Moving . . .

February 11, 2010

This will be the last post on this blog. I am using a new blog:

The reason why I made a second blog is that I wanted a fresh new start after have been on hiatus for quite a long time. Secondly, it is a part of my self re-branding plan. Now, I am using “yusufaria” on most of my online accounts to make them more manageable.

In the new blog, I will continue the writing of my perspective about various thing, from serious topics such as news and business, to light topics such as music and sports. I am looking forward for inputs to enrich my perspective. Thank you very much and enjoy your reading there.

I’m Not an Opportunist

February 14, 2009

Humans seek for opportunity in every circumstance. But that doesn’t make humans opportunists. Firstly, let’s define opportunism and opportunist just like the way dictionaries do (here and here).

Everybody, at least every grown-up people, realize that the world is actually grey. Someone can be lost inside the turbulence of life if that person has no clear definition about what is black and what is white. That defined black and white is principle. Different beings may have different principles.

I’m not saying that every opportunistic person have no principles. In fact, in politics, business, or even love life, some of them have defined their own principles clearly. Some of the principles are even the so-called “good principles”, the ones that follow the “golden rule”. The problem arises when those human beings cannot hold on to the principles as the result of their natural instincts. Greed, jealousy, discontentedness, anxiety and other negative human attributes, combined with the flaws of human-built system was the trigger of opportunistic actions. It was the basic foundation of crisis, war, and suffering.

For me, holding on to principle is absolute. For instance, taking someone’s belonging, no matter how much I want it, or need it, is just intolerable. It’s true that sometimes principles are negotiable. But it shouldn’t be too flexible. Once a principle is considered flexible, it will be just like an old rubber bracelet. So instead of being addicted to stretching the principles, please just redefine the new black and white and stick to it. Don’t be an opportunist.

Hero(in) of The Day: Ms. Susi
Thanks for listening to the blabbering

Moral of The Day: Faith heals.

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Boys come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Hey little thing let me light your candle
cause mama I’m sure hard to handle, now,
Gets around
~ Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
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Bursting . . .

Last week I went to a supermarket to buy some snacks and drinks as supplies for my travel back from Bandung to Jakarta. At the time, I needed three bottles of mineral water. Strangely, I chose three different brands, Aqua (Danone), Ades (Coca Cola Company), and Pure Life (Nestle) and decided to observe rather than to drink them.

Aqua is a very well known brand in Indonesian market. It’s the pioneer, the “top of mind” among the others, and therefore the market leader among the bottled mineral water products. It also has Danone as the “holding brand”. No wonder in Indonesia the word “Aqua” is often used to refer bottled mineral water of any brands.

Until last year, Ades is the biggest competitor of Aqua. It has Coca Cola Company behind its back. Therefore, it is a quite difficult challenge for a newcomer to compete with the giants. Mostly the newcomers only play in the lower level market to fight for the areas that aren’t touched by the giants.

Then Nestle’s Pure Life came and have been slowly “stealing” the costumers of the giants. How are they doing it? First, they are using pricing strategy. The price of a Pure Life is slightly lower than the price of Aqua, while Ades set a bit higher price than those two products.

Second, they are using exposures, a lot of exposures. While Vit using a different color attribute, which is red, to steal consumer’s attention, Pure Life do smarter things. It doesn’t use other color than blue because the basic need of people who buy mineral water is freshness, and blue reflects freshness. Instead, while others use dark blue, Pure Life uses lighter sea-blue to show freshness. It also uses a more blue-ish plastic container to emphasize the freshness image that it is quite noticeable among others when arranged in places like supermarket.

Another smart exposure that is created for Pure Life is the placement of the label. Most of mineral water product place their labels on the top half of the bottle. Pure Life does a different thing by putting it on the lower half of the bottle to make it looks different. It also uses Nestle as the umbrella brand by exposing it on the label. It’s one of the important weapon to fight the giants because Nestle is very well known for food and beverage products with top quality. That’s why most people know the product as Nestle instead of Pure Life.

