Jokowi’s lost the plot: time to seek professional help

Unspun was one of those people rooting for Jokowi when he was contesting against Prabowo in the presidential elections. Not because he was the best of candidates but he was the better candidate in terms of integrity.

That alone held out hope that he might be able to change Indonesia, because for sure a figure like Prabowo that reeks of Order Baru would certainly not.

So when Jokowi got voted in, like many in Indonesia Unspun cheered. Unseen cheered again when he started his administration with fresh faces like Ibu Susi and Jonan. After all, did they not have track records of starting businesses and setting Keretapi Indonesia back on the right track?

And it went well for a little while and Unspun cheered. Then things started to go awry. Jokowi started making funny decisions – the destruction of neighbouring countries’ illegal fishing vessels, imposing the death penalty…and then the KPK-Police issue flared.

Like many in Indonesia Unspun was disappointed with his initial reaction, which was to equivocate. But the eternal optimist, Unspun still held out hopes for Jokowi.

Unlike most people Unspun, through counselling business leaders in crisis situations, could appreciate what a difficult place he was in, hemmed in on all sides by Megawati, Surya Paloh, Jusuf Kalla, his recently disillusioned supporters and the Police and the KPK.

In the previous posting Unspun suggested that the supporters should perhaps try to pressure the Police and the KPK instead to follow procedures. It would give Jokowi room to manoeuvre.

Then there was today’s interview with Kompas TV.

It was a disaster. He appeared unsure, tentative, had no mastery of the subject at hand and not only did not say anything substantial he did not even look the part of a decisive leader appealing for patience as he resolved things.

He fumbled and hummed and hawed even when he was asked softball questions. In short Jokowi shows all signs that he’s lost the plot.

Whomever is advising him is doing a very bad job at it. One never puts out the spokesperson without preparing him for it by doing dry runs, anticipating the questions that he’ll be facing and rehearsing, rehearsing and rehearsing until he can not only deliver the message, but deliver it in a persuasive manner.

It is time that Jokowi realises that how a president performs in public will determine how the public thinks of him, and can make the difference whether people continue to believe in him.

If he or his advisors have even half a brain at all they would turn to professional advisors and trainers in interview techniques. The nation has lots of qualified media trainers. If they don’t do this it may sooner than later cost them the Presidency.

Then we’d be back to business as usual with the Corrupt holding sway over everything.

 

 

Posted in communications, corruption, Crisis and issues management, Indonesia, politics | 1 Comment

Are good intentions harming Indonesia in the new Cicak-Buaya episode?

Five year from now when Indonesians look back at this moment in the nation’s history what conclusions would they draw?

What seems to suggest itself is that the Police-KPK issue is likely to be perceived as  watershed moment. On one extreme is a scenario depicting the last gasp of the Lords of Corruption and the Old Guard; On the other extreme is a scenario in which the nation takes a nosedive, erases much of the progress it makes and continues to muddle through or even begin to decline.

The first scenario is difficult to imagine as it would involve Jokowi prying his integrity and will from the clutches of the political parties that he’s beholden to. It would need some radical action such as the President dissolving DPR and appealing straight to the people for support. (Can the President Constitutionally even do that?) Or providing an ultimatum to Mega, Surya and the overlords – back down or I quit.

The second scenario, unfortunately, is more likely. Hemmed in by all sides Jokowi is discredited in to his most ardent supporters and resigns or is impeached. Jusuf Kalla takes over and we all go back to the old ways of doing things – turning a blind eye to privilege and power. The Party Overloards loading over the rest of the country as the rape and collage the land – in short, business as usual. This will be the beginning of a decline that will erase all the progress Indonesia has made in the past 20 years.

Future analysts might also conclude that what caused this second scenario is a confluence of malignant, well-meaning forces, and a KPK that is less than pristine.

The malignant forces are easy to identify in persons, institutions and motivations. There is Mega who is known to harbour grudges and let personal considerations rule the day. There is Surya Paloh who moves in his own world of morality and logic, fuelled by a large ego and unbridled ambition. An there is Jusuf Kalla who has judiciously decided to sit back and let Jokowi feel the heat, not running his chances to step in as President should things go to hell in a hand basket. There are also the party apparatchik and the Police, whose interests are to prop up a corrupt system that has lined their pockets and those of their acolytes and relatives.

