Monthly Archives: July 2006

Berwudhu yang efisien dan tidak mubazir

Kemarin saya mampir ke Depok Town Square, memenuhi janji dengan keponakan untuk membawa mereka ke sana. Ketika telah tiba Maghrib, kami menuju ke musholla untuk menunaikan sholat.

Antrian di tempat wudhu sudah sangat panjang. Sambil menunggu, saya jadi bisa melihat berbagai cara orang dalam melakukannya.
Tapi rata-rata sama; berwudhu dengan kran yang dibuka sekencang-kencangnya, dan setiap bagian wudhu dilakukan berkali-kali dengan sangat lambat. Tentu saja makin lama antrian menjadi makin panjang, padahal waktu Maghrib cuma sebentar dan semakin mendekati habis.

Begitu giliran saya tiba saya coba perlihatkan cara wudhu “alternatif”, yang saya dapatkan informasinya dari beberapa ustadz (salah satunya ust. Yazid Jawwas), yaitu :

  • Membasuh kedua telapak tangan 1x
  • Dengan satu genggam air, dihirup ke hidung dan mulut (berkumur) 1x
  • Membasuh wajah 1x
  • Membasuh tangan s/d siku 1x
  • Membasuh rambut dan disambung ke telinga 1x
  • Membasuh kedua kaki s/d mata kaki 1x

1. Hemat air : Rasulullah saw bisa mandi wajib dengan 1 gayung air. Logikanya, kalau hanya untuk berwudhu, tentu bisa menggunakan air yang lebih sedikit lagi jumlahnya.

2. Membasuh anggota badan : Ternyata 3x membasuh itu adalah jumlah maksimal. 1x membasuh saja sudah cukup. Cuma memang kadang kita diganggu oleh bisikan2 yang membuat kita was-was, “eh, sudah kena semua atau belum ya tangannya?”, dst – sehingga banyak orang yang malah jadi membasuh bahkan lebih dari 3x.

Ini sudah saya cek dan praktekkan sejak dulu, tapi saya tidak hapal lagi semua dalilnya. Mungkin ada yang bisa membantu untuk melengkapi dalil-dalilnya.

Anyway, ternyata Islam memang adalah agama yang mudah dan tidak menyulitkan sebetulnya.

OOT :
Musholla di Depok Town Square sangat kecil dan amat sangat tidak sepadan dengan kapasitas gedungnya yang luar biasa besar. Hindari mendatangi DTS di waktu sholat, supaya tidak mengalami kesulitan seperti yang saya alami (antrian sangat panjang untuk sholat).
Atau, hindari saja mendatangi DTS. Mosok kalah dengan PIM 2 (Pondok Indah Mall 2), tiap lantainya ada musholla, dan besarnya mencukupi – padahal lokasinya tidak begitu banyak muslimnya.

Sex Education

I’ve not yet encountered this event, but I know it will come sometime. One day, one of my children will ask about sex, and I will have to explain it to them. I’m not scared (well ok, not much ๐Ÿ˜€ ), but I think I’ll have the hardest time of keeping my face straight. :mrgreen:

Mbak Santi have endured this twice apparently. But her second event is more special, because Baby is an active and very inquiring little girl.
My jaw dropped at first when I read this article , and then I feel pain in my stomach as I was trying hard not to burst into laughter in my office room.

But I think you handled it alright mbak. Thanks for the ideas and inspirations ! ๐Ÿ˜€

note: here’s an article with photo of this very clever girl. May you grow to be a very good girl, insyaAllah.

Expats are miserable in Indonesia…. ?

After reading countless complaints from Indonesian about discriminations against them over their expat counterparts (eg: same skill level, but the expats got paid like 5x, etc), I can’t believe that there are expats who are still complaining that their live in Indonesia is miserable ๐Ÿ™‚

Holy Batman… you got paid in USD, spend in the cheap Rupiah, with Indonesians admiring your white skin – and you’re still complaining ?
Some people are just impossible to please ๐Ÿ˜€

I was an expat too, and I’ve had it worse. I’m quite sure that most expats are having it (way) better in Indonesia.
We also had our share of racial abuse. It seems that all races are capable of racism and xenophobia.
But we’re grateful with what we have.

So come on guys, think positive, then your life will be better. You did that to yourself.

I just hope Treespotter won’t get any backlash from all this, but he seems to be a very capable guy. So no worries here ๐Ÿ™‚

Pengenalan Virtualisasi

Dalam dunia IT ada 2 teknologi yang dapat meningkatkan manfaat IT dan menurunkan biayanya secara signifikan, yaitu centralized computing dan virtualisasi.

Centralized computing sudah banyak saya bahas di berbagai artikel saya, Anda bisa search keyword “LTSP” dan akan mendapatkan berbagai penjelasan serta panduan implementasinya.

Mengenai virtualisasi akan saya bahas di posting ini secara ringkas.

Virtualisasi adalah metode untuk membuat sesuatu menjadi lepas dari ketergantungan secara fisik. Contoh; virtual machine adalah komputer, yang sebetulnya hanya berupa sebuah file di hard disk kita. Dengan virtualisasi, maka sebuah komputer (fisik) bisa menjalankan banyak komputer virtual sekaligus pada saat yang bersamaan.

Berbagai kelebihan virtualisasi :

  1. Penghematan biaya : di sebuah komputer server saya pernah menjalankan 4 buah virtual machine sekaligus.
    1 buah menjalankan OS Windows sebagai database server Oracle, satu buah menjalankan OS Solaris 8, satu buah menjalankan OS Suse Linux Enterprise, dan satu lagi OS Windows 2000 server. Sehingga, alih-alih membeli 4 buah server fisik, saya cukup membeli 1 buah saja.
    Juga, VMware server kini juga sudah bisa diakses secara remote. Maka, kita tidak perlu lagi membeli monitor/keyboard/mouse untuk setiap server – server bisa headless, dan kita akses secara remote saja.
  2. Murah : VMware Server kini sudah disediakan cuma-cuma, tanpa biaya. Demikian juga dengan berbagai solusi virtualisasi lainnya; VirtualPC, QEMU, Xen, dan lain-lainnya.
  3. Kemudahan maintenance : Biasanya, untuk maintenance sebuah server, kita perlu berada di lokasi server, dan ada monitor/keyboard/mouse untuk setiap server. Kini VMware server sudah bisa diakses secara remote. Maka, kini dari komputer kita sendiri, kita bisa mengakses puluhan server sekaligus yang berada di belahan dunia yang lain sekalipun pada saat yang bersamaan.
  4. Reliabilitas : Makin banyak server fisik berarti semakin besar kemungkinan terjadi kerusakan. Jika jumlah server fisik dikurangi, maka infrastruktur kita akan menjadi lebih reliable.
  5. Kemudahan backup : Biasanya kita tidak bisa membackup sebuah server secara utuh, karena jika suatu saat backup tersebut di restore di komputer yang berbeda hardwarenya, maka Windows biasanya akan gagal booting. Sialnya, backup per layanan (database, fileserver, dst), membuat proses backup menjadi lebih rumit, dan proses restorenya juga lebih memakan waktu.

