Democracy & Asian Values

Jun 24th, 2007, in News, by

Western-style democracy is not suitable for Indonesia.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has reiterated his wariness toward the application of Western-style democracy in Indonesia.

Jusuf Kalla
Jusuf Kalla.

Speaking to a visiting delegation from the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) on June 18th, Kalla said a Western type democracy in Indonesia would create injustice and inequality.

Western-style democracy, such as that in Europe or the United States, can't just easily be applied here. It has to be made suitable to the conditions and culture of Indonesia.

Kalla also said that democracy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to achieve prosperity, and that democracy in Indonesia was already too advanced, and even more than the form applied in the Netherlands.

Kalla has repeatedly stated that the application of democracy in Indonesia has been too excessive and has hampered the country's economic growth. Earlier this month, on a visit to China, he said Indonesia had the same ability for fast economic growth like China but that greater respect of individual freedom had hampered potential growth. jakartapost

China's strength is that it can plan and implement. Our system, which is too democratic, with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us to build infrastructure

He said the excess of democracy in the country has materialized in street rallies and riotous House of Representatives sessions.

The Vice President's latest comments echo those of former president Soeharto and former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who said that Eastern societies have their own versions of democracy which uphold harmony and consensus, or "Asian values". gatra


48 Comments on “Democracy & Asian Values”

  1. ASIAN VALUES???

    Bollock (as Indcoup would say)!

    Asian values, what is it about?; I wonder. I guess it has something to do with hardworking (near to slavery maybe), authoritarianism (disguised as patronism), and not to forget frumpy people. Oh oh, and lack of privacy, and politeness. Not being able to integrate among themselves, probably due to the center of the world mentality that we cling on. Yep, I guess that’s all.

    Of course, we should not forget to include hypocrisy.

    Geesh.

    Just look at the majority of asian societies, Singapore, malaysia, china, etc.
    Thailand probably is the nicer among them.

    Geesh, pinches ignorantes.

    Additional: how sort sighted this guy is.

    Looks like he’s eager to copy China model, for his own benefit probably. Sure, in China model development is more efficient; because they don’t have to take into account people’s objections. “You want a port?, ok tommorow you’ll have it. We’ll just move the residents to somewhere else, no big deal.” We’ve been there, and he wants to go back.

    Sure, he has money, and he can benefit tremendously from that model.

    This kind of argumentation from him “” using China as an example model “” really make me furious. This is kind of dangerous if the people in Indonesia buy his “idea”. Keeping people ignorant “” by spoonfeeding them “” is the key.

    I always believe democracy in the long run is much better. I’m not too impressed about China btw.

  2. avatar Boni says:

    I agree that Democracy should not be seen as the end result but way to achieve prosperity.

    However, there is no such things as excess Democracy. The beauty in Democracy is the right to speak up and freedom to choose what you want to do without being told and dictated by so called religious leaders and pious politicians.

    Democracy give bigger share of power in people hands through elections and protests. The fact is that Indonesians are still along way from the ideal Democracy. Press is not really free press yet, many journalists are still beaten, sued, arrested, even murdered simply because they were reporting the truth.

    We need more freedom so that we can control our corrupt government, so that our senators in house of representatives fight for our demands, so that the government can work effectively to stop deforestation, so that our police department spend more time keeping our neighbourhood safe, so that politicians like Mr. Kalla can focus to eliminate poverty step by step instead of enriching themselves in public office. so that we can sleep well at night.

  3. avatar Colson says:

    @Putu alberto lee/ boni: You are absolutely right! The problem is not an overdosis of democracy, but lack of – and an imperfect democracy. Especially lack of democratic mentality and attitude of those who are in power.

    It’s a chilling idea the vice-president of Indonesia may think China is a suitable model. Indeed economic growthrates of the socalled communist “People’s Republic” are astonishing. But one should remember this is about figures of macro-economics. When is comes to daily living conditions, there is only the blinding wealth of 1% of the population, which is at the expense of the desparate living conditions of the other 99%. Not unlike it was during the Suharto era at home.

    The appalling gap between the rich and the poor is not closed by applying the China-model. On the contrary. It would be growing, like it is now in China.

    In a full blown democracy mr Yusuf Kalla would have to step down after a speech like this.

