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Racism within Our Soul

A few days ago, a friend of mine complained to me about some bad treatment of Malaysian ‘landlords’ against their Indonesian workers, mostly maids (TKW – tenaga kerja wanita), and sadly most of such bad treatment are perpetrated by the indegenous ethnic Melayu (Malay); not by the Chinese-Malaysian. Racism of some sort is also felt on the streets, he added.

It’s not my purpose to condemn or deplore such kind of bad treatment here which’s mostly very unfortunate if it were true. I just wanna talk about the existence of racism itself deep within our own soul.

I define racism as an expression form of ‘insult’ of a more superior or more ‘perfect’ person against a weaker one; a more superior nation or state against another.

From this premise, we can see such kind of attitude in our daily life; in our surroundings; even in our own-self.

The richer against the poor. The taller against the shorter. The smarter against the dummy. The whiter against the black, the color one, etc.

For me, the racism instinct within the human soul is regrettable, yet forgiven as far as it’s not expressed in such a vulgar & verbal way. It need to be hidden and kept deep in our heart so as to make our social relation in sustainable harmony. The capability to hide our bad feeling (like that of racism instinct) and the incapability of doing it is what differentiate between the civilized person, ethnic, nation and the barbarous ones.

The Importance of Soul-Searching

Soul searching, self-reflection or self-criticism if you like are a tendency of an individual, society or nation that has been undergoing sort of anxiety kind of feeling. It used to happen when one feels there’s something wrong with him/her in case of individual, or in case of nation/country, with the nation/state. Soul searching in a big way done by an individual will make him/her a good philosopher, poet, . Hence the emergence of Sigmund Freud, Plato, Aristoteles, Kahlil Gibran, etc.

In Indonesia, we can see such example in Buya Hamka, an eminent ulama (Muslim cleric), great thinker, novelist, poet, prolific author, literary expert, an awardee of two honorary professor in two different field: Islamic studies from Al Azhar University and Malay literature from a Malaysian university, all of which achieved by him without undergoing any formal studies in any universities.

Do we, as Indonesian, need to do soul-searching or self-criticism? Yes, we do. There’re many wrong things in our country. From the collective corruption up to the very bottom of government officials; the collective consumptive tendency of individuals; the want-to-get-much-and-do-less of typically lazy generation; the extravagance life-style of many rich people, enterpreneurs or corrupt officials, the careless of the rich towards the well-being of the poor.

What goes wrong? The answer is many. But the more important thing is the way you react everytime you see it. If you still think that everything is fine and there’s no need to do soul-searching and self-criticism and try hard to find the solution and implement it, it only means that the nation is really sick.

Love Your Neighbour

We, human beings, are hardly grateful creatures to whatever privelege we are currently enjoying and tend to take it for granted unless and until we lost it. Only then we start mourning and remembering it and pray & ask for it to come back. Sometimes an individual accident or a national natural disaster like Tsunami in Aceh becomes a good way for the “nature” to remind us of the importance of thank-giving. There are another way to be grateful to what we already posses without any need to wait for a thief to steal our properties: by looking at someone else who yet to have it and desperately want it. Here’s one story I’d like to share.

A few days back, in a casual get-together with a Laos student along with some Indian friends we talk about each other countries, cities and travelling. The Laos student told us that he regularly visits some ASEAN countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, etc.

An Indian friend casually responded, “Well, it must be tiring to get so many visas from many different countries.” He replied also in casual tone, “we dont even need any visa to travel around ASEAN countries.” All our Indian friends looked so surprised and then they start appreciating us who are able to maintain a very good relations with our neighbours. At the same time they also complaining their not-so-good relations with their neighboring countris specially Pakistan and China. So, it’s so hard for them to go to both countries, specially to Pakistan who just before seven decades ago was a country called Hindustan which consist of now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

When I along with the Laos guy were going home together he’s unusually quiet. I dont know what he’s thinking. Probably, he thought of how fortunate we are, the ASEAN nations. And how unfortunate they’re who cant have a good relation with their neighbours. I think, he might’ve also thought how important our neighbours are as important as ourselves. And above all, how important it’s to live in peace with neighbors and with all humans around the world; as advanced technology has made the world a smaller place where geographical border no longer exist and hence, each of this planet residents are our neighbours.

The Flying Professors

The term is derived from literal translation of dosen terbang. This word is used to refer to university teachers/lecturers in Indonesia who never feel comfortable to teach at one university, and instead, go everywhere around country whenever and wherever their skill/expertise are required by any other Indonesia universities particularly outside Java where the qualified professors are of short supply. And as a natural consequences, their real students in which they are supposed to teach are step-motherly treated.

