02 February 2010
Is SBY A Thief or A Buffalo?
In a case of Indonesian democracy in action, the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), has decided that he needs to put together a working group to, in part, examine the conduct of demonstrators. The working group is ostensibly tasked with looking at matters related to law enforcement, security, bureaucratic reform, and democracy. Seemingly this includes whether or not there is a code of ethics and conduct that demonstrators must subscribe to if they want to protest. The president is concerned that some recent protests have breached the 'code' and even the law.
The protests that the president is particularly referring to are those related to the ongoing Bank Century shenanigans, particularly those ones where protesters / demonstrators using loud speakers yell at the top of their lungs that the president is a thief. Or even more recently where the second term president has been likened to a buffalo (he doesn't look like a buffalo to me). In the mind of SBY buffaloes are fat and lazy. Now, that is a bad rap for the buffaloes because they work pretty hard in the fields and do their work without too many complaints. In fact, they work for food. In contrast, the president has put on a few pounds since becoming president and his 100-day agenda for his second, legacy building, term has been a bust. So, a bad rap for the buffaloes.
The problem is that the demonstrators scarper after the event and the authorities cannot track them down, presumably to prosecute them for being so rude as to liken the president to a buffalo or call him 'Mr. Light Fingers'. I am not sure why the authorities could not simply arrest the protesters before they scarper at the end of the protest if the president is really concerned that the protesters are going to far in their criticisms of him.
It appears that the president does not consider either accusation within the parameters of freedom of speech or freedom of expression. It, further, appears that the president wants to put a stop to this unwelcome behaviour before it gets truly out of hand.
The reality here is that this is a non-issue. The president has serious problems confronting his nation that are obviously beyond the scope and ability of the current cabinet he has assembled and his coalition of the willing to resolve, or in the first instance, and even address. Nevertheless, the president has characterized this issue as one that is so important that it goes to the heart of saving Indonesian culture, democracy, and civilization! Are you serious, Mr. President?
Rather than worry about whether people think he is a thief or a buffalo, it is perhaps a good time to actually do some work and solve some problems. Then, perhaps, the people will start to see SBY as the saviour that they once thought him to be. But, no, the president is just another politician looking to pass the buck and cast the blame onto some other poor unfortunate soul with neither the money nor the time to defend themselves.
It is time that the fella started doing what he was elected to do, be the president. It is time for some presidential leadership to come to the fore and fulfill the promise of making Indonesia better than it has ever been before. The people are ready and willing, are you Mr. President?