Friday, December 30, 2005

Kebingungan seorang dosen

http://rahard.wordpress.com/2005/12/30/kebingungan-seorang-dosen/

Beberapa waktu yang lalu saya bertanya kepada beberapa kawan; “nilai-nilai apakah yang ingin kita ajarkan ke mahasiswa?” Sampai sekarang saya belum mendapatkan jawaban yang mengena.

Kata orang, fungsi perguruan tinggi tidak sekedar untuk mengajarkan mahasiswa mengenai hal-hal yang spesifik kepada bidang ilmunya akan tetapi juga untuk mendidik mahasiswa. Sebetulnya nilai apa yang ingin kita wariskan kepada para mahasiswa (murid) ini? Saya ambilkan beberapa contoh:

  • Bahwa bertanya itu bukan aib, dan bahkan cenderung baik. Atau, bertanya itu merupakan cerminan kelemahan! Ayo belajar lebih baik! (Saya mengutarakan hal ini karena saya temui bahwa mahasiswa saya takut bertanya. Ketika saya kejar lebih jauh, ternyata mereka tidak diajarkan untuk bertanya ketika masih SMA oleh guru dan oleh teman-temannya. Akibatnya mereka menjadi malu dan tertekan kalau bertanya.)

  • Bahwa kegagalan (mendapat nilai buruk, tidak naik kelas, tidak lulus ujian) itu bukanlah sebuah aib. Ataukah, nilai buruk itu memang aib dan tidak boleh terjadi? (Poin ini muncul karena ada mahasiswa yang merasa bahwa dia harus sukses terus sehingga menghalalkan segala cara, termasuk nyontek dan menipu.)

  • Bahwa nyontek itu buruk, maka mahasiswa sebaiknya tidak nyontek. Atau, nyontek itu boleh saja selama hasil contekannya lebih baik daripada yang dicontek. Saya jadi teringat peribahasa ini; “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.

  • Bahwa kepercayaan (trust) merupakan nilai utama (core value) bagi perguruan tinggi. Ataukah kerja keras (hardwork). Atau, cerdas (work smarter). Atau …

  • Bahwa sebaiknya kita menggunakan teknologi untuk mengatasi kelemahan-kelemahan kita (sehingga nanti banyak digunakan teknologi di kampus).

  • Lulusan perguruan tinggi sebaiknya menghasilkan lapangan pekerjaan, menjadi entrepreneur (technopreneur). Atau, lulusan perguruan tinggi sebaiknya menjadi profesional. Atau, lulusan perguruan tinggi diarahkan untuk menjadi peneliti (researcher) dan mencoba meraih hadiah Nobel.

  • Lulusan jurusan teknik sebaiknya juga mengetahui masalah sosial, ekonomi, dan politik sehingga mereka bisa menjadi seorang insinyur yang peka terhadap masalah sosial, ekonomi, dan politik. Atau, sebaiknya insinyur tidak usah turut campur soal politik. Fokuskan saja kepada bidang ilmunya.



Mohon maaf apabila contoh-contoh saya tersebut membingungkan (misalnya tidak dalam satu kategori). Ini menunjukkan betapa bingungnya saya sehingga mencampuradukkan semuanya. Jika anda memiliki alur yang lebih runut, saya ingin tahu.

Saya tidak tahu apakah nilai-nilai tersebut perlu dituliskan secara eksplisit atau tidak. Apakah juga setiap perguruan tinggi bisa memiliki fokus (tema, aliran, madzhab) yang berbeda-beda? Dalam pemahaman saya, seharusnya ya. Saya bisa melihat ciri dari lulusan sebuah perguruan tinggi X dari cara dia berbicara, berpendapat, dan seterusnya. Nilai yang diajarkan oleh perguruan tingginya tercermin dalam lulusannya.

Sebagai seorang dosen, saya menjadi bingung dengan arahan yang seharusnya saya ambil. Apakah perguruan tinggi hanya menjadi seperti pujasera dimana setiap dosen dapat melakukan apa saja sesukanya tanpa ada koordinasi (arahan, tema, fokus, dsb.)?

Dalam pemahaman saya, seharusnya ada seseorang yang mengambil posisi sebagai pimpinan (take leadership) untuk mengarahkan kebingungan ini. Sayangnya di Indonesia kita makin kehilangan figur yang bisa dijadikan rujukan atau mengarahkan.
Ada yang mengatakan bahwa pedoman perguruan tinggi adalah tri darma perguruan tinggi. Klise. Ya, ya, ya, ini sama dengan pedoman Bangsa Indonesia adalah Pancasila. (Bagaimana cerita P4?) Tentu saja tidak salah. As true as motherhood. Menurut saya harus ada yang lebih spesifik lagi sehingga tidak hanya sekedar ucapan klise saja.

