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.



Due to recent online articles about my appointment, my blog have been getting a lot of page visits, particularly on my last post.

The main referrer for that particular post was this link below:

First and foremost, I would need to point out that despite my appointment as a government officer, I am a professional whose loyalty is for the Republic of Indonesia, regardless who is the President. I do not have any political or corporate affiliations. All I have is my freedom of mind.

Thus, I have maintained my personal blog as a collection of analysis and opinion pieces as a public policy scholar.

All of my writings here, should be attributed to me and if someone else quotes it, they should have the courtesy to contact me before posting it somewhere else. Furthermore, if someone would like to translate it to Bahasa Indonesia, please do it properly and do not use Google Translate.

Regarding the said article above, it is a misleading headline and if one is diligent enough to understand the tone of my writing, it is an analysis of President Jokowi’s style of leadership, his choices of policies and ministerial appointments. I am cautious about how the media highlights the spectacle of the ministerial announcement more than the rationale behind the decisions. As responsible citizens, we need to apply critical thinking and monitor how the government implements its policies to ensure that they work for our benefit and not the benefit of political/corporate elites.

My hope is that the media does these kind of analysis instead of focusing on the personal profile of ministerial assistants such as myself. It is more unfortunate that the focus is on my looks particularly, instead of my competence.

Therefore, allow me to do my job properly, as I want only the best for this country and its people. And as of now, I believe that working with Ibu Susi is one of the best ways to do so.

Help us to focus on the performance of our programs and policies, report to us what’s being implemented on the ground, and let us know if we’re doing a good job or a bad job – and we will improve it. No more Asal-Bapak-Senang (or Asal-Ibu-Senang) reports.

This is a new era of governance and I wish the Indonesian media can keep up with real journalism to support it.

I thank you for your attention.

Intermezzo – Back in Indonesia

Late last year my friend and I gave a presentation to a bank in Singapore regarding the general conditions in Indonesia. The title was “Indonesia: the Sleeping Giant of Southeast Asia”. The premise was simple, Indonesia has a lot to offer but there are many factors hindering its true potentials. Two factors that we highlighted was lack of infrastructure development and corruption.

In the Q&A session, one of the bankers asked, “Why is it that despite being the 4th largest population in the world, we don’t see many Indonesians abroad? Even if there are Indonesian scholars out there, they always go back to Indonesia”

I answered with a joke, “because Indonesians are like trained doves – no matter how far we go we always come back to Indonesia”.

Jokes aside, I tend to believe that usually Indonesian scholars abroad are divided into two: (1) those who are on scholarship and thus are bonded to return to Indonesia and contribute to the country; and (2) those who are fortunate to be able to finance themselves abroad and since their families have everything for them back home, they will return inevitably. Of course, this is a generalized statement and there are exceptions, i.e. what about those who are already rich but they altruistically want to contribute to Indonesia?

I don’t think brain drain on a massive scale is a problem (yet) in Indonesia. Yes, Jakarta is a hell hole of a city to live in, but people still work there and have other places in Indonesia as a retirement plan (i.e. Bali, Jogjakarta). If you read the newspapers, it’s rather depressing because it seems that this country doesn’t seem to run out of problems to report. Yet, there are glimpses of hope and achievement here and there – it’s just that we need to be reminded of the things that happen in Indonesia is not just in Jakarta.

My story? I’ve graduated early this May and I’m back in the country that I was born in and in love with. I managed to travel in Halmahera, North Maluku for a week (and also managed to be stranded on an island, losing contact with the boat), but now back in Jakarta. My scholarship is not bonded and initially I wanted to gain experience abroad before ultimately coming back to Indonesia, but an opportunity came up and I decided that I don’t want to miss a chance working inside the inner circle of the Republic.

Singapore will always be a chapter in my life and how the lessons that I learned while I was living there has shaped my way of thinking, especially regarding public policy. But for now, I’m back home in Indonesia.

Intermezzo – Blog Info

I have been very busy preparing for my thesis (or Policy Analysis Exercise) of which I will be presenting tomorrow (17/02), thus the lack of updates in the blog. Rest assured I will be blogging again after tomorrow’s ordeal is finished.

If anyone is interested, the title of my PAE is “Acceleration of Land Acquisition in Indonesia: Case Study of the Jakarta MRT Project”. In this PAE, I will be identifying bottlenecks in the implementation of land acquisition processes in Indonesia (which are known to cause delays in development of infrastructure projects) and then identify the actions or policies needed to accelerate the process (or “debottlenecking”).

The final product should be submitted around April, so if anyone is interested in discussing the topic with me, I would be delighted to do so.