Indonesian Online Taxi Investment Scam (Part 2)

At the beginning of March, North Jakarta Police Department knocked on our door asking for the ownership of a car. That specific car has been hold as a proof of criminal in their office. It was very shocking to us. Later that day, we called the Car Rental as our car operator. She said that according to their GPS, the car is still running on the field of Jakarta. Hearing that, one our staff loses her calm and wreaked all havoc on the telephone. Turns out, they did not even know that the car was in the police office. Their voice began to tremble. We would like to meet them in the police office to take care of this problem.

For the last two months, the car rental has also paid only close to quarter of the amount of money promised in our contract. They also tried to prevent us to meet with all of the drivers and to inspect routinely on our cars. The only time they paid full and on time is when my uncle asked his personal staff to push their payment. The rest is of course peanuts.

Upon arriving, the police officers told us that our car has been given by a man named Irwan Manaf to a victim. Let’s call the victim as Mr.Z. So this Irwan Manaf offered online taxi investment scheme to Mr.Z where Mr.Z provide cars for Irwan Manaf, and Irwan Manaf provide Mr.Z with drivers. Mr.Z ended up trusting three cars to Irwan Manaf. But Irwan Manaf also paid only peanuts to Mr.Z. Not rich enough to cover for the monthly credits, Mr.Z came to Irwan Manaf and decided to pull all of his cars. Irwan Manaf told Mr.Z that all of the cars are running on the field and blab la bla blabla. In the end, Irwan Manaf gave Mr.Z a car as a guarantee that he will paid all the money due and return Mr.Z’es car. That car, was unfortunately ours. Curious Mr.Z decided to check the real owner of the cars as he was also afraid to be deemed as stolen car broker. In the end, police officer knocked on our door.

The modus operandi of Irwan Manaf was thought to dig-and-cover. Basically, Irwan promised one investor let’s say Rp 5,000,000 a month. Next, he found a driver to give him Rp 5,500,000 a month. So he made Rp 500,000 from one car. This was actually quite common way before online taxi era in Indonesia said the police. However, this Irwan Manaf is still on the wanted list. The police advised us to call the Car Rental and told them to come to the office.

Ow dear ow dear, how they tried to avoid the meeting. Thousands of excuses. By the way, they mentioned before that the name of the driver assigned to the car was Iwan. Similar name ay? In the end, they came near midnight and the police started to investigate them.
In the next 60 minutes, they lied a lot. Having GPS on the car for example. Iwan’s fee has been nice. Their only business process is operating with drivers. Iwan’s area of operation is around Depok and Bogor. They inspect the cars routinely. And so on.

After the investigation and we looked at the car that has been hold, the police put his doubt on the car rental. He told us that the car rental might probably one of the syndicate members. So for the best of our business, we need to pull all of our cars first before doing anything rash. We also investigate each of our cars and driver to find out more about the truth.

Turns out that this Car Rental only got 9 drivers for our cars. Around 4 cars, they rented without ownership contract. The other 5 cars were rented through contract with companies for their employees. Yup, the one car that was held in the police was one of four cars. It took the car rental three weeks to get us all of our cars. The first week we asked for our cars, they were able to present 9 cars with 9 drivers. Of course they were very nervous entering the second week since we still wanted to pull all of our cars.

Amid the second week, they finally told us the truth about contracts and their drivers also told us the truth. These drivers were asked Rp 5.000.000 in advance before they could drive. It is not a deposit that will be returned to them at the end of contract. It’s more like a joining fee. I think, it was the Car Rental’s intention to acquire these cars at the end of the five years contract.

Entering the third week, our side had started to show our intention to take this problem into legal area. They panicked even more. Once, they even tried to pacify us by saying that they were related to some polices and law enforcer. Oh sun of a gun! This is starting to get ridiculous.

All the logical fallacy aside, this is certainly not the first time that my uncle’s company faced legal problems. And certainly this Car Rental knows no boundary. Yo, pick someone else your own size. Y’all look like Kevin Hart picking on Dwayne Johnson.

Certainly it is not finished, but I don’t think I am going to tell you much about the ending (it is still on progress). Probably through some tweets later. But hey, justice!

Well, how’s that for sharing economy? Probably online taxi startup should take a look at these investment scheme as their own business. It will not only become safer for investors, but also for drivers and the sake of keeping it ‘sharing economy’.

Intended to be peer to peer, ended up business to business. Welcome to Indonesia.