  4. avatar Robert says:

    @Putu Alberto Lee:
    You are right, when politicians start talking about ‘Asian values’ or ‘customizing’ democracy the asian way it means that authoritarianism, oppression of human rights, limiting press freedom will enter the political picture. The common man will be grinded in the wheels of the political powers.

    @Boni.
    Excess democracy is also new to me. Never realized that Indonesia had too much democracy. I realize that for people Like Yusuf Kalla, there will always be too much democracy. Everything that is threatening his (financial) position is considered a result of democracy and must get abandonned.

    @Colson:
    I fully agree with you that china’s economic growth comes at the expense of the common man who has to work like a slave to make this growth possible. The gap between the (very) rich and (very) poor is getting wider every day. It is the clearest example of 21st century Neo-Colonialism. Poor people working their *sses off so in the West people can have their jeans and sneakers etc.

    ————————————————————————-

    Kalla said:

    Kalla said a Western type democracy in Indonesia would create injustice and inequality.

    This statement suggests that justice and equality are the standard now, and that western-style democracy would aggravate matters. What did he smoke when he made his comments?

    Western-style democracy, such as that in Europe or the United States, can’t just easily be applied here. It has to be made suitable to the conditions and culture of Indonesia.

    Suitable in what ways then? Kalla doesn’t clarify this. This argument has been used a thousand times by dictators, authoritarian rulers etc. And by all who fear that democracy may hit them in their wallet.

    Kalla also said that democracy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to achieve prosperity, and that democracy in Indonesia was already too advanced, and even more than the form applied in the Netherlands.

    True, democracy itself is not the goal but indeed just a tool to achieve prosperity.

    Since when did Indonesian democracy become too advanced? This is something new. Advanced in what way?
    And btw did he ever visit the Netherlands or other European countries? I don’t think a politician like him, who is stuffing his own pockets would last long there.

    China’s strength is that it can plan and implement. Our system, which is too democratic, with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us to build infrastructure.

    Another difference is that China’s has a better business climate than Indonesia, less corruption and also the legal status of foreign companies is much clearer. But that this growth has terrible consequences for the common man is obvious.
    To blame democracy for not being able to build proper infrastructure is just insane and ludicrous. Look at Europe, you will find lots of highways, waterways, an extensive rail-network and airline network there. Apparently democracy was no obstacle there to build proper infrastructure.

    He said the excess of democracy in the country has materialized in street rallies and riotous House of Representatives sessions.

    Mr. Kalla should get a kind crash-course in democracy, because the arguments he uses are insane (again). What is wrong with street rallies, is Kalla scared that they will take away his money or what? And the people in the House of Representatives should learn how to behave. Blaming democracy for their behaviour is a very lame excuse.

    ….. and former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who said that Eastern societies have their own versions of democracy which uphold harmony and consensus, or “Asian values.

    These versions of democracy are what we call dictatorships.

  5. Anyone knows about what’s going on in Turkey? I get the impression — from some Turks I’ve met and talk to — that is progressing well too; without having to resort to china’s model.

    And latin america, Brazil. What’s happening there? I get the impression that they have a good pool of talented software engineers, improving steadily in many areas, and I heard something about Ethanol fuel.

    Maybe we’d better look at them, as well, as reference. Not just china, china, china. Buh. I’d put my bet on Brazil.

    ——-
    – Sleepless in a pristine pacific northwest city. Gay parade tomorrow. Gonna be less wild — compared to the one in Mexico City — I guess.

  6. avatar Raden says:

    what democracy is Kalla talking about? He is afraid if liberal western democracy may curtail his power in political struggle. Indonesia democracy = democracy for Muslim majority with constant marginalization toward minorities, that is the only gone too far or ‘more advance’ than the rest of democracy version in the world.

  7. avatar Dimp says:

    Mr. Kalla should get a kind crash-course in democracy, because the arguments he uses are insane (again).

    And I think most of Indonesians need the same crash course. Especially those who think that just because they are the majority, they can do whatever they want on behalf of the minority. Just because you have the quantity, doesn’t mean that you are above the law.

  8. avatar Janma says:

    Democracy = power to the people. the people select and control the government.
    Not Democracy = power to the government. the government controls the people.
    no need really to ask why in asia they don’t like democracy. for thousands of years they have had the absolute monarch model. that’s the pay off….. they want the kowtowing masses to let them do whatever they want so they don’t have to answer to anyone.
    democracy will work out in Indonesia but the people need to be educated as part of the process.

