If I were being asked to mention two words that can eradicate corruption in Indonesia, then the answer is a simple life. The majority of cases of official corruption are mainly caused by the desire to live in luxury that exceeds the salary received by lawful and legal means. Therefore, the simple life is the most effective and efficient way not only to eradicate corruption, but also to remove the intention to commit corruption of each officials who are in power.
Ideally a simple life becomes the lifestyle of all Muslims. Not only the lifestyle of those in power. And this mindset must be instilled early on in the family environment in order to internalize the traditions and patterns of thinking so that the simple life really become a way of life throughout the Muslim family.
There is no strict definition of the meaning of simple life. But someone can be considered living in a simple life behavior if not caught up in consumerism. Consumerism is a person lifestyle who think that personal happiness can only be achieved by consuming, buy whatever you want and have exceeded the limits of basic needs.
There are many positive factors why the simple life must be a Muslim lifestyle. First, Islam strictly prohibits lavish or excessive behavior (Surah al-Furqan 25:68).
Secondly, Islam emphasizes the importance of a Muslim to be the philanthropist. Help the poor not only by charity, but also with infak, sadakah (alms) and grants. A command that will be hard done by someone who has lavish lifestyle and consumptive. Because someone who used to live like that will feel always “deficiencies.” How can someone who is busy with himself will think to help others?
Islam’s urge for the simple life does not mean banning a Muslim to work hard and become rich. Instead, Allah praised the richness as something laudable and implicitly stated that the rich are better than the poor (Surah Ad Dhuha 93:8). In Sura 71:12 Noah also plainly asserted that God multiply the wealth of a Muslim as a “reward of the world”.
Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi in his book Musykilatul Faqr Kaifa Alajaha al-Islam (Poverty’s Problems and its Solutions According to Islam) claimed that “Islam considers wealth as a blessing and gift from God. And poverty as a misfortune to be overcome.” Qaradawi In the present study found that none of the verses in the Qur’an and authentic Hadith of the Prophet who qualified to be called sahih that praise poverty or encourage a Muslim to deliberately choose a life of poverty.
Thus, what is desired by Islam is clear: be diligent to find the treasure of your ability. At the same time, choose a simple lifestyle. So it is we who control the property, not property that controls us. This is one of the Islamic solution how to achieve a happy life.
In America, the simple life also begin the echo and become a choice of many lives of the millionaires and billionaires. Stanley & Danko in The Millionaire Next Door (1998) said:
“The Americans millionaires who are living glamorous lives actually represent a small minority of wealthy Americans. The majority of U.S. tycoon chose simple lifestyle. Their distinctive lifestyle, among others, are they keep their old cars that are still functioning well. They do not wear expensive clothes and watches. And their house is relatively simple compared to the status of their wealth. ”
If the American millionaire ara able to enjoy the simple life, why do not we? 
Rich, Educated & Humble
Since time immemorial up till now either in the West or in the East, the so-called rich man always being attributed with many glamorous things: extravagant life-style, flamboyant, “un-educated”, “bad-guy”, womaniser, bossy, arrogant and many more, you name it. While the term ‘nice guy’ always been attached to those who are not fortunate to make a big fortune, even though they are very successful in terms of other things of virtues: education, attitude, humility, helping, etc.
It’s no more. At least, not the style of the IT pedigree of No. 1 search engine founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Have a look at these facts:
– Education: both are doing PhD
– Wealth: No. 55 in the world with $7.2 billion each (Forbes Magazine, 2005).
– Both are the only two billionaires which are under 40-year-old (to bo precise, Larry and Brin’s age are 31 and 32 respectively).
– Car: both drives only Toyota Prius, a half-electric-powered car.
– Both dont have luxurious stuffs like sports car, yacht, etc.
Again, even on the personal level, both google guys have set the trend, and lesson, for us:
– Even if you are rich, very rich, there’s no reason to live extravagant lives;
– Even if you are rich, very rich, there’s no reason not to be “nice” and “next-to-door” guy;
– Even if you are rich, very rich, there’s no reason not to live simple lives. The simpler the better, because there’ll be many more lives (poor people) could benefit and be saved from their poverty.
