Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Meeting with Faisal Basri

My second meeting with Faisal Basri happened last Tuesday.

I met him for the 1st time back in May 2006, when Faisal expressed his willingness to serve as a member of Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna’s* Board of Judges.
*For more info on Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna, feel free to call Maverick or send an e-mail to

Who is Faisal Basri, anyway?

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Faisal Basri is an Indonesian prominent figure, mainly in economy and business. In 2000, he was elected as an Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs. Currently, he is a Commissioner of the Supervisory Commission for Business Competition of the Republic of Indonesia. Viewed as an expert in economic field, his opinions have constantly appeared in several major publications in Indonesia, such as Kompas and Koran Tempo.

During Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna’s Judges Meeting last Tuesday, Faisal told us his ideas and opinion about journalists and media in general. Faisal believes that it is important for media/publications to use an appropriate Indonesian language. It is true, that the language used doesn’t have to be correct according to Pusat Kajian Bahasa Indonesia, for example. Journalists and the media, however, should also bear in mind that they also have to serve the public. Therefore, continuously using jargons or filling an article with too much ‘local slang’ can be irritating.

He also mentioned that a journalist must start to think out-of-the-box to find a different approach towards an article that he/she is working on. Faisal took the book THE WORLD IS FLAT* by Tom Friedman as an example. The content of the book is not new in itself, but Tom Friedman has managed to bring the concept of ‘the world is flat’ and make it looks new.
*Last week, Maverick Book Club has chosen The World is Flat to sit in our ‘must-read’ list

Before I met him, I’ve known Faisal Basri mainly through his personal website,, that presents a more ‘humane’ side of this economic expert. The web contains his profile, writings, lectures, and … his poems!

Just listen to this piece of poem he wrote during a flight; entitled Aku Tak Kenali Lagi:

Aku kian bergegas
Tapi mereka seperti berlari
Tiba-tiba muncul dari arah depan
Menyeringai disertai ejekan

Aku berbelok ke selatan di persimpangan jalan
Ternyata jalan itu buntu
Aku berbalik arah menuju utara
Di sana ada keramaian
Tapi semua orang membisu
Kusapa satu-satu
Tapi tak berjawab

Well, turned out that our DKI Jakarta’s Governor candidate is a very poetic person!

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