Thursday, January 22, 2009

[Economic for dummies] Kasus Singkong

Saya suka makan keripik singkong (yang nggorengnya dengan terlebih dulu ditenggelamkan ke dalam bumbu garam, bawang dan kunyit). Dua puluh tahun yang lalu, pas saya masih SD, harga singkong Rp. 100 per kilo. Kata mami-nya Nina (yang baru beli singkong tadi pagi pasar), sekarang harga singkong udah Rp. 1000 per kilo, ato naek 10x lipat. Dalam 20 taon, harga singkong udah naek 1000%.

Lalu dengan otak ekonomi yang pas2an, saya coba analisa. Kalo misalnya 20 taon yang lalu saya punya uang Rp. 100, terus saya depositokan di bank, apa sekarang, 20 taon kemudian, uangnya masih bisa buat beli singkong 1 kilo? Logikanya sih ya bisa. Kan di bank dapet bunga... Tapi dengan asumsi suku bunga deposito 8% per tahun, ternyata uang Rp. 100 saya jadi... Rp. 466 dalam 20 tahun. Kalo dengan asumsi suku bunga 10%, dalam 20 taon uang saya "cuman" jadi Rp. 672. Cuman cukup beli daon-nya doang.

Jadi, kalo uang kita taroh di Bank, nilainya semakin lama akan semakin susut. Kok bisa ya? Kalo kata orang ekonomi, uang kita "dimakan" sama inflasi. Contohnya tingkat inflasi singkong adalah 1.000% dalam 20 taon, ato rata2 per taon adalah 50%, lah kalo suku bunga di bank cuman 10% ya jelas di taon pertama aja kita udah tekor kalo nunda2 beli singkong. Rp. 100 di taon pertama kalo didepositokan jadi Rp. 110, sedangkan singkongnya, dari Rp. 100 jadi Rp. 150. Nangkep ya?

Nah, sekarang inti masalahnya. Kalo kita adalah seorang pegawai, yang mana kenaikan gaji per-taon-nya kurang dari 30%, maka semakin lama, kita jadi nggak bisa beli banyak singkong (khususnya bagi penggemar singkong). Misalnya sekarang gaji seorang pegawai Rp. 2jt per bulan, yang kalo dibelikan singkong dapet 2 ton (asumsi harga singkong Rp. 1000/kg). Setaon kemudian, harga singkong jadi Rp. 1.500. Lalu dengan asumsi kenaikan gaji 30% (which is merupakan kenaikan yang signifikan), gaji jadi Rp. 2.6jt, yang kalo dibelikan singkong cuman dapet 1,7 ton. Lah, kemana yang 0.3 ton? Itu yang namanya "dimakan" inflasi... (ternyata inflasi jg doyan singkong, kayak saya). Yang ngeri, kalo diitung2, lama kelamaan gaji pegawai bisa2 cuman dapet sekilo singkong , bayangkan skenarionya...

Istri: "Papa! Baru gajian ya pa?" (sambil senyum-senyum mupeng)

Suami: "Iya, ma..."

Istri: "Mana uangnya, pa?" (mendadak matanya jadi hijau)

Suami: "Ini..." (sambil mengangkat seikat singkong di depan wajah istrinya)

Istri: "..." (mendadak bermata coklat melihat singkong yang hanya sekilo)

(hiks, jadi miris karena saya termasuk pegawai).

Masalahnya tentu bukan di singkong-nya, karena ada tertulis bahwa manusia hidup bukan dari singkong saja... Tapi, kasus di atas, so true buat semua pegawai. Gaji naik itu kamuflase. Kalo hanya 5 ato 10% per taon, itu cmn sekedar akal2an biar kitanya betah... Lah wong inflasinya singkong aja 50% per tahun.

Lalu, kalo kita hanya ngandalkan nabung, nilai pasti susut, karena suku bunganya nggak sebanding dengan inflasi... Kualitas hidup tentu jg nggak akan jadi tambah baik (kalo dulunya bisa beli singkong, lama2 kelamaan cmn bisa beli daon singkong). Sayangnya banyak pegawai yang bahkan nggak punya tabungan karena selalu abis. Lha wong yg nabung aja nilainya bakalan susut, apalagi kl nggak nabung... So, jadi pegawai harus kreatif agar gajinya nggak dimakan sama inflasi... Tapi kreatif yang kayak gimana?

