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Friday, July 04, 2014

The Jakarta Post Editorial: Endorsing Jokowi 

There is no such thing as being neutral when the stakes are so high. While endeavoring as best we can to remain objective in our news reporting, our journalism has always stood on the belief of the right moral ground when grave choices must be made.

We were not silent during reformasi. Neither have we been shy when power is abused or civil rights trespassed.

Good men and women cannot stay idle and do nothing. Speak out when persecution occurs, stand firm in rejecting the tide of sinister forces. 

At certain junctures in a nation's life, its people are called upon to make stark choices. No longer is it a mere ballot cast for one candidate over another, but rather a moral choice on the fate of the nation.

Russia faced such a choice in 1996, during a runoff between independent incumbent Boris Yeltsin against Gennady Zyuganov representing the old-guard Communist Party. It was a moral choice for hope versus remnants of the past. They chose hope.

In five days this nation too will make a moral choice. In an election like no other — divisive in its campaigning, precarious in its consequences — Indonesians will be required to determine the future of our body politic with a single piercing of a ballot paper.

The Jakarta Post in its 31-year history has never endorsed a single candidate or party during an election. Even though our standpoint is often clear, the Post has always stood above the political fray.

But in an election like no other, we are morally bound to not stand by and do nothing. We do not expect our endorsement to sway votes. But we cannot idly sit on the fence when the alternative is too ominous to consider.

Each candidate in the presidential election has qualities in his declared platform. They have been dissected at length the past three weeks. And voters will sway one way or another based on it. Yet there is also a sizable part of society who are undecided in their preference.

In such a case, perhaps one can consider who not to vote for as their reasoning for that moral choice.

Our deliberations are dictated on the values by which the Post has always stood firmly for: pluralism, human rights, civil society and reformasi.

We are encouraged that one candidate has displayed a factual record of rejecting faith-based politics. At the same time we are horrified that the other affiliates himself with hard-line Islamic groups who would tear the secular nature of the country apart. Religious thugs who forward an intolerant agenda, running a campaign highlighting polarizing issues for short-term gain.

We are further perplexed at the nation's fleeting memory of past human rights crimes. A man who has admitted to abducting rights activists — be it carrying out orders or of his own volition — has no place at the helm of the world's third-largest democracy.

Our democracy will not consolidate if people's mind-set remains wedged in a security approach in which militarism is an ideal. A sense that one candidate tends to regard civilian supremacy as subordinate to military efficacy.

This nation should be proud of its military, but only if those in uniform acknowledge themselves as servants of the democratic, civilian governance.

As one candidate offers a break from the past, the other romanticizes the Soeharto era.

One is determined to reject the collusion of power and business, while the other is embedded in a New Order-style of transactional politics that betrays the spirit of reformasi.

Rarely in an election has the choice been so definitive. Never before has a candidate ticked all the boxes on our negative checklist. And for that we cannot do nothing.

Therefore the Post feels obliged to openly declare its endorsement of the candidacy of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as president and vice president in the July 9 election. It is an endorsement we do not take lightly. 

But it is an endorsement we believe to be morally right.
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Monday, February 03, 2014

Why Japan Is Great

Why Japan Is Great

An eye opener for present day people.  Above all, there is no religion to guide them to be amongst the most honest, disciplined, educated, courteous, prosperous, humble, consciously clean and developed society of the world. There are over 30,000 Japanese above the ages of 100 in 2010, and there are the fewest number of Policemen per person to control crime.
Read this beautiful Information about Japan
1 - Did you know that Japanese children clean their schools every day for a quarter of an hour with teachers, which... led to the emergence of a Japanese generation who is modest and keen on cleanliness.

2 - Did you know that any Japanese citizen who has a dog must carry bag and special bags to pick up dog droppings. Hygiene and their eagerness to address cleanliness is part of Japanese ethics.

