Gaddafi, MidEast Turmoil & Indonesia

Feb 28th, 2011, in Featured, News, by

Due to lack of time and motivation there are going to be more of these informal posts, which, I will endeavour to exclude from the RSS feed/mailouts/Facebook page [so far failing at that], so you'll have to actually check the site to see if anything new. It's better than nothing and the best way to go forward I think as we have a small community here that likes to talk about all sorts of things.

......

A few things on the middle east turmoil which have landed in front of me and might be of interest. I don't keep track of world news or any news much at the moment so plenty I've probably missed but here goes:

This video is very popular in the Arab world apparently, even though it's an Israeli made thing:

My favourite comment (from an American) on the airstrike on protesters in Libya:

.......But still: Qaddafi and his sons ruled in the old way, with nothing but their strong right arms. God bless the simplicity of these noble desert peoples! God keep them safe in their own countries, and out of ours! I'm struggling to think of a previous event in which someone has called in an airstrike on the mob. Grapeshot for a demonstration - yes. Machine guns? Naval artillery? It's all been done. But an airstrike? Now that's got to be some shock and awe. You're just peacefully out demonstrating with your picket signs, ski masks and sharpened agricultural tools, when a MiG blasts in out of nowhere and gives you some GPS-guided love. Wow! Qaddafi, like the honey badger, just doesn't give a sh*t.

By the way, my favourite (apparent - I just saw it on a blog once, no link) quote from Quaddifi, from years ago I think, sort of referencing his Africa first policy:

May God keep the Arabs well, and far away.

And to try to tie this in to the theme of this site - Indonesia - here is "Indonesia: An Example for Egypt, or a Democracy in Retreat?" by Robin Bush of The Asia Foundation, which seems to boil down to:

Indonesia has come a long way in a relatively short time and deserves much of the praise that is rather belatedly starting to come its way. It does provide an important example for Egypt, as a Muslim country that overthrew a dictator and integrated Islamic parties effectively into its democratic system. And, it has much to offer the region in the way of leadership on democratic transitions and reform. However, if it is to truly become a credible leader on regional and international platforms, it will have to confront head-on its own glaring problems in the areas of human rights and corruption. Many of the gains that Indonesia made in its reform process were made 10 years ago and have not advanced since. Now, a second wave of reform is needed to ensure that the country is able to live up to its tremendous potential – for the good of its own citizens and for the global community.

In the words of Madrotter... EnJoY!!!!!


129 Comments on “Gaddafi, MidEast Turmoil & Indonesia”

  1. avatar Oigal says:

    Actually Nobody, I was comparing them to other Universities in Indonesia. Seriously some Universities have a far better reputation amongst private employers than others. The ones you are referring to, are in general not shall we say as high on the list as some others. When we select Rectors on the basis of Religious or political background as opposed to intellectual capability then we condemn another generation to security guards and drivers.

    I also acknowledge that Indonesia suffers significantly from “brain drain” for a variety of socio-economic reasons. Although not sure I would use Habibie as an example of that.

    Despite all you say, Indonesia is under represented in the academic field across the board and that indeed contributes to why you have to put up with infidel expats. Oh and don’t think I am confusing education with intelligence. I work with some of the smartest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with…Oh what could have been, if they just had the opportunity!

    One thing that brings tears to my eyes is every village and town you will see people scrounging for money to build yet another place of worship, yet the school next door is not fit for habitation…as they say..

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, give a man a net and you feed him for a year..give him religion and he starves to death praying for a fish..

  2. avatar nobody says:

    “Actually Nobody, I was comparing them to other Universities in Indonesia. Seriously some Universities have a far better reputation amongst private employers than others. ”

    No. It depends on what the recruiting person in these private employers are looking for. Are they looking for someone who will do what they orders? If so, then may be some one from less prestigious univs will be better suited. Not only in the financial efficiency matter, but also because smart people from top univ. are not known to accept being used like a tool by someone else.

    On the matter of expat being indispensable, come on.. what are you smoking. Expats are here simply because the head honcho is a foreigner himself, and he feels more secure working with people more similar with him (and talk his language). Unfortunately there is still also these low self esteem among some indonesians versus white men, which make them see bule equals smarter. I guess that is what 300years of colonisation brought you. Come on be honest. In what ever field of work you are working on in Indonesia, it most likely not necessarily needs a top foreign univ graduates, let alone an expats. Works available in Indonesia now do not usually needs that much brain power. It involve may be writing documents, spreadsheets, answering emails, or operating machines (which actually fairly automated already). If there is analizing work, it usually involve fairly well known formulas or there are commercial softwares and text book manual to do that. May be what will make an expat more valuable is the experience they might had in similar projects overseas.

