Sunday, July 29, 2007

Refleksi dan Blog Tutorial


Panduan Membuat Blog bagi Pemula

UPDATE: CARA MEMBUAT BLOG DI BLOGGER / BLOGSPOT SEJAK JANUARI 2007 BERUBAH. LIHAT UPDATE DI BAWAH UNTUK DETAILNYA atau KLIK DI SINI.

Karena banyak yg bertanya tentang apa itu blog, maka agar lebih praktis saya tuliskan saja di sini info dasar blog bagi pemula. Tulisan ini berdasarkan cara pandang saya melihat teknologi blog yg sekarang lagi tumbuh pesat diminati tidak hanya kalangan awam, tapi juga mulai merambah ke kalangan intelektual dan akademisi serta selebritis Indonesia. Di luar negeri, blog sudah berkembang sejak lama. Kita saja yg memang suka ketinggalan.

1. Apa itu blog?

Blog adalah situs pribadi. Berbeda dg website yg setiap memposting harus susah payah memakai kode ekstensi .html .php, .asp, dll, blog merupakan otomatisasi dari semua ekstensi tsb. Sehingga karena sudah diotomatisasi, maka kita-kita semua yg lugu teknologi menjadi ostosmastis dapat memposting apa yg kita inginkan persis seperti kita memposting email ke teman atau ke milis.

Dan karena kemudahan inilah, maka semua orang yg tahu internet dapat membuat blog atau situs pribadi; sama halnya dg memiliki email. Tak heran apabila pemilik blog bervariasi: mulai dari pembantu rumah tangga, ibu rumah tangga, tukang jualan sayur di pasar klewer, cewek-cewek "ramah" di pasar senggol, sampai profesor dan menteri-menteri.

2. Bagaimana cara membuat blog?

Seperti halnya email, buat account dulu di free blog provider (pemberi hosting/domain blog gratis). Yg paling populer adalah http://www.blogger.com. Bagi Anda yg sudah agak melek-huruf teknologi bisa juga buat account di http://www.wordpress.com dan http://blogsome.com. Selain yg dua ini masih banyak penyedia blog gratis yg bisa Anda ketahui kemudian. Ikuti pentunjuk step-by-step ketika mendaftar.

3. Setelah selesai register/sign-up di http://blogger.com, anda dapat mulai memposting/mempublish apapun yg Anda inginkan di blog: mulai dari curhat, puisi, cerpen, tulisan serius sampai yg canda.

UPDATE: Daftar Blogger Baru

Sejak Januari 2007 proses pembuatan/ registrasi / sign-up blog di blogger.com lebih dipermudah, sbb:

1. Apabila Anda punya email di gmail.com, maka Anda bisa langsung log-in atau sign-in di blogger.com --> new blogger --> masukkan id/usernama plus password gmail Anda. Dan ikuti proses selanjutnya.

2. Apabila Anda belum punya email di gmail.com, silahkan buat (register/ sign-up) dulu di http://gmail.com --> sign-up. Setelah jadi email gmailnya, kunjungi http://blogger.com --> new blogger --> masukkan id / usernama gmail Anda plus password dan ikuti proses pembuatan blog selanjutnya.


Blogger Indonesia of the Week (73): Tasa Nugraza Barley

On Being Credible and Impartial

Credibiity is earned through stages and various ways. In real life, a credible person connotes to someone whose words are not at variance with one actions and he or she does it in a relatively consistent way. As far as blogging, or writing, is concerned, in order to be credible in the eyes of one's peers, a blogger should hold to a particular universal values and ethics and stick to them. Note that credibility should be differentiated with scientificity. And the highest universal values in the writing/blogging world is none but impartiality.

It's at this point that I regard Tasa Nugraza Barley as among those impartial, and thus credible, Indonesian blogger I've ever seen. To be impartial is to liberate oneself from any attachment of reference; be it reference of own's religion, race, nation or political and cultural affiliation. It's not easy. Since it requires not only a good will, honesty and humility. To have an impartial and good judgement one is required to have a sufficient understanding of matters one is talking about to attain a sort of analytical sharpness. That's one of his strong point.

