Thinking Outside The Indonesian Box - 2009
A year ago I invited readers of Jakartass to uphold SBY's dictum to "Think Outside The Box". However, whereas he was then extorting the world's leaders to reach a consensus regarding the Bali round of Climate Change Conferences, I suggested that folk in greenhouses shouldn't throw stones and perhaps local politicians should be admonished for their myopic visions.
A number of fine essays were contributed to Thoughts Outside the Indonesian Box
(TOIB) and received general acclaim worldwide, particularly those which were concerned with Education.
This year will see at least two rounds of national elections: for the President who, with his/her government, will determine the country's direction, and the national legislature which may or may not ensure that government programmes and policies are adopted. Independent observers tend to be cynical as the legislators seemingly follow their own agendas such as seeking financial 'rewards' for granting infrastructure projects which invariably cause environmental destruction. They also appear to kowtow to Islamic groups, presumably because they are a sizeable proportion of the electorate, and prioritise non-essential and sectarian issues such as an anti-pornography law.
This most recent parliamentary session has seen a slew of politicians, both national and local, bureaucrats and other public servants, such as ambassadors and government ministers (both current and former), and from such institutions as Bank Indonesia and the Attorney General's office, face allegations of corruption. Many have been imprisoned - for which I believe SBY deserves much praise for allowing their prosecution and not interfering in the due process of the law.
The next round of elections will see some changes. The current House of 'Representatives' consists of handpicked cadres ranked according to their fundraising power by the political parties. Because electors voted for particular parties, who were allocated seats according to the number of votes cast for the party, rather than directly voting for particular candidates, this has ensured that the entrenched Suhartoist elite have clung on to their vestiges of power.
It has also lead to an incredible proliferation of political parties - 38 for Indonesia as a whole and four for the semi-autonomous region of Aceh (this list
needs amending) - established by politicians who have slipped down the pecking order of more established parties and are therefore fearful for their sinecures. Of course, there may well be one or two which have been established for purely altruistic reasons, but I don’t intend to examine each and every manifesto, assuming they yet exist, because there’s virtually zero chance of true independents getting within sniffing distance of a seat.
And therein lies the problem.
Although the Constitutional Court has ruled that candidates receiving the most votes should represent their parties, only candidates from those parties receiving more than 2.5% of the national vote will be allowed to take their seats, thus ensuring that the same old, same old parties, and the splinters thereof, are likely to grasp power.
There are few electors who can differentiate between the parties other than perhaps those which are pluralistic and those which promote religious values. Most parties, if not all, rely on personalities, recognisable from news media or popular entertainments.
To put it simplistically, who is Indonesia’s Obama Barack? Where is the promise of sound leadership for all Indonesians? Who has a manifesto with a clear vision offering security, welfare, reassurance and, above all, hope for future generations?
"Leaders with statesmanship should
(must?) prepare a strong foundation for their successors. By contrast, most politicians merely lay traps to hold citizens hostage by making them dependent on the ruling regime
."- P.Agung Pambudhi. Executive Director. Regional Autonomy Monitoring Ctte. (KPPOD)
As Jakartass, I am once again asking folk to join in a group writing exercise. Can we offer the manifestos which are - ahem - manifestly missing? Judging from last year’s contributions, this should not be a task beyond our capabilities.
As before, TOIB
will host the contributions, with links from my blog and hopefully yours too.Who can contribute?
Anyone who has the best interests of Indonesia and its multifarious folk at heart.Writing what?
Just think outside the box about how Indonesia could be a better place for all if visionaries of an ecumenical persuasion were able to promote their manifestos.
Please email me
with your suggestions, questions and, hopefully, draft contributions. I'll then reply with formatting information.Deadline
: February 13th (which is coincidentally my birthday).Possible topics/titles.
-- Green architecture.
-- Leftovers are all right.
-- Your country needs YOU.
-- Indonesia - a model democracy?
-- Now, why didn't they think of that?
-- A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
-- How religions can help offset climate change.
-- The world I'd like your grandchildren to live in.
-- Assessing the education of the education assessors.
-- What if the State paid everyone a basic 'social allowance'?Writing style?
From academic to argumentative, from serious to satirical, from readable to risible ~ whatever you're comfortable with.
I'll send formatting guidelines later to all prospective contributors.Small Print
I reserve editorial rights, although these would only be exercised with your approval.