Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Admiration Means Great Danger..

Just want to say. I have already thought of this before that having great extension of admiration and reverence to someone in your profession or your field is not going to make one move further beyond getting into the field. What I mean is that one looking up to his role model just provides him with the energy to get absorbed with the field, say economics but it's not going to make one distinct as he would tend to, to the least extent, copy pretty much the idol's technique. It is still fine as long as one still adapts the way of thinking, but it is dangerous when he starts completely copying his technique. Worse yet, we could be blind in judgment just because it collides with the idol's value system. I don't want to be someone like that. I don't want to take anyone or anything for granted. It is simply dull.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Short-lived but Very Deep Impact..RIP, Mas!

Just exactly a week ago, my best friend just passed away. All I remember is that he always slipped some sugar to a glass of tea of mine even though I requested plain tea. "It tasted better, Mand", he said. Ah, Mas Karnoe, you always want the best for your kids without thinking about yourself, first. I believe you were among the noblest man in this world.

Unfortunately, you received no wide publications that other people could not get to know to you. Ah, I thought I would be able to visit you at BOE for the last time before my departure to the U.S. next August. But it's okay, perhaps I would simply ask for your blessings in my prayer.

Mas, you might have had relatively short life and less wealthy, but it did not mean you lived a miserable life. As Abraham Lincoln once said "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Rest in peace, Mas.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Great Scientists and Statesmen

I may not be a mathematics student or have a knack for mathematics, but I am actually interested in mathematics and mathematicians. I once borrowed a book from a library in my campus titled "Men of Mathematics" and I was dazzled by the life of the greatest mathematicians. Also, I have a great interest in reading lives of great economists, scientists or philosophers, as well. This time I happened to read a life story of another great mathematician.

As I was trying to look for mathematics material (trying to learn some before my grad study, hopefully. :p ), I stumbled at department of math at Harvard and was pretty amazed finding out that its chair is Chinese, Dr. Shing-Tung Yau! I know that Chinese are widely known for their prodigious ability in math and science but it still bit my tongue.

As always, my great interest guided me to his story. I don’t want to give so much thought about his prodigious academic achievement, which is most notably for winning a Fields Medal in 1990, but I was much interested in his courage and determination to advance sciences in China. He still wants to come home every summer to his homeland to work and teach there. His objective is to attract bright Chinese students to study in the U.S.

In addition to academic drive, he has also been absorbed by political movement and interest. He even got the balls to challenge Chinese government regarding allegedly fraud committed by Beijing University. He said that if he was not a Fields Medalist, he would be dead by then.

By now, after the death of his teacher at Berkeley, Dr. Shiing-Shen Chern, he is now dubbed as the greatest living Chinese-born mathematician, or so called the Emperor of Chinese mathematics.

Yohanes Surya has pretty similar story with him. However, he is not as great as Dr. Yau, no widely known international prize in Physics. Anyway, I am awed by his great contribution to his efforts to advance sciences in Indonesia. To be honest, initially, I was and am skeptic with his efforts in Physics Olympiad projects, whose long-term goal is to produce Nobel prize winners from Indonesia.

He said that winning medals in IPho would boost Indonesian students to go to prestigious universities in the U.S. and work under supervision of previous Nobel Laurates which is likely to make them think like one and win the prize later. He forgot that Nobel prize winners are awarded for their long-term research not for their medals in competitions, yet I don't know for sure how many Nobel prize winners had won science competitions when they were younger. Yohanes Surya once said proudly that his students can solve very difficult problems within a few hours, whereas it took a Nobel prize winner years to solve. It is not comparable! His statement was misleading.

Anyway, I still look up at him as a Chinese-breed Indonesian that has strong determination to contribution for Indonesia, especially his founding Surya Institute to polish smart students from remote areas in Indonesia and sometimes it turns the dumb into brilliant ones. His contributions are even bigger and, therefore, deserve much more respect than other native Indonesian in advances in science.

Any conclusion? Unfortunately, I have no conclusion because this posting is not meant to conclude anything. I just hope that someday Indonesian students are swarming the best universities in the world and receive so much respect as their Chinese or Indian counterparts. Unlike others, I don’t hope they come back to Indonesia right after receiving their Ph.Ds but someday after they have become prominent scientists.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just a Scramble Idea..

