That Siti Hikmawatty is stupid is a given fact. What else can explain an official for the Commission for the Protection of Indonesia Children (KPAI), and supposedly a one-time academic, would say that women can get pregnant from swimming in a pool with men?
Her stupidity is stupendous. In apologizing for her statement she said she had been inaccurate but it was a “personal” statement rather than a position held by the KPAI.
As if that would make everyone feel better. A commissioner holding such views is as fatal to the reputation of the KPAI, and not being dismissed, wrecks the same damage as if the KPAI held this view.
She also has no integrity. Instead of accepting responsibility for such an atrocious and outrageous statement, she has not offered to resign.
But that is Siti living up to the adage that “stupid is as stupid does”.
The questions of culpability that aren’t being asked around Siti are more demoralizing for the nation.
Specifically, how did someone of the lack of intelligence got appointed to the KPAI in the first place? Who was responsible for appointing her? Why aren’t they being held accountable for putting such a doozie in a commission that has a huge impact on the lives of our children?
Also, why hasn’t the KPAI, or the Minister in charge sacked her after she made the statement? By allowing her to continue her tenure at the commission, you have one dangerously stupid commissioner being in the the braintrust to protect Indonesian children.
There is also the question of how many Sitis there are out there, sitting in positions of influence and responsibility with intellects that aren’t enough to tie their own shoelaces with but who preside over policy and our lives.
What do you think? Should Indonesians, specially its netizens, continue to ridicule and deride Siti? Of should they train their acerbic keyboards at those who put her in place and who, through inaction, keep her in her position?
A battle royale is raging on Twitter between established online media houses including kompas.com, kumparan.com and professional buzzer @Kurawa and so far there have been threats of legal suits, applying the Draconian UU ITE and others.
The story unfolded on January 5 when Rudy Valinka, aka @kurawa, tweeted an accusation against Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan for media placement carrying the messages that he was GoodBener (rally good, a play on Gubener) to become President. Kurawa said it must have cost a few hundred million rupiahs, an unnecessary expense that could have been used to alleviate the plight of flood victims.
He then followed up with screen grabs of how several media outlets seem to have similar headlines and quotes.
Here’s one from Kumparan.com
This one from detik.com
And this one from Kompas.com
Then @Kurawa started saying he was disappointed by kompas.com for receiving a media placement from Anies, as he thought that Kompas.com was really objective.
@Kurawa also attacked other media, including Jawa Post. The editor replied to him on Twitter saying that their reporter had not ”complied with proper procedures” when uploading this story and they were therefore removing their story.
Kompas fought back, saying that their journalist wrote the original story and others had copied their content. Kumparan also disagreed to allegations. From there, as with the way of social media, things all got heated up and murky because everyone started weighing in.
There was talk of lawsuits, the use of the UU ITE, going to the press council and other remedies. As usual, everyone had strong opinions.
What lessons can the rest of us get from this incident? Here’s Unspun’s list:
1. Kurawa may or may not have jumped to a premature conclusion that the publications all had been bought over by Anies to report the incident. The media, however, still needs to look at themselves and how they report the news
2. What’s obvious is that there was a lot of cut-and-paste and story/photo sharing on the level of the reporters. How This managed to evade the scrutiny of the editors is the real story here. And even if they had, surely a good editor would look at the competitors’ stories the next day and call in the reporters for the cut-and-paste stories?
3. The established media’s standards have been dropping for a long time and they are not functioning as a vigilant Forth Estate should. Issues and incidents arise and just as fast sink into obscurity and neglect. There is no follow-through of stories to their end. Hard questions are not asked.
4. The established media houses should realize that the only way they can recover from this tailspin of diminishing advertising revenues is to boost their credibility. It is only with good, hard reporting that they can stand any chance of staying alive, let alone return to profitability. The Guardian is a good example where good journalism pays.
In a time in Indonesia when all the three estates of the country – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – have shown themselves to be dysfunctional, it is more important now than ever for the Press – the Fourth Estate – to provide the checks and balances that would ensure that Indonesia remain a vibrant democracy.
One can only hope that this incident forces everyone involved to do some introspection of their rights and obligations to Indonesian society, and then go ahead to discharge them.
