,” told the dalang. At the end of his captivating show, he made himself crystal clear by restating the message, making sure everyone understood perfectly what should be done after that. So the show wasn’t about having sheer fun but also learning things, about their local wisdom that should be resounded.

The night was crawling slowly inch by inch while we watched some local singers performed some local songs we had no idea about. As we turned our back to head to where our car was parked, a female singer tore the silence of the night with her loudest squeal to end the celebration. We could still hear her scream even after kilometers away. Insanity.

It was a rough night for me. I hadn’t had my dinner and felt cold for hours. Once I realized that, the wristwatch struck 30 minutes past midnight. I felt like I could swallow a horse.

What Jokowi Needs to Learn from Soeharto (Hint: Book Lovers will Agree)

‎As the honeymoon phase is slipping away, Jokowi has been getting bombarded with criticism (out of varying levels of disappointment) from some people around him.

And now it’s my time to do so.

It’s been almost 7 months since Jokowi started to reign. Overall, I approve of almost all his steps (with the KPK-Police tug war as an exception).

As a book lover (and a hopeful writer wanting so much to get published), however, I feel deeply concerned with Jokowi and his regime’s ignorance of the importance of publishing and book industry (one significant part of Indonesian creative industry which the president once promised to help flourish) . Not to mention authors’ welfare. Knowing Indonesian author N. H. Dini (and the majority of Indonesian authors) living in such a way makes me think a zillion times before plunging into the ocean of publishing industry full time. ‎

A fellow writer and publisher Bambang Trim today fretted on his blog about his concern, which we also have in common, saying that Jokowi and the related ministry seem to pass National Book Day on May 17th with nonchalant abandon.

For your information, the special day was set by President Soeharto, reasoning that Indonesian Republic National Library was founded on May 17, 1980. The day, Bambang wrote, is also commemorated as Indonesian Publishers Association (IKAPI), born 65 years ago.

Bambang compared Jokowi to Soeharto, commenting the current president ( and leaders after Soeharto, too) have done very little — if any — for the progress and betterment of the domestic book and publishing industry.

On May 2, 1973, Soeharto even invited IKAPI staffers to Bogor Presidential Palace after having declared 1972 as International Book Year. At the time, Ajip Rosidi chaired the organization. “I do hope all of you can come up with well-planned and neatly-conceptualized suggestions needed for the development of our nation,” the smiling general told them at the banquet in response to the meager number of books published in the country.

Soeharto walked his talk. He poured some funding which later was used up to found Yayasan Buku Utama. The foundation selected the best teenagers book on an annual basis, told Mr. Rosidi.

Of course, we may not overlook Soeharto’s censorship and book bans and most importantly, freedom of expression and press markedly lower than freedom of it during the subsequent regimes.

Another milestone was Kongres Perbukuan Nasional in 1995 but sadly soon after the monetary crisis hit Indonesia, the future of book and publishing industry turned hazy.

Aside from that, we should see whether Anis Baswedan can be as daring and innovative as Fuad Hasan when it comes to this issue.

And this explains very well why there is much disappointment arising after Indonesia came out as the guest of Frankfurt Book Fair recently. Some said it was quite pathetic because it wasn’t well prepared.

(image source: ayojokowiaja.blogspot.com)


Jangan Komersialisasikan dan Perlombakan Yoga

“Saya bisa celaka dengan uang…”

Kalimat itu terlontar dari mulut seorang pria berambut putih di suatu siang yang gegap gempita. Namun, kehadirannya membuat suasana meriah mereda sementara. Kalimatnya tertata. Tampak otaknya yang renta — yang meski tak setajam para pemuda — makin penuh dengan pemikiran bijak setelah menapaki hidup lebih dari 8 dasawarsa.

Yogamurti, demikian nama sang pembicara, adalah salah satu guru yoga yang ‎menjadi sesepuh dalam dunia yoga tanah air. Kepribadiannya lemah lembut dan menampik kemewahan, tecermin dari kisah kehidupannya di masa lalu sebagai praktisi dan pengajar yoga. Ia mengatakan pernah menolak ajakan mengajar yoga di sebuah hotel berbintang untuk para tamu. Ia diiming-imingi bayaran jutaan rupiah. Yogamurti tak berubah pikiran. Bahkan hingga sekarang tak terlintas penyesalan.