I was initially and am still attracted to macroeconomics and other big economics stuff. However, overtime I was also absorbed by behavioral economics and, to some extent, development economics. In the field of behavioral economics, I have always been intrigued by causes of people's actions and how economics can decipher it in simple ways. This has been partly triggered by my deep interest in philosophy. Even so, I was never thinking of getting serious in conducting research in such fields.

My biggest desire is to conduct research which can explain a classic problem, how nations can grow significantly and how the spectacular growth rates can grease the wheel of developments, as well. Recently, I am particularly interested in the topics of measurement of welfare beyond GDP. I have not been acquainted well enough, though, to find an interesting research topic. In fact, there has not been sufficient development in research exploring the proper set of measurement. GDP is still the champion, as for now.

Anyway, there is actually one research topic that can close the knit together: consumption behavior of people. This topic can be a research topic of behavioral economics and growth and development economics. The consumption theory is my holy grail to attain. I am always curious on how consumption behavior differs or resembles across countries. What are the determinants of it? Is it government policy, education level attainment, or culture? However, I am still not on the ground on cultural argument thing. On one side, I believe that cultural values play important role in shaping habits of people in doing things, including their consumption patterns. On the other side, my economic knowledge teaches me that people are highly likely to be affected by incentives or disincentives. If people in one country are affected by a bundle of above determinants, therefore the consumption aggregates of a country. As such bundle differs among countries, therefore their consumption and saving aggregates and, to large extent, their welfare level.

I have several more ideas to explore in my mind, but I will definitely explore these topics in my further study. In the meantime, I will just have to rekindle my interest and brush up my mathematics skills.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Where are you going?

More often than not we always have dreams. Yes, each of us. Some dream of having tons of money, enough to buy one or two grand dwellings, private jets, or yacht. On the other hand or other side of the rooms, some just simply dream of continuing their education to highest level possible, some think of becoming the well known researchers as their dream jobs.

It is good, indeed, to have a dream and strive for it. Unfortunately, I suppose not all of us know what to do next after achieving those dreams. Some are just becoming desperate when they do not know what their next steps should be. Sometimes, we are wandering to some place we don't even know, too sleepy to know where it is. Some of us walking as dreaming or half sleeping.

I realize that life, more often than not, is not flowing as we want. Weather does not happen as predicted, people suddenly plunge into the fall of poverty mud before they even got the chance to live lavish lives, and many more occurrences happen aberrant of what we think.

So, as we think we have achieved your life dreams, we must think where am I? Where are we going to? My suggestion: let God, or whatever, whoever you believe it is, take you where He thinks the best place for you. Therefore, we shall not get bewildered and desperate.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Unlike others', this is my choice and my way..

Yeah, I admit I did not conquer my fear..I was naive that I waited till I got a new place to work for..Nonetheless, I felt pretty satisfied that I could survive my time there, considering tough times facing pressures and high expectation, sometimes my supervisors' getting furious against very simple mistake..

This very first class experience gives me something worthy taking notes about: sometimes one's desire to give contribution to his nation requires no working in departments in the government, not even in the office of the second most powerful person in the country..unlike others who worship this ridiculous fanaticism, I guess one can work anywhere, given one's heart is truly with his country..

This is my life, I determine my destiny; hence, when I feel something terrible in place where I thought I can contribute much, I move..Just as simple as that..But, deep down in my heart, I really love my country that's why I always aim excellency in my future work that it can benefit further development of my country..

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beat Your Fear!

A few months ago, I remember watching an episode of Friends, which has now been a regular activity of mine every night, in which one of the characters is deadly bored at her job and her friend suggests that she needs to quit the job and do what she really likes. He says that she needs to conquer her fear.

She takes the challenge, but I don't think I can defeat my fear just yet and leave it behind and go for my dream job even though I don't think I could get it since the institution I aim for is dying from severe shortage of fund..

Here I am walking through ladders of life which might have some traps on it but I do believe I can shout as loud as I can releasing my brood when I am already at the top..

As for now, I will be only savoring this time..