1. Jack The Ripper
1888 was a bad year to be a prostitute. Between August 7 and November 10 of that year, five women were killed in the Whitechapel district of London’s East End, their throats slashed and their bodies mutilated in a way that indicated they all met their fates at the hands of the same person. One victim’s kidney was even mailed to the police, along with a series of taunting notes penned by someone calling himself Jack the Ripper. Serial murder was a relatively new phenomenon and the attacks were highly publicized. The law’s failure to identify the killer led to such an outcry that both the home secretary and London police commissioner resigned in disgrace.
Jack the Ripper, whoever he was, has been the subject of hundreds of books and articles. The theories surrounding his identity vary from a covert Masonic plot to a member of the royal family. Here are the most likely suspects:
Montague Druitt, a barrister with knowledge of human anatomy. Rumored to be insane, he disappeared after the last murder; his body was later found floating in the River Thames.
George Chapman, a barber who lived in Whitechapel during the time of the murders and who was later found guilty of poisoning three of his wives.
Aaron Kosminski, a Whitechapel resident known for his affinity for prostitutes. He was hospitalized in an asylum several months after the last murder.
2. The Zodiac Killings
So began one of the many encrypted letters sent to San Francisco newspapers by the man who called himself the Zodiac. For most of 1969, a serial killer terrorized Bay Area residents, killing five and possibly more. It started on Dec. 20, 1968, when a couple was shot to death while sitting in a car on a lover’s lane. The killer would strike several more times over the next 10 months, shooting a couple in a public park, trussing up and stabbing yet another man and woman near a peaceful lake, and shooting a cabdriver in the head.
What made the case so fascinating, though, was the way he toyed with police and reporters. He called in several of the murders and began to send coded letters to newspapers, using a cross within a circle as his symbol. At one point, he mailed in a piece of bloodied shirt to prove he was who he claimed to be. Another time, he threatened to shoot up a school bus full of children. The investigation went on for years. Several suspects were considered and questioned, but to no avail. The Zodiac was never caught.
Ini saya ambil dari milis tetangga..bukukita.com
saya belum baca dan juga agak sedikit over expectation sama nih novel..
mudah – mudahan aja Bang Andrea tidak kehilangan sense yang bisa membuat kita menangis sekaligus tertawa itu..
Oleh Teguh Priyanto
Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Tunai sudah janji Andrea Hirata pada para penggemar
novel tetralogi Laskar Pelangi. Hajatnya mempersembahan novel pamungkas
“Maryamah Karpov” yang ditunggu-tunggu pencandunya sejak pertengahan tahun
2008, akhirnya terlaksana akhir November lalu.
Novel setebal 504 halaman diluncurkan penulis asal Pulau Belitong itu dalam
pesta sederhana di MP Bookpoint di bilangan Kemang, Jakarta Selatan.
Kepada para pengagumnya Andrea berujar, “Kawan, aku tak bohong kan? Sekarang
aku penuhi janjiku, kupersembahkan `Maryamah Karpov` untuk kalian.”
“Maryamah Karpov” menjadi novel paling ditunggu penggemar novel Laskar
Pelangi karena jauh-jauh hari Andrea Hirata telah mengisyaratkan bakal
mengobati rasa penasaran pembaca tentang akhir kisah kesepuluh murid-murid
SD Muhamadiyah Gantong di pulau timah, Belitong.
Dalam tiga novel terdahulu, nasib Lintang, Mahar, Ikal, Syahdan, Samson,
Sahara, Harun, Kucai, Flo, dan Akiong serta sepupu Ikal, Arai, memang
Si jenius Lintang, misalnya, nasibnya dikisahkan terjerembab hanya menjadi
supir truk, sebuah epilog yang sama sekali tak adil bagi orang secemerlang
Ikal juga tak kunjung bersua dengan Aling, gadis Tionghoa yang digandunginya
sejak masa kanak-kanak dan telah dicari-cari seantero Eropa, bahkan Zaire di
Afrika. Atau Aria yang selalu dililit kisah kasih tak sampai dengan wanita
pintar berwajah tegang, Zakia Nurmala.
Dua laman pribadi Andrea Hirata, http://www.sastrabelitong. multiply. com dan
http://www.renjanaorganize r.multiply. com, hampir saban hari disesaki surat
elektronik yang bertanya tentang kisah pamungkas anak-anak Laskar Pelangi.
Kepada para penggemarnya Andrea menyeru, “Kalian akan temui jawabannya di
Sontak saat “Maryamah Karpov, Mimpi-mimpi Lintang” diluncurkan, ratusan buku
yang dijajakan di serambi kedai buku itu, ludes diserbu pecintanya.
Saat pertama kali diluncurkan, Laskar Pelangi terlanjur ditempatkan sebagai
novel memoar yang memuat kisah nyata sang penulis, Andrea Hirata.
Laskar Pelangi mendapat tempat khusus di mata pembaca dan bahkan dinobatkan
sebagai buku paling inspiratif karena pembaca percaya tokoh-tokoh Laskar
Pelangi senyatanya memang ada.
Guru paling berdedikasi NA Muslimah Hafsari, Kepala sekolah nan bersahaja
Harfan Efefendi Noor, Lintang, Arai, juga terlanjur menjelma menjadi idola,
yang sama sekali berbeda dengan superhero rekaan seperti Batman, Superman,
Spiderman, James Bond atau Harry Potter.
