Archive for January, 2009
by Jennie S. Bev
January 14, 2009
On Jan. 19, 2009, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 80 years old. His hair would have been all gray and his hardships would have been marked with deep wrinkles on his face. And he would have been the proudest person on earth to see the first African-American president who will be inaugurated on the following day: Jan. 20, 2009.
King might not be present on that historical day but he will be there in spirit. He once said, “If anything happens to me, there will be others to take my place.” With commendable and convincing oratory skills, Barack Obama is one of the best manifestations of his spirit.
Out of the three leadership types — anchor, fixer and visionary — King’s was visionary.
He envisioned an America (and the world) that is free from racial discrimination, racial segregation and poverty by channeling his thoughtful nonviolence activism effectively in an eloquent manner. His ability to thrill audiences with a poet’s tongue and a philosopher’s erudition was hard to match by any other leaders, except perhaps by John F. Kennedy, Harvey Milk and Barack Obama.
As a visionary, he possessed an innate ability to predict, including his own future: his death. He had been channeling it through searing oratory that looked past his own death foretelling how he should be viewed long after he was gone. Such oratory is called “automortology.”
It was a philosophical way of looking at life and death, combined with wishes for his own funeral and eulogy. He did not wish to be remembered for winning a Nobel Prize and a few other hundreds of awards, but instead as one who clothed the poor, visited the incarcerated and fed the hungry. He wished to be remembered for his love and efforts to serve humanity.
Obama promises to carry on King’s legacy by strengthening civil rights enforcement and combatting discrimination
Delivering his own automortology long before he was assassinated gave him a triumphant moment that he knew where he was standing and clearly saw what the future held. It also spoke to his would-be assassinator that he was aware of the plan and not afraid when it eventually occurred.
Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person who served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, also predicted his own assassination. He recorded his life story and wishes, which later were used as the basis of his biographical book “The Mayor of Castro Street” by Randy Shilts and movie “Milk” played by Sean Penn.
As an orator, Milk eloquently said, “The American Dream starts with neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. To sit on front steps — whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city — is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living room lounge and watch a make-believe world in not-quite living color.”
He also gave rise to an adage that has been empowering every gay man and woman ever since, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
Like King and Milk, Obama is also a great orator spelling out grand ideas in anodyne words sprinkled with hope. Most, if not all, visionary leaders almost always sound alarming to oppositions, which explains why assassination is a risk none greater than the vision itself.
As a president, Obama promises to continue King’s legacy by strengthening civil rights enforcement, combatting employment discrimination, expanding hate crime statutes, ending deceptive voting practices, ending racial profiling, reducing crime recidivism by providing ex-offender support, eliminating sentencing disparities and expanding the use of drug courts. All in addition to fixing Bush’s jammed trickling-down economy with his bottom-up economic justice, fighting for fair trade and creating millions of jobs among many other things to fix and undo.
Obama’s responsibility is far greater than most of his predecessors. And he has his visionary leadership revealed in persuasive rhetoric to distinguish himself. His inauguration speech will be a classic, just like FDR’s “There is nothing to fear except for the fear itself” and JFK’s “Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” And we already have one from him that is already ringing, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.”
Obama’s former aide Dan Shomon said it well, “People have always had a tendency to give Obama a pass. It’s like no other politician I’ve seen. They feel like he is on this important mission. And maybe he is.”
Obama is on an important mission and he might risk being assassinated. That inauguration speech might serve as both a promise and an early unfinished automortology. Let’s hope the latter would not ever transpire.
Long live the first black leader of the new world.
Jennie S. Bev is an Indonesia-born writer and former law lecturer in Northern California. This article was previously published by The Jakarta Globe.