    Kontra dengan virtual machine, dimana semua konfigurasinya sama. Contoh; semua virtual machine di VMware akan selalu mendapatkan card VGA VMware, network card PCnet, dst.
    Karena itu, backupnya jadi sangat mudah. Cukup copy virtual machine tersebut (biasanya berupa beberapa file) ke tempat backup.
    Proses restorenya yang lebih mengagumkan lagi – menjadi sangat mudah dan cepat. Cukup install VMware di komputer yang lain, dan copy virtual machine tersebut ke komputer tersebut – presto, semua kembali berjalan normal.

Demikianlah berbagai kelebihan virtualisasi. Seperti yang dapat Anda lihat, kelebihannya sangat banyak dan signifikan.

Teknolgi yang dulunya hanya tersedia di komputer mainframe (server kelas atas) kini sudah tersedia bagi kita semua, tanpa biaya pula. Jangan sampai luput untuk memanfaatkannya demi keuntungan Anda pribadi.

Islam is Fun : Konsep Surga

Kemarin ini kembali saya mengajak anak saya, Umar (4 tahun), untuk sholat Jumat di mesjid. Umar senang sekali, biasanya dia jarang melihat saya sehari-hari (karena jadwal kerja saya yang cukup padat, biasanya Senin – Sabtu, 07:00 – 23:00). Tapi untuk mengajarkan kewajibannya ini, saya akan coba selalu sempatkan.

Selesai sholat saya ngobrol2 dengan Umar sambil menyetir ke rumah. Walaupun anak laki-laki, tapi yang satu ini doyan curhat ๐Ÿ™‚ enggak seperti bapaknya, hehe. Kita membicarakan berbagai hal, sampai akhirnya menyinggung soal Surga.
Iseng, saya tanya ke Umar; “Mar, surga itu apaan sih?”

Berpikir sejenak, lalu Umar menjawab, “Bebek”.

๐Ÿ˜€ Bengong sejenak, lalu saya berusaha menahan tawa saya, takut membuat Umar jadi malu :mrgreen: untung saja jalanan kebetulan juga agak sepi, sehingga ketika mobil menjadi agak oleng juga tidak mengenai apapun, haha.
Kids says the funniest thing indeed !

Tentu saja saya harus menjelaskan “kekeliruan” ini. Kemudian saya melihat dua pilihan; jelaskan secara standar, atau jelaskan dengan bahasa anak-anak.
Saya pilih yang kedua.

Saya jelaskan, bahwa surga itu isinya enak-enak semua. “Di surga ada sungai lho”, saya tahu dia senang main-main di sungai ketika liburan ke villa di daerah Sukabumi, dan matanya menjadi kelihatan tertarik — “tapi, sungainya itu sungai Fanta”. Matanya tiba-tiba membelalak, dan mulutnya terbuka lebar – tercengang.
Saya kesulitan menahan tawa lagi – but, the show must go on ๐Ÿ™‚

“Di surga juga ada banyak pohon”, tutur saya. “Tapi, pohonnya pohon permen”. Kali ini Umar seperti akan melonjak dari tempat duduknya.
Saya teruskan lagi, “Juga ada gunung es krim. (ooohh) …. Tapi tahu nggak, nanti Umar bisa ketemu sama siapa di surga? Coba tebak, hayo”.

Dengan penuh semangat, si Umay (panggilannya untuk dirinya sendiri) menyebutkan semua anggota keluarganya satu per satu ๐Ÿ˜€ baik banget nih anak. Saya jadi lama mengiyakan dia sambil mengatakan, “terus siapa lagi hayo?”. Berhubung keluarga kami keluarga besar…. lumayan lama juga jadinya, huhu.
Akhirnya terpaksa saya putus, “…iya, dan nanti di surga, Umar bisa ketemu sama Sonic lho”.

Si Umay berteriak gembira. Kebetulan salah satu game favoritnya di komputer adalah Sonic. “Iya, nanti Umar digendong Sonic, terus diajak jalan-jalan keliling Surga. Atau Umar mau main sama Miles saja? Nanti Umar dia gendong, dan diajak terbang keliling”, “ah, ah, Umay mau, Knuckles juga, wooooo…. ” menirukan gaya Knuckles ketika sedang gliding.

Kami telah hampir tiba di rumah. Dan dalam waktu yang singkat tersebut, kini si Umay sudah tahu seperti apa surga itu ๐Ÿ˜€
Mudah-mudahan dia akan semakin terus menemukan bahwa agamanya tidak hanya fun, namun juga baik dalam segala hal.

The Core

Nowadays I returned home around 23:00, and most of the time my body would be too exhausted but my mind still attached to work, making me unable to sleep. To help put it to rest, usually I like to read, messing around with my computer a bit, or watch movies. Sometimes I’m able to slip a bit of exercise as well while watching the movies. I’d fell on the bed around 01:00.
Helen has been kind enough to rend DVDs for me from VideoEzy at the day, so we can watch it together later.

A movie that I’ve been wanting to watch for sometime now is The Core. I’ve been reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and couldn’t wait to see something like it visualized. But I was too busy to watch it when it was on the theater.
Finally, about 3 days ago, I got my hands on it.

It didn’t disappoint. Sure, there are flaws on its science. But then again, which sci-fi movie hasn’t ? The Core actually is a bit better – one of the professor which was consulted on the movie then submitted the ideas (on sending a probe into the core of the earth) to the prestigious science journal, Nature. It was accepted and published on 15 May 2003.

But what The Core really is non-stop thriller and action.
I was rather sceptical about how a movie about 6 people trapped in a small space could get interesting. But they pulled it off.
Hairy problems keep popping up, and somehow, McGyver-style, they manage to solve those with their (indeed) very limited resources. Although many of the crew ended up dead, but they accomplished their mission.

Special FX are in abundance from start to the end. Although not all are perfect, but they are amusingly different than the others – not just explosions and other standard effects, but things like hordes of pigeons attacking people ๐Ÿ™‚ and such. Refreshing indeed.

And; there was not a single the-girl-bare-it-all scene. This movie survived on adrenaline alone – from beginning to the end. Good for me, I hate it when the producer throws that in just for the sake of “hey look, we got [insert_gorgeous _actress] naked in our movie *drool*“, even when it’s totally unnecessary. And most of the time it’s not even convincingly done.

These kind of scenes are plain annoyance. I was pleasantly surprised that The Core didn’t feel the need for such thing (or, perhaps it’s been censored? dunno).
Here’s wishing there’d be more movies like this – just the interesting stuff, with no distraction. Better yet, get more “normal” people in (not just the skeleton-skinny girls / hunky guys), but I’m dreaming here, I know. Beauty over quality. OK. Gotcha.

