Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lighten up, Doc!

A letter to editor in Kompas today is a reflection of blatant anti-competition by an Indonesian medical doctor, a member of the Indonesian Medical Doctors Association (IDI). He complains about a doctor from Singapore who keeps advertising himself in Indonesian news media.

He argues, had local doctors been allowed to do the same, all media would have been full of private doctors selling themselves. Some might even offer promos like car or free ticket to go abroad. All sounds sinful to his ear, as the letter implies.

I wish the opposite is true. If Indonesian doctors advertise themselves in the media, that would lessen my search cost. And yeah, I want the prize.

Oh by the way, the complainer, by sending such a letter to the (biggest) newspaper in the country, is, urgh, advertising himself, too. No?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mentawai and Merapi

My condolences to the victims of tsunami in Mentawai, Sumatra and of vulcanic eruption of Mount Merapi in Central Java, this week.

Alas, same things repeat: slow response and lax coordination from the government, stupid minister blaming accidents on the victims for not obeying the God's rules, media blunders, insensitive netizens posting pictures of victims on soc meds, and so forth.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

RIP: Nizam A. Yunus

Let me write about someone that unless you had attended FEUI, you probably don't know this nevertheless very fine gentleman, Nizam A. Yunus.

Bang Nizam was the Associate Dean for Student's Affair when I, Ape, and Aco, were in college years in the 1990s. Being active in student magazine, BO Economica, we had close contact with him.

And he was the best, most unpretentious, university bureaucrat one can possibly wish to have.

During 1997-1998 tumultous protest days, Bang Nizam played important role in letting the students to protest and go down to the streets. Unlike other University bureaucrats, he never tried to stop students' movement.

I still remember the nights Bang Nizam spent in his office in Depok on the days of students protest, just to make sure that FEUI students were safe. He was the only campus official willing to do this in those days.

Sometimes I just dropped by to have cold Coke and had conversation on, mostly, unimportant stuff. He had a small refrigerator in his office, I think. Funny man himself, talking to him was always fun.

He also called himself "gue" and his students "elo".

I thanked Bang Nizam for making FEUI feels like home and my college years was very much memorable. In his own way, he really took care of students of all stripes, myself included.

So long, Bang.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Save JifFest by paying higher prices than before

I love JifFest - that's Jakarta International Film Festival. It's coming (if I'm not mistaken it's going to be the 11th this year). Like in the last years, it's coming with poor financing. I feel sorry and I would love to contribute my suggestion.

Which might not be popular. And hence I would just post it here.

Here's the thing. I think the ticket prices to JifFest have been too low. As a result, they can't rely on ticket revenue even to cover the overhead, maybe. I understand their argument: ticket should not be expensive if you want to introduce good stuff to as many people as possible.

But there lies the problem. Festivals bring about good, selected movies. Usually this kind of movies have pre-selected audience. That is, serious movie watchers, artists, people who appreciate arts more than others, et cetera. And they "should be" willing to pay higher, because they value these movies higher than "ordinary" ones.

By charging low prices (even worse, by subsidizing) they forget one thing: the filter effect of price. Because the prices are too low, even those who don't care or who don't appreciate these movies will come. But for different reasons: to kill time, to hang out, or to find a place to date boy- or girfriend cheaply. These are the people who would talk and make noisy chit-chat while the movie is rolling. These are the people who talk over handphones making it hard for us to appreciate the ongoing movie..

But if you charge a "more correct price", you filter out these non-serious watchers. And give us better ambience to enjoy the otherwise excellent movie experience.

Of course I'm not suggesting a very expensive price. For super high prices might as well scare even the serious watchers. Let's just say a little higher than the prices of non-festival, usual movies in Jakarta.

Just saying.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Soon Cafe Salemba might serve FAQs menu on history of Indonesian economic thought to answer boring repetitive rap on said topic.

In the meantime, you may wish to read essays by Thee Kian Wie published in this book in 2004, especially on the ill-fated Indonesian industrial policy.