Strategic Currents: Emerging Trends in Southeast Asia
Yang Razali Kassim, editor (Evan A. Laksmana, OTTI anlayst, is one of the contributors)
2008 184 pages
ISBN 978-981-08-1822-7 S$29.90/US$22.90
About the Publication
Southeast Asia may be going through a new phase. The region is experiencing new challenges as well as changes in its geostrategic and economic environment. Such changes have become more evident over the last few years, as manifested in a range of issues such as climate change, ASEAN identity, regionalism and religion. This volume reflects some of what possibly could be emerging trends in the region, as captured in a series of commentaries written for the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), the Nanyang Technological University between 2007 and early 2008.
Edited by Yang Razali Kassim, and succinctly written in a readable and engaging style by regional experts, policy contributors and other personalities, including Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister and finance minister Anwar Ibrahim, this book hopes to generate thinking on some of the key issues that are emerging to confront Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ASEAN: AT DECADE’S TURN
Suharto: The End of an ASEAN Era, by Yang Razali Kassim
ASEAN Regional Forum: Time for Preventive Diplomacy, by Ralf Emmers
The ASEAN Charter Controversy: Between Big Talk and Modest Actions, by Hiro Katsumata
The ASEAN Community: Trusting Thy Neighbour, by Christopher Roberts
Prospects for an ASEAN Nuclear Cooperation: A Common Nuclear Facility? by Alvin Chew
ASEAN’s Future Identity: Imagined or Imitation Community? by Yang Razali Kassim
THE MYANMAR CHALLENGE
ASEAN: Time to Suspend Myanmar, by Barry Desker
Plight of Myanmars People: Challenges for the International Community, by Christopher Roberts
India’s Outdated Myanmar Policy: Time for a Change, by C Raja Mohan
Rohingya Muslims: Myanmar’s Forgotten People, by Nyi Nyi Kyaw
ASEAN: Act on Climate Change, by Barry Desker
Coping with Nature’s Wrath: Can Southeast Asia Afford to Wait? by Mely Caballero-Anthony
The Rush for Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia: Promises and Pitfalls, by Mely Caballero-Anthony Sofiah Jamil
The Security Dimension of Climate Change, by Hoo Tiang Boon Ng Sue-Chia
Climate Change: ASEAN Plus 3′s New Concern, by Chen Gang Li Mingjiang
POLITICAL ECONOMY AND REGIONALISM
The Asian Financial Crisis 10 Years Later: What Lessons have We Learned? by Anwar Ibrahim
East Asian Identity: After the Crisis, by Tang Shiping
The New Silk Road: Time for an Arab-Asian Free Trade Area? by Yang Razali Kassim
APEC: Time for Second-Best Options, by Barry Desker
SINGAPORE AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
33 Days: An Intense Month of High-Level Diplomacy, by Yang Razali Kassim
The Tao of Spider-Man: Lessons for Singapore Defence and Diplomacy, by Tan See Seng
Self-Radicalization: The Case of Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader, by Kumar Ramakrishna
The Singapore Armed Forces and Domestic Security, by Terence Lee
Multiculturalism in Singapore: The Ties that Bind and Blind, by Yolanda Chin Norman Vasu
Why We Must Ponder the Improbable: Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning, by Barry Desker
Trends in Piracy and Armed Sea Robbery in Southeast Asia, by Jane Chan Joshua Ho
Is Poso All about JI? The Roots of the Conflict, by Evan Laksmana
The Southern Insurgency: Rethinking Thailand’s Military Strategy, by Prashanth Parameswaran
Trust and Soft Power in War on Terror, by Bahtiar Effendy
Abu Sayyaf’s New Leader: Yasser Igasan the Religious Scholar, by Taharudin Piang Ampatuan
SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE REGIONAL POWERS
East Asian Security: India’s Rising Profile, by C Raja Mohan
Rudd’s Rise: Changes in Australia’s Strategic Directions, by Sam Bateman
Timor-Leste and China: The Dragon’s Newest Friend, by Loro Horta
A New Pro-Asia Doctrine? Japan’s Approach to East Asian Regionalism, by Go Ito
South China Sea: Time for ASEAN-China Joint Development? by Robert Beckman
SOUTHEAST ASIA AND CONTEMPORARY ISLAM
The Rise of Religious Bylaws in Indonesia, by Luthfi Assyaukanie
Turkey and the Trban: The Dilemmas of Laicist Ideology, by Karim D Crow
New PAS, Young Ulama: Re-Defining the Future of Islamist Politics, by Yang Razali Kassim
Responding to the Idea of Hijrah (Migration), by Muhammad Haniff Hassan
List of Contributors
ISEAS / RSIS
ISEAS and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies co-publication. Available exclusively from ISEAS for worldwide distribution.
