On September 11th

Finally I had a chance to have a quick look on the (previously classified) joint inquiry report of the US senate and the US house on intelligence regarding the 9/11 attack. If you have time, I think it’s worth it to have a quick look on it.

After having a quick look, I think the root cause of the attack as well as the continuing conflicts up to this day, are two-sided. On one side, as the report also suggests, the involvement of the US, UK, and their allies’ government in the Middle East has brought great calamities to the Muslim world; thus inciting rebellion. The example of the ‘western’ involvement would be the sanction or embargo to Saddam Hussein government (i.e. the state of Iraq) since 1990 until 2003 as well as the unconditional supports given to the state of Israel, which continues even until this very day. The second cause is the miss-understanding of Islamic teaching by some Muslims who carry out the ‘jihad’. In one of his lecture, Syaikh Hamza Yusuf mentioned (minute 58) that Usama bin Laden, who was an accountant, has no legitimacy to issue any fatwa, moreover a fatwa on jihad. Usama bin Laden, when issuing the fatwa that any military and civilian of the US around the world are a legitimate target of jihad, referred to a fatwa issued by Syaikh Ibnu Taymiyyah (1263-1328) regarding the people of Mardeen. It turns out that Ibnu Taymiyyah’s fatwa was miss-printed. The original fatwa said the disbelievers should be treated as a disbeliever; but the print (that Usama bin Laden read) said, the disbelievers should be fought (the miss-printed fatwa is here).

Obviously I am very new to this issue; but I believe it is a must to understand this two sides of the story. Most of the western people will have a strongly negative view on Islam or Muslim community because they thought Islam or Muslim only want to kill them. On the other hand, many Muslims, especially those who are experiencing the western government ‘intervention’ (read: war) on their places, firmly believe that retaliating to western governments are a legitimate action to do.

Certainly I am far from being able to suggest any solution on this. But one thing that I am very sure will work: abstaining from unconditional supports to the state of Israel and various other interventions in many Muslim countries. Obviously this is most likely will never happen. The problem of eggs-and-chicken or miss-trust will always persist. The US will never back down from involving in Muslim countries affairs’ while the ‘jihadist’ will never back down too as long as the US still present.

Will dialogue help to solve the problem? For many Muslims, as long as the US still practice the hypocrisy, i.e. lecturing the world on human rights etc., while at the same time still supporting the terrorist activities of Zionist Israel, the dialogue will never ever be working. Why is it impossible for the US government to remove unconditional supports to Zionist Israel? Is the US support to Zionist Israel the only concern of many ‘jihadist’? or do they have other mission? There are many questions need to answered.

I am against any use of violence in the name of Islam, especially when it involves attacking civilians, yet I also clearly understand the disappointment of ‘jihadist’ towards US policies on Muslim countries. If it is fine for the US to directly support Israel in killing around 2,000 Palestinians in (just last) July-August 2014, then why the ‘jihadist’ are not allowed to kill US civilian as well?

This is certainly a very challenging issue.

Recommended book: Khalifah Rasulullah

Currently I am re-reading a book, entitled Khalifah Rasulullah, which I read around nine years ago when I was in senior high school. Truly, this book has shaped my characteristic since then. The book is about the leadership as well as the life of four khalifah rasyidin plus the “fifth khalifah” Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz. Melalui buku ini, kita bisa belajar betapa kuatnya keimanan pada khalifah Rasulullah. Kita juga bisa belajar betapa mereka adalah pemimpin yang takut, malu, dan ta’at pada Allah yang terlihat dalam kezuhudan hidup dan keadilan mereka dalam memimpin.

I highly recommend all of us to read this book. Insyaallah, sangat banyak kebaikan dan pelajaran yang ada di dalamnya. Semoga Allah merahmati penulis buku ini. Here’s the detail of the book:

Judul: Mengenal Pola Kepemimpinan Umat dari Karakteristik Perihidup Khalifah Rasulullah

Penulis: Khalid Muh Khalid

Penerbit: Diponegoro, Cetakan X, 2006



Al asmaul husna

Rasa cinta terkadang tumbuh dari ketertarikan kita pada sifat. Seringkali, cinta yang didasarkan pada sifat ini jauh lebih kuat dari cinta yang didasarkan pada fisik, harta, dan beberapa hal lainnya. Kita cinta misalnya pada A, kenapa? Mungkin karena kita menyukai sifatnya yang lembut, sifatnya yang cerdas, dan sifat lainnya.