3 - Did you know that hygiene worker in Japan is called "health engineer" and can command salary of USD 5000 to 8000 per month, and a cleaner is subjected to written and oral tests!!

4 - Did you know that Japan does not have any natural resources, and they are exposed to hundreds of earthquakes a year but do not prevent her from becoming the second largest economy in the world? -

5 - Did you know that Hiroshima returned to what it was economically vibrant before the fall of the atomic bomb in just ten years?

6 - Did you know that Japan prevents the use of mobile in trains, restaurants and indoor

7 - Did you know that in Japan students from the first to sixth primary year must learn ethics in dealing with people -

8 - Did you know that the Japanese even though one of the richest people in the world but they do not have servants. The parents are responsible for the house and children -

9 - Did you know that there is no examination from the first to the third primary level; because the goal of education is to instill concepts and character building, not just examination and indoctrination. -

10 - Did you know that if you go to a buffet restaurant in Japan you will notice people only eat as much as they need without any waste. No wasteful food.

11 - Did you know that the rate of delayed trains in Japan is about 7 seconds per year!! They appreciate the value of time, very punctual to minutes and seconds

12 -. Did you know that children in schools brush their teeth (sterile) and clean their teeth after a meal at school; They maintain their health from an early age -

13 - Did you know that students take half an hour to finish their meals to ensure right digestion When asked about this concern, they said: These students are the future of Japan

After the terrible earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan here are some things the world should learn from them.
10 things to learn from japan-                        


Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.


People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?


Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.


They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly
Source: mailing list of pendidikan Katolik
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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Sharpen your Shaw

Once upon a time a very strong wood-cutter asked for a job with a timber merchant, and he got it. The salary was really good and so were the working conditions. For that reason, the wood cutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to fell the trees. The first day, the wood-cutter brought down 15 trees, "congratulations," the boss said. " Carry on with your work!" Highly motivated by the words of his boss, the wood cutter tried harder the next day, but he only could bring 10 trees down. The third day he tried even harder, but he was only able to bring down 7 trees. Day after day he was bringing lesser number of trees down." I must be losing my strength", the wood cutter thought.
He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on." When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" the boss asked." Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been very busy trying to cut the trees..."
That's right. Most of us NEVER update our skills. We think that whatever we have learned is very much enough. But good is not good when better result is expected. Sharpening our skills from time to time is needed and that is the key to success.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Keep your Value!

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a US$ 500 note. In the room of 200 participants, He asked, "Who would like this US$ 500 note?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this note to one of you but first let me do this."
He proceeded to crumple the note up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air. "My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money. You still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth US$ 500-. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. Remember, no matter what has happened or what will happen, never lose your value. Don't ever forget it! "VALUE HAS A VALUE ONLY IF ITS VALUE IS VALUED."

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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"What's Outrageous? Poverty Wages!" The Role of Religious Leaders in Worker Justice (Joseph A. McCartin)

"What's outrageous? Poverty wages!" This chant, echoed by thousands of striking fast food workers as they marched in the streets in New York, Chicago, and dozens of other cities on August 29, has begun to arouse the American conscience this Labor Day. The fast food industry produces billions in profits for corporations like McDonald's and Burger King. But, according to the organizers of the recent walkouts, fast food workers in New York City make only 25% of what they need to survive from their jobs. Fast food workers in other cities aren't much better off. In many ways, their struggle symbolizes the immorality of an economy that is producing jobs that keep workers poor. Who can argue with picket signs that say, "We can't survive on $7.25"?

It is not surprising that religious leaders have been conspicuously present on many of the fast food workers' picket lines. The recent protests have seen priests and ministers, rabbi and imams joining hands with fast food workers. The nation's largest labor-religious coalition, Interfaith Worker Justice, which is sponsoring Labor Day prayer services in cities across the country honoring the dignity of labor, has taken up their cause. So has Rev. Cheri Kroon, of the Flatbush Reform Church in Brooklyn. In April Rev. Kroon told the New York Times that her community was "filled with fast-food workers who have been suffering due to low wages, no sick days and unsafe working conditions."