To those who are not-rich yet try hard to live like ones (like the corrupt Indonesian officials), the message is simple: Why dont you get back to the real world and live not beyond the limit of your legal earnings?***
Google as the Trend Setter (3) Google Free-for-all Philosophy
What I mean by the above title is not the trend setter in this sense. I really mean it in its literal sense. Google has set the standard for everyone to follow especially in the free-for-all services and customer-is-king philosophy. Google knows perfectly how to earn money –huge money– in an elegant way without disturbing the netizens as its main customers.
First, when hotmail and yahoomail start reducing its free email capacity into two and four MB respectively, google gave its first lesson: giving away one GB. That, in turn, forced yahoo to reasses its previous policy and roll it back even added into 250 MB and 1 GB for paid-email, while hotmail promises the same (i dont know whether hotmail keep its promise). Following that, google make another set: 2.5 GB. This forces yahoo to give away half of it: one GB. Yahoo guys admits that google presence does make a difference.
Second, in the blogger world, google acquired blogger or blogspot and giving away anything a customer can hope for. Unlimited space, unlimited freedom. Do whatever you want.
Third, for any blogger who wants to earn a bit money from nowhere and from nothing, google offers adsense. So far as online advertisement goes, adsense is the biggest. Yet, it’s the easiest partnership/affiliation program to go along. Everybody with tiniest visitor to his site/blog can apply and be approved. Apart from this, google adsense actually working only on a website/blog that uses english and other european languages plus china, japan and korea; however, you’ll still be appoved even if your blog in bahasa Indonesia. The only hindrance that will exclude you to be an adsense member is if you blog/site contain hatred/racism campaign and pornography. Which is good.
And it’s google adsense that revolusionize the online ads into more ‘elegant’ way i.e. without pop-up or anything that can disturb the visitors. And again, every online advertiser force to follow.
Fourth, again and again I’d like to reiterate that google free-for-all policy and its friendly attitude towards its customers very much relating to do with its founders education (both founders still doing their Ph.D at the moment).
Google has set the trend for every online companies to follow. i think, google deserves to be followed not only by online companies, but by offline entertainment as well.
Azim Premji: King of Indian IT and Humility
Indian economic growth always being associated with IT technology and outsourcing. And as far as Indian IT sillicon valley goes, it’s Bangalore, a one time host for Miss Universe contest several years back. And whenever outsiders want to symbolize Indian IT hype into a form of person, it’s Azim Premji who deserves most as the biggest icon personality in India.
But I dont want to talk about Azim Premji’s “IT-ness” here. I just wanna share another angle of his personality which draw no less attention than his successful career.
If you see a person’s success based on how much he/she accumulate money during his life-time, he’s certainly a very successful individual. His name always at the top of Forbes Richest Personality, particularly compared to his Indian compatriot. In 2005, Forbes magazine ranks him at no. 2 as the Indian richest person. Here’s a short comment and info from Forbes 2005:
#2 Azim Premji
Net Worth: $ 11.0 billion
Married, 2 Children
Owns 82% of New York-listed Wipro, India’s third-largest software exporter. Lost a few key executives this year, including vice chairman Vivek Paul.
But more than that, Azim more popularly known and admired for his simple life and humility. He drives Toyota (not Ferrari, or SUV of sort). Former Indonesian consulate general (Konjen)in Mumbai, Mr. Rahardjo Mustadjab who knows Azim more closely told me many interesting about him:
(1) That Azim Premji never reserves special car park in his office for him; he has his own rule: whoever comes to office first, he/she should have more freedom to choose where to park his/her car. Azim always has the luxury to park his car not because he’s the big boss. it’s simply because he’s always comes first to his office ahead of his employees!
(2) His simple life makes him can afford to do and think much about and to give helping hand to his surroundings which are not fortunate: the poor Indian youth. That’s why he establishes Azim Foundation not only to give scholarship to poor yet potential Indian youth, but also to establish and sponsor many educational institution throughout the country.
I remember what current President of India APJ Abdul Kalam says in his book Ignited Mind that the beauty of living simple when you actually can afford to live glamorously and in extravagant way is that you have much time to think about others. Azim Premji certainly stick to that principle in a big way.
Azim Premji, like the Google Founders, gives us lesson to learn: that living simple life when we are rich is the best way towards healthy life of the individual concerned in particular and for the benefit of society in general.