A Solid Financial Action Plan for Stronger Middle Class

I always love books. I love fiction works for the emotional purgation, moral and life lessons. Non-fiction ones, on the other hand, generally offer  a step-by-step guidance to deal with everyday problems.

Ligwina Hananto, to be honest, gave me this book almost 8 months ago. The book was given as a gift for the question I asked her at the occasion where she captivated the entire audience with her outspoken style.

My question was simple, something every social and economically climbing middle class person can easily relate to. “I got terribly sick of saving like crazy. I want to save some of my income but still at the same time can enjoy my life,” I blatantly leaked my financial problem.

As long as my memory serves right, the chatty author of the book titled “Untuk Indonesia yang Kuat: 100 Langkah untuk Tidak Miskin” (roughly translated: “For Stronger Indonesia: 100 Steps to Not Becoming Poverty-Ridden”) said I had to improve my overall financial mindset, which she supposed entailed having a series of financial goals. Without that changed, I can only keep on working hard to save more and more in my bank account. Simply put, I work hard without even learning what I do it all for.

Ok, the advice did hit the bull’s eye right away. I have to admit I have arranged no real concrete financial plan thus far. Not to mention a series of clearly articulated steps and golas to achieve for a certain period of time. I should’ve cried for being so ignorant like this but hell yeah, the fact that million other people on the planet have no such an advanced financial literacy but still manage to survive eases me to a certain extent. Only to a given extent. And I don’t have any plan to extend it. Enough said.

One point I can understand now is that one cannot reach a better financial status only by saving and saving a part of his/ her monthly income relentlessly. It won’t get me or anyone richer at a relatively faster pace. I can be as rich as Donald Trump. Yes, no doubt about that, ONLY IF I live for aeons and spend my entire life time mostly working at the office. The question is  now: If I work too hard and too long, how can I spend all my savings to enjoy this already harsh life? That’s the oxymoron of modern human race, I should say.

“Ok ok, so what’s the plan to prevent me from being trapped in this deep dark financial abyss?” You may ask me impatiently. Mrs. Hananto (tweet her @mrshnanto) presented a simple check list containing 100 smaller financial goals to achieve.

Well, apparently some , or most, of them  are not that small at all. As soon as I spotted point 94, for instance, saying “”Having total current assets worth more than Rp 10 B”, I at last came to understand that the whole plan may take a life time to achieve. You need a lot of help from others too to achieve all these goals. Why they are called goals. They’re supposed to be ambitious in some way.

At this point, I only managed to tick several points of 100 in the list, like (1) Having income, (2) Separating monthly expenses from weekly ones, (3) Withdrawing at ATMs only once a week (I’ve been doing better, only once in a fortnight), (6) Paying taxes and reporting a notification letter called SPT, (7) Having a simple financial plan (Does having one on mind with saving as much as I can as the one and only financial goal qualify?). The rest are more intricate and advanced to newbies like me.

Obviously it is a book of practice that one ought to refer to on and on.  To conclude, let me write a quote I wrote about three years ago:

“Pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina” (If you can use money, money is your slave; if you can’t, money is your master”)

A Whole-hearted Listening and Unexpected Rewards

I am so grateful for still having two grandmothers in my hometown. My father’s mother has been widowed since decades ago, since my father was 7th grader ( he is now retired from being a government civil servant, as recent as last month). My mother’s mother is also a widow for around these last 7 years. It’s been tough on these two women, seeing their husbands leave that way. Both of my grandfathers died of sickness.

Seeing them all alone at home while the rest of the younger family members are going out to, for example, go on short picnic is kind of saddening. They don’t want to bother anyone so they think it’s much better to stay at home, take a nap and let the others enjoy their lives.

My grandmothers are not very demanding women. They just provide freedom to their children and grandchildren. They don’t like dramas, and will never make dramas just to draw others’ attention. I find out that all they just need is simply someone to talk to and to rehash their past memories with.

While I’m in hometown, I’d like to sit down with them for a while. In their artless bed rooms full of photos or mementos. My father’s mother has her own collages showcasing all her grandchildren. She also keeps a family photo taken in 1960’s where my father’s father was still alive. He was a soldier, she told me. One day, he had a vision, I guess, and suddenly asked my grandmother what she would do if someday he passed away, which he later really did. She thought he was disillusioned, rejecting the gruesome ide of being left by a beloved one and a father of her 6 sons too fast.  My grandfather said she should’ve gotten married to another gentleman so she could earn a living for the 6 boys they had. She said she would have never done such a thing under any circumstances. She would stay faithful to him and would raise all of the sons with her own hands. And she eventually did. She was a nice looking young widow known for being consistently rejecting men around her. While she was telling me all this, I was just nodding, casting a wide smile, rubbing her dry wrinkled bony hands with some olive oil I bought her. I didn’t want to interrupt her so I just listened.

My mother’s mother has her own favorite story themes to tell me, as well. She talked a lot about her late husband, her friends at an organization especially founded for war veterans’ wives. There’s not much to tell about when it comes to the second though. The story is always about sickness and death. Not fun at all. But I found her story about what my late grandfather used to do with me as a kid interesting and quite emotional. She sometimes lost her control when my late grandfather’s name was mentioned. Nothing I could do. I just hugged her tight and touched my cheeks to hers. I’m not really good at saying soothing words in emotional situations, which is truly contrary to popular belief that a person with a linguistic enthusiasm can always expressively and outspokenly blurt anything. I am not.

