Lessons in Leadership

Many have often accused the main issue this great nation faces is a crises of leadership, a bureaucratic mess caused by past administration lingers and manifests into an array of problems ranging from bribery, nepotism, to the all-star favorite topic of graft (or corruption, whichever is preferable). Yet few have actually made an actual study to whom or which figure is the best practice of good national governance, a role model of a perfect governmental system that derives itself into the form of a civil utopia. Who then, do we look upon to be the best model of a perfect government, a perfect society that suits the people of Indonesia best at heart.

An old saying once went; ‘the best leaders are those who know how to follow’. This quote implies that the best leaders are those who know what they and their peers and subordinates want and is willing to lead them all to achieve their targets and brave the odds. If the case is so, then much can be learned from leaders from wartime eras.

Alexander the Great, or Iskander of Macedonia as some may refer, is a prime example of a leader who knows how to follow. A young prince and warrior, Alexander was known to have been both a brilliant strategist and a worthy fighter. The conqueror would consult and strategize with his generals and lead the first charge into battle, something today’s army leaders often ignore doing as they consider strategists should not be put into the fray. Despite his fiery temper and ill end, his leadership created one of the world’s largest single-man empire, rivaled only by the feat of Genghis Khan.

Taking a local example to be familiar with, the tale of General Gajah Mada of the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java is a prime example of great servant leadership. Gajah Mada was always known as a great conqueror, rumored to have expanded the empire as far as what is known today as Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. However he was never the king of his empire, always listening to the whims of his lord and master King Hayam Wuruk.

Moving on to the extreme is an example found in myth and fiction. Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings (yes, my geek-ness is taking over, bear with me) is known as one of the wisest leaders and generals during the final War of the Ring, as proven in his leadership during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (the third movie, for movie-goers). He was no king, nor was he a prince. He was merely a wizard who men would follow to their deaths, as he would do so the same for them (though he has the ability to resurrect).

Conclusively, the best leaders are those who listen, who understand the ones he or she leads and dares to march with them. A trend of such leaders is beginning to show itself in Indonesia, and simply given time, may be the salvation to this country’s leadership issue. 

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Unholy Union

The sun exist as a light to the world, a living breathing constellation in the middle of our solar system flowing in a near-stationary manner. Or at least it is in an astronomical point of view. In poetic symbolism the sun is a light hailing life in the daytime, surrounded by clear blue skies and puffed-up clouds, often white in color. Yet have we ever considered the sun as a being? As an entity? As one of Apollo’s children as depicted in ancient myths?

From a distance, it stared at the night sky and its plethora of stars, dark and lovely, cold to the skin yet warm to the heart. It had a strong desire to grasp it, yet it was of no avail, for he was a prince of the daytime, and his love for the lady of the night was nought but forbidden.

Betrothed was the sun in a royal matrimony to the princess of the clouds, a lady of fine grooming and great nobility. Yet she was not what the sun desired. She was there, yet often not, she moved about around him without any guarantee or guile, no proof of love, simply politics, for their union would bring about a great political dynasty of those who ruled in the daylight. Politics, yes. That was the reason why the prince of light was to be wed in holy matrimony with the princess of the clouds. No other reason existed, at least not of love.

Yet the sun had no choice in the matter. The lady of the night existed in a realm parallel to his own, as the earth spun the realms switched positions, they did not cross paths nor did they intertwine. Only a glimpse, a brief sight, would have made both worlds visible to each other, the moments when the sun sets into the horizon, when day turns to night, as well as when the dawn breaks and the sun returns to bring light to a fraction of the world, a part of his daily routine. It was in these moments when the sun first saw a glimpse of her, in the setting of the very first day, and from that day on she would forever take his heart, without knowing so.

The lady of the night had only lived to know the stars, to embrace them in their many forms, small flickering lights in the distance guiding the angels back to the heavens, guiding sailors so they would not be lost at sea. Her duty was to her world, and her heart was of her own. She walked her realm with dignity, and only that. She realized she was alone, yet she did not care, at least she was not given the luxury to do so.

