Hello Windows 7, adios Vista

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zatni Arbi, Contributor, , JAKARTA | Mon, 02/09/2009 12:14 PM | Sci-Tech

Windows 7 fixes a lot of the problems found in Windows Vista. Still in its beta version, it can even run on a netbook with only 1 GB of RAM. JP/Zatni Arbi
Windows 7 fixes a lot of the problems found in Windows Vista. Still in its beta version, it can even run on a netbook with only 1 GB of RAM. JP/Zatni Arbi

Still remember the comments I made in my review of Dell Mini 12 last month? I found that I could hardly use it because the pre-installed Windows Vista made it run like a Toyota Avanza hauling a home trailer.

Still, I loved the netbook because of its large screen, stylishness, lightweight and, especially, comfortable keyboard.

At that time, I actually knew that the solution for the sluggishness was already on the horizon. It was certainly not a downgrade to Windows XP, as the days of the XP were already numbered. Instead, it would be an upgrade to the next version of Windows.

Yes, I knew about the performance remedy, because I had seen it running on a Lenovo S10 netbook. Unfortunately I was under a non-disclosure obligation then, so I was unable to reveal it in my article.

Now that Microsoft has gone public with the product and the beta version of Windows 7 is already available on Microsoft’s website for download, I can share with you my first impression of it ­— it is quite impressive.

During a media outing two weeks ago, Microsoft Indonesia gave each journalist, including myself, a DVD containing the beta version of Windows 7 Ultimate, Build 7000. Back home, I took the Dell Mini 12 and my LG external DVD-RW out, put the DVD into the drive and ran the setup program.

Strangely, it took more than three hours to install it with the Upgrade option. A couple of times I thought the computer hung, but it never did. The great thing was that the installation process hardly required any interference from me. Microsoft said that the installation, which is far more streamlined than Windows XP’s, should normally take 30 minutes or so.

However, once the installation was finished, I got a series of nice surprises. First, almost all of the programs and utilities that Dell had already installed on the Mini 12 were kept intact. These included Dell Dock, Dell WebCam, Dell Video Chat, even Microsoft Works. They all ran smoothly. The Wi-Fi worked well, too, and the netbook automatically got connected to my LinkSys access point without requiring any help from me.

The only things that did not work in the new environment were Windows Desktop Manager and the McAfee antivirus software. That was to be expected and McAfee will for sure make its products fully Windows 7-compatible.

More critical was the responsiveness. Booting up and shutting down still took some time, but it was far quicker than Windows Vista. When the boot up process was completed, the netbook was almost as responsive as a netbook running Windows XP.

As the accompanying picture shows, I can open multiple Internet Explorer windows, a Microsoft Works document, the Dell WebCam and a couple of gadgets without any sign of memory overload. I can switch from one program to another in a blitz.

No doubt about it, the programmers at Microsoft have done a great job. The new operating system is not as resource hungry as Windows Vista. Even in its beta version it is very stable; it has not crashed since I installed it. It can easily take the place of Windows XP as one of the ideal operating systems for a netbook with an Intel Atom N270 processor and only 1 GB memory.

We should also keep in mind that the version I installed is a beta version. It is bound to be plagued with bugs. It will be several months before we can buy the release version. After that, there will be a Service Pack and incremental upgrades to iron out the bugs, and the performance will be improved further.

Faster performance and lower hardware requirement are not the only strong points of Windows 7, though. During the media outing, Lukman Susetio, Microsoft Indonesia’s Product Manager for Windows, demonstrated just a small number of new features found in it.

One of the most interesting and very useful features is the capability to set up a wireless network using the computer’s Wi-Fi. This allows us to share an Internet connection without the help of a router or an access point.

So, for example, if several people are within the Wi-Fi range and one of them has a 3G or HSDPA USB modem that connects them to the Internet, the others can share it through their Wi-Fi network.

Other very useful features in Windows 7 include a search engine, which it inherits from Windows Vista. The user interface is improved and can be personalized more than in its predecessor. For example, gadgets can now be placed anywhere on the screen, whereas in Windows Vista, they can only sit on the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Windows 7 was developed with the needs of users of mobile computing devices in mind. Therefore, in this version we can make more adjustments to the power consumption of the various hardware components so that we can increase the maximum battery life.

