State Ideology

Jan 2nd, 2008, in Opinion, by

Does Pancasila mean anything to Indonesians?

The Efficacy of Pancasila

The Pancasila

Belief in the One and Only God.
A Just and civilized humanity.
The Unity of Indonesia.
Democracy guided by the inner wisdom of deliberations of representatives.
Social Justice for all the Indonesian people.

The Merit of Pancasila

The Pancasila edicts five principles for the pluralistic citizenry of the Republic of Indonesia. It is an all-encompassing mandate for Indonesians.

Indonesia's Pancasila in its own right, would share the august stature of the medieval Magna Carta or the American Bill of Rights.

Indonesia Queried

It is 62 years since the introduction of Pancasila in the Republic. How is Pancasila performing vis-Ã -vis the prevailing condition of its populace? Does it in reality support and provide the desired results? Does it serve the purpose for which it was created? Is Pancasila a fait accompli for the thinking process, the social behaviour, the statutes, by-laws and regulations, the parliament deliberations, the sensitive discourses and for solution-seeking in Indonesia?

In essence the Pancasila has to be more than a herald of noble words and aims. Certainly the founding fathers of the Republic never intended the Pancasila to act as a decorative spectacle.

If Pancasila is pervasive, it would make these words of Mencius meaningless in Indonesia. Mencius once said,

It is not difficult to govern. All one has to do is not to offend the noble families.

Inarguably Pancasila embody noble intentions. That being true then noble intentions must commensurate with noble deeds. Having declared noble intentions but instead lacking a commitment to do noble deeds, it renders the intentions hollow and worthless, in short, a farce.

Sure, neither is there any nation on earth that is perfect nor does the Law of God, tenets of Religion and the laws of man create a perfect state. This article is not to be misunderstood as an insidious attempt to expose the imperfections (if there be any) of Pancasila. Rather, it is about whether Pancasila permeates the conscience of Indonesians.

I have done this with a few Indonesians. I broached on the matter of Pancasila and along the discussion I requested them to recite the five principles. If possible, do the same and gauge for yourself how prevalent Pancasila is amongst Indonesians.

Is Pancasila Dormant?

William Weld, Governor of Massachusetts, U.S of A, said:

Government is never so noble as when it is addressing wrongs.

Does the Indonesian Government advocate Pancasila while on several fronts, Indonesians continue to endure wasted opportunities, deprivation, injustice, marginalised minorities, religious intolerance, incompetence and incongruities; all of which Pancasila is opposed to?

To the above mentioned scenario, it would not be inconsistent to say that Pancasila dons the countenance of an attractive lady. That come-hither look as she demurely whispers within, "What you see is not what you get".

Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law, nor democratic government, nor even the market economy will function properly

so said Václav Havel. He was a writer, a fighter for human rights and eventually the President of Czechoslovakia - later on the Czech Republic. His statement compels Indonesia to walk the Pancasila talk.

At sunrise the apt words of Václav Havel should greet particularly those who work within Indonesia's corridors of power and for all walks of life in Indonesia. It serves as a reminder that there is more to it than vaunting Pancasila at the office or as an adornment at road junctions.


22 Comments on “State Ideology”

  1. avatar WP says:

    Well, Pancasila probably means something to Indonesians, but it seems that people also have no aggreement on how it is supposed to mean.

    I mean take a look e.g. at “Just and civilized humanity”. Just what on earth does this mean?? Some people considers chopping hands of thieves to be just and civilized, while some others thinks it to be very barbaric.

    And what does “Democracy guided by the inner wisdom” mean?? Gus Dur might consider dreams while meditating in some obscure cave as a valid source of inner wisdom, while some would call this pure insanity.

    Those principles are just too abstract that they can mean anything. Ergo, in themselves they are not very useful.

    But I can imagine that they are valuable as political instruments.

  2. avatar iamisaid says:

    Hi WP,

    Well, Pancasila probably means something to Indonesians, but it seems that people also have no aggreement on how it is supposed to mean.

    I mean take a look e.g. at “Just and civilized humanity”. Just what on earth does this mean?? Some people considers chopping hands of thieves to be just and civilized, while some others thinks it to be very barbaric.

    And what does “Democracy guided by the inner wisdom” mean?? Gus Dur might consider dreams while meditating in some obscure cave as a valid source of inner wisdom, while some would call this pure insanity.

    You have said it accurately.
    For all intents and purposes, Pancasila is an appropriate philosophy considering the gargantuan task to unite a fledgling Republic and beyond.
    And yes, with the inherent diversity, there would be varying religious beliefs or the absence of a belief. This could make for example, assail the first principle from a human rights position.
    Pancasila lacks is an elaborate and comprehensive philosophical explanation as to what each principle means.