To all employee all around the world, what do you think? [TO BE continue, bagaimana makan singkong dengan tenang tanpa bingung dengan inflasi]

NB. Kayaknya kl pake firefox bakalan nggak bisa ngasi comment karena template-nya nggak kompatibel dengan firefox (verification code-nya ke-blok). IE will solve the problem. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

[Quantum Leap] The Interpreter

Knowing how to speak English is one thing, but interpreting English is completely different thing.

So, there he goes. Leaping into a character called an "Interpreter". Last time I saw him, he was a lecturer with tons of office tasks during new coming semester. Preparing research proposal, preparing scholarship applications since he's so eager to take Ph. D this year, preparing subjects to be taught for next semester, involving in some campus activities to make sure that he can hit Key Performance Indicators (KPI) target as a lecturer.

But then, last Saturday, the news came like brick hits his head. He was elected to interprete Pst. Steven Davis from Australia for the sunday service at Bethany Church, Malang. Why did they choose this-so-unexperienced-interpreter to interpret? The church has more experience-and-annointed-interpreters, but somehow they could not do the interpretation. One is sick and must be hospitalized, this-mom-would-be is pregnant for 5 months, and this-best-interpreter-ever couldn't do because must taking care her of baby boy (Geee... this-best-interpreter-ever is amazingly-incridibly-accurate, though she never formally studies English!).

So, he was the chosen one, leaping into a character called "interpreter". Must accomplish the mission, interpreting Pst. Steven Davis' preaching in two services. The challenge was thathe's never done the interpretation for a service with one thousand people. The other challange was, he knew exactly that he's not yet a good interpreter - he neither having rich vocabulary nor knowing lot "christian-terms". I saw him, he was scared to death! He prefers to do 100 TOEFL tests or translating 1000 pages rather than interpreting an Australian preacher in front of thousand people.

So, what happen then? I believe your guess is same like mine. In the first service, he totally messed up the sermon and the service as well. Lot of words missed, lot of sentences not delivered clearly, many times he used inproper term. He ruined the whole service. I really felt sory for him...

After the service then I saw him humbly himself... Spoke to the deputy-pastor if should he be replaced. The deputy-pastor simply smiled at him, and said to carry on for the next service. He's not losing hope on him and believe that he'll do better for the next evening service.

He went back with discouragement and uncertain feeling... Fear and doubt came. Wondering if he'll keep doing the same mistake for next service.

At the second service, I saw God's grace was upon him. He was able to interprete much much better than the first one. Very few words were missed, and overall he delivered the interpretation quite well. Despite of the difficulty-level, he considered that as his best interpretation. It was not by his power nor his mighty, but it was truly by the Spirit of God and God's grace...

So, he learned something by leaping into this "interpreter character". He knows that God's grace always sufficient for him, he experienced personally what God's grace is - not from what people said or what he've learned from Christian books, but experience PERSONALLY... Suddenly, he returned back into his body... The body of a man who loves teaching and writing, plus a valuable personal experience about God's grace and how good God is. Then, that man started to share his quantum leap experience through this posting.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Black Shoes

