Indonesia Anonymus

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

To be continued

That seems to be the theme these days, since it is 'almost' certain that SBY will keep his job for another term.

It would be an understatement if we say we are not touched by the whole democratic process. Watching people going to the voting booth, having their say, and see for themselves how their votes actually matter.

You see, we here at the IA compound are not young (average age of 54) and we grew old under dictatorship. We never thought we would be alive to experience this:
Indonesia, directly electing its leader. Twice! Yet although we have only had done it twice, the whole process was so natural like we have done it hundreds of times.

You did it, Indonesia. Oh yes you did.

Sure it is not perfect (even America with its hundreds of years of democracy still has problem in election), but hey: the vote-counts are credible and the election commission although silly at times is still a trusted institution.
To put into perspective of how important this is, consider this: Iranians recently are going to the street in great numbers, taking the risk of beating, arrests, even getting killed, because the lack of these.

Credibility. Oh yes. Indonesia got it.

And one more thing: George Bush once said "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier" [1].

Not his best quote, but can help put one more thing into perspective. Yes, let's not forget that in all three tickets in this presidential race, there are three generals in all of them.

We, who grew up under military rule, once thought:
"Gee, if they want, they can just take the power, Thailand style..."
(That would be a nightmare, wouldn't it? Yet it happened in Thailand after they enjoyed a period of democracy [2]).

So the fact that the generals prefer to go through the democratic channel to gain power -- despite the risk of losing -- is a good thing.

So far so good. So what's next?

SBY promised not only to continue, but to do better, and with such big mandate, we surely hope he will be more aggressive this time around.

Other than that, we still think political parties need a growing up to do. You see, the problem is -- at least in our point of view -- political parties in Indonesia are not created to fight for certain set of principles or idealism. In America there are Democratic and Republican party. In England Labour and Conservative. Regardless who their leaders are, they do have different set of principles between one another.

In our country, political party is a vehicle: When Amien Rais wanted to run for presidency, he created a party. When SBY wanted to run, he created a party. Same with Wiranto. Same with Prabowo. A party is like a car: you get one when you need to go from point A to point B.

That brings us to the question: Other than fighting to get their man into office, what do political parties do? What are they fighting for? What set them apart? We don't know (yet). We don't even know why we have so many parties when despite different flags and t-shirt colors, they all talk the same.

It's shouldn't be this way beause we are not the same and we don't have to have the same idealism and principles in order to be a great country.

Even one question of "should the government stop people from smoking?" can stir an endless debate about principle among us here.

"That's a personal preference. We don't want a nanny state. Government should stay away".
"Oh shut up. Government should protect its people from harm. Cancer included."
"Oh really? What's next? Government go after you for not looking left and right before you cross the street?"

We do have differences and we do have different views and principles on how to make this country great. Political parties need to do some soul searching and find what values and what principles that drive them and set them apart.

That if they don't want to be just a vehicle. Taken for a ride the whole time.

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[1] CNN - Transition of Power: President-Elect Bush Meets With Congressional Leaders on Capitol Hill

[2] New York Times - Thailand

10 Comments:

Blogger Green Ping said...

nice point of view sir/mam.. I also think the same thing. Despite all the drama & weaknesses, we reach a certain point where we actualy living in a democracy country. And I can't hide it.. Im just simply proud.. :)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Green Ping,
thank you for dropping by.
Yes, we too can't hide it. It's just such a great feeling.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Q said...

Dear Sir,
thank you very much for writing this. you make me proud of being Indonesian and the thing we called democracy ... Indonesia Style!

4:32 PM  
Blogger @ said...

You put the whole thing on the bright side while others just see through the dark side...

8:14 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Q and @, thank you.
Democracy Indonesian style. Sounds great, doesn't it?
As looking at the bright side, we do try and it is important to acknowledge the progress that we have. It's not perfect, of course, but it is something.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous djaka said...

I know you guys here are mindful people. Thus, it intrigues me when you pointed that our parties shouldnt be as a vehicle but to have idealism. As if you dont know our people's desire (Soekarno said it ampera).

Our people repeatedly said, "yang penting anak2 bisa makan, sekolah, pinter, gak spt saya". That is the key! Whoever gives them secure feeling, they choose. They will certainly reject whoever tries to displace them from security. Actually, they dont choose, they reject.

That's my one cent.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Djaka,
we don't disagree with you.
We all want security, we all want to provide our children with decent nutrition, education etc.

But is that all?

Or do we need to - based on our idealism and views - think of what kind of Indonesia that we want in the future, and then educate the people to understand it?
Are we socialists (like many countries in Europe?). Are we a closet capitalists (adopt the system but dare not to admit?).
Do we want to mix the two and make it 'Indonesian style' of whatever it is? If yes then what?
Do we believe in big government? small government?

These are things that can cause endless debate even just among us here.

And we think, as a country, as Indonesia, we need to talk about this.
And for that, we need the political parties to initiate.
Because in the end, political parties exist to defend the view of the people whom they represent.

Is it not?

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Andre A said...

Democracy is a double-edged sword. Personally i don't think majority of Indonesians are ready for that degree of complexity yet, especially when they're still struggling for basic needs such as food and education. Look at those debates on TV, they said a lot of seemingly intelligible stuff which literally meant crap to the trained ears. Fooling the uneducated majority by beating around the bush doesn't go well in my books.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Andre,

good point and totally agree with you. Of course when it is brought up to the general public, it would have to be simplified and can't be too 'academic'.
We still think it is better to point out our differences in this areas rather than using differences in religion, race and ethnic group in the campaign. This is divisive and very dangerous, and yet this is what the candidates are doing.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Harga Komputer said...

SBY Lanjutkan semoga lebih baik!

1:33 PM  

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