Yesterday, whilst awaiting an appointment at the Jakarta Eye Centre with my opthalmologist for a post-op check up ~ which went well and thanks for asking ~ I mused about an article in the Guardian I'd read earlier.
Writing in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Thornhill and his colleagues explain that children under five devote much of their energy to brain development. When the body has to fight infections, it may have to sacrifice brain development, they say.
Thornhill's group used three published surveys of global IQ scores and compared them with data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on how badly infectious diseases affect different countries. The list included common infections, such as malaria, tetanus and tuberculosis (TB).
The scientists found that the level of infectious disease in a country was closely linked to the average national IQ.
This would appear to be common sense, but as Richard Lynn, professor of psychology at Ulster University, and co-author of the book, IQ and the Wealth of Nations (pub. 2002), points out, disease and IQ is a two-way relationship, with low national IQs being partly responsible for widespread infectious diseases.
Anyone wishing to delve into the statistics of Lynn's work can check here. If the UK has a mean IQ of 100, Indonesia is at 89. However, the Indonesian stats come from just one survey conducted among Bandung school children in 1959.
IQ tests are not an indication of 'intelligence', which I take to be the polar opposite of stupidity, and enough can be found online to demonstrate that !Q tests have an inbuilt, generally 'western', cultural bias which do not and cannot measure the theoretical 'intelligences' propounded by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983.
Suggesting that Indonesians are stupid has been proved to be a stupid thing to do. Not so long ago, in April, an Indian foreman at a shipyard in Batam, the island near Singapore, did just that and got severely beaten up by some of the workers who then, 5,000 of them, ran amuck. (This word, now in English, is derived from the same Malaysian word used in Indonesian – amok.)
My definition of 'stupidity' is a conscious act with unfortunate, even disasterous, results due to a lack of forethought about possible consequences.
In the spotlight today are the police who, in spite of their 'intelligence' successes in capturing loads of terrorist suspects, seem to have little regard for the public perception of their daily behaviour.
Firstly, they do not demonstrate that they have embraced reformasi, the drive for transparency and accountability which are evidence of a democratic nation.
The law on mass organisations has an article which states that the government may freeze a mass organization’s administration if it is found to have disrupted safety and/or public order. Yet the police stand by whilst the thugs of Front Pembela Islam (FPI) attack bars and churches, disrupt licensed meetings of gays and transexuals, and, just last week, parliamentarians and constituents discussing free health care.
The list goes on.
(Search this blog for 'FPI')
And now they are talking of a 'War Over Christianization'.
Murhali Barda, head of the Bekasi chapter of FPI, claimed that a certain Christian foundation had been relentlessly baptizing groups of people in the city, which has seen a number of religious conflicts in recent months.
“The last one was on Wednesday. A number of buses were seen dropping off people, some wearing jilbabs, at a house in Kemang Pratama district in Bekasi. When our people interrogated the security guard, he said they came from Jakarta and were there to be baptized.” he said.
However, Bekasi Police Chief Sr. Comr Imam Sugianto denied there had been a mass baptism. “All of them were students and they all went there for a swim,” he said.
If true, then I'm justified in saying that the FPI thugs are stupid.
And the police?
There can be few citizens or residents who have not given the police 'cigarette money' at some time to avoid further unpleasantness, which may include torture.
Victims usually do not know where to report abuses and are vulnerable to further abuse if they make a complaint directly to the police.
But it's not so much the lower echelons who are in the news now as the police generals. Questions are being aired as to how six top officers – Inspector General Mathius Salempang, Inspector General Sylvanus Yulian Wenas, Inspector General Budi Gunawan, Inspector General Badrodin Haiti, Inspector General Bambang Suparno, and whistleblower of the tax scam Commissioner General Susno Duadji – can amass from Rp.22 billion to as much as Rp.95 billion) on a salary of Rp.15 million a month (c.$1,600).
This is the lead story in this week's Tempo magazine. Strangely, all of the 30,000 print run was bought up in the early hours by "a group of mystery men" before it could be distributed. Tempo reprinted the issue, and are presumanbly happy with their increased circulation.
What is even stranger is not that the police are upset with the story, but the cover.
The problem with the cover is that it shows a police general with three piggy banks on leashes which could be an allusion to the business interests who buy favours. Mind you, having piggy banks with the police on a leash would seem more apt.
However, it's the pigs which have – erm – unleashed the police anger, so much so that they are talking up a possible lawsuit against Tempo.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang claimed he had received many complaints about the magazine’s cover.
He said, “Imagine, we have 406,000 officers nationwide, and they and probably their relatives, too, are offended because it compares the police to the animal.”
To disrespect police in the UK who are apparently disrespecting citizens is to call them 'pigs', but here the word has deeper, Islamic, connotations. However, apart from the fact that the cartoon doesn't compare the police to pigs, Gen, Antonanng doesn't seem to be that well-educated.
As Tempo magazine chief editor Wahyu Muryadi said, “The piggy banks represent bank accounts, the edition’s theme. Why pig? In Indonesian, a pot for saving money is traditionally called celengan, which means piggy bank. It derives from the word celeng, which means pig."
I wonder what Gen. Antonand has made of the reprint of the magazine which now sports this cover.
Police in a poke?
Pig in a poke is an English idiom which refers to a confidence trick originating in the 15th/16th centuries, when meat was scarce but cats were not and were put inside the 'poke'.
('Poke', originally meant bag or sack. 'Pocket' is the current form of the word.)
The Indonesian equivalent expression is kucing dalam karung (cat in a sack).
Make of this farce what you will, but my answer to my title is a resounding 'yes'.