Saat ini kita seperti orang yang kumpul rame-rame ingin menuju kepada sesuatu, akan tetapi tidak jelas sesuatu itu apa. Ada yang menuju Jakarta. Ada yang menuju Bandung. Ada yang menuju Surabaya. Dan bahkan ada yang menuju ke Singapura.

b i n g u n g - c o n f u s e d

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Meme map?

What the hell is a "meme map"?

Internet search gave links to Web 2.0 articles. Well, I tried to search and find the meaning of "meme map" exactly because I was reading Tim O'Reilly's article on Web 2.0. It's kind of recursive, isn't it?

Would somebody enlighten me?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Globalisasi 3.0

Diambil dari:
http://rahard.wordpress.com/2005/12/27/globalisasi-30/

Thomas Friedman dalam bukunya “The World is Flat” mengatakan bahwa kita sudah memasuki globalisasi 3.0. Nah, apakah itu globalisasi 3.0 dan adakah versi-versi sebelumnya?

Globalisasi 1.0 dimulai ketika jaman penjajahan (kolonialisme) dahulu. Pada jaman itu beruntunglah seseorang yang menjadi warga negara besar (negara penjajah? seperti Inggris, Belanda, Spanyol, dan seterusnya). Rugilah individu yang menjadi warga negara yang dijajah seperti Indonesia. Kemakmuran seseorang ditentukan oleh kewarganegaraannya. Itulah sebabnya orang berbondong-bondong ingin menjadi warga negara dari negara besar tersebut.

Globalisasi 2.0 terjadi karena adanya industri dan bisnis. Peta kesuksesan berubah dengan munculnya perusahaan besar (multinational companies). Tidak penting lagi warga negara seseorang. Anda boleh menjadi warga negara Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Inggris, atau Amerika, yang penting adalah Anda menjadi bagian dari perusahaan besar seperti IBM, General Electric (GE), Schlumberger, dan seterusnya. Rugilah orang yang menjadi pegawai negeri (PNS). Ha ha ha. Maka berbondong-bondonglah orang ingin bekerja di perusahaan multinasional ini.

Globalisasi 3.0 tidak lagi mementingkan kewarganegaraan ataupun perusahaan besar. Anda adalah diri Anda sendiri. Globalisasi 3.0 dimungkinkan dengan adanya teknologi informasi (seperti adanya Internet) yang memberdayakan individu-individu. Bisnis, usaha, karya, dan layanan dapat Anda lakukan dari rumah Anda. Anda tidak perlu menjadi warga negara dari sebuah negara tertentu ataupun menjadi pegawai dari perusahaan besar. Anda dapat sukses dengan menjadi diri Anda sendiri.

Nah, siapkah kita untuk mengikuti globalisasi 3.0 ini?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I want to do a stand-up comedy

I have just updated my wish on 43things:
http://www.43things.com/person/budi

The new entry says that I want to do a stand-up comedy. No, I am not crazy. I want to do it. Just a few minutes ago I watched Richard Quest on CNN's Quest. He tried to do a stand-up (comedy) at Caroline's (?), which is supposed to be the place for it. But before doing that, he went to a school (for a week). Anyway, it looks fun. I want to do it.

Job opening: comedy writer(s)

Akademisi vs Industriawan

Diambil dari:
http://rahard.wordpress.com/2005/12/25/akademisi-vs-industriawan/

Ada yang aneh dari hasil pengamatan saya (amatiran tentunya) terhadap pandangan akademisi dan industriawan tentang pengembangan sesuatu yang berbau teknologi tinggi (high tech; biotech, nanotech, dan *tech lainnya).

Akademisi, yang biasanya diwakili oleh dosen, cenderung untuk berpikiran negatif. Ada ketakutan-ketakutan. Mereka sering berpendapat bahwa seharusnya kita meneliti (mengembangkan ilmu) yang low tech saja. Padahal, di kelas mereka mengajarkan ilmu yang bisa digunakan di high-tech. Apakah ini disebabkan rasa bersalah mereka karena telah dididik dengan ilmu yang “tidak bisa” (dalam kacamata mereka) diimplementasikan di Indonesia, sehingga mereka merasa harus berpihak ke sisi lain?

