The Wedding-Panic Benchmark

When I was about 24 or 25 years old, my best friend and I were discussing about “the wedding-panic benchmark”. It is when someone becomes the benchmark for others to start panicking about, “when am I going to get married?”.

My best friend, at that time, confessed that I was her wedding-panic benchmark. And so were our other group of friends.

Perhaps my friends thought that I am Wonder Woman, who vowed to only get married if only evil and injustices vanish from the earth.


I’m 31 now and among my group of friends I am actually indeed one of the few single individuals left. Let me first say, “you’re welcome”. I am glad to be of service for your ease of minds considering that you decided to settle down before I did.

But, I think some of my younger or other single friends are still worried about when will it be their turn for their wedding.

Indonesian traditional social norms pressures you into getting married early, have a child, die happy. It is as if people had linear timelines and they all participated in “The Game of Life” board game. They did not tell you that marriage is a lot of work and rearing a child requires even more work and responsibilities. I saw this image going viral on my social media timeline and had a major face-palm moment.


I also believe Disney is responsible for being the cause of depressed people worldwide for making us believe that marriage is a ‘happily-ever-after’. Disney and porn, perhaps, for creating inflated expectations.

You see, I was fine becoming ‘the benchmark’ when I realised that perhaps I had a benchmark myself: my younger brother. Fate has it, he decided to get married a few weeks ago

I expected the usual “when-is-your-turn” questions, and I must say I have prepared witty remarks such as:

Distant uncle: So, where is your “calon”? (my soon to be partner)
Me: Oh, he’s not here yet.
Distant uncle: Really?
Me: Yes. He will be coming from the future.

However, I mostly answered those “kapan-kawin” questions from relatives whose names I do not even know with a faint smile.

A week after my brother’s wedding, my grandmother passed away.

I was out of town and was not able to attend the funeral, so my father sent me a message. “Eyang has always been proud of you and your achievements. But she said she always wanted to see you get married”.

Oh, Lordy.

Eyang, it’s not like I didn’t try.

The problem is, I am a hopeless romantic who believes that you need to be madly, deeply in love with the person you are married with. I could settle for an arranged marriage*), but, no. I don’t trust my mother to make fashion choices for me, let alone choosing my spouse.

I had my fair share of debates with my mother about marriage as well.

I remember when I was in my mid-20s, I said to my mother, “What if you don’t have to get married? What if you found a calling and that becomes your lifetime devotion?”. My mother raised her voice and asked, “Like what?”. To which I replied, “Well, like Mother Teresa, for instance”. My mother snapped and started to recite a verse from the Koran, something about how God has created a match for everyone. The debate didn’t end well. I am well aware that I am not Mother Teresa material and I know now to not start a topic like that when you’re driving in the car alone with your mother.

When I was in my early 20s, my mother said, “I hope you settle down with a kind, smart, Sundanese Moslem man”. When I turned 25 she said, “I hope you settle down with a kind Moslem man”. Then, when I turned 30 she said, “I hope you settle down”.

I am happy that now my mother has realistic expectations of me.

For a while, I thought that I have a fear of commitment. I envied people who are able to make a commitment to fall in love over and over again with the same person over the years. This is coming from someone whose longest commitment so far is with a gym membership. And it’s only been a year or so things have ‘worked out’ between us after four years of status.

Some would also say, “Oh, you’re too picky”. To which I always answer, “How can I be too picky if I have no one to pick?”.

Truth to be told, I have had my share of heartbreaks as well in the quest for love and being with “the one”. Over the course of my failed relationships I realised I wanted love so bad that in the end I did not love or take care of myself. I yearned for the other person’s affection yet neglected what is needed for my soul, and what is needed for me to grow.

It is dangerous when you change yourself to be accepted by the subject of your interest. It may start from something simple. You start listening to the same music (you said you are open to metal but you know you’re more into jazz, really), you start going out to the same place (you hated dance clubs and prefer coffee shops but – oh, there’s this rave party invitation thing that they asked you to come to), and without you realising, over the course of time you start to stop becoming you. You got lost.

Sadly, I have witnessed friends or relatives who got married, found themselves as individuals, had different priorities, grew apart, and divorced.

Those distant family members will then start making small talks in the next Halalbihalal, asking “Where is your spouse?”  — even though they knew the separation was recent — in lieu of “when-is-your-turn-to-get-married” questions.