(Image Source: Asia Sentinel)
by Jennie S. Bev
Monday, 12 January 2009
Sometimes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is observed in the breach
On December 10, the world commemorated the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Joseph Saunders, the deputy program director of Human Rights Watch in New York, who lived in Indonesia for two and a half years in the 1990s, answered this question: Do human rights violators today face more intense pressure when they trample on rights than they did 60 years ago? The answer, he said, is a resounding yes.
However, Indonesia’s posture in terms of respect for and adherence to human rights principles needs to be examined critically, and, given the ominous attacks on minority religions over 2008, the country has to look critically at worsening intolerance on the part of hard-line fundamentalists.
Historically speaking, the human rights movement has come a long way and today it has become a strong feature of most of the world’s constitutions, observed or not. Also, many governments have created human rights ministries and signed international treaties as supported by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights. And the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands is one great leap forward in protecting fundamental human rights.
In Indonesia, the Constitution Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 acknowledges at least 15 human rights principles: self-determination (Preamble and article 1), citizenship (article 26), equality before the law (article 27), work (article 27), decent life (article 27), association (article 28), express an opinion (article 28), religion (article 29), national defense (article 30), education (article 31), social welfare (article 33), social security (article 34), independent judiciary (elucidation of articles 24 and 25), preserve cultural traditions (elucidation of article 32), and preserve local language (elucidation of article 31).
Indonesia is also an elected member of United Nations Human Rights Council among 47 members of 63 contenders, of which other 12 Asian countries are Bangladesh, Bahrain, China, India, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. Thus it looks good on paper.
On April 11, 2002, The Rome Statute 1998 was ratified by 60 states which brought the International Criminal Court being. However, Indonesia has yet to ratify this statute, regardless of the current 56 ratifications and 62 signatures from other states. In 2004, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono adopted a National Plan of Action on Human Rights, which states that Indonesia intends to ratify the Rome Statute in 2008.
The International Criminal Court has been making significant progress in its five years of operation. It is the first permanent court mandated to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and “crime of aggression.” On crime of aggression, there will be no prosecutions until the states come into an agreeable definition. Saunders said it is expected that the first trial will get underway this year although the court has been under attack in recent months following the issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan on charges pertaining to genocide in Darfur.
While today we can see noteworthy progress in human rights adherence and protection, particularly after the overthrow of the strongman General Suharto in 1998, the pace of progress needs to be accelerated. One bit of significant progress was the prosecution for the poisoning murder of the human rights lawyer Munir Said Thalib, despite the justice system’s failure to prove the former Indonesian intelligence figure Muchdi Purwopranojo responsible for this high-profile assassination.
Other than that, impunity is still the nagging keyword. Conscientious people are still waiting anxiously to hear news on thorough investigations and prosecutions of the greatest massacre of the 20th century, which occurred in 1965-1966 in the name of “communist eradication” in which an estimated 500,000 people were killed in Indonesia without fair trials as well as the May 1998 riots in the wake of the Asian Financial crisis, the Semanggi Tragedy I and II in which university students were shot, the East Timor massacre and religious killings in Aceh.