Saya punya sepasang sepatu hitam yang saya beli 8 tahun yang lalu (ya, it's been 8 years!). Harganya murah waktu saya beli... cuman 5 digit (which means less than 100K). Saya inget, waktu itu saya hampir lulus kuliah S1 dan nggak punya banyak duit untuk beli fancy ato branded shoes yang harganya 6 digit. Jadi ya... saya beli yang murah tapi bisa dipake untuk kerja resmi...
Lalu jadilah sepatu hitam itu satu-satunya sepatu resmi saya - till... NOW! Iya, sampe sekarang saya masih pake sepatu hitam itu. Sepatu ini udah nggak sekeren 8 taon lalu ketika saya beli pertama kali. Lima tahun lalu, solnya harus diganti karena ada bagian yang robek hingga kaki saya bisa kemasukan kerikil ato air kalau saya jalan di jalan yang becek. Warna hitamnya sudah pudah di beberapa bagian. Tali sepatunya juga udah pernah putus.
Yet, somehow sepatu itu tetap saya pake, dan saya nggak pengin beli ato ganti sepatu lain (beli sepatu kets iya, tapi nggak pernah ngganti sepatu resmi ini). Saya udah terlanjur nyaman dengan sepatu ini, pas di kaki saya... Lagian sepatu ini jadi saksi ribuan peristiwa penting dalam 8 tahun terakhir hidup saya...
Dia udah menghadiri 50 acara kondangan, karena dialah satu2nya sepatu resmi yang saya punya - secara untuk menghadiri kondangan nggak mungkin pake sandal jepit.
  • Dia yang menemani saya ketika saya menginjakkan kaki di Univ B* untuk memulai kuliah S2, lalu menemani sepanjang 4 semester kuliah saya dalam setiap perkuliahan yang saya ikuti, termasuk saat konsultasi tesis, sampai waktu saya ujian tesis dan mendapatkan nilai akhir A, sepatu hitam ini yang menemani.
  • Saya juga pakai sepatu ini ketika saya di-interview di "sini", termasuk menerima penghargaan as "you-know-what".
  • He was there when I'm teaching. Jadi saya masuk dan mengajar di puluhan kelas dengan sepatu yang sama, hitam dan nggak keren lagi.
  • Saat saya harus naik panggung untuk jadi pembicara ato whatever, there it is, the black "old" shoe.
Sekarang sepatu itu udah rusak berat di bagian bawahnya. Beberapa bulan lalu, kedua sol bawahnya sobek horisonal dari ujung kiri sampai ujung kanan. Waktu saya ke Singapore, saya nggak berani bawa (jadi saya bawa sepatu kets). Saya mencoba me-lem agar menyatu, tapi beberapa minggu kemudian sudah rusak lagi solnya. Jadi saya biarkan dan tetap dipakai dalam keadaan seperti itu. Bahkan dalam keadaan yang seperti itu, sepatu itu masih nyaman dipakai. Lalu, kemarin kehujanan lebat, yang mengakibatkan beberapa jahitan lepas dan warna hitam di beberapa bagian tambah pudar. Jika dihitung dengan nilai depresiasi menurut akuntansi, nilai sepatu ini sudah menjadi susut Rp. 1.
Trust me, sepatu itu sampai sekarang masih nyaman dipakai. Saya berencana tetap memakainya... Saya sudah menjadwalnya untuk dipakai dalam acara wisuda S2 bulan ini. Saya juga ingin ketika saya wisuda doktoral, sepatu inilah yang ada di foto menemani saya dengan jubah toga... I hope he'll survive...
... and remember, don't you dare mock my black shoes no matter how ugly it is, or I'll throw you with my shoes...!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It all started with...

Yay, first posting in 2009 will be grouped in a new category called "My Doctorate Journey"... (Geee... I'm sooo eager to have additional "Ph. D" after my name, so it'll be "Windra Swastika, Ph. D"... Cool, ah? After finishing "My Doctorate Journey", next category will be "The New Adventure of Chasing Professorship", haha2...)

So, it all started with a dream (remember...? we all are ordinary people, and will stay ordinary until we encounter extraordinary dreams and the moment we step forward to achieve that dream, we're becoming extraordinary). I'm dreaming... of a white Christmas..., oh, sorry, it's over... I'm dreaming, that someday my mom and my future soulmate (whoever she is and probably with my children) attend my doctorate graduation ceremony (somewhere in Australia, USA or Japan), and when the dean calls my name to come forward to stage, my mom shouts "THAT'S MY BABY BOY...!!!" (Please deh, mom...)

But, like the wise says, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Definitely, doctorate journey is not one or two miles away. It's a long... long journey. It takes many steps to make that dream come to past.

My first step was initialized by Ivonne Sabrina (a friend that lives and works in USA... we've even never met, yet she's willing to help me sincerely - ya, sincere people DOES exists). She introduces me with her former lecturer that already got Ph. D degree from State and gives me some valueable information. Thanks a lot, Von!

Yesterday was my second step. I attended "How to get scholarship for Universities in Japan" workshop. Another valuable information. The speaker gave us a very detail step, start from how to write the research proposal, search for professor, contact professor, fill in the scholarship application from, interview tricks, etc. He made me believe that as long as we step in the right track (of scholarship), then we'll have the same result (get the scholarship).

Ok, what next? The next two weeks will be a time for writing research proposal and contact professors (notice: PLURAL!) to find a supervisor for my research. Meanwhile, enhancing my English is a MUST!

I'll keep updating the news...