Archive for November, 2008

I’m kidding, but . . .

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Note: Actually, I have thought to give this story a subtitle: Questions and Answers I Found That Are Too Personal.  Below, you will find that I discuss my age, nationalism, political view, my perspective on homosexuality and my Christian missionary spirit.   Feel free to stop reading this writing from this line, or any line you want…

I remember a pre-departure briefing once held for the “sandwichers” (fourteen of us entitled the scholarships) …  One of the Don’ts questions, I recall is, “Don’t ask about someone’s age!”  But just before my first 24 hours in Catania completed, the question has already posed by two Italian high-educated ladies.  Before my first week, maybe six more people asked the same question…

The more ridiculous of the question is when I answered it with my really age number.  None of them believe.  I once answered this disbelief with question:  “Do I look too old for my age?”

 “No… you look like my age!” (An almost-10 year younger post-doc scholar spontaneously answered)

My contentment didn’t stay forever since the same question answered like this

 ”But, you have not got your doctoral degree yet?” A fifteen-year younger doctoral student felt sorry

 OK! I’m a Dinosaur in this case.

 So, maybe it will easier to answer the disbelief with question like this:

“OK, what age I am supposed to be? I’ll go with your choice.”

For most personal things, you really don’t want to share, I learned this answer, “I never answer that question!”

“Actually, by not answering the question, you obviously answer it.”  But then, a conclusion comes… Hmmm

Another serious matter to be talked about is politics.   “ Are you destra (right) or sinistra (left)?”  This question came in the middle of the coffee-break in the school. 

“Oh, I don’t think the Indonesian political system has that two partisans?  Moreover, we don’t share our political choices openly!”

“OK,  how do you consider your government ?”


 The interviewer  seemed a little bit disappointed.

In some occasions, when I asked the same question to the several foreign people, all of them expressed dissatisfaction towards their governments.  None agreed! Strange!

“How about your president?”  The young foreigner asked

“He is a good looking gentleman.”  I considered myself witty coming with this answer.

  “How about your country? Is it good? Do you love your country?”  Unexpectedly the discussion turned to nationalism…   Absolutely!  I then gave lecture on the national five principles.  I told briefly how the founding fathers seized the moment to proclaim our national independence… I’m good at history…. I have almost sung the National Anthem. No, I’m exaggerating!

 “So, all the Indonesian should have religion?”  One question emerged elated to the first principle.

“We believe in God…”

“Do you believe in God?”  The coffee-break discussion was approaching  the top-ranked-very-personal question.  See, the foreigner keep asking forbidden questions. 

“Yes!”  I answered

“What is your God?, Who is your God?”

I took a deep breath and recited the Apostles Decree by heart then answered.  “I believe in One God, in God Father Almighty, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit”

 The young face almost smile… “Ah, you are Christian!”

“Aren’t you too? Do you believe in God?” I asked

“I don’t know?” comes the reply

Curiosity kills the cat!  Does every European born Christian? At last some  even most of them named after the Saints? Forgive my narrow-perspective!

The young head shaken… “Maybe I was baptized when I was an infant.    But, I don’t know if I believe in Christian God.  Basically, I never go to the church!”

Suddenly, I felt sorry…. In the city practically with churches in every inches of it, this young soul cannot find a single temple.    

I’m a protestant and not having found the protestant church in the city does not make me stop to pray.  I do enjoy the catholic churches.  I pray there.  It’s delightful to find the God’s dwellings open every day.  Recurrently in the evening on my way home, I go into the church. Finding warmness both physically (because it is warmer inside the church than outside) and spiritually. 

I have my prayer frequently accompanied  by Italian prayers.  My Indonesian Lord’s Pray intertwine with “Padre nostro, che sei nei cieli…” I recite my faith in Indonesian side by side with the Credo enchanted marvelously… “Credo in un solo Dio, Padre onnipotente . . . Credo in un solo Signore, Gesu Cristo, … Credo nello Spirito Santo!” 

I enjoy the Holy Scripture read in Italian.  I can look it up in my e-Bible to find out which part being read… Sometimes even grasp the theme of the priest’s sermon (especially when he explore the Bible part I am familiar with).   I still have my God speaks with me, listens to me… I mean, we can always figure out way to be near our God – regardless the religion or Supreme Sovereignty we believe in. 

 “I will go to hell!”  The young soul exclaimed cynically.

(If there is no heaven nor hell, do  we still believe in God? Sounds like a song of Ahmad Dani)

 “Take my God as your God….!” I said lightly.   I’m a missionary! Alleluia! Praise the Lord!    Later, I remember, Ruth the foreigner daughter-in-law of Naomi, said this similar phrase but from other side, “Your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16).