Let's see for example one of my favorite post here on How to distinguish a good book from the bad one:

I think mainly there are two perspectives that differenciate the “Bad” Books and The Enemy At Home as the good one:

1. Dinesh D’Souza in The Enemy At Home divides muslim into two kinds: radical muslims and traditional muslims while the bad books basically bash all muslims, they see all muslims are the same. The bad books think all muslims all around the world are retarded as they are willing to follow an old-fashioned religion. The bad books say that Islam is the source of problem, it is a religion that teaches its believers to put bombs on their bodies and explode their heads up in the crowds. At the same time, Dinesh D’Souza is wiser in describing the situation that Islam is facing right now. He thinks that more than 80% of muslims are the traditional ones and they are basically against of radical muslims’ thoughts and ideas especially for such issues like jihad. The problem he says is that the radical muslims are the ones who get the most attention from the West medias since they are the ones who think jihad is about killing the infidels. In his book, Dinesh D’Souza mentions that Taliban was a joke even to Mullahs in Iran and yet The West was so amazed to see how Taliban Regime was treating women in Afghanistan which led them to think that Taliban was a representation of Islam in general.

2. The bad books can’t differentiate between Islamic values and cultural values, and I think this is so misleading. Bad books think that if muslims act something then it must be told by the Koran. One example is how Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her book exploits the practice of female circumcision in muslim countries like Somalia where she is originately from. Although it is true that there are muslims who believe that female circumcision is allowed or even supported by Islam as they have a hadith that justifies the practice but at the same time there a lot of muslim scholars who think that the hadith has a little credibility and authenticity. The authors of the bad books wrote their books mostly based on their experiences in the past which they are so emotionally attached. For example the author of Because They Hate Brigitte Gabriel wrote her book based on her childhood experience as a Christian Lebanese during the civil war where her family had to live in a terrible condition.


Or his anger on the Indonesian corrupt bureaucrats:

The only reason why this messed up country has not been able to move to a better condition over more than 60 years of its independency is because those people on high level don’t feel like doing it. It is not that hard to make Indonesia as one of the next giants in Asia with all those resources that we have, China and India are doing it. But those people with their fancy cars and big houses in Menteng or Pondok Indah don’t feel like sharing the wealth. They want to keep us stupid and retarded. I know they all like to see us fighting against each other. I hope they rot in hell.


Tasa Nugraza Barley I think, should write a lot more often on those kind of topics to enlighten us in Indonesia as well as those English speaking readers. His readers will certainly benefit from not only matters he talks about, but also from the way he look insighfully into them.

Unrelated notes:

1. I've been a bit busy these days doing tetek bengek things and that's the main reasons that prevent me from making a regular post. I hope I can make a better time-management in the days ahead.

2. Template of this blog is back to normal again. Thanks Blogger.Com. Good news for blogrollers I'm able to blogroll you again, let me know if one of you haven't been bloggrolled.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::June 28, 2007

Crime and Religion

Salman Khan & Aishwarya Rai former Miss Universe and former Salman's long time girl friendSalman Khan, one of three major Indian film stars--a long time lover of Aishwarya Rai-- beside Shakhrukh Khan and Amir Khan, was and still is a drinker, and is a non-practicing Muslim: one who never cares how to act in accordance with his religion . A few years ago, he got involved with a hit-and-run case. His appearance in the court sound as if he's one of those devout Muslims you ever see: wearing white hat and white Muslim shirt. He often states that he's just a victim of being a minority.

A few years ago my junior in India, a bachelor student of political science, asked me why many (Muslim) people who perpetrate crazy terror act such as bombing and killing innocent people claim to be religious and/or on behalf of religion in doing their crimes?

Abu Ala Maududi's Towards Understanding Islam also mentions how Jamal Abdel Nasser a purely nationalist and secular figure of Egypt of 1960s often used Islam as his jargon to motivate his people to join the freedom struggle against the colonialist British. Indonesian ulama in 1940s also made a decree that fighting against the colonialist Dutch was part of jihad.

Three stories with almost similar theme: religion, Islam in this case, is being used by some people as an excuse, a justification, or tools to attract sympathy on a cause which is not necessarily related or even contrary to the essence and spirit of the religion itself.