Next – Bubba Ho-Tep. Bruce Campbell was the King of one-liners in Army of Darkness (absolutely hilarious), and people said he’s still the same there. Just what I need after a day’s hard work. But to be honest, I have no idea where to find it in Indonesia, heh. Let me know if you do.

Anak dengan masalah pencernaan

Kebetulan 3 dari 4 anak saya sempat mengalami masalah pencernaan semasa kecil. Antara lain; nutrisi tidak terserap dengan baik (sehingga terlihat kurus & sering perlu tambahan vitamin), mudah diare, dll.

Kami jadi sering berkonsultasi dengan spesialis pencernaan. Berbagai dokter jelas membawa pesan sponsor – mereka memberikan resep dan susu yang luar biasa mahalnya.

Namun ada juga dokter yang masih memegang sumpahnya, dan berusaha memberikan yang paling tepat untuk kebutuhan pasiennya. Dari mereka saya menemukan 2 produk yang sangat membantu ini :

  • Preda : merupakan bubur bayi yang diformulasikan secara khusus, sehingga sangat mudah diserap oleh pencernaan anak. Dulu hanya tersedia di apotik-apotik besar, namun kini kelihatannya sudah semakin luas tersedia
  • VitaPlus : susu untuk anak yang memiliki masalah penyerapan nutrisi – dan harganya jauh lebih murah dibandingkan dengan Pediasure/dll. Biasanya tersedia di Ahad mart dan Alfa mart.

    btw; pembuat susu ini, Sari Husada, juga membuat susu “generik” – dalam kemasan aluminium foil sederhana dan berharga murah. Bagi yang membutuhkan susu untuk anaknya namun tidak sanggup membayar susu bermerk, bisa mencobanya. Setahu saya, susu “generik” ini saat ini baru tersedia di Makro saja. Itupun ditaruh di rak sebelah bawah, sehingga mudah terlewatkan.

Semoga bermanfaat.

We have moved

I’ve moved sufehmi.com to a new server at dreamhost.com

Everything looks pretty sweet, though email is still down. But once the new DNS records has been propagated properly, it should be ok – probably in about 12 hours.

There are so many information to share, things to do; but couldn’t be done on my old server. Now it’s been moved to the new one, I can start rearranging stuff around here, so it’ll become more useful (and more pleasant to look at as well).

Here’s hoping that dreamhost will stabilize soon ๐Ÿ˜€

AnsweringIslam.org

I noticed that a member of my family was browsing this website. I mentioned to him that he’ll need to take everything with the biggest grain of salt, but had to finish my tasks and he was gone before I could elaborate or listen to his inquiries.

Anyway, there’s so much disinformation in this website, it’s going to need a dedicated team to clarify them. I’m just a layman with almost no spare time, so I decided to pick up only 2 pages from that website and clarify them.

[ 1 ] Hamzah’s “Testimony”

The author began by saying :

This testimony of Hamzah is very special. He was a learned Muslim scholar. He was educated and shaped under Islamic and Quranic teachings since his childhood. After getting his Islamic education for more than 16 years he successfully obtained his Islamic School Certification. It is clearly evident that his knowledge of the Quran and Islam has already been sufficiently deep and well developed. Nevertheless after three years of struggling with his theological and spiritual questions – searching honestly within both Islam and Christianity, Hamzah finally surrendered his life into the gracious hands of Isa Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) – his most loving and compassionate Saviour!

Somehow I doubt that. (the emphasized text)

An example, he said that :

I was surprised to learn who shall come to release the World from the evil Dajjal’s hand – he is no other than ISA Al-Masih (Jesus Christ) as the Imam Mahdi himself!

He got this messed up. Imam Mahdi is not the same person as Al-Masih.

Imam Mahdi is an Arab, whose lineage can be traced back to Muhammad. While Al-Masih is Prophet Isa (Jesus), who’s sent back down by God to destroy Dajjal.
When reading the whole text in relation to this story, it’s mentioned that after defeating Dajjal, Isa Al-Masih then pledged allegiance to Imam Mahdi and recognize him as his leader (King).
Imam Mahdi then ruled the Muslims (including Al-Masih) and bring back peace and prosperity to them.

This is a fairly well-known story, and Hamzah (the scholar) missed it ?
Is he really a scholar ?

The next example :

But he (the christian) said very coolly: “Oh for me that is not a problem, whether there is a new religion or not … because for me, by FAITH I will surely enter heaven!”

Hearing this, I was very shocked …! Because in my 10-plus years of study at the Islamic pesantren centres and four years study at the advanced Islamic Institute, never had I heard that entering heaven is something sure or definite for normal Moslems!

That’s is really weird – because all muslims will enter heaven. But this “scholar” doesn’t know.

However, there’s a difference. While some Christians boasted that they’ll go straight to heaven, Muslims with sins will be cleansed first in Hell. Once they’ve paid for their sins, then they’ll enter Heaven. Personally, I think this is justice.
Imagine if by faith only you’re guaranteed heaven – then you can wreak havoc, rape/steal/lie/kill people, and still got heaven ? This world will soon fall into chaos, with people trying to avoid becoming the victim / loser.

And so on. AnsweringIslam.org tried to convince their case by presenting this “scholar”, but it only exposes their true identity.

[ 2 ] Top ten reasons why Islam is NOT the religion of peace

Some zealots are going to label me as “muslim apologetics” because of this ๐Ÿ™‚ without even trying to read it thoroughly, but I have a duty to rebuke these lies/misinformation within my capability, so here it goes :

10. Muhammad nicknames his weapons : This is a pretty silly argument, but anyway – These (weapons) are instruments which is crucial to one’s continued life, so I guess it’s ok if one gets a bit sentimental about it. This is common practice among soldiers – even to this day. Yes, today’s modern, God-less, soldiers.

9. Muhammad commands in his Quran that adulterers and adulteresses should receive a hundred lashes : Well, most westerners indeed may have problems with this because of vast culture differences. If you’re one of them, remember; just a few centuries ago, you were doing it as well, and you find it ok.
But while western moral standards changes continuously (causing some to become confused as to what is right and what is wrong, now), Islam’s moral standards remains consistent, even after centuries of the Prophet’s death.

Another poison is this, in relation to the execution of a woman due to adultery :

It is true that Muhammad told Khalid to be gentler, but how gentle does one have to be when one throws a rock at a woman buried up to her breasts? Is the rock required to go only 30 miles per hour or 40? Perhaps Muhammad was ordering Khalid not to curse her. In any case, the prophet prayed over her dead body and then buried her. Truthfully, how effective was the prayer when Muhammad and his community murdered her in cold blood? They should have forgiven her and let her go to raise her child.

Seems that the author doesn’t understand Islam. Yet, somehow managed to create this long article.

Even the Prophet, much less the others at that time, does not have the right to forgive such sin – a sin which is committed against God. Which only God alone have right to forgive.
The lady understood this, therefore she knows that if she does not receive her punishment in her lifetime (because of Muhammad’s hesitation to execute it), then she’ll receive it in Hell; and it’ll be far worse.

