Our Awesome Journey

The world has changed so fast. Years passed by and changed our ways of traveling a lot.

I still remember nine years ago, when my husband scanned a paper map. He measured each point-to-point-distance manually, made algorithms to develop an application: Bandung City Guide, a basic offline map and navigation app. That was his final BS paper. I was only able to say then, “Cool…”, as i was used to be an old-fashioned person who is relying on paper map and index to get location 😀

Since then we have experienced many ways of traveling. Some are increasing our heartbeat (for not saying goosebump hehehe), so don’t try this at home, eh, i mean on the road lol..

During his first days moving to Jakarta, my husband installed Jakarta Map on his laptop. It was only map with search and index feature, no navigation. Yet it helped him to know Jakarta better. It helped my Jakarta paper map to retire as well lol. It was just a little bit funny when we tried to reach some unfamiliar location. When we went for his work interview, for example. He had to stop riding his bike, parked on the roadside to open the laptop. We would define our location, eh, predict in actual, because nothing on the map could show us where we were. After trying to create route to the destination, we would continue the journey. Ouch*#!? Okay, for you who said, “isn’t paper map the same or even better?” at least we only need to see an 11 inch screen and not a-shoulder-wide-paper and able to zoom it as we like without putting it close to our nose 😀

It was even funnier then when we went out of Jakarta. We traveled along Java island -from west to east for a best friend’s wedding (it means a thousand kms!) with only printout of Java Island map and some fragments of detailed smaller area. And yeah, it was my bad, i forgot to check our printer ink level so it was blurry in particular spot. We had to guess where we were and where to go. And the bad news was… It was exactly at the point when we were out of nowhere, not on main national nor province route. We were on shortcut route connecting 2 districts (Salatiga-Sragen, skipping Solo), to save 70 kms or so, around 9pm (it was quiet like midnight in rural area like that, again: ouch!!!). Thank God, eventhough it was not “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” TV quiz, ‘phone a friend’ option saved us. A coworker of my husband whose hometown is where we were at that time guided us by phone. Phew… It was not the fault of some blog authors who suggested that shortcut route, it was definitely ours lol… (Note: actually we had known google map. The problem was that we didnt have mobile with good enough data connection nor wide enough screen… So just imagine it by yourself)

Blurry printout map. Image source: private

Blurry printout map. Image source: private

Then our mobile provider improve its data service. We went to Pelabuhan Ratu and Ujung Genteng, the most southern part of Java Island guided by Google Map. But no GPS receiver on our mobile. It was relying on at least 3 closest BTS so sometime not showing exact coordinate. When it came to several intersection we had to make a turn, we had to guess whether it was really street we had to make a turn. Several times we had to turn back realizing that we missed some hundreds meter earlier or farther.

Then hubby got a better mobile: with GPS integrated!! (Yippeeee…) It saved us to pass by a mountain shortcut between Temanggung-Dieng (Wonosobo) district, through mount Sindoro hillside, a small rocky road that might be only locals know. 1500 meters asl, and that was where we finally found a blank spot area of any cellular operator on Java island!! (Note: Java island is an island of Indonesia, the world’s most populous island and one of the most densely populated places on the globe. Seven percent of total area of Indonesia but is home of 60 percent of the Indonesian population. It is amazing to know that there is still a blank spot area of any cellular signal here…)

Scenery from shortcut Temanggung-Dieng route. Image source: private

Scenery from mount Sindoro hillside Central Java, 1500 meters asl. Image source: private

Google map and GPS were really helpful for our mudik* trip and when we went abroad. For some years we could always choose better route for mudik. We were dare enough to choose unusual n quiet route like Daendels route to avoid complete standstill on main route. We often save 2 hours or more. Google navigation -the later improvement, was also cool. What we watched couple years before in Too Fast Too Furious: a very talkative girl telling us when to make a turn, keep left, and rerouting for us voluntarily, was in our car then 😀 But it was still without calculating the road burden. How could we know which road to avoid due to heavy traffic or complete standstill then? Thanks to twitter user who updated traffic situation during mudik season via Traffic Management Center Polri, lewatmana.com, etc.

