Chinese New Year with a Presidential candidate

Perspektif Online
26 January 2009


I attended an invitation to Chinese New Year at the home of Rizal Ramli and his wife Marjani. Rizal is of Sumatran blood and his deceased first wife was a Javanese aristocrat. Marjani who is known by her informal name A Fung is of Chinese origin. I mention this because I am always thrilled at real-life examples of Indonesian pluralism. People came in Chinese attire besides all kinds of outfits and ate all kinds of food.

Rizal Ramli has announced for the Presidency of Indonesia and is very candid about his chances. He is a personal friend and since nobody can be a formal candidate until the results of the parliamentary elections on April 9, 2009 are known, I have not made up my mind on whom to support. But I do have certain viewpoints on the kinds of things we look for in a president. A friend has written something on the talks we had on that Chinese New Year party, the only one celebrated in the home of a presidential canidate.



No substance, no Great President!

By: Janeman Latul

No one can deny that Microsoft Windows is the best selling operating system on earth, but it definitely is no match for Apple's lLeopard - the smaller rival - for its substance, consistency and most obvious, style.
In the computer operating system rivalry map as in indonesia's political rivalry map, the market leader is not always the one who has substance and ideas.

One could say Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the current president, is the leading candidate for this year's presidential election but he is nothing compared  to Abdurrahman Wahid or even compared to  Rizal Ramli for political ideas and substance. However,  SBY is smart enough to diminish other candidates’  chances. We can look to what he's done to PKB (the National  Awakening Party)  and  to limit Abdurrahman Wahid’s  power. The latest evidence of this tactic is in  attacking  Ramli by using  criminal law Chapter 160. This remnant of colonial oppression  is  accusing him of provoking  people  just because he made a public speech criticizing  the government fuel price policy last year.

All is fair in love and war, they say. The actions against Rizal Ramli are fair in politics but they show that the incumbent regime suffers from lack of substance and ideas. SBY is a cautious man and he is worried  that  fresh ideas and substance might become stumbling blocks to his  second-term bid.

Instead of facing opposing viewpoints  fairly in a  battle of ideas  such as  in political debates, he prefers to kill the ideas as quickly as possible before they become a real challenge to him this election year.

What  can you expect from a president who is not able to decide anything, who may survive the Wall Street  financial tsunami only because the capability of his economic team headed by Sri Mulyani?  What can we expect from someone who can only sing and create songs but can never resolve the Lapindo-Sidoarjo mud flow issue? What can we expect from a king who does not want to fight in a battle and chooses instead to quietly poison his enemies?

"Many leaders talk and make speeches but they are meaningless because in order to become a great president, one must have substance," said Wimar Witoelar of Perspektif Online in an informal gathering with some of the country's best intellectuals. Rizal Ramli, a presidential candidate, was joined by HS Dillon, an agricultural expert and a well-known reformer, and DR Kartini Sjahrir, who now heads the PIB (New Indonesia Party) founded by her late husband. "I haven't met any presidential candidate who has substance except for Rizal Ramli," he added, adding that it was an endorsement  for  Rizal’s presidential campaign. Wimar added that the government likes laws that punish the promotion of ideas because they have no ideas themselves. (ee for a report – ed.)

Dillon, who jokingly admitted that he attended the festivities because they serve wine, agreed with Wimar, saying that our next president needs to meet the criteria of ideas so they could begin to  understand the many crises that we currently face. Unfortunately  for Ramli, who will file a judicial review to the constitutional court on Law #160  today January 27, 2009. he meets the criteria of ideas, but the former coordinating minister for economic affairs may fall to big political machines and huge campaign funds controlled by Yudhoyono and Megawati.
Nevertheless, his bid along with  other presidential bids must be supported even by Prabowo Subianto and Wiranto, not because these two have substance and great idea, but at least to have options to choose rather than nothing at all.

Th candidates may lose, they may stumble, but democracy will strive foreard and we will benefit from it as we continue our journey to find the ideal president for today, one with ideas, substance, and the courage to execute them. Things that I doubt our current president could do in the next five years.

