[Share] Suka Duka Penelitian Lapangan (Part – 1)

Alhamdulillah, nggak kerasa waktu empat bulan di tanah air saya lalui dengan cepat. Pada pertengahan Oktober 2018 sampai Februari 2019 ini, saya melakukan fieldwork/ penelitian lapangan di tanah air dalam rangka pengumpulan data disertasi.

Gimana rasanya? Nano-nano, rame rasanya 😆

Sebenarnya, ini bukan kali pertama saya melakukan penelitian lapangan. Saat mengerjakan tesis di UI maupun di Taiwan dulu, saya juga sempat “keliling lapangan” ke berbagai kota di Jepang dan Taiwan. Namun, untuk penelitian kali ini, rasanya tetap beda. Karena, baru kali ini, saya menjalani penelitian lapangan dalam jangka waktu panjang dan maraton ke berbagai kota di tanah air, sendirian, terlebih meninggalkan anak dan suami. Jadi banyak bapernya XD.

Nah, berikut ini adalah beberapa aspek perbedaan yang saya rasakan dari penelitian lapangan sebelumnya.

BIROKRASI

Tantangan pertama yang saya jalani adalah birokrasi tanah air. Berbeda dengan pengalaman di Taiwan maupun Jepang, saya tidak perlu surat khusus untuk meminta akses data maupun wawancara. Tapi (mungkin) bisa jadi saat itu memang tidak perlu surat izin karena saya tidak mewawancarai instansi pemerintah, ya? Mungkin ada yang punya pengalaman penelitian dengan instansi pemerintah di luar tanah air?

Nah, kalau di Indonesia, untuk melakukan penelitian, dan juga supaya memudahkan akses permohonan data/ wawancara di instansi pemerintah pusat/ daerah, maka surat izin/ rekomendasi penelitian perlu diurus. Sebelum ke lapangan, saya mencari info tentang prosedur birokrasinya. Sempet agak pesimis, mengingat bayangan akan keribetan dan proses yang panjang + berliku.

Namun, Alhamdulillah saya mendapat pencerahan dan inspirasi dari seorang peneliti senior di Pusat Studi Asia Pasifik UGM, Ibu Ratih Pratiwi Anwar. Dari postingan beliau di facebook seputar birokrasi penelitian, saya jadi lebih optimis. Beliau berpesan, intinya adalah nikmati saja proses birokrasi yang ada. Karena justru dari adanya surat izin/ rekomendasi itulah, kita punya legitimasi untuk akses informasi dan data 🙂

Setelah saya jalani, proses birokrasi persuratan ternyata ‘memang’ panjang dan berliku XD (*what do you expect XD?). Bahkan, di rangkaian penelitian lapangan saya yang padat dan mepet dari sisi waktu itu, diperlukan paling tidak 2-3 hari untuk mengurus birokrasi. Tapi, saya jadi banyak belajar terutama hikmah dengan adanya surat perizinan tersebut.

Pertama, setelah mendapatkan surat rekomendasi penelitian, saya memang punya kekuatan untuk meminta izin wawancara maupun data-data yang saya butuhkan untuk penelitian dari dinas/ instansi pemerintah, tanpa ada penolakan atau hambatan berarti.

Kedua, saya jadi tahu dan mengalami langsung bagaimana mengurus proses birokrasi di pemerintah, mulai dari tingkat pusat sampai ke desa. Bayangkan, saya mengurus dari tingkat Kementerian (pusat), kemudian ke Provinsi, Kabupaten, Kecamatan hingga pemerintah desa. Tapi ini memang wajar, karena penelitian saya memang dilakukan di tingkat desa :D.

kesbangpol ntb
Ini syarat permohonan rekomendasi penelitian di Kesbangpol Prov NTB

Ketiga, saya bisa melihat langsung bagaimana kinerja, layanan dan inovasi yang dilakukan masing-masing level pemerintah. Ada yang masih manual, alias datang langsung ke kantornya dan membuat permohonan langsung. Untuk proses pengerjaannya, tergantung masing-masing petugas dan kantor. Ada beberapa yang fast response, 30 menit surat jadi, ada juga yang lama (perlu seharian atau 2 hari kerja. Kadang harus nunggu petugas yang membuat suratnya datang ke kantor, atau ditunggui dulu baru dikerjain suratnya XD). Tapi, ada juga yang sudah memiliki layanan berbasis daring (online) dengan prosedur yang lebih memudahkan (tidak harus datang ke kantornya). Namun, memang perlu publikasi lebih terkait layanan onlinenya, supaya gak kecele sudah jauh-jauh datang ke kantornya, eh malah ternyata online.

Begitu dulu deh, sekilas pengalaman saya (bagian pertama). InsyaAllah akan lanjut ke bagian berikutnya 🙂

[Share] Pembelajaran dari Kolokium

Selama studi di Uni Bonn, saya berada di bawah institut BIGS Oriental and Asian Studies dan mengerjakan disertasi di bawah bimbingan Prof. Antweiler.

Sistem perkuliahan di institut saya, tidak menerapkan jam kantor; maksudnya tidak harus masuk setiap hari kerja pada jam tertentu. Saya hanya perlu mengambil beberapa courses dan seminar terkait academic dan soft-skills, year group meeting berkala, mengikuti konferensi (baik sebagai presenter maupun panitia), serta menyelesaikan riset yang sifatnya individu.

Nah, ada satu lagi aktivitas akademik lain yang saya ikuti secara rutin, yaitu kolokium bersama Prof dan teman-teman lain (S1, S2 dan S3) yang berada dalam satu bimbingan Prof. Antweiler.

Prof. Antweiler merupakan seorang Antropolog dengan kekhususan studi Indonesia dan negara Asia Tenggara lainnya. Beliau juga merupakan kepala Departemen Southeast Asian Studies di Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies.

Alhamdulillah, saya sangat bersyukur, beruntung mendapat supervisor seperti beliau yang sangat ramah, humoris, inspiratif dan motivatif. Mulanya, saya sempat khawatir seperti apa supervisor saya. Saya baru bisa bertemu profesor setelah sebulan+ dari kedatangan di Jerman. Selama masa penantian itu, saya dipenuhi asumsi yang kurang baik tentang “supervisor”, terlebih saat mendengar cerita teman lain yang mendapat supervisor yang strict dan tak bersahabat.

Alhamdulillah, setelah mendengar testimoni teman lain yang satu bimbingan dan kemudian bertemu langsung dengan beliau, bayangan negatif dan asumsi saya tentang supervisor tidak terbukti 😆.

***

Saya baru pertama kali ikut kegiatan belajar yang bentuknya kolokium. Kolokium Prof. Antweiler diadakan seminggu sekali selama 90 menit. Kolokium ini sifatnya tidak wajib, tapi disarankan untuk ikut.

Kolokium kami diadakan di ruang kerja Prof. Biasanya ada sekitar 6-10 orang mahasiswa yang ikut dalam kolokium ini. Kami duduk melingkar sehingga proses diskusi lebih mudah dan terasa lebih “informal” dan santai.

Aktivitas yang dilakukan dalam kolokium, antara lain sharing informasi penting (misal konferensi/ seminar, call for proposal, info buku atau jurnal, job vacancy, dll), presentasi dan sharing progres penelitian/ abstrak konferensi, juga “curhat” tentang permasalahan/ stagnansi yang dihadapi saat melakukan penelitian.

Buat saya, ada banyak hal menarik dan bermanfaat yang saya dapatkan dari kolokium ini.

Setiap kali ada konferensi atau presentasi progress, saya latihan alias gladi bersih dulu di kolokium ini. Profesor dan teman-teman memberikan pertanyaan sekaligus masukan yang konstruktif terkait konten maupun teknis presentasi.

Oya, manfaat ikut kolokium tidak selalu terkait dengan penelitian, tapi ada kalanya ide-ide lain bermunculan terkait rencana masa depan saya jika menjadi akademisi (dosen) dan peneliti kelak (aamiin). Salah satunya, bentuk/ model dosen yang baik, inspiratif dan menumbuhkan.

Prof tidak melulu membahas seputar dunia penelitian dan tugas akhir yang kami jalani sekarang. Beliau juga sering mengingatkan kami tentang bagaimana rencana studi dan karir ke depan, khususnya bagaimana riset yang kami lakukan sekarang, tidak membatasi pilihan karir atau kerja nanti.

Juga yang saya sangat suka, tips-tips aplikatif dalam menjalankan tugas sebagai mahasiswa dan peneliti. Dari pengalaman puluhan tahun, banyak hal yang beliau sarikan dan bagikan kepada kami. Misal, tips bagaimana membuat power point dan cara presentasi yang tidak membosankan, dan sebagainya.

***

Selain info dan tips dari Prof, kami para peserta kolokium juga berkesempatan untuk mendengarkan presentasi dan curhatan akademik mahasiswa lain. Dengan topik penelitian yang beragam dan studi kasus di berbagai negara, dari mereka saya mendapatkan pengetahuan baru tentang isu tertentu. Kemudian saya mencoba mengaitkannya dengan kondisi di Indonesia.

Tak hanya mendengarkan, kami juga bebas untuk memberikan feedback, pertanyaan, masukan atau rekomendasi terkait presentasi curhat akademik mereka. Dari sinilah, saya merasa dilatih untuk menganalisa, menelaah, dan berpikir kritis dalam problem solving.

***

Jika suatu hari nanti saya menjadi dosen, tampaknya model kolokium ini menjadi pilihan “menarik” dan efektif dalam memberikan “bimbingan” tambahan bagi para mahasiswa dalam mengerjakan tugas akhirnya. Jadi, bimbingan yang dilakukan tidak hanya pertemuan one by one saja. Menurut saya, kolokium ini bisa jadi sumber penyemangat tambahan dalam mengerjakan tugas akhir.

Hmm… Mengingat model ini belum biasa diterapkan di tanah air, bisa jadi akan ada tantangan dalam penerapannya. Tapi ini hanya asumsi. Semoga bisa saya buktikan dan laksanakan di masa depan. Aamiin 😊

[Share] Journey to Study in Germany (Part 1)

“In life, many things don’t go according to plan. If you fall, get back up. If you stumble, regain your balance. Never give up!” – Unknown

Perkenalkan, saya Retno Widyastuti yang akrab disapa Chiku. Saya adalah alumni Ilmu Hubungan Internasional UGM, Kajian Wilayah Jepang UI dan Asia Pacific Studies NCCU Taiwan. Alhamdulillah, pada Desember 2015 saya dinyatakan lolos seleksi tahap akhir beasiswa Doktoral Luar Negeri LPDP Batch IV 2015. Saat ikut seleksi beasiswa LPDP, saya belum mendapat LoA sehingga saya perlu berkejaran dengan batas waktu 1 tahun untuk diterima tanpa syarat (unconditional acceptance) di salah satu Universitas di Jerman, yang menjadi negara tujuan saya.

Mengapa Jerman? Negara ini mungkin terlihat anti-mainstream untuk para mahasiswa Indonesia yang berlatarbelakangkan ilmu Sosial Politik, apalagi dengan fokus kajian Kawasan Asia seperti saya. Jujur, sebelumnya saya tidak terpikir untuk melanjutkan di negara ini. Namun, jalan hidup saya; berjumpa dengan laki-laki yang menjadi suami saya dan rencana bersama menuntut ilmu di Jerman, membawa saya pada pilihan ini. Alhamdulillah, setelah saya pelajari dan telusuri lebih lanjut terkait kampus-kampus di Jerman dan perkembangan kajian Asianya, saya pun berangsur mulai ‘berdamai’ dengan diri sendiri dan perlahan-lahan menyukainya.

Proses dan perjalanan saya dalam berburu LoA (yang akhirnya berlabuh di Bonn International Graduate School – Oriental and Asian Studies BIGS – OAS, Bonn University) tidaklah mulus. Selama tujuh bulan, berbagai penolakan saya hadapi: 3 program doktoral di 3 universitas (Freie Univ, Humboldt Univ dan Hamburg Univ) dan 2 profesor (karena alasan birokrasi dan masa pensiun).

Tentu, berat rasanya untuk bangkit kembali setelah terpuruk dari penolakan. Tapi, di situlah pentingnya semangat pantang menyerah dan juga dukungan serta doa dari orang-orang terdekat kita. Juga, bagaimana kita BELAJAR mengambil HIKMAH dari proses dan penolakan ini.

