January 18, 2009

What is Up with Us, Indonesians?

Photo credit: Mick Brown on Flickr

by Diar Adhihafsari - 2002

I’ve been thinking about the quality of us all as Indonesian people (yes, about us being Indonesians, not merely as people) lately. Take a look at these cases first:
  • You plan to attend an event or a class or anything.
    “Oh, it’s going to start late, anyhow. I don’t have to be in a hurry, then.”
  • Your friend plans to apply for a job in a governmental department.
    “Oh, you’ve got to have a connection there” OR “Oh, you’ve got to prepare at least a few million rupiahs” OR “Oh, the bureaucracy will be looo…ng and complicated. Be ready for that.”
  • You pay a certain amount of money for a certain public service.
    “Oh, I pay so much only to get this? They must have corrupted the money they get from people!”
  • You see on TV that Paris offers free bikes for rent.
    “Oh, if that were in Indonesia, all those bikes will obviously be stolen.”
  • etc. (so many)
Are you familiar with all the above comments? Well, I am (as I sometimes utter the kind of comments myself). That got me thinking now: are we THAT lame, Indonesians? Maybe we are (let’s just admit it). Still in denial? Turn on the news and hear what the anchor says about the corruption cases, vandalism toward public services cases, and so on, and so on.

I’ve been hearing the exact same comments for years and how come we haven’t changed? Are we planning to be like this for good? What would our children say about us? If they’re smarter than us, they’d probably say, “Oh God, is this the quality of MY parents? Am I going to be just like who they were? No way, José! I CAN be better!” But if they’re as dumb as us, they’d just say, “My parents used to do that before, then don’t blame me for following them.”

Time to re-contemplate, all of us. We all hate status quo, so walk the talk. We’re young and often say that it’s time for us to be given the opportunity to lead. Again, walk the talk—prove that we’re smart enough to learn not to repeat the same old mistakes. Just don’t get rid of at least a little part of your university-year idealism.

PS. For those of you who are now the new Civil Servants out there, congratulations, my friends! And please oh please, just because you’re secured in terms of financial until you’re retired, don’t be selfish. Make change! We have you as Civil Servants NOT in order to get the same exact country, but far better one.

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