Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Its time to look back on what we had done and achieved and look forward to our plans for the coming year. 365 days ahead, 365 new grace awaits, 365 challenges to be faced, and 365 support from me to you. May all good blessing continue to be with us, you and your family in year 2013.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Rampant student brawls and our character education

The latest series of student brawls in Jakarta that has claimed two lives has harshly reminded us to revisit and reevaluate our system of character education.

Believed to have a long history of brawling, students from two senior high schools in South Jakarta fought each other after school hours on Monday, brandishing sharp weapons and hurling stones violently, ending in the death of a student.

Although some have argued that the incident was an assault rather than a student brawl, I would argue that some student brawl cases might have assaults in them, and at the heart of the brawl is violence.

Within 48 hours, another life was lost in South Jakarta following a brawl between students of two vocational schools. The student was killed after being stabbed in the stomach.

While violent teenage behavior occurs everywhere, school brawls are more common in Indonesia. A student brawl is a form of collective social behavior of adolescent aberration and aggressive behavior resulting from group conformity. Usually a conflict flares up between two schools, and on the battlefield, students are actually wearing their school uniforms.

Student brawls are nothing new in our country, but it is very devastating to learn that the number of cases is mounting rather than abating.

The National Commission for Child Protection (KPAI) recorded at least 128 school brawl cases in 2010, which rose to 339 last year. The brawls claimed 82 lives last year, up from 40 in 2010. More worryingly, acts of violence involving students became more prevalent when character education was integrated into the school curriculum.

Therefore, these statistics should prompt us to revisit and evaluate the current system of character education. Are we teaching them the right things?

I still remember when I had a Pancasila moral education lesson (PMP or now civics) back in secondary school during the New Order era, I was only asked to memorize the principles of and the attitudes that reflect Pancasila state ideology. That time I was questioning myself, why bother memorizing good attitudes but not practicing them?

Character education is not simply a formal lesson that occurs at a cognitive level (moral knowledge), but rather, it should go beyond understanding and arrive at reflecting upon what is right and doing the right thing.

For instance, an elementary school teacher in my region implemented an exemplary form of character education. She brought her students to a nursing home and assigned the students to assist and entertain the elderly.

Surprisingly, those eight-year-old children played games with the elderly, sang a song, read them a story and even did a small stitching project. In short, students have to feel and experience for themselves the concepts of love, respect, empathy and many other good traits and characteristics.

Simply expelling students from schools due to their role in a brawl does not resolve the problem, but may instead perpetuate the culture of violence. The expulsion will deprive the students of their bright future and may lead them to a larger gang of criminals.

Character education should not only be shouldered by teachers alone. There should be a harmonious synergy among schools, families, communities and the government as the stakeholders of national education. This is because character is not taught, rather, it is shaped.

Ki Hajar Dewantara, the founding father of national education, has bequeathed to us a prophetic motto: "Ing ngarso sung tuladha; ing madya mangun karsa; tut wuri handayani," which means "Provide a model; create an intention; and give constructive support."

His philosophy on education reflected in this motto is still relevant now. It echoes to the system of character education that has become one of our chief concerns nowadays.

Teachers, parents, communities and the government should be models, motivators and supporters for young generations — modeling good character, motivating youth to do good things and supporting them to do the right thing.

Character building is a long-term project that requires patience and perseverance.

Here are some questions that may help us contemplate our awareness of character education for our children. How can we ask our students/children to think if we do all the thinking?

How can we ask our students/children to talk, if we do all the talking? How can we ask our students/children to respect us, if we do not respect them?

