Tue, 09 Mar 1999

Pundits and the nation's future

I refer to the article "Punditry: A give-and-take business" of Sunday, March 7, 1999 edition. I have found synonyms of this word that range from analysis to observation and criticism.

I would say these pundits, who I perceive as experts, are only touching on current issues with a reporter's style, in order to increase their "imago" rating.

Never have I heard from them any substantial or concise educational in-depth view going to the core of an issue and then defining a solution or two to get us out of the mess (what, how, when, who), one that is fit for the educated mass and the students, except the offerings of Kwik Kian Gie.

The press provides a parallel case of superficiality and "avoidance": for instance they use the word nakal = naughty for bankers and manipulators, etc. This shows a schizophrenic wish not to grow up to the harshness of reality, for example by using initials if somebody is under "investigation."

Geographically we live in a "soft environment", and nature bestows upon us a continuous temperature year round of between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius (except in the mountains) with only two seasons.

In general people do not need to toil and struggle to survive in looking for a daily intake of 2,500 calories. It is all around us -- fish, vegetables, fruit, and we need only eight meters of textile a year for clothing.

If we look at population milestones we see that in 1945 we had some 40 million, then in 1965 90 million, and now in 1999 we have 204 million. The main jobs of national survival are to:

- educate the nation;

- supply food;

- create work opportunities, so that people can earn their living;

- housing;

- and fitness to obtain some position among the upper ten or so in the global rat-race.

As proven by those countries in the northern hemisphere which have no natural resources of significance, this can be achieved by sheer will power, brain power or education and intellectual prowess, if necessary going to war to harden the nation... So in essence it is a battle of IQ, personality, mentality, culture, our elite and leaders.

So if again we focus on our pundits, these people would not be paid a dime in Germany, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand or Japan if they babbled on with their repetitious standard stuff, except maybe Messrs. Kwik and Hartojo.

The rest are indeed to be classified as entertainers not so much as pundits, if I may correct you. They earn their money, and then behave like the elite from affluent countries, driving BMWs, Landcruisers, anything high-style. They don't give a dime for all the misery around them, but live "detached" lives.

Look at the Association of Economic Scholars (ISEI), of which the pundits are members or would-be members.

(a) Did they ever give us a view of how much our total debt is now, and how our country can repay it (Hartojo is the only one)?

(b) Did they ever publish a monthly or quarterly white-book review showing how much the economy has contracted and what level inflation is? And then connected with that, how long a recovery would take to reach the July 1997 turning point?

(c) Did they ever do the same on money M-1, M-2 etc., including the massive recycling of laundered money?

(d) Did they constantly monitor the efforts of Bank Indonesia's so-called "rescue" efforts for banks etc.?

Our pundits are soft elite boys and girls fitting into our soft society: Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand adopted eons ago the 10 gram ganja-heroin death penalty; our dealers after they are caught, are out within three days back on the street to continue "dealing", at the most the penalty is three months... and continue softening up our youngsters...

What then is our future if our pundit-elite is like this? It will be a soft one with an population always increasing by three million a year, and we will be unable to feed, to clothe, to educate, to give them decent work; it is a slum future...thanks also to our pundits?