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Searching for Solace

The more independent a person, the less dependent one becomes towards God and religion. At least, that’s the case of many in other parts of the world. H.J.C. Princen, a Dutch, a deserter of Dutch army to become an Indonesian freedom fighter against his colonialist country and a human right activist during Suharto’s era, once said as reported by TEMPO magazine a few decades ago, that he’s actually in no actual need to any religion. Despite he followed one of them.

That is understandable. The basic character of human is that they will make priorities based on their immediate needs. People in the West (Western Europe particularly) who are relatively more independent than that in the East, financially as well as emotionally, find religion as a non-immediate priorities. And hence atheism or agnosticism finds a fertile breed out there.

There are moments, however, where money and anything it can buy, cannot resolve problems. And there are times when logic reaches its limit. Here human will need something else. Something beyond human capability to do and to think. It’s at this point of time when you have only two choices: turn to religion, or spiritualism if you like; or you are dead in its literal or metaphorical sense. Revealed a 2004 study:

According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry religious affiliation is associated with significantly lower levels of suicide compared to religiously unaffiliated people, atheists and agnostics.

John Naisbitt & Patricia Aburdene’s Megatrend 2000 also told us how a fanatic Atheist in the Sovyet’s era need to call an Orthodox priest to pray for him in his deathbed.

Drugs and Bastardization of Modernity

I had a very nice baby-face innocent-looking friend not so long time ago. I met him occasionally, but certainly he is one of those whose presence making conversation alive and congenial. His father is a colonel in Indonesian army. After intervening period of about two years, I met him again. I was shocked. He’s just a dead man alive. His impressive physical appearance just gone. I know the reason, yet I asked him for clarity or may be just for the sake of asking.

He confirmed my query of his addiction to drug. One year later after the last meeting, he died unnatural death. Victim of another version of modernity, the bastardized one.

Fareed Zakaria, Chief Editor Newsweek International, writes in his The Future of Freedom that many people in the developing countries tend to imitate the west the wrong way. For the rich and well-to-do family, modernization means McDonald’s hamburger, Rolex watches, fast cars and wearing the latest Paris fashion available. For the rich young guy, following the popular trend is everything even if it means drugs and dead.

Importing Western goods or its pop culture is easy; importing the inner stuffing of modern society–hard work, sense of responsibility, integrity, knowledgeable, among others– is difficult. I see my dead friend smiles noddingly from his premature grave.

On Being Financially and Mentally Independent

So, my friend Budi Putra has decided to be a full time blogger which means he makes his blogging activities as the only way to make a living. It also means he quits his good position as an online managing editor at Tempo magazine and Koran Tempo (Tempo newspaper). Many Indonesian bloggers stunned. Non-blogger Indonesian are shocked and wondered even more as to why and how come. I am not.

I am not stunned with the decision nor shocked. At the same time I am so glad to know the news. After more than two weeks I hardly sign-in to blogger.com, this news is a good news for reasons that might be different with you, Komunitas Blogger Indonesia.

First, Budi Putra’s step symbolizes a departure from mainstream mindset. Many educated Indonesians want to get a job in a good company or to be a civil servant after finishing their study. The bigger and higher the job and the position the better. This is the standard of success among many Indonesians. When an Indonesian parent proudly tells you that he/she has been successful in educating his/her children to be what they are now, be rest assured that the children must have been getting a job as a civil servant or in a big company (MNCs is more preferable). Being an enterpreneur becomes a second choice.

Second, learning from Budi Putra’s step one who already has a good career gotta think from now that being an employee is ok as far as it’s a transit destination to learn from many more experienced persons in workplace; not a sole and main goal of life.

Being a forever employee of another person called big-boss for me is in no way a success story. That’s a clearly failed story of high educated or skilled person with a very small heart.

I dont blame those with minimum skill and capability to work with somebody else. But I never understand those whose qualifications and capabilities are eligible to be a CEO of his own, yet feel so proud to be under someone else armpit. There’s something hidden beneath called “gut” that most Indonesian skillful human resouces don’t have. The gut to try, gut to take a risk to be on his own.

Budi Putra has started this risk-taking effort for his own future and hopefully will be followed by others. It’s for this reason that I want to congratulate him. That he chooses blogging as a stepping stone is just a coincidence; one tool among many other means available to be financilly, personally and mentally independent.

Success is not about how much your monthly salary as an employee in whatever company is. It’s about how brave you are in creating opportunity for yourself and thus hopefully for others as well.

The Power of Giving

Internet world has made a stark and unumbiguous example and lesson on the power of generosity. Of course technological innovation becomes a part of the parcel. The more you give, the more you win the heart and mind of many people. Have a look at the phenomenal fame and growth of the just-acquired-by-google video networking youtube.com.

Following the line of Google’s everything-online-is-free jargon, youtube . com just gives away everything to the end-user that is you and me. Blogger.com (blogspot) which gives its users almost full control of its content, feedburner . com which is so innovative and beginner friendly and the easy-to-use and innovativeness of mybloglog.com are among other free online services that stand out among the rest; both for their innovation and generosity. It’s in line with the old adage that “the more you give (material or non-material thing), the more you get (heart, mind and respect).” And in business term, more profit.

It’s with the same reason why Chinese Indonesian are generally more successful in their business than the so-called pribumi (literally, the sons of the soil. Term being used by Suharto’s regime to divide people on ethnic base).

If you want to buy something, say a laptop, you’d check out some laptop shops to compare prices and look at the most “negotiable” ones. Almost certain, you’d end up in a shop owned by ethnic Chinese not only will you get the better price, you’d also get a relatively more professional treatment. While the pribumi wants a bigger short term profit, ethnic Chinese tends to take a long term plan–to win heart, mind and loyalty of consumers–as more significant. And that will lead to a long term consequences as well, for the worse and for the better respectively.

In day-to-day life, one who is more generous and “giving”, materially or emotially will get more respect and fondness from others. Despite his intellectual shortcoming, President George W. Bush is known for his emotional generosity. No less than Hillary Clinton who testified in a media recently that he’s very charming and loveable. A charming, loveable and charismatic personality is usually closely related to a person who’s generous. Generosity also means the readiness to budge, to appreciate, not to be critical to others on personal matters and being self-critical instead. Sometimes this kind of generosity is playing more important role in building up our credibility as a person as well as a leader.

3 thoughts on “Searching for Solace”

  1. well, suicide symbolizes a desperation, a giving-up of hope; the dead of life. to say the least. at the time you wish to do suicide, you’re virtually dead. :)

  2. I smell atheism grows in every corners of countries. When there is no shine for their heart, they will easily ignore their believe of God.

    I Personally like this quote “According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry religious affiliation is associated with significantly lower levels of suicide compared to religiously unaffiliated people, atheists and agnostics.”

    Would you like to share your opinion about suicide?


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