Henson & His Works

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Learning from Prophet Muhammad

There are a great number of good, interesting, and educative stories from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He is really a good example for all people. His behavior, his character, and his leadership make us admire him. There is a part of an interesting story about Prophet Muhammad that I quote from Yusuf Islam's book The Life of the Last Prophet.
When sacred Ka'bah was being rebuilt after a serious flood had damaged its walls, a disagreement arose amongst the four main tribes of the Quraysh as to which tribe should have the honour of replacing the sacred Black Stone. A skirmish was about to begin, when one of the elders suggested a solution:"Make the first to enter the gate your judge," he said. They all looked, and to their great joy, Muhammad entered. "It is al-Amin, the Trustworthy," they cried. Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, saw what was happening and he asked for a piece of cloth to be brought. He laid the Black Stone upon the cloth and told the members of each of the four tribes to hold the corners of the cloth and raise the Stone as he, himself, eased it into its position. So, he ended the quarrel and with it the threat of war.

What a brilliant and wise decision he made!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

An Optimist vs A Pessimist

Do you know the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? Winston Churchill once said,"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

A great number of people like to complain when they are facing a problem. The problem seems to have closed all the doors in front of them. As a result, they think that they can do nothing in such circumstances.

Meanwhile, some other people are tough. They do not want to give up so easily when they are facing obstacles. They know exactly that they have a problem, but they also know for sure that they will get the solution for their problem. Even they can create an opportunity in every difficulty they come across.

So, what sort of person are you? An optimist or a pessimist? Only you can answer this question!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poem: A Dim World

A Dim World
By Hendro Darsono
in this transitory world
I'm standing on one point
gazing at the spectrum of life
famine, misery, ignorance, and
all kinds of suffering beset
and color the life
war, violence, chaos, and rapes
break out here and there
it seems that
there's no room for peace
Everybody look!
can't you see what such deeds cause?
only the ruins of destruction
only the cry of fellow human kinds
who become victims and losers
only the cry of children looking for
mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, ...
and only teardrops trickling down
slowly but surely
from all corners of the world
(This poem was published in Dialogue English Magazine No. 7/XXII/1998)

Computer Virus

Computer technology has developed rapidly. New hardware and software have competed with one another. The vendors try hard to please the users and to fulfill their needs. Meanwhile, new viruses also emerge. They are ready to attack computers.

What are viruses? According to Microsoft (www.microsoft.com), computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation. A virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your e-mail program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard disk. Viruses are most easily spread by attachments in e-mail messages or instant messaging messages. That is why it is essential that you never open e-mail attachments unless you know who it's from and you are expecting it. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files. Viruses also spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in illicit software or other files or programs you might download.

Considering the bad effects caused by a virus, we must always be careful and always take a preventive action. Install an antivirus program in your computer and update it regularly.
But you must also keep in your mind that installing an antivirus program does not guarantee 100% that your computer is free from viruses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fix Your Computer Problems by Yourself!

We are now living in a modern and sophisticated world. In this kind of the world, information technology is absolutely indispensable. Our world has gone through a rapid development in information technology. Several years ago only a few people have computers at home, but now… a computer is not regarded as a luxurious thing any longer. Computers are owned not only by companies, universities, and schools but also by individual households.

A computer can help us in doing our work, such as to type documents, to make databases, to design cards, to edit images and videos, to play games, to listen to the music, or to watch movies.
Working with a computer is really enjoyable. But, sometimes users feel so annoyed when they face a problem with their computer, for example, the programs do not run well, the computer does not want to boot, or even, the computer does not start at all when the power button is pressed. As a matter of fact, not all computer problems are hard problems. In many cases, users undergo small problems only. But, because they do not know what to do, they think that the problems are so hard.

In this article I would like to give you some tips on how to overcome several computer problems which a great number of users frequently come across.

1. When the game you play does not run smoothly
This problem usually happens when the hardware in your computer does not support. For example, you are going to play a 3-D game and you come across this kind of problem. The problem can be caused by several factors: first, the processor in your computer is not fast enough. This problem can be solved by upgrading your processor with the new one having faster and better performance. Second, the memory, or usually called RAM (Random Access Memory), of your computer is not adequate. Try to increase the capacity of your RAM. If your computer currently uses 256 Mega Bytes or 512 Mega Bytes of RAM, try to upgrade it with 1024 MB of RAM. Third, the VGA card can also become the cause of the problem. VGA card functions to display output on the screen of the monitor. The 3-D games usually require a good and fast VGA card. So, you can upgrade your VGA card to get a better performance.

2. When the time in your computer system rolls back to the past
Budi is very annoyed because every time he turns on his computer, the date, month, year, and time of his computer system are incorrect. He has tried to adjust them correctly, but then they rolled back to the past again and again.