A BMW jumped the curb and ploughed into Apotik Senopati at about 4am today. The driver was apparently a 19-year old student. A video post by @TMCPoldaMetro showed what looked like the driver showed a young man wearing a black cap whose breath, said police, smelled of alcohol.
This was the second car to crash into Apotik Senopati since October. Then a Nissan Livina driven by a female student crashed into the pharmacy at 3.30am, killing a security guard who was sitting at the front of the pharmacy. Police said the driver was inexperienced and hit the gas instead of the brake pedal when she had to negotiate the steep turn.
So the authorities later today came up with a typical Indonesian solution, the put up barriers about a meter high around the turn. It’s a typical Indonesian solution because it does not seem to have occurred to the powers that be that the problem is not the turning but lots of other things that might involve, horrors! – enforcement of the law.
The law, if enforced properly, wants as a punitive measure to would be offenders. If unenforced, it breeds a sense of impunity, inviting anyone with the means to do what they like and flout the law.
There is no evidence that the law was enforced in the first case involving the Livina. Either the police did not press charges against the woman driving it or the media did not pursue the story to its conclusion. This has given rise to rumors that the case was hushed up because the female driver was apparently the daughter of someone with connections and means. Some people said the father was a member of the DPR.
It remains to be seen what the police will do to the driver of this morning’s BMW. If it does not press charges (and announce it since @TMCPoldaMetro has a penchant for tweeting the news out) then it will look like another case of a rich boy getting away with it because Daddy has the connections and the mollah to buy him out of trouble. It will send a signal to other rich kids that they can get drunk and drive and cause harm to property or people and be able to get away with it.
Silence on the development of this case would also be a bad testimony for the Press that seems to get shallower and flightier where their attention span to stories are concerned.
The two crashes also bring to light how lacking Jakarta has been on educating party goers to the dangers of driving under influence of alcohol or other substances. Even in neighboring Malaysia, drunk driving laws are enforced often and on the mass media you can see or hear admonitions not to drink and drive.
The problem is becoming acute in the Senopati area where many night clubs have sprung up along Jalan Gunawarman and Jalan Senopati.
There is nothing wrong with entertainment establishments but when they do not check for proof of adulthood before serving drinks this can be a problem. These establishments are also become int a pest to the residents of the area who now must brave the unnecessary traffic jams so that the establishment owners can turn a profit.
There is no proper parking areas so the cars are parked and valet-ed at the side of these streets. Why can’t the government do the right thing by either banning these entertainment spots (how many of them have licenses to operate) or to provide parking facilities so that the roads are not blocked by the party goers. The government can easily afford acquiring land and building multi-storey parking lots merely by taxing the establishments.
But all this – the enforcement drink driving laws, the education against drink driving and the proper zoning of commercial properties and provision of parking lots — is being overlooked. Why? The only plausible explanation is indifference. Indifference by the police, indifference by the courts, indifference by the City Government.
Rather than do something to make the situation better all they do is erect higher barriers. The pharmacy may be better protected but the next time the drunk driver could be the one facing fatality.
Schadenfreude or, in English, epicaricacy, is mostly a guilty pleasure. That’s because it is the joy you feel at the misfortune of others.
In the case of now-sacked Garuda President Director Ari Askhara, however, schadenfreude is a legitimate and just pleasure.
Here was a man who lived a life of impunity, seemingly protected by the former State-owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno when he signed off on questionable audits of the airline’s books. (And what has Rini to say about her elevation of Ari from Garuda CFO to President Director?)
A man who brazenly sought to smuggle a stripped down Harley Davidson and several Brampton folding bicycles on the ferry flight of the A330-900 Neo from Toulouse to Jakarta, a journey he celebrated after the plane landed by riding with his Moge (motto gede = large motorbikes) cronies on onto the tarmac in an event sponsored by BMW.
And when caught red handed, he either instructed or conspired with his Corporate Secretary and spokesman Ikhsan Rosan, to lie to the media. It wasn’t even a credulous lie. Ikhsan said two employees had loaded the Harley and Bramptons onto the plane. Like employees can afford those toys for the rich.
