IT WAS a fine noon. The February sun in Gresik was relatively mild that day instead of scorching heat with plain stickiness. The sky was dim with clouds while producing no rain. It was friendly until midday prayer that my visit to the Sanggraloka Batik Bangsawan in Sungonlegowo had become a permanently pleasant experience.

I had the privilege on Thursday (16/02/2023) to visit the Batik Bangsawan production site, accompanied by Nur Kholis, who prefers to be called a workshop leader rather than the founder or a business owner. The conversation went lively while I was watching the batik artisans carve colors on the selected fabrics.

Batik Bangsawan has accelerated the local economy and helped local traditions preserved.

The unique Gresik Batik

If the Bungah District was previously known as a center for the production of national-scale songkok or religious caps, as well as shrimp paste and otak-otak, now Batik Bangsawan has emerged as a unique, prestigious commodity for tourists to bring as a special souvenir. In addition to economic value, every batik product by Nur Kholis comes with a dynamic, fresh design and adopts local culture to maintain tradition.

"In the past, the Bungah area had many songkok craftsmen, even to the national market. But due to a lack of regeneration, this business is no longer lucrative. While the brand exists, the production is actually sub-produced in other cities, including Lamongan," said Nur Kholis when explaining how he came to run the batik business along with his wife.

Kholis and his wife were into the batik business back in 2011 when they were selling various batik products made in different cities including Pekalongan, Central Java, and Madura, East Java. It was not until 2015 that they shifted into batik production under the umbrella of Batik Bangsawan.

“In a batik exhibition a visitor inquired if I had batik of my own, those made in Gresik where I live. That is when an idea sparked for us to have our own batik brand,” Kholis affirmed. 

Together with his beloved wife, he decided to visit several cities known for their batik to learn about it. He started learning how fabrics are selected, the batik techniques, and how to design them seriously by studying one of them from a Sidoarjo artist, Joko Lelono, who is also the head of Sanggar Bening.

The peacock motif by Batik Bangsawan is very attractive

From lompongan to huge success

Since then, Kholis has managed to produce his batik with persistent learning and perseverance. What’s strikingly unique is that he commenced the business from a narrow cubicle in his parents-in-law's house. Local residents call the passage lompongan. It is a narrow and normally elongated empty space that joins two houses in the Javanese villages. Rows of these houses are often inhabited by residents who are still related.

One of the prominent works created in this lompongan is the Suluk Lontar Surowiti. Nur Kholis points out that Batik Bangsawan produces this style of batik ornamentation with intent, inspired by the very popular Javanese philosophy. As for lontar (Borassus flabellifer), it is a palmyra palm tree on which the leaves may be written. 

Surowiti is the name of a village located on the north coast of Gresik. Situated in the hills, the village has also been a part of the long history of the Land of Java. This is where traces of Brandal Lokajaya can be found. He is the son of a Tuban noble who lived as a delinquent and later built himself up with his students to become a very influential figure. He is none other than Sunan (Susuhunan) Kalijaga who has a special place among Javanese people.

The Suluk Lontar Surowiti accommodates the values of Javanese philosophy.

The Suluk Lontar Surowiti batik pattern captures the paramount teachings and ideas of Sunan Kalijaga about the Javanese way of life (suluk) as reflected in the lontar (siwalan) trees that carry philosophical values. 

Benefit value as a priority

From a lontar tree, we learn about creating benefits. The stalk, fruit, and leaves can all be put to good use. The fruit is normally consumed to relieve indigestion problems. The midribs and the leaves are also used, one of which by residents of Rote Island, as traditional roofing materials. Back in the past people used the lontar leaves to contain texts and images to convey messages.

Nur Kholis maintains that making benefits has been a primary value of his business. He aims at contributing positively to society the way siwalan trees provide benefits wherever they are destined to live. This very value is what he is trying to carry through by inviting local youths to become batik artisans in his studio instead of working as laborers in the factories nearby.

“We currently have 5 artisans here in the workshop,” he said in a separate interview. “In addition, there are two printed batik craftsmen and four tailors.” Apart from handmade batik, Batik Bangsawan also produces printed batik to meet the demand of the lower middle market.

