Thursday, November 22, 2012

Between The Deadlines

Once upon a time in Japan, when I was an exchange student,  I read an old, almost ancient philosopher who said that a person who has less time would be more successful in study.


In contrary to the common belief, people with limited time will work harder,optimising their opportunity to study. And then, miraculously, they will succeed.

Well,  not miraculously. It's a purely simple logic. 

As agreed by more recent wisdom:  "if you want the job done, ask the busy people to do it."

Now it's up to me to prove what the Japanese philosopher advised centuries ago!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Promoting The Chevening Experience :) #narsisalert

So, the Chevening Scholarships applications for 2013/2014 are now officially open.

For you who are willing to experience the United Kingdom at its best in one year, please, do not hesitate to open this link.

The UK Embassy in Indonesia recorded my comments on my super one year of 2010/2011 few weeks ago. If you care to listen to me, please click here for the English version and here for the Indonesian version. :D

I will share more of useful writings about the Chevening experience in the near future, hopefully. But for now, I have bunch of other things to do. :) So, that's all for now. :D

ps: and so it is, 3 posts in a month! woohoo! :D :P

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Blogger Day: The Pledge

Here's another quick catch up! 

Apparently,  today's the national blogger day in Indonesia, as tweeted by a person dubbed as "Bapak Social Media Indonesia", Pak @nukman Luthfie. Well, thanks to him. :D

His tweet instantly reminded me of my drastic drop in the number of posting and updates in this blog. On the other hand,  it inspired me to find "blogger" in my newly- encountered Google Play Store. :)

So,  here I am,  in my morning disappointment after failing to meet my dentist first time in the morning,  I am,  instead,  busy tapping on the screen of my Skyfall,  to produce my very first blogspot post from a mobile device.

And here is the pledge: 1 month, 3 posts! I think it 's a pretty SMART pledge aka specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound (oh so planners!).

And as I tip-tapping my Skyfall's screen,  a list of side-result come to my mind, just in time to recharge my blogging spirit. Here they are: the preserving of memories; the brain exercise; the structuring of the ideas; the sharing; the English writing; the touchscreen tip-tapping; the self-finding journey!

And that is all for now.  :)

Setiabudi Timur, one rainy Saturday morning.

Oh, and p.s., "Skyfall" is my new Sony Xperia.  She's an android, a partner to the Wolverine, the BlackBerry. The name came up last night, but was decided this morning. And yes,  you are correct, it has everything to do with James Bond, and Adele. :D

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Recycled Writing to Refresh The Ramadan Spirit :)

This writing was originally featured in the Huffington Post's website last Ramadan. It was a recycled story from my last year's writing in the UK FCO's website (which later also appeared in the UCL's School of Public Policy's newsletter). :P

Well, not a new one, but I will always take a look at this, in every Ramadan that my life will experience. Insya Allah. :)


How That Ramadan In London Inspired Me To Be A Walking Ambassador Of Islam

This Ramadan is much easier than last year. I’m back in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim population, and I only need to fast for 12 hours. It’s different from last year, when I was studying for my master's degree in London, UK. I had to fast for 18 hours, surrounded by few fellow Muslims, with the master thesis deadline approaching.

I’m happy with the current situation, but the ease of fasting in my own country makes me worry that Ramadan this year will become mundane, a rather boring ritual. After all, I’ve been fasting for 22 years, as I’ve started fasting since I was seven years old!

Then, I reflect upon my experience last year, my toughest Ramadan experience so far.

“Every Muslim is a walking ambassador of Islam.”

I heard this from a religious teacher in a Ramadan conference in my university. It reminded me of my reason to come to the UK. In my scholarship application, I said I wanted to communicate the benevolent face of Islam to the world, and learn about multiculturalism from the UK. The intention became stronger as the scholarship interviewers said: “Being British is about being proud of the British multiculturalism.”

The teacher talked about the importance of good character of a Muslim. He mentioned three important characteristics: tolerance and forgiveness; indiscriminate generosity; and self-reflection. He said that the point of Ramadan was to transform ourselves to have good character.