The writer is a researcher at the Center for Multiculturalism, Democracy and Character Building in the Semarang State University.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Developing Nation's Character and Culture

by Pormadi Simbolon
The issue today is the nation's character left in the life of society, nation and state. Educational character of the nation further and further away from the spirit of religious values, Pancasila (five priciples), and culture. Increasing problems in society such as corruption, violence, sexual abuse, vandalism, fighting mass, consumptive economic life, political life is not productive and so more and more valued as a result of the abandonment of religious values, culture and Pancasila. Solutions offered are rules, laws, increased enforcement and tougher.
 Another alternative is often raised to overcome, at least reduce the problem of national character are dealt it is through education, including religious education. Religious education is one of the preventive and was considered to improve the quality of young people today.
In the dictionary of philosophy (Lorens Bagus, 2002), one of meaning the character described as "the name of a number of personal characteristics that include such things as behavior, habits, likes, dislikes, abilities, tendencies, potential, values, and patterns of thought.
Some people describe the meaning of the character as the attitude of honesty and courage to speak according to reality, keep their promises and do not spill the beans and act consistently, only words and deeds. Thus the character is a choice. We create characters every time we make a choice: to face or avoid something difficult; bend the truth or the firm support it, taking shortcuts or pay the price.
 From that description, we can conclude that the character is one's personal character is formed in the environment, including culture.  This means that the development of culture and national character can only be done in a process of life that do not release the individual from the social environment, culture, society and culture.

Sources of values
Character is personality that is formed from the internalization of various virtues  which are believed and used as the basis for the perspective, think, act, and act. Virtue consists of a number of values, morals, and values ​​such as honesty, courage to act, trustworthy, and respectful to others. These values ​​can be identified from various sources, including:
Culture: no human life without culture and values ​​that affect their lives. Cultural values ​​were used as the basis for giving meaning to the concept and meaning of the communication between people.
Religion: Indonesia is a society of religious people. Therefore, the lives of individuals, communities and nations are always based on religious teachings and beliefs. Politically, any state of life based on values ​​derived from religion.
National agreement, Pancasila: the unitary Republic of Indonesia established on the basis of the principles of nationhood and statehood, called Pancasila. Pancasila found on our Constitution (UUD 1945) and further elaborated in the articles contained in the  Constitution. Pancasila’s values ​​globally are: divinity, humanity, unity, deliberative /democratic and social justice.
Some of the values ​​identified (Kemdiknas, 2010) from various sources to serve as the nation's character is: religious attitudes and behavior, honesty, tolerance, discipline, hard work, creative, independent, democratic, curiosity, love the country, recognize excellence, friendship/ communicative, love peace, love reading, environmental care, social care, and responsibility.
 These are the values ​​that must be developed and used as a character not only in school, but also in the family, neighborhood (village), national and international. Embodiment of these values ​​is the responsibility of all, government, and society.
 We may need to learn from the Korean nation. Korea became a strong and prosperous nation for all its citizens are systematically trained to think ahead (visionary), has a hard work ethic is high, and always struggling.
 Korea before, still in poor condition, collapsed, and the colonized. But now, the country rose and advanced to the advanced and expansive as each generation of youth is given a character education (work hard and never give up) is grounded in the history of the Korean struggle against the invaders. Korea is a nation of intelligent, superior and sovereign. Indonesia, when? We eagerly await the results of ongoing efforts by the Government of the cultural and educational development of the nation's character.

Developing character through education
Today the Ministry of Education and Culture was incessant echoing the nation's culture and character education. It is very appropriate and in accordance with the mandate of Law Decree No. 20 of 2003 on National Education System of the function and purpose of national education. Article 3 of the Education Law that says "National Education functions to develop and shape the character and civilization of the nation's dignity in the context of the intellectual life of the nation, aimed at developing the potential of human learners to be faithful and devoted to God Almighty, noble, healthy, knowledgeable, skilled , creative, independent, and become citizens of a democratic and responsible. Formulation of national education goals is a formulation of Indonesia's human quality that must be developed within and aimed at each educational unit. Therefore, the formula is the basis for the development of culture and national character.
 Developtment of  culture and character of the nation based on religious values, Pancasila and culture, so important to see the situation and condition of Indonesia that is still underdeveloped in many areas, particularly in the areas of living together. It is important to overcome, or at least to reduce blemishes, corruption, violence, offensive statements, hypocrisy, bad moral and collective evil.
Pormadi Simbolon is an alumnus of STFT Widya Sasana Malang, worked in Jakarta

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let's reject intolerance through writing!

