Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Centre for Indonesian Policy Studies

Vena Xu – Last week at CIPS | Week 8

Vena Xu, 27 February 2017

Today is the last day of my internship and it is still hard to believe my 8-week internship has passed so quickly.

My last week has been consumed with writing project reports, finalising a few tasks, and helping to transition what projects I cannot finish to be continued by my colleagues after I leave. A lot of this transition has been focused around web design as I have passed the mantle on to the new communication officer. I only wish I could have stayed longer and been able to witness the release and growth of the Affordable Food for the Poor course.

I was asked to write an article about my internship at CIPS and what it consisted of. The article has now been published on CIPS official website and so my goal of publishing a piece on the CIPS website has been met.

Today I was lucky enough to partake in a tutorial for the Lightworks video editor on Thursday, which was given by the manager of communications and fundraising department, Anthea Haryoko. The knowledge I gained from the tutorial was very practical, and it will definitely help when editing my videos.

I sincerely hope more students in Western Australia learn about the fantastic opportunities at Mannkal and the amazing internship experiences it can provide. If you were to ask me if my internship was worth it? My answer is one hundred percent yes! I strongly recommend scholars choose CIPS for their internship because it’s a place where you can learn a new perspective on libertarian values outside of Australia, and I cannot speak highly enough of the magnificent friends I have made here.

Goodbye Jakarta, I hope to see you again.

Officially graduated from CIPS

Farewell party

Having Nasi Padang

Vena Xu – LEE Press Event | Week 7

Vena Xu, 20 February 2017


I greet you with fantastic news! CIPS will be hosting the Asia Liberty Forum 2018 in Jakarta! To prepare, CIPS has planned some events to gain some experiences in running events of this scale. This Tuesday we held our first press event about migrant workers which was a resounding success, I was in charge of taking pictures.

CIPS has invited two people caught up in the parallel economy to share their illegal migrant working experiences and the hardships they faced. The day afterwards we appeared in several newspapers labeling the conference a resounding success! No one could tell that it is actually our first event of that nature.

Lee Press Event about Migrant workers

Lee Press Event

Wednesday was Election Day in Jakarta, citizens went to the vote for the new Governor. The competition is now between the incumbent Christian and a Muslim former Education Minister. Radical Islam called for voters to choose the Muslim leader for the city. I would love to share a little story that myself and my coworkers found during the election.

A girl born in a Muslim family told her father that she will vote the Christian candidate because she thinks he has a better experience of leading. Her father disagreed, “you wear a hijab and you are a Muslim, you should vote for the Muslim candidate.”

“Then I will take my hijab off!” The girl said. I wish I had a chance to meet this amazing girl!

I would like to quote my colleague’s words here, vote to keep the worst out.

On Thursday night, the executive director of CIPS, Rainer and his wife Joyce kindly invited me for dinner at an Indonesian restaurant. I also got a lovely present from him, a scarf with Indonesian design.

Dinner with Rainer and Joyce

I can’t imagine saying goodbye to all the wonderful things that I have experienced, and the fantastic people I have met in Jakarta.

Group picture with teammates after Lee Press Event

A cute Indonesian boy I met on the street.

Vena Xu – Intern Life in Jakarta | Week 6

Vena Xu, 13 February 2017

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I’m working on building a website. As a non-techie, I must say this task is tough, especially when everything in the tutorial seems to be slightly off from the reality. But I’m getting there, after watching hundreds of tutorials and seeking the appropriate support.

Although it is a tough task for me, I feel grateful that it will become a honed skill, and one that will definitely be useful in the future.

On Tuesday, one of the friends I made at the National Museum, Kim invited me to her pool birthday party. Surprisingly, a few friends of the people at the party are from Curtin University! It is a small world!

My friend Kim's birthday party

During the week, three of CIPS core members took a business trip to Mumbai for the Asia Liberty Forum, and each one of them will be giving a presentation. I can’t wait for them to come back and share their experiences and the knowledge they have gathered!

Some other good news to share is the decision of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court. Arief Hidayat, decided that importing livestock and livestock products from other countries under the zone system will be possible, which means there’s a chance to drop the livestock product price.

As CIPS also focus on food trade and livelihood in Indonesia, this is quite an exciting news. However, imports of cattle within the zone system can only be performed in urgent circumstances. My question is, who will determine whether it’s urgent?

