My Year in Review: 2016

"Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years." — Bill Gates

The quote above is somehow true since 2016 was the year that I probably overestimated what I could achieve in one year. However, I'm still grateful for all positive things that happened last year. This blog post is just a documentation of my life in a year. I hope we can learn something from what we experienced in 2016.

Toba Lake (2016) with Indra, Hasan, Devis

Intermezzo: Just like my previous year-in-review posts, here are some better year-in-review contents. You can just skip reading the remaining text anyway 😁


New year started with some good things: short trip to Rancabali Tea Plantation, new episode of Sherlock, and 5th anniversary celebration of Indonesia Mengajar.

There was also a small indie music concert which featured my favourite local bands: White Shoes And The Couples Company, Payung Teduh, and Sore! All were performing in the same stage! Perfect! 👌🏽

Beasiswa Luar Negeri

Salah satu impian semasa jadi mahasiswa S1 dulu adalah mendapatkan beasiswa untuk melanjutkan S2 (dan S3) di luar negeri. Meskipun kualitas beberapa universitas di dalam negeri (ITB, UI, UGM) sudah lebih baik dari banyak kampus di luar negeri, masih lebih banyak universitas top di luar negeri yang jauh lebih unggul di bidang keilmuan tertentu. Selain itu, keinginan untuk bisa jalan-jalan menjelajah negeri baru dan hidup di budaya yang baru pun turun memotivasi saya dan anak-anak Indonesia lainnya untuk melanjutkan studi di luar negeri.

In front of KAIST, Daejeon Campus

Saya beruntung bisa memperoleh beasiswa di universitas teknik terbaik di Korea Selatan untuk program studi yang saya minati. Berdasarkan pengalaman saya tersebut, ada dua hal yang perlu diperhatikan untuk mendapatkan beasiswa kuliah di luar negeri:
  1. Letter of Acceptance (LoA) dari universitas yang dituju.
  2. Sumber beasiswa untuk biaya kuliah (tuition fee) dan biaya hidup.

Sebelum mendapatkan LoA, tentu kita harus menentukan universitas mana yang mau dituju. Biasanya ada dua pendekatan dalam menentukan di universitas mana kita mau melanjutkan studi:
  1. Pendekatan #1 : Tentukan dulu negara yang mau dituju, baru pilih universitas yang memiliki program studi sesuai dengan minat dan kemampuan kita.
  2. Pendekatan #2 : Tentukan dulu program studi yang sesuai minat kita, baru pilih negara dan universitas yang sesuai dengan kemampuan kita.

If possible, always choose what you love.

Pendekatan #1 biasanya dipilih oleh orang-orang yang sudah ngefans dengan suatu negara karena faktor budaya, klub sepakbola favorit, grup band favorit, jaraknya dari Indonesia, adanya kerabat di negara tersebut, kedekatan geografisnya dengan negara-negara lain yang ingin dikunjungi, dsb. Setelah tahu negara mana yang mau dituju, silakan googling "study in <country name>", misalnya /search?q=study+in+england.

Pendekatan #2 biasanya dipilih oleh orang-orang yang sangat passionate di bidangnya, yang ingin belajar dari para ahli terbaik di bidangnya. Ada beberapa cara untuk mendapatkan informasi top major ini, antara lain dari ranking universitas di dunia (meskipun agak bias ke negara tertentu atau parameter ranking tertentu), serta referensi dari dosen di kampus. Beberapa referensi ranking antara lain Times Higher Education, Quacquarelli Symonds, Shanghai Ranking, atau bisa juga dengan googling "best <major name> program", misalnya /search?q=best+computer+science atau /search?q=best+IT+MBA

Sebetulnya ada lagi Pendekatan #3, yaitu tentukan dulu beasiswa apa saja yang kita memenuhi syarat serta memiliki minat dan kemampuan untuk meraihnya, lalu baru menentukan negara dan universitas dari afiliasi beasiswa tersebut. Pendekatan ini sepertinya menjadi tidak terlalu populer sejak adanya beasiswa LPDP yang memungkinkan kita bisa mendaftarkan diri ke universitas manapun dengan dukungan pembiayaan dari pemerintah.

