Feb 27, 2012
AUSCI's R3 (Run for Reading Rooms) - Bali Marathon 2012 edition

February 27th, 2012

Dear Friends & Alumni of USC,

First of all I would like to ask everybody to "join hands" and congratulate USC alumna Vanessa Hendriadi, for having completed her first Full marathon (42.195 km) at the "Standard Chartered Bank's Hong Kong Marathon" on February 5th, AND, most importantly, for having been proposed to by her boyfriend (now fiancé) Adrian Li at THE FINISH LINE (they ran together)!

Talk about a MEMORABLE finish! BIG congratulations to Vanessa and Adrian!

Through her marathon, Vanessa raised over Rp.100jt, enough funds to build at least two (2) additional libraries for our CerdasBang! program (CLICK HERE for photos/details)

As some of you'd known, AUSCI is on many missions, one of which is the CerdasBang! (short for men-Cerdaskan Bangsa) program, which builds libraries (reading-rooms) in the primary schools of Indonesia's impoverished areas. Our vision is to complete 50 CerdasBang! libraries by 2015, with this singular goal = giving young Indonesian children access to more books.

Under the guidance of Andru Subowo and fellow members of the AUSCI committee, we are ON TRACK to complete 29 CerdasBang! libraries by the end of 2012 (in Sidoarjo, Padang, and villages in Central Java). Not bad for a bunch of alumni from the "University of Spoiled Children" huh?

Right on the heel of Vanessa's achievement (without the getting engaged part), I have been encoraged to literally follow in her footsteps. I will undertake the biggest physical challenge of my life, by participating in my first Full Marathon, this one in our own backyard = "The BII Maybank BALI Marathon" on April 22nd, 2012.

In scenic South Central Los Angeles, where USC is located, the friendly neighborhood gangstas have a saying "if you want to talk the walk, you better walk the talk." And I would like to do my part, by trying to walk (or run) the talk.

I have only began running regularly last year, around August 2011. That was because fellow committee Robby Budiman had asked me to join the Adidas' "King of the Road" 10K run. I wasn't ready to do that, but my curiosity had been tickled. Why are so many people running? Can I do it; can my knees take it (especially since I am overweight)? So I signed up for the 10K Jakarta Race for Cancer last October.

To make a long story short, after that Jakarta Race for Cancer, I kept running on my own, and I finally signed up for the Bali Marathon in mid January (this being the first marathon in Indonesia in over 20 years is also a major motivating factor for me).

Thus far, I've gone through severe, infected, blisters on my feet (requiring 2 injections to heal), pains in my knees, back, and other parts of my body; and still Fighting On to prepare for April 22nd.

To date, the furthest I've ran is 22K, which is about half a marathon. To be honest, I'd wanted to quit a few times, particularly when my knees are throbbing after a long run.

Seeing Vanessa finish her first marathon has given me an extra dose of encouragement, and, emulating her efforts, I would like to invite all of you to help bring CerdasBang! closer to the finish line.

To be honest, I do not know yet if I can finish the 42.19 km marathon on April 22nd. I have to challenge myself to complete the tough, undulating, Bali's course.

For those willing, I would like to encourage a kind PLEDGE from you, to donate funds to CerdasBang!, OR, a charity of YOUR CHOICE, in conjunction with this effort.

Now, if I don't make it to the finish line, the pledge becomes optional. If I do make it, please go ahead and donate your pledged funds to CerdasBang!, OR, said charity-of-your-choice.

Please e-mail this pledge of yours, the amount, and the intended beneficiary, and whom/how it will benefit people in need, to e-mail: hs@ausci.org BEFORE April 21st.

To help entice your participation, I will also MATCH each pledge UP TO a total of Rp. 40 million (my matching funds will go to CerdasBang!), the necessary cost to build one (1) library in SD Negeri Mangunan at Sleman, Central Java.

By the way, corporations who would like to "name" a new CerdasBang! library or two are most welcome, perhaps as a tangible effort for your organization's CSR program.

When my feet/knees/lungs/head are begging me to quit in kilometer 25 or thereafter, I will be thinking of CerdasBang! and/or the various charities that will benefit, to help carry me through, hopefully, to the finish line.

If you had been meaning to pledge a donation to a charitable cause, now is the time. Let's do some good TOGETHER. E-mail me your pledge, and I'll sweat this one out on your behalf.

How about that guys and gals? Your encouragement and support is sorely needed, to carry me through those grueling last ten-fifteen kilometers on April 22nd, and most importantly, to benefit others in need.

For now, I humbly ask for your support and prayers that I will remain injury free until April 22nd in Bali, and beyond.


Holip Soekawan
AUSCI, President

PS: AUSCI is 100% non-profit. In fact, we are in the process of retaining a professional auditory firm to keep our books on the up and up. We, the Alumni of USC in Indonesia is legit, and audited!

PSS: For my non-USC friends, the term "Fight On!" is not a call to fight. It is USC's slogan. And it's a good one at that, as eloquently put in the gentler form "Press On!" by US President Calvin Coolidge:

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence."

Talent will not;
nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education wil not;
the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan 'Press On' (Fight On!) has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."