A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting with a few of my old friends. The initiator, I’ll just call him DL, chose Bakoel Koffie, because he’d like to “support local companies”. Fine with me. Can’t really stand Starbucks coffee anyway (the one I drank back in UK tasted quite terrible).
I made the mistake though of ordering an exotic one by name of “Turkish coffee” – hours after I finished the drink, my heart was still beating faster than usual. Pretty scary, come to think about it. But I must admit, it tasted really nice.
Anyway, a bit of chit chat, and I found out that DL now works for ICW, Indonesia Corruption Watch. I congratulated him and feel very happy. This is a man who hated himself even years after he had to bribe a Customs officer (in order to save his friend’s belongings from getting confiscated unjustly). A man of his words, and one who’s always on time (a notable achievement for Indonesian).
DL is also pretty known for his scepticism. He won’t just believe everything he heard or saw, until he’s really sure about it. He’d also say things as it is, especially if it’s bad. Which is good, for a man in his position.
I imagine he’d fit right in right away, and indeed he did.
So I joked a bit about SBY’s high-profile war on corruption, and asked him whether it had caused any effect at all.
To my surprise, unflinchingly, DL responded “yes”.
Despite what the news said almost everyday – DL actually confirmed that indeed, SBY’s war on corruption is working.
Seeing my speechless, amazed face, DL quickly explained his answer. Among the proof he’s seeing is the fact that while we’re already on the 8th month of year 2006, yet only 20% of APBN (yearly spending budget) is used. Reason being the bureaucrats are too scared to use the budget; they’re too scared that if they use it up for a project, they may fetch some for themselves out of habit – and got busted by KPK (Committee for Corruption Eradication) for it.
He further explained that even though the reformation has now been running for 8 years (since the fall of the dictator, Soeharto), it’s yet to touch the bureaucrats on the lower levels.
Finally SBY got on it, and it is scaring them.
His opinion is that this is good, but this is just the first step – the shock therapy. The bureaucrats finally realized that they’re not invincible anymore. Now SBY need to go through and finish it – actually eradicating all corruption, while keeping the development projects up and running.
We had to interrupt our short chat because others interrupted, and we joined back the group chat.
But I know that if it was he that said it, that really means it. Finally there’s hope.
Note that I was not a supporter of SBY back in the last election, among other things because I don’t know him well enough (a rather common problem with implementation of democracy anywhere – most of us choose someone we barely know). Now, I don’t feel so bad about my choice failing to become president.
Anyway, the road is still long and it’s a hard journey. Hopefully the good men in our government can overcome certain oppositions wanting to exploit our country for their own gain again (it’s a story for another post). Here’s one hoping it, for our own sake.
Thanks DL for the good news. Please keep up your good work there.