We can choose to complain about the unbearable situation these days or to grow confidence that we will progress and thrive after the pandemic is over. It is not easy to remain strong and optimistic whereas the dangerous virus is still lingering around us in the global scale. I know it will take serious determination to steps out of the pandemic and we can always deduct energy from inspirational quotes. 


  1. Albert Einstein: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." The key is to keep doing the best possible without fretting too much about limitation.
  2. Arianna Huffington: "Failure is not the opposite of success; it's part of success." We don't have to worry about making mistakes, including a temporary unemployment due to the pandemic.
  3. Confucius: "The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home." Remember that it takes great preparation in order to succeed, and the pandemic is a good moment to gain knowledge and valuable skill.  
  4. Napoleon Hill: "It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." It is imperative we help each other and benefit from collaboration especially during hard times like today.
  5. Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Never ever forget histories as they enrich and equip us to understand better how to make important moves to shape our future.
It is entirely up to us to live in despair or to move in hopeful manner. Let's pick whichever quote that empowers and enliven us so that the pandemic is longer a frightening episode, but an opportunity to learn and to be well prepared. 
 

What is the most precious commodity in the universe? Is it a strong question or a rethoric one? There may be as many answers to this question as the number of leaves on a tree. What is precious to someone might not be valuable to somebody else. Everyone has his own reason to tell what they think as precious.


Money might be on the top list as life carries on with possession of money, in the form of cash or digital wallet. People work 9 to 5 every day to make money in order that all expenses be met. With money all purchases are possible and with money too various needs can be fulfilled.

Forest is vital to human life.

What we need the most

People all over the world in all walks of life make every possible effort to own money. Engineers, writers, film makers, accountants, lawyers, pilots, traders, politicians, are all spending time to assure the attainment of their goal with possession of money.


What is spoken in a fragment of "Jupiter Ascending" starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum is somehow very interesting. One of the characters named Kalique Abrasax puts it this way:

In your world, people are used to fighting for resources... like oil, or minerals, or land. But when you have access to the vastness of space, you realize there's only one resource worth fighting over... even killing for: More time. Time is the single most precious commodity in the universe.

Now it is obvious that we expect to have more time, like we might want to go back to the past to fix what we finally regretted. It takes time to forget a terrible past and heal from unbearable wounds. We need more time when we desire longevity in age so that we can live to the fullest and highest possible.


Muhammad once warned of two blessings man mostly skip and abandon: health and leisure. We will likely be regretting when we lost them one day when we have no more power or energy to access those most precious commodities. 


What really matters eventually is that we have investment even if it is a tree grown before doomsday that comes tomorrow.   

Refugees are not mere number. They are fact and real human beings that need our thorough attention. This come to my attention when reading a book that recounts the journey of a Syrian teenager owing to a terrible civil war in the country. What makes the journey remarkable is that she is transported on a wheel chair during the dangerous trip across islands, from Syria to Germany.


Nujeen Mustafa is actually a Kurd whose people can form a single country instead of settling stateless in Iraq and Syria. The war that broke out in Syria is very complex as it involves many countries with different interest. It is no longer a battle against particular faith or religion, but a designed fight for power and economic domination.        


This book helps us understand how refugees come into being and how horrible their condition is before getting asylum in a country with disapproving status as compared with local citizens. From Nujeen's stories I have been able to formulate how to respond what is occurring in the Middle East.
More importantly, I finally gain valuable insights that human tend to be greedy and that living in a safe country is worth a gratitude. All we see as horrific calamity in our daily life is perhaps nothing in comparison with what refugees face wherever they may be.          


If the pandemic never halts, things will be probably awry or perhaps go better. It is undoubtedly terrible to live amidst pandemic. The Covid-19 virus is affecting all areas of life, including economy and social that we deal with every single day. Adaptation is to be made if we are to survive. Are we going to adapt or to complain about how to act?     


I personally think the plague hitting humanity has been a tremendous blessing in complete disguise. While we must fight the life-threatening virus, Covid-19 is not an enemy coming to defeat us purposefully. Javanese people who believe in God as Supreme Being understand this phenomenon as an opportunity to innovate and progress through the pandemic.


As pandemic subsides, we have not come to a complete halt. The vaccination is not a panacea that cures all diseases including Covid-19. However, it has been an eye-opening experience for us to learn a lot about and from the ongoing pandemic. We are making discoveries in pharmacy and generating energy to understand ourselves as human being that are interconnected.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has certainly never been anticipated. We are now in the middle of the ongoing pandemic without knowing when to end. While the case due to the hazardous virus has declined, economic impact and social implication has been inevitable. The two years' journey of unpredictable plague is either a warning that we are indeed weak or an implied suggestion that we are adaptive to radical change.


What do we have to be proud of while knowing we are somehow petty and collapsible any time?   

        

Climate change has been a hot issue that draws ongoing debate and frustration. I remember reading news that Bojonegoro, a regency bordering Lamongan, once experienced a 40 degree Celsius back in 2018 higher than normal figure of 26-35 degree Celsius. Head of the local Environmental Agency pointed out that increase in the temperature has been inevitable one of which due to the activities in oil and gas industry. While trees decrease in number, exhaust emission of vehicles has contributed to the temperature hike. Diminishing water supply in relevant rivers has also been a key factor.