Saya pun berdiskusi dengan suami, dan menganalisa kira-kira apa yang menjadi alasan penolakan tersebut (terutama dari structured doctoral program). Kemudian, saya pun mengatur ulang strategi aplikasi saya. Berikut ini beberapa catatan pembelajaran aplikasi saya yang (semoga) bisa menjadi gambaran bagi rekan-rekan sekalian:

  1. Buatlah Daftar Universitas dan Program Studi yang Sesuai dengan Minat Studi dan Bidang Riset

Idealnya, kita punya daftar lebih dari satu kampus dan prodi tujuan studi. Ini penting supaya kita selalu punya pilihan dan back-up plan jika terjadi penolakan. Salah satu cara mencari daftar kampus dan prodinya adalah dengan search engine yang disediakan oleh beberapa lembaga pendidikan Jerman:

  1. Buatlah Daftar Nama Professor yang Ahli di Bidang Riset Kita

Untuk daftar nama professor ini, diperlukan in case kalau prodi yang kita ingin apply, mewajibkan adanya approval dari professor terlebih dahulu. Untuk yang ini, saya coba googling dengan kata kunci yang sesuai dengan minat studi dan riset. Misalnya: List of Southeast Asian Studies Professor in Germany. Alhamdulillah, saya mendapat data yang diinginkan dari link ini; http://goo.gl/gjMWmm . Selain mendapat daftar nama professornya, saya juga bisa mengetahui kekhususan minat riset, asal universitas, fakultas dan bahkan link profil mereka di website.

  1. Buatlah Proposal Riset/ Disertasi dengan Realistis

Maksud perlu ‘realistis’ di sini adalah jangan terlalu idealis, namun tetap sesuai dengan minat kita. Proposal riset saya untuk 3 program sebelumnya, dirasa suami dan ayah saya kurang realistis karena terlalu jauh dari kepentingan dan fokus penelitian di program studi/ fakultas atau minat riset profesornya serta kepentingan Indonesia (*nasionalisme muncul).

Saya dinilai terlalu idealis, karena memaksakan apa yang saya mau teliti tanpa melihat ‘kenyataan’ tersebut. Setelah dijedotkan dengan penolakan sebanyak tiga kali, akhirnya saya ‘sadar’ dan merombak total proposal riset saya dan mencoba lebih realistis dengan lebih mempertimbangkan fokus penelitian di jurusan dan minat Profesor ^___^”

Maka, untuk memastikan proposal kita “realistis” atau tidak, mintalah pendapat dan masukan dari orang-orang dekat yang kamu akui kapasitas atau paham tentang risetmu.

  1. Cek Website, Baca dan Catat Hal-hal Detail di Web Program Studi dan atau Universitas

Kadangkala, saking semangatnya kita dalam apply kampus, kita terlupakan dengan hal-hal detail yang penting. Dari pengalaman saya, saya harus berkali-kali membaca SEMUA isi website program studi yang saya inginkan supaya tidak terjadi kesalahpahaman. Sangat rugi jika kita tertolak karena simply urusan administratif.

  1. Siapkan Kelengkapan Aplikasi dan Proposal Riset Jauh-jauh Hari

Mungkin banyak dari kita yang memegang prinsip SKS (sistem kebut semalam) atau semakin mepet, semakin kreatif (*termasuk saya :p). Namun, dari pengalaman saya, prinsip mepet harus dibuang jauh-jauh, karena banyak printilan (hal-hal kecil) yang jika luput kita siapkan, itu berdampak pada timeline yang kita buat (terutama untuk hal-hal birokratis yang jika tahap 1 belum terselesaikan, maka tahap 2 tidak akan bisa dilakukan). Misalnya: rekomendasi dari dosen/ supervisor/ pembimbing kita.

Adapun untuk proposal riset, kumpulkan bahan materi dan bacaan yang relevan dengan minat studi dan risetmu sejak lama. Jangan hanya dikumpulkan, tapi harus dicicil untuk dibaca dan diolah menjadi sebuah proposal yang realistis.

  1. Jangan Pernah Patah Semangat oleh Penolakan

Untuk kita yang terbiasa ‘berhasil’ atau jarang menerima penolakan, maka berhati-hatilah ketika menghadapinya. Karena itu akan membuatmu semakin rentan patah semangat dan patah hati, bahkan nangis berhari-hari (*lebay). Bangkitkan dan tegakkan kembali semangat, luruskan niat, dan lihat kembali tujuan kita melanjutkan studi.

Selain motivasi internal (dari dalam diri), perlu juga motivasi external yang berasal dari orang-orang dekat yang kita percayai. Mereka akan sangat membantu kita untuk kembali ke jalan perjuangan, dan membantu dalam mengevaluasi kegagalan/ penolakan yang kita hadapi.

  1. Hindari Asumsi, Buktikan dengan Fakta

Seringkali dalam menjalani proses, otak kita dipenuhi dengan asumsi-asumsi. “Oh, mungkin gini, oh kayaknya gitu deh”, tapi tanpa bukti atau fakta yang jelas sumbernya dari mana. Maka dari itu, Jika ada hal yang masih tidak jelas/ asumsi, jangan ragu untuk mengontak CP dari program studi yang ingin kita daftar atau bertanya pada orang/ pihak yang tepat dalam memberikan jawaban yang jelas.

Dalam perjalanan, saya seringkali dihantui asumsi dan berprasangka buruk. Alhamdulillah, saya diingatkan oleh suami saya untuk membuktikan asumsi saya dengan bertanya. Misal: saya merasa tidak enak hati meminta rekomendasi dari Prof pembimbing saya saat kuliah S2. Saya berasumsi bahwa beliau sedang sibuk, dan sebal dengan saya yang sering merepotkan. Tapi, setelah saya berani bertanya, ternyata respon yang diberikan jauh dari asumsi saya. Prof. Pembimbing saya dengan sangat senang hati direpoti dan memberikan rekomendasinya.

Prinsipnya, malu bertanya, sesat di jalan! (*tapi jangan kebanyakan nanya-nanya juga kalau belum baca detail ^^”)

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Sementara, itu dulu cerita dan pengalaman yang bisa saya bagi. Untuk tulisan lebih detail terkait proses teknis mendapatkan LoA dari program BIGS-OAS Bonn University, akan saya sampaikan kemudian. Selamat berjuang, wahai pencari ilmu 🙂

[Share] Seleksi Beasiswa LPDP Part 3: LGD

Dalam postingan ini, saya akan lanjutkan bahasan tentang pengalaman proses LGD. Sedangkan untuk verifikasi dokumen dan wawancara, karena cukup panjang ceritanya, akan saya sampaikan di postingan berikutnya yaaa 😀

Leaderless Group Discussion (LGD)

LGD ini dilakukan secara berkelompok, terdiri dari 6-10 orang. Saat saya ikut seleksi beasiswa tesis LPDP (tahun 2013), kelompok saya terdiri dari 6 orang. Sedangkan saat seleksi beasiswa S3 LPDP tahun 2015 lalu, kelompok saya ada 10 orang dengan latar belakang ilmu dan tujuan kampus/ negara + jenjang yang berbeda-beda. Semua jurusan digabung, tidak dibedakan hanya sosial saja atau eksak/ sains saja. Jadi, don’t worry 🙂

Dalam sebuah ruangan khusus, 10 peserta akan duduk melingkar dengan membawa name tag masing-masing di meja. Hal ini untuk memudahkan peserta lain dan pengamat untuk mengetahui siapa nama yang berbicara. Oh ya, akan ada 2 orang pengamat yang bertugas untuk mengamati dan mereka tidak akan mengintervensi jalannya diskusi.

business-communications-icebreaker-3

Waktu yang diberikan untuk diskusi yaitu selama 30 menit. Sebelum dimulai, pengamat psikolog yang berjumlah 2 orang akan memberikan soal dan 1 lembar kertas kosong ke masing-masing peserta. Alat tulis disiapkan sendiri oleh peserta. Kemudian, proses LGD dimulai. Selama 5 menit pertama, kita perlu mempelajari soal LGD yang diberikan dan menuliskan kerangka pendapat. Isunya mostly terkait hal-hal yang sedang ramai dibicarakan di masyarakat, terutama terkait kebijakan pemerintah. Mungkin topik diskusinya akan sangat “sosial” sekali, sehingga dalam beberapa kasus, teman-teman dari dunia eksak perlu usaha yang lebih untuk familiar dengan topiknya. Tapi jangan lengah juga untuk teman-teman dari dunia sosial humaniora, harus tetap update dengan isu terkini.

Kasus yang dibahas di kelompok LGD saya yaitu tentang kebijakan pemerintah dalam memberikan sanksi tambahan terhadap pelaku kejahatan seksual pada anak. Waktu itu memang sedang hangat-hangatnya kasus pelecehan dan pembunuhan anak, sehingga ada masukan tambahan sanksi berupa pengebirian.  Bagaimana pendapat kita, setuju atau tidak dan bagaimana rekomendasi kebijakan tersebut.

Kemudian, selama 25 menit kemudian peserta diminta untuk berdiskusi. Jalan dan alur diskusi diserahkan sepenuhnya kepada peserta, jadi pengamat tidak akan menyela prosesnya (hanya mengingatkan waktu jika sudah mau habis). Terserah siapa yang mau memulai terlebih dahulu, inisiatif dari masing-masing peserta.

Dalam beberapa kasus, saya pernah mendengar bahwa ada beberapa kelompok yang sebelum diskusi dimulai, melakukan pembagian tugas (siapa menjadi apa: moderator/ notulen, dll) dalam diskusi. Namun, pengalaman saya kemarin, kelompok saya tidak melakukan pembagian tugas apapun. Mengalir begitu saja diskusinya.

Fyi, LGD berbeda dengan FGD (focus group discussion). LGD digunakan untuk mengamati perilaku seseorang, sedangkan FGD digunakan untuk mengumpulkan data. Diskusi ini disebut leaderless karena tidak ada kesepakatan sebelumnya mengenai siapa yang menjadi moderator, pemimpin dan sebagainya. Hal ini untuk menunjukkan bahwa semuanya dalam posisi yang sama [*]. Yang terpenting dalam LGD ini, tidak ada orang yang mendominasi dan tidak ada yang tidak kebagian berbicara.

Selain itu, LGD lebih menitikberatkan pada perilaku tampak, atau yang ditampakkan, atau yang diharapkan ditampakkan selama proses diskusi [*]. Maka, tindak tanduk tiap peserta akan diamati selama proses diskusi oleh 2 orang pengamat tadi. Saat jalannya diskusi, akan tampak siapa yang mendominasi, siapa yang pasif, bagaimana cara berbicara, cara menyampaikan persetujuan/ tidak, dan apresiasi terhadap peserta lain.

discuss

Oya, bahasa yang digunakan saat kami seleksi LGD dulu (Batch IV 2015) dilakukan dalam bahasa Indonesia. Saya dengar ada update terbaru bahwa ada kemungkinan untuk peserta yang negara tujuan studinya di luar negeri, beberapa proses seleksi akan dilakukan dalam fully bahasa Inggris (termasuk seleksi essay on the spot dan wawancara).Hal ini dilakukan untuk mempersiapkan peserta dan merasakan bagaimana suasana diskusi saat studi nanti (which is dalam bidang sosial humaniora pasti akan sering dilakukan). But, perlu dipastikan lagi pada teman-teman yang seleksi di batch setelah saya ^^”

Berikut beberapa masukan/ tips saat LGD a la saya:

  1. Sebelum hari H seleksi LGD dimulai, minimal H-7 hari, biasakan untuk menonton/ membaca berita utama (headline news) di berbagai media cetak, elektronik atau online. Silakan sesuaikan dengan waktu dan preferensi masing-masing. Kalau yang saya lakukan, sejak 2 minggu sebelum seleksi saya mengikuti diskusi di TV Berita (Metro TV dan TV One). Bukan sekedar tahu beritanya saja, tapi ada baiknya juga ikuti diskusi mendalam yang dibahas di media tersebut. Alhamdulillah, saya sangat terbantu dalam memberikan opini (setuju dan tidak setuju) terhadap isu tersebut.
  2. Setelah sesaat mendapatkan soal, di kertas kosong yang diberikan, dalam 5 menit buatlah kerangka utama dan mind map opini kita terhadap isu tersebut.
  3. Jangan pasif atau terlalu aktif dalam berbicara. Ingat-ingat bahwa dalam LGD, partisipasi dalam diskusi sangatlah penting. Beranilah berpendapat. Jangan sampai kita hanya menjadi pengamat, tidak menyampaikan apapun, atau hanya mengangguk-angguk saja. Dan jangan juga menjadi pembicara yang terlalu aktif, dalam artian mendominasi seluruh diskusi. Berikan kesempatan kepada teman lain dalam menyampaikan pendapatnya.
  4. Saat proses diskusi, jangan lupa untuk mencatat nama dan poin utama argumen dari peserta lain, hal ini penting untuk membuat argumen kita selanjutnya (setuju atau tidak dengan mereka) dan juga dalam menyusun struktur kesimpulan dari case study yang diberikan
  5. Sampaikan argumen disertai contoh/ fakta/ data dari studi kasus serupa di tempat atau negara lain.
  6. Sampaikan pendapat dengan runtut, jelas dan terstruktur.  Logika dan jawaban kita memang akan mendapat nilai, namun nilai tertinggi tetap pada bagaimana cara kita menyampaikan logika dan alur berpikir tersebut pada orang lain [*].
  7. Tidak usah terburu-buru dan emosional (apalagi kalau ada peserta lain yang “menyerang” pendapat). Orang yang sangat pandai, tapi cara menyampaikan idenya tidak karuan, tetap nilai amatannya akan jelek [*].
  8. Rangkum/ summarize pendapat peserta lain. Berbicara terlalu sedikit akan dinilai sebagai bebek pengikut, berbicara terlalu banyak akan dinilai sebagai otoriter yang dominan. Titik temunya adalah meringkas berbagai pendapat yang muncul, entah hasil pendapat pribadi atau pendapat beberapa rekan (di sini pentingnya mencatat poin penting peserta lain). Tidak perlu menjadi seorang pemimpin diskusi untuk meringkas pendapat orang lain [*]. Ketika meringkas, menemukan kesamaan pandang dalam dua pendapat yang berbeda, adalah celah yang dapat dimanfaatkan. Kita dapat menanyakan pendapat dari rekan yang cenderung diam. Hal ini akan menunjukkan kita memiliki kepekaan terhadap orang lain [*].
  9. Rileks dan jangan lupa untuk senyum. Hal ini akan sangat membantu diri sendiri dalam proses diskusi dan menunjukkan ketenangan dalam berpikir 😀
  10. Catat hasil diskusi dan kesimpulan. Walaupun tidak ada tugas khusus sebagai notulen, namun ada baiknya setiap kita mencatatnya di kertas masing-masing. Di satu sisi hal ini akan membantu proses pemahaman esensi diskusi, selain itu juga karena kertas notulen yang kita buat dikumpulkan saat diskusi sudah selesai.
  11. Jangan lupa etika dalam diskusi. Etika yang dimaksud adalah tidak menyela pembicaraan, menggunakan bahasa yang sopan, dan menyampaikan persetujuan/ tidak setuju dengan cara yang baik (maksudnya tidak menjatuhkan atau menjelek-jelekkan peserta lain ketika kita tidak setuju)

***

Satu hal yang perlu dipahami, bahwa esensi dari LGD ini bukan hanya untuk keperluan seleksi beasiswa LPDP saja, tetapi menurut saya kita jadi bisa merasakan bagaimana ketika berkuliah atau bekerja nanti kita dihadapkan hal yang serupa. Saat bekerja/ belajar dalam satu tim (team work), diskusi akan sering dilakukan dan kita dituntut untuk menemukan solusi dari permasalahan bersama untuk mencapai tujuan. Maka dari itu, tips-tips di atas tidak semata-mata “settingan” karena hendak seleksi beasiswa saja. Tapi ada baiknya untuk diterapkan setiap kali kita melakukan diskusi.

Just my two cents. Sekian.

Referensi:

[*] Menembus Seleksi Diskusi: http://lantai-13.blogspot.co.id/2013/01/menembus-seleksi-diskusi.html

[Academic] The Role of the NGO and Government Organization in the Education Development in Indonesia’s Border Islands

Case Study of Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar and SM3T*

By: Retno Widyastuti
International Master’s Program in Asia Pacific Studies
National Chengchi University
Taipei, Taiwan

*This paper was presented in 2013 IGU Islands Conference in Penghu, Taiwan Oct 1-5, 2013

Abstract— Indonesia is an archipelagic state with more than 17,000 islands. Some of those islands are located in the border of Indonesia with the other countries, which has some sensitive issues with national sovereignty. It’s not only related to the security, but also economic, politics and social issues. To prevent the threat for sovereignty, one of the ways is by developing those areas to increase their national consciousness.

Education has been becoming important part of development process and education not only helps in upward mobility of a society, but it is also a vehicle for socio economic development of the country. To reach that goal, it needs participation from many levels. In this study, it will assess and analyze the role of NGO and government organization in the education development, especially to fulfill the lack number of teacher’s distribution in Indonesia’s remote and border islands, with the case study of Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar and SM3T. The method of this study is qualitative with analytical descriptive from secondary data and interviews.
Keywords-component; Border Islands, Education Development, Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar, National Consciousness, Teacher Distribution, SM3T

I. INTRODUCTION

Indonesia is an archipelagic state that has more than 17,000 islands, with more than 250 million citizens live (July 2013, estimation) [1]. These facts create challenges in Indonesian education, especially limited access for getting qualified primary education in remote areas, especially in the front line such as islands in border area of Indonesia.

Geo-politically, Indonesia located between two continents and two oceans, and border with nine countries. According to Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries of Republic of Indonesia [2], there are 92 islands that directly border by sea with nine countries, such as Malaysia (21 islands), Vietnam (2), the Philippines (12), Palau (7), Papua New Guinea (1), Australia (26), Timor Leste (5), India (11) and Singapore (4).

Most of the Indonesia border region is still left behind in terms of development in social, infrastructure, and economy. Most of the paradigm see that border region as an area that needs to be closely monitored due to the intruder, international illegal activity, etc. This view creates a development paradigm makes more emphasis on border security approach rather than social and economy approach. As a result, some areas in the border region still untouched by dynamics of Indonesia national development. The people in the border region is still remainly poor and many are oriented to the neighboring countries [2] in which can be very dangerous for national sovereignty. To prevent this situation, one of the ways is by development, not only physically (infrastructure, economy and trade) but also human development. Education has been becoming important part of development process and education not only helps in upward mobility of a society, but it is also a vehicle for socio economic development of the country.

In this paper, it will describe the role of government and also NGO, especially on developing primary education in Indonesia’s border region. As for the case study, it will describe about the role of recently well known NGO in Indonesia, named Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar and also SM3T, a newly program initiated by Ministry of National Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia.

These two initiatives have similar pattern; recruiting university graduates to be a teacher in remote area for one year service. Their mission is to fulfill the lacking of number of teacher and also to be a new benchmark for escalating education’s quality in remote area. Their presence is also for developing the basic education for national consciousness in border islands.

II. EDUCATION IN INDONESIA

Started in 2005, the government of Indonesia tend to be more serious on developing the nation’s education. Based on the Government Regulations No. 25 about National Medium-Term Development Plan Medium-Term period 2004 – 2009, it mentioned that education is one of the main priorities in the national development agenda, namely the priority for increasing access to quality education.

Based on the 1945 Constitution of Republic of Indonesia Preamble paragraph IV, it mentioned the promise and mandate of independence; “…to establish a government of the State of Indonesia which shall protect the whole Indonesian people and their entire homeland of Indonesia, and in order to advance their general welfare, to promote the intellectual life of the nation, and to contribute to implementing order in a world founded upon independence, eternal peace and social justice…”.

Related to the education, it is already being mandated that our duty is to“promote the intellectual life of the nation”. From the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945 in Article 31 Paragraph (1), mentioned shall be that every citizen is entitled to education, and (3) confirms that the Government establish and conduct a national education system that enhances faith and piety and noble character in the context of the intellectual life of the nation, in which governed by of Law.

National education aimed to improving intelligence, as well as dignity of the nation. National education also should be able to develop a sense of patriotism, strengthen the national sspirit, and a sense of social solidarity. Thus, it is appropriate for all education services to targeting all school-age children to get proper education, wherever they are.

Quantitatively, Indonesia has quite sufficient amount of teacher. However, the distribution and quality are generally still low. Throughout Indonesia, including Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), as well as private institution, there are more than 167,000 primary schools, 34,000 junior secondary schools and 17,000 senior secondary schools spread across some 440 districts and municipalities. Some schools are extremely isolated from the capital city, and/or their district centre and their remote location that creates problems in terms of teacher employment and deployment [4].

This can be evidenced by the number of teachers that do not achieved education in university level and get teaching certification, especially for those who are live in remote areas in Indonesia. Only 17% of primary teachers hold the proposed new standard of S1 (bachelor degree) [4]. Based on Dirjen PMPTK, Ministry of Education and Culture (2009), teacher quality index indicators in Indonesia in avareage is still low (3,72 scale of 0-11) and around 54% of teachers in Indonesia need to upgrade their teaching qualification.

From World Bank’s data, it shows their survey finding about the uneven distribution number of teacher in Indonesia. The district data show that there are marked inequities in the deployment of teachers both across schools and districts. Some 68% of urban and 52% of rural primary schools have an excess of teachers, while 66% of remote schools have a deficit [4].

It also mentioned that the district data indicate that there are acute shortages of staff in the majority of remote schools, with 93% claiming that they had a deficit [4]. Most of the teachers are working as civil servants, where they urged to serve wherever they are posted. However, the policy is clearly not being consistently implemented. In fact, a lot of teacher is refused to teach in remote area. The resistance to postings in such areas due to lack of adequate housing; poor transport; domestic responsibilities; concerns about the isolation from family and friends; and the generally poor services and facilities in remote areas [4]. As a result of the deficits, some teachers have excessive workloads. These factors ultimately have an adverse impact the students.

Teachers are at the forefront line in improving the quality of education, where teachers will conduct direct interaction with students in the learning process at school. In other words, the overall quality of education begins with quality learning undertaken by teachers in the classroom. It is supposed to be one of focus of the education system that need to be improved in Indonesia. To achieved more advanced country, it needs quality education, and to reach quality education, it needs quality learning. To get quality learning, it starts from a qualified teacher.

III. REMOTE AND DISADVANTAGE AREAS

Unfortunately, there is no standard national definition of what constitutes a ‘remote location’ currently exists that allows for the quantitative analysis of the number of remote school in Indonesia. However, it can be clearly said that most of the islands in border area are still under-developed and become disadvantages area.

To know how to categorize a region become a developed or under-developed area, National Agency for Border Management of the Republic of Indonesia describe their approach in its grand design [3]. Disadvantaged areas are areas that the community district and the region is relatively less developed than other areas on a national scale. Determination using the approach developed areas 6 (six) basic criteria, namely: economy, society, human resources, infrastructure (infrastructure), local financial capacity (fiscal gap), accessibility, and regional characteristics (Ministry of Rural Development).

As for classification for an area as disadvantaged areas is based on [3]:

  1. Geographic. Generally geographically disadvantaged areas is relatively difficult to reach because they are too far inland hills / mountains, islands, coastal and isolated islands or because of other geomorphological factors that are difficult to reach by transportation and communications network.
  2. Natural Resources. Some disadvantaged areas do not have the potential of natural resources. The region might have vast natural resources, but the surrounding neighborhood is an area that can be protected or not exploited, and due to excessive use of natural resources.
  3. Human Resources. In general, people in disadvantaged areas have a lower education, knowledge, and skills are relatively low and the traditional institutions have not been developed.
  4. Infrastructure and Facilities. Limitations of communication infrastructure, transportation, water supply, irrigation, health, education, and other services that cause people in the disadvantaged areas find it difficult to carry out economic and social activities.
  5. Isolated area, Conflict and Disaster Prone. Physically disadvantaged areas is located in very isolated area, in addition to frequent an area experiencing social conflict or natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and floods, and could lead to the disruption of social and economic development activities.

From those criteria, most of frontline and outer – small islands in Indonesia can be categorized as disadvantage area. In 2010, there are 183 under-developed and disadvantaged districts in Indonesia [5]. Regarding the Ministry of Rural and Disadvantages Area Development, the Human Development Index (HDI) in these areas is only 66.98 (2013 estimation) [5].

Abubakar [2] also argued that these situations can create some threat that may be faced by small islands in outer and border line. These threats are illegal entry from foreigner fisherman, pirates, illegal fishing and trafficking; political, economy, social and cultural influence from foreign countries, occupation from the enemy, as well as natural disaster.