Loving — and eventually marrying yourself is important. At first, I find the story behind “self-marriage” quite bizarre, whether it was Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City or Sue Sylvester from Glee. Essentially, committing to yourself does not necessarily mean you are being selfish, but more of making a vow, “I will never leave me”.

Leaving or being left by someone who is important to you is hurtful, no matter the circumstances. People who have their heart broken usually recover by doing the things that they enjoy or love the most. However, finding your true self after your core have been heavily influenced by another individual is usually the hardest.

When you have promised yourself that you will not leave you, you find peace from within and do the things you enjoy or love the most, and eventually get rid of society’s unnecessary pressure for you to be married with someone.

There is really no need to panic for a wedding date. Find yourself from within and be content with who you are. If you found someone to move in the same direction as you are, in the right timing, that’s just a bonus.


*)Note: Special shoutout to my Indian friends who taught me there’s a thing called a ‘love marriage’. “Aren’t all marriage supposed to be based on love?” In which my friend answered, “Fika, obviously you have not met an Indian family. Most of us go through an arranged one”.


Global Demand for Seafood Tests Indonesia’s Sovereignty

Since April 1, Thailand has closed its Andaman Bay for commercial fishing and will maintain the policy until June 30. In a similar maneuver, China will adopt a moratorium on fishing in its waters from the Yellow Sea to the East China Sea and the South China Sea from May 1 to September 1.

Altogether more than 250,000 fishing vessels will be affected, and many of them will venture further to catch fish to avoid the costs of stopping operations completely.

To put this into context, China is the world’s largest net exporter of seafood, while the number one net importer of seafood is the US. However, China will soon become the world’s biggest seafood importer due to a rise in its people’s average income. China’s import volume has grown by 8 percent annually.
By 2020, the Chinese government projects that as marine resources deplete, the country’s fisheries production will shrink to around 10 million tons, a contraction of 3 million tons compared to its 2015 volume.

Growing Chinese demand for seafood, however, will stress existing global fisheries stocks unless proper sustainability measures are rigorously applied.

In comparison, the US government recently enacted a rule on seafood traceability seeking to prevent imports of illegally caught fish. However, major US seafood companies have filed a lawsuit against the government, claiming that the policy will increase operational costs by up to US$1 billion per year – because in practice, large volumes of US seafood are exported to processing hubs mainly in China and then reimported by US companies.

Witnessing these dynamics, the global demand for seafood will impact countries with relatively healthy fisheries stocks, including Indonesia.

Overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) has been a global problem for decades but it is only recently that the Indonesian government has increased its awareness of sustainability challenges in its maritime domain, as part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s global maritime nexus vision

Indonesia’s zero-tolerance of poaching has quickly shaped the policy debates in the regional, and to some extent global, trade in seafood. Up to two years ago, Indonesia’s seafood entered the world markets without proper accounting and controls.

Thailand, with its Thai Union Group, is the largest canned tuna exporter in the world, but it imports 90 percent of its tuna sources, mainly from Indonesia. In the past, a large number of Thai fishing vessels operated illegally in Maluku waters, employing migrant workers in slavery-like conditions, exposed only after the Indonesian government slapped a fisheries licensing moratorium and transshipment ban in late 2014.

Thai Union’s revenue in 2014 stood at $3.44 billion, completely dwarfing Maluku’s regional revenue from fisheries, which amounted to less than $1million that year.

Stark numbers have also emerged in Merauke in Papua, where the Chinese fishing firm Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd (NASDAQ: PME) has operated in the rich waters of Arafura. In its public investor presentation, PME reported a decline in revenue from $233 million in 2014 to $60.7 million in 2015. The report detailed that 156 of their Chinese-flagged fishing vessels stopped operating in Indonesian waters following the moratorium policy, a bizarre statement given that foreign-flagged vessels have been banned from operating in Indonesia since 2005.

PME claims that a vessel operating in Arafura can earn a net income up to $1 million per year, which as it happens equals Papua’s total revenue from fisheries in 2014.

Reforms are underway to realign the gap in Indonesia’s seafood potential with actual performance. Those who have benefited from shady past practices dislike such reforms and continue to fight policies implemented by the government, claiming that such policies have “hurt” exports and the industry.

It is naïve to only see the performance of Indonesia’s seafood industry through its export figures. Domestic seafood consumption should instead top our concern, since protein from cattle will not be enough. Indonesia still largely imports its beef, despite the fact that its prices have been volatile and lower income groups cannot afford to buy it.

Hence, people will resort to seafood as an alternative source of protein. The Indonesian Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) has reported a deflation trend from 2014-2016 for fish prices in the domestic market, meaning fish has become more affordable for consumers.