I told her, the bachelor student, that there are two lessona taken from this phenomenon:

First, human, how devil one is, still wants to be regarded as "good" creature.
Second, religion, therefore, is the best means to support that cause, to hide one's true beastial action.

Seeking justification for whatever wrongs we are doing are part of our daily lives. A trend that common people are practicing. Being honest, humble and thus brave in acknowledging the shortcoming and flipside of ourselves is rarity and unique.

If you're one of human with this rare unique character, you're lucky. So are your surroundings. And let me take a bow before you once in a while to give my appreciation you duly deserve.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::June 27, 2007

Drugs and Bastardization of Modernity

air terjun segerrrI had a very nice baby-face innocent-looking friend not so long time ago. I met him occasionally, but certainly he is one of those whose presence making conversation, alive and congenial. His father is a colonel in Indonesian army. After intervening period of about two years, I met him again. I was shocked. He's just a dead man alive. His impressive physical appearance just gone. I know the reason, yet I asked him for clarity or may be just for the sake of asking.

He confirmed my query of his addiction to drug. One year later after the last meeting, he died unnatural death. Victim of another version of modernity, the bastardized one.

Fareed Zakaria, Chief Editor Newsweek International, writes in his The Future of Freedom that many people in the developing countries tend to imitate the west the wrong way. For the rich and well-to-do family, modernization means McDonald's hamburger, Rolex watches, fast cars and wearing the latest Paris fashion available. For the rich young guy, following the popular trend is everything even if it means drugs and dead.

Importing Western goods or its pop culture is easy; importing the inner stuffing of modern society--hard work, sense of responsibility, integrity, knowledgeable, among others-- is difficult. I see my dead friend smiles noddingly from his premature grave.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::May 25, 2007

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (72): Supriyadi Slamet Widodo

supriyadi swSo far as blogging software platform goes, particularly for self-hosted blog/website, wordpress undoubtedly stands out among the rest. Matt Mullenweg, the young humble whizzkid wordpress founder (he created the software at the age of 19, four years ago.), must be very happy with this. He deserves to be.

One and most important reason for wordpress outstanding popularity is its opennes to plugins from anyone. Thus, coders aournd the world compete to create their most creative and innovative plugins and hence a bunch of very useful plugins flooded the wordpress world for everyone to use.

Among those outstanding wordpress plugins developers are an Indonesian named Supriyadi Slamet Widodo. "I was born in Klaten City and now I live in Jakarta, Indonesia. I work at Nokia Siemens Network since April 1, 2007 as OAM IN Engineer for Telkomsel Project," says he in his self-introductory remarks.

He tells us further about what kind of plugins he has already created:
I have contributed to community with my several projects, eg. Gaim NuoveXT Icon Theme, AdSense Beautifier, Krakal Wordpress Theme, AdSense Click Tracker Plugin for WordPress, Hot Dates Plugin for WordPress, Statcounter Plugin for WordPress Admin, Statcounter Module for Drupal, Gaim Guifications OSX Theme, and many more.


One of his wordpress plugins, AdSense Beautifier, seems to be the most popular. Pchere of Quick Online Tips, places his Adsense Beautifier plugins at the top ten Adsense plugins.

Despite some controversies regarding the newly-updated AdSense new regulation in which images are no longer allowed to appear side by side with AdSense ads, the fact remains that his wordpress plugins has attracted so much attention worldwide. The lesson learnt for other Indonesian coders: (1) Try to contribute to ever-growing wordpress plugins; and (2) no less important, blog it in English.

I, indeed we, should be proud of him. Internet world has made everyone a chance to contribute to the world and make one known in his/her own way. Of course on one condition: if you write what you want the world to know in English. Supriyadi does just that.


PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::May 12, 2007

Muslim and Poverty

Taman Bunga TulipWhy Chinese Indonesians are generally richer than non-Chinese? Andreas Harsono, a journalist, himself a Chinese, has the answer as reported by Jawa Pos newspaper yesterday (May 11), "Because Chinese are minority.

And minority everywhere tends to work harder than the majority." He further elaborates that Javanese are hard-working community outside Java island where they're in minority. The same is true to other ethnics like Bataknese in Jakarta, Madurese in Kalimantan, Padangese in Java, etc.