  9. avatar Putu Alberto Lee says:

    I agree with Janma,

    I just want a system that works for common people, like me…, not just the elite. Therefore “western style” democracy is my personal choice (it’s not that I’m a “westernized” person — sok kebarat-baratan), eventhough maybe it’s not perfect and not as efficient as the system they use in China (whatever…).

    I like a system where initiative, ownership, and accountability are the core values; merit based society; no difference from working as a pro. We need to educate ourselves on that.

  10. avatar Tomaculum says:

    To the western democracy belongs an independent and well functioning justice, so that the “power” of the majority can be controlled.
    In Indonesia the government seems to have the power and the control, but they bow to the “power” of the “majority” and tolerate their (those majority’s) acts even though it is against the governmental law.
    Maybe is a “guided” democracy (as a start) a better way?

  11. avatar Dimp says:

    Hi Janma,

    democracy will work out in Indonesia but the people need to be educated as part of the process.

    Yes, the keyword there is education, but when the number 2 person in the country seems to know nothing about democracy makes you wonder.

  12. avatar Rambutan says:

    Uuuhh, suddenly it’s like all 1994 again. Honestly, the exact same arguments were put forward by Suharto and his buddies in Singapore and Malaysia. But it shows what Kalla really is: A businessman who became rich by being close to the state and not because he is a skilled entrepreneur. He favors stability over democracy to make good business. Would he have to operate in a real competitive market he would lose out pretty quickly.

  13. avatar Ihaknt says:

    Sharia doesn’t suit either and yet because people who want it implemented use the fear of religion some people still go along with it.

  14. avatar Denny Crane says:

    Lock and Load for Asian Values…

    Since when democracy becomes universal anyway? 9/11? 7/7?

  15. avatar Arema says:

    I’m no expert in this subject, but let me offer my opinion as well. In fact, I just read wikipedia about democracy just now as a warming up, so I won’t make a too obvious blunder 😛

    I have read all of your opinions, and I sadly have to say I have to agree with Jusuf Kalla on most things (strange, considering I don’t really like him). But having said that, I also agree on most of your opinions too. Before you skip my message below and “reload your gun to shoot me”, please allow me to elaborate.

    Kalla also said that democracy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to achieve prosperity

    We all agreed on this, common sense, no need to discuss.

    The discussion started with this:

    Western-style democracy, such as that in Europe or the United States, can’t just easily be applied here. It has to be made suitable to the conditions and culture of Indonesia.

    Which we have to agree. Democracy has not been applied successfully here, and invited potentially more problems and instability (if you analyze it carefully) than otherwise (monarchy or even dictatorship). I’m not supporting monarchy or any other authoritarian style, neither I can point out what kind of democracy is suitable, but these things are irrelevant to the main message. The main message is: western-style democracy has not been able to be applied successfully here, for a reason. What is that reason? Let’s continue…

    …and that democracy in Indonesia was already too advanced, and even more than the form applied in the Netherlands.

    Kalla has repeatedly stated that the application of democracy in Indonesia has been too excessive and has hampered the country’s economic growth.

    …Our system, which is too democratic, with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us to build infrastructure

    He said the excess of democracy in the country has materialized in street rallies and riotous House of Representatives sessions.

    This time, you guys are spot on, by saying that there’s no such thing as excessive democracy or too advanced democracy, yes. But here, rather than a blunder, I think Jusuf Kalla was just unable to find the right words to say.

    I think he just wanted to say that democracy, which is a form of government that is people-centered, let me repeat, people-centered, is not suitable because the people itself are NOT ready!

    I’d like to offer a better word for it. It’s not excessive democracy, but anarchist democracy instead. Or in layman terms, our people is semaunya sendiri, in Jawanese is sa’karepe udele dhewe. How could democracy prosper when everyone is only egoistically thinking of themselves and not the greater interest of the whole nation / community?

    That’s why Jusuf Kalla said that. Our people are too immature, waaaay too immature to be handed something with consequence as big as democracy. It’s like giving a rifle to a 7-years-old kid. You know he can handle it, but still he’s a kid afterall, and may anytime misuse and abuse it!