On tolerance and forgiveness, the teacher gave example from when Prophet Muhammad conquered Mecca. As the Prophet arrived, the Meccans were terrified. To everyone's relief, the Prophet said: “No blame upon you and may Allah forgive you as He is the most merciful.” No bloodshed happened.

The advice was special because I heard it in my university, the first secular one in England, and the first to treat people from different religious backgrounds equally.

I recounted every blessing I’ve received as a Muslim in the UK. Unlike what I thought before, living a Muslim life was not difficult. Praying five times a day was easy as the university provided a contemplation room. I’ll never forget that I was allowed to pray in two historic churches in Oxford, when I couldn’t find anywhere else to pray. I found no problem wearing a hijab as there were many hijabis in London. I was also thankful for my classmates’ thoughtfulness. They suggested various ideas in dealing with the 18 hours of fasting. Some of them suggested to “pay it back” another time, some suggested to work at nights and sleep during the daylight. They texted and emailed asking, “How’s Ramadan?” as I isolated myself for the thesis deadline. The experience was a real example of tolerance and generosity.

That Ramadan in London will always reminds me about the transformative aim of Ramadan. It inspires me to accomplish the mission of being a good “walking ambassador of Islam.”

I promise to recall on this note every time I start thinking Ramadan is mundane. It shall always be special.

-- Dyah Widiastuti (@dyahwie) from Jakarta, Indonesia

*picture: The London Central Mosque, located in Regents Park, North London. I did my Eid Al Fitr prayer here in 2011. I will never forget the experience. :)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

A Birthday Note : The Final Year of The 20s


It's been a very long time since the last entry.

I know it's August already, but yes, here is my birthday note, for 17 of July. I feel that I MUST write this note, despite the lack of sleep caused by the London Olympics, because this is my final year of 20s.


I am really that old.

I know gazillions of thanks is not enough to say to the Almighty, who has granted me all the things I've gained and experienced so far. Especially 2010-2011, it has been an awesome time. Many of my childhood dreams finally came true. Coming to England, watching Manchester United in Old Trafford, watching England in Wembley, traveling to amazing cities in the European continent, attending awesome events (the royal wedding, some academic debates, etc), becoming a quasi journalist (:P), getting interviewed by a radio, meeting and making friends with amazing people from all over the world (you know who you are :)), graduating with satisfactory result (it's worth the sleepless night! :D), becoming participant observer in several London pubs (yay!), conducting shalat in two Oxford historic churches (thank you!), and being responsible to those who have given me the amanah. :)

My God, that was a very long list, and I do still have more in my note, which are rather personal that I cannot really share here. #halah :D

Well, so, I've written down 17 wishes for this year. I have them somewhere in my note.I am not sharing those 17 wishes, for they are rather embarrassing to tell...but,hey, I have simpler, smaller wishes that I've just thought about few days ago.

It's about changes within myself.

At this age, I am still surprisingly knowing so little about myself. Well, at least my brother's testimonial said so. :D Apparently, I failed to show the world that actually I am a caring and generous person!!! You may laugh at this statement, but I am! :D

Responding to my argument my bro challenged me: "Then show the world that you actually are!"

Dam*! You little tricky brother But yes, you've nailed it.

So, my resolutions for this age is to be a better, nicer, more loving, more caring, more generous, more humble person. I shall speak more gently, I shall care more about people I should care about, I shall treat people fairly, I shall be more friendly. :) What for? Because I think these simple behavioral changes are keys to be happy and grateful. So, it's not for the shake of reputation, really. For, just like beauty, "reputation is in the eyes of the beholders" (it's a very important quote I learned during my master dissertation writing actually :P). It's what inside us that really matter.

Dear Lord, please read my note, hear my wishes, and please kindly help me to be be a better me in my final year of the 20s. :) Amen.

*picture of my red converse, witnessing London in the Royal Wedding day :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Untuk DKI Jakarta, 11 Juli 2012

“You may not care about politics. But politics care about you.”