Muslimah Hafsari, yang hingga kini masih mendedikasikan diri menjadi
pengajar di Tanah Belitong mendapatkan banyak apresiasi dan penghargaan,
seperti Aisyiyah 2007 Award dari Pimpinan Pusat Aisyiyah, Yogyakarta, karena
dinilai gigih mengabdikan hidupnya demi sekolah di daerah miskin.
Namun kemunculan “Maryamah Karpov” mendekonstruksi seluruh kisah dan mimpi
yang terbangun dalam tiga novel terdahulu.
Maryamah Karpov sama sekali berlainan dengan Laskar Pelangi, Sang Pemimpi
maupun Edensor, bahkan menyeret tiga novel terdahulu menjadi kisah rekaan
Kendati mengaku saat menulis “Maryamah Karpov,” Andrea Hirata berusaha
menulisnya sebagaimana menulis novel perdana Laskar Pelangi. Namun sulit
menyangkal pendapat banyak orang bahwa “Maryamah Karpov” tak lebih dari
sebuah fiksi biasa yang harus diragukan jika diklaim memiliki landasan
historis yang cukup.
Bahkan pengakuan Andrea Hirata bahwa “Maryamah Karpov disusun berdasarkan
riset sosiologi dan mewakili realitasnya sebagai orang kampung melayu udik”,
tak dapat mengurangi apalagi menghapus keraguan itu. Karenanya, Maryamah
Karpov bisa disebut antiklimaks dari tetralogi Laskar Pelangi.
Daya gugah rendah
Alkisah setelah Ikal menyelesaikan studinya di Prancis, menggapai
sudut-sudut dunia dan memasuki pergaulan lintas bangsa, ia kembali ke
lingkungan asalnya yang bersahaja.
Maryamah Karpov menguak ironi; bahwa ilmu yang tinggi yang diperoleh dengan
susah payah tak membawa pengaruh signifikan bagi Ikal, apalagi kampung
Pada titik ini Maryamah Karpov menjadi sebuah antitesis bahwa pendidikan
ternyata tidaklah sepenting yang diperkirakan Lintang, Harfan ataupun
Ikal kembali berbaur dengan kultur nenek moyangnya dan menemukan kembali
mozaik kenangan lama.
Maryamah Karpov sejenak membawa Ikal pada kesalehan kultural yang ditujukan
ayahnya, Seman Said Harun. Kisah tragis yang menimpa ayahnya, yang gagal
naik pangkat gara-gara tak sekolah, sebenarnya bisa menjadi pijakan yang
baik, agar cerita bergulirnya ke arah yang lebih menggugah.
“…dan detik itu aku berjanji pada diriku sendiri, untuk menempatkan setiap
kata ayahku di atas nampan pualam dan aku bersumpah, aku bersumpah akan
sekolah setinggi-tingginya, ke negeri manapun, apa pun rintangannya, apapun
yang akan terjadi, demi ayahku.”
Namun sayang, Andrea Hirata tak lantas membawa Maryamah Karpov ke dalam
cerita yang berdaya gugah lebih kuat, tapi justru terjerembab ke dalam drama
Cerita perahu asteroid dan petualangan Ikal di pulau lanun (perompak) yang
menyita banyak ruang di Maryamah Karpov menyebabkan novel pamungkas Laskar
Pelangi ini terlihat bertele-tele, lagi berlebihan.
Alhasil, Maryamah Karpov menjadi kehilangan ruhnya sebagai kisah yang oleh
Gangsar Sukrisno, coproduser Laskar Pelangi, disebut sebagai cultural
literary non fiction atau karya nonfiksi yang digarap secara sastra
berdasarkan pendekatan budaya. Sekaligus tercerabut dari spirit Laksar
Tagline Maryamah Karpov, “Mimpi-mimpi Lintang”, juga tak mewujud dalam
spirit anak-anak Laskar Pelangi yang senantiasa menegakkan sumpah; sekolah
setinggi-tingginya demi mengangkat martabat kehidupannya. Bahkan
“Mimpi-pimpi Lintang” yang oleh Ikal diitasbihkan sebagai nama kapal
“asteroid”-nya, tak cukup mewakili spirit itu.
Sulit pula menemukan kaitan langsung antara Maryamah Karpov, sebagai judul
novel ini dengan bangunan cerita secara keseluruhan. Maryamah Karpov
sebenarnya adalah nama yang disematkan Andrea pada perempuan yang biasa
dipanggil Mak Cik.
Ia mendapat tambahan nama belakang itu, karena sering terlihat di
perkumpulan jago-jago catur di warung kopi “Usah Kau Kenang Lagi” dan
mengajari orang langkah-langkah ala pecatur Rusia Anatoly Karpov.
Namun dalam bangunan kisah itu, nama ini terkesan tempelan saja. Hanya
sekitar tiga kali nama perempuan itu disebut. Entah apa alasan yang membuat
Andrea Hirata memberi judul itu.
Tapi yang jelas jika dalam Laskar Pelangi, Andrea bercerita tentang kisah
luar biasa yang dituturkan dalam bahasa yang sederhana, detil dan realistis.
Sebaliknya kisah Maryamah Karpov sebenarnya biasa-biasa saja, tapi Andrea
membuat metafora yang berlebihan sehingga menjadi tampak hiperbolik.