    Most Indonesian are extremely poor, and therefore most of them don’t think too much about what is democracy, what the government is doing, what the country will become, etc. They only think about how to survive today to live for tomorrow. They can’t even fulfill their basic needs, and life is getting tougher day by day. They want the government to give them what they need, immediately! Couple this with poor education, as has been brilliantly pointed out by Janma, and you got a good recipe for a failed people-centered form of government. This is the contrasting difference compared to the Western countries.

    All Indonesian’s interest is I, MINE, ME, MY GROUP, MY FAMILY, MY THIS, MY THAT, simply because they didn’t get their basic needs, financially and spiritually. Although I have to admit it’s partly their fault for being lazy too, we can’t deny that it’s the cause of the downward spiral. Such people (who never think) probably control 70-80% of the votes for election. They mostly vote because they are bribed with something cheap. In the end, they demonstrating on the streets demanding their “elected government” to give them what they have been waiting all along: jobs, money, food, and peace of mind. They never realize the problem is actually created by themselves!

    Different case with developed countries out there, Singapore, Western countries, the people there are in good enough economic condition and well educated, so they worry less about themselves and start thinking about the well-being of others, the interest of the community, and the prosperity of the nation! It’s normal. If you had just graduated from university with zero money to start with (poor family or another reasons) you will worry a lot about your own future and your own financial conditions. If you started with 1 million dollars in the bank, you will worry less and start to think about others more. That’s what happening here.

    So let me summarize the whole thing: Our people are too immature because of poverty and poor education, which explains why full democracy is not suitable yet as the current form of government.

    Which is why Jusuf Kalla end up with:

    Earlier this month, on a visit to China, he said Indonesia had the same ability for fast economic growth like China but that greater respect of individual freedom had hampered potential growth. China’s strength is that it can plan and implement.

    China!! A big controversy indeed. I agree with you all that China success has its own “hidden cost” (rich-poor widening gap, frightening environmental damage, etc) which will eventually destroy them from the inside, but that is not the point Jusuf Kalla want to show.

    His main point is: Our people is too immature for full democracy. Our government need some authority to rule the country (like China), which I think is agreeable. How can you implement a policy when there is always an opposition, and most times without clear and justifiable reason(s), they are just being there for the sake of being an opposition. Don’t get me wrong, an opposition is good and constructive if they have a good point to show or constructive criticism to say, otherwise listening to them is just a waste of time, resources, effort, everything!

    Personally, I think it’s funny when the losing parties also have a seat in the parliament based on the votes proportions. It will greatly restrict the government’s moves, if abused. And rather than being a constructive opposition, the losing parties are often abusing it by trying to de-stabilize the current government, so they can say “the other party sucks” on the next election. I do think Jusuf Kalla is trying to point to this, following the newly formed alliance of Golkar and PDI-P. Maybe, just maybe….

    Indonesia need a better balance between authoritative government and democracy. I’m not ruling out democracy as Indonesia’s future form of government, but to me, the current condition is not supportive for full democracy. Having said that, we also need a good government who can responsibly handle the people’s mandate handed to them with integrity. Do we have that, Mr Jusuf Kalla? It’s a big big question mark there….

    Thank you for reading this extremely long post, your opinion is appreciated. =)

    Arema

  16. avatar Raden says:

    Arema,
    – poverty = lack of education
    – lack of education = corruption (why an oil & natural gas exporter never able to set aside enough budget for free & good quality of education for all ?)
    – corruption = lack of public control
    – lack of public control = dictatorship
    – dictatorship = no democracy
    – no democracy = constant poverty … as we have experienced in the past decades.

    seems we are facing a constant loop, chicken & egg situation, how to break the loop?

    It maybe,
    1. Break-up the nation into smaller provinces. No choice, the world is changing so fast unlike 3 decades ago, people receive free access in internet as a means of free education either good or freak militant ideology one. The nusantara integrity by definition in the past can only be protected with authorative gov’t style while the world set-up have tremendously changed, the global world.
    2. The archipelago with hundred of local dialecs which consist of 33,000 islands (or more depend on our counting) with rampant poverty & corruption everywhere is just impossible to reach the civilized & prosperous democracy state. By let them break-up into smaller, it maybe painful transition but it maybe better in the long run.

    Or,
    Just forget about Indonesia, it will not get any better anyway, it is going nowhere, at least until all of us die, we can only hope one day in our grand children life-time, the situation will be better. In this case, bye-bye Indonesia.

  17. avatar Colson says:

    @arema: yours is a very worthwhile post in my opinion.

