Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tolerance in comparison

Few days ago read the news about Hasyim Muzadi making a controversial speech. He is the former general chief of of Nahdatul Ulama (PBNU, a well-known Islamic organization in Indonesia). His speech is now widely spread on net, BBM and alike. His speech is more or less about countering stigma saying that Indonesia is less tolerant country in terms of religion. He told us in the video that he had traveled to lots of countries and he never found a country as tolerant as Indonesia, meaning that Indonesia is the world most tolerant country in terms of religion. No one doubts his experience and Islamic knowledge as is the prominent figure that has already been doing da’wah (spreading Islam) for decades. Generally speaking, everything we say and have in mind is influenced by many things. We are aware that experience has great shares in shaping our way of thinking. Even it is the most influential one. I do realize that I am influenced by the experiences I got within the period of my life; I am now 25 years, married, and still studying at master degree. Compared to Hasyim Muzadi, I visited only once in my life to the overseas country i.e. USA, Arizona state. It was in 2008 I flew there and stayed for about 8 weeks in the city of Tucson, Arizona. Although it was in Ramadan, my daily activities there in the USA were mostly common to me. In terms of religion I got no any harassment or such from people there. I think was respected enough by people of American which are non Muslim and of course I got much appreciation and brotherhood feeling from Muslim brothers and sisters. I was also several times invited by non Muslim families to have dinner in their house. Sometimes we got ifthar (breaking the fast) together and had sharing afterward. To me, those experiences somewhat erased the stereotype that American are racists. There were only two mosques within that city though and I only came to one of them called ICT (Islamic Center of Tucson). Compared to the number churches (both catholic and protestant) and synagogues for sure the number of mosque was too small. This is of course normal as the number of Muslims is few. One peculiar thing I found there was that, the Mosque didn’t have any minaret with loud speaker on it. It was really strange because in Indonesia I always find that the mosque and loud speaker cannot be separated. Loudspeaker here is used for resounding adzan – inviting people to pray (five times a day). Adzan was only resounded in the mosque and it couldn’t be heard from outside. Wishing to find the answer why this happened asked one of the Muslims in the mosque. He remarked that the city’s law doesn’t permit adzan to be sounded outside the mosque as it is deemed to disturb people who live around the mosque. But well then I asked myself, why can bell in synagogues be rung? Does it also disturb people around it? Well, I just couldn’t complain anybody since I was just a temporary student at one of universities there in Arizona. There I tried to be very tolerant though I couldn’t have something common- hearing adzan outside the mosque. Connecting my experience in Arizona with the situation prevailed in Indonesia which is deemed less tolerant; I am sure that what Hasyim Muzadi stated in his spread video is correct. I am all with him. People cannot judge that Indonesia is a less tolerant country in terms of religion. They must see this case comprehensively, at least do comparison with other countries and then they can make objective valuation. All in all, Muslims is and Christians in Indonesia must live harmoniously by respecting to each other. To me, this can be manifested in the act showing; Christians are given right to make churches as needed. At the same time Muslims also have to be given right to establish mosque for them to pray. This must be also applied in any country which adhere the principle of democracy such as USA, England and so on. I certainly sure that is the really mean of democracy in terms of religion life. In other words, this is what we called the tolerance we’ve been pursuing for long.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Capsized Pyramid

As a student who’s learning Economics and management, I am keen on sharing my thought with you about something related to the subject I am learning. It’s actually the problem faced by some countries in the world and I picked Japan. Why Japan? It’s been quite some time that I follow the news about it, or write about it for my paper at college. Japan is now facing the problem called aging population, aside from its effort in handling nuclear problem caused by tsunami few months ago. Japan is a well-developed country but now is challenged by the economy and demography problem i.e. aging population. Aging population is situation in which most people live in a country are old people – more elderly than youngsters, in a simple sentence. This is sort of spooky thing as the country won’t work well. “If a country has more than 30% elderly with the age more than 60 years old, it’s not viable anymore. The number of money generated by 70% of the citizen is not enough to suffice and take care of the 30% elderly”, said Abduraheem Green in speech in Australia (I forgot the detail time and place). If a country has more elderly than the youngsters, the economy will fail sooner or later. Shrinking population is like an upside down as it is really difficult to overcome. It is a long term problem – demography and it takes decades to rebuild the country. Can you imagine in country with no children and teenagers? Most of the citizens are grand ma(s) and grand pa(s)? Schools and kindergartens are closed or converted into animals training places. This is what happened in Japan that I heard from a lecture of mine. One of the factors causing this issue is that, few people who think to get married or have children. They postpone the marriage for the sake of happiness and pleasure in the young ages. It is not simple to solve aging population. A lot of countries such as Germany, urges its citizens to get married and have babies. Those who do will be given some money but it seems a few people who do. China with its one child policy is now facing the scarce of labors for the industries. These are just few examples and I am certainly sure there are some more countries having the similar problem. To my logic and consideration, delaying the marriage is no more acceptable as if a lot of people do so, the problem will be in a large scale. Marco-scale problem is far harder to overcome. So, what do you think of this delaying marriage? What should Japan, China, Germany do? If you have any idea, please write your comment here. Thank you

Friday, June 1, 2012


One of good things that I love to do is to consume honey. Honey comes from bees, small animals which will sting you if you disturb them. The reason of consuming honey is that: first it is exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad. He used to consume honey combined with glass of water or he directly ate it. The second reason is that, love sweet food and honey as a very pure taste that I cannot find in any processed food. Honey’s sweetness is so precise on my tongue that licking it has somewhat unimaginable sensation, it’s being exaggerated though. Honey, although it is sweet, not all people love honey. My wife (read: honey) doesn’t really like it so I have to little bit force her in order that she consumes it :). Honey has indeed abundance of benefits for our health, as well as for our intellectual quotient. We must then realize that this is needed for our health. Allah in the Quran says clearly states that honey can heal men from their sickness. Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink of varying colors, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Qur'an, An-Nahl : 69) The ways we consume honey can be in various ways. We can mix honey (two spoons) with half glass of water or we can eat it right away without any addition. If you like eating bread, you may pour honey on it as the replacement of milk. I’m definitely sure that honey is much better than milk and any kind of processed food out there. In a bottle, honey can last long and you may grab it for just 50 to a thousand rupiahs depending on the quality of honey. The good and genuine honey is really different from one is mixed. So you need to be quite careful when deciding to buy honey. I prefer to buy honey from neighbor of mine as he gets honey from forest, I am sure he doesn’t mix it with anything. Well, happy consuming honey so that you’ll be healthier. Thanks also to my “honey” who pretty much serves me a glass of honey :)