And today I was just listening to another elderly’s story. He called me on the phone this morning telling me to go see him within 4 hours. I thought it was a job-related calling. And it actually was. At first it felt hard to meet him on weekend like now but well, that’s a duty call. But then I dispelled such a narrow-minded thought. I wanted to learn things from this person. Considering how much people want to have him on their books and products, this old guy offers an endless supply of lessons of life.

I was right. I learned a lot by listening to him and asking the emphatical yet critical questions, trying to dig out some facts out of his mouth and mind and memories. He told me some stories he would never allow others to know. You know you’re lucky and honored when someone trusts you and voluntarily confines some of the invaluable memories in you.

At the end, he rewarded me in a very unexpected way. And suddenly I remember that yoga teacher training I long for. This might be His answer. Praise be to Him, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds…

In the meantime, let me listen to myself now through my post-midnight deep slumber.

How Integrity May Mean The Entire World to Yogis and Writers

The debacle of a genius: In some way, I can relate to Jonah Lehrer’s journalism faux pas (or misdeeds?). I know how it feels when people around you want more new things to read or listen from you every single day. The lesson learned? Humans’ creativity, even geniuses’, is limited. Admit that you’re tired, exhausted at all. Maybe that is much better than running ragged and settle for mediocrity. Or not? You be the judge.

Like most young people, I have been listening to an elderly tycoon who keeps repeating the significance of integrity in every step taken in this life. Truthfully, I got sick of that. Who doesn’t? It sounds like a broken old tape to my ears. But that was before I realize that the absence of integrity , or even a meager amount of integrity violation, means the end of the world to some people.

Because I also work in journalism world, let me  take Jonah Lehrer as an example. This 31-year-young author and public speaker has triggered massive outrage in the past few months. He is said and proven to have committed two big sins : fabrication of Bob Dylan’s quotes and (self?) plagiarism (source: slate.com).

And because I also love doing yoga, let me scrutinize also what John Friend has done to his integrity affairs. I am not a staunch fan of anusara yoga yet it is one of yoga schools, though it originated partially from the ancient yoga in India. Friend is accused of committing intimate sexual rituals related to the modern pagan religion of Wicca.

Both cases offer invaluable lessons to learn. I find it easy to relate to these two heroes-turn-zeroes disasters. I am not saying I am as successful or widely known as mr. Friend and mr. Lehrer but I just want to emphasize the fact that anyone – whether or not s/he is famous or talented or intelligent – cannot be immune to the peril of lust, which is part of being a human being, and lie resulted from indolence.

It’s completely irrational to see other people who seem to possess everything you want without warning and sound reason excuses making the same mistake repeatedly, which at last strip them off what they previously earned for years with so much hard work. It’s tragic on one hand, and fair on the other hand.

And suddenly it dawns on me, once someone finds out and can exploits your list of sins for the sake of anything (some say for the sake of scientific objectivity or moral purity, but really how many of us can figure it out that way?), your life so to speak is over as a member of a certain society. It’s an utter disgrace that time cannot seem to heal rapidly.

Nevertheless, in the era of instant gratification and self indulgence instead of essence and real substance, it proves to be much easier for people to forget and forgive.

Menyoal Tarif Penerjemah

Apa yang Anda akan baca adalah satu untai percakapan antarpenerjemah di grup Facebook Himpunan Penerjemah Indonesia.

Ahnan Alex Sayang sekali hasil survei ini akhirnya dijual dengan harga yang fantastis oleh lembaga ini dan hanya sebagian yang dibeberkan. Saya sekali saja mengikuti survei ini mengenai income agency. Tapi tiada salahnya dicoba :))

  • Ade Indarta Justru itu kan? Kalau yg beli perusahaan-perusahaan besar yg lagi cari info harga tarif terjemahan Indonesia dan yg ikut survey ini dari Indonesia adalah penerjemah-penerjemah yg tarifnya tinggi, jadi deh ntar hasilnya di laporan “tarif terjemahan Eng-Ind di pasar saat ini adalah USD 0.08 he2

    Yesterday at 9:00am via mobile · Like · 5
  • Fuji Mulia USD 0.08? :O

  • Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha ‎Fuji Mulia sangat mungkin kok, hehe

    Yesterday at 10:32am · Like · 1
  • Fuji Mulia hahaha maklum Mas Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha saya masih nubi heheh :malus

  • Arif Furqon Kalau bisa pengaruhi harga pasar sampai 2 digit 🙂

    Yesterday at 12:37pm · Like · 1
  • Ade Indarta ‎2 digit? Bang Hipyan Nopri, Bang Arfan Achyar, NiFiSofia Mansoor, Mas Teguh Irawan wajib ngisi survei ini kalau gitu.he2

  • Arfan Achyar males… gak ada gunanya… hanya butuh satu orang penerjemah yang mau terima kecil untuk menghancurkan pasar terjemahan indonesia

    Yesterday at 2:47pm · Like · 2
  • Hipyan Nopri Baru selesai ikut ngisi surveinya, De.:)

    Yesterday at 2:57pm · Like · 1
  • Ijul Baso Pakde Eddie R. Notowidigdo juga udah 2 digit tuh, De 😀