Di sisi lain, industriawan umumnya berpikiran lebih positif. Saya melihat betapa seorang Iskandar Alisyahbana yang dengan terampil memotori perkembangan teknologi satelit di jaman dahulu (70-an?) dan kemudian melirik ke bioteknologi. Atau, seorang Mochtar Riady yang saat ini sedang gemar dengan nanotechnology. Mereka lebih progresif dan agresif. Saya beruntung bisa sempat ngobrol-ngobrol dengan mereka. Antusiasme mereka bukan pura-pura. It’s real. They are really excited in new things. Yang membuat saya bersedih melihat keadaan ini adalah kedua bapak ini dapat dikatakan sudah tua, akan tetapi semangat dan optimisme mereka melebihi anak muda! Saya malu!

Tentu saja ada akademisi yang memiliki pemikiran jauh, semangat yang besar, optimisme yang besar, dan kemauan kerja yang besar. Contoh yang saya lihat ada di dalam seorang Samaun Samadikun. Beliau telah menghasilkan SDM-SDM yang memiliki karakter yang sama; optimis dan bersemangat. Tapi, jumlah orang seperti “Samaun Samadikun” di Indonesia tidak banyak.

Ada kemungkinan lain, yaitu kacamata yang saya gunakan untuk melihat ternyata menipu penglihatan saya sehingga pengamatan saya salah besar. Sangat dimungkinkan! Maklum, baru menggunakan kacamata.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Me and my 1st glasses


Me and my 1st glasses. Taken Friday morning (just woke up - eyes are not adjusted yet - ha ha ha), front porch of our house. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Intisari interview: security of internet banking


I was interviewed in Intisari magazine (December 2005 issue) on the security of Internet Banking. (See cover page on the left. "Transaksi aman Bank Internet, halaman 142.)

In the interview I said that the security of Internet Banking is already good enough. What do you think? Posted by Picasa

Bandung: talent magnet

Diambil dari blognya BHTV: bhtv.blogspot.com

Percaya atau tidak, Bandung merupakan “talent magnet.” Tanpa iklan ataupun promosi besar-besaran, lulusan sekolah menengah atas di Indonesia berbondong-bondong menuju Bandung untuk sekolah. Kebanyakan dari mereka adalah juara kelas. Inilah “harta karun” dari Bandung.

Mulai dari “The World is Flat“-nya Thomas Friedman, sampai ke “The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition of Talent“-nya Richard Florida, dan masih banyak buku serta tulisan semuanya membahas mengenai pentingnya talenta-talenta ini. Sumber daya alam, seperti minyak, bukan hal yang utama lagi. SDM yang utama. Mengapa hal ini sulit kita pahami?

Sayangnya, hal ini kurang dimengerti oleh banyak orang sehingga talenta-talenta ini meninggalkan Bandung setelah mereka lulus. Alasannya sederhana, tidak ada bisnis dan lapangan kerja di Bandung. Itulah sebabnya BHTV melobby perusahaan besar (multinational companies) agar membuat perusahaan, research center, dan support di Bandung. Selain itu juga BHTV mencoba membujuk para talenta ini untuk membuka usaha di Bandung.

Mudah-mudahan para petinggi di Bandung Raya - bahkan petinggi Indonesia - beserta penduduknya mengerti akan “harta karun” yang kita miliki. Kala dunia berusaha mencari dan merekrut harta karun talenta ini, kita tidak melakukan apa-apa. Ayo kita buat usaha-usaha di Bandung Raya.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Giving keynote speech

Last Wednesday, I gave a keynote speech at Cisco Security Summit 2005, in Jakarta, Indonesia. My speech was about "Compliance to ISO 17799 (or BS 7799, or ISO 27001)." Don't worry about the numbers. They don't mean much

I am not sure whether it was good, so-so, or bad. I was on the stage with bright lights so I could not see the audience. I think there were more than 400 people in the room. The only measure I use as a feedback was when they laugh. That's a good sign. After the speech I was taken by some journalists for interview. So I ran out.

The night before the presentation was tough for me. Tuesday, I had to go to a court in Surabaya (that's around 1000 km from Jakarta) as a security expert (witness?) in a cellular case. I took the last plane from Surabaya to Jakarta. I arrived at the hotel (Shangri La) around 10:00 PM (or so). I didn't have dinner and everything was already closed. So, no dinner for me. Fine. I am not that hungry anyway. I ate lots of snacks while waiting at the airport.