The young face grinned.  Oh, oh, oh!!! Yes, belief is truly a very personal thing. Yet, I was not the one who ignited the matter.

”I’m kidding. . . !” I said, The young face sighed.  “I’m kidding, but take it seriously!”  I completed my sentence.  The young face smiled. 

We emptied our coffee glass, ended the discussion, promised to see each other soon.  I left the caffeterria with my wandering mind .  

Couple of days before, in a discussion abruptly I was asked to give opinion on homosexuality.  “You are Christian… so are you homophobia?” Sounds like  a  theme of the American TV-series..   I concluded and said “A homosexual friend does not make me better than her/him. I love and respect my friends.”   

Bizarre, my mind was still drifting.  Positively, wherever those questions will be asked, my answers will remain the same.  OK, being religious will not make me judgmental as well.  I pray!  


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sharing my pictures

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Dear friends!

I have just posted a couple albums on…

As usually… AWKSOME (awkward but very awesome) …



I am Tireet…!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Although I considered myself as a very active-talkative person, honestly I don’t speak English well.  Maybe, I write English better than I speak the language.  In writing, correction can be done… In speaking, fault remains forever, for eternity!!!

In speaking, how could we get time to check tenses and agreements? pronunciations and vocabularies?  There will be no thesaurus providing word choices.  There will definitely no red under-line to mark mistakes in forming the words.

Relate this to the fact that: my first living abroad is not in an English-speaking country.  In Catania, communicating is regarded more important than perfect diction.  The result: Yes!  You are right!  My English speaking ability does not improve…

Hmmm…  But I think somehow my ESA  ( that is my English Speaking Ability) develops to – though not absolutely  right point –  hilarious surface.  Sometimes, I even come across new funny but factual and even philosophical truth. Oooh Oooh Oooh???

Background to this story, of course still my staying in Catania. This time, my story  is part of my lives with my room-mates and my landlady… I now  live with three most beautiful angels God ever sent to the earth… My gorgeous goddess-featured young sister Vera  comes from Germany.  My full-of-surprises and striking baby brother Antoine who is French.  My warm-hearted loving Ilde, a truly signora as my landlady… (Meanwhile, Daniele my very intellect-informative landlord an Italian gentleman left home to work abroad). 

The three (or four of course with Daniele) of them speak Italian very well and to venerate my incapability to verbalize the beautiful language, they speak English…  So, I experience listening English spoken in German, French and Italian accents.  I praise Almighty God for this diversity!  I absolutely love them… 

In incorrectness, I learn that speaking is not only about good choices of words, excellent pronunciations and right stresses, it goes beyond all of those, it is also about heart, mind, gesture, understanding, philosophical truth (here I go again… Ooh Ooh Ooh, I just pick the word to because its sounds so smart) and sense of humors.            

So the Capita-Selecta starts . . .

One day, I decided to skip school.  Vera paid a visit to my room, “Hi… what happens to you? Are you alright?” She asked attentively.  From my warm bed, I answered her lazily… “Hi… I got my moon!”  And Vera as one of the smart people in the world got my message.  Getting one’s moon!  Literately translation of Indonesian word for have a (menstruation) period.  I explained the meaning.

The discussion did not stop.  Vera nodded and said, “Hmmm, it’s a beautiful phrase!”  She continued, “In ancient time, would a female who is having her period  estrange herself from the community?”  I agreed.  “It was good, it gave a woman time to contemplate letting some part of her body out…!”  Philosophical truth…!

            Another . . .

Some other day, Ilde greeted me at the door.  After mounting six stories to be at home, I ran out breath and were sweating.  Ilde asked how I was.  I said, “Oh. I’m sweating…!”  She didn’t get my point.  So, I paraphrased, “I’m wet!”  Ah Ha!

Countless occurrences

I frequently mistakenly use the pronouns.  While telling about a woman, I referred her as he or him…  More frequently I erroneously employ the tenses. “I go to school at 9.00 yesterday!” 

This happens too

Bloopers also colored by unique of pronunciation of soft even unsounded of  “H” from Ilde and Antoine… So, instead  of  “horrible’, I heard, “’Orrible”

And of course, this

Many times, in our conversations at home…  I raise my hand and say, “I don’t get it…!”  Then the speaker(s) repeat her/his story more clearly in a more simple words, using gestures or even bringing the dictionary to the table.   If the speaker(s) is so intense in exposing her/his story… I don’t even have heart to do and say that.  I look at Vera.  She seems understand.  Smart girl… So, later I ask her about the story… And you know…  Many time, she just smiles naughtily and says, “I don’t get it either!”  Mamma Mia!  O Boy!           