This problem is usually caused by CMOS battery in the motherboard of your computer. (To know the exact position of the CMOS battery, you can check it in your motherboard’s manual book or CD) If you have used the computer for several years, the battery will be low. To fix this problem, try to replace the battery. This battery is cheap and can be bought in computer stores. The way to replace the CMOS battery is easy. It is almost the same as replacing batteries of your calculator. After you replace the battery, adjust the time, date, month and year again.

3. The computer is unstable
Sometimes the computer that we use restarts or turns off by itself. If this problem happens to your computer, there are some possibilities: first, your computer is too hot. To overcome this problem, install an additional fan inside the case of the CPU. This fan can function to make the CPU cooler. Second, the quality of the power supply in your computer is not good. Try to use a power supply with the output power of at least 350 Watts. The higher the power is, the better it will be. Third, the problem can also be caused by a virus. Try to update your antivirus and scan your computer regularly. But remember! Installing an antivirus program does not always guarantee that your computer is free from viruses. Some viruses cannot be detected.

4. When you turn on your computer, the monitor does not display anything and there is a long repeated beep sound from the CPU
If you come across this kind of problem, try to open the case of your CPU. Take a look at the memory module (RAM) installed on the slot of memory, which is usually called DIMM slot (To know the exact position of the DIMM slot, you can check it in your motherboard’s manual book or CD). This kind of problem usually happens when the memory module is loose. Pull it out and install again correctly and tightly. Close the case of your CPU and turn on your computer. The problem can be solved easily, can’t it? But, if what you have done above does not bear fruit, perhaps there is a problem in your memory module and you must replace it with the new one. The price of RAM is usually expensive, depending on the type and the capacity of the RAM.

5. When your CD/DVD gets trapped in the CD/DVD drive
CDs and DVDs are media that many people use nowadays. By using CDs or DVDs we can listen to the music, watch movies, or learn something. CDs and DVDs have also become an alternative to save data because the capacity is big.

One of problems that some computer users come across is that the CD or DVD gets trapped in the CD/DVD drive when the supply of power to the computer is cut due to electrical power outage or when the drive malfunctions. If you face this problem and you really need the CD/DVD trapped in the drive, don’t panic! You can manually eject the drive tray and remove the CD/DVD from the drive. Just take a paperclip. Make it straight and insert it into the emergency pinhole on the drive. Every drive must have this hole. Then pull out the tray carefully and remove the CD/DVD.

Hopefully, the tips above will be useful for you, especially those who often work with a computer. If you want to know more about how to overcome computer problems, you can read the book entitled "Troubleshooting Komputer" by Hendro Darsono, published by Puspa Swara Jakarta.

Using a computer to help you do many kinds of job is good, but it will be better if you also have knowledge on how to troubleshoot your computer problems. So, when some day you come across a problem, you won’t be nervous because you know what to do!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Story: The Girl I Met on the Trip