Yogamurti mengaku belajar yoga “tidak banyak”. Entah apa yang ia maksudkan dengan frase itu tetapi tentunya ia merendah. Pria itu juga berucap,”Saya mengajar yoga hanya (secara -red) sukarela‎.”

Masih menurut Yogamurti, sepengetahuannya guru yoga pertama di tanah air adalah seorang kepala polisi. “(Dia adalah) bapak Kolonel Soekamto Tjokrodiatmodjo‎. Beliau belajar yoga langsung dari Shivananda di Rishikesh, kaki gunung Himalaya,” tuturnya.

Dengan nada bicara yang pelan, Yogamurti menegaskan pesannya bagi para peminat dan pelaku yoga: Jangan mengomersialisasikan dan memperlombakan yoga. “Kalau ada yang memperlombakan, nanti ada yang mati,” tukasnya. Entah apa yang ia maksud dengan “mati”.

‎Ironisnya, wejangan Yogamurti amat bertolak belakang dengan kenyataan di lapangan saat ini. Seorang teman yang menggemari yoga berkata baru saja pada saya betapa yoga sedang naik daun. “Sekarang (yoga) lagi tren banget. Semua artis suka yoga pasang-pasangan. Kan bisnis banget itu,” ketiknya di jendela percakapan virtual. Bisnis…

More Dramas, Fuel for the Journalism Industry

‎I plan to be a lot more optimistic in 2015 and here I am now drenched in the streams of information about the political drama. Last year’s epic drama seemed to keep us in high spirit and it still has a lot of sequels to come.

I don’t want to talk about whoever or whatever related to the political dramas staged currently. We all can consume the news on mainstream news websites. I’m bored with it all. So are you, I suppose.

What I’m more interested in is the fact that we have an endless supply of dramas throughout the year and journalismwise, it’s wildly SUPERB. It’s all there for us to cover, rant, write or simply sneer, mock and spit at. ‎The material is so so abundant you’ll find yourselves drowned in it before you even try to plunge.

This is how I choose to be optimistic this year. Understanding that the industry is stimulated by such never-ending dramas ‎keeps the industry of journalism happy and alive, and ultimately growing fast. And when this happens, there’re more jobs for writers and reporters like me or even hopefuls out there.

Thus, I’m lit up. Aren’t you?

Sekat-sekat Muslihat

Dalam berita yang saya pernah dengar menjelang malam Natal, yang biasanya saya dengar adalah aparat kepolisian disibukkan dengan penjagaan di Gereja Katedral Jakarta. Saya tidak banyak bertanya mengapa katedral yang kerap kali disebut. Jika saya cermati memang lebih jarang saya mendengar ada pemberitaan penjagaan aparat di gereja-gereja Kristen Protestan di media massa.

Saya tak ambil pusing dengan itu karena saya tidak terpikir ada perbedaan di antara gereja Kristen Katholik dan Protestan.

Hingga suatu hari saya bertemu dengan seorang teman yang berkeyakinan Katholik. Pagi itu kami bersantap bersama di sebuah kedai makanan di alam terbuka. Kami menyinggung tentang Ahok yang berhalangan datang ke taman meskipun sudah diundang jauh-jauh hari.

“Saya juga sudah ragu kalau Ahok benar-benar akan datang ke sini,” terang teman saya itu. Pasalnya, Ahok memeluk Kristen Protestan. Dan katanya lagi, pemeluk Kristen Protestan memiliki keterikatan dengan gereja tempat ia menjadi jemaat. Seperti ada keanggotaan tetap dan mereka diwajibkan untuk datang dan menyumbang ke gereja itu sepanjang waktu.

“Lain dengan orang Katholik seperti saya,” imbuhnya. Gereja-gereja Katholik kata dia lebih terbuka dalam hal menyambut orang yang ingin beribadah. Tidak ada keanggotaan yang mengikat dan mereka diperkenankan untuk beribadah di gereja Katholik manapun di dunia ini, tidak cuma di satu gereja yang sudah menjadi tempat mereka memberikan komitmen penuh untuk beribadah.

