“Wherever you work, you need to find the thing that will make you proud…”

“Ketika saya memulai GE di Indonesia tahun 2010, I started with very basic question. Sebelumnya kita adalah, you know, good employee. Good employee means that we meet the numbers, we follow the instructions, and then… done. Ke kantor, pagi untuk mencapai target, apa yang harus diselesaikan hari ini, selesaikan kemudian pulang, kemudian tidur dengan nyenyak. One element is not there: kebanggaan. Sebelum tahun 2010 saya nggak punya, nggak tahu apa yang harus saya ceritakan di rumah dalam konteks kebanggaan tentang apa yang saya kerjakan.

Well, saya mungkin bangga mencapai target, dapat bonus, dapat award and so on. My family is not interested on that. Well, they’re probably interested sebentar, “Wah gue dapet award nih!”, “Berapa award lo?” Begitu selesai awardnya dapat angkanya, “Wah dikit nih.” Udah lain lagi ceritanya. Atau kalau misalnya pun banyak, “Wah, kita kesini yuk!” Udah, selesai kan? That’s NOT something, you know, that I can tell a lot, my wife can tell a lot, my family can tell a lot. I don’t have it.

So interestingly visi kita waktu itu tidak dibangun dari berapa persen mau tumbuh tahun depan atau berapa juta dolar mau dibuat. No. In fact we’re not talking about that. We try to find something that we don’t have before yaitu kebanggaan. Karena selama ini kita hanya menjadi good equipment supplier saja, good employee.

So pertanyaan kami, waktu itu adalah, 2010, September: apa yang bikin kita bangga sebagai orang Indonesia yang kerja di multi-national company yang beroperasi di Indonesia? That question has never been asked before.

Satu setengah harian kita berdiskusi tentang hal itu. Istilah kita kalau lebay-nya, kita mulai pelan-pelan menggambar bendera merah putih di jaket GE yang biasa kita pakai. Sound very cliche but if you ask me, that’s my engine to do the work until now, because at the time kita kemudian mendefinisikan 3 hal yang selama ini nggak pernah kita definisikan.

Ya kalau kita ceritakan di rumah, dimana pun, kita bisa cerita dengan bangga:
#1 If we’re able to bring the technology
#2 If we’re able to give a solution for Indonesia
#3 If we’re able to develop local talents

So I talk like, whoa, kaya saya tumbuh sayap begitu melihat a lot of my team now are Indonesians, kemudian they are able to raise their hands di depan para bule-bule and some of them fight for their ideas. Something yang kita nggak punya dulu. Sesuatu yang kita rasa bahwa, “Ya segini memang ya, kenapa kita nggak dipromote-promote ya?” Probably we’re not on that level, karena promosi itu membutuhkan orang yang come up with ideas and fight for that, and a lot of rejections, and you keep fighting for that because you think that it’s the right thing to do.

So that’s what we need within these 3 years. Kita mendapatkan sales yang besar not because we’re selling better or we have more salesmen. Because we’re doing the work that makes us proud.

For Indonesia we develop learning center, kita datang ke Garuda, we develop human resource development bareng-bareng. We develop the capability of our customer. A lot of investment, bukan bikin pabrik, ngeruk uang di sini kemudian duitnya dibawa ke Amerika. No. A lot of activities malah menghasilkan banyak orang yang lain.

So my message to your question, wherever you work, you need to find the thing that will make you proud. Wherever it is. Because if you’re not proud of what you’re doing, and then we’re just robot.”

Handry Satriago, CEO of General Electric Indonesia, taken from here

Sebuah inspirasi dari salah satu CEO favorit Ayah yang sering sekali beliau ceritakan (apalagi orang tua Handry Satriago ini dari Payakumbuh, jadi terasa sekampung sepertinya si Ayah :p).

You know, because living isn’t only about living. Hidup adalah juga tentang memberi arti. Kalau ayah saya bilang, value creation. Value delivery.