By Hendro Darsono

It was 10.00 a.m. The driver started to drive the big bus which was going to take me and other passengers to our destination, Yogyakarta. It was the third time for me to go to that ‘Student City’. And I always used the service of this public transportation company because the bus was comfortable and had some facilities, such as air conditioner, toilet, DVD player, blanket, and reclining seat. Due to this comfort, the long distance between Palembang and Yogyakarta didn`t appear to be a big problem.
As always, I sat in the front row, on the left. I like taking the seat number one since I could enjoy the scenery more freely. Besides, by sitting in the front row I could see the horizon. (According to medical experts, looking at the horizon can prevent us from the so-called ‘motion sickness’.)
The bus crept on the busy street of Palembang City. Then it climbed on the Ampera Bridge, the big and tall bridge which becomes the landmark of this ‘Empek-empek City’. After the bus had been away from the downtown, the driver seemed relieved since he could drive this big box faster.
I took off my favorite red hat and put it down on my lap. During the trip I spotted lots of new things that I couldn’t find in my hometown Palembang. The walks of life were frequently different from one place to another. On the left side of the road I saw well-organized rice fields. Some farmers were spraying pesticide and insecticide solution.
Then my eyes went to the girl sitting beside me. She had a beautiful face, straight, long and shining hair, and flawless skin. She was physically perfect! No sooner had I admired her beauty than she looked at me. For a split second I was at a loss and immediately distracted my eyes to the horizon. To disguise my being awkward, I looked back at her and tried to break the ice of silence.
“Are you going to Yogya?” I struck up the conversation. The question actually didn’t have to be answered because everybody in this bus knew that the bus was running to Yogya.
“Yes.” The girl replied curtly.
“Oh yeah, we haven’t introduced ourselves.” I extended my hand to shake her hand. “My name’s Bambang.”
“I’m Lucy.”
“Having vacation?” I asked.
“Not really. I just want to visit my friend.”
“Is it your first time to go to Yogya?” Again I asked the girl whom I thought to be one or two years younger than me.
“No, I’ve been there many times.”
“And you always go alone?”
“Yes.” Her beautiful round eyes stared at me. “What’s wrong with it?”
“No, no. There’s nothing wrong with it. I just think that a young and beautiful girl like you is so brave to take a long trip alone.”
“I’m not alone, as a matter of fact.” This time the girl smiled. The white teeth and thin lips illuminated her nice smile. “Look! There are a lot of people in the bus.”
“Yes, you’re right.” I didn`t want to debate with her.
“How about you?” Lucy asked back. “What do you go to Yogya for?”
“I’m going to spend my vacation. My elder sister happened to live there.”
“So, you’re a student?”
“Yes, I am. I’m a university student and I’m now in the seventh semester.”
“What’s your major?”
“I take up management.”
“Wanna be a director, eh?” Lucy grinned.
“Not really,” I replied calmly. “I just want to be able to manage a business well. Who knows, someday I have a chance to be an entrepreneur. In this crisis time, to land a good job isn’t an easy thing to do. Unemployment has become a serious problem. There are plenty of job hunters who compete with one another for a certain job. As far as I’m concerned, what they should do to overcome the problem is not by hunting the job, but by creating a job field.”
“Hmm… It seems to me that you’re an idealist.”
“No, I’m not a true idealist. But I try to get the hang of the reality.”
“But… creating a job isn’t easy either,” Lucy argued.
“Absolutely!” I was of the same opinion. “That’s what I study for. I know that the knowledge I get from the university isn’t just enough. Knowledge without experience can’t work well. So, I`ll try to learn from people who have enough experience.”
Our conversation stopped when the bus entered the parking lot of a restaurant. I glanced at my wristwatch. It was 01.30 p.m. The driver and his assistant got off the bus, followed by most of passengers including Lucy. Some passengers stayed in the bus, unwrapping the meal they brought from home. I myself kept sitting on my seat. I ate a small loaf of bread and drank a little mineral water. I wasn’t a kind of person who liked to eat and drink much during the trip. From the windshield of the bus I could see Lucy eating in the restaurant. Her pink-colored T-shirt and light blue jeans went well with her white skin. But then… oh! My admiration vanished instantly when I found her lighting a cigarette and smoked. I didn’t like to see people smoking, let alone a girl! She seemed to have gotten used to smoking.
After around thirty-minute break, the bus ran again. I didn’t know exactly how many kilometers this Mercedes bus had run. What I knew was that it had reached the Province of Lampung.
“Candies?” I offered Lucy as I took out some candies from my small bag.
“No, thanks,” the girl said politely.
“By the way, are you a student?” I asked after I put a candy into my mouth.
“Yes, I was. I used to be a university student but I quit.”
“You quit? How come?” I wondered.
“My parents couldn’t afford to finance my study,” Lucy explained. “Besides, I don’t think it useful to complete my study because … in fact, there are a lot of unemployed scholars in this country.”
“But I think you should have thought positively.” I tried to give my opinion. “Scholars find it very difficult to get a good job, moreover high school graduates.”
“You’re not wrong.” Lucy took out a sheet of tissue paper and swept her face. Then she furthered,”But, if we can get a job offering a large sum of money, why should we continue our study? People study to get a job, don’t they?”
“Yes.” I had no comment. “Hmm… Lucy, where do you work now?”
Hearing my question, Lucy looked a little awkward. But then she calmed herself down and said,”Uhm… I work as a sales representative in a manufacturing company.”
“How long have you been working there?”
“Almost two years.”
“Oh, two years. It means that you’ve had much experience.”
“Not really.”
The trip wasn’t comfortable this time. The road was in bad condition and it was raining cats and dogs. A truck was trapped in the middle of the road. Fortunately, there was still enough space for the bus to keep on crawling. The driver had turned on the lights since it was dusk. Meanwhile the driver’s assistant played the DVD player. The eyes of most passengers were directed to the TV monitor featuring a movie about a giant snake named Anaconda that liked to assault and swallow human beings. Some old women at the back cried out when they saw a scene where the snake attacked a man on the river.
Lucy felt asleep. Maybe the light from the monitor had made her sleepy. And I had a gut to wake her up when the bus dropped in at a restaurant. This time everybody got off the bus to have dinner. Actually I didin’t have a desire to eat, but I took a pity on my stomach singing all the time. Besides, I had to wash my face in the toilet of the restaurant. The toilet in the bus was too small and the water wasn’t fresh enough since it came from the air conditioner.
I felt fresh after I had eaten a small portion of rice with fried chicken and a glass of tea. Then I got on the bus. After all passengers had sat on their respective seat, the driver drove the bus.
At midnight the bus arrived at Bakauheni seaport. The bus had to stand in line, waiting for its turn to be carried by a ship. The driver got off the bus and had a chat with other drivers.
“Where are you going?” I asked Lucy when she was about to get off the bus.
“I’m going to meet my friend.”
“Your friend?” I asked in surprise. Before my question was answered, Lucy had been out of the bus.
I observed Lucy walking towards a building in the west. A man seemed to have been waiting for her. They talked for a moment. I didn’t know what they were talking about because their position was far from the bus and I just could see them in the dim light. Lucy took out something from her handbag and gave it to the man. Then she walked back to the bus.
Some passengers complained because it took so long for the bus to be carried by a ship. Maybe it was caused by holiday time. In the holiday time there were usually a lot of people who did traveling.
After about two hours’ waiting, the bus finally got its turn. During the sea travel most of passengers slept. I changed the position of my seat to make it comfortable. And then I closed my eyes. But I didn’t sleep. I just could hear an old man behind me snoring.
When the ship reached Merak seaport, I felt free because I could enjoy the scenery again. Although it was dark outside, at least, the light from the lamps and the moon did me good.
At dawn the bus reached Jakarta. What I saw here was very different from other places. On the left and right side of the motorway I spotted skyscrapers. I tried to keep awake although I was so sleepy. But then… I lost! I fell asleep. I woke up when the bus had been in West Java. The driver grumbled because of the traffic jam. After creeping for several kilometers, the bus passed by a traditional market. So, that was the center of the problem! I didn`t know why the local government didn`t make an effort to manage the market in such a way that it didn`t cause the traffic jam. Or, maybe the government had done something, but the regulation they made wasn’t complied with.
* * * * *
The bus was scheduled to arrive in Yogya at about 04.00 p.m. But, because of the bad roads, queuing at the seaport, and the traffic jam , the bus reached Umbulharjo terminal at 08.30 p.m. My brother-in-law had been waiting for me. And he helped me carry my bag into his car.
“I’m going, Bambang,” Lucy greeted me from a jeep. I didn’t know who drove the jeep. Maybe he was her brother, her cousin, or her boyfriend. I didn’t care!
“Yeah, see you.” I waved my right hand.

