Tergusurnya bahasa Indonesia

"Banyak ... yang tidak punya ikatan emosional yang kuat pada bahasa Indonesia. Bahasa apa pun menjadi sekadar sarana promosi jualan, ujar ahli bahasa Anton M Moeliono dalam seminar Mencari jalan keluar dari kondisi bahasa Indonesia yang memprihatinkan, di Jakarta, Sabtu (26/11).

Menurut Anton, saat ini ada identifikasi antara peradaban yang tinggi dan mutu produk yang unggul dengan bahasa Inggris yang mengantarnya. Masyarakat percaya bahwa bahasa Inggris itu jadi jaminan mutu. Ia mencontohkan maraknya nama bahasa Inggris pada hotel, mal, restoran, bank, dan hiburan.

Ia menekankan bahwa kedwibahasaan atau ketribahasaan, tidak merugikan, bahkan menguntungkan pemakai bahasa asal saja tidak mengorbankan bahasa kebangsaan sendiri. Patut dicatat, lanjut Anton, bahwa globalisasi tidak mengakibatkan penginggrisan bahasa di Jerman, Perancis, Italia, Jepang, Korea, dan China seperti di Indonesia. Jadi, globalisasi tak perlu menjadi alasan penginggrisan berbagai kata dalam bahasa Indonesia..."

Yang ikut prihatin dan setuju dengan, atau ingin baca, opininya, sila klik di sini.


Annotated links to free blog tempates

Anyone of you who has visited this blog more than once may have noticed that I tend to change templates after awhile. Yes, templates do amaze me with their capability to affect how blogs look and behave. They make blogs change dramatically at just some clicks! So, to template-designing artists who have been kind enough in offering freebies, this post is dedicated to all of you. To the rest of you who are end-users, like myself, this is to share with you the following good links. They are must-visit sources offering free blog templates--some of them were darn hard to find! (Sorted by my preference.)

1. BLOGSKINS; Exhaustive digging necessary, containing many rubbies but also much rubbish. I have found it impressive and very functional.
2. PANNASMONTATA A non-english site I just discovered, actually, but some of the most breath-taking templates I've ever seen are here! Just to give you an idea of what I mean by it, click here. Unfortunately there are only a handful templates for Blogger...
3. ISNAINI; Arguably one of the world's most productive template artists--and this guy's from Yogyakarta, Indonesia! Great pieces, some very exotic!
4. YE$ aka BLOGGER TEMPLATES Great, lovable templates! This is currently the source of my blog template. I wish the designer would update it. It's been a while, eh? (My suggestion to all template designers is to start considering tinkering with collapsible posts:)
5. NOIPO.ORG Neat pieces from Martyn in the Netherland. I have been a great fan of his templates.
6. CAZ Great artistic pieces from the Downunder by Caz. Some designs were made with female bloggers in mind.
7. BLOGFROCKS Possibly on hiatus now, but the female artists have created great templates for everyone. You will easily fall for them! No commenting system...aah!
8. KARYSIMA The last time I visited it, it contained a variety of free and paid templates. Always enjoyable.
9. POINT OF FOCUS Apparently I mistook this site for another, so my previous comments were rather misleading. This site does contain nothing but intriguing designs, and for this I just moved up its rank.
10. ERIS DESIGN Customizable elegant, business-like and formal templates--2-3 columns available.
11. FIRDAMATIC Customisable templates, 2-3 colums available.
12. EHSANY Not a huge collections, but contains Persian templates. With a slight retouching one or two could be darlings!
13. FLYABILITY Highly interesting pieces available. Highly recommended. Highly need for a commenting system, though.
14. BECCARY only four templates today; but quite neat and classy.
15. SPIDERMAN For the Spiderman fans no doubt, but the basic layouts and graphs are cool.
16. THEN THERE WAS DESIGN This growing source of templates has the potential to become something it aspires. Uh oh, I'm sounding an oldie...
17. WEBLOG DESIGNS Good looking but not so-ready-to-paste templates.
18. IMACLLANNI.COM Yet to read the terms and cond, but of all, i like the Beatles template most.
19. RAVASTHI Blogger-compliant. Professional looking. I found the layouting and coloring interesting, but some backgrounds are rather disturbing.
20. THURS TEMPLATES Good exercises in 2-3 columns. No update for quite some time. Not a nautical accident, I hope.
21. REAL SOLUTIONS Quite a few good templates, also with drawings and cartoons.
22. TEMPLATES 4 FREE Only few templates available currently.


