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39 and more years to celebrate..

This is a magic number to me as today I celebrate my birthday. It’s 39 years I have been living in this world. I came in November 14, 1975 around 6 in the morning, that what my Mom said.

This is the last year before I enter the club forty. Being 40 sounds scary for a woman, but to me it’s a new page of an exciting life. People say life is begin at forty, and maybe they’re right. I will find it out next year.

For now, I’m counting my countless blessing in life. I celebrate my 39 birthday with a husband, a cute and smarty 2 years old daughter, a healthy Mom, a couple of parents in law who are still healthy and mobile in their 70’s, great friends and colleagues, good job, a new home and master degree from the US. Life is so kind and generous.

Surely I won’t stop here, as I always want to run for a better and bigger life. But at this point as I looked back to my life few years ago as a mid thirty single woman, try not to admit that I was lonely, workaholic, and travel a lot as my compensation, I never thought that those chapters have moved so quickly entering more new dynamic life as a wife, a mother, a graduate student and now a working mom in this hectic crazy Jakarta.

Next chapter that I’m looking forward is back to school as Ph.d student anywhere in the world which will be a safe and suitable place not only for me but also for my little family to come along and grow old together. I hope that will be UK or US.

Ahmad Fuadi

Ahmad Fuadi Salihara 19 July 2014Kelas Menulis dan Berpikir Kreatif sesi ke-6, Sabtu 9 Juli lalu terasa istimewa dengan hadirnya Ahmad Fuadi penulis buku trilogi Negeri 5 Menara yang best seller itu. Ayu Utami, pengampu kelas menulis di Salihara ini mengundang Fuadi untuk berbagi pengalaman menulisnya pada peserta kelas Sabtu. Saya duduk paling depan di sayap kiri, kursi favorit setiap Sabtu. Fuadi maju ke depan dan duduk di kursi yang sudah dipersiapkan setelah Ayu memperkenalkan dan membaca biografi singkatnya yang sarat penghargaan itu.

Saya lihat Fuadi tersenyum sekilas. Dia membuka slide dan bercerita mengenai latar belakang munculnya minat menulis dalam dirinya. Riwayat keluarga, perjalanan hidup, kisah sekolah, dan dorongan-dorongan batin tersebut sudah pernah saya dengar sebelumnya. Ini kali ketiga saya hadir dalam sesi bedah buku dan pelatihan menulis yang diisinya sebagai narasumber. Saya kagum dengan ketelatenan ibunya yang menyimpan semua surat yang dikirimkan Fuadi selama sekolah di Gontor. Saya takjub dengan catatan harian yang masih tersimpan baik meskipun bukunya telah menguning dan kumal. Saya salut dengan kegigihannya konsisten menulis setiap hari satu halaman yang membuat 365 halaman terkumpul dalam satu tahun. Tips yang selalu dikemukakannya setiap ditanya bagaimana kiatnya bisa menulis di tengah kepadatan agenda. Semua hal sama yang pernah saya dengar saat hadir di pelatihan menulis acara AJI di Jogja, September 2013, dan masih saya ingat dengan baik. Namun sayangnya belum berhasil saya terapkan hingga kini, fyuh.. Jadi malu.

Hal baru yang saya lihat dan dengar dari Fuadi kali ini adalah bahwa bukunya Negeri Lima Menara yang telah diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Inggris, telah menjadi buku rujukan bagi siswa di Singapura, Australia dan bahkan mahasiswa di UC Berkeley. Wow! Hal lain yang membuat saya iri, adalah foto-foto baru yang ditampilkannya di slide, dari kunjungannya ke Berkeley sebagai artist resident dan acaranya di USINDO Washington DC dimana Paul Wolfowitz, mantan Presiden Bank Dunia yang sangat dekat dengan Indonesia menjadi salah satu audiensnya. Fuadi terus melaju dengan pencapaian-pencapaian barunya sejak meluncurkan buku Negeri 5 Menara tahun 2008 lalu. Pekerjaan sebagai Direktur Komunikasi TNC kemudian ditinggalkannya untuk menjadi seorang penulis penuh waktu. Pilihan yang membuatnya menjadi semakin fokus berkarya dan membuahkan lebih banyak penghargaan serta perjalanan-perjalanan menyenangkan ke berbagai pelosok dunia, bersama istrinya Danya Dewanti atau biasa disapa Yayi.

