Coolies or Entrepreneurs

Apr 16th, 2007, in Business & Economy, by

Indonesia as a nation of coolies or entrepreneurs.

The rector of Sultan Agung Islamic university (Unissula) in Semarang, Rofiq Anwar, says Indonesia will become a nation of coolies, i.e. a source of cheap labour for the rest of the world, if people do not become self-directed and independent.

Every year Indonesia produces hundreds of thousands of graduates armed with a higher education degree in various disciplines yet the condition of the country does not improve, the graduates do not develop an entrepreneurial spirit and become successful.

Indonesians just prefer to work under others' leadership, they don't try to become leaders themselves.

Because of this Indonesia could become a coolie nation for other countries. While president Sukarno used to say that under Dutch colonialism Indonesia was "a nation of coolies and a coolie among nations", Anwar asked about 90 management students at the university:

Do you want to become a coolie in your own [independent] country?

The recent case of IPDN had shown that education in Indonesia was failing to prepare the next generation of leaders, or "khalifah":

Is IPDN a school of murderers?

Not only education was failing but also the justice system, as proven by the recent shameful aquittal of Playboy editor Erwin Arnada.

Sultan Agung Islamic university (Unissula)
High-tech and entrepreneurial at Sultan Agung Islamic university.

There was still hope however. To prevent Indonesia from falling into coolie status the rector advised that a positive mental attitude be developed, because this would lead to useful knowledge being gained more easily. suaramerdeka


7 Comments on “Coolies or Entrepreneurs”

  1. avatar Robert says:

    Indonesians just prefer to work under others’ leadership, they don’t try to become leaders themselves.

    Does this apply to all Indonesians? Irrespective of their cultural background? I remember from history class that certain people in Indonesia didn’t want to become coolies under Dutch rule: the Acehnese. Did that change now? For which group of people does he speak?

    Not only education was failing but also the justice system, as proven by the recent shameful aquittal of Playboy editor Erwin Arnada.

    The fact that the rector of Unissula, Rofiq Anwar, mentions this item as a failure clearly shows what is wrong. As long as people spend more time dealing with bullsh*t items like the persecution of Erwin Arnada, instead of dealing with economic and educational issues, an entrepreneurial spirit won’t be developed.

    There was still hope however. To prevent Indonesia from falling into coolie status the rector advised that a positive mental attitude be developed, because this would lead to useful knowledge being gained more easily.

    Did he also mention how this positive mental attitude can be developed? And more, what it is?

  2. avatar Oigal says:

    “Not only education was failing but also the justice system, as proven by the recent shameful aquittal of Playboy editor Erwin Arnada.”

    Glad to see the focus on the real issues. Idiots.

  3. avatar pj_bali says:

    Geez what an a%^hole. I’ve worked with lots of Indonesian graduates both from local and foreign universities. Certainly the bright ones can compete with graduates anywhere else in the world. Pak Anwar does the university system a disservice – maybe he should restrict his comments to his own students.

    Actually it’s the system that defeats the entreprenurial spirit here. Consider if you start your business from modest beginnings and have a good business plan or idea. If you have some success it isn’t long before there are 50 businesses on your street marketing the same/product service. Then along comes the police, army, local neighborhood security groups, local religious groups, etc., all of which expect some form of protection money (protecting you from themselves in most cases). After these guys the next group looking for handouts will be government officials who need to be paid off so that you can get the electricity or telephone line that you needed tomorrow in less than one year. After all of that if you are still making money then (in the the worst case) one of the big players will take an interest in your idea and you will find yourself forced to sell or abandon your business.

    The challenge for young entrepreneurs are something like this: How to be successful while appearing to be unsuccessful thereby slipping the radar of the various parasitic groups out there.

    It’s a daunting challenge for anyone.

    Cheers

  4. avatar Sputjam says:

    For entrepreneurship to survive, the successful should not be treated like pariahs. Tax system should be just and the rich and poor alike should contribute to the government coffers.

    Presently the tax man is interested in penalising the rich only. Luxury items are taxed heavily, such as cars etc.

    The rich and succesful therefore feel unwanted in their own society and send any excess amount of their wealth overseas.

    Reward the rich and they will continue investing and provide jobs to the society. Having said that, every segment of the society should be taxed. Only then does everyone feel obligated to upkeep public properties with respect, as it came from their own pocket.

  5. avatar DoOs says:

    I must agree with the article though it is going towards a blind spot. Eventually with more skilled employers in Indonesia will benefit the economy literally, since unemployment rate will be reduced.

    However, for few reasons Indonesia does require Entrapreneuralship to build in the supply side of the economy. Right now both issues clashes together where Entrapreneurs chasing not enough labor force, but also not enough investment from the Entrapreneurs.

    So call this article a dead one, the tittle is already leading us to an edge.
    Indonesia cannot be a “Nation of Coolies or Entrepreneurs” – we must consider the fact that it must be a “Nation of Coolies and Entrepreneurs”

  6. avatar Dragonwall says:

    Whether coolies or entrepreneurs it doesn’t matter in words, the most important thing is that they must keep Indonesia moving.

  7. avatar Benjamin says:

    Open up more to foreign business, attract world class companies with tax incentives and offshore banking, bring in the technology sector, combine the tax incentives with an employment quota of Indonesian nationals and investment into education, compete directly with India in the technology sectors by providing a more competative package, compete with China for production and retailing, and capitalize on the tourism market.

    The government needs to set up ‘zones’ of business, much like those in places such as Singapore, Dubai, California, etc. Create the playing field and let the entrepreneurs take it from there…

    Indonesia should be a hugely wealthy nation, its up to the young people to make the changes, in order to succeed as an entrepreneur, once needs the right policies in place, and the right business environment….

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