Fidelis E. Satriastanti
Entrepreneur and management guru Tanri Abeng celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday with the launch of his latest book, “No Regrets.”
In his book, Tanri divided his seven decades into 10 periods. To the last five, he gave titles beginning with the word “half.”
They were, consecutively, Half Proud, Half Mad, Half Conscious, Half a Teacher and Half an Entrepreneur.
Tanri said that while he had no regrets being half this and half that in the past, he had now reached a point where he wanted to be 100 percent a teacher. So, after three years of preparation, Tanri Abeng University is scheduled to open its doors in September. The septuagenarian said he would head it himself.
“We have a system,” he said. “Each student should have a focus and specialty. For example, for economy, they should not only be knowledgeable in macro but also in finance.”
The university will have five schools, he said, with the first batch of students at about 100.
The weakness of the current education system, he said, was that it did not do enough to prepare students for work upon graduation and thus contributed to unemployment. “We want to produce quality,” he said of his own university.
Tanri is currently a member of the editorial board of BeritaSatu Media Holdings, with which the Jakarta Globe is affiliated.
Positions Tanri has held during his long career include president commissioner of Telekomunikasi Indonesia, commissioner of Sepatu Bata, president director and president commissioner of Multi Bintang Indonesia, president director of Bakrie & Brothers and president commissioner of British American Tobacco Indonesia.
He also served as Minister of State Enterprises in 1998 and 1999.
“He may be 70 years old, but his mind is still young, still dynamic,” said former Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who said he had known Tanri for 51 years.
Kalla praised him as a hard worker, saying that he was very serious in school and that he was keen to work early in life.
“Whatever he wants to do he will certainly do, and he does good things,” Kalla said,
Kalla said that through his book, Tanri clearly wanted to put across the message that he had no regrets. “We are all proud of him,” Kalla added.
The launch event was held at the Ritz Carlton hotel. Besides Kalla, those present included former President B.J. Habibie, Education Minister Mohammad Nuh, Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakri, several Golkar senior executives and top executives of state enterprises.