As is the case for China, Indonesia needs to realize that prioritizing domestic demand will be a challenging task with 260 million mouths to feed, the fourth-largest population in the world after China, India and the US.

Making sure that there is enough fish caught by Indonesian fishermen for generations to come, through proper sustainability measures, is the only way to ensure the President’s vision of making the “oceans the future of the nation” a reality.

#HidungFika – Desember 2016

Kumpulan tulisan fiksi #HidungFika tentang ulasan berita terkini di bulan Desember 2016. Enduslah tulisan ini dengan akal dan humor yang sehat.

“Payung Biru”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (5 Desember 2016):

  1. Brigjen Teddy Hernayadi dinyatakan terbuki bersalah dan dijatuhkan vonis seumur hidup oleh Pengadilan Militer Tinggi II atas kasus korupsi di Kementerian Pertahanan. Brigjen Teddy terbukti merugikan negara sebesar USD 12 juta atas penyelewengan dana pembelian pesawat tempur F-16 dan helikopter Apache sejak 2010-2014. Sebagai alternatif alutsista, dikabarkan mulai tahun depan Kementerian Pertahanan menjalin kerjasama dengan negara-negara di Timur Tengah untuk pelatihan pilot permadani terbang.
  2. Forbes telah mengeluarkan daftar nama 50 orang terkaya di Indonesia tahun 2016. Lima orang terkaya di Indonesia adalah Budi & Michael Hartono (BCA), Susilo Wonowidjojo (Gudang Garam), Anthoni Salim (Salim Group), Eka Tjipta Widjaja (Golden Agri-Resources), dan Sri Prakash Lohia (Indorama). Meskipun sudah ada program Tax Amnesty, Menteri Keuangan Sri Mulyani menyayangkan bahwa Mukidi juga belum masuk ke dalam daftar Forbes tersebut.
  3. Setelah sukses menyelenggarakan aksi #SuperDamai212, Gerakan Nasional Pengawal Fatwa (GNPF) MUI yang dimotori oleh Front Pembela Islam (FPI) dikabarkan akan menjadi promotor dan organizer Jakarta Marathon 2017. Ditanya alasannya, perwakilan Kementerian Pariwisata menyatakan, “Ya, karena kami ingin menarik jumlah massa yang besar dan sterilisasi jalan Jakarta yang efektif secara bersamaan”. Ditambahnya, “Alhamdulillah, Bayclin juga sudah sepakat untuk menjadi sponsor utama di tahun depan”.
  4. Revisi UU Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik (ITE) mulai berlaku semenjak 28 November 2016. Salah satu pokok dalam revisi UU ITE adalah pemberlakuan prinsip “right to be forgotten” yakni seseorang boleh mengajukan penghapusan konten atau informasi tidak benar tentang dirinya yang dipublikasikan di masa lalu. Dikabarkan oleh pengamat digital Keenan Pearce, inilah penyebab mengapa film “Terjebak Nostalgia” yang dibintangi Raisa ditunda rilisnya sampai Desember ini.
  5. Desy Ratnasari (muncul kembali dalam headline #HidungFika) dikabarkan telah dikontak oleh perusahaan rekaman Cikeas untuk recycle lagu, “Payung Biru”.

“Olahraga Jantung”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (12 Desember 2016)

