Kesan, Pesan untuk Mr. Syayid

Pengetahuan lebih baik daripada banyak harta. Meskipun banyak harta, tanpa pendidikan, harta tersebut tetap akan habis. – Syayid 2012

Jika anda adalah mahasiswa yang pernah saya ajar, atau mahasiswa yang skripsinya saya bimbing, atau mahasiswa yang saya menjadi penguji paper atau skripsinya, atau mahasiswa yang saya menjadi pembimbing akademiknya, maka pesan, kesan, dan saran dari kalian sangat saya hargai.

Sebagai seorang dosen, saya tentu ingin belajar lebih lanjut lagi untuk menjadi dosen yang lebih baik, baik dari segi pendidikan namun juga dari segi kepribadian dan kematangan kepribadian (kualitas mental dan perilaku).

Kalian boleh menyebutkan nama dengan lengkap beserta NPM, jika dirasa perlu. Jika  sungkan untuk menuliskan nama, boleh memakai inisial  (seperti: JS). Saya terbuka untuk saran, kesan, dan pesan dari mahasiswa. Secara pribadi, saya adalah seorang pembelajar.

Mohon gunakan bahasa yang sopan, santun, dan ber-etika ke-Indonesia-an ya. Boleh dimulai dari kesan yang baik, interaksi yang kalian harapkan, cara saya berkomunikasi, atau cara saya mengajar di depan kelas, atau bahkan boleh perihal bagaimana sebaiknya saya di dalam membimbing skripsi bila dibandingkan dengan pengalaman bimbingan skripsi teman kalian (tanpa menyebutkan nama dosen lain). Komentar dan evaluasi dari kalian, besar kemungkinan juga bisa bermanfaat bagi dosen lainnya yang mungkin juga akan membaca postingan ini.

Sukses untuk kalian, dan untuk masa depan yang lebih baik.

Salam sukses! Untuk diri kita, keluarga, dan Indonesia.


Tujuan dari postingan ini adalah sebagai wadah evaluasi diri selaku dosen, dari sudut pandang mahasiswa. Tindakan ini sangat bermanfaat untuk tumbuh kembang pribadi dosen yang cendekiawan dalam kehidupan berbangsa bernegara dan dalam kehidupan sehari-hari.

Response toward the “Innoncent of Muslims” made by Sam Bacille, 2012

Respecting others mean respecting yourself

I begin my writing for this time with these two sentences:

“A conflict can happen because of jokes that are inappropriate and out of contexts”

“Free speech in a certain country might not lead into the same concept as it applies in other countries. Free speech should not mean absolute freedom of speech. A speech that is directed to hurt others is more dangerous that a speech that is encouraging people to keep and restore peace. Being thoughtful and respectful is much better than being mindful and disrespectful. Freedom of speech is available only to those who can have a sense of responsibility than to those who only think about themselves”


It has always become a saddest part for Muslims to be seen in a misleading way. Previously, in 2010, the burning of Qur’an, which was almost done by a priest in Florida, and now, the mocking video of “Innocent of Muslims” made by Sam Bacille, a US citizen. I imagine if the leaders of the United States did not spread the ideas of mutual understanding about its citizens, the Muslim world still views American in a negative way. Why? Everyone knew that 9/11 was a tragic thing to happen in the United States, but considering that several countries in the world had been colonized for more than centuries by “advanced” countries, but these “colonized” countries keep going and make good connection with “those” countries, this is something that an American should realize. The center of the world is not in the United States, but it is in everyone’s heart. Then, what is the thing that can cause this stupid mockery over one religion and what does it mean with hurting other religions as well? Is there anything to do with the government? What should we do as a global citizen who knows how to think beyond our common circle?

Now, let us see this problem from the value of freedom of speech. As a faculty of English department who teaches English, I know pretty sure what it means with the word, “speech”. Speech is indicated to spoken word, literally. Nowadays, since the massive development and use of internet, the word “speech” has become more than just spoken words. It has become written statements or videos containing recorded spoken speech. A video is also considered as a form of speech. At this point, I agree that a video is freedom of speech. The question now goes into the word, “freedom”. Do we really have freedom in life? Does our freedom also include demeaning others around us? If that means so, why would we have to create laws and norms in order to rule people’s behavior? Are all these things created for making peaceful life among us? Even then, if I can have the same concept of freedom of speech, why cannot I mock a president of a certain country by telling stupid facts in internet worldwide? Why does the news present all the same stories by informing us that we need “facts”? All these questions came out in my mind because I concern. One thing that I believe is that there is no such thing called absolute freedom of speech. I remember when the president of John F Kennedy who was assassinated because of supporting better quality of leadership in the United States of America. The problem of the video entitled “Innocent of Moslems” was not in the hand of Muslims who got angry because of the video. What they did was right.

