Sun, 09 Mar 2003

RI: An unfinished masterpiece waiting for the right artist

A couple of "bule" (white foreigner) friends of mine once stated that Indonesia is actually "a heaven and earth" for everyone, regardless of where they come from.

Besides the variety of cultures and arts this country offers, Indonesia obviously has a unique character of its own.

In this case, I'd like to divulge some comments from those people, which I believe deserve to be taken into account. There are several opinions of "bules" here that really make sense and could actually be compared with our society's ways of thinking.

Who knows, by mixing the view points between the East and the West, perhaps it's going to open the door of "freedom of thinking" wider than before. Besides, it's not a sin, right?

An Australian entering their sixth year of living here once complained to me that he had seen some "holes" in this country, which is basically rooted in a system that he thinks is not really working well.

At first, I was a little bit puzzled and thought, what the heck is he talking about? He then explained that system, by giving me a number of examples, such as a convicted-criminal who is supposed to be in jail but is free to conduct meetings at the House of Representatives building. That's one!

To his horror, the president even shook hands with him. I got it! He's not talking about the system nor law enforcement! He's talking about morality!! The system won't exist if there are no people in charge of it!

At afternoon tea with another friend I again heard a weird thing. My friend realized how stupid the government was for not sticking to its own decision (Ooopss ... this time my friend's talking about the revoked price-hike decision). He was actually glad that the people's voices were finally heard but if those people in the House know what they're doing there's no way in the world they would implement the price hikes and revoke it. It is only making them lose their faces in the society!

How true he is!! Not only that, he also commented on the "new seasonal event" in this country (read: floods), which apparently made people dislike the government even more.

Yeah, I have to admit that in this case there's no exact clear steps from the government, when it comes to solving this "wet disaster". All they have done so far is some campaign through the media about how dangerous littering is!

I think that deserves two thumbs up but what if the flood still hits us while we have anticipated the whole thing?

Mmmmhhh. Could there be any "leakage" at the city water dam? Have they checked? Or the flows of the water from Puncak resort are no longer flowing on the right track because there are too many rich people building bungalows?

To be frank, I told my friend not to look at this country as a whole. Let's throw a little glance over Jakarta alone. Man, this city could actually perform better if we had a chance to elect our leader and dismiss him or her if they couldn't do very well!

Instead of building the pricey fountain near Hotel Indonesia, some people might think that it would be more worthy if we could use the money to improve the water dam? So there's no worry every time the rain pours down.

Instead of building the fence around Monas, would the money be more useful if we used it to improve the quality of the public school buildings that are destroyed by the storm? Where the heck is the priority?

Every country has its own roses and thorns. Maybe sometimes we need to have a barometer as a measurement of how far we have progressed.

This reminds me of a song by Debbie Gibson, Anything is possible. Would it be possible for Indonesia to have a sophisticated transportation system like Malaysia? Would it be possible for us to breath clear air and have a tidy environment like Singapore? Would it be possible for us to restore peace after the Bali bombing so tourists could come to Bali and share their prosperity with the locals, like Thailand?

The answer to those questions: Yes, we can! We're working our way up there. If I may describe this beloved Indonesia, especially after Soeharto stepped down, this country looks exactly like an unfinished painting with hundreds of different colors in it.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been the right artists who can put these colors together into a better masterpiece of art.

-- Faye Belnis