Water shortage duirng dry season and hot weather due to climate change

This reminds me of “pluruan” a garbage dump usually located behind the house of every villager. The mini dump belongs to local wisdom that needs revival. In most cases, two three houses share the same dump where the households throw garbage away. The pluruan is said to accommodate massive garbage all over the village hence helping temperature to decline. As people grow in number, the number of pluruan gets fewer and even no longer found.


Another local wisdom in our village that helps save the planet is the practice of urup. It is giving away trash in exchange of valuable stuff. Inorganic trash including bottles, cardboard boxes, paper, and particular metal are usually weighed to measure the stuff in return we can get. The objects include spices like onion and garlic whose price may increase considerably without anticipation. 


“Thank God this handful of onion is so valuable when its price is hiking in the market,” said mom one day after trading trash with spices. 


I personally think that both pluruan and urup are local practices that are worth keeping. The form may not be precisely the same, but the spirit must be implemented to maintain the purpose of saving Planet Earth. Pluruan allows trash to be concentrated in mini dumps that prevent villagers from littering in the river like those found in Bojonegoro. With urup, local residents help with the rate of new garbage production as old trash goes recycled. More importantly, they collect instant advantage from the trade to support their family.

Ramadan is approaching and a lot of people, Muslims in particular, are getting more excited to welcome the Holy Month. While pandemic has not yet halted, it no longer drives people to panic. However, the impact of Covid-19 has been obvious that more employees or workers are now jobless. No wonder that economic consequences are inevitable that many people are currently struggling to make their ends meet. What an unbearable challenge


During the global pandemic, it is entirely our choice to despair in helpless complaint or to remain hopeful while doing our best. And M. Eddy Firdaus, also known as Edo, takes up the latter. He has decided to rise in the calamity by promoting a brand of his own from Pekalongan a city he currently resides.

  


Sarung Tentrem (ST) is the very brand he has chosen to represent both his passion and economic aspiration for the last seven months. Yes, ST has not even been a year in business. Edo clearly understands that Pekalongan has long been famous for its batik in addition to Yogyakarta. He builds strong confidence in his relatively new batik sarong due to Sarung Tentrem‘s batik pattern that looks fresh and dynamic.


He grows optimistic that during pandemic local products have gained positive sentiment in the global market. Local products across Indonesia have proven to be a huge potential success of economic value. His choice positively confirms his conviction as the batik sarong he produces has received a massive response from targeted consumers.


Preserving local treasures


Edo is driven to start up the business due to his concern of high prevalence of stamped batik craftsmen who were forced to lose their job down to the global pandemic. He wants to have their skill utilized to generate income. In addition to earning money, Edo wishes that Sarung Tentrem will be a vehicle to preserve highly-treasured tradition of unique Pekalongan batik passed down from generation to generation.


Sarung Tentrem appears in unique batik design and vivid color.


Targeting male consumers of upper middle-class, Sarung Tentrem appears special in the market as the stamped batik pattern carries an added value. It is the omission of pola sorot (highlight pattern) normally found in similar product made by competitors. The absence of pola sorot clearly makes the batik design more flexible and uniquely fresher. 


All-seasons outfit for male customers


Stamped on high quality fabric and coupled with dynamic batik pattern, Sarung Tentrem is expected to reach a larger scope of market other than Javanese consumers. This is to say that his batik sarong is possible for male customers regardless of their race, culture and faith.


Not only is Edo’s batik sarong unique in design, its dimension is relatively larger as compared to other batik sarongs available in the market. This makes the sarong ideal for daily use as well as important occasions including religious ceremonies. While women here in the country has long been pampered with batik lounging gown (known as daster), it is now men’s turn to grab fabulous picks of Sarung Tentrem for all seasons. Either casual or formal, the batik sarong will make any moment even more perfect as well as extraordinary.



In an interview Edo told that Sarung Tentrem may be the pioneer of modern batik sarong in Indonesia as it is done manually using batik stamp instead of automatic manufacturing machine. It is no coincidence that the market has become larger and larger. While the majority of customers are from Pekalongan, he cannot deny that other cities across Indonesia and even foreign countries like Malaysia and Singapore has been in the market breach. 


“All are local people, and very enthusiastic,” Edo confirms the involvement of local labors and craftsmen.  


He prefers local teams to handle the business to generate social empowerment that will contribute to people’s welfare in the neighborhood. Everyone in his teams are passionate to make Sarung Tentrem bigger recognizing that Pekalongan keeps a bounty of local treasures awaited for further exploration to be adopted into various products for national and global market.


Digital marketing trend has contributed positively to Sarung Tentrem’s sale. Edo points out his online batik sarong gains 90% of total sales. About 70% of the figure is made by transaction via the company’s official website on sarungtentrem.com. This is but the benefit of the IoT (Internet of Things) in which everything is interconnected to allow people interact easily, including making purchases despite their locations sparse around the globe.


Sarung Tentrem is all you need when it comes to special occasion you will cherish.

From Edo we learn that starting up business must not be in ideal situation where everything is well-established. Sarung Tentrem is rising when the world is being hit by a hazardous pandemic. The key to a successful start-up business is the ability to seize opportunities that arise without delaying any further in order to create products of high versatility and uniqueness in design generated from local treasures—just like Sarung Tentrem.


So if you gentlemen are seeking an all-seasons outfit, something you can combine with high versatility, then Sarung Tentrem is definitely yours to possess. All men from different backgrounds, including faith and nationality, will appear charming in this batik sarong due to its fabulous design and vivid color.