A series of unfortunate events (and a ‘happy’ ending)

burning televisions

 

For non-Indonesians, I understand if you haven’t heard about this news story. For fellow Indonesians, I hope our attention is not solely preoccupied with the aftermath of recent bombs and gunfire in Jakarta last Thursday (and that hashtag which instantly turns into a rap song), or splits within some of the country’s major political parties.

If you notice some conversations in the social media, or even to a limited extent on Indonesian news channels, I bet you must have heard the case of Mr. Muhammad Kusrin. Or no? Perhaps because other bigger issues are dominating major news taglines?

If you don’t, that’s okay. Based on the information I compiled from several news articles (my apologies all of them are only available in Indonesian language), Mr. Kusrin was a self-taught entrepreneur who assembled parts from unused PC monitors, and converted them into TV screens. He didn’t get himself an engineering degree in order to obtain such knowledge; indeed, this man only managed to finish his primary-level education, and most of the skills he possessed in reproducing those devices originated from decades of repairing electronic products. From Karanganyar, a mid-sized town in Central Java Province, which is also his hometown, Mr. Kusrin managed to open up a small assembly center that recycled those PC monitors into television screens, employing over 35 persons, with daily revenues up to 75 million rupiah (or equivalent to 5,500 US$). Every TV screen was sold with prices ranging from 500,000 rupiah (~ 36 US$) up to 800,000 rupiah (~ 58 US$).

The Lemony Snicket-esque irony began, nonetheless, when he tried to apply for national product standardization, or in Indonesian known as SNI (Sertifikat Nasional Indonesia). Never mind with the fees charged (it costs 35 million rupiah, or approximately 2,590 US$, to get one), albeit it’s costly. But the application process, on average, requires almost half a year for an inventor in order to get this standardization for his or her product. Within this timeline, one has to go to the national accreditation body to begin the application process, and demonstration of competence has to be conducted. Even that process doesn’t simply end here. In the following procedure, three stages of processes are applied here, mainly product-testing by a designated state lab, followed by standard inspection by a special appointed body, and certification of product parts by another appointed body, all affiliated with the standardization process. The last process includes ‘demonstration-of-conformity’ test, so as to adjust these products with consumers’ needs, before a fixed standardization is issued. And lastly, within this period, one is not allowed to produce and/or sell their products to the public. In the eyes of Max Weber (father of bureaucracy), it is turning into a golden cage for the universe.

And it was bureaucracy itself that became the biggest problem for Mr. Kusrin’s business: he, and just like most other small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), had no slightest idea about the idea of ‘product standardization’ required by the government. Having both business and trade licences, both of which had also required light years in process (sorry for hyperbole), were not sufficient to safeguard his business assets; police, assisted by local prosecutor’s office, raided his company, confiscated almost all his assets, and put him into prison, back in March 2015, as his company continued selling the assembled product in the absence of SNI. To exacerbate the matter (or cause you some conflagration), both police and prosecutors openly smashed and set his business’ TV screens, unused PC monitors, and carton-made packages on fire, very proudly captured in front of reporters and journalists, just a few days ago. As Mr. Kusrin was in prison, the business couldn’t operate, and all his 35 employees immediately lost their jobs.

 

idiot1

idiot2

Pictures: retards (above), another retard (below)

 

This is my afterthought: what the heck are these prosecutors doing? First, if you burn a TV, regardless of its status as cathode-ray or LED or whatever, from a very close distance, your chances of inhaling cancerous chemicals into your lungs increases dramatically (without me having to be a forecaster, unless you people are already chain-smokers). Second, this country, of which I have to share with those buffoons, is still struggling to shelve its ‘punish-only-ordinary-people’ mentality; it’s true hundreds and hundreds of politicians, mayors, regents, governors, and even ministers have been put into prison on charges relating to corruption and other forms of power abuse, but out there, there are still countless other people sitting on top of the elites who, having committed numerous mistakes that cost Indonesia huge amounts of money, remain safe and untouched by the existing laws. Third, you proudly burn someone’s creation in front of cameras! What makes you different from thugs, after all?

Again, this was another reason why I really adore the way social media works. Soon after this incident, people on Facebook, Twitter, and various petition websites began posting for demands to release Mr. Kusrin out of prison, and at the same time, these prosecutors (and some police involved) underwent their mob-trial by the media. This news soon reached out to the central government in Jakarta, with the immediate response by Ministry of Industry to directly reward him the standardization, thus enabling him to breathe the air of freedom. Yes, he just got the certificate a few hours ago, all the way directly bypassing the months-old procedures.

 

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“My name is Kusrin, and I am not a copyright-pirate.”

 

I don’t know if getting the standardization will become an eventually happy ending for his business (as well as his family and the workers) as there are still obstacles Mr.Kusrin has to face, given that he has lost most of the capital he needs to resume the operation, all engulfed on that big fire. For now, from my standpoint as a rational optimist, this is a ‘happy ending’ that he deserves for years of hard work and expertise he has accumulated.