I had to check my emails and some web sites (blogs), though. I got these SMS (short messages) on my cellphone saying that I am going to the Ministry of Communication and Information to get a blogger (name Herman) out of Police custody. Well, who the heck is Herman? and what did he do? and why did somebody spread the lies about me going to the Government. I am not going to go there since I have to give a keynote speech at Cisco.

So, after a quick shower I decided to go to the lobby. They have a free Wi-Fi access there. (The broadband access in my room was pricey!) I found out what the hoopla is all about. Apparently, a young blogger (Herman), touched out a photo of our president among other people. Somebody was not happy with him and reported to the Police. (I don't know who this somebody is, but I could guess!) The President was not aware of this. Later on he was asked, and the President laughed and said that he was not aware of it. The case was only a prank.

After wasted about 30 minutes (or more?), I went back to my room and did some editing to my presentation material. I wanted to make it like Dick Hardt's presentation at OSCON 2005. I ended up slept late (but still had to wake up at 4:00 AM - a habit). What I am saying is ... it is tough to make a good (great?) presentation.

So, if you were at my speech, tell me "how was it?"

Serangan (lagi) ke blogger Indonesia

Dari blog saya yang di rahard.wordpress.com

Saya mendapat forward-an SMS yang intinya adalah sebagai berikut (tidak saya kutipkan persis):
saya memantau para blogger di milis. mereka adalah komunitas yang cenderung tanpa tata etika. merekalah menjadi aturannya. di masa yang akan datang mungkin akan ada masalah lain.

Welah. Saya tidak tahu milis mana yang dimaksud oleh SMS tersebut. Dugaan saya adalah milis id-gmail, yang saya sendiri tidak ikutan karena terlalu urakan. (Hoi para gajah! Gak boleh marah. Milis Anda memang urakan.) Mungkin urakan inilah yang disebut tanpa tata etika? Saya kok menduga bahwa yang bersangkutan memang tidak memahami maksud dan tujuan dari milis id-gmail tersebut, yaitu memang untuk urakan! ha ha ha :))

Saya yakin lebih banyak blogger Indonesia yang seperti saya, yang lebih senang duduk sendiri berkontemplasi kemudian menuliskan hasil pemikiran, renungan, atau lamunannya. Sangat tidak adil menuduh para blogger Indonesia sebagai sebuah komunitas yang tanpa tata etika. Kebanyakan blogger muncul secara terbuka sebagai individu yang paham dengan etika. Tidak ada bedanya blogger ini dengan penulis di media masa konvensional. Bahkan lebih jauh lagi saya berpendapat bahwa blogger ini tidak berbeda dengan penulis di milis-milis. Medianya saja yang berbeda. Jika anggota milis tidak dipermasalahkan, mengapa blogger dipermasalahkan?

Blog merupakan sebuah bentuk pemberdayaan manusia. Dia merupakan salah satu wujud (atau wahana?) globalisasi 3.0 yang diuraikan oleh Thomas Friedman dalam bukunya “The World is Flat.” Saya sangat yakin blog memberikan dampak postif bagi insan manusia Indonesia. Mungkin ada dampak negatif, sebagaimana dengan teknologi apapun, akan tetapi dampak positif jauh melebihi dampak negatifnya.

Sudah saatnya masyarakat perlu diberi pemahaman apa blog dan blogger itu dan manfaatnya. Ayo!

Pertanyaan: Apakah Anda termasuk seorang blogger tanpa etika?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I am wearing glasses now

It's official. I am wearing glasses now.

I've been denying that I am old. (I am 43 now.) It is becoming more difficult for me to read small text (fonts). So, last week I went to check my eyes. Sure enough, I have to wear glasess (+1.25).

Last night, I picked up my first glasses. Now, I am adjusting my life with glasses. (Picture will follow.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Singapore Trip: Day (4)

[Note: Continuation of my trip to Singapore. I almost forgot to post this and the next one.]

We left the hotel a little late, around 10:30 AM. We decided to go to Toa Payoh by MRT. We picked Toa Payoh because our daughter told us so. Being a bus interchange, Toa Payoh was a busy place. This was not a tourist place. It was a place where Singaporeans go, I guess. I went to a bookstore called “Popular” to get school supplies for my daugther. My son and I had lunch a Mc Donald’s. I opened my iBook to find for public Wi-Fi. I was told that Mc Donald's has public Wi-fi. I found “skynet”, but could not connect. I asked around but nobody knew how to connect. So, no Wi-Fi at Toa Payoh's Mc Donald's.