Indonesian Online Taxi Investment Scam

Despite the positive friendly characters that most travelers know, Indonesians are also famous for having the tendency to bypass procedures and find niches between giants. Being a broker is one of our preferred jobs. Online taxi services such as Uber, Grab and local Go-Jek were no exceptions. This story that I am about to tell you are real and still in investigation by the police.

An Offering
At the beginning of May, my uncle asked me to help him meeting someone who offered him an investment in Grab Car. I thought I was going to meet with someone from Grab. Investing in startups is not a beginner’s game. A lot of report to analyze and I do not think I have the capacity to do so. Nonetheless, I was still curious and decided to accompany my uncle.

Turns out, the investment was only in the cars. To illustrate, let’s call this guy CR1 for Car Rental. Basically the guy was some sort of car rental that have little to nothing seed money. So he told investors to pay DP for Avanza or Xenia as the initial investments. CR will operate and manage the car by looking for drivers. Drivers will then work 30 days a month and deposit Rp 275.000/day for the investor. From these deposit, CR1 will cut Rp 5.000/ day as operation charge and Rp 400.000/month as car maintenance reserve. Despite those charges, at the end of 5 year contract (following most online taxi rules of maximum age of car), the car will be given to the driver. Another catch is that investors must order and buy the car through CR1.

One of the reason why they use this car is because of it’s high demand even if it’s used car.

When asked about safety, he said that he would put GPS on each car and watch their tracks through monitors in his office. He also said that he already have 70 cars in his armada running around Jakarta in the last 4 months since he started the business. However, he did not have any company or legal organization to back this business.

At the end of the meeting, I was given the responsibility to find out more about this investment.

And thinking that he faced a teenager, CR1 was very very very pushy. He called me like every 4 hours. He gave me contracts even when we have no progression on the deal. I was very much suspicious.

The Investigation
The first stop was the car dealer. His DP offering was quite high. So I checked on one of the dealer on my way home. The real DP was actually Rp 6.000.000 cheaper. And it was without negotiation at all. Cr*p. He forced us to buy through him so that he could get that much money for each car.
Another problem was with the interest rate that reaches 1.8% per month compared to 1.5% from the random dealer I stopped at. He thought my uncle and me were easy targets.

In the next meeting with CR1, my uncle told some of his staff to accompany me. My uncle had lots of businesses that he needs to take care of and this is a good way for me to learn. So in this meeting I asked why the car has to be given to drivers (assuming it was really given to them). I don’t think the profit percentage is right for investors since we are going to pay for all the taxes, maintenance and spare part for 5 years. I think it could be better if we could split the sales from the car and put DP to more cars in the end. That way, we could teach the driver how to generate more money and take care of their own businesses.

From this point, all CR1 do is dodging bullets. He said that he do not care what the drivers are going to use the money for. He also said that all investors did was to “ongkang-ongkang kaki” or “sit back and relax”. Our investment will be paid off in 9 months. So he thought I was an idiot?! -____-
At that point all that I wanted to do was to cut him off of our investment plan. But we have already paid a significant amount of money for DP. Also, it is not my decision to make. It was my uncle’s plan and my only right is to give consideration.

So to finish that meeting, I asked him again how many car he managed right now. He answered 17. You know what I want to say don’t you? He answered it like it was the first time asked. Also, at that time Grab was having a problem with authorities. Turns out, they were told not to accept any drivers since 3 months before.

When you want to invest your money, just remember that it’s not only the business you put your investments on, it is also about the person you’re investing on. In conclusion, Investing on this person would be a really bad bad decision. However, we have already put Rp 152.000.000 for 16 cars and we need another way out. One of my uncle’s employees had a friend in similar business. We contacted her for comparison.
Another Car Rental

Let’s name this second car rental as CR2, because why not?

They are not as bold as the first car rental. CR2 offered Rp 250.000/day for 24 working days in a month with weekly payment. Maintenance fee will be split equally between owners and the driver. They claimed that they are one of only three biggest car rental that have official partnership with Uber. Despite lacking proof, this is a more rational offer than from CR1. During the first meeting they brought a legal documents named after PT BBM as their business company.

The following week, I checked on Uber about whether or not it was true. Well, it’s much more difficult checking on Uber than checking on Go-car and Grab. I could easily talk to Grab and Go-car staff and ask if we could build a partnership since we are going to put more cars in the future. Uber required me to bring STNK, SIM, BPKB and car insurance before I could even enter their office. The office is also full of rentals seeking for drivers that looks confused. Later, I talked to one of the driver that said that those rentals are seeking to find drivers. But if the drivers were to enlist under the rentals, these rentals could play with the drivers’ bonuses and play with their accounts if they were not to pay certain fee to the rentals. Of course this is not a mistake in any of online transportation apps.

