For its work in improving the economic and social well-being of palm oil smallholders, Asian Agri has been in the media spotlight recently. Three articles in the Jakarta Post covered...
“My dad is a superhero,” declared Ms Dwi, 36, tears welling in her eyes and the rich baritone of her voice quivering as a lifetime of memories of her late father Mr Yus Herman in an instant came flooding back.
Mr Yus Herman was born in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau on the vast island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Wanting to make a better life for his family, he made a decision to resign from his post as a civil servant in 1992 and uprooted his household to Kerinci, then a mere village of 200 dwellings that was starting to see the stirrings of transformation as APRIL subsidiary Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) began operations.
A serial entrepreneur before the word even became vogue, Mr Yus Herman first ran a canteen, followed by a transportation business, before starting SMAF Buses, a shuttle provider today managed by his wife and three children.
“My husband was often mocked for trying new things,” recalled Mdm HJ Darneti, 66.
“Like his transportation business in Kerinci, he was the first to try that venture. In the beginning, people were sceptical. After it ran well, others followed in his footsteps,” Mdm Darneti added, her face brightening as she took joy in sharing her late husband’s trailblazing streak.
What was most singular and unchanging about Mr Yus Herman, however, was his dedication to his family and his determination to use less on himself so that his loved ones could have more.
“My father only went to the hospital before he died,” said Ms Dwi, choking back tears.
“He never spent any money when he was sick. What he always looked for, until his passing, was our happiness. That’s why I say that my father is a superhero. He earned his living so he could make his kids, grandchildren, wife and in-laws happy,” Ms Dwi intimated, the fierce pride a daughter takes in her father’s silent love for his family visible in her firm gaze and audible through the rasp of her voice.
Today, SMAF runs a fleet of 60 buses that every morning ferries thousands of RAPP employees to their fields of operations. Like the resplendent bougainvillea that greets visitors to the family’s home, SMAF has bloomed into a company of 90 workers and chalks up an enviable annual turnover of IDR 14.4 billion. (read more)
SMAF’s success — a result of relentlessly tilling the ground and persisting despite difficulties — mirrors the growth of its hometown of Kerinci.
Where once most inhabitants were either fishermen or illegal loggers, today Kerinci has blossomed into a town of more than 100,000 inhabitants whose residents enjoy vastly enhanced connectivity with 11,000 kilometres of newly-paved road, an airport, as well as two shipping ports that deliver pulp, paper and oil palm products to the rest of the world.
Mr Yus Herman passed away on Nov 5, 2014 from lymphatic cancer, but his legacy lives on. We are proud to share the story of the late Mr Yus Herman and his family with you.
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