Simaklah adegan mencabut gigi yang dibuat bertele-tele, sungguh menjadi
titik lemah buku ini.
Namun demikian, membaca Maryamah Karpov tetap dapat menjadi acara yang
mengasyikkan karena pembaca akan disuguhi ketrampilan melucu Andrea Hirata
yang kian meningkat.
Maryamah Karpov juga penuh dengan guyonan satiris dan memuat potret orang
Melayu Belitong yang memiliki kebiasaan membual dan melebih-lebihkan cerita.
“Make Us Believe Again”
Commencement address at Wesleyan University
Middletown, Connecticut, USA
May 28, 2008
Senator Obama, from Illinois by way of Hawaii, Indonesia, California, New York and Boston, is currently running for President of the United States.
I have the distinct honor today of pinch-hitting for one of my personal heroes and a hero to this country, Senator Edward Kennedy. Ted is at home getting some much needed and deserved rest, and we are so pleased to see many of his family here today including his wonderful wife, Vicki. He called me up a few days ago and I said that I’d be happy to be his stand-in, even if there was no way I could fill his shoes. I did, however, get the chance to glance at the speech he planned on delivering today, and I’d like to start by passing along a message from Ted: “To all those praying for my return to good health, I offer my heartfelt thanks. And to any who’d rather have a different result, I say, don’t get your hopes up just yet!”
So we know that Teddy’s legendary sense of humor is as strong as ever, and I have no doubt that his equally legendary fighting spirit will carry him through this latest challenge. He is our friend, he is our champion, and we hope and pray for his return to good health.
Now the topic of his speech today was common for a commencement, and we heard some of the themes from president Roth, but one that nobody could discuss with more authority or inspiration than Ted Kennedy. And that is the topic of service to one’s country – a cause that is synonymous with his family’s name and legacy.
I was born the year that his brother John called a generation of Americans to ask their country what they could do. And I came of age at a time when they did it. They were the Peace Corps volunteers who won a generation of goodwill toward America at a time when America’s ideals were challenged. They were the teenagers and college students, not much older than you, who watched the Civil Rights Movement unfold on their television sets; who saw the dogs and the fire hoses and the footage of marchers being beaten within an inch or their lives; who knew it was probably smarter and safer to stay at home, but decided to take those Freedom Rides down south – who still decided to march. And because they did, they changed the world.
“At a time of war, we need you to work for peace. At a time of inequality, we need you to work for opportunity. At a time of so much cynicism and so much doubt, we need you to make us believe again. That’s your task, class of 2008.”
I bring this up because today, you are about to enter a world that makes it easier to get caught up in the notion that there are actually two different stories at work in our lives. The first is the story of our everyday cares and concerns – the responsibilities we have to our jobs and our families – the bustle and the busyness of what happens in our lives. And the second is the story of what happens in the life of our country – of what happens in the wider world. It’s the story you see when you catch a glimpse of the day’s headlines or turn on the news at night – a story of big challenges like war and recession; hunger and climate change; injustice and inequality. It’s a story that sometimes can seem distant and separate from our own – a destiny to be shaped by forces beyond our control.
And yet, the history of this nation tells us this isn’t so. It tells us that we are a people whose destiny has never been written for us, but by us – by generations of men and women, young and old, who have always believed that their story and the American story are not separate, but shared. And for more than two centuries, they have served this country in ways that have forever enriched both.
I say this to you as someone who couldn’t be standing here if not for the service of others, and wouldn’t be standing here today if it were not for the purpose that service gave my own life.
You see, I spent much of my childhood adrift. My father left my mother and me when I was two. When my mother remarried, I lived overseas for a time, but was mostly raised in Hawaii by her and my grandparents from Kansas. My teenage years were filled with more than the usual dose of teenage rebellion, and I’ll admit that I didn’t always take myself or my studies very seriously. I realize that none of you can probably relate to this, overachievers that you are, but there were many times when I wasn’t sure where I was going, or what I was going to do with my life.
“But I hope you’ll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change the world. Because all it takes is one act of service – one blow against injustice – to send forth what Robert Kennedy called that ‘tiny ripple of hope’ That’s what changes the world.”
But during my first two years of college, perhaps because the values my mother had taught me – the values of hard work, honesty, empathy and compassion – had finally resurfaced after a long hibernation; or perhaps because of the example of wonderful teachers and lasting friends, I began to notice a world beyond myself. I became active in the movement to oppose the apartheid regime in South Africa. I began following the debates in this country about poverty and health care. So that by the time I graduated from college, I was possessed with this crazy idea – that I was going to work at a grassroots level to bring about change.
I wrote letters to every organization in the country I could think of. And one day, a small group of churches on the South Side of Chicago offered me a job to come work as a community organizer in neighborhoods that had been devastated by the closing of steel mills. My mother and my grandparents, liberal-minded though they were, wanted me to go to law school. My friends were applying to jobs on Wall Street. Meanwhile, this organization offered me $12,000 a year plus $2,000 for an old, beat-up car. And I said yes.
I didn’t know a soul in Chicago, and I wasn’t sure what this community organizing business was all about. I had always been inspired by the stories of the Civil Rights Movement and by JFK’s call to service, but when I got to the South Side, there were no marches; there were no soaring speeches. In the shadows of empty factories, there were just a lot of people who were struggling. And at first we didn’t get very far.