Therefore, she forced Muhammad (by her persistence) to deliver the punishment. After many tries in many months, finally Muhammad agreed, and did it.

After the execution, Muhammad then praised her bravery :
Thereupon he said: She has made such a repentance that if it were to be divided among seventy men of Medina, it would be enough. Have you found any repentance better than this that she sacrificed her life for Allah, the Majestic?“.

Same event, but now it no longer seems that Muhammad is a cold blooded bastard as portrayed in the original article.
This event also act as a caution to Muslims – when someone is accused of adultery, do not believe it (and definitely don’t punish) straight away ! Because even when it’s already proven, Muhammad still give the choice – now, or later.

8. Muhammad in his Quran permits husbands to beat their wives. – what they failed to mention is that it’s strongly encouraged to solve the problem amicably, and the punishment only as last resort.

Unfortunately, our own fault too, many Muslim tend to execute the last resort first, and in abundance.
It has become the local culture in many places. In some cases, women got killed because of this.

It’s said that “Among the Muslims, the most perfect as regards his faith is the one whose character is most excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.

And so on…. sorry I’m running out of time, so I’ll skip right to the number one :

1. Muhammad launches his own Crusades. – as if Islam taught us to “convert, or kill, everyone”, like how the Christians were instructed on the Crusades. Not.

Muhammad actually give other nations choice. Agreed to be lead by Muslims, and pay tax like everyone else. The concept of dhimmitude saves and protects people, not humiliate them. Or you can refuse (a King was asked; he refused politely, and treated the messenger well. Nothing happened)
But if you acted dishonourably, then we promised you an honourable war.

If you look into that time, there’s simply no other nation doing this. If you can’t defend yourselves, then be prepared to either die or become slaves.

For example, the past Christians’ crusades – very cruel and sadistic :

Radulph of Caen said : โ€œIn Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.โ€œ

Islam defined a very strict code of conduct on war. Even the trees are not to be harmed (hello suicide bombers). Only combatants (those that endanger your life) may be killed.

Summary: methods of brainwashing used by AnsweringIslam.org = one sided facts, partial information, failure to discuss the data in the proper context, and so on.

Again, a team of (truly) knowledgeable scholar (unlike our friend Hamzah) will have no problem rebutting this website. Gotta go now, hope it helps to clarify things.

MuslimHeritage.com

Found this website by accident – MuslimHeritage.com. Shows what Muslims were in the past – rahmatan lil ‘alamin, a blessing for all.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case now. Not yet, I hope.

Note: If you’re a Muslim (or not) blogger, please help spread the word. Link to this article (or the website), so others may find it as well.
We may not have the money and facilities of the big media, but together, we can bring back the balance. Thank you.

A few interesting articles :

[ 1 ] The tolerant & humane muslims

The conquest of Mecca :

as Scott says: `with a magnanimity unequalled in the annals of war, a general amnesty was proclaimed and but four persons, whose offences were considered unpardonable, suffered the penalty of death.โ€™

Unequalled indeed, as the norms was as below :

…in 1098, during the first crusade (begun in 1096), when the Crusaders took Maโ€™arrat anโ€™Numan, the slaughter never stopped for three days so that the Franks killed more than 100,000 people.

“‘Our menโ€™ said the pious and charitable chronicler (Lebonโ€™s words) `walked through the roads, places, on the roofs, and feasted on the slaughter just like a lioness who had her cubs taken from her. They cut into pieces, and put to death children, the young, and the old crumbling under the weight of the years. They did that in groupsโ€ฆ Our men grabbed everybody who fell into their hands. They cut bellies open, and took out gold coins. Oh detestable cupidity of gold! Streams of blood ran on the roads of the city; and everywhere lay corpses. Oh blinded nations and destined to death; none of that multitude accepted the Christian faith. At last Bohemond brought out all those he had first invited to lock themselves in the tower of the place. He ordered that all old women be put to death, and also old men, whose age had rendered useless; then all the rest he ordered to be taken to Antioch to be sold as slaves. This massacre of the Turks took place on 12 December; on Sunday; but on this day not all work could be accomplished; so the following day our men killed all the rest.” — Robert the Monk

Radulph of Caen said : “In Maarra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled.

And yet, even when Muslims were slaughtered en masse, still they found reserves of unequalled humanity. Finucane tells how in 1221, the defeated Christians were visited by their (Muslim) enemies, who brought them food to save them from starvation.

Be valiant; die rather than yield; be merciful; slay neither old men, nor women, nor children. Destroy no fruit trees, grain, or cattle. Keep your word even to your enemies.” — Caliph Abu Bakr

That’s how jihad is really done.
Bus bombings, bali bombings, civilian killings – it’s now clear that those are not jihad. Very contrary to what the media / propaganda machines tells us nowadays, isn’t it.

About tolerance :
“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” —- Glubb

Muslims, Christians, Jews living together — an absurd and crazy idea ?
Definitely not. And it has been done, when Muslims were in charge and practiced the true Islam :

Araya Goubet, too, notes how `religious tolerance, Islamic inspiration, permitted the harmonious coexistence of Christians, Moors, and Jews until the end of the fifteenth century. The dominance of the Christian clergy led to the gradual exclusion, subjugation, and expulsion of the other religious groups, starting in 1492 but culminating in 1567 when Philip II published a decree forbidding Moriscos [Christianised (ex) Muslims] from using Muslim names and the Arabic language. The Moriscos were finally expelled in 1609. Ultimately the history of the Iberian people can be summed up as `living togetherness’ until โ€˜its breaking apart beginning in the fifteenth century.

In this article I’d like also to call my brothers & sisters in Islam to start washing away their kafir-phobia.
There are bad kuffars (kafir/kuffar = non-muslim) indeed, but there are much more of the good ones (although most of them are silent). It’s injustice to sentence them all as bad, and Islam abhors injustice.

We can live together in peace. Deal with the bad ones, and live peacefully with the rest of them.

In Cordoba, there were eight hundred public schools frequented alike by Moslems, Christians and Jews, where instruction was imparted by lectures. The doors of the college were open to students of every nationality, and the Andalusian Moor, Scott adds, received the rudiments of knowledge at the same time and under the same conditions as the literary pilgrims from Asia Minor and Egypt, from Germany and France and Britain.

