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. avatar FiliaS says:

    Either way is FINE by me. As long as I don’t live in the US or the Middle East, I can’t care less whether the US or Middle East style democracy has their kids killing kids and psychos killing each other. I live in Asia and I love Asian rulings BEST. I applaud Asian leaders for not succumbing and following the so called western style democracy and applying it to our countries.

  2. avatar Shloka says:

    @ Filia S.

    Actually the U.S. psycho and crime rate are the exception rather than the rule in much of the Western world. Its nearest neighbour on the North Canada has the very same democracy system and is extremely peaceful, more than most Asian dictatorships. And many nations in Europe, in particular some Nordic nations are havens of peace and relatively psycho free. And Asia does have many Western style democracies. India with a billion + citizens is a successful democracy more successful at any rate than its neighbour Pakistan which is a dictatorship. South Korea, Thailand and Phillipines are democracies modelled on the Western democracy.

    And lets’ not forget Japan, an Asian nation with a large population, the world’s highest longevity and lowest infant mortality which regularly tops the World Peace Index( Many Western nations top as well) It is a Western style democracy.

  3. avatar kinch says:

    Don’t live in a Black or Hispanic Ghetto in the USA and it’s actually a very safe place to live. This is a simple objective fact, so PC screamers, save your breath/keystrokes please.

  4. avatar FiliaS says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble Kinch,

    Jeffrey Dahmer, Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, KKK, aryan brothers and thousands mores are Whites who lived in middle/upper middle class suburbs.

  5. avatar FiliaS says:

    The country where I’m living now is not modelled after any western democracy. We don’t need one. In the country where I now live, people live peacefully, with abundant of food, clean air, good economy, jobs, cultures, arts, clear judicial law, freedom to practice various religions, multi racial, security, families and friends. The country I was originally from was much better off when it was ruled under an iron fist. My philosophy is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  6. avatar kinch says:

    FiliaS, my chipped-on-the-shoulder friend: You are totally speaking out your posterior if you are trying to say that most of your above examples were not some species of white trash – I don’t recall running into the Aryan Brotherhood during my forays into middle and upper-middle class American life. You, boyo, have been watching too much cable TV for your own good.

    Sounds like you’re in Singapore. Enjoy it while it lasts. And please remove your tongue from Harry Lee’s posterior – at his age he can’t feel much at all.

    As for your comments about Japan, they only show your ignorance. Japan is in no sense a Western style democracy. Unlike you, I have lived there and know something about the subject. As for Japan being peaceful, sure it is. Now. Like a certain nation of serial offenders in Western Europe, the Japanese only lay down and started acting all peaceful like after those uncouth Americans knocked all the fighting sh*te out of them – thereby doing all you wondrous Asian ingrates a good turn.

    Now you sit in your equatorial ticky tacky box smelling of durian and congratulating yourself on doing a runner from wherever it was you bolted from. Not quite up to scoring a Green Card and making it in the Majors, were you?


  7. avatar Shloka says:

    @ Kinch,

    Isn’t almost every third American a black or Hispanic? So Felia would have loads of trouble avoiding them, if they are indeed the majority of criminals.

  8. avatar kinch says:

    Shloka: Have a look at demographics and crime statistics for major American cities. There is an obvious correlation between Blacks as a percentage of population and crime rate. Cities which spring to mind include Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Detroit. The same pertains to Hispanics, but less so. Furthermore, the elephant in the room is that Black on anybody non-Black crime is a much more significant factor than ‘out-group criminal attacks’ by other racial groups on each other.

    You don’t get to figure this out from where you are because of the curse of Political Correctness – there are things of which it is just social and career suicide to speak of in the media. And media go out of their way to avoid mentioning the race of non-white criminals. But the simple fact is that in the USA, *everybody* knows that the sensible thing to do is not go live in a place full of Blacks and votes accordingly with their feet and wallets. Most White and Asians can afford to live in better areas which don’t have a Black underclass (e.g. white flight from DC into enclaves in Virginia) and pay more for the privilege of being further away from them. Hispanics tend to be poorer and have less choice in the matter. The other big elephant in the room right now is that in parts of LA, Hispanic gangs are engaged in ethnic cleaning against Blacks – they can’t afford to move out, so they are attempting to drive them out.