  1. Setelah Operasi Tangkap Tangan (OTT) Walikota Cimahi dan suaminya yang juga bekas Walikota Cimahi (2002-2012) atas dugaan penerimaan suap, KPK mengingatkan agar lebih berhati-hati dalam memilih calon kepala daerah dari dinasti politik. Melihat fenomena ini, dikabarkan Badan Ekonomi Kreatif sedang negosiasi dengan Fox Broadcasting Company untuk memulai Spin-off dari serial TV “Empire” di Indonesia.
  2. Polisi menemukan bukti transfer pendanaan makar setelah penangkapan 10 orang pada Jumat dini hari sebelum #AksiDamai212 berjalan. Dikabarkan oleh pengamat intelejen, dana Rp. 300 juta yang diduga diterima oleh Rachmawati Soekarnoputri ternyata adalah dana mahar (bukan makar) untuk down payment suatu pernikahan. Seorang wedding organizer mengamati, “Sis, harga segitu di Jakarta sekarang cuman cukup buat katering Sari Roti sama Equil”.
  3. Ormas yang menamakan dirinya Pembela Ahlus Sunnah membubarkan acara Kebaktian Kebangunan Rohani yang tengah berlangsung di Gedung Sabuga ITB, Bandung (6/12/2016), dengan alasan kebaktian harus digelar di gedung gereja, bukan gedung umum. Dikabarkan Dinas Pertamanan dan Pemakaman DKI Jakarta sedang mempelajari proposal untuk pengalihan biaya pemeliharaan lapangan Monas sebagai perpanjangan kompleks Masjid Istiqlal.
  4. Presiden terpilih AS Donald Trump menerima telepon dari Presiden Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen dan mencuitkan hal tersebut di akun Twitter-nya. Hal ini membuat geram Tiongkok karena selama 4 dekade, AS tidak pernah melanggar protokol komunikasi langsung dengan Presiden Taiwan demi menghargai kebijakan “One China Policy”. Dikabarkan Vanness Wu akan diberikan medali kehormatan oleh Taiwan atas keberhasilannya dalam menjalankan diplomasi “Meteor Garden”.
  5. Selanjutnya ke berita olahraga — Timnas Indonesia lolos ke final Piala AFF 2016 setelah menyingkirkan Vietnam dengan skor agregat 4-3, meskipun Vietnam menguasai permainan dengan penguasaan bola 74 persen. Fu Ming, wasit dari laga terakhir tersebut dikabarkan akan direkrut oleh RS Harapan Kita sebagai pelatih terapis jantung.

“Ginkgo Biloba”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (19 Desember 2016)

  1. Polri berhasil menggagalkan upaya pengeboman Istana Negara yang akan menggunakan bom panci berisikan Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) yang dapat meledakkan segala hal dalam radius 300 m. Tiga tersangka teroris telah dibekuk di Bekasi dan salah satunya adalah Dian Yulia Novi, perempuan mantan TKI di Oman yang akan dijadikan “pengantin” atau pelaku bom bunuh diri yang terdoktrin ISIS. Tim Redaksi #HidungFika tidak ingin berkomentar mengenai kejadian ini karena khawatir dipanggil Bareskrim apabila ini dibilang pengalihan isu Ahok sebagaimana dialami Eko Patrio yang dikutip tanpa persetujuan oleh 7 media online.
  2. Untuk isu Ahok sendiri — banyak Netizen yang opininya terpecah mengenai sidang perdana kasus penistaan agama oleh Gubernur Non Aktif DKI Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok). Netizen menyesali bahwa perdebatan lebih disorot kepada air mata Ahok di persidangan dan bukan substansi perkara. Namun dikabarkan lebih banyak Netizen yang menyesal dan berderai air mata setelah menyadari realitanya tidak akan ada abang ojek yang seganteng Hamish Daud Wyllie.
  3. Pegawai MA, Dora (nama sebenarnya) menjadi perhatian setelah videonya memukul, mencakar, dan menarik baju Polantas Aiptu Sutisna viral di sosial media. Dikabarkan sejumlah pengamat transportasi menyatakan akhirnya kampanye menggolkan proyek tilang elektronik, “Berhasil! Berhasil! Berhasil! Hore!”.
  4. Dikabarkan setelah laga final sepakbola AFF 2016 antara Indonesia melawan Thailand, sejumlah musisi Indonesia mengakui Timnas adalah sumber inspirasi lagu-lagu patah hati. Ini dikarenakan alur ceritanya yang konsisten, “ketika aku mencintaimu setengah mati, selalu saja menjadi yang kedua”.
  5. Kemudian untuk berita luar negeri — pasukan pro-rezim Presiden Bashar al-Assad di Suriah kembali menyerang Aleppo timur, kawasan dimana pasukan pro-pemberontak masih bertahan. Selain menggalang dana untuk bantuan kemanusiaan di Aleppo, dikabarkan sejumlah aktivis juga menggalang pengedaran Ginkgo Biloba di markas PBB untuk mengingatkan mengenai apa yang terjadi di Bosnia dan Rwanda.