I was so disappointed of knowing the idea of “get over it” when it comes to the mockery of an important figure in Islam. Some websites informing that the idea of mocking others’ religion is a common thing happen in internet. Then, I have a question. “Really? I do not think so” To be honest, I had been using internet and watching videos on YouTube since 2005! During these years, I did not find any links that contribute to the expansive action of mocking religion of other people worldwide. In order to stop riot done by Muslims, what we need to do is to educate people more about religions, especially for American students in the United States. Since I am taking literacy and discussion with classmates who are dedicated teachers in their field, I become well-aware of the needs of American students to have strong foundation in what it means to learn philosophy, religion, and politics. Our brain can only access certain parts of things where we could think about something. We had been bombarded by the idea of, “what is the proof? what is the evidence? if you cannot proof it, i cannot accept it”. This statement is completely demonizing because it stops our ability to reflect of what have happened around us globally. There are certain things that we can feel. To live in the world where we always compete one another only make us humans who do not have any sense of what it means to uplift someone’s life. Not everyone can be winners. True winners are those who can make the losers become as winner as they are. I may not be able to see the whole picture of American students, but from the discussion in the classroom, the reason why of such video could be made was because of tremendous freedom of speech without even learning the word known as “responsibility”.

Free speech is protected in the United States. This is good. However, the question is, what type of speech? For what purpose is the speech made and delivered for? Who created the speech? Is the speech valuable enough? I think, as a graduate student in the United States now, free speech means a right that every person has that is in line with the ability to speak for him or herself without offending others. In daily lives, I have seen that many American are open-minded about something new. At the very least, I know this because I live around American students. In my place, as an international student, I clearly understand that about others’ ways of life is crucial to create peaceful life. If Muslims do not respond to the video, there might something wrong with Muslims. If Muslims did not get offended, more and more videos will be created and the new generation of Muslims will be tortured mentally and spiritually. In the highest level, the meaning of cultural exchange that the Fulbright promoted will fail. Why? What is the point of having cultural exchange between countries if every students who live in different countries do not understand one another better? I honestly do not see any difference of mine with students coming from other countries. They eat foods like I do. They like to eat sweet cakes like I do. If Muslims do not want to consume alcoholic drinks, why bother? If Muslims do not want to eat pork, why bother? If Muslims do not want to have free-sex, why bother? What I can think about Muslims is that Muslims are the élite generation of these days. Muslims way of life are very high. They had been taught to be patient. Even though the prophet Muhammad pbuh faced tremendous hardship during his da’wah, he could do that because Allah SWT had given him power to do that. Compared to the reality that all Muslims generation have today, speaking up is the best way to show the existence. Otherwise, oppression will always be done in a lot of ways. We do not want this to happen, right?

The best solution to this problem goes to YouTube. Who owns YouTube? What kind of people? What are their principle? What kind of videos that are eligible for publicity in YouTube? In what language? YouTube should filter the video that is being published. We need to make more educated generation than making our generation living the “tube” by watching different series of irresponsible videos. All videos in YouTube have no cultural basis and no specific laws in it. Even though the video in YouTube was published in the United States, it does not mean that the video could be considered as under the United States law. Every video, as long as it is accessible outside the United States, it belongs to every internet users. The uploader who should be responsible for uploading the video. Internet has no boundaries and borders as we have in our daily life as an X citizen living in a Y country. In internet, we do not have such things. If certain groups get offended by certain videos, I think it is normal. If they groups are silent, it means that the groups’ identity is under question.

Another solution that I may purpose is to educate our children more about religion. We may not teach them all religions, but we can tell them what it means to know religion. It is to understand several circumstances that might not work for us. Among American students who used to live in fancy life styles, understanding religion might be something new to them. Let them know. Therefore, they will not make jokes about the important spiritual things of other religions too. I might not be able to make jokes about Jesus, for example. In the same way, I do not want to humiliate the god and goddesses of other religions. In this way, I learn how to be compassionate and understanding. An educated person is not only able to understand new realms within his or her circumstances but also able to comprehend other dimension of what other people believe in their life. I had sat with Jewish, Christians, Atheist, Buddhist, and Hindus in this country. What is the point of differentiating people based on religion? Triggers and problems always come from those want to dominate others or to create devilish action on earth. Therefore, my last question is, have you decided what you can do to improve the peaceful life among the people around you? The answer lies within yourself. We all are humans. We speak the same language by using our mouth, not hands.


My second year experience as a Fulbright scholar really deepens my understanding of what it means to be a brighter person, not only in intellectual capacity but also in character and leadership.

Morgan Freeman – The Power of Words and Toni Morrison talks about Her Motivation to Writing

Words, they can do anything… “Change your words, change your world”

First video: Morgan Freeman – The Power of Words

Amnesty International for Human Rights around the World

Second video: Toni Morrison talks about Her Motivation to Writing

Toni Morrison is one of talented and well-known authors in the United States. It’s a good video for students who are interested in improving their own voice in writing, especially in creative writing. I chose this video because her motivation was good as an author. Her motivation was to invite people to see we all as the same, not through the “skin”. Besides, “In celebration of her new book, “A Mercy,” NVLP presents this 2004 clip of Nobel Prize winning author”, as written in this video.

More information about Toni Morrison can be found in this following link (Toni Morrison).