Granted. I agree to some extent. But as we know, a person is not only affiliated to particular ethnic. He or she also belong to a particular religion be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or even atheism. The question is how far is it that a religion of reference could influence his or her mindset towards life other than being minority-majority thing?

Have a look at India, on poor and rich issue, most observers see thing generally on religous based because they cannot analyse or hard to analyse it through ethnicity perspective. So, when Indian media or columnist say thing like "minority community" they mean Muslim. If we follow this logic, the paradox comes up: Indian Muslim is the only minority who are poor. Very poor compared to the majority which are Hindus. And Hindus majority generally outperforms the Muslim minority in every fields (see Rafiq Zakaria's Indian Muslim Where Have They Gone Wrong?)

If you agree with this minority-on-religious-based logic, the question is what's wrong with Indian Muslim? And with the same token, the question can be raised to Indonesian Muslim as well: what's have gone worng with them? Why they cannot outperform the minority? Why Indonesian Muslim are generally not wealthy and outperformed by minority community--Indian term--in almost every fields?

Is this something to do with religion we follow, with ethnicity we belong, with certain mindset within the so-called pribumi that we attach to?

You tell me.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::April 20, 2007

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (71): Oman Fathurahman

Oman Fathurahman UINOman Fathurahman has many dimensions as far as I am concerned. On blogging, he's my "student", on humility he's obviously my teacher and as a person with pesantren background, he should be an inspiration for all santris (those who study and or graduated from pesantren) for his academic quest.

Make no mistake, we've never met nor have we ever exchanged emails. A couple of times he just left messages in the guestbook of this blog asking some technical matters regarding blogging nitty-gritty. There are times when a strong personality (good or bad) does not need to make any strong statement to make his or her true character visible. Oman is among those persons whose humble and simple personality is so clear to me to the extent that I want to meet in person someday just to say, "Hi!"

Of course, his qualification as "Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Department of Oriental Studies (Malaiologi), University of Cologne, Germany" who are proud to be brought up in a pesantren has added up the already long list of santri-turn-researcher longer. And the fact that he's now blogging in English make his blog content highly eligible and credible to be heard beyond Indonesia.

Speaking of pesantren graduates, I remember that in 1970s and 1980s the santris became a joke among Muslim intellectuals. At that time, the santris who held a PhD degree is a rarity. That's why when Aswab Mahasin, a prominent intellectual got his PhD in 1970s he became the first and only PhD holder. Now, person like Oman Fathurahman become a common phenomenon some of them even teach in Harvard University.

Pesantren and santri represent the rural society--the majority of our population. It, therefore, symbolizes the backwardness or forwardness of our people. The higher their education the better not only for themselves, the majority, but also for the nation as a whole. And for that, one who comes from the same background with him should take inspiration from him not only for his unquenched thirst to pursue further study but also to maintain the humble attitude when you are at the top of the tower, a quality which becomes a long tradition among santri.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::April 10, 2007

The Power of Giving

burj al-arab dubaiInternet world has made a stark and unumbiguous example and lesson on the power of generosity. Of course technological innovation becomes a part of the parcel. The more you give, the more you win the heart and mind of many people. Have a look at the phenomenal fame and growth of the just-acquired-by-google video networking youtube.com.

Following the line of Google's everything-online-is-free jargon, youtube . com just gives away everything to the end-user that is you and me. Blogger.com (blogspot) which gives its users almost full control of its content, feedburner . com which is so innovative and beginner friendly and the easy-to-use and innovativeness of mybloglog.com are among other free online services that stand out among the rest; both for their innovation and generosity. It's in line with the old adage that "the more you give (material or non-material thing), the more you get (heart, mind and respect)." And in business term, more profit.

It's with the same reason why Chinese Indonesian are generally more successful in their business than the so-called pribumi (literally, the sons of the soil. Term being used by Suharto's regime to divide people on ethnic base).

If you want to buy something, say a laptop, you'd check out some laptop shops to compare prices and look at the most "negotiable" ones. Almost certain, you'd end up in a shop owned by ethnic Chinese not only will you get the better price, you'd also get a relatively more professional treatment. While the pribumi wants a bigger short term profit, ethnic Chinese tends to take a long term plan--to win heart, mind and loyalty of consumers--as more significant. And that will lead to a long term consequences as well, for the worse and for the better respectively.