“Om, Telat Om”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (26 Desember 2016):

  1. Tim redaksi #HidungFika turut berduka cita atas jatuhnya pesawat Hercules C130 HA-1334 milik TNI AU di Wamena, yang menewaskan 12 awak dan 1 penumpang. Ini menambah daftar kecelakaan udara di tahun 2016, yakni Skytruck M28 P-4201 milik Polri (jatuh di Pangkalpinang), Helikopter Bell 412 EP HA-5166 milik TNI AD (jatuh di Malinau), Helikopter Bell 205 HA-5073 milik TNI AU (jatuh di Yogyakarta), Helikopter Bell 412 EP HA-5171 milik TNI AD (jatuh di Poso), dan Pesawat Super Tucano TNI AU (jatuh di Malang). Kami mendoakan agar sayap malaikat merupakan alat penerbangan yang lebih diandalkan daripada sistem alutsista Indonesia.
  2. Dikabarkan grup musik asal Skotlandia, Franz Ferdinand, akan mengganti namanya menjadi Andrei Karlov. Hal ini dikabarkan setelah kejadian Dubes Rusia untuk Turki tewas ditembak oleh seorang Polisi Turki di sebuah galeri seni di Ankara, beberapa hari sebelum pertemuan antar Menlu Turki, Rusia, dan Iran untuk membahas proses perdamaian di Suriah.
  3. Kementerian Kehutanan dan Lingkungan Hidup dikabarkan sedang melakukan investigasi terhadap kasus deforestasi tinggi hutan cemara secara mendadak milik Perum Perhutani. Menurut sumber kurang terpercaya, dikabarkan ini akibat dari sweeping dan pemaknaan berlebihan terhadap fatwa MUI yang melarang penggunaan atribut Natal.
  4. Bank Indonesia mengeluarkan mata uang Rupiah dengan desain dan warna baru. Dengan adanya kontroversi seputar pemilihan pahlawan yang ditampilkan di mata uang baru, tidak berjilbabnya Cut Meutia, logo BI yang mirip palu arit, dan indikasi kemiripan dengan Yuan, maka pengamat ekonom aliran klasik mengusulkan agar Indonesia kembali ke sistem barter. “Ya, baiknya kembali ke masa dimana rempah-rempah ditukar dengan kemerdekaan kita”, ujarnya.
  5. Kementerian Kesehatan bersama Kementerian Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Perlindungan Anak dikabarkan telah meluncurkan kampanye kesehatan reproduksi bertepatan dengan Hari Ibu tanggal 22 Desember 2016. Dikabarkan tagline baru mereka adalah, “Om, Telat Om”.

Sekian recap berita bulan lalu dari #HidungFika; enduslah tulisan ini dengan akal dan humor yang sehat.

Research Paper on MUI – The Unsuccessful Bureaucratization of Islam in Indonesia

During my graduate studies I took an independent study module on Political Islam and Governance. My paper was titled “Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI): The Unsuccessful Bureaucratization of Islam in Indonesia”.

In my paper, I argued that the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian Council of Ulama – MUI) illustrates the case of an unsuccessful effort to bureaucratize Islam under the state. The bureaucratization effort was unsuccessful because the establishment of the quasi-official MUI has been the endeavor of Soeharto particularly to use the ulama to legitimize his New Order regime and its government policies, but MUI during the New Order period has never been really controlled by the state and after 1998 it has become more independent in its stance. To a certain extent, MUI in its recent development has also become a player to reckon with in regard to the Islamization of the state.

My argument would firstly be based on the understanding of the bureaucratization of Islam and why this was the necessary approach taken by the government in the early phase of post-independence. Based on the writing of other scholars who have closely examined the fatwas and tausiyahs issued by MUI, I then demonstrate how MUI has gradually distanced itself away from the state and have made efforts to appease the ummah (community of believers). Last but not least, I will explain why MUI serves as the venue for contestation in the future trajectory of political Islam in Indonesia, as it shapes the agenda of the state instead of the other way around.

You can download the paper here. Since this paper was done in 2012, it has not been updated to reflect the current developments, but in the purpose of policy research and constructive engagement, I am open for feedback and discussion.

#HidungFika – November 2016

Kumpulan tulisan fiksi #HidungFika tentang ulasan berita terkini di bulan November 2016. Enduslah tulisan ini dengan akal dan humor yang sehat.