Money, oh, Money…

Indonesian Rupiahs
Money, money, and money... What is the power of money?

Money, oh, money…

Fifteen years ago, when I was just a little kid, my mother gave me money for about Rp. 500,- to buy a Rinso in a small shop next to our house. (Rinso is a detergent used for cleaning clothes in water). At the time, I bought only one Rinso. When I came back to my house and gave the Rinso to my mother, she said, “Thanks”. So, that would be the starting moment for me to understand what money is – as a kid. Money is used for daily needs.

When I grew younger as a teenager, I went to a senior high school in Padang city, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The school was in SMU Negeri 2 Padang. Unfortunately, my father, who was and is working as a gardener, had less money to buy all I needed to go to school.  Therefore, I had to study seriously in the school in order to get a scholarship so that my father and mother would not have big burden to pay my school fee. One year after I did my best at school, I got the scholarship. The teacher said, “Congratulation! You’ve got this scholarship! From now on, keep your study improving, okay?”. Yeah, I still remember that time. I got the scholarship in SMU Negeri 2 Padang until I could finish the high school well. This was the time when I had understood about money – as a teenager. Money is used for positive purposes.

In 2003 until 2007, I went to a university, which was famously known as Andalas University. I studied English language and literature in the university. In that year, fortunately, I got scholarship again. At the time, I knew that “if you got scholarship, you got money. If you got money, use it wisely”. During the time of my study in the department, I had to fulfil many things which I needed to support myself for my study. If I relied on my father’s salary – because my mother did not work, I would never be able to end the study well as expected. Anytime when friends wanted me to treat them, I had to say, “I’m sorry. I just could…” In seconds, they turned their back and left me sighing. In that condition, especially where I had to save all money I had for my study, I had got achievement as the Best Student of Andalas University. I got quiet a lot from this. However, the appreciation was really great, but, I wish I could get the first position because I wanted to have a notebook for typing my thesis. I just did things in the proper ways. I did assignments, went home early, and read some books. I joined some organization but ended with colourful endings. In this case, I learnt about money – as an undergraduate. Money is used to pay for your daily needs, especially your needs for education.

Interestingly, in the same time, I had another funny moment with friends, too. Since I knew that I was from poor family, that means we only could give ourselves common needs; therefore, I always remembered telling my friends that if I got scholarship or won from a competition, I would not be able to treat them like in a big club. I really realized that soon after treating them, I needed the money for other purposes. Then, in a very sad day, I had to loose a little of my money to help my mother bought an iron and some plates for our kitchen. And, I bought those things for my monther. In the following day, I had to borrow my friend’s money only for Rp. 10.000,- (in dollar means $ 10,-). They lent me some. On a Saturday night, I went out for a party in my neighbour. I only wore simple dress and casual since I did not really concern on style or performances. When I arrived there, some people stared at me, others saw me in such a bad eyes, and the rest ignored me as if I was not there. I made myself brave enough to enter the pool party. Someone, a boy, came to me and I still remembered his words, “Wow, smart student could not have great dress to intermingle, huh? You’re just a nerd. A nerd is a nerd!”. The other boys said, “Yeah, his friends are the books! Haha….! I bet your house is in the library!”. The worst thing was some girls said, “You are handsome, but, if you have no great outfit, you are just not better than them”. That day, my feeling was really torn apart because of money and “good-looking”.

Days and days passed. Since that moment, I had forgotten about it. A few months later, I went to Bandung with my father to visit my grandmother in Cipanas, Garut. We had some money to go to Bandung. I bought some dresses which I thought that they would be fit with me. The price was not really expensive and, of course, not in a very famous brand. All those things were made in Indonesia. When I came to Padang and came into one of friend’s birthday party, my friends said, “wow, you look great!”. What made me surprised was the people who said this were the people who said I was bad-looking before. In this way, I learn about money – as a young man. Money is used to show off your “social status” in the society. If you are poor, you should tun around. If you are rich, your pocket speaks. This is absolutely silly for me. (Until now!)

Now, after all things I have come through and seen lots of things which are related to money, I make one last conclusion. Although money is just money, but, in some condition, having lots of money can be a great way to realize great dreams, especially positive and good dreams for everyone. Money can be used to get what we want. Money is used for trading and business transaction. However, all I cannot understand is that how proud someone with his or her money and how pity someone is if he or she does not have lots of money (I knew pretty much how it felt when we were none, poor, marginalized, and unseen by the society). We have been separated our life into two things in almost everything. In this case, the two things are rich and poor. Then, in this condition, I just do not understand why some people do cruel things just for money. For example, murdering, seducing, raping, killing, robbing, and many other negative things just for money. People are in need of foods and good shelter out there. All they need is money? So, what makes all these things worse? Is it money? We can create our own way of life, and, in turn, that way will kill us all. As a young man now, all I can learn is, having lots of money is good as long as we can use for positive purposes to reach better and proper life together, now and forever, especially for all  kids and all people whom we love.


Your money will mean everything when you give it to the people in need – even just ‘a little’ (Syayid, 2011)