In day-to-day life, one who is more generous and "giving", materially or emotially will get more respect and fondness from others. Despite his intellectual shortcoming, President George W. Bush is known for his emotional generosity. No less than Hillary Clinton who testified in a media recently that he's very charming and loveable. A charming, loveable and charismatic personality is usually closely related to a person who's generous. Generosity also means the readiness to budge, to appreciate, not to be critical to others on personal matters and being self-critical instead. Sometimes this kind of generosity is playing more important role in building up our credibility as a person as well as a leader.

Related articles:


- Bush, Tony Blair, dan SBY
- Better Give than Receive
- Sensitif Internal Insensitif Eksternal
- Etika Prioritas
- Sedekah Ego
- Berpura-pura Baik
- Belajar ber-Demokrasi

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::April 01, 2007

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (70): Kafe Depok

In 1970s, some young activists were regularly holding discussion on various topics, including on nationhood and Islam. Everytime they finish a discussion, one of them wrote his own impression on the debated stuff in his diary. When he died in a hit-and-run accident in 1971, his friends in the forum circle published his diary into a book called Pergolakan Pemikiran Islam. His name's Ahmad Wahib considered by many as one of early Indonesian Muslim reformer.

The other two are Nucholis Madjid and Dawam Rahardjo. The former is the icon of Indonesian Muslim intellectual, while the latter is a prominent intellectual who contributes a lot to the journey of Indonesia as well as Islamic discourse with his influential journal, Ulumul Quran which is now unfortunately no longer published. Ulumul Quran has helped in a great deal in shaping up the mind and skill of many potential young intellectuals.

What I'd like to say here is that some activities in our young ages that we might consider as peripheral sometimes turns out to be playing more important role than things we used to think as more significant.

Now, that culture of discussion circle still going on among spirited academician from some respected universities. With the internet help, in the form of blog, that "local activities" becomes globalised.

It starts from the same curiosity that Kafe Depok's blog came into existence a year ago. According to one of its contributor, Berly
"Kafe Depok is short for kantin FEUI (faculty of economy universitas Indonesia--ed.) Depok where we all shared cherish time of heated discussion on Indonesian economy and social justice as idealistic undergrad."

Berly also explains the reason behind the blog creation

"Now that we are separated in geography but (hopefully) more mature and more knowledgeable, we seek to transfer the discussion on line and share it with wider audience. Furthermore, we are eager to unearth from the European way, the kinder, gentler capitalism that care more for social justice and environment, for a better Indonesia."


I am glad and congratulate them, the Kafe Depok crews, that the "discussion culture" is still rolling despite the geographical barrier among them. Since, this blessing-in-disguise thing will not only unite them, more importantly it'd benefit others: for Indonesians who are interested with economic matters and to know the voice of young-intellectual conscience; and for non-Indonesians who want to know about Indonesia from its younger-generation perspective. A generation that will shape the Indonesian future.

For me as a blogger, I feel even happier to see that Kafe Depok understands very well the "art" of blogging. The art of interactivity and show of humility. Academicians used to be dubbed as the "ivory tower" who used to expect accolade and standing ovation from the bottom without any need to reach out to them. In the blogging world, there's no such "one side love." One have to love another literally in order to be loved. The top-bottom and bottom-top interactivity are the kind of a new culture the blogosphere has contributed in a big way that makes me become one of its most rigorous supporter.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::March 24, 2007

Bachelor Degree for President and the DPR’s Laptop

In political arena every move becomes political, or considered to be political if it’s not in line with certain interest of particular segment of political elites. That’s exactly what’s happening currently in Indonesian politicosphere and is being contentiously debated in the blogosphere.

A contentious debate over the current plan of DPR (Indonesia’s MP) to amend the constitution to make a Bachelor degree a prerequisite for a presidential candidate to be eligible for nomination by any political party has sparked a furore. And that’s understandable considering the fact that one of the would-be presidential candidate from PDI-P party, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, has never finished her bachelor degree.