“Lebaran Kuda”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (published 7 November 2016)

  1. Siapapun ahli ramal Pak SBY, saya mau pakai juga. Karena canggih, sebelum ada tuduhan tunggang-menunggangi demo 4 November 2016 beliau sudah klarifikasi 2 hari sebelumnya. Saya dan segenap crew #HidungFika (saingan Mata Najwa) mengucapkan selamat hari raya Lebaran Kuda.
  2. Dikabarkan penjualan produk topi cowboy dan jaket bomber meningkat. Sejumlah pemilik olshop mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Pak Jokowi. Akhirnya Menteri Keuangan Sri Mulyani memikirkan ulang mengenai rencana pengenaan pajak untuk endorser.
  3. Pemilu Presiden AS minggu ini dan hasil polling antara Clinton dan Trump menunjukkan hasil yang tipis semenjak Direktur FBI menyatakan ada bukti baru terkait kasus email server Hillary Clinton. Dikabarkan sejumlah anggota DPR meminta Kongres AS studi banding ke Indonesia untuk melihat pemakaian Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook yang masih marak dilakukan oleh PNS di Indonesia.
  4. Pak Ahok dikabarkan akan duet dengan Young Lex. Ahok akan special appearance di lagu “Bad” khususnya di bagian “Memang gue anak nakal seringkali ngomong kasar tapi masih batas wajar”. Ditanyakan tanggapannya, Iwa K berkomentar, “Bebas! Lepas! Tinggalkan saja semua beban di hatimu”
  5. Jessica Wongso akan menjalani hukuman penjara selama proses banding vonis 20 tahunnya. Dikabarkan ada petisi meminta agar Jessica dipindahkan ke Sukamiskin dan dijadikan barista di sana.

“Saatnya ke Mars”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (published 14 November 2016)

  1. Donald Trump terpilih menjadi Presiden AS setelah memenangkan 306 dari 270 electoral vote yang dibutuhkan, sementara Hillary Clinton meraih 232 electoral vote, meskipun memenangkan popular vote. Dikabarkan Elon Musk mendapatkan tambahan investasi untuk segera menyelesaikan proyek misinya ke Mars setelah website imigrasi Kanada crash.
  2. Menyaksikan kemenangan Trump, warga Kabupaten Bekasi merasa tidak terlalu bersedih dengan kemungkinan Ahmad Dhani menjadi Wakil Bupati. Namun sejumlah anggota masyarakat memastikan kembali kepada Mahkamah Konstitusi bahwa pasal Penghinaan Presiden benar-benar dihapus sebelum Setya Novanto dan Fadli Zon foto bersama dengan Ahmad Dhani di 2019.
  3. BPS rilis angka pertumbuhan ekonomi nasional di Q3 2016 yakni 5,02%. Beberapa analis ekonom menyebutkan kontraksi ekonomi ini karena ekspor yang menurun dan pemotongan anggaran yang menyeluruh di seluruh kementerian. Melihat situasi ini, dikabarkan bahwa Dimas Kanjeng Taat Pribadi dan tujuh mahaguru-nya akan diangkat sebagai Tenaga Ahli di Kementerian Keuangan.
  4. Mantan ketua KPK Antasari Azhar mendapatkan status bebas bersyarat dari LP Kelas 1 Tangerang setelah ditahan selama 7,5 tahun atas kasus pembunuhan Nasrudin Zulkarnain yang diduga terlibat cinta segitiga dengan caddy golf Rani Juliani. Baju korban yang hilang sebagai bukti kunci dari kasus ini masih merupakan misteri. Pengamat politik menyatakan ini sama misteriusnya dengan alasan pernikahan Rey Utami dan Pablo Putra Benua.
  5. Gubernur BI Agus Martowardojo diperiksa KPK terkait kasus korupsi proyek e-KTP. KPK sudah menetapkan mantan Dirjen Dukcapil Irman dan mantan Direktur Pengelola Informasi Administrasi Kependudukan Ditjen Dukcapil Kementerian Dalam Negeri Sugiharto sebagai tersangka. Kerugian negara dari mark-up proyek e-KTP ditaksir mencapai Rp. 2,3 T dan KPK menduga kasus ini akan melibatkan lebih banyak tersangka. Dikabarkan sebagian dana mark-up digunakan untuk memproduseri lagu “Alamat Palsu” dari Ayu Ting Ting sebagai jingle dan promosi penggunaan e-KTP.

“Daddy Wes”

Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (published 21 November 2016)

