Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Passing of Former President Soeharto

Politics has always come across as a very complex thing to me (even dangerous sometimes), as the decisions made always juggling the priorities and interests of many different groups of people.

A political leader can never make everyone happy at the same time, but people should be wise enough to learn that a success of a leader should be judged by the whole period of leadership, not only by the excitement of the start and the rage of disappointment at the end.

I finally learned this over the 2 days following the passing of the former President of Indonesia, Soeharto, at the age of 86.

The last 10 years or so after the reformation, the investigation of his allegedly corruption via several non-profit organisations that were built to cover up his wrongdoings always came up to a dead end, as he always fell sick around the scheduled trial.

Nevertheless, for most general population, he is still the figure that people look up to as a ‘second generation’s father of the nation’.

This two controversial viewpoints about the former President exist not in two different sides of political entities, but in the hearts of most Indonesian people who have enough knowledge to understand that nobody’s perfect, and that is the reason why we need a structured system to manage the country.

Many younger generations regretted the result of the 1997 election where people still expected him to be the President while he was already over 70 years old, and that was when the reformation broke out. Like an unspoken rule of this country, when students make a stand, a change will definitely follow as a ‘crash-course’!

Unfortunately, the two generations could not find balance and compromise easily to overcome the sudden change. The result was starting over in all aspects of the nations.

Restructuring is good, but doing it based on the instruction on a ‘crash-course’? It won’t be easy, to say the least. And all the struggle became much, much harder.

Younger and educated generations started to blame the former President for shaping the country the way he did, causing the nation to be unprepared for the hard truth and poor realities.

At the same time, older generations and common populations (rural populations, especially), blamed the people who overthrew the former President for taking away their protected and stable lives.

Both are right and both are wrong.. The usual two sides of every story..

The younger and educated populations need to see that their leader have the capacity and
ability to take this nation further in the global world. While the older and less-educated populations need to see that their leader is the fatherly figure that can keep them protected from everyday harms, such as instability of every day needs’ prices.

Thinking about all this, and watching on TV, many leaders from other countries who pay their respects to the former President and so many people from the common populations attended the funeral, I started to believe that he had done the best he could by the ways he knew how to advance this country and protecting the simple people at the same time.

I agree with the ideas that the investigations of his decisions and fund management should be continued, in the aim to get the truth and clarifications of many doubtful things and to set up a system to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

At the same time, I feel that the funeral procession that went on was not as grand as I thought it would be for someone who used to be a President for over 30 years! I seriously expected more.

At the very least, I expected that everything and every step of the procession was more in order and the reporters sent out to report the procession from the site were the best and most ready for times like this!

From now on, I think not only his non-profit organisations should be investigated, how he managed for 30 years, keeping the farmers happy, no sudden rise in fertiliser’s price, no sudden rise in every day need’s prices, etc., should also be investigated, because these days, we face price rise in everything.. we even have to line up just to buy 5 or 10 litres of oil for the stoves. People say that we have gone back to the 1965 era, looking at the line-up scene.

Again, as usual... it’s the two sides of every story.. but most likely, the smartest people are the ones who successfully learn a lesson from the whole story, not just the beginning and the ending.

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