Di zaman kenabian dahulu, Nabi Muhammad SAW pun menganjurkan kita untuk menyatakan kecintaan kita pada sahabat kita. Mungkin kita mencintainya karena ibadahnya yang baik. Kita mencintainya karena sifat penyayangnya pada sesama dan sifat-sifat lainnya. Rasulullah SAW pun menganjurkan, katakan padanya, uhibbukum fillah, aku mencintaimu karena Allah.

In my humble opinion, begitu juga halnya dengan kecintaan kita pada Allah SWT. Jika kita ingin meningkatkan rasa cinta pada Allah, ingin memperbaharui rasa cinta kita pada Allah, maka perhatikanlah sifat-sifat Allah, nama-nama Allah, al asmaul husna yang berjumlah 99. Sangatlah baik jika kita dapat merenungi sifat-sifat Allah SWT tersebut dan mencoba untuk mempraktekkannya.

Setelah kita renungkan dan rasakan sifat-sifat Allah SAW tersebut, kita mungkin akan merasakan bahwa mempraktekkan beberapa sifat dari al asmaul husna itu mungkin tidak terlalu berat, namun mempraktekkan semua atau ke-99 sifat-sifat Allah tersebut tentunya sangatlah challenging. Karenanya, kitapun akan mengerti, betapa kita sangat kagum pada kesempurnaan Allah SWT yang memiliki 99 sifat tersebut.

Semoga Allah SWT selalu membimbing kita, menguatkan keimanan kita, dan memperdalam rasa cinta kita pada-Nya. Wassalamualaikum,,

Finally found a book store

Alhamdulillah, I am very happy that finally I have time again to write on this blog, after what my friends called “a hell week of assignments” at school.

A few days ago, I finally have a chance to visit book store in Singapore,  more over, it’s the biggest book store in the country. It reminded me what I did in the last four to five years. I lived near a book store in Depok, almost can visit it every night. I think visiting, reading (and most unlikely buying) books at store is one thing that can make me so happy. I guest I love reading.

There are several lesson that I can get from reading that day, mainly reading Mr Lee Kuan Yew (LKY)’s book, from third world to first world country. Here are some lessons that got:

  • Mr LKY mentioned that key things that made Singapore success are the rule of law, independent judiciary, stable-competent-and honest government. I do really think those things are true. Somehow, these are exactly what Indonesia are lacking right now. Some time I think why can’t we have a rule of law in place? Are we that dumb-to not have that? Why? Somehow it’s a bit contradictory with Islam teaching. Islam teach us to be honest, obey the leader, just, etc. Why can’t we? Lack of education? Don’t want to practice religion? We’ve got to change.
  • Mr LKY also outline two key success in having a good bureaucracy. He said, we need someone who have a good personal motivation, meaning he have a strong motivation to serve the country, and there is personal reward available. In simple term, a sufficient compensation.  They are also a person that excel in their given role, discipline, hardworking, united, and efficient. He said, “we need a good man to have a good government”.
  • Mr LKY also stress the important of having a great university. The population should be educated, even we need to attract talent so that the innovation could grow. I really dream to have a great university in Indonesia. University where the academic atmosphere is really strong. I promised my self to make UI be better than NUS. I think a bot scary part of the story is that if UI, the best university that we have in Indonesia now is really really bad, then how about the other hundreds universities that we have? I met several out standing students from several Indonesian universities last year. I think they’re good. Hopefully can be a change maker in governing university later.
  • Then, equal opportunities for all and meritocracy, with the best men and women for the job, especially leaders in government.
Lastly, I would say Mr LKY is not a perfect person, many deficiencies. A lot criticism about the oppressed civil liberties, however, his achievement in bringing Singapore to be a great country should also be complimented.
On my second day visiting the book store, I met an Indonesian there. I think we talked quite long, around 1.5 hours. We talked about Indonesia’s condition which then reach the conclusion, maybe what we need is the time. We need another 20 to 30 years when the “old people” who are contaminated with orde baru “go away”. Sounds a bit sarcastic, but I do think that’s true. These old people have just too contaminated with the whole corrupt practice in the last 30 to 40 years. Besides, the reformer generation was around 20’s in 1998, which means now they are around 35. I think when they are 50 or 60 something, we’ll have Indonesia’s generation who are fully committed to reform plus a more educated young society and less contaminated with corruption. I hope that time will come soon.

In the midst huge negative atmosphere that we have in Indonesia, I think it’s worthwhile to keep the optimism. As the song below. I believe we can have a much better Indonesia. Maybe we don’t need the 20-30 years that I said above. Maybe it’ll happen soon, because of us. Wish Allah always bless us, bless our country, and guide us to His Jannah.

Why Country’s Position Can Fall?