    Maybe I don’t agree on each and every point you made, but you make me think them over. For instance I still doubt whether the uneducated masses are the real problem. I guess the main flaw of the present system is the failing elite.

    But I’ll intend to come back on it.

  18. avatar Arema says:

    @colson: Thanks for reading. It’s a complex problem indeed and the root cause might be more than three, hahaha… But when the people are not ready, everyone is selfish, uneducated, and want themselves heard, democracy will have problem there, because it’s simply impossible to satisfy everyone, imho. Leaders can only think of something which is the best for everyone, but of course every decision has some trade-offs, and it definitely make someone not happy. If people can’t see that “their small sacrifice” (caused by the trade-off of a decision) is for greater good, we will never move forward.

    @Raden: It is a downward spiral, and it is the homework for all young generations of Indonesia.

    Let me call you the Enlightened One. Your “solution” is easy and surely works. Just get away from Indonesia and surely there’s no more of such problem for ourselves, yes, of course, it’s true. You did that already, smart. It’s your choice, and I respect that. And I respect you even more because you want to spend time coming to this forum and “enlightening” us to leave also. We appreciate your good intention, we do. We know that by staying abroad problem would be solved, for us, but make it worse for Indonesia.

    But leaving Indonesia, for me, is like leaving my family behind, leaving my tanah air behind, and leaving what has been an integral part of me behind. If your parents are sick, you will take care of them right? Will you leave them away while they’re bedridden and dying? It’s the same case here. So for me, it’s unthinkable, and I believe it is so too for almost all of us here. We thank you for your enlightenment, but it will fall on deaf ears.

  19. avatar Tomaculum says:

    Asian values: values of Uzbekistan, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Kambodia, China, Vietnam , Indonesia (javanese, sundanese, acehnese, papuan etc.), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Irak etc., etc.
    Which value does he mean?

    ……and that democracy in Indonesia was already too advanced, and even more than the form applied in the Netherlands.
    It is a joke? Democracy in Indonesia? What democracy? Does he mean: demotrasi?
    In Europe I can criticize the police without being canned.
    In Europe I can criticize any religion (criticize, not insult) without being lynched.
    In Indonesia …?

  20. avatar Dimp says:

    In Europe I can criticize the police without being canned.
    In Europe I can criticize any religion (criticize, not insult) without being lynched.
    In Indonesia “¦?

    In Indonesia, I can criticise the police without being canned (if you are filthy rich)
    In Indonesia, I can criticise any religion (just don’t say it loud)
    In Indonesia, you can do anything (just as long as you do it alone without the knowledge of others)….

  21. avatar Raden says:

    Arema,
    If your parents are sick, you will take care of them right? Will you leave them away while they’re bedridden and dying?

    this is a product of Indonesia, all of our parent DO NOT have a proper social security pension plan from the government, they becoming a lame dependent to the children, the system has NOTHING TO OFFER to prepare in the retirement life. When your parent depend on you till the rest of their life, it doesn’t means it is a good thing. At a glance your argument by saying that you need to stay in Indo because the needs of taking care of your parent looks good. Fyi, an independent adult person, an intellectual one, is not only reponsible to ‘take-good-care’ of their parent but also responsible to give ‘the-best-future-hope’ for his next generation, our children.
    You missed the two way responsibilities that equally important which is improving your quality of life for your next generation. Your children do not ask to be born in hopeless INDONESIA which is a Muslim Militant country by majority toward Iran style.
    Besides, if you are a capable person, you can withdraw the whole of your family out from Indonesia, the developed nation have the pension plan established unlike Indonesia. I saw parents in other good countries are happy maintaining their life style just because a proper financial & health planning since their younger age.
    So minus the beautiful culture & natural resources what are the good governance things about Indonesia? I can not recall any!
    This is in fact my point, the more we have people like you, the happier the corrupt Indonesian officer in government.

    The corrupt Indonesian officers like very much people that desperate to live in Indonesia, the more you showed to them your desperation, then there will be more & longer list of procedure to pile their greedy pockets. The corrupt officers must be cornered to service the poors & uneducated, then “biar tau rasa”!

  22. avatar Denny Crane says:

    Lock and Load for Indonesia

    So minus the beautiful culture & natural resources what are the good governance things about Indonesia? I can not recall any!