  1. Presiden Jokowi menghadiri Munas Alim Ulama PPP dan menyatakan penyesalan terhadap penggunaan akun sosial media yang tidak bijak, yang isinya saling menghujat, adu domba dan provokasi. Menurut Pak Jokowi, hal semacam ini tidak mencerminkan tata nilai bangsa Indonesia. Menanggapi hal ini, seorang pakar komunikasi menyarankan Pak Jokowi lebih sering membuka bagian komentar Youtube Awkarin dan Instagram @lambe_turah.
  2. Warga dunia menyaksikan fenomena “Supermoon” pada tanggal 14 November 2016. Fenomena purnama raksasa ini merupakan yang paling besar dan terang semenjak 26 Januari 1948. Seorang pengamat astrolog menyatakan bahwa ini kemungkinan besar penyebab banyaknya perempuan Indonesia yang hormonal atau moody. “Ya, antara ini atau ekspektasi berlebihan terhadap pasangan yang tidak tersampaikan setelah melihat pernikahan Sandra Dewi di Tokyo Disneyland”, ujarnya.
  3. Gubernur DKI Jakarta non aktif, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama ditetapkan sebagai tersangka dalam kasus penistaan agama. Dikabarkan oleh Kemristekdikti bahwa terjadi peningkatan minat program studi Bahasa Indonesia, seiring dengan meningkatnya permintaan ahli bahasa yang #dipakai dalam persidangan pencemaran nama baik, penistaan agama, dan perkara libel lainnya yang marak di Indonesia.
  4. Presiden terpilih AS Donald Trump berencana menerapkan kebijakan database imigran Muslim seperti era administrasi George Bush di tahun 2002-2011. Sejumlah kritik mengatakan kebijakan ini seperti “internment camps” keturunan Jepang-Amerika paska kejadian Pearl Harbor. Namun demikian, beberapa jomblo melihat hal positifnya terhadap kemungkinan peningkatan opsi calon pasangan di
  5. Dikabarkan setelah selesai masa tayang “Golden Ways” di Kompas TV bulan Oktober lalu, Mario Teguh berencana bermitra dengan sebuah klinik fertilitas untuk membuka chain klinik tes DNA “Daddy Wes”. Deddy Corbuzier dikabarkan tertarik untuk menanamkan sahamnya dan juga membuka layanan perawatan rambut di klinik tersebut.


Komentar kejadian terkini minggu lalu (published 28 November 2016)

  1. Mendikbud memutuskan untuk menghentikan sementara sistem Ujian Nasional (UN) mulai tahun depan dan ujian akhir siswa diserahkan ke pemerintah provinsi (untuk SMA, SMK, atau sederajatnya) dan pemerintah kabupaten/kota (untuk SD, SMP atau sederajatnya). Nantinya, kelulusan siswa tidak ditentukan oleh ujian akhir namun ditentukan oleh sekolah masing-masing. Mengetahui hal ini, dikabarkan sejumlah calo soal UN akan beralih profesi menjadi calo tiket konser Coldplay.
  2. Setelah video viral Mannequin Challenge dari Satlantas Aceh Besar dan Satlantas Brebes, juri kompetisi Mannequin Challenge Nasional, Desy Ratnasari, memutuskan pemenangnya adalah TMC Polda Metro Jaya. Ditanya alasannya, Desy menjawab, “Iya, karena mereka konsisten tidak bergerak setiap jam pulang kantor di jalanan Thamrin dan Sudirman”.
  3. Perwakilan Gerakan Nasional Pengawal Fatwa (GNPF) MUI yang juga Sekjen FPI, Novel Bamukmin menegaskan untuk tetap melakukan demo besar di jalanan utama Jakarta pada tanggal 2 Desember 2016. Hal ini mengundang polemik dari sejumlah tokoh nasional. Namun pengamat Robbie Abas menyarankan daripada demo di jalanan akan lebih bermanfaat untuk demo masak bersama Chef Aiko.
  4. Perdana Menteri Belanda Mark Rutte melakukan pertemuan bilateral dengan Presiden Jokowi. PM Rutte datang untuk menawar namun hanya mendapatkan koin Rp. 1.000 dari Presiden Jokowi meskipun sudah memberikan 1 keris sebagai simbolis pengembalian 1.500 benda yang ada di museum Belanda.
  5. Pemerintah dikabarkan sedang melakukan penelusuran apakah Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) beroperasi di Indonesia. Hal ini karena adanya indikasi mantera Obliviate yang digunakan secara massal menjelang terpilihnya Setya Novanto menjadi Ketua DPR kembali.

Sekian rangkuman berita bulan ini dari #HidungFika — enduslah tulisan ini dengan akal dan humor yang sehat.

2016 Blog Update

It’s been almost two years since my last post and I have been noticing a surge in my stats due to a recent online article. Though I have been meaning to write again, I find it very difficult to maintain a steady stream of my usual blog posts and analysis in English due to my work load.

My close circles have been reading my daily “Devil Wears Prada”-meets-“Scandal” rants on my Path social network under the hashtag #CatatanAsrot, but I have started writing an Indonesian weekly satire news update titled #HidungFika on my Medium account.