Freedom of religion, also one of basic human rights acknowledged in the Indonesian constitution (article 29), seems to be a continuing concern requiring immediate attention. Last September, the unorthodox Muslim sect Ahmadiyah was banned in South Sumatra with a provincial decree. In June, Ahmadiyah followers were prohibited from expressing their religious activities publicly or face up to five years of imprisonment. Many Ahmadiyah mosques throughout Indonesia have been attacked and the followers intimidated physically.
Another Islamic sect Al-Qiyadah Al-Islamiyah has also been labeled “heretical” and its founder Abdul Salam was sentenced for four years in April 2008, under accusations of blasphemy. In July, a 20-year old Christian theology school was attacked in East Jakarta, forcing an involuntary closing. In January 2008, a Hindu temple in West Lombok was burnt down by a mob.
At this point, the Indonesian government leadership seem to be wearing their best tuxedos while smiling meaningfully to look good on paper and to make strong political statements that Indonesia is a country where human rights are guaranteed and respected. We, the people, must make sure that those are not killers’ smiles and torturers’ faux friendliness. The time to act is now. And it does not take a person of Munir’s caliber to be an activist or even a dissident.
Jennie S. Bev is an Indonesian-born author and columnist who contributes to the Jakarta Globe and Jakarta Post. She is a former law lecturer and composition adjunct professor. This article was previously published by Asia Sentinel (China).
Dr. Beni Bevly
“Remember, you do not need to pay for smiling and police never arrest you,” begitulah penutupan morning announce yang selalu saya lakukan ketika menjabat sebagai salah satu Manager di Department Store terkemuka di Tanah Seberang. Kalimat guyonan ini menjadi trade mark saya dan banyak ditiru oleh manager lain ketika mereka meng-coach karyawan mereka.
Agaknya kalimat di atas sangat sederhana, tetapi jika diterapkan akan membawa dampak positif dalam interaksi dengan pelanggan. Pelanggan mana yang senang berbicara dengan karyawan atau pemilik usaha yang bermuka masam dan cemberut? Tentu saja, sebagai seorang pelanggan saya akan memilih berinteraksi dengan karayawan yang ramah dan bermuka manis karena senyum.
Kembali lagi ke kasus di Tanah Seberang. Dasar dari nasihat saya di atas terinspirasi oleh satu pasar ikan kecil di Seattle, Washington. Apa keistimewaan pasar ikan ini, sehingga saya terinpirasi olehnya?
Sekilas lalu, terlihat bahwa transaksi penjualan ikannya tidak pernah sepi. Pelangan mereka bukan hanya penduduk lokal yang membutuhkan ikan untuk dimasak, tetapi para turis dari manca negara, mahasiswa, peneliti, konsultan, motivator dan banyak lagi orang dari seluruh lapisan berkunjung untuk menyaksikan dan belajar apa yang mereka lakukan sehingga dikenal sebagai World Famous Pike Fish Market.
Jika anda ke sana, jangan kaget jika ikan dari sebesar betis sampai sebesar paha berterbangan (Flying Fish) di depan muka anda karena dilempar dari satu tempat ke tempat yang lain. Jangan pula heran, walupun berbau amis, berbondong-bondong orang berbaris untuk berfoto ria dengan karyawan mereka. Apakah hanya karena Flying Fish maka membuat pasar ikan yang kecil ini menjadi terkenal di seluruh penjuru dunia? Ternyata ada unsur lain yang lebih dari pertunjukkan ikan terbang yaitu attitude karyawan mereka.
Karyawan mereka sangat mudah tersenyum, periang, terbuka, suka bercanda, relax, bersedia mendengarkan keluhan dan membantu memberikan jalan keluar untuk pelanggan mereka. Apa rahasia dibalik tingkah laku yang sangat positif ini? Hal ini terjadi berkat keahlian John Yokoyama.
Yokoyama yang sebelumnya adalah karyawan Pike Place Fish membeli pasar ikan ini pada tahun 1965 karena ingin mempunyai pendapatan yang lebih besar. Sebagai seorang karyawan ia hanya mengantongi $150 per minggu. Setalah dipotong untuk membayar kredit mobil Buick Riviera-nya, uangnya tidak memadai untuk bebutuhan sehari-hari yang lain.