Itulah mengapa kita tidak perlu heran saat ada tetangga yang memeluk Kristen Protestan yang tidak memilih untuk beribadah di gereja protestan di dekatnya dan lebih memilih beribadah di gereja yang lebih jauh. Ternyata itu karena ia sudah menjadi semacam anggota di gereja yang bersangkutan.

Karena itulah gereja Katholik lebih rawan terhadap penyusupan dan pemboman teroris yang mencoba mengacaukan kondisi yang kurang kondusif di antara umat beragama saat ini. Apalagi kita telah tahu munculnya bibit-bibit radikalisme di masyarakat Indonesia.

Dalam umat Islam sendiri – yang di dalamnya saya menjadi bagian – bisa dijumpai pula fenomena semacam ini. Ayah saya yang bergabung dalam Muhammadiyah hanya beribadah di satu masjid yang sudah ia bangun bersama kawan-kawannya. Lalu meninggalkan masjid Muhammadiyah di kampung lainnya yang sebelumnya biasa ia kunjungi yang juga sama dekatnya untuk beribadah hanya untuk beribadah di masjid baru tadi. Dan sangat tipis kemungkinan ayah saya mau sholat di masjid dekat rumah yang dibangun orang Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), kecuali semua masjid Muhammadiyah di desa, kecamatan atau kabupaten kami runtuh, rata dengan tanah.

Memang ayah saya tidak sampai seekstrim menghindari sholat di masjid lain saat berada di luar kota tetapi tetap saja ini membuat saya jengah. Mengapa harus fanatik seperti itu? Mengapa tidak sesekali ke masjid-masjid lain di sekitar kita, menjumpai orang baru yang sama sekali bukan warga kampung, orang yang bukan anggota organisasi yang sudah kita masuki, yang bukan bagian dari keluarga besar kita?

Ahok, "The Mad Man" of Jakarta, Tells Us More about His Views on Entrepreneurship and Jakarta (2- end)

ahokAhok previously touched on plurality and creativity as the nation’s potential.

He was again pissed off as he found out a shocking fact. Upon knowing it took several days for a letter to reach his working desk, he casually went curious and questioned his subordinates. “I want all of the letters for me came to me right away no matter what. How many people in charge of letters are there?,”Ahok recounted. Twenty five people were known to be in charge of it. We all can imagine how ineffective the bureaucracy of Jakarta has been and we somehow don’t think it’s too surprising but having 25 people to handle letters in an office for a governor is undoubtedly a waste of resources.

Needless to say, he was enraged at the inefficient approach. Ahok later opened a single desk for all letters written for him as the governor. He wants to read these letters as soon as they arrive. “I want no one from my staff filters any letters for me,”Ahok firmly stated.

He fervently wishes there will be more entrepreneurs a.k.a. job creators in town. And to attract more entrepreneurs and encourage them to set up businesses in Jakarta, Ahok conveyed a message of change to all of business folks: Jakarta is changing.

Ahok is deeply concerned about the low sense of trust grassroots give nowadays to public officials like him. And he knows to well he has to work hard to change it.

“All we (Jakarta) have is location, to be frank,” he spoke. If people have a creative idea, are trained, permitted to operate, they might as well get funded by the government. “We also subsidize fledgling entrepreneurs who need to exhibit their products or services.”

Under Ahok’s command, the government of DKI Jakarta has begun a local, culinary-focused business incubator at Monumen Nasional (Monas), Central Jakarta. There are 339 people (micro businessmen, street vendors) trained in the incubator. They were trained to cook and serve foods more hygienically and professionally. Once they have funds and want to expand, they should move out of the location.

Ahok can’t be fooled so easily. Some of the street vendors tried to take advantage of this facility generously provided for them. Ahok found out that these dishonest people sold their kiosks at Monas for 200 million rupiahs. They sold the space to others instead of truly running their culinary business there to come back to their hometown only to remarry women and build a decent house. And what happens next? These people come back to Jakarta and sell foods like what they did before the government trained and funded them.

