erdinant (Ferdi) Tjiong is a highly regarded member of the learning community at Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS), where he has worked for over 17 years. He is a person who is always willing to take on additional responsibility, and does so with a warm smile and a genuine desire to support and help others. “Ferdi never seeks recognition for the good work that he does,” said a teacher colleague at JIS, “He is one of the most humble, kind, and compassionate people with whom I have worked.” Ferdi’s professionalism, gracious disposition, and propensity for learning are examples to both students and colleagues. He takes his work seriously and continuously seeks to make himself a better educator and human being. Ferdi does all this with an endearing sense of humour and thoughtful consideration of those around him.
Ferdi was born in Jakarta on December 15th, 1972, the youngest in a family of 5. His father worked as a security guard at one of the biggest bookstores in Jakarta. He worked hard and saved to buy a three bedroom house for the family. Ferdi’s mother stayed home to look after the children.
Ferdi attended Catholic schools in Jakarta from elementary through to high school. His family was eligible for a discount on fees which helped the family financially. Despite having a strong interest in Biology and Agriculture, Ferdi decided to go to the University of Budi Luhur majoring in Computer Information.
Ferdi has always been passionate about soccer. As a child he played everyday and remembers his mother getting upset with him because he always came home with dirty clothes and shoes. Ferdi’s solution to this problem was to play neighbourhood soccer with bare feet and take his school shirt off and only wear his singlet!
His other passion is poetry. He has enjoyed reading and writing poetry since his elementary school days. He loved entering poetry competitions and sometimes was lucky enough to win. He also loved drama and enjoyed the annual Christmas plays at school. At university his love of the outdoors was heightened when he joined the Mountain Club. He loves nature and hiking, and the mountains, forests and the beach hold a special attraction. At one stage he even dreamed of working as a forest ranger. He mentioned this to Sisca once when they were dating and she said that she would have to reconsider marrying him if he took that path!
Ferdi’s latest hobby is Betta fish farming. Breeding and looking after these fish takes up a lot of his time. He sees this as a hobby he can continue into old age, well after his soccer playing days have passed.
Since his college days, Ferdi has always liked to work and while at college he worked as a salesman in a bookstore. During his final semester at college he started working at JIS as a bus chaperone, then moved into a full time position as a Resource Center Aide. A year later he was promoted to Resource Center Assistant where he worked for 5 years. In 2005, when Naya was born, Ferdi decided he wanted to spend his holidays at home with his new baby daughter so he applied to move to a classroom aide position. He has worked in grades 1, 3 and 4.
Ferdi and Sisca met during orientation in his last semester at college. They dated for four years, were engaged for two years and then finally, twelve years ago, they got married. Two years later their first baby girl was born and three years after that another beautiful baby girl was born.
Since the girls arrived, Ferdi’s passion has been his family. On the weekends he loves to spend his time playing with his girls or taking them to the mall, looking after his fish and going to church and monthly prayer meetings. He and Sisca work as a team to look after their family and Ferdi is a very active and involved father. He loves the nighttime rituals of teeth brushing, a glass of milk and a bedtime story. He considers these the best moments of his life.
To quote Ferdi: “I love my wife and my daughters so much. They are my spirit of my life. I feel blessed and I thank God all the time and I miss them so much!”