    Yesterday at 7:16pm · Like · 1
    Salam hangat buat rekan-rekan.. Saya ingin meminta saran, bagi pengalaman dan juga ingin meminta pengalaman dari rekan-rekan sekalian. Begini kasusnya:

    Saya sedang membuat quotation untuk klien, dan setelah saya kirim, beliau memberikan feedback. Sekedar informasi, beliau adalah expat. Dan perusahaannya juga lumayan elit, saya pernah ke kantornya juga. Fee yang saya berikan ya standarlah untuk fee ke perusahaan seperti itu. Yang jelas tidak banting harga, karena saya yaking mereka mampu bayar. Pagi ini saya dikirimi email yang dengan sangat sopan, meminta penjelasan, karena katanya dia dapat harga dari supplier list perusahaannya, adalah 35.000 – 50.000 per lembar, dan katanya, supplier yang lain itu juga adalah sworn translator. Bagaimana enaknya kita menyikapi ini, karena sepanjang pengalaman saya, pekerjaan yang dia butuhkan tidak membutuhkan sworn translator (gak perlu cap dan tanda tangan legal-nya) dan juga harga 35rb-50rb jauh di bawah harga pasar yang saya tahu. Harap saran dan masukannya. Saya tidak mau banting harga, peduli dengan nasib sesama penerjemah. Like ·  · Follow Post · Wednesday at 12:02pm

  • The Uncoolest Contemporary Indonesia Expression of 2012

    It is official. Never please. Too much for now.

    Virtual Classes Anyone can Enter for FREE, Literally

    Student laptop
    Let’s study online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Khan Academy


    Academic Earth – Online courses from the world’s top scholars

    TED – Technology, Entertainment, & Design

    MIT Open CourseWare

    Stanford Engineering Everywhere

    Open Yale Courses

    About U. – Collection of free online courses from About.com


    YouTube EDU

    The Open University – Study at the OU

    University of the People

    University of Reddit

    Open Culture – The best free cultural & educational media on the web

    VideoLectures – Exchange ideas & share knowledge

    CosmoLearning – Free educational website with thousands of courses & documentaries

    (Credit goes to Johnathan Chung)



    Mengenali Diri dengan Olah Badan dan Jiwa

    Jika ada yang tak saya sukai di masa kanak-kanak tetapi begitu saya sukai sekarang dan saya lakukan tanpa paksaan sama sekali dari orang lain dan bahkan diri sendiri   mungkin  yang paling utama adalah berolahraga fisik.

    Saya sangat amat tidak suka yang satu ini. Saya tak suka sepakbola apalagi setelah seorang pemain sepakbola kampung menedang bolanya ke muka saya sampai kepala pening dan berkunang-kungan hingga keesokan harinya. Saya tidak pernah bisa memaafkan kebodohan  menjadi penonton sepakbola di barisan paling depan. Sejak itu, mendengar kata sepakbola saja saya sudah mulas. Padahal sepanjang SD, SMP, dan SMA, olahraga yang biasa dilakukan anak laki-laki adalah yang satu ini. Dan saya pun harus pasrah dengan kesewenang-wenangan otoritas sekolah alias guru olahraga yang cuma menyediakan lapangan olahraga bola di lingkungan sekolah. Entah itu, sepakbola, voli, basket. I hate balls!

    Tak ada banyak pilihan olahraga saat itu. Dan tak banyak waktu untuk berolahraga karena saya menganggap olahraga hanya buang-buang waktu. Toh hanya membakar cadangan lemak yang harus saya simpan dan gunakan dengan sehemat mungkin. Belum saya sadari bahwa badan manusia memang diciptakan untuk bergerak.

    Saya juga, seperti banyak orang lain, pernah mengalami sebuah gaya hidup mengerikan selama 8 bulan yang minim olahraga. Tak banyak keluar ruangan dan sepanjang hari berkutat dengan komputer hingga mata saya lelah luar biasa. Semua bagian badan serasa menjerit. Kesehatan fisik, dan mental serta psikologis rasanya merosot. Saya tak mau terjebak dalam gaya hidup seperti itu lagi.

    Dan sore ini adalah tepat dua hari sebelum medical check up tahunan kantor. Seperti biasa, saya dan teman-teman kantor mengobrol santai di musolla. Ya, obrolan sore di musolla kantor ini sering didominasi obrolan keluhan kesehatan dan topik ini makin intens saja menjelang hari H pelaksanaan pemeriksaan kesehatan.

    Seperti biasa saya memulai sedikit peregangan dengan asana-asana yang mudah dan beranjak ke jenis yang lebih menantang. Saya sudah biasa melakukan yoga di sini, di musolla kantor setelah solat. Bukan sebuah sesi yoga versi penuh ala studio yoga mewah di Kemang atau fitness center nan mahal tetapi cukup untuk membuat tubuh kembali segar dan bersemangat, di saat jam-jam kritis waktu rasa lesu menyerang badan yang sudah lelah karena bekerja dari pagi.