    Well, let see:
    1. Indonesia is one of the leaders in Non-Movement Aligned;
    2. Indonesia is entrusted as the member of UN Human Right Committee;
    3. Indonesia has the level of 80% on its election participation;
    4. Indonesia initiates the conception of ASEAN Charter;
    5. Indonesia is the largest Moslem country in the world and successfully conducted its first direct vote presidential election;
    6. Indonesia is no longer in IMF’s debt;
    7. Indonesia is steadily holding the Rupiah at an expected level;
    8. Indonesia is the initiator of Strait Malacca Security Initiatives;
    9. Indonesia proposed the concept of archipelago and accepted by the international world via UNCLOS;
    10. Indonesia is … (the list could go on forever)

    With regard to security pension plan. I personally believe the issue is more complex and inter-dependent. For example, would the people be happy to be taxed higher? A simple reference to a specific issue can not by far sufficient to represent the whole system. Furthermore, the system includes also the participation of the people, and not only the government.

    It is true that there are works to be done to improve, but it would be naive to believe that such improvements can only be done by the Governments. For the system to work, both the Government and the People need to work cooperatively.

    Cheers

  23. avatar Arema says:

    Hi Raden,
    I think you missed my point, but it’s partly my fault too for not emphasizing it. My questions about treating your parents is actually a rhetoric question. It is just an analogy to the next sentence “It’s the same case here”. I’m just illustrating that you should treat Indonesia like how you treat your family, especially your parents.

    Our beloved country now is sick, bedridden, and dying slowly. You know that better than everyone here. Leaving Indonesia, like I said, is an easy solution for you, but not for the nation. Influencing people to do the same is just like “pulling off the oxygen hose from your parent’s nose”. Indonesia will die faster. We don’t want that. You don’t want that as well, or maybe didn’t want that, but now don’t bother anymore.

    You can’t blame the government if you yourself doesn’t help with anything. And not helping is still better than making the situation worse.

    Imagine you’re in a football team with a very lousy goalkeeper. The keeper make blunders more than he saves. Can you blame him for your team’s loss when you are part of the starting eleven but choose not to play and even mocking your poor goalkeeper from behind? You are not playing! That goalkeeper maybe the one most responsible for the loss, but you are too! You put your team at a huge disadvantage. If you add this with “persuading your teammates not to play” as well, you’re worse than that goalkeeper. You have to play to your best first, before you have any right to blame that keeper for the loss. I hope you get my analogy here.

    Denny Crane summed up my point very clearly:

    It is true that there are works to be done to improve, but it would be naive to believe that such improvements can only be done by the Governments. For the system to work, both the Government and the People need to work cooperatively.

    Government can’t do it alone. We Indonesians must do our part, no matter big or small.

  24. avatar Raden says:

    Denny,
    Indonesia can be a talk show organizers, everyone can do that, but internally all the talk will surely become NATO = No Action Talk Only, similar to their progress of improving the air carriers & infra ‘s safety & security.
    In the nut shell, the core lack of competence is lack of governance, discipline & clean gov’t.
    I am very tired on this subjects actually, and personally have totally lost trust if there is hope in Indonesia become a good governance nation in the rest of my life.
    I am very sick & sick & sick with CORRUPTION !!!!

    Arema,
    I have the similar say to you that do not show your desperation to live in Indonesia despite of all kind of abuse to the minorities’ rights in Indonesia. Dont get me wrong, minorities are Chinese Christian/Confusius/Budha, Batak Christian, Ambon Christian, Irian Christian, Bali Hindu, Jawa Buddha, etc etc loong list

  25. avatar Raden says:

    Btw, the topics of upset Indonesian minorities population who chosed to leave the country is not a new topic.

    There are a lot of Javanese & Ambonese population who live & obtained Dutch nationality. There are Chinese Indonesian who live & obtained Singaporean/Malaysian, there are so many Indonesian other races who live in Australia/new Zealand, there are a few chinese Indonesian who live in HK/China, there are a lot of others who lived in America, etc.

    This is not a new topic, do not be affraid as if there is no future beyond Indonesia, you never try, you never know that there are abundant other opportunities for your next generation to prosper & live outside the rampant corrupt Indonesia nation. Frankly with the coming 2008/9 election, I do not see the clear prospect of good economy, governance & political situation until 2010 or even beyond that. Then the Porong mud-flow will soon becoming our national budget’s problems which will sink the whole nation financial capability while the new source of value added income are not clear for the next 5 years.

