Britain fails the foreigners we need


There is ample evidence that refusals are based on the prejudices and opinions of the entry clearance officers rather than on the basis of the Immigration Rules. This is a gross denial of justice.

Source: Immigration Advisory Service – News & media releases – Britain fails the foreigners we need

So that’s why a lot of my friend’s relatives visa and entry clearance application in Jakarta, Indonesia is refused…


One Laptop Per Child, will it go to Indonesia?


The backers of the One Laptop Per Child project plan to release the machine on general sale next year.

But customers will have to buy two laptops at once – with the second going to the developing world.

Source: BBC NEWS | Technology | Public can purchase $100 laptop

I wonder if developing world includes Indonesia. The government surely cannot afford $150 million to buy one million, so I guess Indonesia depends on the pairing initiative.

Sheffield vs Manchester vs Leeds

(Picture from BBC)
Apparently Sheffield has been chosed to represent the UK at Venice Biennale of Architecture (although I can’t really find it mentioned in its website).

I’ve lived in Sheffield for about 6 years now, plus a year back in 1996. I’ve always wondered why Leeds which is supposedly much smaller seemed more vibrant. The sidebar in the BBC article says it all: Sheffield is poorer, less educated, and shrinking working age population.

Personally, I love Sheffield, although it would be nice to have a Manchester-class airport with (almost) direct flights to Indonesia! Maybe some airline will start flying from Robin Hood.

Is Malaysia better than Indonesia?

Probably, but not by much according to Unspun. I have friend (Indonesian) who is absolutely nuts about Malaysia. But Indonesia’s actually been there first, during the Soeharto era, particularly 80s and 90s. We were stable, growing, hailed as an economic success. The price? 1998. So is Malaysia heading for a crash? Maybe, maybe not. But if you are an Indonesian that longs for the stability and certainty of the 80s, then you should go live in Malaysia.

Death: is it final?

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Hundreds killed in Hajj stampede

At least 345 Muslim pilgrims have died in a crush during the stone-throwing ritual at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, officials say.

Inna lillahi wa inna lillahi rojiun (We are from Allah and to whom we are returning)…

My sister-in-law is doing the Hajj this year, I pray for her but I am not in fear of losing her. This may be strange to non-Muslims, especially from what I perceive to be UK public reaction as reported by the media. Here, death is a final and fatalistic concept, while as Muslims we believe we are transitioning to the afterlife. This is especially true of the Hajj, where would be pilgrims are urged to finalise all affairs, leave no debts, ask forgiveness, due to total submission to Allah during the Hajj.

So while some may scorn the lack of health and safety during the Hajj, such earthly matters are the least of any pilgrim’s concern, it is Allah’s will that one should live or not. This does not mean that the Saudi government as the authority in charge should not do anything. In fact this particular area, which is particularly hard to manage due to a limited time window, has seen massive changes over the years. But if after all that people still die, then all we can say is: Inna lillahi wa inna lillahi rojiun.

The end of an era…

Today was a sad day for us. Our family’s best friend went back, for good, to Indonesia. They’ve been here in Sheffield since 1999, even before we arrive in September 2000. We both only had one kid that year. Since then a lot has happened. Each family got one more kid. We started a whole series of annual events, sharing interests, the two most prominent ones being
camping and watching the extended editions Lord of the Rings… (Oh, let’s not forget the New Year eves….). Not one, not two, but three PhDs also emerged.
Sadly we have to part ways today. We decided to stay here, and they, as always planned, went back to Indonesia. Surprisingly there were no obvious tears at the airport (can’t say the same at the time of writing this post though 😦 ).

I sincerely hope we can always be in touch, good friends are hard to find, best friends are one in a million (cliche I know, but now I know why they became cliches!).

Cheers to Yandi, Mita, Bagus, and Tari! The end of the Third Age… The Fourth Age has begun!

The whole gang...