    Those principles are just too abstract that they can mean anything. Ergo, in themselves they are not very useful.

    But I can imagine that they are valuable as political instruments.

    Perhaps, Sukarno and those who initially developed Pancasila, wrote Pancasila hastily amidst time pressure, uncertainties in nation ravaged by war(s) and the threat of other political issues from within and from without.

    The thinking-through process in providing Pancasila greater clarity, is something that Sukarno & Co., possibly believed would follow in the wake of his proclamation. Whether there will be the need and the desire make Pancasila a clear and meaningful national philosophy is something that will hopefully materialise.

    If not, Pancasila would suffer the same dormant fate as the “Rukun Negara” (National Principles) of Malaysia.

    For as long as there is an absence of

    “commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations”

    the rot in Indonesia will continue to exist. It is that kind of discipline that drives a nation to being great.

    Thank you WP for sharing your opinion and I wish you A Very Happy New Year!

  3. avatar perseus says:

    I have two objections to the pancasila.

    The first statement – belief in the one and only god – is an insult to the Hindu Pantheon (correct me if I am wrong but Hindus venerate a pile of gods all of which are true as far as Hindus are concerned) and an insult to Buddhists and others who don’t really believe in any God as such.

    The remaining principles are so vague as to be meaningless. They are motherhood statements.

    If after 62 years you have not put flesh on these ethereal bones – perhaps you should drop the doctrine and start again?

    Instead of believing in one god insist on a separation of religion from state and universal human rights as per the UN Declaration. Cracking down on corrupt judges and police and moving your nation up from the bottom of the ladder on the corruption indexes would be better than wasting time on these vague words. Introduce an Anti-Corruption Commission and give it draconian powers and recruit your best and brightest into it. What Indonesia needs is some Untouchables, men of supreme integrity willing to to stamp out corruption in high places. You need some generals in gaol.

    Going after yesterdays men like Tommy S is all well and good but you need to get the current practioners trapped, videoed and gaoled. Shoot them like the Bali Bombers and the Bali Nine.

  4. avatar WP says:

    iamisaid:

    Thank you WP for sharing your opinion and I wish you A Very Happy New Year!

    Ya, wishing you a happy 2008 too 🙂

  5. avatar iamisaid says:

    Hi perseus,

    I have two objections to the pancasila.

    The first statement – belief in the one and only god – is an insult to the Hindu Pantheon (correct me if I am wrong but Hindus venerate a pile of gods all of which are true as far as Hindus are concerned) and an insult to Buddhists and others who don’t really believe in any God as such.

    The remaining principles are so vague as to be meaningless. They are motherhood statements.

    I certainly understand where you’re coming from with that opinion.

    If after 62 years you have not put flesh on these ethereal bones – perhaps you should drop the doctrine and start again?

    Somehow with all that is going on most comfortably for the gainers, they would not wish Pancasila or any other to punchthemsilly. So, I guess it would take a sick second hero to revive Pancasila or to replace it with some thing else. Just my two cents.

    What Indonesia needs is some Untouchables, men of supreme integrity willing to to stamp out corruption in high places.

    Yes, but is there such a person of such virtue, strength, courage and selflessness for the cause? Should the gods smile and there is such a man, that man with absolute power will in turn be absolutely corrupt himself. Don’t they all start as men of some vision and promise and in the end …..

    Happy New Year perseus, and thanks for your opinion.

  6. avatar perseus says:

    Yes, but is there such a person of such virtue, strength, courage and selflessness for the cause? Should the gods smile and there is such a man, that man with absolute power will in turn be absolutely corrupt himself. Don’t they all start as men of some vision and promise and in the end “¦..

    Rather than one man, I think you need Anti-corruption institutions staffed by a hand picked team of elite people chosen for the purpose. In Australia and other Western jurisdictions these bodies only have investigative power. They do not control the ship of state. They merely serve the function of exposing the corrupt and building a case against them. Then the normal law runs its course.

    Of course in Indonesia you might need to set up a special Untouchable court to try corruption cases as well!

  7. avatar iamisaid says:

    Hi perseus,

    Rather than one man, I think you need Anti-corruption institutions staffed by a hand picked team of elite people chosen for the purpose.

    and

    need to set up a special Untouchable court to try corruption cases as well!

    In order to set the house in order, first it would take one man of such qualities to set things in motion. Apparently, that kind of man has not yet surfaced in Indonesia.

    Not that there is no anti-corruption institution in Indonesia today. If my memory serves correct on this one, was it not the Indonesian chief of the anti-corruption agency or someone of status in the agency who went wayward disgraced himself.

    The same thing too has happened and is still happening over in Malaysia. Same song, second verse.