Diskusi berlangsung asyik, hingga tak terasa 1,5 jam berlalu dan Ayu menawarkan kesempatan penutup bagi hadirin yang ingin bertanya. Tak banyak yang menyambut, dan yang membuat saya kaget sekaligus kagum adalah Fuadi menggunakan kesempatan itu untuk menyapa saya. “Saya ingin menyapa kawan lama saya Nenden, kamu ikut kelas Sabtu atau Minggu?” katanya kepada saya yang hanya berjarak satu meter di hadapannya. “Kelas Sabtu, Mas,” jawabku. “Saya ingat Nenden hadir di bedah buku Negeri Lima Menara di Jogja, dan duduk paling depan,” ujar Fuadi. Sesuatu yang membuat saya tercengang. Tak mengira ingatannya demikian tajam dalam merekam peristiwa, dan yang membuat saya terharu, dia ingat nama saya. Bahkan belakangan ketika diluar usai melayani book signing, Fuadi sempat menanyakan kabar anak saya. “Sudah usia berapa anakmu?” ” Hampir dua tahun Mas,” jawab saya.Waaah, dia ingat saya sudah punya anak, saya makin heran dan kagum.

Di kelas, saya gunakan kesempatan sapaan dari Fuadi sebagai ajang curcol. Saya katakan bahwa pertemuan di Jogja saat bedah buku itu terjadi tahun 2009, dimana buku saya ditandatangani dengan tulisan “Thank you for your moving comment, and I hope Man Jadda Wajada will take you to GWU”. Yup, mimpi saya adalah bersekolah di School of Media and Public Affairs George Washington University seperti dia. “Tahun 2010 saya mendapatkan beasiswa sekolah ke Amerika, tahun 2011 berangkat dan 2013 selesai sekolah. But I failed on Fulbright because I was just half bright,” canda saya yang disambut tawanya. “Semangat dari buku Mas, telah membawa saya untuk tidak menyerah, kalau Mas Fuadi bisa mengapa saya tidak. Akhirnya saya dapat beasiswa dari Ohio. Thanks for writing it, Mas!” Kata saya menutup curcol yang panjang itu.

“Priceless!” kata Fuadi. Saya sering dengar komentar tentang ini, “Mas sekarang saya sudah di Paris,” katanya. Saya tak ingat lagi Fuadi berkomentar apa, yang jelas saya lega berhasil menyampaikan apresiasi dan rasa terima kasih tulus saya. Karena Fuadi telah menuliskan buku Negeri 5 Menara dengan sangat baik, dan menyebarkan semangat Man Jadda Wajada (Siapa yang bersungguh-sungguh akan berhasil). Bila bukan karenanya, motto tersebut mungkin hanya akan dikenal oleh santri Gontor dan alumninya. Sekali lagi terima kasih Mas, dan selamat bersiap-siap menjadi ayah. Semoga semua proses kehadiran si kecil yang telah dinanti selama 14 tahun berlangsung lancar, sehat dan selamat. Salam untuk Mbak Yayi.

About Business Ethic

It started from a Blackberry Messenger profile picture. A nicely pink Tupperware box. It said, discount 40%. So I ping the bbm contact whose display the photo. She’s my old friend from college. After short discussion, we sealed the deal. The price was 190 K rupiah include 10 K of delivery cost. It was such a cheap delivery price, but I said okay when she said she will deliver my order with Pandu.

Ten days passed, since I transferred my payment to her BCA account and my order somehow has not arrived yet. This is unusual. I asked the seller she said the courier was overload  due to the days of  approaching Ied. Okay then how long it will take to deliver a good less than a kilogram from Cilacap to Jakarta? When I asked her on July 2nd, she said she has sent my order. A week has passed and still no news, so I asked her the delivery receipt number. She gave it to me and while I checked to Pandu website, I found that she lied. The tracking order display July 5th as the  date of received good. While when I asked on July 2nd she said the good has sent. Three days gap and she acts as if nothing wrong. Maybe because she simply does not understand the word integrity. I hate when someone lied to me for whatever reason, especially when I become the customer who paid in advance and turn out the service was terrible.

To make it worst, when I complaint to her, she was just laughing as if nothing happened and blamed the courier. It pissed me off even more. I said out loud to her that she could not release any responsibility on this matter. I ordered the good to her, and transferred the payment to her, not to Pandu the courier service. I have nothing to do with Pandu. So in my opinion, she could not easily said that it was not her mistake and blame it to Pandu. As a seller she’s the one who decided which courier to deliver her customer’s order. She should be responsible with her decision to her customer not Pandu.And seems like for that very basic argument she did not get it. I’m surprised knowing she always bragging about how her business growing and I have terrible shopping experience with her so called online store. Maybe it was just not my luck.