In this very field of scholarship, doors were open to all scholars whether they were Chinese, Indians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, and all thrived. Some of Islamโ€™s earliest and most prominent scientists at the Abbasid court, Ishaq Ibn Hunayn and Hunayn Ibn Ishaq were Nestorian Christians. Thabit ibn Qurrah, the astronomer, was a Sabean. The Bakhishtu family who held most prominent positions in the court in the ninth century were Christians, too. And so were the historian-physicist Abuโ€™l Faraj; โ€˜Ali ibn Ridwan, the Egyptian, who was the al-Hakemโ€™s Doctor; Ibn Djazla of Baghdad, and Isa ibn โ€˜Ali, another famed physicist; and so on. The Jews had the most glorious pages of their civilisation under Islam, too. If one just sifts through the hundreds of pages of Sartonโ€™s Introduction to the History of Science, one is amazed at the many names of Jewish scholars who worked in the midst of Islamic civilisation on all subjects. Some were not only scholars, but even occupied some of the most trusted positions in the Islamic jurisdictions. Maimonides (philosopher-physicist) was Salah Eddin Al-Ayyubiโ€™s doctor, and Hasdai ibn Shaprut, followed by his sons, held some of the most prominent positions in Muslim Spain. Nearly all Muslim envoys to Christian powers were Jews; and most Muslim trade was in the hands of the Jews.

Even when Islamic land was threatened by both Crusaders and later the Mongols (mid-thirteenth century) so that much of the population was wiped out (800,000 deaths in Baghdad alone in 1258), minorities, whether Jewish or Christian (even if allies of the Crusaders) still survived under Islamic rule to our present day with all their powers, privileges and wealth intact. This fact is surely a far cry from the stereotyped image of Islam as the religion of intolerance. Which highlights the true character of Islamic civilisation, a character that has remained completely alien to their successors. The Muslims did not attack the faith and practice of others. Difference of faith is a state with which Muslims could, and can live.

In regard to race / skin colors :

In Islam, simply, and for fourteen centuries, no person was stigmatised for their colour. The offspring of a non-white mother and white father was entitled and admitted to full equality, and was not excluded from high office. From 946 to 968, Egypt was governed by Kafur, a Negro born in slavery. Whether in tenth century, or today, says Levi Provencal, there is no lack of coloured people in the ranks of aristocracy or the merchant classes: this has always been an essential feature of Muslim worldview.

I love the idea of Muslims as a group of colour-blind people :

โ€ฆ.the colour-blindness of the Muslim world’s religious society and the colour blindness of the Muslim human society: these two influences had each been making a greater impact, and an increasing persuasion against my former way of thinking.” — Malcolm X

In Mecca there were `no segregationists-no liberals’; indifference to colour was spontaneous, and for Malcolm X this was evidently a shattering experience:
`I shared true, brotherly love with many white complexioned Muslims who never gave a thought to the race, or to the complexion, of another Muslim.

Do you think only westerner millionaires give inheritance to WWF or other animal-welfare causes ? Think again :

Thevenot noted persons who leave enormous wealth to feed cats and dogs.

Thevenot also observes that the charity of the Turks extends to animals and birds. On market days many people buy birds which they soon set free.

Benevolence was a form of charity which was commended by the Prophet as the first of all virtues; a benevolence which, indeed, is extended to all animals.

[ 2 ] The world-class University of Sankore, Timbuktu

The very mention of Timbuktu will give an image of a place so desolate, so remote, no one will go there except Donald Duck (even then just when he owe big to his Uncle Scrooge / when he need to disappear after messed something up real bad)
But do you know that way back to 989, Timbuktu used own a world-class university, with students coming from all over the world to study there ? Bet you didn’t know that (me neither).

Quoted:

The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque in exact dimension of the Ka’abah in holy Makkah. A wealthy Mandika lady then financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and Askia Dynasty (1493-1591).

The inventor of intellectual freedom in modern universities ?

The University of Sankore had no central administration; rather, it was composed of several entirely independent schools or colleges, each run by a single master (scholar or professor). The courses took place in the open courtyards of mosque complexes or private residences. The primary subjects were the Qurโ€™an, Islamic studies, law and literature. Other subjects included medicine and surgery, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, language and linguistics, geography, history and art. The students also spent time in learning a trade and business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation etc. It prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world.

It was claimed that the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Western Universities was inspired from universities like Sankore and Qurtuba (Muslim Spain) universities.

University Campus

International students ? They’ve had it centuries ago :

Like all other Islamic universities, its students came from all over the world. Around the 12th century, it had an attendance of 25,000 students, in a city of 100,000 people. The university was known for its high standards and admission requirements. It produced world-class scholars recognised by their publications and graduates.
Quoting the French author Felix Dubois in his book, Timbuctoo the Mysterious:

The scholars of Timbuctoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing, to the saints in the sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis, and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men of Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore.” — Felix Dubois

Unfortunately, 10 centuries later, the Sankore University fell into darkness. Most, again including me, never heard about it. It’s waiting the Muslims to regain their glory again.

And there are tons of other excellent articles there. You can spend a whole day there and still not finished with it. Go now and take a look.
Enjoy.

Strange fireball just before Indonesian tsunami and earthquake

Just reporting here – my friends have reported watching news in TV7 (a local TV station) in relation to the recent earthquakes, which one of them then followed by a tsunami (killing about 500 people).

What’s intriguing was witnesses reporting sound of explosions, followed by fireball from the sea. Which then followed by the earthquake, and tsunami in one case.

We have had many reports not followed up here, for example; how the key witness in Bali bombing was “kidnapped” by Australian gov’t in good health (according to local doctors), and returned dead and no longer in human shape (ashes) — and nearly all written record about it then vanished from the Internet.

So here it is written as a record for anyone concerned.

LTSP 4.2 @ Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake)

Berikut ini adalah catatan dari usaha saya memasang LTSP 4.2u2 di Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake).


UPDATE : Instalasi LTSP sekarang sudah sangat mudah sekali, terutama di Ubuntu Linux.
Silakan tinggal mengikuti panduan ini : Ubuntu LTSP Quick Install


Tutorial instalasi LTSP @ FC3 (Fedora Core 3) [ bisa dibaca disini ]

PENDAHULUAN

LTSP memungkinkan kita membangun sistim komputer yang canggih & berkinerja sangat bagus, walaupun menggunakan komputer tua yang sangat murah harganya.
Dengan LTSP, kita bisa menggunakan komputer Pentium I sekalipun (harga pasaran sekitar Rp 300.000) sebagai workstationnya, dengan kecepatan setara dengan Pentium IV !
Melihat ini, maka LTSP adalah solusi yang sangat cocok bagi berbagai institusi / perusahaan di Indonesia.

Razia software, walaupun kini semakin jarang diberitakan di media massa, juga masih terus berjalan. Yang terbaru kemarin ini menjadi target adalah beberapa stasiun TV di Indonesia.
Daripada membayar denda / membayar harga lisensi yang sangat mahal, mereka lebih memilih untuk beralih ke solusi open source.
LTSP, karena biayanya yang sangat ekonomis dan kemudahan pemakaian & perawatannya, menjadikannya sebagai salah satu solusi yang pantas untuk dipertimbangkan.

Ubuntu 6.06 memiliki banyak kelebihan dibanding berbagai distro lainnya, seperti :

  • Gratis dan malah diantar ke rumah kita – dengan layanan Ship It
  • Mudah dipasang dan digunakan
  • Ubuntu versi 6.06 LTS dijamin akan up to date terus selama 5 tahun. Berbeda misalnya dengan Fedora/Mandrake, yang bisa obsolete dalam waktu 1 tahun saja.