Can the giants stop this threat? Aqua has done some strategies. One of them is the price adjustment by reducing the packaging cost. What about Ades? I think they haven’t done a noticeable change to overcome the threat. If this continues, there is a possibility that Pure Life will take its position as the top rival of Aqua.

Hero(es) of The Day: Kontrakan Gank
Thanks for the memorable Saturday…

Moral of The Day: Minimize mistakes!
Even one scene can be so exhausting . . .

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Never wanted any more than what I deserve,
better bring it I’m takin’ it all.
Screw an inch ’cause I’m bringin’ a mile,
It’s on now 1 2 3…
~ Determined – Mudvayne
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Pushing my limits . . .

The data provided by Indonesian Statistics Bureau shows the difference between the Indonesia’s average per capita monthly expenditure in 1996 and in 2006. The data from both years can be compared directly by firstly adjusting the data of 1996 to it’s value in 2006 using inflation data based on the average consumer prices. It can be observed there that for essential goods, the expenditure were relatively constant. For instance, the expense differences for clothing and basic foods such as cereals, tubers, spices, oil, and some other foods nominally didn’t reach Rp 1,000 and have no significance percentage difference. It means that from time to time, the demand for this kind of needs would not change drastically regarding the price.

The low sensitivity against price makes the essential goods are considered as goods with very low price elasticity. Some of them can even be considered inelastic such as eggs, tubers, spices, and miscellaneous food items where the percentage difference of those items didn’t even exceeded 0.1%. Alcoholic beverages can also be considered inelastic since the spending for this commodity is very low so the difference won’t have any significance. This happened because the major consumers are the upper-class citizens, a small portion of the total population, whom expenditure wouldn’t be affected by the national product much.

There are significant escalation of spending for prepared food and beverages, and also for tobacco and betel. For prepared food and beverages, the escalation took place because of the evolution in consumers’ behavior where the prepared meals are preferred more than the conventionally cooked as the era advances. This symptom can also be diagnosed by observing the slight decrease in spending for foodstuffs that need more processing and therefore need more time before they can be consumed, such as meat or even cereals.

Indonesians undoubtedly are high tobacco and betel consumers. The consumption of these commodities was about 3 – 5.5% from the total expenditure. It is also quite obvious that the consumption of these commodities by rural citizens is higher than the urban citizens’ consumption. The allocation for tobacco and betel also rises almost 2% both in urban and rural areas.

The data also reveals the composition of expenditure difference between urban and rural citizens. Averagely, people in urban areas spend 50% of their total expenditure for foods and 50% for non-food commodities. While people in rural areas spend 60% of their total expense for food and the rest 40% for non-food commodities.

It can also be concluded from the data that Indonesians in 2006 are slightly prosperous than Indonesians in 1996. This conclusion can be extracted from the data of expenditure for housing and household facility. In 2006, Indonesians can allocate more on this section because the basic needs such as food and clothing had already been adequately fulfilled. This conclusion also obtained from the fact that the national income and expenditure per capita which increased almost 20 percent.

Hero of The Day: Mr. Caax Again
You made me looked alive bro!!

Moral of The Day: Think before speak!
The walls do have ears . . .

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I ain’t happy, I’m feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I’m useless,but not for long
The future is coming on
~ Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz
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Nice hectic weekend … love it!

Indonesians are consumptive. One of the aspects that show the excessiveness is the tendency of wasting energy. This can be concluded from the data of energy elasticity ratio which reflect the energy consumed by a nation to reach one percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP). The energy elasticity ratio of Indonesia reaches 1.85% which is higher then some of the neighboring countries’ that only reach 0.5%-1%. This was discerned significantly recently when Indonesia came into contact with the energy crisis.

The energy crisis experienced lately was initiated due to the bad weather that hampered the supply of the fuel, especially coal, to the power plants which mostly located across the sea from where it was mined and refined. The escalation of the oil price in global market, which touches $100/barrel, made it worse. The base expense of electric supplying soared while the local oil supply was running low because of the producer’s preference of exporting the oil more than selling it for domestic needs.

