Thursday, 11 June 2009


This week I had two different experiences of perfection. First, it happen when I picked up my passport at Immigration Office of Surabaya.

One of my first impression when I dealt with process of making passport at that crowded office, I think about perfection. I had a little trouble with my official name. On my all official documents (document of identification, birth certificate, etc), my name spelled as “M Mushthafa”. The officer at the registration division asked me to write a statement to clarify the abbreviation of “M” on my name. He said that actually no abbreviation accepted in all official documents. I think that this regulation is right and good. This regulation points up the system of perfection that everybody registered by his full name. But I wondered why the officer at the Civil Registration Office and at school didn’t apply this regulation? Maybe this is a new regulation—maybe.

According to this regulation, I had to change my official name for my passport. So, I wrote a formal statement explaining that “M” in my official document means “Muhammad”.

A week later, when I went to the Immigration Office to an interview session, I found that my name written as “Mohammad Mushthafa” on a new typed form of application. After that session, I reminded the officer about my true spelled name consistent with the statement that I had written before. Then, the officer wrote a notice on my form of application about my true spelled name. When I had left the office, I wondered: did the officer read my statement—the statement that I wrote after the officer told me about the regulation?

I conclude that the system of perfection tried to be established by this regulation at this office has no function when I picked up my passport yesterday. In my passport, my full name spelled: “Muhamad Mushthafa”. I lost one letter on my new full name.

What is a name, said Shakespeare. I remembered this quotation yesterday after I had read my new full name. Because I am a kind of perfectionist person, I complained to the officer about this clumsy mistake. What did they say? For a while, they discuss each others about this, and finally said: “This mistake has no effect to your departure and your business abroad, Sir. And if you want to correct this mistake, we need at least three weeks to process your new passport. ”

Hhhaah? When I heard this explanation, I think about pseudo-perfection. Even if the system tries to ensure the perfection, finally the man always behind the gun. And we know the image of our bureaucrat in this country.

My second experience about the perfection was when I organized three School Climate Challenge Competition Teams of SMA 3 Annuqayah to write the final reports for their four months projects. During a week, I supervised their activities writing the final reports. After their school activities in the morning, I quarantined them at the library for this reports. Everyday, they often stop to work and take a rest just after midnight.

I know that my demand for the perfection of the final reports had terrified them as a student. I know that I have applied a strict discipline during this isolation. But I told them that our complete and perfect reports would be a determining factor for our success on this prestigious competition. We had done great endeavor for our projects, and we must describe all our strenuous efforts on the reports.

Of course, the meaning of perfection in this second experience is not rigorous, quantitative, and measurable. If the perfection is identical to the final result, the meaning of perfection in my second experience mostly is about the maximum effort—it mainly deals with the process. It has no control system, while in the first experience the perfection controlled by some procedures and support systems—but failed. Nevertheless, in our attempt to be perfect, finally we had satisfactory outcome. I think my students will agree with me.

From these two different experiences of perfection, I knew that the commitment will be the first factor to get the best result in the context of perfection. However, too obsessed to be perfect without considering the real fact maybe will make us frustrated, and I think it also a kind of pseudo-perfection too in its substantial meaning.

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