“That’s why we now are really really stringent!” Ahok explained. Knowing Indonesian law enforcement is too weak to prevent such cases from recurring in the future, Ahok had an idea. A brilliant one, I should say. All these street vendors are to have ATM cards issued officially by Bank DKI as their identity cards. That way, any violations can be taken to court, only this time with more severe, more serious punishment. Ahok knows it’s against the law to
counterfeit ATM cards and if these street vendors – who have been trained, funded and provided a strategic space to run businesses – forge the cards, they should get prepared of being put behind bars for at least 12 years. “They said I’m so cruel. I said,’Now you all know!'”

He later emphasized Jakarta is the best opportunity for entrepreneurs. They provide one-stop service for handling the business permits. “No need to bribe. You can tell me if you’re told you must bribe,” he said. “I work for this, to have fights against all these violations. For the sake of you all.”

Ahok promised for entrepreneurs to give space to ‘show off’ products at Monas, which he assumes to be the most commercially attractive landmark of all. He is committed to help entrepreneurs who can produce something. To fund potential entrepreneurs, Ahok will push Bank DKI to provide more capitals for them.

Speaking of the traffic jam issue and city plan, Ahok likened Jakarta to Chicago in 1920’s. It was all chaotic and messy with buildings and properties erected with no certain guidance. To add to the mess, the traffic was worsening from time to time. Not to mention, the Chicago goverment was as corrupt as we all are now.

He also challenges all of Indonesian public officials to implement and ratify the United Nations advice on combatting corruption in the public government. He strongly advocates this idea to be applied in Indonesia. “But there needs to be raises in salaries at first,” he said in an understanding tone.

Thus far Ahok, apart from his being a minority, has managed to show his capability of working as a competent public official. Yes, he is blatant, overly outspoken most of the time, so outspoken he annoy and offend some. But as we all realize we really need this type of man to drag our people forward. This donkey needs to wake up and work his way up, stop complaining and start achieving. And Ahok is ready with his whip so the donkey stand up and start to run, to become a stallion, or even better, a unicorn flying to the sky.

Ahok, "The Mad Man" of Jakarta, Tells Us More about His Views on Entrepreneurship and Jakarta (1)

ahokBasuki Tjahaja Purnama – the complete name of Ahok – never tries to please everyone. Especially those haters. The relatively young, amazingly blatant and straight-to-the point leader of Jakarta seems to be undismayed even by the agressiveness of Front Pembela Islam (FPI). But he has really strong reasons to support what he does now as the man in charge of the capital.

In front of the youthful audience of Global Entrepreneurship Week Summit Indonesia yesterday (21/11), Ahok stunned us, again. He mentioned several STRONG words that any other public officials are likely to say, even when they’re most aggravated in public. Truly, he sets a new trend of how someone should work as a public official. You can’t be as lazy and sluggish as a donkey and just work as usual.

During his 40-ish minute speech, Ahok told us his insights about just everything. From his interest in entrepreneurship to the recently launched BPJS program. His extent of knowledge might amaze you all.

The current era is very much different from the industrialization era, he said. These days, a nation’s comparative strength lies on its creativity. This proves to be the issue for Indonesia.

“With the plurality of this nation, we may generate more creativity,”Ahok remarked. Indonesia is hugely remarkable in terms and if you see any other nations seem so amazing when it comes to ideas and products, you’re wrong. Indonesia can do it much better. Only if we want to do better with our potentials though.

(To be continued)

Two Things Foreign Entrepreneurs Complain Most About Indonesia

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“To build business in Indonesia is actually really good,”said he. Steven Kim of Qraved.com claims the reason is because Indonesians are familiar with English. This is considered a plus. Language barrier is minimum. It’s also network-oriented. “When I worked for Zalora Singapore, it was very tough because there were additional problems I had to solve.”

Indonesia, however, needs to fix these two things: INTERNET and TRAFFIC. The Internet speed is miserable, I should say. No service provider can solve it by consistently doing great at every place. On and off Internet connection, there’s nothing more pissing avid Internet users off than that. Even wi-fi connection doesn’t really provide satisfactory speed you’ve always wanted. But if you’re used to super fast Internet such as one in Korea just like Mr. Kim, of course it’s understood you’d whine over the speed here.

Meanwhile, the traffic issue especially holds true in Jakarta. Painfully clogged and chaotically managed. Needless to say. And it takes more years to untangle the mess because it’s the accumulation of problems spanning for decades.