I still remember one of the very first meetings we put together. The community had been plagued by gang violence and so we tried to mobilize a meeting with community leaders. I had worked for weeks on this project and we waited and waited for people to show up, and finally, a group of older people walked into the hall. And they sat down. And a little old lady raised her hand and asked, “Is this where the bingo game is?”
“It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition.”
It wasn’t easy, but eventually, we made progress. Day by day, block by block, we brought the community together, and we registered new voters, and we set up after school programs, and fought for new jobs, and helped people live lives with some measure of dignity.
I also began to realize that I wasn’t just helping other people. Through service, I found a community that embraced me; citizenship that was meaningful; the direction that I’d been seeking. Through service, I discovered how my own improbable story fit into the larger story of America.
Now each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come. And I say “chance” because, as president Roth indicated, you won’t have to take it. There’s no community service requirement in the outside world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and the other things that our money culture says you should buy. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s.
But I hope you don’t. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, although I believe you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get to where you are today, although I do believe you have that debt to pay.
It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in the American story.
There are so many ways to serve and so much that needs to be done at this defining moment in our history. You don’t have to be a community organizer or do something crazy like run for President. Right here at Wesleyan, many of you have already volunteered at local schools and elementary schools, contributed to the United Way, and even started a program that brings fresh produce to needy families in the area. One hundred and sixty-four graduates of this school have joined the Peace Corps since 2001, and I confess a special pride that two of you are about to leave for my father’s homeland of Kenya to bring alternative sources of energy to impoverished areas. I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country – your future, my future, my children’s future – depends on it.
At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As President, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all of humanity.
At a time when our ice caps are melting and our oceans are rising, we need you to help lead a green revolution. We still have time to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change if we get serious about investing in renewable sources of energy, and if we get a generation of volunteers to work on renewable energy projects, and if we teach people about conservation, and help clean up polluted areas; if we send talented engineers and scientists abroad to help developing countries promote clean energy in a way that’s compatible with economic growth.
At a time when a child in Boston must compete with children in Beijing and Bangalore, we need an army of you to become teachers and principals in schools that this nation cannot afford to give up on. I will pay our educators what they deserve, and give them more support, but I will also ask more of them to be mentors to other teachers, and serve in high-need schools and high-need subject areas like math and science. We will need you.
At a time when there are children in the city of New Orleans who still spend each night in a lonely trailer, we need more of you to take a weekend or a week off from work, and head down South, and help rebuild. If you can’t get the time, volunteer at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your own community, because there is more than enough work to go around. Find an organization that’s fighting poverty, or a candidate who promotes policies you believe in, and find a way to help them. We need you.
At a time of war, we need you to work for peace. At a time of inequality, we need you to work for opportunity. At a time of so much cynicism and so much doubt, we need you to make us believe again. That’s your task, class of 2008.
Now understand this – believing that change is possible is not the same as being naïve. Go into service with your eyes wide open, for change will not come easily. On the big issues that our nation faces, difficult choices await. We’ll have to face some hard truths, and some sacrifice will be required – not only from you individually, but from the nation as a whole.
There is no magic bullet to our energy problems, for example; no perfect energy source – so all of us will have to use the energy sources we have more wisely. Deep-rooted poverty will not be reversed overnight. It will require both money and reform at a time when our federal and state budgets are strapped and when Washington is skeptical that reform is possible. Transforming our education system will require not only bold government action, but a change in attitudes among parents and among students. It’s hard to change attitudes. Bringing an end to the slaughter in Darfur will involve navigating extremely difficult realities on the ground, even for those with the best of intentions.
And so, understand that should you take the path of service, should you choose to take up one of these causes as your own, know that you’ll experience the occasional frustrations and the occasional failures. Even your successes will be marked by imperfections and unintended consequences. I guarantee you, there will be times when friends or family urge you to pursue more sensible endeavors with more tangible rewards. And there will be times where you will be tempted to take such advice.
But I hope you’ll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change the world. Because all it takes is one act of service – one blow against injustice – to send forth what Robert Kennedy called that “tiny ripple of hope.” That’s what changes the world. That one act, an act by you, class of 2008.
You know, Ted Kennedy often tells a story about the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps. He was there, and he asked one of the young Americans why he had chosen to volunteer. And the man replied, “Because it was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.”
Now I don’t know how many of you have been asked that question, but after today, you have no excuses. I am asking you, and if I should have the honor of serving this nation as President, I will be asking again and again in the coming years. We may disagree as Americans on certain issues and positions, but I believe that we can be unified in service to a greater good. I intend to make it a cause of my presidency, and I believe with all my heart that this generation is ready, and eager, and up to the challenge.
We will face our share of cynics and doubters. But we always have. I can still remember a conversation I had with an older man all those years ago right before I was headed for my new job in Chicago. He said, “Barack, I’ll give you a bit of advice. Forget this community organizing business and do something that’s gonna make you some money. You can’t change the world, and people won’t appreciate you trying. But you’ve got a nice voice, so you should think about going into television broadcasting. I’m telling you, you have a future there.”