    Worse of all, the judiciary system in Indonesia is ranked second (after the Police Force) as being the most corrupt in a report from Transparency International.

    One would consider that it is Indonesia’s crème de la crème that comprise the nation’s Judiciary. To form a separate elite court would only spit in the face of Indonesia’s Judiciary.

    As one of my Indonesian friends describes the matter of corruption in Indonesia, “korupsi telah di membudayakan” (corruption has been become a culture).

    I guess what I am saying is dismal to the core. But there is always hope.

  8. avatar iamisaid says:

    Whoops! perseus,

    I tried using the “Link” command to refer to:

    http://www.indonesiamatters.com/1502/bribery/

    and it linked the last three paragraphs to it. Ha ha ha.

    I need more practise.

    Sorry about that.

  9. avatar perseus says:

    It is true. The institution is useless unless those who staff it have the right stuff and the support of the parliament and the judiciary. As these seem to be challenged institutions as well according to Transparency International, it seems hard to see how things can improve. Your only hope is to elect a President who will run on a strong anti-corruption ticket and enforce it. Perhaps that Transparency guy the police are seeking “intel” on will run? I dunno. Maybe a student/intellectual movement will kick things off? There must be a bunch of young Indonesians who have been overseas and who are net savvy and who want to make their country better who can start this off.

    It is almost as if you need a Cultural Revolution.

  10. avatar perseus says:

    Another tactic, now that I think of it would be to use the net to name and shame. More videos of corrupt cops (and whoever) taking bribes popping up on sites beyond Indonesian govt control. If Indonesians experiencing corruption were to start videotaping the procedings and putting the footage online, you might shame the govt into meaningful action.

    Hidden cameras are pretty easy to get these days.

  11. avatar iamisaid says:

    Welcome back perseus,

    You, like many other Indonesians that I know are helpless victims of this terrible scourge that saps and reduces Indonesians to grave consequences.

    Corruption is discussed so openly. Today Indonesias deal with it without shame in Indonesia. It reminds me of the saying that a lie if repeated many times, it eventually becomes a truth.

    So it is too, in the same manner of that saying, in Indonesia. The more that is talked about it, the more that it is given publicity makes corruption an accepted fact and not something that should jolt the conscience. It is treated in the native language, biasa aja deh.

    Maybe a student/intellectual movement will kick things off? There must be a bunch of young Indonesians who have been overseas and who are net savvy and who want to make their country better who can start this off.

    1. Although the Internet is a powerful tool, Indonesia is still lagging. Hence, how efficient and effective becomes the next ponderance.
    2. Being young and regardless of how educated or exposed, students may not have the political tact needed to achieve their final aim although students do possess the will to clamour for justice. For the Asian culture, where elders are given respect, the movement of the young will tend to lose when it comes to the bargaining table. It is the bargaining table that matters and not the actions that precede it.
    3. They will have to be prepared to suffer bloodshed and sacrifice their life.

    It is almost as if you need a Cultural Revolution

    1. Perhaps so. Although I do not advocate violence, Revolutions are. Peaceful revolutions as in the manner Ghandi brought against the British for India’s Independence – possible amongst Indonesians?
    2. Corruption has become such a monstrosity it needs a political will to curtail it. It has often been suggested that Indonesia should invoke the death penalty for offenders. Since Indonesia has the death penalty for narcotics why not for corruption?
    That opens a separate round of arguements.

    Another tactic, now that I think of it would be to use the net to name and shame. More videos of corrupt cops (and whoever) taking bribes popping up on sites beyond Indonesian govt control. If Indonesians experiencing corruption were to start videotaping the procedings and putting the footage online, you might shame the govt into meaningful action.

    Hidden cameras are pretty easy to get these days.

    1. OK, imagine that despite the trouble and effort it takes to be at the right spot and at the right time to record it, without proper sanctions and enforcement, over time this either become:

    a) a fad amongst Indonesians who need to gossip and like their addiction to the TV daily SERGAP.
    b) interest in it gradually wanes because cases recorded on hp, vcd, etc., are disputed most lengthily as follow NATO. (no action, talk only), might lack visual clarity, the real possibility of revenge acts on the producer(s) or the producer using it for blackmail.
    c) hidden cameras are not cheap (I would think so, I don’t know) and the possibility of being stolen it is planted.

    Just my two cents perseus.

  12. avatar iamisaid says:

    perseus,

    I suddenly sprang on an idea!

    Why don’t we get Patung and all the IM’ers here to make some contribution.

    We start to write a script about the evil of corruption and produce a Movie.

    Hmmm, let’s make an Octopus symbolise corruption. One gigantic, hideous looking Octopus that is also amphibious. So it can even be a predator on land.

    And how this Octopus freely swims to every conceivable shore of Indonesia’s numerous islands and wreaks havoc.