The faith leaders now rallying to support fast food workers' demands for a living wage are reviving one of America's oldest and most powerful arguments for social justice, one deeply rooted in religious ideals. Many of those marching today for a fifteen-dollar wage for fast food workers might not realize that the very term "living wage" was first popularized by an American Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor John A. Ryan. In 1906 Fr. Ryan published a book called A Living Wage, which argued that workers deserved to earn enough to support themselves and their families in dignity. Over the next three decades, Ryan emerged as the nation's most forceful moral advocate for minimum wage. Many saw the passage of the federal minimum wage law in 1938 as a fulfillment of Ryan's long crusade.

But it was not just Ryan and Catholic co-religionists who helped elevate the ideal of a living wage in the United States. Two years after Ryan's book, the Methodist Episcopal Church adopted a "Social Creed" that endorsed the idea of "a living wage in every industry," and the nation's most prominent Jewish rabbi, Stephen Wise also took up this call.

Not only have religious leaders from across the spectrum consistently defended the living wage demand over the last century, activists from many faiths have spent much of the last decade laying the moral groundwork for the fight for justice that is now being waged by fast food workers.

The nation's first living wage ordinance passed in Baltimore in 1994. Soon fights for the living wage spread to many cities. It did not take long for religious communities to get involved. A decade ago many faiths began to go on record again in support of living wage demands. The Disciples of Christ adopted a resolution in 2005. In 2006, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, issued a fatwa indicating that living wage demands were consistent with Islamic Shari'ah law.

In 2008 Rabbi Jill Jacobs authored a teshuvah (legal position) on the obligation to pay a living wage was passed by the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, and that same year the Presbyterian Church's "Social Creed for the 21st Century" endorsed the living wage demand. Many other denominations followed suit.

Today, the living wage ideal has been broadly embraced by the nation's religions, and the Catholic Church, which helped introduce living wage demand in the early 20th century, seems poised to provide leadership on the issue again. "Not paying a just wage, not providing work, focusing exclusively on the balance books, on financial statements, only looking at making personal profit. That goes against God!" says Pope Francis, the world's most visible religious leader.

As workers take to the streets to fight for a living wage in fast food and other low paying industries, they can take comfort from knowing the nation's religions are increasingly aligned with their cause. That is one reason for hope this Labor Day that we might finally reverse the trend toward inequality that has so long afflicted us.

Source: Joseph A. McCartin ("The Huffington Post," September 1, 2013)

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Pope Francis Reforms Threaten Some Catholics, Changes Not Welcomed By All Nicole Winfield (AP, July 31, 2013)

Vatican City - The Francis Revolution is underway. Not everyone is pleased.

Four months into his papacy, Francis has called on young Catholics in the trenches to take up spiritual arms to shake up a dusty, doctrinaire church that is losing faithful and relevance. He has said women must have a greater role – not as priests, but a place in the church that recognizes that Mary is more important than any of the apostles. And he has turned the Vatican upside down, quite possibly knocking the wind out of a poisonously homophobic culture by merely uttering the word "gay" and saying: so what?

In between, he has charmed millions of faithful and the mainstream news media, drawing the second-largest crowd ever to a papal Mass. That should provide some insurance as he goes about doing what he was elected to do: reform not just the dysfunctional Vatican bureaucracy but the church itself, using his own persona and personal history as a model.

"He is restoring credibility to Catholicism," said church historian Alberto Melloni.

Such enthusiasm isn't shared across the board.

Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, had coddled traditionalist Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass and opposed to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council. That group greeted Francis' election with concern – and now is watching its worst fears come true. Francis has spoken out both publicly and privately against such "restoratist groups," which he accuses of being navel-gazing retrogrades out of touch with the evangelizing mission of the church in the 21st century.