Kelas Inspirasi: SDN Marunda 02

"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." – Elizabeth Andrew

Sunday midnight, April 10, while I was  packing my stuff for traveling to Pulau Tunda with some fellows from Komunitas Inspirasi Jelajah Pulau (KIJP) Batch 5, I got an email from Kelas Inspirasi Jakarta that I was selected as facilitator for their 5th program – #KIJKT5. Although it was my 9th participation in Kelas Inspirasi, it was my first time to be a facilitator, so I was very excited about it.

Kelas Inspirasi Jakarta – May 2, 2016 – SDN Marunda 02

As facilitator, we need to stay "neutral" in the team discussion, while helping our team understand the common objectives and plan how to achieve those objectives through a well-prepared lesson plan. We also need to make sure that our team really understand about seven basic principles of our movement: voluntary, free of interest, free of financing, ready to learn, direct participation, hospitality, and sincerity.

Sunday morning, April 17, we met our team for the first time in the briefing day. Eventually I was assigned to help group #54, which consists of 3 facilitators, 35 inspirators, and 6 documentators. We were assigned to share our life experiences to the kids in SDN Marunda 02 (and SDS Terang Nusantara). It is located in northern Jakarta, 12 km from Port of Tanjung Priok. The elementary school itself consists of almost a thousand students, with 80s of them are kids with special needs. It is probably the biggest group ever in Kelas Inspirasi. However, we all were very excited.. Bring it on!!

Thursday morning, April 21, some of our group members visited SDN Marunda 02 to get better understanding of the school situation and introduce ourselves to the headmaster and the teachers. It took 3-5 hours for us to get to the school because it was heavy raining since the night before and the traffic was so terrible. We had to drive in the road full of container trucks before we met those cheerful elementary kids in Marunda.

Around 11am, we arrived at the school. The headmaster and all teachers welcomed us excitedly and asked us to have lunch together. Apparently they already prepared some lunch dishes for us. The headmaster also shared about how SDN Marunda 02 was growing so rapidly. The school itself is located close to Marunda Flats, which is infamous as flats where Governor of DKI Jakarta, Ahok, relocates people from areas that actually prohibited to live at, such as Kalijodo, Pasar Ikan, Luar Batang, etc. After Governor Ahok relocates all families to Marunda Flats, he gives all the kids Jakarta Health Card (KJS), Jakarta Smart Card (KJP), and free school bus transportation. The school bus operates from Marunda Flats to nearby schools including SDN Marunda 02.

The number of students in SDN Marunda 02 has been increasing since early 2016 because Governor Ahok started relocating people from several areas. Now it has almost a thousand students, so that the headmaster decided to have two shifts: morning classes and afternoon classes. It also gave us challenge in Kelas Inspirasi, because we need to teach those kids for both shifts from early morning to late afternoon. In addition, there is also SDS Terang Nusantara, a private elementary school that was just established less than a year and currently is borrowing two classrooms of SDN Marunda 02. So in total we have 30 classes to teach in a day. Yeah!

Traveling to Pulau Tunda

Sunday morning, April 10th 2016, some groups of professionals gathered in Dermaga Ancol and Jalan Sudirman, to travel together not only for vacation but also for volunteering. Those groups were from Komunitas Inspirasi Jelajah Pulau (KIJP) Batch 5, which just expanded their area of voluntary works from Kepulauan Seribu to northern Banten province. Eventually there was also another group of KIJP Batch 5 that already departed on Saturday morning since they were heading to Pulau Sebira, the northest island of Kepulauan Seribu, even closer to Lampung province.

Membangun Generasi Jujur di Pulau Tunda | Photo by Harditya Pragola

I was blessed to be assigned into a group full of cheerful and creative people. They are professionals with various background: medical doctor, banker, marketing communication, humanitarian aid agency, entrepreneur, CSR planner, art director, environmentalist, fin-tech, social media consultant, digital agency, journalist, etc.

