Archive for December, 2008
Jennie S. Bev
Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have come a long way from the first legal system, which was Hammurabi’s Code; to the universal concept of jus gentium; to the Magna Carta; to the first war crimes trial of a head of state, Charles I, in 1649; to the Declaration of Rights by H.G. Wells; to the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on Dec. 9, 1948, as proposed by Raphael Lemkin; and eventually to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As the result of ongoing human rights activism that has elevated its status to idealism and eventually to a worldwide ideology today, the International Criminal Court, established by the 1998 Rome Statute, serves as the only permanent court jurisdiction over four offenses: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The latter is yet to be defined by the states involved.
This permanent court eliminates the need for the United Nations to establish ad hoc tribunals, formerly known as International Tribunals. However, as of Nov. 26, 2008, Indonesia has yet to ratify the Rome Statute, despite 56 ratifications and 62 signatures from other states. During the Clinton administration, the United States signed the statute in 2000, only to have it nullified by George W. Bush in 2002. This means that both Indonesia and the United States are nonsupporters of the ICC and are outside its jurisdiction.
Still, this court is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with genocide and massacre.
For the ICC to prosecute all four offenses, it adopts basic principles of guilt which can be found in most advanced legal systems. Such principles are two-sided swords and include mens rea (intent with knowledge of likely consequences), being a natural person (individuals, not institutions) and being more than 18 years of age. The Rome Statute, however, does ease one basic principle as the result of the Nuremberg precedent, in the concept of “superior order.” This defines commanders of the military, paramilitary, police, government or other rank-and-file authorities as “responsible” individuals to be prosecuted.
Such principles, however, also have substantial loopholes. Under mens rea , for instance, it would be extremely difficult to prove Josef Stalin’s forced famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 as genocide. The 1948 Genocide Convention refers to the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Under the principle of a natural person, it would also be impossible to prosecute a particular regime, government or political party, such as Indonesia and Suharto for the 1965-1966 massacres under the guise of “communist eradication,” unless superior order could be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The over-18 principle would place Khmer Rouge and Sierra Leone child soldiers outside the court’s jurisdiction, regardless of their ranks. The May 1998 riots and Semanggi tragedies in Jakarta would be even more difficult to nail down as the puppeteers have yet to be identified.
It might be sickening to realize that it is beyond the ICC’s jurisdiction to try countries initiating attacks against other countries, or regimes ordering genocide against particular groups. It is even more nauseating to known that some states where individuals who allegedly committed crimes against humanity reside freely have not signed the Rome Statute.
Such a political strategy might not be acceptable by conscientious citizens of the world, but it is a bitter pill we must swallow for now. Indeed, it is an uphill battle but one that we all need to fight for. Even if it takes another 60 years.
Jennie S. Bev is an Indonesia-born columnist based in Northern California. She is a former law lecturer and a composition adjunct professor. She blogs at JennieSBev.Typepad.com. This article previously appeared in The Jakarta Globe.
Evan A. Laksmana
Vice President Jusuf Kalla remarked during the recent IndoDefence Expo 2008 that the strengthening of Indonesia’s defense sector by prioritizing operational readiness and the main weapons system remains a national imperative.
This statement, however, does not explicitly acknowledge the underlying problem of an underfunded military. The possible takeover of the Indonesian Military (TNI) businesses and the aging weaponry displayed during the Marine Corps anniversary recently are examples of how crucial the insufficient defense budget is.
Are we simply cursed with an everlasting underfunded military?
Since its inception during the Independence War, the military has never had adequate funding from the government, even during the heyday of Sukarno and Soeharto.
Today, although enjoying a much larger defense budget than before, defense officials claim the government is only funding around 30 percent of its current needs.
The debate surrounding this claim notwithstanding, the problem of defense budgeting is about many inter-related issues, including the TNI’s business activities, the lack of transparency and accountability in defense management, doctrinal stagnation and the financial capacity of the central government.
The complexities attached to each issue seem to lead to a “fatalistic” argument that the problem of defense budgeting will always persist.
The possible long-term solution to this age-old conundrum actually lies not in Jakarta, but all the way over in Magelang, at the Military Academy.
In hindsight, we could begin by looking at the fact that the largest portion of Indonesia’s military budget goes to personnel salaries.
Lex Rieffel and Jaleswari Pramodhawardani argued in a paper published last year that personnel costs account for 45 percent of the total defense outlay in 2007, or around Rp 14.6 trillion, to support more than 437,000 troops and civilians.