* * * * *

I had been staying here in Yogyakarta for three days. It was Saturday afternoon. I wanted to take a look at the well-known Malioboro Street. My brother-in-law offered to drive me around the city but I preferred to go alone. Besides, I had been familiar with Yogya. I wouldn`t have a chance to get lost.
The weather was hot on Malioboro Street. There were loads of people walking around. The parking lot was full with cars and motorcycles. Becaks and andongs took a part in coloring the atmosphere. On this street I could see a number of foreigners with different kinds of skin. Something that I’d never witnessed before! Yeah, from magazines I’d ever read, I got some information that a lot of foreigners came to Yogya to learn Indonesian language and/or culture.
I tried not to miss every corner of the place. On the sidewalk some people sold T-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, etc. Then I walked again to see some products made of leather, like bags, wallets, and key holders. When I was absorbed in observing those things, I heard a soft voice calling out my name. I turned around. I was surprised to see Lucy along with a Caucasian man.
“What are you doing here?” Lucy asked.
“Just sightseeing.”
“Oh yeah, let me introduce you to my friend, John. John, this is Bambang.”
“Nice to meet you, John.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Bambang.”
“Uhm… do you wanna go with us, Bambang?”
“Where are you going?”
“We’re going some place where we can create great happiness.”
I didn’t really understand what Lucy meant. But I remembered having promised my elder sister to come back before 06.00 p.m. “I’m sorry, Lucy, I can’t go with you. I have something to do.”
“All right then. See you again some other time.”

* * * * *

As usual I watched crime news on TV at 11.30 a.m. The first news was about a murder of an old man committed by his son. I was so touched and at the same time shocked to see the fact how a son had a heart to kill his own father sadistically. The second news was about a couple of lovers who were arrested last night. According to the report, they were drug dealers who had done the job for two years. When the cameraman closed up the suspects, I was startled because I recognized their faces. They were Lucy and the guy who drove the jeep several days ago.Lucy… oh Lucy! Why did you do that? I’d never thought before that you were a drug dealer. You’d spent your youth for a temporary pleasure. Of course, nobody could hear the sound of my heart. I had nothing to do with Lucy. But still… the fact remained that I regretted what she had done!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Menghilangkan Menu My Recent Documents

Dokumen atau file-file terakhir yang kita buka akan tercantum pada menu My Recent Documents. Keberadaan menu ini bisa membantu memudahkan kita dalam mengakses beberapa file terakhir yang pernah kita buka. Namun, pada sisi lain, keberadaan menu ini juga bisa menjadi masalah, terutama bagi mereka yang menggunakan komputer secara bersama-sama. Misalnya, Anda tinggal di rumah kos dan teman-teman Anda sering menggunakan komputer Anda untuk mengerjakan tugas-tugasnya. Dalam kasus seperti ini, teman-teman Anda akan dengan mudah membuka beberapa file terakhir yang Anda akses karena nama file-file tersebut tercantum pada menu My Recent Documents. Jadi, privasi Anda akan sangat terganggu.
Untuk mengatasi masalah di atas, hilangkan saja menu My Recent Documents dengan cara sebagai berikut:
  1. Klik Start - Run.
  2. Ketik "regedit" (tanda petik tidak diketik).
  3. Masuklah ke HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  4. Pada layar sebelah kanan jendela Registry Editor, klik kanan pada bagian kosong.
  5. Pilih New - DWORD Value.
  6. Ketikkan "Start_ShowRecentDocs" dan tekan Enter.
  7. Klik kanan key yang baru Anda buat dan pilih Modify.
  8. Pada Value Data ketikkan angka "0" untuk menyembunyikan My Recent Documents atau ketikkan angka "1" untuk menampilkannya kembali.
  9. Tekan OK.
  10. Restart komputer Anda.