Terkini believes this move as a means to stop Megawati from the next 2009 general election candidacy. M. Alfian Alfian in his long analysis concludes that a Bachelor degree should not be a requirement for a presidential candidate as it will only create another corrupt practices of another kind: the long line of politicians who want to seek the Degree and some “malicious” universities who are more than willing to accomodate the “market demand” through “special channel and special price.” Qui est votre agrees..

One who agrees with the plan argues that if Bachelor degree becomes a precondition to be a head of district, it’s natural that the same rule should be applied to a presidential candidate as well.

Laptop and Indonesian MPs (DPR)

Despite less significant, the issue of DPR (Indonesia’s MP)’s plan to buy a laptop for each of DPR’s member assumes a bigger interests among Indonesian blogosphere. No less than 160-odd postings has been dedicated talking about this issue.

The public debates on this issue focus mainly on the necessity and the price. On price, for example, Government will allocate IDR 21 million (around $2,100) per laptop for 550 DPR member. Almost all bloggers disagree with the laptop-for-DPR and question the wisdom behind this unnecessary move. Just Ngeblog wonders why does the government spend people’s money so easily for such a waste? Rahning, Pande Baik, Rihart and many others think likewise.

Update

According to the latest news, the DPR has canceled the tender for the laptop purchase putting an end to the public outcry against what the DPR speaker, Agung Laksono, has said previously that the plan would go on on the ground that it's a part of APBN budget.

Originally posted for Global Voices Online

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::March 22, 2007

President, Hacker and the Internet

Making the Demand Noticed the Internet Way

In the real world people with little access to power or media will make violent act, literally or metaphorically*, as a way to get noticed. In the virtual world called internet, one of such "violent" can be in the form of hacking a website owned by a prominent or influencial people. And so far as Indonesia goes, is there any more influential personality than its President (website)?

Keeping that in mind, on March 17, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY)'s website was hacked. Although its webmaster could make quick recovery, the hacker still got his messages heard and was recorded well by some Indonesian bloggers.

Three demands in Bahasa Indonesia were posted. I translate it for the benefit of international readers:

To
President of Republic of Indonesia
in Merdeka Palace

With due respect, we the undersigned
Name: On behalf of underground community
Address: the world where the devils gather
Nick: Qwerty

We on behalf of Indonesia underground community would like to propose several demands:

One, reduce the price of bandwith to make internet accessible to every Indonesian, do not you, Mr President, feel ashamed of China and India? They can manage the bandwith price very well despite being the most populous countries.


Two, support and implement IGOS (Indonesia Go Open Source), think about the future of this nation, upgrade the educational quality. Our future depend on them--the poors.

Three, Eradicate KKN (corruption, collusion and nepotism), pornography from our country.
We believe that you, Mr President, have witnessed with your own eyes, several calamities took place in the form of natural disasters, plane crash, sinking ship, etc. God has warned us and we should be aware of these, lest we are waiting for a bigger if not biggest disaster ahead.

Requesting that these demands are being met and implemented. Because we sure that a good leader would listen to the voice of his people.

Thanking you.

Yours truly,
Qwerty Picture: the posted demand in the president website. Recorded by CosaAranda.

***

Although I am not subsribed to his way in making his voice heard, the points that the hacker made are certainly valid. Especially the first two.

The first time I'm introduced to internet technology was in year 2001 when I was already in India and never went home since then. Now, one month after I've been in Indonesia I can feel and understand the outcry. Internet is still a luxury to many. Dial-up connection is still prevalent. For a while I am using telkomnet instan, the product of PT TELKOM, with speed ranging from 20 to 40 kbps, while telkom speedy is till not available in my area. I am still learling to have CDMA connection, am trying many times to no avail. Cable connection is not available. In India, I used to connect through cable connection with the speed ranging from 250 to 500 kbps with unlimited access. You only have to pay around Indonesian RupiahS between (IDR) 100,000/month for 250 kbps and 200,000/month for 500 kbps.

On November 2005, Presiden SBY made a state visit to India. During his meet-up with us, he said that one of his visit's purpose was to learn about IT from Indian IT phenomenal growth and their experts. One may wonder, what he learned from them if he cannot even manage to reduce the bandwith price--the very basic of making internet people-friendly-- three years after his visit?