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  1. From alaksir on 27 January 2009 10:58:17 WIB
    "What can you expect from a president who is not able to decide anything, who may survive the Wall Street financial tsunami only because the capability of his economic team headed by Sri Mulyani?"
    ...that at least he can make a pretty good economic team?
  2. From wimar on 27 January 2009 11:15:03 WIB
    Yes, agreed. And if he can keep the good guys while discarding the bad guys, then he should make a better president.
  3. From Arie on 27 January 2009 13:44:49 WIB
    Wimar may be right although it is not mentioned on the writing the substance Rizal is trying to bring forward. Although WW mentioned that he has not made any decision yet on who is candidate for future president, Wimar’s positive endorsement to Rizal as I reckon is not merely a nice motivational treat.

    I remembered how SBY moved to the top, people’s love stemmed from a kind of \'insulting\' comment from the hubby of President Mega about SBY. The perceived \'arrogant\' attitude did not fit in the heart of most of Indonesian people. People felt sorry and would want to heal the pain of SBY by supporting him till he got to the top. \'Challenge the arrogant\' seemed to be the emotional force that droved people to vote for SBY albeit there was no clear substance or even if there were, those were the cliché ones.

    As with Obama, as he marched towards the election, public media including CNN \'a one sided news network\' (sorry CNN, but I switch to FOX now) really gave him only some small or so to say tiny portions of the coverage. The arrogant voices that undermined his abilities and intentions were ceased by his creativity, hard work and sincerity, not in a style of one in pursue of purity but the style of a common human being. His reverend style speeches are meaningful, people knew Obama started by understanding his own self and hence his voice is healing and motivating. He won the heart of the American people with his substance of the need for \'change\', he promoted hard and gained sympathy from his people. The characteristic of his fight is almost similar to Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, bring forth the relevant substance combine with hard work resulting in winning sympathy.

    There are turmoils in the era of SBY that can allow a messenger to rise and play a role of savior, but there are also proofs of his winnings such as on issue in fighting the corruptions as well as Aceh reconciliation. But that doesn’t seem to matter; in real world the sensitive Indonesian prefers digesting issues emotionally than by being objective, hence in my opinion the ‘substance’ does not matter anymore or perhaps becomes the least important.

    People are used to and have become accustom to see typical ‘Drama’ model of leader candidate’s campaign, and since people will be on the side of the repressed one, many leaders try their luck to act like one, with the hope that afterwards they will bring forth their substance.

    One time I ask my teacher how I can find a divine teacher. My teacher said, you\'ll know it when your heart doesn\'t deny!

    My heart is for Hidayat Nur Wahid, he brought with him all the true substances in his soul, unspoken but real. I wish for him to dare promoting his qualities and hoping that he is undermined on the way, once he fits the repressed role he\'ll win.
  4. From janeman on 27 January 2009 14:22:20 WIB
    to alaksir: You right mate.. but that's because a hard fought between the devil inside the cabinet...good people like sri is fighting hard to beat the devil which SBY seems to still cling on hehehe...

    but that's true.. he has some good side.. but I don't think would be a great president hehe...
  5. From Chandra on 28 January 2009 15:48:05 WIB
    I agree that SBY is boring and lack of substance (too bad no better electable contender foreseen so far),but come on, let us be fair, Rizal will be prosecuted not for speaking up against SBY, but we all know that he was somewhat related to that ugly demonstration turn voilence which was the reason why he is charged with criminal act. Allegation that Rizal\'s indictment is politically motivated is a pure game people play in this season. Hypothetically I don\'t think he is considered a threat to SBY cause he is more or less \"Rizal Who\" to most voters. But don\'t get me wrong, I personally think Rizal can make a better president than SBY.
  6. From rizal adi on 31 January 2009 02:49:47 WIB
    well I personally think Rizal ramli will never be a good president, we got to stop voting for pure politician to be our president!, Rizal ramli once a great economist, now he is just like others (pure politicians), thirst of power, and self-admiration, NO, he is not my president, although I will have couple of months to decide, I will scratch rizal ramlu from my preference set.

    pure politicians? yes those who talks like god,pointing fingers, speaks rubbish to the media. Rizal ramli was a great economist he will know for sure that the cost of subsidy in oil is way out of our reach, but still he criticizes sri mulyani as mambo jambo kind of berkeley mafia when the subsidy wears off, that what pure politician do (as his friend KKG always do), they act only for the sake of their popularity regardless their conscious thinks

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