death of a blog

I know that blogs come and go. Still I found it rather hard to learn that one finest blog I know, has been closed by the owner. An admirer all this time, I still do some checking times and again, in case this ms. demeanor changed her mind. She didn't; probably never will. I guess I just should stop inquiring. Its closure was lamentable--but also respectable. It has given me mixed feelings. Somewhere I feel proud of her.


Impressions on the SBY-Eclipsed Cabinet

When the new President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono began his cabinet announcement (on a late October 20 evening--just a day after he was sworn in President) saying that his cabinet would not please everybody, he was being very accurate. At around ten the next morning, all the ministers were sworn in and the President named it: Kabinet Indonesia Bersatu, or the United Indonesia Cabinet: comprising 36 ministers.
Meanwhile, the spirit of As-Long-As-It-Was-Not-Mega has awaited the triumph of a new president. As many people shared, SBY’s victory would be quickly associated with perceived progress. Conversely, a status quo or setback would have been a perception had Megawati won the election.
As the media have reported over, the new cabinet has been born out of political consensus and considerations, with motley rich blends of elements of business, bureaucrats, religions, ethnicity, educations.
The Jakarta Post (23/10) commended the symbolic diversity in this Cabinet—in terms of ethnicity, religion, gender, and profession--as a good starting point to enable the President to become, as he said in his maiden speech, a president "for each and every Indonesian." This paper praised the fact that the cabinet was far more exciting than the in the past when cabinets would be dominated by “mid-50 highly educated Javanese men from the Golkar bureaucrats.”
The people power has helped bring SBY atop. They may have based their trust upon personal charisma, and this same power can render positive sentiments to the president’s cabinet. Some would argue that such expectation or sentiment is but psychological, but aren’t they real assets or commodities in real business and politics which must be well managed?
Never before has a president in this country been given such a strongest legitimacy. Lucky is a president who has all the moral support to preside. SBY does. This strong president will be the lighthouse for his ministers. And it seems that he is aware of this. Perhaps he realizes that what he does in the first days will determine the fate of his cabinet.
At the onset, during the inauguration, he put it loud and firm: "You have promised to stay loyal to the state and to work hard and honestly as well as to stay clean. If you are involved in any violation (of the contract), including corruption, and are declared guilty under the law, you must be prepared to resign and accept sanctions in accordance with the prevailing laws. The ministerial position is a sign of trust and honor, but it also serves as a challenge for you to do your best.”
SBY knew people would scrutinize his ministers. To this he said, “You do not have to respond to these doubts with words, but answer through your work.” SBY added to them concerning public skepticisms over some ministers.
Following is a brief profile of some cabinet members that seem to be under the spotlight.
A Brief Look at Key Ministers

Following is a quick look at the members of Indonesia’s new cabinet.

Adisutjipto: Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs
Conservative; no hardliner - Adisutjipto, a retired admiral and former Navy chief, served as Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) commander under former president Abdurrahman Wahid from October 1999 to July 2001.

Aburizal Bakrie: Coordinating Minister for the Economy
Respectable, powerful - He is a prominent indigenous tycoon with a vast range of business activities; former chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Earlier this year he ran in a convention to become Golkar Party’s candidate for the presidential election. He lost but not disgracefully.

Alwi Shihab: Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare
An elegant, moderate - Islamic scholar who promotes tolerance, Shihab was “wrongly” posted as foreign minister by Abdurrahman Wahid. He presently chairs the National Awakening Party (PKB). Some conflict may come up internally over the status of this minister in the PKB.

Hassan Wirajuda: Foreign Affairs Minister
Elegant, knowledgeable, suave, still irreplaceable after Alatas - As many expected, Wirajuda retained the same cabinet position under former president Megawati Sukarnoputri. He was a career diplomat, Indonesia’s permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organizations until July 2000.

Juwono Sudarsono: Defense Minister
Highly Respected; Well-liked - A prominent military analyst and former ambassador to Britain, Juwono previously served as defense minister under Wahid. He is also a former deputy governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas).

Hamid Awaluddin: Law and Human Rights Minister
Knowledgeable; articulate but critized as being not transparent when serving at KPU - Awaluddin is a member of the General Elections Commission (KPU). He headed the KPU’s division for the procurement of ballot papers. It was rumored that even SBY first denied him.

Jusuf Anwar: Finance Minister
Little known; but with relevant experience - Anwar is the Asian Development Bank’s executive director for Indonesia. He has previously served as chairman of the Indonesia Capital Market Supervisory Board and secretary general of the Finance Ministry. According to many economists, we cannot expect something revolutionary to happen under his leadership. He will be a safe player.

Purnomo Yusgiantoro: Energy and Mineral Resources Minister
OPEC President; very experienced; although to people at large his contributions are unknown - Purnomo held the same position under Megawati and Wahid. The decision to re-appoint him means that Indonesia will keep the OPEC presidency until the end of this year.

Andung Nitimihardja: Industry Minister
Andung Nitimihardja is chief commissioner of state electricity company PLN. He is also a former executive of the State Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), where he served as deputy chairman for national business development. I have no comments for this minister.

Marie Pangestu: Trade Minister
(Hailed by international and domestic markets but overshadowed with criticism over akinness with IMF) –A US trained economist, Pangestu is a former executive director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Hatta Rajasa: Transportation Minister
Questionable; political - He served as research and technology minister under Megawati. He is a member of the National Mandate Party (PAN) of Amien Rais, but even his party made statement saying that this man would only be a liability to the cabinet.