His recent decision to forbid priests of a religious order from celebrating the old Latin Mass without explicit authorization seemed to be abrogating one of the big initiatives of Benedict's papacy, a 2007 decree allowing broader use of the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy for all who want it. The Vatican denied he was contradicting Benedict, but these traditional Catholics see in Francis' words and deeds a threat. They are in something of a retreat.

"Be smart. There will be time in the future for people to sort what Vatican II means and what it doesn't mean," the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf warned his traditionalist readers in a recent blog post. "But mark my words: If you gripe about Vatican II right now, in this present environment, you could lose what you have attained."

Even more mainstream conservative Catholics aren't thrilled with Francis.

In a recent interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said right-wing Catholics "generally have not been really happy" with Francis.

To be sure, Francis has not changed anything about church teaching. Nothing he has said or done is contrary to doctrine; everything he has said and done champions the Christian concepts of loving the sinner but not the sin and having a church that is compassionate, welcoming and merciful.

But tone and priorities can themselves constitute change, especially when considering issues that aren't being emphasized, such as church doctrine on abortion, gay marriage and other issues frequently referenced by Benedict and Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, used the word "gay" for perhaps the first time in its 150-year history on Wednesday, in an article marveling at the change Francis has brought.

"In just a few words, the novelty has been expressed clearly and without threatening the church's tradition," the newspaper said about Francis' comments on gays and women. "You can change everything without changing the basic rules, those on which Catholic tradition are based."

The biggest headline came in Francis' inflight news conference on the way home from Brazil this week, when he was asked about a trusted monsignor who reportedly once had a gay lover.

"Who am I to judge?" he asked, when it comes to the sexual orientation of priests, as long as they are searching for God and have good will.

Under normal circumstances, given the sexual morality at play in the Catholic Church, outing someone as actively gay is a death knell for career advancement. Vatican officials considering high-profile appointments often weigh whether someone is "ricattabile" – blackmailable.

But Francis said he investigated the allegations himself and found nothing to back them up. And that regardless, if someone is gay and repents, God not only forgives but forgets. Francis said everyone else should too. By calling out the blackmail for what it is, Francis may well have clipped the wings of an ugly but common practice at the Vatican.

Francis also made headlines with his call for the church to develop a new theology of women's role, saying it's not enough to have altar girls or a woman heading a Vatican department given the critical role that women have in helping the church grow.

While those comments topped the news from the 82-minute news conference, he revealed plenty of other insights that reinforce the idea that a very different papacy is underway.

- Annulments: He said the church's judicial system of annulling marriages must be "looked at again" because church tribunals simply aren't up to the task. That could be welcome news to many Catholics who often have to wait years for an annulment, the process by which the church determines that a marriage effectively never took place.

- Divorce and remarriage: He suggested an opening in church teaching which forbids a divorced and remarried Catholic from taking communion unless they get an annulment, saying: "This is a time for mercy."

- Church governance: He said his decision to appoint eight cardinals to advise him was based on explicit requests from cardinals at the conclave that elected him who wanted "outsiders" – not Vatican officials – governing the church. Francis obliged, essentially creating a parallel government for the church alongside the Vatican bureaucracy: a pope and a cabinet of cardinals representing the church in each of the continents.

And then there was Rio.

From the moment he touched down, it was clear change was afoot. No armored popemobile, just a simple Fiat sedan – one that got swarmed by adoring fans when it got lost and stuck in traffic. Rather than recoil in fear, Francis rolled down his window. Given that popes until recently were carried around on a chair to keep them above the fray, that gesture alone was revolutionary.

He told 35,000 pilgrims from his native Argentina to make a "mess" in their dioceses, shake things up and go out into the streets to spread their faith, even at the expense of confrontation with their bishops. He led by example, diving into the crowds in one of Rio's most violent slums.

"Either you do the trip as it needs to be done, or you don't do it at all," he told Brazil's TV Globo. He said he simply couldn't have visited Rio "closed up in a glass box."

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