DirectAccess is a feature that will benefit enterprise users, as it makes Virtual Private Network no longer necessary. When combined with Windows Server 2008 R2, they can use all the available bandwidth to access their intranet without fear of being snooped on.

According to Microsoft, even today a lot of hardware vendors have prepared the right drivers for Windows 7. Software makers are also developing the next version that will work seamlessly with Windows 7.

But you may have to live with Windows Vista, for now. My guess is that Windows 7 will become available toward the end of this year at the earliest.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com


Pertamina's New Boss Gets Bullied by Lawmakers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Jakarta Post , JAKARTA | Tue, 02/17/2009 8:49 AM | Headlines

High and dry: Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan (center) prepares to leave a conference room Monday at the House of Representatives, after legislators abruptly halted a hearing. ANTARA/ISMAR PATRIZKI

A hearing between the House of Representatives' energy commission and the new management of state oil and gas company PT Pertamina turned sour Monday as lawmakers felt offended by a letter from the company, in their view naively questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of their previous meeting.

Commission VII deputy chairman Sony Keraf ended the meeting while Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan was still replying to points from lawmakers on Feb 10.

Sony said Pertamina’s corporate secretary Toharso had disgraced the lawmakers by questioning the House's supervision authorities.

“Nobody, not even the president himself dares to question our authority and rights to question whatever is needed to be asked."

“Pertamina does not only disgrace the commission, but the whole parliamentary body as well. That’s why we need to know whether Toharsos's action also represents Pertamina’s board of directors’ view on the previous meeting,” he added.

Toharso wrote to lawmakers on Feb. 13 that Pertamina was very disappointed with the way the lawmakers questioned the capacity of its current president director. He considered the questions had deviated from the initial agenda, thus violating the House internal rules.

Right after Sony terminated the session, Karen promptly packed her things and left the meeting room.

“We'll answer any questions but not on the deprecatory points. Comparing Pertamina’s president director as similar to a satpam (private security guard) is outrageous,” Karen said, referring to a metaphor by lawmakers in the previous hearing.

“The board of directors know about the letter, and gave approval to send it to the House based on the recommendations from our legal team," said Karen rushing to her car.

The Feb. 10 meeting was more dominated by mockery than a discussion about Pertamina's problems and future strategies.

Despite the incident, Toharso, in the job for less than five months, insisted the House would have efficient hearings in the future.

Energy analyst Pri Agung Rakhmanto said the “bullying” Karen received was common practice. She needed to learn the ropes.

“I think there is nothing strange about the incident. What Karen needs to do now is to prove her capacity by delivering excellent performance,” he said.

Perceived widely as a cash cow for ruling politicians, Pertamina bosses often receive out-of-context humiliating remarks from lawmakers during hearings. Sometimes, lawmakers hope to get kickbacks later if they keep quiet for the next session.

Despite numerous problems plaguing the energy and mining sector, other hearings between related authorities and Commission VII have been regularly far from hostility and more amicable.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com


Nokia discontinues WiMax tablet computer

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Peter Svensson , The Associated Press , New York | Thu, 01/22/2009 8:29 AM | Sci-Tech

Nokia showing the N810 WiMax Edition. (AP/Nokia, File)

Nokia showing the N810 WiMax Edition. (AP/Nokia, File)

Just as Clearwire Corp. has fired up its long-awaited WiMax wireless data network in two cities, Nokia Corp. has stopped selling the only portable gadget that can use the network without accessories.

Nokia spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong confirmed Wednesday that the company has discontinued the N810 Internet Tablet WiMax Edition on its Web site.

Armstrong did not say why the tablet was withdrawn. But she said Nokia is still interested in WiMax, and by the time WiMax networks are more widely deployed, "refreshed products with even better performance will be required."

Nokia's portable computer, which has a 4.1-inch touch-sensitive screen and a slide-out keyboard, is still for sale for $438 in a version without a WiMax modem.

WiMax, sometimes described as a long-range version of Wi-Fi, is a competitor to traditional cellular broadband technologies. It offers relatively fast data speeds, and its proponents hope that WiMax antennas will be built into a variety of gadgets, from small computers to GPS devices.

Leading computer manufacturers have announced their intention to make their laptops WiMax-capable, but for now the only way to use Clearwire's "Clear" network is with plug-in modems.