The Suluk Lontar Surowiti captures the tremendous lyrics of the famous LIR-ILIR in Hanacaraka.

In order to reduce operational costs, he is not stockpiling batik products since the order has been dominated by customized batik on the basis of customers' requests, including color, design, and motif. 

To support his fellow batik businessmen, Kholis runs a store at the Bungah Market that offers ready-to-wear batik products such as robes for moslem women and or negligees. This way he is not only making profits to support his batik production but also opens up market opportunities for fashion batik producers, one of which is from Pekalongan, Central Java.

Success equals empowerment

While reluctantly mentioning monthly sales figures, Kholis can't deny that Batik Bangsawan is now coming into the spotlight as a widely-known craft business. He currently has an automobile as a business fleet and is constantly taking orders from the corporate market that agree to purchase a piece of batik from IDR 500K to 2 million.

“When we won the first place in the East Java competition lately, kami carried the concept of community development in which the human resources are all from our own village. What matters more is that we adopt local wisdom as the theme of the batik,” said Nur Kholis confirming Batik Bangsawan's victory.

He further claimed that this step is a manifestation of the government's program, namely One Village One Product (OVOP), which the East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa adapts to become OPOP (One Pesantren One Product).

He is convinced that the OVOP concept works only if SMEs adopt the concept of community development. In the context of Batik Bangsawan, Nur Kholis assures that batik artisans, shopkeepers, photographers, tailors, and photo models are all from one village where the business is located.

Despite the challenge, he would certainly not give up hope. Resembling a siwalan tree that stands tall and lives extremely long while producing fruit regardless of season, he strongly intends that Batik Bangsawan will take youths of Gresik to preserve traditions through the studio and workshop he is running. In this regard, the younger generation won't be tempted to work in the factories nearby due to fresh money to make. Instead, they are encouraged to help with the preservation of local cultural treasures to prevent them from extinction.

The book Kholis is planning to publish in the near future that captures Batik Bangsawan's luxurious batik designs

What he aspires is that the Sanggraloka he is currently running will be able to provide a batik training center as well as own a publishing line. He is currently preparing to publish a book containing 50 designs and motifs typical of Batik Bangsawan with captivating charms that have the potential to bewitch readers as well as batik connoisseurs throughout the archipelago. In this way, Nur Kholis is expecting to boost the local economy while trying to preserve the uniqueness of local culture.

With an initial loan from a government bank, he has been determined to project sustainable balanced growth with independent resources. Batik Bangsawan is expected to grow as a profitable business. It's a balance because profit is the goal, but making a positive contribution to society is in the form of empowerment. Sustainability indicates endless passion to explore traditional values as well as a local heritage to appear in every pattern and design of Batik Bangsawan batik.

From Batik Bangsawan we can draw a very interesting lesson. Boosting the economic level of residents in the rural areas does not always require large capital or flashy ideas. Working on a batik business that is close to us also has proven to be financially potential. In fact, running a business in the village actually allows the adoption of this local wisdom as well as accommodating local workers without having to urbanize.

The path to success may be something other than an odyssey of happiness. It is always a journey that takes one to persevere through trials and life tribulations. What we perceive as one's success today is an accumulation of years of hard work and creative effort on the basis of resilience and unshaken belief.


This is the case of Mr. Khoirul Anam who has gained success both professionally and financially. He is termed a "paragon of leadership" in a currently released book as his experience in teaching and school management has been an amazing example of how one is struggling to step up the ladder which makes him one of the most distinguished school principals nationwide.  

Khoirul Anam (dressed in khaki with a black cap) during the launch of Everyday is Winning Experience

Kober, bener, pinter

The newly released Everyday is Winning Exeperience recounts Anam's uphill battle to score success against all odds. It documents his 34 years' experience as an educator which he clearly enjoys. As revealed in the book, he was born in a family where a pedagogic spirit is well nurtured making him a natural leader. His father is a modin (religious leader) in the village and his mother is a genuine Quran tutor.    