Kalimat itu dikatakan oleh Jendral Aung San dari Myanmar, almarhum ayah Aung San Suu Kyi. Saya mendengarnya di sebuah bioskop beberapa bulan lalu.
Kalimat yang sederhana, tapi brilian, dan well-summarize “kegemesan” saya selama ini atas sikap anti-pati sejumlah kawan yang karena muak melihat tingkah laku segelintir…well…segerombolan politisi lantas mengidentikkan bahwa politik itu layak disingkirkan jauh-jauh dari hidup mereka, salah satunya dengan cara memilih untuk golput dan tidak peduli pada pemilihan ini dan itu.

“You may not care about politics. But politics care about you.”

Kita bisa saja tidak peduli. Jijik. Benci. Anti-pati. Alergi. Mencaci-maki. Tidak menggunakan hal pilih yang dimiliki. Tidak akan ada lagi tentara atau kaki-tangan Pemerintah yang memaksa kita ke TPS ala orde baru. Tidak ada juga aturan yang mengharuskan kita membayar denda seperti di beberapa negara lain seperti Australia, misalnya.

Tapi…tetap saja. Hasil dari proses politik yang tidak kita pedulikan tadi akan mempengaruhi hidup kita. Pemimpin yang terpilih tanpa campur tangan kita, entah dia abai atau amanah, bebal atau responsive, bodoh atau cerdas, korup atau bersih…dengan cara sekecil apapun, pasti akan mempengaruhi kehidupan kita. Beruntunglah jika kebetulan pemimpin yang terpilih tadi amanah, responsif, cerdas dan bersih…tapi jika yang terjadi sebaliknya? Kita mau apa? Mencaci-maki dan membodoh-bodohkan pemimpin yang terpilih? Toh kita sudah diberi kesempatan untuk ikut menentukan dan tidak kita gunakan…bisa dikatakan kita bisa ikut bertanggung jawab atas terpilihnya pemimpin yang payah itu karena kita menyia-nyiakan kesempatan untuk menghadangnya dari keterpilihan…

Apakah kita cukup bodoh untuk membiarkan pemimpin yang payah terpilih?

Golput atau golongan putih, dalam sejarah politik Indonesia pernah menjadi pilihan ketika memang sistem perlu diberi pelajaran. Tetapi jaman telah banyak berubah. Sistem telah memberikan lebih banyak pilihan. Meskipun jelas, pilihan yang ada tidak ada yang sempurna.

“You may not care about politics. But politics care about you.”

Kalimat ini penting untuk kita semua, terlebih khusus untuk warga DKI Jakarta, yang akan memilih pemimpin barunya (hopefully) 11 Juli nanti.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What Would be of The Year 2012?

Hey, it's been quite a while since my very last entry. It's funny how that microblogging site has got me soo addicted that i've ignored the conventional, real blogging site.

It's not necessarily a good thing for sure...

Well, I have loads of things in my mind. Unfortunately, they're scattered, all over the place. In addition, I've got other things to do. To be a responsible grown up. Yeah. *denganmukamelas*

Anyway, I had this strange idea that even years usually bring me major changes in life. As in 1998 when I started high school. 2004 when I went abroad for the first time(and experienced so many things that hugely influenced the way I become now). 2008 when I started new job and new commitment in the civil service. And of course 2010 when I finally landed in the land of my childhood dreams. :)

However, I then think further, that the major changes in even years must be related to what happen in the odd years. Hahaha. :D *menertawakankedudulansendiri*

So... I still expect that major life changing events will take place in this even year...hehehehe. :D

Well, my point would be, I am not only expecting changes, but I think I should see it in a more comprehensive way, in relation to other life events in other years. And maybe, I should be more than "expecting".

As ustadz Zaitun said once in 2005..."jangan pernah gantungkan nasibmu kepada takdir sebelum takdir itu benar-benar terjadi."

So, let's be inspired by Mrs. Rowling three Ds in Apparition:


And, of course, Dear Lord, please help me prepared for what would be of the year of 2012. Thank you. :)