----
Footnote:
*In the West, it almost becomes a habit to hold naked protest that is the protesters, men and women, literally without any strings of needles attached to their body. This is one of "violent act" of another kind, in my opinion.

Related topics from other blogs:
Vavai, Rendy Maulana, Enda Nasution, MasPrim, Andri.


PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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:: Indonesia Blog ::March 18, 2007

Nurcholis Madjid

Nucholis Madjid (pron. Noorkholees Majeed), popularly known as Cak Nur* (pron. Chaa Noor), is a celebrated figure so far as Indonesian Muslim intellectual goes. He is among a few Indonesian intellectuals who were requested to come to Istana Merdeka (Indonesia's presidential palace) by then President Suharto in early 1998 to discuss, among other topics, whether he should step down or not.

According to his own statement during his visit to India months later, he's among the person who were giving the tough response: not only should Suharto step down. He had to step down. And indeed, in June 1998 Indonesia and the world witnessed Suharto announcing his resignation from Indonesia's highest office, ending his 32-year sweet and bitter authoritarian rule thus opening a new era called Reformasi (reform). The nation and the world celebrated. CNN and BBC broadcast the momentous and historic events an uninterrupted 24-hour coverage. The first ever that Indonesia got such a huge coverage on positive notes. Cak Nur's words at that moment of Suharto's fall "History counted by every second" was so popular quoted not only by national media, but by international print media as well.

During his talk in New Delhi at the time, he's talking tough and very frankly about everything particularly on government matters, something uncharacteristic of him who were known for his soft-spoken style. At the time he's talking to us, we started to be aware that something had changed. With his unusual tough and undiplomatic words before Indonesian diplomats who attended the meeting along with us--Indonesian students--as though he wanted to convey a strong message that a change, an important one, had just happened. And it's time for us to shift our coward-wrapped-by-softness attitude towards frankly-speaking kind of talk in criticising the government or any corrupt practices done by them.

I recall Soetjipto Wirosardjono (pron. Soocheepto Weerosarjono), one of my favorite Tempo magazine columnist in 1980s, once said that in criticising the government he had to make his words as diplomatic as possible so as to not offend any particular official in which case might lead him to jail on the ground of treason or subversion which could "threaten the national interest, a raison d'etre that is commonly used by any authoritarian government anywhere. Indonesian students abroad used to get "advice" from our diplomats whenever we'd have a meeting with high-level officials who visit a country where we study about things we should and should not ask during question-and-answer session with them. It's in this respect, it seemed, why Nurcholis Madjid talked in front of government official in most unorthodox way.

His thought on Islam and State

During 1970s, Cak Nur made a controversial statement that sparked nation-wide response, pros and cons on the need of separation between Islam and politic. His "Islam Yes! Politics No!" jargon drives a long debate among moderates who support his idea and conservatives who advocate the establishment of Islamic state. During 1980s, he yet again sparked a controversy. His statement in a seminar about "secularism and secularisation" and his other ideas on theological matters upset many conservatives Muslims among whom even regard him as an "apostate."

One should remember, however, that apart from his many controversial idea on Islam and state and his firm belief that Islam should occupy Muslim private domain only, he's a pious Muslim who prays five-time a day and avoids what Islam forbids. In his book Agama dan Peradaban (Religion and Civilization) he said that one who believes in God, Islam in this case, should observe whatever God or Islam commands as natural consequences to that belief. In other words, Cak Nur seems to remind the agnostic belief of the fact that believing in God without any need to observe what God commands is self-contradictory.


Father of the Nation


He is a man of principle. He believes strongly what he said. When he says something he says with his heart.** This kind of attitude earns him respect from friends and foes alike. His eagerness to see Indonesians united on common ground of Indonesianness, rather than tearing apart by communal fanaticism, attracts many followers of various background.

After the fall of Suharto's Orde Lama (new order) regime in late 1980s, he's the only prominent intellectual who resisted the temptation of power and continue voicing his idea of united Indonesia and of tolerant life-style among different faiths He came from Jombang, Jawa Timur (East Java), the most populuous province in the country.