From Toa Payoh we headed back to Orchard Road with MRT. We bought inexpensive gifts at Lucky Plaza. S$10 for 3 T-shirts. Keychains for S$1 each. While my wife went shopping, I went to Starbucks to get a tall Latte. Again, I opened my iBook to find wi-fi signals. I found four or five signals. One of them was Singtel’s. I got connected but I had to get an account, either a Singtel’s account (which I didn’t have) or a wireless internet voucher card. I asked the person at Starbuck and they said I had to get a card, which they don’t have. The web page – which showed Singtel’s and Starbuck’s logo – said that I could get a voucher at 7-11. I decided to visit a couple of 7-11 stores on the way back home, but ... you have guessed it, they didn’t sell the vouchers! So, how do I get a Wi-Fi connection? It was confusing! I guess I had to use wireless services at the hotel.

In the evening I went back to Orchard Road to buy some food for my family. It was after a heavy, but short, rain. It was humid. My T-shirt was sticky and wet of sweat. I missed my home town, Bandung. Bandung is so nice and cool. Really. I even have to wear shirt over my T-shirt. (Right now, it is raining outside in Bandung and I have to wear a shirt over my T-shirt. It's too cold. Of course, it is nothing compared to winter, but still...) I bought food to eat at the hotel. I bought Roti Prata, Nasi Padang, and Katsu Don.

We went to sleep with full stomach. I am grateful to God, the Almighty, for all of this.

Review: Kaipa - Notes from the past

Let me start with this. I am a fan of Roine Stolt. He is the guitarist of The Flower Kings (Transatlantic and other bands). So, when I saw this Kaipa CD (with a sticker in front: "feat. Roine Stolt also of Transatlantic and The Flower Kings") at a music store, I have to buy it. It is expensive though (Rp. 227000 or US $22). That's 1/4 of my formal salary. Ouch.

I am glad that I bought this, because this is a good album. It is progressive (or classic) rock in nature. If you like old Genesis (during Gabriel era), you'll love this band. It has lots of keyboard and guitar duels. Keyboards, music, words, and the like were done by Hans Lundin. I have never heard him before, but I like him. His compositions and music are exactly what I like. Melodic. Romantic. Well, you know, classic rock.

For classic rock album, sometimes you have to play it many times before you actually like it. This is an exception. The first time I gave it a spin, I already love it. (Right now, it's my 5th spin.) And you know what, my favorite song is the longest one, Leaving the Horizon (14:08). No, I am not joking. I love the "duels" between guitar and synth, especially at 7'30" part of that song. Love it so much. It made me cry! (No, I am not joking.)

I'll give this album 5 stars out of 5!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Presentation and stand-up comedy

Taken from my new blog:
http://blog.efx2.com/user/budi/3181/view/10278/

I give presentations a lot. And I mean a lot! Most of my presentations are technical in nature, but many times (lately most of the time) are aimed at not technical audience (like managers, directors, shareholders, and the like). Yesterday, I did two inhouse presentations for a multi-national company. They were on network security. I don't want to brag, but they loved my presentations. My presentations rocked! Everybody laughed all the time, enjoying the presentations.

How do I make my presentations understandable, fun, and yet not watered down? Do you want to know the secret?

Ok, here it is: stand-up comedy.

Believe it or not, I learned my techniques from Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Seinfeld, and ... other (stand-up) comedians. I found out that it is difficult to do it. You have to have a good script (or at least a guideline). You can write it yourself or hire somebody else. In my presentation, I have to do the same. I start with a formal material and modify it to make it more "fun." Sometimes it is not that straight forward, though.

Then, there's "timing" and gesture during the delivery. This ... you have to learn.

By the way, stand-up comedy is not common in Indonesia. We have groups of commedians. Usualy the group consists of three to five persons, four being the common one. Being an Indonesian, stand-up comedy is not that natural to me.

One other thing, giving presentation is more difficult because there is interaction (questions and answers) with the audience. If you do not master the presentation material, you're dead. The audience will know. So you cannot just borrow somebody else's presentation.

Well, the secret is out ...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Arrrgggh... It's happening on my blogspot page

In earlier article, I wrote about problems in my other blogs (modblog, etc.). Now, it's happening on this blog. For some reasons I could not access the main page, gbt.blogspot.com, but the individual articles are just fine. That is, you have to get the articles directly not from the main page.