There are many ways to reject intolerance in religious faith. One of them is rejecting intolerance through writing on mylot or other media both newspaper or internet. 

Intolerance is an enemy of the peace life in the world. Intolerance is not accordance to human nature. God loves all people in the world regardless what is their religion.

Sending an article or opinion to a newspaper

I try to write many opinion and sending it to some newspapers. Most of them it is not published. Only a small number is published. I am happy. I get amount money that adding my pcoket money. 

I think I must improve my skill writing and others languages in order to get a good writing. Besides, I should read many books according to competences. Rejecting my writing is not something bad for me. 

My experiences, someone neger give up to try the best.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Integrity of the faithful

Sermon / homily:
Integrity of the Faithful
Source of meditation: Matthew 6:19-23

Public spotlight on problems  of nation today is the issue of self integrity and character of the nation. Money is viewed as an absolute property that meets happiness. This encourages people to pursue worldly possessions with corruption. More and more people neglect and abandon the spirit of religious values ​​and the Pancasila. As a result, the nation's integrity and character of the more questionable.
The solution offered by the observers and thinkers, law enforcement and education is character. Then how about we the faithful? What can we do?

Religion is a source of values ​​that can serve as our nation's character as a child. Each religion offers the spirit of religious values ​​that are not contrary to Pancasila.
Reading today confirmed the teaching of Jesus for us who believe in Him. At least three points that can build integrity and character we as believers.

The first, gather the heavenly treasure.
In conditions like today, the teachings of Jesus are very relevant, because many people become selfish and give an absolute value for money and property. Jesus reminds Christians that the goal is to collect treasure worth far more glorious and eternal, the heavenly treasure. This property can be anything that means noble and eternal, which is generated due to the lack of sharing, forgiving one another, to suffer for Christ, doing good, and so forth. That is a treasure to be collected by all Christians with all their heart.

Secondly, keep your heart in order not to be enslaved by possessions.
Heavenly treasures is not easy, because in essence is a matter of perspective. Christians should be careful not to be easily tempted by what he saw. Christians should also be aware that in relation to the property, we are required to be strictly between the use of property or property enslaved. When we are enslaved by the property, then we are further away from God, and vice versa.

Third, the eye is the lamp of the body
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body of light, if your eye is bad, your whole body gelaplah. ... If the light within you is darkness, how pekatnya darkness.

A parable is a very touching and profound. The eyes are one of the important organs in our body. Eyes are a good window to look out and to look into. Through our eyes can see what lies beyond us. If our eyes are good, we can catch our sights beyond the obvious. On the other hand, through our eyes, people can see what's on in our hearts. If our eyes are red, those that capture our hearts raging anger. If our eyes are puffy, people perceive that our hearts are troubled. If our eyes lit up, people perceive that there is joy in our hearts.

Given the importance of the eyes, then we need to keep and use the spring as well. The eyes are always directed to the good stuff will reflect the good. So, get used to listening to the good stuff.

Instead, the eyes are always directed to the bad things that will, reflects the ugliness. So, keep your eyes well, do not get excited, glaring things that are not good.

The third point is if we refelct and do nicely, it will bring us to joy. The integrity of ourselves even more firmly. We can be witnesses of Christ to those around us by way of the truth, Kings of Heaven.
We realize how much God loves us. For God confirms seek heavenly treasures, together with the search for the truth of God first, then happiness will be transferred to us. God does not want us to be worried, because it is he prepared for us in many ways he wants. It requires of us is faith in the truth of God. AMEN

24 Truths about Yourself that you should Know

And one thing that you should not forget about all your life on this earth ... 

(1) Your presence is a gift to the world. (2) You are unique and only you are like you in this world. (3)Your life can be what you want. (4)One day you pass through will never be played again (5)Count your blessings, not your problem. (6) You can go through all obstacles whatever comes into your life. 

(7) In your self there are so many answers. (8) In this life, you must be a person who understands org, have the courage and strong. (9)Do not put limits on yourself. (10) So many dreams are waiting to be realized. (11) The decisions you make today will affect your future. (12) Reach for your peak, your goal and your prize. (13) No more waste your energy issue, (14) The longer you are silent on the issue, the more weight it for yourself. 

