Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cisewu Now

Cisewu is my hometown, a place where I was born. Cisewu is situated in the southwest Garut, bordered with (Cidaun) Cianjur in the west and closer to Bandung instead of Garut as its capital. This is about 90 km from Bandung but 110 km from Garut. I lived and grew up there until I graduated from my high school (SMAN 12 Garut). This little town was, in the past, quite hard to reach because the road was not really nice. In fact, the mudslide often happens, hampering the transportation to and from the town. In fact, although it is located in Garut regency, not many Garut people know this sub-district due (probably) its remote area from Garut. As currently I live and work out of town (Bandung), I do not really follow the progress of my hometown. But I do come home twice or three times a year. It was pathetic, wasn’t it?

In the end of 2016, my wife, my kid and I have a chance to visit Cisewu. The last time we went here was in Ramadan 2016. We celebrated Eid here then. One thing that’s different from several months ago is the presence of a modern retailer as we pretty much see and visit in big cities such as Bandung. I don’t have to name it. By the way, it wowed me a little. This modern retailer is quite big for the level of my small town.

As everything has pros and cons, I see the presence of this modern retailer as an undeniable thing. Several years ago, the idea to establish it was rejected by most of the people here. But now, people accepted it. One of my aunties told me that the people around the retailer were given compensation (IDR 100.000) for allowing the store to be built and operated. Indeed, I was speechless when she told me so. The feeling of mine was mixed then, between I could not believe the reality and my stance of local economy empowerment. Which side are you on? Supporting the modern retailer at a sub-district level or against it? No need to answer :)

This piece of writing is not supposed to be long or serious. I just want to post this as a last post in the year 2016 or a milestone in this end of the year. Hope everything goes better next year. See you in 2017!


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Is ‘up-to-date’ Good?


Have you ever wondered why the so-called smart-phone today doesn’t last long? You might find that your gadget can only be with you for just one up to three years. After few years holding the phone, you will be feeling that it’s too obsolete to have the phone that you actually dreamed of purchasing. In fact, in the past, for instance, we had NOKIA 1100 or the like for more than three years. One of my aunties now still uses NOKIA basic phone that she bought seven years ago. She didn’t plan to change it with the new one anyway. I argued that the phone manufacturers now set the quality of their products low so the customers are ‘encouraged’ to buy again and again, especially in the case of smart phones. They are so brainy in making ads to persuade us to buy their hottest products. Now, are you feeling sort of ashamed of having iPhone 4 while your friends are using iPhone 6s? Well, if you are, Apple’s innovation is successful in influencing you, then.
I personally don’t like to be dictated by marketing guys to acquire their appealing stuffs. If I think I don’t need the new one or the old one is not broken, I won’t buy the brand-new one. But if I genuinely need it, for example, for my work, I may consider to buy. In fact, knowing the principle of finance lets me think to focus on the ‘need’ instead of ‘want’ when I would buy something. Function must be somehow more than feature. But, if there are too many people like me, I realize it won’t be good for economy. Why?
What I have previously explained is from the narrow perspective or micro, i.e. my own view. Nevertheless, from the macro view point, the manufacturers or companies are doing good for our economy. They create products that ease our lives, they indirectly construct roads and bridges with their taxes, they reduce unemployment by hiring workers. So, if we don’t buy their products, shall we have good roads? Shall we have people working? Nonetheless, this applies if only the manufacturers are located in our country. If we import the products from foreign countries, the results for our economy will not be significant. Our government only has small portion from the products we buy. So, being the importer countries is often painful. Let’s pray may Indonesia become the exporter country someday.
The government must be in the side of businesses in generating the economy. So, the government rules the manufacturers to create quality products that satisfy the customers but also sets the rule that often requires the manufacturers to increase tax payment. As a consequence, the producers strive hard to influence us to keep buying so that their profit increases. As an example, US government makes policy stating that cars must not be too long on the roads. The car tax increases annually making car owners think twice to keep possessing their cars. Buying the new cars is considered cheaper so the US-based car manufacturers get benefit from this policy. It’s not doubt that the used cars in the USA are way cheaper than here in Indonesia. All in all, making the product long-lasting is not really good for our economy since in macro scale it will hurt the manufacturers and not favorable for our government. The economy keeps growing because of our consumption. C in the formula Y=C+I+G+(X-M) is so influential especially in developing country such as Indonesia. Yet, the products consumed must be made in here. So, happy buying the local products for the sake of our economy!    

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Communication Science


Several days ago I attended a workshop hold by the department of mine. We invited two guest speakers who delivered important materials for us lecturers and researchers. The first speaker is a geology lecturer from ITB talking about communication science and the second is a lecturer from medical faculty Universitas Padjadjaran, sharing about her experiences much in getting research grant. According to my position at the moment, the first material is much more relevant for me. So I am here to write some important points from that session.