The pity, however, was that the Indonesian media swallowed those implausible excuses whole, and regurgitated it to their readers. There was no sharp questioning of who the employees were if any, what did Ari and the directors know and when did they know it, and how could employees even afford those toys and ever hope to get away with it if they had indeed been guilty.
Then, after Ari was sacked by current State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, news began to emerge of his alleged mistress, a Garuda stewardess who was apparently present in the ferry flight, of her plastic surgery and how she influenced his decision to shift the Jakarta-Amsterdam flight to Bali-Amsterdam instead.
A video of his megalomaniac Soekarno-like motorcade during what appeared to be an Independence Day paraded also emerged.
Throughout all this Ari, apart from trying to dodge reporters, has said nothing. No remorse, no regret, no apology.
This whole episode gives rise to several disturbing questions about the elite in Jakarta and the amount of rot in the state-owned enterprise fiefdoms that exists till this very day.
What kind of self-image and environment that people like Ari live in? How do they perceive themselves? Are they so drunk on the Kool Aid that they do not know how people despise them for their ostentatiousness, of which the Harley Davidson is the most prominent emblem of entitlement.
Since Suharto days the Harley Davidson has been a symbol of thee elite. Importing the bikes then was illegal so the only way they could be brought in was if you had “backing” – New Order speak for connections. Those who rode the Harleys were, apart from Suharto himself, military generals, police chiefs, obsequious but rich businessman and the Brahmins of the government, like heads of state-owned enterprises.
Their rides used to be escorted by the police, none of them noticing how incompatible that was to Harley’s born to be wild spirit.
Two decades on things, have changed little. It is now legal to import Harleys but probably most of the Harleys on Indonesian roads are brought in illegally and then issued with doctored road permits. There are more rich and entitled people so there are more riders but essentially it is a new generation of the same old elite.
The police escorts are still there. The elite still show off, with those loud machines as the rest of us are stuck in traffic jams. Some of these idiots also sport police look-alike designs, sirens and lights. All illegal and telegraphing a what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it attitude to the rest of us.
Do these people even realize how much contempt they attract from the rest of the population? (and here’s an idea for Finance Minister Sri Mulyani who has to increase revenue from taxes – why not have the taxman go after all the Moge riders – you’ll find that most of them have false papers because they brought their bikes in illegally and not paying any taxes).
The consoling thought about Ari’s downfall is that Erick Thohir has had the courage to lop off the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the Brahmins in the State-Owned Enterprises must be quaking in their shoes right now. They should, but are they?
Hard to tell. Would love to see a journalist do a story on whether the elite are capable of self-reflection and awareness of the environment around them. Unspun has a sneaking suspicion that many of them are incapable of this, making them unable to self-correct and change their ways.
One can hope that Erick Thohir and the Government will continue their purge of such entitled and corrupt Brahmin. Then the rest of use would be treated to an endless flow of Schadenfreude.
Something important is lost in the rancour against KPAI (The Commission for the Protection of Children) for calling out PB Djarum’s (Djarum Badminton Association) badminton auditions.
KPAI, as we know has accused the cigarette maker Djarum of using its foundation, PB Djarum (Djarum Badminton Association) to exploit children.
To be sure, KPAI has chosen its accusation poorly, using the word manipulate instead of exploitation or a more neutral used. It has caused a groundswell of opinion and invective against its stand, drowning out the one important issue that should be addressed: how should corporations discharge their Corporate Social Responsibility?
If KPAI had been more measured it could have advanced a more persuasive argument against Djarum because it does have a point. Djarum is indeed using PB Djarum to give it visibility in the youth segment where the Djarum tobacco brand has been forbidden to enter.
PB Djarum has undoubtedly contributed immensely to Indonesia’s domination of badminton worldwide/ But setting up a foundation or creating an event that is seemingly divorced from the parent brand’s activities, yet giving the brand a high visibility is one of the oldest tricks in the book of corporate communications.
Why else, you might ask, would the foundation still carry the logo and brand name of the parent brand? In this instance, you cannot look at the PB Djarum logo
Without being reminded of the tobacco company’s parent brand.
Why can’t Djarum (and other Indonesian companies). for instance, adopt the route taken by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is in part funded by Microsoft Stock dividends. The Foundation’s logo.