No wonder if a professor of UI (universitas Indonesia), for example, sometimes can only teach at UI for once in a month. There some case in which they can meet their real students only once in 6 months i.e. at the end of semester. Beyond that the task will be borne by the so called lecturer assistant (asisten dosen).

The flying professors is a saddening phenomenon. Mostly because it would affect in a great deal the quality of the students they should concentrate on teaching. What you expect from a student who hardly meet his/her lecturer?

Rian Saputra had this to say:

“Dampak yang seringkali timbul adalah seringnya dosen tidak masuk, penggatian jadwal secara sepihak, minimnya materi yang tersampaikan, serta masih banyak lagi…Klo cuman satu dua dosen, mungkin masih bisa ditolelir. tetapi secara agregate. Mungkin temen2 bisa simpulkan sendiri..”

Should we blame the lecturers who are willy-nilly flying around country to make their bread-and-butter of their family more safe? And what the root cause of this phenomenon?

According to Mar at Semisteri Alam we cannot and should not put all the blame to the teachers. Unless and untill we raise their salaries, the flying teachers will never stop:

“… Jika gaji guru/dosen naik, maka mereka akan konsen terhadap para mahasiswanya di satu kampus saja. Gak comot sana – comot sini. Kalau sudah begitu khan, mobilitas dosen jadi tinggi. Jarang di kampus malahan! … Guru dan dosen jangan hanya diberi gelar : Pahlawan Tanpa Tanda Jasa! Makan gelar apa ?!
” [If the salary of teachers/lectures are raised, they will concentrate more on their students at one university only.. Teachers and lecturers should not be given a hollow attributes like a Hero without medal..etc]”

How much the salary of university lectures in Indonesia? It’s around USD 100 to 150/month. India, where the $400 GDP/year is less than Indonesia’s $700, still afford to pay the lecturers around USD 400 to 600/month.

But the lecturers/professors should not escape from the blame either. Indian professors can live simple life with the $400-600/month and concentrate solely at one university, accessible fully to their students queries. I hardly found any Indian professors/lecturers who drive cars. Instead their satisfy themselves by riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle. That’s why even with that amount of salary, they can still afford to save money.

In Indonesia, lecturers in prominent universities like UI, UGM, UNAIR, etc will be ashame of seeing themselves entering the university gates without a car! So, even if their wages raised into the level of Indian lecturers, I’m sure, they will still be flying around and enjoy the status of Flying Professors!

The basic message is while we urge the government to raise the teachers wage, the lecturers themselves also should learn how to live decent life, without which the amount of their salary will never be enough to pay their bill.

Hamid Awaluddin: They are Paid Protesters

Note from the meeting with Minister of Justice Hamid Awaluddin

Before question & answer session, Ambassador Donillo Anwar requested the Minister to brief us regarding the latest information on current events in Indonesia. Interesting to note that the first word he said was regarding the intense protests currently prevailing in Indonesia and media.

He wanted us “not to bother” with so many protesters filling up media headlines. Because, they’re just doing their jobs. In other words they’re the paid protesters. You can see the same people are protesting multiple times for different causes and, of course, with different banners. The number of them are very small, but they got media attention because, he said, “it’s very easy to take their picture.” So, dont even trust the media. You need to cross-check every news covered by media.

The kind of response, i.e. down-playing the protesters and criticism seems to me as a pattern of current regime. Several months back Minister of Agriculture, Anton Apriantono, during his visit to New Delhi also said no more no less the same tune. He even specified the protesters was carried out by some students who “just dont know what they’re doing.”

The conspiracy theory to any criticism against them held by SBY cabinets is obviously a downside part of SBY regime: criticise us, we woudn’t heard you, the paid protesters!

Is it as simple as that, ministers?

3 thoughts on “Racism within Our Soul”

  1. it remind me the 1966 tragedy in south africa… when apartheid come through and break the black nation..

    who want to be blame? if you want to blame someone..

    the right want to blame is OUR COUNTRY

  2. This opinion very good for me especially. Because since 2007, some time there is “racism in my soul/mind” …. I realize it. and when the mind like that appear in my heart, I say, ” I can not let this recism always satand in my heart …this is from devil ” …. I say : please go devil….go…go…and go….

    Question : is racims /hate from devil or from our ownself? I do not know ….

    I must several time to say a pray, I say to GOD, please, dont let this racism come to my head.

    May be same people have experince with me, because every day we hear bad news about this world, or may be around us make we be anggry. but please to learn patient… and bring that all bad mind to GOD in Praying.



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