One day, the universe had stopped spinning. A stellar conflict between heavenly bodies began and the rulers of daytime and the night met each other, each with disgust for neither of them understood what they saw for they were not alike, they were creatures of rival upbringings.

Like a tale of Rome and Juliet, the prince of light had snuck out of his palace in the day to gaze upon the realm of night. The sun slowly seeped into a different world, a world he saw everyday yet had never touched, a dark world filled with stars and dark hollow space. No clouds, at least none which were white of nature. He was far away from the kin of his betrothed companion. Slowly the sun searched for his heart’s calling, passing through the abyss with light speed, shifting through an unknown heaven, different from those around him, until finally, he saw her, the woman who had filled his dreams, the lady in dark. However unlike the Shakespearian tale we all know and love, the sun was not greeted with loving arms by the one she admires, but instead by a question, and a startled expression. The very woman he loves and wanted to give his heart to had no idea who he was.

The lady of the night had seen the sun with an expression of confusion and interest, this had at least kept the sun’s spirits up. She saw his shine as ‘unique’, similar to the stars she had nurtured all these years, but different somehow. She felt warm in his presence, and showed an interest to know more. The sun told tales of the daytime realm, of a life full of light, yet a life of false happiness for shrouded by the clouds were intrigues of power and politics, a desire to rule over those who lived on earth. In his realm he was surrounded by lights and clouds and clear blue skies, yet he never found any calm for them, only reserve. He told her he felt lonely in his realm, only to be replied by a question, of what loneliness meant.

“It is a feeling of existence where we do not exist, where nothing and no one reached out to us, of a cold sense of living like all the life in the world had forsaken us. A feeling that ceases to exist, for every gaze I have of you”

The lady of the night grew a wide smile on her dark face. She told him she had not known the word, yet she said that was what she felt before the sun introduced himself to her life. Caring for the stars and feeling their love in return was what kept her happy, and yet she still felt incomplete.

It is as if destiny played its hand, their forms touched and join in a brief union, a sudden burst of passion engulfed them and then silence. The universe saw in awe as an unholy union between beings of two realms joined and created a new heavenly body. Yet their union created death, a dead orb in the night sky, and by the time they had shared their love the universe began to spin again, flinging the prince of light back to his realm of day.

Apart. This was the fate of the two who broke the law of nature, of two whose union created a dark being of an unknown nature, who flung around the earth so that it would survive the cold of space. The moon had been born by their union, and it was only this creation of their which could tie them to each other, only indirectly.

The sun was imprisoned to a corner in the universe, to be surrounded by constellations of planets, punished to survive in the harshness of space in eternal servitude, hailed falsely only by ignorant mortals. To his own kin, he was a disgrace, a being who betrayed their trust, most of all to the princess of the clouds who cried for forty days and nights which one day sank the earth, nearly causing an extinction of its denizens. His light, however, shone so bright in his maturity that it reflected upon the surface of his offspring, making the moon shine in the middle of the night sky, giving a better and clearer light for those who are forsaken into loneliness in the middle of the night.

As for the lady, her sadness was only brief, for she knew she had a job to do. The stars she nurtured reminded her of her brief moment with the prince of light, yet it was etched in her memory for eternity. She now had the moon to accompany her, for each time loneliness crept into her heart the glimpse of the sun’s rays reflecting on its grey surface gave her the strength to carry on.

There are times, however, when they both are rejoined. The universe would cease again from a brief moment, aligning itself to a central line as if an arrow pointing to the sun. At these times, the moon would join in, aligning itself with its father, blotting out his light from the world. The first eclipse happened when the sun and the night sky united and gave birth to the moon. Thus for every time an eclipse occurs, the sun sees a glimpse of his dearly beloved, a glimpse of them in the past, of that fateful occurrence, when the universe had ceased to spin.