Clearly the answer here is not to simply cut back the personnel in one go. This certainly would cause major national instability if soldiers and bureaucrats were faced with possible sudden unemployment. This much history has taught us.
Instead, the long-term solution we might want to consider here is the revamping and tightening of the TNI’s recruitment policies at the academy level.
Such recruitment reform at the academy level could pave the way in the future to cut personnel defense spending gradually in the long run (quantitatively), while increasing the pay scale of soldiers and officers to a sufficient level (qualitatively).
More importantly, however, this could help solve the problem of “the inflation of generals” and promotional logjam where, to put it crudely, there are many officers, but few positions available.
Scholars argued that this promotional logjam began to surface during the late Soeharto and early reformasi periods when there was an increasing frequency of massive personnel reshuffles while the tenure of military commands was, in many instances, decreasing.
This was seen as a consequence of the increasing size of the officer corps by leaps and bounds in the 1960s through 1970s.
From the 59 cadets who graduated in the first class in 1960, the military academy later graduated 433 cadets in 1965. Later on, the number dropped to 85 graduates in 1976 only to rise again to 102 in 1980 and eventually 281 in 1991 — resulting in an overall average of around 250 cadets per year.
The increasing size of the officer corps along with the domination of certain classes that held back succeeding classes have been argued by scholars to have contributed not only to a massive personnel reshuffle, but also to intense rivalry and feuds.
Especially amid the increasingly competitive promotional space as envisaged by the late Gen. Benny Moerdani, some officers with political connections back then could easily rise through the ranks.
During the New Order, it seems plausible to argue that the size of the officer corps was not a problem as ABRI’s (as the TNI was known during Soeharto’s era) “dual function” (dwifungsi) and secondment of officers to civilian positions (kekaryaan) could provide additional billets for middle and high-ranking officers.
Moreover, while personnel, budgetary and even perhaps political considerations may have guided decisions about cadet intake, the idea during the 1960s of developing a modern military academy and consolidating military education should also be factored in.
Is this still the case today? In late October this year, the Military Academy inducted 531 cadets, with 304 for the Army, 127 for the Navy and 100 for the Air Force.
In the absence of kekaryaan and dwifungsi, as well as the shrinking number of posts available to officers in the post-Soeharto bureaucracy, should we not ask why the number of cadets inducted this year is higher than average?
Finally, by reforming recruitment policies, we could not only have a more efficient and well-paid military force, but we could also increase the quality of Indonesia’s future military leaders.
Political scholar Sukardi Rinakit has shown that there has been a decline in the quality of the officer corps as younger officers today were only average students in high school with an average grade of 6.5, compared with the high-quality students in the early 1970s and 1980s, whose average grade was 8.0. This, he argued, could make future military leaders more aggressive and less open-minded.
This argument might put too much emphasis on the significance of intellectual acuity and neglect leadership and other qualities, but an increasingly complex security environment coupled with a hardly breathing domestic defense establishment will require us to eventually incorporate the idea of a “soldier scholar” into our lexicon.
In other words, the challenge of repositioning the military to tackle the increasingly complex security environment in an even more complex democratic setting would at the very least require a mind at work.
The writer is a research analyst at the Indonesia Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This article was published by The Jakarta Post.
Jennie S. Bev
Everything starts with words. Throughout history, every iconic individual of any degree of importance in the society has at least one book and multiple short pieces written by, inspired by, or dedicated to him or her. Every major event and phenomenon is likely to have some sort of written record as well.
After all, written words are repository of histories, thoughts, feelings, and efforts in maintaining and creating new paradigms. They are testimonies of human civilization’s ever-changing nature and search for ultimate understanding through various tangible and intangible means.
Words are both edifices and crystal balls.
According to Mary Pipher in Writing to Change the World, good writing facilitates the making of connection in a way that inspires openheartedness, thinking, talking, and action. It widens the reader’s understanding of the world, and empowers and inspires them. And writers who write away from their homeland might be those who are guilty for the crime of being distant and receiving accolades for see things in a magnified manner as if looking through a telescope so powerful like one on the Canary Island of La Palma.
Salman Rushdie in Imaginary Homelands uttered it well, “It may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity. Which seems to me self-evidently true; but I suggest that the writer who is out-of-country and even out-of-language may experience this loss in an intensified form. It is made more concrete for him by the physical fact of discontinuity, of his present being in a different place from his past, of his being ‘elsewhere.’ This may enable him to speak properly and concretely on a subject of universal significance and appeal.”