"We have a robust pipeline of devices slated throughout 2009 and will be providing more details in the coming weeks," said Susan Johnston, spokeswoman for Clearwire.

The network is live in Baltimore and Portland, Ore.

Clearwire was formed last year by the union of a smaller company of the same name with Sprint Nextel Corp.'s WiMax division.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com


Indonesia Seeks Larger Japan Currency Swap, New Pacts

By Arijit Ghosh and Patricia Lui

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia’s central bank is seeking to expand its currency swap agreement with Japan from $6 billion and is seeking new pacts to bolster the rupiah, which slumped the most in eight years in 2008.

Indonesia, which has similar agreements with China and South Korea for $3 billion each, may also initiate talks with a fourth nation, central bank Governor Boediono said, without identifying the country. The rupiah, which fell 16 percent last year, closed at 11,673 per dollar yesterday in Jakarta.

“We think the critical period is six months in which the main problem is tight liquidity and investors pulling out money to return home,” Boediono said at a dinner with local newspapers late yesterday. “In the U.S. itself there’s dollar scarcity, which is ironic.”

Bank Indonesia is boosting supply of foreign exchange as a deepening global recession pummels exports and prompts overseas investors to sell emerging-market assets. The nation’s currency reserves slid to $50.9 billion at the end of January, from $60.6 billion in July, as the central bank intervened to slow the rupiah’s decline.

“The more resources and ammunition that they have in terms of foreign exchange, the more ability the central bank would have in terms of stabilizing the currency,” said Sailesh Jha, a senior regional economist at Barclays Capital Plc in Singapore. “It would be fair to say that one possibility is to look towards the U.S.”

Kazakhstan Devalues

Kazakhstan’s central bank yesterday devalued the tenge by 18 percent, joining Russia, Ukraine and Belarus in abandoning attempts to prop up exchange rates as currency reserves dwindle. Finance ministers from Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian nations plan an unscheduled meeting this month to forge a deal to pool $120 billion of foreign-exchange reserves to help defend their currencies.

A $5.5 billion so-called standby loan from Japan, Australia, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and $4 billion of proposed bond sales may help shore up reserves, Boediono said. The country’s foreign-exchange holdings are the 10th biggest in Asia and less than half those of Thailand.

Sales of Indonesian equities by foreign funds have exceeded purchases by $101 million this year. Exports from the $433 billion economy plunged 20 percent in December, the biggest decline since 2001.

The central bank said last week it would lend dollars to banks holding the nation’s foreign-currency denominated government debt to reduce volatility in the rupiah market.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arijit Ghosh in Jakarta at aghosh@bloomberg.net

Source : www.bloomberg.com


Tsunami Memorial and Museum in Aceh

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 02/03/2009 10:55 AM | National

Tsunami memorial: Acehnese sit down side by side inside the tsunami memorial and museum built to commemorate the 2004 Asian Tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Monday. AP/Binsar Bakkara

Acehnese sit down side by side inside the tsunami memorial and museum built to commemorate the 2004 Asian Tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Monday. AP/Binsar Bakkara


198 more Myanmar boat people found off Indonesia

By NINIEK KARMINI The Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's navy picked up 198 starving, dehydrated boat people from Myanmar who said they drifted for three weeks after authorities in Thailand forced them to sea in a boat without an engine, an official said Tuesday.

Twenty-two others died on the small wooden vessel during the crossing, the survivors told Indonesian officials.

It was the latest in a string of accusations that Thai authorities have been habitually abusing boat people fleeing the military dictatorship in Myanmar by abandoning them to die at sea. Thailand has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Indonesian fishermen discovered the 40-foot (12-meter) boat off Aceh's coast in northern Sumatra and towed it to shore Monday, navy officer Tedi Sutardi told The Associated Press. The passengers had run out of food and water.

"They were standing on the boat for 21 days because there was no space to sit," Sutardi said. "It is a miracle they survived."

At least 91 were admitted to the Idirayeuk General Hospital in weak condition due to "lack of fluid and malnutrition," hospital director Edie Gunawan said. A 13-year-old boy was among those with severe dehydration, said emergency nurse Muji, who goes by one name like many Indonesians.