According to a book by George Magnus, entitled “Uprising: Will emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?” (2011), a country will sustain its super power position if only these countries keep innovate, imagine, and have a good institution. He wrote

“..They need to be able to foster and exploit continuous technological innovation. Their citizen, scientist, and leaders must have the imagination to dream. They must have high quality institution to protect the property right that exist in every human interaction, and also to secure transaction, and safeguards contracts”.

I think what he said is fairly rue. Then, I guess, we, Indonesia, have to support all of scientists, provide a better quality of education, and make sure that the government works.

Apart from material above, I just wanna say that the nature of countries interaction in this world is just like the juggle rule, the strongest will exploit the weak. As we can see today, even though the US position in global economy has been challenged by China and other emerging economies, US still the one who has the strongest armed organization in the world. It will keep using its power to threaten and taking advantages from other countries. Iran, for example, why US feel so unhappy with Iran’s nuclear ambition, why only US and its several allies who can develop nuclear power in this world, while others can’t? Given recent development about assassination trial of Saudi Arabian ambassador to US by people related with Iran, I think, the possibility of US attacking Iran is fairly understood.

The biggest lesson that we can draw from that condition is that we have to be self sufficient country. Countries that are not depend on other country, at least in our basic necessity. Hence, our biggest focus today should be: Developing alternative energy sources, advancing education, scientific and technological development, making sure that our agriculture development is advance, and strengthen our army. US still the one who produce and sell the biggest military equipment in the world, even nearly the monopolist, I think. They will keep doing that, because they know, someday, sometimes, the world will fall to war again.

I don’t mean to be too pessimistic about the world future, I just argue that it’s better to be prepared.


Lesson from Mr LKY

The lesson below I took from Mr LKY’s book entitled LKY at 80. Here are the lessons:
  • You begin your journey not knowing where it will take you. You have plans, you have dreams, but every now and again you have to take uncharted roads, face impassable mountains, cross treacherous rivers, be blocked by landslides and earthquakes
  • “..If I had continued as a lawyer, for instance, and if some idiot was in charge of Singapore, then all lawyers would be broke anyway
  • “If there is one touchstone to success, it is confidence. A people must have confidence in themselves. If they lack it, if they think they are unequal to the challenge, then they will never make the grade
  • “Countries, like individuals, have to grow up and face the facts of life. They have to learn how to live with their neighbors and fend for themselves in a harsh and predatory world”.
  • Surely we must in  charge of our own lives! And that is the beginning of politics
  • To be trusted by the people as the older leaders have been trusted, the younger leaders must learn to translate these figures and hard headed analyses of complex problem into warm, simple, and human term, terms which the ordinary people can understand

Reflection upon Buku ‘Selamatkan Indonesia’

– Sangat sedih saat kita tahu cost recovery system, perjanjian kontrak kerja dan hal terkait penambangan lainnya sangat merugikan bangsa.
– Kalau kita bisa membuat sendiri, mengapa harus membeli dari orang?
– Hate freeport, hate exxon
– Salah satu hal yang sangat penting dikoreksi dari bangsa Indonesia adalah sikap mereka terhadap hidup yang hanya ingin hidup tenang-tenang saja. Saya perhatikan, bagi mereka, yang penting bisa makan dan hidup damai sudah cukup. Bagi saya ini adalah sikap tidak ingin berkembang. Kita harus berusaha untuk membuat inovasi. Melakukan sesuatu. Memberi nilai tambah yang berkualitas.

Important Lessons

I read a lot of books in couple previous days. Thanks to Gramedia Depok Book store. I read books like Negeri 5 Menara, Habibie dan Ainun, Grow with character, the power, Indonesia’s grand strategies, making a giant leap, leaders at all levels, atlas umrah dan haji, a lot of magazines, etc. Here are several lesson that I got.

First, someone who has talent to be a leader is someone that always try to look from a higher level. For example, a leader talented financial manager in a bank branch will always see challenge and make decision from the point of view of general manager. A student in a university who really want to foster research in that university will place him self in place where he as if has to make a policies what to be done to realize that research university. With this kind of paradigm, people will be wiser, smarter, and finally the outcome will be amazing.

Second, the culture of dicipline is very important. We have to think and dream big, but we have to move fast and dicipline in realizing it. Many people fail in realizing theri dream because of their procrastination action.

Third, our achievement will be as much as our dream. That’s why we have to brave to dream and keep our dream alive. In achieving that dream, we also have to persistent and never give up.

Fourth, We can if we think that we can. The first step will always be hard. Even maybe so hard which make we give up even before try anything. Let;s always try to move forward. Face the challenge. If it is too big or too complicated, solve it one by one until everything is clear but still in fast pace.