He added, “But let me go further. The broken glass is not merely a mirror of nostalgia. It is also, I believe, a useful tool with which to work in the present.”
Broken glasses create beautiful mosaics. This, I believe to be true.
With memories from the past, recent experiences from the present, and hopes for the future, writing for a faraway homeland gives a glimmer of longing to be present in the most visible manner. It is as if shouting to fellow countrymen and women, “Look, I am here. I’m with you. I share your joy and your pain.” And as put forth beautifully by Joyce Carol Oates in The Faith of a Writer, as we all have gone through childhood, it is an opportunity to soak in the marrow of our bones and to condition our interpretation of the universe by exercising our control of environment and response to it.
Or, perhaps even for a few selfish reasons, as George Orwell once pointed out bravely in Why I Write.
First, sheer egoism. Every writer desires to be seen clever, to be the talk of the town, to be remembered long after demise, and to share with those who bullied us in childhood the sweet revenge of success. Along with other top crust of the society, writers want to be acknowledged as agents of change. To be important.
Second, aesthetic enthusiasm. Writers use words to shape perception, particularly the perception of beauty, and it is almost impossible to find any writer who does not place significance in the firmness of good prose and the rhythm of a good story, despite his or her style and guidelines being used.
Third, historical impulse. Writers have strong desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them in a time capsule for the use of posterity. Their works are accretionary.
Fourth, political purpose. All writers have a yearning to push the world in a certain path, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Thus, it is safe to say that no piece of writing is free from ideological and philosophical biases. And it is also safe to say that all writers are politicians in their own right.
Of course, those are what Orwell believed, which I also believe to some degree. As a non-fiction writer who has written no nonsense how-to articles, straight-shooting journalistic pieces, to reflective-contemplative philosophical essays, I write with a purpose. Sometimes they are intended for informing, sometimes for shaping opinions, and more often than not for sharing with the world what I see through my lenses and think with these grey cells.
As a writer who writes away from her faraway homeland, certain things are imaginary. Yet the presence is real. The meaning is not transplanted from a faraway land to be adopted without any reservation, but to be considered an abridgment.
As a writer, I give a choice to my readers and it is likely to be genuine and unique. After all, I write for an imaginary homeland from a faraway land. And broken glasses create beautiful mosaics.
Jennie S. Bev is an author and a columnist based in Northern California. She can be found at JennieSBev.com. This article was published by The Jakarta Globe with its version.
Oleh Dr. Beni Bevly
Pernahkan anda mendengar bahwa suatu Deparment Store di Tanah Seberang menerima pengembalian roda mobil dari seorang pelanggan dan memberikan uang kepadanya walaupun jelas mereka tidak menjual roda mobil? Pernahkan anda mendengar kasus bahwa suatu tokoh sepatu menerima pengembalian sepatu yang rusak karena sudah dipakai tahunan dari pelanggannya dan memberikan uang kepadanya di Tanah Air?
Agaknya peristiwa seperti ini adalah mustahil terjadi di Tanah Air, tetapi hal ini adalah praktek yang cukup lumrah di Tanah Seberang. Mengapa demikian? Bukankah ini adalah praktek bisnis yang merugikan? Dengan artikel ini marilah kita mebalikkan dugaan ini dan melihat kemungkinannya untuk diterapkan di Tanah Air?
Kedua kasus di atas adalah bagian dari ratusan mungkin ribuan kasus yang terjadi di Nordstrom, Inc., Deparment Store terkemuka di Tanah Seberang di mana saya pernah bekerja sebagai Customer Sevice Manager. Kasus-kasus seperti inilah yang membuat customer service Nordstrom menjadi terkenal. Bahkan beberapa kasus seperti ini dijadikan case study di kelas-kelas MBA di universitas terkemuka di dunia. Akhirnya Nordstom—yang didirikan oleh John W. Nordstrom dengan modal $5.000—dikenal sebagai America’s Number One Customer Service Company, mereka juga sering disebut sebagai World Class Customer Service Company.
Dibandingkan dengan perusahaan retail di Tanah Seberang, Nordstrom memang mempunyai return policy (kebijakan pengembalian barang) yang liberal. Umumnya para usaha retail menerapkan kebijakan bahwa seorang pelanggan boleh mengembalikan barang yang telah dibeli dalam jangka 30 hari dari hari tansaksi. Barang tersebut belum pernah dipakai dan masih utuh seperti apa adanya dengan disertai tanda terima.