Fahmi Idris: Manpower and Transmigration Minister
Intelligent; highly experienced politician; suave; sacked by Golkar but became minister instead - A powerful member of Golkar Party, Idris served as manpower minister under former president B.J. Habibie. He was recently suspended from Golkar’s executive board for defying an order to support Megawati in last month’s presidential election. Several reports have wrongly stated that Idris served as manpower minister under Suharto.

Siti Fadilah Supari: Health Minister
A health professional, Supari is a doctor in cardiology. Her assignment in this post has received very little attention from the media. According to some within the Ministry of Health, this minister is a misnomer. As a clinician with no experience in public health, she has a lot to learn, and quickly too. SBY’s nomination over her probably may have stemmed from a gender point of view. In total the cabinet only has 4 female ministers, less than 30% as advocated by the UN.

Bambang Sudibyo: National Education Minister
Sudibyo, a professor of accounting, is a member of PAN and served as finance minister in the Wahid administration. This figure is pretty well liked within the circle at the ministry of finance, but his appointment as minister of education has tarnished the image of SBY and JK. He has to be open minded to win the hearts of Echelons 1 and 2 at the Ministry.

Rachmat Witoelar: Environment Minister
A former Indonesian ambassador to Russia, Witoelar has long been close to Yudhoyono and helped to orchestrate his rise to power.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati: National Development Planning Minister
A US-trained economist, she spent a year with the International Monetary Fund, where was in charge of Southeast Asian affairs. I have had the chance to talk to her several times when accompanying Mr. Hatano from the Hong Kong office at some appointments.

Abdul Rahman Saleh: Attorney General
To many of us, the psychological value that this man symbolizes perhaps exceeds those of all coordinating ministers combined! If there are flaws at the United Indonesia cabinet, this man is perceived as having higher values than the flaws. A Supreme Court judge, Saleh hit the headlines in February 2004 when he was on a panel of five judges that overturned Golkar Party chairman Akbar Tanjung’s corruption conviction. After the ruling, Saleh read out a lengthy dissenting decision, saying Tanjung had engaged in "corrupt practice" and was guilty of "shameful conduct because he failed to show minimal appropriate efforts to protect state money”.

Sudi Silalahi: Cabinet Secretary
His friendship with SBY seems to symbolize that Indonesia cannot abandon its own history. Could this explain why the people chose SBY, over more radical or reform-minded candidates? Silalahi, a retired three-star lieutenant general and former East Java Military Command chief, previously served as secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for Political and Security Affairs. He played a key role Yudhoyono’s rise to power. His friendship with SBY dates back more than 30 years when they were still military cadets.
Some media e.g. Tempo magazine (25-31 Oct), have started with their slanting news Some already started labeling SBY as a flip-flop during the cabinet formation. Some media have begun interviewing people from within the SBY’s circle that finally got left behind in bitterness, after the new president selected other candidates for certain posts. Cover both sides of the story, they say…
All things considered, with the fact that opinions can be so diversed in this free-speech country, what more could be expected than positive expectation itself? It surely is better than the opposite. Positive expectation would at least delay unnecessary formation of negative campaigns, which can come from anywhere including the media. As a modern spiritual moslem leader and successful billionnaire Abdullah Gymnastiar, let’s hope for the best for this nation. For the inauguration of the new president, the handing over of tasks from previous to new officials, and the selection and inauguration all took place in the holy month of Ramadan. The month of hopes and blessings--the month God said far better than many others.


a very short story

As soon as she learned that today was her last day of her long holiday, the 4.11 year old girl started to sob. First quietly then loudly enough that I could hear it from my study. From the threshold I noticed her body shudder. She finally couldn't help herself from not throwing up. Learning what had happened, I asked if she could whimp without vomitting. She shook her head several times.

"Did you enjoy your holiday?" This time she gave definite nods, almost too quickly. Well ... cry on, if you need it." I offered her a big hug, and she didn't refuse.

At the time of sadness, be sad. Cry if you must, little darling. May the teardrops help cleanse your tiny soul. I wish I could join by shedding a tear.


little darling that has to go

Quicktionary a tiny book was published by the end of 2001. Intended for critical readers, it contains almost 5,000 words difficult for Indonesian advanced learners or teachers of English. I'd prepared it for over 4 years. To my disappointment the printing and binding quality was not as expected, so it couldn't sell. I still have over a hundred copies left at home. Any fellow blogger interested will be able to get its free PDF version, which I'm still preparing. The actual book can also obtained free via regular postal service, but please understand I can't pick up the tab. In any case, just write me or leave your comment below.

Name : Critical Reader's Quicktionary (Limited Edition, September 2001)
Product category : Dictionary, a bibelot for highly advanced users of English
Author : Nad Hays
Publisher : Le Sanctuaire Quality Publishing, Indonesia
Dimension : 5 x 8 cm
Thickness : Nearly 300 pages
Printing/Binding : Art carton 310 gr; HVS 70 gr.
Price : NA


happy eid mubarak - happy eid fitr!

the holy month of ramadhan has been with us for almost a month (and almost unnoticed by some. tomorrow is the last fasting day. this month of maghfirah will depart soon with a promise to come again next year.

here's greeting for a happy eid mubarak to all bloggers in the world. here's wishing for a better world with lasting peace. salam!