When the wealth of a few depends on the misery of the many, what is it about humans which makes us seek more than we need?
Although guardians of our hard-earned cash and savings continue to demonstrate that they want more than what we entrust them with, wealth is not always a matter of bank balances. For some, such as Imelda Marcos, it was a collection of shoes as if she were a centipede. For others, as demonstrated by alarming levels of obesity in 'rich' countries, including the urban centres of Indonesia, it's super-sized portions of unhealthy food.
And in Indonesia, it's access to power.
Once Indonesia's richest man, Abdurizal Bakrie has 'won' the chairmanship of Suharto's civilian powerbase, Golkar, by distributing loads of cash to the Party's regional offices rather than to the 'refugees' in East Java still awaiting compensation for the loss of their homes and livelihoods through the incompetence of his oil exploration company PT Lapindo Brantas.
His first act has been to handpick his executive committee, one that meets with the approval of SBY. Not only will Golkar join with the yet-to-be reinaugerated President's coalition, but at least one of the executive picked to head up Golkar's Think Tank, Rizal Mallarangeng, a former member of President Megawati's PDI-P, was a key member of SBY's re-election committee, albeit as spokesman for vice president-designate Boediono.
He is one of three (non-Marxist) brothers who have been Bakrie's and SBY's backroom since at least 2001. The key brother in SBY's campaign was probably the youngest brother Choel who is president director of a Bakrie-owned news portal, Fox Indonesia. He ran a carefully orchestrated Obama-style campaign, using social networks as much as slick TV ads, catchy jingles, and heavy use of polling.
The eldest brother, Andi, is literally the voice of the president, his spokesman.
Another member of Bakrie's executive is Titiek Prabowo, youngest daughter of Suharto and ex-wife of failed presidential candidate and human rights violator Lt. Gen.(ret.) Prabowo. She has been appointed as deputy to new secretary-general, Idris Markham, of whom I can find nothing.
These are Bakrie's (and SBY's) bedfellows - the same old, same old.
With the mass media in their control, if Indonesia is going to continue along the reformasi path in line with the aspirations of the rakyat, then it is essential that NGO's and civilian journalists strengthen and, in spite of differences of opinion, work collectively to ensure that our voices continue to be heard.