The drifting boat was the second load of Rohingyas, a stateless Muslim group facing decades of persecution in Myanmar, to arrive in Indonesia in a month. Other boatloads have been found near India's Andaman Islands.

The boat people in Indonesia recounted being beaten and set adrift by Thai authorities, Sutardi said.

One survivor told investigators the group was among 1,000 Rohingyas working in Thailand as migrant laborers, Sutardi said. They spoke of being forced to leave Thailand on nine motorless boats in December after being detained as illegal workers.

Some of them were beaten and "we could see they had black and blue marks on their backs," Sutardi said.

Neither a Thai military spokesman nor Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat were aware of the latest allegations. But Tharit said Thailand has no policy of forcing illegal migrants back to sea.

The Rohingyas, an ethnic minority not recognized by Myanmar's military regime, number about 800,000 in that country. Hundreds of thousands have fled to Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Middle East.

Source : www.syracuse.com


Susilo Happy With Indonesia-Malaysia EPG

By Mohd Nasir Yusoff

JAKARTA, Feb 2 (Bernama) -- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is happy with the progress done by the Indonesia-Malaysia Eminent Persons Group (EPG) which met to find ways to resolve problems and strengthen bilateral ties.

Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said Indonesian EPG chief Jen (B) Try Sutrisno who called on Susilo today reported on the intensive meetings with the Malaysian EPG.

He said the outcome of the Indonesia-Malaysia EPG meetings would be presented to the leaders of both countries.

"We are planning a bilateral meeting between Susilo and the Malaysian Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) sometime in mid March," he was quoted as saying on the president's website.

The Indonesian EPG also presented a preliminary report on several recommendations discussed including culture, history, education and economic cooperation.

Dino said one of the proposals made was for a discussion on Indonesia-Malaysia history as young people were not aware of the long history of both countries.

Problems deriving from the Indonesian workforce would also be discussed by the two EPGs as Malaysia is the largest recipient of Indonesian labour.

"Both countries will have to implement a mechanism that will effectively address the problems brought about by the Indonesian workforce," he added.

The Indonesian EPG comprised Jen (B) Try Sutrisno, Quraish Shihab, Musni Umar and Des Alwi Abubakar.

Also present at the meeting with Susilo were Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Minister cum State Secretary Hatta Rajasa.

Source : www.bernama.com


iPhone : Gloves with fancy fingers for iPhone use

Monday, February 2, 2009

Michael Felberbaum , The Associated Press | Thu, 01/29/2009 8:18 AM | Sci-Tech

Winter tests the patience of many iPhone users.

After all, Apple Inc.'s device, like other gadgets with touch-screen technology, will work only with the touch of an uncovered finger. So if you're wearing gloves, you have a dilemma: Bare your hands to use your beloved devices, or let calls, texts and e-mails go unanswered while you're braving the elements?

A person wearing Tavo gloves holds an iPhone 3G in Montreal, Canada. (AP/Michael Felberbaum)

A person wearing Tavo gloves holds an iPhone 3G in Montreal, Canada. (AP/Michael Felberbaum)

A company called 4sight Products Inc. has a solution: $40 gloves that have electrically conductive gold-colored material on the tip of the index finger and thumb. Apple must think it's a good idea as well — it has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for gloves that would essentially do the same thing. (Apple didn't return a call seeking comment.)

The gloves, sold under the Tavo brand, aren't perfect. But they could be a welcome addition for people who need to answer a call in the cold, or can't wait to get to a warmer location before firing off a text message or e-mail.

My first encounter with using my iPhone 3G in very cold temperatures happened while I was visiting Chicago in late December. That presented challenges I usually don't encounter in my warmer home base, Virginia.

It hadn't crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to answer my phone with gloves on, but alas, as the iPhone rang, I tried sliding the button on the touch screen to answer. Unable to get a reaction from the phone, I frantically pulled off one of my gloves, just in time for the call to go to voice mail.

For the rest of the trip, taking off my gloves to use the phone became an unwelcome ritual.

So I took the Tavo gloves when I made my next trip: to the subzero temperatures of Montreal.

Walking along the snow-piled streets in my bomber hat, the last thing I wanted to do was take off my gloves. And for the most part, the gloves allowed me to use my phone with few problems. The gloves have a tactile grip, which makes it easier to hold on to the iPhone.