IV. CASE STUDY

The task of ensuring basic and primary education is not only government’s responsibility, it also requires voluntary and private sectors, as well as communities, to collaborate and contribute. Successful experiments and new approaches to education have emerged from Non-government organization (NGO), and also government organization (GO). In this part, it will describe two organizations (each represents NGO and GO) as case study.

A. Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar

Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar (GIM), literally means “Indonesia Teaching Movement”, is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that focused on developing primary education in remote areas in Indonesia. Ignited by the spirit of enlightening the nation, Anies Baswedan, PhD has initiated this movement. GIM officially launched in 2010 adopts the tradition of sharing and inspiring others. It sends the best university graduates to teach as Pengajar Muda (means “Young Teacher”) for one year in the primary schools located in some of Indonesia’s most remote areas [6].

GIM believes that education is a movement and not merely a program run by government, schools and teachers. Education is a movement to educate and enlighten the nation that has to involve everyone, as GIM believe that education is a duty of every educated individual. Thus, GIM commitment is to continually send and support hundreds of Pengajar Muda every year to serve in some of Indonesia’s remote villages.

In order to ensure that every school child in Indonesia obtains the best education, GIM equips the Pengajar Muda’s with training on leadership and pedagogy methods. Hence, apart from being a primary school teacher for one year, these Pengajar Mudas are actively involved in their community.

It is in line with GIM’s mission is to address the undersupply of primary school teachers in remote areas as well as to give valuable life experience to future leaders at a grass root level by living within these remote communities.

Since 2010, there are 293 university graduates that have been selected as Pengajar Muda. These talented young graduates have been serving schools in remote villages and striving to make an impact on the children and their villages. Living within the community for 1-year to teach in an elementary school, Pengajar Muda have become the drivers of change and windows of development for the schools and villages.

As potential future leaders who have global awareness and competence, the experience of living closely with the communities will also give Pengajar Muda the opportunity to gain grassroots understanding about Indonesia. It is GIM vision to have a network of future leaders in many sectors that have great capability, integrity and deep understanding of Indonesia.

Until June 2013, there are 293 Pengajar Muda has been serving 22,808 students in 147 villages in 17 districts, in 16 provinces in Indonesia. From these 17 districs, six of them are located in islands, such as in Bengkalis, Bawean Island – Gresik, Sangihe Islands, Rote Ndao, South Halmahera and West Maluku Tenggara, and four of them are located in Indonesia’s border area.

1) Bengkalis
Bengkalis is a district located in Riau Province, in which has sea border with Malaysia. It has 24 big and small islands. Some of these big islands are Rupat Island (1,524.84 km²) and Bengkalis Island (938.40 km²). Pengajar Muda are served in primary schools in three sub-districts in Bengkalis, such as; Rupat, North Rupat dan Bantan. Especially North Rupat and Rupat, it is located in Malacca Strait area.

2) Sangihe Islands
Sangihe Islands, North Sulawesi Province is a district located in the most northern part of Indonesia and it is border with the Philippines. Sangihe Islands consist of more than 90 small islands. The capital city of Sangihe Islands is Tahuna, located in the biggest island in this district. Tahuna can be reach from North Sulawesi’s capital city, Manado, by sea with duration 7 – 8 hours, or by air with duration 50 minutes. The islands that become Pengajar Muda’s service location only can be reaching by sea. From Tahuna to those small islands needs 3 to 10 hours. Because of this remote location, there is only limited electricity, as well as communication access (cellular signal). Most of the people in Sangihe Islands are working as sailor, and coconut farmer. They do trade to Manado, even to the Philliphines.

3) Rote Ndao
Rote Ndao, that is located in East Nusa Tenggara Province, is the most southern district in Indonesia. The access from Kupang, capital city of East Nusa Tenggara, to Lobalain (capital city of Rote Ndao) is by sea. Rote Ndao has 8 sub-districts, and it has sea border with Australia territory.

4) West Maluku Tenggara
West Maluku Tenggara is located in Maluku Province, can be accessed from Ambon, the capital city of Maluku to Saumlaki by air, with duration 2 hours flight. Saumlaki is the capital city of this district, and it is located in Yamdena Island. To go to Pengajar Muda’s service location, it takes another trip by sea around 2 – 12 hours. Some of islands only have limited transportation access, in which only twice a week. There are 10 sub-districts that spread in different islands.
Similar with Sangihe, in these islands, there is only limited electricity and communication access. Most of the people are working as sailor and sea weed’s farmer.

B. SM3T

SM3T abbreviated from Sarjana Mendidik di daerah Terdepan, Terluar dan Tertinggal (literally means; Bachelor Educate in the Frontier, Outermost and Disadvantaged Area), is a newly program runned by Ministry of National Education of Indonesia. This program is the part of Program Maju Bersama Mencerdaskan Bangsa or MBMI (means Program of Developed Together for Englightening the Nation).

Sumarna Surapranata, Director of Teachers and Education Personnel of Primary Education, Ministry of Education and Culture, writes that the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemdikbud), working hard to meet the needs of teachers in the 3T area (abbreviation of Terdepan, Terluar dan Tertinggal) [7].

SM3T program is addressed to the Bachelor of Education who has not served as a teacher, to be assigned for one year at 3T area. SM-3T program is intended to help overcome the shortage of teachers, as well as preparing teacher candidates a strong professional, independent, and have a caring attitude toward others, and have a soul to educate the children of the nation, in order to move forward together to reach lofty ideals as mandated by the founder of the Indonesian nation.

The reason behind, is because some education problems regarding teacher especially in 3T areas, such as; shortridge, unbalanced distribution, under qualification, low competencies, and the mismatched between qualifications education in the field of teaching. Another problem in education is the dropout rate is still relatively high, while enrollment rates are still low [7].
This program is also as a preparation for these university graduates as a professional educator. Until 2013, there are more than 5,200 graduates that already deployed and teach in 34 districts in 9 provinces, such as; Aceh, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, West Papua, Papua, Riau Islands Province, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and Maluku [9].

Some of service area that located in the frontier islands of Indonesia’s border are in Rote Ndao District in East Nusa Tenggara Province (sea border with Australia), Sangihe Islands District and Talaud Islands District in North Sulawesi (border with the Philliphines), Natuna Islands District and Anambas Islands Districts in Riau Islands Provinces (sea border with Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia), Nunukan District in East Kalimantan Province (border with Malaysia), Biak Numfor District in Papua (border with Palau) and South West Maluku District in Maluku Province (border with Australia) [9].

V. THE ROLE OF NGO AND GO

Nowadays in Indonesia, there are a lot of NGO that has similar concern with GIM and SM3T, to create education as the movement. It involves not only government organizations and programs, but also Non-Government Organizations, which represents the societies and communities, to take a part in nation’s education, especially in remote and disadvantages area.
The most important role from these organizations is the presence of complimentary teacher in these 3T areas. The young teacher helps to decrease the uneven distribution of teacher, as well as to enhance education quality in primary level.

Based on the interview conducted by the writer, GIM has specific approach, named education behavioral entity approach. It means, the Pengajar Muda not only responsible to teach in the school, but they also stimulate the society to make social and educational change [8]. In GIM, the Pengajar Muda has central role as the direct partner of GIM on developing Pengajar Muda’s leadership capacity, as well as as the technical supporter and direct partner on pursuing GIM’s vision and mission in supporting social change in area. In other words, they are the ambassador of the movement.

Pengajar Muda has four tasks in GIM’s framework, they are; curricular, extra-curricular, society education, and advocation of education network. Pengajar Muda scope of working is class, school, village/ society (including parents), sub-district and districs.

Similar to Pengajar Muda, as for the young teacher in SM3T program, their responsibility is also not just taught in the classroom. They will also educate and think about what facilities and educational information required and needed for the students in the SM3T locations.

Some significant stories of changes from GIM’s and SM3T’s locations are;

1) Students

The presence of young teacher in remote areas and islands, become the window of information for the students about many activities and competition. Not only in district level, but also national, even international level. Some of the students in these under-developed area can be successfully shows their ability on competing with another students with better education facilities in urban/ major cities in Indonesia.

Diana Poae (12 years old), one of the students in Kawio Islands, Sangihe Islands District, become the runner up in International Kids Photo Contest conducted by National Geographic Contest. Some other students also winning the competition in various contests, such as; Panasonic Kid Witness News 2013, Kalbe Young Scientist Award, student from Bengkalis as the finalist of Olimpiade Sains Kuark, student from West Maluku Tenggara as the participant of Bobo’s National Children Conference, and many more.

Not only did that, to strengthen student’s consciousness about nationality and patriotism, the young teacher teach them how to sing national anthem, conducting national ceremony (in some places it conducted for the first time), and invite the students to do multi-cultural understanding not only theorytically, but also practically.

At first, most of the students did not know about how large and big their country is. What they know is only their own island. To solve this problems, the young teacher initiates a program named “Jejaring Anak Indonesia” (means Indonesian Children Network), that is a correspondence program to encourage students to write and share their experience to the other students in another schools in different islands or provinces. It is quite effective for the students to broaden their knowledge and experience about the concept of state, nation and multi-culture.

2) Teacher and Headmaster

Previously, as mentioned before, the presence of original teacher in 3T areas is remainly low because of some reasons. But since the coming of young teacher, it stimulate them to come to the school ontime, as well as they are motivated to increase their quality through workshop and training, initiated by young teachers.

The teachers and headmaster also join some competition to increase their ability and experience. One of them is Jonathan Karame, Headmaster of SDN Inpres Para, in Sangihe Islands Districts; he got Manado Post Award 2012 from the Governor of North Sulawesi Province.

3) Society

Inspired by the successful story of their children, many parents and society finally become more optimistic and aware with education development in their area. Some of the communities in villages, in together, are build a place to study for their children and also village library with their own money.

4) Stakeholder

Bureau of Education, Youth and Sport in Sangihe Islands initiated a movement named Sangihe Mengajar (means Sangihe Teach). There are 16 young graduates from North Sulawesi recruited as the teacher to teach in elementary and junior high school in this district.

VI. CLOSING

From this case study, it can be seen that the presence of young Indonesian graduates make the NGO and GO’s role in can be more signigicant. Not only solving the distribution problem of teacher in remote areas, it also helps the behavioral change of the society to be more aware and care about their education. Furthermore, these teachers, besides of taking a role as educators, they also empowered to strengthen the nation and state in the frame of the Republic of Indonesia.

Now, there are more and more NGOs and GOs that initiated similar movement on education, especially on inviting more people to be more aware and contribute their contribution for the education. The survey has established that the NGOs can and do play a strong role in assisting the State to complement the public education system and to improve its effectiveness [11].
Although it is still a long way and not an easy job to be done, as well as some problems (technically and socially) that facing this initiatives, the presence of both government and society is very important to reach State vision on enlightening nation through intellectual life and education. It also can escalate the people who live in small islands in frontline of Indonesian border to be more conscious about their nation and patriotism spirit. So that national threats related to foreign influence and border’s problem can be minimize.