And so, as time passes, the universe continues its bidding, expanding into and ever-powerful abyss filled with stars and heavenly bodies, of realms parallel to each-other, and for every second that passes by the sun awaits the moment father time decides to end his reign, so he may be released from his binds to see his dearly beloved, and feel each other’s embrace until time itself ceases to exist.

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God Mentality

I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.
– Albert Einstein

As quoted by the master physicist himself, God is not one for play. In fact, should we consider a divine being to consider taking chances knowing He is all-knowledgable?

Many people consider the divine to have superior powers and intellect, immortality and the power to rip worlds asunder. Yet many are disappointed when God fails to act, to do the most humanly thing possible of doing.

My question is, for what?

People think as if gods should also act like humans, to have compassion and hatred, to have feelings and emotions. Scientifically, these thoughts are stimulated by enzymes and electric synapses in the nervous system, all of which exist to support the flow of an organic body of mass that needs to feed, sleep, and reproduce once age begins to take its toll, often driven by a promise of earthly pleasures.

A godly being would not have needs for such things. A god does not eat, does not sleep, and should not really have a need to reproduce as they do not age nor do they have the chemical stimulants to induce pleasure should they engage in intercourse. Why should beings far different from us be expected to act like us?

‘God Mentality’ if I may call it, is the mental stage that divine beings are expected to act by. The absence of desire would strip ambition and lust from them, thus erasing the existence of a ‘seven sin’ scenario from them. How gods think, then, are most likely strayed from the fabric of mortal thoughts, and may even exist in several dimension and time streams.

Technicalities aside, a difference in mortal and divine lives would be described in one word: purpose

Mortal beings live for a purpose due to their limited lifetime, be it for love, money, or any other means. This purpose is their reason for existence, and may lose the will to live should it becomes obsolete. Then why do divine beings exist if they have no real purpose?

Because they can.

Red Light

Volumes of oxygen transverse in and out from and to my lungs, passing the bleated nostrils which once spread vileness unto the open air. I lay there staring at the ceiling, both eyes wide open, in silence. Or at least it is how the room sounds, all quiet but the voice of the wind and the beat of a restless heart. In my mind though, a battlefield rages, one of thoughts and regrets, of worries and whys. The voices in my head began to scream aloud as the memories and flashbacks of the once beloved past began to play itself through, reviving the joys in my heart each time a conversation between us was flashed through my subconscious. Yet not all that appear were pleasantries.

Scenes as if they were nightmare came back from the deep dreaded pits of my dormant memories, scenes of disappointment and dismay began to reappear all in subsequence. The heart that once leapt with joy is now bombarded by demonic thoughts, of chaos and disarray, whispering foulness into my soul, demanding me to take a leap of faith. At times it simply said ‘jump’ yet often it referred to the rope, or a sharp kitchen knife that would make a nice throat soup. Darkness fell over me, and the sockets beneath my eyelids began to fill with moisture.

All of a sudden, the Earth began to shake. Was it an earthquake? I hear no screaming from outside, no chattering, no Godzillas even. Nay, it was of my bedroom. A ghost perhaps?

As my muscles twitch in turning my neck around, I saw it at the corner of my soft mattress, a blinking eye or red. A monster? Ah no, it was merely my Blackberry. Problem solved, case closed. Or is it?

As I pulled every strand of soul I had left and collected it to my left arm, I reached for my dear mobile friend, the ounce of plastic and aluminium that had accompanied me through all those days, in both joy and sadness. I had even grown fond of it, despite its constant thirst for energy and its hobby to die off in the middle of a chat session. Perhaps one day I’ll give it a name, just maybe.

A blinking red light, it was what most people see when the LED flashed to notify a new message was coming. Yet not to me. Twas a heavenly sign, a glimmer of hope, a possibility of news and good tidings from the other side. Or maybe… it was her. Giving an apology, asking for my company, or perhaps simply a gesture of good will, a hello from a distanced friend.

