Thursday, November 13, 2003

Obituari Layla Mirza


SEPANJANG Sabtu kemarin saya risau ketika mengerjakan tata letak Pantau edisi Desember. Sejak pagi hari, ada telepon masuk. Antara lain dari Mbak Rani, salah satu orang penting di radio Mara; Mbak Titin, salah satu dosen Universitas Padjajaran, Mohamad Sunjaya dari Actors Unlimited, dan beberapa rekan lain di Bandung.

Pesannya, macam-macam. Mulai dari laporan perkembangan kritis Mbak Ea –panggilan akrab Layla Mirza. Sunjaya, salah satu pendiri Institut Studi Arus Informasi, adalah mentor dari Mbak Ea sekaligus orang yang memperkenalkan kami pada 1996 ketika Indonesia mulai bergejolak. Mbak Ea lantas sering mengundang saya ke Bandung, memberi kuliah di Universitas Padjajaran.

Sekitar pukul 12:00 Titin bilang sekarang juga saya harus terbang ke Bandung. Saya harus lihat Mbak Ea. Mungkin waktunya tidak lama.

Sedih sekali. Minta tolong seorang rekan mencarikan tiket pesawat terbang ke Bandung tapi tak dapat.

Sekitar pukul 17:00 telepon masuk lagi –kali ini mungkin lebih dari 20 kali: Mbak Ea sudah tiada. Ada Mohamad Iqbal, Budi Setiyono, Yusuf, Bakti Tejamulya dan istrinya, di kantor dan saya merasa tertekan sekali.

Saya pergi ke sebuah ruang yang sepi, tak ada orang, di kantor LeBoYe Kemang yang lengang itu, dan berpikir, soal hubungan akrab kami. Saya tiba-tiba menangis sedih mengenang almarhumah.

She is such a sweet person! Why should she die? She is needed by so many people.

Rasanya ada ketidakadilan di sini. Ea masih muda. Anaknya dua masih kecil-kecil. Mirza, suaminya, juga sangat mencintai Ea. Mirza orang praktis yang selalu membantu Ea.

Cerita penyakitnya, mula-mula rahim Ea diangkat pada 1999 karena terkena kanker. Ea sempat mengirim email pada saya, ketika itu tinggal di Cambridge, Boston, dan mengeluh karena ia merasa sudah bukan perempuan lagi –karena tak bisa hamil lagi. Aduh, duh, saya bilang tak benar. Kami curhat-curhatan lewat email karena perasaan kehilangan begitu dalam pada Ea.

Dia cerita bagaimana biaya operasi begitu mahal tapi ada teman-teman membantu.

Ketika pulang ke Indonesia, saya baru tahu bahwa Ea mengalami begitu banyak kesulitan karena perawatan pasca-operasi, antara lain, chemotherapy. Rambuknya rontok, kesehatannya menurun, harus menelan banyak obat, tapi Ea masih orang yang menggembirakan. Senyumnya lebar. Selalu cium pipi. Selalu merangkul.

Dia mengundang saya beberapa kali memberi ceramah di Universitas Padjajaran. Kami sering main bersama, makan di Bandung, main bowling. Rekan-rekan kerjanya ikut bersinar dan ceria karena keberadaan Ea. Baik di radio Mara maupun di Universitas Padjajaran.

Dia cerita merasa dekat dengan Gusti Allah karena pengalaman kanker. Dia cerita bagaimana Mirza begitu memperhatikannya. Dia juga menjadi lebih saleh dan memakai jilbab –dengan model yang terkadang aneh.

Sebaliknya, sejak 1999 saya juga banyak terlibat membantu Ea dengan radio Mara. Kami mencari dana bersama-sama untuk melakukan perbaikan gedung, membeli alat, dan melatih para wartawannya. Jadinya, sering bolak-balik Bandung-Jakarta.

Belakangan kami sering bicara soal perbaikan kurikulum pendidikan wartawan di Padjadjaran. Dia minta saya ikut mengajar bahkan sempat terpikir ide bikin kuliah rutin.

