Once in a Lifetime Decision


In the highland within the vicinity of Mediterranean Sea lives a young man. He was raised and taught by his grandfather. His parents have already passed away for several years now. His name is Jorge.

As Jorge comes to age, Antonio, his grandfather, wants to teach him a lesson that will graduate Jorge from his childhood and teenage thinking. Also, Antonio thought that his time in this world is almost elapse.

One morning, Antonio called Jorge before him.

“My dear Jorge,” he said in smile “I need you to do something for me”

“Anything for you grandpa,” replied Jorge.

“I fear, my child, that I will soon bid farewell to this life. I want to bequeath the land in the West Valley for you with one condition,” Antonio said and paused.

Growing curious, Jorge said “What condition, Grand?”

“Patience, child, patience,” uttered Antonio.

After seeing his grandson is ready for his words, Antonio continue, 

“You must plant the valley with the best seed of wheat you can find in the Northwest. In finding the best seed, you must not look back. And you cannot pick the seed that you already passed. You simply cannot return to them. It’s a linear journey, I must say.”

Jorge left in confusion as Antonio requested him to start as soon as possible.

Jorge then walked and walked to the Northwest searching  for the best seed he could find. He was inundated in doubt. He does not want to miss any best quality seed while at the same time there maybe other seeds better than what he would have picked.

He walked through several wheat fields in the Northeast without realizing he already passed them all without deciding which one is the best seed. Although throughout his seeking he fond towards one seed, he did not dare to solicited it. 

Feeling disappointed and afraid, Jorge return to Antonio with this sad news.

“Grand, I missed my opportunity to pick the right seed” said Jorge.

As though he was anticipating that from his grandson, Antonio said “Come here sit next to me child”

Jorge approached.

“So, from all of those wheat, do you think you know which one is good and bad?” asked Antonio

“I think so,” Jorge paused, “but, I can’t decide grandpa. I am afraid to fail you” he resumed.

Antonio tapped his grandson’s shoulder and said “Jorge, life is just a more complicated things of what you just did. We try to find something the best in other people’s eyes and yet, we forget to count our own view”

“If that’s what we do, searching in the sea of options, before long we realized we just missed all the opportunities we thought we had,” explained the grandpa.

“So, what should I do grand?” Jorge curiously asked.

“Take your pick, make a decision, and confidently live with it while bearing the responsibility of whatever the consequences of that decision may be. And, most importantly, be happy with your own decision and do not ever let others make that once in a lifetime decision for you,” concluded Antonio. 

First time nearby gunshots



The map above is the perfect location where I was when I hear the first out-of-the-blue gunshots on the street.

Exactly, last night after finishing my duty in The Performing Indonesia in The Freer and Sackler Gallery of The Smithsonian Institute, I headed back home with my friend. Few hundred yards from the Takoma Metro Station, I heard my phone rang. It’s from my boss asking something he forgot to do. 


After hanging up with my boss, we cross the Whittier Street to continue our steps back home alongside the 4th street. There and then, we heard several gunshots. I was shocked. I knew that the area where I live is not well-known for its safety, but I have yet to come across this situation. 


So, my many-action-movie subconsciousness responded. We change the nature of our walks and proceed cautiously. At the same time we were discussing the occurrence of similar event in Baltimore, another US city with high crime rates where my friend study and lives.


As we get closer home, I was asking whether we should call for 911 or not. Before my friend answer, I, as usual, jumped into conclusion that maybe somebody even closer already did that. As it turned out someone did. After making the last turn and few steps away from front gate, we saw a silent police car patrolling and seeking the perpetrator of the gunshots. Hoping to hear it from the midnight news, we hurriedly entering the house and turned the TV on. Nothing.


As day over, we do hope that the police catch the bad guy(s).

A message from a maestro

A message from a maestro

Last Friday, The Embassy of Indonesia in Washington, DC, hosted its former boss, Prof. Dorodjatun Kontoro-Jakti. Pak Tun, as he described himself, talked about Indonesia’s economic prospect after 2014 election. If I have to summarize from his presentation, there are two takeaway notes. One, on the brink of demographic dividend, Indonesia’s youth must participate to elect the leaders who will prepare our country to reap the benefits. Otherwise, It will forever be a mere projection and at the end of the day the forecasters can getaway with it by saying something like “We made an err” or “We did not consider this variable and that parameter”. It is the next government and the young people who will manifest this prediction and turn it into reality. Two, in order to obtain the aforementioned goal, we must focus! That is what the maestro said. He alluded one clue we can start to think about. For several centuries now, Indonesia have been denying its innate character as maritime country and archipelago. It’s best to revert back to that.

Menit-menit yang luput dari catatan sejarah Indonesia

Perlu dibaca pemerhati Indonesia dan sejarah Indonesia

Padepokan Kafil Yamin


Bukanlah maksud saya hendak mengutik-ngutik ‘nasi yang sudah menjadi bubur’ dengan tulisan ini. Semata-mata saya bersaksi. Kesaksian harus disampaikan, betapapun tidak populernya. Betapapun terpinggirkannya. Kebetulan saya saksi. Saksi harus bicara.

Atau, kalau kata ‘kesaksian’ terdengar teralu resmi. Ya sudah, saya menuliskan sebuah kenangan saja. Namun lebih dari itu semua, saya merasa ada pelajaran sangat berharga dari beberapa saat di masa lalu ini. Dan saya ingin orang-orang muda Indonesia belajar sesuatu dari ini.

‘Nasi sudah menjadi bubur’ yang saya maksud adalah Timor Timur, yang sekarang bernama Timor Leste.

SAYA dikirim kantor berita saya, the IPS Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, pada tanggal 28 Agustus 1999, untuk meliput ‘Jajak Pendapat Timor-Timur’ yang diselenggarakan UNAMET [United Nations Mission in East Timor], 30 Agustus 1999.

Jajak pendapat itu, yang tidak lain dan tidak bukan adalah referendum, adalah buah dari berbagai tekanan internasioal kepada Indonesia yang sudah timbul sejak keruntuhan Uni Soviet tahun…

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