The well-meaning forces are the earnest supporters of Jokowi. Professionals, celebrities and activists who campaigned hard for his victory in the belief that he would help rid the country of the rotten, corrupt system that the political insiders have nurtured over all these years. They are passionate, bridle with righteous piety and they are noisy – especially over social media that has become their loud hailer in these times.

Most of their efforts are motivated by an understandable deep hatred for the police that is a symbol of an institution that is corrupt to the core. For them the KPK has become the symbol of defiance against the Police and therefore the #SaveKPK hashtags and protests.

Unfortunately, the KPK has been less than impeccable. One should question whether the KPK overstepped its bounds when it announced that Budi Gunawan was one of the candidates flagged in Jokowi’s list of ministerial candidates. It may be true, and there may have ben very strong evidence that Budi is guilty of corruption but it does not make it right for the KPK to make this information public. Individuals inside could have leaked it to the media but officially they should not have made the announcement.

Then there is the KPK’s indictment of Budi as a suspect. If you have to indict somebody then, to be fair, you need to read out the charges. Otherwise it’s guilt by insinuation. Coming as it was on the eve of Budi’s appointment, and bereft of the charges that would substantiate such indictment, one could argue that the KPK fell way short of the principles of justice and law enforcement.

The KPK’s behaviour, combined with the passion of Jokowi’s disillusioned supporters has, arguably, made it more difficult for the President to manoeuvre as it hardens the resolve of the Police and the Old Guard rather than to get them to reconsider their actions.

So perhaps a rethink of strategies and tactics are needed. Protesters should perhaps try to be fairer, call for the preservation of the KPK but at the same time hold the KPK accountable for their actions. In the meantime pressure should be kept up on the Police to explain how Budi could have accumulated such massive wealth in spite of his low salary. And they should also be pressured to explain the basis and procedures for arresting Bambang Widjajanto.

So the angle of attack should perhaps not be a heuristic impulse to save the KPK as it contains the same contradictions and logical faultiness as the #JeSuisCharlie movement after the Paris attacks. Such an approach is attractive, sexy and populist but does not attack the problem at its core.

If the pressure are sustained on both these institutions it would make it easier for Jokowi to step in to settle matters. It is not ideal. A President should be made of sterner stuff but that is the inexperienced politician that the Indonesian electorate voted for – and as the saying goes voters deserve what they get.

It seems like a choice of helping out Jokowi or descending into a dark period for Indonesia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in ask the right question, corruption, Indonesia, politics | Leave a comment

What Rara experienced as an intern at my workplace

Rara and Ken were winners of the PRVaganza 2014, a multi-university competition for communications students. Their team from Univerisiti Gadjah Mada won the competition and the prize for that was an offer of a month’s internship at Maverick.

Ken’s chosen to write about his experience here (see also my pervious posting) but Rara chose to express herself in a  YouTube video. Here is her story.

All I can say is that we were chuffed to have two such bright, enthusiastic and hard working interns and we want to keep them forever once they graduate (and if they want to come back to us).

Posted in Indonesia, Public Relations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Perks of Being a Maverick for One Month.

unspun:

In November we accepted two interns, Ken and Rara, from University Gadjah Mada. They were so good and intellectually curious we wished they could just work with us and not go back to the halls of academia to complete their theses.

Now Ken has shared his thoughts and impressions as a Maverick intern for a month in Maverick and we’re so thrilled that he found it educational and enjoyable. Maverick has always been about creating an experience of learning and fun for whomever walks through our doors and we’re so proud we managed to achieve this with Ken.

Rara has chosen to document her experience in a movie, that I’ll share in a later post.

Originally posted on brainstorming:

Being the winner of PRVaganza 2014 was not an easy one. I still bore in my mind the 8 hours trip from Yogyakarta to Jakarta. I arrived before the sun rose and went straight to Universitas Indonesia for the seminars until the final brief was given. There were no time to take a bath at all. When the final brief was on my hand, I wish I could just sleep (indeed, I slept first) for 3 hours and undertake the PR proposals. In the end, my team did it, and we won the competition. We were also entitled to have an internship at Maverick as the ultimate prize for the competition.

