Probosutedjo was born in Kemusuk village, Yogyakarta, Central Java, on the 1st of May 1930. Born to his father, Atmoprawiro, and his mother, Soekirah, he is the fifth child of a family of ten.
There is an interesting story about his date of birth. As with many Javanese who were born before independence, their dates of birth were initially calculated according to the Javanese calendar and then converted to the standard calendar. Probosutedjo’s date of birth was at first miscalculated, but he did not know this. Therefore, for a long time, Probosutedjo thought that his birthday fell on the 15th of July 1930.
One day he made an announcement to his family that, after careful recalculation by an expert, it was discovered that he was actually born on the 1st of May 1930. For those of you who are interested in astrology, this marks a significant change from the gentle, romantic Cancer to the determined, uncompromising Taurus. People who know him well would probably argue that Probosutedjo’s character better resemble the toughness of the Taurus Sign. This birth date mistake seems particularly amusing when one goes through his old, unused briefcases where the combinations of the numbers 15-07-30 could still be found as his old key lock combination.
Probosutedjo’s name is also unique. Probosutedjo was born as Suprobo. Traditionally all Javanese men change their names when they are married. The new name combines that of their fathers’ and father- in- laws’ names. However, for Probosutedjo, the main reason for his name change was because he was often ill as a child. According to Javanese beliefs, when a child falls ill many times then he/she must change their name. At first, the name Probosutedjo was separated as Probo Sutedjo. Later this was corrected to read Probosutedjo. His unique relationship with the former second President of Indonesia, H.M. Soeharto, make him a prominent figure in Indonesia.
The name change, and the act of consulting an expert in Javanese culture, shows that Probosutedjo is a man who has a profound cultural connection to his roots. His love for his country’s culture has manifested itself in his collection of Javanese antiquities (such as Keris), jewelry and art. He even purchased and transported an entire Kudus house (an exquisitely and intricately carved antique wooden house) to his backyard in Jakarta. Probosutedjo loved the house so much that, at first, he started using it as his personal office. The magnificence of the Kudus house can now be seen in the Royal Presidential Suite in Le Meridien Hotel Jakarta.
Probosutedjo’s devotion to his culture did not stop with simply collecting Javanese antiquities. He has helped to preserve many important historical Javanese buildings and heritage sites as well.
In spite of being a traditional man, Probosutedjo recognises the importance of the advancement of knowledge in Indonesia and how the transfer of knowledge from other countries can help to facilitate this. Due to this, he has assisted dozens of gifted young men and women to study abroad.
Within Indonesia, Probosutedjo has built two universities: the University of Mercu Buana, located in West Jakarta, and the University of Wangsa Menggala, located in his hometown, Yogyakarta. The University of Mercu Buana is the larger one of the two and currently has three campuses in the Jakarta area.
Probosutedjo spends a lot of time and energy, as well as his own personal wealth, to help the less fortunate. In addition to building the two universities, he has assisted in building primary and secondary schools, mosques, and has even sponsored gifted students to continue their studies at institutes of higher education.
Perhaps because of his participation in the war of independence, and/or his loss of both parents due to that war, that Probosutedjo is so dedicated to lending a helping hand to the Indonesian people. By the age of nineteen, Probosutedjo had lost both of his parents. Now at the age of 82, he continues to rebuild Indonesia’s neglected rice production capacity, in an effort so that his people can once again enjoy abundant rice supplies at affordable prices.
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Probosutedjo, at the ripe old age of 82, is still engaged in business and social activities. To him, the objective of business is not only to make a profit, but also to improve the welfare and standard of living of the people of Indonesia. Through hard work and good fortune, he is also able to give back to the community through his many social endeavours. These social endeavours provide an avenue through which he is able help assist the development of this country according to his own ideals. For example, by building schools and universities he is able to directly raise the quality of education in this country.
The same can be said about Probosutedjo’s efforts to increase the production of rice in Indonesia. These efforts result from his dream to live in an Indonesia that is self-sufficient in its own domestic rice production. Without exception, rice is the most important staple food in this country. It is this country’s most important yardstick by which the level of the impoverished is truly measured. If a family cannot afford to buy rice for their family, they are truly considered poor. Therefore, it has been the dream of many generations of patriots to live in an Indonesia that has an affordable and abundant supply of rice. For Probosutedjo, the achievement of this goal would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
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A Handful of Tribute
Nguda Roso Mulat Sariro
(Statement from the Heart)
Faith of the Business Teacher
Vision and Passages towards Success as a National Businessman
H.Probosutedjo: An Eyewitness Account of History
The Fall of Governments - Soekarno's - Soeharto's - B.J.Habible's - Gus Dur's
HTI (Industrial Forest): Building A Future
Cultivating the Nation's Distinction
Longing Prosperity of the people
(Media Reflection 1974 - 2005)
Expression from Cipinang Penitentiary
Methodology by H.Probosutedjo and associates:
Towards Rice Supply Sufficiency
"Culture Innovation of Rice Production To Imrpove the Social Economy of its Farmers"
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Yayasan Menara Bhakti
The foundation was established by Mr. Probosutedjo on May 6th, 1976
University of Mercu Buana
The University of Mercu Buana was established on Oct. 22nd, 1985 under Yayasan Menara Bhakti. For more information please visit http://www.mercubuana.ac.id/
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