It didn’t help at all only at KL (traumatizing dark Raja Chulan rd at night lol). Not because of malfunctioning app, but out of battery!! Ouch again. Keep in mind later to bring a bigger capacity of battery bank and spare of paper map if you do backpacking 😀

Then finally we knew Waze, an Android application. As a user generated content, user’s update about traffic situation automatically calculated to create better navigation. Choosing a route and avoiding traffic or accident are easier now. Make sure you recharge your device during the trip as it consumes battery a lot. And put your device on a mobile stand or near aircon, unless it will be overheated. After Google’s Waze acquisition, we can see the feature has been integrated in newest Google Maps then. The mobile versions of Google Maps now blend in traffic data from Waze, while Waze users gain Google Street View and satellite images.

google maps with waze traffic report

Yeah, that was our nine years awesome ways of traveling. Thanks to internet, mobile and gadget technology improvement, and satellite imaging that have made our journey awesome. Getting image from scanned paper map to a map developed by satellite imaging. Navigated by many reliable source: from other travelers who are kindly update their blog, a phone-a-friend option, to twitter real-time traffic update, and then smart navigator that can calculate the traffic is now talkatively navigating our trip.  What may be the improvement next?

*Mudik: annual mass travel from urban area to hometown during eid holiday. I heard its only known in Indonesia and Bangladesh

Amnesia, Romantisme Sejarah, atau… ?

Ceritanya, di sebuah desa, hiduplah seorang rentenir. Dia biasa meminjamkan uang ke penduduk desa itu dengan bunga yang tinggi. Katakanlah mereka yang meminjam 1000 perak harus mengembalikan padanya 1100 perak. Meskipun berat hati, penduduk desa meminjam juga dari rentenir itu, sebab mereka membutuhkan modal untuk usaha maupun hidup mereka sehari-hari. Hingga suatu hari, si rentenir ini meninggal. Penduduk desa tiba-tiba saja merasa seolah-olah angin segar bertiup ke mereka. Setiap hari mereka mengutuk mendiang si rentenir dan berkata betapa jahatnya dia dulu. Rentenir ini memiliki seorang anak, yang setiap hari pusing mendengar omongan orang tentang ayahnya. Dia berusaha membersihkan nama ayahnya, namun tak ada satu pun penduduk desa menggubrisnya. Putus asa, dia bertanya kepada seorang bijak, tentang apa yang harus dilakukannya. Orang itu pun berkata, “Gampang, jika ayahmu meminjamkan 1000 perak untuk menarik 1100 perak, pinjamkanlah pada mereka 1000 perak untuk mendapat 1200 perak.”

Si anak pun mengikuti saran tersebut. Penduduk desa mulai meminjam kepada anak tersebut, dan tersentak melihat bunga yang harus mereka bayarkan. Tak sampai setahun, penduduk desa pun mulai bernyanyi, “Anak kurang ajar. Dulu bapaknya itu baik hati. Ambil bunganya masih wajar. Lha ini? Mau pakai apa kita bayarnya?”

Cerita ini mengingatkan saya pada sebuah survey yang dipublikasikan sekitar sebulan yang lalu, tentang kepuasan masyarakat terhadap penguasa saat ini (SBY) dibandingkan dengan penguasa di Orde Baru (Suharto). Bagaimana orang-orang bisa mengatakan bahwa mereka merindukan masa seperti waktu Suharto berkuasa, dengan alasan mereka merasa lebih nyaman, aman, mapan, dsb.

Seperti penduduk desa tadi, saya yakin masyarakat bukan amnesia koq. Mereka sadar bahwa masa Orde Baru juga punya beberapa belang, seperti halnya penduduk desa ingat bahwa si Bapak tadi itu juga dulunya seorang rentenir -bukan suatu hal yang tanpa cela. Hanya saja mereka merindukan masa itu, karena lebih pahitnya kondisi saat ini. Itulah romantisme sejarah, keinginan untuk mengulang apa yang ada di masa lalu, semata karena rindu akan suatu hal yang dirasakan lebih indah dibanding saat ini.