Now, I’ve wondered, he might have been right about that TV thing, but he was wrong about everything else. For that old man has not seen what I have seen. He has not seen the faces of ordinary people the first time they clear a vacant lot or build a new playground or force an unresponsive leader to provide services to a community that’s been neglected. He has not seen the face of a child brighten because of an inspiring teacher or an inspiring mentor. He has not seen scores of young people educate their parents on issues like Darfur, or mobilize the conscience of a nation around the challenges of climate change. He has not seen the lines of men and women that wrap around schools and churches, that stretch out block after block after block just so they could make their voices heard, many for the first time.
And that old man who didn’t believe the world could change – who didn’t think one person could make a difference – well he certainly didn’t know much about the life of Joseph Kennedy’s youngest son.
It’s rare in this country of ours that a person exists who has touched the lives of nearly every single American without many of us even realizing it. And yet, because of Ted Kennedy, millions of children can see a doctor when they get sick. Mothers and fathers can leave work to spend time with their newborns. Working Americans are paid higher wages, and compensated for overtime, and can keep their health insurance when they change jobs. They are protected from discrimination in the workplace, and those who are born with disabilities can still get an education, and health care, and fair treatment on the job. Our schools are stronger and our colleges are filled with more Americans who can afford it. And I have a feeling that Ted Kennedy is not done just yet.
Surely, if one man can achieve so much and make such a difference in the lives of so many people, then each of us can do our part. Surely, if his service and his story can forever shape America’s story, then our collective service can shape the destiny of this generation. At the very least, his living example calls us to try. That is all I ask of you on this joyous day of new beginnings; that is what Senator Kennedy asks of you as well, and that is how we will keep so much needed work going, and the cause of justice everlasting, and the dream alive for generations to come. Thank you so much to the class of 2008, and congratulations on your graduation.
It as a very special privilege for me to speak at the commencement ceremony of this prestigious institution.
What a wonderful feeling to be here today. To be with all of you, some of the brightest minds in the world, right at a moment when you decide the path you will embark on in life. You represent the future of the world. The choices that you will make for yourself will decide the fate of mankind. This is how it has always been. Sometimes we are aware of it, most of the time we are not. I hope you’ll remain aware of it and make an effort to be remembered not simply as a creative generation but as a socially-conscious creative generation. Try it.
I had no idea whether my life would someday be relevant to anyone else’s. But in the mid-seventies, out of frustration with the terrible economic situation in Bangladesh I decided to see if I could make myself useful to one poor person a day in the village next door to the university campus where I was teaching. I found myself in an unfamiliar situation. Out of necessity I had to find a way out. Since I did not have a road-map, I had to fall back on my basic instinct to do that. At any moment I could have withdrawn myself from my unknown path, but I did not. I stubbornly went on to find my own way. Luckily, at the end, I found it. That was microcredit and Grameen Bank.
Now, in hindsight, I can joke about it. When people ask me, “How did you figure out all the rules and procedures that is now known as Grameen system ?” My answer is : “That was very simple and easy. Whenever I needed a rule or a procedure in our work, I just looked at the conventional banks to see what they do in a similar situation. Once I learned what they did, I just did the opposite. That’s how I got our rules. Conventional banks go to the rich, we go to the poor; their rule is — “the more you have, the more you get.” So our rule became — “the less you have higher attention you get. If you have nothing, you get the highest priority.” They ask for collateral, we abandoned it, as if we had never heard of it. They need lawyers in their business, we don’t. No lawyer is involved in any of our loan transactions. They are owned by the rich, ours is owned by the poorest, the poorest women to boot. I can go on adding more to this list to show how Grameen does things quite the opposite way.
Was it really a systematic policy æ to do it the opposite way ? No, it wasn’t. But that’s how it turned out ultimately, because our objective was different. I had not even noticed it until a senior banker admonished me by saying : Dr. Yunus, you are trying to put the banking system upside down.” I quickly agreed with him. I said : “Yes, because the banking system is standing on its head.”
I could not miss seeing the ruthlessness of moneylenders in the village. First I lent the money to replace the loan-sharks. Then I went to the local bank to request them to lend money to the poor. They refused.
After months of deadlock I persuaded them by offering myself as a guarantor. This is how microcredit was born in 1976. Today Grameen Bank lends money to 7.5 million borrowers, 97 per cent women. They own the bank. The bank has lent out over $ 7.0 billion in Bangladesh over the years. Globally 130 million poor families receive microcredit. Even then banks have not changed much. They do not mind writing off a trillion dollars in a sub-prime crisis, but they still stay away from lending US $ 100 to a poor woman despite the fact such loans have near 100 per cent repayment record globally.
While focusing on microcredit we saw the need for other types of interventions to help the rural population, in general, and the poor, in particular. We tried our interventions in the health sector, information technology, renewable energy and on several other fronts.
Since we worked with poor women, health issue quickly drew our attention. We introduced health insurance. We succeeded in developing an effective healthcare program based on health insurance, but have not been able to expand this program because of non-availability of doctors. Doctors are reluctant to stay in the villages. (It has become such a big bottleneck that we have now decided to set up a medical college to produce doctors.) Under the program a villager pays about US $ 2.00 a year as health insurance premium, to get health coverage for the entire family. Financially it is sustainable.
I became a strong believer in the power of information technology to change the lives of the poor people. This encouraged me to create a cell-phone company called Grameen Phone. We brought phones to the villages of Bangladesh and gave loans to the poor women to buy themselves cell-phones to sell their service and make money. It became an instant success.