Ea juga banyak tahu berbagai macam kesulitan pribadi yang saya alami. Dia pula yang duduk berjam-jam di suatu kamar di Hotel Horizon, Bandung, awal tahun ini ketika saya kecewa dengan penutupan Pantau. Dia mendukung upaya penerbitan Pantau lagi.

Ea juga menyediakan telinga ketika saya butuh teman bicara. Mulai dari soal anak hingga pekerjaan. Orang yang manis sekali. Orang yang mau mendengarkan. Saya jarang punya teman dengan kualitas keramahan dan ketulusan sekelas Ea.

Pertengahan tahun ini ketahuan kalau kanker itu ternyata masih ada. Ea masuk rumah sakit lagi. Dia sempat minta doa ketika akan operasi. Kanker menjalar ke ususnya. Ternyata keadaan makin buruk. Ususnya harus dipotong 50 centimeter.

Sempat kirim-kiriman SMS ketika saya tahu ia harus operasi lagi. Saya bilang, “Cantik, kau harus hadir kalau saya nanti ….”

Ea menelepon balik dan gemas bilang kenapa disapa “cantik” maka kami pun mengobrol lagi. Saya ingat saya sedang mengalami macet di Jalan Radio Dalam. Hingga sampai Pondok Indah, kami masih mengobrol soal macam-macam. Saya juga mendorongnya untuk menerima pencalonan dari Institut Studi Arus Informasi agar bersedia jadi anggota Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia.

Dia bilang mungkin waktunya tak lama. Saya sedih sekali. Tapi dia tetap optimis.

Kamis lalu, ibunya memberitahu saya bahwa Ea dioperasi sekali lagi, selama 7.5 jam. Dia tak pernah siuman hingga meninggal kemarin.

Di pojok LeBoYe itu saya menangis. Ada rasa kehilangan. Ada rasa menyesal tak ada di sampingnya ketika Ea pergi.

Selamat jalan sahabat!

Hilang satu tumbuh seribu!

Kau pergi meninggalkan nama harum, kenangan manis, dan ribuan sahabat. Beristirahatlah dengan tenang. Everything would be okay.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Daoed Joesoef



At the beginning of the 1950’s, I served as an assistant to Professor Sumitro Djojohadikusumo in his endeavors to develop the study of economics at FEUI. I was responsible for the development of economics faculties at universities in the regions, including Makassar, where the university was originally established by the Dutch, and which later became the Hassanuddin University.

In fact, previously, I’d sent a letter to Prime Minister Hatta, after the recognition of sovereignty in 1949, to suggest that the school of economics at Makassar be dissolved. This was for reasons of efficiency, and also because the school was unsympathetic to the Republic. However, Sumitro insisted that we should overlook the past. I accepted the justice of those arguments, and served as a visiting lecturer. I also established schools for the study of economics in Palembang and Lampung. 

In 1956, the PRRI-Permesta rebellion broke out. One day, just after I’d flown into Makassar to teach, the airport was bombed by the rebels. I was trapped in Makassar. It was quite ironic, really, because Sumitro was actually one of the leaders of the rebellion.

Sumitro played a significant role in the establishment of FEUI. He introduced Keynesian economics to Indonesia and approached the Foundation for assistance in the development of FEUI’s teaching staff. He also facilitated the recruitment of teaching staff from the US. Prior to that, when FEUI had been under the influence of Dutch teachers, Keynesian economics was unknown. At the time, almost the entire collection of material in the library was in Dutch.

The Foundation assisted in sending Widjojo Nitisastro, Ali Wardhana, and various others to America. I didn’t go, because of my other duties. Also, my mother was unwell. As the oldest child, I felt particularly responsible for her after the death of my father.