  3. avatar ET says:

    Some time ago there has been a young Indonesian woman posting a few times here on IM who worked as a scientist for CERN in Switzerland. Her name was Adinda if I remember correctly. I wonder what her educational background was.

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    Yes nobody, all foreign companies only employ expats because they love to pay more for the same amount of output. That’s why Singapore, Korea Japan have so many expats working in their foreign firms…oh wait no they don’t! It’s education and training nothing more and nothing less.

    People are hired to make money for the company..climb off the high horse, companies care about the bottom line not your silly theories about colonial seat belts.

  5. avatar Oigal says:

    Oh indeed nobody I am nothing special intellect wise, fair bit of experience tho and not a bad leader if I do say myself. Best of all produce profit for the company and that’s all they care about. Could an Indonesian do the job..absolutely! Finding the guy / girl is a bit more problematic as most those who could are already well entrenched or already left the country. As we discussed, the lack of educational opportunities has trashed the available pool.

  6. avatar nobody says:

    Oigal,
    I did not say anything about your qualities, or any other expats, for that matter.
    No offence intended.
    I was just saying that available jobs in Indonesia right now, in my opinion,
    can be capably filled by Indonesian graduates. They only need some experience to add to the education.

    Company bosses do not decide who to hire. It is people lower below who actually will work with the team who pick a person, and here is where the bias enters. Do they (these smaller bosses) care how much the company pay someone? I dont think so. They hire people who they like most. This is where the bias plays. It can be almamater bias (hiring their own juniors from the same almamater), country/culture bias, etc. It can work both ways, but it just so happen that in a foreign company, the top engineers are foreigner brought from company headquarters. These already amount to quite some number of expats. They in turn will hire some expat contractors.

    On the matter of pay, I don’t think indonesian person with the same experience as you will content to get a lower pay just because of their skin color. They can easily get similar jobs out of the country.

  7. avatar Oigal says:

    In fact, there is a whole raft of very very slick Indonesian business leaders coming through who are equal to any in the world however so few when compared to the opportunities that companies are forced to hired expats not as skilled and curiously a lower wages they would pay for the Indonesian. An very successful energy company/ group starting with I is a classic example of the new generation of good governance, well run and head up by a number of young Indonesians. Although they would laugh you out of the room at the notion the work in Indonesia does no require much brainpower??

  8. avatar Oigal says:

    Almost the same point nobody if you remove the overlay of it’s all a colonial plot. No enough qualified graduates and those that are can get better work overseas. It’s also easier although changing to be promoted overseas based on merit than who you know.

  9. avatar Odinius says:

    S1 is decent enough at the top Indonesian universities, and definitely good enough to provide enough people to work in high-tech industries at their infancy.

    Plus there are plenty of Indonesians who return with engineering and science degrees abroad, who then go work for someone’s kelapa sawit company, or an investment firm, because it’s a better economic choice.

    Indonesia’s university system, though, could definitely use more cash and tender loving care. But it’s not a necessary precursor to high-tech capital investment. Getting that off the ground first would, I think, get the ball rolling.

  10. avatar Oigal says:

    Not wanting to confuse things (I probably will) but in my experience. A top class Indonesian graduate with the ability/training/mind set (looking for the right word and not trying to be provocative) to work in multi-national company actually commands a very good package often better than most expats at that level.

    Because of the high demand for that caliber of person, there are far more opportunities than candidates. As a qualifier, employers are looking for more than a piece of paper. Things are changing fast, in our company for instance the most senior person is an expat however he will be mostly likely be the last. There will still be an expat (to walk the walk and talk the talk with other expats) however that will be mid tier position. Contrary to Nobody’s theory, all companies actively work to reduce the expat load or if they don’t they are not being responsible to their shareholders.

    Interestingly and slightly off topic, the best piece of advice from a Indonesian, when searching for a good medical provider was get one of the younger ones from our best universities. Forget the the older bloke with the titles and a plethora of degrees and frames on the back wall as they are from a time when image over substance was the norm.

    On point of concern, it would seem to me whilst at senior levels expat numbers are slowly dwindling a number of companies seem to happy to employ other developing nations nationals (Indians/Philippines etc) to cater for the mid level management shortfalls. This brings us directly back to the abysmal state of education for the masses, the elite get opportunities, the masses get virtually nothing and their chances for betterment is sub contracted to other nations whose only advantage is their basic education and access to it….crazy!