    Seorang teman, sebut saja D, yang plafon asuransi kesehatannya baru saja ‘jebol’ karena digunakan membayar perawatan rumah sakitnya pasca Lebaran kemarin, mengajak berkompetisi begtu melihat saya memperagakan chaturanga yang mirip dengan push-up. Kami pun adu push-up. Perlu diketahui, tubuh saya cuma seberat separuh (lebih sedikit) dari tubuhnya yang (konon menurut pengakuannya sendiri) menembus angka 80 kg. Ok lah kalo begitu, kami pun mulai beradu kuat dalam push-up. Saya menang dengan skor 12 plus ditambah satu lagi repetisi dengan menahan posisi di tengah dengan lengan menekuk (bukan dengan tangan lurus alias plank, atau tengkurap di lantai). Begitu juga saat sit-up saya menang meski saya akui saya memerlukan alas lebih tebal agar punggung dan pinggul yang sudah minim lapisan lemak ini tidak beradu fisik dengan lapisan lantai yang bertikar bambu.

    Akhirnya ia menemukan satu kompetisi yang membuat saya bertekuk lutut: panco. Dengan lengannya yang sebenarnya tak terlalu berotot (hanya menang lemak) itu ia menggunakan berat tubuh bagian atasnya untuk mengalahkan saya yang berlengan ramping ini.

    Teman yang lain, sebut saja G, yang juga di sana menyaksikan kami berlomba turut tergoda mempraktikkan olahraga favoritnya aikido. Tubuh G lebih jumbo lagi dari D. Ia memperagakan cara mengunci yang biasa dilakukan dalam aikido dan cara memilin pergelangan tangan lawan agar lawan terbanting dengan tenaga minimal. Katanya dengan kelenturan persendian yang saya miliki berkat yoga, kuncian pergelangan tangan itu tak terlalu membuat saya kesakitan meski akhirnya bisa membuat patah tanpa sadar.

    G juga perkenalkan sebuah gerakan khas akikido  untuk pemanasan yang tampaknya bertujuan juga untuk membuat tubuh terlatih untuk lebih gesit dan responsif saat menghadapi lawan. Gerakannya sederhana saja, kedua kaki ditekuk dan berguling ke belakang dengan punggung menyentuh lantai lalu berguling ke depan kembali langsung ke posisi berdiri. Bisa ditebak meski oleh orang ber-IQ pas-pasan sekalipun, saya menjadi pemenangnya. Itulah keuntungan memiliki tubuh ringan dan perut yang ramping. Saat harus berguling ke depan untuk bangkit, saya tak harus menggunakan tangan untuk menyangga badan agar bisa berdiri tegak. Gerakan saya lebih mulus dan tak terasa ada beban. Lain dengan kedua teman yang lebih berbobot ini. Perut yang sudah membuncit membuat bangkit dari posisi jongkok ke berdiri menjadi lebih menantang.

    Olahraga seperti inilah yang bisa membuat pekerja kantoran seperti kami masih bisa waras dalam berbagai aspek. Berolahraga seperti ini juga membuat kami sempat mengenali tubuh dan jiwa kami sendiri. Tak jarang kami merasakan nyeri dan pegal di sana-sini setelah kami menggerakkan badan dan bernapas serta rehat sejenak. Pekerjaan yang terus memburu membuat kami tak sempat merasakan setiap keluhan tubuh dan jiwa. Bahkan walaupun kami sudah tahu dan mendengar keluhan itu, kami pun sering memilih untuk mengabaikannya agar tetap bisa selesaikan pekerjaan yang terus mengalir tiada henti dan menunda menemukan dan mengatasi akar masalah yang belum juga ditemukan dan dicabut. Ini memang menjadi bom waktu tapi begitulah sifat manusia pada umumnya. Menunda hingga detik terakhir.

    Perlunya Menahan Diri Mengatakan “Cari di Google Aja!”

    Salah satu tanda sejauh mana sebuah produk teknologi merasuk dalam kehidupan manusia ialah mengamati penggunaan terminologi produk yang bersangkutan dalam percakapan sehari-hari. Kita bisa ambil contoh “Google” dan “email”. Keduanya tak akan bisa dijumpai di kamus-kamus bahasa terbitan dekade 1980-an tetapi di kamus bahasa kontemporer terbitan pertengahan 1990-an dan abad 21 ini keduanya dipastikan ada. Ini saya temukan di kamus Oxford saya semasa kuliah. Kata “email” sudah tercantum di dalamnya. Namun “Google” belum. Dan kini seiring perkembangan masyarakat penggunanya, kata benda atau nomina “Google” bisa digunakan juga sebagai verba: “google”, yang artinya kurang lebih “mencari informasi di Internet dengan bantuan mesin pencari Google”. Begitulah bahasa berkembang mengikuti perubahan manusia. Dan karena manusia juga turut dipengaruhi ciptaannya sendiri yakni teknologi, akhirnya bahasa juga tak bisa menghindari pengaruh perkembangan teknologi.

    Malam ini baru saja saya menyadari kemudahan teknologi membuat sebagian dari kita justru lebih cuek, tak acuh pada lingkungan,bahkan pada lingkungan sosial virtual kita sendiri. Benar! Saya hampir saja mengomentari status seorang teman Facebook yang bertanya tentang lambang kimia glukosa dengan “Cari aja di Google.” Dan sebuah pesan pendek dari sepupu masuk menanyakan makna sederet kata dalam bahasa asing. Saya hampir tega membalas “Pakai Google Translate napa!”
    Saat pertama membaca status teman di Facebook saya secara otomatis berpikir, kalau dia bisa menuliskan status di sana berarti ponselnya terhubung dengan Internet dan mengapa ia tidak menuju Google saja untuk bertanya itu. Konyol untuk bertanya mengenai materi pelajaran kimia di jejaring pertemanan yang ia sendiri tahu lebih banyak dihuni mahasiswa bahasa Inggris (karena ia pun demikian). Tentu saja susah mendapat jawaban.
    Sementara kasus sepupu saya, respon pertama dalam benak adalah:” Lah kan bapakmu punya BlackBerry. Pake buat cari di Google kan bisa!”
    Tiba-tiba saya merasa seperti orang paling kejam dan egois sedunia. Dan muncul rasa syukur dalam hati karena masih ada orang yang mau bertanya pada saya karena dengan demikian mereka menganggap saya ada dan bermakna.

