Monthly Archives: September 2018


For last 16 months, I am  grateful that at least I lived at North Jakarta, although I never thought that I will work at North Jakarta area. I perceived it as hot, dry, and polluted. I would not know about Jakarta Paddle Club and Dragon Boat Festival, New friends who has been years working at headquarter, and Astra International (AI) Head Quarter (HQ)facilities if I did not took an opportunity to be part of Astra Financial.

I feel it is the essential meaning of “Hijrah” Or migrate. There are new places to explore, new friends to know and familiar with, and new tasks to get done. during last 8 years I have been Hijrah in many cities, such as Malang, South Jakarta, Semarang, Hong Kong, and North Jakarta, soon I will be back at South Jakarta.

Prior to living in North Jakarta, The only reason I visited North Jakarta used to be to visit my Uncle who lived at Kelapa Gading and AI HQ for an important meeting and leadership training. AI HQ not only a corporate center but also a corporate campus, resembled to General Electric’s Crotonville, in which leaders and talents are trained. It called Astra Management Development Institute (AMDI).

The building is inaugurated by Indonesia 2nd president in 1997, right before Asia Financial crisis. It was an unfortunate year for Astra’s Founder, William Soeryajaya. He must forked out his ownership in Astra which he incorporated at February 20th 1957 to government, five years after liquidation of Bank Summa in December 14th 1992.

20 Years later after 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis and USD 1 Trillion Debt Restructuring vagaries in 1999 and swift recovery at early 2000, some of corporate functions in Astra International will be moved to Menara Astra at early October 2018. I feel ambivalent during writing this story, mixed it to what happened 20 Years ago. Today Wall Street Journal (WSJ) write about Indonesia. I read WSJ since 2012, it usually covering bad news if it is about Indonesia, such as Bombings, Earthquakes, and Crisis. But it has same condition. In 1998 USD reached IDR 15.000 according to Reuters, equal with today. Astra also inaugurated its new building, The Menara Astra.

Maybe it just a coincidence that for last one week I am reading about book “Collusion” which tell stories about G7 Countries created quantitative easing at 2008 or Nomi Price called “money conjuring” to pump money to financial sectors, hoping it would be disbursed to real sector. Since the Fed has and keep on raising interest rates, I have a presage the hot money will return to US and the crisis will attack emerging countries such as Indonesia. Even though lot of Venture Capital Investment pouring in into Indonesia start ups, it is only a tiny peace of the whole economy, which depend heavily on commodities and rely on China demand.

The crisis is so palpable, lurking the emerging countries. Some export oriented companies might be able to mettle the crisis, but current Indonesia condition is heavily import for consumption goods, it is so obnoxious.

Before move to new building, and little bit Out of Topic, I feel indebted to AMDI for its useful facilities that I think not many people know or use it. Which are Astra Library, Lily Soeryajaya Library, and the infamous canteen.

Astra Library

The best library I ever been by far is Hong Kong Public Library at Causeway Bay.The collection is abundance, latest books, magazines, newspaper across globe are available. The second Library is Prasetiya Mulya University Library at Cilandak for its immense stock of Business Books and latest Magazines, The third is Astra International Library for its collections of leadership books and business history from the case of Bank Summa, Bantuan Likuiditas Bank Indonesia (BLBI), and most of Astra stories are available.

I don’t want to brag due to I worked there, but all books that I need to perform better are available, ranging from Leadership, Coaching, Project Management, Balanced Scorecard, Matrix team management, Innovation, Consulting. The library also provides Harvard Business Review, Time, Bloomberg.Knowledge Management team have been doing an excellent job. I only finished one or two books that I bought myself, at the spirit of austerity and frugality it helps a lot. The librarian told me that some new books are usually exclusively borrowed by executive management, if the executive done with the book, it will be deployed to the rack and available to be borrowed.I am a loyal member of the library, last month I received portable JBL Speaker due to my high frequency of books borrowing.

I suggest the collections need to be better address for nowadays business environment, such as book about Innovation at Silicon Valley, Israel, London, and China, Corporate Venture Capital, and Conglomerates history in the world. It sounds subjective, due to my curiosity of the subjects and too expensive for me to buy it by myself. I wish I would have my own library, with Classic Leather Sofa where I can smoke Cigar, sip single malt whiskey, and indulge myself and friends in above the sky conversation. It will be like Black Jack Folley’s chamber at Billions serial movie or at least just a small Cigar Chamber such as at The Hermitage Hotel Menteng.

Lily Soeryajaya Gym

Only two membership gym that I had, which are InBalance at Novotel Semarang and Gold’s Gym at Cilandak Town Square, I do not count some gym in which I became the member, one in Bangil when I was high school and two in Malang in my University and Soekarno Hatta. In Balance was so memorable due to its limited member, clean equipment, and it has sauna and pool, meanwhile at Golds Gym Citos I did not have a pleasant experience due to humid shower, dry sauna, and annual membership which I think not beneficial, since I seldom visit that place, and I must cancel my membership because of relocation to north Jakarta exactly one year ago. Lily Suryajaya Gym is more like InBalance at Novotel, State of the art equipment, clean shower, and hot sauna, and charming officers, and the best part is you don’t need to pay. I just wondering why not many people go to the facility.

Coupon Based Lunch and Legendary Pane Del Giorno and Raffels

I thought only in manufacturing, mining, or agriculture based office they will provide coupon, but it also new experience for me, at the beginning I don’t like it due to the inflexibility to choose for lunch, but the wisdom of headquarter using the system is to keep employees to mingle with the peers and senior management, some seniors who worked there also said that (RIP) Oom William Soeryajaya the founding father usually lunch together with the employee, even at 6th  floor there is an executive dining room, marble table and fully furnished. What I like are recently they enhance the spicy level of the “sambal” or chili sauce, more salad, and the menu is so healthy. I am not expecting that one day it will be google like lunch where you can eat and snacking as many as you want, but that might be good too. Out of the three things above, there are many facilities that worth to explore, such as Training Room & Theater Room, Eat and Meet.

