Indonesian celebrated poet, Mr. Taufik Ismail, pointed out the other vital issue this nation is encountering. Ismail regretted the government’s feeble and wavering political will to strengthen Indonesian young generation literacy level. Most Indonesian students are now losing their ability to write as they are seldom exposed to reading activity. Ismail surprisingly compared our current literature way of teaching to the one that we adopted during the Dutch Collonialism era. At that time, Ismail went on, students were required to read more literary works and then to write compositions related to the works they just read.
The moderator reasoned this must be caused by Indonesian tendency to be an oral-cultured nation. The reason, however, was instantly rebutted by Ismail by stating that our literacy during Dutch colonialization was even better than now.
Ismail also lamented the government’s complete ignorance towards the development of literature publication in Indonesia. Indonesian one and only literature magazine is now trying hard to survive but the government isn’t even aware of that..
Another amazing aspiring figure invited by Metro TV to the stage was Rheynald Kassali. He was eloquently conveying his message about Indonesian inappropriately-designed education system. Kassali stated that Indonesia is a big nation with leashed creativity. He gave an example that Indonesian children have no option but being controlled by the authority (parents, babysitters, teachers, etc). Schools and teachers give boundaries to their students. Similarly, the government also employs a set of curricula that seem inconsistent unfriendly to students.
To overcome this, Kassali suggested a massive and thorough  educational reform which involves the teachers quality improvement. The unsuitable teaching methods Indonesian teachers are using are allegedly to be the culprit.
Other than that, Kassali mentioned this nation should start to learn how to compete fairly. Thus far, Indonesians have been so much acquainted with solidarity values. Solidarity is above all, that’s what they believe. What makes Indonesians fail to compete with other nations is that they tend to think  based on solidarity values, that togetherness is good, without exception. That’s why we easily find a group of students cheating during exams. They’re never told that some cases of togetherness/ solidarity are exceptionally destructive, unethical and improper.


I started learning English since my early childhood, but I couldn’t recall what actually I learned the first time I was attracted to it. As my memory can serve, my grandfather and aunts used to watch some Western TV series aired on the first and only state-owned TV station in Indonesia. It was damn fun to watch Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan was playing detective there), Little House on the Prairie ( the most inspiring American dream story to me), Full House (when the Olsen twin sisters were infants), O’Hara (a story about an Asian martial art guru named O’Hara living in the US), Bonanza (typically-cowboy story with lots of the Indians vs European first settlers conflicts), Silk Stalking , Melrose Place, Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks and a lot more. Most of the series above were broadcast late at night, because you know..some of the scenes were romantic. Kissing, seducing scenes were at times found and they were thus not very appropriate for kindegarten kids like me to watch. But who cares, I did watch. I remember one night I had to stay up late only because I wanted to see Pierce Brosnan with his dashing blonde hair. And I benefited..much, yes much by watching them. Without taking English course before, I could articulate some short phrases frequently used by the actors and actreeses, like “What’s the matter?”, and “What happened?”. The way they spoke the phrases was also unique, quite different from my native tongue, Indonesian. So I promised by heart that someday I’d be able to speak just like those American actors and actreeses did. Based on my own past experience I just told, a foreign language lesson is best given for kids at their early stage of brain development, especially brain part that takes control of their linguistic skill.
So back onto business, I encountered some people who keep asking “what should I do to be able to speak fluently in English?”. Many of us face the same problem and never manage to tackle that. Some make excuse that they simply lack vocabulary, fail to dispel shyness, pay too much attention to their sentences grammatical accuracy, and so on. However, one thing I could take conclusion from is the fear of making mistakes, the mistakes can be mispronunciation, ungrammatical sentences, or any other mistakes which can’t be enumerated here.
Recognizing the key cause may set us free from the unpleasant domino effect in the future. For instance, a huge number of English learners failing to tackle their fear of making mistakes are likely to fail not only in speaking, but other subjects, such as writing, vocabulary, etc.
So why did I tell you my childhood English learning experience ? Simply to remind us that learning a foreign language (not only English) like a child is the best way here. What I’m trying to say here is that most kids are carefree, they don’t have a concept of failure on their mind. To adults, a failure or mistake is something to avoid, something they dread for good. To fail is a sin, to fail is embarrasing and humiliating. But to kids or young learners, making mistakes or failing is not something to mind. Maintaining pride or self-esteem is definitely the least thing they think of. What they know is that they have to enjoy what they do. Whatever they play, they must enjoy that. So can we learn how to be kids again to drive away that unnecessary fear?? Only time can tell.


