A Closing of Sorts
‘Er Indoors brings word from the market: Harto terun, harga terun. (Harto falls, prices fall.)
Kabinet Reformasi contains lots of professors and a few familiar faces. General Wiranto remains Minister of Defence, Ali Alatas is Foreign Secretary, overall co-ordination of security is in the hands of Feisal Tanjung and for finance there is internationally (IMF?) respected Ginandjar Sukismata (sp?). Apart from Habibie himself – who, when he became vice president, appointed his son to head up IPTN, the Bandung-based aerospace company set up by Habibie – I can’t at the moment finger any Suharto cronies. But then what do I know? Only 16 out of the 36 faces are new.
Still, I’m optimistic about Habibie; there’s an air of professionalism coming from the Cabinet members, maybe because they’re now allowed their own voices. Bank Indonesia is now independent which means that they, rather than any form of government, can reform the banking sector. Given the revised management structure, B.I. is no longer Suharto’s private piggy bank.
There is dissension in pro-democracy circles: to accept this or not. Those who wish to accept the situation are still putting a time limit on the expected elections. My view is the same; give Habibie a chance, but watch very closely for any variation from the people’s aspirations – which are very clear.
Free political prisoners, allow the formation of political parties which adopt, yet adapt, the five principles of Pancasila, especially one people, one community and, above all, allow the freedom of expression which does not prevent freedom of expression. In other words there should be no religious fundamentalism or political extremism.
I worry when I see banners saying ‘National Front’ as I recall the UK fascist and racist group in London and elsewhere in the UK in the ’70s and earlier. I worry because the Indonesian Chinese were recently targetted and because the Americans were the first to get themselves evacuated. This caused unnecessary resentment against we remaining Caucasians.
Belum pulang? (Not gone home yet?)
Goddam it. This is my home!
We met a schoolfriend of ‘Er Indoors in the local Hero supermarket today. She’s married to an English guy and they have a daughter aged 15, and she’s got three more, older, daughters. Whilst he stayed for the duration in South Sumatra, she and the daughters went to Singapore, coming back with tales of fully booked hotels and vast expense.
And so this episode finishes. Very many thanks for your concerned phone calls. Life is but a series of passing phases and occasional smiling faces.
Enjoy your last year at university and, as ever, we look forward to seeing you here in what we hope will be a renewed and revitalised Indonesia.
Having withdrawn large sums of cash in anticipation of flight, bank closures etc., people are now spend, spend, spending. It’s party time at those malls still open. Anyone got a slightly burnt modem?