And why, among all the gin joints and causes, does Djarum have to alight on a cause to do with the target demographic for continuing tobacco sales? Why can’t it, instead, channel its vast resources in, say, helping improve the lot of tobacco farming families?
Study the marketing campaigns and events of other Tobacco companies and you will see the same cynical insertion of their branding elements.
On the other hand, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can never be accused
Can never be accused as a vehicle for Microsoft.
The problem in Indonesia, I think, is that most corporations have not thought through the role of business in helping the nation develop economically and socially.
What is their role? How should they go about it? In which causes or issues? And will they have credibility and trust if they proceed.
Many corporations Here grasp at the most convenient concept around: Corporate Social Responsibility.
It’s a concept that sounds nice but is dated and ineffective, especially during these times when trust in business is at an all-time low.
Harvard Business Professor Michael Porter have argued convincingly that CSR doesn’t quite work because it does not reconcile a business’ imperative to make profits with the need to contribute to economic or social development in the Harvard Business Review on Creating Shared Value. Here is a video of Michael Porter speaking on CSV to business leaders
To me CSV makes more sense. It posits the notion that businesses are aware that unless the communities with which they work with prosper, neither can they. As such, the corporations – because of the resources at their disposal – should take the lead in helping these communities generate economic or social value in their activities. By doing this they are effectively creating shared values.
This will help them to rebuild the trust that Business Has been losing ground on. An with this trust comes greater social capital with which they can achieve more and perform better. It’s a virtuous circle.
The KPAI-PB Djarum issue has given us a chance to reexamine and review the role of business in society, especially the businesses in controversial industries such as tobacco, alcohol, large-scale agriculture and mining. because of their huge revenues they are under scrutiny by many activists, NGOs, social organizations and regulators.
Business has a great opportunity to do it right and embrace CSV, or they can continue to dwell in their comfort zones and keep plugging away at CSR – and then wonder why, after all the money and effort they have altruistically committed to an activity, people still distrust them.
Good writing is hard to come by, so what we do with recruits at my workplace is to teach them to write well.
Being a former journalist and being one who writes moderately well, the task fell on Unspun to conduct the class.
Being a firm believer that writing is a reflection of your mental processes, I’ve always started the course with Critical Thinking 101 and the first slide in this presentation asks the participants to tell me which of the two images is a more accurate depiction of Christ.
To Unspun the comparion is a no brainer. Jesus was a Jew and a middle easterner, a native of Galilee.
People like that, as in the BBC reconstruction from a skull found there during the period of Jesus, tended to look like the chap on the right. He may not looked exactly like the man portrayed but for sure he would have been swarthy and would NIT look like an Anglo-Saxon savior right out of the paintings of Byzantine artists.
Inevitably, however, there would be one or two – sometimes more – participants in the class who said that Jesus would have looked like the person on the left. The reason? That’s the image of Jesus they’ve seen growing up and the image that adorns the churches they go to.
Which was perfect for us to begin our discourse on critical thinking, the importance of not accepting anything at face value and why we need to ask questions more.
Inevitably too, someone would raise the argument that too much critical thinking is bad for us because it makes us cynical. We should just accept things based on faith.
The answer is that too much of anything is not good for anyone. At any rate critical thinking, if practiced skillfully leads one not to cynicism but to skepticism, which is not a bad thing.
In this world, if we question more without becoming cynical (which Oscar Wilde defines as “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”) we’d be enjoying oour lives more, not less; and socially and politically we would be ensuring that much of the ugliness and hate in this world we see today would be minimized.
Friends and acquaintances who are so talented and must have accomplished so much and shown such promise that they have been singled out time and again to receive one plush fellowship or another.
You know them. They are the ones that pop up in your timeline proclaiming they feel so “humbled” to be selected for such fellowships, then proceed to bombard you with photos of the hallowed halls of influence and scholarship they’ve been sent to and the beautiful super smart people they’ve met.
At first we feel very happy for them, to be recognised for their contributions and being sent out on fellowships so they may learn of developments in their field by others in other countries.
Presumably, this would open their eyes give them new insights with which to come home and put new ideas into practice for the benefit of recipients of their cause.