Let me say something: this is another harsh lesson, one after another, that the government hasn’t succeeded to learn. I must be both proud and outraged to say that Indonesia has so many geniuses that the existing system, engendered after decades and decades, fails to cultivate. Education system remains rigidly on one-direction approach (students are discouraged to critically evaluate their teachers’ explanations), while a lot of government regulations, rather than stimulate the growth in creativity and innovation, end up choking new ideas to death. It is not just one Kusrin I’m referring to, but also the entrepreneurial culture in Indonesia. Most media remains conditioned to only focus talking about politicians and stuff happening on their parties, while little attention is paid on how people like Mr. Kusrin are transforming their communities with their creative works and/or other inventions.

Which brings me to one question: how’s President Joko Widodo’s ‘mental-revolution’ plan? This becomes interesting.

 

(please give me feedback if you get to find any fallacies)

A website where US was nuked and Brazil became superpower

althistory

 

 

United States, China, and Russia were nuked. Brazil rose and became superpower. Indonesia survived a nuclear war and grew significantly. Africa became a safe haven for European refugees. China modernized itself and defeated Japan. Hitler became President of the United States. These were just a handful compared to more than 22,000 articles currently published in althistory.wikia.com, a website dedicated for alternate-history enthusiasts, those who ‘changed the course of history’ through this page.

This might seem irrational, or even irrelevant. Nevertheless, we often need such entertainment, or even attain such ‘on-Queer-street’ knowledge. It’s a good place to expand our imagination, to explore the universe of ‘what-ifs’, and a source of limitless creativity to alter world history. Who knows such occurrence were really true in parallel universes?

Click that link, anyway, for more ‘enlightenment’.

The world according to Adora Svitak

 

In a world that becomes increasingly complex and more intricate than ever, with population approaching the 10 billionth mark and beyond, it can be inferred that more problems will emerge, and may require solutions that have never been used before to solve problems in the past.

The question is: if we have brand-new ideas which may sound totally novel, too imaginary, or perhaps – as the adults may call it – overtly ‘childish’, are we ready to implement them in our daily lives?

Adora Svitak, now a 14-year-old child prodigy who has had authored 3 best-selling books, instead proposes a notion which sounds contradictory in the masses’ minds: be proud to be ‘childish’ (but not in terms of daily behaviors). It’s true that we can’t cling on the similar solutions as the main approach to resolve different problems, and that’s where the ‘childish’ term discovers its own omnipotence. To prove that, she has currently organized a TEDx event (find it: TEDxRedmond, to ease out your search, as there have been more than 2000 TEDx events held worldwide), which is mainly aimed for the ‘nation’s below-18 best and brightest’. To date, she has invited adventurers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, activists, critics, scientists, musicians, and philanthropists – all of whom are aged below 18 – to give out their best ideas to help creating a better world in the youth-only conference.

Will you agree on her notion?

Listen to her TED Talk here about being ‘childish’ enough to change the world.

And read more at her latest blog to know in full depth and insight the world according to Adora Svitak.

Businesses not as usual as usual

 

In times of financial malaise, Matthew Osborn had two full-time jobs worth only 6 dollars per hour each, and a wife and a son whose basic necessities he needed to fulfill. People often say that creativity is often unleashed in situation in which someone is very likely to be in their own tethers, and it seems that Osborn served as the perfect epitome. Having been inspired by the abundant poop throughout his surroundings, he instead had devised an unusual business idea to turn poop into bucks, while others instead had considered poop as simply poop: poop-cleaning service. Originally thought to be out-of-the-box, this idea had in the long run made Osborn a multi-millionaire 20 years later, and provided jobs to over 700 people.

Osborn’s idea might be deemed insane by many, but doesn’t entrepreneurship teach us to be courageous enough when it comes to implementing ideas that are eccentric, and beyond everyone’s imagination? This is what that remains lackadaisical in majority of us when times are difficult to seek permanent jobs. Everybody needs to be their own Osborn. And, most importantly, the fearlessness in unleashing your true creativity.

Note: there’s one business idea you perhaps should not practise – providing online affair service for married people.

 

Read it at Oddee.

Creativity unleashed. A ‘multitasking’ bra that can save your life.

Elena Bodnar’s design, a special brassiere that can be utilized as ’emergency masks’ in times of fireplace, was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel Public Health Prize – perhaps the best parody of the most prestigious bestowal in the world, Ig Nobel Prize.

*note: Ig Nobel Prize is only awarded to scientists with eccentric, out-of-the-box, innovative scientists that, adjusted to its motto – ‘first make people laugh, and then make them think’, can save the world today. What’s more, all these prizes are awarded by Nobel laureates. Indisputably, this is the most prestigious parody among all the others you have never seen before.