Seventy percent of the population of Bangladesh do not have access to electricity. We wanted to address this issue by introducing solar home system in the villages. We created a separate company called Grameen Shakti, or Grameen Energy. It became a very successful company in popularising solar home system, bio-gas, and environment-friendly cooking stoves. It has already reached 155,000 homes with solar home systems, and aims to reach one million homes by 2012. As we started creating a series of companies around renewable energy, information technology, textile, agriculture, livestock, education, health, finance etc, I was wondering why conventional businesses do not see business the way we see it. They have different goals than ours. We design our businesses one way, they design theirs in another way.
Conventional businesses are based on the theoretical framework provided by the designers of capitalist economic system. In this framework ‘business’ has to be a profit-maximizing entity. The more aggressively a business pursues it, the better the system functions æ we are told. The bigger the profit, the more successful the business is; the more happy investors are. In my work it never occurred to me that I should maximize profit. All my struggle was to take each of my enterprises to a level where it could at least be self-sustaining. I defined the mission of my businesses in a different way than that of the traditional businesses.
As I was doing it, obviously I was violating the basic tenet of capitalist system æ profit maximization. Since I was engaged in finding my own solution to reach the mission of my business, I was not looking at any existing road maps. My only concern was to see if my path was taking me where I wanted to go. When it worked I felt very happy. I know maximization of profit makes people happy. I don’t maximize profit, but my businesses are a great source of my happiness. If you had done what I have done you would be very happy too! I am convinced that profit maximization is not the only source of happiness in business. ‘Business’ has been interpreted too narrowly in the existing framework of capitalism. This interpretation is based on the assumption that a human being is a single dimensional being. His business-related happiness is related to the size of the profit he makes. He is presented as a robot-like money-making machine.
But we all know that real-life human beings are multi-dimensional beings æ not uni-dimensional like the theory assumes. For a real-life human being money-making is a means, not an end. But for the businessman in the existing theory money-making is both a means and also an end.
This narrow interpretation has done us great damage. All business people around the world have been imitating this one-dimensional theoretical businessman as precisely as they can to make sure they get the most from the capitalist system. If you are a businessman you have to wear profit-maximizing glasses all the time. As a result, only thing you see in the world are the profit enhancing opportunities. Important problems that we face in the world cannot be addressed because profit-maximizing eyes cannot see them.
We can easily reformulate the concept of a businessman to bring him closer to a real human being. In order to take into account the multi-dimensionality of real human being we may assume that there are two distinct sources of happiness in the business world æ 1) maximizing profit, and 2) achieving some pre-defined social objective. Since there are clear conflicts between the two objectives, the business world will have to be made up of two different kinds of businesses –1) profit-maximizing business, and 2) social business. Specific type of happiness will come from the specific type of business.
Then an investor will have two choices æ he can invest in one or in both. My guess is most people will invest in both in various proportions. This means people will use two sets of eye-glassesæ profit-maximizing glasses, and social business glasses. This will bring a big change in the world. Profit maximizing businessmen will be amazed to see how different the world looks once they take off the profit-maximizing glasses and wear the social business glasses. By looking at the world from two different perspectives business decision-makers will be able to decide better, act better, and these decisions and actions will lead to a dramatically better world.
While I was wondering whether the idea of social business would make any sense to the corporate world I had an opportunity to talk to the chairman of Danone Group Mr. Franck Riboud about this subject. It made perfect sense to him right away. Together we created Grameen Danone company as a social business in Bangladesh. This company produces yogurt fortified with micro-nutrients which are missing in the mal-nourished children of Bangladesh. Because it is a social business, Grameen and Danone, will never take any dividend out of the company beyond recouping the initial investment. Bottom line for the company is to see how many children overcome their nutrition deficiency each year.
Next initiative came from Credit Agricole of France. We created Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation to provide financial support to microfinance organizations and social businesses.
We created a small water company to provide good quality drinking water in a cluster of villages of Bangladesh. This is a joint venture with Veolia, a leading water company in the world. Bangladesh has terrible drinking water problem. In a large part of Bangladesh tubewell water is highly arsenic contaminated, surface water is polluted. This social business water company will be a prototype for supplying safe drinking water in a sustainable and affordable way to people who are faced with water crisis. Once it is perfected, it can be replicated in other villages, within Bangladesh and outside.
We have already established an eye-care hospital specializing in cataract operation, with a capacity to undertake 10,000 operations per year. This is a joint venture social business with the Green Children Foundation created by two singers in their early twenties, Tom and Milla, from England and Norway.
We have signed a joint-venture agreement with Intel Corporation, to create a social business company called Grameen-Intel to bring information technology-based services to the poor in healthcare, marketing, education and remittances.
We also signed a social business joint venture agreement with Saudi German Hospital Group to set up a series of hospitals in Bangladesh.
Many more companies from around the world are showing interest in such social business joint ventures. A leading shoe company wants to create a social business to make sure that nobody goes without shoes. One leading pharmaceutical company wishes to set up a joint venture social business company to produce nutritional supplements appropriate for Bangladeshi pregnant mothers and young women, at the cheapest possible price.