Untuk menerima pengembalian barang dari Nordstrom, karyawan mereka hanya menggunakan satu kebijakan yang juga dipakai untuk hal-hal yang lain, yaitu use your best judgment in all situations (mengambil keputusan terbaik dalam semua situasi). Keputusan yang terbaik sering kali diterjemahkan sebagai suatu perbuatan yang membantu pelanggan.
Contohnya, sebagai Customer Service Manager saya harus memberi penjelasan mengapa barang yang dipesan oleh pelanggan melalui telepon belum juga siap. Seperti biasa dengan senyum simpati dan memperkenalkan diri dan berkata, “I apologize for what happened.” Lalu ia berkata, “What can you do to make it up?” “Would you like to accept a $10 gift certificate?” Saya balik bertanya. Singkatnya, sang pelanggan tersebut belanja dengan menghabiskan lebih dari $500.00. Ia puas dan sangat berterima kasih. Sejak saat itu saya lebih sering melihat dia hadir di Department Store di mana saya bekerja.
Adalah suatu hal yang tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa kehebatan customer service dari suatu perusahaan akan semakin banyak mendatangkan pelanggan dan pelanggan tersebut akan semakin sering belanja. Atas dasar itulah maka beberapa perusahaan di Tanah Seberang seperti Nordstrom menerapkan kebijakan return policy yang liberal.
Kembali ke pertanyaan: Bukankah praktek bisnis seperti ini merugikan? Ternyata di Nordstrom, pelanggan yang menyalah gunakan kebijakan ini hanya berjumlah 1%. Mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi?
Paling tidak ada dua hal yang bisa menjelaskan gejala ini. Pertama, mayoritas pelanggan Nordstrom adalah dari kalangan menengah ke atas. Pelanggan seperti ini cenderung untuk bertindak secara “terhormat”. Mereka tidak sembarang memancing di air keruh.
Kedua, Nordstrom memilih lokasi yang tepat untuk membuka cabangnya. Mereka selalu memilih lingkungan high class, masyarakat di sekitarnya mempunyai pendapatan dan pendidikan yang tinggi. Crime rate (angka kejahatan) juga selalu menjadi pertimbangan mereka.
Ketiga, Nordstrom mempunyai record and report system yang canggih. Setiap pengembalian barang dagangan dari pelanggan akan tercatat dengan baik melalaui POS (Point of Sales) di kasir dan transaksi kejadian terekam secara jelas oleh kamera keamanan. Jika ada seorang pelanggan yang menunjukkan gejala menyalahgunakan kebijakan ini, maka pihak Nordstrom bisa segera melihat sejarah atau pola pelaku.
Keempat, hampir semua karyawan Nordstrom terlatih dengan baik dan tahu waktu yang tepat untuk menerapkan use your best judgment in all situations.
Bagaimana kemungkinan penerapan customer service kelas dunia di Tanah Air sehingga bisa mendatangkan banyak pelanggan, mereka tidak ragu untuk belanja dan tidak menyalahgunakan kebijakan pengembalian barang yang liberal ini?
Sebagai seorang pengusaha jika ingin terjun dalam bidang retail dan menerapkan customer service kelas dunia seperti ini, maka hal pertama dan utama adalah pemilihan lokasi. Seperti yang dilakukan oleh Nordstrom bahwa mereka memilih lokasi di lingkungan masyarakat kelas tinggi, berada, berpendidikan dan yang statistik kejahatannya sangat rendah. Untuk di Tanah Air, agaknya daerah seperti Menteng dan Pondok Indah adalah daerah yang cukup tepat.
Pengusaha juga harus berani menanam modal dalam perangkat canggih yang mampu merekam dan melaporkan semua transaksi dan kejadian di POS secara detail, mulai dari detik per detik. Pada umunya ada dua jenis technology yang bisa dimaksimalkan, pertama pengunaan kamera yang canggih dan dihubungkan ke ruang keamanan. Kedua, menggunakan RSS (Retek Store Solution) software yang menghubungkan transaksi di POS dengan data persediaan barang dan departement lainnya, termasuk Loss Prevention Department.
Semua system ini tidak akan berfungsi dengan baik jika manusia (karyawan) di dalamnya tidak terlatih dan memiliki integritas yang tinggi. Sebagai contoh, Nordstrom merekrut karyawan bukan karena mereka pintar menjual, tetapi mereka mempunyai karakter yang baik. Setelah itu, Nordstrom baru melatih mereka untuk menjual. Prinsinya, “We do not hire salesmen, but we hire men with integrity, then we train them to sell.”