Semoga tip dan trik ini bermanfaat bagi para pembaca.

Kosakata Tiga Bahasa: Jerman-Indonesia-Inggris

"Kosakata Tiga Bahasa: Jerman-Indonesia-Inggris" adalah buku keenam saya yang diterbitkan. Tujuan penyusunan buku ini adalah untuk membantu para pemula yang sedang mempelajari bahasa Jerman dan bahasa Inggris yang merupakan dua dari sekian banyak bahasa asing yang akhir-akhir ini sangat diminati oleh masyarakat Indonesia. Buku ini memuat ribuan kosakata umum dalam tiga bahasa yang sangat sering digunakan dalam kehidupan sehari-hari.

"Kosakata Tiga Bahasa: Jerman-Indonesia-Inggris" diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Yrama Widya Bandung. Situs penerbit ini dapat dikunjungi di: www.yrama-widya.co.id.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


By Hendro Darsono

When the birds are about to warble
When the dew stops dripping
When the color of life is going to run
The rain is pouring down
Bringing God’s blesses

Everything gets soaked
The road is no longer dry and dusty
The flowers no longer fade
A dense pall of black cloud rolls in
Showering the surface of the earth
Giving a new nuance to the life

The drought has now changed
It changes everything
Barrenness becomes fertility
Heat becomes coolness
Rain… oh rain
You’ve cooled every burning heart
(This Poem was published in Hello English Magazine No. 136/March/1997)

100 Tanya Jawab Seputar Microsoft Word

"100 Tanya Jawab Seputar Microsoft Word" adalah buku kelima saya yang diterbitkan. Buku ini berisi materi-materi pelajaran untuk mengoperasikan program aplikasi Microsoft Word yang sudah sangat populer dan sangat banyak digunakan oleh para user komputer. Materinya mencakup pengenalan ruang kerja Microsoft Word, persiapan pengetikan, penggunaan tombol shortcut, proses pengetikan, editing, pembuatan tabel, penyisipan gambar dalam dokumen, pembuatan tulisan-tulisan artistik, pemasangan password, dan masih banyak lagi. Semua materi disajikan dalam bentuk tanya jawab agar bisa lebih memudahkan pembaca dalam memahami isi buku ini.

"100 Tanya Jawab Seputar Microsoft Word" diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Yrama Widya Bandung. Untuk informasi lebih jauh tentang buku ini, Anda bisa melihatnya di situs Penerbit Yrama Widya di: www.yrama-widya.co.id, pada kategori buku-buku komputer.



Di kala pagi menjelang
Burung-burung meninggalkan sarang
Terbang ke alam lepas
Mencari udara bebas

Nuansa damai tergambar
Tiada hingar-bingar
Tetes-tetes embun menitik bening
Dari pucuk-pucuk dedauan hijau
Yang tak pernah mengering

Burung-burung seolah bersahabat dengan alam
Menyatu siang dan malam

Tapi kini ….
Semuanya telah berubah
Hutan-hutan tlah menjadi gundul
Tiada lagi tetes embun
Tiada lagi nyanyian burung
Yang ada hanyalah … kebisingan!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Troubleshooting Komputer

"Troubleshooting Komputer" adalah buku ketiga saya yang diterbitkan. Buku ini berisi kiat-kiat praktis untuk mengatasi berbagai masalah hardware dan software komputer. Sebagian besar isi buku ini didasarkan atas pengalaman saya sendiri ketika memperbaiki permasalahan yang terjadi pada komputer saya sendiri, komputer teman, dan komputer orang-orang lain. Ide penulisan buku ini muncul ketika saya menemukan banyaknya kasus komputer rusak yang disebabkan oleh hal-hal yang itu-itu saja. Saat itu saya berpikir mengapa tidak saya bukukan saja teknik-teknik yang pernah saya gunakan untuk mengatasi berbagai permasalahan tersebut.
Buku ini ditebitkan oleh Penerbit Puspa Swara Jakarta, Telpon (021) 4204402, 4255354, dan situsnya dapat Anda kunjungi di: www.puspaswara.com.