1. Watch out this dark horse!
2. If you happen to know how to add a commenting systems for Blogger in a user-friendly way, please let me know. I followed the instructions from the Blogger Help section, but it didn't work well (the blame may have been mine, though).

(Updated and resorted on Nov. 18)


Islamic Banking: Fiqh and Financial Analysis

Here's to hail the publication of Islamic Banking: Fiqh and Financial Analysis, a first-of-its-kind and reader-friendly textbook--a comprehensive premier that readily imparts the beauties and strengths of sharia banking as an alternative banking, even to the uninitiated. Perhaps not yet available in local bookstores, it has marked a milestone in the development of Islamic Banking in Indonesia. In its preface, Dawam Rahardjo, chairman of the International Institute of Islamic Thoughts in Indonesia, succinctly illustrates the early development of sharia banking in Indonesia. The author, Adiwarman Karim, presides the Karim Business Consulting, a Jakarta based firm with a presence in Singapore. Adiwarman has fared well in his attempt to combine the fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) perspective with that of finance. Published by Rajawali, the book is highly useful not only to those beginning to land on the subject but also to those already in the business.


Farewell to the ministers

It's been almost three months since my post (in Bahasa) on the looming cabinet reshuffling, and things have gone off hand almost beyond the the government's control. Messy compensation programs resulting in soaring inflation, the poor performance of the Rupiah, plus other, unfathomable, God-only-knows factors saw the president with very little option other than using the last option: cabinet reshuffling--a poor term in itself, btw. According to JakPost, SBY finally announced yesterday he would replace one or two ministers only. Again, as I predicted. Personally, I'd rather see Ical being replaced, but he's too strong a man of "real politik" and wealth. So, I surmise the minister of finance Jusuf Anwar will have to receive the sack. Pak Andung, Minister of Industry, may be another victim. Former finance minister Boediono is the best successor for Jusuf Anwar. As for the candidate to replace Andung, a dark horse is possible and I cannot predict who. It remains interesting to see how all this unfolds...

The need to ghost-blog

A. Fatih Syuhud's recent post on the need to ghost-blog has drawn my interest. He said he couldn't understand why on earth bloggers living in free democratic countries like in the US or Indonesia use pseudonyms. He wondered what they were afraid of. Well, a pseudonymous blogger myself, I hope this sharing of thoughts can be of use. In sum, I think fear has little or nothing to do with it.

A great deal of resources has been either invested or wasted in the realm of textual/literary criticism and discourse analysis amidst the battle of wits between the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Until today, the battle is not entirely resolved or satisfactorily settled. Critics that opt for the former approach have argued that a work cannot possibly have been made in void and thus better understanding can derive from understanding and knowledge of the background of the very person behind the work itself. The extrinsic have taken an opposite view. They believe the work itself should be the main focus of attention. Once a work is released to public domain, it thus becomes public and its interpretation therefore rests with the eyes of each beholder. Since postmodernism was a household word with deconstruction "theories", literary criticism has become more complex and textual truths have become relative (something that can be either virtuous or vicious, depending on the purpose of writing).

