Thursday, August 28, 2008

Boy, Hillary Rocked the Convention

Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) was, I would say, impressive. After her dream of a lifetime was crushed and her bank account was left with mounting debt, standing up before the crowds and endorsing her greatest rival were definitely not on her list of favorite things to do. But, she did it anyway, and she did it magnificently. Her purpose was clear: uniting the almost divided party and reminding all her voters to be 'a single party with a single purpose'. My favorite verbatim "No way, No How, No McCain". 

But, what tickling me is how natural and easy it seems for Hillary to say "(I am) a proud supporter of Barack Obama", when only several months ago, she hurled an insult to Obama, also in verbatim, "Shame on You, Barack Obama". I can also still recall when she accused Obama of plagiarism, mocked him for his lack of experience and his empty message about change.

"Now I can stand up here and say: Let's just get everybody together, let's get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing, and the world will be perfect." Click here for the video

I think it's the same old game that was being played here: politics. You do what you gotta do to get you in the game - even though you have to spit some sweet talks before your opponent's most hard-core supporters. Standing between two options: betraying your party which will cost you your political career, or swallowing your pride to support your rival which will gain you some momentum, Hillary needs to make a tough call. And, swallowing pride seemed like an easier task for Hillary, her message was powerful, poignant and convincing. 

Maybe what made it less difficult for her was the opportunity to twist her arguments and bring her credentials to the spotlight, and at the same time, to do what she was supposed to do, endorsing Obama (or at least, made it sounded like she really meant it). She did not speak much about Obama's qualifications, experiences or skills. Instead, she talked a lot about herself and the reasons she ran for President and, only after that, she mentioned Obama and encouraged the audience to vote for him because he carried the same vision as hers. As you examine her speech closer, you can see the pattern all over the place.

Well, what can we say? This is an indispensable pill that she needs to take, and I think she deserves credit for swallowing it. Several things for sure. First, she delivered an impressive speech, well, maybe with an ostensible determination. Second, she has successfully dented McCain's campaign, "(we) don’t need four more years of the last eight years". Third, she has definitely united the Democratic party. I bet after she left the podium, the party was fully ignited to pick up their shattered pieces and put them to the right place. And no one can do it better than Hillary Clinton. 

PS: I promise you, the next entry won't be about politics. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCain's Sincere Rhetoric

Fiuh, just done with eight youtube videos about Obama-McCain Faith Forum with Rick Warren. Had no intention to eat up the whole thing, but the pertaining questions about faith and value - not just the trivial I-know-it already questions - really hooked me up. And I decide to dedicate one entry for this forum just because it covers faith and sometimes, the response to such question reveals people's true nature.  

On the question about faith, both candidates answered it gracefully and tactfully; mentioning terms like 'died for my sins, saved by faith and forgiven' was a safe and sound answer which definitely brought them to the next round. It was on the couple of questions following that which made the distinctions and I want to bring the spotlight to McCain for a while. 

I personally think that he was much more comfortable with the questions, responding in a direct and straight answers. On the question about abortion and when a baby is entitled for human rights, he assertively said "at the moment of conception" while Obama made a lengthy yet well argued argument on his position as a pro-choice. On another critical issue about marriage, both agreed to the definition of "an union between men and women" but Obama refused to approve a constitutional bill defining the policy and McCain would let the states decide on that. On a question of whether evil exists and what we should do about it, McCain short answer was, to the audience's applause, "defeat it". (click here to see the event's highlight)

I am no expert in politics, but speaking as a teenager who was raised as a Christian and observing from the lens of an amateur, I feel that McCain knew what he was talking about. He knew and picked his stand, responding in a direct, one-sided, either-or answers. On the other hand, Obama was full of nuance. I got this impression that he was standing in the middle of this continuum and trying to appeal to both polars. 

So, who is more religious? I don't think it boils down into that question since most of the issues were not black and white. But, McCain's definitive answers, coupled with powerful stories, had successfully earned my favor. First, it showed who he is; he sticked to his belief and without even the slightest hesitation, shot his answers directly to the point. No compromising, no dilly-dallying and that was the 'Wow' feature over there.