    This is life. Like selective abortion of females in a certain countries, it exists. No amount of beautiful eloquent speech or hand-wringing changes anything. So the logical thing to do, if one lives in the US, is to live somewhere with as few Blacks and Hispanics as possible. Not difficult to do, actually. Do that, and you have just reduced your daily surrounding life’s crime statistics to something safer than most if not all of Western Europe, but arguably less than (say) Japan.

    Although, just to complicate things further, it’s also well-known that Japanese crime is massively under-reported, since much of it is handled administratively by local police (i.e. some form of neighbourhood public shaming, or sometimes maybe a discreet beating in the cells in minor cases… + the fact that in Japan a lot of the law and order enforcement for vice areas is unofficially subcontracted out to the Yakuza by the police). Naturally the one aspect of crime in Japan that is not massively under-reported is crime by anybody remotely foreign :).

    US population is something like 11% Black. Hispanic situation is getting out of control. There is no doubt that something has to be done to stem the tide of immigrants. Huge political problem, of course.

    And back to my original point, the majority of neighbourhoods in the USA are far safer than same in the UK. You don’t have drunken white thugs wandering around randomly assaulting people. Oh – one exception – San Francisco – there you do get all manner of crazy white insane homeless people randomly assaulting people – but that is because crazy white insane homeless people gravitate to SF because of its nice climate and far left city government of ‘tolerant’ nutters. I put ‘tolerant’ in quotes because as usual the elites who make the rules don’t have to live or walk around downtown and deal with the foul results of their supposed tolerance.

    And no, it’s not particularly hard to avoid Blacks/Hispanics if you have your life/career together. In fact, I suspect this is a motivating factor (work hard, move up and out) for many people – including law-abiding Blacks and Hispanics.

    So, as usual, things are a teeny bit more complicated than they might appear on the surface.

  9. avatar FiliaS says:

    Green Card???? Whatever for? I don’t need it. US is falling apart dude. I’ve lived there for 13 years, have worked and was offered sponsorship for a green card application. Indeed I gave it up, don’t need it EVER. Even if you were to give me a citizenship, my family and I don’t ever need it. US citizenship is way OVER RATED. Don’t you guys realize there’re other lives outside a big cave called USA????? HAH What a bloody joke. BTW, I RARELY watch cables. With good programs offered by Mediacorp, CNA, RCTI, SCTV, TVRI and TPI why would I even bother with NBC, CNN, disgusting Fox where all they have are shallow programs showing trash. Life’s good in Asia, I intend to enjoy it to the fullest with Harry Lee around or not.

  10. avatar FiliaS says:


    If you had opened your EYES wider, you would have noticed that I had said NOTHING about Japan, please use your EYES before making comment. It was Shloka who made comment about Japan.

  11. avatar FiliaS says:

    I’m glad for leaders like Harry Lee, Soeharto and unfortunately, for now Kalla

  12. avatar Shloka says:

    @ kinch,

    Crime statistics certainly indicate a correlation… Actually, Felia is right and I made that comment about Japan. I was certainly under the impression that its an U.S. style democracy, if not can you please explain why?I’m asking this with a genuine desire to know. Thanks.

  13. avatar kinch says:

    FiliaS: Correct re Japan mistake, I mistakenly conflated postings from you and Shloka. Doubly wrong of me to do so as I consider Shloka to be worthy of debate – whereas you only qualify for a double helping of disdain. My mistake. As for the rest, I regard you as contemptible for your pathetic PAP pap-spouting posturing.

    For the record, I’m rather a Fan of the early-mid Harry Lee *and* Suharto – Indonesia needed a good bloodbath, and was going to get it one way or the other. The resultant rightist/NU bloodbath only knocked of between 0.5 and 1M people – small change compared to the usual communist butcher’s bill.

    But I’m no fan of you FiliaS. So back in your box and stop talking cock.

    Shloka: Japan. Parliamentary Democracy. Let’s see. You might start by googling one Yasuo Fukuda and clicking around to have a look at his family history. Then repeat for the last few prime ministers. Notice how the same names keep cropping up. Notice how some of them seem to have held powerful civil service positions in addition to being LDP hacks.

    Post-war japan is some weird kind of very weird Ultimate Responsibility Avoidance State – that sounds strange… but is very hard to find out who is in charge of anything in Japan. The collective Japanese hive mind runs it in a distributed kind of way… and certain hive members are certainly more equal than others… but it’s very hard to pin down.

