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Another controversial one. What do you think?

Garuda PancasilaLater this afternoon, I got my eyes caught on an article entitled “Most Islamic studies teachers oppose pluralism, survey finds” published at The Jakarta Post on November 26. The post basically presents some statistical data, based on a survey conducted in public and private schools in Java by Center for Islamic and Society Studies (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta.

These are some stats mentioned in the article:

  • 73.1 percent of the teachers don’t want followers of other religions to build their houses of worship in their neighborhoods.
  • 62.4 percent of the surveyed Islamic teachers, including those from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah — the country’s two largest Muslim organizations — reject the notion of having non-Muslim leaders.
  • 85.6 percent of the teachers prohibit their students from celebrating big events perceived as Western traditions, while 87 percent tell their students not to learn about other religions.
  • 58.9 percent of the respondents back rajam (stoning) as a punishment for all kinds of criminal and 47.5 percent said the punishment for theft should be having one hand cut off, while 21.3 percent want the death sentence for those who convert from Islam.
  • Only 3 percent of the teachers said they felt it was their duty to produce tolerant students.

And with no surprise, the article is now standing in the list of popular news at that online news portal. There have been some doubts questioning the competency of the questionnaire and saying that this is indeed a natural behavior of the majority in most countries. On the other side, many believe that this stats reinforce the idea that conservatism and radicalism not only develop on the streets like what has been campaigned by the FPI (the Islam Defenders Front), but rather deep within the education (system).

I personally find it difficult to even have an opinion on this issue, but at least, on the presidential-candidate issue, I reckon I need to second a great opinion made by Delvi Wahyuni:

Folk, we need not a Muslim president (nor Christians - added by me). What we need is a leader who can help us with our problems, a president who can feed us at least three times a day, a president who enable us to send our kids to school, a president who eases us from worrying about the pricey health care system, a president who learned that freedom of expression is not a sin, a president who is aware about global warming, a president who is not sexist, a president who, in short, can lead us to the better not rule us to tatter.

If we have such a person, I will vote for him/her/it, no matter if that individual is a drag queen, a homosexual, a lesbian, a ‘heathen’, a punk, a dangdut singer, a crippled, an albino, an atheist,… You earn my vote though.

And bottom line, I only see the irony. Why should we be acting like this? We are all so proud of our culture and traditional remnants, as a unity: Indonesia; but why when it comes to religions, it always turns out this ugly?

Illustration was taken from here, it is Garuda Pancasila, the coat of arms of The Republic of Indonesia, on which written the motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”, meaning: unity in diversity.

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Terlahir dengan Modal untuk Bangga

Tiga hari menuju perayaan kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia yang ke-63. Bagaimana perasaan Anda? Anda bangga? Ataukah biasa saja? Atau malah malu melihat perayaan kemerdekaan kita diwarnai oleh berbagai kasus korupsi di pemerintahan yang mencuat ke permukaan? Tidak tanggung-tanggung, dari Sabang sampai Merauke, sudah ketahuan berbagai kasus korupsi di berbagai perangkat pemerintahan. Dengan keadaan menyedihkan seperti itu, habiskah alasan kita untuk berbangga akan negara kita?

Saya tertarik untuk berkomentar tentang hasil sebuah survei yang dilakukan oleh Bambang Setiawan/Litbang Kompas yang terdapat dalam Harian Umum Kompas tanggal 10 Agustus. Survei tersebut ditampilkan pada halaman 15 di bagian pojok kanan bawah, untuk lebih tepatnya. Hasil survei tersebut cukup untuk membuat kita semua berpikir.

“Jika dibandingkan dengan negara-negara lain, apa keburukan Indonesia yang paling membuat Anda merasa malu?”

48% menjawab korupsi dan 10% menjawab kemiskinan serta masalah sosial. Beberapa jawaban lainnya adalah buruknya perekonomian (8,1%), integritas moral seperti malas dan tidak disiplin (6,5%), perilaku elite yang buruk (5,4%), masalah keamanan (4,6%), penegakan hukum yang lemah (3,6%), lain-lain (9,6%), tidak ada (2,5%), dan tidak tahu (1,7%).

“Jika dibandingkan dengan negara-negara lain, apa keunggulan Indonesia yang paling Anda banggakan?”

29,3% menjawab keragaman etnis, budaya, dan seni sedangkan 27,3% lainnya menjawab kekayaan alam (SDA). Beberapa jawaban lainnya ialah keramahtamahan (3,9%), pariwisata (3,5%), lain-lain (22,4%), tidak ada (7,6%), dan tidak tahu (6,0%).