Actually since I get back to Jakarta, I shop online many times. Surely I miss shopping at Amazon, Bath and Body Works and Victoria Secret, which was very convenient and excellent customer service. But at least in Jakarta I shop to different outlet, mostly blog and secure the payment through atm transfer and voila my order landed at my address safely. No issue on delivery, maybe because they use Tiki JNE, a more reliable delivery service with higher price. But it is okay to me as customer to pay a higher price for a better delivery service. One or two days only, not ten days with uncertainty.

In addition most of the sellers I knew from Google, not an old friend like this lady from Cilacap.So it turns out the relationship is not a guarantee that you will get a better service. To my surprise I order a package of flash card for my daughter and the seller in Bandung said that I can pay when I received the goods. Wow, how he trust me? We even do not know each other. I just found his blog bayipintar.com from Google, and he sent me the flash card without me paying in advance. That’s even better service than Amazon. But it’s rarely in this growing online business in Indonesia. We still at the stage of learning how to provide a proper customer service. As I undestand most of the online store owner are stay home moms who would like to earn some income while staying home take care their children. I respect their choice and noble mission to be a full time mom. But as a working Mom I see a significant gap as many of them never experience a professional life as a full time employee at a corporation or organization with system and supervisor.

Like the lady from Cilacap who graduated from UGM, but as far as I know never entered the professional life as corporate person or working in a stable organization with good system. I assume she has no clue of what is professionalism in business. How you should treat your customer, how to handle angry customers and keep them stay as your customers. Because at the end, to my understanding you’re not only selling goods, but the service that matters. Me as customer can easily buy Tupperware from any other seller, but I chose to buy from the lady in Cilacap because she was in my BBM contact, and I knew her from college. But the service was stop me to buy more from her and even delete her from my BBM contact.

So this is a lesson learned for me to be more careful in shopping at online store. I hope this is also a lesson learned to anyone at the online business to provide a good customer service. It’s tough competition. What you sell is something that buyer could be easily find at another online store. What make your store different and attract more loyal customers is your service. So I think this is again about business ethnic and professionalism, no matter you’re a stay home Mom or once a professional. It is a very basic principle of running business.

 

Gloomy Days in Jakarta

Setahun lebih tak menulis posting baru disini. Selalu ada alasan untuk tak punya waktu dan membenarkan kemalasan. Kelelahan saat tiba di rumah dan keinginan bermain dengan si kecil yang lagi lucu-lucunya mengalahkan hasrat untuk menulis. Blog ini pun resmi sepi dari kunjungan pemiliknya setahun lebih.

Tapi terapi Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) yang saya pelajari dari pelatihan dengan Reza Gunawan kemudian memercikkan dorongan kuat untuk kembali menulis. Disinilah ruang terapi yang sesungguhnya, dimana berlapis-lapis sampah emosi yang dikikis melalui latihan TAT, idealnya dituntaskan dengan aktivitas menulis ini. Setidaknya untuk saya. Itulah suara batin yang saya dengar ketika intens berlatih TAT setiap malam sebelum tidur. Kembalilah menulis.

Writing is healing. Writing is a therapeutic tool, and it helped me before. Hundreds of my post have gone with the closure of Friendster in 2011. The blog that has helped me to stay sane in my previously chaotic world. But I took it as a sign for me to close the chapter. That was past. Done.Gone. Life goes on as I tied the knot in July 2011, left to Athens Ohio in August, return for winter break and later return to the US with my baby grew in my tummy. Life was moving quickly..

Now I have been returning to Jakarta for more than a year. Tough. Readjustment is not an easy part on my end. Not only with the city life in this hectic jungle call metropolitan, but also with married life, motherhood and back to workforce at the same time. I am not happy with Jakarta. Looking forward my way back to the US, now with my little family. Raise my daughter far from this polluted place, in a more healthy and civilized place, where I can teach her to wait in line patiently in public place, respect the regulation and other people’s privacy. The basic ethic things that I find difficult in Jakarta. This is a chaotic place where people do not care about other people’s right in the public space.  This is scary, and I dont want my daughter grown up to be  a selfish person as most people in Jakarta.