    9 Business and Life Lessons from 2 People I Least Expected

    As someone who writes so much, I know how it feels when boredom strikes.  Zero inspiration does suck. Writers’ block are haunting when you just need to write and publish something for all the world to read. But leaving your desk for a while is really a cure to that absence of ideas. There’s in fact an endless supply of stories, lessons, and anything you can write about life and people.

    Let me tell you I didn’t plan to write another blog post today, but I do think I have to after an insightful encounter with 2 people. The first was a thirty-something taxi driver and the latter an old tailor. I had the taxi driver drive me to Slipi, and the tailor customize my working outfits. The first is  a novice and the latter shows his in-depth understanding of what he does. Here are 9 business and life lessons I learned from them.

    Mediocrity is excusable so long as you’re nice

    I had not had a very impressive experience with the driver. This man was clueless about the route. So was I. And this turned out a calamity for both of us. We were finally lost. I was late and things felt so screwed up I wanted to scream at him. As a taxi driver, he is not that competent. The first sentence after I mentioned the destination was: “Where is it exactly, sir? Please let me know the route.” But I should say he aplogized quite often because of his lack of knowledge. He admitted that he is a new driver and needs lots of guidance from the senior drivers (I’d seen him asking for directions with some other taxi drivers and ojek drivers). He was desperate, and I held my disappointment because I knew I couldn’t vent. It wouldn’t solve the problem anyway. At the end of the ride, he bombarded me with a series of apologetic statements and gave me a discount. Not bad at all.

    Never promise something you can’t fulfill for sure but exceed the expectation

    Once you give your words, you have no other options but deliver it. That’s why Pak Risky, the tailor, refrain from promising what he cannot do.

    Provide advice, never dictate

    Once you think you know better and are smarter than your customers, there is less chance for you to have another business with them. The tailor advised me only some basic things, the rest is up to me. I can decide whatever I want. You can give alternatives and options but never judge customers’ taste or make them adopt your ideas without their consent.

    Talk the details through

    Because talking through details is not only about sweating small things. Sometimes you have to sweat small things because small things determine your level of dedication to your job. It’s true.

    Be open-minded and outspoken

    Being straightforward always does you good when it comes to dealing with customers or clients or whatever you have to socialize with. People are more likely to talk more and come back later if you treat them like family who you can talk with comfortably. You don’t have to smile all the time but talking about what you do to match their expectation is such a great pitch to lurk them into your business.

    Devise your own method

    The tailor creatively devised his own errorproof method. He refused to apply the common way of storing the fabrics and other materials needed in the clothes making. “Other tailors cut a tiny piece of fabrics and clip it on to the notebook where they jot down all the measurement results and give receipts but I don’t do the same way,” Pak Risky elaborated. He uses special chalk instead to write customers’ initials on materials or fabrics. This way, he is less likely to mistakenly pick the wrong stuff, which can lead to a huge and costly disaster to his ultra small business.

    Promote your fellows

    As I knocked on the fron door of Pak Risky’s small two-storey kiosk, he greeted me and knew instantly what I was about to say. Of course, I wanted my fabrics sewn. But then he politely said he had to be struggling with lots of orders these days, and unexpectedly enough, he mentioned some of the fellow tailors nearby. That said, I knew I should never give up so easily. This 65-year-old man must have something that attracts. I said to him it is totally ok to wait for like a week or whenever he is done with all the orders he is currently working hard on.

    Take a rest for a while

    Running a small business needs ultimate great deal of hard work and perseverance, especially when you are dependent upon the profits you make from it. Yet there’re times when you should just give it a rest. This old man practically lives alone. His wife stays in Pemalang. She prefers living in the hometown as osteoporosis is weakening her spine. Fractures were spotted from the x-ray and the condition worsened right after his wife fell down in the bathroom.

    Pak Risky said he once lost his consciousness in the restroom as well. “Many people looking perfectly healthy around here are finally dead all of a sudden,” he stated. Died of heart attack or stroke? That could be the cause. He fell down and fainted, and because he lives on his own, the neighbors around him were helping him. He said, “I ate regularly, and drank milk and of course worked hard till late at night so how could this happen to me? Perhaps God wanted me to rest for a while.”

    Show gratitude to The Almighty

    At last but not least, I can say this is the classic punch line. However, that’s how someone usually leads a life, moving closer to a greater cause bigger than s/he is. And if you happen to be a spiritual or religious person by upbringing or later after reaching adulthood, the final destination would be God.