"I have never expected to go this far. But yes, I have always enjoyed teaching all my life while keeping three important messages in my mind that my mother always maintained. Kober, bener, and pinter--those are what I have always believed she instilled back then," Anam spoke briefly during the book review discussion on February 22, 2023 in Grand Mahkota Hotel, Lamongan.


The three words are Javanese that underlie his journey from as early moment as he could remember. "By kober she means the willingness to do what it takes to succeed. So one has to develop keenness to complete something to be successful," Anam further elaborated. It gets even more valid when one is a school principal who is required to devote time and energy to school management.       

Bener comes next which refers to the conformity of his life and conduct to high moral standards and ethical principles as outlined by his beliefs in cultural values and especially in religion. Being bener assumes the ability to choose the correct words and actions that he is against "the end justifies the means" misguided theory. 

He believes that how to achieve is as important as what to achieve. In this sense, to be bener would mean zero tolerance for illegal ways no matter how noble the intention is. In bener is also contained the call for providing examples for his subordinates to look up to. 

Khoirul Anam when delivering a welcome speech


When one is both kober and bener, he/she is likely to thrive on with the following trait: pinter (smart). Oftentimes decision has to be made immediately so that smart judgment is inevitable. Pinter doesn't necessarily equal the extraordinary intelligence that we find in genius people like Albert Eintsein. 

The word also suggests a creative mind, subtle imagination, clear vision, innovative strategy, responsiveness, quick adaptability as well as the ability to identify opportunities and put them to good use accordingly. Anam's personal and professional competence encompasses all of these areas.   

The pinnacle of career

These three qualities have been the main determinant of Anam's success as seen in several schools he was assigned to lead, including the coastal SMPN 1 Brondong, the previously underperforming SMPN 1 Kalitengah, and the famous SMPN 1 Lamongan that becomes his big win.   


While taking SMPN 1 Lamongan to be among the best schools across Indonesia may be the pinnacle of his career, it is obvious that Anam would never stop his pedagogical journey. Turhan Yani, the director of Unesa's Center for Research and Community Services (LPPM), confirmed, "He may administratively retire, but I'm convinced his natural proclivity for teaching will never expire."       

"He may administratively retire, but I'm convinced his natural proclivity for teaching will never expire."

This highlights Anam's immediate plan for developing an educational foundation in the village he grew up. With a friend, he is expected to contribute his time and expertise to bring the local schools into the spotlight. As clearly stated in the book, it is imperative that the current human resources in the foundation be upgraded and the curriculum be improved.

Prof. Dr. Turhan Yani (dressed in batik with a microphone) when reviewing the book)

In light of Anam's prolific achievements when leading some schools despite obstacles and meager resources, Yani even suggested that local universities devise a new subject named Inspirasi Pendidikan Indonesia (Indonesia's Educational Inspiration) so that students have ample opportunity to learn from the best practices described in this book.

Tatag, teteg, tutug

In his keynote speech, Yuhronur Efendi the regent of Lamongan pointed out that Khoirul Anam is indeed a man of value and of success whom everyone should identify as a role model. In addition to wisdom, Anam is considered to have demonstrated the Javanese philosophy of tatag, teteg, tutug

"I have known him personally that he is tatag as we understand it in Javanese," Efendi asserted.       

Khoirul Anam is said to be tatag as he is proven to welcome challenges and has the audacity to carry out the mandate of any leadership level he's assigned with unflinching confidence. His unfaltering energy and determination (teteg) has clearly taken him to where he is today. Teteg also refers to his strong commitment to excellence while being uneasily diverted from what's already planned or targeted. This is one of the reasons the book comes to be titled Everyday is Winning Experience

Yuhronur receives a copy the book from Khoirul Anam.

As for tutug, it indicates resilience that has kept Anam advance and avoid him from giving up. He is fully determined to complete any task with the best possible result without desperation to quit halfway. His genuine aspiration has been to excel not only in what he does but also in establishing an afterlife connection.    


Divine intervention and humility 

A recipient of the 2021 Inspiring School Principal award, Anam defines his success as merely God's grace and compassion. He is not interested in crediting his abilities or mere competence for the triumphant leadership when saying in the book, 

"This is all nothing but Allah's grace and generosity."   