(15) Do not take things too seriously. (16) Live in peace, not life in regret. (17) Remember that just a little love can change someone's life. (18) Lots of love can make this world full of wonders. (19) Remember that friendship is a wise investment. (20) Assets of life are the ones that exist and interact around you. (21) Realize that it's never too late. (22) Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. (23) Have health, hope and happiness. (24)Take time to pray to the Lord. 

And do not ever forget... even a day ....that you are very special. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Begin from education in family

I see that some people can not be tolerant to other religion. It is shown in local and international newsapaer. A certain religious group killed others for keeping their pure religious teachings. What is the root of this intolerance? Maybe, religious teachings. 

I think the solution is a good education. Children should be teached to respect others. Children are the future of family and nation and world citizen. Parents take a big role in here. 

Let's learn to live our live

Let's learn to live our lives for the sake of self-improvement.

Beautiful only temporary, lasting only a memory, sincerity only comes from the heart, not easy to find the lost, not easy to chase a dream, but it is more difficult to retain an existing one. Because even if grasped can be detached as well. 

Remember the adage, "If you do not have what you like, then to care what you have today"
Let's learn to accept what is and think positively .... Luxury house like a palace, countless possessions, position, and a remarkable position, but .. When the last breath came, a needle could not be taken away. Ply could not have. What else would contested.

What else would boast? So Live the life with the conviction of conscience, not too calculating. Do not just selfish. Do not like to hurt others especially to those who contributed to us. Learn, no day without love. Always tolerant and yield. Cheerful life, free ... Nothing that can not be released with sincerity ... There was no pain that is unforgivable. There was no resentment that can not be deleted ..

Live the life with all the positive properties that we have .... If your heart as clear as water, do not let him mess. If your day as white cloud, do not let it clouds. If your day as beautiful as the moon, decorate him with affection.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The U.S., Indonesia & the New York Times

