Sat, 11 Nov 2000

Smart Megawati

Being smart is different from being clever. Megawati is not said to be clever; she is said to be smart. Prof. Budiyatna said that it was not right for Megawati to say she disagrees with Abdurrahman Wahid's stepping down. Professor, you have forgotten that Megawati is actually very smart. Being smart is more valuable than just being clever. A professor is clever but he is not necessarily smart. When Habibie was president, a professor was assigned to trace Soeharto's assets abroad. Unfortunately, as he was not smart, he returned home quickly and said that Soeharto did not keep his assets, not even a cent, abroad.

Once a customs officer on duty at Kemayoran Airport saw a passenger leave the airplane lugging a piece of bamboo along with some other luggage. He suspected the bamboo contained a bird that was forbidden to be transported off the island. As he was smart, he whistled and the bird hidden in the bamboo whistled back, making it easy for the officer to take custody of the passenger.

Prior to the last general election, there was a fuss about letting a woman become president, but Megawati did not get angry. Even when a professor expressed doubt about her religious faith, Megawati kept cool. She simply went on a haj pilgrimage for the umpteenth time. Here lies Megawati's smartness. Finally, her party won the election although toward the end of it there were leaflets saying things to discredit her. Megawati knew precisely how to win popular sympathy. The more she was subjected to condemnation, the more the people were willing to sympathize with her.

It is difficult to separate Megawati from Abdurrahman. Their friendship has gone back a long way. Before the last general election, both paid homage to their family's graves, giving the impression that it was Abdurrahman who has for all these years led Megawati to maturity, especially when she was subjected to condemnation. Thanks to Abdurrahman, Megawati became acquainted with Prof. Amien Rais, Gen. (ret) Wiranto and Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. So when the relationships soured between Gus Dur and Amien Rais, and then Akbar Tandjung and some other figures, and then Megawati flirted with shaking Abdurrahman's presidency, Megawati knew all too well what is pure persuasion and what is persuasion with an ulterior motive. It was still fresh in her mind how the grim July 27 tragedy came about and also how slanderous the leaflets attempting to negate her success story were distributed to discredit her.

Megawati's father, the late Bung Karno, who proclaimed Indonesia's independence on Aug. 17, 1945, was very well acquainted with Muhammadiyah, a social Muslim organization. He liked Muhammadiyah so much that he named his first child Mohammad Guntur and his second Diyah Permata Megawati Soekarnoputri. History cannot be faked although many people have tried to fake it. May Abdurrahman and Megawati's partnership symbolize the unity between NU and Muhammadiyah.