Today morning Jakarta was so gloomy. I heard a sad news of my friend’s daughter passed away last night. Yesterday I got news of my friend’s wife passed away, and other sad news today I hear Mbak Ayu Utami’s mother also passed away. So gloomy days. People lost their love ones. It’s part of life, I know, dont preach me about that. I lost my father 13 years ago. The pain has never been fade away. I miss him badly, always. My heart goes to all my friends who lost their wife, daughter and mother. My sincere condolences and pray for their strength. No parents should bury their child, no. My tears with Ndorokakung and family. Ndoro nyuwun pangapunten ndak bisa layat Bunga hari ini ke Karawaci.

And now it’s my time to end my post and hurry back home to see my daughter Amala who is turning two in couple months. How time flies, she grows so fast just right before my eyes. Mommy is coming home soon dear. Miss you and your Dad, badly.

 

“Bersahabat” dengan Macet Jakarta

Ini tulisan lama yang saya tulis untuk Majalah More Indonesia sebagai bagian dari peringatan HUT Jakarta bulan Juni tahun 2011. Saya diminta More Indonesia menulis kolom ini terkait pekerjaan saya saat itu sebagai Communication Specialist di Kantor Wakil Menteri Perhubungan, Dr.Bambang Susantono.

Read more…

Project Defend Done

IMG_3234Finally the day has arrived. Today May 7th, 2013, I was standing in front of my three professor presenting and defending my project, and they gave me unconditionally pass for my work. Thank you Lord, alhamdulillah. The two years work has been done and I got my M.A degree officially now. I am officially graduate from school, from Communication and Development Studies Program Ohio University. I am class of 2013!

But the project UU Project  is not only my school work, but as a collaborative work with Anton Muhajir, I intend to have it as my long time work as an individual soon I return to Indonesia. Glad to know Anton, he is an amazing guy from whom I learned about what is the real passion, not just an empty jargon for you to sell for your best seller books. Anton showed me the real concrete work of how passion fuelled his work in developed and managing Balebengong for last six years, as a voluntary work. Anton and his colleagues at Sloka Institute are a group of people who do the real work in the field of citizen journalism in Bali.

I learned a lot from them, and looking forward to continue my further research and contribution for UU Project and Balebengong in a way within my reach. I dedicated my degree for them, after my family. They deserve better recognition for their work, but they are just too humble for that. And I feel obliged to put them in a better spot of acknowledgement and recognition, simple because they are very well deserved it.

Motherhood is precious more than everything

School almost done, I will walk in Convocation Center with my other fellow graduate students on a memorable commencement day soon, in next couple weeks. The question is what’s next? I have turn down many job offers and oppositely have sent a bunch of job applications. Sound paradox, but there is a fundamental reason behind it. I turn down most of full time job with fixed office hours 8-5 and five days a week, and enthusiastically send the job application to short term job or part time.

I have my eight months old daughter that I want to be with for most of her precious moments in life. I have been leaving her home with my mom and husband for more than a month, and still four more weeks to see her when I landed home. As many other mom on earth, I will compensate my two months missing moments with her in the best thing I can do. I can not afford to go directly to office mode soon I landed in Jakarta as if I were a single woman. I have my daughter that I want to be with more than everything in my life now, include a well paid and promising job. Money and fame can wait, while my time with Amala my baby is now, and I could not turn back the time later when suddenly I realized that I miss a lot of her important moment in life due to my busy schedule in chasing money and fame.

I read this touching post and confirmed me more about what  I want to do when I return home after I got my master degree from Ohio University. I want to be with my daughter as much time as possible and shaping her thought, character and personality based on my knowledge and life experience. I wont let a nanny who only graduate from junior high school take care my daughter in her daily life and shaping her character and manner indirectly. As I always promised myself when I was still single and looking for a right partner to have family, I want to raise my baby with my own hands, nanny and maid are needed as supporting system not as  main care giver of my precious child.

Now my time has arrived, I am a mother of a beautiful, smart, happy and healthy daughter. It is a blessed. She is a precious gift. She is everything and the most important person in my life now, that God has trusted me and my husband Victor to take care of as our own flesh and blood. I believe the right rewarding role for me professionally will come at its right time and place. I have no doubt about that, as my God’s faith has been leading me through this path so far. I love you my daughter Amala, and her papa Victor Tjahjadi. You both are my air to  breath and the ultimate voice of reasons of how I walk my life.