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A diploma and a gay life style

March 5, 2007

If you go for your diploma, you could join a steno pool.
Turn in your teasin’ comb and go back to high school!
(Beauty School Dropout – Grease)

I am not a gay really, however there are some friends of mine that live in their gay life style and seem pretty much enjoy it. I am sure that some of you have similar situation with me and I can very well reckon your attitude toward the life style: you support. Mostly, you support them in a way that you believe in a set of values that it is fully their rights and dignity to choose that way of life and I have nothing to object at this point.

Now, how about gay marriage? Well, I must admit that is a hard question. Not only because it is going to force you to change your perspective about marriage, but also its sacred definition. You have to think outside the box since gay matrimony is a new (emerging) phenomenon in 21st century and it will violate many of your concepts, understandings, dogmas and prejudices thought to you since you were a child. Again, even though this phenomenon seems pretty much popular in more liberal countries for a decade, it still seems considered as taboo and illegal in our society. It is definitely not in our backyard and you do not have to worry about that. Yet.

What is a diploma going to do with a gay life style? Nothing really, except one thing: hypocrisy. Let me illustrate it this way:

I had a job interview for a project funded by Ausaid in Aceh 3 weeks ago. I was in Medan when they called me for an interview that held in a hotel in Jakarta. I was so excited so I booked a flight (well, actually I did a second booking since I thought the interview would be held in Banda Aceh) and a room at the same hotel. I went to the interview a few minutes before my schedule. There was a three-person panel: The HR Manager, The Team Leader and an Expatriate Consultant. I did the first session with the HR manager who did cross checks on everything that I wrote in my CV. After that, I went to the second session conducted by the Team Leader and the Consultant. I firmly concluded that I did the interview well, both in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Then, I had another session with the HR manager to confirm my salary history, expected salary and availability. He added also some information about the packages for the job, which is a way lower than what I got from the previous organization that I worked for. But hey, who cares I like the potentials of the job. I love its capacity building issues though not sure about this organization’s commitments on it, considering time and budget limitation in the project. The interview was closed by a strong statement that may qualification was over their requirement. Well, that’s clearly not my fault, your honor.

Last week was the time of final selection for the job. The successful candidates would be called by this organization, and surprisingly I did not have that jackpot call. Well, I considered that as a bad luck and bad investment considering the amount of money I spent for that interview. Until a friend of mine buzzed me on my messenger asking that interview process. I told her that I might not pass the interview as they haven’t called me until now. Then she told me that I supposed to get the job but apparently the management (so as she said) nullified my qualification since I do not have a Degree diploma. Perfect!

It is the first time ever in this type of industry a diploma is the main consideration for recruitment. I have been working for several projects since six years ago and none of my previous employer asking where my diploma is. I don’t really know either they were simply smart or barely stupid. But one thing for sure, I have not let them down. I actively participated raised more than 6 million dollars for one of organization that I worked for and that was done without attaching my diploma in the project proposals. It is sad but true. This silly diploma thing only mattered when I requested an international post (Iraq would nice) and they strictly put that a Master Degree on relevant subjects as their only barrier and to keep my feet on the ground. My friends and my employers know well that without any diploma I could deliver what I promised, what the projects expected and most importantly, what the donors wanted. It is simply a take-and-give game. They acknowledged my skills and knowledge, not my diploma. Or am I wrong?

Do you see the red line? If not, I will rephrase it for you. For me, gay life style and diploma issues are a perfect example on how hypocrite our society is. The bottom line is that you can do anything you want, as long as not in my backyard. You can be a gay, lesbian or simply hermaphrodite as long as you are not my son/brother/sister/father or anyone that is in my ‘backyard’. In other way, if you do not have a diploma, you can go find a job elsewhere, not in my backyard. No matter how good or awful you are, because what we need is a diploma. It is quantifiable and (yet fallible) to measure how competent you are. And we’re sorry that you do not have a diploma. Why don’t you just buy one?

Eat shit! I am tired of this hypocrisy life style. But I will not get myself a diploma, any diploma and later join a steno pool. I naively want to be a living proof that a person can do anything beyond a diploma, and better. Rejecting people because they do not have diplomas is simply a lame excuse to exclude people that can think, speak, write and work better than those who hold diplomas. It is not a fair practice and undermine human dignity in a so-called ‘humanitarian works’. It surely shows you that those people can respect others, let alone their understanding about humanitarian values or other more complicated and sophisticated terms. Something that is basic but yet important in this kind of job. All ye diploma holder, remember that!