As the only one electric utility company in Indonesia, PT. PLN (Persero) is greatly troubled by this situation. That’s why, starting from the beginning of April 2008, PLN will apply the “incentive-disincentive” policy that affects the tariff of electricity. Firstly, the average monthly electric usage of the consumers is determined based on the historical data acquired. A consumer will get an incentive in the form of discount if the electric usage of the month is under 80% of national average monthly electric usage. On the other hand, if the electric usage of the month is over 80%, the consumer will get a disincentive in the form of additional charge for the excessive usage.

I believe that there’s a good intention behind this policy. It can educate Indonesian people to be thriftier in using the energy. If the goal is accomplished, government can decrease as much as Rp 18.66 trillion (about USD$ 1.8 billion) per year from its yearly budget. That is a significant number considering the subsidy for electricity that surpass Rp 65 trillion (about USD$ 6.5 billion) this year.

It’s 10 more days to the implementation of this policy. Unfortunately there are still some noticeable flaws. The first one is the socialization of this policy. I believe that most of Indonesian people don’t have any clue yet about this policy and the tariff’s calculation detail. Even for a person such as me who’s connected to the internet, watch television, and read newspaper daily, it still took me some times to get the clear information about this policy. That’s why PLN and government should prioritize the socialization of this program to avoid the sudden resistance of the Indonesian citizens.

The second important thing is about the transparency of the data processing. I’m learning statistics now and I realize that determining the average value of the monthly electric usage isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when dealing with the unevenly distributed data like the national electric usage. The electric usage of people in the less developed area will differ compared to the people in the more developed area, even though both of them are in the same consumer level. This fact will be objectionable to the people in the more developed area, especially in the big cities, because their actual daily energy needs mostly greater than the needs of people in the less developed area.

Nevertheless, I still hope that this policy is really based on the goodwill of the government and the improvement will be constantly maintained during the implementation so that this policy will bring goodness for Indonesia and lead Indonesian people to prosperity.

PT. PLN (Persero) Disjatim

Hero of The Day: Mr. Habib Nawawi
Cool jacket … love it!!

Moral of The Day: Warming up is so necessary
Only the first five minutes were enjoyable 😦

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Uncle Teds and their legendary vests
helping out around the disabled,
From the flats and the maisonettes
they’re reminding us there’s things to be done.

But you and me, all we want to be is lazy,
you and me, so lazy…
~ Lazy – Suede
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Being lazy on this long weekend.

My Final Project

February 16, 2008

Finally I finished my Final Project. As some of my friends requested, this time I would like to give an overview of the Project by sharing some parts of my report. Since the writings are quite long, I’ll put them on separated pages with the links to each pages are provided below.

Moral of The Day: Manuals are better than automatics.
Speed, I need speed!

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Maybe I’ll just fall in love that could solve it all,
philosophers say that that’s enough,
there surely must be more.

Love ain’t the answer nor is work,
the truth eludes me so much it hurts.
But I’m still having fun and I guess that’s the key,
I’m a twenty something and I’ll keep being me.

~ Jamie Cullum – Twenty Something

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Yup! I’m twenty something and I’ll keep being me.

Diamonds and Coal

February 5, 2008

( imported, originally posted on Jan 16th, 08 )

One of my friends offered me a brand new Incubus’ CD for only 40.000 rupiahs (equivalent to € 3.89). Of course I took it with no hesitation at all. Having a brand new album from a band I like the most for a low price couldn’t please me more. In addition, beside the high quality sounds, the album also has a very artistic cover design. “Man, hearing the albums while reading the lyrics feels like being kissed by Mariana Renata. Yummy, lol!”