So we like their posts when they so generously share on social media the great times they had and the illustrious people they meet.
Then they come home and before you know it, they are on yet another fellowship again. And again with barely a year’s hiatus in between.
Which makes you wonder,
About the institutions dishing out these fellowships. Is Indonesia so thin on talent and worthy people that the same people keep being selected all the time?
About the recipients themselves. Where do they find time to put their new learnings and insights to work if they are busy going form one fellowship to the next?
Unspun recently had conversations with his friends and and we tried to analyse what these recipients do after their initial spurt of productivity that saw them establishing causes, movements and organisations for the public good. Out conclusion was that we couldn’t see how their fellowships had benefitted their causes.
In fact, in some instances, we felt that their causes had suffered from neglect because their founders/main movers were too busy traveling father fellowships.
We counted a couple of serial fellows who must have gone on three or four fellowships over the past five years.
There comes a point in life when anything, even the best intentioned ones involving very talented people, become ridiculous.
Drive down Jalan Sudirman today and what do you see?
You’d probably say you see workers putting the finishing touches on smooth, wide walkways flanked by generous islands of grass, in a process of tarting up Jakarta for the Asian Games that starts on the 18th of next month.
What I see, however, is a potential eyesore. The authorities here are very good at erecting monuments, public works, parks and grandoise infrastructure. The look great.
Then comes the hard part – maintaining them, and this is where things unravel. What will the walkways be like a year from now? Will the islands still have grass growing? And what about the ornamental plants beautifying the scene?
Unspun’s prediction is that it will all go to seed because maintenance just isn’t a forte of the authorities.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno (the Dumber of the Dumb &Dumber Duo) yesterday admitted just as much when he told Kompas.com that the City could build Kalijodo, the former red light district converted into a public park, but it could not maintain it.
Of course being Sandi he was not concerned by the truth (It was Ahok who converted and built the park, not his administration) and he had to blame others for his own failings. He said that the public was unable to take care of their park, so it was futile building things like that.
What is wrong with this guy? Cities have by laws against littering, destruction and defacing of public property and unruly public conduct precisely to prevent people from degrading the facilities. It’s a rather alien concept called enforcement that is required here.
Cities also have a budget for maintaining parks. But ensuring that the money is spent properly rather than ending in people’s pockets takes effort and hard work so its not something that he would concern himself with.
So here we go again, seeing magnificent erections but none of the energy to maintain them. When will this country ever learn that implementation and enforcement is as important, if not more, than grand gestures and magnificent new structures?
Unspun thinks its the best idea since tempe but then again, he’s biased to the PR profession.
But JWT has taken a huge step in appointing former Ogilvy PR and Pulse boss Marianne Adamardatine to head its operations in Indonesia, that includes digital agency Mirium.
If it works it will open the doors to lots of PR professionals and possibly usher in a new way of communicating not dominated by the advertising mindset. If it fails, the I-told-you-so guys will have a field day.
Will it work or won’t it? What do communicators out there think?
For more information on the appointment go to my posting in the Maverick blog:
Finally a PR person to head a major advertising outfit
These are interesting times for the marketing communications industry and for public relations.
Like all companies in this area, JWT have been experimenting with how to cope with disruption and media convergence. Their answer is an interesting one in Indonesia: appoint a Public Relations professional to head their team in the country.
Campaign has reported that JWT has appointed Marianne Adamardatine, who has led Ogilvy PR and Pulse for many years, and who was recently appointed by Ogilvy to be their Chief Growth Officer, to head JWT indonesia.
She “will be responsible for expanding the company’s capabilities in strategic brand building, digital transformation, customer experience, marketing automation and commerce activation, as well as driving thought leadership and building business engagement with C-suite clients to initiate integrated campaigns,” according to the company. This means she will oversee the advertising and digital operations, Mirium.
We believe this is the first time that someone from a PR, rather than an advertising background, has been appointed to the top position to a major advertising outfit…read more
If the survey is accurate it suggests that after decades of living cheek by jowl with the pribumis, they still harbor stereotyped perceptions about the Indonesian Chinese.
Among the most glaring stereotyped are that the Chinese Indonesians tend to be more wealthy than the pribumis. Over 60 percent of respondents in the survey felt this.