Berbekal hasil survei tersebut, apakah salah apabila saya menganggap bahwa kita semua terlahir dengan modal yang cukup besar untuk berbangga akan negara kita ini? Bayangkan saja: keragaman etnis, budaya, dan seni. Kita menyadari keberadaan hal tersebut di sekitar kita dan kita pun berbangga karena keberadaannya. Tak perlu berkeringat, tak perlu berpeluh darah, kebanggaan itu telah ada sejak nenek moyang kita. Terlepas dari kita mau berbangga atau tidak, poin kebanggaan itu akan tetap melekat di diri kita sekalipun kita berleha-leha dan bermalas-malasan di kasur setiap hari. Terang saja: keragaman etnis, budaya, dan seni. Ribuan pulau, ratusan suku, dua ratus dua puluh juta penduduk, enam agama, dan lain sebagainya. Katakan saja: sudah bawaan lahir.

Kemudian terlintas beberapa pertanyaan dalam pikiran saya:

“Mengapa kita harus mencoreng kebanggaan turun-temurun yang tak perlu susah-susah kita raih dengan tindakan-tindakan tercela kita?”

Bukankah seharusnya kita memupuk dan memelihara kebanggaan yang sudah kita miliki kemudian terus berusaha menjadi negara yang lebih baik lagi sehingga kita bisa semakin berbangga atas negara kita? Mengapa kita memilih untuk mencoreng kebanggaan yang sudah kita punya – gratis pula – dan malah menutupinya dengan tindakan tercela kita? Korupsi, misalnya.

Apakah manusia Indonesia memiliki sifat koruptor dan diturunkan secara genetik? Apakah manusia Indonesia memang terlahir untuk memiliki tingkat integritas moral yang rendah?

Saya yakin kita semua tahu apa jawaban yang benar. Saya juga yakin kita semua tahu apa yang harus kita lakukan.

Percayalah, tak akan pernah habis alasan bagi kita untuk berbangga akan negeri kita ini. Modal kebanggaan itu sudah melekat dalam diri kita masing-masing; sekali lagi, sudah bawaan lahir. Sekarang tinggal bagaimana kita menyikapi kebanggan tersebut dan memutuskan apakah kita rela mencoreng-coreng kebanggaan itu dengan segala tindakan tercela kita. Semoga di masa depan kita tak akan pernah (lagi) berbangga karena keanekaragaman kita sambil pada saat yang sama menutup muka kita karena malu akan kebobrokan kita sendiri. Jangan sampai Soekarno-Hatta dan semua pahlawan-pahlawan kita ikut menutup muka mereka (lagi), entah di manapun mereka berada.

Dirgahayu Indonesiaku.

Ilustrasi diambil dari sini.

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How do you define a good Indonesian?

When I was on my way to Dumai, a small city located 200 km from Pekanbaru in Riau Province, to do a compulsory internship in Pertamina UP II, I saw something really interesting. It was when I was waiting for my shuttle to get me from Pekanbaru to Dumai, which unfortunately wasted my 3 hours extremely valuable sleep time. Imagine this, a sleek poster, big, well-designed, pastel colors, with a title: “10 Ways to be A Good Indonesian”, in English.

It got me occupied for at least 3 minutes to pay attention to the design and 10 minutes to read its thoughtful message. Here are 3 of them, ones that I consider quite critical in delivering messages for us to be a truly good Indonesian people.

Speed your car down when the traffic light is yellow and stop when it’s red.

First time I read it, I was confused. Does that have anything to do with being a good Indonesian? But the second time, I understand what it means. Yellow light is a sign of caution, warning, and watchfulness. It is a way of telling the drivers to slow down their cars and then stop because the red light is about to come. The red light for us leads to a green light for other drivers from the other side of the road. But I bet you all now what actually we all do in the streets. We take chances. We don’t want to get our time wasted for another 2-3 minutes. We simply speed up our car when the traffic is yellow and see whether we can or cannot make it. But can you imagine what will happen when the traffic is terribly bad and somehow we can not make it? We will be astonishingly stuck in the middle of the crossroad and win the traffic-maker of the day award.

Always put a bit of elegance when stating your opinion.

This is very interesting considering there are so many people rioting about the fuel price rise on the street lately. They burnt red-plated government cars, blocked some main streets in the city, and marched along the way rejecting the government decision to increase the fuel price. Well, it is the right of the people to express their opinion. But why don’t we put a bit of elegance in it? Have you ever heard of a group of college students who made an in-depth analysis of the fuel price rise effects? They handed it to the government, they have the press coverage, and they succeeded in doing their role as the nation’s agent of change in a very good manner. So, which one are you?