Arrrggghhh. What's happening ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Be NiCE to me, or I'll blog you


Johar and Aie gave me this T-shirt. It says, "Be NiCE to me, or I'll blog you" Nice T-shirt. Thanks!

There are two meanings of this. First, NiCE is our National Internet Conference and Education. An event that we organized last year (2004). This year we were supposed to make it happen. But, due to many things ... it didn't happen. Hopefully next year (2006), we'll have NiCE again.

The second meaning, true to the words. Somebody has threatened me (with legal action) because I wrote about him/them in my blog. What I wrote is true, but they just don't want me to write it. I wouldn't budge. It's my freedom of speech. So, "be nice to me or I'll blog you" is actually true to the words. Blog is so powerful.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday (at home, not in the park)

Saturdays are usually for meetings. Yes, we work on Saturdays. The reason is that in weekdays usually we (our team) are on clients' sites, securing their networks and systems. Saturday is the time we organize ourselves (and joke around - you know, the joy of start ups). This Saturday was the same, although some of us were taking a break (after pushing ourselves to the limit last week).

I used the the time before the meeting to do some cleaning up (stack of books, magazines, CDs, emails, and other stuff). This time I had a chance to read articles from IEEE Spectrum, Biophotonics magazine (I love the pictures, a few pages of "The Search" (a book about Google, more about that later on), and a few pages from "Network Security Assessment." I had IEEE Computer in the queue, but didn't have the time to read it. After meeting, I played PS2 a bit with my son and then read some more.

In the evening I had a meeting (and dinner) with a friend from Cisco to discuss their Security Summit[? Seminar?] (in less than two weeks). I am going to give a keynote speech in their summit.

So, that was my Saturday. How about yours?

Friday, December 02, 2005

(Bad) experience with 30gigs.com

Do you think you need a large space to store your emails? Well, I do. My Gmail account is now more than 800 MB already. (I delete unused emails. I could only imagine if I keep junk emails in my mailbox.)

So when somebody told me a while ago about 30gigs.com, I decided to give it try. At first, the system was slow and the user interface was confusing. But, I stuck with it. Now, it has a better user interface. At least, it is less confusing.

One thing I notice is that it is VERY SLOW in receiving emails. For example, I applied for an account at Kinja. I gave 30gigs as my email address. Kinja said that I should check my email address for verification. Here I am, 30 minutes later on, still waiting for that email to reach my 30gigs account. I am not sure whether it will arrive (today? - note: the mail did arrive) or not. I decided to open another Kinja account. This time I use my gmail address. And sure enough, I checked my gmail account and the mail was there. I could continue with Kinja.

So there it is, 30gigs.com let me down again.

We should dream some more ...

I dream too much. That's one of the comments I heard from many people. By dream I mean imaginating new postive ideas, ventures, activities, and so on. I always believe that dreams are important. They drive and motivate you.

I was reading Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat," and strucked the following paragraph:
Analysts have always tended to measure a society by classical economic and social statistics: its deficit-to-GDP ratio, or its unemployment rate, or the rate of literacy among its adult women. Such statistics are important and revealing. But there is another statistic, much harder to measure, that I think is even more important and revealing: Does your socienty have more memories than dreams or more dreams than memories?

By dreams I mean the positive, life-affirming variety. The business organization consultant Michael Hammer once remarked, "One thing that tells me a company is in trouble is when they tell me how good they were in the past. Same with countries. You don't want to forget your identity. I am glad you were great in the fourteenth century, but that was then and this is now. When memories exceed dreams, the end is near. The hallmark of a truly successful organization is the willingness to abandon what made it successful and start fresh."

So, let's keep on dreaming ... and more importanly, make them come true.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Friendship: You and I

There's nothing more I value than friendship. It hurts when somebody crossed my trust as a friend. It happened many times. Fortunately, I have many friends who stick with me in tough times. I am thankful for that. I am going to make sure that I would do the same thing to them; stay in good and bad times. Those who know me know that it is my trait.

I am listening to Sting's song, "My funny Friend and Me." It's one of the songs in "The Emperor's New Groove," which is also a very good and touching movies. What else, it's about friendship. The lyrics touches me:

But you stayed and you called my name
When others would have walked out on a lousy game
And you could've made it through
...
We'll stick together till the day we die
If I had to do this all a second time
I won't complain or make a fuss



You and I, we are friends forever.