KEBUTUHAN

  1. Jaringan komputer / network, dengan bandwidth minimal 100 Mbps
  2. Komputer server, dengan spesifikasi minimal sebagai berikut (untuk 5 workstation) :

    Prosesor 800 MHz, memory 512 MB, hard disk 20 GB

  3. Komputer workstation :

    Prosesor 200 MHz,
    memory 32 MB,
    network card tipe PCI, yang ada di daftar yang ada di http://www.rom-o-matic.net,
    card VGA tipe PCI

  4. Akses Internet, atau DVD Ubuntu

RUJUKAN

  1. Instruksi instalasi LTSP 4.2
  2. Panduan instalasi Ubuntu 6 Server
  3. Ubuntu Indonesia & Ubuntu Guide

PANDUAN

Berikut adalah panduan instalasi LTSP 4.2 di Ubuntu 6.

  1. Install paket-paket yang diperlukan LTSP :

    sudo aptitude install nfs-user-server dhcpd tftpd portmap libwww-perl inetd

  2. Download ltsp-utils :

    mkdir /tmp/ltsp/
    cd /tmp/ltsp
    links http://ltsp.mirrors.tds.net/pub/ltsp/utils/ltsp-utils-0.25-0.tgz
    tar xzvf ltsp-utils-0.25-0.tgz
    cd ltsp-utils
    sudo ./install.sh
    sudo ./ltspadmin

  3. Kita telah menjalankan software ltspadmin. Pertama-tama, kita perlu download file-file instalasi ltsp 4.2u2.

    Pilih menu “Install / Update LTSP Packages”.

  4. Karena ini adalah instalasi awal, maka ltspadmin akan memunculkan pesan berikut ini:


    This is the first time installing LTSP packages, the
    Installation utility must first be configured.

    press to begin the configuration...

    Tekan Enter.

  5. Kemudian akan muncul layar konfigurasi, cukup tekan Enter terus (kecuali jika ada yang perlu Anda ubah), sampai muncul pilihan “Correct? (y/n/c)” – ketik y, lalu tekan Enter.
     
  6. Akan muncul daftar modul-modul LTSP yang tersedia. Pilih semuanya (dengan menekan spasi).

    Setelah terpilih semuanya, ketik “q”, maka ltspadmin akan mulai men download dan memasang semua modul tersebut.

  7. Berikutnya kita perlu mengkonfigurasikan LTSP.
    Pilih menu ketiga, yaitu “Configure LTSP”
     
  8. Tekan “C” untuk memilih menu “Configure the services manually”.

    Akan muncul menu bernomor 1 s/d 11. Jalankan menu-menu tersebut satu per satu, sampai akhirnya selesai semua. Lalu tekan “Q” untuk kembali ke menu utama, dan “Q” sekali lagi untuk keluar ke prompt.

  9. Untuk selanjutnya, yang perlu dilakukan adalah :

Selamat menikmati.

TIPS-TIPS

  • Jika komputer server terkoneksi ke Internet, sebaiknya dilindungi dengan firewall. Yang bisa saya rekomendasikan adalah Firehol, karena mudah digunakan dan bebas maintenance.
    Contoh konfigurasinya bisa dilihat di posting ini.
  • Jika Anda mengalami masalah, silahkan lihat di posting ini. Beberapa masalah yang sering terjadi dibahas solusinya disitu.

VERSI DOKUMEN

v1.0 – first release
v1.01 – minor correction re: ubuntu version numbering (thanks Andy)

IndonesiaMatters.com against muslim ?

At first I was happy to find another website that blogs in English and informs the outside world about Indonesia. However, when I started to read more of its article, it reminded me of muslim-haters such as faithfreedom.com and such.

A few examples:
[ The Crusades and Liberal Islam ] (see comments by Patung, its owner)
[ Tennis Team won’t play is Israel ] – (quoted: “The Indonesian refusal to recognise the existence of Israel rears its ludicrous head again”)

It’s absolutely Patung’s rights to express his/her opinions. But with “Indonesia” in its website title, while the articles doesn’t reflect what many Indonesian think; well I was just hoping that he’d be able to be more neutral.
Or at least makes it clear that the website contains his personal opinions; which may not necessarily represent most Indonesian.

I’ve dealt with many muslim-haters before; some are just mislead / misinformed, some have flawed logic, but some intentionally use any way to destroy Islam. I’ll engage in a discussion here in my spare time, and we’ll be able find out who’s who.

Playboy Indonesia #3

Ternyata tidak perlu menunggu lama untuk mulai melihat hasil dari teori Jendela pecah sehubungan dengan Playboy Indonesia – di edisinya yang ke tiga saja, majalah ini sudah semakin syur dibandingkan dengan edisi-edisi sebelumnya.

Dan seperti biasa, kembali dijual di jalanan dengan bebasnya. Sesuatu yang tidak akan bisa terjadi bahkan di negara asalnya sekalipun. Memang Indonesia ini luar biasa.

Jadi, kapan nih kita bisa mulai menikmati wanita yang telanjang bulat 100% di Playboy Indonesia ? Edisi kelima ? keenam ? Wah sudah tidak sabar nih ๐Ÿ™

Indonesia, land of disaster….

Today is again a very sad day for Indonesian. An earthquake and tsunami combo has hit from south of Java. Death toll has surpassed 100 mark, but it’s quite certain that it’d climb to much more than that.

The quake can be felt from Jakarta (north of Java). The tsunami was reported to be as high as 18 feet / 5 meters.

I read today’s newspaper frozen in shock, finding it hard to believe that it’s happening again to us in such a short time – tsunami in aceh, violent quake in yogya, landslides in many places; and now this.

Indonesia seem to be the place for experiencing off-the-scale disasters.

On 1851, Tambora mountain erupted.
The explosion shot so many ashes to the sky, it blocked much of the sunlight. Year 1815 ended up known as the “Year Without Summer”. Tens of thousands people died from famine, because crop failed to produce. The exact details of the explosion could never be found out, because all population around the mountain was killed on the event.

On 1883, Krakatoa (Krakatau) erupted.
The explosion was so violent, the mountain itself and the island it was on got destroyed in the process. It also produced the loudest sound in recorded history – reaching 180 dBSPL in places 160 km (100 miles) away, heard from Australia (3500 km away) and Island of Rodrigues (4800 km away).
There were no survivors on the island of Sebesi, about 13km from Krakatoa. Many other settlements were also destroyed so thoroughly; some, like Ujung Kulon, was never repopulated. Human skeletons still found washed up on east coast of Africa up to a year after the explosion. Worldwide temperature didn’t return to normal until 1888.

Welcome to Indonesia.