In my opinion, this is the Incubus’ album that tells about romance more than their previous albums. Even though there were some songs in their previous albums that also tells about romance, but the language used were not as baldly as the language used in this new album. The evolution can be seen, started from the Fungus Amongus and Enjoy Incubus albums which -in my opinion- contain no love song at all, and continued to the next albums where the romance materials were added gradually. Some people said that it is because the maturity that Brandon gained as the lyrics writer as the time goes by. Well, even though I like their old lyrics concept more, but I think it’s just fine as long as they keep making good music. I mean “hey, a lot of people know this band for the first time from songs like Summer Romance, I Miss You, and Wish You Were Here, right?”

Based on my observation, at least 7 out of 13 songs in the Light Grenades album noticeably contain story about love. This time I’m going to interpret one of those songs, which titled Diamonds and Coal. Since I’m not intending to make this writing too long, the complete lyrics can be found here.

“If it’s good to complicate then both of us are doing fine.”
“Yeah, if it’s right to pick a fight, we’re fingers in a sugar bowl.”
“If it’s good to instigate then we’re a fast horse, bet on us.”
“I’m not calling you an animal I think we just fight too much.”

From the sentences, we could see a story about a couple that doesn’t get along with each other. Fighting and arguing become the parts of their relationship. The writer used simple statements that can be understood easily. At these parts, he showed a cynicism how a little conversation between the couple can easily turn into a fight. But then, at these parts:

“Love isn’t perfect, even diamonds start out as coal.”
“Come on, in spite of this we’re doing just fine, even diamonds start as coal.”
“Give us time to shine, even diamonds start as coal.”

The writer emphasizes that nothing is perfect, including love. He presents the optimism that over time the relationship would get better.

“Give it time girl, the fire feels divine.”
“The sweetest things they burn before they shine.”

I think these are the best parts of the song which explain the metaphoric phrase “even diamonds start as coal”. They tell us that through those fights and as the time goes by, as long as they don’t give up, the relationship will finally become as strong and as beautiful as a diamond. It’s sweet, isn’t it?

Hero of the day: Mr. Caax Lefthanded
Ticket + CD + Hot Orange Juice?? Man, you’re the best!

Moral of the day: Hard work and persistence are the keys.
Yeah, 4 down … 110 more to go.

Lyric of the day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Some people fall in love and touch the sky
Some people fall in love and find quicksand
I hover somewhere in between… I swear…
I can’t make up my mind
~ Quicksand – Incubus
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Just leave her and join me, Brandon! There are a lot of girls out there dying to be ours! lol :))

( imported, originally posted on Jan 5th, 08 )

“Infatuation is when you think he’s as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he’s as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford – but you’ll take him anyway.” ~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975

An engineer is a person who undergoes trainings to prepare him/her so that when he/she is faced to a technical problem, he/she can analyze the problem and find the solution(s) for the problem. A couple of hours ago, in a class, my lecturer said that someone deserves an “Engineer” title if only he/she has got something that called “Sense of Engineering”. That means he/she can predict the solution(s) within few moments and can also determine whether a given solution is reasonable or it is just nonsense.

“Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species.” ~W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer’s Notebook, 1949

Now, let’s talk about love. To an engineer, love should be the variable that he/she will try to avoid most. Love is unpredictable and impossible to measure. Love is also unstable, it can drastically changes from a “extremely happy” state to “extremely upset” state or vice-versa in just a short period of times. There is no iteration method that can exactly determine what state of love one will experience tomorrow, or even in the next hour. Sometimes -or maybe most of the times- a solution that won’t make any sense can be the best solution of a love problem compared to a reasonable one.

“Forget love – I’d rather fall in chocolate!” ~Sandra J. Dykes

So the conclusion is that Engineers should avoid love, isn’t it? Well, theoretically they should. But in the reality, most of them won’t and the rest can only try. The reason is that love is simply unavoidable. Love is a mystery. And most of us are struggling everyday to solve all of the mysteries that have been given to us by god. It’s in our nature as a human. So when dealing with love, forget this “Sense of Engineering” and let’s just be humans.

