Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Sense of Nationalism in FEUI

The last day of final exams for fist-year students at the University of Indonesia's Department of Economics (FEUI) took place on June 5, and as I put my exam paper on the front desk and walked out of the classroom, I knew that I had just completed my thrilling first year at FEUI.

Regarded as one of the best economics departments in Indonesia, I have discovered that studying economics at FEUI is not only about the knowledge, but also the inspiration and motivation from people who have dedicated their lives to Indonesia.

During my first year at FEUI, I have attended the classes of Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Miranda Gultom and Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Tjakti, and I see a resemblance between all three, in that they all apply their knowledge to make Indonesia a better place.

For people like them, with their busy schedules, it is unfeasible they can attend classes and give lectures every week, and most of their lectures are given by other lecturers or teaching assistants.

Their attendance comes on rare occasions only and, therefore, is quite special.

The most remarkable moment for me was when Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, taking time out of her busy schedule, lectured us on macroeconomics.

Yes, it has been three months since she came into the classroom and gave a memorable lecture to about 40 first-year students, but what she said still reverberates in my mind. During the class, her comprehension and experience in economics nailed me and my friends to our seats. Beyond that, we were dazzled not only by her intelligence, but also her ability to inspire us with her motivating words.

In a lecture that ran for more than three hours, she presented more than just economics knowledge. She taught us about nationalism; the gratification of being a servant of Indonesia and doing the utmost to surmount its problems.

For her, helping Indonesia to overcome its numerous predicaments is a challenging yet welcome task. She portrayed it by telling us about her various experiences as finance minister, which impressed us enormously. Asked why she chose the path to be a minister, she said it was just one tangible form of her dedication and devotion to Indonesia.

Being a mother of three and a minister at the same time is not easy, but she deems it a great honor. It is, she said, a call that has to be answered to fulfill her responsibility to the country.

"When you are young, you study. Then collect wealth, as much as possible, until the age of 40. Afterward, dedicate yourself for several years to the country in which you were born.

"After you have dedicated yourself to Indonesia, you will be relieved that you have already done something for your motherland and you can live your later life in serenity," she said.

The most striking moment was when she addressed us young students as the ones who are responsible for the future of the country. Given the complexity of the various problems in Indonesia, her words made me realize that in the future it will be our duty, as students of economics, to apply our knowledge to help Indonesia grow in prosperity.

The economics that I study at FEUI is not the science of greed; it is knowledge that can be applied to solve important social problems that Indonesia is dealing with at the moment.

Perhaps it is true that most of the younger generations of Indonesians are ashamed of their country, but count me off that list. This is because in my first year at FEUI, I was taught that nationalism is defined simply as: what makes you allowed to criticize your country when you have never done anything for it?

I share this feeling with other young Indonesians, so that we will have the willpower to roll up our sleeves and help Indonesia overcome its problems.

Although Indonesia is gifted with wonderful land, diverse cultures and plentiful natural resources, the country is currently in a situation it is not supposed to be in.

It is time for Indonesia to stand at the level where it belongs, and like Sri Mulyani Indrawati said, we hold the responsibility to make this a reality.

This article was published in The Jakarta Post on Thursday, June 26 2008

1 comment:

anonim said...

how about Mr. Chatib Basri? Is he nationalist too? I' ve heard that he wants students get the knowledge not the presense mark. But is he good at teaching?