We are also in discussion to launch a social business company to produce chemically treated mosquito-nets to protect people in Bangladesh and Africa from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Your generation can bring a breakthrough in changing the course of the world. You can be the socially-conscious creative generation that the world is waiting for. You can bring your creativity to design brilliant social businesses to overcome poverty, disease, environmental degradation, food crisis, depletion of non-renewable resources, etc. Each one of you is capable of changing the world. To make a start all that each one of you has to do is to design a business plan for a social business. Each prototype of a social business can be a cute little business. But if it works out, the whole world can be changed by replicating it in thousands of locations.
Prototype development is the key. In designing a prototype all we need is a socially-oriented creative mind. That could be each one of you. No matter what you do in your life, make it a point to design or be involved with at least one social business to address one problem that depresses you the most. If you have the design and the money, go ahead and put it into action. If you have the design but no money, contact your dean — he will find the money. I never heard that MIT has problem in finding money when it has a hot idea in its hand. MIT can even create a social business development fund in anticipation of your requests.
I can tell you very emphatically that in terms of human capability there is no difference between a poor person and a very privileged person. All human beings are packed with unlimited potential. Poor people are no exception to this rule. But the world around them never gave them the opportunity to know that each of them is carrying a wonderful gift in them. The gift remains unknown and unwrapped. Our challenge is to help the poor unwrap their gift.
Poverty is not created by the poor. It is created by the system. Poverty is an artificial imposition on people. Once you fall outside the system, it works against you. It makes it very difficult to return to the system.
How do we change this? Where do we begin ?
Three basic interventions will make a big difference in the existing system : a) broadening the concept of business by including “social business” into the framework of market place, b) creating inclusive financial and healthcare services which can reach out to every person on the planet, c) designing appropriate information technology devices, and services for the bottom-most people and making them easily available to them.
Your generation has the opportunity to make a break with the past and create a beautiful new world. We see the ever-growing problems created by the individual-centered aggressively accumulative economy. If we let it proceed without serious modifications, we may soon reach the point of no return. Among other things, this type of economy has placed our planet under serious threat through climatic distortions. Single-minded pursuit of profit has made us forget that this planet is our home; that we are supposed to make it safe and beautiful, not make it more unliveable everyday by promoting a life-style which ignores all warnings of safety.
At this point let me give you the good news. No matter how daunting the problems look, don’t get brow beaten by their size. Big problems are most often just an aggregation of tiny problems. Get to the smallest component of the problem. Then it becomes an innocent bite-size problem, and you can have all the fun dealing with it. You’ll be thrilled to see in how many ways you can crack it. You can tame it or make it disappear by various social and economic actions, including social business. Pick out the action which looks most efficient in the given circumstances. Tackling big problems does not always have to be through giant actions, or global initiatives or big businesses. It can start as a tiny little action. If you shape it the right way, it can grow into a global action in no time. Even the biggest problem can be cracked by a small well-designed intervention. That’s where you and your creativity come in. These interventions can be so small that each one of you can crack these problems right from your garage. If you have a friend or two to work with you, it is all the more better. It can be fun too.
You are born in the age of ideas. Ideas are something an MIT graduate, I am sure, will not run out of. The question I am raising now — what use you want to make of them ? Make money by selling or using your ideas ? Or change the world with your ideas? Or do both ? It is upto you to decide.
There are two clear tasks in front of you — 1) to end poverty in the world once for all, and 2) to set the world in the right path to undo all the damage we have done to the environment by our ignorance and selfishness. Time is right. Your initiatives can produce big results, even lead you to achieving these goals. Then yours will be the most successful generation in human history. You will take your grand-children to the poverty museums with tremendous pride that your generation had finally made it happen.
Congratulations, for being part of a generation which has exciting possibilities, and advance congratulations to you all for your future successes in creating a new world where everyone on this planet can stand tall as a human being.
Setelah sekian lama, akhirnya saya tonton juga film itu, Tjoet Nja’ Dhien, one of the best movies ever made in Indonesia.Film ini juga merupakan karya awal dari sutradara senior kenamaan Indonesia, Eros Djarot dan film Indonesia pertama yang diputar di festival film paling bergengsi di dunia, Cannes Film Festival di Perancis.
Untuk sebuah film Indonesia, dalam pandangan saya, film ini mendekati sempurna.Ya walau terkadang didapati juga beberapa kekurangan yang sifatnya teknis.Namun, ini adalah film di tahun 1988 dimana pada masa itu film seks murahan dan horror tengah gencar – gencarnya beredar di Indonesia dan tentu saja teknologi perfilm-an di negara seperti Indonesia masih baru berkembang.Sama seperti ketika saya menonton salah satu film paling dikenal di India, Sholay (yang bahkan peringatan 25 tahunnya dirayakan) yang dibuat pada tahun 1975.Pada tahun jadul seperti itu, Ramesh Sippy telah berhasil membuat sebuah film yang sangat bergengsi dari segi teknikal walau dengan teknologi yang kurang memadai.
Di tahun 1988 sendiri, film ini mendapatkan piala citra untuk kategori aktris terbaik (Christine Hakim), penata musik terbaik (Idris Sardi) dan fotografi terbaik (George Kamarullah).Christine Hakim, tak perlu diragukan lagi aktingnya.Scene terbaik menurut saya adalah scene terakhir, ketika Tjoet Nja’ Dhien hanya bisa menggumamkan ayat – ayat Al-Qur’an dalam kebutaannya di bawah hujan yang sangat lebat di hutan pedalaman Aceh, ketika pasukan Belanda datang menyergap dan membunuh sebagian besar pasukannya.Kemudian datanglah Phang Laot, panglima kepercayaan Tjoet Nja’ yang membelot karena semata – mata tidak tahan melihat kondisi kesehatan Tjoet Nja’.Sebenarnya di sini saya berharap adegannya adalah Phang Laot dibunuh oleh Agam, anak kecil korban pembantaian Belanda yang diajarinya bagaimana cara menggunakan rencong.Tapi ternyata tidak..malah Tjoet Nja’ yang berusaha membunuhnya.