Bukan sekedar romantisme sejarah

Waktu kuliah agama tingkat 1, dan membahas tentang peninggalan Islam di dunia pendidikan, seorang teman berkomentar mengenai para ilmuwan muslim terutama pada masa Abbasyah. “Kenapa kita begitu suka membahas nama-nama ilmuwan muslim penemu ini dan itu, dan berbangga bahwa merekalah yang pertama menjadi ahli di bidang ini dan itu. So what, gitu loh!? Faktanya sekarang para ahli di berbagai bidang bukan muslim, apa kita hanya akan mengenang itu semua? Kenapa sih kita terjebak pada romantisme historis?”

Ya, di satu sisi dia benar. Mengenang saja peninggalan peradaban Islam saja berarti membiarkan kita tenggelam dalam romantisme sejarah dan tidak akan membawa pengaruh positif ke kita saat ini. Namun, jika kita bisa benar-benar menggambarkan seperti apa dan bagaimana pendidikan dikelola saat itu, dan membandingkan dengan kerusakan pengelolaan pendidikan saat ini, akan menjadikannya pikiran sadar untuk mengubah cara belajar kita dan bagaimana pendidikan seharusnya ditata.

Will Durant, seorang sejarawan dunia,  menulis dalam Story of Civilization,

“Para Khalifah telah memberikan keamanan kepada manusia hingga batas yang luar biasa besarnya dan meratakan kesejahteraan selama berabad-abad dalam luasan wilayah yang belum pernah tercatatkan lagi fenomena seperti itu setelah masa mereka”

Peradaban semacam ini yang mendorong warga negaranya menjadi pribadi-pribadi yang berkepribadian Islam dan unggul dalam berbagai ilmu pengetahuan. Karena penguasaan ilmu pengetahuan merupakan kebutuhan dasar masyarakat, negara mengelola sistem pendidikan yang menjamin setiap warga negara untuk mendapatkan hak yang sama dalam memperoleh pendidikan. Demi menyelenggarakan itu, negara mengatur neraca anggarannya sehingga memungkinkan negara menyelenggarakan pendidikan gratis dari tingkat dasar hingga S3 bagi rakyatnya. Dan yang terpenting, negara akan menjaga passion dan mentalitas rakyatnya, untuk menjadikan aktivitas belajar semata-mata dalam rangka melaksanakan perintah Allah dan menggapai ridha-Nya. Setiap produk ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi adalah jawaban untuk memudahkan pelaksanaan hukum syara’.

Kita mengenal Al Bukhari, Ibnu Khaldun, Al Biruni, Al Khawarizm, dan banyak ilmuwan lain dalam sejarah. Yang perlu dicatat, para ilmuwan pada masa itu, mengembangkan aljabar untuk membantu pelaksanaan hukum syara’ berkaitan dengan muamalah, waris, dll. Ilmuwan belajar astronomi karena paham umat akan membutuhkannya dalam pelaksanaan hukum ibadah seputar awal akhir Ramadhan dan banyak lagi, bukan semata karena ilmu itu menghasilkan uang untuk mereka. Bagaimana ilmuwan muslimah seperti Maryam Al Asturlabi, yang berkontribusi di bidang navigasi astronomi, tidak melupakan perannya di rumah tangga. Semua itu adalah produk sistem pendidikan yang dikelola negara dengan asas Islam.

Jadi, kalau kita berbicara tentang kemajuan sains di masa Abasyah, bukan berarti kita sekedar bangga dan mencukupkan diri dengan perhitungan aljabar atau rumus kimia sederhana saat itu (karena saat ini sudah jauh lebih maju dari itu), namun yang kita rindukan dan ingin kembalikan secara sadar adalah: bagaimana pengaturan pendidikan hingga produk semacam itu bisa dikeluarkan kembali.