The curse of my praise

Just a few days ago, I moved the mailboxes of a client to Dreamhost while praising them for their technical support (they act very quickly and knows what they’re doing). For good measure, I also told my client how big Dreamhost is, and that they should be able to provide us with a very reliable email service.
I said that because email is vital to this client, since almost 100% of their businesses are done via email.

Then Dreamhost experienced what might be among the worst incident they’ve ever had in their history. Ouch.

Beginning since 15 July 2006, only now (18 July 2006) their services have started to be running again.
My client was already breathing very heavily just behind my neck, with all intent to kill me very soon; which he cancelled when suddenly we got our email back. Phew.

Then I remembered many years back, when I was still a junior staff at Takaful Indonesia. I just managed to secure the takaful.com domain, then hosted it with my friend at Indoglobal.com.
After a while, I said thanks for their service and I’m sure our website would be very secure in their hands. My friend was humble and realistic enough to politely said that (in summary) there’s no such thing as 100% secure server on Internet.

A few days later, Indoglobal got hacked pretty bad.

I’ve learned my lesson – from now on, I’ll stop praising my webhosters, and just enjoy their exceedingly good service for me ๐Ÿ˜€

Note that the incident re: indglobal happened years ago. I know that they’re much better now in regard to security; but I’ve promised not to praise my webhoster any more, so I’ll stop right here ๐Ÿ˜€

Backing up in Linux

I’ve been managing many Windows and Unix servers in the last 10 years, and this I know for sure – backing up in Windows can be a painful experience, and most of the time it require significant investment in special backup software (which tend to cost thousands of dollars, usually more).
Even then, the software will become buggy once you start setting up complex backup scenario.

In Unix/Linux however, you have powerful scripting tools at your disposal, usually already included in the package. These tools are very flexible, enabling you to develop almost any kind of backup scheme.
It does require some sort of programming skill. Point-and-click admins will have a hard time at first, but let me tell you, do give it a try. You’ll find that it’s very much worth the trouble.

Both require investment in time & effort to develop a good backup strategy.

Before we progress, first here’s a few rules in regard to backup :

  • You can never have too many backups.
    I backed up my personal data to several locations – my other PC, and also my brothers’ PC. So in total, I have 3 copies of it.
    One day, the hard drive in my main PC broke down. So I came to my brother, and asked him to copy my data which is in his PC. To my surprise, he said that his hard drive just died too. I ended up with only a single copy of my precious data.
    I quickly replaced the dead hard drive, restored the only copy of my data there, and made a new backup script for it. Nowadays, my data is usually available in 5 or more locations.
  • Automate all of its processes.
    If it require even the tiniest amount of manual intervention, believe me, it will end up not being executed. For once of twice, you may still willing to intervene. But when you need to do that everyday, it just won’t happen.
  • Check your backup.
    Check the result / logs everyday. Try restoring the backup about every week. Do NOT skip this, or you will find out that the backup is actually not restorable when that very important server died on you.

These are the most important ones, and I confess to have suffered from one or more of it in the past.
You don’t have to, but it’s your choice.

Anyway, here’s a sample script to get you started backing up in Linux.

Backing up the whole hard drive, over the network.

#!/bin/bash
mkdir /mnt/backup
mount -t ext3 /dev/hdb1 /mnt/backup
chmod 777 /mnt/backup
cd /mnt/backup
/usr/bin/rsync -avuz --progress --rsh="ssh -l root -i /root/.ssh/id_dsa" 192.168.0.1:/ /mnt/backup

The 1st line is important – it tells the computer that we’d like this script to be processed by bash. Different shell has different syntax. So we need to be precise about this.

The 2nd line create the directory for mounting the backup drive. 3rd line mounts /dev/hdb1 (first partition of second IDE device) to /mnt/backup. 4th line gives full access to the drive. the 6th line does the actual backup process, copying only changed files on 192.168.10.101 to /mnt/backup.

It may seem simple at first, but make no mistake, rsync is one powerful tool. For example, quoted from rsync manual:

The rsync remote-update protocol allows rsync to transfer just the differences between two sets of files across the network connection, using an efficient checksum-search algorithm described in the technical report that accompanies this package.

This capability has enabled me to backup a 200 GB hard drive, over 100 Mbps network, in under 2 hours.
Without disturbing the 15+ users which are on that network as well. Simply amazing.

The next one is probably the kind of backup script you’d more often encounter – backup, compress, store to a safe location.


#!/bin/bash
tar cvf /backup/accounting-$(date +%Y%m%d).tar /home/accounting
bzip2 -9 /backup/accounting-$(date +%Y%m%d).tar
/usr/bin/scp -2 -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa /backup/accounting-$(date +%Y%m%d).tar.bz2 smith@192.168.0.10:/data/backup/

The 2nd line bundles up the whole content of /home/accounting into a single file named /backup/accounting-(today’s date).tar; example; /backup/accounting-20061230.tar would be the resulting file if this script is run on the 30th December 2006.
This trick needed to avoid the backup replacing the same file everytime it runs. This way, we’ll have multiple backups over time, instead of just one.

The 3rd line compresses the file above, as strong as possible (with the -9 switch)
The last line copies the file (now with .bz2 extension after compressed by bzip2) into directory /data/backup/ in a server with IP address of 192.168.0.10, as user smith.

The last example is a more complicated backup script.
I developed this to backup groups.or.id‘s (kinda like Yahoogroups) member database automatically, everyday to servers on different countries. Therefore, in case of disaster, the administrator can quickly restore the service on another server with little problem.

Backup member database, over the Internet.


#!/bin/bash
daftar_milis=( $(ls ~/) )

for element in $(seq 0 $((${#daftar_milis[@]} - 1)))
do

echo "---- MILIS: ${daftar_milis[$element]} ----" >> /backup/daftar-member-$(date +%Y%m%d).txt
/usr/bin/ezmlm-list ~/${daftar_milis[$element]} >> /backup/daftar-member-$(date +%Y%m%d).txt

done

/usr/bin/bzip2 -9 /backup/daftar-member-$(date +%Y%m%d).txt
/usr/bin/scp -2 -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa /backup/daftar-member-$(date +%Y%m%d).txt.bz2 harry@mydomain.com:/home/harry/backup/groups.or.id/

exit 0

A bit of background, the server uses ezmlm as the mailing list software, which is usually controlled by user “alias”.

2nd line is already interesting. Basically, we execute ls (which shows the content of directory) ~/. What is directory ~/ ? Well, the tilde character (~) is a shortcut for our home directory. So, when running this script as alias user, the “ls ~/” actually means “ls /var/qmail/alias/”
The result (list of files and directories) will then be stored in an (array) variable named “daftar_milis”

4th and 5th line sets us up for a looping. It will loop as many times as there are data in “daftar_milis”.

7th line will output a line, which is “—- MILIS: (current data in “daftar_milis”) —-“, and append ( >>) it into a file named /backup/daftar-member-(today’s date).txt

8th line runs ezmlm-list, which will list the members of the mailing list, and store in into the same file as above.

