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Bincang Merdeka: How Indonesian youths in Australia should prepare for life after graduation

Allan Tanoemarga

Tue Aug 25 2015

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MORE than 400 young Indonesians in Melbourne flocked to Bincang Merdeka, a discussion forum held at Melbourne Recital Centre, to learn more about work opportunities in Indonesia and how they can contribute back to the maritime country. Allan Tanoemarga went down to cover the event.

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The four speakers and host conversing about future opportunities for students in Indonesia. Image supplied.

For many Indonesians, the thought of going back to their home country after their study abroad often involves a great deal of anxiety: How would I be able to get a good job in Indonesia? What are the opportunities available? How should I best prepare myself to secure a good employment?

The recent Bincang Merdeka offered answers to these questions by inviting four influential Indonesian public figures from diverse backgrounds to share stories of their personal success and give insights on what students can do to achieve the desired result in the future.

The event started sharp at 6.15pm with representatives from PPIA Victoria holding the opening address. Yoseph Christian, the co-project manager of the event, particularly remarked that the audience – the new generation of Indonesian youths – have an important role in applying all they learn from studying in Australia to promote the next stage of positive change and development in Indonesia.

Host Marissa Anita, anchor of Net TV, took the stage afterwards and first invited Rosianna Silalahi, acclaimed journalist and current news director of Kompas TV, to talk more about the opportunities and challenges in the growing media industry of Indonesia.

According to Silalahi, there is still a great demand for skilled media practitioners in Indonesia, especially within the television industry, but remarked that supply was limited. However, one concern that aspiring students needed to keep in mind was that in any kind of media environment, the pressure at work is usually quite high; employees need to be truly committed to their role and willing to work more hours in comparison to any other jobs.

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The four speakers and host receiving certificate of recognition for their contributions. Image supplied.

The second speaker was Ken Dean Lawadinata, chairman of the biggest trading forum in Indonesia, Kaskus. He shared some of his perspectives on becoming an online entrepreneur, with a keynote that nowadays, business is moving towards a very niche market. For budding entrepreneurs, this meant it would become increasingly important for them to first identify a specific problem that a market has and then to be able to provide a specific solution for it.

Bagus Nugroho then became the man under the spotlight and talked about how his passion for science eventually led him to a million dollar-research project funded by governments around the world. In inspiring the audience, the Indonesian scientist believed that students did not necessarily have to conform and that just like him, they could create their own path in achieving their lifelong dreams.

Finally, Willix Halim came in spreading his energy across the room with a talk about his successful start-up, Freelancer. He noted that Indonesia – with a population of more than 250 million people – is truly a lucrative market for hopeful entrepreneurs seeking to establish their first business. Keeping this in mind, he motivated students to achieve success in their homeland by working hard and most importantly, never giving up on chasing their passion.

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Bincang Merdeka’s committee members and guests posing for photograph after the event. Image supplied.

The diverse panel later engaged in a lively conversation, as host Marissa Anita asked them to provide practical advice for the attending international students.

The four speakers echoed each other and agreed that students needed to follow their passion instead of the money.

“The money will follow you instead, when you’ve followed your passion,” as put nicely by Nugroho.

Additionally, Silalahi also asserted that students learn and try out as many things as they can when they are in their 20s.

“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes; don’t be afraid of getting laughed at. When people try to bring you down with their negative criticisms, prove them wrong. Prove them that you can do it,” she said.