REFERENCES

[1] The World Factbook; Indonesia, Central Intelligence Agency Website, July 2013. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html
[2] Abubakar, Mustafa. Menata Pulau-pulau Kecil Perbatasan; Belajar dari Kasus Sipadan, Ligitan dan Sebatik. Jakarta: Penerbit Kompas, 2006.
[3] BNPP, Grand Design; Pengelolaan Batas Wilayah Negara dan Kawasan Perbatasan di Indonesia tahun 2011 – 2025 (Grand Design; Management of Country’s Border Area and Border Regional in Indonesia, year 2011 – 2025). Badan Nasional Pengelola Perbatasan (National Authority for Border Management), Republic of Indonesia, 2011.
[4] The World Bank. Teacher Employment and Deployment in Indonesia; Opportunities for Equity, Efficiency and Quality Improvement, 2006. Retrieved from: http://ddp-ext.worldbank.org/EdStats/IDNstu08a.pdf
[5] Yoltuwu, Johozua M. Pertumbuhan Ekonomi di Daerah Tertinggal (Economic Growth in Disadvantage Area), Work Meeting Presentation, Ministry of Disadvantage Area Development, Republic of Indonesia, 7-9 March 2013.
[6] Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar Website. http://indonesiamengajar.org
[7] Dikbud E-Magazine, Edisi 03, IV, May 2013. Retrieved from: http://118.98.223.68/kemdikbud/majalah/e-Majalah_DIKBUD_Edisi_03-Mei-2013.pdf
[8] Personal Interview with officer of Gerakan Indonesia Mengajar office, on August 1st, 2013 at 2 – 3 pm.
[9] SM3T Website. http://sm-3t.dikti.go.id/
[10] Kusumo, Ayub Torry Satriyo. Optimalisasi Pengelolaan dan Pemberdayaan Pulau-pulau Terluar dalam Rangka Mempertahankan Keutuhan Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia. Jurnal Dinamika Hukum, Vol. 10 No.3 September 2010.p. 327 – 337.
[11] Jagannathan, Shanti. The Role of Non-Governmental Organization in Primary Education; A Study of Six NGOs in India. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/142h4bR

[Share] Kesiapan Pemuda untuk Kemandirian Bangsa

Indonesia telah dikenal dunia dengan berbagai potensinya, tidak hanya dari aspek sumber daya alamnya, tetapi juga seluruh aspek yang menyangkut sumber daya manusianya. Akan tetapi, bangsa kita tidak boleh terlena dan merasa cukup dengan adanya potensi-potensi tersebut. Dalam era yang semakin mengglobal ini persaingan semakin ketat sehingga untuk dapat bertahan, tiap bangsa dituntut untuk terus bergerak membangun kemandiriannya, baik secara internal maupun eksternal.

Nasionalisme

Mulai akhir tahun 2015 ini, ASEAN Economic Community akan mulai diterapkan, yang berarti negara-negara ASEAN bersepakat untuk membuka masing-masing negara dan memberikan akses terbuka terhadap aliran barang (goods), jasa (services), investasi (investment), modal (capital) dan tenaga terampil (skilled labor). Di satu sisi hal ini menjadi tantangan yang sangat besar dan nyata bagi masyarakat Indonesia. Namun sebaliknya, hal ini juga dapat menjadi kesempatan bagi bangsa kita. Untuk itu, keunggulan komparatif yang telah dimiliki oleh Indonesia berupa sumber daya alam, energi dan tenaga kerja yang melimpah, tidak lagi cukup untuk meraih kemandirian bangsa.

Berdasarkan pendapat BJ Habibie (2008), keunggulan yang perlu ditingkatkan oleh bangsa ini adalah keunggulan kompetitif untuk memberi kemampuan dalam pengelolaan sumber daya yang sudah dimiliki Indonesia agar mampu bersaing dengan bangsa lainnya. Pemuda sebagai generasi penerus, dituntut untuk ikut berpartisipasi aktif dalam mewujudkan kemandirian bangsa di tengah tantangan global tersebut. Tidak dapat dipungkiri, sejak awal perjuangan kemerdekaan Bangsa Indonesia, pemuda Indonesia telah terbukti menjalankan peranan yang penting dan memberikan kontribusi yang besar. Dan peranan ini seyogyanya akan terus diberikan untuk membangun dan menjaga tanah air. Generasi muda dan ilmu pengetahuan dapat menjadi sumber kekuatan dalam pembentukan kemandirian bangsa tersebut.

Hal-hal yang bisa dilakukan oleh pemuda dalam mengoptimalkan potensi ilmu pengetahuan untuk mencapai kemajuan dan kemandirian kolektif bangsa, antara lain:

  1. Pemetaan dan Pemahaman tentang Potensi Indonesia

Hal yang perlu dan penting dilakukan pertama kali adalah memetakan dan memahami potensi yang dimiliki oleh Indonesia. Prof. Zuhal, Guru Besar Universitas Indonesia, dalam bukunya yang berjudul “Kekuatan Daya Saing Indonesia: Mempersiapkan Masyarakat Berbasis Pengetahuan” (2008), menyebutkan beberapa modal yang dimiliki oleh bangsa Indonesia:

  1. Modal Pengetahuan. Menggunakan pengetahuan untuk mencari terobosan teknologi bagi pembangunan ekonomi yang berdaya saing,
  2. Modal Manusia. Individu yang mampu berinisiatif dan berkreasi melakukan hal-hal baru dengan semangat kewiraswastaan,
  3. Modal Sosial. Kemampuan membangun kepercayaan, solidaritas sosial, infrastruktur pendidikan, kesehatan dan perekonomian rakyat,
  4. Modal Budaya. Kemampuan mengembangkan budaya sendiri, serta menyaring dan mengglokalisasikan budaya global,
  5. Modal Alam dan Lingkungan. Kemampuan menjaga kualitas lingkungan dan sumberdaya alam untuk pembangunan berkelanjutan.

2. Pendidikan

Salah satu cara untuk meningkatkan kualitas adalah melalui pendidikan. Tiap individu memiliki ketertarikan dan passion keilmuan masing-masing. Dengan mendalami bidang yang kita pelajari secara serius, hal ini akan menciptakan profesionalitas dan keahlian. Akan tetapi, perlu diperhatikan bahwa esensi pendidikan mencakup tiga aspek utama: memperluas ilmu dan pengetahuan (emphasizing knowledge), menumbuhkan kedewasaan berpikir (growing maturity), dan membentuk sikap untuk menjadi lebih baik dan bijak (developing good manners). Sehingga pendidikan di sini tidak hanya secara sempit diartikan sebagai menuntut ilmu di berbagai institusi formal dan bergelar, tetapi juga pendidikan non-formal yang bisa membantu proses dalam memperoleh serta menerapkan ilmu secara berkelanjutan, serta menjadikan sosok ilmuwan yang bijak dalam berpikir dan bertindak.

  1. Kemampuan Kepemimpinan (Leadership Skill)

Kemampuan kepemimpinan merupakan sebuah keniscayaan yang diperlukan dalam menerapkan dan menjalankan implementasi dari ilmu pengetahuan yang sudah diperoleh. Kepemimpinan tidak selalu diartikan sebagai pemimpin dalam sebuah organisasi atau kelembagaan, tetapi kemampuan dalam memimpin diri sendiri dan senantiasa menumbuhkan soft-skill tersebut. Beberapa kompetensi kepemimpinan yang perlu ditumbuhkembangkan masing-masing pribadi mencakup: kemampuan berkomunikasi (communication), pengambilan keputusan (decision making), pengelolaan tugas dan pekerjaan (managing work), adaptasi (adaptation), pengambilan aksi inisiatif (initiating action), memberikan dampak (impactful) serta kemampuan untuk mengembangkan kapasitas dan kapabilitas orang lain (develop and coach others).

  1. Kemampuan Bahasa Asing

Dalam dunia yang semakin mengglobal, penguasaan Bahasa asing menjadi penting. Tidak hanya dalam rangka berkomunikasi, tetapi juga dalam penyebaran ide serta pengetahuan kepada masyarakat dunia. Untuk menjadi bangsa yang mandiri dan berdikari, kemampuan ini perlu dikembangkan agar masyarakat kita dapat bersaing secara global.  Setelah memiliki keahlian di bidang masing-masing, ditunjang dengan kemampuan kepemimpinan dan pemahaman grass-root, maka dengan penguasaan bahasa asing ini dapat mendorong tercapainya generasi dengan kompetensi kelas dunia (world-class competence).

Selain keempat hal tersebut di atas, diperlukan pula penerapan ilmu pengetahuan dan yang dipadu dengan teknologi, investasi, persepsi dan inovasi (BJ Habibie, 2008). Setelah melihat tantangan nyata dan kesempatan tersebut, kini saatnya generasi muda Indonesia perlu bergerak (tidak hanya lagi bersiap) melakukan aksi nyata. Dengan adanya pemuda yang senantiasa meningkatkan kemampuannya secara individu dalam penguasaan intelektual (ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi), hal ini dapat mendorong tercapainya kemandirian bangsa secara kolektif, serta bangsa kita akan lebih siap dalam menghadapi persaingan global. *Tulisan ini dibuat dan diterbitkan dalam Buletin Akselerasi MITI Mahasiswa edisi Maret 2015

[Share] Belajar dari Taiwan – Kesehatan untuk Semua

Baru saja saya mengobrak-abrik file-file lama saya untuk menulis sebuah “tugas”. Dan yang paling saya suka ketika melakukan hal ini adalah menemukan sesuatu yang nostalgic atau tulisan-tulisan yang sayang kalau tidak dibagi.

Maka dari itu, perkenankanlah saya berbagi sebuah catatan pelajaran dari sistem kesehatan Taiwan yang saya ulas untuk “bahan belajar” kita bersama, untuk Indonesia yang lebih baik. Selama dua tahun lebih berada di bumi Formosa, saya merasakan benar manfaat dan kenyamanan dengan sistem kesehatan ini. Jaa, selamat membaca 🙂

Belajar dari Taiwan; National Health Insurance (NHI), Kesehatan Milik Semua

Oleh: Retno Widyastuti*
*Mahasiswa S2 Jurusan Asia Pacific Studies
National Chengchi University, Taipei – Taiwan (ROC)

Taiwan dikenal dunia dengan berbagai produk elektronik dan industri berbasis teknologi dan semi-konduktornya. Selain itu, ada hal lain yang patut kita ketahui tentang keunggulan Taiwan, yaitu sistem pelayanan dan asuransi kesehatannya yang bernama National Health Insurance (NHI). Sistem asuransi kesehatan nasional Taiwan ini didaulat sebagai salah satu yang terbaik di dunia, sehingga berbagai negara maju dunia melakukan studi banding tentang sistem ini. Apa dan bagaimanakah sebenarnya NHI itu? Apakah keadilan sosial dan slogan “kesehatan milik semua” benar adanya di Taiwan?

Jika melihat logo ini di klinik atau apotik, kartu NHI kita bisa dipergunakan :)
Jika melihat logo ini di klinik atau apotik, kartu NHI kita bisa dipergunakan 🙂

Sistem pelayanan kesehatan sangat terkait dengan kualitas hidup manusia. Dengan semakin mudahnya akses kesehatan bagi masyarakat, maka akan semakin baik pula kualitas hidup manusia negara tersebut. Salah satu keberhasilan Taiwan dalam mensejahterakan dan meningkatkan taraf hidup manusianya adalah melalui program asuransi kesehatan nasional (NHI) ini. NHI merupakan sistem perencanaan asuransi sosial yang bersifat nasional dan wajib bagi setiap warga Taiwan (termasuk warga asing yang menjadi residen di Taiwan). Sistem ini memberikan akses kesehatan yang sama untuk setiap warga.

Sistem pelayanan dan asuransi kesehatan nasional Taiwan yang dikelola oleh Ministry of Health and Welfare ini, diperkenalkan pada Maret 1995. Kebijakan ini bermula dari reformasi kesehatan yang dilakukan Taiwan pada era 1980-an, terutama setelah mengalami pertumbuhan ekonomi. Pemerintah membentuk komisi dan melakukan perbandingan sistem pelayanan kesehatan di 10 negara lain, dan mencoba mengkombinasikan kebaikan dari tiap sistem, dan membentuk sistem uniknya sendiri.

Dr. Michael Chen, wakil presiden Biro NHI Taiwan tahun 2009, menyampaikan bahwa pada dasarnya model NHI diambil dari Medicare di Amerika Serikat, namun yang berbeda adalah program NHI mencakup seluruh masyarakat, sedangkan Medicare hanya untuk lansia.

Setiap warga Taiwan dan residen mendapatkan Health IC smart card, semacam kartu sehat, yang mencakup data dan profil pasien, rekam medis, dan resep obat. Adanya kartu ini tidak hanya mencegah penipuan asuransi, pelayanan dan pengujian yang berulang, serta pembayaran yang tidak semestinya, tetapi juga memudahkan dokter untuk mengetahui seluruh rekam medis pasien dengan menggunakan card reader dan komputer. Keunggulan lainnya adalah sistem pembiayaan yang otomatis tercatat, dan segala rekam medis (tes kesehatan maupun resep obat) yang terdata, dapat mencegah terjadinya pemberian pengobatan yang berlebihan oleh dokter, sekaligus mencegah pasien menyalahgunakan sistem.

Menurut Wu, Majeed dan Kuo (2010), keistimewaan NHI lainnya antara lain akses yang baik, mencakup masyarakat secara luas, jangka waktu menunggu yang singkat, harga yang cukup murah, dan sistem data pengumpulan nasional untuk perencanaan dan penelitian.