The funny inventions continue. . .

We invent some phrases which may be only meaningful to us.  As… (give credit to Antoine for these…), “Do you need your laptop?” (The story was so personal, I will not write it publicly).  And also  “Getting serious with the professor” in term of my “student” position in school and how my professor treats me as I’m his real PhD student.  I expected more fun than reading papers and writing reviews… But at the end,  I must admit, it is good… I’m getting serious with the school life, the professor… (and the thesis).  Nothing to complain. Nothing to worry.  Wish me luck, I‘m getting closer to write my thesis. 


Many more, I believe will be on the line… I am looking forward to having those… But meanwhile.. “I’m tireet!”


We have just finished our pasta.  Antoine suddenly growled and exclaimed, “I am tireet!”  We looked at him confusedly.  He grunted still, “Tireet… Tired in my French accent!”  “Je suis fatigué!”  We laughed. We hugged! We kissed! 

How I love these lovely friends of mine!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Check the pictures…

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

 Dear All,

Syakur writes a comments and wants to see old buildings of Catania…

Please check the pictures on my multiply

I don’t have any picture of me, since my friend (room mate) considered the buildings are more important than me…

She cut my head and got the whole picture…

Like always, I just capture every thing  I found special and every thing turns to be spectacular…

My landlady said, I had the Japanese tourist’s spirit…

Please enjoy the pictures…



Vado a Scuola, Vado a Casa

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

My room in Catania is in a  well-preserved ancient apartment on the sixth-floor of also an old building (of course with no lift) in the center of old town.  When I open my windows, I am able to see  my neighbors’ windows and walls.  The walls with holes and some bended short poles.  I think the holes are for the pigeons to nest and the poles are for the birds to sit.


Also seen from my room windows is open-terrace of a neighbor.  I asked my landlady about the neighbors, where exactly my neighbors are.  It seems that we are not in the same street… Yes, the answer come, they are in the opposite street.  I sometimes wave to the man at the windows across mine. I don’t know him and don’t know where he is.  Looking through the windows is like looking at a maze and feel like living in a maze.


The old part of the town and the new one can be easily distinguished by their streets.  While the much modern part of the city has the asphalted streets, the ancient has streets paved  with stones came from Mount Etna.  The first time I saw the stone-paved street in Via Etnea, honestly I barely hold myself to kiss the street.


The Department of Business Economics ad Management – University of Catania  to where every day I go is on Corso Italia.  It is in the new part of the town. Several routes can be taken from home to school.  The first I know is the one through Via Etnea turn left  to Viale XX settembre and walk straight up to Corso Italia.  If walked indifferently, it will take 20 minutes to the campus.  That’s not frequently happened since I do enjoy the display windows of all the stores along the way.  Not to mention the Piazzas, O bless Italia for all their squares.  Added to the delights are beautiful buildings, churches with their bells ringing (O Lord Jesus, forever I praise you!), beautiful people, tender weather and bright sunshine…   On one the piazza on Via Etnea, I usually call my mom by public phone.   So with this pace, I usually arrive in school in about 40 to 45 minutes.

The way to home from campus will much-much time consumed since repeatedly interfered with coned-gelato or pizzette.  In an evening on my way back home, at the piazza an old gentleman even told the story about Santa Agata, the patrole saint of Catania, in Italian. How she stood up firmly for her faith in Christ.   I catched some phrases I thought meant: “you must go to the Cathedral… Il Duomo…”  Yes, I went to adore the Cathedral then… In another evening, another old gentleman greeted me and pointed at the fenced ruins across a square… “Americano?”  I shook my head…”Amigo?” No, I was alone… He told that the site fenced was used to be a Teatro Romano, used for the gladiator show. As almost the entire town, it buried by the debris of Mt. Etna’s eruption in 1693.  “And you know?” The kind man pointed to the statue in the middle of the square… “That’s Bellini, Vincenzo Bellini… The Composer, The Maestro!”  “You should go the the Casa Bellini…!” I kept the suggestion by heart


Later, I discovered several shorter routes, all leave out Via Etnea and always go to Corso Sicilia and Via Giodarno Bruno then turn left to Via Monsignor Ventimiglia and go straight up to Corso Italia.  Via Giodarno Bruno is what you can called a china town.  But only Chinese letters written on some parts of the stores and red lampions scattered justified this fact.  The ambience  blends with the whole town.  The town is thematic (whatever it means then) with its yellowish and grey colors.