Kopi Oey – Sabang

September 11th 2018




September 23rd 1999 and October 21st 2008 – A Tribute to Mother and Father (Part 1)

September 23rd 1999 and October 21st 2008 – A Tribute to Mother and Father (Part 1)

19 Years ago at 1999, I was 11 years old, my favorite song was “Dan” by Sheila on Seven. That time  also stamped and carved a strong memory that my mother passed away at Dharma Husada Hospital in Surabaya caused by breast cancer at stadium 3rd. I was lying on my bed with my cousin from Pontianak, kak Yeni, in which she intentionally visit our family with my Aunt to take care of my mother, since my father in duty at the office in Tanjung Perak port.

I don’t have a lot of memories with my mother, since she was busy for expanding her business in embroidery design and becoming a make up artist. My mother fortune is proliferating after we moved into our new home, in which she was the architect of the building, after we moved in, she gave birth to my young brother in February 1994; right before USA world cup at June 1994.

My mother was so entrepreneurial, creative, and determined woman. She expanded her business across Surabaya, Jakarta and Pontianak through network she build from my father’s network and family. She changed our family life from living in 16 square meter room into 1800 square meter home. I remember almost everyday she asked me to join her, sometimes riding my father’s white Vespa; which is a grant from my uncle; to oversaw the progress of our home. She put attention into every detail of the house and intensely communicated with the head of the handyman name Pi’i which also our extended family.

She earned the money coin by coin and put it into a 1 meter tall piggy bag from her fees of helping our neighbor tailor the clothes and my father also save some of his salary, in which lately my aunt inform me that she helped to fund the roof. After moving into our new home, she later learned how to become make up artist in Surabaya. She earned a lot of certificates from hair dressing until Javanese and Europe wedding make up at top beauty center in Surabaya.

In early 1995, my mother open a salon in our home, where she later filled it with many wedding gowns from Solo to Europe and the whole or completed wedding decoration which she intentionally reserved from Jepara, Pasuruan. She was also actively supporting orphans, mosques, and sacrifice lamb every year. She frequently conduct salvations or “selamatan”, in which the big family will join hands to cook in our home, lately I realized that her role was pivotal to unify family and neighbor. Usually my aunties, grandmother, and some close neighbors would be in our kitchen and dining room to cooked, joked, and told old stories. she was the golden girl of my grandmother.

Becoming more busy, she hired a maid from Banyuwangi, with my auntie recommendation to helped her took care our home, cooked and nanny for my recently birth brother. During 1996-1998 during rising issues Asian economic crisis, the collapse of New Order era my mother business was growing fast. She bought car, lands, and bought many embroidery machines as an investment to her business. She also the one who insured our education, in which she will receive the fund every year during the school intake. She bought car even she unable to drive due to high frequency of trip to Surabaya to buy material at Pasar Turi, Pasar Atom, and Jembatan Merah, to learn and frequently copies by her eyes of embroidery design in Malls in Surabaya, and draw it onto onionskin until late night, then she will pass on to designers in Rembang and Nganglang, where she appointed some trusted embroiderer to create the gown or Kebaya.

She loves to collect ancient goods, such as Chinese jars, Javanese kingdom utensils, and woody furniture. When I was five, I remember to visit her favorite shop in Surabaya to buy all the imported goods which also sold Chinese imported good where she could buy in discounted price. I remember she bought me first red G-Shock watch. I suddenly became famous among my friend since nobody owned that watch at that time. She gave me for my 5th birthday.

It was until early 1998, where she found to got cancer. However she still actively running business. At that time she got a lot of clients from officials and a Surabaya top designer. I feel she has a fortified spirit to keep alive. She visited many doctors, It was my first time to visit Undaan cancer center in Surabaya, at that time i didn’t even know what a breast cancer is, either the risk. what I remember was she always brought me to McDonalds at Plaza Surabaya to get Happy Meal package and play at the McDonald Playground for hours. Meanwhile She also looking for alternative cures for her illness and gain support from some families who got cancer and cured.

In early 1999, our family visited Pontianak to get alternative treatments, from Chinese Medical until Spiritual Guru. We spent almost a month in Pontianak. But she ain’t got better. We were back to home with some traditional yet mystical herbs made of sandalwood powder and tree parasite and cooked over boiled water. A month later she went to Hospital at Adi Husada and relocated to Dharma Husada. I only visited her twice at Dharma Husada. When she still got infused on her arm in a regular room until the second infuse turned into her noose in a yellow colored liquid in the isolation room. Some days later she passed away.

She was born at February 22nd 1960. She passed away at September 23rd 1999. She passed away at 39 Years old. Her favorite food was Meatball and Chinese Noodle which also some people said that caused her cancer. Her favorite singer was Reza Artamevia,, her favorite movie series was Oh mama oh papa, and her favorite jewelry was pearl from Sumbawa, in which my Aunt live for years and my mother will buy lots of pearls and crafted it into jewelry.

That what I only remember of my mother. I believe her spirits always guided me wherever I go. I hope I also have her entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and determination to get so many achievements in a young age.

Almost 20 years after the wedding, my father became a widow and raise three kids alone for the next 9 years before finally he also leaving the kids due to unknown illness, but in which lately I think it was loneliness that made him leave this world at age 59.

Kopi Oei – 1st Muharram 1440 H

Reza – Satu yang Tak Bisa Lepas