Slowly I pressed the top left of that device, hoping for the best. As the screen lit up, joy of joys! It was not an e-mail, not a facebook update, not even a tweet. A logo of a blue-and-dotted chat bubble was there, with a number 1 beside it, and a red asterisk. As I placed my left thumb above the trackpad, I took a deep breath, inhaled as if the universe had begun to run out of air, and God has privileged me with its last drops.

With all my might, I pushed that meager black polymer square and read that newly received message. As I did that flashing light ceased in existence, leaving the top corner with an dark plastic slot. Could it be? Was it her? Has destiny decided to weave our threads together once more?!

 

Nay, it was not to be.

 

Destiny had not fated us to meet. Not to greet. Not today, at the least. For what had came into my view, was but a mere purple set of letters, a broadcast message, an exam schedule.

 

It was not even meant personally for me.

The Late Republic #MR

Often when a country has lived through a long history of existence, its preceding generations tend to lose grasp of the values their forefathers held dear. Purpose; the very core of what many nations are based on in their existence shift as the age grows and time goes by. This miscommunication of generations could one day strike a blow at the very heart of a country’s civilization, causing chaos and disarray, leaving this country ripe for the taking by its heathen neighbors.

An example of a nation which has lost its identity are the Greeks. Once the fathers of democracy, their country has united into a crumbling economic fallout zone with a debt only fools are interested to bail out. The once proud people of the Mediterranean, the sons of Gods and Goddesses, lords of the Aegean, have been degenerated to a country of foolish economic principles and reckless politicians. They have lost their great culture when they divided themselves into the many city states, taking pounding from Persians, Turks, Russians, and even their fellow European states. This division has raped them of their pride, and all that is left is a pocket of land with a diseased bank account.

Democracy often has varied meanings. To some, it means freedom and liberty, a life of choice and self-destiny. To others, bombs. War and oppression caused by a transition of governance and values are labelled by their foes as ‘Democracy’ and thus the word loses its original meaning and becomes but another battle cry. What is democracy and what is independence, and do those words complete each other, or do they collide sparking hellfire.

Mendiang Republik: A Theater Production

To commemorate and celebrate (and question) independence in our beloved country of Indonesia, a special theatrical production entitled #Mendiang Republik is brought to you by the EPIK Theater group.This production will take viewers through the progression of Indonesia’s history of independence and the birth of ‘democracy’ as well as its implications to the Indonesian people. The show aims to leave viewers asking themselves “Apa itu negara? Apa itu merdeka?” or otherwise questioning the very ideals that founded this great nation 67 years ago.
The show itself will be held on Sunday, May 27th 2012 in the Dago Tea House Cultural Theater, Bandung and is directed by a cast of young stars in the world of theater such as Kenya Rinonce of Interior Design, ITB and produced by Adryan Hafizh of EPIK Production Group. The select cast of musicians are veteran in their trade, having done various theatrical and musical production such as the SBM ITB Oddisey and ITB Student Orchestra concerts. To top it off, the production will feature an array of visual installations rarely seen in plain school theaters. So if you are looking for a way to spend a weekend, attending this theater is a great way to spend you money’s worth. (Oh yes, tickets ARE available for sale)
Stay tuned for more updated on #MR (Mendiang Republik)
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Exodus: Moving Spaces

Hello there, whoever has the free time to actually read this blog.

 

As a very novice blogger I have decided to try out moving from Tumblr to WordPress as many of my friends say it is a more potent tool of blogging. However after careful review, I already had a WordPress blog before under the same page name of audiprabowo (typical). The blog, however, had been unattended since 2009 thus it would be best to refurbish the online site before going public.

Most of my posts are not for common taste, thus this move may not be as significant as most account it be. In fact personally I do not find any interest in writing whatsoever. However as a dear friend of mine once said, blogging is a way to relieve one’s thoughts to a public space, without needing to bother everyone about it. So to try that theory out, this move was done in the hopes that all my aspirations can be placed in a well-known format.

Hopefully blogging will become both an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and should any posts be made in this blog’s stead, feel free to comment.