Raungan score dari Violinis kenamaan, Idris Sardi ditambah shoot daerah hutan di Aceh memang benar – benar sangat menyentuh.Satu hal lagi yang sangat saya kagumi adalah penggunaan bahasa Aceh dan Belanda dalam sebagian besar scene nya.Mengenai dialog, saya kira setiap anak muda di Republik ini wajb menonton film ini.Dialog dengan aksen Aceh yang tidak dibuat – buat dan bahasa tertata yang sarat makna memang benar – benar menggambarkan kehidupan masyarakat pada waktu itu.
Kuliah Rock Physics pagi itu agak sedikit beda, dosen saya, Pak Fatkhan namanya, mengumumkan sesuatu…sesuatu yang memacu adrenalin..ada program beasiswa double degree, full beasiswa dari Pertamina, ke Curtain University, Perth, Australia.Program ini akan berlangsung selama 1 tahun (tentunya setelah dipadatkan).Satu semester belajar di ITB, satu semester lagi belajar di Curtain.Tentunya sangat cocok dengan kami – kami yang sekarang sedang duduk di semster 7.Berarti kalau bisa lulus tahun depan, bisa ikut mendaftar.Syarat utamanya selain tes potensi akademik, Psikotes, Kesehatan, juga bahasa inggris, dengan mengacu kepada nilai IELTS yang harus lebih besar sama dengan 6.5.
Saya langsung sms abang di Medan yang merupakan tutor buat privat IELTS…jawabannya nilai lulus minimal IELTS adalah 6.00, agak sulit mendapatkan 6.5 tapi bukan tidak mungkin.Banyak murid abang yang mendapatkan skor tersebut.Nilai maksimal 9.00, dapat skor 7.5 aja udah jago.PERLU PERSIAPAN.
Perlu persiapan…hah saya jadi inget..kalau saya statistikin secara sederhana…dulu waktu saya SMP, setiap ada olimpiade yang saya dapet medali..adalah olimpiade dimana saya ga belajar.Waktu saya belajar serius buat ikutan olimpiade itu..eh…malah ga dapet apa – apa.Sepuluh tahun kemudian, JOKER memberi nasihat yang sangat retoris..”why so serious..”
Saya selalu senang kalau ada orang yang meremehkan…dulu sih benci..tapi, semenjak saya berhasil membuktikan kalau saya bisa juga masuk ITB, saya jadi senang.Dulu, waktu saya bilang saya milih ITB sebagai pilihan pertama..komentar orang – orang pasti…”yaah..ntar jangan gila lha ya kalo ga keterima..”Perasaan saya gak bodoh – bodoh amat dulu…buktinya…nilai TOEFL saya tertinggi se SMA atau contohnya pas saya ngajak sepupu saya ke timezone, mereka semua bertepuk tangan dan langsung sumringah mendapat hadiah hair dryer berkat kejelian saya menggunakan persamaan matematik sederhana menghitung laju lampu di permainan Jackpot.Hihihi…Ya Allah..saya cuma berusaha menghibur diri tidak bermaksud sombong..
Kembali ke Beasiswa tadi..
Saya sudah azamkan dalam hati..saya ingin berkarya di dalam bidang energi.Saya ingin melihat dunia.Melihat budaya lain..Harus semangat..harus berjuang…jangan suka tidur lagi..jangan suka download movie lagi.Harus maju..demi izzah Islam dan Indonesia di mata dunia.
Sorenya saya bertemu dengan Bapak Darharta Dahrin, kepala Program Studi S1 Teknik Geofisika, tempat saya belajar….”lihatlah jauh..2 tahun ke depan” kata beliau..”kalau bukan kita yang meningkatkan kualitas pertamina, siapa lagi?”..hmmm..kakak saya pernah tertawa waktu saya bilang saya ingin bekerja di Pertamina…duitnya dikit katanya.Hahaha..saya mau bilang, ini tentang balas jasa kepada masayarakat yang telah membiayai saya kuliah di ITB dengan membayar pajak…bukan segepok uang yang diterima sebulan sekali..trus habis dimakan hidup.Saya senang ketika diremehkan..saya semakin sadar saya berpikir jauh lebih dewasa..lebih jauh ke depan..
Kalo azam sudah tertancap di hati, IELTS 6.5 pun tak jadi masalah…
Sekarang tinggal, berapa banyak waktu yang kita pakai untuk berbuat daripada untuk berbaring.
Ya Allah..berikan saya kesempatan untuk meninggikan izzah Islam di mata dunia lewat bidang energi..
di Curtain, rockphysics diajarkan untuk S2..di ITB..untuk S1..canggihan kita kayaknya..
mereka cuma menang modal doank..
yakinlah..kita bangsa Indonesia ini hebat
tinggal bergerak dan berpikir lebih banyak aja…