4 AUD for one potato. Tough life in Jakarta for a potato lover.

Next week CIPS will have an internal training session about photography. Hopefully, it will improve my photographing skill. Let’s see if the pictures for next week are better!

Throwing back to last Sunday, some CIPS colleagues and myself went out for brunch. This weekend we are hanging out at the University of Indonesia.

Sunday brunch with CIPS colleagues

Flower for my colleague, Eky's graduation

Signing off for now. Thank you for reading my blog! Terima Kasih!


Vena Xu – Intern Life in Jakarta | Week 5

Vena Xu, 6 February 2017

As I started writing my blog for the week I was shocked to realise that I’m already half way through my internship.

My new year trip in Singapore was wonderful, except when I tried to catch a taxi from CIPS to the international airport. The traffic in Jakarta was a nightmare.

I sincerely hope  CIPS will also conduct research on transportation, the current road design leaves much to be desired. Thousands of workers in Jakarta spend hours making their way to work each morning.

Chinatown in Singapore

Marina Bay in Singapore

The Massive Online Open Courses project is still going steadily. A career in IT is something I have always been apprehensive about, simply because I know nothing about it. But in rising to the challenge, I’m trying to build an online course platform.

I found a way to build an online course and it is completely free. I figured it would be great to see if I can create something workable. I am enjoying the process thus far, and I appreciate that these skills will serve me well in the future.
As I mentioned last week we successfully applied for a grant for advertising from Google. Now I’m trying to repeat the process for Youtube.

This will help us to raise funds for and awareness of CIPS. I have found myself having a lot of fun in the Communications Department and I’m glad I chose this department before coming to Jakarta. However, this doesn’t mean that I have no interaction with other departments.

This is also one of the reasons I love CIPS, as it has a strong overlap between departments and projects. Meaning the skills I learn can be brought to each department and the areas which they overlap mean better outcomes for projects we work on. I love to learn from each department.

It was World Hijab Day on 1st February, non-Muslim can also wear hijab on this day. The lovely Muslim intern at CIPS brought me a hijab. I’ve always want to try it! This is one of the best presents I received in Indonesia!

World Hijab Day, respect culture diversity and religions.

That’s all of the week. My colleagues and I will be going out for brunch on Sunday. Can’t wait!

Vena Xu – It’s Chinese New Year! | Week 4

Vena Xu, 30 January 2017

Happy Chinese New Year!

Good news! This week I’ve been conducting research about a program on Google. It is a grant that offers a great opportunity for non-for-profit organizations. The grant offers 10,000 US dollars budget every month (120,000 US dollars a year) for advertising on the Google search engine. It was my communication manager who told me to find out more about it. I decided to apply for it as soon as possible.

And we got approved!

CIPS got approved by Google

Everything has been moving steadily throughout the week, but my favourite part are the internship sessions! We predominantly focus on creating content for social media and host discussions on classical liberalism.

Nowadays social media is so important as it spreads ideas quickly over large demographics. Learning how to create content from our own opinions via social media is a very important skill, and one must be sure that their content is checked thoroughly.

It was a pleasure to have Rainer Heufers, the co-founder and executive director of CIPS, explain the core ideas about classical liberalism on Thursday. Bapak-sim, is a new terminology I learned from him. In Bahasa (Indonesian official language), Bapak means father, Bapak-ism well explained the political situation in Indonesia. Even today older men, both inside and out of government, have the dominant power to decide policies. It explains why some of the public policies were decided without inspecting whether it’s suitable or not, but unfortunately this leads to the public suffering from them.

My trip to Bandung was very nice, it was my first time visiting an active volcano, Tangkuban Perahu.  I also visited the tea plantation and bamboo village. I would like to share a conversation that was had between me and the tour guide I hired when visiting the volcano. The tour guide, Rizki told the local children cannot afford to go to school. I was surprised by this.

What I learned before was the government has been giving a huge budget on education every year. However, the sad fact is the money didn’t actually reach the poor, they still cannot go to public school as there is a limited quota for them. For the private school, they cannot afford the high tuition fee. Education is also one of the main areas CIPS is focusing on. Hopefully our research will be delivered to the education ministry and give children from poor families an opportunity to go to school.

Tangkuban Perahu Volcano

Local kids with beautiful smiles.

On Friday, we held a farewell party for our lovely research manager, he’s going to pursue his Ph.D. degree. All the best to him!

CIPS Family

Rainer Heufers, the co-founder and executive director of CIPS gave me red pocket for CNY

Vena Xu – Intern Life in Jakarta | Week 3

Vena Xu, 23 January 2017

Selamat Siang, good afternoon!

