My name is Hanif Adinugroho Widyanto, a final-year undergrad student at President University, Jababeka, majoring in International Business study. I was born at St. Boromeous Hospital, Bandung, on October 23, 1987. In the early years of my life, my father got a scholarship to continue his master's at Curtin University so our family moved and lived at Perth, Australia for about 3 1/2 years. That's when my brother born. I remember that I was just a couple of months away before I celebrated my 5th b'day when we returned to Indonesia. Having spent the year after at my granny's house at Tebet, our family finally settled (until today) at a decent house in Melati Mas Residence, Serpong, Tangerang.
My educational background from kindergarten until junior high school was dominated with one name: Al-Azhar BSD. I had such fond memories back then, but it was when I finally got accepted at Taruna Nusantara Senior High School, a semi-military boarding school at Magelang, Central Java, that my life hit its critical u-turn and started to drastically change. I started to realize and identify my 'purpose' as a person in this ever-competitive life, a Moslem in such a changing society, and an Indonesian in a globalized era.
Today, I'm currently working on my thesis regarding "Analysis of Major Due Diligence Determinants to Attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) on Toll-Road Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Projects" , which has completely drained my very-limited-capacity-when-it-comes-to-doing-thesis brain, to the extent where I'd rather sleep than working on it (huhuuu,, lousy procrastinator me as always,, I know T_T). On the other hand, I'm also involved with the "International Symposium in Commemoration of 100 Years of National Awakening Day" in Berlin, Germany; an international event which is hosted and organized by my friends at the Indonesian Student Association (PPI) in Germany.
This blog is just a snapshot of my life's chronicle, and while "I" am naturally gonna be the dominant 'force' in this blog, but my story could also be about you. About the challenging yet amusing life that I always cherish and adore (and hate sometimes ^^;). About every step that I have to take, decisions that I have to make, options and alternatives that I've got to choose (sometimes at a spur-of-the-moment notice!!). But mostly, it's about life in general and how I put things into perspective. This could easily be my story, but one in which (hopefully) you could relate and share with me and the rest of the readers.
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."Now you've heard my A-B-C, so what you think of me? ^__^
Globalization and Free Trade: What Really Happens?
Nowadays, we hear a great deal about “globalization”; about how the world is becoming a global village and how we, the people, being an incorporated part of it. Particularly in the field of International Business, we may also hear plenty about the importance of “free trade”. Our Economics text books teach us about the theories of Absolute Advantage by Adam Smith and Comparative Advantage by David Ricardo, all in support of reducing or even eliminating barriers to trade for the sake of optimum resource allocation in international trade.
In short: western scholars are making their points loud and clear: “Free trade rocks, and you lot must come aboard if you wanna prevail!!” And as if to unanimously concur with the proposal, advanced economies – mostly western countries a.k.a. the United States and co – through their many channels, organizations, movements, ideologies, etc. are promoting the notion of free trade under their celebrated globalization trademark to the extent where developing economies, Indonesia included, are forced to open their markets at the expense of their respective local industries and businesses.
Now here’s an instance of the one-sidedness in this whole purported free-trade arrangement: while advanced economies keep on subsidizing their agriculture (and farming) industry domestically, they force us, developing economies, to open our market, reduce our barriers to trade (i.e., quotas, tariffs), and let their goods enter our markets at a very competitive price. Ultimately, our local agriculture industries – just an instance among many others – wouldn’t be able to compete with the superior quality and aggressive price of foreign imports, and would slowly cease to exist.
Just look at the staggering numbers: The US Agricultural Department subsidizes over two dozen farming commodities, with an average of about $16 billion/year. That’s about $43 million/day for the local farming industry alone!! As a comparison, the budget for the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture for the whole year is only about $1 billion, and the amount allocated for local farming industry is significantly lesser than that. At the same time, the US (and its allies) implements a very strict Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) which prevents products from developing countries to enter their market at a competitive price. To date, China is among one of the few successful cases where a developing country market could deeply penetrate the US market – even creating the largest deficit ever in the US history.
However, Chinese exceptional success story aside, the US and its OECD allies are enjoying the benefits from their imbalanced trading with most developing economies, while they’re having an arguably “protected” domestic market themselves. This issue of agriculture subsidy is one of the core problems that both ends (i.e., developed vs. developing economies) are quarreling about throughout the several recent ministerial-level WTO meetings from Doha to Cancun to Hongkong to Geneva (known as the Doha Development Round); with China, India, and Brazil at the forefront of the developing economies’ opposition to the “imperialism” policy of the western countries.
But even after almost a decade, the Doha Round is still deadlocked over the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in the agriculture sector. In other words, there seems to be conflicting interests between the “hidden agenda” behind the endorsement of free trade by the developed economies and the opposition of free-trade-as-defined-by-the-US-and-co by the “better-informed”, highly-emerging developing economies. In the midst of all this, where does Indonesia stand?
Wrapping it all up: Why Nationalism?
Now having the above information in mind, let’s return to our concept of nationalism and wrap it up from the context of international trade. As we may now observe, while those developed as well as highly emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China are busy protecting their own interests and developing their economies, countries with mismanaged government and broken authority such as Indonesia is wandering without clear focus on where they want to stand in the global context. Well, how could we do so when we’re having difficulty even to position ourselves domestically? Instead, what happens in my beloved country, Indonesia, is a desperate situation where the blame game between the government, media, NGOs, and the people never seems to reach its “season finale”.