This is what makes Khoirul Anam stand out from other teachers or fellow principals. Not only is he special due to a variety of prestigious awards but also his serious commitment to building students' character while nurturing humility in the process.

"That's what makes Mr. Anam unique that we decided to write about him in the first place," said Isnaini Khomarudin one of the writers present during the discussion. 


In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, I have seemed to be even more vulnerable to diseases or particular conditions that include fatigue or weariness. In addition to losing memory, my brain seems to be slowing down when processing things, resulting in anxiety. I can't help being fussed about daily stuff that needs organization and immediate responses.

When I told my friends about this tendency, most would think the opposite as if I'm in fact humblebragging in some ways. In my 40s, trying to impress people by boasting or being modest has never been an option. To be frank, I no longer need that stage of taking pride in anything. To be able to survive the ongoing trials in sustainable economy and wellness are what really matter and I'll be doing at all costs without disregarding important values. 

When I let myself be absorbed in today's hectic life, especially the loomingly-said global crisis, I have submitted to a life of vulnerability. Too much consideration is nothing but harmful to decision-making as well as my physical condition. As inevitable as it can be, demonstrating indifference has likely become a choice of excellence up till now. 

Every decision, no matter how personal, is worth fighting.

Too often it is being indifferent that makes me strong and walk tall in many situations. Knowing too much sometimes creates depression and extra precautions that are somehow counterproductive to growth both financially and spiritually. Taking things for granted may not always be ideal, but taking everything into account too much seriously will guarantee no peace or solace. 

To be intentionally deaf aka not giving a fuck

As far as I'm concerned, I can refer to this condition as being ngopok. Ngopok is a Javanese word that derives from kopok meaning deaf. While kopok is a natural occurrence, ngopok is a deliberate action to not listen to what's not paramount. By ngopok, we choose to not give a fuck about what other people say or think in response to our current situations. It doesn't imply that we lack awareness, but there's more promptness to stay on our lane of concerns.

So when you're able to be indifferent on many issues, it's very unlikely that you'll be gopok (vulnerable) in terms of material or mental condition. The courage to be ngopok gives us more space to gain more independence as to become who we truly are without the fear of reckless judgment or imminent agony. 

Sejak bangun tidur sampai tidur lagi orang modern hampir tak bisa lepas dari ponsel atau smartphone. Dari bilik bambu di desa hingga apartemen mewah di kota, kita mengandalkan gawai untuk berbagai kebutuhan. Selain mengakses media sosial sebagai primadona, mereka juga memanfaatkan gawai berbekal koneksi Internet untuk mendapatkan hiburan, salah satunya menonton film di Youtube atau streaming drakor di aplikasi khusus.

Peluang rezeki di era digital

Apalagi seiring makin canggihnya teknologi digital, kini mencari uang pun bisa mengandalkan gawai di genggaman. Tanpa meninggalkan rumah, kita bisa meraup punci-pundi cuan dengan memanfaatkan Internet dan keterampilan. Apa saja yang bisa kita lakukan sebagai pemetik rezeki di era serbadigital saat ini?

Jadi blogger bisa sangat menghasilkan.

1. Blogger

Profesi bloger kini semakin diperhitungkan kendati kemajuan visual seperti Instagram dan Youtube semakin digemari. Ada yang sempat memprediksi era redupnya blog tapi nyatanya blog tetap eksis dan bloger tetap bisa hidup dari konten yang ia tulis.
Sebagai bloger, rezeki bisa diperoleh misalnya dari lomba blog. Kompetisi blog hamper selalu ada setiap bulan. Malah tak jarang dalam satu bulan beberapa lomba bergengsi dihelat bersamaan, yang membuat bloger pemburu hadiah lomba harus taktis memilih.
Cara lain bloger mendapatkan cuan adalah menerima tulisan pesanan sponsor. Jadi brand, baik secara langsung maupun lewat agency, mengontak bloger untuk menulis dengan topik tertentu berkaitan dengan barang atau jasa yang ingin mereka promosikan. tujuannya tentu saja membangun brand awareness, misalnya saat meluncurkan produk baru.
Bloger juga bisa memanfaatkan blognya dengan memasang iklan dari kerja sama dengan Google Adsense. Meski syarat untuk lolos tak mudah, perjuangan berat juga dibutuhkan saat mengumpulkan dolar demi dolar agar iklan kita diklik oleh pembaca. Namun percayalah, perjuangan itu sepadan dengan hasil yang akan kita terima.
Yang penting jangan menyerah atau kecewa dengan hasil yang belum memuaskan. Apa saja sebenarnya bisa kita olah menjadi niche yang akan menarik duit lewat blog. Blog khusus traveling atau blog tentang financial planning yang kini semakin digemari, itu bisa jadi konten yang mengantarkan pundi-pundi rezeki.