It is generally acknowledged now that readers are not free by default of personal bias. A writer's name to a reader may carry with him or her additional information (e.g. gender, geographical origin, and all the stereotypes or imageries associable with the name), and unless the reader is extra critical, s/he will already be led into certain bias or expectation even before s/he lays eyes on the the text. To one who is aware of the danger of biases (like Fatih himself), or to one who believes (as I do) that gender issues do exist, this is no small matter. One of the uses of pseudonyms, I believe, is to minimize such tendency. On the other side of the coin, some writers use pseudonyms as personal "liberation" so as to be able to hit the pen, or the keyboard, unrestrained or with ultimate freedom. They realize the disadvantage of remaining in obscurity but are willing to abandon their own person or personification so as to focus the pursuit on ideas. They believe in the importance of writing as well as that of being as accurately interpreted. They have as high regard for writing as for other people's reading of what they write. (Photo credit: Harapan MediaTech)


Inflasi kata-kata dan inflasi uang

Tulisan bersambung Yosef Ardi dengan judul di atas di harian Bisnis Indonesia rasanya menarik diikuti. Rasanya bahkan seperti mendengar gema suara saya sendiri, seperti dalam beberapa postings re inflasi di Nad's Notes (The Curse of Inflation; Terpedaya oleh Angka, dll.--tips: ketik "inflation" atau "central bank" di kotak pencarian di bawah lalu enter :)). Siapa saja yang terlibat dalam pengambilan keputusan ekonomi nasional atau para mahasiswa atau calon pakar ekonomi yang mendalami mazhab mainstream harus membuka diri terhadap pemikiran alternatif. Saya sendiri sangat menganjurkan agar kita di Indonesia mendalami pemikiran para ekonom aliran Austria, yang memang kurang populer, tetapi jelas menegaskan sejak awal bahwa ilmu ekonomi bukan matematika.

The Perils of Sedekah, Infaq, Zakat or the like of it

Schools of beggars flooded some mosques and thoroughfares last week, nearing the time of Eid Fitr celebration in the city and a few days after. Males and females, adults, children and even babies, most of them aggressively approached bypassers for money. A few were seen flocking desolutely on the sidewalks. Just to give a quick snapshot!

Jakarta isn't unique and 2005 is not a special year either. Major cities in Indonesia, such as Yogya, have started seeing such an unsighlty sight since a few years back. They only see it more often now. I can't say if a similar situation applies in other countries, especially where Moslems are majority, but it appears to me little inquiry has been made on the perils of such benevolent acts. Giving alms--be it sedekah or infaq (voluntary alms), zakat (mandatory alm) or the likes, is a noble deed indeed. The idealized concepts and benefits are beyond qualms, but it doesn't mean there aren't things to be critical about.

Voluntary and involuntary alms have great likelihood and pose many loopholes to be abused and misused, supply or demand wise alike. Of sedekah, infaq and zakat, all can be abused and misused. The first two are the most fragile, though, because there is no fixed amount as to how much and when one can be so generous as giving out money. Supply wise, they can be, and have indeed long been, abused as the and most liked and most flexible vehicles to launder filthy money, i.e. that which is obtained crookedly, e.g. through corruption. Demand wise, all of them have perilous potential to sedate when distributed improperly. The worst messages are that which tells lazy bones they are given carte blanche through poverty to God-sanctioned or man-made obligations (e.g. to fulfill God's instructions, to keep order and cleanliness or obey the traffic); that which tells them they are righted to beg and mistake begging as a profession. To me, there has been ironic confusion here, or a terrible mistake.

The general surmise is that the distribution system lacks the power to scrutinize the targeted recepients. Practical-minded charity givers usually have no capacity to know whether their alms eventually go to the intended needy souls or some lazy bones instead. Moreover, the precept is that they simply don't need to know. "The left hand does not need to know what the right hand is doing," so the teaching goes. Again, very noble, indeed. But that's partly the root of the problem. (Photo credit: Detick.com)

Moral--It is surprisingly difficult to give away money properly! The challenge is how to do it without encouraging the people to get the wrong message, steal, or beg ;)


Eid Fitr greetings for bloggers all over the world!

With the last fasting day of Ramadan completed today, here's greetings and best wishes for all muslim bloggers on the celebration of Ied. To Indonesian muslims, "Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri 1 Syawal 1426H, semoga anda sekeluarga senantiasa dalam berkah dan lindunganNya." I also wanted to share with you some haikus on the festivities as well as on daily trivias.


Thou Shalt Not Kill

"I wrote Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless Otherwise Instructed as a protest against the war, and not least, for a sane fight against terrorism." --Mike Sharpe