By Hendro Darsono
There’s a spacious desert
That I must walk across
With these bare feet
No camel
No donkey

Time after time
I try to complete this journey
A long and hard journey
Replete with obstacles
That never stop to bridle

My body is burned by the sunshine
Stricken by the storm
I’m so in thirst
This journey is really tiring
This journey is really boring

I keep on walking and walking
Trying to seek a drop of water
Though it’s hard to get it
Yet… there must still be some water
Left in this desert

(This poem was published in Hello English Magazine No. 128/July/1996)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

English Proverbs And Quotations (New Cover)

Untuk cetakan kedua, buku "English Proverbs And Quotations" mengalami perubahan sampul (cover). Selain itu, saya juga melakukan sedikit perubahan atau perbaikan, terutama pada kesalahan cetak atau ejaan yang terdapat pada cetakan terdahulu. Buku ini bisa Anda lihat di situs Penerbit Dioma di: www.diomamedia.com, pada kategori buku-buku bahasa.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

English Proverbs And Quotations

"English Proverbs And Quotations" adalah buku kedua saya yang diterbitkan. Buku ini berisi lebih dari 300 peribahasa Inggris yang sangat populer dan 100 kutipan atau kata-kata mutiara dari para tokoh terkemuka dunia. Setiap peribahasa dan kutipan diberikan terjemahan atau penjelasan agar para pembaca lebih mudah memahaminya. Selain itu, pada bagian akhir buku dicantumkan daftar kata yang disusun secara alfabetis yang memuat sebagian besar kata yang digunakan dalam buku ini. "English Proverbs And Quotations" diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Dioma Malang, dan sekarang sudah memasuki cetakan kedua. Informasi lebih lengkap tentang buku ini bisa dilihat di situs Penerbit Dioma di www.diomamedia.com, pada kategori buku-buku bahasa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Menulis Telah Menjadi Bagian Hidup Saya

“Writers are born,” demikian bunyi pepatah. Tapi apa benar demikian? Bagi para penulis terkenal seperti Shakespeare atau Sidney Sheldon, mungkin pepatah ini benar. Mereka memang dilahirkan untuk menjadi penulis. Atau dengan kata lain, mereka memiliki bakat alami untuk menjadi penulis.
Tapi bagi Anda yang tidak memiliki bakat menulis, jangan putus asa dulu sebab writers can also be made (penulis bisa juga dibuat). Saya bisa berkata begini karena saya telah membuktikannya sendiri. Saya tidak mempunyai bakat menulis. Ketika masih sekolah saya sangat tidak suka pelajaran mengarang. Saya selalu mengalami kesulitan dalam menuangkan gagasan di atas kertas. Urutan pemikiran tidak logis, pemilihan kata (diksi) cenderung monoton dan itu-itu saja, serta sejumlah problema lain yang selalu berdiri menghadang di depan mata. Tidaklah mengherankan kalau guru bahasa Indonesia saya dulu pernah mengkritik karangan saya yang membosankan.
Tetapi semuanya berubah. Tahun 1992 saya pernah diopname di rumah sakit untuk waktu yang lama. Saat di rumah sakit, saya sering membaca surat kabar mingguan yang berisi artikel-artikel dan cerpen yang ditulis oleh pelajar dan mahasiswa. Di antara tulisan-tulisan yang dimuat, ada beberapa yang kualitasnya, menurut penilaian saya, masih jauh di bawah standar. Saat itu saya berbicara dalam hati,”Saya juga bisa menulis seperti itu.” Sejak itu, saya mencoba menulis beberapa artikel dan cerpen di buku catatan saya. Ternyata saya bisa juga menulis walaupun saya tidak tahu pasti bagaimana mutu tulisan saya. Keinginan untuk menulis di media massa mulai timbul walaupun saya belum merasa PD untuk mengajukan tulisan-tulisan saya ke meja redaksi. Beberapa waktu kemudian, ada seorang mahasiswi Akademi Perawat yang sedang praktek di Rumah Sakit Umum Palembang. Ia sering berkunjung ke kamar saya. Ia pun melihat buku catatan saya yang saya letakkan di atas meja di sebelah ranjang saya. Setelah membaca, ia berkomentar,”Tulisan kamu bagus.” Tapi waktu itu saya menjawab,”Ah, tulisan seperti itu tidak bermutu.”
Hari berikutnya, ia datang lagi ke kamar saya. Sambil mengobrol, ia membaca tulisan-tulisan saya yang lain dan berkomentar,”Tulisan kamu bagus, lho.” Saya menanggapinya seperti angin lalu,”Ah, tulisan apaan.” Lalu ia menjawab,”Hen, kamu harus percaya diri dan melihat ke dalam dirimu bahwa kamu mempunyai kemampuan tersembunyi. Coba kirimkan karya-karyamu ke media massa.” Saya masih menanggapi pernyataan gadis cantik berkulit putih itu dengan dingin.
Tapi entah mengapa… sejak itu saya tambah bergairah untuk menulis dan keinginan untuk melihat karya saya tampil di media massa semakin meningkat. Tetapi masih ada satu penghalang: Kurang PD! Apakah tulisan-tulisan saya bermutu? Apakah saya mampu menembus meja redaksi? Dan beberapa pertanyaan lain yang membuat saya seperti mati kutu.
Beberapa hari kemudian mahasiswi Akper itu datang lagi ke kamar saya dan seperti biasa… ia membaca buku catatan saya yang penuh dengan coretan-coretan. Kembali ia memberikan penilaian positif terhadap karya-karya saya. Tetapi seperti biasa pula, saya menanggapinya dengan tidak bergairah. Mungkin karena kesal terhadap sikap saya, ia mengambil pensil dan menuliskan sesuatu pada buku catatan saya. Saya tidak tahu apa yang ditulisnya. Tetapi, setelah ia keluar dari kamar, saya mengambil catatan itu dan membaca kalimat-kalimat yang dituliskannya. Bunyinya sebagai berikut:

5 Desember ‘92

Banyak yang bisa dilakukan, daripada kamu diam-diam lebih baik lakukan suatu hal yang bermanfaat. Saya tidak tahu entah apa yang bermanfaat bagi kamu. Saya pikir, kamu mungkin dapat memilih sesuatu yang bisa memberikan manfaat bagi kamu selama kamu di sini.
Saya yakin kamu pasti tidak mau dibilang remaja pasif. Sayang sekali… Kamu punya potensi. Hanya saja kamu malas dan malu untuk mengakui. Kenapa tidak? Saya pikir kamu bisa membuat suatu cerpen, artikel dan kamu kirim ke majalah. Kamu tidak sakit kan…?
Saya tidak tahu, apakah kamu marah atau tersinggung. Yang penting aku harus ngomong. Kalau mau marah… marahlah pada saya. Jangan pada orang lain.
Yuk… kutunggu tulisanmu di majalah!

Saya begitu terkesima membaca goresan tersebut. Saya tidak marah atau tersinggung sama sekali karena saya pikir kritikan dia sangat objektif, kena sasaran, dan tersirat adanya tantangan yang harus saya jalankan. Dia benar, hati saya bergumam. Bukankah saya memang ingin menjadi penulis? Lalu timbul keteguhan dalam hati untuk mewujudkannya. Saya harus bisa menaklukkan tantangan itu dan membuktikan kepadanya bahwa saya memang benar-benar mampu seperti pandangannya.
Saya pun mulai memberanikan diri untuk mengajukan karya-karya saya di surat kabar. Teman saya Hasan H.D. sering membantu saya mengeposkan surat-surat saya ke redaksi. Tetapi, ternyata hal itu tidaklah semudah membalikkan telapak tangan. Karya-karya saya tidak dimuat. Saya belum patah semangat. Saya terus menulis artikel, puisi dan cerpen, baik yang berbahasa Inggris maupun berbahasa Indonesia. Namun Dewi Fortuna masih belum berpihak pada saya. Saya tidak juga melihat karya saya tampil di media massa.
Pada April 1993, seorang teman bernama Irawan datang ke rumah saya dan berkata,”Hen, selamat ya!” “Selamat apaan?” tanya saya penasaran. “Itu tu… puisi kamu terbit,” Irawan menunjuk majalah yang dibawanya. Saya langsung membaca majalah berbahasa Inggris itu. Hati saya begitu girang dan terharu karena saya melihat puisi berbahasa Inggris saya yang berjudul “Endless Suffering” tampil di salah satu halaman. “Terima kasih, ya Allah. Aku berhasil mewujudkan impianku,” demikian bisik hati saya.
Ketika saya hendak check-up ke rumah sakit, saya membawa majalah itu. Saya menoleh ke kanan dan ke kiri, ingin mencari kalau-kalau mahasiswi Akper itu ada. Saya ingin menunjukkan kepadanya bahwa saya telah lulus dari tantangan itu dan saya ingin mengungkapkan rasa terima kasih yang mendalam karena dorongan semangat darinya telah berhasil mewujudkan impian saya untuk menjadi penulis. Tetapi sayang sekali, saya tidak melihatnya. Sejak ia menuliskan goresan di buku catatan saya, saya tidak pernah lagi bertemu dengannya. Saya tidak tahu dimana dia berada. Kalau ada pembaca yang mengetahui tentang dia, tolong informasikan kepada saya. Ia mahasiswi Akademi Perawat Depkes Palembang, masuk pada 1991. Kalau tidak salah, namanya Agustina. Ia berasal dari Belitung. Hingga sekarang goresan kata-kata darinya yang membangkitkan semangat masih saya simpan dengan rapi.
Sejak penerbitan puisi pertama saya, saya makin giat menulis. Beberapa bulan kemudian puisi berbahasa Inggris saya yang lain pun terbit. Hari demi hari saya terus mengasah kemampuan menulis dengan banyak berlatih dan membaca karya orang lain. Saya juga membaca buku-buku panduan menulis karya The Liang Gie, Eka Budianta, Slamet Suseno, dan penulis-penulis terkenal lainnya. Selain sebagai panduan, buku-buku itu bisa menjadi pemacu semangat agar terus menulis.
