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




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