Second, he presented himself on a personal level with the audience by sharing strong emotional stories to which the audience can relate. People always want to know your personal story and McCain had successfully embedded the 'pathos' flavor, built the common ground with the audience, and showed his long record of service and religious involvement. 

I also respect his humbleness in admitting his greatest moral mistake: his first marriage. You know, to run for a president and to admit such personal failure in a public requires some guts and some people might hiss at the idea. That's because we don't want others to see our weaknesses. In a world where strength is worshipped and every individual masters the art of disguise, a simple act of actually admitting your flaw deserves respect. 

To wrap up (finally), and this entry is getting much longer than I expected, I feel McCain had the upper hands on this forum. I don't necessarily have to agree with all his answers, so do Obama's, but leaving the quality of their answers behind and focusing on their style and rhetoric, I would say, this particular time, McCain's core values allow him to take off the political mask which too often veiled presidential candidate's true nature. His gestures and confidence prove my point, and it was crystal clear. (plus Obama might want to work on his fillers, he would have gotten 20 points taken off if this were BUSADM 499 class)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17th

Hei, its Indonesia's Independence Day and I believe this day worth an entry in this fledgling blog; maybe to give a sweet little taste of nationalism. What has brilliantly emblazoned this day is the gold medal by our badminton male double, Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan. Such a perfect timing and moment, sparkling another reason to be actually proud to be Indonesian. 

I know, there are more things that tarnished Indonesia's reputation but still, in the midst of the crisis, we can always put a positive mindset and seek for some glorious accomplishments, even when those are buried in a rubble. Hei, in every darkest storm, there is a rainbow. So, why can't we put a smiling face and, being an Indonesian in this foreign country, lift our head high and walk with pride. Not because of our nation's achievements or failures, but merely to the fact that we love Indonesia, at good times or bad times. Just because, whether you admit it or not, our worldly home is in Indonesia.

John White in his book "The Cost of Commitment" once said, what defined your earthly citizenship are these two things. "You must be born in a country and spend most of your life there". So, I assume, I born in Indonesia, grew up in Jakarta and spent my first 18 years of life exposed to the cultures and values of "Anak Jakarta". So, what can I say? You can point out hundred reasons against Indonesia but deep inside you, you know that you belong to Indonesia, it runs and is deeply ingrained in you. 

Thus, although I am currently not at home, but when someone asks me when will I go back to Indonesia? I can definitely say, "One day, I will. It's my home and even though I go around the world seeking for a better place to live, still, nothing feels better than your own home."


NB: Maybe I should put some images, this blog looks dry. 

Wish Comes True

Well, it has been an old unrealized dream to create a blog. Actually, I had posted several blog entries at friendster ( and, to add another achievement to my blogging resume, had one of my blog being published in BizResearch corporate website ( Thus, I have done this blogging thing for quiet a time now, on and off (not to forget my easily swing mood). I like writing, believe me, but not that much. C'mon, ranting and babbling are way more fun than writing, and not forgetting the whole grammar and structure thingy which when all added up, I, most of the time, flee just at the thought of it. 

So, what's different now? Skeptics might ask "How long will this last? This must be another temporary hype". Well, I can't promise anything since I am myself still at the state of disbelief and awe at the fact that I am actually writing a blog. But, I will try to put several entries occasionally, maybe at some emotionally exhaustive moments; like when the next time a girl dumps me or when I get a revelation from the most high. My point being is I do like to write, once in a blue moon. But, for the sake of this blog and for all of you who are highly anticipating my entry, I'll stretch myself to write on a regular basis. 

I believe putting your experience into words helps you to express your emotional feeling, being more attached to the world around you. Especially for an emotionless guy like me. I believe everyday has its own colour and you can define your day by a colour, be it black, green or even reddish indigo (if such color exists) and to be able to identify the color that best represents your day, is a skill to be developed. Rule of thumb: for me, red represents anger so you will hardly see that colour come up in this blog. black represents, uhm, dead? Well, maybe not that far. I'll let it open to conjecture then. That's the whole point right?

So, let's colour your day, roll up your sleeves, hold your brush tight and pick your color! Yipiee, I see a lot of enthusiasm right there, and I seeeee ........reddish orange (haha, i know, i'm bad with colours)