Saya pun mulai mengisi artikel, puisi, dan cerpen di beberapa majalah dan koran, baik yang berbahasa Indonesia maupun Inggris. Namun kebanyakan karya saya ditulis dalam bahasa Inggris. Selama 1995-2000 saya mulai populer. Ratusan penggemar dari seluruh Indonesia mengirimkan suratnya ke alamat saya. Hampir tiap hari Pak Pos datang membawa surat penggemar. Di antara para penggemar itu ada yang bertanya tentang materi yang saya tulis, ada yang ingin menjadi sahabat pena (dulu internet belum populer), ada yang ingin bertemu, dan ada juga yang mengajak menikah.
Sejak tahun 2000 saya mulai jenuh menulis di media massa. Saya mendambakan sesuatu yang lebih besar. Kebahagiaan seorang penulis adalah ketika ia sudah berhasil melangkah ke tangga yang lebih tinggi. Ya… saya harus menapaki tangga yang lebih tinggi itu, yaitu menulis buku. Saya harus bisa!
Saya pun mulai menggarap buku dan mengajukan ke penerbit, tetapi saya kecewa sekali ketika mendapatkan surat penolakan yang berbunyi,”Maaf, kami tidak bisa menerbitkan naskah Anda. Naskah buku Anda kualitasnya baik, tetapi pemasarannya susah.” Saya mencoba menulis buku lain dan mengajukannya ke penerbit lain. Hasilnya nihil alias ditolak.
Saya mulai belajar dari pengalaman. Buku yang bisa diterbitkan biasanya adalah buku yang bermutu dan memiliki prospek pemasaran yang baik. Tahun 2002 saya menggarap buku komputer karena menurut pertimbangan saya, dunia komputer sedang naik daun. Jadi, buku-buku komputer sangat dibutuhkan. Saya menulis naskah buku yang berjudul “Penuntun Praktis Mengetik dengan Komputer”. Lalu saya ajukan ke sebuah penerbit di Jawa Tengah. Dalam waktu dua minggu saya sudah mendapatkan kabar bahwa buku itu akan diterbitkan. Saya begitu senang karena cita-cita saya untuk menjadi penulis buku tercapai. Buku itu pun akhirnya terbit dengan judul “Belajar Praktek Sendiri Mengetik dengan Komputer”. Sebenarnya saya kurang suka dengan penggantian judul yang dilakukan oleh penerbit karena kata-katanya kurang enak didengar telinga. Tapi ya… biarlah karena masih pengalaman pertama.
Selanjutnya, tahun 2003 saya mulai mengajukan naskah buku yang berjudul “English Proverbs and Quotations” ke Penerbit Dioma di Malang. Saya harus menunggu sekitar 3 bulan untuk mendapatkan kabar dapat tidaknya buku itu terbit. Akhirnya, kabar baik pun menghampiri saya. Penerbit Dioma bersedia menerbitkannya. Proses editing memakan waktu beberapa bulan dan buku itu pun mulai dipasarkan pada 2004.
Tahun 2005 dan 2006 saya mengajukan beberapa buku ke beberapa penerbit. Alhamdulillah… empat buku berhasil terbit pada 2006. Buku “Troubleshooting Komputer” diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Puspa Swara Jakarta (Kelompok Trubus). Buku ini berisi cara-cara praktis untuk mengatasi berbagai permasalahan hardware dan software komputer. Materinya kebanyakan saya ambil dari pengalaman saya sendiri ketika memperbaiki komputer saya, komputer teman dan komputer orang-orang lain. Lalu saya mengajukan naskah buku “Himpunan Soal-Soal Tata Bahasa Inggris untuk SLTP” ke Penerbit Apollo Surabaya dan buku ini pun bisa terbit. Tetapi penerbit mengganti judul buku ini menjadi “Cara Pintas Belajar Bahasa Inggris Untuk SLTP Kelas 1, 2, 3” dengan alasan judul ini lebih memiliki nilai jual. Buku berikutnya yang terbit adalah “100 Tanya Jawab Seputar Microsoft Word” dan “Kosakata Tiga Bahasa: Jerman-Indonesia-Inggris”. Keduanya diterbitkan oleh Penerbit Yrama Widya Bandung. Ada lagi naskah buku lain yang akan terbit, tetapi saat ini masih dalam tahap editing oleh sebuah penerbit di Yogyakarta.
Demikianlah perjalanan hidup saya menjadi penulis. Saya tidak pernah menyangka atau bermimpi untuk menjadi penulis karena seperti yang sudah saya uraikan di awal bahwa saya sangat tidak suka menulis dan saya tidak mempunyai bakat. Tetapi dengan kerja keras, sesuatu yang sulit ternyata bisa menjadi mudah dan sesuatu yang tidak mungkin ternyata bisa menjadi mungkin. Kini saya sangat cinta dengan dunia menulis dan saya akan terus menulis hingga akhir hayat saya!