The '65 Massacres: Complicity and Cover-Up

The U.S., Indonesia & the New York Times


Why is the New York Times concealing the key role that the United States played in the 1965 coup in Indonesia that ended up killing somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million people? In a story Jan. 19—"Indonesia Chips Away At the Enforced Silence Around a Dark History"—the Times writes that the coup was "one of the darkest periods in modern Indonesian history, and the least discussed, until now."
Indeed it is, but the Times is not only continuing to ignore U.S. involvement in planning and carrying out the coup, but apparently doesn't even bother to read its own clip files from that time that reported the Johnson administration's "delight with the news from Indonesia." The newspaper also reported a cable by Secretary of State Dean Rusk supporting the "campaign against the communists" and assuring the leader of the coup, General Suharto, that the "U.S. government [is] generally sympathetic with, and admiring of, what the army is doing."
What the Indonesian Army was doing was raping and beheading communists, leftists, and trade unionists. Many people were savagely tortured to death by the military and its right-wing Muslim allies in the Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah. A number of those butchered were fingered by U.S. intelligence.
According to a three-part series in the July 1999 Sidney Morning Herald, interviews with Indonesian political prisoners, and examinations of U.S. and Australian documents, "Western powers urged the Indonesian military commanders to seize upon the false claims of a coup attempt instigated by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), in order to carry out one of the greatest civilian massacres of the 20th century and establish a military dictatorship."
General Suharto claimed that the PKI was behind the assassination of six leading generals on the night of July 30, 1965, the incident that ignited the coup. But the Herald series included interviews with two of the men involved in the so-called July 30 putsch, both of who claim the PKI had nothing to do with the uprising. At the time, the PKI was part of a coalition government, had foresworn violence, and had an official policy of a "peaceful transition" to socialism. In fact, the organization made no attempt to mobilize its three million members to resist the coup.
The U.S. made sure that very few of those communists—as well as the leaders of peasant, women, union, and youth organizations— survived the holocaust. According to U.S. National Security Archives published by George Washington University, U.S. intelligence agents fingered many of those people. Then U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Marshall Green, said that an Embassy list of top Communist leaders "is being used by the Indonesian security authorities that seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time…"
The U.S. was well aware of the scale of the killings. In an April 15, 1966 telegram to Washington, the Embassy wrote, "We frankly do not know whether the real figure [of PKI killed] is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000, but believe it wiser to err on the side of the lower estimates, especially when questioned by the press."
Besides helping the military track down and murder any leftists, the U.S. also supplied the right-wing Kap-Gestapu movement with money. Writing in a memo to then Assistant Secretary of State McGeorge Bundy, Green wrote "The chances of detection or subsequent revelation of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black bag operation can be."
States News Service reporter Kathy Kadane interviewed several former diplomats and intelligence agents and found that the list turned over to the Indonesian security forces had around 5,000 names on it. "It was really a big help to the Army," former embassy political officer Robert J. Martens told Kadane. "They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that is not all bad. There is a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment."
At the time, Washington was beginning a major escalation of the Vietnam War, and the Johnson administration was fixated on its mythical domino theory that communists were about to take over Asia. The U.S. considered Indonesia to be a strategically important country, not only because it controlled important sea passages, but also because it was rich in raw materials in which U.S. corporations were heavily invested. These included Richfield and Mobil oil companies, Uniroyal, Union Carbide, Eastern Airlines, Singer Sewing Machines, National Cash Register, and the Freeport McMorRan gold and copper mining company.
At the time, Indonesian President Sukarno was one of the leaders of the "third force" movement, an alliance of nations that tried to keep itself aloof from the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The 1955 Bangdung Conference drew countries from throughout Asia and Africa to Indonesia to create an anti-colonialist, non-aligned movement. It also drew the ire of the U.S, which refused to send a representative to Bangdung.
In the polarized world of the Cold War, non-alignment was not acceptable to Washington, and the U.S. began using a combination of diplomacy, military force and outright subversion to undermine countries like Indonesia and to bring them into alliances with the U.S. and its allies. The CIA encouraged separatist movements in the oil-rich provinces of Sumatra and Sulawesi. The British and the Australians were also up to their elbows in the 1965 coup, and France increased its trade with Indonesia following the massacre.
The relations between Jakarta and Washington are long and sordid. The U.S. gave Indonesia the green light to invade and occupy East Timor, an act that resulted in the death of over 200,000 people, or one-third of the Timorese population, a kill ratio greater than Pol Pot's genocidal mania in Cambodia. Washington is also supportive of Indonesia's seizure of Irian Jaya (West Papua) and, rather than condemning the brutality of the occupation, has blamed much of the violence on the local natives.
The Cold War is over, but not U.S. interests in Asia. The Obama administration is pouring military forces into the region and has made it clear that it intends to contest China's growing influence in Asia and Southeast Asia. Here Indonesia is key. Some 80 percent of China's energy supplies pass through Indonesian-controlled waters, and Indonesia is still a gold mine—literally in the case of Freeport McMoRan on Irian Jaya—of valuable resources.
So once again, the U.S. is turning a blind eye to the brutal and repressive Indonesian military that doesn't fight wars but is devilishly good at suppressing its own people and cornering many of those resources for itself. The recent decision by the White House to begin working with Kopassus—Indonesia's equivalent of the Nazi SS—is a case in point. Kopassus has been implicated in torture and murder in Irian Jaya and played a key role in the 1999 sacking of East Timor that destroyed 70 percent of that country's infrastructure following Timor's independence vote. Over 1500 Timorese were killed and 250,000 kidnapped to Indonesian West Timor.
It appears that Indonesians are beginning to speak up about the horrors of the 1965 coup. Books like Geoffrey Robinson's "The Dark Side of Paradise" and Robert Lemelson's documentary film, "40 Years of Silence: an Indonesian Tragedy," are slowly grindingg away at the history manufactured by the military dictatorship.
But the U.S. has yet to come clean on its role in the 1965 horror, and the New York Times has apparently decided to continue that silence, perhaps because once again Indonesia is pivotal to Washington's plans for Asia?

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