I never have any experience in the real PR industry, and I have no idea what would the industry like because I have no reference at all. I’ve watched several movies/series about communication industries, but most of them are…

View original 435 more words

Posted in Indonesia | Leave a comment

Sony’s The Interview saga: What a difference a pro makes

Here’s a piece I wrote in Maverick’s blog today:

Sony’s The Interview saga: What a difference a pro makes

You know the story by now. Sony was supposed to release the movie The Interview, a satire of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un over the Christmas holidays.

But following a cyber attack, almost certainly by North Koreans, in which troves of Sony data and email was released to the public, and sinister threats about the safety of moviegoers if the movie was shown in cinemas, Sony pulled The Interview.

They have been roundly criticised since, including by no less the President of the US, Barrack Obama, for pulling The Interview.

You could say that Sony was facing a crisis.

So what does Sony do?

They called in the pros in crisis management.

In this case it hired Judy Smith, who worked as a deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush before starting her own crisis management firm, Smith & Company, that Business Insider says is “one of the premiere crisis management firms in the country.”

Judy Smith, insiration to the TV series Olivia Pope

 

What has she done?…read more here

Posted in communications, Crisis and issues management | Leave a comment

Running out of good sense?

The Nike Bajak Jakarta run yesterday has propelled itself into a storm of controversy because of the massive traffic jams it caused in the city. The reason why it caused gridlock in the traffic was because Nike decided to hold the run in a busy part of town at 4pm on a Saturday – when traffic is at the best of times heavy.

(Note: for a first hand runners account read Romeo Gadungan’s posting here)

What ensued are furious commuters forced unnecessarily to sit in their cars or on their bikes as runners, egged on by Nike Indonesia’s tagline #BajakJKT and slogan of “You Vs JKT”, smugly showed their mastery on the roads with their branded and expensive shoes, heart rate monitors, water bottle holders and other accessories.

B4vgJCICMAAtbMd.jpg-large

This smugness caused even more resentment on the part of the fuming commuters  against the runners and the brand. How would you feel when, after fuming for hours on the road, you checked your twitter feed and you see lots of complaints on one hand and self-congratulating, self-congratulating runners on the other?

Runners are now being called douchebags, hipsters etc.

Nuelhip

This is not entirely fair to the runners but Unspun thinks that there is a lesson to be learned here by runners, bikers and other performing athletic feats on public roads: Jakarta roads are already crowded with too much traffic, so if you get a chance to use these roads you need to be aware that you are sharing these roads and you need to be considerate to the motorists.

Too often Unspun has seen runners and cyclists (and Harley Davidson owners too, although they somehow don’t fit into the athletic category) acting as if they owned the road during Sundays and when they are out in packs. They expect all other motorists and commuters to give way to them or be bawled out by them.

Most of the runners on the Nike run, however, were the victims of enthusiasm to the point of not exercising running prudence, perhaps because of the desperation to do something physical and outdoors in shopping mall-obsessed Jakarta.

So many of them signed up for the run even when they did not know the route and time of the Bajak Jakarta run.

run

If you are into running (and Unspun knows a little about this, having completed two marathons and several 10Ks and half marathons, albeit about 3 decades ago) you would want to be fussy about the route, the organisation (does it look like they will have good traffic control, crowd control, first aid, water, is it hilly or flat etc) and definitely the time.

We are living in the equatorial region. It gets very hot very quickly once the sun rises. It is for this reason that most runs are timed at 5am or so because by the time it gets to be about 9am it starts to get scorchingly hot for runners.

The other reason why runs are scheduled so early is because there is still little traffic on the roads thereby causing minimal disruption to the other road users.

Why Nike, a brand that must have deep experience in running and organizing such events chose to have it at 4pm in a busy part of town is intriguing to say the least unless it too is inflicted with her mentality when it comes to running.

Over the past two years, we have seen the rise of running as the sport of choice for hip, young and not to young Jakartans. The fact that they can now clock their performance on electronic gadgets and then show them off to the world through apps such as Nike’s +,  Endomondo, ICardio and Runkeeper has helped to fuel the popularity of running (and also cycling).

The popularity has reached such a stage that any enthusiastic but unimaginative marketeer will suggest to their bosses to hold a run if the brand wants to “connect” with the masses and the young.

So we have seen a plethora of runs happening almost every week being sponsored by all sorts of companies with the money such as insurance companies, health product manufacturers and banks (although the irony of a bank run does not seem to have fazed them).

