People & Quote

[people] Suharto

Whatever the controversy about him is, for me, he’s a great president (probably the greatest president) for Indonesia.

I (of course) never met him in person. I watched only TVRI, read only Kompas, and learn him from Indonesian history books (his version of Indonesian history is on every PMP & PSPB book).

The Smiling General

The Smiling General

So, of course at that time, Suharto was portrayed as a truly great hero.
But everything changed in 1980-90 era.
He was condemned as dictator, enemy of democracy, corruptor.
Quite sad when CNN broadcasted his title : EX-Dictator.

But after living in post-Suharto era, and involving in organisational work, I think now I have more admiration of him.

1. He laid strong political stability through dictatorship. During his reign, everybody can focus on economic development. Look at us now. People are always debating. I think every decision will take negative effect on certain parties, so that the only way to avoid it is by compromising. Everyone is happy but actually the decision is not decisive. Sometime I think Suharto’s decision to kill democracy was worth it (although he had to pay the price later on). How come he could build this nation if he had to listen to many political parties with different interest?

2. He had chosen the right people on his cabinet (especially economic team), especially on the beginning. Since he didn’t need to do political bargain, he could choose anyone. His cabinet really had a systematic and centralised program. While people always say we must empower poor people, Suharto’s program really dealt on that matters : family planning (KB), mother-child care (Posyandu), women empowerment (PKK), national boy-girl scout (Gerakan Pramuka), P4, five-year plan (PELITA). Where are those programs now?

3. He might have provided access to some businessmen (his cronies), but it’s nature. I think we will do that too if we are in his position. Better to put your trust in people you know well. At least he chose people who are really true businessmen that produced competitive enterprises. Well, mistake at the end when he started to give chances to his family (who are not businessmen). Chandra Asri, Timor were total failure.

4. Just read in BOLA tabloid that during Suharto’s era, in sport, Indonesia always held no 1 and 2 position in SEA Games. Look at us now….. since 1999, the best position was no 2. In 2007, we aim to be number four (oh come on) ????

But still, people must believe in KARMA. You must reap what you sow.

He had to pay the price of ‘killing’ democracy (well it’s debatable whether democracy will prevail… look at China and Vietnam now).

He made mistake to love his family and friends by giving them privilege.
But I think it’s difficult not to do nepotism and corruption in his position?

What will you do when you need someone to look after your precious thing?
Employ someone from ‘fair’ recruitment that will end up in someone you totally don’t know? Employ someone with ‘recommendation’ from your best and trusted friends?
Employ your own family?

Well, let right and wrong is judged by law and God.
Just like wise men say… nobody’s perfect.

One interesting thing, I barely heard Suharto’s own comment on non-government things, in the news or in TV. He didn’t speak that much in public. Never showed his feeling and emotion in the crowd. Always smiling. Even after his fall. Isn’t that nice?

Good bye, Smiling General!

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