Handling calls worked best, since the touch-sensitive area of the iPhone screen is larger when you're making phone calls.

But typing proved to be a bigger challenge. While trying to send a text message to a friend with the gloves on, I couldn't manipulate the small on-screen keyboard buttons as quickly and as accurately as usual. That meant standing in the cold longer in order to send the message. I even decided to take the gloves off a few times when I got too frustrated.

Nevertheless, I was certainly glad to have the Tavo gloves when I needed them most. When it's minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, I'd rather not have to choose between missing a call and missing a finger.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com


Personal Technology: How to be sure an indiscreet email does not land you in jail

Jeremy Wagstaff | Mon, 01/12/2009 3:58 PM | Sci-Tech

An indiscreet email that falls into the wrong hands can land you in jail.

Take the case of David and Fiona Fulton, a British missionary couple in Gambia. According to The Times, an email critical of the country's president fell into the hands of a Gambian who promptly forwarded it to the Gambian police.

The couple, hoping for leniency, pleaded guilty to sedition. Without luck: In December, the court sentenced them to a year in jail with hard labor.

If you're working in a foreign country, how can you avoid a fate like this? Well, there are technical solutions but they aren't much use without a good dose of common sense.

The first one is to comply with a country's laws. Gambia has been ruled by one man since 1994, and, in the words of Amnesty International, is a country where "fear rules, and arbitrary arrests, detentions and human rights violations translate into a culture of silence.

"All public protests have ceased. Self-censorship of the media is the rule rather than the exception, and individuals remain silent when their human rights are violated."

In other words, not a place you should be openly questioning the sanity of the president.

This is also a story about email. Email is an illusion. It feels private, but it's not. It feels like a letter - one to one - but it's not. It feels secure, but it's not.

Emails can be copied to other people easily by the sender.

Emails can be forwarded. To anyone. Without the sender's permission or knowledge.

Emails can be intercepted by more or less anyone.

Let's take these issues one by one. Although emails feel like letters of old, they're not really. It's easy to add another email address in the To or Cc fields.

You can even create mailing lists to send the email to large numbers of people via what feels like one email address.

And once they're in the hands of a recipient, that person can do what they like with them. They can forward them to other people, post them on a website or blog, or copy and paste the contents into a document. Your words are very much no longer your own.

In fact, you have no control over your email even before it has reached its intended recipient. Most emails are sent in what is called plain text, meaning that it*s not encrypted. Think postcard rather than sealed envelope.

This means that anyone who wants to - and with a modicum of knowledge - can grab your email between your computer and the computer of your correspondent.

That could be at any point on the Internet: It could be over the wireless connection in a cafe you're using to access the Internet. It could be at the Internet company providing that connection. Or it could be at any of the computers the email passes through on the way to your correspondent.

Now there's not much you can do once your email has reached its recipient. They can do with it what they will, and you'll be none the wiser.

(And this need not necessarily be about politics. If you're dissing your boss on company email, or being rude about the head of the village fete committee in an email to other committee members, be ready for that email to find its way into the wrong hands.)

So it pays to select your recipients as carefully as you select your words. Don't write something sensitive and then send it to people who might not be aware of its sensitivity.

If you live in a country where you think the president really is mad, and dangerous, then maybe think twice before you commit those thoughts to an email.

If you still feel the urge to write those words, or if your profession requires your writing sensitive emails, there are tools to help.

First off, if you want to be sure that the person you're sending the email to is following your request not to distribute the email more broadly, there are services such as ReadNotify.com.

Among other things, ReadNotify.com will tell you when and whether an email you sent someone has been forwarded to someone else. The service also boasts a feature that will force the email to self-destruct within a certain period, or when the recipient tries to copy, print or forward it.

A service like this is for the paranoid, but in the case of the Fultons, it might have saved them.

Still, I don't use this service and I think it's a little over the top. A better solution is the commonsense one: Don't send sensitive stuff to people you don't trust to be discreet about it.

So to the last bit. How do you ensure that snooping eyes don't read your emails before they reach their intended recipient?

Not enough people do this, and more should. This bit is not quite as easy as it should be, but the good news is that it's a lot easier than it could be. Basically, you need to encrypt your email - convert it from a postcard to a sealed envelope with a big lock on it that only the recipient can open.