2. Influencer Instagram dan TikTok

Ketika Instagram menjadi mikroblog, pamornya terus moncer dan akhirnya dibidik oleh para advertiser untuk mengiklankan produk mereka di platform tersebut. Muncullah istilah influencer yang merujuk pada pengguna dengan jumlah follower (pengikut) yang sangat besar. 
Dari jumlah follower Inilah peluang mendapat cuan didapatkan. Semakin besar jumlah pengikut, maka semakin besar pula potensi dipinang oleh brand dan diganjar imbalan yang sangat seimbang. Tak heran jika pemilik akun Instagram terus berupaya menambah jumlah follower agar dilirik oleh employer online.

Ketika Instagram begitu kuat, hadirlah TikTok sebagai kompetitor. Walau semula diremehkan, TikTok terbukti sukses di kancah digital dan makin digandrungi oleh warganet. Bukan hanya berisi joget tak jelas, TikTok juga mengakomodasi konten bermanfaat, mulai dari ceramah agama, belajar bahasa, memasak, dan banyak upgrade skill lainnya.
Dalam sebuah kesempatan ZOOM meeting, Ainun Chomsun menyampaikan betapa TikTok kini merangsek di urutan pertama sebagai media promosi gratisan. Kalau ingin lebih efektif, bisa pakai fitur Ads aau menyewa jasa seorang influencer agar target mudah dicapai. Ini artinya media sosial bukan sekadar media hura-hura tapi bisa menjadi sumber pendapatan yang berlimpah kalau diseriusi.

3. Youtuber

Bicara soal Youtuber, kita tak mungkin melupakan Li Ziqi asal Tiongkok sebagai salah satu food vlogger China yang sangat kesohor. Pendapatan miliaran per tahun tak heran menjadi kiblat bagi Youtuber lain di negaranya untuk mengekor menjadi pemasak yang ditampilkan secara visual, lewat proses dan pemandangan yang menawan.
Di Indonesia lebih banyak lagi Youtuber yang kondang dan jadi epigon para Youtuber pemula. Bukan hanya konten kanal mereka yang menarik, tetapi juga pendapatan menggiurkan yang jadi idaman banyak orang. Bagaimana tidak, cukup berdiam di rumah kita bisa mengantongi ratusan bahkan miliaran rupiah.

Raditya Dika dan Deddy Corbuzier hanyalah dua di antara seleb Youtube yang sukses dan punya basis subscriber serta income yang luar biasa. Setiap konten atau podcast yang ditayangkan selalu banjir komentar. Karena komentar memang efektif untuk menarik calon pelanggan baru. Itulah sebabnya Layanan Komentar Youtube diperlukan untuk menambah kemeriahan video tayangan dan memikat penonton baru agar menjadi subscriber sesuai keinginan. 
Banjir komen bagus untuk sebuah konten di Youtube. Ketika komen bermunculan, itu artinya akan mengundang pelanggan baru untuk berdatangan. Ada engagement yang terbangun ketika tahu banyak komen yang meramaikan sebuah tayangan. Bahkan komen yang negatif pun sering sangat berguna untuk mendongkrak suatu konten dan channel

5. SEO specialist

Siapa yang tak ingin produknya tampil di halaman pertama Google atau yang dikenal dengan Page One? Posisi itu sangat produktif untuk membantu calon konsumen untuk mengklik website kita, mempelajari konten yang ada, dan kemudian melakukan transaksi sesuai yang kita harapkan. 
Sayangnya meraih posisi page one bukan perkara mudah, dibutuhkaan effort ekstra untuk bisa moncer di SERP atau mesin pencarian. Di sinilah kita butuh peran seorang SEO specialist. Dialah yang akan membantu bagaimana agar produk yang kita punya bisa dilihat dan diklik oleh warganet yang menjadi target pasar kita. Percuma dong punya produk bagus tapi tenggelam di mesin pencarian!? 