 

 

Cheers,

-A

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Symphony of Life

Darkness and Light

Choices or Faith

The balance of Life

Or the bowels of Death?

In darkness we gather

Yet in light we shatter

For in our darkest times

In our darkest days

Is when be gather as one

And embrace the rays

Of our dear brothers

What is life, if it is best lived in darkness

What is death, if it is to go forth unto the light

In silence they gather as one

The harbingers of sorrow, the fellows of none

What is the symphony of life? My brother ask

Silence, my brother, is what Death proclaims

What, then, is the symphony of Death?

Come, come and see

For only in the light

Can we appreciate the peace

The darkness within gives

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RIP STEVE JOBS (1955-2011)

Today the world mourns at the passing of one of its great innovators, Steve Jobs who is famously known as the co-founder of Apple. Jobs was the brain behind every Apple innovation be it from the Macintosh computer to the latest tablet PC, the iPad. He transformed a geek-market line of technology to a worldwide consumer product, making him one of the great businessmen of our time.

However many do not realize how much Steve Jobs has had an impact on their lives. Jobs was more than a mere geek with a vision, he was a friend to all, a friend who helped us in the hardest of times. He is someone who has given the world a childhood, a friend, and a purpose in life.

How is this possible you ask? Let me explain.

Steve Jobs created some of the greatest cutting edge technology of our time. He has made the iPod, one of the most successful music player in history. But we’re not looking at sales figures no, but what it has done to us. Steve has helped us through the night by singing us love songs through his iPod when we’re missing that ‘special someone’ in our hearts, he’s accompanied us in our daily jogs sweating along in the cold crisp dawn, he’s also been there with us when we’re crying in the corner after we had a fight with our girlfriend/boyfriend.

Steve has also made more than products, he’s made technologies which made some of our childhood possible. When Jobs handled Pixar he revolutionized the company’s graphic design. One of the result is a movie called; Toys Story.

A lot of todays teens know Toys Story and its characters. The tale of talking toys reached out to children and adults alike as they touched their inner child showing a tale of friendship and perseverance an many ‘what if’ situations. If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, our generations would not know Woody, Andy, or Buzz Lightyear.

Simply, the world has lost not only a brilliant man in Steve Jobs, but a brilliant friend and mentor, even though we may not have known him personally.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.

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HONDA: THE POWER OF V

Reliability. A word many motorist have taken for granted. In fact in a recent unquotable survey the average motorist in Indonesia have said that what they seek in a car is, by rank, good mileage, stylish looks, and value-for-money features. This is a reason why most of the cars we see today are small Japanese hatchbacks such as the Mazda 2 or the Toyota Yaris. Yet despite all these claims and surveys the average road-going Indonesian car (mainly in the Jakarta-Bandung region) have been old Japanese cars which oddly comes from the same manufacturer. Yes, I am talking about the bi-word of reliability itself; Honda.

 

Honda had been manufacturing cars since the 60s and through the years their inventions have been flooding the streets of the world. In fact Honda is currently holding seventh place as the larges automotive manufacturer group in the world and the second largest in Japan. Their success is due to many factors; their excellent customer service base, their innovative market segmenting, their stylish product bodywork, but most of all their reliable-yet-powerful Honda VTECengines.

 

The VTEC engines have been Honda’s ultimate weapon since the mid-90s where they used direct-injection double-camshaft with usually four cylinders at their disposal. Through the years these engines power Honda vehicles for mile after mile taking every punishment as they go. The VTEC engines were not only durable, though, but also powerful. In the range of Japanese cars the VTEC engines were the most powerful in displacement per litre. For example, a 1.5 litre All New Honda Jazz engine would produce up to 120bhp whilst its competitors could only produce 109bhp (Toyota Yaris) or even only 100bhp (Suzuki Swift).