Setelah menjadi pemilik pasar ikan, ia bertanya pada karyawannya, “Who do we want to be?” Salah sorang dari mereka menjawab, “Hey! Let’s be World Famous!” Yokoyama tersentak dan terinspirasi dengan jawaban itu. Sejak saat itu, Yokoyama menambahkan kata “World Famous” di logo dan papan merek mereka. Tentu saja ia sadar betul bahwa dengan merubah logo, bukan berarti secara otomatis menjadi terkenal.
Ternyata yang membuat mereka terkenal adalah philosophy yang Yokoyama terapkan dalam usaha mereka. Ia merangkumnya dalam empat prinsip, yaitu choosing the right attitude, playing, be there dan making customer’s day.
Dalam prinsip choosing the right attitude, seseorang harus berkeyakinan bahwa attitude atau sikap seseorang bisa dirubah dan orang tersebut harus mempunyai kemauan untuk merubahnya. Sikap seeorang termasuk mood, easy going, periang, suka humor dan lain-lain juga merupakan pilihan. Sikap seperti ini akan tercermin dalam eye contact, body language, dan tone of voice. Hal ini menjadi penting karena jika kita bersikap seperti ini kepada pelanggan kita, maka umumnya kita akan menerima sikap yang serupa dari mereka. Untuk merubah sikap-sikap ini, Yokoyama berkeyakinan, caranya sangat mudah yaitu seperti membalikkan telapak tangan. Tidak usah dipikirkan, tetapi cukup pilih sikap mana yang mau diambil dan ditaruh di wajah kita.
Prinsip berikutnya, palying sering kali dilihat oleh pengusaha berlawanan dengan kerja, sehingga dinilai tidak produktif, tidak membantu dan merugikan. Bertentangan dengan prisip Yokoyama, ternyata bermain di tempat kerja dilihat sebagai sesuatu yang mendukung produktifitas dan akhirnya menguntungkan untuk usahanya. Dengan menganjurkan karyawan mereka bermain sambil bekerja, bahkan membuat karyawan mereka menjadi lebih spontan, kreatif, humoris dan energetik. Mereka percaya bahwa, “You become a better you when you engage in playing at work.”
Prinsip being there secara umum diterjemahkan sebagai kesiapan setiap saat jika dibutuhkan. Dalam kaitan dengan pelanggan, inti prinsip being there adalah bersedia dan mempunyai kemampuan untuk mendengar dan membantu memecahkan masalah. Dengan mendengar dan membantu memecahkan masalah, kita akan membangun hubungan yang positif dan kepercayaan dari pelanggan. Hubungan positif dan kepercayaan dari pelanggan merupakan modal yang tiada taranya untuk pengembangan usaha.
Prinsip terakhir dari Yokoyama adalah making their customers’ day. Prinsip ini menganjurkan karyawannya agar menciptakan suatu kondisi di mana pelanggan merasa puas, gembira dan ingin kembali untuk belanja dengan mereka lagi. Cara yang dianjurkan di antaranya adalah dengan pujian atau penghargaan yang jujur.
Dengan penerapan keempat prinsip di atas, bukan hanya membuat cita-cita mereka menjadi World Famous terwujudkan, bahkan mereka telah meluaskan usahanya sampai pada penjualan produk lain, selain menjual ikan, seperti baju kaus, buku dan dvd. Yang lebih mengejutkan bahwa mereka juga menjual jasa consulting dalam bidang human resource, sales dan motivasi. Keterlibatan mereka dalam bidang ini membuat mereka disebut, “… the most successful corporate motivators on the planet is a group that deals exclusively with fish!”
Untuk menjadi World Famous, marilah kita memulai dengan senyum di bibir dan percaya bahwa “To create a good mood is just like flipping over your hand. Yes, just that easy.”
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!