Dr. Irawan, speaking in the first session, shared a lot about the importance of using Medias in writing as well as values in writing itself. He mostly talked about technical stuff which might not be familiar to most of us. Thankfully, I understood them since I am quite interested in the IT terms such as Linux, open source, R programming, research gate and academia edu.

He told us that the first reason of writing must not be to get sort of artificial appreciation such as to get impact factor or h-index, these two terms are common among researchers. Although getting these two things are crucial and they are pursued by many of us, the main reason of producing writing must not be them. Here are some reasons of writing scientifically and sharing with the world that I summed up from his lecture:

First, writing something must be based on the idea that we want to share with the world about the important facts and findings we have discovered. By doing this, we fill the gap in the field we are in. Besides, we develop the knowledge or science so it keeps developing. Thus, submitting our writing to journal is definitely not the main goal.

Secondly, a good writing should be read by as many audience as possible. Therefore, publishing our writing in Facebook notes, Blogs, Academia Edu and Research Gates are worth to do because the scope of audience is much larger than writing for a certain journal having narrower audience. If we cannot write in a journal especially in a reputable one, why not writing in easier platform such as our personal blog? No one has the right to ban us sharing important findings in blogs or Facebook notes. In fact, the popular journal platforms are criticized for being not transparent in their financial report. As an example, they charge every paper we download from their website but they do not pay any single penny to their reviewers.

Thirdly, in a more open world, writing and sharing information must be affordable and accessible for everyone. Sharing important facts and findings must not be so rigid and costly. Though some reputable journals charge nothing to the author, the readers or audiences must spend some bucks to access article, at least $25 per each. The idea here is, we must now use cheaper or free platform to share our finding such as using arXiv, research gates, Academia Edu.

He also added some points from the research of Foster 2015 that the open research has the following components:
• open data
• open methods
• (using) open source software
• open access to research outputs
• open peer-review (pre or post publication)

I absolutely agree with his idea that now communication science enables us to be more open in our research. In fact, the education is also currently more open with the presence of MOOC as an example. All in all, the future of our research results dissemination might change to be more open and accessible to all of us, hopefully.

Monday, April 11, 2016


There is no doubt that any developed country has more entrepreneur than developing countries. It is believed that every country needs at least 2% of its citizen to be self-employed. Indonesian government is now concerned about improving the number of entrepreneur because we have now less than 1%. College students are now also encouraged to start their business. The government allocates some funding and makes programs for college students to run their business. I am the one who got the funding from government through PMW (Pogram Mahasiswa Wirausaha) in 2009.  Here I have some lessons to share with you students in running your business while you are at college.

First, love your business. Doing business must be enjoyable. This means you should only run the business you have love in that. If you love English, you may open English course or English private agent. If you love eating, you surely can run culinary business.

Secondly, you need to start your business as early as you can because reputation cannot be built in one night. Opening business at college will result in better self-reputation when you open your business in the future.

Thirdly, build the network with as many people as you can. Building network is going to be really useful because you will someday get your customers, suppliers who give low price, tips and tricks in running business from people who have more experiences. This can be done through being active at any community or organization. Printing your name card is a must.

If you have done these three things, I belive you’ll have better business. You may add some more tips anyway.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lecturer's roles

When I was a kid, I never had intention to be like me today in terms of profession. It was when I attended high school I started to like teaching or facilitating. It started when I became the chief of Palang Merah Remaja and Electro at my school. Back then, I sometimes delivered material to my juniors in front of class and on the field. Now, I am a lecturer or university instructor. Indeed, it is Allah who has the plan, not mine.

Being lecturer or teacher is indeed a life’s choice. There are some people who have a dream to be like that but there are some people who don’t dream to be. I am grateful to be it anyway.

In Indonesia, lecturers have three types of task, namely; teaching, researching and performing community services. I don’t think that every country applies the same thing. Some countries might only regulate lecturers to do teaching and researching. It is so great that lecturers here are demanded to perform community services.

Last month, I went to Majalengka every week to oversee and guide 40 students taking the subject of KKNM. This subject lets the students live the real one and apply their knowledge in society. Asides, they surely could learn many beneficial lessons from society. This subject is mandatory and each student must pass it. They lived in Majalengka for about 30 days, mingling with local people. They did some activities such as helping village government in socializing the village’s programs. They also helped people by teaching at schools or supporting local youngsters at Karang Taruna (village organization for young people).

The picture shown above is taken when I and my colleague, Mr. Wardhana, have just delivered material regarding financial management for small education institution such as PAUD, village government and even individual. It was just great that we could do this with the help of KKNM students. One thing for us to ponder over is, we academician must apply anything we’ve learned for the betterment of our society, wherever we are. Let’s improve our society!