    Gaya Hidup Vegan Ditinjau dari Perspektif Kesehatan, Islam dan Etika

    Mikael Harun, seorang aktivis gaya hidup vegan alias pantang produk hewani, menyempatkan berbagi pandangannya mengenai gaya hidup vegan bersama dr. Arie yang membahas prinsip pemeliharaan kesehatan. Dalam kesempatan tersebut, saya kutip beberapa pemikirannya yang menarik mengenai gaya hidup vegan ditinjau dari sudut pandang kesehatan dan etika sebagai manusia yang notabene adalah makhluk yang dikaruniai akal budi.

    Dalam uraiannya, Mikael menyebutkan adanya dugaan keras bahwa sebagian pihak memiliki kepentingan ekonomi yang lebih kuat sehingga kampanye makan daging dan minum susu makin digalakkan. Ia beralasan, “Diduga bahwa sebagai penghasil susu terbanyak di dunia, AS menyelipkan susu dalam saran 4 sehat 5 sempurna yang dikampanyekan WHO”.

    “Mengapa susu tak sehat?” tanyanya . “Karena sapi-sapi perah biasanya diambil susu dan disuntik hormon penyubur untuk genjot produksi susu, dan berisiko menyebabkan penyakit pada sapi, dan susu mengandung hormon penyubur tersebut.”

    Ketakutan pestisida dalam sayuran dan buah juga kurang beralasan karena daging hewan ternak justru bisa mengandung pestisida lebih tinggi karena kandang mereka disemprot pestisida, rumput makanan mereka juga terkena pestisida dan tidak dicuci sebelum dimakan. Demikian kata Mikael yang sudah mantap menerapkan gaya hidup berpantang daging.

    Saat ditanya tentang sehat tidaknya susu kedelai, Mikael berkata susu kedelai baik bagi kesehatan tetapi jangan berlebihan karena takut kurang protein. Banyak pemula vegan yang minum susu kedelai berlebihan padahal itu kurang baik. Tubuh tak perlu protein sebanyak itu. “Cuma butuh kira-kira 2 potong tempe sehari,” katanya diiringi tatapan heran dari mereka yang hadir, karena menurut standar umum, tentu saja kuantitas itu tergolong sangat sedikit.

    Berikut merupakan pertanyaan menarik yang jawabannya perlu kita ketahui bersama.

    Pertanyaan: mengapa saat makan buah kita merasa kembung?

    Jawaban: secara anatomi dan fisiologis, bentuk dan sistem tubuh manusia tidak dirancang untuk mengolah protein hewani tetapi dipaksakan. Yang jadi masalah ialah apakah sebelumnya makanan kita sudah baik? Ada runtutan yang menjadi sebab, jangan hanya dirasakan dari saat setelah makan buah saja, tetapi cermati apa yang dimakan sebelum makan buah.

    Peternakan tidak hewani, karena tempat/ kandangnya tidak layak huni, kotor, dan sebagainya. Saat hewan disembelih, dikeluarkan hormon stres (kortisol) yang dalam jumlah besar dan berlebihan akan menghancurkan tubuh.

    Sesuai hukum inersia/kelembaman, saat kita makan lebih sedikit, kita akan lebih merasa ringan dan aktif dan jika banyak bergerak, saat itu kita akan mendapatkan lebih banyak energi dari aktivitas kita, bukan justru kehabisan energi. Jadi ada beberapa konsep yang perlu dirombak.

    Vegan itu bukan hanya tidak mengkonsumsi daging tetapi juga bagaimana kita berpikir, tidak menyakiti makhluk lain, ucapan tidak menyakiti orang lain, dan sebagainya. Jarang orang yang mampu mengatur pola makan dengan baik mau merokok atau minum alkohol atau mencuri dan sebagainya, gaya hidup mereka lebih sehat.

    Pertanyaan: apakah pola makan vegan bagus untuk underweight people?

    Jawaban:  dalam DNA, manusia sudah memiliki cetak biru berbagai hal, termasuk berat badannya yang ideal. Dalam buku Katsuo Murikami tetang DNA, dari alam telah diberikan setting default tentang berat kita yang ideal untuk menjalani kehidupan kita.

    Jadi saat seseorang memperbaiki pola makannya menjadi lebih banyak konsumsi makanan segar dan sederhana dan secukupnya, ia berpeluang akan menemukan berat badannya yang ideal sebagaimana dikandung dalam DNA. Sebanyak apapun atau sesedikit apapun hasilnya akan tetapi di kisaran berat badan tersebut.


    Dari sudut pandang moral, minum susu juga kurang baik karena susu diperuntukkan untuk anak sapi yang lebih membutuhkan, bukan untuk kita manusia. Karena kita menganggap minum susu sapi adalah hal yang harus dilakukan setiap saat untuk tetap sehat, hewan-hewan ternak tersebut harus menghadapi perlakuan yang melebihi batas kewajaran demi menggenjot produksi susunya semata-mata agar terus bisa lebih banyak memenuhi kebutuhan pasar yang makin tinggi. Singkatnya, sapi-sapi itu harus rela disuntik oleh hormon-hormon buatan dan dipisahkan dari induknya sejak kecil cuma untuk memenuhi kebutuhan susu sapi manusia, yang pada dasarnya sebuah kesia-siaan belaka. Manusia cuma memerlukan susu dari ibunya, makhluk yang satu spesies dengannya.

    “Anak sapi ya memang harus minum susu sapi, anak manusia ya minum air susu manusia yang melahirkannya, yaitu ibunya,” tegas Mikael. Itu sudah hakikat alam. Sunatullah, demikian jika menggunakan terminologi Islam. Sayangnya, manusia tak memperdulikan.