Despite disagreement with some of his ideas, especially on religious matters, one may not and should not ignore his contribution on two most important thing: his relentless efforts in uniting various perception on nationhood and in advocating the need of tolerance among various faiths, ethnicities and regions to see the nation grows strong in facing the challenges ahead.

Second, his pioneering and inspiring role in making discourse on Islam and Indonesia among intellectual and academician alive and kicking, one important requirement to foresee the grimness or brightness of a nation. A nation who feels satisfied with status quo and stuck with it is a nation of backward people. History tells us that nation with such attitude is awaiting other nation/s to "colonise" us. A kind of nation that drives a colonialist ideolog like Rudyard Kipling justifies British colonialism on the ground that it's the "duty" or the "burden" of more advanced nation (read, white people) to "help" the backward ones. Nurcholis Madjid just help us to be aware of this situation. It's not exaggerated, therefore, that media dubbed him as the father of the nation for his commitment, dedication and contribution to the nation and at the same time his abstinence from politics at the time when opportunity wide-open.

A big nation would always remember and appreciate any contribution of its best sons and daughters, to learn what is right from them and to forgive but not to repeat any mistake done by them. Afterall, they are humans who are trying their best for the country.

Footnotes:

*'Cak' literally means elder brother. Used generally in certain area in East Java. It's used by many East Javanese people to call those who they respect and hold dear and is so close to their heart. For Cak Nur, however, the term Cak is used nation-wide indicating how popular he is even now, years after his death.

**Not every intellectuals speaks for what they believe in; some speak for their stomach. Proposing a new idea by "order" from particular sponsors. Hence the inconsistencies and disgrace to some.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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Blog: short of weblog is a web page containing structured data that is updated on a regular basis. RSS feed: a regularly updated XML document that contains metadata about a web source and the content in it. Courtesy: blogs.MIT.edu

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:: Indonesia Blog ::March 14, 2007

Blogger Indonesia of the Week (69): Deden Rukmana

An Indonesian Young Professor of Urban Studies in the US

In 1993 Dr. Sri Bintang Pamungkas, in a one-day seminar I attended, expressed his happiness over the shift of policy on Indonesian higher education system that will enable a young talented scholars getting their professorship in a relatively young age.

Before that change of policy, even a highly qualified academician will never get the title Professor until and unless they're very old, around 55 to 60 years old, that's when their hair are gone. A balding professor, therefore, became a common phenomenon. That's why we jokingly used to call "professor" those with balding hair.

That's over. Now you can see many professors are young, smart, energetic and handsome. Among the first lucky academicians who got their professorship in their late 30s or early 40s are Juwono Sudarsono of Universitas Indonesia, currently Minister of Defense and Nazaruddin Syamsuddin, former head of Election Commission (KPU).

In other parts of the world such as USA, a young professor is not a big deal. We see many young professor whose hair are still firmly in place. Some of Indonesian young scholars are also getting their professorship in some American universities like Merlyna Liem and Ahmad Syamil, among others, including Deden Rukmana, whose blog is focusing on Indonesian urban studies, a field of study that he teachs at Savannah State University, USA.

Anyone who are interested in urban studies nitty-gritty, his blog is the right place to visit.

And for Indonesian bloggers community, it's time yet again to celebrate. Another scholar-blogger means another quality content. If the future of blogging is in the quality content, as Budi Putra puts it, then their presence--every one of them--needs to be supported by any Blogger Indonesia.

PS: Comments are welcome in any of the following languages: English, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Jawa & Madura.
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Blog: short of weblog is a web page containing structured data that is updated on a regular basis. RSS feed: a regularly updated XML document that contains metadata about a web source and the content in it. Courtesy: blogs.MIT.edu

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:: Indonesia Blog ::March 12, 2007

On Being Financially and Mentally Independent

So, my friend Budi Putra has decided to be a full time blogger which means he makes his blogging activities as the only way to make a living. It also means he quits his good position as an online managing editor at Tempo magazine and Koran Tempo (Tempo newspaper)। Many Indonesian bloggers stunned. Non-blogger Indonesian are shocked and wondered even more as to why and how come. I am not.


Mario Gagho