“Love means nothing in tennis, but it’s everything in life.” ~Author Unknown

Hero of The Day: Mr. Pekik Argo Dahono
Thanks for the “enlightenment”, and for the task too!

Moral of The Day: Keep funky and be yourself no matter what they say!
Criticize please! But don’t try to change me!

Lyric of The Day:
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It’s driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I’m beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found
So whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes
~ Drive – Incubus
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No special reason, just trying to feel the positivity .

(imported, originally posted on Dec 16th, 07)

Everybody knows that Capello is an outstanding coach. He got a lot of champion titles from Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga. As a matter of fact, he’s the one who led my beloved AS Roma to the Scudetto title in 1999.

What bothering me is that he’s now being hired to coach England. I’m a big fan of them, Capello and England. Capello, as what I mentioned before, is an excellent coach that always strongly applies the disciplines to his team. While England team is a national team that is crowded with a lot of international best players. Their characteristic is the exceptional kick-and-rush style of playing which makes them one of the best attacking national team.

I don’t think that both of them will match nicely. I even predict that Capello will try to change the style of England. The worst thing that can happen is when he tries to apply the Cattenacio style to England. England can loose their attractiveness even tough they probably could make a better achievement.

But the fact is Capello will coach England until 2010. It’s really reasonable considering the how agitated the FA and how restless the England supporters have become when England failed to qualify playing Euro 2008. All I can do is just hoping that England could get better without loosing their attractiveness.

Song of The Day: Duality – Slipknot
Confused between what I did and what I should’ve done.

Hero of The Day: Mr. Prawira a.k.a Aplo
Thanks for reminding me to prepare myself for the exam!

Moral of The Day: Delusional problem can occur from a daydream.
Suddenly woke up furious? What’s wrong with me? So strange.

(imported, originally posted on Dec 13th, 07)

The Facts:

That title was the headline of Republika today. It was predicted before, that in 2014 all of the roads in Jakarta will be fully covered with vehicles. Now, the prediction changed. The catastrophe will take place 3 years sooner, which means in 2011 there won’t be any space on the roads of Jakarta left if all of the Jakarta vehicles are placed on them. The prediction based on the fact that the growth of vehicles number that stretches to 9.5 % per year.

Currently, there are about 5.7 million units of vehicles in Jakarta. Based on the data per October 2007, 57 % are 2-wheels vehicles and the 43 % are vehicles with 4-wheels or more. Among those numbers, 98.5 % are personal vehicles, while the rest are public transportations. What makes things worse is that the enormous numbers of personal vehicles only transport 44 percents of the road user, while the rest are carried by the public transportation which only a few in numbers.

The Opinion:

Obviously, Jakarta needs more public transportations. But the next important thing is how to make citizens of Jakarta aware of this situation and, with their own consciousness, start using the public transportation. There’s a lot of reasonable explanation why the public transportation is not popular among them. One of them is the security issue. It is well known that you have to keep your eyes on your belongings when you get into a public transportation in Jakarta, especially the busses. The criminals there are so aggressive that usually no one will try to help you when the crime happens to you, even when they are alerted.

Other reasons are the comfort and the punctuality of the public transport itself. With a limited number of vehicles, it’s really hard to get the comfort and the punctuality at the same time. I’ve experienced that a lot of times. For the sake of timekeeping, I was forced not to breathe oxygen in those vehicles, but carbon dioxide that was exhaled by the person in front of me. Well actually, it didn’t taste so bad, lol.

Based on my calculation referred to the facts above, if the government can do something to change the citizens’ perception about the public transportations, every addition of 10 public transportations can replace 830 personal vehicles. Of course my calculation still uses rough assumptions and estimations. But there’s one thing for sure, Jakarta intolerably needs more safe public transportations.

Song of The Day: Sunshine – Frente
It’s just another beautiful normal day.

Hero(in) of The Day: Rahmi Aria Putri
Thanks for the movies, Sis!

Moral of The Day: Slacking makes you thicker and poorer.
Sleeping when it was raining felt so damn good.