    Minum Susu Hewan dalam Islam

    Dalam Islam sendiri, sepengetahuan saya, minum susu hewan memang boleh. Minum susu unta dicontohkan oleh Nabi Muhammad. Namun, patut kita cermati cara dan frekuensi nabi minum susu hewan. Dalam hadis ini, mungkin kita bisa sedikit menelaah bagaimanakah Nabi memperlakukan susu hewan.

    Dalam hadis riwayat Anas bin Malik ra. berikut dikatakan:

    Aku benar-benar pernah memberi minum Rasulullah saw. dengan gelasku ini, semua minuman, madu, nabiz, air dan susu. (Shahih Muslim No.3748)

    Hadis lainnya tentang susu juga mengatakan boleh minum susu:

    Hadis riwayat Abu Bakar As-Sidik ra., ia berkata:

    Pada waktu kami keluar bersama Rasulullah saw. dari Mekah menuju Madinah, kami melewati seorang penggembala kambing. Ketika itu Rasulullah saw. benar-benar merasa haus. Lalu aku memerahkan sedikit susu untuk beliau. Susu itu aku bawa kepada beliau dan beliau meminumnya hingga aku merasa puas. (Shahih Muslim No.3749)

    Di sini, saya bisa mencoba menarik simpulan bahwa susu hewan hendaknya diperlakukan sebagai alternatif terakhir dalam memuaskan dahaga kita. Bukan sebagai jenis minuman yang dikonsumsi layaknya air putih yang sebaiknya diminum hingga 6-8 gelas sehari. Kita bisa lihat di urutan jenis minuman yang disebutkan di hadis pertama. Bisa jadi ada maksud tersendiri menyebutkan susu sebagai jenis minuman terakhir. Dan disebutkan di hadis kedua juga bahwa Rasulullah sedang merasa benar-benar  haus, jadi dapat dimengerti bahwa terjadi sebuah keadaan darurat, yang jika tidak segera dipenuhi akan membuat Rasul menderita dan kurang sehat atau tidak kuat dalam menjalankan kegiatannya saat itu. Sekali lagi, itu interpretasi saya.  Keadaan ini tentu sangat berbeda dengan keadaan kita yang bisa saja memilih jenis minuman selain susu hewan di sekitar kita.

    Jika saya ditanya, apakah saya akan minum susu dan bagaimana pandangan saya sendiri tentang minum susu hewan, yang pertama saya mungkin katakan ialah pentingnya kita menyadari prinsip keseimbangan dan tidak berlebih-lebihan. Dalam hal minum susu hewan, saya mungkin hanya akan minum sesekali. Susu hewan seperti sapi, kambing, unta memang tidak haram, tidak juga dengan sekali minum akan merusak kesehatan. Namun, sesuatu yang baik sekalipun jika berlebihan kuantitasnya akan menimbulkan dampak negatif. Itu adalah sebuah keniscayaan. Dan itu yang saya yakini. Jadi dalam hal ini saya tidak akan bersikap secara ekstrim menghindari susu (dan produk hewani lainnya) tetapi lebih condong pada sikap moderat. Boleh makan asal sekadarnya. Tidak perlu harus setiap hari, 3 kali sehari.

    Sikap  Saya

    Dan perlu kita pahami bahwa kondisi alam dan hewan ternak di jaman Rasulullah dan jaman sekarang sudah sama sekali lain. Jadi kita juga tidak bisa menutup mata dan memberlakukan hukum hitam putih atas susu hewan. Saya setuju jika konsumsi susu hanya sekadarnya, tidak mengharuskannya diminum setiap hari seolah itulah penawar keadaan kurang gizi. Jangan berlebihan dan fanatik dengan manfaat susu yang dipublikasikan banyak perusahaan besar. Apalagi jika susu hewan itu diproduksi dengan menerapkan prinsip etika pada hewan, yakni dengan membiarkan mereka menjalani proses kehidupan secara alami, tidak menggunakan berbagai cara dan metode yang merusak keseimbangan alam. Adalah sebuah keegoisan untuk menggunakan hormon buatan yang akibatnya pun kita tak sepenuhnya mengerti hanya untuk membuat hewan-hewan itu memenuhi “kebutuhan” susu kita. Saya pikir itu sangat absurd, konyol. Anak-anak hewan tersebut adalah yang lebih membutuhkan dan mereka justru dicekoki susu formula buatan pabrik dari botol. Inilah kesewenang-wenangan manusia modern yang berpikir mereka tahu segalanya, memanipulasi alam demi kepentingan sendiri dan berdoa bahkan mengkritik pada Tuhan jika mereka terkena musibah penyakit akibat prilaku semena-mena mereka sendiri.

    Tentang daging, saya juga memilih untuk mengkonsumsi sewajarnya. Tak perlu memasukkannya sebagai menu harian yang harus ada. Dan saya pikir itulah mengapa Islam hanya merayakan Idul Adha sekali dalam setahun. Menurut saya, jika daging adalah suatu makanan yang wajib ada dalam menu harian seorang manusia agar ia tetap sehat, Idul Adha harus dirayakan setiap hari agar fakir miskin bisa bertahan hidup. Namun, kenyataannya tidaklah demikian!

