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  • Challenges of Multiculturalism

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    There is a spectre haunting Europe. It is the spectre of multiculturalism. And for some Europeans nostalgic for the global divide of ‘East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet’, this is not an all too comfortable situation. The im...
  • Motivation v Inspiration

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    According to the founder of the Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a recent lecture in Jakarta on ethics and business, there is a fundamental difference between motivation and inspiration. And the best way for corporate leaders to practice ...
  • A Quick Fix

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    The penchant for quick fixes in this country is quite remarkable. Nothing ever seems to be a problem but everything can be arranged (‘bisa diatur’). Hence while the rest of the world has long been busy writing its history and preparing itself for th...
  • Bill Gates: in praise of the computer

    BUSINESS and TECHNOLOGY
    Shaking hands with and talking to one of the world’s most successful men, Bill Gates, I half expected to feel awe at being at such close proximity with a living manifestation of the sum of US$58 billion. It was calculated that Bill Gates makes US$1000 ...
  • The Search for God

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    A recent article in The Economist caught my attention. The European particle-physics laboratory (CERN) at Geneva is spending 2 million Euro on a research to find out the biological reasons why people believe in God and religion in general. The project i...
  • Noblesse Oblige

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    On a recent trip to Thailand I was fortunate enough to visit the Doitung project in the northern part of the country in an area formerly known as the Golden Triangle sharing its borders with Laos and Myanmar. Over two decades ago this highland was an opi...
  • Democracy and the Press

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    It’s interesting that on National Press Day the President reminded the press to practice more self-censorship and one way of doing it is by reporting more ‘appropriate’ news. The press, SBY said should be ‘dignified, useful and responsible.’ ...
  • Dirty Old Men

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    Finally that moment came. Indonesia’s former strongman is no more. And with it, the end of his public suffering and a long awaited closure for the media impatient for a climax to their weary vigil of a dying old man. The man who, even in his death th...
  • Farewell Old Man

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    Finally that moment came. Indonesia’s former strongman is no more. And with it, the end of his public suffering and a long awaited closure for the media impatient for a climax to their weary vigil of a dying old man. The man who, even in his death thr...
  • Resolutions Resolutions

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    With the New Year normally brings new resolutions – all the stuff that we promise ourselves we will commit to in the coming year that would make us happier, healthier and be better persons in general. Resolutions that we invariable abandon along the wa...
  • Belief Without Conviction

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    According to philosopher Bertrand Russell the opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction. If we share his skepticism and apply it t...
  • Don’t Blame the Neighbour

    EVENTS and ISSUES
    Taking umbrage with Malaysia seems to be this country’s all time favourite sport that all layers of the Indonesian society can take part in with some degree of proficiency. After all the country has had years of practice and opportunities when it comes ...
  • Promises Promises

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    Interviewing the president a while back I made a mistake of reminding him about his campaign promises. When did he plan to implement half of them, if at all? He was not amused to the point of being upset (which one always suspects as a sign of guilty feel...
  • Big Country Small Heart

    EVENTS and ISSUES
    Ask our government officials on their response to the ban of all Indonesian aircrafts to EU countries and one can be sure to receive vocal protestations, cries of ‘unfair’ and expressions of indignation. Even the normally critical parliament members ...
  • In Search of Identity

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    In terms of age, sixty-two is what one would consider getting on in years. As a matter of fact it is an age that one associates with wisdom and the time to reap the fruits of one’s labor as one enters hopefully, the golden twilight years. It is certainl...
  • A Leader for the City

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    When it comes to running a country, or even a city (such as Jakarta for instance), a lot of people would say what is needed is leadership and a strong vision – a sort of super CEO for an incorporated company. In other words someone who can make decisio...
  • Falling Apart at the Seams

    EVENTS and ISSUES
    On a recent trip to Thailand I was fortunate enough to visit the Doitung project in the northern part of the country in an area formerly known as the Golden Triangle sharing its borders with Laos and Myanmar. Over two decades ago this highland was an opi...
  • Heavenly Target

    SOCIETY and RELIGION
    Having just got back from umroh or the mini haj recently I was struck by how numbers and set targets play a big part in what are supposedly religious undertakings. For a start there is the notion that a mini haj performed during the fasting month of Ram...
  • Unity in Uniformity

    POWER and DEMOCRAZY
    Indonesia has a motto. It is ‘Unity in Diversity.’ Being an archipelago of around seventeen thousand islands and having over five hundred ethnic groups, the motto is a necessary unifying force that keeps the country together. As a matter of fact, i...
  • Smoke and Fire

    EVENTS and ISSUES
    Let's blame it on El Nino or the impending end of the millenium. But whichever it is, it's getting more and more difficult to count one's blessings especially when things seem to happen only for the sole purpose of testing our integrity and resilience. ...

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