After the previous brief post on hangeul, now let’s discuss the consonants in a more intensive way. Consonants in Korean are divided into two groups; i.e. single and double consonants.

The first group is already shown on the previous post, but for the sake of recalling our memory, try to take a look at this.

  1. ㄱ (g, k) is called giyeuk
  2. ㄴ (n) is called nieun
  3.  ㄷ (d, t) is called digeut
  4. ㄹ (r, l) is called rieul
  5. ㅁ (m) is called mieum
  6. ㅂ (b, p) is called bieup
  7. ㅅ (s, t) is called sieut
  8. ㅇ (voiceless, ng) is called ee-yeung
  9. ㅈ (j, t) is called jieut
  10. ㅊ (ch, t) is called chieut
  11. ㅋ (k) is called kieuk
  12. ㅌ (t) is called tieut
  13. ㅍ (p) is called pieup 
  14. ㅎ (h, t) is called hieut
You might feel confused why some of these letters have two alternative pronunciations. Ok, let me explain simply by giving you some examples. These consonants must be spelled differently based on position.

1. ㄱ
initial : 강습 (gang-seup)
final   : 역 (yeok)
2. ㄷ
initial : 다음 (da-eum)
final : 잗 (jat)
3. ㄹ
initial : 라면 (ra-myon)
final : 거실(geo-si)
4. ㅂ
initial : 바람 (ba-ram)
final : 장갑 (jang-gap)
5. ㅇ
initial : 이름 (i-reum)
final : 노래방 (no-rae-bang)
6. ㅎ
initial : 한국 ( han-guk)
final : 밯 (bat)
7. ㅅ
initial : 손 (son)
final : 이것 (i-geot)
8. ㅈ
initial : 중국 (jung-guk)
final : 맞 (mat)
9. ㅊ
initial : 춥다 (chubda)
final : 몇(myeot)


I forgot to tell you, in case you all need to know how to type hangeul using your own keyboard, check this out!
Based on my personal experience, Microsoft Word 2007 and Windows Vista Ultimate enable you to set the language input as you wish. I’ve tried to find out how to do the same on my uncle’s laptop (installed with the earlier version of Microsoft Office and Windows XP) but failed.

  • First of all, click the “start” button
  • Find “control panel” and click
  • Find “regional and language options” and click
  • Click the “keyboards and languages” tab
  • Click the “change keyboards” button
  • Search and click the “add” button on “text services and input language”
  • Find “Korean” and click

Maybe you’ll find it confusing but it’s worth trying. And remember these steps won’t change the display language, they only change the input texts. So your menu or dialogs are still in English, except you’re already able to install a Korean language pack.
If you want to type on a worksheet (Microsoft Word, for instance) or email, you can activate the language bar so as to be able to type using Korean keyboard. By default, usually the language is set to English, but now you can opt for the Korean because you already choose it as one of the input alternatives. Check the “Korean” section, instead of the “English”. Afterwards, you’ll find a language bar and now check the letter “A” (Latin) into “가” (hangeul).
As my memory serves, if you manage to do the steps I give you, you can type ㅂ,ㅈ,ㄷ,ㄱ,ㅅ, ㅛ, and so on by pressing the QWERTY buttons stretched in front of you now.


After you learn the brief history and basics of hangeul (한글), now it’s your turn to practice.While doing the homework below, try not to open any books or anything to get the answer.

Instruction: Change the hangeul into Latin alphabets, and vice versa.
Example (보기)
천국의계단 = cheon-gug e gye-dan
ji-ha-cheol = 지하철
(For your information, cheongug e gyedan means “Stairway to Heaven”. I’m pretty sure if you’re one of those Korean drama freaks, you’re already familiar with this phrase. Ok now onto the business!)

1. ga-ge
2. seo-jeom
3. gyeong-chal-seo
4. san
5. gu-reum
6. hae
7. bu-okh
8. don
9. sijang
10. phyonji
11. 한식집
12. 공장
13. 극장
14. 식당
15. 대나무
17. 포장마차
18. 연필
19. 선풍기
20. 가울

You may do this homework on your own or else if you want me to correct or check, send your answers to my email address ( I promise to check and response your email.