The very helpful aid to the discoveries come from the map of Catania that I bought at my very first day in town.  It well drawn, so I always feel safe to be lost.  The streets are also easy to be familiar with, just keep walking to the direction you want to go, if you turn, may get in to several different streets, but you finally come to the destination.  That’s how I let myself lost in the town. 


Sometimes a thoughtful person helps directing the way, pointing the place at the map then at the streets. I love when Italian speaks, s/he speaks with loud and clear voice, full vocal, nice stress, expressive gesture,  full eye contact and melodious rhythm as beautiful as a Batak speaks the dialect (see the point of this sentence?).  Oh, it’s a shame I don’t speak the lovely language. Non parlo Italiano!  An English-Italian dictionary lent to me by my loving-and-caring landlady is also a resourceful help. 


Another simple things that really matter found on the way to school is how most of the street names especially those named after famous persons bear informative inscription .  For example:  Giodarno Bruno, Filosofo (Philosopher) 1548 – 1600, Monsignor Ventimiglia, Vescovo (Bishop), 1721 – 1797, Giacomo Pucini, Musicista (Musician) 1858 – 1924, Paolo Bentivoglio, Educatore (Educator) 1894 – 1965.   In front a building used to be the dwelling of someone famous  a inscription hang.  Take these  as examples: “Casa di G. Verga, 1840 – 1922”  Now it’s a museum of Verga the Sicilian famous writer.  “Michele Rapisardi/Il pittore correto ed elegante/Nasceva in questa casa/Addi XXVII dicembre MDCCCXXII” (Michele Rapisardi, the painter born in this house).  Now the house functions as a store.    I think it’s kind of preserving the historic site and still utilize it  economically…. Once I have confessed, I love inscriptions, this why I spend some time reading the inscriptions in town.  It will be good if Giacarta has the same things,  Raden Saleh, painter 1811 –  1880, Cut Mutiah, warrior princess, 1870 – 1910,  Ismail Marzuki, composer 1914 – 1958, .  Ki Hajar Dewantoro, Educator 1889 – 1959.  Ahhh, Giacarta we have lots of  too…!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Embeddedness Perspectives of Coopetition

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008





Academy of Management Review 2001, Vol. 26, No. 3, 431-445.


A Review in Searching of  the Theoretical Perspectives


The research question “How does the network of cooperative linkages among competitors influence their competitive behavior toward each other?”  is explained under the embeddedness perspective of competitors. By this term, a competitor perceived as a part of (a) network(s) and the network in which the competitor embedded influences its competitive action.

 Graphically, the nodes in the network represent competing firms and the lines between nodes signify cooperative relationship. That is how the network got its name, the cooperative network.  The cooperation and the competition in the study comprise those that take place across different contexts.  Contexts referred to domains or maybe activities as Bengtsson and Kock (2000) mentioned.  The relationship line in the model should accommodate  the  flow of assets, information and status between nodes.

 The multilevel model of the structural embeddedness of coopetitive dynamics  (Figure 1) becomes the pinpoint of the study.  Multilevel model captures the relationships in the level of firms, between pair of firms and in the industry.  Action likelihood (AL) or the probability of a firm to initial taking competitive action and Response likelihood (RL) or the possibility of a firm to take the first move to response to the competitive action of a competitor are put jointly in one entity.  Figure 1 also shows how ND serves as moderating variables, So to simplify, we may have two correlation measures g and h denote consecutively AL and RL. The value of the measures are between +1 and -1.  Over all there will be seven pairs of correlation to be analyzed.

 Briefly, centrality explicates the superiority of firm in possessing assets, information and status.  Structural autonomy referred to the focal firm’s resource of structural holes.  The more structural holes a firm has, the more structural autonomy it will be.   A structural hole exist, if for example, A has ties to both B and C – but B and C are not tied, they only can connect through A (Figure 2).  Tied means having cooperative relation.   Structural Equivalence means similarity in assets, information and status.  Network Density expresses the interconnectedness of the network, or if relate it simply to the number of structural holes, the greater number of structural holes the higher the density.





C =  centrality                        SA = structural autonomy                

SE = structural equivalence             ND = network density

AL = action likelihood                       RL = response likelihood

 Figure 1          The Multilevel Model




Figure 2         Structural Hole

Under the proposition that network density diminishes structural autonomy effects (to action and response likelihood), the dynamics of competition are captured.  As an example, if the density of network increase, then we will find condition in Figure 2 turn to be as in Figure 3a (with D as a loose node) then Figure 3b.  Increasing network density makes B and C cooperate.  Due to relation efficiency and effectiveness, A may retain its connection with B but terminate the connection with C, since A can also know everything about C through B. Then allocate the resource to build cooperation with D.