  11. avatar timdog says:

    The education – it’s a real shame that Indonesia has never managed to capitalise on what is actually very respectable bare-minimum educational provision.
    Literacy levels are excellent and some kind of basic schooling is available in even the furthest flung reaches of the archipelago.
    Compare this to India and Pakistan where huge swathes of the population are totally unschooled, cannot even read…

    And yet, even Pakistan – which comes much closer to being a genuine “failed state” than Indonesia ever has – still manages to turn out respectable graduates. Pakistan-trained doctors are welcomed with open arms by hospitals in most western countries; those same hospitals probably wouldn’t give an Indonesian-trained doctor a job as a janitor. That’s got nothing to do with “racism” or “Neocolonialism”.

    Indonesia does deserve some kind of congratulation for its education effort – in the face of enormous geographical, social and ecconomic challenges it has managed to teach just about all of its children to read.

    Indonesia should be proud that most of it’s tukang becak can read the newspaper, while many of India’s rickshaw-wallahs can’t. I, for one, certainly don’t ever belittle that achievement. However, once you get a little further up into the stratosphere into the realms of “expat workforces” and international companies it somehow doesn’t count for much if India produces globe-bestriding graduates while their Indonesian counterparts are a laughing stock…

  12. avatar deta says:

    A top class Indonesian graduate with the ability/training/mind set (looking for the right word and not trying to be provocative)

    Errrh… mentality? 🙂

    Interestingly and slightly off topic, the best piece of advice from a Indonesian, when searching for a good medical provider was get one of the younger ones from our best universities. Forget the the older bloke with the titles and a plethora of degrees and frames on the back wall as they are from a time when image over substance was the norm.

    The younger ones from the best universities are indeed what most companies are searching for. But I incline to believe that age and univ reputation are not what really matters during a recruitment. Should the merit system not be properly implemented and the bias (borrowing nobody’s term) of nationality, or other factors, takes a higher portion on evaluation than the actual performance indicator result, these younger idealistic fellows will soon degrade their motivation and prone to adopt the norm their seniors have left the trace for.

  13. avatar Oigal says:

    Mentality?? Still don’t know Deta, some people tend to have their offenso meter set on to fine a setting 🙂 and I was trying to avoid that in this instance.

    I think you will find that if anything there is a reverse bias in favour of Indonesians in most companies in Indonesia for simple economics if nothing else. However, there is a bias (rightly so in my opinion) to the younger generation as they older versions are perceived as shall we say “set in their ways”.

    Some people I think see an “old colonial club” to sooth their savaged soul, when modern business is far too brutal for such quaint conspiracy theories. Bottom line, EBIT and cost control are the mantra of modern business. If anyone thinks a modern “western” business would keep someone on out of loyalty, family connections or old school tie then they are in for a rude shock when they hit the real world (obviously we exclude SOE and Government organizations).

  14. avatar Oigal says:

    Timdog,

    Concur and Thanks..my point however badly I am making it is.

    At the highest levels some really slick operators coming through although nowhere near enough.

    At the “masses” level a basic failure to create a generation able to move from first labourer/receptionist job to middle management.

    Not withstanding that, agree amazing levels of basic of the 3rs then the wheels come…
    Ok..most impressive achievement Bahasa Indonesia

  15. avatar ET says:

    I cannot speak for the entire archipelago but what I see here is that once beyond the reading and writing stage basic school education becomes virtually limited to the bare necessities and is shifted towards private or group lessons at an extra cost. These private lessons are in almost all cases given by the appointed schoolteachers during their spare time. Children whose parents cannot foot the bill become the leftovers of the system and will have no other choice than to join the ranks of tukangs and pembantus.

  16. avatar Oigal says:

    Some dang fine doctors is Indonesia…trick is finding them. There is even some very fine health care available, expensive and hard to find but it is there. The doctor we have now, provides medical care and advice streets ahead of anything one could access in most western countries and her network of like professionals are the same.

  17. avatar nobody says:

    timdog,
    I guess it is the english proviciency.

  18. avatar realest says:

    1. most schools really ‘gak niat’ in teaching students good mandarin and english language (i will downgrade it to “conversational”, which means one don’t pause every 5 seconds to think of a vocabulary in a pitiful attempt to articulate themselves properly)

    2. poor utilisation+infrastructure of the internet – mostly for fb, twitter, porn and other junk.