This situation is worsened by the fact that everyday, we Indonesians are always faced with what seems to be an endless series of dire and humiliating news about our broken government and bureaucracy, corruption (infamously known as “KKN”), everlasting poverty and hardship, and so on. The local mainstream media even exacerbate the situation with their “bad news is good news” principle by constantly highlighting the idea that we’re doomed as a nation and that every policy and progress that our government does is a definite letdown and a guaranteed failure (ok, not all media, but still). Eventually, this “we are hopeless and doomed to failure” attitude slowly turns into a collectively accepted opinion nationwide and our productivity as a country gradually reaches its ultimate lows. This may be a huge assumption to prove in my side, but alas, the odds at this moment seem to corroborate what I’ve got to say.
Now to solve the crisis, here’s the simple logic: if you’re an Indonesian and you think that our country is a failure and life couldn’t get any better, there are two major options available. First, you could simply do nothing about it, maintain your indifference, your what-the-hell attitude, or just flee from this country and settle someplace nice abroad (if you could afford it), and that’s it. In such a case, we’re going to fall and collapse together as a nation, and life for most of the 230 million people in this country would get even worse that it already is. We might end up being in the greatest recession ever, with soaring inflation, record-high unemployment, and everlasting budget deficit which will lead our country as a failed state. And yes, when this happen, it’d only be us Indonesians who’re gonna take the downhill, not our “fellow world citizens” or neighboring countries, cos in this imperfect world, we’re not necessarily “equal” and aren’t in a level playing field, and that we’re “boxed” in our own nations according to our fate. So bear with it. (^__^);
Otherwise, you could say it out loud that “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”, and that we’re gonna get together as one nation and start rebuild our economy. Together, you and I could stand up for the people of Indonesia and work hand-in-hand to establish good governance, prioritize on education, diminish corruption, enforce laws and regulations, create new jobs, eradicate poverty, and restore our dignity as a great nation. Sounds gibberish? Well, just ask China, India, Singapore, South Korea, or even Malaysia; whether it’s possible to rise together as a nation and become a successful economy. These countries will answer with a definite YES. So what about us?
As you may now see, the turning point here, ladies and gentlemen, is Nationalism.1-comment(s)
Judging from the title alone, you might expect this post to be yet another deliberate attempt to bear out the importance of “nationalism”. Well, I can’t argue on that. This post is indeed intended to address the issue. But this time around, I’m gonna point out the case from the perspective of an International Business student. Thus, the following is the very reason why I love my country, Indonesia, and why I will do anything at my disposal to defend and develop my country for the rest of my life. (Oh, since it turned out to be a pretty extensive post, I’m dividing it into two parts. Enjoy!)
Being an Indonesian vs. Citizen of the World
First of all: I’m an Indonesian, first, last, and for good. I live in my great and beautiful country which is suffering from major calamity in virtually every aspect of life. Corruption, poverty, high unemployment, soaring inflation, poor infrastructure, drawn-out bureaucracy, moral degradation, broken law enforcement, and the list goes on; the entire nation is in a great jeopardy of becoming a failing state. The newly released Doing Business 2009 report has shown how Indonesia’s rating stumbled down yet again in the midst of the ever competitive world market. Personally, I am ashamed of this. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worthless to stand up for Indonesia. In fact, I’m gonna show you that having the spirit of nationalism burning within might as well be our last resort to survival.
Let’s face it: the world is sometimes harsh and tricky. And it only comes as natural for us to have wishful thinking of living in a picture perfect environment where we don’t have to break a sweat (at least) to earn a decent life cos we’ve got social security covering our entire life. Cos the government actually work in our best interest. Well, it doesn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to say that such a situation is a far cry for the case of Indonesia. So then we hear about the old remarks (which is strongly associated with globalization) saying, “Hey, what’s with this whole nationhood thingy? What’s the point of having the so-called nationalism? Don’t these terms only tear us humans apart? In the slightest of sense, in the end, aren’t we all citizens of the world?”
Precisely. Citizen of the world. The idea that we’re all essentially equal as humans and thus should be treated accordingly. Just google it and you’ll find around 9.4 million entries (and counting) about the term, including “how to register as a world citizen”. For some us (ignorant) Indonesians, it might sound like a great runaway – and excuse – to break out from the harsh reality of living in Indonesia or being an Indonesian. Why should we even bother to raise and develop Indonesia? A “failing” state in the verge of a major collapse with virtually no hope… why don’t we just simply forgo the concept of Indonesia as an entity which unites the whole country as one, and become part of this “world citizen”? Sounds fun and less complicated, isn’t it? Well, for me, this is where we got it all wrong, folks…
Lemme get it straight. As a Moslem, I do believe that in the eye of God Almighty, we’re all equal. Make no mistake about it. But unfortunately, we couldn’t be so naïve as to say that the same situation holds true when it comes to the world “order”. The world as we know it consists of different nations with their own unique history and cultures. And while most members of a particular nation may never meet each other, but they feel a common bond which unites them in the “imagined community” called nation. Once originated from one of the most influential doctrines in Western Europe since the late 18th century or so, the concept of nationhood has since evolved until it becomes what we have now taken for granted as “nation” – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Hence the evolution and implementation of the term nationalism in our daily life.
to be continued...0-comment(s)
let's tag along!!