[Biography] Life Journey of Habibie

Mega Puspita Pandiangan

In this non-fiction essay I choose to write about B.J Habibie biography. B.J.Habibie is a popular man in Indonesia and almost the entire world because of the history of his life, so I am very excited telling about him. According to some researches that I’ve read, B.J Habibie in full name Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie was born in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi, on June 25, 1936. He was the fourth child of eight siblings, spouse Alwi Abdul Jalil Habibie and RA. Tuti Marini Puspowardojo. Habibie passed his childhood with his brothers in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi. As a child, Habibie liked swimming, reading, singing, riding his father’s racehorses, and building model airplanes.

The nature firmly adhered to the principle has been demonstrated Habibie since childhood. On 3 September 1950, when Habibie was 13 years old, his father suffered a heart attack and died. Shortly, after his father died, his mother sold their house and moved to Bandung. As a single parent, her mother worked hard to afford their life. Until he was in senior high school, Habibie showed his great achievement, especially in science subjects. In his school, he became a favorite student for teacher and his friends.

After he graduated from high school, he continued his study in Bandung Institute of Technology (now ITB). During his study in ITB, he looking for scholarship and finally he got a scholarship from the government to study abroad. Then, he continued his study in Germany. At the Technische Hochschule of Aachen, Habibie studied aircraft construction engineering. When he arrived in Germany, he determined to be successful because he remembered the struggle of his parents to afford his course cost and his daily life.

Several years later, in 1955, almost all of the Indonesian students got full scholarship. He was the only one who held green passport among his friends. For Habibie, holiday season is not holiday because he used the time for work and study. That was a gold chance to make money for buying books and having examination. After holiday, all activities were suspended, except studying. So we know that he didn’t have time relax or playing with his friends. After with the struggle in his study, finally he received his Diploma from the Technische Hochschule, Germany in 1960 with cumlaude predicate with average score 9.5 and then getting Doctorate from the same place in 1965. Habibie was also the first Asian person who had high position in plane industry of Germany.

On May 12, 1962 on a visit home to Indonesia, he was married to a doctor, Hasri Ainun Besari. After the wedding ceremony, he brought Ainun to Germany and was blessed with two sons namely Akbar and Thareq Kemal and was both born in Germany.

After graduating with a doctoral degree from the Aachen Institute in 1965, Habibie joined the aircraft manufacturing firm Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Bluhm, rising to the rank of vice-president. As a research scientist and aeronautical engineer, he helped design several planes, including the DO-31, an innovative vertical takeoff and landing craft. He specialized in solutions for aircraft cracking, gaining the nickname “Mr. Crack” as one of the first scientists to calculate the dynamics of random crack propagation. He also became involved in international aircraft marketing activities and NATO’s defense and economic development.

In 1974, Suharto recruited Habibie to return to Indonesia as a part of Suharto’s drive to industrialize and develop the country. Habibie jump-started an aircraft construction industry and a state airline company. Soon he became Suharto’s chief advisor for high-technology development. Habibie exploited the relationships he had developed in Germany and NATO to engineer a myriad of controversial deals involving aircraft, ships, heavy industry, and economic development.

When he came back to Indonesia, he applied his knowledge and experiences that he got during his life in Germany to build plane industry in Indonesia. After three years he lived in Indonesia, he got Professor Title from ITB. Then, he became the minister of research and technology for 20 years. On March 11, 1998, Habibie was elected as the 7th vice president of Indonesia by the decision of parliamentary session.

In 1993 he unveiled the first Indonesian-developed plane, which he helped design, and in the following year he launched a plan to refurbish more than three dozen vessels bought from the former East German navy at his initiative. Meanwhile, in 1990 Habibie was appointed head of the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association, and during the 1993 central-board elections of the country’s ruling party, Golkar. Habibie helped the children and allies of President Suharto rise to top positions, easing out long-standing military-backed power brokers. By the late 1990s Habibie was viewed as one of several possible successors to the aging Suharto.

In March 1998 Suharto appointed Habibie to the vice presidency, and two months later, in the wake of large-scale violence in Jakarta, Suharto announced his resignation. Thrust unexpectedly into the country’s top position, Habibie immediately began to implement major reforms. He appointed a new cabinet; fired Suharto’s eldest daughter as social affairs minister as well as his longtime friend as trade and industry minister; named a committee to draft less-restrictive political laws; allowed a free press; arranged for free parliamentary and presidential elections the following year; and agreed to presidential term limits (two five-year terms). He also granted amnesty to more than 100 political prisoners.

In 1999 Habibie announced that East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that had been invaded by Indonesia in 1975, could choose between special autonomy and independence; the territory chose independence. Indonesia held free general elections (the first since 1955) in June, as promised. Later that year Habibie ran for president, but he withdrew his candidacy shortly before the October election, which was won by Abdurahman Wahid. After Wahid took office, Habibie essentially stepped out of politics, although in 2000 he
established the Habibie center, a political research institute.

References:

· http://www.britannica.com/biography/B-J-Habibie

· http://biography.yourdictionary.com/bacharuddin-jusuf-habibie

· http://www.ib-article.com/2012/08/biography-bj-habibie.html

Word count: 971 words

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