    3. there’s a saying among specific circles that overseas graduates will only ‘come back’ if a) they’re too stupid to get a job there, b) a set of assets to live comfortably (paying 15 year installments for a good home is not for everybody) c) they’re ‘required’ to run the business at home or has ambitions to start one

    —– Typical Job Ad with >5jt starting salary —–
    Overseas graduate is preferable
    Mandarin is an advantage
    =================================
    And apart from Oigal’s obvious phobia to ‘ninjas’, i concur with most of his points.

  19. avatar Oigal says:

    ninja’s? I assume you mean Muslims..we have 2 Christians, 1 Hindu, 1 Buddhist..the rest Muslim so I am not doing so well on the phobia thingy..but thanks for the support 🙂

    5juta..You are not going attract any serious talent at that…

    The point I was making, is over emphasis on Religion in class would normally mean something is giving way..

  20. avatar timdog says:

    I guess it is the english proviciency

    Of course it’s bloody well not.
    There’s plenty of African countries where English is very widely spoken, but you don’t their doctors in hospitals everywhere from New Zealand to New York, do you?

    Of course, the Indian Subcontinent’s ability with English does put it at a general advantage in the global workforce, but that alone is not enough to make their exported labour force anything more than cab drivers and waiters. Quite simply, they have a much better educational culture at a high level than Indonesia – despite their miserable failure to provide those basic “Three Rs” to vast swathes of their population (something which Indonesia, as I said above, does reasonably well).

  21. avatar Arie Brand says:

    Realest said:

    there’s a saying among specific circles that overseas graduates will only ‘come back’ if a) they’re too stupid to get a job there, b) a set of assets to live comfortably (paying 15 year installments for a good home is not for everybody) c) they’re ‘required’ to run the business at home or has ambitions to start one

    Migration experts have argued that the positive side of a ‘brain drain’ is that its very possibility encourages people who would otherwise not bother to get a higher education. This pays of at the stage when they return enriched with their experience abroad. It seems to work for India, especially as far as information technology is concerned. It also seems to work or has worked for Korea. But it doesn’t seem to do so for the Philippines, and presumably not for Indonesia either. Why would a Filipino GP return to a country where s/he makes on average 30,000 peso, viz. about 500 dollars a month. Why would a Filipino nurse return? Not only that she can hardly earn the salt in her ‘bubur’ she would also have to put up with a hierarchical structure that in most Western hospitals has been left behind long ago.

    In the Philippines quite a few doctors have retrained as nurses just to have a better opportunity to leave the country (and to never come back).

  22. avatar rustyprince says:

    Westerners need to be mindful not to become too Sombang in dealings with the natives. There’s the reminder of hubris and the non existant gold deposits in Kalimantan. If I recollect correctly Canadian investors lost nearly a billion dollars.

  23. avatar deta says:

    Bottom line, EBIT and cost control are the mantra of modern business.

    EBIT and cost control are the performance indicator of the overall team. Down to individual level, we can’t close our eyes that in virtually any company there is possibility that a bias, whatever it is in favor of, will likely to occur.

    Hiring young fresh graduates from reputable university, local or overseas, is a good start. But to keep the motivation and good work ethic of these workers in the long term, some other mechanisms are constantly required, which could take the form of a well-balanced remuneration system, or others. That’s when university background, at the end of the day, plays less important role in achieving high performance.

    Well, that’s my experience anyway.

  24. avatar Oigal says:

    If I recollect correctly Canadian investors lost nearly a billion dollars. It was not just the Canadians…

    And the President’s family nearly as much again. Of course that was not really their money, so ..

    By the way, anyone who does not know that story should look it up..Is he alive or dead? Was he pushed out the helicopter or no? How much money was really involved? Who knew?

    Great story…and true..but which bits..

  25. avatar Oigal says:

    Deta, I concur…If you do not motivate, reward and train then does not matter how good the CV is. That’s why I was suggesting that 5 Juta is not going to attract the kind of person that will eventually become your senior management. It would be a very short sighted manager that didn’t realize that lack of the above directly impacts on EBIT and business viability in the medium term.

    That said, there are any number of companies out there who in the name of cost control exploit their people. Drive around Jakarta on any day watch and the labourers working in flip flops, no protective dress, no medical, no training. This is pure exploitation and next best thing to slavery. On plus side, times are changing slowly (one hopes)

    I also concur HR departments tend run amok unless controlled, I am constantly correcting job criteria where positions for drivers/technicians/etc have such nonsense on them as must completed high school or even must have diploma/Degree. What the h*ll for..

