29 July 2010

The Bakrie Award...

The Bakrie Award is designed to recognise Indonesians who have made significant contributions to the greater Indonesian community.

However, it would seem that not all award recipients are thankful and grateful for the "honour" bestowed upon them. The award has already been rejected by two past winners: Franz Magnis Suseno and Goenawan Mohammed. Suseno rejected the award before even going to a ceremony to get it. Goenawan handed his back.

However, in conjunction with the big announcement that Bakrie Center Foundation was funding, and generously so, the creation of a Chair for Southeast Asian Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, there was also an announcement of this years winners. The 2010 winners included Sitor Situmorang and Daoed Joesoef. Unfortunately, for the Bakrie Center Foundation both these winners said they were not interested in the award and did not want it, in fact both stated that the Bakrie's could keep their awards. The award comes with IDR 100 million attached.

The various reasonings for the rejection noted that the spirit of the award was not reflected in the conduct of the Bakrie's themselves with respect to the Sidoarjo mud extrusion. The original news is in Indonesian and can be found here.

Maybe it is about time that the Bakrie family reached the point where they just said, "bugger it!" And, then paid out the claims and had some publicity that could be spun positively. The fact is most people believe that it is a Bakrie company that is responsible for the extrusion and not an earthquake. There is a limited number of ways you can spin bad publicity before it just becomes a stone in your shoe and a sizable irritant going forward. Time to shoulder-up, take of the shoe, shake out the stone, pay the people of Sidoarjo what they are owed, and then get on with whatever it is that the Bakrie's do.

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