 

Firepower aside Honda engines have been known to be tough. Proof is, you still see a lot of the old VTEC-engined cars running in the streets. You can still pass by an old MkI Honda Jazz commuting the long stretching Cipularang highway or an old MkII CR-V blitzing through the streets of Jakarta at speed. Sure, other car brands have also been durable enough to last the test of time. The Toyota Corolla series, for example, have survived for quite a long time in the streets of Jakarta, where you can see the old Great Corollas pass by with a proud gesture and a ‘Twin Cam 16 Valve’ sticker on its side. But fact is they will not surmount to the volume that Honda VTEC cars have in the market.

Shortly putting it Honda has made one of the recent best engines in the world. By reference even a UK motoring survey has placed it as the most reliable brand in history. So if you are thinking of buying a car, second or even brand-spanking new, keep in mind of the H badge with the VTEC behind it. In short, if you want Japanese, buy a Honda.

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THE ICONS [Toyota Avanza]

Throughout history every nation has got it’s iconic motor vehicle, particularly a legendary car that has either made headlines or made tones of profit for the company in question. The USA has it’s Mustang from Ford, the United Kingdom has got the Mini Cooper, Germany (or in this case West Germany) has got the Volkswagen Beetle, while in recent years India has got it’s Tata Nano and Japan with many sports car range from the infamous Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series to the famed Nissan Skyline series. Indonesia, though, seems to have no automotive legends in its midst. Or do we?

Enter the Toyota Kijang series. Built by Toyota first in 1977, the Kijang was Toyota’s idea of creating a vehicle suited for the newly born asian nation which was, at the time, the South-East Asian superpower. An archipelago with many mountain ranges, Toyota saw that a practical off-road going MPV was one of the most ideal vehicles for the nation, thus they designed the Kijang as a large RWD vehicle bearing a sizeable engine of either 1.2L engined used in the Corolla.

As time goes by Toyota has upgraded it’s Kijang series until finally, in 2003, they made a decision to divide the Kijang brand into two segments; a large luxury MPV (Kijang Innova) and a smaller practical MPV (Kijang Avanza). The Innova is a powerful vehicle capable of carrying 7 adult in comfort while being powered by either a powerful 2.0L inline four engine or Toyota’s 2.5L D4D diesel engine. All in all a good car.

The Avanza, though, is another story.

The Toyota Avanza is produced with alongside it’s lesser sister, the Daihatsu Xenia. Both have the same design, the same chassis, the same body design, differing only in it’s engine range and features. Daihatsu produces a 3-cylinder 1.0L version and a 1.3L inline four, whereas the Avanza comes in at 1.3L as well as 1.5L. Not much different, right?

Why then do you ask I claim the Avanza as an icon? Think of it. This is a car that stormed the market at the price of small hatchbacks yet has the capacity of a larger MPV. It is RWD and is sleek enough to fit through the small alleyways of Indonesia villages. It can be modified to an extent that is can push all it’s power (109 bhp in the 1.5L version) with it’s powerful 5-speed transmission. It has become such a car that it has outsold many of it’s ‘competitiors’ to the extent that it becomes a car with a class of it’s own. Everywhere you go to in Indonesia a Toyota Avanza will most likely pass you by. The only way it wouldn’t is if you were out swimming with the fishes.

The Avanza then is an icon because it is “the people’s car”. Like what the Volkswagen Beetle did for the people of Germany, the Toyota Avanza has become more than a car, it has become an icon of the people. It has become a nation builder. Businesses and corporations from small delivery services to large scale airliners such as Garuda Indonesia employ the assistance of a Toyota Avanza in their armada.

However the Avanza is not all fun and games. Many of the recent accidents in the highway involve a Toyota Avanza, mostly the lesser versions such as the Xenia or the smaller 1.3L version as they have no ABS or airbags installed. Many lives have gone with the coming of the Avanza as they were affordable to people without proper driving education. Yet it is for these reasons is why the Avanza is iconic as it is both a friend and a menace at the same damn time. The Avanza then has become a member of Indonesian society, helping build the nation a litre at a time. And it is for these reasons that I call it an icon.

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