It’s not that we don’t care,
We just know that the fight ain’t fair

(Waiting on the world to change – John Mayer)

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Pikiran, Ucapan dan Tindakan Saya

February 5, 2007

Sounds awfully familiar?

Yes, that is the well known autobiography of the well known you-know-who… voldermort! Oh no, not him/her, it is Soeharto.

Am I going to talk about him? Of course not, though I respect him, It is not a perfect time to waste my time thinking about the past, not to mention if I can write it correctly. No offense.

This time, I am going to look at the past, to reflect and also to warn all ye the faithful. It is about how to think correctly will eventually lead correct behavior (and you will be heard nicer too..)

Think Linear or Systemic?

Well, nothing is better than the other if you can fit them into relevant circumstances. I am mostly a linear thinker, starting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and very comfortable with ‘a+b=c’. I am not an expert in Math nor an avid reader of Math bibliographies either, but as I understood a way of thinking that rigidly follow certain structure, pattern – and worse—taken for granted is commonly said as linear thinking, just like a formula that I wrote above.

Now, what is non-linear thinking? Well, it is simply a way of thinking that not solely rely upon a well established formula, but dare to look to other, creative, interconnected formulas and see it differently.

It is not about which way you take but more important on how you do it correctly. I’ve been practicing an ‘instant thinking’ when I mostly rely on pop-up ideas that may not connected each other and worse, it is not logical at some points. It is something we commonly refer as pragmatism.

Say nothing at all….

If you cannot say something good, say nothing at all. That simple. What is the message all about? It is encourage you to think before you open your mouth (for any reason). Opening your mouth without adequate thinking process is getting yourself closer to your burial. The more you doing it, the faster you will get there.

My simple advice will be spending at least a spilt second before you say something. Don’t say a promise that you can’t deliver. Don’t exaggerate anything you say, and stay flat. However, some people tend to be more exaggerative and dramatic and I can’t help it. One thing for sure, they suck! You can never get the real things from such piece of junk like them. Just stay away…

Do or do not…

If you think properly and deliver the message correctly, it is a greater chance that your idea will be done correctly. People that cannot think correctly, say something nicely would never be able to do anything perfectly. Writing is an action. Good writings definitely came up form a subtle mental process (thinking, reasoning, or even daydreaming). This writing probably came up from the last process. Sorry :p

(Without concept notes, proposals or reports to write, blogging is an alternative way to keep me thinking and writing. The different is that I am writing for myself now)

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Easier said than done

July 31, 2006

What do you do every morning before leaving for work? Go to the toilet, have a shower, have your breakfast and wuuuzzzz….. you are in the office or elsewhere to do your things.
What if that ‘wuuuzzzz‘ is no longer kicking you and you start feeling that going to work is like another boring thing and you are not going to do that for the rest of your life?
Me: Submit your resignation. Get a life. Now!

I consider myself as a passionate worker that doing things for ‘fun’ and other narcism like, to mention a few, self-satisfaction and self-actualization. I characterized the works that I have done. I gave a personal touch for every single task that I performed. Of course that those tasks could be done differently — and even better than the ones I did– but still people can tell you that those are not my work. I create a work environment and culture that comfortable for me and my team. I remember those days when I was already at the office at 6.30 AM and still leading those young engineers at 2.00 AM on the next day. You may say that it was because we had to, but I will tell you that we did it with fun. I remember my friends — Vek, Franklin, Jaf and Ewin– re-calculated all formulas since someone simply overrode the formulas with other numbers (sucks!), or Ine working with all those drawing and CAD things. Those were the days when red eyes, shorts and mattresses lying around in every corner of the office. Not a healthy working environment for sure, but I loved it. The most important thing that we scored!

One and half year ago, equipped with a bag of clothes, a GPS, a satphone and a full bag of money (well, unfortunately not that much actually) I came to Aceh and started a humanitarian mission there. Alone and over self-confident. Again, it was ‘fun’ and challenging task.

Now, I am sitting behind my desk running a 6 million dollar project. Part of the management. The ‘golden boy’. And to be honest with you, I think I have sold my soul to the ‘devil’. I got the power, privileges and luxury that I can have and still I fail to run the project perfectly. I fail proportionally with the power and luxury that I got. I just can’t take it anymore. I got to stop this quickly so I handed in my resignation letter this morning. Nobody is happy and it is easier said than done.

It seems that I punished myself too hard, but I would like to remember that transitions are hard and there is a natural emotional lull in letting go of my power and position. I think this down-time is good for me…it’s humbling and reminds me of where I am in life.

