Independence in God

Taken from 2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

The true independence or freedom is indeed when we are in God. We are free from the punishment of our deadly sin, we are free from the devil that is trying to get us each and every day, so if you feel trapped and scared, receive freedom in God. Because only in Him, you receive a true and eternal freedom.

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia!

 

Why We Need To Work a Little Bit Harder

Don’t work too hard. Have a work and life balance. Enjoy life. These are some of the things you see in blogs or websites lately advising us to do less work and have more time off, and disconnect. I’m not saying that it’s wrong or false, all of these are really really good, but when you apply this advice to our country, Indonesia? I personally would say that it’s a bit misplaced. Why?

Indonesia has a very laid back culture. There, I said it. This is something that we all admit. We tend to or prefer to have more meetings than to do the actual work. We really, really, like to hang out and chill in a cafe or a bar with our friends. Lunch hour is literally an hour because we spent more time talking than actually eating. Again, there’s always two sides of coin to everything, but we certainly not a country that you can describe as “hard working”.

This culture has made a lot of foreign companies or management teams coming from abroad, surprised or sometimes, dumbfounded. Because we ask for a higher salary, yet sometimes we arrive late and always waiting for 6pm to come sooner so we can just go right away (in Bahasa Indonesia we call this “teng-go”, when the bell rings, we just go). We have a tendency to “work slowly” or in Bahasa Indonesia “Santai aja/Selow aja”  and when the deadline came, sometimes miracle happen and you “finished your work” (you can define the meaning of the quote).

Obviously, this stereotype doesn’t apply to everyone or the whole country (it applies to me too), if you are working hard already, that’s awesome. And if you say “work smart, not work hard” – yes, but can you apply that to the whole work force? Some might not be able to do the former, but I believe that everyone can pretty much do the latter.

But, but, we have potential, a huge one, in fact our nation is predicted to be in the top 10 of global economy in the future. If you have been reading about Indonesia over the past few years, we have been hearing, writing, mentioning, talking, pitching, about Indonesia potential for quite a while now. This is what I am afraid will happen: that we will be complacent, that we will keep saying we have potential but we never know when it will unfold. Why? Because we are not working hard enough.

I tweeted that almost two weeks ago and I really meant every words of it. If you see Japan’s successes, and now China and Korea too. It was all built on a foundation of working hard. In fact, it’s not a surprise anymore that you heard about people getting sick or even worse because of overworking. They eat their lunch quickly, and get back to work right away. Even in Korea, there is a culture where students in the university would take a gap year or sometimes more than one year, because they know, once they graduated, there is no “life” anymore for them. But if it isn’t for hard work of that tens of millions (for China it’s hundreds of millions) of people, I don’t think they will be where they are right now. Alibaba’s $150b valuation? All because of hard work. (Please do watch Crocodile of the Yangtze to prove my words – it’s an awesome documentary)

Another thing that has been mentioned about Indonesia is that right now and for the next 20 years, Indonesia will have a golden generation because of our demographics. Again, this is a potential not a sure win. What if you have tens of millions of young people or generation but they are not skilled worker, they prefer to post pictures to Instagram compared to learning something new like coding or a new language, they prefer to read 9gag over “thick books” (Even Harry Potter is too much to read). The potential bubble will be burst and we might have more unemployment rather than a productive young workforce.

That is why I think in this post, as someone who wants Indonesia to succeed and exceed all the prediction (like you do), I would love if we can work just a little bit harder. It doesn’t have to be in a form of staying over in the office one more hour without doing anything, but it can be reading more books, it can be learning to code, it can be learning new skills or languages. I think rather than speaking to all the people, I’d dedicate this post to people who are between 15 years old-30 years old. Because the next 20 years will be on us, not on anybody, but on us.

This isn’t even specifically for tech/digital/internet industry because if we go there, we have two potential here: either we own our market by having locally made products/company founded by Indonesian succeeding or we just sit in our comfort zone: Googling everything because we just don’t want to think, liking pictures or stalking on Facebook, posting what you’re doing on Twitter, scrolling and double tapping on Instagram, and updating your sleeping hours on Path –  resulting in a scenario where we only became a market for foreign companies. I wish that Indonesia will not be the latter, but the former.

If this post offended you, it’s good, it means that I hit the right target. If this post resonates with you, please share it to your social media. If you have opinion, would love to hear it on the comments or tweet me: @jshkvn – I prefer not to hear a quick reply or comments such as but we want to enjoy life OR but we have to have a work and life balance.