Not finding any info, I changed my strategy and checked online for car rentals that have partnership with Uber.

After I called several rentals, none of them able to receive any car and they only look for drivers rather than looking for cars. Even if they could receive cars, their offer was very low which is around Rp 200.000/day. The interesting fact is, they are offering their car to drivers with daily fee of Rp 300.000/day. Both CR1 and CR2 probably lied about their fee and put more pressure on the drivers.

Anyway, I told CR2 that we would like to put GPS on our cars. They told us at first that we do not need to put GPS on our cars because we could check it on our smartphone from the Uber application. The following week, on contrary, they told us that they would not accept our cars if we don’t have GPS on our cars. They also offered us a GPS package from their partners. What kind of cr*p is this really? How easy it is for people to lie? This put doubts on our side. It’s like between mad and evil.

Assessment
I presented my final assessment between the two to my uncle. I concluded it is best for us to actually create our own management in handling these cars. A little bit different, my uncle has a really much more gentle heart. He reminded me not to take another person’s fortune. It was those car rentals that opened our eyes on this opportunity. Yes, we are able to manage them by ourselves but let this first experiments on online taxi investment be handled by one of the car rentals.

By comparing several factors, we decided to put our trust on the second car rental as it gives us more convincing and rational conditions. Of course, this is only the beginning of something more complicated.

This is the end of part 1. I will work on part 2 and post it as soon as possible.

8 Wanita dalam Sains

Sebelumnya selamat hari wanita kepada seluruh wanita di dunia!

Bidang Sains dan Teknologi merupakan salah satu bidang yang jarang banget dimasukin wanita. Nggak heran kampus-kampus teknik kayak ITB jadi kering kerontang karena kekurangan wanita *salah fokus*

Soalnya dari dulu banyak banget cap yang dikasih orang-orang sama wanita-wanita STEM (Sains, Teknologi, Enjiniring dan Matematika) kalo mereka terlalu maskulin. Mungkin karena bidang STEM dianggap sebagai bidang yang sangat logika dan wanita dianggap tidak sekuat pria dalam hal berlogika. Well, of course ini harus berubah sekarang juga. Karena ilmu yang ideal tidak kenal stereotip sosial seperti gender, agama, suku, dan ras. Apapun latar belakangmu, selama hal yang kau pelajari dapat divalidasi, yah kamu tetep bisa berkarya.

Makanya, tulisan ini gue buat untuk ngebuktiin ke kalian kalo wanita juga bisa sukses dalam bidang STEM. Berikut 10 wanita dalam bidang sains beserta kontribusi mereka terhadap ilmu pengetahuan:

Sally Boysen bersama dengan PAUD simpansenya

1. Sarah Boysen
Professor of Psychology, The Ohio State University
Koloni Boysen yang terdiri dari 11 ekor simpanse biasanya emang riweuh rempong kayak kelas yang isinya anak TK. Penelitian beliau ternyata menunjukan kalo simpanse memiliki kemampuan serupa dengan balita: yaitu kemampuan untuk berhitung secara sederhana.
Simpanse-simpanse ini bisa ngitung tambah, kurang, pecahan dan ngitung jumlah suatu benda.

Simpel tapi ampuh. Liat tuh airnya disaring dulu pake sari

2. Rita Colwell
Director, National Science Foundation
Kalo Mamak Colwell ini udah 25 tahun sob neliti mengenai kolera. Penelitian soal kolera ini merupakan penelitian antardisiplin ilmu yang terkait biologi molekuler, oseanografi, elektro dan bidang kesehatan. Doi berhasil nemuin cara yang unik dan cukup efektif untuk mencegah penyakit kolera. Caranya adalah dengan menyaring air melalui kain sari yang biasa kita liat di pilem India! Gokil abies. Strategi ini bahkan sanggum mengurangi jumlah pasien kolera sampai kurang lebih 50 persen. Wah, kalo di Indonesia mungkin bisa pake kain songket atau ulos yah.

One of the most electrifying women ever!

3. Esther Conwell
Professor of Chemistry, University of Rochester
Setengah abad kemaren, penelitian doi tentang bagaimana elektron melaju melalui silikon dan beberapa material semikonduktor lainnya memulai era komputer dan era informasi saat ini. Sebelum berpulang pada tahun 2014, Profesor Conwell sempat mempelajari juga pergerakan muatan listrik melalui DNA. Potensi penelitian ini ngeri-ngeri sedap bro. Kita jadi bisa tahun pergerakan rangsangan listrik seperti apa yang menyebabkan munculnya sel kanker atau kita dapat mempelajarinya untuk membuat rangkaian nano-elektrik yang mempunyai sifat DNA.