    The other thing about Japan is it has an absolutely massive gerrymander. Politicians exist mainly to channel the tax money of under-represented big city voters to their rural rotten boroughs. This is why you find beautiful coffee table books full of lovely Japanese municipal architecture (galleries, etc..)… all pork. Not to mention 6 lane highways to nowhere, suspension bridges to nowhere, etc. Politicians are far too busy doing this to govern. The civil service governs…. of course it is also notoriously (but ever so politely and perfectly in a Japanese way) corrupt.

    It’s easy enough to find lots of literature on Japanese corporate cross-holdings – a way of protecting each other from outsiders (and management can make sure they are never held accountable by shareholders)… effectively Japanese government is the same… ‘cross-shareholding’ between LDP + government ministries and all sorts semi-government authorities + the myriad business guilds.

    I use the world ‘guild’ advisedly. Try to open a supermarket in one of the 23 wards of Tokyo. You can’t. Not unless you’re already a significant player in the power structure. Local trading rules are run by the local traders’ associations. This sounds all very new age and wonderful and progressive – except that this means guild as almost like ‘caste’. You have to be born or adopted in. So no, you can’t go open a bar or a grocery store or a yakiniku restaurant, you lack the necessary birth qualifications. Not very democratic, eh?

    Japan could never be a true democracy anyway – Japanese just love agreement and consensus too much to handle the real rough and tumble of democracy.

    Something you might find amusing: Japan has its own ritually impure untouchable class: Google Burakumin.

    More random observations than a considered argument. OK, that’s an understatement, but I’m quite busy with work and don’t have time to write an essay for Foreign Affairs (not worth paper printed on anyway as ‘liberal’ claptrap)… so please regard above as starting points for further exploration.

    Anyway, what is so good about democracy? Your homework for tonight is to read up on the Peloponnesian War in general and the Syracuse Expedition in particular. This could be followed up by Barbara Tuchman’s ‘The Guns of August’.

    Perhaps the only good thing about true democracy is that it’s better than the alternatives – although some would dispute that. You might find it worthwhile googling the ‘Unqualified Reservations’ blog – some thought-provoking stuff there.

  14. avatar Shloka says:

    @ kinch,

    Thanks a lot. So even you’ll give me homework now?:-) I’ve still a couple of days till school opens so I’ll do your homework. I quite like reading up new stuff anyway.

  15. avatar kinch says:

    Shloka: You’re welcome. Just thought of something you might find interesting. Burakumin originally became impure because they worked in slaughterhouses, tanneries, etc. Nothing surprising there to you or to anyone with a passing familiarity with the Indian caste system. However, it’s a little-known fact that in Europe up until the the Enlightenment it was a form of punishment to be sentenced to be publicly touched by the Executioner. Executioners were hereditary cattle slaughtermen and hence also held to be ritually impure.

    (Reference: ‘Rituals of Retribution – Capital Punishment in Germany, 1600-1987’, Richard J Evans, OUP 1996.)

    I suspect this only applied in cities and larger towns. In the countryside all the peasantry would have been happily slaughtering anything they could get their hands on 24 hours/day and feeling none the worse for it.

    Coming at it from the opposite side was the belief that Scrofula (the King’s Evil) could be cured by being touched by royalty. Samuel Johnson as an infant was touched by Queen Anne in the early 1700s.

  16. avatar Shloka says:

    @ kinch,

    Thanks again. Lovely nuggets of information. Googling up Burakumin led me to the Baekjeong of Korea, which is an untouchable caste in Korea( you probably know about it too). I didn’t have the slightest idea that anything similar to the caste system existed outside India and Nepal.

    And of course, the West likes to boast that they never had anything remotely resembling untouchability. I don’t think the plight of city based Executioners in pre Enlightenment Europe was anything close to that of Burakumin, Baekjeong or Dalits and that discrimination is now completely eradicated( death penalty itself is abolished in most of Europe) unlike the untouchable castes of Asia who still face discrimination.

  17. avatar FiliaS says:

    Yeah I’ll stay in my box and be happy with the rest of ’em. Upon reading all your threads, I’m now totally convinced that my original theory’s right => A big empty vessel makes the most noise. Ciao!

  18. avatar Oigal says:

    good programs offered by Mediacorp, CNA, RCTI, SCTV, TVRI and TPI

    Ok, you guys are just being plain silly now!

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