The idea behind #HidungFika is to copy the popular Indonesian talkshow Mata Najwa (Najwa’s eyes). But why not Mata Fika? Because Fika’s eyes are small so better to see Fika’s nose that you can easily notice from far away.

Anyways. After getting some feedback, I might be cross-posting those posts here as well, just to make sure that there are no spiderwebs in this blog, and online journos who have been secretly reading my blog and writing articles about them will have something to do in the end. I just hope they understand my sense of humor and not spin it out of control.

New Year’s Note

I don’t really believe in coincidences, but I guess sometimes it happens. And it happens when you least expect it.
2014 was a good year for me, for my personal character growth and my professional development as well. Although I still want to maintain this blog as a policy blog, I’d like to share a bit of my personal story as well, particularly about a string of coincidences that has put me in a job where I am today.
New York, September 2014. I was assigned to assist Pak Kuntoro, my boss in the Presidential Delivery Unit (UKP4) for a mission during the UN General Assembly. We had lunch in Le Pain Quotidien, the one in 2nd Avenue.
It was one of my most memorable chats with him, as he told me a valuable lesson about trust.
“Fika, there are a lot of smart and capable people in this world, but what makes you different is about trust. When you are chosen or trusted by someone to do a job, do your best to not break that trust and work as hard as you can”.
Pak Kuntoro was referring to his experience when he was assigned by President Yudhoyono as the Chief of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation for Aceh and Nias after the 2004 tsunami and earthquake. He didn’t have any experience about disaster management, he’s not Acehnese, and at the time he knew that there are more “experts” for the job. But he took the job anyway and by the time BRR was dissolved in 2009, they managed USD 7.2 billion for reconstruction in Aceh and Nias, a feat that cannot be done if the global community didn’t have trust to manage that amount of money.
With Pak Kuntoro in Le Pain Quotidien, 2nd Avenue, New York
Jakarta, 10 October 2014. I was accompanying Pak Kuntoro for a book launch on the 10 year commemoration of the Aceh Tsunami. That day was actually the first time I met Ibu Susi of Susi Air.
Pak Kuntoro and Ibu Susi were long time friends during Aceh times, and when I was introduced to Ibu Susi, my first impression about her was someone who has heart in what she does and an unbelievable compassion for others.
She was also quick to tell me about numbers and data about the operation involved in extinguishing the forest fires and haze in Riau. And then I noticed that figures and numbers are something that Ibu Susi is also good at, in addition to observing that she will not hesitate to tell things as it is, even though I just met her.
Ibu Susi and Pak Kuntoro in Aceh tsunami 10 year commemoration book launch event
Cabinet announcement, October 2014. I remember the days before, I texted Pak Kuntoro saying that I had a dream about him not becoming minister in President Jokowi’s cabinet. I told him how I actually felt relieved, instead of feeling disappointed that he won’t have a ministerial position in the next government. He then called to say thank you.
So, when the ministers are announced, and Ibu Susi’s name was called by the President, I texted Pak Kuntoro a simple message, “Pak Kun, we should help Ibu Susi”. I meant we as a team and didn’t mean myself personally.
However, a week later on a Sunday night, I got an unexpected phone call from Ibu Susi. When I picked up my phone, a deep, raspy voice greeted me, “So Pak Kuntoro told me you want to help me? Are you sure? My speed is not like him so you better be prepared”.
And that’s how it all started.
Landing in Simeulue, Aceh. December 2014. Photo by Didik Heriyanto.
In the course of my early days assisting Ibu Susi, one of the most memorable conversations that I got from her is about courage. We had lunch one day in her residence, eating fish from Pangandaran which she insisted is not like the fish in Jakarta.
“Fika, do you know what’s lacking in this country? Courage. We can’t teach courage to people unless our leaders put themselves at risk”.
And so she did. The fishing license moratorium and anti transhipment policy, her strong stance against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, have definitely irked some people, but on the other side we have been getting support as well. You just can’t please everybody. Policymakers need to see things from a broader and strategic view for the long term, and sometimes it means taking actions that may seem unpopular for the short term.
So, 2015. I don’t know what kind of coincidences will happen in the days to come. I’m still young and I have a lot more to learn. I’m also a person who do not like to be in the spotlight, but I guess my job right now means this is inevitable.
I’m grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to learn a lot of things, not just about trust and courage, from people who have throughly experienced it. I hope once in a while I can share it through this blog and use this as another form of communication.
Happy new year!