    And the Armed Forces of Indonesia can’t do a damn thing because their ships and airships and land vehicles are is disrepair because the money needed to maintain them in working condition filled the pockets of the Generals.

    and so on and so forth.

    Then in comes the IM Troopers who fight most valiantly to kill the Octopus.

    But we must not finish it like that.

    Somewhere in the script, the Octopus mated and bikin anak.

    That way, we can have a sequel of Anak Octopus so that this anti corruption drive will have yet another story to tell and to educate Indonesians to benci korupsi.

    Give the Movie a Title that resounds with the native love for things supernatural.

    Now the Movie can be shown all over Nusantara.

    Plus the fact that we can make CD’s and even those who cannot see the Movie and watch it at home.

    We could even make Comic Books and have the children to read it in Schools!

  13. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    I think Kangaroo with boxing gloves symbolises corruption is more appropriate. Kangaroo has pouch and that is where the dirty money are hidden and laundered. The boxing gloves means they fight back if confronted. You do need to kill it to retrieve the money. Children can even read them at school. I suggest a name like Maksiat the Kangaroo.

  14. avatar iamisaid says:

    Movie Title (pending): Jahanam Raksasa Oktekorupsipes

    Starring:

    Movie Sequel Title (pending): Jahanam II – Anak Oktekorupsipes

    Starring:

  15. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @Perseus

    Your statements above are true, but something tells me you are not Indonesian.

  16. avatar WP says:

    perseus: Hidden cameras are pretty easy to get these days.

    You don’t know what you’re asking…. This cuts both ways.

  17. avatar Dragonwall says:

    Indonesia today lacks what was proclaimed in the Pancasila State Ideology.

    Belief in the One and Only God.
    A Just and civilized humanity.
    The Unity of Indonesia.
    Democracy guided by the inner wisdom of deliberations of representatives.
    Social Justice for all the Indonesian people

    How can a democratic society with different religious believes, belief in one God?
    If the society is just and civilized then there will be no paedophiles, riots, discriminations. Not at least they hang those corrupt officials.
    With that many political parties, bipartisan parliamentarians, bigots and nutheads, everyone is on the ready to be named the head of another independent indonesian state. So how could they be unite. Ya except fpi and jihadis. basyir and glico porky.
    If Indonesia is democratic it willl be good enough and to have them with inner wisdom the next thing they will do is to bomb another church, start another sect, raise another party..I mean party.
    With continued discrimination the social palatte will not make that to the kitchen.

    NICE, your 007 octopussy is just befitting to the sushi. Called it Cakrasila.

  18. avatar iamisaid says:

    NICE, your 007 octopussy is just befitting to the sushi. Called it Cakrasila.

    LOL !

    I like the baby octopus picture. There is time to train the fella to become the edifice of Pancasila.

  19. avatar Dragonwall says:

    And soon it will be made into an efigy..protest crawling all around.ha.ha.ha. you komodo..

  20. avatar iamisaid says:

    And soon it will be made into an efigy..protest crawling all around.ha.ha.ha. you komodo..

    Okay, that be the case, we have our trusted Jenderal dewaratugedeanom, the Minister of Defence, Republic of Komodo to sack the Indonesian Government.

    The latest news reported about Jenderal dewaratugedeanom was that he was riding triumphantly on a komodo with 1000 elite komodo dragons and heading towards Jakarta.

  21. avatar perseus says:

    Aluang wrote:

    I think Kangaroo with boxing gloves symbolises corruption is more appropriate. Kangaroo has pouch and that is where the dirty money are hidden and laundered. The boxing gloves means they fight back if confronted.

    Sorry mate, the boxing Kangaroo already represents Australian sporting prowess. It came to prominence when we won the America’s Cup off the Americans about 20 odd years ago. Is usually flown at the cricket, the swimming, the hockey, the netball and various other sports we hopeless, pitable, zero-talent Oz bule are world-beaters at.

    Come up with an original form of abuse for a change. Something a little more creative than your usual repetitious and predictable all bule suck rants…

  22. avatar perseus says:

    Your statements above are true, but something tells me you are not Indonesian.

    No, I am Australian but I like Indonesia. Nice country. Friendly people. Lot of fun. Lot of problems. Nice to see a bunch of people having a serious debate about how to improve things. I think Indonesia has a great opportunity to modernize and bypass many of the errors the Western nations made.

    I think on reflection, the idea of outing corrupt police by hidden video is best done by outsiders. As the Canadians who videoed the shakedown in Bali by the traffic cops and put the video on YouTube did. If an Indonesian did this they might be subject to reprisals. Foreigners can always post their footage when they are safely overseas and beyond the reach of corrupt police.

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