Category Archives: philosophy

You can be anything you want to be… No?

“You can be anything you want to be” — we hear and read this a lot: in the media, in the (Hollywood) movies, in “successful” people’s biographies. This phrase has become a motivational mantra for success.

Continue reading You can be anything you want to be… No?

Objectivity vs Neutrality

[terjemah bahasa indonesia di bawah]

Nobody can be free from bias, but as a scholar I should always exhibit a bias toward objectivity. Being objective has always been the goal.

Objectivity, however, should not be confused with neutrality. One should not hesitate to be partial and in fact it is imperative to be so, if after a careful investigation of the facts one can conclude that truth lies on one side or one simply is a better choice. Continue reading Objectivity vs Neutrality

Violence, possession of truth, and being human

Something I wrote after reading that very upsetting news ….. This essay is published by the Jakarta Post on February 11th, 2011. Below is the original text.


Only days after Indonesia was being mentioned by various Western media as an exemplary of the possible future trajectory for Egypt (and other countries in Arab world) , we heard horrible news from Cikeusik. In the country that Thomas Carothers (CEIP) refers as “the largest democracy in the Muslim world [where people are] enjoying economic growth and actively supporting democracy”, innocent people of Ahmadiyya community got killed for practicing their religion in a certain way.

While the killing attack itself is very disturbing, what troubles me further is to find that some regular, supposedly moderate, Indonesians are in agreement with this inhumane act. One Indonesian Twitterer said,”I agree with this attack… after all, sin is sin.” Not only this comment represents a dangerous violent face of religion, it also shows an inability to think rationally – let alone critically. If sin is a cause of killing, then how about corruptors, exploiters, liars? Is a corrupt government officer who stole billions are less a sinner than an Ahmadi? Continue reading Violence, possession of truth, and being human

Fireworks, Life & Ephemerality


While I have been living in the U.S. for years, for some reasons, I was never around on July 4th, I was either in Asia or Europe. This year, I had gotten to taste the American experience in celebrating the Fourth of July weekend in a beautiful town of Burlington, VT. Good time with family and friends, barbecue dinner, summer picnic, and, of course, the splashiest and most thrilling part of the celebration: fireworks.

Every evening of the Fourth of July (and nights before), Americans gather at downtown or waterfront areas to watch fireworks shows. Every city usually holds its own show. There are private parties who hold the firework events annually, too, sometimes bigger than ones of the cities (such as Macy’s in Manhattan). Continue reading Fireworks, Life & Ephemerality

Lotta updates… but first, new quotes

Lots of updates since my last posting: J had his successful concert with students at Indian Oasis Elementary School of the Tohono O’odham Nation (it was awesome);  my 2nd phase of the Ford funded field research will soon begin; my collaborative research (with computer science dept) on Blogtracker (Analyzing Social Media for Cultural Modeling) just got grant (yay!); with these two projects up and running I decided to create the Participatory Media Lab at ASU (the website isn’t launched yet, but here is the link); I was in Germany for 3.5 days last week due to my duty as an Our Common Future Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation; and here is the most exciting one (or two) — we finished some landscape improvement and our do-it-yourself Arizona room (sunroom) has been done (needs some finishing, but I and J will do it in the fall)… and oh, the one most important thing: spring semester was long over for J and I, we’ve been sleeping so much!

With those updates, naturally it’s hard to choose what to write. So for the time being I will share you some new quotes from my twisted mind. Enjoy!

Lim’s warning to those who feel special: “Remember that even if you’re one in a million, that means there are 1,324 people in China that are similar to you”.

“love might be blind, but neighbors ain’t blind” — Lim’s celebrating the moment where she and J got the patio enclosed — this is related to the sunroom project.

Some people say “hardwork is the key to success”. But Lim says I would rather pick the lock to do it faster”… just make sure you got a right pin 🙂

“I am beyond religious — by embracing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam I have 3 days Sabbaths, the Holy days. Nobody can force me to work on anything on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Now time to embrace other belief systems to fill in the rest of the week.” (Lim being obnoxious)

“Graduation is weird — an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in homogeneous caps and gowns that “uniqueness and individuality” are keys to future success” (Lim’s rambling on ASU graduation days of 2010.)

(not a quote but Lim’s comment on Sri Mulyani’s appointment with the World Bank) “SBY says he will bless SMI’s departure to DC as long as she promises to promote his 3rd album in Amreeka.”

Lim: “My students and colleagues asked me why I don’t suffer from stress despite many things I (have to) do. my answer: “because i’m a carrier”.”

(Lim on the tax month) “I wished I could claim the government as a dependent!”

(Lim on typical meetings):“I always hope that the meeting will not move at the speed of the slowest mind in the room.” and “Meetings are the most dull highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other institutions/groups like to be engaged as they mostly have very little imagination on how to spend their employers’ time.”

(Lim on her way to the bank): “I always wonders why banks always gets the pens chained to the counter and yet leave their doors wide open.”

Lim say: “Nowadays, the most exciting phrase in scientific world, that heralds a new discovery, is not Archimedes’ “Eureka!” nor Isaac Asimov’s “That’s funny!”, but “Your grant proposal has been approved.””