Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sweet Seventeen

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia.

Can I ask you guys something? What are the things that make you proud of this country? Aside from food, batik and our rich natural resources?

I have no right to make any point that represents all Indonesians, or Indonesia as a country, because yes, I do spend almost all of my days only in Jakarta, and yes, this is just a personal opinion on how I solely feel as an individual. Everyday I witness ignorance all around, and it can get really depressing. Corruption is everywhere, and has somewhat become a culture. We talk about government officials being corrupt. But look around us. Even a parking attendant who clearly wears a uniform with the text "No Tipping" on his back still receives or demands drivers to give him tip. Even funnier when a parking space is hidden by parking attendants and said space will only be given to drivers who give them tip. I once had a debate on this, where the other argued that tipping parking attendants is 'okay' because it's simply a form of appreciation towards his 'help'. I believe, that when an institution has strictly enforced a regulation of "No Tipping", then we all should just comply with that. It's like a company not allowing their employees to receive gifts from their clients, because 1) it may cause bias and internal conflicts, and 2) it may grow into a (bad) habit. No matter the amount of money (trillions vs. Rp.2.000), corruption is corruption. It's about the mindset.

I have lost count on how many times my car has been hit by motorcyclists who ignorantly just speed away with no apology. Same goes to getting summoned on the road because traffic rules sort of change every now and then, but when I am willing to pay the fine, I am somehow "convinced" to just "settle" things in the illegal way. Then there are 3-in-1 car jockeys standing peacefully on the side of the streets just 10 meters away from a group of policemen. So what's right and wrong? What's legal and not? It seems fine to work out opportunities within the loophole in Jakarta’s traffic management policy, so why come up with the regulation after all?

I am always worried when I see people standing on the outer edge of the (door-less & boundary-less) elevated bus-stop exit/entrance point while waiting for the Transjakarta bus. It's so easy for someone to just fall down when being (accidentally) pushed by someone else on their back, because hey, there's no door or any safety guard, right?

Then seeing people getting punished / processed for expressing their thoughts on the internet, selling products online. What's happening?

I just wish things like these are not justified by 1) luxury, 2) the fact that there are many other less-fortunate people who go through worse things, 3) there are many other (more important) things to think about and take care of, and 4) people just need to make a living no matter how. Flaws are flaws, regardless the justifications and comparisons.

Good night, all...:)