    Mungkin sudah saatnya kita kembali ke perbedaan makna “boleh” dan “wajib”. Teman saya pernah memprotes, “Kalau kamu tidak makan daging, untuk apa hewan-hewan ternak yang halal diciptakan oleh Allah?” Saya pun  dengan santai menjawab, “Saya tentu akan tetap sekali-kali makan daging, tetapi bukan berarti sebanyak-banyaknya dan semua yang ada di hadapan saya harus dihabiskan. Kita harus bagikan secara merata ke orang yang membutuhkan dan lebih jarang makan daging. Itulah inti Idul Adha bukan. Berbagi!”

    Direct,Hard Endorsement: One Easy Way to Lose on Social Media Battle

    I still remember perfectly how an influential account with a cheesy handle on Twitter blatantly ‘promoted’ and ‘endorsed’ our incumbent Jakarta gubernatorial election candidate. This pseudonym account is very well known for its straight forward criticism. Just like @poconggg in its golden age, this account gather a lot of people in Jakarta and Indonesia. The issues it tweets generally touch on the conspiracy allegations of business titans and politicians around the archipelago. Some get really curious about this pseudo-named Twitter personae. Some speculated it is actually a person who used to be or even still exists in the inner part of the power center of the country. The depth of knowledge on various socio-political issues it shows is simply stunning. Apart from the validity of the ‘facts’ it serves to the public, its criticism and discussions skills are considered over the top. The account also sometimes uses its sense of humor and the young gorgeous woman photo it uses as the avatar gives a less intimidating image. But then again, who can make sure what its real intention of tweeting in that  provocative way? The government gave the words to closely watch these provoking pseudonym accounts but really, what can they do about it? Literally nothing, I must say.
    And several days before the gubernatorial election, this pseudonym account smartly endorsed Foke-Nara by tweeting awesome things about them but of course that is such a waste of time. Jakartans on social media are smart, they knew the incumbent sucked, which is why you could read their raged tweets every time they get stuck in maddening traffic jams. They are too learned to realize what is behind the phoney ads. The candidates public debate even showed more the incumbent’s foolish acts and uncool attitudes. In short, social mediawise the incumbent had lost from the very beginning and the direct hard promotion made the incumbent suffer even more. They were hated by the Jakartans on Twitter at once. Then I came to conclusion that it might be a new method of conquering your social media foes. Well, that was a clever stunt, @TrioMacan2000!!!

    Snapshots of #Jakarta (Taken from My Instagram Collection)

    That disgraceful moustache : It was printed on the wall calendar hung in the nearby mosque I frequent.

    Despite the shameless rampant  racist black campaign, the incumbent lost to the new younger challenger Mr. Joko Widodo and Basuki Purnama a.k.a. Ahok, as indicated by some quick count results:
    1. Quick Count LSI-TV One: Jokowi-Ahok 53,68%, Foke-Nara 46,32%.
    2. Indo Barometer-Metro TV: Jokowi-Ahok 54,11%, Foke-Nara 45,89%.
    3. LSI-SCTV: Jokowi-Ahok: 53,81%, Foke-Nara 46,19%.
    4. Kompas: Jokowi-Ahok: 52,97 %, Foke-Nara 47,03%
    5. MNC Media-SMRC: Jokowi-Ahok 52,63, Foke-Nara 47,37%.


    After the incumbent, will the new administration be the next scapegoat of the traffic jam?
    Some don’t even give it a damn, sadly.
    What they call “development” is actually “demolition”. I still remember the government promised to move or replant the trees from these areas before the flyover project began. Can they tell me where those trees are now? Oh I forget how busy they are all with these political craps.
    Not a slave,not yet a boss: You are most likely to find the middle class faces in Sudirman Central Business District in #jakarta . They are caught somewhere between the bottom of the food chain in the ecosystem (e.g. construction, manual workers) and the jetset. They might afford to buy an iPhone 5 in cash but need to save first before purchase.
    Modern slavery: Construction workers in #jakarta start working. These men are mostly peasants in various rural poverty-ridden areas around Java. Once the project they work for is done, they go home and plant the paddy fields as the rainy season approaches in the end of year.


    2 days before the gubernatorial election in #Jakarta


    Approaching the gubernatorial election in #jakarta, I get so dumbfounded by all the debates, arguments and psywars. I am no Jakartan before the law so I have no right to cast a vote. But if I really have to vote, i will vote for both. Just for the sake of balance. and everyone’s happy.
    Monas: The 51-year-old monument was officiated in 1975. It took 14 years to erect the 132 meter high landmark of Jakarta. Frederich Silaban and R. M. Soedarsono are the architects in charge of its one-of-a-kind design,which resembles a torch and flame. The golden flame at the top symbolizes the struggle of the opressed nation against the Dutch Colonial Regime. #landmarked


    It is estimated that #Jakarta will have thousands more new inhabitants every year after Idul Fitri. These new comers are mostly those without adequate skills and knowledge, not to mention their lack of educational background. A trusted friend of mine recently went back from her hometown and told me some of the people she knew at home went to the capital to find jobs. And they are not alone. Each of these job seekers brings his own motorbike as well. Why am i not surprised to find these streets are always not wide enough to hold the maddening traffic???


    “Toko Merah” (Red Store): A culturally preserved old building in #KotaTua #jakarta ,erected in 1730 in the initiative of General Governor of VOC 1743-1750, Gustaaf Willem Baron van Imhoff.




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