6. Affiliate marketer

Untuk mendapatkan cuan di era digital, kita juga bisa memanfaatkan affiliate marketing. Cara kerja affiliate marketing sangat sederhana. Mungkin kita mengikuti kabar terkini yang heboh tentang beberapa influencer kaya raya yang ternyata memanfaatkan affiliate tapi merugikan banyak orang karena ada indikasi perjudian atau penipuan. 
Begitu juga dengan affiliate yang saya maksudkan, kita cukup mendaftar sebagai affiliate marketer pada sebuah situs atau penyedia platform agar kita bisa menyebarkan link sehingga kalau ada penjualan dari link tersebut maka kita akan mendapatkan komisi.
Inilah intinya, komisi akan kita petik dari pelanggan yang bertransaksi. Semakin banyak transaksi, tentunya semakin banyak keuntungan yang bisa kita raup. Kita bisa menjadi affiliate marketer bagi penyedia hosting-domain, menyebarkan link produk konsumer di lokapasar seperti Tokopedia dan Shopee, dan masih banyak lagi peluang yang bisa kita jajaki. 

Singkat kata, mendapatkan uang di era kecanggihan teknologi informasi bukan lagi mustahil dan bahkan sangat dimudahkan. Kita harus mau bergerak dan belajar untuk menggunakan platform yang ada untuk menjadi sumber pendapatan, baik aktif maupun pasif. Itu bisa dimulai dengan memperbanyak komentar dengan memanfaatkan mediakomen untuk menaikkan engagement berkat layanan komentar Youtube sehingga channel kita ramai dan cepat berkembang untuk bisa mendulang cuan. Mau?
There is a popular saying in Javanese about something impossible. Popular among common people, the expression is especially used by songwriters and artists alike to tell unbearable emotions that one experiences due to failing love or relationship failure. Ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga rose to popularity when Didi Kempot used it in a song.

Didi Kempot, probably one of the most phenomenal singers of Javanese songs, once expresses his feeling as his lover fails to keep her promise to meet him at the Tanjung Mas Port in Semarang, Central Java. Didi is dubbed the pioneer of congdut (keroncong dangdut) that incorporates two streams of music in Indonesia in a fresh way. The fusion is slightly different from campursari that Manthous is well-known for. 

Didi Kempot, king of ambyar (Photo: detiknews)
The famous song by Didi is based on the first line of the lyrics. The following is the complete lyrics that build up the whole story of failing affection thus a matter of futility. 

Bebasan kaya ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga | it is like expecting rain during dry season 
Najan mung sedela ora dadi ngapa | it's okay even for a slight moment 

Penting isa ngademke ati | as long as it soothes my heart

Semono uga rasane atiku | that is what I do feel
Mung tansah nunggu tekamu | always expecting your arrival
Ra krasa setaun kowe ninggal aku | it's been a year you've abandoned me
Kangen... kangen'e atiku | I'm deeply longing for you

Aku sih kelingan nalika ing pelabuhan | I can recall our parting at that port
Kowe janji lunga ra ana sewulan | when you promised to return in a month 
Nanging saiki nyatane kowe ora bali-bali | turned out that you've reneged 

Ning Pelabuhan Tanjung Mas kene | here at the Tanjung Mas port
Biyen aku ngeterke kowe | where I once let you depart
Ning pelabuhan Semarang kene | here at the Tanjung Mas port
Aku tansah ngenteni kowe | I'm forever expecting you to come

From Didi Kempot's song we learn that Javanese people have an expression to tell something of futility. When something is impossible to happen or unlikely to happen, then you're ngenteni udan ning mangsa ketiga. If it occurs to you that something is elusive and will cost you nothing but vanities, you certainly know what to do.

