A Jakarta Post editorial this week is basically a plea for the Jakarta City Government to trust in its community of citizens in order to effect programmes for all and not just the élite.As long as Jakarta Governor Fauzi Wibowo and the City Council stick to the old paradigm, where the two institutions "who know best" have sole rights to decide the city's aims and goals, they will keep missing our targets. They have no choice but to involve the public fully, from the very beginning, in the decision-making process for the city's development goals, processes and budget-making.
There is a lack of transparency in the deliberation process
- many budgetary meetings, between councilors and city government officials, are held in closed-door sessions to which the public are denied access. Councilors have reportedly shifted funding into less urgent items [and] cuts affect budget allocations including those for education, road damage repairs, flood mitigation projects and poverty eradication.
It is surely time that ALL elected officials are subject to recall by the public whose votes they court, rather than to the folk whose patronage they depend on for their position. (Although SBY was directly elected, he could not have to stand without the financial backing of Abdurizal Bakrie, the Minister for His Family's Welfare.) At the risk of offending those Muslim councillors in City Hall who have not been corrupted and are not party to the misappropriation of the people's funds, this system of kow-towing to patrons is similar to pork barrel politics
Perhaps a more appropriate analogy is to picture their snouts in the trough
At the national level, there is a caucus of regional representatives. They may not yet be an effective lobby, but the proposal by the ruling remnants of the old New Order to allow membership of the Regional Representatives Group by 'delegates' from established political parties must be resisted.
Trust your local representatives. If you cannot communicate with them, then they don't deserve your trust because they won't be representing your interests, but their own.
A community I am
part of and proud of, albeit from very far, is Charlton Athletic
, a football club which is moderately successful on the pitch, but phenomenally successful in the local community. This is very much due to the development of a Community Trust
which offers out-of-school activities, literacy programmes alongside children's football training, and which sponsors the revived women's team."All of our efforts are geared towards becoming a community-orientated organisation.
"It's all part of developing a sustainable business case in which all our community activities ultimately lead to the expansion of the Charlton brand and the supporter base of the football club. This is now widely known as 'return on social investment', and many other well known brands, such as Marks & Spencer, are developing their business strategy around this philosophy.
"Corporate social responsibility is increasingly becoming important, and we ahead of the game in the football sector and should be able to capitalise on our community investment by increasing our commercial return over the coming years."
This community investment is not only within Charlton's catchment area, the one I grew up in, but is also increasingly global. This is rightly praised by FIFA
, the world football controlling body.Teams in China PR, Belgium and South Africa are closely allied to a club that, while far from London's most fashionable or successful, has nonetheless carved out a superb reputation for its progressive and innovative community and youth development work. It is only over the past few years that this 103-year-old club has opted to use this expertise to develop its appeal round the world, and pick up a few talented players in the process.As Charlton chief executive Peter Varney explained: "We invest, and actually part-finance, their academies to make sure they continue to exist and then there is an arrangement by which we can take the better players."
Notice that Charlton are giving before they take. Oh, and we won last night
Another under-rated community generally deserving of our trust is the teaching profession. Dr.Bruce, who has been teaching maths and technology here for nigh on 20 years, has contributed What I'd Like To Teach The Teachers
to the Thoughts Outside The Indonesian Box
project. Very few parents or teachers will disagree with his fundamental premise: schools are a community of interest that demands mutual respect - students, teachers, parents and school managers alike.
This project has attracted a lot of interest. Following notification of a few late submissions I have decided to continue to solicit essays which push the envelope (of the intellectual rather than brown type) and are truly Thoughts Outside The Indonesian Box.
Do feel free to contribute or comment.