Fifth, Always be happy with everything that your friends got. Just feel as if you are the person who receive what they got.

Sixth, always remember that Allah is everything. He rules out the universe. Everything is depend on him. Then always pray to Him.

Have a great achievements and Developments this year!


The Importance of Human Capital and Good Government Governance

It is one of my favorite book, not only because it’s really close to my research interest, but this book also give a vivid description of good government governance correlation with economic development. The title is From Poverty to Prosperity by Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz.

Many people stuck with the view that to have a really good economic development, the most important thing needed is a huge amount of natural resources. But, that’s not the case for this book, the authors elaborate really well how human capital (creativity and innovation) as well as good government governnance are the things that matter most.

This thoght in line with what President Yudhoyono adress around 2 weeks ago in a limited cabinet meeting directly after the G20 and APEC summit earlier this month. He adreessed that China, South Korea, and Japan are really developed rapidly because of their hard work and human capital quality. He really stressed that human capital is the most importatnt.

Human Capital

What I we mean by human capital here are the creativity and innovation maker ability. It is really related with the ability to master the technology. That’s why, educationa and knowledge are something highly very important.

In this case, I think indonesia already in the right move, with 20% budget for education, it’s really show that now we put education as an important thing. Is that enough? Nope. When I’m in the student exchange program at Univeristy of Utah, I met with three malaysian student. The most interesting thing is that their study here is finance indirectly by the government. Malaysian government made a partnership with the local company in malaysia. The local company will give money which will be administered by the government to finance the study of many malaysian student abroad.

Many of them go to USA, Europe, and India. They select the highly capable student and the send them abroad. After completeing their study, those student will apply their knowledge for malaysian sake, whether it through malaysian local company or others.

This kind of program, although look really simple is really amaze me. I never hear this kind of program in Indonesia. This program is really a big investment in human capital. I am firmly believe that Indonesian stedents are as capable as student from developed nations, even much more better, what they lack of are the opportunities and informations. I am really hope the govenment can take this example as the consideration.

Good Government Governance

This factor is one of the most important factor. The budget, the development of a country, really highly depended on how well the government govern or manage that country. A highly capable leader and respected by its citizen is the key. It is exactly what Allah said in Qur’an. without a capable leader, prosperity is only a dream. That’s why, we need a really capable government officer and leader in this country.

Wish Allah strenghten us to achieve it. Allah, help us, we love you.

Salt Lake City, Nov 23rd 2010



I just read a great book, entitled The Art of Public Strategy by Geoff Mulgan, He is a former chief strategist in prime minister office of UK. I found interresting and -I think- important thing in framework for adaptive strategy chapter. He said, there are severals step needed to formulate a sound strategy. Mainly it is a strategy for a government policy. But I’ll try to apply it for my life, especially related with my future work, at Indonesia Ministry of Finance. Here are the steps:

1. Why?-Understanding the purposes and priorities. I have to understand why I want to work at depkeu, what are the things or the changes that I want to bring there.

2. What’s there?-Understanding Environment, Context, and Capacities. The next step is I have to understand the depkeu environtment. I have to know the culture as well as the working environment.

3. What power and knowledge can be brought to bear? It is a really important step. After knowing the existing condition in depkeu, I have to know what are the preparation that I have to have. What are the capacities that I have to have before entering the fighting field.

4. What possible future? It is a description about what are the possibility ending condition can be in depkeu after I join them. It can be in term of quality or physical condition. The author said, this possible future can be forecasted, scenarioed, simulationed, etc.

5. What cause what?-Mapping the system. The important thing that we have to do is understanding the environment deeper. Knowing the existing system.

6. Where: Setting direction and Strategic goals. Kind of most important step. We have set up the strategic goals.

7. How?-Policies and Action. The startegies to achive the goals.

8. Sequencing. A change can be categorized succesful if there is a sequencing, if there is a system who keep it run.

9. Financing Strategies. Actually it’s not really relevant fro me. IT is the step for government policies. Government have to think about how to finance their policy implementation.

10. Appetite of change: the change margin. Sometimes, the good thing not always can be a suitable thing. Sometimes the change margin is so low that we can’t make a greater change. But I’ll always try to make the ideal condition can be achieved without any adjustment which only lowering the ending quality.

11. Implementation. The end, but the determiner. The analysis, plans, and strategies is nothing without implementation.

As I mentioned before, above, all of this steps can be (or originally) to be applied in formulating public policy by the government.

Alhamdllah,, and Bismillah,, Allah, please always strengthen me,,,