When all the data in “daftar_milis” has been processed, then the 12th line will be executed. It will compress the backup file with bzip2 compression.
Note that this compression algorithm is much more complex than standard Zip compression, therefore on a slow processor it may take a very long time to finish.

The 13th line will copy the backup file to a server somewhere on the Internet, on a secure tunnel encrypted with SSH2 protocol.

So there you are, a few examples to get you started backing up in Linux. Hope you find it useful.

Hati-hati dengan kartu kredit

Dengan prihatin saya membaca kisah Andersonite yang mengalami masalah dengan tagihan credit card dari Standard Chartered, sampai dia diteror oleh mereka.

Yang lebih mencemaskan lagi adalah sebuah komentar di posting tersebut :

waktu kamu di indonesia, pasti sering kan dapet penawaran membership atau kartu kredit lain? aku sih curiga ada ‘sindikat jual beli data cardholder’ deh. lagian, ngakses data cardholder buat beberapa orang gampang kok ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apakah memang security kita sedemikian tidak amannya di tangan mereka?
Yang jelas, adik saya sudah pernah kena charge yang fraudulent dari perusahaan kartu kreditnya. Kebetulan waktu itu dia di Inggris, dimana hukum berpihak kepada konsumen. Dia kemudian selamat dari tagihan tersebut.
Kalau dia ketika itu sedang di Indonesia, kemungkinan ceritanya akan berbeda….

Tapi masalah terbesar dengan kartu kredit adalah pada “irresponsible lending”.

Barusan ini BI mengeluarkan peraturan yang melarang seseorang untuk memiliki lebih dari 2 kartu kredit. Seorang staf senior BI pernah berkata kepada saya, bahwa BI akan lebih ketat mengawasi sepak terjang berbagai provider kartu kredit di Indonesia. Kelihatannya sudah menjadi kenyataan.
Tetapi ini bukannya berarti BI tidak menyukai cashless payment, justru sebaliknya, terutama ketika uang kertas mahal biaya cetaknya.

Contoh salah satu dari berbagai masalah kartu kredit, selama ini banyak bank yang memperlakukan kredit biasa dengan kredit dari kartu kredit secara berbeda – singkatnya, pinjaman dari kartu kredit diberikan tanpa kehati-hatian / memperdulikan resiko. Hasilnya, banyak pelanggan kartu kredit yang jadi menunggak.

Tetapi, karena biasanya tunggakannya ini jauh lebih kecil daripada pinjaman biasa, maka masih bisa dicicil; walaupun dalam yang waktu lama. Dimana ini tentu saja menguntungkan bank (karena bunganya menjadi sangat besar), dan merugikan konsumen.

Masalahnya terus berlanjut, dimana kemudian bank biasanya menggunakan jasa debt collector untuk menagih tunggakan yang macet. Celakanya, debt collector di Indonesia seringkali menggunakan cara-cara yang sewenang-wenang dalam operasinya.
Saya kira inilah faktor terbesar yang membuat BI marah dan memutuskan, “enough is enough“, dengan para provider kartu kredit. Apalagi ketika ada kasus sampai dimana ada seorang guru dengan gaji kurang dari 2 juta/bulan, menunggak sampai 50 juta lebih, dan dizalimi habis-habisan oleh para debt collector.

Regulasi yang ketat dari otoritas akan membantu mencegah & mengurangi kesewenang-wenangan dan eksploitasi terhadap konsumen seperti ini.

Regulasi yang ketat ini, secara sekilas, akan terkesan mempersulit customer. Seperti, syarat-syarat yang ketat (tidak sembarangan orang bisa mendapatkan kartu kredit), dll. Namun pada akhirnya, semuanya ini adalah untuk melindungi kita sendiri.

Anyway, bagi yang belum menggunakan kartu kredit, sebaiknya tidak usah. Saya punya kartu kredit pun karena diberikan oleh bank; itupun saya gunakan hanya untuk bertransaksi online (convenience), bukan untuk berhutang.
Mungkin kita perlu mengembalikan budaya melihat hutang sebagai “last resort”, dan bukannya sebagai tindakan yang pertama kali dilakukan ketika menghadapi masalah.

Saya pernah bercerita kepada seorang kawan di Inggris, bagaimana budaya keluarga kami sejak dahulu, yaitu membeli (komputer, mobil, dll) hanya ketika mempunyai uang di tangan/bank. Dia tercengang, sepertinya sudah bertahun-tahun tidak mendengar hal demikian. Saya akui kepada dia bahwa ketika tiba di Inggris, memang saya sempat syok melihat bagaimana budaya berhutang adalah suatu yang sangat wajar disana.
Dan bahkan pada masyarakat yang telah memiliki budaya berhutang tersebut, regulasi kredit sangat ketat, dan memihak konsumen — tetap saja ada banyak kasus keuangan pribadi karena jeratan hutang kartu kredit.
Apalagi di Indonesia, yang kebanyakan kita belum memiliki keahlian private finance management, regulasi kredit masih longgar, dan nyaris tidak ada perlindungan konsumen.

Memiliki kartu kredit di Indonesia masih merupakan sesuatu yang berbahaya bagi kebanyakan orang. Hindari saja jika Anda bisa.

Modal paperclip, menjadi rumah bertingkat (!)

Contoh kreativitas yang luar biasa ๐Ÿ™‚ Kyle MacDonalds, seorang pengangguran, memutuskan bahwa sudah saatnya dia memiliki rumah.

Berbeda dengan orang lain yang akan berusaha mencari pekerjaan di kantor, dia justru mulai berdagang – dengan modal awal sebuah paperclip.

Paperclip tersebut ditukar oleh seseorang dengan pulpen,
pulpen tsb kemudian ditukar dengan pegangan pintu,
yang lalu ditukar lagi dengan kompor,
yang ditukar dengan generator,
yang ditukar dengan … er, pajangan ?
yang lalu ditukar dengan motor ski,
yang lalu ditukar dengan paket liburan ke Yahk,
yang lalu ditukar dengan mobil van,
yang lalu ditukar dengan tawaran rekaman,
yang lalu ditukar dengan tawaran tinggal di Phoenix selama setahun,
yang ditukar dengan acara satu hari bersama Alice Cooper,
yang ditukar dengan snow globe KISS,
yang ditukar dengan tawaran bermain film,

yang akhirnya ditukar dengan sebuah rumah bertingkat di kota Kipling.

Wow ๐Ÿ˜€

Selamat untuk Kyle atas keberhasilannya, dan salut untuk kreatifitasnya.

Internet memang membuka pintu ke berbagai peluang-peluang baru. Mudah-mudahan fasilitas Internet di Indonesia akan terus semakin membaik, demi kepentingan kita semua.

Sekarang, saya ada punya 3 (bukan cuma satu !) buah paperclip. Mau ditukar dengan sebuah rumah. Siapa yang mau ?! ๐Ÿ˜€