Friday, August 20, 2004

On the wire: rambling about Indonesian education

Today I was interviewed by Indonesian radio - Jakarta based Radio 68h Utan Kayu. This was my 4th radio interview, but I still felt nervous... selalu rada ge-er euy!

Well, it was not directly broadcasted, so I wasn't 'on air', but on the phone! ..yep, 'on kawat' alias 'on the wire' and being recorded. Strangely, I always lebih gugup - more nervous - if being recorded in an undirect broadcasting rather than a direct one...

It was only a 10 minutes interview and I tried so hard to not to say 'eeee...eee' :(. The reporter sounded formal - she was much more informal in email - thus I was a bit dilematic to act formal or informal. Being formal is not my style... :p For example when I was asked about my motivation in hunting a scholarship, I directly answered, " Karena pingin jalan2 ke luar negeri gratis dong!" (I want to travel abroad without spending any penny!). Which perhaps wasn't expected by the reporter..:) (mbak reporter, what do you think?). Well, that was of course one of some reasons besides some logical and easy ones like: wanted to learn more (cieleh) and had no money to pay further study by my own....

I criticized the Indonesian education system a little bit. I didn't structurally communicate these well - as i'm better textually than verbally..:(... but here are my thoughts:

First the learning approach itself is misleading - mostly emphasizing on external forces (ngapalin yg banyak, baca buku sebanyak2nya, tahu rumus sebanyak2nya, pokoknya batok kepala didedet sebanyak2nya) rather than internal forces, i.e. building creativity, self-direction and andragogy (anak2 jadi seneng belajar krn ingin ketimbang terpaksa belajar).. both should exist together.. like this concept of structural balance in mechanic physic below:

Structures to be successful have to withstand the loads and forces which act upon them. When a load (external force)is applied to a structure, forces are produced within the structure (internal forces) to resist the load. Provided the internal forces balance the external forces, the structure will retain its integrity. When imbalances of internal and external forces occur, a structure will suffer what is termed a catastrophic failure.

Second there's no human agents who can really endorse the quality of education -- basically there are generally two groups of human agents: government and private. Goverment's education management - as you can easily guess - is very poor, some gov's related problems, among others: national budget for education is very low-comparable to other SEA countries (therefore there's lack of qualified teachers), the management of budget is poorly performed - corrupt, leaking here and there especially on middle management, curiculum isn't clear, (switched from centralized/single curriculum to competency based curriculum but no clear guideline... no clear efforts to implement orderly), no monitoring/evaluation system.
Meanwhile, private initiatives mostly are based on 'commercial values'.. profit making.. they only serve middle-upper class of society.. and still are suffered from some 'undemocratic' pedagogic approach.

Third is the fact that the culture of learning isn't yet embedded in the society. Learning should be like breathing... the necessity... part of life. And this is beyond the formal education... we, all entities in society, we need to hold hands and create this ambience of learning.. together..

...hey, these weren't exactly what I mentioned in the interview! Ugh.. as I say, I think I am better in writing... and I can only be verbally well when I am joking!

In my interview, I was talking a bit about some community based initiatives to make education better... like our beloved Beasiswa mailing list...:). I also told a bit about my personal story... who was I that I needed scholarship for further study... well, I was asked so.. I said it.

Guess, that's all the content of my interview.. Not much could be said in 10 minutes, right? Yet surely it's good to have a channel to speak up your opinion a bit. Thanks Radio 68h Utan Kayu, thanks Dewi!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My 'future' direct number

Two days ago I got an email from an Indonesian journalist of VoA (Voice of America). He wrote like this, "I knew that you're in DC from indonesian-studies list. But why my call is never answered? I kept calling but nobody picked up". He mentioned one number he had been trying to dial.. and was asking for another number..

I was confused to receive his email. First I am not in DC (yet) and I didn't recognize that number at all! So I directly emailed him saying that I am not yet in DC and that was the wrong number and gave him the number of my future DC-institution for him to call later when I arrive in DC.

After replying him I checked the indonesian-studies list and was shocked to find out that the list moderator, John A MacDougall posted one email with my name as a subject complete with my direct phone number in DC and my bios. Ouch, so that was the number that VoA guy dialed!

Apparently the research center I'll be affiliated in DC has published a webpage of me and it included the direct phone number I'll be given (in fact, the number is already there in my 'future' office). I felt embarrased that I didn't know my 'future' direct phone number and needed someone to let me know!. I directly emailed that DC guy saying sorry and telling him that that was the right number.. yet I am still not yet there. He came back to me and said,"Mbak ini hebat ya... orangnya belum datang teleponnya sudah ada...hehehe" .

Hehe, yes..funny. I told this story for my friend. He commented, "Hey, Mer, you are more famous in a place where you are not there rather than where you are!".. hehehe.. right-o!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Merdeka atau Kau Mati

-Hormat pada yang mati tak bernama-

Setengah abad yang lalu.
Gaung bergelegar suara
Bung Karno, Bung Sjahrir, Bung Hatta, Bung Tan Malaka:
Merdeka atau mati, dan gelora revolusi
memecah kesunyian jiwa muda
meruncing pada bambu, menusuk
membuncah merah nasionalisme.
Mati dan Merdeka!

Seperempat abad kemudian.
Jiwa Bung dipendam
pada tengkorang retak tak bernama
oleh hantaman moncong dan injakan lars.
Kesakitan yang membisu
ditimpuk slogan dan janji-janji.
Merdeka dan Kau mati!