First thing first: Korean is a language requiring us to study a new set of alphabets. The alphabets are called hangeul. King Sejong was known to be the creator of hangeul.
Hangeul was invented in 1443 or 1444 during the reign of Chosun Dynasty (1392-1910). Thanks to King Sejong and his innovative hangeul, more previously illiterate Koreans were then literate.
When first proclaimed by King Sejong, Hunminjeongum had 28 letters in all. Today, there are 24 letters remaining: 14 consonants and 10 vowels.
Chinese requires a long time to study, however, the Korean alphabet can be learned in a matter of hours or days to read and write. Because Korean alphabet is a phonetic system, it fully can recapture the spoken Korean words.

Korean Alphabet:
ㄱ (g, k) ㄴ (n) ㄷ (d, t)
ㄹ (r, l) ㅁ (m) ㅂ (b, p)
ㅅ (s) ㅇ (voiceless) ㅈ (j)
ㅊ (ch) ㅋ (k) ㅌ (t)
ㅍ (p) ㅎ (h)

ㅏ (a) ㅑ (ya) ㅓ (eo)
ㅕ (yeo) ㅗ(o) ㅛ (yo)
ㅜ (u) ㅠ (yu) ㅡ (eu)
ㅣ (i)


One of my great teachers once said rescuing other people from poverty is a form of jihad, too. And I can’t agree more. As we already witness, in most cases poverty has caused this nation lots of troubles. Poverty, to me, is the main cause of a series crime acts, terrorism, etc. Indonesia, like many other developing countries, is struggling to tackle tons of poverty-related issues. I’m not saying being richer solves all problems we have now, but at the very least this nation has reached a better level of develoment. In a nutshell, poverty may lead to a nation’s deteriorating overall state.
I also heard a Javanese proverb or motto: “wareg, waras, wasis”. I am Javanese myself and supposed to be familiar with this but I understood the wise words meaning for the first time when one of our vice presidential contenders, Wiranto, elaborated the meaning on a TV show. Wareg (literally means “stuffed/full (on stomach)”), as long as I can recall Wiranto’s explanation, means humanbeings basically have to be satisfied in terms of their basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing, etc). This is the very fundamental crave everyone absolutely needs, including saints, prophets, or anyone. Waras means humankind would be able to be physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually fit or healthy. Wasis means humans need to learn knowledge,enrich their well-being with more wisdom. Thus being a wasis man is the final stage where someone has to achieve during his or her lifetime.


This is my second post discussing the same topic: terrorism psychology in Komarudin Hidayat’s perspective. There are some worth noting points that Hidayat had proposed to tackle the thriving terrorism on the land of Indonesia. And these are some thoughts I managed to summarize:
The short term measure the police and people take now is probably cooperating with each other to give the culprits less space of movement. With less space of movement, it’s going to be easier for us to catch and detain them. This, however, isn’t quite effective as terrorism is about mindset and thought. Mindset and thought are sometimes well-concealed and blur. We cannot easily detect which people are terrorists and which are not ones. Even they perish physically, as long as the wrongly-interpreted belief is widespread, it is not really surprising to see the younger version of them in the future.
Somehow the government, along with people, should show that Indonesia is a mostly -moslem-populated country so it’s extremely ridiculous and doesn’t make sense at all for the terrorists to demolish the country where many moslems -their compatriots- live their life and earn a living. Hurting Indonesia necessarily means hurting moslems as a whole, and humanity as a whole.
It is undeniable that terrorism is the result of extreme poverty, lack of education, marginalization. As we can see, most of Indonesian suicide bombers are some poorly educated people. Nana (one of the recent suicide bombers) came from a poverty-stricken village, he quit school at 6 grade and never continued to high school. Such kind of people is like a sitting duck for our culprits.
The nation’s awareness has to be rebuilt and revised as our education system seems to ignore a lot of essential matters and at the same time pay too much attention on other trivial issues. Hidayat took an example, it’s ridiculous too see how busy this nation builds intelligence by getting their students prepared for National Examination held annually for 6th graders of elementary schools, 9th graders and 12th graders of high schools, while they’re ignoring the importance of building the children’s characters. What is worse is that no public officials or eve our presidential contenders managed to reveal their awareness, attention and seriousness pertaining to the nation’s character building. Character building is fundamental, yet tragically overlooked.
Next, Hidayat criticized the education values that our students keep absorbing. To Hidayat, a huge number of school text books particularly the faith-related ones needs major revision. Hidayat gave our neighboring Singapore’s icon, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, as a typical example of the success of education system reform. We can see now, in spite of its size (compare to Indonesia), Singapore has become a developed country and reached many astounding progresses as a young Asian nation. Indonesia gained its independence years before Singapore did, but Indonesia is left behind. So, what’s wrong with Indonesia?
Hidayat emphasized the vital role of a conductor for a choir. This is such an apt analogy for us. The nation, Hidayat added, had been ready to move on, move forward, but the problem is who can lead this nation so they have a common set of vision, concept, commitment, and action?? We’re ready, we’re strong, but can this nation find a distingushed leader who meets the requirements?