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The Gadget Whore

July 25, 2006

I consider myself as a gadget whore. In fact, I am! It is surprising that within a month, I have bought a MacBook, a 1 GB Kingston UFD, and an iPaq hw6515. Of course that two pieces of 1 GB DDR2 RAM to pump my MacBook. All those stuffs almost cost me a fortune and I hate wired transfers!

Currently I have a MacBook (thanks to Italy football team!), Sony Ericsson K608i (from my beloved Pipit), a Treo 650 (the best pda/smartphone ever!), a 60 GB iPod Video, a Canon S2 IS digital camera, a Konica Minolta Dimage A200 digital camera (just got repaired) and an iPaq hw6515 (love the gps very much but hate the battery life!).

Last week I just sold my old iBook G4 to my friend, switched my PowerBook to Pipit (and got myself the cheapest MacBook). I am currently considering to sell my iPod and get myself a 4GB iPod Nano, and also to buy a minimum 80 GB of external hard disk. Interested? Call me: 0818-99-LUKE

I am a gadget whore. Next is to be a gadget pimp.

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Bob Geldof: We have to try

December 5, 2005
It’s really only the poor that die earliest. They’re too weak, mute, unseen and powerless to be noticed. We only properly take a reluctant heed when they begin to die in such numbers it would be impossible for us to ignore them. There then sets in a sort of tiresome acceptance that the pathetic whimperings and low moans of the soon-to-be dead should be addressed in some manner.

We don’t in general die of our corruption, or our AIDS or Malaria or other illnesses, or our trade rules, or starvation, or our political instability, or our debt burdens, or our summer droughts. They do. They die from all of the above, both ours and their own. The euphemism for this mass premature dying is “lack of development”. That means if only they had health systems and educational facilities and basic farming mechanisms allowing countries to feed themselves and disinterested bureaucratic structures to implement a state under the rule of law, civic minded and incorruptible political leadership listening to the organs of civil society like the unions, free press, churches and chambers of commerce under “good governance”, and if those same people could be representative of the wishes of the people and if they could develop appropriate industries where they could trade with “Us” on equal terms; and if pigs could fly…

That’s what development tries to do. You can pick one or two things out of that pie and it might still work, but in general that’s the idea. Weirdly (but rarely) it actually works. The countries that succeed, sometimes admirably, do so by ignoring all the advice of “the experts” and finding their own culturally appropriate model. Others follow the rule book (as written by “Us”), some get partially there, some fall back because of some new hitherto unforeseen horror, some ignore whatever this year’s new improved fashionable developmental mantra is and struggle on, some don’t even try, and some can’t.

I said back in the 80s that to die of want in a world of surplus was not only intellectually absurd but equally morally repulsive. That still pertains. We will always have those doing better than others. That’s normal and good for them. What we don’t always have to have is rules, language, laws, treaties and ideas with inbuilt bias towards our successful selves to their cost. That’s not right and it need not be so. The cost of our success must not be the misery of others. Indeed it has been shown over and over that it is clearly to our benefit to have healthy, free, educated partners. Development is the underfunded idea that should get us to that happy state. Will it? Probably not under current funding regimes, the lack of political will and political difficulties in many developing countries. Because if there is instability it is obvious that nothing can take hold.

So that’s good ol’ Bleak Bob talking. Never mind him, because I’ve also seen people whose lives have been immeasurably bettered, communities stabilised, hope achieved, children at school, parents at work, hospitals functioning, vast areas revitalised, industries and people made viable again from an “absolute zero” of misery. And from our world and theirs, doctors, teachers, priests, nuns, aid workers, advisors – superhuman people, good people, dedicated lives in relentlessly harsh environments who believe life is best experienced helping others. And that’s true. And that’s the other definition of development.

We have to try. We must not accept people dying nightly on our screens forever. That is an intolerable and unacceptable view of the future. And even if they are unseen and mute and unheeded we must remain alert to that other world, those other fellow human beings, those other mums and dads and children, we must pay close attention to those hidden worlds of decay, decline and death. They whisper to us through the unfair trade of the supermarket shelves and the exploited raw materials in our petrol stations, the occasional prurient newspaper story or through the piety of the political speech or the feelgood pop concert. But we know they’re there. They’re too weak to raise their voices, but they are there. Pay heed. This book tells you how.

(Taken from Bob Geldof’s forewords in “Rough Guide to a Better World”, published by DFID UK)

Bob Geldof