This eagerness has resulted in some less than well organised events. In the Standard Chartered Half Marathon recently, for instance, the organisers ran out of water in the later checkpoints causing some runners to suffer from dehydration. Two were hospitalised. One of them apparently had a heart attack.

It is perhaps time for every body involved in such public runs to get together to discuss how to ensure that runs do take into account the safety and health of the runners as well as the commuters.

From the city government that issues permits, to the police who are in charge of diverting and directing traffic, to the athletic bodies, event organisers and sponsors, there should be clear guidelines on the timing, route, logistics and safety provisions for the runners.

Runners should also be more discerning about which events they join. There is no lack of choice these days so unless organisers publish the timing and the routes before hand, they should not sign up like desperados. Force them to be more responsible or they won’t get your participation.

Running is a great sport and recreation. Runs can be enjoyable – both of runners and the rest of the people they share the road with. But like that Sub 4 that most marathoners aim for, you need to work hard at it. Now hit the road!

Posted in Crisis and issues management, Indonesia, Twitter | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Insulting Islam or taking the piss out of ISIS?

One thing about Indonesia is that it always surprises.

Just when all of us thought that the Jokowi Government would user in a even more liberal regime that would value freedom of expression, comes news that the Police have indicted the Jakarta Post’s chief editor for insulting Islam.

The Post had carried a cartoon, demonstrated here on the Bisnis.com website today. Its crime: replacing the ISIS oval with a skull and bones. One might say fair comment, given ISIS’s propensity to lob off heads or hostages.

When the more religious readers raised a kerfuffle over the Post’s cartoon, the Post bowed to pressure and apologised. You’d think that people of a religious bent would find it in their hearts to forgive, given how all religions preach about redemption, love and all that.

The Indonesian Police, however, have a different take on things, charging the editor Dimas (Mediatama Suryodiningrat) with blasphemy.

Nice to see the nation’s enforcers so sensitive about the good name of ISIS and religion, to the point that they would not tolerate snark from journalists.

One wonders where the President and his Working Cabinet of putatively progressive leaders stand on things and how long will they keep quiet over this?

PEMRED JAKARTA POST TERSANGKA: Ini Komentar Meidyatama dan AJI | Kabar24

PEMRED JAKARTA POST TERSANGKA: Ini Komentar Meidyatama dan AJI | Kabar24

Bisnis.com, JAKARTA – Pemimpin Redaksi The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (MS) ditetapkan sebagai tersangka terkait dugaan dugaan tindak pidana penistaan agama. Langkah penyidik yang menjadikan MS tersangka mendapatkan komentar keras dari AJI.Dalam pesan yang diterima Bisnis.com, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Indonesia menyatakan tiga hal terkait dengan penetapan Meidyatama sebagai tersangka kasus penistaan agama1). Menolak keras penetapan Pemred Jakarta Post sebagai tersangka karikatur Laa ilaaha illallaah pada edisi Kamis 3/7/2014 lalu.2. Mendesak kepolisian RI tidak menggunakan KUHP untuk menangani kasus-kasus yang terkait dengan karya jurnalistik, dan kembali menggunakan UU Pers sebagai cara untuk menyelesaikan sengketa pemberitaan atau produk pers.3. Mendesak Kapolda Metro Jaya segera mencabut status tersangka Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dan mengembalikan kasus ini sesuai UU Pers yang bersifat lex specialis.4. Mengajak masyarakat pers, baik media massa, Dewan Pers, dan stakeholders lainnya untuk bersama sama menjaga kebebasan pers dan menegakkan kasus ini dalam koridor kasus pers bukan kasus pidana. Kasus ini apabila dibiarkan akan menjadi ancaman serius bagi kebebaaan pers dan akan bisa terkena kepada siapapun.Untuk itu, AJI mendesak kepolisian mengembalikan kasus ini seperti yang sudah tertuang dalam kesepakatan Dewan Pers dan Kepolisian dalam menangani kasus pers.Sementara itu, Pemred The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dalam pesan tertulisnya yang diterima Bisnis.com mengaku kaget atas penetapan dirinya sebagai tersangka oleh penyidik Polda Metro Jaya.

Read more…

Posted in ask the right question, communications, Indonesia, Islam, Media, Muslim, Religion | 2 Comments