At the time, I was also an active writer. I’d written an article criticizing Hatta’s assertion that it was not necessary to maintain gold reserves to guarantee the Indonesian currency. At the time, it was stipulated that gold reserves must equal 20 per cent of the value of currency in circulation. However, in the unstable political environment, the government paid its bills simply by printing money. Hatta had
suggested that the gold standard be eliminated. I argued this point through an article in Mimbar Indonesia. I took view that it was necessary to maintain the gold standard, but that its level should be determined with respect to the value of imports.

Not long later, I was invited to join the vice president’s group as he traveled through Tegal, Pekalongan, and the surrounding areas. We traveled by chartered train, with me in the same carriage as Hatta. 

Hatta engaged me in discussions throughout. While these did not result in decisive conclusions, I felt honored by the attention Hatta paid me.

By the end of the 1950s, I felt that economics as taught at FEUI did not prepare students to play a part in the public economy. In a work entitled Economic Development: Theory, History and Policy, Meier and Baldwin argue that issues related to development were far too important to be controlled by economists alone. This argument influenced FEUI to establish a new department, the Department of Public Economic Administration.

In order to achieve this, funding for experienced lecturers was required. The Foundation was prepared to fund the education of teaching staff. I decided that training should be conducted at the Sorbonne, because of the high quality of the education provided to their civil servants in post-graduate training programs at l’├ęcole d’administration.

Being a Francophile, I was the only one interested in studying at the Sorbonne. I am an enthusiastic painter, and I appreciate Paris as an artistic center. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Widjojo, the deputy dean of FEUI, refused to approve my departure to Paris, and the Foundation didn’t want to send an academic without the approval of his superiors.

I took this matter up with Representative Frank Miller. In the end, Miller agreed, on condition that the government approved. I visited the Minister for Education Syarif Thayeb, a military officer from Aceh. Syarif Thayeb was surprised to hear that Widjojo had refused to sign my letter, saying that the Sorbonne was even older than UC Berkeley.

I studied at the Sorbonne for eight years. When I returned, I found that my department had been dissolved. Widjojo and I held divergent views on the issue of economic development. I always felt that the economy was too important to be handled by economists alone. 

When I joined the Cabinet as minister of education and culture, I hoped that I would be able to promote my vision. However, Suharto told me that I should confine myself to issues directly related to education as he had other people who could handle the economy.

Celebrating Indonesia: 50 Years with the Ford Foundation 1953-2003

Celebrating Indonesia: Fifty Years with the Ford Foundation 1953-2003

Celebrating Indonesia: Fifty Years with the Ford Foundation 1953-2003 commemorates the Ford Foundation’s long partnership with Indonesia, presenting the voices of some of the many individuals who have interacted with the Foundation over the past five decades and honoring their role in their country’s development. The distinguished essayist, Goenawan Mohamad, wrote the narrative. A team of talented writers and interviewers, Sandra Hamid, Andreas Harsono, and Laksmi Pamuntjak, prepared "sidebars" about some of the institutions and projects the Foundation has supported in Indonesia; and edited interviews they conducted with a number of current and former grantees. This text, illustrated by over 200 contemporary and historical photographs, offers a collective account of themes and challenges that have resonated over Indonesia’s first half-century, and evokes the diversity and pluralism of this vast and complex country. While the authors' point of departure was the legacy of the Ford Foundation’s engagement with Indonesia over the past fifty years, they brought their own critical perspective to bear, presenting an original and unvarnished reflection of their country’s past. In this way they celebrate Indonesia, recalling the struggles it has faced as a new nation and challenging readers to imagine possibilities for its future.

The emblem on the book’s cover, created by artist Enrico Soekarno, is comprised of motifs from five of the country’s many cultural and ethnic groups. Starting clockwise from the top, they are: a Batak weaving pattern, a Papuan bamboo-carving design, an ikat motif from Sumba, a house-carving design from Toraja, and Dayak bamboo ornamentation. This is intended to symbolize continuity, diversity, and dynamism in Indonesian society; and this message is echoed in the sampler of music from around the archipelago presented in the compact disc at the back of this volume.