My third week at CIPS has been very busy as my research for the Massive Open Online Courses program has concluded. CIPS must now cooperate with one of the bigger MOOC platforms, so we can move to the next stage for recording an online course about Indonesian food trade and poverty.

During the week, I’ve participated five internship sessions, which were presented by three departments. I have learnt so much from them; such as the origins of democracy in Indonesia, how public policy is made, and learning about the complicated structure of the Indonesian government. It’s also interesting to learn how think tanks decide on which public policies to advocate.

It has been raining on and off for the last few days in Jakarta but the rain is warm and the sun still shines. However, I love this city and the weather cleared up for a lovely end to the week!

I also took some time to visit the Indonesian History Museum and Wayang Museum on the weekend, trying to explore more of the country’s culture. I am also planning to take a trip to the capital of West Java, Bandung. I am looking forward to this little trip, hopefully I can learn more interesting Bahasa words in Bandung!

History Museum

Eating grilled chicken with hands

Cafe Batavia, with 200 years history colony building

Vena Xu – Intern Life in Jakarta | Week 2

Vena Xu, 16 January 2017

Satu mie ayam, berapa? Chicken noodles please, how much are they?

I can’t believe it’s already the end of the second week. The funny thing is, I’ve been having chicken noodles for lunch so many times since that’s the only dish I can order in Bahasa.

Having dinner with CIPS colleagues after work

On my first weekend in Jakarta, I visited the Indonesian National Art Gallery and the National museum. From my point of view, visiting local museums and markets would be the best way to experience the country. It was very interesting to learn about Islamic culture in the museum, as Indonesia contains the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.

National Art Gallery

National Museum

Before heading to Indonesia, I was worried about how would I take pictures by myself. This problem has been solved so well after arriving Jakarta, because the Indonesia people are very friendly. They will gladly help me to take pictures, and they take good ones! I even made friends with some visitors from Australia while asking one of them to take me a picture at the National Museum.

Met some Aussie friends at National Museum

During the second week, the first internship session, Introduction to Public Policy and CIPS focus areas, was held by researcher at CIPS, Hizkia Respatiadi. We discussed some current public policies, such as the Fertilizer Subsidy Policy and property rights. What we have discussed has given me much more knowledge than what I’ve read in international newspapers before. I’m really looking forward to the next session.

First internship session

Another thing to share is that we are rearranging the CIPS office, creating space to film the massive opening of Online Courses. It means we are one step closer to the Affordable Food for the Poor program! Hopefully this will get the young generation to pay more attention to the current Indonesian food trade.

That’s all for this week. It has gone fast, however my progress of learning Bahasa has gone slow.

Vena Xu – Landing in Jakarta | Week 1

Vena Xu, 6 January 2017

Halo, apa kabar? Hello, how are you? Here’s a warm and humid greeting from Jakarta!

I am so happy to be given this opportunity to see this friendly city Jakarta. Although it was a little challenging for me on my first day after landing as my flight was delayed due to the new year holiday in Jakarta and I landed nearly at midnight. Fortunately my colleague Melissa picked me up from the airport, or else I would still probably be wandering at the airport with a communication problem as I know nothing about the Indonesian language and not every one speaks English here.

On my first day at CIPS my colleagues prepared a cake and a welcome party for the interns. They love getting cakes for all occasions, it’s quite lovely! Everyone of them is very nice and helpful and I learn so much from not just the permanent staff but also the local interns.

Welcome cake from CIPS colleagues

CIPS office

My assignment for the first two weeks is researching Massive Opening Online Courses (MOOCs) platforms to publish our online courses about ‘Affordable Food to the Poor’. It is very exciting that the CIPS manager for communications and fundraising Anthea Haryoko won the $25,000 grand prize in Atlas Network’s 2016 Think Tank Shark Tank Competition last November. This fund will be used on the ‘Affordable Food for the Poor’ project, which will bring down trade barriers and benefit millions of poor families.

I would use the word “magical” to describe Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. It’s a city where you can see slums and humble buildings but also a city where you can see luxury shopping malls and fancy cars. There’s a huge gap between the rich and poor. “The poor are getting poorer; the rich are getting richer,” as a local friend said.

Looking forward to experiencing life here! So far everything is great, except that I’m really struggling to learn Bahasa.

Lunch with my colleagues at CIPS.