Sat, 29 Mar 2003

Cigarettes and employment

In the article entitled Cigarettes: License to kill for Rp. 27 trillion , (The Jakarta Post, March 27), Santi Soekanto asserts that when Indonesians smoke Indonesian cigarettes, they enrich certain people based in California.

I admit that lately the national self-esteem of Indonesia might not be at its highest, but there is no reason to exacerbate that by giving credit for the creation of Indonesia's most successful, domestically-produced products to people living in the United States. Kretek (clove) cigarettes were invented, and are produced and smoked by Indonesians, and this amazing product is something that each and every Indonesian can be proud of. Its companies are some of the most venerable and respected, not just in Indonesia, but also the world, and the industry itself provides direct and indirect employment to over 10 million people. Shame on Ms Soekanto for trying to take one of the country's success stories away from it.