(a)                                                                           (b)


 Figure 3          Network Density and Structural Autonomy


Although not exclusively define the coopetition, this paper proposes a radiant view to study the coopetition in the network, interconnectivity and dynamics. Dynamics give space for a relationship to change over a time span.  Cooperation with direct competitor should be build on the basis of differential flows of assets, information and status.

Wide Perspective of Coopetitors

Monday, November 3rd, 2008




Allan Afuah


Strategic Management Journal

Strat. Mgmt. J., 21: 387–404 (2000)


  A Review in Searching of  the Theoretical Perspectives


            The focus of this study are the coopetitors[1] which include: the suppliers, customers and the complementors.  Direct competitors together with coopetitors might be categorized as alliance partners – the parties with whom a firm has collaboration.  Alienation of the direct competitors is possibly  done on the reason that previous studies have already taken the subject in account (?) and given less attention to coopetition.

            The newness of the study is the explanation of impact of technical change which a firm decided to exploit on the cooperators’ capabilities which at the end these change of capabilities also have impact on the performance of the firm.  It seems that the research is  examining the indirect impact of technical change on firm’s performance(?).    

            The expositions on critical role of coopetitors, impact of innovation on the capabilities of a firm, impact of technological change on coopetititors and network xternalities and coopetitors are verified by resourceful literatures and examples.  The QWERTY and the Drovak keyboard case becomes an remarkable example to emphasize that it will be very difficult to apply innovation or technological change over the technology with very high level of establishment. In this example, innovation regarded as eradicating the customers’ capabilities and that is why up to this day the QWERTY systems continues to exist without any significant opponent.  Even though the newer technology claimed to be increasing the typing speed up 20 to 40%, the customers showed high reluctance  to learn the system and left behind the QWERTY.   So, if technology will be an issue in the coopetition research, level of establishment should be under consideration.

            The examples and the literature reviews then lead to three research hypothesis.  Hypothesis 1 has two parts, and the first two of the hypothesis deal with supplier, the other with customers.


Ø      Hypothesis 1 a:  The more a firm’s suppliers’ capabilities are rendered obsolete by a technological change, the poorer the firm will performance.

Ø      Hypothesis 1 b:  In the face of  a technological change that is capabilities obsoleting to suppliers, firms that switch to new suppliers perform better than those that stay with old suppliers.

Ø      Hypothesis 2: Incumbents who are vertically integrated backwards will perform worse than those who are not in the face of a technological chat that renders the capabilities of the suppliers obsolete.


A firm that are vertically integrated with its suppliers means that the firm still keep the relationship with the former suppliers and has them fulfill the requirement of the new technology based on the earlier one.


Ø      Hypothesis 3: the more a firm’s customers’ capabilities are rendered obsolete by a technological change, the poorer the firm will perform.


            All the hypothesis reflected that the cooperation side of coopetition has been chosen as the central theme of the research.  All the hypothesis are constructed under the argument of coopetitors’ critical role during innovation.  The competition side left unobserved.  Even competition as control variable is referred to competition that occurs between direct competitors not between coopetitors. 

            The hypothesis empirically tested  by the change from Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) to Reduced Instruction Set  Computer (RISC) technology happened in the computer workstation makers.  Hypothesis testings conducted on the base of semi-log functional forms indicate that  all hypothesis are accepted.

            An addendum on network externalities appended to the hypothesis to support case study on complementary.   Later the behavior of  Sun and DEC in applying the technical change – the first radically focus on the new technology and the other while trying to maintain both technologies lessened its performance –  is put as the story of the availability of complementary product and the size of network externalities.

            The uncertainty of whether the poorer performance is due to complementor capabilities obsolesce or to network  externalities is one of the unfolding continuity of the research.  Exploration on impact of a technical change on the alliance partners’ capabilities and then to the firm’s performance is suggested to be done.  The last question left as the next research question is why some firms were able to switch while other not.

            This paper surely is an excellent example how an empirical study on coopetition should be performed.  It covered ingenious literatures and examples and took the wide definition of coopetitors yet missed the direct competitor and the competition the two aspect that should be bring the competitive side of coopetition.  In my opinion, the narrow or restricted definition of coopetition that is simultaneously cooperate and compete with direct competitors will  coopetition more straightforwardly.  A lot of readings to go…

[1] I have followed some researchers to write coopetition, coopetitors and coopete without using hyphen  between the oo difthong, while others and Aftuah use it.


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