Suharto remained in power because of Golkar, a political grouping he created to give a semblance of democracy in the elections held every five years. The nation’s bureaucrats had to belong if they wished to keep their jobs.
They are still the largest political party, presumably due to their largesse. In case you, or they, think that last sentence is libellous, consider the news that at the end of their three day national leadership meeting currently underway, they are going to award Dedicated Service Awards (Anugerah Bhakti Pratama) to loads of Suharto cronies.
There is a problem though. Suharto himself will not accept one unless the party “clarifies” his status before the courts.
Eighty three-year-old Soeharto is a prime suspect in several graft cases but the Attorney General’s Office has never taken the cases to court, accepting claims that he is too disabled to face trial.
A supposedly independent team of doctors set up by the AGO, and his defense lawyers say the former autocratic leader is too brain damaged to properly answer lawyers’ questions.
But he’s not too brain-damaged to seek clarification, which presumably means ‘sweeping under the carpet’, of the many slurs against his integrity.
George Best is another about to meet his maker. An entire nation will mourn his passing, unlike the gentleman mentioned above. It won’t be for who George is now, a failed alcoholic, but for what he was forty years ago ~ possibly the greatest footballing talent the UK has ever produced. Yes, better even than Wayne Rooney.
My memory is fading, but not as badly as George’s, and I have to rely on mine for the following as I can find very little online about the one match I saw him play live. (If I’m wrong about the date, could someone let me know? Please?)
It was at Wembley, England v Northern Ireland on, presumably, 10th November 1965. I have one abiding memory.
George was playing his first game having recently been suspended for having thrown mud at a referee. England’s line up contained many who were about to be stars of the following year’s World Cup. I stood behind one goal.
Seemingly unaware of the boos echoing around the stadium because of his recent behaviour, George weaved his way around and through our world class defence and had just the goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, to beat. He didn’t because that would have been too easy.
So he dribbled the ball away from the goal, past the defenders, and restarted for the goal. Again he rounded the defenders, this time including the goalkeeper. He scored into the empty net and the stadium erupted. From then on he was our hero. England won that match, but George had won our hearts
So George has died.
Some years ago Jakartass could be seen trundling around rice paddies as a founder member of a local expat football team we called The Wankers ~ we weren’t that good.
For a while we had a Brit called Alan playing in midfield. Alan had class, a lot more than the rest of us, but then he had been a professional player with Bournemouth until knee knack got him. One of his team mates was George Best, then in the latter stages of his career.
Alan later joined the Vikings, a Danish expat team; something to do with the nationality of his girlfriend. Alan left Jakarta and at his farewell match I told him that I felt honoured to have played both alongside and against someone who had played alongside George.
Alan understood what I meant.
And so will millions of British football fans.
Rest in peace, George.