Astoundingly almost half of the respondents, 47.6 percent, believe that the Indonesian Chinese harbor divided loyalties between Indonesia and China.
The survey, which was conducted in May 2016 after the anti-Ahok protests, did not say whether these sentiments were as intense before the demonstrations.
Several questions come to mind from the survey results:
Does this mean that no Chinese Indonesian can ever stand for high office and win, because all the opposition has to do is to fan the racial flames?
Can pribumis be so oblivious of the many, many walthy-off Pribumi officials and businesspersons that are so visible in everyday Indonesia?
Does it mean that Indonesian Chinese should prepare for a difficult year ahead and until the 2019 presidential elections are over before letting out their breath? Will Indonesia be a racial powder keg all primed?
Should Indonesian Chinese try harder to disabuse their pribumi counterparts of their prejudices? Or are they better off letting things lie than run the risk of stirring things up?
The would the results of a similar survey, if conducted in neighboring Malaysia, show a lower, similar or higher level of prejudice?
The hallmark of a good campaign is that it spurs public discourse on a particular subject. In this sense, the #SayaPancasila campaign can be said to be successful, if the preponderance of the hashtag and profile pictures bering the message on social media are concerned.
Effective public discourse, however, exists when there are differences of opinion and when the participants abide by rules of rhetorical fair play. So here goes Unspun‘s contribution to the public discourse on the#SayaPancasila campaign.
Three questions spring to mind from all the #SayaIndonesia and #SayaPancasila profile photos being used on Facebook Instagram and other social media channels:
Are atheists allowed to proclaim #SayaPancasila? Pancasila requires the belief God, in whatever form she exists. Arising from this should there be a discussion on which is more appropriate for Indonesia today – a concept from 1945 repurposed to knit together Indonesia in 2017; or would Embracing Diversity be a more appropriate idea to campaign on?
When people these days declare #SayaPancasila can it be taken as their full subscription to the five principles formulated by Sukarno in 1945 as an instrument to rally people round Indonesian Nationalism? Or is it more a talisman to signal their rejection of the more extreme and intolerant elements of Indonesia today, i.e. Rizieq and the FPI as well as other assorted hardliners? There is a difference here: one is an embrace of something, another is a rejection of another thing.
Are all these declarations of #SayaPancasila on the internet missing the target? One of the things the internet is notorious for is to create bubbles where like-minded people reinforce their own ideas and convictions. How many of these #SayaPancila proclamations are actually seen by the real targets? These are the 50+ percent who voted for Anies, the thousands of easter-clad protesters who came out on 212 and other demonstrations, that part of Indonesia who get their information more from mosques and grassroots institutions than the social media. There is also the question of whether seeing such #SayaPancasila declarations would persuade them to change their minds or reinforce their believes so that they dig down even deeper in the embrace of hardline attitudes and beliefs.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that any effort to claw Indonesia back from the clutches of the hardliners is something good for this country and society. But will it be effective? Or wilt be a distraction when resources could have been channeled elsewhere for greater effect?
So where do people stand on these three questions?
Unspun watched with incredulity and horror a segment from the documentary The Act of Killing in which Yusuf calla addressed a group of Pancasila Youth, who were known to be the secular equivalent of a FPI in their heyday.
He told the group that this country needed preman (thugs) because they got things done. Unlike the apparat (bureaucrats) who would debate a thing to death. he then explained the romantic origin of the word preman which apparently is derived from freeman.
How is it that such a man who has been documented on film as having said such preposterous words could become the Vice President of a country not once but twice boggles the imagination. He hasn’t improved since and like Trump is a serial offender against tolerant and non-sectarian views. His latest, of course, is taking a swipe at the stereotype of the Chinese Christians and Taoists being the richest people in Indonesia while the Muslim non-Chinese lag behind.
You wonder what checks and balances as well as screening processes this country’s political is bereft of. But that is Indonesia, where democracy is still a shiny new toy whose ways need to be mastered.
But Oxford University? The cradle of some of the best minds to walk the earth? The seat of intellectual prowess? Surely they can do better?
One assumes that the people running the university would have access to the internet and they would do some desktop research, at the very least, before they extended an invitation to Kalla to speak.