The recruitment committee placed 18 of us to Pulau Tunda. It is located in northern Banten province, 2-3 hours from Karangantu. The island is about 300 hectare with two main villages: east and west. There was only one elementary school there, and we were going there to share our life experiences while building connection with the local people and planting seeds of dreams to their kids. It was also a beautiful place to visit as seen on Instagram, especially for snorkeling, diving, fishing, or photo-hunting for dolphins.

That Sunday we departed from Jakarta around 7am. It took around 2 hours to get to Karangantu, Serang. Some people said that Karangantu was the second largest pier after Sunda Kelapa in the history of Sunda. Our bus stopped in front of sun-drying salted fish area where our boats anchored. If you want to get there by public transportation, you can take a bus from Jakarta to Serang, and then change to mini bus from Serang to Karangantu. Make sure you arrive at Karangantu before 1pm since there is only one public boat (KMP Tunda) from Karangantu to Pulau Tunda per day.

After waiting for almost an hour, our boat finally came. It was a small boat with a single machine, with maximum capacity around 25 people. We took a rest for a while since the boat was moving.. so.. slowly. [insert zootopia's sloth here] Make sure that you bring your powerbank or additional battery for camera since there is no electricity at Pulau Tunda during the day. Moreover, your cell phone will be useless unless you use Indosat or XL and stand in the corner of the pier to find proper 2G signal.

Payung Teduh

Finally I watched the live performance of one of my most favorite Indonesian musicians, Payung Teduh. It's been few times I missed their concerts due to deadlines and other things, but finally I made it last Sunday at Red Festival, where Payung Teduh performed with my other favorite musicians: WSATCC and Sore. The most special thing about Payung Teduh is they are one of very rare Indonesian bands with a balanced mix between very good music - fusion of pop, keroncong, and jazz - and brilliant poetical lyrics. Perfect!

Sketch of "Berdua Saja" – by @aselaastrelia

But there is nothing tricky from Payung Teduh’s popularity. The quartet’s instant fame proofs that people miss good music with good lyrics. The attempt to “normalise” keroncong music into something more tangible is another strong point from the Depok-based quartet. Asked about their music in an interview with BBC Indonesia, they revealed that the calming, soothing mood is deliberately embraced to counter Jakarta’s tiring life. "Jakarta is already super hectic, at least our listener could sit down and relax a bit with our music," they explained. – Sounds From The Corner #11

Berdua Saja


Ada yang tak sempat tergambarkan oleh kata
Ketika kita berdua
Hanya aku yang bisa bertanya
Mungkinkah kau tahu jawabnya

Malam jadi saksinya
Kita berdua di antara kata
Yang tak terucap
Berharap waktu membawa keberanian
Untuk datang membawa jawaban

Mungkinkah kita ada kesempatan
Ucapkan janji takkan berpisah selamanya

Menuju Senja


Harum mawar di taman
Menusuk hingga ke dalam sukma
Dan menjadi tumpuan rindu cinta bersama
Di sore itu menuju senja

Bersama hati yang terluka, tertusuk pilu
Menganga luka itu di antara senyum
Dan menapaki jejak kenangan di sore yang gelap ditutupi awan
Bersama setangkup bunga cerita yang kian merambat di dinding penantian
Ada yang mati saat itu dalam kerinduaan yang tak terobati

Harum mawar di taman
Menusuk hingga ke dalam sukma
Dan menjadi tumpuan rindu cinta bersama
Di sore itu menuju senja

Baru saja kuberanjak beberapa saat sebelum itu
Ada yang mati menunggu sore menuju senja, bersama..

Harum mawar di taman
Menusuk hingga ke dalam sukma
Dan menjadi tumpuan rindu cinta bersama
Di sore itu menuju senja

Untuk Perempuan yang Sedang di Pelukan


Tak terasa gelap pun jatuh
Di ujung malam menuju pagi yang dingin
Hanya ada sedikit bintang malam ini
Mungkin karena kau sedang cantik-cantiknya

Lalu mataku merasa malu
Semakin dalam ia malu kali ini
Kadang juga ia takut
Tatkala harus berpapasan di tengah pelariannya

Di malam hari
Menuju pagi
Sedikit cemas
Banyak rindunya