The title above means “How are you?” in Korean. Perhaps that’s the most easily found expression in Korean. And most of the time, Korean teachers teach students how to say this correctly. We’d have to say this by taking a bow as it shows our respect to someone older or strangers we meet.
This blog is about my interest in learning Korean. Started from 2005, I watched one of Korean drama masterpieces; “Full House”. And I was instantly hooked! Song Hye Kyo and Jong Ji Hoon (Rain) fascinated me and after that I was diagnosed as a Korean wave patient.
It was a divine coincidence I saw an announcement on my campus, telling the interested students to enrol a Korean course. The next thing I did was clear. Without hesitance, I dashed to the office and enthusiastically pleaded to be a participant.
The class began and a native Korean appeared. Mr. Kang Song Hoon, that was my sonsaengnim’s(선생님-teacher in Korean) name. He could hardly speak Indonesian or even English. So it was quite a struggle for us (his students) to communicate with him smoothly. He tried to teach well but failed. Don’t know why I simply couldn’t do well in class. It might be caused by my campus business at that time and he seemed to be a novice teacher. The frequency of classes was too low and learning foreign languages, as far as I’m concerned, takes regularity. The more frequent we speak the language, the better our proficiency will be. But at that time I had no source of learning, except the textbook from Seoul National University and my dear sonsaengnim’s poorly-conveyed explanation. But after all, I still miss Mr. Kang. If you really want to know how he looks like, maybe you can find the Japanese character in “Heroes” American Tv series. There you’ll find Hiro (if I’m not mistaken), he simply looks like Kang Song Hoon. Hahaha…


Indonesia is rich, yet poor. Indonesia is is smart, yet foolish. Indonesia is huge, but weak. Welcome to Indonesia, the land of contradictions.
What saddens me is the fact that there are many countries which gained their independence as long as or even later than Indonesia did, but nowadays they’ve already become so gigantic and influential in terms of economic, political, and any kinds of sectors. It seems that Indonesia is left far away behind. In this age of technology, Indonesia is like a snail trying to pursue other countries which seemingly can run like a young stallion.
Apart from that, I’m trying to be optimistic, at least for now as I’d love to see this nation reviving and regaining its glory in the past, when Gajahmada was uniting this vast archipelago.
Last night I watched some public officials, outstanding scholars, experienced leaders and reliable pundits of the country gathering to talk about the return of Indonesia. I think it’s worth knowing to see how these people of authority speak up their mind bluntly on the future forecast of this 64-year-old country.
Marie Elka Pangestu initiated the discussion by stating the varied kinds of potentials Indonesia already has but are left unmanaged. Indonesia, as Pangestu went on, possesses abundant amount of valuable natural resources. Speaking of natural resources, she addressed the importance of managing and processing continually the resources. Another potential Indonesia has is the vast and large fields stretched throughout the country, which in turn may be a guarantee for the nation’s food supply. Of human resources, there must be more and more creativity grown by devising better education methods for young generation. We need more creative people to become a better nation.
Meanwhile, besides the natural resources, Silmy Karim (HIMPI chairperson) highlighted the vital role of independence, meaning that Indonesian domestic products should be loved firstly by its local consumers. As he pointed out, there are a lot of Indonesian products imported and branded as the other countries’ products. This shows the quality of Indonesian products is not as bad as we think. Karim also explained the huge number of population can be an advantage.
Another sight was provided by M. S. Hidayat, the chief of KADIN (Kamar Dagang Indonesia-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce). By the point of view of entrepreneurs he tried to represent, he abrasively stated how dumb this nation is. By exporting raw materials, we are letting the other nations enjoy the added value that we were supposed to be taking. Hidayat said raw materials export must be banned to stop this recurring tremendous loss of profits.