Per tahun 2004, tingkat jangkauannya mencapai 99% dari seluruh total populasi Taiwan yang mencapai 23 juta jiwa (sebelumnya keterjangkauan hanya 97% pada 2001). Tidak hanya jangkauannya saja, tetapi berdasarkan poling opini publik yang dilakukan oleh Biro NHI, tingkat kepuasan pasien secara keseluruhan mencapai lebih dari 70%.

Sedangkan terkait pembiayaan, sebagai gambaran, untuk pelayanan kesehatan standar, pasien hanya perlu membayar NTD 100 atau sekitar Rp 40.000,- per kunjungan. Biaya ini ini sifatnya tetap dan tidak dibeda-bedakan berdasarkan tingkat ekonomi pasien.

Kuo membandingkan sistem kesehatan Taiwan dengan Amerika dan Inggris. Asuransi kesehatan di Amerika Serikat yang cenderung komersial dan berorientasi pasar dan sistem pelayanan kesehatan nasional Inggris yang sepenuhnya dibiayai pemerintah. Sedangkan di Taiwan, Pemerintah mensubsidi penuh masyarakat miskin dan veteran, sedangkan masyarakat yang bekerja, membayar premi dengan harga yang cukup terjangkau.

Dengan model yang ditawarkan NHI, masyarakat memiliki kebebasan untuk memilih rumah sakit dan dokter tanpa harus mencemaskan daftar tunggu. NHI memberikan keuntungan dan paket yang lengkap, yang mencakup pelayanan kesehatan dan pencegahan, resep obat, pelayanan kesehatan gigi, pengobatan China, kunjungan rumah oleh perawat, dan sebagainya. Selain itu, melalui NHI orang yang bekerja tidak perlu mengkhawatirkan hilangnya asuransi mereka apabila mereka berganti pekerjaan atau pensiun.

Namun, masih ada beberapa permasalahan misalnya pendeknya jangka waktu konsultasi antara pasien dengan dokter dan kualitasnya karena masih rendahnya rasio jumlah dokter dengan total populasi, yang menyebabkan tingkat ketergantungan pasien yang tinggi.

Dampaknya, dengan semakin banyaknya jumlah pasien dan tingkat kunjungan yang meningkat, menyebabkan dokter harus membatasi konsultasi sekitar 2-5 menit per pasien. Sedangkan dari sisi pemerintah, tantangannya adalah bagaimana meningkatkan kualitas kesehatan masyarakat, sambil tetap menjaga pengeluaran pembiayaan kesehatan nasional ini di bawah kontrol.

Sumber:

  • Kuo, Yu-Ying. Cross-National Comparison of Taiwan, Japan, US, and UK’s Health Insurance System. Department of Public Policy and Management, Shih Hsin University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Wu, Tai Yin, Majeed, Azeem and Kuo, Ken N. (2010). An overview of the healthcare system in Taiwan. London Journal of Primary Care 2010; 3:115–19,Royal College of General Practitioners

[Academic] Russia and China Presence in Central Asia

Russia and China Presence in Central Asia; 
Rivalry and Cooperation on Economics, Energy and Security Issues

Since the collapsing of the Soviet Union in 1991, there were some significant changes on the constellation of international geo-politics in Euro-Asia, specifically in Central Asia . Even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Moscow has retained extensive political, economic, and security ties with the Central Asia countries (Weitz, 2008: 52).

Ariel Cohen, argued that Greater Central Asia, which includes Iran and Afghanistan, is vital for Russia as a source of hydrocarbons and other raw materials. This region is also a strategic transit route for Russia pipelines and rail roads which could become part of the “New Silk Road” for formidable developmental engine. However, the region is a major geopolitical battleground between China, which is a regional emerging power, with Russia (Central Asia Program, 2012).

China, as the closest big country with Russia, has some development on its relationship with Russia also with its neighboring countries of the former Soviet Union in terms of trade and political cooperation (Burles, 1999: ix). Burles (1999) also mentioned that Russia and Central Asia become major suppliers of energy resources to China’s rapidly growing economy.

Relations between Russia – China and China – Central Asia can be said as complicated since the leader in Moscow and the capitals of Central Asian countries seen the China’s growing power as a threat (Burles, 1999: ix). From geopolitical perspective, Central Asia has been becoming a “contestation zone” in terms of security, energy resources and commercial opportunities. Burles mentioned that China’s growing presence in Central Asia may be indicative of its impending ascendance in continental Asia, and may provide secure land links between China and states in the Middle East (and possibly even Europe) who share the China’s ambivalence toward American power.

Richard Weitz (2008: 51) mentioned that Central Asia represents the geographic region where the security interests of China and Russia most overlap. However, this shared security interests mean that the newly independent states of Central Asia, such as: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, have not become venues for rivalry between Moscow and Beijing, but rather major unifying elements in Chinese-Russian relations.

With the weakening influence of Russia in the independent state in Central Asia, in this paper, the author would like to describe about how are the current Russia presence and influence in the region, especially its contestation with China as newly leading economic power, especially in terms of economics, energy and security issues.

Economic Potential in Central Asia

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To understand how Russia and China interest in Central Asia, firstly we should understand what the importance of this region is. Central Asia has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing regions since the late 1990s and has shown notable development potential, that is significant for a region comprising largely of small landlocked economies with no access to the sea for trade.

Dowling and Wignaraja (2006: 16) mentioned four advantages of the region. First, the region contains a significant base of the world’s natural resources (including oil, natural gas, gold, and other metals) and its economic prospects are closely linked to international commodity prices. Second, from geopolitical perspective, it is strategically positioned as a gateway between Europe and Asia and offers extensive potential for trade, investment, and growth.

Third, the region spans a vast geographical area, with widely differing natural conditions. Many economies are landlocked and have harsh climates, both of which impose large transactions costs on economic activity. Fourth, all the economies have had a legacy of socialist-oriented economic policies and several have embarked on market-oriented reforms emphasizing macroeconomic stabilization, trade openness, and private sector development.

Russia Interest in Central Asia

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With this situation, Russian puts its economic goals in Central Asia that includes; ensuring its firms participate in developing the region’s energy resources and Central Asian oil and gas exporters continue to use Russian pipelines. Russian companies and business groups control much of the transportation systems for Central Asia’s oil , gas and electricity.

Richard Weitz (2008: 52-53) mentioned that Central Asia’s landlocked states still heavily rely on the Russia’s transportation, communications, supply-chain and other networks. It relates to the legacy of the integrated Soviet economy. The manufacturers from this region remain similarly dependent on Russian spare parts, technology and services. In other words, Central Asia is an area of special Russian influence. Furthermore, much Russian influence and assistance in Central Asia is legitimate and vital, such as: over drug-trafficking, illegal migration and some forms of security cooperation. Russia has genuine security interests in Central Asia, but it would be more convincing if it did not play the security card when no such threat exists (Nixey, 2012: 8).

In other side, many Russian companies still rely on Central Asian suppliers for essential natural resources, equipment, and other inputs. Russian firms have made some progress in developing suppliers in Russia to replace or supplement sources in other former Soviet states. The recent surge in world oil and gas prices has facilitated a major resurgence of Russian public and private investment in Central Asia.

Although most of Central Asian countries are landlocked and have historically depended on the Russia Federation for trade linkages, the growing forces of globalization will be increasingly important for the future trade prospects for this region (Dowling and Wignaraja, 2006: 82). But, for at least the next few years, Russia will continue to derive soft power from its Soviet legacy.

China Interest in Central Asia

Historically, China had ties for centuries with Central Asia, but since the 19th century, Soviet control of the region severed these relations and contacts (Weitz, 2008: 54). After the collapsing of USSR in 1991, China has reemerged as a major player in the region. China provides the Central Asian states vital non-Russian transportation routes through which the states can interact with international markets (Burles, 1999: xi).

Most importantly, China’s growing energy needs represent another force driving its increased interest and involvement in Central Asia. China’s growing interest in securing Central Asia oil and gas could lead Beijing to reconsider its policy of regional deference. Richard Weitz (2008) argued that with the combination of a booming economy and declining domestic energy production, it results China’s importation of an increasingly large percentage of its oil and natural gas. Chinese policy makers have sought to enhance their access to energy resources from Central Asia, as well as Russia (Weitz, 2008: 56).

Another concern of China in Central Asia is its economic relations and cross border trade with Central Asia countries. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is one of six autonomous regions in China. Its location in China’s western border, make Xinjiang become special in the eye of central government in Beijing. Xinjiang has unique geopolitical situation, where it becomes the frontier of China with Central Asia. China views Xinjiang as a continental bridge which extends China’s reach to Central Asia and simultaneously serves as a buffer to China proper (Warikoo, 2011).

Xinjiang is susceptible to various influences and has had a history of interaction with Russia and Russia’s central Asian republics, which is an economic advantage for China. But in other side it also becomes a serious liability. China’s program to develop the west and Xinjiang’s economic viability hinges on trade with near neighbors. However, as China moves to create infrastructure to integrate Xinjiang into the region, it created an undesired influences into the province.

In order to develop Xinjiang economy, China government also tries to expand its economic influence to Central Asia. Warikoo (2011) explained that central government created special economic zones to facilitate cross border trade of Xinjiang with adjoining Central Asian Republics, in a manner that most of the business and trade remain in the hands of Chinese. Xinjiang also used as a spring board to penetrate and influence Central Asian economy, polity and society (Warikoo, 2011: 181).

Shared Russian – Chinese Interest

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Central Asia perhaps represents the geographic region where the security interests of China and Russia most intersect. Russia and China often compete for Central Asian energy supplies and commercial opportunities. These two governments share a desire to limit instability in the region (Weitz, 2008: 60).

The fact that now the countries of Central Asia still remain economically and politically oriented toward Moscow, albeit to varying degrees. This orientation is the product of Russia’s long domination of the region. But, with the declining of Russian power, Burles argued that China’s influence in Central Asia will be growing. The countries of Central Asia, even regions within individual countries, are slowly reorienting themselves in directions more appropriate to their geographic position, political conditions, and economic needs (Burles, 1999: 51).

China has never expressed any interest in spreading influence when formulating its own policies into Central Asia. However, as China’s economic, political and military power grows, this behavior toward deeper involvement of China in Central Asian affairs is likely to change. As it mentioned before, China’s main policy priorities involve avoiding instability in the region, securing access to energy resources and expanding economic cooperation.

The issue of ethnic separatism and terrorism in their border territories become the major concern of these countries in terms of security. China opposes the spread of extremism movement in Central Asia and supports the region’s security. Beijing’s primary motivation for this action is to minimize the potential for instability emerging in the region that might threaten its domestic stability and economic development (Burles, 1999: xi).

Another issue on regional stability and security is the US military presence in Central Asia, which creates the government of both Russia and China feel clearly uneasy. The regional instability following from the US invasion of Iraq that have seen the deposition of pro-Moscow governments around Russia’s borders have led many influential Russian to see the US presence as a major source of instability in its own rights (Weitz, 2008: 61). Russian and Chinese leaders have avoided directly challenging the American military presence in Central Asia. Despite the overlapping interests of Russia and China, their policies in the Central Asia region still frequently conflict.

As for the energy issues, in some respects, China and Russia should be natural energy partners. Chinese energy demand is soaring and Russia’s oil and gas deposits lie much closer to China than the more distant energy sources Africa and the Persian Gulf (Weitz, 2008: viii).

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization

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The overlapping security interests between Russia and China have manifested themselves most visibly in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Weitz, 2008: 65). The making of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is become one of the ways to accelerating regional integrations and cooperation between Russian, China and Central Asia countries.

SCO started in 1996 and 1997, when Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed a document that established the ‘Shanghai Five’ to deal with border delimitation and fostering trust and good neighborly relations between the five countries. Then in June 2001 Uzbekistan joined the ‘Shanghai Five’ and then they signed the Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Kalra and Saxena, 2007). Since its founding, SCO has essentially functioned as a Chinese-Russian condominium that provides Beijing and Moscow with a convenient multilateral framework to manage their interests in the newly independent countries of Central Asia (Weitz, 2008: 65).

SCO engages the Central Asian nations with Russia and China in the region, also observer countries, such as Afghanistan, Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran. The aim of SCO is not only about security and balance of power, but also focusing on economic and social integration of the region and has gone to great lengths to create confidence in its desire to promote prosperity and cooperation (Kalra and Saxena, 2007). The goals of the SCO are to encourage trade links, social and political cooperation, find joint solutions to problems of environment, infrastructure, education, and to build scientific and cultural links between member states, the region as a whole and internationally. The future of the SCO lays more and more in the realm of economic and social issues.