How Baptism Changed My Life

Disclaimer: I think this post might be too religious for some, so if you think you can’t read something around that topic, I guess you can stop reading.

Today at the church our pastor, Handoyo Santoso, preached about how we should stay strong or persevere until the end. From Alpha to Omega, and he quoted this from Revelation 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

The pastor said that God nor Jesus doesn’t have a beginning or an end. He’s been there all along, and He will still be there forever. But what God meant in this verse is for us, we begin our true Christian life through Him in baptism and reaching the finish line when He came again to this world. Today’s preach or specifically this verse, inspired me to write this post.

I have been Christian ever since I was born into this world with a reason that my mom is Christian. I went to Sunday school sometimes and since my school from pre-school up to senior high school is built by Christian institution, having a class where we read bible and sing a song for God is becoming just an activity for me, just like having a sport class. Although I believe in Him, I never really give my all or put a serious thought about my Christianity.

It has to wait until senior high school, when I fell into the deepest misery ever in my life. If there was hell on earth, I was in one. I ashamed myself in front of my friends, I lost most if not all of my best friends, and the worst thing is I kept disappointing my parents. (No, it’s not about school grades, it was much much worse) I felt like there is no way up, sometimes even the thought of killing myself had became an option back then. I can’t tell you what I did, but if I do, you would look at me differently.

A couple of months after the incident, I started going to a church, the same one as the current one I regularly go on Sundays. I started to seriously pray and I just felt like there is no one else to talk to but to God. After becoming an official member of the church, I applied to be baptized. Usually you have to go for 6 straight months without any absent, but somehow me and my sisters (I have two younger sisters) were getting a call that the appointment was advanced and we were getting baptized in two weeks.

We did it. My youngest sister get Phoebe, the older one get Priscillia, and I got Joshua. I wasn’t that excited back then but when I read the whole book of Joshua, I realized that he is in fact is more successful than Moses, he got to the land of promise and most importantly, the name means: God saves. If this is an article on Upworthy, it would be titled: “You Won’t Believe What Happened After He Got Baptized”

For the past few years after I got baptized and actually wore the name Joshua on all of my internet profile also when I met new people. I used to introduce myself as Kevin but now I’d say my name is Joshua. Not just my name is changed, my entire life changed. I have managed to:

  • Work at East Ventures, one of the most active Venture Capital in Indonesia based in Singapore, headed by Willson Cuaca and Batara Eto (co-founder and ex-CTO of Mixi $5b internet company in Japan)
  • Work at Tech in Asia, the TechCrunch of Asia. Held Startup Asia conferences in Singapore and Indonesia. They have now expanded to more than 50 people and holding a Tokyo conference in a month.
  • Work at KakaoTalk, where I was the Indonesian on the small team back then as a Community Manager. Helped them to reach more than 10 million downloads, now it’s a public company (after merger with Daum) and in Jakarta it has more than 30 employees.
  • Travel to Singapore super often, back then it was a luxury to even fly to Singapore but ever since I start working, it feels like a home away from home
  • Traveled to Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the hottest destination nowadays, visited KakaoTalk office, and did almost all the touristy stuff. Went there alone, came back with more than 10 Korean friends that I met at BeLaunch 2013 – the biggest startup conference in Seoul.
  • Went to the United States for a month. Mostly in San Fransisco. Did a West Coast trip, from Hollywood, LA to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon.
  • Went to Alaska with a grand cruise (to be exact it’s a Norwegian Pearl – NCL Cruise). Probably the first 21 years old from Indonesia who did this trip without bankrolled by rich parents.
  • In fact, managed to did all above with my own money that I saved from all the work I have done.
  • Went to Hillsong Conference 2014 in Sydney this summer. Sponsored by Ronald Ishak and Grace.
  • And this year also managed to raise small investment to start my own company that is trying to disrupt the HR industry through technology.

All of these were done in less than 5 years, and in fact these are just the highlight reel, I received so much more important things like friends. All of these happened after I received baptism. So, if you are a Christian, why wait so long to get committed to your faith? Get baptized and feel the difference of living with God and on the road to the Omega, which is heaven. God bless you all :)

This post might seem to surreal and feels like a bragging post (I really hope it doesn’t sound like that) but what I hope is to inspire more people. I’m still the same human who isn’t perfect and make or do sins in my daily life, but what is different is that now I make less of them, I “think” before I do it, I try to limit the sins I make. Thank you for reading this!