Setengah abad berlalu.
Sayup suara jiwa Bung,
ditingkah kata yang membusa kebohongan
tuli dan bisu menyumpal mulut berbau kecoa
tangan-tangan dekil mengais
lembaran dan logam di lubang kóreng* rakyat,
lidah-lidah menari pada pantat
pun kemaluannya sendiri.
Siapa peduli nasib yang mengejek
terdengar suara tawa
untuk kebadutan: Merdeka dan Kau mati!
Tawa yang menunggu marah.

karya: Prihandono B. Kusumo

Friday, August 06, 2004

Conquering the Hot Weather... finally!

Finally I found a place with air-con.. which is unbelivably difficult!
I am now at the library... in a cozy quiet corner all by myself.... cool and connected! Superb!

People in Jakarta may have no idea how difficult it is to be here during hot summer... buildings have no windows.. let alone air-con! Here, they had been living in a cold-cool place for ages! Never prepared for global warming...

Anyway, now I find this cozy spot... great! Don't have to worry that my brain will melt..

Serendipities a.k.a. Koinkidinks alias Kebetulan

Pernah ngga ngalamin kebetulan yg bertubi2 alias berkali-kali, alias untung buanget?.. Aku baru ngalamin...
Ceritanya gini: karena satu dan lain hal (naon maksudna tah..) aku ngga jadi balik ke Indo awal agustus ini, so harus tinggal di sini sampai akhir Agustus padahal kontrak apartemenku udah habis tgl 5 agustus dan ngga bisa diperpanjang soalnya ada org lain yg udah mau masuk. Walah, gimana nih, aku langsung bingung.. Akhirnya aku pasang iklan di milis pelajar indonesia di enschede..

Sementara nunggu reaksi milis, eh tau-tau tetanggaku pak Wondo (bener2 tetangga sebrang apartemenku, malah kita berbagi fasilitas umum) nawarin kamarnya paling engga sampai tgl 11 agustus krn kebetulan dia mau balik ke Indo. Aku bilang thanks, dong.. lumayan lah. Ngga lama aku dapet email dari Vita, temen Indo yg kebetulan mau pulang pas tgl 2 Agustus sampe 2 September.. wah, kebetulan nih.. langsung aku ambil dong tawaran dia.

Kayaknya tau2 berita aku butuh kamar nyebar nih... dalam minggu itu aku dapat tawaran kamar dari 3 orang! Satunya adalah Nico, profesorku yg orang Belanda, lainnya adalah Sara, office-mateku yg org Sudan dan satunya lain Margaret, kolegaku yg orang Inggris. Waduh.. banyak banget org yg perhatian.. Kemaren malah Irna, kolegaku yg lain juga nawarin kamar di rumahnya...

Nah.. aku tenang dong, karena udah dapet kamar. Tapi akhir Juli ini aku sibuk banget.. ngga sempet packing u/ pindah ke tempatnya Vita. Untung banget ada kamarnya pak Wondo yg next door.. jadi bisa langsung pindahin gitu aja. Tapi ya sempet tadi pagi bingung karena beberapa hal, pertama karena kamar Pak Wondo ini koneksi Internetnya mati, padahal aku kan butuh Internet banget, kedua karena tau2 ban belakang sepedaku kemaren gembos (asli ancur alias belah) padahal aku butuh banget untuk pindahan ke tempat Vita nanti dan u/ keperluan sehari2.. jadi bete juga. Eh, kebetulan hari ini tukang reparasi dateng dan benerin Internet.. pas hari aku pindahan ke kamar ini (udah di kamar pak Wondo sekarang)... koq bisa pas waktu-nya ya. Terus tau2 tadi pas aku turun ke lantai dasar, kebetulan ketemu tetanggaku yg org Filipina yg tau2 ngajak minum teh.. dan terus dia kebetulan punya sepeda cadangan dan langsung minjemin sepeda sama aku! Eh taunya kebetulan ban depan sepedanya juga gembos dan pas dituker sama ban depan sepedaku kebetulan kagak sama ukurannya. Terus kita hunting sepeda yang dibuang dan kebetulan nemu sepeda yang ban depan-nya ok banget. Diopreklah sampai akhirnya sepeda-nya dia itu bisa aku pake.
Woah.. banyak kebetulansss..

"Boss yang di atas" emang sayang banget ya sama aku....
Hidup ini sangat asikkk kalau penuh dengan kebetulan yg diharapkan!


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Hot Enschede

30 derajat Celcius alias 84 derajat Fahrenheit! Alangkah panasnya bumi ini!!

It's been hot here in Enschede... it's a real summer and I actually don't like it. Too hot ... I'm melting! Helllllp!!

It is very uncomfortable because buildings are designed for cold weather, so when it's hot, then inside it is too hot and outside is burning... so, what to do?

Ah.. I want to skip August! I want the Fall.... my favorite season, Fall (and Spring)....

My memorable room

Tonight is my last night staying in this apartment, Calslaan 45-42. I didn't really grasp that I've been staying in this room--as this is a studio apartment, only one room--for almost a year. I never stayed that long in Netherlands before, this is my longest stay... From 12th of September 2003 to 5th of August 2004, that's 10 months and 25 days.

Many things happened in this room. Good, bad, happy, sad things... From the only window in this room I witnessed my first white snowy day. In this room I celebrated my first Christmas and New Year far from my family... In this table I finished hundreds pages of writing...In this room I was happy to read good news...and cried for sad news..

Ah... I'm gonna really miss this room. Really.

I'll sleep so well tonight here for the last time.....let the good karma flow through my dreams...