However, since 2003 the SCO has sponsored a number of anti-terrorist exercises that involve paramilitary as well as intelligence and law enforcement personnel. China and Kyrgyzstan in 2002 conducted the first bilateral anti-terror exercise within the SCO framework.

Closing

With the weakening of Russia, its influence in Central Asia is declining. This reality becomes a great chance for China to take over Russia’s influence in the region. However, Russia still has a dominant energy presence in Central Asia. Interesting argument from Nixey (2012) it mentioned that if the most Central Asian given a choice between dominion by Russia or by China, they would currently choose Russia. It shows that China should be patient to take this chance fully. The situation might be more complicated with the presence of the US military base in Central Asia, which can disturb the balance of power.

For China, influence in the Central Asia is a means to achieve other domestic and foreign policy objectives such as securing energy resources. But for Russia, influence is, at least in part, an end in itself (Nixey, 2012).

References

[Academic] China Soft Power in SEA?

Berhubung nilai semester 2 kemaren sudah keluar semua (Alhamdulillah), maka paper dan tugas kuliah sudah bisa saya publish di sini. Anyway, maafkan saya yang akhir-akhir ini terlalu malas untuk menulis dan meng-update blog, dan memilih jalur singkat dengan cara upload tugas XD. Selamat membaca, terutama yang tertarik dengan studi China.

Reading Note: China Soft Power in South East Asia

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This reading note is based on the article written by H.H. Michael Hsiao and Alan Yang, titled Soft Power Politics in the Asia Pacific: Chinese and Japanese Quests for Regional Leadership. It was explained about two countries on struggling for leadership in SEA. Located in strategic position, South East Asia (SEA) region and ASEAN as regional organization become significant for strong economic power such as China, Japan and South Korea. Not only its geopolitical situation, SEA has abundance of natural resources that being needed for industrial countries, as well as its market potential.

Since the 1990s, China has strengthened its relations with ASEAN states in fields of foreign aid, trade, finance, infrastructure, business, labor, environment, and development as well as tourism (Hsiao & Yang, 2009). Not only hard power, another approach to spread the influence of a country is by soft power. The essence of Joseph Nye’s concept of soft power is an ability to attract others; such an attraction serves to persuade others to accept one’s purposes without explicit threat or violent exchange. The soft power of a country rests primarily on three resources: its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority) (Nye, 2013).

China’s soft power in SEA, especially in grass-root level, in my opinion is perhaps not yet as successful as Japan and South Korea’s Halyu. Japan soft power diplomacy has been exist for decade, while China relatively new on emphasizing their soft power. From the 2008 opinion poll on Japan’s image in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, it results that Japan is a trustworthy friend for ASEAN countries; friendly to their country; and respondents had positive images of Japan’s economic and technical contribution to their country. These results demonstrate a warming attitude of ASEAN people to Japan and corroborate the efficacy of Tokyo’s soft power diplomacy (in Hsiao & Yang, 2009).

What made China is not successful enough for its soft power in SEA? I argue that beside of different starting time, another factor that might be very important for China to be more influential is its domestic political situation. Chin (2013) mentioned that the lack of serious political reform in China caused its soft power has not directly translated into more supportive views of its quest for status and legitimacy. With respect to the latter, it will be increasingly difficult for the government to prevent its domestic record on political and civil freedoms from affecting China’s international credibility.

In article titled “What China and Russia Don’t Get About Soft Power?”, Nye argued that for a rising power like China whose growing economic and military might frightens its neighbors into counter-balancing coalitions, a smart strategy includes soft power to make China look less frightening and the balancing coalitions less effective. China makes the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power. In today’s world, information is not scarce but attention is, and attention depends on credibility. Nye’s view on soft power springs is largely from individuals, the private sector, and civil society. So that for China to succeed, it will need to match words and deeds in their policies, be self-critical, and unleash the full talents of their civil societies.

China might be powerful economically, but it seems that from soft-power influence, it will be a long way for China to “conquer” SEA social and culturally.

References:

[Academic] India’s Growing Importance in Asia: Look East Policy

#India gak cuma tentang Bollywood en kari :). Dalam postingan kali ini, ku-copaskan tulisanku seputar kebijakan India tentang “Look East Policy”. Selamat membaca 🙂

India’s Growing Importance in Asia: Look East Policy

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After the end of Cold War and the fall of Soviet Union, India was change its foreign policy orientation with a policy called “Look East Policy”. Look East Policy shows India’s efforts to develop extensive economic and strategic relations with Southeast Asia countries for creating and maintaining regional power in this area, as well as to counter China’s strategic influence (not only in economic, but also in military and security aspects). In 1990’s, there was a global trend towards regionalism and the increase of China’s influence in Southeast Asia, so that India need to swift their previous policy towards this region.

One aspect that should be understood very well about India’s Look East Policy is its geopolitical situation (Chanda and Gopalan, 2009). India faces big challenge to create and develop relations with its neighbor countries in South Asia and West Asia. For West Asia and Middle East, these regions has unstable political situation, while South Asia, Central Asia and Afghanistan lack the potential for cooperation (Hong, 2007). The India’s failure in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) because of the lack of political trust and economic progress, interestingly are used by China to build closer relations with India’s neighbors such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Burma (Hong, 2007).

To grow up bigger, India needs to build relations with more powerful and stronger economic potential. As from security point of view, India has serious problem in some disputed area with Pakistan and China which can change the shape of South Asia.

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Although India is still relatively weak in terms of economic and political power, it seems that this Look East Policy is quite offensive in term of India’s efforts on spreading its influence. Zhao Hong mentioned that India realized that if it wanted to have a significant role as a major power, India should complete its transition from a “South Asian regional power” to an “Asian major power” and eventually become a “major world power”. India also must develop political and economic relations with ASEAN and use them as a bridge with which to connect itself to East Asia (Hong, 2007). ASEAN countries realized that with the rise of India, they can reduce their dependence on Japan, the Western countries, and China in trade and economic relations.

With that reasons, India established some bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Southeast Asia countries, such as; with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), BIMSTEC, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation. India also trying to become ASEAN’s dialogue partner in many forums such as ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN – India Summit, ASEAN+6, East Asia Summit, and ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity.

One of interesting part from Hong analysis is about the impact of the India factor on the future of Sino-ASEAN relations. He said that this condition may well depend upon the extent to which India’s economic potential can be translated into political and strategic influence. Balance-of power politics will continue to inform Sino-India rivalry in Myanmar, Vietnam, and other ASEAN countries.This India’s policy also related to the US, where China was also concerned that the United States might manipulate India’s evolving relations with ASEAN in order to contain China or “smother” China’s attempt to exert its influence in the region (Hong, 2007).

Reference:

Hong, Zhao. 2007. India and China: Rivals or Partners in Southeast Asia?, Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 29, No. 1 (2007), pp. 121-42.

[Academic] North Korea Issues

As usual, I copy and paste my essays on National Development Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region class, especially for the North Korean part. In early 2013, North Korea and Kim Jong Eun became a hot topic in international affairs. Here are some of my opinions on some issues in this country :). Happy reading :D!

ESSAY ON NORTH KOREA ISSUES

In the early of 2013, again, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) did a controversial and aggressive behavior by doing third nuclear test. The first and second tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009. In January 2013, North Korea announced that they would carry out a third high-level nuclear test and launch more long-range rocket that aimed at the US and US close allies in East Asia region such as South Korea and Japan. All these unfriendly behavior made North Korea or DPRK become isolated from international community with economic embargo and sanction, which impacted to its economy and created some serious domestic problem.

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DPRK has been one of the world’s isolated countries and most secretive societies by the communist and dictatorship rule. DPRK face a dilemma because of its economy stagnancy, especially since the end of the Cold War. Its economy mostly came from agricultural sector that heavily dictated by weather. Floods and drought becomes the biggest enemy for this sector. Another one is manufacturing production, which is really dependent on electricity and oil supplies from foreign countries.

However, even though there are a lot of serious cases inside the country, DPRK stubbornness won’t stop. And surprisingly they still can “calm” with all the pressure from international world. What makes them still can survive?

In my opinion, the first reason why DPRK still can survive in its bad shape economy and unfriendly international community because of North Korea has nuclear and missile program as its bargaining power. Dick K. Nanto (2006) said that the North Korean leaders in Pyongyang have only limited options remaining as they have placed their nuclear weapons program on the bargaining table in exchange for economic assistance, security assurance, and normalization of relations with the United States, Japan, and South Korea.

The second reason is because DPRK’s economy is still heavily dependent on foreign assistance to handle starvation of the people. For covering up the domestic problem, DRPK has been using their bargaining power (that is nuclear program) for gaining more foreign aid. Nanto and Avery (2010) in their report mentioned that the country wants to join the club of nuclear and space powers and to be an Asian tiger economy. DPRK uses “charm offensive” that seems aimed at restoring inflows of economic assistance and trade flows. This “charm offensive” defined as specific actions to ease tensions with the United States and South Korea and appears to have reinvigorated its relationship with China.

Giving North Korean international assistance such as: food, energy and denuclearization assistance has always been a dilemmatic position for the donor, especially; the US, South Korea, China and Japan. From Manyin and Nikitin (2012) writings, it mentioned that between 1995 and 2008, the United States provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in assistance: just over 50% for food aid and about 40% for energy assistance. But since early 2009, the United States has provided virtually no aid to North Korea.

North Korea has been suffering from chronic, massive food shortages since the mid-1990s where 40 percent of the population still suffers from malnutrition caused by the starvation. To fill those gaps, countries such as China, South Korea, and the United States and also the United Nations have been giving them food aid.

On February 29, 2012, after bilateral talks with the United States, North Korea announced a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities (including uranium enrichment) at its Yongbyon nuclear facilities. In exchange, the US announced that they would provide North Korea with 240,000 metric tons of food aid but in condition that the food aid on progress in security and/or human rights matters; and linked the assistance to Pyongyang for easing its restrictions on monitoring (Manyin and Nikitin, 2012).

As for the energy assistance, between 1995 and 2009, the United States provided around $600 million in energy assistance to DPRK that was given to two time periods in 1995-2003 and in 2007-2009. In exchange, North Korea was being asked to freezing its plutonium-based nuclear facilities. However, when the assistance not provided anymore since year 2009, DPRK withdrew from the Six-Party Talks and Korea launched several long-range missile and ran a nuclear device test.

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[Academic] Discussion: Secularism and Political Islam in Turkey and Indonesia

Kamis, 30 Mei 2013 kemarin kampusku kedatangan tamu spesial dari Belanda. Beliau bernama Prof. Martin van Bruinessen. Beliau hadir ke Taiwan dalam rangka undangan dari Institute of International Relations dan NCCU (alias kampusku) untuk memberikan kuliah tamu dengan topik “Secularism and Political Islam in Turkey and Indonesia; A Comparison of State-Islam relations and Social Dynamics in Two Major Muslim Countries”. Saat membaca pengumuman ini, daku seketika langsung bersemangat karena topiknya cukup membuat penasaran.

Oya, sebagai informasi, Prof Martin ini adalah Anthropolog yang ahli dalam bidang studi Islam dan Muslim di Turki dan Indonesia. Beliau pernah tinggal lama, baik di Turki maupun di Indonesia (hampir 10 tahun). Maka gak heran kalau bliau sangat fasih berbicara dalam dua bahasa ini. Sekarang, beliau sedang jadi visiting professor di National University of Singapore (NUS). Fyi lagi, istri beliau ternyata orang Indonesia lho :D! Dan beliau sendiri adalah seorang Muslim.

