How It Happened
I am blessed with friends who encourage me to improve myself, opening opportunities to try many new things. This time, that opportunity came from my once college friend, a person with vast connection from all over the world and speaks English so damn well. Thank you, sis, I still owe you stainless straw.
Anyway, today I had a research interview about investment in Indonesia, particularly on Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). We should have an interview on tomorrow (Friday, May 24th). However due to safety reason from protest and riot happened the day before (yes you guess it correctly) they were ordered to go back to Singapore earlier, so the interview suddenly rescheduled. Lucky for me, I had no problem to do the interview on this day.
I had an interview with two persons, both are Singaporean, one of them is overseas graduate research consultant (her accent clearly explains), and the other one is CFA holder from investment tech company who have worked in Indonesia since 2014 (he already understands a little bit of Bahasa). Interview scheduled for 90 minutes, but time seriously flies so fast, I was enjoying every minute we talked and discussed, without realizing, 2 hours already passed.
Overcoming the Barrier
I was excited for sure, wondering if they would understand my short-broken English. That was not my first-time having interview with foreigner, but still, you can’t deny the nervous feeling. Sometimes you go blank about what words to say to explain this and that, I say “pardon me” a dozen times due to our different unique accents and café music which is quite loud. When I was signing up for the interview using e-forms, they asked me about English conversation capability, and they only gave 3 options. “Cannot”, “a little”, and “fluent”. These options were making me thinking so hard, I feel like I understand English, for sure (thank you Harvest Moon PS1 my dearest childhood friend), confident to say not so little, but also not confident enough to say that I am fluent (saya bangga berbahasa Indonesia). Since there is no option for “something between little and fluent”, I daringly go with “fluent”, hoping that our standard for fluency is not so much different. Thankfully and surprisingly, we could understand each other, it’s kind of funny how singlish interact with sundlish (Singaporean English & Sundanese English) hehehe. As a person who was born and happily grew in Bandung, having minimum exposure in English conversation, it’s quite challenging to have a proper English conversation. It’s not about the skill, I believe, but only matters of jam terbang. Since experience is the best teacher, so having actual conversation with real person is still the best way to learn, and I encourage all of us to try.
Financial Literacy in Indonesia
After short introductions about our self, we moved to main purpose of this interview. So actually, this research was conducted to see Indonesian investors preference in many things which relate to investing. How you prefer to earn and spend your money, how well you know about investment instruments, what things you consider the most in investing, what you think about Indonesia market condition, and everything else. Me myself have been investing for 1.5 years (more or less), not a long time I know, and I wish I could start earlier. However, they still find my knowledge and experience about investing is interesting. Well everyone has their own unique story, how they started, and how things are going now. I said to them that in my opinion financial literacy in Indonesia is not yet so good, some people on my age group is not yet have any investment, even though they already have regular income, either from their salary or business profit. We are not used to investing. I am lucky that I graduated from accounting field, which is very related to business, which also helps me so much to understand investments. I wonder how will it be if I studied other fields? Will I even know anything about financial literacy?
I kind of surprised when he said that Indonesia market is more attractive than Singapore itself, he compared growth on both index composite, STI and LQ45 if I remember it correctly, showing that Indonesia’s market has grown more attractively than Singapore’s. (Disclaimer: I have very limited understanding about this so please correct me if I am wrong). I once thought that developing countries market are much more volatile, but he said Singapore (advanced country for sure) stock market itself is also volatile (damn). He shared his preference to invest in US stocks, which is where some of the world biggest companies listed, what advantages to invest there, what differs investing there with investing in IDX. Moreover, he also shared his experience with losing on investing (well you can’t win every time), and how he reacted to that loss. I got so much insights, more than I could digest in one night. Although he already had his prestigious certification and experiences, he humbly willingly sharing with me without arrogant lecturing. Semakin padi berisi, semakin dia merunduk. One of the most popular proverbs in Bahasa, and I see it on person who don’t even speaks Bahasa. I learned that good values are universal.
We also exchange views and ideas about how Indonesia investors potential in the future. If only we could be reached with better information about investing, we surely will create many great things. They then asked how I got interest in investing and how I influence my family and friends to learn about it. Honestly, I easily answered, all smoothly came out from my mind. How I learned from classes in university-live (thank you TPAI), how I discussed about market, fundamentals & charts with my friends on social media group (once again I am so thankful for this circle). At the end, we are all agree that people around us bring considerable influence on how we earn & spend money. It was a reminder for me to evaluate (and maybe you?) How is your circle so far? Are you creating network that worth? There is old saying “banyak anak banyak rejeki”, but maybe nowadays “banyak koneksi banyak rejeki” suits better.
Opinion About Indonesia
As I mentioned before, this interviewed rescheduled due to safety reason. When I first greet them, they were sorry for sudden reschedule, and I also apologies for what happened the day before. I said sorry because what they saw in news and social media is not the real Indonesia, chaos and anger have never been an Indonesia’s values and culture (will never be, I hope). They were not representing “people” like they said, the only thing they represent is their ego. They replied, it was okay, they believe that protest and riot is neither represent this country nor its people. They said most of Indonesian they worked with are nice and friendly (3000% agree). That maaf-maafan lebaran session on the beginning of interview was also very interesting.
After about 2 hours discussing about many things, we ended interview with lighter chit-chat. I asked their opinion about Indonesia, particularly Jakarta. One who has stayed long enough in Indonesia said Jakarta is getting better, he even said sometimes he felt in their home country (I have never been there so I just believe it and lower my expectation of Singapore hahaha) Moreover, he confidently said that Jakarta is rapidly growing, and believing that one day Jakarta will be like Singapore (I don’t know if this is a good/bad thing). I only replied him by laughing a little and saying “amen”, seriously. Isn’t it crazy to hear that optimism came from foreign citizen? Let’s be honest here, could you be that optimistic? Most of us might think their country/city is much better than ours and skeptical if we could catch up with theirs. We often complaining and even cursing this polluted hell-traffic stressful city (sorry Jakarta), but maybe we are just not grateful enough for Indonesia (okay, Jakarta as well). Finally, we had our farewell, without taking proper photo due to nights that getting late, but this experience will not be forgotten.
“Rumput tetangga mungkin lebih hijau, tapi mungkin tagihan airnya juga lebih mahal, dan mungkin tanah kita memang kurang cocok untuk rumput, tapi coba lemparkan biji cabai, kau diamkan pun jangan-jangan dia tumbuh sendiri.”