Berdiri di depan papan

4. Ingrid Daubechies
Professor of Mathematics and Applied and Computational Mathematics, Princeton University
Untuk menganalisa sinyal gambar, suara, elektrokardiogram atau goncangan partikel gas, kita harus menterjemahkan grafik menjadi lebih sederhana. Nah ilmuwan biasanya mecah bagian grafik itu jadi sekumpulan ombak/gelombang kecil yang disebut Daubechies’s wavelet. Yah wavelet ini bisa dibilang satu bagian lego yang dari data yang besar. Lego ini dipake untuk mengkompressi dan enkripsi data. Analoginya lagi, misalkan elo gambar lukisan pake cat air, nah kan elo bakal make beragam kuas dengan ukuran berbeda. Wavelet disini fungsinya mirip sama kuas berbagai ukuran itu. Memudahkan kita melukis gambar yang utuh.

Dresselhaus megang mainan anaknya

5. Mildred S. Dresselhaus
Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, MIT
Sebelum anak ke-empatnya masuk TK, Dresselhaus memecahkan struktur elektronik dari graphite, alotropi dari karbon yang sempet kita bahas di artikel sebelumnya. Mecahin struktur elektronik graphite ini sebenernya bukan masalah baru, tapi sebagian besar peneliti ketakutan untuk nyelesain masalah ini berhubung teka-teki yang sulit dari struktur ini. Makanya Dresselhaus milih topik penelitian ini karena nggak ada yang mau nyentuh. Penelitian mamak gaul ini berkontribusi besar pada penemuan Buckyball dan Carbon Nano Tube. Weew. Mamak-mamak ilmuwan.

Hoffman ketika memimpin ekspedisi mencari unsur eksotis

6. Darleane C. Hoffman
Professor of the Graduate School, University of California at Berkeley
Pernah nonton Mickey Mouse? Tau siapa nama anjingnya? Nah Hoffman ini adalah kepala suku tim yang nemuin Plutonium 244 di alam. Yah, emang nggak ada hubungannya sama Mickey Mouse sih. Indiana Jones edisi kimia ini punya misi buat nyari unsur-unsur dengan sifat-sifat yang misterius. Ilmu Nuklir ini adalah salah satu keilmuan yang dimulai sama sepasang suami istri dimana sang istri, Marie Curie, adalah salah satu ilmuwan wanita paling dikenal abad ini.

Mirip yang di The Big Bang Theory yaah? Amy Farah Fowler

7. Melissa Franklin
Professor of Physics, Harvard University
Nyah Franklin ini fisikawan eksperimental yang hobinya bikin-bikin alat lab. Yah semacam pembalam tamiya lah. Diotak-atik kalo nggak sesuai harapan. Cuma bedanya yang doi otak atik itu detektor partikel super kompleks. Salah satu buatan doi adalah detektor proton-antiproton Collider di Fermilab Batavia, Illinois yang dia pake untuk mengidentifikasi quark (only the top one) tahun 1995.

Rosalind Franklin dan foto x-ray dari DNA

8. Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)
King’s College London
Bukan saudara sama Melissa Franklin yaah. Kalo Rosalind Franklin ini suka banget fotografi. Tapi foto pake X-ray. Di awal tahun 1950, Rosalin moto DNA yang sudah mengkristal menggunakan X-ray. Karena foto ini, akhirnya kita semua tau kalo molekul DNA itu berbentuk helix! Data ini terus dipake sama James Watson dan Francis Crick untuk menguraikan struktur DNA tanpa sepengathuan Rosalind. Ckckck. Alhasil Watson dan Crick memenangkan Nobel pada tahun 1962. Sayang, Rosalind sudah meninggal pada tahun 1958 sehingga tidak dapat protes karena fotonya dipake.

Lah brooo, kok nggak ada Marie Curie? Well. Keluarga nyonya Curie tidak sesimpel yang anda pikirkan bro. Untuk menghormati beliau, tidak cukup postingan satu paragraf menjelaskan kontribusi beliau kepada dunia. Nanti gue bakal semedi dulu untuk nulis tentang keluarga Curie.
Anyway, sampe sini dulu postingan memperingati hari wanita sedunia.

Sampe postingan selanjutnya!