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Sebenernya ada banyak poin penting dan menarik dalam diskusi ini, terutama karena aye mengajukan cukup banyak pertanyaan ke beliau. wkwkwk…. But, ntar aye buat tulisan khusus (catatan pribadi dan hasil perenungan diskusinya) di lain kesempatan ya. Need longer time to write it. Sementara ini, di postingan sini yang aye share slide presentasi beliau dulu nggih. Kalau ada pertanyaan atau hal yang kurang jelas, bisa ditanyakan ke aye. Jaa, selamat membaca 🙂

Secularism and Political Islam in Turkey and Indonesia; A Comparison of State-Islam relations and Social Dynamics in Two Major Muslim Countries

By: Prof. Martin van Bruinessen (Utrecht University)

NCCU – Thursday, May 30, 2013

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Some similarities of Turkey and Indonesia:

  1. Both are multi party democracies in which elections can and do overthrow the established government
  2. In both the military have often intervened in politics, claiming a unique position as founders and defenders of the secular republic
  3. Tense relations between the army and organized Islam
  4. Both turkey and Indonesia are secular states, though of different types
  5. Both in Turkey and in Indonesia there have been movements for the establishment of an Islamic state
  6. Both turkey and Indonesia have Islamist parties that became successful by broadening their base and renouncing on the Islamic state (AKP and PKS)

Less similar:

  1. Responses to ideological influences from the Arab Middle East (Di Indonesia, Hizbut Tahrir, Ikhwanul Muslimin, Salafy movement dapat dukungan yang cukup besar. Indonesia dapat pengaruh influence dari pemikiran Islam di LN. Sedangkan di Turki, organisasi muslim tapi basisnya di Turki, bukan pengaruh dari Timur Tengah)
  2. Role of Muslim political parties
  3. Intellectual aspects: development of modern Muslim theological thought vs piety  movements

Types of secular regimes:

  • Separation state and religion rarely complete, see Germany and great Britain
  • Protecting religion from the state/ guarantee religious freedom (USA)
  • Protecting the state from interference by religion (most extreme form: protecting all politics from religion, as in France)
  • Neutrality of the state towards religions(India, Netherlands)
  • Control of religion by the state (Turkey) à imam merupakan PNS
  • Recognition of (certain) religions (Indonesia)

Secularism and secularization:

  • A secular regime does  not mean that the citizens are secular in the sense of giving little importance to religion
  • A secular regime does not necessarily mean that society is secularized
  • Even in a secular state, religion may play a major public role (Casanova)

Indonesian and Turkish secularism

  1. Turkey: Kemalism replaced religious institutions by secular ones and made great efforts to protect the state from religion (or from society?)
  2. Indonesia: Pancasila proclaims neutrality in religion (but not entirely, for non-religion in not tolerated). In legal system, religion put into the part of the law

Turkey’s Secularism

  • No place for shariah in legislation or public life, no religious courts, only western civil law courts
  • Organization based on Islam not allowed
  • Diyanet (Religious Affairs Directorate): huge bureaucracy, controlling mosques and Imams
  • Imam-khatib schools to train religious person

Indonesia’s Secularism

  • Islamic courts for family law only; recently syariah based local regulations
  • Islamic state rejected, but Islamic parties major part of the landscape
  • Ministry of religious affairs in charge of religious education, hajj, etc. state and private religious education give access to public higher education
  • Majelis Ulama Indonesia: from government legitimizer to independent agenda setting actor

Desecularization

  • The elites that founded and governed Turkey and Indonesia in their early decades were secular. The pious segments of the population remained economically and culturally backward
  • Social mobility through institutions of religious education
  • C. 1980’s: emergence of Muslim middle class and counter-elite, Muslim lifestyles

Impact of the Islamic Resurgence

  • Indonesia: ex Masyumi party links up with Muslim Brothers and Rabita
  • Arabic Islamist thought has increasing impact on disaffected Muslims
  • Numerous Indonesians study in Egypt or Saudi
  • Turkey: limited influence Muslim Brothers in 1960s-1970s; contacts with Miili Gorus
  • Iranian revolution impacts on both in stimulating religious social thought (1978-1979)
  • Various transnational movements (Muslim Brothers, Hizbut Tahrir, Salafi) gain influence in Indonesia (and much less in Turkey)
  • After fall of Suharto these Islamist trends highly visible
  • Indonesian Muslim political parties fail to mobilize large numbers, and gradually decline, with the exception of PKS
  • Turkey’s AKP renounces on Islamic agenda and becomes hegemonic representative of conservative Turkey – effectively an alternative to Arab style Islamic movements

Muslim middle class cultures

  • Indonesia:
  1. regime policies benefit a growing middle class under Suharto apolitical but intellectually challenging Muslim discourses flourish
  2. Later increasingly individualizing ‘self-improvement’ types of religious training and Islamic consumerism. “Market Islam” à in banking (syariah banking), halal products and certifying halal
  3. Prosperity religion
  • Turkey:
  1. 1980s neoliberal restructuring and the Anatolian Tigers
  2. Refah and AKP capture new constituencies and expand beyond their original Islamist base
  3. Flourishing of ‘cemaat’ (congregations)

Greater visibility of Islam in both:

  • Muslim parties lose credibility in Indonesia; the main Turkish Muslim party has no Muslim program anymore, but has become near-hegemonic
  • Political Islam is marginalized

Self-assertion

  • Indonesian Islam mostly at the receiving end of global flows (both fundamentalist and liberal cosmopolitan)
  • Turkish Islam increasingly self-confident and presents itself as alternative to Brotherhood or Salafi type Arabian versions of Islam
  • AKP as model for Islamist parties elsewhere
  • Gulen movement and other cemaat engage in foreign missions

[Academic] Taiwan’s Identity

#Bagi yang tertarik dengan studi Cross-Strait Relations antara Taiwan dan China, dan juga sejarah Taiwan silakan baca postingan ini ya :D!

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Kemarin malam, seorang kawan bertanya padaku terkait sejarah Taiwan. “Sebenernya, gimana sih status Taiwan?”. Nah, pas banget hari Kamis yang lalu, aku melakukan presentasi dalam kuliah Political Development in Taiwan. Sengaja mengambil kelas ini supaya bisa lebih memahami hal-hal yang terjadi di Taiwan, serta juga bisa belajar latar belakang sejarah Taiwan yang cukup complicated dengan statusnya.

Di postingan kali ini, aku copaskan rangkuman dari tugas bacaan dan presentasiku. Selamat membaca 🙂

The Evolution of the KMT’s Stance on the One China Principle: National Identity in Flux

By: Wu Yu-Shan (2011)

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This chapter explained about how the old force has been striving to maintain its political relevance by reformulating its ideals and reconciling Chinese and Taiwanese identities.

Two competing identities in Taiwan; one advocated by the KMT and the pan-Blue camp, while the other is by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the pan-green camp. The comparison of the two identities is based on their historiography, their identification of status quo, and their preference for the future of the nation. These two dominant identities are competing for supremacy; a pro-unification stance advocated by the KMT and a pro-independence position championed by the DPP.

The important discussion in this chapter is about the 1992 Consensus, different interpretations of “One China”. KMT government and Taiwan concerned that One China is referred to the Republic of China. Two sides of the strait have different opinions about the meaning of One China. To Beijing, One China means the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with Taiwan to become a Special Administrative Region after unification. For Taipei, considers One China as Republic of China (ROC), founded in 1912 and with de jure sovereignty over all of China.

taiwan_representations_and_one_china_policy

Wu also described about the electoral cycle and power position of KMT regarding Taiwan’s national identity orientation. Wu argued that KMT are being pragmatic by shifting their orientation; when the party is in power position, it forms the government and the concern of party leadership is becoming realist; how to deal with Beijing. While the party is out of power, KMT leadership becoming fundamentalist especially between electoral competitions, and shifting to centrist during the electoral competition in order to gain more support and public vote.

In the end, regarding Taiwan’s national identity, majority opinion in Taiwan has always been for maintaining the status quo. Ma even offered a three no’s policy: no unification, no independence and no use of force, which representing status quo stand.

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Nah, untuk lengkapnya silakan unduh dan baca slide presentasiku di sini: Political Dev in Taiwan ya :), Kalau ada yang kurang jelas atau mau didiskusikan lebih lanjut, jom sila komentar ^^!

Trus sebagai informasi tambahan, berikut link data grafik dari penelitian yang dilakukan oleh Election Study Center – NCCU terkait:

Nge-Filsuf ala HI

Untitled-4

Pada awalnya mungkin sulit untuk membumikan studi hubungan internasional dan studi area yang “katanya” mengawang-awang. Padahal, jika kita renungkan dan telisik suatu fenomena yang terjadi di luar negeri dan kemudian menghubungkannya (cari kemiripan) dengan kondisi di dalam negeri, ada sangat banyak hal yang bisa kita pelajari dan terapkan.

That’s esensi belajar tentang negara lain…. Take their best practice, as well as understanding their failure.

Bahasa kerennya; think globally, act locally 🙂

#Mari merenung

Book Review: Ethnic Identity in China – Muslim Minority Nationality

Semester ini, aku mengambil mata kuliah Development of Ethnic Minority in Southwest China. Kuliah yang berlangsung tiap Jumat pagi ini, membahas tentang etnis minoritas yang ada di China, khususnya di daerah Selatan – Barat Daya China (Guangxi, Yunnan, Tibet, etc). Nah, di kelas ini profesor meminta para mahasiswanya untuk membuat review buku yang terkait dengan etnis minoritas di China.

Untuk tugas ini, aku memilih buku karangan Dru C Gladney, seorang antropolog yang expert dalam kajian komunitas Hui China. Berhubung aku memang sangat tertarik dengan Muslim di China, dan (insyaAllah) akan menulis tesis terkait ini, maka aku membaca bukunya. Berikut review singkat tentang buku Gladney :). Selamat membaca!

Ethnic Identity in China: The Making of a Muslim Minority Nationality
(Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology)
Dru C. Gladney, Florida, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998, 195 pages

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This book, which is consisting of 7 chapters, explains how are the Muslims “made” in China and how their ethnic and cultural identity formed in China. The “Hui” is the largest Muslim society among 55 official ethnic minorities in China, in which 10 of them are Muslim. Gladney wrote this book based on his field research for period of years, meeting and talking to Hui in more than 400 households throughout China (from north to south and east to west). He found a problem to discover how the Hui view themselves, how they recognize who is Hui. In the introduction, he said that he felt an ambiguity for the status of them. “After almost 3 years of fieldwork in China, the longer I searched for the Hui, the less I understood what made them Hui (p.1)”.

Compare to another 55 ethnic minorities in China, the Hui has the most special case among the others since the Hui distinguished separately and they are out of the four commons category outlined by Joseph Stalin. They generally do not have their own language, peculiar dress, literature, music or the other cultural inventories by which more colorful minorities are portrayed. George and Louise Spindler, the editors said that; for the Hui there is no “we”, because the Hui consist of widely divergent communities living within varying ecological contexts and experience their ethnicity in radically different ways, and they inhabit every major metropolitan area of China and are considered China’s major urban ethnic group. Moreover, they are internally diverse and their presumed ethnicity so ambiguous, so that they are out of the Stalin’s category.

To get further understanding about this matter, Gladney explains the root cause of this problem. In introduction part, Gladney explains about the uniting of China through the politics of ethnic identification and Han nationalism, as well as explanation about “unofficial” ethnicity. China’s centralized, state-sponsored policies as well as cultural politics and identity, directed at Muslims and other minorities. Gladney asked; “Why would anyone want to be recognized as an official minority nationality? And why would the government want to recognize them in the first place?” In the second part, it describes more about who are the Hui. Gladney tries to identify the Hui and the background of the making of the Hui nationality as their ethnic identity in China. The explanation is through ethnicity theory from many approaches, such as: the Chinese-Stalinist approach, the Culturalist approach, the circumstantialist approach. Then, Gladney gives more specific case studies about ethno-religious resurgence in a northwestern Sufi community, fundamentalist revival in Na homeland and the ethno-religious roots, also socioeconomic context and local government policies of Na identity.

The next chapter describes case studies about Chang Ying, gender, marriage and identity in a Hui autonomous village ethno-historical origin of a Hui autonomous village. Chapter five explain more about the urban Hui experience in Beijing, specifically in Oxen street (Niu jie). This chapter also explains government policy and urban strategies. While in chapter 6, Gladney described Chendai, ethnic revitalization in Quanzhou, Fujian. This cultural basis for Chendai Hui identity had a historical monument to Hui Islamic heritage. An interesting part in this chapter is about ethnic identity and ethnic policy of the Taiwanese Muslims. In the end of his book, Gladney explains about ethnic national identity in the contemporary Chinese State.

Compare to other book, Gladney gives detail explanation about the “ambiguity” status of the Hui as an ethnic in China. Specifically, he gives the reader basic understanding about Hui’s identity as Muslim minority nationality, before explaining some case studies and the Hui’s life nowadays. After read this book, I can understand more about the “uniqueness” of Hui’s identity and status as a minority ethnic in China, and its consequences and impact on some issues/ phenomenon in current China’s situation.