Selain system recruiting dan training yang baik, juga perlu diterapkan system penghargaan yang memadai. Salah satu hal yang sederhana dan selalu dilakukan oleh Nordstrom adalah penyambutan yang hangat terhadap karyawan baru. Hal ini dilakukan antara lain dengan cara memberi satu hadiah mungil yang terbungkus rapih oleh seorang manager kepada karyawan sambil berkata, “We, Nordstrom, would like to give you the precious gift. That gift is very valuable to Nordstrom.” Setelah itu sang karyawan baru diminta untuk membuka hadiah itu, dan ia akan menemukan satu cermin kecil dan cantik. Lalu sang manager berkata, “Look at the mirror, that’s is Nordstrom most precious asset. It is you.”
Dr. Beni Bevly adalah penulis buku Managing For Profit Organizations in the Flatter World. Ia bisa dijumpai di www.overseasthinktankforindonesia.com. Artikel ini diterbitkan oleh majalah Duit!
By Jennie S. Bev
In September I attended a presentation by a group of distinguished movers and shakers in the region and by Silicon Valley Joint Venture Network’s President and CEO Russell Hancock. In the midst of a bleak economy, those who reside in this region were eager to learn everything they could about the present and the future: What the present outlook is, how long the re-cession may last, what the current trends are and what kind of prosperity and security may come again to that region and to the United States in general.
As a citizen of the world and a local business player, I attended this presentation to find out how Silicon Valley’s innovative business climate might rally the best traits of capitalism to help the world and whether it might contribute to overturning the current grim economic outlook.
Silicon Valley Joint Venture Network was established in 1992 as a neutral forum to bring together leaders from business, labor, government, universities and non-profits to think outside the box and build creative solutions for the overall well-being of the region.
One of their important contributions is the annual Silicon Valley Index. It tells the real story about this region based on indicators which measure the economy and health of the community. The Index analyzes strengths and challenges that can influence local leaders’ decision-making. Such indicators are valuable bellwethers which reflect fundamentals of long-term regional economic health, reflect the interests and concerns of the community, are statistically measurable on a frequent basis and measure outcomes rather than inputs.
Silicon Valley is a central intellectual hub in the United States, one which possesses influential soft power worldwide, and is considered as the world’s center for innovation. This region’s attractiveness has been played down as no more than a high-tech hub where today’s household names — Hewlett Packard, Intel, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems and eBay are based. In truth, this region is much more than that. It has long been the birthplace of innovation-based capitalism.
Silicon Valley’s distinguished character is unlike any other on the planet. It is not just a “psychological geographical location” which cannot be found on any official map. It is made up of 1,500 square miles, 40 cities and four counties with 2.6 million people. The region boasts 1.3 million workers, 42 percent of its residents are foreign born, 40 percent hold college degrees and 25 percent of the labor force work in highly skilled occupations. The average income is 60 percent higher than most U.S. regions, it produces 6 percent of U.S. GNP, 11 percent of U.S. patents, and its productivity rate is 50 percent higher than the U.S. average. Even though Silicon Valley is only a small part of the state of California geographically, its economic output is greater than that of the whole state of New York.
As in any technology region, boom-and-bust cycles and economic bubbles are natural and expected. Each bust brings with it the opportunity to experience another bubble. The key is to be prepared for whatever the future brings and make the most of the bubble.
To ride high in the wake of Silicon Valley’s future booms is probably the best thing other countries — Indonesia included — can expect to do, which explains why Indonesia should catch up technology-wise. Their new products will become run-of-the-mill commodities which may in turn give birth to another creative outburst. This could provide continual opportunities to outsourcing firms, like those based in Chennai and Shanghai.
Grady Means and David Schneider coined the term “metacapitalism” in 2000 to refer to worldwide competition characterized by brand-owning firms which focus on product innovation while establishing alliances with other firms to function as suppliers.
Metacapitalism trends go hand in hand with high levels of outsourcing, except for design and research and development departments which are likely to be kept in house. And such a trend allows small companies to take part in this highly equalized playground as the flattened world has empowered smaller players.
An increase in the number of jobs in the area is expected, but an incremental rather than a prodigious increase. And with a credit thaw coming, this center of innovative capitalism is becoming the center of world metacapitalism again. It is not just wishful thinking: Silicon Valley has morphed itself many times during the last half century. Believe.
The writer is an author and columnist based in Northern California. This article was published by The Jakarta Post.