  26. avatar deta says:

    That said, there are any number of companies out there who in the name of cost control exploit their people. Drive around Jakarta on any day watch and the labourers working in flip flops, no protective dress, no medical, no training.

    That’s what happens when cost efficiency is misinterpreted as cost reduction. Times are indeed changing with the increasing requirement for work safety certification. Problem is, since the attainment of this certificate has no significant impact on the revenue in the short term, put it in simpler words, the price of product with work safety certification has virtually similar price with the product without, the system is still viewed as a burden and additional cost instead of a necessity.

    But everything is on going process, I guess…

  27. avatar Oigal says:

    the price of product with work safety certification has virtually similar price with the product without

    Ah the old price versus cost debate… Cheapest Price rarely means cheapest cost..

    You paint your wall with the cheapest paint and you do every six months or do you buy the paint that costs 5 times as much and do it every 10 years?

    Of course, problem is often here the consumer has little or no rights on redress for shoddy work therefore little pressure on providers to do the job right in the first instance.

    Classic example PLN,

  28. avatar berlian biru says:

    Oigal Says:

    “Islam’s finest moment in education passed several centuries ago when it preserved Knowledge in the face of Christian Ignorance.”

    When was that time when Muslims were preserving knowledge in the face of “Christian” ignorance exactly?

    It is my understanding that the high point of Arab culture was when they preserved knowledge after the fall of the Christian empires and Europe was taken over by barbarian pagan hordes.

    At this time a few courageous Christian monks on the fringes of Europe were also keeping knowledge alive and these Christians were in the forefront of European development in the Middle Ages after the Dark Ages.

    I know of no examples of superior Islamic teaching having to compete against specifically Christian “ignorance”.

  29. avatar Odinius says:

    Not quite, BB, though it is true that the Renaissance would never have happened had it not been for several groups of “courageous monks.” But at the same time, it never would have happened if not for “courageous Arab scholars” too.

    The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 when the last emperor was deposed by Odacer, who was a Christian, and who in turn was replaced by Theodoric, who was also a Christian. The learning and knowledge stored by the Western Roman Empire, which predated Christianity by several hundred years, and the Roman Empire’s adoption of Christianity by more than half a millennium, did not just disappear overnight. It dissipated over time as Europe fragmented into a series of localized, feudal and deeply theocratic political units. This was the place where witches were burned regularly, Jews periodically massacred, heretics slaughtered, and black cats culled en masse in the face of the plague because they were “witches’ familiars.” Very few people were literate, and those that were read, almost exclusively, religious texts.

    Meanwhile, the Eastern Roman Empire was on its own, slower and more dignified path of decline. There were plenty of classical texts that survived, and some thanks to Christian monasteries in places like Syria, but they were typically unused, written in classical Greek. These monks helped preserve this learning, but it was left up to later scholars to make them living documents again.

    The Arabs were the ones who translated and commented upon these classical texts. Western European scholars–those “courageous monks” you speak of–first obtained classical texts from these Muslim Arabs. Later, especially after the Fourth Crusade, they got originals from the Byzantines. Spain, during this period, was actually quite a unique center for intercultural exchange, with many Christian monks traveling there to use its libraries. There was even one major library dedicated to translations of classical Greek into Church Latin. These monks–through their contact with the Islamic world–brought classical learning back to Western Europe. This is well established history. The revisionists seeking to remove any reference to a positive Islamic influence on the West are simply at odds with it.

    A good synopsis can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_of_the_Classics

  30. avatar Oigal says:

    I probably was a bit too kind to Christianity there referring to Ignorance, active persecution of knowledge would be a better term. It’s one of the great myths that Western owes it’s existence to the rise of Christianity, Civilisation has advanced in spite of Christianity not because of it.

    One need look no further than the treatment of Galileo or the Index Liborum Prohibitorum (Prohibited books) which includes such people as Johannes, Francis Bacon, Rene Descrates, Blaise Pascal. If you don’t recognize such names you should. Ask your self what would happened to the great works of Isaac Newton had the church known he was a intense student of the occult?

    The greatest engineering marvels and scientific advances happened long before Christianity cast it’s dark and ignorant shadow over the lands of Europe. Think the aquaducts, the roman roads and hospitals. The first teaching hospital in the world is widely recognized as being established in the east whilst Christians were still chasing demons from the soul.

    The question should be not how much civilization owes Christianity (or religion in general) but how far advanced would we be now without it.

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