My brother has not been himself lately. Owing to extremely huge debt, he has been distressed and avoided meeting people ever since. There is not a single day going by without his engulfment in terrible fear. He is endlessly disturbed by the imagination of lenders' sudden visit who have given him some loan in the past. 

The debt has inevitably caused his life miserable and put it in serious jeopardy. Not only does he risk losing his entire asset including the valuable house, but the marriage is threatened to break up. The substantial debt is really wreaking havoc on his life in its entirety.          

Debt either empowers or undermines you.

Abandon the importance of financial planning

For entrepreneurs, debt is actually normal as it adds to capital and helps business to expand. But my brother has seemed to be overestimating the profit he was going to gain without calculating the risk. A few friends of his came to assure him of profitable investment. He was taken into their persuasion and invested quite a lot of money.

However, he tended to ignore reason before making a decision and neglect the importance of financial planning. It was too good to be true that the business yielded instant profit significantly in the initial months. That was what he did not realize, the fact that he was plainly defrauded. 

Things get worse as the money he invested doesn't belong to him. It was other people's money he had used to invest. The borrowed capital has to be returned to those people despite the fact he was an object of investment scam. He may have received quick money for a few months but he soon learned the guaranteed returns are now fugazi.

This reminds me of a passage in "Serat Darmawasita" by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV that addresses specifically on financial obligations. Does the serat encourage owing money or simply disapprove indebtedness? The sixth stanza of the first part named "Dhandhanggula" puts it this way:     

lan malih wêkas ingsun | and  I have one more message

aja tuman utang lan silih | do not enjoy owing or borrowing money

The lines obviously describe that having debt is okay as long as that doesn't turn into a habit. It can be inferred from the sentences that one who enjoys borrowing money may as well make debt a matter of addiction. Without reason and precautions, one can be easily absentminded and hungry for more loans to cover the other. Once you are in the grip of a loan shark, your life foundation is probably beginning to collapse.

Why is borrowing habit considered bad and highlighted in the serat? When people borrow money to support the growth of their business, it is but a good habit as it is more productive. But when loan is made to sustain one's compulsive buying behavior, debt will likely:   

anyudakkên darajat | abase your dignity  

camah wêkasipun | humiliated ultimately 

kasoran prabawanira | your self esteem degraded

mring kang potang lawan kang sira silihi | by those who lend

nyatane angrêrêpa | giving you but self-pity 

When we are indebted, especially to many people in large sum of money, it is predictable that our life is soon morphing into an inferno. It has become common knowledge that debts breed humiliation during the day and misery during the night. Debtors will find themselves in constant chase by creditors in many ways.

While their debt accumulates, they are in grave danger of losing self esteem and pride. All they have in mind is how to manage to elude the pursuers at all cost. Without people touching him, he is already making a road to perdition by undermining life in its basic.

In terms of debt, Muhammad the messenger of God mentions in a hadith that all sins of those who die martyrs are forgiven except those with debt. This underlines the importance of dealing with debt wisely, as to know our financial condition without always getting into debt we will be unable to repay.

In brief, "Serat Darmawasita" doesn't forbid debt but encourages one to manage it carefully. A decision to be in debt should be made with serious calculations and debt should never be an option to become an addiction.   

There has been quite a hullabaloo lately across the country since many people spoke up in view of digital fraud in the form of binary options. They have claimed to experience loss from their investment in billions of rupiah. It is said that influencers should be held accountable for the huge loss as they have not been honest when inviting people (followers) to invest in the platform. Financial planners soon surface and offer generous advice to follow. It is indeed catastrophic when the fund is used for illogical investment instead of acquiring an apartment that generates money. 

Those people would certainly wish to have the benefit of hindsight. But there is no way to turn back the hands of time and they now have nothing but regrets. Numerous financial planners and experts alike appear on TikTok and Youtube to educate about how to make investment and where to invest.  