Saya dedikasikan untuk diri saya yang sudah hampir 4 tahun bekerja sebagai geologist di tempat yang sekarang dan baru pindah ke tim studi. Semoga selalu menemukan hal untuk diceritakan, yang membanggakan keluarga :)

A Piece of Soehanah


Why I Solo-Travel

While waiting for my flight in Xi’an (with sore feet, tired shoulders and last 100RMB) I scribbled some notes about the trip. Such a good time for contemplation because one or two flights away from home after traveling is merely the equilibrium of wanderlust and homesickness.

China trip was my 4th solo trip after Japan, Italy and Oz. Some people, or I can say a lot of people, ask me why I go solo traveling (and how I manage it). You aren’t with tour?! Aren’t you lonely? Aren’t you scared? What would you do on the train? Do you have lunch by yourself? Do you ever get bored? Do you feel safe falling asleep? Who takes your pictures? Why don’t you go with friends? Such thoughtful questions. I know solo traveling doesn’t suit everybody and might sound strange for some people. As for me, it’s the best way to experience new places. Not that I don’t enjoy traveling with friends and family but, personally, solo traveling is a great ‘me time’.


A Sign

NIKON D5100646

What I mean by ‘me time’ is the time when I don’t need to think what other people think. I’m a kind of person who feels guilty when people (especially my loved ones) have to go to places they don’t want to just because I do. I don’t like making people walking all the time because I try to tick everything in my ‘Places to Visit’ list. I hate to admit that I have pretty random and unusual interests like contemporary art galleries, city libraries, small book stores, local music stores, vintage shops, or other ‘boring’ museums. I don’t want people to spend their time doing what they aren’t interested to. Lucky me that I & A have pretty similar interests when it comes to traveling :p Oh wait, and I also need to admit that I’m the type who don’t mind to go to restaurant by myself and straightly go home after settling the bill :p

Apart from being ‘a bit strange’, personally I discover more when I travel alone. I take more pictures. I pay more attention to what surrounds me. I see more than fashion sense of the pedestrians, colors of advertisements on the subway stations, how the food is wrapped or the beverage pops out of vending machines, where the lottery is sold, how the students group and go home. I listen more than the sound of people rushing to work, baristas shouting over espresso for breakfast, lovebirds seducing each other in their own language or sudden reunion of old people in front of a cafe.

The thing about solo traveling is that you’ll open yourself more to the world in front of you. You’ll embrace the fact that there are infinite stories behind and the same infinite possibilities ahead that you have zero idea about. You’ll learn the unknown beauty of human connection no matter how strange they are to each other. You’ll see that no matter how different you look or do things back home, there are things you and people around you have in common. Trust me, it’s kinda easier when you are not going with your best buddies or family because you’ll simply be more engaged with each other’s company. Not that it’s a bad thing though, actually :)

Last thing I’d like to point out, solo traveling is a way to know yourself and appreciate it more. It’s a way to befriend yourself and understand it. It’s a way to fully believe in it, that you actually can handle everything. It’s a way to accept that you aren’t perfect and you can make mistake while reading map or get on the wrong train heading to opposite direction. It’s a way to prove that the only thing you can depend on is yourself.

In case you’re interested to go solo, here’s a nice resource :)


China Trip

When I told my friend that I’ve bought return ticket Jakarta-Shanghai departing in less than a month, he told me I was ‘sick’. I, surely, had asked for permission from my husband and my parents after doing quick research about how safe China is in general. After convincing everyone that it is pretty safe (at least by my standard who lived more than half of my life commuting from Bekasi to Jakarta), I purchased the promo ticket from Garuda Indonesia. So far, it was the most impulsive trip I’ve ever done (well, err, maybe number 2 most impulsive after the Lucy Rose & Young Dreams concert last year) and I guess it’ll be my favorite to tell in the future because:

  1. It wasn’t that well-planned (by my standard, which means I still put my itinerary in table format and maps printed)
  2. My first solo trip with hijab
  3. My Chinese is limited to “Ni Hao” and “Xie Xie” (and “Wo Ai Ni” which is useless anyway) because “Cap cay” and “Puyung Hai” surely didn’t work in China. I proved it myself :O
  4. It included a night train taking about 14 hours (from Shanghai to Xi’an)
  5. I only relied on wifi for internet access but the biggest problem was the fact that Google doesn’t work and Baidu maps only uses Chinese characters

I applied the the visa about D-2 weeks or so because my passport got stuck in Imigrasi Balikpapan for a silly reason so I had to apply for the Express service. Based on experiences, I prioritized things I need to prepare so the important major things were prepared: I booked the hostels, the domestic flight and train, I printed the maps (captured from Google Maps) and plotted the stations and major tourist attractions I was interested in. For the first time, I had anxieties before traveling. I heard things about Chinese: that they can’t speak English, they aren’t helpful, and the toilets are filthy.

But then I thought: just go.

I’m grateful that I did it because China impressed me, a lot. The whole trip was far above my expectation and felt… great! I thought that things would look cheap and fake and sound annoying (well, the latter was quite right… :’))). I was wrong. I forgot (or simply ignored my minimal history knowledge) that China got very high civilization. That they built The Great Wall hundred years before Christ. That Chinese invented paper. That they surely have more complicated language. That their first emperor tried to invent something to live forever which was surely…… futuristic :p

I plan to post the stories and pictures separately later but let me tell the summaries here first x)

After arriving at Shanghai Pudong and riding the Maglev train, I started my real adventure figuring out how to get to Shanghai Railway Station. The Metro signs weren’t clear and my eyes hurt *exaggeration* seeing only Chinese characters :’O After some laps and lucks, I got to the station and purchased the return ticket of bullet train to Suzhou.

I spent my first day in Suzhou, the canals town which is claimed as the “Venice of China”. I already posted the photos in Suzhou here. It was a bit shabby but pretty. The canals (and actually almost everything) were clean and still well-functioned for either transportation or touristy thing. There were cute cafes and beautiful gardens. Let me tell you once again: they (I didn’t go to the toilets though) were clean.

I spent the next 2 days in Shanghai which reminds me a lot to Jakarta, where everything is mixed: old and modern, poor and rich, even bicycles and Lamborghini. It’s a bit hard to summarize everything only in 1 paragraph but if you’ve been to Jakarta, just imagine Jakarta plus metro, minus everybody spitting now and then, here and there.

On the third night, I departed to Xi’an, the ancient capital of China by night train. I had one of my best sleep there and woke up to the moving view of pinkish trees on the windows. I didn’t go to Beijing and climb on The Great Wall. I somehow preferred going to Xi’an, one of the knots of Silk Road and see the Terracota Army. I didn’t regret it at all :)

Well, here is my Reverse Bucket List for a week in China!

  1. Riding on Maglev train, moving 300km/hr.
  2. Becoming pedestrian in Shanghai and crossing the roads safely!
  3. Chinese garden in Suzhou
  4. Old looking Pingjiang District, Suzhou
  5. Selfie with The Pearl Tower
  6. Pretending to understand contemporary art in M50, Shanghai
  7. Night shopping in Nanjing Road
  8. Got offered ‘Tea’ in Shanghai, the famous tourist trap :p
  9. Seeing Terracota Army
  10. Climb an ancient Chinese wall (not The Great wall, though)
  11. Eat giant Fried Squid (and tons of other street snacks) in Muslim Quarter
  12. Eat noodles in China… WOW! :p
  13. Got engaged in Chinese-English conversation………………
  14. Use one of the worst airlines in the world, Southern China (and turned out not that bad!)
  15. Doing well in bargaining with Chinese souvenir sellers! ;P

I also plan to give some tips and tricks in Bahasa but later…… Okay…. Janji! :p

Zai jian for now!