    You can read this message via browser that means you are educated enough to think & make your choice for future!

    Do not be so nationalistic, because simply if you are not part of the Muslim majority or have access to power elite then you are simply nobody in Indonesia!

  26. avatar Dende says:

    ‘Asian values’ were used (especially during the 1990s) as a pseudo-argument by authoritarian regimes in Asia in an attempt to stifle the arguments made by human rights advocates. These regimes would discourage talking about politics especially if it involved saying things that were considered anti-establishment. Political discussion was replaced with national chauvinism.

    One of the regimes that asserted “Asian values” was the US backed dictatorship in Indonesia, lead by General Suharto from 1965 to 1998. While in power, Suharto’s regime murdered between 500,000 and one million people who were considered to be political opponents. Before Suharto came to power, Indonesia had a very active political culture, with plenty of political youth movements, womens’ groups, unions and peasant organisations. Free speech was stifled and political discussion was discouraged.

    Even though some of these regimes are gone, the habits of society remain. The people of those societies may try to rationalize inhibiting outspokenness by asserting that outspokenness makes society less cohesive. It could be argued that outspokenness and debate would help provide greater accountability – preventing people from treating opinion as fact or holding onto opinions that rely on assuming fallacies. When comparing nations, it seems to me that the social democracies with well developed political cultures tend to out-do the Asian ‘opinion are bad’ countries, in terms of both social cohesion and accountability.

  27. avatar Dende says:

    Compared to a dictatorship, democracy accomplishes greater accountability. In a democracy, the government answers (at least to some extent) to voters. In a dictatorship, the government answers to no one (except puppet masters). With few exceptions, democracies tend to be more prosperous and have less suffering than dictatorships. Democracy helps reduce the problem of abuse of power.

    Democracy isn’t absolute. Some democracies are more democratic than others. While the US has a college vote system, other countries have a more democratic popular vote system.

    Some countries have binding citizen initiated referenda (BCIR).

    Some elections have run off systems or voting methods such as STV or Condorcet, to prevent the problem of vote splitting. For example, let’s say there are 3 candidates A, B and C, with 40%, 45% and 15% of the vote respectively. If all people who voted for C prefer candidate A over B, then candidate B would win despite 60% of voters preferring candidate A over B. If Condorcet voting was used, candidate A would have won. The Condorcet and STV voting methods involve ranking candidates in order of preference.

    Anarcho-syndicalists prefer consensus groups rather than majority rule. Former leader of Indonesia, Sukarno, wanted ‘guided democracy’, where action was only taken when there appeared to be a national consensus.

    There are also issues of campaign funding. There are various fiscal and legislative options that could reduce the problem of too much influence from big business.

    In order for democracy to work well, there needs to be freedom of speech, freedom of the press, media variation and a society willing and able to regularly discuss and research political issues.

    Separation and limitation of powers is also important, in order to prevent ‘elected dictators’.

  28. avatar Odinius says:

    God I hate these cultural arguments; they’re all bullsh*t. People made them about greece, turkey, spain, india, etc. and look at democracy in those countries.

    Basically it comes down to a vice president who feels he’s surrounded by incompetence and incompetents who wishes he had more power to do things his way.

    Oldest story in the post-colonial book.

  29. avatar FiliaS says:

    If you want endless supplies of psychos, family members killing each other for insurance money, school kids killing each other with guns, kids butchering family members, all year round seasons of killing, killing and more killing, then US style democracy is for you.

  30. avatar Shloka says:

    @ Filia S

    If you want endless supplies of psychos,
    (1) believing bombing innocents is an expression of faith or “jihad” like in Bali, loads of places in Pak, Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq.

    (2)family members killing each other like father or brothers killing sisters for shaming the family like much of the Middle East and Pakistan,

    (3)school kids leaving school or never having seen a school in life to join a jihadi organization to train to be a mujahideen (Afghanistan, Iraq,Palestine or Pak) while their mothers are extremely proud.

    (4) kids being butchered by family members like the Saudi girl who was killed by her father just for looking at Facebook.

    and all year round sessions of killing, killing and more killing then Middle East style democracy is for you. Oh wait, Middle East has all these lovely practices and not a single stable democracy except oil less Jewish Israel.

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