It's obvious that some people tend to focus on instant result when it comes to gaining profit instead of taking the process. When the so-called influencers showed off their monetary gain in a relatively short period of time, the hungry followers instantly took the steps exactly they’re told without consideration of learning the method carefully. So when their demand for immediate return was denied, mental breakdown is what occurs.

Financial planners can help us with our investment plan. (Image: pexels/karolina grabowska) 

The Javanese have the privilege to refer to “Serat Darmawasita” by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV to look for enlightenment, both spiritually and financially. Born Bendara Raden Mas Sudira, KGPAA Mangkunegara IV was then Prince Adipati Prangwedana III before coronation. KGPAA is the abbreviation for Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya that indicates his title of nobility when assigned to rule Mangkunegaran, a principality in Surakarta.


The eight benefits in financial planning

In this serat, Mangkunegara IV introduces eight precepts called asthagina that literally stands for astha (eight) and gina (benefit) for people who search for a true life. If you are to succeed in life, financially in particular, the eight rules should be manifested in every single way possible.

From the third to the sixth stanza of the first part named Dhandhanggula, there are several passages that encourage us to better plan our finance even without having financial planner certification. Let us observe the following. 

1. Employ reason and competence

panggaotan gêlaring pambudi | 

warna-warna sakaconggahira | 

nut ing jaman kalakone | 

Do what is possible to make a living by employing reason based on your competence. Focus on what you can do at the moment without worrying too much about what others say as there are certainly plenty of jobs we can take. We are now in the 4.0 Revolution when everything is digitized and we should therefore make use of the sophistication of the digital world.  


2. Be well-ordered

rigên ping kalihipun |

dadi pamrih marang pakolih |

Be organized to ease you to achieve what you do want. Organization makes your life orderly that you are prepared for any disruption with no confusion to exist.   

3. Value frugality

katri gêmi garapnya |

margane mrih cukup |

The third point to remember is to save money for future reserve. In the age of unpredictability and high volatility it is imperative we provide what the need for later use by being thrifty. This teaching values the concept of frugality to equip us with relevant resources in the face of mercurial challenges in the modern life.   


You can be a financial planner of your own using insight from "Serat Darmawasita".

4. Assure perusal

papat nastiti papriksa | 

iku dadi margane wêruh ing pasthi |

Scrutinize to avoid missing important details and insightful information. Do not be tempted to take the road most traveled by simply due to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). In some extent you are encouraged to develop the joy of missing out (JOMO). Make sure you know what platform you are using for investment and comprehend accurately the very consequence of the investment you are about to make. 

5. Understand calculations

lima wêruh etung ika |

watêk adoh mring butuh saari |

It is also fundamental to understand calculations when it comes to investing money. If you don't do simple math, the investment is most likely to incur you loss without anticipation. When calculations are hard to make, you can always consult a financial planner or those knowledgeable about investment. In this sense, making calculations is said to be a way of envisioning future possibilities.   

6. Ask to gain knowledge

kaping nênêm tabêri têtanya |

ngundhakkên marang kawruhe |

In response to any important moves, including investment plan, we are to inquire in order to gain as much information as we can before making a decision. People say that a good question leads to a good decision making. With careful insight, data, and relevant statistics we can come up with a better plan especially when deciding to invest a lot of money. 


7. Control your wish

ping pitu nyêgah kayun |

pêpenginan kang tanpa kardi |

The seventh tip is to control what we desire. This will require a good skill of distinguishing between needs and wants. There may be cool items offered at a discounted price, but we don't have to purchase them simply because we think it is too affordable to skip while we actually do not need them. Every decision and purchase has to be made with reason on a scale of productivity.


8. Be determined           

ping wolu nêmên ing sêja |

watêkira sarwa glis ingkang kinapti |    

Finally, persistent determination is all you need to be a successful financial planner. Determination involves promptness to act and to complete what is mandatory. One must be determined to succeed in everything, including investment that calls for solid rumination. 

Regardless of what financial planner definition, we have come to realize that the asthagina prescribed in the "Serat Darmawasita" by KGPAA Mangkunegara IV clearly entails willingness to learn and to collaborate with other people to help us succeed in many ways.