Rumah dan Ricauan Rindu

Gelas-gelas di rumah itu penuh dengan warna cerah. Sirup srikaya, jeruk, mangga dan leci. Terkadang berisi buah naga, terkadang berisi agar-agar yang dipotong dadu. Ragamnya warna gelas itu juga menggambarkan suasana di rumah. Penuh dengan keceriaan, canda tawa. Lain waktu, rumah itu juga terkadang penuh dengan haru dan tangis. Saudara yang lama tak berjumpa dapat menebus waktu-waktu yang hilang di rumah itu. Lain lagi ketika kesulitan menerpa. Bergantian menyampaikan opini dan kemungkinan solusi untuk setiap masalah yang datang.

Setiap pertemuan ini penting. Hiruk pikuk kota Jakarta, debu yang merasuki setiap hela napas, dan panas matahari yang menusuk kerap membuat kita lupa untuk bahagia. Diburu tagihan dan tekanan milenium ketiga. Setiap tetes keringat yang keluar dari membanting tulang turut mengikis energi. Lantas untuk setiap energi yang terbakar, emosi juga ikut terkikis bersamanya. Semakin lelah, semakin mudah bersungut dan meninggikan suara. Pun juga dengan segala kesedihan yang kita rasakan untuk setiap kehilangan, kegagalan dan penolakan.

Konsentrasi perasaan ini jauh lebih buruk dampaknya daripada konsentrasi substansi apapun juga. Manusia bisa hidup melawan tumpukan daging yang kita beri nama tumor dan kanker. Manusia bisa hidup melawan akumulasi kolestrol di antara saluran nadi. Bahkan ada manusia yang mampu bertahan melawan sadisnya virus HIV. Namun tidak ada manusia yang dapat hidup di tengah konsentrasi rasa kesendirian.

Bumi sudah lebih dari lima kali mengelilingi matahari semenjak terakhir aku berada di dalam rumah itu. Layaknya mengapa Tuhan menciptakannya demikian, biar sebab menyebab rumah itu ditinggal tetap menjadi misteri. Rumah itu mungkin saat ini tampak runyam didera jaman. Namun bukan berarti tidak dapat kita tegakkan kembali. Oleh sebab pondasinya bukanlah beton ataupun baja yang fana. Pondasinya adalah setiap penghuninya. Selagi masih ada keinsafan untuk membangun rumah yang dipercayakan para leluhur, ia masih bisa dibangun lagi.

Teorinya, semakin beranjak usia seseorang, semakin sedikit kawan bicara orang tersebut. Akan lebih banyak teman sebaya yang pergi melintas menuju keabadian. Lantas kemanakah pekatnya perasaan tersebut dapat dicairkan? Pilihan yang semakin sedikit kelak hanya menyisakan keluarga. Baik itu saudara kandung yang masih diberikan usia maupun anak, cucu, sepupu dan keponakan.

Aku memang bukan orang yang pandai basa basi. Orang menganggapku canggung dan kaku. Terlalu logika bahkan. Namun bukan berarti aku tidak menyukai berkumpul dengan keluarga dan teman-temanku. Aku lebih menikmati mendengarkan cerita orang lain ketimbang mendengar celotehanku sendiri. Apalagi aku kurang mampu menghentikan laju bicara ku disaat aku sudah mulai berbicara.

Ini adalah sajak-sajak rinduku terhadap rumah itu. Dulu ketika rumah itu mulai kosong, tampak oma Remi dan oma Endut dengan gagah menopangnya sendiri. Momen Natal selalu menjadi momen bagi kami, para penghuni untuk kembali pulang dan berkumpul. Rumah itu kini sedang meradang. Penghuninya lupa dimana rumah, terjebak hingar bingar bumi manusia dan segala persoalannya.

Kita semua sedang berpacu dengan waktu. Semakin hari, waktu mengurangi peluang kita untuk saling bertukar cerita. Satu persatu penghunginya sudah mencapai garis akhir kehidupan. Dilain sisi, ego menambah peluang kita untuk silang dalam segala.

Ah, mungkin aku saja yang meradang ditikam rindu akan masa-masa itu.

Rasa-rasanya ingin sekali aku menghardik waktu. Aku ingin sekali kembali ke rumah itu. Aku rindu gelas-gelas berwarna warni dan keceriaan disana. Aku rindu harunya perjumpaan kembali. Aku rindu cerita-cerita mereka. Aku rindu.

Apakah berkumpul dengan keluarga besar perlu menunggu momen khusus seperti Natal? Lebaran? Pernikahan? Paskah? Idul Adha? Atau yang paling buruk, Pemakaman?*

Tak bisakah kita berkumpul atas dasar rindu semata?

*Pertanyaan yang muncul dikepalaku ketika menghadiri pemakan om Iim.