Next column I'll explain how to do that. In the meantime, if you're in a country - or a company * where these things matter, think twice before you hit send.

@ Copyright

Jeremy Wagstaff is a commentator on technology and appears regularly on the BBC World Service. He can be found online at jeremywagstaff.com or via email at jeremy@loose-wire.com.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com


Multicultural education in Indonesia: Opportunities and challenges

Setiono Sugiharto , Contributor , Jakarta | Thu, 01/22/2009 4:35 PM | Supplement

As a nation-state with a pluralistic society, Indonesia is prone to social unrest and intra-group tension in terms of race, ethnicity and religion. Recent media headlines reported that discrimination and intolerance toward other religions were on the rise, the latest case being the closure of a Jewish synagogue in Surabaya, East Java. This was done in a show of solidarity with Palestinians being attacked in the Gaza Strip.

This, however, is just one indication of the fragility of our democracy, which upholds freedom of choosing different faiths. Another case of religious intolerance was the barring of Ahmadiyah followers from disseminating their religious dogma, which is considered heretical and blasphemous by hard-line Muslims.

Still another case was the Islamic Defenders Front's (FPI) ambush of a peaceful rally for religious tolerance at the National Monument, Central Jakarta.

Instances of opposition against religious pluralism prevailed long ago and are likely to continue to prevail in the future.

As part of its concerns about the real threat against pluralism, education practitioners once proposed that multicultural education be part of the school curriculum and be made a compulsory school subject.

The discourse on multicultural education was voiced in an effort to counteract growing radicalism in the country and to instill a sense of inclusiveness in the young generation.

When effectively implemented in a multiethnic society like ours, multicultural education provides the opportunity for young and adult learners to learn fundamental principles that help them critically evaluate and respond to what they see and experience as they live in a culturally heterogeneous society.

These principles include learning for the acquisition of social skills important for interacting with students from other racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups; learning to understand universal values shared by all cultural groups such as compassion, justice, equality, tolerance, peace, freedom and care; learning about possible stereotypes and other related bias that could produce deleterious effects on racial, ethnic and religious relations.

In practice, teachers can, for example, assign students with meaningful tasks such as a case study, problem-solving approach and discovery learning, which will help students demonstrate universal values shared by other religious and ethnic groups, and critically analyze, weigh and evaluate prejudices.

As schools here are now experimenting with multicultural education, it is perhaps too premature to arrive at a definitive conclusion that they are doomed to failure in implementing multicultural education.

However, the increasing rate of violence against minority religious groups and the rise of radicalism among both youth and adults is a test case that poses a challenge to schools in effectively implementing multicultural education.

What is more, regional autonomy granted by the central government has made it possible for all regions to impose local ordinances that tend to favor the dogmas of the dominant religion. This is just antithetical to multilingual education, which respects and values freedom and differences in all walks of life.

In fact, the country has been embroiled in a seemingly never-ending spat regarding the imposition of sharia bylaws, with opponents arguing that it can destroy the spirit of pluralism in the country.

Another potential challenge is that teachers might not be ready, if not unsure, how to teach multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a highly intricate and elusive concept, demanding teachers to learn about the multiple perspectives from multidisciplinary studies such as education, sociology, psychology, politics and history.

Mary Stone Hanley, a proponent of multicultural education, warns that knowledge construction drawn from this multidiscipline is imperative because before teachers can effectively teach multiculturally they must reconstruct their world views.

Diminishing cultural pride is also important for teachers to be able to teach effectively. In a primordially-rooted culture, doing so is difficult, if not impossible.

It is also important to note that as multiculturalism embraces an assimilationist ideology, it contradicts both teachers' and students' community cultures where homogeneity and commonality are highly valued, and where ethnocentricity is deeply rooted.

Not all teachers and students are willing to take the risk of losing their ethnic identity and being socially and politically alienated within their cultural community simply because they are invited to adhere to assimilationist ideology.

As a final remark, multicultural education has the potential to equip students with skills needed to interact with others from different faiths, ethnicities, races, cultures. But without a deeper and sound understanding of it, and political commitment to support its implementation, we are just trivializing its goal -- the transformation of society via education.

The writer is chief editor of the Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and teaches English composition at Atma Jaya University, Jakarta. He can be reached at setiono.sugiharto@atmajaya.ac.id.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com



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