Cherish you life. Share your love. Be positive.

We have to admit that Indonesia is not at its best. Yes, we are facing so many problems. Government corruption issues are coming to the surface, we are having a shortage of food supplies and energy, and we are left-behind compared to other fellow ASEAN countries. But still, can’t we just cherish our life a bit? Why can’t we believe that the new dawn is coming and we’ve been very close to that moment? I believe that happiness is a state of mind and it’s something we can get if we believe in it. Will we lose something if we choose to smile everyday and share our love to people around us and stop rumbling about how pathetic our country is? Things are not that ugly, guys. Be positive and put a bit of faith in your heart.

Let’s give a huge credit to whoever made that unique poster. Goodbye Dumai, Pekanbaru, and Riau. It was a really great time. Thank you for the very enlightening message. Be a good Indonesian, everyone.

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Fuel Price Rise and Indonesia to quit OPEC

Still feeling the the hype of national fuel price awakening? Well, just got a shocking news from Majari Magazine Oil and Gas Info RSS aggregator:

Quoted from AME Info, the ultimate Middle East business resource:

“Indonesia, the only OPEC member in South East Asia will leave the organisation today. The announcement comes as the country’s annual output stands at 49% of its peak and industrial disputes have slowed new developments. The country now imports close to 30% of its domestic oil needs.”

You may read the article here (if you don’t believe me) and you should also read the BBC UK’s version.

Read More →

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Are you celebrating the day?

Do you remember that our beloved Indonesia STILL have a national day called ‘Hari Kebangkitan Nasional’? It is a commemoration of the establishment of Budi Utomo in May 20, and regarded as the starting point of national movement in Indonesia. I hope you still got something from history class in your mind. It has been 100 years since that memorable day. And, do any of you remember the tag line “celebrating 100 years of national awakening“? Are you celebrating the day?

I still remember that every year my school always have their own way to celebrate the day; something like ‘pesta rakyat’ where all of the students having fun doing some games like ‘balap karung’, the tug of war (tarik tambang), and even things like essay contests with a topic: “Do you love Indonesia?” or “What is the meaning about national awakening to you?” The essays were, of course, fulfilled with heroic words and prides. Indonesia was just perfect in my mind. I didn’t even know what the term ‘corruption’ mean back then. I really enjoyed the fun that time.

But now, I guess we are now mature enough to see what is happening in Indonesia. Is the national awakening really there? I wonder if it would be easy to celebrate the day with the national pride inside our heart. I’m not saying this because we’ve just lost the Thomas and Uber Cup (is the word ‘lost’ the right expression? I forget when those cups are still in our hand actually). And this is not about the ten years vigil of the forgotten massacre May tragedy. And also not about the riots that are complaining about the fuel and food price rise. And I don’t even talk about the massive church destructions that happened in Situbondo and all other places in Indonesia several years ago. How about Chinese discrimination issues?? Nope.

It’s just.. hmm.. I’m starting to lose all of the momentous reasons to commemorate the day. What were I thinking when I was writing the essay back then?? Now everything is just.. different.

Well, I am Indonesian. I guess that would be one simple-yet-crucial reason to celebrate the 100 years of national awakening. Happy national awakening day, everyone.

PS: I don’t know why I am so pessimistic this time. Weird. This is not me.

Well, I am sorry for such a pessimistic opinion I’ve written above. It is indeed very skeptical. Here’s what I got:

We are now mature enough to see what is actually happening in Indonesia. It is in fact still far away from the ideal condition of national awakening. To be honest, are you starting to lose your faith? But please, try to look deeper to everything that this country is currently facing. Yes, we lost that Thomas and Uber Cup, but do we realize how bold those athletes tried their best to keep their dignity by fighting in bravery to the very end? Doesn’t it mean anything to you? Yes, we are all in the grief and sorrow remembering all those victims in May tragedy, but don’t we see how they succeed to change the fundamental mistakes in Indonesian governance then bring it to a so-called reformation? Doesn’t it mean anything to you? Yes, they are riots on the street complaining about the price rise and the poor citizens are in stake of becoming poorer and poorer. But don’t you see that most of the rioter are college students who were trying to show their empathy to the poor ones considering that they are the nation’s agent of change? We still have hope. Don’t let it fade.

We don’t need momentous reasons to commemorate the day. We need spirits, not reasons. Happy national awakening day, everyone.

PS: It’s good to be bad some time, but for only a short period of time. Thanks to christin and yuki.

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